“May I Read That Book?” Liahona, Jan. 2014, 38
About 50 years ago, my missionary companion and I were tracting near the University of Córdoba in Argentina when a young man invited us into his apartment. Immediately it became apparent that he and his roommates had invited us in only to argue about the existence of God.
We didn’t want to argue, so instead we agreed to meet later to discuss our message in an environment conducive to learning. When we returned, the young man explained why he believed there was no God. He said man had invented God because of his need to believe in something greater, something supernatural.
When it was our turn, I asked, “How do you know the United States exists?” I testified of its reality and asked if there was other evidence that proved its existence. He said he had read about it in books and newspapers. I then asked if he believed my testimony and what he had read. He emphatically said he did.
“So we cannot deny the testimonies of those, such as I, from the United States,” I said. “Nor can we deny the testimony of those who have written about it.” The young man agreed.
I then asked, “Based on this premise, can we deny the testimonies of those who have seen God and written of their experience?” I showed him the Bible, telling him that it contained testimonies of men and women who had seen and talked with God and Jesus Christ. I asked if we can deny the testimonies contained in the Bible, and he reluctantly said no.
I then asked, “What would you think of a book written by a people other than those in the Bible who saw the same God as the writers of Bible?” He responded that no such book existed.
We showed him the Book of Mormon and taught him of its purpose. We testified that it was true and that God still communicates through living prophets today.
Surprised, the young man said, “I’ve been able to confound all the preachers from other churches. You have something I’ve never heard of before. May I read that book?” We gave him the book and testified of the love God has for His children.
Because the semester was ending, we weren’t able to visit this young man again before he returned to his home in Bolivia. However, I prayed he would read the book and receive a testimony.
In 2002 I was called to serve as a Spanish branch president in the Provo Missionary Training Center. One Sunday I related the above story to the missionaries. Afterward a missionary from Bolivia told me he had heard an older man in his stake tell the story of his conversion—the same story I relate here.
Tears filled my eyes. After 40 years, I had received an answer to my prayers about the young man from Bolivia. He had come to know of the existence of God and His great plan of happiness. I know that one day we will meet again, and I will rejoice with him in the gospel.