Tag Archives: Emma Smith

#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)

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#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)