The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns freedom from addiction. I believe that it is safe to say that all addictions are harmful, whether it is addiction to a certain food or to tobacco or to drugs. However, some addictions will cause more harm than other addictions. If I eat bread, I gain weight. Too much weight can be bad for my health but mostly likely would not kill me. If I were to become addicted to tobacco, I could get cancer – which could kill me.
In his article entitled “The Great Healing Power of The Book of Mormon” Larry Barkdull discusses his opportunity to help a friend overcome an addiction. He does not say what his friend was addicted to, but we can be sure that it was mostly likely something more serious than eating bread. He opens his article by sharing some counsel that he received from his bishop. “Stopping is not repentance, changing is.” He continues by saying, “Stopping is an act of will-power, which seldom holds up to the unrelenting onslaught of Satan; changing is a function of the Atonement, a divinely infused power allowing one to become a new creature in Christ.”
Barkdull explains that even though bishops want the sinner to stop sinning, their main concern is bringing about a change of heart in a repentant soul. When there is a change of heart, there is no more desire for the sin.
This “mighty change of heart” is impossible to achieve on our own. Neither bishops nor parents nor friends nor the prophet of God can cause it to happen. Only Jesus can cause a mighty change. Thus bishops and prophets labor endlessly to create the environment for change, begging us to come unto Christ.
So what tool does a bishop use to invite a ward member to come unto Christ and achieve a change of heart? A frequent tool used by bishops as well as other leaders is to encourage the person to study the Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ. The truly repentant soul will study it diligently.
Barkdull shares several quotes about the power of healing in the Book of Mormon, among which are some from President Ezra Taft Benson. Here are some excerpts from talks given by President Benson who spoke often about the healing power of the Book of Mormon.
God uses the power of the word of the Book of Mormon as an instrument to change people’s lives….in particular, the instrument He designed to bring us to Christ [is] the Book of Mormon (See Benson, “The Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants,” Ensign, May 1987).
Do you have members in your stakes whose lives are shattered by sin or tragedy, who are in despair and without hope? Have you longed for some way to reach out and heal their wounds, soothe their troubled souls? The prophet Jacob offers just that with this remarkable promise: “They have come up hither to hear the pleasing word of God, yea, the word which healeth the wounded soul.” (Jacob 2:8; italics added.)…
Success in righteousness, the power to avoid deception and resist temptation, guidance in our daily lives, healing of the soul – these are but a few of the promises the Lord has given to those who will come to His word. Does the Lord promise and not fulfill? Surely if He tells us that these things will come to us if we lay hold upon His word, then the blessings can be ours. And if we do not, then the blessings may be lost. However diligent we may be in other areas, certain blessings are to be found only in the scriptures, only in coming to the word of the Lord and holding fast to it as we make our way through the mists of darkness to the tree of life. And if we ignore what the Lord has given us, we may lose the very power and blessings which we seek. (See Benson, “The Power of the Word,” Ensign, May 1986, emphasis added.)
Barkdull’s article has much more information in it about the healing power of the Book of Mormon. We can be healed from any addiction by feasting about the words of the Lord, even Jesus Christ, in the Book of Mormon and achieving a change of heart. I know that this book is true, and I encourage my readers to study it in order to be healed from many of life’s afflictions.