While I was serving as an LDS (Mormon) missionary in Virginia many years ago the other lady missionary I was serving with had to go in for an eye doctor appointment. We arrived at the eye doctor with our name tags on. We didn’t go anywhere except on our preparation (laundry) days without our name tags.
A few days later we got a call from this eye doctor telling us that he wanted to meet with us to discuss a matter of religion. We both got the feeling that he wanted to Bible bash with us. We felt strongly that we should leave our scriptures in the car.
As we entered his office he asked us to sit. He then proceeded to tell us that because of our belief in the Book of Mormon and in Joseph Smith he could not in good conscience treat my missionary companion. He told us that because our religion teaches that faith is more than just an acceptance of Jesus Christ that we were children of the devil and we should change our ways or we would be going to hell.
I was reminded of this event recently as I have posted comments on a few blogs. As I have used verses from the Book of Mormon to back up what someone else has said or to demonstrate why I believed something I have been met with a myriad of responses. I have been told things that I believe—or think I believe that have little to do with what I actually believe. I have, on an occasion or two, been told that Joseph Smith got the Book of Mormon out of a hat. That last one has got to be the most bizarre. Do people really believe that he did that or are they just passing on something they heard?
As we were reading after meeting with the eye doctor that day in Virginia I came to some verses in the Book of Mormon. This gave me my view of all of this.
2 Nephi 33: 10-12In the end it will be Jesus Christ who will judge whether we have followed his teachings or not. It will be Christ who will say whether the Book of Mormon is the word of God or not.
And now, my beloved brethren, and also Jew, and all ye ends of the earth, hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good.
And if they are not the words of Christ, judge ye—for Christ will show unto you, with power and great glory, that they are his words, at the last day; and you and I shall stand face to face before his bar; and ye shall know that I have been commanded of him to write these things, notwithstanding my weakness.
And I pray the Father in the name of Christ that many of us, if not all, may be saved in his kingdom at that great and last day.
As for me, I believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God as much as I believe the Bible to be the word of God. I believe that it was written by people in ancient America who came from Jerusalem 600 years before Christ. I believe that if God could help the children of Israel cross the Red Sea on dry land that He can teach a man to build a boat to cross an ocean—just as He told Noah how to build the ark.
I believe, as the scriptures say in John 10: 16, “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.”
I believe that God is no respecter of people. We are all His children and that we are not alone. He has not left us to stumble through this life without His help. I know for myself that He has guided me in my own life. He has given me direction in the things that I should do. God has not stopped talking to his children. It is only when we stop listening that His word fails to get through.