|Testimony of Mike Brown
My personal Book of Mormon story goes back to my childhood. As a boy that
liked playing cowboys and Indians, the marvelous stories and mystery around
the characters in the Book of Mormon were spellbinding. As I heard the stories
of fighting brothers (that I could personally relate to) and sailing across the
ocean, exploring unknown lands, all of the wars; it was everything a boy could
ask for! The stories held a fascination with me throughout my youth.
My first actual encounter with possible Book of Mormon lands came many years
later as a small group from the Buckner Congregation took a Zion’s League
group to several ruin sights in Mexico. We visited Teotihuacan, El Tajin, Monte
Alban and others. We had a marvelous experience on a plaza in the Monte
Alban complex. I felt the power of the Holy Spirit as we prayed together at that
sight. In my mind’s eye, I could see the people who lived and worshipped there.
I could feel or sense their presence.
I have thought many times (day dreamed) that it would be good to recover the
“plates.” I have thought about what I would do if I found them. Who would I
give them to? Who would I show them to? Boy, I would make sure that all
those people that didn’t believe the story would see!! I’d show them that the
Book was true and the people did live…all for the wrong reasons.
Four year’s ago, our congregation (Buckner) jumped on a bus and toured ruins
in Mexico. Neil Steede was our guide (nothing like having a blind guy to guide
you). Did we ever learn things! Once again, the stories came to life. Even in the
overgrown and weatherworn conditions of Palenque and Cacaxtla, we could
envision the beauty and majesty of a magnificent city with beautiful murals and
At our most distant point on our trip, we saw a startling protrusion of earth and
stone that overlooked a green valley with a meandering river passing through.
This was the mountain that Neil had visited some 30 times before as he searched
the landscape to put pieces of the Book of Mormon story together. This
appeared to fit the geography of the battle sight of two Book of Mormon peoples
and the final resting-place of the records of those same peoples.
Five in the group got up the next morning at 3:00 AM and headed for the
mountain to take a walk. We thought it would be good to scout it out. By 9:00
AM, my everything was hurting, the mosquitoes were attacking, my trail mix had
lost its flavor and I was tired. I couldn’t believe that we hadn’t even reached half
way to the cliff face; ouch. It was clearly going to be a long day.
We did find our way to the cliff face. We did manage to locate the place that Neil
had remembered as being an important area. It did feel right. It’s hard to get a
perspective when you’re in the thick of the jungle but as we have returned the
next three successive years, it looks right, feels right, seems right and it is right. I
have once again regained that sense of presence of peoples from days gone by
that had a message to share with us today. I’m glad to be a part of this mission. I
have matured to the point that it’s not important that people know that we were
right; that we had the story and it was true. What’s important is that people
know who they are. These records tell that story. It’s important for the world to
hear the good news in a new way and with new insights. It’s important that they
know that Christ came for all of us.