Tag Archives: Bible

#BOMSummer DAY 68, 3 Nephi 11-13: “A Miraculous Restoration of Spiritual Eyesight”

3 Nephi 11-13

Elder Lynn G. Robbins:

Multiple scientific analyses illustrate the advantages of two eyes over one. I will explore six of those advantages and their spiritual parallels with the Book of Mormon as a second eyewitness of Jesus Christ in restoring spiritual eyesight to the world.

1. Two Eyes Increase the Field of Vision and Enhance Clarity

horizontal field of view

Humans have a maximum horizontal field of view of around 190 degrees with two eyes, approximately 120 degrees of which overlaps or is seen by both eyes. Beyond the converging field of view, each eye also has a peripheral field unique to that eye.

After centuries of plain and precious things being lost, the Bible enjoyed something less than perfect eyesight. The coming forth of the Book of Mormon with its perfect eyesight not only increased the field of spiritual vision but also gave much-needed clarity to the overlapping portion of the two spiritual eyes, or the binocular field of vision—scripturally we call this the law of two witnesses (see Matthew 18:16; Ether 5:4; D&C 6:28).

The overlapping field of vision, or binocular summation, enhances the ability to detect faint objects.3 We see things more clearly as the separate views received in each eye are combined into a single image, giving us a convergence of the visual axis and thus eliminating the “confusion and strife” that so bewildered young Joseph (see Joseph Smith—History 1:8).

The fact that two eyes are better than one is such a universal and self-evident fact that Isaiah couldn’t have chosen a better metaphor for worldwide identification: “the eyes of the blind shall see” (Isaiah 29:18). We hope that those who currently see with just one spiritual eye, the Bible, will recognize the wisdom of not rejecting the Book of Mormon as a second eyewitness of Jesus Christ before they even give it a try. They will discover that “the stick of Judah” and the “stick of Joseph” (Ezekiel 37:19) converge as two eyes synced in perfect and clear unison—an eye-opening experience!

2. Stereopsis—Avoiding Deception

“Binocular vision … allows humans to walk over and around obstacles at greater speed and with more assurance” because of more precise depth perception. An example of this superior depth perception is demonstrated in the 3-D clarity of a stereoscope image over a simple photograph.

stereoscope

In the animal kingdom, two eyes give potential prey stereopsis, or precise depth perception, and the ability to discern 3-D disparities, thus helping it “to break the camouflage of [a potential predator].”

disguised snake

The Book of Mormon provides the world with similar protection by restoring clarity and divine depth perception to the spiritual binocular field, allowing us to avoid Satan’s camouflage and deceptions. He cleverly introduced confusion by blurring the meaning of many biblical passages. The Book of Mormon broke his camouflage with crystal-clear corroboration, “unto the confounding of false doctrines” (2 Nephi 3:12) and the “divid[ing] asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil” (Helaman 3:29).

President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994) shared this reassuring promise of the Book of Mormon: “There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book. You will find greater power to resist temptation. You will find the power to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path.”

3. Seeing around Obstructions

Binocular vision helps a person to see more of, or all of, an object behind an obstruction. This advantage was pointed out by Leonardo da Vinci, who noted that a vertical column obscuring an object might block some or all of the object from the left eye but that the object might yet be visible to the right eye.

binocular vision

A spiritual example of this is found in the Savior’s words to the Judeans: “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd” (John 10:16).

Because Jesus did not identify those other sheep, the Jews could not decipher His statement. However, with the additional perspective from the Book of Mormon, that which was hidden became visible: “And verily I say unto you, that ye are they of whom I said: Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd” (3 Nephi 15:21). The result was a clear field of vision with no misunderstanding of what the Savior meant—no more obstacle illusions.

4. The Peripheral Advantages of Each Eye

“Peripheral vision is a part of vision that occurs outside the very center of gaze.” In other words, we are aware of things in the field of vision on which we aren’t actually focused. Part of that field of vision—that which is outside the range of the binocular field, or stereoscopic vision—is unique to each eye.

We are profoundly grateful for the Bible and what it uniquely and magnificently gives us—most important, the history of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.

We are also deeply grateful for the Book of Mormon and the 20/20 untainted vision it provides for us, which clarifies the doctrine of Christ and reveals His teachings through the prophets of ancient America and His personal visitation and ministry to the Nephites.

Like two eyes divinely paired, the Bible and the Book of Mormon complement each other, resulting in a spectacular binocular panorama, as well as vistas unique to each.

5. Eliminating Our Blind Spot

We all have a blind spot in our field of vision that is relatively easy to identify. Hold the illustration of the circle and star straight in front of you at arm’s length. Close your left eye and focus your right eye directly on the small circle. With your right eye staring at the circle, slowly begin moving the image toward you. Somewhere around halfway, the star will disappear from the peripheral view.

blind spot demonstration

Surprised? You didn’t know you have a blind spot? Just as your second eye compensates for this blind spot, the Book of Mormon provides a similar benefit to the Bible.

And just as the star vanished before your very eye, Herod had not seen the Bethlehem star and had to ask the Wise Men “what time the star appeared” (Matthew 2:7). It was in his spiritual peripheral blind spot. Only those looking for the star had noticed it.

Today there are many, like Herod, who refuse to look for and see the things of the Spirit. “Wo unto the blind that will not see” (2 Nephi 9:32). Pride also caused the Jews to “[despise] the words of plainness, and … blindness came [to them] by looking beyond the mark” (Jacob 4:14).

One of the sobering in-sights of the Book of Mormon is a forewarning about the universal blind spot of pride, “a sin that can readily be seen in others but is rarely admitted in ourselves.”10 It is like bad breath—obvious to everyone but the offender.

“In the premortal council, it was pride that felled Lucifer.”11 It was “the pride of … the Nephites, [that] hath proven their destruction” (Moroni 8:27). It is the proud who will burn as stubble when God cleanses the earth by fire (see Malachi 4:1; 3 Nephi 25:1).

The trailhead of the strait and narrow path is posted with a looming “warning” sign: “BEWARE of pride, lest ye become as the Nephites of old” (D&C 38:39; emphasis added). The tragic irony is that the “BEWARE” sign itself is usually in the blind spot of the proud. Therefore, “let him that is [proud] learn wisdom by humbling himself and calling upon the Lord his God, that his eyes may be opened that he may see” (D&C 136:32).

6. The Eye-Brain Connection

anagram

This clever anagram appears to be an accurate equation, but it isn’t entirely correct. It is actually the brain’s imaging system that tells us what our eyes are seeing. The brain creates our dreams by night and interprets what we see by day. Seeing isn’t necessarily believing or seeing correctly. For example: “But though [Jesus] had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him” (John 12:37). The eyes alone are insufficient to foster belief or true seeing.

Just as the brain works in tandem with the eyes, the Spirit works in tandem with the scriptures, which help us see spiritually. Merely reading the scriptures isn’t enough to produce spiritual sight because “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).

For the Book of Mormon to function as a spiritual eye, we must accept and sincerely follow Moroni’s invitation in Moroni 10:3–5. It is an invitation with a promise that God “will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost” (verse 4; emphasis added).

Witness and Gratitude

To avoid spiritual blindness, Lehi’s sons risked their lives to obtain the brass plates (see 1 Nephi 3–4). Without the plates, they “would have dwindled in unbelief” (Mosiah 1:5). Today, thanks to the printing press and digital tools, we have easier and quicker access to the scriptures. It makes little difference to Satan, however, whether he keeps people from obtaining them—his strategy in the Dark Ages—or tempts people not to read them—his strategy in the latter days. Either way, his “mists of darkness [successfully] … blindeth the eyes … of the children of men … that they perish and are lost” (1 Nephi 12:17; emphasis added).

Like my daily eye drops, it is only by “continually holding fast to the rod of iron” (1 Nephi 8:30; emphasis added) that we can avoid being blinded by the latter-day mists that are so subtle and prevalent. Whenever a person becomes less active or leaves the Church, it’s almost a certainty that person has stopped reading the Book of Mormon.

The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ is indeed a marvelous work and a wonder. It is a second eyewitness of Jesus Christ and His glorious gospel, offering all the advantages of a second eye.

May we continually hold fast to the iron rod that we too may be worthy of the Savior’s praise to His disciples: “Blessed are your eyes, for they see” (Matthew 13:16). (“The Eyes of the Blind Shall See,” Ensign, June 2016.)

#BOMSummer DAY 56, Alma 59-61: “And Where Is Our Religion”

Alma 59-61,

The Prophet Joseph Smith:

I attended conference, and had a glorious time. Some few volunteered to go to Zion, and others donated sixty-six dollars and thirty-seven cents for the benefit of the scattered brethren in Zion. The following is an extract from the minutes of the conference:

Minutes of Conference.

Norton, Medina County, Ohio, April 21, 1834.

This day a conference of Elders assembled at the dwelling house of Brother Carpenter. President Joseph Smith, Jun., read the second chapter of Joel’s prophecy, prayed, and addressed the conference as follows:

“It is very difficult for us to communicate to the churches all that God has revealed to us, in consequence of tradition; for we are differently situated from any other people that ever existed upon this earth; consequently those former revelations cannot be suited to our conditions; they were given to other people, who were before us; but in the last days, God was to call a remnant, in which was to be deliverance, as well as in Jerusalem and Zion. Now if God should give no more revelations, where will we find Zion and this remnant? The time is near when desolation is to cover the earth, and then God will have a place of deliverance in His remnant, and in Zion.”

The President [Joseph Smith] then gave a relation of obtaining and translating the Book of Mormon, the revelation of the Priesthood of Aaron, the organization of the Church in 1830, the revelation of the High Priesthood, and the gift of the Holy Ghost poured out upon the Church; and said:

“Take away the Book of Mormon and the revelations, and where is our religion? We have none; for without Zion, and a place of deliverance, we must fall; because the time is near when the sun will be darkened, and the moon turn to blood, and the stars fall from heaven, and the earth reel to and fro. Then, if this is the case, and if we are not sanctified and gathered to the places God has appointed, with all our former professions and our great love for the Bible, we must fall; we cannot stand; we cannot be saved; for God will gather out His Saints from the Gentiles, and then comes desolation and destruction, and none can escape except the pure in heart who are gathered.”  (History of the Church, 2:52.)

#BOMSummer DAY 43, Alma 23-25: “Parallel Preaching”

Alma 23-25

Elder Bruce R. McConkie

As every gospel scholar knows, the Book of Mormon proves that Joseph Smith was called of God to minister in the prophetic office and to restore the truths of salvation in plainness and perfection.

The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible. It contains a record of God’s dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas. It is another testament of Jesus Christ.

It contains the fulness of the gospel, meaning that it is a record of the Lord’s dealings with a people who had the fulness of the gospel, and meaning also that in it is found a summary and a recitation of what all men must believe and do to gain an inheritance in the heavenly kingdom reserved for the Saints.

As the teachings and testimonies of Moses and Isaiah and Peter find place in the Bible, so the parallel preaching and the same Spirit-guided testimonies of Nephi and Alma and Moroni have come down to us in the Book of Mormon.

This American witness of Christ was written upon gold plates which were delivered to Joseph Smith by an angelic ministrant. This ancient record was then translated by the gift and power of God and is now published to the world as the Book of Mormon. (“What Think Ye of the Book of Mormon?” Ensign, Nov. 1983.)

#BOMSummer DAY 29, Mosiah 11-13: “A Profound Effect”

#BOMSummer Day 29, Howard W. Hunter, Evidences of the Resurrection, Ensign, May 1983

Mosiah 11-13

President Howard W. Hunter:

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).

#BOMSummer DAY 23, Jacob 6-Enos: “Central to Our History and Theology”

#BOMSummer Day 23, James E. Faust, “Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon,” Ensign, Jan. 1996

Jacob 6-Enos

President James E. Faust:

A keystone keeps an arch in place; without a keystone the whole arch will collapse. Why is the Book of Mormon the keystone of our religion? Because it is central to our history and theology. It is the text for this dispensation. Nothing took priority over getting the Book of Mormon translated and published. Everything was held until that was accomplished. There were no Apostles until it came into being. Ten days after the book’s publication the Church was organized. Publication of the Book of Mormon preceded missionary work because Samuel Smith needed to have it in hand before he could go forward as the first missionary of the Church. Sections 17 and 20 of the Doctrine and Covenants indicate that the Brethren could not fully know the divinity of the latter-day work until the Book of Mormon was translated.

As a young missionary I personally learned the importance of the prophetic mission of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon in missionary work. Elder Wm. Grant Bangerter, Elder Lynn A. Sorensen, and I, along with other dedicated young men, were pioneer missionaries in Brazil half a century ago. One year we converted only three people. In 1994 in this same country 43,247 souls were converted. There are now more than one hundred stakes of Zion in Brazil. There are seven stakes in the city where Elder Bangerter and I, laboring as companions, found the first members of the Church.

What is the difference between then and now? Why was it so hard in the beginning and so fruitful now? In large measure it was because the only scripture we had was the Bible. The only expression concerning the Book of Mormon came from our own testimonies spoken in a strange tongue. Unlike Samuel Smith, we did not have the Book of Mormon in hand to leave with any who might be interested. Only after the Book of Mormon was published in Portuguese did the great harvest of converts come. The Lord has made clear that this generation shall remain under condemnation “until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon” (D&C 84:57). (“Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon,” Ensign, Jan. 1996)

#BOMSummer DAY 17, 2 Nephi 25-26: “The Keystone”

#BOMSummer Day 17, Ezra Taft Benson, “The Book of Mormon—Keystone of Our Religion,” Ensign, Nov. 1986

2 Nephi 25-26

President Ezra Taft Benson:

The Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion. This was the Prophet Joseph Smith’s statement. He testified that “the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion” (Introduction to the Book of Mormon). A keystone is the central stone in an arch. It holds all the other stones in place, and if removed, the arch crumbles.

There are three ways in which the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion. It is the keystone in our witness of Christ. It is the keystone of our doctrine. It is the keystone of testimony.

The Book of Mormon is the keystone in our witness of Jesus Christ, who is Himself the cornerstone of everything we do. It bears witness of His reality with power and clarity. Unlike the Bible, which passed through generations of copyists, translators, and corrupt religionists who tampered with the text, the Book of Mormon came from writer to reader in just one inspired step of translation. Therefore, its testimony of the Master is clear, undiluted, and full of power. But it does even more. Much of the Christian world today rejects the divinity of the Savior. They question His miraculous birth, His perfect life, and the reality of His glorious resurrection. The Book of Mormon teaches in plain and unmistakable terms about the truth of all of those. It also provides the most complete explanation of the doctrine of the Atonement. Truly, this divinely inspired book is a keystone in bearing witness to the world that Jesus is the Christ (see title page of the Book of Mormon).

The Book of Mormon is also the keystone of the doctrine of the Resurrection. As mentioned before, the Lord Himself has stated that the Book of Mormon contains the “fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ” (D&C 20:9). That does not mean it contains every teaching, every doctrine ever revealed. Rather, it means that in the Book of Mormon we will find the fulness of those doctrines required for our salvation. And they are taught plainly and simply so that even children can learn the ways of salvation and exaltation. The Book of Mormon offers so much that broadens our understandings of the doctrines of salvation. Without it, much of what is taught in other scriptures would not be nearly so plain and precious.

Finally, the Book of Mormon is the keystone of testimony. Just as the arch crumbles if the keystone is removed, so does all the Church stand or fall with the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. The enemies of the Church understand this clearly. This is why they go to such great lengths to try to disprove the Book of Mormon, for if it can be discredited, the Prophet Joseph Smith goes with it. So does our claim to priesthood keys, and revelation, and the restored Church. But in like manner, if the Book of Mormon be true—and millions have now testified that they have the witness of the Spirit that it is indeed true—then one must accept the claims of the Restoration and all that accompanies it.

Yes, my beloved brothers and sisters, the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion—the keystone of our testimony, the keystone of our doctrine, and the keystone in the witness of our Lord and Savior.  (“The Book of Mormon—Keystone of Our Religion,” Ensign, Nov. 1986).

#BOMSummer DAY 13, 2 Nephi 9: “Both Are Necessary”

#BOMSummer Day 13, L. Tom Perry, “The Power of Deliverance,” Ensign, May 2012 (2)

2 Nephi 9

Elder L. Tom Perry:

What a blessing it is to have an account of the mission of our Lord and Savior declared in the Book of Mormon to add a second witness to the doctrine declared in the Bible. Why is it important for the world to have both the Bible and the Book of Mormon? I believe the answer is found in the 13th chapter of 1 Nephi. Nephi records: “And the angel spake unto me, saying: These last records, which thou hast seen among the Gentiles [that is, the Book of Mormon], shall establish the truth of the first [which is the Bible], which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved” (1 Nephi 13:40).

Neither the Bible nor the Book of Mormon in and of themselves is sufficient. Both are necessary for us to teach and learn about the complete doctrine of Christ. The need for the other does not diminish either one of them. Both the Bible and the Book of Mormon are necessary for our salvation and exaltation. (“The Power of Deliverance“, Ensign, May 2012)