Prophets through the ages, from Adam to President Thomas S. Monson, have proclaimed the word of God to mankind. An ancient prophet went so far as to say that “God will do nothing” without revealing His will to His prophets (see Amos 3:7). I have learned to pay attention to the words of prophets, especially when I hear prophets and apostles quoting other prophets.
At the April 2017 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Monson spoke to the members of the Church as well as to the world. Suffering from old age and speaking for only a few minutes, the Prophet chose to urge everyone to read the Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ. He closed his remarks with a promise.
This morning I speak about the power of the Book of Mormon and the critical need we have as members of this Church to study, ponder, and apply its teachings in our lives. The importance of having a firm and sure testimony of the Book of Mormon cannot be overstated.
We live in a time of great trouble and wickedness. What will protect us from the sin and evil so prevalent in the world today? I maintain that a strong testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and of His gospel will help see us through to safety. If you are not reading the Book of Mormon each day, please do so. If you will read it prayerfully and with a sincere desire to know the truth, the Holy Ghost will manifest its truth to you. If it is true – and I solemnly testify that it is – then Joseph Smith was a prophet who saw God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.
Because the Book of Mormon is true, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s Church on the earth, and the holy priesthood of God has been restored for the benefit and blessing of His children.
If you do not have a firm testimony of these things, do that which is necessary to obtain one. It is essential for you to have your own testimony in these difficult times, for the testimonies of others will carry you only so far. However, once obtained, a testimony needs to be kept vital and alive through continued obedience to the commandments of God and through daily prayer and scripture study.
My dear associates in the work of the Lord, I implore each of us to prayerfully study and ponder the Book of Mormon each day. As we do so, we will be in a position to hear the voice of the Spirit, to resist temptation, to overcome doubt and fear, and to receive heaven’s help in our lives. (See “The Power of the Book of Mormon,” Ensign, May 2017; emphasis added.)
I was impressed at the number of speakers at the October 2017 General Conference who quoted the words of President Monson or at least referred to them. Two apostles, men that we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators, did so.
The first to do so was Elder Russell M. Nelson, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who spoke in the Saturday afternoon session of conference and titled his talk, “The Book of Mormon: What Would Your Life Be Like without It?” Elder Nelson referenced President Monson’s talk and then shared some personal experiences with the Book of Mormon as well as some results from a small survey that he took. Then he said the following.
Immersing ourselves regularly in the truths of the Book of Mormon can be a life-changing experience. One of our missionary granddaughters… promised an investigator that if he would read the Book of Mormon daily, his test scores on his university exams would improve. He did, and they did.
My dear brothers and sisters, I testify that the Book of Mormon is truly the word of God. It contains the answers to life’s most compelling questions. It teaches the doctrine of Christ. It expands and clarifies many of the “plain and precious” truths that were lost through centuries of time and numerous translations of the Bible.
The Book of Mormon provides the fullest and most authoritative understanding of the Atonement of Jesus Christ to be found anywhere. It teaches what it really means to be born again. From the Book of Mormon we learn about the gathering of scattered Israel. We know why we are here on earth. These and other truths are more powerfully and persuasively taught in the Book of Mormon than in any other book. The full power of the gospel of Jesus Christ is contained in the Book of Mormon. Period.
The Book of Mormon illuminates the teachings of the Master and exposes the tactics of the adversary. The Book of Mormon teaches true doctrine to dispel false religious traditions – such as the erroneous practice of performing infant baptisms. The Book of Mormon gives purpose to life by urging us to ponder the potential of eternal life and “never-ending happiness.” The Book of Mormon shatters the false beliefs that happiness can be found in wickedness and that individual goodness is all that is required to return to the presence of God. It abolishes forever the false concepts that revelation ended with the Bible and that the heavens are sealed today.
When I think of the Book of Mormon, I think of the word power. The truths of the Book of Mormon have the power to heal, comfort, restore, succor, strengthen, console, and cheer our souls.
My dear brothers and sisters, I promise that as you prayerfully study the Book of Mormon every day, you will make better decisions – every day. I promise that as you ponder what you study, the windows of heaven will open, and you will receive answers to your own questions and direction for your own life. I promise that as you daily immerse yourself in the Book of Mormon, you can be immunized against the evils of the day, even the gripping plague of pornography and other mind-numbing addictions. (See “The Book of Mormon: What Would Your Life Be Like without It? emphasis added.)
President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, spoke in the Sunday morning session of General Conference. He reminded us again of President Monson’s plea to us to read the Book of Mormon. He mentioned that he had read the Book of Mormon every day for fifty years, and he still felt the urge from President Monson’s talk to deepen his study of the Book of Mormon.
Like many of you, I heard the prophet’s words as the voice of the Lord to me. And, also like many of you, I decided to obey those words. Now, since I was a young boy, I have felt the witness that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, that the Father and the Son appeared and spoke with Joseph Smith, and that ancient Apostles came to the Prophet Joseph to restore priesthood keys to the Lord’s Church.
With that testimony, I have read the Book of Mormon every day for more than 50 years. So perhaps I could have reasonably thought that President Monson’s words were for someone else. Yet, like many of you, I felt the prophet’s encouragement and his promise invite me to make a greater effort. Many of you have done what I did: prayed with increased intent, pondered scripture more intently, and tried harder to serve the Lord and others for Him.
The happy result for me, and for many of you, has been what the prophet promised. Those of us who took his inspired counsel to heart have heard the Spirit more distinctly. We have found a greater power to resist temptation and have felt greater faith in a resurrected Jesus Christ, in His gospel, and in His living Church.
In a season of increasing tumult in the world, those increases in testimony have driven out doubt and fear and have brought us feelings of peace. Heeding President Monson’s counsel has had two other wonderful effects on me: First the Spirit he promised has produced a sense of optimism about what lies ahead, even as the commotion in the world seems to increase. And, second, the Lord has given me – and you – an even greater feeling of His love for those in distress. We have felt an increase in the desire to go to the rescue of others. That desire has been at the heart of President Monson’s ministry and teaching. (See “Fear Not to Do Good;” emphasis added.)
The Prophet said that we should “prayerfully study and ponder the Book of Mormon each day. As we do so, we will be in a position to hear the voice of the Spirit, to resist temptation, to overcome doubt and fear, and to receive heaven’s help in our lives. Two Apostles quoted or referred to the Prophet’s words, encouraged us to sincerely study the Book of Mormon, and gave their own promises for what we could expect for doing so.
President Nelson promised that we would “make better decisions,” have “windows of heaven” open to us, “receive answers to your own questions and direction for your own life,” and “be immunized against the evils of the day.”
President Eyring spoke of hearing “the Spirit more distinctly,” having “a greater power to resist temptation,” and feeling “greater faith in a resurrected Jesus Christ, in His gospel, and in His living Church.”
I have been reading and studying the Book of Mormon almost daily for approximately 37 years. I know of its power to bless my life and can testify of its truthfulness. Yet, I feel a great pull to study deeper, pray more fervently, and obey with more exactness. I encourage you to join me in my quest to receive more of the promised blessings that come from studying the Book of Mormon.