I was sixteen when the missionaries challenged me to study the Book of Mormon. As I read it, I felt it was a good book. So when the missionaries asked me to be baptized, I did so. I joined the Church not because I had gained a strong testimony, but because I had not had any bad or unpeaceful feelings while reading the Book of Mormon or attending Church. It seemed that I accepted the gospel naturally.
But some time after I had joined the Church, I began to worry that perhaps I should not have joined a “Western” church. During this time, I did not have the courage to tell any of my friends that I was a Latter-day Saint. In fact, I covered my Book of Mormon with a piece of white paper so that no one would know what I was reading.
Finally I decided to find out for myself whether or not the Book of Mormon is true. As I was reading and praying one day, I came to this passage:
“And no tongue can speak, neither can there be written by any man, neither can the hearts of men conceive so great and marvelous things as we both saw and heard Jesus speak; and no one can conceive of the joy which filled our souls at the time we heard him pray for us unto the Father.
“And it came to pass that when Jesus had made an end of praying unto the Father, he arose; but so great was the joy of the multitude that they were overcome.
“And it came to pass that Jesus spake unto them, and bade them arise.
“And they arose from the earth, and he said unto them: Blessed are ye because of your faith. And now behold, my joy is full.
“And when he had said these words, he wept. …” (3 Ne. 17:17–22.)
As I read these words, I started to cry. My heart was filled with the great love the Lord has for me. I cried in my heart, “O my Lord. I know thou livest. I know the Book of Mormon is true.”
Now I knew that the Church is a universal church. Joyfully, I took the white cover off my Book of Mormon.
At about this time, I also received the strong impression that I should become a full-time missionary. After serving two years in the Navy, I was able to get my parents’ permission to serve a mission. There I had the privilege to testify of the Book of Mormon, of which I was once ashamed, and to proclaim the gospel in my own language. My mission widened my understanding of the gospel and deepened my testimony of the restored truth.
My wife and I were married in the temple. We began to read the Book of Mormon together while we were dating. We now have three children. We feel that the Book of Mormon has changed our lives completely, for, as it is written, “The preaching of the word [has] a great tendency to lead the people to do that which [is] just—yea, it [has] more powerful effect upon the minds of people than the sword, or anything else. …” (Alma 31:5.)