Hey guys, so a lot of people come to YouTube looking for evidence that The Book of Mormon is true. And that’s fine! There’s a lot of really cool stuff we can talk about: geography, Hebraisms, witnesses, stylometrics, linguistics and all sorts of stuff—but the fact is: Nobody will ever be able to prove to you that The Book of Mormon is true. In this episode, we’re going to talk about why.
Nobody can prove that all scripture is accurate, and that applies to the Bible. I can’t prove that Moses spoke to a burning bush, or that he split the Red Sea, or that Christ was resurrected.
Likewise, with The Book of Mormon, I can’t prove that Ammon preached to the Lamanites, or that the Brother of Jared saw God, or that Christ visited the Americas. Being able to conclusively, scientifically prove everything actually undermines what God is all about in this life, which is faith.
I love this quote from The God Who Weeps by Terryl and Fiona Givens. It’s long but beautiful:
“The call to faith is a summons to engage the heart, to attune it to resonate in sympathy with principles and values and ideals that we devoutly hope are true and which we have reasonable but not certain grounds for believing to be true. There must be grounds for doubt as well as belief, in order to render the choice more truly a choice, and therefore the more deliberate, and laden with personal vulnerability and investment. An overwhelming preponderance of evidence on either side would make our choice as meaningless as would a loaded gun pointed at our heads. The option to believe must appear on one’s personal horizon like the fruit of paradise, perched precariously between sets of demands held in dynamic tension.”
In other words, you don’t truly have faith until you’ve had reason to doubt and chose faith anyway. Now, notice that that quote does not advocate for just blindly believing anything that comes your way. It advocates for faith in things which we have reasonable but not certain grounds for believing to be true.
The author Austin Farrar wrote, “Though argument does not create conviction, lack of it destroys belief. What seems to be proved may not be embraced; but what no one shows the ability to defend is quickly abandoned. Rational argument does not create belief, but it maintains a climate in which belief may flourish.” There’s a boatload of great research out there from Latter-day Saint scholars that help create that climate–but at the end of the day I can’t prove that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ’s restored church. And that shouldn’t be alarming to anyone of faith.
The Book of Mormon teaches: “For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things.” That’s something people of faith have to get used to. For example, if you believe in The Book of Mormon, there are more than enough people ready and willing to give you reasons not to. If you believe in the Bible, there are plenty of people ready to tell you why you shouldn’t. That’s how it goes.
I find it shocking when people of faith turn to people of a different faith and challenge them to show them proof that their faith is correct. Sure, someone might be right and someone might be wrong. But to demand something from someone else that you yourself cannot produce is hypocrisy to the “T.”
Ultimately, I agree with Elder Neal A. Maxwell who wrote, “It is the author’s opinion that all the scriptures, including the Book of Mormon, will remain in the realm of faith. Science will not be able to prove or disprove holy writ. However, enough plausible evidence will come forth to prevent scoffers from having a field day, but not enough to remove the requirement of faith. Believers must be patient during such unfolding.”
God recognizes the need to somewhat satisfy our logical faculties. But God wants us to choose Him because our hearts and hopes align with His plan, not because the evidence simply compels us, forces us to believe. That’s not the kind of belief that God is after. That creates drones, not disciples.
In Matthew 16 Jesus asked his disciples: “…whom say ye that I am?” Peter responded: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said, “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”
God wants our confidence in him to come from Him, through the witness of the Holy Ghost. That’s why the challenge at the end of The Book of Mormon invites us to read the book, ponder it in our hearts, and then “ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.” which is the same source who testified to Peter that Jesus was the Christ.
If you’re struggling with your faith, consider checking out Uplift Community of Faith on Facebook: https://bit.ly/2lGCCwp
More from Dave on the relationship between faith and doubt: https://bit.ly/2ncl5wp