Most people grow up believing in the Bible. They never really think about it or wonder if it was true. They never have to figure out how to tell if it was true. They just believe in it because they always have. However, when confronted with a book of scripture that was not part of their childhood experiences, they aren’t sure how to approach it. Not having put the Bible to the test, they don’t really know how to put other possible scriptures to the test.The Bible offers a clue to people who want to know if the Bible is true:
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (James 1:5, King James version of the Bible)
The Bible promises that if we need to know something important, we can ask God and He will tell us if we ask in faith. This same promise applies to the Book of Mormon. In fact, the Book of Mormon comes with its own promise:
3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
6 And whatsoever thing is good is just and true; wherefore, nothing that is good denieth the Christ, but acknowledgeth that he is. (Moroni 10)
Mormons who are considering joining the Church, and those who are already in the Church, are taught not to take the word of any mortal person concerning the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. They learn that all truth comes from God and that a testimony from Him is one we can’t deny. If a mortal person tells us something is true, that can help us, but it is shaky—if our relationship with that person changes, we may find ourselves doubting his words. However, if God tells us something is true, we know it is.
For that reason, Mormons are taught to read the Bible and the Book of Mormon and to pray as they read. Then they should ponder what they’ve learned, make a decision, and pray for confirmation of their decision. A warm, peaceful feeling of truth is reassurance they have made the right choice.
The person who made this promise, Moroni, was an extraordinary young man. He was a child of war. His society was at war with another group of people and all his people were killed. He lost his parents, siblings, friends…everyone. The only people remaining in his part of the world were the enemy, who had sworn to murder anyone who would not deny the divinity of Jesus Christ. He would not, and so, alone in the world and possibly only a teenager, he hid away and finished the work his father, an ancient prophet, had started. His father, Mormon, had been abridging the records of their people to make them a more manageable size. Moroni finished the task, translated some additional records, and added the end of his civilization’s story. He was alone and sad:
3 And my father also was killed by them, and I even remain alone to write the sad tale of the destruction of my people. But behold, they are gone, and I fulfil the commandment of my father. And whether they will slay me, I know not.
4 Therefore I will write and hide up the records in the earth; and whither I go it mattereth not.
5 Behold, my father hath made this record, and he hath written the intent thereof. And behold, I would write it also if I had room upon the plates, but I have not; and ore I have none, for I am alone. My father hath been slain in battle, and all my kinsfolk, and I have not friends nor whither to go; and how long the Lord will suffer that I may live I know not. (Mormon 8)
This is one of the most powerful portions of an extraordinary record. Moroni had been kept alive, faced daily with loneliness and the potential of being murdered, solely to preserve this record for people in our times. It had been written just for us and saved until our time. Mormons consider it a debt of honor to read the record and to gain a testimony of it, to make his extraordinary sacrifice worthwhile.
We owe it to Moroni to find out if he is real, if his record is real, and if we have been called by God to learn of it. It is a companion to the Bible, testifying of it. It is impossible to believe in the Book of Mormon and not also believe in the Bible or the divinity of Jesus Christ.