If you’re searching for answers and really do want to know the truth about Mormonism for yourself, you know if you’ve read my earlier posts that I’m a big proponent of “going straight to the source”—i.e. speaking with active members of the Church and not relying on the misconstrued, misdirected, or downright misrepresentative writings of non-Mormon and/or anti-Mormon individuals since they usually have one main objective: to tear the Church down by muddying the water and highlighting obscure aspects from our history that fuel their agenda. And they use many different means to twist and weight the truth of the message to their favor. Relying on their word is kind of like relying on the complaint of a disgruntled employee. You really should if you’re going to be realistic at all take whatever they say with a “grain of salt.”
In addition to seeking out and speaking with real, active Mormons and asking them your sincere, truth-seeking Mormonesque questions, I highly recommend you visit some of the Church historical sites. You’ll learn a lot but, even more importantly, you can usually feel a great spirit at these places, and the spirit is ultimately what counts. After all, it’s the only thing that can convert someone and truly change one’s heart, as much as you might like the rest of the story, the missionaries, the members, or our way of life. The spirit, in the end, is the main thing that matters. And it is present in droves in places like the Sacred Grove (in Palmyra NY), Carthage and Nauvoo (Illinois), and Temple Square and the other historical sites (in Salt Lake City, Utah). I can’t quite explain it but I’ve experienced it many, many times.
I remember one such trip to Carthage, Illinois … the city/jailhouse at which Joseph and Hyrum Smith (his brother) were both martyred back in the 1800’s. I was there with a friend of mine and, a lifelong member—he broke down crying. We both felt an extraordinary, almost palpable, spirit at the site. But, for him, it touched him so deeply he said he would never be the same. Such experiences happen a lot when we visit Mormon historical sites like these. Two other great sites to experience this kind of confirmation include temple visitor centers and, if you can time it right, LDS (new) temple open house tours (whenever a new LDS temple is open to the public briefly before being dedicated and restricted to recommend-carrying members only).
Suffice it to say that anytime you can visit a temple—even just to walk the grounds—a sweet spirit will often accompany you. Visit sites of historical significance and the same thing seems to often occur. There are many of them scattered from East to West and chances are there’s one not too far away. I highly recommend you make the effort to visit as many as you can. And … listen to your heart, let the spirit work on you, be attentive, in-tune, aware. If you listen you’ll feel it and will feel for yourself that the story is true. It’s the only real way to know 100% for yourself, as Moroni’s “Promise of The Book of Mormon” reminds us. If you don’t recall it, you can find this promise at Moroni 10: 3-5.
That’s about it for now. To see a list of many of the major Mormon historical sites of which I speak all across the country Please Click Here. They’re not all on this list but it’s a pretty good start.
I encourage you to take a road trip, short or long and go visit these sites. (My personal favorites, as mentioned, are Palmyra, Nauvoo, Carthage, and Salt Lake City). The annual pageants held in Palmyra NY, Nauvoo IL, Manti UT, and elsewhere, are also really great, providing excellent opportunities to feel the spirit and, well, keep learning more.
I hope you can see one or more of these locations or outstanding events.
Maybe I’ll see you there.
Have a great night!
Patrick Laing – Portland, Oregon USA