Thursday, October 8, 2009
The Book of Mormon is True!
Pressing Forward and Holding Fast
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
May I refer to a modern “last days” testimony? When Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum started for Carthage to face what they knew would be imminent martyrdom, Hyrum read these words to comfort the heart of his brother. “Thou hast been faithful; wherefore, thy garments shall be made clean…Thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I prepared in the mansions of my Father. And now I, Moroni, bid farewell…until we shall meet before the judgment-seat of Christ.”
…As one of a thousand elements of my own testimony of the divinity of the Book of Mormon I submit this as yet one more evidence of its truthfulness. In this their greatest—and last—hour of need, I ask you—would these men blaspheme before God by continuing to fix their lives, their honor and their own search for eternal salvation on a book (and by implication a church and a ministry) they had fictitiously created out of whole cloth?
Never mind that their wives are about to be widows and their children fatherless. Never mind that their little band of followers will yet be “houseless, homeless and friendless” and that their children will leave “footprints of blood” across frozen rivers and an untamed prairie floor. Never mind that legions will die and other legions live declaring in the four quarters of the earth that they know the Book of Mormon and the Church which espouses it to be true. Disregard all of that and tell me whether in this hour of death these two men would enter the presence of their Eternal Judge quoting from and finding solace in a book which, if not the very word of God, would brand them as imposters and charlatans until the end of time? They would not do that. They were willing to die rather than deny the divine origin and the eternal truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.
For one hundred and seventy-nine years this book has been examined and attacked, denied and deconstructed, targeted and torn apart like perhaps no other book in modern religious history---perhaps like no other book in any religious history. And still it stands. Failed, often silly theories about its origins have been born, parroted and died—from Ethan Smith to Solomon Spaulding to deranged paranoid to cunning genius. None of these frankly pathetic answers for the book has ever withstood examination because there is no other answer than the one Joseph gave as its young unlearned translator. In this I stand with my own great grandfather who said simply enough, “No wicked man could write such a book as this, and no good man would write it, unless it were true and he were commanded of God to do so.”
I testify that one cannot come to a full faith in this latter-day work—and thereby find the fullest measure of peace and comfort for our times—until he or she embraces the divinity of the Book of Mormon and the Lord Jesus Christ of whom it testifies. If anyone is foolish enough or misled enough to reject 531 pages of a heretofore unknown text teeming with literary and Semitic complexity without honestly attempting to account for the origin of those pages—especially without accounting for their powerful witness of Jesus Christ and the profound spiritual impact that witness has had on what is now tens of millions of readers—then such persons, elect or otherwise, have been deceived and, if they leave this Church, they must do so by crawling over or around or under the Book of Mormon to make their exit.
(Taken from Sunday Afternoon session of latest General Conference)
Elder Holland is a true spiritual giant. Anyone who has listened to and seen his talks throughout the years and assuredly in recent general conferences can testify to that. Of course, this is not simply because of his eloquence in writing or proving a point of doctrine. It is not just his explanations of the need for continuous revelation, a restoration of the Gospel, and the Christianity of Mormonism. It is the fact that he has a witness etched into his soul that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. He knows that. It is evident. I can say in all honesty that I have come to see that Jeffrey R. Holland is an apostle of the Lord. I look forward to catching the parts of conference I had missed while up in Sharon, VT.