Our main task is to declare the gospel and do it effectively. We are not obligated to answer every objection. Every man eventually is backed up to the wall of faith, and there he must make his stand. “And if they are not the words of Christ, judge ye,” said Nephi, “for Christ will show unto you, with power and great glory, that they are his words, at the last day; and you and I shall stand face to face before his bar; and ye shall know that I have been commanded of him to write these things.” (2 Ne. 33:11.) Every man must judge for himself, knowing God will hold him accountable.
The Book of Mormon is to be used “for a standard unto my people, which are of the house of Israel,” the Lord says, and its words “shall hiss forth unto the ends of the earth.” (2 Ne. 29:2.) We, the members of the Church, and particularly the missionaries, have to be the “hissers,” or the tellers and testifiers, of the Book of Mormon unto the ends of the earth.
The Book of Mormon is the great standard we are to use. It shows that Joseph Smith was a prophet. It contains the words of Christ, and its great mission is to bring men to Christ and all other things are secondary. The golden question of the Book of Mormon is “Do you want to learn more of Christ?” The Book of Mormon is the great finder of the golden contact. It does not contain things which are “pleasing unto the world” (1 Ne. 6:5), and so the worldly are not interested in it. It is a great sieve.
Anyone who has diligently sought to know the doctrines and teachings of the Book of Mormon and has used it conscientiously in missionary work knows within his soul that this is the instrument which God has given to the missionaries to convince the Jew and Gentile and Lamanite of the truthfulness of our message. (“The Book of Mormon Is the Word of God,” Ensign, May 1975)
The Book of Mormon is a wellspring of peace to the thirsty soul. It is a great purveyor of the Savior’s peace. The introduction to the Book of Mormon explains that the book tells us what we must do “to gain peace in this life and eternal salvation in the life to come” (emphasis added).
Counting the ways the Book of Mormon brings peace to the soul is like counting the sand on the seashore. Let me discuss a few of the ways, allowing you to multiply the list by your own experience….
The promise of comfort and peace is nestled in every chapter and verse of the Book of Mormon. We need only approach this book prayerfully and with faith, and the Savior’s peace will permeate our searching. (“The Book of Mormon: The Great Purveyor of the Savior’s Peace,” Ensign, Jan. 2008)
During the dedication of the Mexico City Temple, I had one of those singular experiences that readjusts the course of a life. It occurred during the eighth dedicatory session, where many of the men and women leaders of Mexico and Central America were present. When unexpectedly asked to speak, I attempted to convey the strong impressions that poured into my heart. I spoke of those beyond the veil who, in fulfillment of prophecy, had served, suffered, and given greatly to form the foundation which permitted the opening of a new era of the work.
I expressed a feeling to plead in behalf of former prophets who had prepared and protected the sacred records of the Book of Mormon. I sensed that they were saddened as they see us walk from place to place with an unopened Book of Mormon under our arm or see it kept in homes where it gathers dust and is not read, pondered, nor its contents applied.
The Book of Mormon was prepared by divine assignment for the blessing and enlightenment of all those who receive it.
As I spoke, I realized in my heart that all the efforts that I had expended for six years in trying to help those beloved leaders overcome the effects of false traditions and learn to apply the teachings of the Lord would have been better directed had I strongly encouraged them to ponder and apply the teachings of the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon contains messages that were divinely placed there to show how to correct the influence of false tradition and how to receive a fulness of life. It teaches how to resolve the problems and challenges that we face today that were foreseen by the Lord. In that book he has provided the way to correct the serious errors of life, but this guidance is of no value if it remains locked in a closed book.
I witnessed that it is not sufficient that we should treasure the Book of Mormon, nor that we testify that it is of God. We must know its truths, incorporate them into our lives, and share them with others. I felt an overwhelming love for the people and an urgent desire that all would comprehend the value of the Book of Mormon.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Ezra Taft Benson, then President of the Quorum of the Twelve, invited me to join him in a private room in the temple. He asked me to be seated, drew his chair close to mine, looked penetratingly into my eyes, and with an earnestness that I will never forget, witnessed of his profound conviction that every member of the Church must learn to use the Book of Mormon as the Lord intended.
As he spoke I knew that the Lord had inspired him to have those feelings. I had a witness borne to my heart that he was speaking the will of the Lord. (“True Friends That Lift,” Ensign, Nov. 1988)
Theology and beauty combine, again and again, in the pages provided through Joseph, as when the resurrected Christ appeared in the Western Hemisphere:
‘And when [Jesus] had said these words, he himself also knelt upon the earth; and behold he prayed unto the Father, and the things which he prayed cannot be written. …
‘And no tongue can speak, neither can there be written by any man, neither can the hearts of men conceive so great and marvelous things as we both saw and heard Jesus speak; and no one can conceive of the joy which filled our souls at the time we heard him pray for us unto the Father.’ (3 Ne. 17:15–17.)
Serious study of the blessed Book of Mormon admits one to a wonder world of complexity and beauty, even in the midst of the book’s simple, but powerful, spiritual refrain. We are given that which we most need—yet we are athirst for more! (“Joseph, the Seer,” Ensign, Nov. 1983)
Those who are familiar with the life and teachings of the Master from their knowledge of the books of the Bible will be interested to know there is also a record of his appearance to the people of the Western Hemisphere—the other sheep to whom he made reference. It is titled the Book of Mormon after the prophet who compiled and abridged the records of the peoples of the American continents. The Book of Mormon is another witness for Christ and records his teachings to the other flock in the New World. It is also a record of the historical events covering more than one thousand years of the travels and struggles of these people and the prophets who led and taught them.
We are already aware of the strength and the power of the many testimonies of the prophets who have lived in the world, as recorded in the Bible. Our good news is that the words of the prophets who lived in the New World give us not only additional insight regarding spiritual things, but also a confirming testimony that supports and is in harmony with what we already understand from our reading of the Bible.
To those who may not be familiar with the Book of Mormon but are sincerely seeking truth, reading it will have a profound effect on your life. It will expand your knowledge of the way God deals with man and will give you a greater desire to live in harmony with his gospel teachings. It will also provide for you a powerful testimony of Jesus.
In answer to the questions, “How can I know of the truthfulness of these things?” and “How can I know of a surety that the Savior lives today?” Moroni, one of the great prophets in the Book of Mormon, has provided the answer. He gives us guidance regarding how one can determine the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, and this same procedure will lead us into all truth and can surely assist one who desires to know about the reality of the resurrection of Jesus. He wrote this statement:
“And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
“And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” (Moro. 10:4–5.)
If you have a sincere desire to know, and if you are willing to live in accordance with all of the commandments He has given, this counsel of Moroni will result in a spiritual confirmation of gospel truths (“Evidences of the Resurrection,” Ensign, May 1983).
Brethren and sisters, if there are miracles among us, certainly one of them is this book. Unbelievers may doubt the First Vision and say there were no witnesses to prove it. Critics may scorn every divine manifestation incident to the coming forth of this work as being of such an intangible nature as to be unprovable to the pragmatic mind, as if the things of God could be understood other than by the Spirit of God. They may discount our theology. But they cannot in honesty dismiss the Book of Mormon. It is here. They can feel it. They can read it. They can weigh its substance and its content. They can witness its influence. (“We Add Our Witness,” Ensign, Mar. 1989)
It is not sufficient that the Book of Mormon be [just physically] in our homes; its principles must be captured in our minds and hearts. Through consistent reading, prayerful pondering, and conscientious application, its teachings will become an essential part of the fabric of our lives.
What does the Book of Mormon mean to you? Has it been a source of inspiration and power in your life? Will it continue to be?
If you have not yet drunk deeply from this fountain of pure truth, with all of my soul I encourage you to do so now. Don’t let the consistent study of the Book of Mormon be one of the things that you intend to do but never quite accomplish. Begin today.
Suggested Readings from Elder Scott:
Benson, Ezra Taft. “The Book of Mormon Is the Word of God.” Ensign, May 1975, p. 63.
Benson, Ezra Taft. “Joseph Smith: Prophet to Our Generation.” Ensign, Nov.1981, p. 61.
Faust, James E. “The Keystone of Our Religion.” Ensign, Nov. 1983, p. 9.
Hinckley, Gordon B. “An Angel from on High, the Long, Long Silence Broke.”Ensign, Nov. 1979, p. 7.
Hinckley, Gordon B. “Praise to the Man.” Ensign, Aug. 1983, p. 2.
McConkie, Bruce R. “This Generation Shall Have My Word through You.”Ensign, June 1980, p. 54.
McConkie, Bruce R. “What Think Ye of the Book of Mormon?” Ensign, Nov.1983, p. 72.
Packer, Boyd K. “Scriptures.” Ensign, Nov. 1982, p. 51.
Petersen, Mark E. “It Was a Miracle!” Ensign, Nov. 1977, p. 11.
Petersen, Mark E. “Evidence of Things Not Seen.” Ensign, May 1978, p. 61.
Petersen, Mark E. “The Last Words of Moroni.” Ensign, Nov. 1978, p. 57.
Romney, Marion G. “The Book of Mormon.” Ensign, May 1980, p. 65.
Tanner, N. Eldon. “The Inevitable Choice.” Ensign, Sept. 1977, p. 2.
“The Coming Forth of the Book of Mormon.” Ensign, Dec. 1983, p. 31.
“Testimonies of the Book of Mormon.” Ensign, Dec. 1983, p. 6.
The Book of Mormon, above all other books that I know of, is the greatest source we have for answers to real-life problems. I remember as a young man serving my mission in England and visiting a nonmember family who were suffering great grief because an infant son had unexpectedly died. The minister of their church taught them that their son was hopelessly confined to everlasting damnation because he had not been baptized.
When my companion and I arrived on the scene and saw the awful grief that the mother of this little boy was suffering, we read to her from Moroni 8:8: ‘Listen to the words of Christ, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Behold, I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; the whole need no physician, but they that are sick; wherefore, little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin.’ [Moroni 8:8]
When she heard these words, she wept tears of relief, and peace came to comfort her grief.
How many times peace has come into the lives of those who are struggling with real problems when they read the Book of Mormon! The examples of spiritual guidance that emanate from the book are without number. My love for the Book of Mormon is ever-increasing. It seems that every time I read from it, new light flows to me from its pages. I love this sacred and choice book. (“We Add Our Witness,” Ensign, Mar. 1989)
Each individual who prayerfully studies the Book of Mormon can also receive a testimony of its divinity. In addition, this book can help with personal problems in a very real way. Do you want to get rid of a bad habit? Do you want to improve relationships in your family? Do you want to increase your spiritual capacity? Read the Book of Mormon! It will bring you closer to the Lord and His loving power. He who fed a multitude with five loaves and two fishes—He who helped the blind to see and the lame to walk—can also bless you! He has promised that those who live by the precepts of this book “shall receive a crown of eternal life.” (“A Testimony of the Book of Mormon,” Ensign, Nov. 1999)