Sunday, February 22, 2009

Angels, Gold Plates, and Miracles

It struck me quite unusually today. I have a testimony of angels, gold plates, and miracles. And because I believe in the gold plates and the Book of Mormon, I believe in a truly awesome God; a God who reaches out to bless us and help us. In my view, the Book of Mormon is really one of the most remarkable miracles in the history of the world. I realize that from the outside, angels and gold plates must seem like pure madness. But on the inside, it makes complete sense. To quote Richard Bushman, I "find God in its pages", and I'm inspired every time I read it. And believing in angels and gold plates isn't really any more unusual than believing that a man rose from the dead. And for the record, the Book of Mormon confirms that miracle too. It's true, and it is powerful. That's my testimony. Simple really. And quite miraculous.


Anthony E. Larson said...

If you don't mind believing in prophets, angels, gold plates and miracles, you might find a little more "odd" knowledge useful and helpful. I invite you to visit my blog, see my videos and my webpage.

... and keep on believing ... and learning.

Clean Cut said...

I love what Elder Jeffrey R. Holland had to say in response to the origins of the Book of Mormon, so I thought I'd include it here for easy reference. I also enthusiastically recommend his book about the Book of Mormon, entitled "Christ and the New Covenant: The Messianic Message of the Book of Mormon".

Interview with Elder Holland from PBS' "The Mormons":

"The origins of the Book of Mormon have been criticized. There have been counterclaims to its origins. ... What are the counterclaims that you've taken seriously?"

... The Book of Mormon is ... a matter of faith, but it's there. It's readable. It sits on the table, and it won't go away. ... For me it is ... another testament of the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ and the single most [important] piece of evidence, the declaration that Joseph Smith was a prophet. ...

I've thought about it a lot, read it often. ... I wrote a book about the Book of Mormon, partly just because I wanted my own conviction, my testimony, to be in print, even if only for my children's sake. I dismiss out of hand the early criticism that somehow this was a book that Joseph Smith wrote. The only thing more miraculous than an angel providing him with those plates and him translating them by divine inspiration would be that he sat down and wrote it with a ballpoint pen and a spiral notebook. There is no way, in my mind, with my understanding of his circumstances, his education, ... [he] could have written that book. My fourth great-grandfather -- this goes back to my mother's pioneer side of the family -- said when he heard of the Book of Mormon in England, he walked away from the service saying no good man would have written that, and no bad man could have written it. And for me, that's still the position.

So I disregard the idea that Joseph Smith could have written it. I certainly disregard that somebody more articulate or more experienced in ecclesiastical matters could have written it, like [Smith's close friend and adviser] Sidney Rigdon. Rigdon doesn't even come to the church until the Book of Mormon is out and in circulation for eight or nine months. ...

Now, in terms of more modern theories, there are those who say it's more mythical literature and spiritual, and not literal. That doesn't work for me. I don't understand that, and I can't go very far with that, because Joseph Smith said there were plates, and he said there was an angel. And if there weren't plates and there wasn't an angel, I have a bigger problem than whether the Book of Mormon is rich literature. ... I have to go with what the prophet said about the book, about its origins, about the literalness of the plates, the literalness of the vision -- and then the product speaks for itself.

I don't think we're through examining the depth, the richness, the profundity, the complexity, all of the literary and historical and religious issues that go into that book. I think we're still young at doing that. But the origins for me are the origins that the prophet Joseph said: a set of plates, given by an angel, translated by the gift and power of God. ...