#BOMSummer DAY 85, Moroni 10: “Its Own Proof”

Moroni 10,

President Ezra Taft Benson:

We do not have to prove the Book of Mormon is true. The book is its own proof. All we need to do is read it and declare it! The Book of Mormon is not on trial—the people of the world, including the members of the Church, are on trial as to what they will do with this second witness for Christ.

I testify that the Book of Mormon is the word of God; and therefore Jesus is the Christ, Joseph Smith is a prophet, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true, with its authorized servants to perform the ordinances of salvation today, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. (“A New Witness for Christ,” Ensign, Nov. 1984.)

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#BOMSummer DAY 84, Moroni 8-9: “Confirming Evidence”

Moroni 8-9,

President James E. Faust:

What, then, is the Book of Mormon? It is confirming evidence of the birth, life, and crucifixion of Jesus and of his work as the Messiah and the Redeemer. Nephi writes about the Book of Mormon: “All ye ends of the earth, hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ.” (2 Ne. 33:10.)

Nephi and his brother Jacob join with Isaiah to constitute three powerful pre-Messianic voices proclaiming the first coming of Jesus. Isaiah is quoted extensively by Nephi because he is the principal Old Testament prophet who prophesied of the coming of the Messiah.

The Book of Mormon establishes the truthfulness of the Bible. (See 1 Ne. 13:40.) It is evidence “to the world that the holy scriptures are true.” (D&C 20:11.) It foretells the establishment of the fulness of the gospel of peace and salvation. It was written to give us principles and guidelines for our eternal journey.

One of the ultimate messages of the Book of Mormon, and indeed of the Old Testament and all human history, is that mankind cannot reach perfection on its own. There is another message which comes through loud and clear from its pages. It is the often unpopular and seemingly harsh injunction—“Repent or perish.” When the Book of Mormon people listened to this prophetic message, they flourished. When they forgot the message, they perished.

In Galatians Paul said, “The law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ.” (Gal. 3:24.) The records maintained by the Book of Mormon prophets—and portions of what is now the Bible brought from the eastern continent—served, according to Abinadi, “to keep them in remembrance of God and their duty towards him.” (Mosiah 13:30.) So the Book of Mormon is a schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ. (See Mosiah 13:27–32.)

The test for understanding this sacred book is preeminently spiritual. An obsession with secular knowledge rather than spiritual understanding will make its pages difficult to unlock.

To me it is inconceivable that Joseph Smith, without divine help, could have written this complex and profound book. There is no way that Joseph Smith, an unlearned young frontiersman, could have fabricated the great truths it contains, generated its great spiritual power, or falsified the testimony of Christ that it contains. The book itself testifies that it is the holy word of God….

With the aid of modern computer science, a topical guide has been placed in the King James Version of the Bible, containing doctrinal cross-references to the other scriptures. From these references we find countless confirming evidences that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon with the aid and power of God. On almost every one of its 531 pages are numerous references that tie in doctrinally to the King James Bible. In comparison, many statements that seem fragmented in the Bible are more complete in the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants.

References to teachings also taught in the Old Testament and the New Testament are so numerous and overwhelming throughout the Book of Mormon that one can come to a definitive conclusion by logic that a human intellect could not have conceived of them all. But more important than logic is the confirmation by the Holy Spirit that the story of the Book of Mormon is true.

All scriptures are one in that they testify of Jesus. Jacob, a Book of Mormon prophet, reminds us that “none of the prophets have written, nor prophesied, save they have spoken concerning this Christ.” (Jacob 7:11.) Speaking of the scriptures, the Psalmist said, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Ps. 119:105.)

The Book of Mormon will encourage only righteousness. Why, then, has hostility been engendered against the book? In part, no doubt, it may have come because the origin of the book was from golden plates delivered to Joseph Smith by an angel. These were seen and handled by selected witnesses, but not put on public display. Perhaps it is also because it is claimed primarily to be the work of ancient prophets here on the American continent.

The great worth of the Book of Mormon was declared by the Savior himself. He said in 3 Nephi, “This is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me.” (3 Ne. 11:32.)

The Redeemer further declared in the Book of Mormon, “Behold I have given unto you my gospel.” (3 Ne. 27:13.) As a special witness, I testify that Jesus is the Christ and that Nephi’s and Isaiah’s prophecies of His coming have in fact been fulfilled. Like Nephi, “We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophecy of Christ.” (2 Ne. 25:26.)

I testify that the Savior will come again, and that at his second coming some will say, “What are these wounds in thine hands and in thy feet?” He will show the wounds in His hands, wrists, and feet, and they will ask when and where he received these wounds. He will answer: “I am Jesus that was crucified. I am the Son of God.” (D&C 45:51–52.)

I testify through the sure conviction that springs from the witness of the Spirit that it is possible to know things that have been revealed with greater certainty than by actually seeing them. We can have a more absolute knowledge than eyes can perceive or ears can hear. God himself has put his approval on the Book of Mormon, having said, “As your Lord and your God liveth it is true.” (D&C 17:6.) (“The Keystone of Our Religion,” Ensign, Nov. 1983.)

#BOMSummer DAY 83, Moroni 1-7: “A True Witness—Another Testament and a New Covenant”

Moroni 1-7,

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland:

Because I learned for myself that the Book of Mormon is a true witness—another testament and a new covenant—that Jesus is the Christ, I also learned that Joseph Smith was and is a prophet of God. As my great-great-great grandfather said in the early days of the Restoration, “No wicked man could write such a book as this; and no good man would write it, unless it were true and he were commanded of God to do so.”

To my first convictions have been added all of the other quickening moments and sanctifying manifestations that today give deepest meaning to my days, purpose to my life, and a solid foundation to my testimony.

Now, I did not sail with the brother of Jared. I did not hear King Benjamin speak his angelically delivered sermon. I was not among the Nephite crowd who touched the wounds of the resurrected Lord, nor did I weep with Mormon and Moroni over the destruction of a civilization. But my testimony of this record and the peace it brings to the human heart—given to me through the whispering of the Holy Spirit just as it is given to you—is as binding and unequivocal as was theirs. I testify of this book as surely as if I had, with the Three Witnesses, seen the angel Moroni or, with the Eight Witnesses, handled the plates of gold. (“A Testimony, a Covenant, and a Witness,” Ensign, Oct. 2011)

#BOMSummer DAY 82, Ether 13-15: “The Greatest Single Tool”

Ether 13-15,

President Ezra Taft Benson:

The Book of Mormon is for both member and nonmember. Combined with the Spirit of the Lord, the Book of Mormon is the greatest single tool which God has given us to convert the world. If we are to have the harvest of souls that President Kimball envisions, then we must use the instrument which God has designed for that task—the Book of Mormon.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie stated, “Men can get nearer to the Lord, can have more of the spirit of conversion and conformity in their hearts, can have stronger testimonies, and can gain a better understanding of the doctrines of salvation through the Book of Mormon than they can through the Bible. … There will be more people saved in the kingdom of God—ten thousand times over—because of the Book of Mormon than there will be because of the Bible.” (Address at Book of Mormon Symposium, Brigham Young University, 18 Aug 1978).

The Christian world has the Bible—and so do we. The Bible speaks of a people, the Jews; their land, the Holy Land; their prophets; and the birth and ministry of Jesus Christ.

But was there only one tribe of Israel? What of Joseph, the birthright son, who saved all of Israel’s family from famine? What of Joseph, whose sons Israel blessed and said, “Let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac”? (Gen. 48:16). What of Joseph, whom Israel blessed and promised that he would be “a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall”? (Gen. 49:22.) Where is the record of Joseph?

We testify to the world that we have the record of Joseph—even the Book of Mormon. Like Judah, Joseph had a people—the Nephites and Lamanites. Like Judah, Joseph had a land—the Americas. Like Judah, Joseph had prophets, and his descendants also had a visitation from Jesus Christ, even the resurrected Lord.

“Know ye not,” the Lord says in the Book of Mormon, “that there are more nations than one? …

“Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another?

“… And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another.” (2 Ne. 29:7–9).

We invite all men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, another testament of Jesus Christ.

The Bible sits on the pulpit of hundreds of different religious sects. The Book of Mormon, the record of Joseph, verifies and clarifies the Bible. It removes stumbling blocks, it restores many plain and precious things. We testify that when used together, the Bible and the Book of Mormon confound false doctrines, lay down contentions, and establish peace. (See 2 Ne. 3:12.) (“A New Witness for Christ,” Ensign, Nov. 1984)

#BOMSummer DAY 81, Ether 11-12: “The Fullest Measure of Peace and Comfort”

Ether 11-12,

:

I testify that one cannot come to full faith in this latter-day work—and thereby find the fullest measure of peace and comfort in these, our times—until he or she embraces the divinity of the Book of Mormon and the Lord Jesus Christ, of whom it testifies. If anyone is foolish enough or misled enough to reject 531 pages of a heretofore unknown text teeming with literary and Semitic complexity without honestly attempting to account for the origin of those pages—especially without accounting for their powerful witness of Jesus Christ and the profound spiritual impact that witness has had on what is now tens of millions of readers—if that is the case, then such a person, elect or otherwise, has been deceived; and if he or she leaves this Church, it must be done by crawling over or under or around the Book of Mormon to make that exit. In that sense the book is what Christ Himself was said to be: “a stone of stumbling, … a rock of offence,” a barrier in the path of one who wishes not to believe in this work. Witnesses, even witnesses who were for a time hostile to Joseph, testified to their death that they had seen an angel and had handled the plates. “They have been shown unto us by the power of God, and not of man,” they declared. “Wherefore we know of a surety that the work is true.”

Now, I did not sail with the brother of Jared in crossing an ocean, settling in a new world. I did not hear King Benjamin speak his angelically delivered sermon. I did not proselyte with Alma and Amulek nor witness the fiery death of innocent believers. I was not among the Nephite crowd who touched the wounds of the resurrected Lord, nor did I weep with Mormon and Moroni over the destruction of an entire civilization. But my testimony of this record and the peace it brings to the human heart is as binding and unequivocal as was theirs. Like them, “[I] give [my name] unto the world, to witness unto the world that which [I] have seen.” And like them, “[I] lie not, God bearing witness of it.”

I ask that my testimony of the Book of Mormon and all that it implies, given today under my own oath and office, be recorded by men on earth and angels in heaven. I hope I have a few years left in my “last days,” but whether I do or do not, I want it absolutely clear when I stand before the judgment bar of God that I declared to the world, in the most straightforward language I could summon, that the Book of Mormon is true, that it came forth the way Joseph said it came forth and was given to bring happiness and hope to the faithful in the travail of the latter days.

My witness echoes that of Nephi, who wrote part of the book in his “last days”:

“Hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, … and they teach all men that they should do good.

“And if they are not the words of Christ, judge ye—for Christ will show unto you, with power and great glory, that they are his words, at the last day.”

Brothers and sisters, God always provides safety for the soul, and with the Book of Mormon, He has again done that in our time. (“Safety for the Soul,” Ensign, Nov. 2009)

#BOMSummer DAY 80, Ether 8-10: “New Covenant”

Ether 8-10,

:

The Savior referred to the Book of Mormon as His “new covenant” with the house of Israel. It is a tangible sign of Christ’s culminating covenant with mankind. The divine teachings of this book, as a third testament, clarify doctrine and unify the Old Testament with the New Testament. Scriptural covenants, testaments, and witnesses since the beginning of time relate to the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the central act of all human history.

The Book of Mormon is the most important religious text to be revealed from God to man “since the writings of the New Testament were compiled nearly two millennia ago.” Joseph Smith declared the Book of Mormon to be “the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion.” It is the only book that the Lord Himself has testified to be true.

The crowning event of this sacred record is the personal ministry of the resurrected Lord to people of ancient America. To them He made this revelatory announcement:

“Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God. I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are. I was with the Father from the beginning. …

“… The scriptures concerning my coming are fulfilled. …

“I am the light and the life of the world. …

“… Whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost. …

“… I have come unto the world to bring redemption unto the world, to save the world from sin.

“Therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will I receive, for of such is the kingdom of God. … I have laid down my life, and have taken it up again; therefore repent, and come unto me, … and be saved.”

After that supernal introduction, the Master reinforced His identity by allowing the multitudes to thrust their hands into His side and feel the prints of the nails in His hands and in His feet. Then they knew that the very God of Israel stood in their presence—He who had been slain for the sins of the world.

He instructed the people. He taught them to pray, to repent, to be baptized, to partake of the sacrament, to know of His doctrine, to understand the importance of sacred ordinances and covenants, and to endure to the end. (“A Testimony of the Book of Mormon,” Ensign, Nov. 1999.)

#BOMSummer DAY 79, Ether 4-7: “Like a Vast Mansion”

Ether 4-7,

Elder Neal A. Maxwell:

This address will attempt to “survey the wondrous cross” by focusing on the Christology in the book of Mosiah, using not only the words of King Benjamin, Mosiah, Abinadi, and Alma the Younger, but scriptures that lie in the suburbs of Mosiah and other related scriptures. The final focus will be on the requirements for our becoming what King Benjamin called “the children of Christ,” which is my text (Mosiah 1:11; 5:9, 11; 26:18).

Left unexplored are other possibilities, such as some our LDS scholars are reconnoitering. For instance, the biblical term mosiah was probably a political designation; it also is an honorific title in Hebrew meaning savior or rescuer (FARMS Update, April 1989). Not bad for a bright but unschooled Joseph Smith who, while translating early on, reportedly wondered aloud to Emma if there were walls around Jerusalem (The History of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, vol. 4, 1873–1890 [Independence, Missouri: Herald House, 1967], p. 447).

There is so much more in the Book of Mormon than we have yet discovered. The book’s divine architecture and rich furnishings will increasingly unfold to our view, further qualifying it as “a marvelous work and a wonder” (Isaiah 29:14). As I noted from this pulpit in 1986, “The Book of Mormon is like a vast mansion with gardens, towers, courtyards, and wings (Book of Mormon Symposium, 10 October 1986). All the rooms in this mansion need to be explored, whether by valued traditional scholars or by those at the cutting edge. Each plays a role, and one LDS scholar cannot say to the other, “I have no need of thee” (1 Corinthians 12:21). (“The Children of Christ,” BYU Speeches, Feb. 4, 1990)

Here is the complete “vast mansion” quote from the Book of Mormon Symposium:

“The Book of Mormon is like a vast mansion, with gardens, towers, courtyards, and wings. My tour of it has never been completed. Some rooms I have yet to enter, and there are more felicitous fireplaces waiting to warm me. Even the rooms I have glimpsed contain further furnishings and rich detail yet to be savored. There are panels inlaid with incredible insights, and design and décor dating from Eden. There are even sumptuous banquet tables painstakingly prepared by predecessors which await all of us. Yet we as church members sometimes behave like hurried tourists scarcely entering beyond the entry hall. May we come to feel, as a whole people, beckoned beyond the entry hall. May we go inside far enough to hear clearly the whispered truths from those who have slumbered – which whisperings will awaken in us individually a life of discipleship as never before.” (“Great Answers to the Great Question” Book of Mormon Symposium, 10 October 1986. Audio track time-stamp, 42:40-44:09)

#BOMSummer DAY 78, Ether 2-3: “The Beginning of My Light”

Ether 2-3,

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland:

The holy affirmations I have had regarding the Savior and His restored Church first came to me as a young man when I read the Book of Mormon. It was while reading this sacred record that I felt—again and again—the undeniable whispering of the Holy Ghost declaring to my soul its truthfulness.

Reading the book was the beginning of my light. It was the source of my first spiritual certainty that God lives, that He is my Heavenly Father, and that a plan of happiness was outlined in eternity for me. It led me to love the Holy Bible and the other standard works of the Church. It taught me to love the Lord Jesus Christ, to glimpse His merciful compassion, and to consider the grace and grandeur of His atoning sacrifice. (“A Testimony, a Covenant, and a Witness,” Ensign, Oct. 2011)

#BOMSummer DAY 77, Mormon 8-Ether 1: “The Fulness of the Gospel”

Mormon 8-Ether 1,

:

The Savior declared that the Book of Mormon contains “the fulness of [His] everlasting gospel.” How did He define the gospel? The resurrected Lord taught, “This is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me.”

Then He amplified that one-sentence definition: “My Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me.”

This unique mortal mission of the Lord—the gospel as He defined it—we know as the Atonement. The fulness of the gospel, therefore, connotes a fuller comprehension of the Atonement. This we do not obtain from the Bible alone. The word atonement, in any of its forms, is mentioned only once in the King James Version of the New Testament. In the Book of Mormon, it appears 39 times! The Book of Mormon also contains more references to the Resurrection than does the Bible. (“A Testimony of the Book of Mormon,” Ensign, Nov. 1999.)

#BOMSummer DAY 76, Mormon 5-7: “Love. Healing. Help. Hope.”

Mormon 5-7,

:

The Savior warned that in the last days even those of the covenant, the very elect, could be deceived by the enemy of truth. If we think of this as a form of spiritual destruction, it may cast light on another latter-day prophecy. Think of the heart as the figurative center of our faith, the poetic location of our loyalties and our values; then consider Jesus’s declaration that in the last days “men’s hearts [shall fail] them.”

The encouraging thing, of course, is that our Father in Heaven knows all of these latter-day dangers, these troubles of the heart and soul, and has given counsel and protections regarding them.

In light of that, it has always been significant to me that the Book of Mormon, one of the Lord’s powerful keystones in this counteroffensive against latter-day ills, begins with a great parable of life, an extended allegory of hope versus fear, of light versus darkness, of salvation versus destruction—an allegory of which Sister Ann M. Dibb spoke so movingly this morning.

In Lehi’s dream an already difficult journey gets more difficult when a mist of darkness arises, obscuring any view of the safe but narrow path his family and others are to follow. It is imperative to note that this mist of darkness descends on all the travelers—the faithful and the determined ones (the elect, we might even say) as well as the weaker and ungrounded ones. The principal point of the story is that the successful travelers resist all distractions, including the lure of forbidden paths and jeering taunts from the vain and proud who have taken those paths. The record says that the protected “did press their way forward, continually [and, I might add, tenaciously] holding fast” to a rod of iron that runs unfailingly along the course of the true path.4 However dark the night or the day, the rod marks the way of that solitary, redeeming trail.

“I beheld,” Nephi says later, “that the rod of iron … was the word of God, [leading] … to the tree of life; … a representation of the love of God.” Viewing this manifestation of God’s love, Nephi goes on to say:

“I looked and beheld the Redeemer of the world, … [who] went forth ministering unto the people. …

“… And I beheld multitudes of people who were sick, and who were afflicted with all manner of diseases, and with devils and unclean spirits; … and they were healed by the power of the Lamb of God; and the devils and the unclean spirits were cast out.”

Love. Healing. Help. Hope. The power of Christ to counter all troubles in all times—including the end of times. That is the safe harbor God wants for us in personal or public days of despair. That is the message with which the Book of Mormon begins, and that is the message with which it ends, calling all to “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him.” That phrase—taken from Moroni’s final lines of testimony, written 1,000 years after Lehi’s vision—is a dying man’s testimony of the only true way. (“Safety for the Soul,” Ensign, Nov. 2009)