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 8, 2014

Atonement of Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon

                I can strengthen my faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ by studying the Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ.  You may ask how this is possible.  Let me explain.

                The main purpose of the Book of Mormon as listed on its title page is to convince all people that Jesus is the Christ.  The ancient American prophets had faith in Jesus Christ and wrote of many faithful disciples who received the blessings of His Atonement.  The prophets of the Book of Mormon bore powerful testimony of the Savior.  Nephi wrote, “For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do….
                “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” (2 Nephi 25:23, 26).

                The Book of Mormon invites all people to come unto Christ and contains the principles we need to achieve this goal.  The Book of Mormon is a compilation of the teachings of numerous prophets over a period of approximately one thousand years.  This sacred text was written to help us prepare the world for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.  Nephi described it as “the voice of one crying from the dust” (2 Nephi 33:13), and Mormon explained, “Behold, I speak unto you, as if ye were present, and yet ye are not.  But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me” (Mormon 8:35).

                Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught, “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 Andersen explained why it is important for the people in our day to have another testament of Jesus Christ, another witness to testify of the teachings 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’ (Doctrine and Covenants 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.
                “When I was a young missionary in Europe in the early 1970s, we began much of our teaching with an explanation of the Apostasy, because the divinity of Jesus Christ was widely accepted.  When I returned as a mission president 20 years later, we began our conversations differently, because belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, who gave His life for our sins and rose the third day, had faded significantly.”

                Three years have passed since Elder Andersen shared his experiences, three years in which the world has changed even further.  The world of today is in greater need of the Book of Mormon than at any previous time.  The Book of Mormon testifies powerfully and convincingly that Jesus Christ is truly the Son of God.  It testifies of His life, death, and resurrection and the promised resurrection of all people and the spiritual cleansing of all who exercise faith in Him and are obedient to His commandments.

                “The Book of Mormon begins with a family, a father and mother, sons and daughters heeding the revelation of their prophet-father to leave their worldly goods behind and follow the counsel of the Lord.  The book’s accounts are replete with parents seeking to instill in their children the promise and hope of Jesus Christ….  In the Book of Mormon, we see how parents taught faith in Christ and obedience to God’s commandments both to children who were obedient from their childhood and to children who had to find their way – sometimes in the very same family.    It is a lesson for our day, for our children, for our families.”

                Elder Andersen listed some questions that we should ponder as we study the Book of Mormon in order to help us liken the sacred teachings to our families.  1) “What passages in the Book of Mormon teach us that children need to see integrity and righteousness in the faith of their parents?”  2) What counsel have fathers in the Book of Mormon given their sons that we may want to share with our children?”  3) What do we learn about our efforts with children who are not being obedient?”  4) How do parents in the Book of Mormon share their deep beliefs with their children?”  5) “What do we learn about faith as it is transferred from one generation to another?”

                Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles testified that the Book of Mormon is a witness for the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  You can listen to his testimony here.

                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).

                If I found a field full of diamonds, would you want me to share that knowledge with you?  The gospel of Jesus Christ is full of spiritual “diamonds.”  The most important thing I can do is to share my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and encourage you to strengthen your faith in Him.  I strengthen my faith in the Savior by studying the Book of Mormon because it teaches of Him and His atoning sacrifice.  This book of scripture helps me to understand my daily challenges and how to be happy in this life; it also helps me to prepare for eternal life.  I invite you to study the Book of Mormon.  I know that you can strengthen your faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ by studying this sacred text.

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