On October 1, 2008 I Joined the “Hinckley Challenge” (found at hinckleychallenge.com) to read The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ in 97 days or less. This was created in honor of the immediate past LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley’s 97 years of life. On Jan. 4, 2009, I completed the challenge! It has been one of the most powerful spiritual experiences of my life. I feel enlightened and invigorated and eager to share this feeling with the world! I also want to share an important new video with you!
I can’t tell you enough how exciting it was to read this book! I hated to have to stop reading and put it down. Once, I even missed my stop riding the bus because I was so engrossed in my reading. I have carried it everywhere with me in my purse, and any time I found myself waiting in line somewhere or with a few spare minutes, I cracked open the pages and grabbed a few more verses. Nowhere was off limits for reading. The grocery store, lunchroom, bus, elevator, my hair salon, and the bathroom…you name it! Several times, fellow bus riders leaned over and asked me what I was so intently studying. “So, is it a good book?” one man inquired. “Oh yes! The best in the world!” I replied. I gave him a brief summary of the book and told him about the story I was currently reading. He smiled and said, “Well, I think I will check it out”. He exited the bus, and I have not seen him again. Ever since, I try to carry a spare book in my purse which I am happy to give free to anyone interested. My message today is simple: Please READ this book! Don’t wait! Start today!
If you don’t have a Book of Mormon yet, you can request a free copy at mormon.org, visit your local library, look in any Marriott Hotel room nightstand, contact me, or just read it online ! To chart your progress and add some fun incentives, join the Hinckley Challenge.
The Book of Mormon is a miracle in the literary world. Plain and simple. Faithful Latter-day Saints believe that Joseph Smith, Jr. was chosen by God to be a prophet for our time, and that the Book of Mormon is an inspired book of scripture translated from ancient American engravings. Whether you believe that statement or not, the bottom line is that the Book of Mormon exists! You can hold it in your hand and read it. Therefore, the book had to have been written by someone. Eventually, each person on earth must reckon with it. Each is invited to read and judge wisely. This presents only two viable options.
1. The 531 page scriptural Book of Mormon was written by Joseph Smith, a farm boy with a 3rd grade education in less than 80 days, thus creating the greatest literary achievement and religious hoax the world has ever seen!
2. The Book of Mormon is the word of God written down by ancient American prophets over centuries, and abridged by a prophet named Mormon. The record was carefully inscribed on thin gold plates, preserved and buried. In 1830, Joseph Smith was shown where the record was hidden, and given permission by an angel named Moroni to take the plates temporarily into his care and through the power of God translate the text. It was completed in 80 days. It was published in1830, and is subsequently the most important religious text of our time!
My personal witness is that the correct answer is #2.
I believe in God. I believe He has the power to do anything. He certainly has the power to provide another book of ancient scripture! As a Christian, I believe in Jesus Christ. I also believe in angels, miracles, and prophets. All of these are found in the Bible. If those things existed in biblical times, then they certainly can and should exist now. God is the same. He does not change. Therefore, His miracles and the way He reveals His word through angels and chosen prophets do not change. I believe that Joseph Smith was chosen by God to be a prophet for our time, just like Moses, Isaiah or Abraham of old. Despite the worst persecution, suffering, torture, deprivation, false imprisonment, and eventual murder, Joseph never denied his visions or the divinity of the Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith sacrified his life so that we could read this book.
It’s a marvelous story. It’s astounding. It’s inspiring. Is it true? Each has to find out for themselves.
This book was written a very long time ago specifically for our modern world. It is not the “mormon bible“, as some misunderstand. The Holy Bible is cherished and revered by myself and all other Mormons. The Bible is God’s word given to prophets in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is comprised of two sections. The Old Testament (pre-Christ history/prophesy), and the New Testament (Christ’s mortal life and ministry, and the post-Christ history/prophesy). The Book of Mormon is another Testament of Jesus Christ (spanning from 600 BC to 400 AD in the Western Hemisphere covering both pre and post Christ history/prophecy). These three Testaments stand together as solid witnesses that Jesus is The Christ, and that God loves all of His people living anywhere and at any time on the earth. The Book of Mormon let’s us know that there were other people than just the Jews who had prophets foretelling of Jesus’ birth, and others than just those in Judea saw Jesus Christ, witnessed His miracles, and heard his teachings. The Bible itself reveals this:
Jesus said, “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd” (John 10:16).
The people of the Book of Mormon are the other sheep Jesus was speaking about! After Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension in Jerusalem, he appeared to a large group assembled in a land called Bountiful in the Western Hemisphere. He taught the people of the New World the same things He had taught in the Old World. He performed miracles, healings and blessings, and called disciples. This is all recorded in detail in the Book of Mormon!
The video I have included below illustrates the circumstances surrounding the translation of this book of scripture. As you read, you will see that a mere man could never have written this book, and certainly not in the time period and circumstances of the boy Joseph’s life! The only way you will really know how awesome this book is, will be if you choose to read it yourself! The Book of Mormon includes a prophetic promise. If you read this book with a sincere heart and mind, and ask God in prayer, having faith, for a witness of it’s truth, you will receive a personal witness. I have received that witness, and every time I read it, I feel the spirit of God testifying again. Over 13 million people living on this earth have received that witness. Millions more have received that witness since it’s publication in 1830. The choice is yours to accept the invitation. If you turn this invite down, your life will probably just roll right on to wherever you are currently headed. However, what if this really is new scripture given from God? Would you want to ignore that? Would you pass up a gift from heaven? Are you willing to learn more?
Frankly, this is the most important book that you will ever read right now. The miracle of the Book of Mormon is its very existence. If it is Holy Scripture, and I testify to you that it is, then it means that the heavens are open and God is speaking today! Prophets have been restored to earth! Angelic messengers are visiting the earth in modern time! Additional scripture has been given to guide our path, and add convincing testimony that Jesus is The Savior and Redeemer of the World!
This book contains the power to change your life! You owe it to yourself. Now is the time. Take the challenge. Stretch your mind. Expand your soul. Read this miraculous book! And, as you read it, consider how Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon.
Absolutely wonderful! Very simple for anyone to understand. You truly are a missionary, spreading the word of God. I am so grateful I found your blog. Thank you for sharing your testimony with others!
I add my witness, and my excitement, to yours MoSop, and want all to know that it is true! And I would add that the promise in the Bible is that “by their fruits ye shall know them.” This is the key to proving false witnesses, as given by the Savior in the New Testament. I too invite you to come and see, and find out for yourself if the fruits are good. If you seek sincerely, you will know.
PS MoSop – I love all your exclamation points!!
I’ve taken the challenge twice this year and have learned something new about myself (and Heavenly Father) each time. I’m almost done with it the 2nd time . . . saved the last books for the last few days.
I will add my witness to MoSop’s. I received my first testimony of the Book of Mormon when I was very young. I remember distinctly how my young prayer of budding faith was answered. I felt a beautiful witness of that Book. Ever since that moment, in whatever mortal circumstances I have faced in life, that testimony has been a constant. Whatever happened, wherever I went, and however I felt, I knew and could not deny that God had spoken to my young heart, Spirit to spirit, and confirmed the truth of that Book. The Book of Mormon is a true and powerful witness of Jesus Christ, of His mission, and of His divinity. My heart is moved to daily gratitude to God for His goodness in giving to me His sacred and holy word.
Thanks for such a great post and an impressive blog. Please contribute to a new LDS community blog by posting your testimony online at AboutTheMormons.com! Thanks
The literary critic Harold Bloom generally has positive things to say about Joseph Smith, but even he could not get through the whole book, and he’s an obsessive speed reader who can read anything.
Jared, definitely a great loss for Mr. Bloom, or anyone else who cannot make time to read such an important and miraculous book. Best wishes, MoSop