From a very early age, youth who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints learn to live their lives according to the precepts of the gospel of Jesus Christ. From the examples of their parents, they learn to set high moral standards realizing that they are a light unto the world, and therefore, they need to set good examples before the world.
As they mature, they begin to develop and nurture their testimony of who Jesus Christ is, and how following His commandments helps to strengthen them as they strive emulate Him in their daily lives. They are able to share their testimony with anyone who asks them why they believe what they do, and it is through the power of their testimony that many of their non-member family and friends come to learn about the truthfulness of the restored gospel, enter the waters of baptism, and become members of the Church themselves.
The Book of Mormon is a volume of scripture comparable to the Holy Bible. The title of the book proclaims that is Another Testament of Jesus Christ. And so, Latter-day Saints testify that both the Bible and the Book of Mormon are the Word of God, and both are a testimony of the Divinity of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, and the infinite love that He has for all humanity. The Book of Mormon is not intended to replace the Holy Bible in any way, but rather the teachings found there enhance the doctrines, teachings, and principles found within the text of the Holy Bible. Latter-day Saints use both sacred volumes in their teaching and personal study.
In his October 1984 General Conference address titled “A New Witness for Christ,” President Ezra Taft Benson, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, commented, “Combined with the Spirit of the Lord, the Book of Mormon is the greatest single tool which God has given us to convert the world. If we are to have the harvest of souls that [the President of the Church] envisions, then we must use the instrument which God has designed for that task—the Book of Mormon.” He further stated, “The Book of Mormon is not on trial–the people of the world, including the members of the Church, are on trial as to what they will do with this second witness of Christ.” And President Boyd K. Packer has remarked, ““Perhaps no other book has been denounced so vigorously by those who have never read it as has the Book of Mormon.”
Moroni, the last prophet to write in the Book of Mormon, pronounced the following exhortation as recorded in Moroni 10:3-5:
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.
Many people have seen the religious satire musical called “The Book of Mormon” which tells the story of two young Mormon missionaries sent to a remote village in northern Uganda, where a brutal warlord is threatening the local population. The two young missionaries attempt to share the Book of Mormon – which only one of them has read – with the local natives who have very little interest in religion. However, the musical is simply that – a satirical presentation. It is not an exact presentation of what the Book of Mormon is about, nor an accurate portrayal of the Mormon faith. If a person is truly interested in learning more about the Book of Mormon, I invite him or her to read the book for themselves, follow Morni’s exhortation, and I testify that God will “manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.” In the videos below Mormon youth testify about the truthfulness and power of the Book of Mormon.
Growing up I’ve had an intense focus on trying to do what is right. Over time I’ve gained a strong sense of confidence in my goodness and righteous desires. I have come to know deep down that I honestly want to do what’s right.
However, I haven’t always had this confidence in others…
Seeing all the evil displayed on television, hearing about all the crimes committed, and seeing others living a lower standard of moral living has led me to doubt the goodness of others, even some within the restored Church.
However, my negative perceptions have changed in recent months. I now am astonished at how many AMAZING, GOOD and CONSECRATED people there are in the world!
Let me tell you how my view of people in general became more positive.
Becoming Amazed at the Goodness of Others
Over the past several months I’ve been blessed to hear the testimonies of dozens of returned missionaries and converts of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for our Mission Prep project. In doing so, I’ve heard amazing stories – times when God saved people from death, and miracles when faith was exercised and people were healed through Priesthood power. I’ve heard testimonies of such conviction that afterward I couldn’t help but kneel and offer a prayer of gratitude for having had the opportunity to hear such a powerful testimony.
It’s been amazing to see dozens of people share their testimonies and hear their strong convictions. I’ve been amazed how even people I wouldn’t have thought had a strong testimony (from my first impression of them), have demonstrated amazing faith and commitment to the Lord.
On many occasions I’ve been proven wrong in my negative assumptions about others.
Through hearing the testimonies of others, I’ve learned a few lessons.
Lessons I’ve learned about others
- Most people have righteous desires. Though some people want to do evil things, I believe the vast majority of people are trying to do what’s right.
- Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Just because I’m with myself 24/7 and am intimately aware of my personal efforts and growth, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t others trying and growing just as much, if not more than me. It’s been wonderful and humbling to recognize my own personal strengths and weaknesses, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of others.
- I shouldn’t judge people based on my first impressions of them. Time and time again, I’ve been surprised by the wonderful conviction and testimony of others. It’s not our role to judge others, plus we’re usually not that good at it anyway :).
For any of you who might be tempted to have a pessimistic outlook on people, I invite you to change your perspective.
I’ve found the best way to grow my confidence in the goodness of others is to talk about spiritual subjects with them and ask them to share their innermost yearnings. When a testimony is shared, the receptive listener and the speaker are brought closer together in the unity of the faith (see Ephesians 4:13).
Amid the six-plus billion people in the world, I’m convinced that there are millions of people striving to be obedient to God. In most communities there are people who inspire others all around them with their goodness.
Although there is great darkness in the world, there is also great goodness in the hearts of many people in the world. To see the goodness in others, have them share their testimony with you. Listening to others’ testimonies has increased my confidence in the goodness of others and can do the same for you.