In a courtroom, “The rules [of evidence] ensure that credible evidence is presented and unnecessary or unreliable evidence is kept out of the courtroom. For example, the "hearsay rule" prevents a witness from relating second-hand information.” Ohio Bar
“To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world. To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful.” D&C 46:13-14
What is the difference between one who knows and one who believes? Does one have first-hand experience and the other second-hand information? Is the gift to believe on the words of those who know preliminary to obtaining my own knowledge? Having received the promise of eternal life, are these witnesses here to point me in the right direction? D&C 88:3-4 When someone claims to be a witness of Christ, what does this mean?
“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. Wherefore, by the words of three, God hath said, I will establish my word. Nevertheless, God sendeth more witnesses, and he proveth all his words.” 2 Nephi 11:2-3
Why did Nephi choose the words of Isaiah and Jacob to send forth unto his children? It looks like he’s building a case. What is he endeavoring to prove?
Perhaps, the witnesses Nephi chose are more credible, convincing, and dependable than others. They are like the brother of Jared who “had faith no longer, for he knew, nothing doubting. Wherefore, having this perfect knowledge of God, he could not be kept from within the veil; therefore he saw Jesus; and he did minister unto him” Ether 3:19-20.
Who would be a more dependable witness? One who believes, has faith, and knows about the Savior of the world? Or one who is redeemed from the fall, has come into His presence, and knows Him personally? How about eyewitnesses who have been to heaven, seen it, heard it, and experienced it verses someone who only believes that Christ and heaven exist?
Even though believers have felt the swelling motions of a good seed, can they testify that they have knowledge of Christ? Alma 32:28-30 Have they partaken of the fruit of the tree of life? Alma 32:40-43, John 4:14 Are they qualified and chosen as witnesses? Revelation 17:14, D&C 121:34
Can I read about or hear the message of true eyewitnesses, feel a confirmation from the Holy Ghost that they speak the truth, and then claim to be a legitimate witness of Christ? Or do I recognize that I am still looking forward to the perfect day when I get to meet the Savior, become a witness of Him, and can honestly say that I know Him? D&C 50:24
What do authentic witnesses experience? How do they gain knowledge? Where are their testimonies recorded? Can I also be redeemed, converse with the Lord through the veil, and come back into His presence? Ether 3:13
To be continued . . .