So I am writing this post from New York City (well actually the JFK airport). My flight is delayed, and I can't wait to get back home. We have been on vacation the past 9 days and had the opportunity of visiting the church history sites in Palmyra, New York. We were there during General Conference and we got to listen to the second session on Sunday at the Hill Cumorah visitor's center. It was incredible.
Elder Holland's talk about the Book of Mormon was so powerful. Did anyone else feel the force? I think it was especially powerful, because right before that session Josh and I went to the building where the Book of Mormon was published. I absolutely loved Elder Holland's testimony that he shared and being at the site where the plates were given to Joseph Smith really strengthened my own testimony of the truthfulness of the words in the Book of Mormon. My favorite quote was this: "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."
I also loved this passage:
"As one of a thousand elements of my own testimony of the divinity of the Book of Mormon, I submit this as yet one more evidence of its truthfulness. In this their greatest—and last—hour of need, I ask you: would these men blaspheme before God by continuing to fix their lives, their honor, and their own search for eternal salvation on a book (and by implication a church and a ministry) they had fictitiously created out of whole cloth?
Never mind that their wives are about to be widows and their children fatherless. Never mind that their little band of followers will yet be “houseless, friendless and homeless” and that their children will leave footprints of blood across frozen rivers and an untamed prairie floor.9 Never mind that legions will die and other legions live declaring in the four quarters of this earth that they know the Book of Mormon and the Church which espouses it to be true. Disregard all of that, and tell me whether in this hour of death these two men would enter the presence of their Eternal Judge quoting from and finding solace in a book which, if not the very word of God, would brand them as imposters and charlatans until the end of time? They would not do that! They were willing to die rather than deny the divine origin and the eternal truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.
For 179 years this book has been examined and attacked, denied and deconstructed, targeted and torn apart like perhaps no other book in modern religious history—perhaps like no other book in any religious history. And still it stands. Failed theories about its origins have been born and parroted and have died—from Ethan Smith to Solomon Spaulding to deranged paranoid to cunning genius. None of these frankly pathetic answers for this book has ever withstood examination because there is no other answer than the one Joseph gave as its young unlearned translator."
I highly encourage you all to listen to his talk again. Don't just read it. Listen to it! I think that your testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon will be strengthened by the wonderful testimony Elder Holland shares. Have a great week!