Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A Second Witness of Jesus Christ

I am now going to my third trigger point which  I mentioned in my first blog about my conversion to the LDS Faith.  That trigger point was my visit to Machu Picchu while I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Peru.  I mentioned a special feeling I had while visiting this “Lost  City of the Incas”.  As I think back on this, I am reminded of those people I have met in my life that I feel I met before  I like to refer to them as “kindred spirits” because I feel an instant connection. However, as we look back on our lives there is no way we met previously.  Even though this record is not a person, I still felt the same way about it.

In my missionary discussions, I was introduced to a new sacred record referred to as “The Book of Mormon.  This book is referred to as a Second Witness of Christ.  As a matter of fact, we read about the importance of more than one witness in the New Testament in Corinthians.  This law of witnesses made sense to me. There are real life examples of this as we think about a door needing more than one hinge to actually function.  Another example is the idea of to points in space.  Only one straight line can go through those two points.  If you have one point in space (the Bible) there can be an endless  number of straight lines than can go through that one point.

I was intrigued about this book as the missionaries explained its origin and contents.  The fact that it was written by prophets in the Americas made sense to me as I revisited Machu Picchu in my mind and spirit.  Was that ‘Lost City of the Incas” one of the areas where these records were actually written? We are now living in Costa Rica.  I am feeling the same way.  This is truly a paradise.  There are many ancient ruins throughout Mexico and Central America.  I have visited those ruins as well.  

As I began reading this book, I felt a special spirit that was telling me that this was in deed a true record of the inhabitants of the Americas.  I read passage after passage about Jesus Christ that seemed to complement what I had already read in the Bible and give depth to the meaning of those Bible passages.  Many references were being made to His atonement  which helped me to begin to understand for the first time in my life what He really did in Gethsemanee and Calgary.  Yes, it brought to the surface this truth that He really was resurrected and that He lives.

I was amazed at how many references were being made to Christ throughout this sacred record.  I became familiar with some books which talked about the stories of the Incas, Aztecs and others who spoke of this great white god who visited them.  He was given a name: Quetzacoatl which meant this “winged and feathered serpent”. ( “Wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”) In fact, when they were defeated so easily by the Spaniards it was speculated that the reason for this is that they thought this great white god was in deed visiting them again.  Then, I read about the Savior’s visit to the Americas after His resurrection.  Yes, that really did happen.

Over Christmas vacation after I was baptized, I read the entire book.  I could not put it down.  I had already been shown the challenge at the end of the book in Moroni 10:4-5 which challenges us to pray with a sincere heart and real intent and you will get the answer that it is true.  I put that challenge to the test and got my answer.  That has been reconfirmed many times as I reread this sacred record.  I know it truly is a second witness of Christ.
I recently gave a talk on the Book of Mormon and in my research encountered some amazing conversion stories of individuals who read this sacred record.  In one of these, a soldier was guarding an LDS meetinghouse at a time when we were not allowed to use it.  There was a ban that prohibited our use of that chapel for worship.  Among the scattered debris on the floor he saw a copy of the Book of Mormon.  He had already been warned to not pick it up and read it.  However, the impulse was too strong so he picked it up.  He could not put it down.  A year and a half later that ban was lifted and we could again hold worship services.  This soldier knew this was a sacred and true record.  He was baptized along with his entire family.  

So, I have now shared the three trigger points that led to my own conversion.  I challenge those reading this blog to consider how my experience could fill those missing puzzle pieces in your life as I have shared in a previous blog.  I truly do believe that each of you just like myself can make a difference in each others’ lives as we share our unique set of experiences with each other. In that process we each become a better and more complete individual as we go through this mortal journey together.  Such experiences better prepare us for what I believe is a beautiful life after this one.   

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