Importance of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ we are encouraged to have questions. Two recent invitations during the recent General Conference reaffirmed this to me. One was from Elder Jario Mazzagardi who told of an experience he had early on in his Gospel life. He was a convert and a few months after his baptism he says “Questions began to arise in my mind…”, particularly around why the Restoration had to happen geographically where it did. As he described these ponderings a message became clear to me: having questions is good. Not only is it good but it is vital for our spiritual strength. Another evidence to me that we should be having questions to consider is a new page that has been developed as a result of General Conference  (actually it seems to have been create in April 2015 first but it has been updated for this Conference). This page suggests questions we may have been having and how Conference answered them. It also invites viewers to send their own questions and subsequent answers in.

Why am I focusing so much on questions? There may be times we have questions which challenge our faith in Christ. Such questions are natural. We have forces around us pulling towards and away from God in a constant daily battle – of course we will be influenced. However, with a firm testimony of Joseph Smith and/or the Book of Mormon as scripture, any serious concerns can be aided (notice I didn’t say they will instantly go away). This is partly why the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith are so important to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (or ‘Mormons’). We do not worship these important parts of our religion, only our Saviour Jesus Christ is worthy of our worship along with our Heavenly Father, but they can help us in our worship.

For example, if someone says ‘I don’t believe that God is there, or speaks to people anymore,’ but has gained a testimony that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, then they just need to make that link. If the Book of Mormon is true, that means that Joseph Smith was a prophet and therefore, the account of the First Vision really did happen. If there are serious concerns and the person doesn’t have a testimony from the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true, that is where the problem lies (despite whatever the question is).

President Ezra Taft Benson taught “…All objections, whether they be on abortion, plural marriage, seventh-day worship etc, basically hinge on whether Joseph Smith and his successors were and are prophets of God receiving divine revelation…The only problem the objector has to resolve for himself is whether the Book of Mormon is true. For if the Book of Mormon is true, then Jesus is the Christ, Joseph Smith was his prophet, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true, and it is being led today by a prophet…”

And there it is. Sincere seekers of truth who are wanting to change, to become better people through Christ, can overcome any challenge or objection by a belief in the Book of Mormon being the word of God.

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