Since coming to the Bloggernacle over two years ago, I’ve read many post and comments where writers relate that they are active members, keep the commandments well enough to maintain a temple recommend, read the Book of Mormon, prayed about it, and still haven’t received a witness of its truthfulness by the power of the Holy Ghost as promised.
Here is an example of one brother stating his frustration:
I have been in the Church my whole life for 40+ years. I served a mission. I married in the temple. I have served in numerous callings. I have always had a temple recommend with all that that implies. I have probably read the Book of Mormon at least 15 times, including in at least 2 languages. I have followed Moroni’s promise probably at least 100 times, with all sincerity. Yet, at the end of it all, I have never received an answer that it is true… Yet, probably out of inertia and a hope that someday I will get an answer, I persist in the journey and am still “active”.
I’ve been troubled by these “testimonies”. It’s easy to dismiss them as being insincere, or worse—deceptive. But being dismissive to all such claims is wrong headed, in my opinion.
The Lord has given us the scriptures to help us deal with the issues we encounter in life. When I turn to the scripture looking for possible answers I find the following. Please add to my list anything that helps you understand this issue.
1. 1 Nephi 15:8 -9
“And I said unto them: Have ye inquired of the Lord?
And they said unto me: We have not; for the Lord maketh no such thing known unto us.”
Their answer to Nephi’s question is that they haven’t even asked. Nephi’s response to his older brothers is revealing:
“. . . the Lord hath said-If ye will not harden your hearts, and ask me in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping my commandments, surely these things shall be made known Unto you.” (1 Nephi 15:11.)
Remember, we’re not talking about members who are like Nephi’s older brothers. But based on verse 11, a reason for unanswered prayers could be in not asking, “…me in faith, believing that ye shall receive…”
2. 3 Nephi 1:24
“And there were no contentions, save it were a few that began to preach, endeavoring to prove by the scriptures that it was no more expedient to observe the law of Moses. Now in this thing they did err, having not understood the scriptures.”
This scripture teaches that some can err, having not understood the doctrine of the gospel correctly. This is the same thing the Lord told Martin Harris when he failed to translate (D&C 9:7) and could be a reason for unanswered prayers.
3. 2 Nephi 28:14
“… a few, who are the humble followers of Christ…are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men.”
Some church members err because of the precepts of men, even though they are humble followers of Christ. The precepts of men lead followers of Christ astray and could be a reason for unanswered prayers.
4. D&C 98:2
“Waiting patiently on the Lord, for your prayers have entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, and are recorded with this seal and testament—the Lord hath sworn and decreed that they shall be granted.”
This scripture teaches us that some church members are required to wait patiently on the Lord before their prayers will be answered. This could be a reason for unanswered prayers.
I can only guess at the frustration a worthy member of the church must experience when they struggle to obtain an answer to prayer regarding the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. I didn’t struggle for my answer to prayer regarding the Book of Mormon. I have however, been through the furnace of affliction in other areas of my life that allow me to have some understanding. Based on that, I’ve learned to wait on the Lord, stay close to Lord, and the day of deliverance will come.