“Martyrs and My Testimony,” Liahona, June 2019
I was skeptical when the missionaries taught me about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. My first thought was that Joseph Smith, like many other so-called “prophets,” may have brought a false book into the world seeking to become wealthy, famous, or heroic.
I had no intention of reading the Book of Mormon. But over time the missionaries’ friendship and their enthusiasm for the gospel allowed my curiosity toward their message to grow.
As I read the verses the missionaries gave me in the Book of Mormon, I found Moroni’s invitation to ask God with a sincere heart, real intent, and faith in Christ if the Book of Mormon is true (see Moroni 10:4–5). I thought, “Who, knowing the book was fake, would dare challenge us to ask God with real intent and sincerity if the Book of Mormon is true?”
Then one day the missionaries explained that Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum, were martyred for their testimony. Suddenly, a thought came to me that they would never have given up their own lives for something they knew was false. At that moment, a warm feeling, like a burning fire, spread through me. It was a witness of the Holy Spirit confirming to my heart that Joseph Smith was a true prophet. With this witness, I was baptized and confirmed.
I was reminded of this experience 25 years later when I read a talk by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. In his talk, Elder Holland asked if, in the critical moment of their martyrdom, Joseph and Hyrum would continue to blaspheme before God by fixing their lives, their honor, and their eternal salvation on a book they knew was false.
“They would not do that!” Elder Holland said. “They were willing to die rather than deny the divine origin and the eternal truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.”1
Elder Holland’s words made so much sense to me and further strengthened my testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith and the power of the Book of Mormon.
I am grateful for the Prophet Joseph Smith. He brought forth the Book of Mormon and willingly gave his life to be a witness of Jesus Christ. Through the Book of Mormon, I have come to know of God’s existence and of His love for me.