From California to Canada and from Brazil to the Philippines, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints all over the world have experienced the life-changing power of the Book of Mormon.
Church News recently asked readers to share how they gained their testimonies of the Book of Mormon. Here are some of their stories. Responses have been edited for length and clarity.
The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ is a book of scripture for Latter-day Saints and is a companion to the Bible. The book contains the writings of ancient prophets and was translated from ancient records, through the gift and power of God, by Joseph Smith, the founding Prophet of the Church.
Through ‘small and simple things’
Church leaders have repeatedly taught that personal testimonies don’t require large, powerful spiritual experiences, but are often the result of “small and simple things” (Alma 37:6).
For instance, during October 2008 general conference, Elder Carlos A. Godoy, now a member of the Presidency of the Seventy, said, “A testimony … may come through a single and irrefutable event. But for others, it may come through a process of experiences that, perhaps not as remarkable but when combined, testify in an indisputable way that what we have learned and lived is true.”
Church members shared countless experiences of small, simple things strengthening their faith.
Barbara Prescott of the Santa Clara Utah Heights Stake said she was raised in another Christian faith. At age 11, a friend asked for help memorizing the Articles of Faith, and she found that their truths resonated with her.
Prescott began attending Primary with her friend, where she learned about the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.
“At 11 years old, the only thing I could comprehend was the simple faith I had to know and believe that God did appear to Joseph Smith,” she wrote. Since then, that simple faith has “grown into a solid, powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon to be the true word of God.”
Elder Spencer Jeffrey Ford, from the St. George Utah Washington Fields North Stake, is serving in the Ghana Accra Mission. At the time of his arrival, he’d never read the entire Book of Mormon on his own, though he’d always believed it was good.
But he’s come to know for himself that the Book of Mormon is true as he’s studied its pages, day after day.
“I never had a huge [spiritual] experience and probably never will,” Elder Ford wrote. “Honestly, I don’t need one. All the simple, small answers … have testified to me that Jesus is the Christ.”
Rebekah Little, from the Omaha Nebraska Stake, said she visited her father in Germany at age 17. While there, she found a Book of Mormon on his bookshelf and read 1 Nephi 1:3, where Nephi writes about making a record in his own hand.
“I knew in this moment, by the power of the Holy Spirit of God, that the Book of Mormon was true,” Little wrote. “I was a record keeper myself, a journal keeper, and the Spirit touched my heart and mind.”
Jackson Standley, from the Perth Australia Rockingham Stake, said he didn’t seriously study the Book of Mormon until his missionary service. During that time, he highlighted all of the names of and references to Jesus Christ.
“There was no big spiritual clap over my head,” Standley wrote. “I just felt the Spirit each time I read the Book of Mormon.”
Now, he can “confidently bear testimony” that the Book of Mormon is God’s word, he said.
Sister Linnea Marie Backstrom, from the Edmonton Alberta YSA Stake in Canada, is currently a missionary in British Columbia. She wrote about worrying as a teenager that the Book of Mormon wasn’t true, and her resolve to read it and learn for herself.
After weeks of sincere effort, “a thought came to my mind, as clear as day: [Tahe Book of Mormon] is the word of God,” Sister Backstrom wrote. “It was an unexpected, strangely timed answer, but it was exactly what I needed and had been seeking for.”
Through diligent study
Another important aspect of gaining a testimony is diligent study of the Book of Mormon. During April 2020 general conference, Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared his experience of reading the Book of Mormon for the first time as a young seminary student.
“Earnestly seeking to know more about the truth of it, and in a spirit of prayer, I studied the Book of Mormon, little by little, as I completed the weekly assigned seminary lessons,” Elder Soares said. “I remember, like it was yesterday, that a warm feeling gradually began swelling in my soul and filling my heart. … That feeling eventually turned into knowledge that took root in my heart and became the foundation of my testimony of the significant events and teachings found in this sacred book.”
Many members shared the ways that persistent, sincere study opened the windows of heaven for them.
Patrick Oliver Walker, from the Billings Montana East Stake, said he was raised in the Church but fell into inactivity after high school.
Years later, after his marriage, he began yearning for the Spirit and started reading the Book of Mormon on his lunch break every day.
“The Spirit witnessed to me that the words that I was reading were true,” Walker wrote. That witness changed the course of his life. He and his eternal companion were sealed 30 years ago.
Blancaneza Kaye Salalima, from the Balingasag Philippines District, said she gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon by prayerfully studying it and trying to put herself in the writers’ shoes.
“By doing so, I was able to gain and strengthen my testimony about the divinity of the Book of Mormon,” she wrote.
Christian F. Rodríguez Ampuero, from the Arequipa Perú Selva Alegre Stake, said he strives to read the Book of Mormon every day and knows that “if we always study it, the Lord will give us light in our lives.
Kathleen McCormick, from the Chorley England Stake, said she belonged to another Christian faith at the time she met the missionaries. When they invited her to read the Book of Mormon, she felt the need to know more.
“Have you ever been so thirsty that you could drink the well dry?” McCormick wrote. “Well, the moment I opened up the Book of Mormon, it felt like that.” After reading it multiple times, she was baptized.
Dustin D. Vick, from the Montgomery Alabama Stake, said he’d been inactive in the Church for a decade when his mother gave him the Book of Mormon on cassette tapes to listen to during his long-haul truck drives. He was overcome with thoughts of his own children when he reached the first chapters of 2 Nephi, where Lehi blesses his children.
“I knew at that moment that it was all true and that I … would never doubt it again,” Vick wrote.
Theda Maria Kathleen Cozby, from the Vernon British Columbia Stake in Canada, said after her parents and brothers joined the Church, she studied and prayed for an answer about the gospel’s truthfulness “like my very life depended on it.”
After sustained, sincere effort, “a warmth came within me going from my head to my fingers to my toes,” Cozby wrote. “I felt joy, peace, excitement and a knowledge that the Book of Mormon was true.”
Through sharing testimony with others
A third principle of gaining a testimony is sharing it. During April 2008 general conference, then-Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught: “We gain or strengthen a testimony by bearing it. … Some testimonies are better gained on the feet bearing them than on the knees praying for them.”
Elder Matias Ponce, from the Montevideo Uruguay East Stake, has learned this while serving in the Brazil Maceió Mission. His most powerful witness of the Book of Mormon came early in his mission, after a long, hard day of trying to teach the gospel without much success.
But while visiting a woman and her daughter, Elder Ponce shared his testimony of the Book of Mormon.
“As I was [sharing my testimony], a warm feeling of peace filled my chest, and tears filled my eyes,” he wrote. “In that exact moment, I came to have a perfect knowledge that the Book of Mormon is indeed true.”
Blanca Amelia Keogan, from the Martinsburg West Virginia Stake, said she and her husband were living in Spain when they were introduced to the gospel by a co-worker.
Keogan said she accepted lessons and began reading the Book of Mormon but remained skeptical. Then, one day, a different co-worker became critical about the sacred book.
“I got upset and told him he should be ashamed and that the book was a true book,” Keogan wrote. “That is how I realized that I had gained a testimony without knowing it.”
Joseph Richard Perry, from the Greenville South Carolina Stake, said he helped hand out copies of the Book of Mormon on the street shortly after his baptism. While speaking to a woman about the Church, he told her that the book is of God.
“When I said those words, the Holy Ghost testified to me [of] the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon,” Perry wrote.
And Julie A. Russell, from the San Marcos California Stake, said she initially struggled gaining a testimony despite weeks of missionary discussions, sincere prayer and reading the Book of Mormon.
But during one missionary lesson, she recalled a preacher telling her that if something teaches of Jesus Christ, it’s of Him. She shared this thought with the missionaries, who asked if she believed in the Book of Mormon’s truthfulness.
“I answered, ‘Yes,’ and in that moment, the Spirit consumed my entire body so strongly that had I been standing, I would have fallen over,” Russell wrote.