Testimony of The Book of Mormon

Did you know? That there are 6,607 verses total in the Book of Mormon. 3,925 verses refer to Jesus Christ. So, that means that more than half of the Book of Mormon is centered on Christ! In fact, His name is mentioned, on average, once every 1.7 verses. Needless to say, Christ is a very important part of the Book of Mormon and in it, we learn so much about his life, his teachings, his Gospel, and his desire for us to live with him again.

Our topic for today as you might know, is the Book of Mormon. And I must admit I am really excited to speak about a book that is so dear to my heart and that has changed and enriched my life in a way that no other book could do.

When I was given the topic, I was a little overwhelmed at first, not really knowing where to start because there’s so much I can say about it. Specifically, I would like to speak about how the power of the words in the Book of Mormon can help us Come Unto Christ.

The very first page of the Book of Mormon, the Title page, was written by Moroni, its final author, around 400 A.D., He said that the purposes of the book were:

  1. To Convince both Gentiles and Jews that Jesus is The Christ, the eternal God
  2. To show the remnants of the House of Israel the great things that the Lord had done for their ancestors AND
  3. To teach them the covenants of the Lord

The Book of Mormon broadens our understandings of various doctrines and principles of the Gospel. It teaches of Christ, and encourages us to be like Him in all things. I believe that The Book of Mormon was not only written for the prophet’s contemporaries and our ancestors, but was written for our day, as well. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve turned to the Book of Mormon to find guidance on how to live my life, how to make decisions, or how to act in certain situations. I know that The Book of Mormon really does have the power to enrich our lives and help us in times of trial or need.

President Ezra Taft Benson said, “The Book of Mormon teaches us truth [and] bears testimony of Jesus Christ. . . . But there is something more. There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book. You will find greater power to resist temptation. You will find the power to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path. The scriptures are called ‘the words of life,’ and nowhere is that more true than it is of the Book of Mormon. . . . ‘Every Latter-day Saint should make the study of this book a lifetime pursuit; Otherwise he is placing his soul in jeopardy and neglecting that which could give spiritual and intellectual unity to his whole life ‘”

Wow. Within a few sentences, President Benson promises us some powerful blessings if we read the Book of Mormon, but he also warns us of what our punishment could be if we don’t.

He said, “Let us read the Book of Mormon and be convinced that Jesus is the Christ. Let us continually reread the Book of Mormon so that we might more fully come to Christ, be committed to Him, centered in Him, and consumed in Him.”

In a letter from Mormon to his son Moroni, he gave counsel that applies even to our day. Both father and son were seeing a whole Christian civilization fall because its people would not be obedient to Jesus Christ and come unto Him.

Let’s turn to Moroni 9:6, which reads: “And now, my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God.”

So, what I get out of this verse is that WE also have to labor diligently in order to Come unto Christ and resist the devil. Now, obviously, our labor isn’t the same as Moroni’s. But we do need to study the Book of Mormon and the rest of the Standard Works, keep the commandments, do service for our fellow men, go to the temple, teach the Gospel to others, and the list goes on and on. At times, I can get overwhelmed with all of these things that I need to do, and I’m not perfect, but I do know that if we do our best and endure to the end, asking for forgiveness along the way, we will be blessed.

I have so many favorite verses in the Book of Mormon that I turn to when I need that little extra boost of strength and comfort in my life. One such verse is 2 Nephi 31:20:

“Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.”

I love the phrase, “feasting upon the word of Christ”. I don’t know about you, but when I read this I get an image in my head of me just devouring my scriptures as if it were my favorite food and eating up every single word and just chewing on them until I gain understanding and get full.

And what a great blessing in the end: ye shall have eternal life! Which we know is the greatest gift of all!

Another favorite scripture of mine is Ether 12:27:

“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”

So, you see, Christ gave us our weaknesses, so that we may be humbled. And he can help us overcome those same weaknesses. Again, what a great blessing!

Later on in Chapter 9 of Moroni, verses 25-26, read, “My son (AND HERE I ALWAYS SUBSTITUTE DAUGHTER), be faithful in Christ; and may not the things which I have written grieve thee, to weigh thee down unto death; but may Christ lift thee up, and may his sufferings and death, and the showing his body unto our fathers, and his mercy and long-suffering, and the hope of his glory and of eternal life, rest in your mind forever.”

“And may the grace of God the Father, whose throne is high in the heavens, and our Lord Jesus Christ, who sitteth on the right hand of his power, until all things shall become subject unto him, be, and abide with you forever.” (Moroni 9:25-26.)

The Book of Mormon is replete with wars, apostasies, episodes of pride, wickedness, and destruction. But as Mormon said, these things are not recounted in order to grieve us or weigh us down, rather they are to teach us to turn to Christ.

I would next like to talk about how reading and studying the Book of Mormon can improve our line of communication between ourselves and the Lord. Through the powerful words of the Book of Mormon, we can find many different ways to come unto Christ.

One of my favorite books is No Doubt About It…by Sherri Dew.

In one chapter, she talks about learning to hear the voice of the Lord through Personal Revelation. It’s like learning a language, she says, which takes time, repetition and practice. It takes an immersion in that language. And it takes learning the rules that govern the language. For example, I’m a budding linguist, and when I start to study a language, like Italian or Japanese, or whatever, not only do I have to memorize vocabulary words, but I have to learn the syntax and grammar rules, as well. In the same way, to better learn the language of personal revelation, there are guidelines and rules to govern us, which can be found throughout the Book of Mormon. The scriptures teach us that we are the ones who should initiate personal revelation. We do so first by having faith that the Lord will respond when we ask, no matter what the conflict or trial.

If you’re looking for an answer to a particular question concerning the Gospel, Ask. If you’re looking for comfort over the loss of a loved one, Ask. If you’re struggling with your testimony and need help and direction, Ask. If you want to improve relationships in your family, Ask. Sometimes we must ask many times, over a long period of time, before certain answers become clear to us. But, as the Lord has told us several times in the Doctrine and Covenants, “if you will ask of me, you shall receive.” (D&C 6:5).

President Ezra Taft Benson has said,”Don’t be discouraged if the answer to your prayer does not come immediately. Study, ponder, pray, sincerely having faith, and live the commandments. Dispute not because ye see not, Moroni taught, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.” (Ether 12:27)

We may receive a response from the Lord in many different ways, whether through the power of the Holy Ghost, or by learning from a certain trial in our lives. Many times we will be directed by the Spirit, or perhaps a loved one or friend, to find our answers in the Book of Mormon, which will bring you closer to the Lord and his loving power. Alma taught in chapter 37:36-37 that we should “cry unto God for all our support. That all of our doings should be unto the Lord. That whithersoever we go, it should be unto the Lord. That all our thoughts should be directed to him, and that we may counsel with Him in all our doings. The Lord truly loves us and is merciful. Throughout the Book of Mormon, Christ reaches out to us with open arms, asking us to draw near unto him. He welcomes all who will come unto him and promises many blessings. Especially in these verses:

-“Behold, he sanded an invitation unto all men, for the arms of mercy are extended towards them,… yea, he saith: Come unto me and ye shall partake of the fruit of the tree of life.” (Alma 5:33-34)

-Come, for He stands “with open arms to receive you.” (Mormon 6:17)

-Come, for “he will console you in your afflictions, and he will plead your cause.” (Jacob 3:1)

Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him,… and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you.” (Moroni 10:32)

-Remember, remember,” said Helaman, “that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ,… that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds,… [they] shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery.” (Helaman 5:12)

Ways to improve the line of communication between ourselves and the Lord include studying the scriptures, fasting and praying; Alma, talking about the Sons of Mosiah, taught that we should also fast and pray in order to receive the Spirit of revelation.

Alma 17:2-3 “Yea, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God. they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation.”

We must not forget Repentance. Sheri Dew says, “Repentance increases our desire to be obedient, and our obedience is fundamental to hearing the voice of the Lord.”

These are all principles taught repeatedly throughout the Book of Mormon. And by following these “rules” governing the language of personal revelation, we can receive answers to our prayers and have a closer relationship with Christ.

President Benson taught that once one is convinced, through the Book of Mormon, that Jesus is the Christ, then we must take the next step; we must come unto Christ. Learning the precepts found in the Book of Mormon, is one thing. And actually living those precepts is how get closer to the Lord.

Joseph Smith, the translator of the Book of Mormon, said that it is the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.

Today, we are so lucky to have the Book of Mormon published in at least 72 different languages, so that all of God’s children in various parts of the world can read it and benefit from its power. It is so wonderful to see that Lehi’s prophecy around 600 B.C. is being fulfilled……that the plates should go forth unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people…. (1 nephi 5:18).

READ Moroni 10:3-5 (Moroni’s Promise) “by the power of the Holy Ghost, ye may know the truth of all things”

I encourage everyone to continually read or reread, ponder, and pray, seeking understanding of the Book of Mormon through the power of the Holy Ghost.

The Book of Mormon has the power to strengthen our faith in Christ, to enhance our understanding of how He is our Savior and Redeemer, and to broaden our knowledge of the Gospel. It changes lives. I know that, because it has changed mine for the better and I have seen it change the lives of so many of my friends and family.

I’d like to end with a quote by President Hinckley in this month’s Ensign, He said:

“While the Book of Mormon speaks with power to the issues that affect our modern society, the great and stirring burden of its message is a testimony, vibrant and true, that Jesus is the Christ, the promised Messiah.”

Brothers and Sisters, the message of the Book of Mormon is clear: It testifies of Jesus Christ, and exhorts us to come unto Him.

I leave you with my testimony that Joseph Smith was a true prophet and that he translated the Book of Mormon through the gift and power of God. I know that God restored his true and living Church on the earth through Joseph Smith and that today, President Gordon B. Hinckley does receive revelations from the Lord for the Church.

The Book of Mormon is the Word of God and I know that it is true! I have read it, and prayed about it, and have received an answer by personal revelation that it is true.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: