I have a goal this week to spend more time actually studying my scriptures instead of reading a verse here and there and claiming I don’t have time to do much more. Because that’s definitely a lie. Especially now that it’s summer and I only have one class plus piano lessons. Elder Richard G. Scott (one of my favorite apostles) in his October 2014 General Conference talk titled Make the Exercise of Faith Your First Priority said:
“Don’t yield to Satan’s lie that you don’t have time to study the scriptures. Choose to take time to study them. Feasting on the word of God each day is more important than sleep, school, work, television shows, video games, or social media. You may need to reorganize your priorities to provide time for the study of the word of God. If so, do it!”
So my goal this week is to do that – make the spiritual things my first priority, even if it means missing an hour of practice or sleep or whatever. So far, so good! And today, I wanted to share a thought I had while I was studying in 2 Nephi 31 (Book of Mormon).
I have many family members and friends who are not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (AKA Mormon). It is not my goal to push them to believe the same as I believe, nor is it my desire to make them annoyed with every spiritual post I have. However, whenever I do share my testimony and spiritual experiences of what I’ve come to know as truth, I do it out of love and out of a desire to help them come closer to Jesus Christ. Elder David A. Bednar actually addressed this very topic in October 2014 when he spoke in General Conference (Come and See) and said:
“‘Why are Latter-day Saints so eager to tell me about what they believe and to invite me to learn about their church?’… Devoted disciples of Jesus Christ always have been and always will be valiant missionaries… The Church of Jesus Christ always has been and always will be a missionary church.
“‘Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:19–20).’
“Our desire to share the restored gospel of Jesus Christ with you is a reflection of how important these truths are to us.”
I’m willing to listen to what their beliefs are and consider seriously ways that I can integrate their thoughts and experiences into mine – I truly believe that there is truth everywhere, not just in the LDS Church. So to my family and friends who are not Mormon, will you listen to what I believe and seriously consider that it is truth? Will you seriously consider integrating it into YOUR life?
Now that I’ve introduced WHY I’m writing today, let me tell you WHAT I’m writing about (though it’s rather obvious from the title): Why should I bother with the Book of Mormon?
First let me ask a few other questions: Do you believe in Jesus Christ? Do you believe that He is the Savior of the world and that He suffered for all mankind so that we may all have a chance to be forgiven of all our sins and saved by His grace? Do you believe that Heavenly Father (God) knows and loves you? Do you believe that you can change and become like Christ as you strive to follow His example as He commanded and live as He did?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then I can tell you this: You will LOVE the Book of Mormon.
You’re not convinced yet? Alright, here’s another question or two: Do you believe the Bible to be the word of God? Do you believe that it teaches truths and brings you closer to Jesus Christ? Has the Bible helped you become more like your Savior?
If you answered yes to any of THOSE questions, then I’ll tell you this: You will LOVE the Book of Mormon.
Now I should probably tell you a little bit about the Book of Mormon. First off, it is a record of the people in the Americas, though it begins in Jerusalem in about 600 BC during the time of King Nebuchadnezzar with a prophet named Lehi. Lehi is eventually commanded to leave Jerusalem with his family in order to avoid destruction. Lehi’s family journeys through the wilderness and eventually crosses “many waters” to the promised land, which we now know are the Americas. This record follows the descendants of Lehi and keeps a spiritual knowledge of what they were taught concerning God, Jesus Christ, and the Gospel. At one point (in the book of 3 Nephi), Jesus Christ visits the Americas after His resurrection and teaches the same things he taught in Jerusalem (John 10:16 “other sheep”).
I also want to say this: The Book of Mormon does NOT replace the Bible. Not in any way shape or form. It does not add to it or take away from it. It actually is a COMPANION. Think of this: When you’re single, you’re you. You are whole, complete and wonderful. You were definitely created by God, and therefore are unique and full of good. What about when you get married? Does your spouse change the fact that you’re you? Do they change that you were created by God, are unique or good? Do they take away from you or add to you? Does your spouse replace you? NO! Not at all. Your spouse is you COMPANION.
Keep this definition in mind: Companion – one of a pair of things intended to complement or match each other.
Did you know that the title of the Book of Mormon is actually this? The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.
Here’s what the title page says about this wonderful book’s purpose: “…Which is to show unto the remnant of the House of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever – and also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that JESUS is the CHRIST, the ETERNAL GOD, manifesting himself unto all nations…”
Mmmm… I love reading that. It gives me chills almost every time. But you can see that this precious book is all about testifying of Jesus Christ and bringing any who read and study it closer to Him. Would you agree that the Bible has that same purpose? In other words, would you agree that based on this information, the Book of Mormon actually complements and matches the Bible? Would you say they are companions? I would.
Now, I could probably go on and on and on for days about this one topic. The Book of Mormon is so precious to me. I KNOW that it is true. I know that it teaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the most important book I’ve ever read because it supports the Bible and adds a second witness of Jesus Christ (it follows the law of witnesses; see also Deuteronomy 19:15; Matthew 18:16; Ezekiel 37:15:20; 2 Corinthians 13:1). The Book of Mormon also testifies to me that God is no respecter of persons (see Acts 10:34) and therefore teaches his Gospel to ALL nations (see Daniel 2:35; Isaiah 52:10; Psalms 22:27; Matthew 24:14). Luke 24:47 actually says: “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (emphasis added), which implies that Jerusalem is where it started, but not where it ended. So where else has His Gospel been preached? Would you say it’s probable that wherever else it’s been preached, those people ALSO kept records? I highly doubt the Jews (the Bible) are the only ones who kept a record of things that are so important and sacred. I also doubt the Book of Mormon is the only other record out there.
I hope that you can see, by these few points I’ve made, just how remarkable this book really is. If I haven’t convinced you of just how good this book is, then stop reading what I have to say and read the book yourself. I’m just human, so instead of me, I plead with you to let the Lord and His Spirit convince you. Read a little of it every day, compare it to what truths you know about Jesus Christ and His Gospel and then pray to know if what you’ve read is true. Let the Spirit be your guide. I promise you that if you truly are seeking for truth with an honest and sincere heart, the answer WILL come.
Remember that I share these things with you not because I want to prove that I’m right and you’re wrong. Not even close. Instead, I want to prove to you that we’re both right in searching for truth and that we both have so much more to learn. I share these things because I love you and because I want us both to find our place in the kingdom of God and I truly believe that the Book of Mormon is one way that can help us both to do so.
3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.