Tag Archives: Ether

#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)

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#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 73, 3 Nephi 27-29: “And Still It Stands”

3 Nephi 27-29,

:

May I refer to a modern “last days” testimony? When Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum started for Carthage to face what they knew would be an imminent martyrdom, Hyrum read these words to comfort the heart of his brother:

“Thou hast been faithful; wherefore … thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father.

“And now I, Moroni, bid farewell … until we shall meet before the judgment-seat of Christ.”

A few short verses from the 12th chapter of Ether in the Book of Mormon. Before closing the book, Hyrum turned down the corner of the page from which he had read, marking it as part of the everlasting testimony for which these two brothers were about to die. I hold in my hand that book, the very copy from which Hyrum read, the same corner of the page turned down, still visible. Later, when actually incarcerated in the jail, Joseph the Prophet turned to the guards who held him captive and bore a powerful testimony of the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon. Shortly thereafter pistol and ball would take the lives of these two testators.

As one of a thousand elements of my own testimony of the divinity of the Book of Mormon, I submit this as yet one more evidence of its truthfulness. In this their greatest—and last—hour of need, I ask you: would these men blaspheme before God by continuing to fix their lives, their honor, and their own search for eternal salvation on a book (and by implication a church and a ministry) they had fictitiously created out of whole cloth?

Never mind that their wives are about to be widows and their children fatherless. Never mind that their little band of followers will yet be “houseless, friendless and homeless” and that their children will leave footprints of blood across frozen rivers and an untamed prairie floor. Never mind that legions will die and other legions live declaring in the four quarters of this earth that they know the Book of Mormon and the Church which espouses it to be true. Disregard all of that, and tell me whether in this hour of death these two men would enter the presence of their Eternal Judge quoting from and finding solace in a book which, if not the very word of God, would brand them as imposters and charlatans until the end of time? They would not do that! They were willing to die rather than deny the divine origin and the eternal truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.

For 179 years this book has been examined and attacked, denied and deconstructed, targeted and torn apart like perhaps no other book in modern religious history—perhaps like no other book in any religious history. And still it stands. Failed theories about its origins have been born and parroted and have died—from Ethan Smith to Solomon Spaulding to deranged paranoid to cunning genius. None of these frankly pathetic answers for this book has ever withstood examination because there is no other answer than the one Joseph gave as its young unlearned translator. In this I stand with my own great-grandfather, who said simply enough, “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.” (“Safety for the Soul,” Ensign, Nov. 2009)