Tag Archives: President Ezra Taft Benson

#BOMSummer DAY 65, 3 Nephi 3-5: “A Lifetime Pursuit”

3 Nephi 3-5

President Ezra Taft Benson:

Every Latter-day Saint should make the study of this book a lifetime pursuit. Otherwise he is placing his soul in jeopardy and neglecting that which could give spiritual and intellectual unity to his whole life. There is a difference between a convert who is built on the rock of Christ through the Book of Mormon and stays hold of that iron rod, and one who is not.

Over a quarter of a century ago I listened in this Tabernacle to these words: “A few years ago as I began to practice law, members of my family were a little uneasy. They were afraid I would lose my faith. I wanted to practice law, but I had an even greater desire to keep my testimony, and so I decided upon a little procedure which I recommend to you. For thirty minutes each morning before I began the day’s work I read from the Book of Mormon . … and in just a few minutes a day I read the Book of Mormon through, every year, for nine years. I know that it kept me in harmony, so far as I did keep in harmony, with the Spirit of the Lord.” (Conference Report, Apr. 1949, p. 36.) It will hold us as close to the Spirit of the Lord as anything I know. That was President Marion G. Romney. I echo his counsel.

What, then, are we to say of the Book of Mormon? I bear witness that it is verily true. I know this as I know that I live. We stand with the Prophet Joseph Smith when he said, “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.” (History of the Church, 4:461.) (“The Book of Mormon Is the Word of God,” Ensign, May 1975)

#BOMSummer DAY 63, Helaman 14-15: “Abundant Peace”

Helaman 14-15,

Elder Neil L. Andersen:

From the beginning to the end of the Book of Mormon, “we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, … that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins” (2 Nephi 25:26). More than half of the verses in the Book of Mormon refer to or speak of the Savior.

Each year, often at Easter and Christmastime, news magazines across the world ask the questions: Who was Jesus Christ? Did He live? Are the writings in the Bible authentic? 2 Yet we know that the Bible is correct. Mormon declared, “This [the Book of Mormon] is written for the intent that ye may believe that [the Bible]” (Mormon 7:9).

When I was a missionary in Europe in the early 1970s, we began much of our teaching with the Apostasy because the divinity of Christ was widely accepted. When I returned as a mission president 20 years later, the emphasis of our teaching changed because belief in Jesus as the Son of God, who gave His life for our sins and rose the third day, had faded significantly. The importance of our testimony of Jesus Christ as the Son of God will continue to grow not only in Europe but also throughout the world.

One of the blessings of our day and the coming days is that we are able to take our message to so many who know little about Jesus Christ and His mission. The assurance of Christ fills the Book of Mormon, bringing in its wake abundant peace to all who embrace it.

In the chapters that anticipate the Messiah, we learn of His purposes, His promises, and His healing power. We learn of the prophecies concerning His life and the miracles in the Americas at the time of His birth.

In His resurrected state He declared, “Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world” (3 Nephi 11:10). We feel His love for us: “I have compassion upon you; my bowels are filled with mercy” (3 Nephi 17:7). “Blessed are ye because of your faith. And now behold, my joy is full” (3 Nephi 17:20). We see Him in His majesty as our Redeemer, the King of kings.

From this witness of the Book of Mormon, confirmed by the Spirit, flows an indescribable spiritual peace, assuring us that He is truly “the resurrection, and the life” (John 11:25) and that our eternal peace will be with Him. (“The Book of Mormon: The Great Purveyor of the Savior’s Peace,” Ensign, Jan. 2008)

#BOMSummer DAY 62, Helaman 11-13: “Eternal Consequences Rest Upon Our Response”

Helaman 11-13,

President Ezra Taft Benson:

Now, we have not been using the Book of Mormon as we should. Our homes are not as strong unless we are using it to bring our children to Christ. Our families may be corrupted by worldly trends and teachings unless we know how to use the book to expose and combat the falsehoods in socialism, organic evolution, rationalism, humanism, etc. Our missionaries are not as effective unless they are “hissing forth” with it. Social, ethical, cultural, or educational converts will not survive under the heat of the day unless their taproots go down to the fulness of the gospel which the Book of Mormon contains. Our Church classes are not as spirit-filled unless we hold it up as a standard. And our nation will continue to degenerate unless we read and heed the words of the God of this land, Jesus Christ, and quit building up and upholding the secret combinations which the Book of Mormon tells us proved the downfall of both previous American civilizations.

Some of the early missionaries, on returning home, were reproved by the Lord in section 84 of the Doctrine and Covenants because they had treated lightly the Book of Mormon. As a result, their minds had been darkened. The Lord said that this kind of treatment of the Book of Mormon brought the whole Church under condemnation, even all of the children of Zion. And then the Lord said, “And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon.” (See D&C 84:54–57.) Are we still under that condemnation?

Reading the Book of Mormon is one of the greatest persuaders to get men on missions. We need more missionaries. But we also need better-prepared missionaries coming out of the wards and branches and homes where they know and love the Book of Mormon. A great challenge and day of preparation is at hand for missionaries to meet and teach with the Book of Mormon. We need missionaries to match our message.

And now grave consequences hang on our response to the Book of Mormon. “Those who receive it,” said the Lord, “in faith, and work righteousness, shall receive a crown of eternal life;

“But those who harden their hearts in unbelief, and reject it, it shall turn to their own condemnation—

“For the Lord God has spoken it.” (D&C 20:14–16.)

Is the Book of Mormon true? Yes.

Who is it for? Us.

What is its purpose? To bring men to Christ.

How does it do this? By testifying of Christ and revealing his enemies.

How are we to use it? We are to get a testimony of it, we are to teach from it, we are to hold it up as a standard and “hiss it forth.”

Have we been doing this? Not as we should, nor as we must.

Do eternal consequences rest upon our response to this book? Yes, either to our blessing or our condemnation. (“The Book of Mormon Is the Word of God,” Ensign, May 1975)

#BOMSummer DAY 51, Alma 46-47: “Your Keystone”

Alma 46-47,

The Prophet Joseph Smith, who translated the Book of Mormon through “the gift and power of God,” described the Book of Mormon as “the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion.”

Since the Book of Mormon’s first printing in 1830, more than 174 million copies have been published in 110 different languages, demonstrating that the Book of Mormon is still the keystone of our religion. But what does this mean for each of you?

In architectural terms a keystone is a main element in an arched gateway. It is the wedge-shaped stone in the very center and at the highest point of an arch. It is the most important of the stones because it keeps the sides of the arch in place, preventing collapse. And it is the structural element that ensures the gate, or opening below, is passable.

The keystone is the very center

In gospel terms it is a gift and blessing from the Lord that the keystone of our religion is something as tangible and graspable as the Book of Mormon and that you can hold it and read it. Can you see the Book of Mormon as your keystone, your spiritual center of strength?

Keystone in an arch

President Ezra Taft Benson expanded on those teachings of Joseph Smith. He said: “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.”

President Benson further taught: “The Book of Mormon teaches us truth [and] bears testimony of Christ. … But there is something more. 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 stay on the strait and narrow path.” (“Look to the Book, Look to the Lord,” Ensign, Nov. 2016)

“#BOMSummer DAY 48, Alma 37-39: “No Greater Issue Ever”

Alma 37-39,

President Ezra Taft Benson:

“My beloved brothers and sisters, we hardly fathom the power of the Book of Mormon, nor the divine role it must play, nor the extent to which it must be moved.

“‘Few men on earth,’ said Elder Bruce R. McConkie, ‘either in or out of the Church, have caught the vision of what the Book of Mormon is all about. Few are they among men who know the part it has played and will yet play in preparing the way for the coming of Him of whom it is a new witness. … The Book of Mormon shall so affect men that the whole earth and all its peoples will have been influenced and governed by it. … There is no greater issue ever to confront mankind in modern times than this: Is the Book of Mormon the mind and will and voice of God to all men?’ (Millennial Messiah pp. 159, 170, 179.) We testify that it is.” (“Flooding the Earth with the Book of Mormon,” Ensign, Nov. 1988)

“#BOMSummer DAY 47, Alma 34-36: “Flood the Earth and Your Lives”

Alma 34-36,

President Ezra Taft Benson:

“May I commend you faithful Saints who are striving to flood the earth and your lives with the Book of Mormon. Not only must we move forward in a monumental manner more copies of the Book of Mormon, but we must move boldly forward into our own lives and throughout the earth more of its marvelous messages.

“This sacred volume was written for us—for our day. Its scriptures are to be likened unto ourselves.” (See 1 Ne. 19:23.) (“Beware of Pride,” Ensign, May 1989.)

#BOMSummer DAY 41, Alma 17-19: “A Voice of Warning to This Generation”

Alma 17-19

Why is the reading of the Book of Mormon so important to us today? It is because the major writers of the Book of Mormon fully understood that their writings were primarily for the people of a future generation rather than for the people of their own generation. Moroni wrote to our generation, “I speak unto you as if ye were present” (Morm. 8:35). The prophet Nephi stated:

“Wherefore, for this cause hath the Lord God promised unto me that these things which I write shall be kept and preserved, and handed down unto my seed, from generation to generation, that the promise may be fulfilled unto Joseph, that his seed should never perish as long as the earth should stand” (2 Ne. 25:21).

The Book of Mormon is a voice of warning to this generation. See how vividly it describes conditions on the earth today:

“And no one need say [these records] shall not come, for they surely shall, for the Lord hath spoken it; for out of the earth shall they come, by the hand of the Lord, and none can stay it; and it shall come in a day when it shall be said that miracles are done away; and it shall come even as if one should speak from the dead.

“And it shall come in a day when the blood of saints shall cry unto the Lord, because of secret combinations and the works of darkness.

“Yea, it shall come in a day when the power of God shall be denied, and churches become defiled and be lifted up in the pride of their hearts; yea, even in a day when leaders of churches and teachers shall rise in the pride of their hearts, even to the envying of them who belong to their churches.

“Yea, it shall come in a day when there shall be heard of fires, and tempests, and vapors of smoke in foreign lands;

“And there shall also be heard of wars, rumors of wars, and earthquakes in divers places.

“Yea, it shall come in a day when there shall be great pollutions upon the face of the earth; there shall be murders, and robbing, and lying, and deceivings, and whoredoms, and all manner of abominations; when there shall be many who will say, Do this, or do that, and it mattereth not, for the Lord will uphold such at the last day. But wo unto such, for they are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity” (Morm. 8:26–31).

President Ezra Taft Benson reaffirmed the fact that the Book of Mormon is of particular value to our time when he said:

“The Book of Mormon was written for us today. God is the author of the book. It is a record of a fallen people, compiled by inspired men for our blessing today. Those people never had the book—it was meant for us. Mormon, the ancient prophet after whom the book is named, abridged centuries of records. God, who knows the end from the beginning, told him what to include in his abridgment that we would need for our day” (“The Book of Mormon Is the Word of God,” Ensign, May 1975, 63). (“Blessing Resulting from Reading the Book of Mormon,” Ensign, Oct. 2005.)

#BOMSummer DAY 33, Mosiah 26-27: “Golden Question”

#BOMSummer Day 33, Ezra Taft Benson, “THE BOOK OF MORMON IS THE WORD OF GOD,” Ensign, May 1975 (2)

Mosiah 26-27

President Ezra Taft Benson:

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)

#BOMSummer DAY 31, Mosiah 18-21: “Know, Incorporate, Share”

#BOMSummer Day 31, Richard G. Scott, True Friends That Lift, Ensign, Nov. 1988

Mosiah 18-21

Elder Richard G. Scott:

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)

#BOMSummer DAY 20, 2 Nephi 32-Jacob 1: “In Several Ways”

#BOMSummer Day 20, Ezra Taft Benson, “THE BOOK OF MORMON IS THE WORD OF GOD,” Ensign, May 1975 (2)

2 Nephi 32-Jacob 1

President Ezra Taft Benson:

Now God expects us to use the Book of Mormon in several ways. We are to read it ourselves—carefully, prayerfully—and ponder as we read, as to whether this book is the work of God or of an unlearned youth. And then when we are finished reading the things in the book, Moroni exhorts us to put them to the test in these words:

“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.” (Moro. 10:4.) I have done as Moroni exhorts, and I can testify to you that this book is from God and so is verily true.

We are to use the Book of Mormon as the basis for our teaching. In section 42 of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord states: “And again, the elders, priests and teachers of this church shall teach the principles of my gospel, which are in … the Book of Mormon, in the which is the fulness of the gospel.” (D&C 42:12.)

As we read and teach, we are to liken the Book of Mormon scriptures unto us “that it might be for our profit and learning.” (1 Ne. 19:23.)

We are to use the Book of Mormon in handling objections to the Church. God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ revealed themselves to Joseph Smith in a marvelous vision. After that glorious event, Joseph Smith told a minister about it. Joseph was surprised to hear the minister say that there were no such things as visions or revelations in these days, that all such things had ceased. (See JS—H 1:21.)

This remark symbolizes practically all of the objections that have ever been made against the Church by nonmembers and dissident members alike. Namely, they do not believe that God reveals his will today to the Church through prophets of God. All objections, whether they be on abortion, plural marriage, seventh-day worship, etc., basically hinge on whether Joseph Smith and his successors were and are prophets of God receiving divine revelation. Here, then, is a procedure to handle most objections through the use of the Book of Mormon.

First, understand the objection.

Second, give the answer from revelation.

Third, show how the correctness of the answer really depends on whether or not we have modern revelation through modern prophets.

Fourth, explain that whether or not we have modern prophets and revelation really depends on whether the Book of Mormon is true.

Therefore, the only problem the objector has to resolve for himself is whether the Book of Mormon is true. For if the Book of Mormon is true, then Jesus is the Christ, Joseph Smith was his prophet, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true, and it is being led today by a prophet receiving revelation. (“The Book of Mormon Is the Word of God,” Ensign, May 1975)