I couldn't help but share this from a man who felt strongly enough to write out his experience from reading the Book of Mormon. I know the Book of Mormon is true and I know that if all were to read and pray about it, they too could find their answers :)
with much love,
**Per request I thought I would fill in some background information, but I'll start by saying the name of my friend will remain anonymous to protect his privacy. As best I can though I would love to share more of the story:
October 2013 I was serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Florida, Orlando Mission. It was mid-day and my mission companion and I decided to go talk to people in a specific area. As we traveled there I saw a road off to the side that caught my attention and curiosity, I quickly turned the car down that road instead of toward our initial destination. I didn't know why then, but I do now.
Before we got out of the car we said a prayer asking to be led to a family that we could share the Book of Mormon with, three doors later is where we found my atheist friend. He was raised Lutheran, (hence the biblical knowledge demonstrated in his letter) but later in life, due to all his questions, left it and decided there simply was no God. Luckily for us, he was still fascinated with different religions. He and his wife allowed us in, we introduced the Book of Mormon to him, and with his curiosity piqued he accepted it confidently saying he would have all the books of Nephi read by the time we returned in a week.
When we went back he presented us with this typed letter he had compiled after reading the first 31 pages. For the record, he's still not a member, but highly respects the church, our beliefs, and our claim to be Christians. For me the lesson learned was this: When read with an open heart anyone can find truths that will strengthen the faith they already do or do not have.
To [Miss Mormon],
I hope the following helps to keep you motivated and inspired. I hope it is confirmation that Mormon beliefs are justifiable, and deserve to be respected alongside other Christian denominations:
I just read the first 31 pages of the Book of Mormon, and was entranced by 1 Nephi chapters 8 and 10. I feel as thought I could almost stop there, and come away with something. That something is this:
The Book of Mormon should be read by all Christians.
As an Atheist, that's not the effect I thought the book would have on me. Nevertheless, I can imagine the amount of "push back" Mormons have to face, trying to convince a "Christian" to read it. What a shame. Because it is the most clearly written Christian Biblical Document. If Christians would be willing to read the text, compare it to what they already believe, most would not only agree with it, but would find that it strengthens their faith even further. 1 Nephi 10 provides a greater and more straight forward message than Paul's letter to the Romans. And Romans is considered to be the definitive New Testament Epistle. The Reformation was based on Romans. But Nephi chapter 10 tops it.
There are really only two hangups to widespread Christian acceptance of the Book of Mormon. The first, is the fact that, the Book of Mormon isn't already in the Bible. If the chapters of the book of Mormon were placed within the standard bible , and Christians just grew up knowing that 1 Nephi was found after Malachi and Jeremiah or Habakkuk...they would bite into it hook line and sinker. It would be accepted as biblical cannon. What could possibly make them object?
The second hangup ins that the origin of the book of Mormon is still relatively new. But they confuse the translation of Joseph Smith in the 1800's with the 600 BC time frame of 1 Nephi. If Christians could accept 1 Nephi as 600 BC writing they would accept what it says. Can you imagine the level of excitement they would have if the dead sea scrolls contained excerpts from 1 Nephi? (ignoring the continental logistical problem). If the ancient text was carbon dated to 600 BC with the quote, " six hundred years from the time that my father left Jerusalem, a prophet would the Lord God raise up among the Jew--even a Messiah...a Savior of the world"... what christian would protest that? They would consider it the greatest confirmation of the actual existence of Christ!
And as for the "craziness" of the Mormon origin story, is it no worse than any biblical story? Christians believe that God carved and wrote the ten commandments on stone tablets. But gold plates are somehow impossible? Christians believe that God sent Daniel and St. John visions. But Nephi's father can't have visions? Saul a persecutor of Christians can play a surprise role in God's message, but Joseph Smith can't? Christians see Christ as an all powerful Savior of the whole human race. But Jesus isn't allowed to VISIT the whole human race? I just don't see and of these "Mormon" things as being anymore preposterous than anything else that is already accepted by all Christians.