Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Book of Mormon Testifies of Atonement

                The Book of Mormon strengthens my faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ; its primary purpose is to convince all people that Jesus is the Christ.  It teaches that “the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved” (Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, 1 Nephi 13:40).  This wonderful book of scripture contains many examples of faithful disciples who had faith in Jesus Christ and received the blessings of His Atonement. 

The Book of Moron tells of many prophets who bore powerful testimony of the Savior in order to strengthen the faith of their children.  One such prophet was Nephi:  “And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins” (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 25:26).

The Book of Mormon is a compilation of the teachings of numerous prophets through several centuries, but it was written for a future time.  It was written for our day – the fullness of times – in order to prepare the world for the return of the Savior to the earth.  Moroni, the last prophet of the Book of Mormon, declared, “Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not.  But behold Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me” (Book of Mormon, Mormon 8:35).

“The Book of Mormon was written for our day and for the days ahead.  Approximately one million copies of the Book of Mormon were printed in the first 100 years following the Restoration.  This included 15 languages, a remarkable undertaking.  In the next 50 years (1930-80), more than 25 million copies were printed in 41 languages.  Since that time 30 years ago, 125 million additional copies of the Book of Mormon have been printed in 107 languages, including Selections from the Book of Mormon.  The influence and impact of the Book of Mormon will continue to grow as the kingdom of God is carried to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people” (Elder Neil L. Andersen, “The Book of Mormon – Strengthening Our Faith in Jesus Christ,” Ensign, October 2011, p. 39).

Elder Andersen explained that the Book of Mormon is an important second witness of Jesus Christ given to us to strengthen the powerful declarations of the Bible.  “We live in a time unlike any other. Scientific achievement allows medical care. Transportation, comfort, and convenience never imagined by generations who preceded us.  The earth is flooded with information and technology, enhancing family history work and the sharing of the gospel but also the proliferation of pornography, virtual violence, and other `evils and designs [that] exist in the hearts of conspiring men’ (D&C 89:4).  In much of the world, we live in a time of strong attachment to material possessions.
“These conditions can, if we are not careful, distract or entice us to move away from principles that are eternal and true for every generation….”

Elder Andersen reminded us that the divinity of Jesus Christ was widely accepted in the early 1970’s, but belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God who atoned for our sins had faded significantly 20 years later.  “In today’s world, the arrogant arguments of Korihor, the anti-Christ, find listening ears:  `Why do ye look for a Christ?  For no man can know of anything which is to come.
“`Behold, these things which ye call prophecies … are foolish traditions of your fathers.
“`… Ye cannot know of things which ye do not see….
“`… Every man prosper[s] according to his [own] genius, and … conquer[s] according to his [own] strength’ (Alma 30:13-15, 17).

“We need our own secure and settled faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and we need help in strengthening our families so that this faith flows into the hearts of our children and grandchildren.  Faith in Jesus Christ, when solidly anchored in our souls, brings true conversion, and in its wake come repentance, honest discipleship, miracles, spiritual gifts, and enduring righteousness. This is an important part of the divine mission of the Book of Mormon….
“To me the bold declaration of Jesus Christ is the very power of the Book of Mormon.  Of course, we must receive a spiritual witness that the book is of God.  But once that is obtained, the purposes of Christ, the reality of His life and Resurrection, and the clarity of what is necessary to follow Him and obtain eternal life with Him are strikingly tangible before us
“Accompanied by the power of the Holy Ghost, reading and pondering the great sermons on Jesus Christ in the Book of Mormon bring a certain witness of their truthfulness.  I love to glide through the Book of Mormon feasting upon the powerful doctrines of Christ” (pp. 40-42).

The doctrines of Christ spoken of by Elder Andersen include the following:  In 1 Nephi 11:16 we learn of the condescension of God through Nephi’s vision of the tree of life.  In 2 Nephi 2:6 we read Lehi’s testimony that “redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth.”  Jacob adds that Christ is “the keeper of the gate. and he employeth no servant there” (2 Nephi 9:41).  King Benjamin taught the qualities of discipleship with his testimony that there is “no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ” (Mosiah 3:17). 

Just before he was burned to death, Abinadi testified, “But there is a resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death, is swallowed up in Christ.  He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened” (Mosiah 16:8-9).

Alma taught the doctrines of the Atonement, justice, and mercy:  “The plan of mercy could not be brought about except an atonement should be made; therefore God himself atoneth for the sins of the world, to bring about the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice, that God might be a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also” (Alma 42:15).

The Book of Mormon includes the words of Christ: “This is my gospel which I have given unto you – that I came into the world to do the will of my Father….  And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross… that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good o whether they be evil” (3 Nephi 27:13-14).

The great prophet Mormon testified, “Know ye that ye must … repent of all your sins and iniquities, and believe in Jesus Christ, that he is the Son of God” (Mormon 7:5).  Mormon’s son Moroni taught, “Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; 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, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ” (Moroni 10:32).

President Wilford Woodruff (1807-98) taught, “All the ingenuity of all the men under heaven could not compose and present to the world a book like the Book of Mormon.  Its principles are divine – they are from God.  They could never emanate from the mind of an imposter, or from the mind of a person writing a novel.  Why?  Because the promises and prophecies it contains are being fulfilled in the sight of all the earth” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church:  Wilford Woodruff [2004], 119).

The Book of Mormon carries between its covers a spiritual, powerful, and convincing testimony that Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah.  He is the “anointed Son of God who was sent to earth to bring about the resurrection of all men and the spiritual cleansing of those who will repent and follow Him.”

I too love to study the Book of Mormon and read the pleasing doctrines of Christ.  I know that He is the Son of God and that He made it possible for all mortals to become immortal and to atone for the sins of those who are willing to do His will.  I encourage you to join me in studying the Book of Mormon and learning the will of God for us in our day.

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