NATHAN DAVIS' PERSONAL STORY
My account of accepting The Sealed Portion of the Book of Mormon, the final Testament of Jesus Christ (TSP) goes back many years prior to actually reading the manuscript. As a member of the LDS church, I had anticipated its coming and had always wondered what it might say, thinking that it might shed more light and understanding on questions that I had always had about the church and some of its doctrine. As a member of the church, it seemed as if I had always had questions about certain beliefs of the church that didn’t make sense to me, but I never seriously questioned them because I firmly believed at the time that it was being guided by a ‘prophet of God’ who I thought and assumed was supposed to know such things.
There was, however, one nagging problem that always seemed to bother me and seemed to be coming up frequently as I read the scriptures. In reading the scriptures of the LDS church, namely the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants, one encounters the term ‘mysteries of God’ frequently. Specifically, the prophet Alma in the Book of Mormon states that, “It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God…” (Alma 12:9-12). In my heart of hearts, and ever since I can remember, I have always wanted to know all that there can be known about our Eternal Father, Jesus Christ and the plan of salvation. If our Father is truly no respector of persons, then why couldn’t I be one of those ‘many’ and be able to learn and understand these mysteries – were they only reserved for those leaders of the church that I respected so much? The problem was, even after having been in the church since childhood, serving and teaching as a missionary in Spain for two years and after many, many years of faithful church service – I still felt like there was something missing -like having a pestering feeling like I wasn’t getting the whole story or even coming close to knowing any of the mysteries of God.
In an attempt to assuage this uncomfortable feeling, I even became a veil worker in the Salt Lake Temple. Surely, I thought, I would now be able to be in a position where I could be taught by others and gain some keen insight in the hallowed rooms of the temple where anything was permitted to be discussed. But to my dismay, nobody seemed to want to talk about ‘the mysteries’ of the endowment or the gospel in the temple as what was said concerned mostly the strict procedural matters that we participated in. remember anticipating one particular meeting in the upper assembly room in the temple where I thought surely this would be the place to learn something new from some of the highest ranking leaders of the church – but no, the same general items of discussion that I had already heard many times before were spoken from that pulpit.
To make things worse, the church decided at that same time to change the temple ordinances. Why? If the ordinances were so important for salvation, why should they be changed, modified or altogether deleted? Why take away even more parts of the endowment that might provide more insight or clues into the mysteries of God that I so much desired? It seemed that my quest for more knowledge and understanding were now being inhibited by the church instead of encouraged. The question then came to mind – did they, the leaders of the church, even understand what the temple endowment meant or what mysteries of God are? I subsequently quit being a veil worker.
The next fifteen years of my life was spent getting an education, getting married and starting a family -all during this time still staying faithful to the church that in so many ways I had grown to love. Temple marriage and attendance, blessings, priesthood callings, even a stint in the Mormon Youth Chorus -still this nagging empty feeling continued. I found myself ‘innocently searching’ like so many members of the church do: reading self-help books, listening to whatever guru happened to be on Oprah, attending life improvement seminars and keeping up on some of the latest historical and scholarly works that I thought would shed light on my questions. I had soon collected a library of books on a variety of subjects – yet still no one had the answers I was looking for.
The biggest question for me during this time centered around Christ. Who was he really, what is his true purpose and what he doing now? The standard answers to those questions that I got in church made no sense to me and had no real application to my life personally. The leaders of the church talked often about establishing a personal relationship with him -but what does this even mean? Even though I had searched the scriptures, prayed and listened to every suggestion on how to do this – I still felt I had made no progress. On top of this, I constantly battled feelings of inadequacy when it came to spiritual things. Feeling like I was never worthy enough, not righteous or ‘perfect’ enough or always feeling like I was falling short as to what the acceptable standards or image of the church were. Didn’t Christ say that if you followed his word that his ‘yoke would be easy and his burden light’? I just didn’t understand how I could be doing everything that the church was asking of me (supposedly in the name of Christ since the church purports to receive revelation from him) and yet I felt none of the peace that he promised.
Then one day in March 2005 I was driving to work and listening to my favorite morning radio talk show. I can’t remember the context in which the subject came up but I distinctly remember one caller saying, “The sealed portion of the Book of Mormon is out now -you can find it at thesealedportion.com.” Nothing more was said about this and the host didn’t even make a comment about it -it was just one plain statement and the caller was gone. I immediately wrote the web site down and waited rather impatiently for the work day to end so I could get home and check it out.
What happened after that was life changing for me. I checked out the website and had TPS mailed to me. Needless to say, I was completely blown away by what I was reading. Finally, after all these years of searching, all of the answers to my questions were right before me and it all started making sense. I couldn’t put the book down for three or four days as I read through it as fast as I could. I remember shaking my head in utter amazement as each page seemed to speak to my soul and to my common sense. Years of guilt, unworthiness and feelings of inadequacy seemed to just melt away and all the emotional and psychological burdens that I had been carrying around all those years were lifted off my shoulders as well. I finally had a sense of peace about me that I had not felt before. After reading TSP I felt as if I had a much greater understanding of what the gospel of Christ is and who the man we call the Christ is as well.
In the years that have passed since then, that feeling of underlying peace has never left. The knowledge and understanding that I have received in studying this work has built a solid foundation for me that has given me the confidence and courage to see the problems we face in this world from a much more positive perspective and has given me the ability to better weather the storms and stresses of life that I’ve since encountered. It has given me the ability to know, love and appreciate myself better for who I am. It has helped me to understand that all I need to know to be able to have happiness, joy and peace in my life comes from me and who I am and not from any outside belief system, organization, religion or culture. After all, didn’t Christ say that the kingdom of God is within?
The fruits of this work are truly remarkable. Who would have thought that in our day we would have before us The Sealed Portion of the Book of Mormon, The Book of Lehi (the lost 116 page manuscript), the explanation of John’s Book of Revelation (prophesied to come forth by Nephi in 1Ne 14:26), the complete explanation of the LDS temple endowment, the plain and precious parts put back into the scriptures (Isaiah, Malachi and others – remember what Joseph Smith did with parts of the New Testament and how the Bible has not been translated correctly – see Article of Faith 8), and finally, one other book that will explain the mysteries of God as they pertain to the human race and its destiny. Read the pages of these marvelous works and compare them to others who have tried to replicate or explain them from their own vain and foolish imaginations and see the difference.
For those of my family or friends that have asked me to come back to church, my response and challenge to them is this: If you can have your prophet, apostles, scholars or anyone else in your church put the plain and precious things back in the scriptures, explain the Book of Revelations of John in the New Testament, explain the temple endowment in its entirety and explain the nature of God, who we are, why we are here and where we as humans are going in the future, better than what I have heard explained to me through this work – then I’ll go back to church. Have them all sit down with the translator of this work and let’s see who makes more sense.
In conclusion, I can honestly say that never before in my life has my soul been more content, more happy or more at peace than it is now since I came across this work. This peace comes from finally understanding what the gospel of Christ is – which is simply this – Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If one can just try to understand and live this one concept, this peace can be yours as well.
Thank God. This is the peace and rest I had been looking for -and have finally found.