In 2 Nephi in the Book of Mormon, Nephi tells us how
“my soul delighteth in proving unto my people the truth of the coming of Christ” (2 Nephi 11:4).
The word “proving” caught my attention, especially after the conversation I had with my well-meaning evangelical friend. One main theme of her emails was an obsession with empirical evidence as a source of faith, and she derided my testimony as ludicrous because it is based on “feelings” (her words, mind you, not mine).
To her, DNA, archaeology, linguistics, and the like were the “proof” of her Christian faith. The lack of similar evidence in the case of Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and the Pearl of Great Price was “proof” of how Mormonism is false.
(This assumption is completely false, by the way – there is a wealth of empirical evidence in favor of the claims made by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.)
What did Nephi consider as his “proof”? Did he delight in showing his people, for example, Hebrew writing patterns in Isaiah so that they would believe in Jesus Christ?
“And now I, Nephi, write more of the words of Isaiah, for my soul delighteth in his words. For I will liken his words unto my people, and I will send them forth unto all my children, for he verily saw my Redeemer, even as I have seen him.
“And my brother, Jacob, also has seen him as I have seen him; wherefore, I will send their words forth unto my children to prove unto them that my words are true“ (2 Nephi 11:2-3).
To Nephi, “proof” is the word of God. He doesn’t need DNA, or archaeology, or linguistic evidence to prove to his people that Jesus is the Christ. He needs only the additional witnesses of God’s chosen servants, because the Holy Ghost testifies of the truth in those witnesses. Nephi tells us,
“For when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men“ (2 Nephi 33:1).
“But behold, there are many that harden their hearts against the Holy Spirit, that it hath no place in them; wherefore, they cast many things away which are written and esteem them as things of naught“ (2 Nephi 33:2).
May we not cast away these things because they are not proven in the way the world wants. There is more than empirical evidence when it comes to things of the God.