For centuries, missionaries from all around the world are called to preach the gospel or good news of Jesus Christ. Missionaries, that included the Twelve Apostles who witnessed the acts of Jesus Christ during His ministry on earth, tried desperately to maintain their congregations and preserve the doctrines of His gospel. It was not easy for this frightened band of disciples, but their consecrated efforts proved to influence countless men and women for years to come. The Apostles, including Peter and John, found miraculous success during the day of Pentecost when the three thousand “gladly received his word [and] were baptized” (Acts 2:41). As their influence of the divinity of the Savior grew, so did the opposition. This opposition lead to an era called the Great Apostasy, which resulted in the martyrdom of the Apostles and the loss of priesthood authority. The prophecy of the famine of the God’s words recorded in Amos 8 had just begun.
The Holy Bible: A Testament of Jesus Christ
Fortunately, the Apostles’ good deeds and works were recorded in a series of books in what we know as the Bible today. The Holy Bible has blessed and affected millions, if not billions, of lives across the world.
The service that the early Christians did shows that although they were small in numbers, their legacy spread exponentially as the years passed. Although many Christians believe in the Bible, there are many who contend from it: citing different scriptures to support a host of interpretations. This resulted in the creation of different denominations in Christianity.
The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ
Thankfully, God loves all of His children enough, regardless of which country or continent they live on, to provide us with another book of sacred scripture—known as the Book of Mormon. This holy book testifies equally of Jesus Christ, just as the Bible does. The Prophet Joseph Smith translated it by the power of God and proclaimed it to be “the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion” (introduction to the Book of Mormon). Because the principles and doctrines taught in the Book of Mormon are so important, it is the single most powerful tool for conversion to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
As missionaries entering the Missionary Training Center, we are taught that the first convert in a mission begins with the missionary. To have a testimony of a book that has influenced millions of lives for the better is crucial in finding more who are diligently searching to hear that message. Once that testimony is anchored, the conversion process for others begins. The Book of Mormon means power for all who ponder its messages.
Allow me to share an experience from my mission that helped me gain a testimony of the power of the Book of Mormon.
While serving as a volunteer in Istanbul, Turkey, I came across a man named Emre. Turkey is known for being a predominantly Islamic country. As a result, people wanting to be taught the gospel had to find us. One day in March 2018, my companion (Elder Sterling) and I received a Book of Mormon request from Emre. He was continually searching for a religion that he felt was right, but he could never seem to find it. Then, he met us. He had not grown up reading the Bible but was anxious to learn more about Christianity. His search led him to an Instagram profile with the official Church brand. After viewing countless posts, he filed an online request for a free copy of the Book of Mormon.
Seeking the Joy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ
Because it was convenient for Emre, my companion and I met him in a café. We shared a message about the Restoration of the gospel in modern times and gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon in the Turkish language. While meeting with him, he showed us a picture of Elder and Sister Uchtdorf. This photo intrigued him because of their bright smiling countenances. He asked us why they were so happy.
He explained that he was hoping to learn how he could find a similar happiness. We invited him to be baptized when he knew it was true. He said he would look into it.
That same night, around 9:30 p.m., Emre texted us that he had read the entire book of 1 Nephi. What’s more, he said that he would give up smoking because he knew that the Book of Mormon was true. In the meetings that followed, he accepted the invitation to be baptized. This experience has taught me that anyone can come to know in their hearts whether or not the Book of Mormon is a true book if they are willing and desirous to listen and study.
Reflecting on this experience reminds me of what Alma the Younger said while contending with the people of Ammonihah: “He that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full” (Alma 12:10). I, and many missionaries, can testify that God always helps and shares His knowledge with the meek and humble. Without humility or a desire to learn, understanding the scriptures is impossible. We are left to our own strength and wisdom. I know from experience that relying on our own strength will only get us so far. Without God’s influence, I would have never grown spiritually or physically.
The Book of Mormon is a true testament that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. The power of the Holy Ghost is present and is central to our conversion. Because it is true, Joseph Smith was called to restore the Church of Jesus Christ. I testify that the Book of Mormon did come from God to inspire us in this day and age.