Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Book of the Mormons

My heart is full and I feel constrained that the topic in which I would like to write on tonight will benefit someone who reads my blog. This post, like all of my posts, is meant for everyone to read but I feel impressed upon by the spirit that it will help someone. Whoever you are, I hope that this message will help fill your soul with peace. I'd ask, like always, that respect fill your minds as you read this, knowing that I'd respect you for your thoughts and feelings.

As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I have the opportunity to listen to the prophets and the apostles of God speak in a general conference. Every six months members of my faith gather in large groups down in Salt Lake, in small groups in individual homes, and in medium-sized groups at chapels. This takes place all of the world, the conference being translated into over 100 different languages. This is done so that the members who don't speak English may hear the messages given in their own tongues. A few years ago, one of the prophets spoke specifically about a book that the LDS church uses in their studies. This book, as the prophet declared, is the keystone to our religion. It's the center block that holds the archway together. He stated that without this book we would never fully understand the mysteries of God and Jesus Christ. If we wanted to have a personal testimony of The Savior and the church which he restored through his chosen prophet Joseph Smith, we needed to study from this book every single day. This prophet also declared that every member should fill their homes with quotes from this book, it should be talked about in every discussion, it should be shared with friends and family, both member and non-member. Today, I want to share this marvelous book with you, and how it has changed my life forever.

The Book is titled "The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ". In the book there are several shorter books, each having various amounts of chapters spread throughout several pages. Each book contains the stories of an ancient people who lived and died in early America. It talks about how these ancient people arrived in the Americas. It talks about wars and contentions. It talks about the importance of families. It shows us the bond that people have one with another. It teaches us how to prosper and thrive. It provides an account of the monetary system used by this people. It's detailed, often going into great lengths concerning battles, with losses and victories both recorded. It also speaks plainly. It provides principals for morality. It speaks of our day and the prophets.

The Book of Mormon isn't just a fun story that you read to the kids before bed. In essence, it's a giant journal, written by several individuals who dedicated their lives to serving God. It speaks of those who gave their lives because they wouldn't deny their faith. It teaches us to repent and be baptized. It gives instruction on how to prevent pride from swallowing us whole. It counsels us to pray to our Father in Heaven and helps us understand our divine potential. But above all, the most important thing it teaches us about is Christ. His name echoes through almost every page of the book. His power is shown and felt in miraculous ways. His presence is noted as we read about the blood shed and the violence. The account of His victory over death is recorded in full, teaching the world that The Savior had gained power over death and salvation to his soul. This book teaches us that we can be together forever as families. It helps us understand our divine potential. It teaches us the words of Christ and how they can help us have eternal life. I echo the words of the prophet of which I spoke earlier by saying, if we read The Book of Mormon, we will gain an understanding of Jesus Christ as our Savior, redeemer, and friend better than we ever thought we would.

This is not to say that the bible is not important to our salvation. In the bible, we learn at length, the mysteries of God. In the bible we learn that God speaks through his chosen prophets. We are taught the law of tithing and that if we truly love God then we need to love our neighbor. In Mathew it teaches us not to judge, stating, "Judge not, that ye be not judged"-Matt. 7:1. It speaks of Christ's life and death. We learn in the bible about Christ's divine ministry. We also learn that it is through two or three witnesses we may know the truth of all things. The Bible teaches a great deal of God, our Heavenly father, and Jesus Christ, his son. The Book of Mormon is a second witness of them. The Book of Mormon echoes the Bible but also provides further revelation and inspiration that we can know for our day.

When I was 18 years old I was encouraged by my bishop to read and study the Book of Mormon. He instructed me that if I wanted to be fully prepared to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ on my mission then I first needed to gain a testimony of it. As I read the book, the spirit whispered to me sweet truths that I had never before noticed in my reading. When I neared the completion of my task I received a sure knowledge that the book that I was reading was true and that it indeed came from God. I was reading in Moroni when the Spirit of the Lord came down and rested upon my soul. It felt like a thick blanket had wrapped itself around my heart, speaking a simple truth that I was sure had just been lost along my life's journey. I started weeping, contemplating the scripture that had ushered in this tremendous feeling. In Moroni 7:12 we read that all things which are good come from God and all things that are evil come from the devil. As I read this, the Holy Ghost confirmed to me that The Book of Mormon was a good book. It did speak good things. It taught men to repent and come unto Christ. How could a book that just wanted me to believe in Christ be bad? According to this scripture, it couldn't, and it isn't. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. It was on that night as I read that verse, that my testimony of this sacred book was sealed in my mind and heart forever. After I had finished The Book of Mormon, I knelt in prayer, thanking my God for the opportunity to read and study such an amazing book. I asked, as Moroni instructs, if the book was true. The Spirit once again bore testimony to me of it's divine nature and truthfulness. I asked if Joseph Smith was, and still is, a prophet of God. I received a sacred testimony of prophets that day and their role in fulfilling God's plan.

I know that The Book of Mormon is true. It's not a fairy-tale or a myth. It is a book given to us from God. If we read and study it's pages we will gain the power we need to overcome temptations of every kind. We can feel the spirit of God manifesting to us sacred and humble truths. As we read, we can feel the peace that it provides to our souls. This book is true. I cannot deny it nor have I ever been able to since the night I gained my firm testimony of it. I invite everyone to read it, even if you've read it before, and to ponder its words and your feelings as you read them. I encourage all of you to read it, study it, and believe. In the words of an Ancient Book of Mormon Prophet, "Doubt not, but be believing".


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