The holy affirmations I have had regarding the Savior and His restored Church first came to me as a young man when I read the Book of Mormon. It was while reading this sacred record that I felt—again and again—the undeniable whispering of the Holy Ghost declaring to my soul its truthfulness.
Reading the book was the beginning of my light. It was the source of my first spiritual certainty that God lives, that He is my Heavenly Father, and that a plan of happiness was outlined in eternity for me. It led me to love the Holy Bible and the other standard works of the Church. It taught me to love the Lord Jesus Christ, to glimpse His merciful compassion, and to consider the grace and grandeur of His atoning sacrifice.
Because I learned for myself that the Book of Mormon is a true witness—another testament and a new covenant—that Jesus is the Christ, I also learned that Joseph Smith was and is a prophet of God. As my great-great-great grandfather said in the early days of the Restoration, “No wicked man could write such a book as this; and no good man would write it, unless it were true and he were commanded of God to do so.”1
To my first convictions have been added all of the other quickening moments and sanctifying manifestations that today give deepest meaning to my days, purpose to my life, and a solid foundation to my testimony.
Now, I did not sail with the brother of Jared. I did not hear King Benjamin speak his angelically delivered sermon. I was not among the Nephite crowd who touched the wounds of the resurrected Lord, nor did I weep with Mormon and Moroni over the destruction of a civilization. But my testimony of this record and the peace it brings to the human heart—given to me through the whispering of the Holy Spirit just as it is given to you—is as binding and unequivocal as was theirs. I testify of this book as surely as if I had, with the Three Witnesses, seen the angel Moroni or, with the Eight Witnesses, handled the plates of gold.
I further testify that not one of us can come to full faith in this latter-day work and thereby find the fullest measure of peace and comfort in our times until he or she embraces the divinity of the Book of Mormon and the Lord Jesus Christ, of whom it testifies. As Mormon said to Moroni in one of their most demanding times, so I say in our demanding times: “Be faithful in Christ. … And may the grace of God the Father, whose throne is high in the heavens, and our Lord Jesus Christ, who sitteth on the right hand of his power … be, and abide with you forever” (Moroni 9:25–26).
The Book of Mormon is the sacred expression of Christ’s great last covenant with mankind. It is a new covenant, a new testament from the New World to the entire world. The light I walk by is His light. His mercy and magnificence lead me—and you—in our witness of Him to the world.
George Cannon, quoted in “The Twelve Apostles,” in Andrew Jenson, ed., The Historical Record, 6:175.