Brother Tad R. Callister, Sunday School General President for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, discussed the Book of Mormon's validity by deconstructing criticism of the Book of Mormon at this week's Devotional address.
"Once we have a foundational testimony of the Book of Mormon, then any question or challenge we confront in life, however difficult it may seem, can be approached with faith, not doubt," said Brother Callister. "Why? Because the keystone of our religion - the Book of Mormon and its witness of Jesus Christ - has also become the keystone of our testimony, which keystone holds our testimony securely in place."
Brother Callister highlighted some of the claims against the Book of Mormon's divine validity. Critics' claims included Joseph's ignorance and lack of education, Joseph conspiring with someone else who had the skills and intelligence to write the Book of Mormon, the idea that the Book of Mormon was plagiarized from other books and that Joseph suffered from a mental illness.
Another principal argument against the validity of the Book of Mormon, Brother Callister said, was the idea that Joseph Smith was a creative genius and wrote the Book of Mormon. The leading proponent of this argument suggested that because of Joseph's immense amount of inexperience, he planned to do what would have given the most experienced novelist monumental doubt.
"Nonetheless, others have bought into this argument lock, stock, and barrel. Why? Because they have nowhere else to go except admit that Joseph translated it by the gift and power of God - a place they desperately do not want to go," said Brother Callister.
Highlighting the fact the Book of Mormon contains doctrine distinct from common religious beliefs of the time, Brother Callister suggested that the doctrinal truths found within the Book of Mormon clearly show its divine authenticity.
"The Book of Mormon makes clear that which is unclear to much of the Christian world," said Brother Callister. "Again and again the Book of Mormon comes to the rescue, giving answers and restoring many plain and precious truths about baptism that were distorted or lost during the apostasy."
Brother Callister concluded his remarks by sharing the importance of gaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon.
"If you do, it will become your personal iron rod," said Brother Callister. "The mists of darkness may come, the unanswered questions arise, but through it all you will have your iron rod to cling to – to keep you on the straight and narrow path that leads to eternal life."
BYU Dance Assembly next
Next week brings the annual BYU Dance Assembly featuring The Ballroom Dance Company, Living Legends, Theatre Ballet, The International Folk Dance Ensemble and Contemporary Dance Theatre on Tuesday, Nov 8, at 11:05 a.m., in the Marriott Center.