A young bishop in England describes how the Book of Mormon came to life for him and changed his perspective forever.
I was introduced to God or the concept of God by my mom. I can remember I was about two or three years old kneeling by my bed. We had this little Bible with loads of beautiful pictures of them. I remember Moses parting the Red Sea, Abraham, Samson, King David taking down Goliath. Those first experiences really left a mark on me.
My name is Chris Cook. I live in London, England, and I'm a serving bishop in the Mormon faith right now. A bishop is an unpaid minister in the Church. The Church's official name is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We are called the Mormons as a nickname, and this comes from the Book of Mormon which is a book like the Bible. I think that the Book of Mormon actually helps to complete the message that the Bible is sharing to the world.
Around 600 BC during the time of Jeremiah the biblical prophet, another prophet named Lehi was commanded to leave Jerusalem and take his family into the wilderness where they would build a ship and cross the sea. They arrived in a promised land, what we know as the American continent, where they created a civilization which endured many centuries. Lehi's sons populated the line and communicated with God from time to time. Mormon was one of the last descendants of these people. All the writings of the prophets were compiled by him and are known as the Book of Mormon.
When I first met the missionaries, they showed me the Book of Mormon. I was compelled to read it. It makes sense that God would continue to speak to us. The significance of God speaking to me through prophets and apostles, through reading the scriptures, means that he's there. And he's actively engaged in providing for me. So the whole experience has changed my whole life. Yes.
"Behold it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirit of all men, as soon as they depart this mortal body, yea, the spirit of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life. And then shall it come to pass that the spirit of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all of their troubles and from all care and sorrow."
When I read that, those words, I felt the Spirit. And if I can try to describe it, it was a feeling of peace. My mind was enlightened. I felt like it was true. Where I'm from in Jamaica, it's very superstitious place. It was very unpleasant thing to contemplate death. The scripture points out to me that it is a part of God's plan. There is a place prepared for people that die. And I'm happy that I was able to come to that knowledge, and I've got the Book of Mormon and that experience to thank for it.
"And he shall go forth suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind, and this that the word might be fulfilled which sayeth it will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. And he will take upon him death that he may loose the bands of death which binds his people. And he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people."
This verse of scripture is saying there that Jesus Christ has taken upon himself my sicknesses, my pains, my challenges, which puts him in a position to understand me better. When I read the scripture and it really touched me. I just felt like I wanted to be a good person. It left me with the feeling that I never want to do another bad thing for the rest of my life.
"And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that you would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if these things are not true. And if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent and faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things."
I came to a knowledge that the book is true I would say gradually. It came through little experiences here on that page, and a little experience there on that page, and always accompanied by the Holy Ghost. The way the Book of Mormon has changed me the most, it has filled me with the desire to become one in Jesus Christ. What the Book of Mormon does is it makes me want to share it with as many people I see on the street. I want this book to fill the world, man.