[Lec 1:24a] Faith then, is the first great governing principle which has power, dominion, and authority over all things; by it they exist, by it they are upheld, by it they are changed, or by it they remain, agreeable to the will of God.
Some Evangelical Christians have charged that because there is no archaeological and scientific evidence that the Nephites described in the Book of Mormon existed, that I exercise faith in a vain hope. However, I don't believe in God because I scientifically measured Him. I do not believe that Jesus Christ came back from the dead and ascended to heaven because some archaeologist found ancient video tape of the events. Therefore, I don't base my belief in the Book of Mormon based on what archeologist's have yet to find.
First off, it is impossible to scientifically prove or disprove the existence of God. To do either would require that the person be God. Accordingly, I believe in God not because I can scientifically measure Him, but because He has revealed Himself to me. In the same way, I believe in Christ, and in Joseph Smith, and in the Bible and Book of Mormon because God has revealed in the same way that these things are true and of Him.
While emotions are subjective by definition, I also have objective evidence of my faith? I believe in the LDS faith because the Bible says that the New and Everlasting Covenant carries the promise of a more perfect sanctification as well as future salvation. Therefore, this more perfect sanctification which is a more complete mastery over the appetites of the flesh, becomes a testable proof of God and His word. I have experimented upon God's word and the LDS faith and I have found that it has proved to produce the promised increase in sanctification and self control. behavior is measurable and objective. Therefore, by objective as well as subjective evidence, I have hope in a future salvation as well.
Subjectively, my evidence of God and the LDS religion is based on the fruit that the LDS gospel produces in my life. This is something that Satan cannot duplicate or falsify. "The fruit of the spirit is love, peace, joy, happiness, temperance, patience, father; against such there is no law" Objectively, the LDS doctrine focused on sanctification in Christ inspires and encourages and empowers men to bridle their appetites and master their flesh. Remember, the higher covenant is all about sanctification. If you do not understand what the word of Christ means when Christ said "If thou wilt be perfect" and what Heb says about the NT vs the OT having power to make us perfect then you have missed the whole meaning and purpose of the NT and the atonement of Christ who came to save us from our sins.
The LDS gospel helps me and others around me be better. I see that the people I associate with who keep their covenants, can be depend on, can be trusted, and they exemplify better mastery of their flesh and appetites and this is what Zion is all about. Zion is the "pure in heart"
I respect many Christians who have confessed and forsaken serious sins through Christ. LDS don't deny this but carry the promise to the next level. LDS teach a message of eternal progression and encourage our members to never stand still, because when it comes to spirituality, if you are not progressing your are backsliding. The Scriptures promise that after coming to Christ, Christ will bring us to the Father through a more perfect Sanctification. Therefore, the message of the New Covenant and the LDS gospel is sanctification and striving through Christ to be better as Pres Hinkley said "try a little harder to be a little better"
I am careful not to confuse peace with prosperity. God said he would cause it to rain on the just and the unjust. Therefore, temporal prosperity is not necessarily a sign of God's favor. But the Bible and the Book of Mormon do clearly state that what does differentiate the righteous in Christ with the wicked is peace and happiness. Isaiah said, "There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked." Alma in the Book of Mormon taught his son, "Wickedness never was happiness." Therefore, the fruit of my faith is not only prosperity but primarily peace, temperance, patience and a more perfect sanctification "against such there is no law."
Some Evangelicals vilify LDS doctrine because it is focused on trying to inspire people to be better? Why call good evil and evil good? Why say, "LDS are trying to be better and focus on sanctification because they think they are better than everyone else? Or, LDS focus on being better is because they think they can save themselves?" The simple truth is that the higher covenant of the NT is about being empowered by Christ to enjoy a greater more perfect sanctification. Therefore, the evidence of my faith in the LDS religion is the fruit of better self-mastery over the appetites of the flesh that I have experienced as a member of this church. The evidence of my faith in Christ is that His atonement is not just mercy to save me in my sins, but also power to help me overcome, escape, and forsake them. I have witnessed this power, and have witnessed this power in the lives of others.