“Appendix A: How Does the Spirit Witness to Me That the Book of Mormon Is True?” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: Book of Mormon 2020 (2020)
“Appendix A,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2020
You may have heard about Moroni’s promise to all who read the Book of Mormon: “If ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of [the Book of Mormon] unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost” (Moroni 10:4). But what does it mean to know the truth “by the power of the Holy Ghost”? How can you know when the Holy Ghost is speaking to you?
It may be helpful to remember that the Holy Ghost communicates with us in ways that are very different from the ways we are used to communicating with each other. But your Heavenly Father wants to help you learn to recognize the Spirit. He has given you the Book of Mormon, where several faithful servants describe their experiences with the voice of the Lord.
For example, Nephi told his brothers that the Lord had spoken to them “in a still small voice,” though not necessarily a voice they could hear with their ears. In fact, Nephi said his brothers were “past feeling” and could not “feel his words” (1 Nephi 17:45, italics added). Enos described the answer to his prayers as “the voice of the Lord” coming “into [his] mind” (Enos 1:10). And consider these words describing the voice that came from heaven when the resurrected Savior appeared in the land Bountiful: “It was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, … it did pierce them to the very soul, and did cause their hearts to burn” (3 Nephi 11:3).
Perhaps you’ve had experiences similar to these, or maybe your experiences have been different. The Holy Ghost communicates in a variety of ways, and revelation can come to each of us differently. And when the Spirit is in our lives, we will see His influence upon us in many ways. The Apostle Paul spoke of “the fruit of the Spirit”—feelings of “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance,” among many others (Galatians 5:22–23).
Here are some other teachings and examples from the Book of Mormon about the Holy Ghost. As you read them, you may see that the Holy Ghost has been speaking to you more than you realize, bearing witness to you that the Book of Mormon truly is the word of God.
The Book of Mormon opens with the prophet Lehi seeing a marvelous vision. In this vision, he was given a book and invited to read. “As he read,” the record says, “he was filled with the Spirit of the Lord.” This experience led Lehi to praise God for His “power, and goodness, and mercy,” and Lehi’s “soul did rejoice, and his whole heart was filled” (1 Nephi 1:12, 14–15).
Have you ever had a similar experience? Has reading the Book of Mormon ever filled your heart with gratitude for God’s goodness and mercy? Have passages in the Book of Mormon ever caused your soul to rejoice? These feelings are the influence of the Spirit, testifying to you that the words you are reading come from God and teach His truth.
After preaching a remarkable sermon about the Atonement of Jesus Christ (see Mosiah 2–4), King Benjamin wanted to know if his people “believed the words which he had spoken unto them.” They responded that they did believe his message. Why? “Because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually” (Mosiah 5:1–2).
Maybe you have noticed something similar in your heart as you have read the Book of Mormon. For instance, you may have felt inspired to be a better person, to turn away from sin, or to do something kind for someone. This is the spiritual witness you are looking for that the book is inspired of God. For as Mormon taught, “Every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God” (Moroni 7:13; see also 2 Nephi 33:4, 10; Alma 19:33; Ether 4:11–12).
When Alma wanted to help the Zoramites “experiment upon [his] words” and know for themselves whether his testimony was true, he compared the word of God to a seed: “If ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart,” he explained, “it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me” (Alma 32:27–28).
You “give place” in your heart for the words of the Book of Mormon when you allow them to influence your life and guide your choices. And how will these words “enlarge [your] soul” and “enlighten [your] understanding”? You might sense that you are becoming spiritually stronger. You might feel more loving and open toward others. You might also notice that you understand things better, especially spiritual things—almost as if a light is shining in your mind. And you might agree that the doctrine taught in the Book of Mormon is “delicious.” Such feelings can help you understand that you have truly received a spiritual witness of truth, as Alma declared: “O then, is not this real? I say unto you, Yea, because it is light; and whatsoever is light, is good, because it is discernible, therefore ye must know that it is good” (Alma 32:35).
These are just some of the ways in which the Spirit communicates. There are many others. Keep looking for opportunities to listen to the voice of the Spirit, and you will receive His ongoing, confirming witness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.
President Russell M. Nelson has promised: “You don’t have to wonder about what is true. You do not have to wonder whom you can safely trust. Through personal revelation, you can receive your own witness that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, that Joseph Smith is a prophet, and that this is the Lord’s Church. Regardless of what others may say or do, no one can ever take away a witness borne to your heart and mind about what is true” (“Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2018, 95).