Members of the church are counseled to obtain a testimony of the Book of Mormon. How does one know when they have a testimony?
The best way to answer this question is to ask those who’ve received a testimony, to describe it.
Eugene England wrote a book titled Converted to Christ Through the Book of Mormon. Following are five examples from his book that will help us recognize what a testimony of the Book of Mormon is like.
Throughout my life I had said my prayers regularly and I believed in God. But I guess I had just said my prayers without expecting answers, especially not tangible answers, because I couldn’t imagine how my prayer would be answered. I was afraid I wouldn’t recognize it. One evening when I was home alone, I went to my room to read the Book of Mormon. I knelt down by my bed and asked our Father in Heaven to please let me know, in a way that I would understand, if the Book of Mormon is true, and if so, I would also know the Church is true, and I would be baptized. I promised Him that I would change my life and be obedient to the teachings of the gospel. And if it wasn’t true, I also wanted to know, because the opposition was very obvious to me. I could see only black and white-there was no gray. I knew the answer would change my life.
I sat on my bed and began to read very intently. After I had read just a few pages, very clearly into my mind came the words, “It’s true, it’s true, it’s true.” Just as distinct as the words were in my mind was the feeling in my heart that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I felt that excitement that we feel when the Holy Ghost bears witness to us. Suddenly it seemed as though the windows of my mind were open, and my world was full of hope and confidence.
For the first time in my life I had prayed with real intent, and God had heard my prayer. Also for the first time I knew that our Father in Heaven is real and that He knew who I was and, in spite of my past, He cared enough about me to answer my prayer. p. 135-136
As I read the Book of Mormon, I knew that it was true, just as much as the Bible, and was another testament of the Lord Jesus Christ. Even so, I put to the test the promise found in Moroni 10:4-5. One night I knelt at my bedside and asked God, my Heavenly Father, in the name of Christ, to confirm to me that the Book of Mormon was true.
I fell asleep but later suddenly awakened and sat straight up in bed, wide awake. Immediately, I felt an outpouring of the Holy Ghost upon me, enveloping my whole being, and felt filled with Light and Truth. It was wonderful! With joy I cried out, “Yes, it is true! The Book of Mormon is true!” p. 50-51
As I prepared for bed that evening, I lay down in my bed, propped my head up on my pillows and prepared to begin reading my Book of Mormon. As I lay there holding the book in my hands, I knew, even before I opened it, that it was true. I was about to discover the truth. I also had a very strange feeling, which affected me very deeply, that I had always known that the Book of Mormon was true. I had silently prayed to my Father in Heaven to let me know the truth of what I was about to read, and my prayer was answered before I began. I believe now that one reason I did resist reading the Book of Mormon, as others have and will, is that we all know that its teachings are true, and if we read them, we will be obligated to abide by them. P. 48
I reread the marked verses in Moroni 10:4-5 and then poured out my heart to the Lord, not in the rote prayer of my youth, but as a son of God, seeking expected answers to my questions. I did ask God, in the name of Christ, if the precepts I was studying were true. I asked with a sincere heart, with real intent. More than anything I had ever wanted, I wanted to know what to do about religion. I asked about Joseph Smith. I asked about the restoration of the true Church. I asked about the Book of Mormon. I asked about the reality of Jesus Christ and his work. I pleaded with the Lord to reveal to me what I should do.
I received the answer to every one of my questions. By the power of the Holy Ghost I received the answers. By the power of the Holy Ghost I knew the truth of all the things I pondered. I felt a burning in my whole being, sweeping through my body from the top of my head to the soles of my feet, that burned out of my being every doubt, every fear, every concern. Relief and peace swept over me. P. 95
Then I began praying for a while alone in the evenings. I would lie down in my bed and just kind of talk, like, “Okay, God, if you are there, I would like to know about the Book of Mormon. Is it true or not?”
I felt like I was talking to an empty space and that feeling was always bothering me. Sometimes I’d feel so stupid. I’d hope nobody could see me, nobody would find out what I was doing. It was really like doing an experiment. And I decided I’d stick to it, I’d do it…
I remember it was just afternoon or evening, my door was open and my parents were watching TV, and I was lying on my bed reading the Book of Mormon and crying.
I suddenly said to myself, “You’re so stupid, why do you cry about it? You don’t believe that there is any Jesus Christ. You don’t believe in this. This is just a fairy tale, nothing else. Why do you cry about it?”
And in that moment I felt so strongly that it had all happened. I couldn’t deny it. It was real. It wasn’t a fairy tale. There was Jesus Christ, and all this had happened. It was kind of a scary moment to admit to myself, “Okay, I believe now in this.” And so the next step was, “Okay, if I believe in the Book of Mormon, I believe in Jesus Christ.” And then, the next step was, “Hey, that means that I am becoming a Christian.” It was all very scary for me. P. 104-105
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