"The Book of Mormon is not only the keystone of our religion, but it can also become the keystone of our testimonies, so that when trials or unanswered questions confront us, it can hold our testimonies securely in place," Brother Tad R. Callister, Sunday School general president, said during the Sunday afternoon session of general conference on Oct 1.
Critics are intent on disproving the Book of Mormon, Brother Callister said, "but the obstacles they face are insurmountable, because this book is true."
Some critics suggest that Joseph Smith, a 23-year-old farmboy with limited education, was a creative genius who relied on numerous books and local resources to create the historical context of the Book of Mormon, he said. Yet no witness has ever claimed to have seen Joseph with any of these resources.
"In fact, his wife Emma recalled: 'He had neither manuscript nor book to read from. ... If he had had anything of the kind, he could not have concealed it from me.'"
In addition, Joseph would have had to have a phenomenal photographic memory, Brother Callister said.
"These arguments account only for the book's historical content. The real issues still remain — how did Joseph produce a book that radiates with the Spirit, and where did he get such profound doctrine, much of which clarifies or contradicts the Christian beliefs of his time?"
God's fingerprints are all over the Book of Mormon, "as evidenced by its majestic doctrinal truths, particularly its masterful sermons on the Atonement of Jesus Christ," he said.
Brother Callister told of his friend, who left the Church for a time. This friend wrote to him, "Initially, I wanted the Book of Mormon to be proven to me historically, geographically, linguistically and culturally. But when I changed my focus to what it teaches about the gospel of Jesus Christ and His saving mission, I began to gain a testimony of its truthfulness."
"If one will take the time to humbly read and ponder the Book of Mormon, as did my friend, and give ear to the sweet fruits of the Spirit, then he or she will eventually receive the desired witness," Brother Callister said.