Tag Archives: Converts

#BOMSummer DAY 66, 3 Nephi 6-7: “A Physical Manifestation of the Divine Mission”

3 Nephi 6-7,

Elder Neil L. Andersen:

The Book of Mormon is a physical manifestation of the divine mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith. The book is in our hands. We can touch it. We can read it.

How could anyone believe that Joseph Smith could write such a book? His wife, Emma, recorded: “Joseph … could neither write nor dictate a coherent and well-worded letter; let alone dictating a book like the Book of Mormon. And, though I was an active participant in the scenes that transpired, it is marvelous to me, ‘a marvel and a wonder,’ as much so as to any one else.”

No explanation about the origin of the Book of Mormon, excepting Joseph Smith’s own account (see Joseph Smith—History 1:29–60), has exhibited any credibility. Honest men willingly testified of holding the plates and being shown them by an angel of God—a witness they never denied. More important, the Book of Mormon comes with a promise that as we sincerely ask God, with faith in Christ, He will manifest the truth of it unto us by the power of the Holy Ghost (see Moroni 10:3–5).

This witness of the Book of Mormon confirms “that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, that Joseph Smith is his revelator and prophet in these last days, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom once again established on the earth, preparatory to the second coming of the Messiah” (introduction to the Book of Mormon).

I have seen the power of the Book of Mormon in bringing a testimony of the Restoration to thousands across the world. I have heard the experiences in numerous languages, seen the devotion in divergent cultures, and stood amazed at the consistency of the peace the Book of Mormon brings. It truly is “a marvelous work and a wonder” (2 Nephi 25:17).

The first time I experienced the power of the Book of Mormon in the life of a convert, I was serving as a missionary in France. My British companion and I spent much of our time knocking on doors—with few results. One afternoon a distinguished, middle-aged lady opened her door. She had little time for us that day, but we left a Book of Mormon and made an appointment to return two days later. When we returned to her apartment and the door opened, I felt a powerful spiritual feeling. She was eager to see us. She had been reading the book and had experienced the powerful feelings of the Holy Ghost. She spoke of her joy and peace. She was prepared for whatever course we as the Lord’s servants would invite her to take.

It was in the cold of February. Our city had no chapel, so we installed a portable baptismal font in an old wooden barn. The steam from the warm water filled the air. The humble members of the branch surrounded the portable font as this sister climbed up the stairs and then down into the water to be baptized a member of the Church.

The peace expressed by this wonderful sister echoed the words of Parley P. Pratt (1807–57) as he spoke about his first encounter with the Book of Mormon: “As I read, the spirit of the Lord was upon me, and I knew and comprehended that the book was true, as plainly and manifestly as a man comprehends and knows that he exists.”

With the assurance of this testimony, we enter the Church and take courage in the promises and responsibilities of our covenants. Our testimony of the many principles of the gospel grows throughout our earthly experience, but it is often the Book of Mormon that first brings us the settling peace of knowing that the gospel and the priesthood have been restored. It is a foundation upon which we build. (“The Book of Mormon: The Great Purveyor of the Savior’s Peace,” Ensign, Jan. 2008)

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#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)