The internal evidence of the authenticity of the Book of Mormon is overwhelming. Unquestionably, the Book of Mormon is an inspired translation of an ancient religious text by multiple authors. No one, especially not Joseph Smith, was capable of creating such a sophisticated work of fiction in such a short period of time in the early 1800’s. The Book of Mormon is unique among early nineteenth American literature. The very existence of such a book is the greatest evidence of its authenticity.
Spiritual Testimony of Hugh B. Brown
However, in the classic words of Hugh B. Brown:
“But undergirding and overarching all that, I say to you from the very center of my heart that by the revelations of the Holy Ghost I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.
“Although these evidences and many others that could be cited may have the effect of giving one an intellectual conviction, only by the whisperings of the Holy Spirit can one come to know the things of God. By those whisperings I say I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God.“
Spiritual Testimony of Jeffrey R. Holland
Apostle Jeffrey R. Holland gave a powerful testimony of the authenticity of the Book of Mormon in his classic talk “Safety for the Soul: The Book of Mormon” (Oct. 2009 Gen. Conf.)
“I testify that one cannot come to full faith in this latter-day work—and thereby find the fullest measure of peace and comfort in these, 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—if that is the case, then such a person, elect or otherwise, has been deceived; and if he or she leaves this Church, it must be done by crawling over or under or around the Book of Mormon to make that exit.
“In that sense the book is what Christ Himself was said to be: “a stone of stumbling, … a rock of offence,” a barrier in the path of one who wishes not to believe in this work.
“Witnesses, even witnesses who were for a time hostile to Joseph, testified to their death that they had seen an angel and had handled the plates. ‘They have been shown unto us by the power of God, and not of man,’ they declared. ‘Wherefore we know of a surety that the work is true.’
“Now, I did not sail with the brother of Jared in crossing an ocean, settling in a New World. I did not hear King Benjamin speak his angelically delivered sermon. I did not proselyte with Alma and Amulek, nor witness the fiery death of innocent believers. I was not among the Nephite crowd who touched the wounds of the resurrected Lord, nor did I weep with Mormon and Moroni over the destruction of an entire civilization.
“But my testimony of this record and the peace it brings to the human heart is as binding and unequivocal as was theirs. Like them, “[I] give [my name] unto the world, to witness unto the world that which [I] have seen.” And like them, “[I] lie not, God bearing witness of it.”
“I ask that my testimony of the Book of Mormon and all that it implies, given today under my own oath and office, be recorded by men on earth and angels in heaven. I hope I have a few years left in my ‘last days,’ but whether I do or do not, I want it absolutely clear when I stand before the judgment bar of God that I declared to the world, in the most straightforward language I could summon, that the Book of Mormon is true, that it came forth the way Joseph said it came forth and was given to bring happiness and hope to the faithful in the travail of the latter days.”
Because the Book of Mormon is true, then:
- God lives
- Jesus Christ is our Savior, Lord, and Redeemer
- The Book of Mormon is another Testament of Jesus Christ
- Christ’s gospel and church have been restored to the earth
- Joseph Smith was a prophet
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s church, built upon a foundation of twelve apostles
- We have living prophets today through whom God speaks
- The Holy Bible is the word of God
- We can receive personal revelation, the Gift of the Holy Ghost, as a sure witness
- The profound doctrines taught in the Book of Mormon are true
A testimony is a spiritual conviction from the Holy Spirit
I too have a spiritual testimony of the Book of Mormon. I know it is true. The internal literary evidences have strengthened my testimony, but they are not the source of my testimony. A testimony is a spiritual conviction, not an intellectual conviction.
While engaging in my in-depth literary analysis of the Book of Mormon, my greatest challenge was blocking out the spiritual insights that kept pouring into my mind. I literally had to pray for the Lord to keep the Spirit away, so I could focus on the secular intellectual aspects of the Book of Mormon.
Ultimately, the greatest evidence of the Book of Mormon is spiritual. The final witness comes from revelation, not just reason. That unmistakable and unshakable witness comes from the Lord through the Holy Spirit.
The Book of Mormon challenge.
Realizing this, Moroni, in the concluding chapter of the Book of Mormon left us a universal challenge.
“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 unto the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
“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.” (Moroni 10: 3-5)
(This is the final Book of Mormon internal evidence article. The complete set of 30 articles can be copied, downloaded, or printed by going to: londonedition.home.blog or http://www.londonedition.net and using “search.”)