I was thinking about what Bridget said about her H never getting a "witness" that the book is true. This is an intreging problem. I have never gotten "a witness" either.... but many things tell me that it is true including lots of communication from the spirit. The spirit follows and confirms truth and when we are living in truth the spirit will be with us. At least that has been my experience. Not that it answers every question directly or that it commands in everything. But as I analyze what I call my testimony, I see that the fabric of it is literally made up of thousands of experiences that combine together to what I call a "witness". But it didn't come simply because I asked one question over and over and finally got a "yes" from heaven, although I have heard that some testimonies start out that way. I think perhaps it could be a mistake to confine oneself to those expectations even if that is what everyone says over and over.
I think one way the truth of the book comes is as we live the words and apply the principles to our lives. I mean the book is a complete analysis of the natural man and all of its vices and then of course all of the antidotes. It is also a commentary on society and even governments and the consequences of certain philosophies. I think if one really looks at these questions in terms of actual application that the spirit couldn't help but testify in some way that its true or not. At least this has been my experience with the book. I don't find much satsifaction in the historical or scientific debates. Imo, they divert one away from the purpose and design of why we should read the book in the first place, not to mention failing to answer the questions of my soul. I am not concerned about the question of "horses" for example. For all I know, it could have been an error in the translation process somewhere along the line. Heck, Mormon himself could have misspelled something or used a word we don't understand in English. I can't place the question of truth solely on science anymore than I could do that with the question of Christ himself. The Book says its contains the words of Christ. I think that is a more important question. Does the book bring a person to Christ and is a person more santicfied and more perfected by applying the lessons taught within? That is the question I wanted and the one I could only get by living it myself.
First, to Peace&Joy, I am glad my post made you not feel so alone in your struggle. It does helpe when someone understands how you are feeling and thinking.
Now to Poppyseed's comments. I understand what you are saying about not needing to get a comfirmation about everything in the church in order to have a testimony. Even though I have never gotten a witness that the first vision is true or of the book of Mormon, I did get spiritual experiences in regards to the Plan of Savalation. When I learned about our intelligences (that God did not create) and that we decided we wanted to go through the process of getting spirit bodies, spiritual education, physical bodies and physical education to progress towards godhood and a fullness of joy, it made so much sense to my intellect and spirit. I loved the King Follet sermon and believe this teaching is true. I cannot say I KNOW this is true. I feel like I KNOW very little, but I believe and hope it is true. With this faith I have accepted many other teachings and principles of the gospel, even when they make little sense to me (like the temple ceremonies). I also agree that usually one grows in spirituality as they live the gospel. If I want to gain a testimony of health laws and they work for me, I get a testimony. So, I agree with much of what you had to say.
It is a little different with the BofM because of Moroni's promise. To my husband, this was and is a huge deal. He even talked to a visiting GA once about it and he had no answer and said he really did not know why he had never recieved a witness. Many years ago one of our bishops, who knew my husband was struggling with this, called him to be a stake missionary while we lived in Oregon. My husband told him that he could not accept the calling because he could not witness that the BofM was true. The bishop told him if he would accept this calling the words would come when the time came that he needed to testify. So, he accepted the calling, but the words or testimony never came and he asked to be released after 3 months. The only time he thought he heard and felt the spirit was when he was blessing one of his home teaching sisters who was very ill. He felt strongly impressed to tell her (in front of all her non-member relatives) that she would get well soon and live a long life on this earth still. She died a week later and it devestated him. My husband is a perfectionist and he tried so hard to live the gospel so I know he was not unworthy. So after 30 years in the church with no answers and the incident of Paul Dunn that blew him away, he has decided the church is just a man-made institution with good people, but not from God. Strangly, he has been easier to live with and nicer to be around since leaving the church. We have more time together without all the important church callings he had. There is less stress and less worries financially. Yet, I feel empty inside sometimes not having him sit next to me in church or have a husband who is a spiritual leader of our family. Point being, things are not as simply as you do step A and B will happen. I just figure it will all come out in the wash of the resurrection or second coming.