Tag Archives: Study

#BOMSummer DAY 74, 4 Nephi-Mormon 1: “The Best Test”

4 Nephi-Mormon 1,

President Ezra Taft Benson:

We must first read it and gain a testimony for ourselves. Men may deceive each other, but God does not deceive men. Therefore, the Book of Mormon sets forth the best test for determining its truthfulness—namely, read it and then ask God if it is true.

Moroni, in the book’s final chapter, issued that divine challenge to every reader 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).

This, then, is the supreme assurance for the honest in heart—to know by personal revelation from God that the Book of Mormon is true. Millions have put it to that test and know, and increasing millions will yet know. (“A New Witness for Christ,” Ensign, Nov. 1984)

#BOMSummer DAY 69, 3 Nephi 14-16: “The Lord Himself Said”

3 Nephi 14-16,

Elder Neil L. Andersen:

The Lord Himself said the Book of Mormon contains “the fulness of my everlasting gospel” (D&C 27:5; see also D&C 42:12). The Book of Mormon unveils the plan of salvation and “answers the great questions of the soul.”

The lessons of truth in the Book of Mormon are taught in the difficult circumstances of war and oppression, in the sermons of prophets, in the conversations of fathers to sons, and in the Savior’s own words. There is a central theme: “God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people” (Mosiah 15:1). There are those who are seeking: “And I will tell you of the wrestle which I had before God” (Enos 1:2). There is the constant call to leave our sins behind and step to a higher level: “And it came to pass that I was three days and three nights in the most bitter pain and anguish of soul; and never, until I did cry out unto the Lord Jesus Christ for mercy, did I receive a remission of my sins. But behold, I did cry unto him and I did find peace to my soul” (Alma 38:8; emphasis added). And there are the comforting and peace-filled words of the Savior: “Will ye not now return unto me … that I may heal you? … If ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive” (3 Nephi 9:13–14).

The Book of Mormon gently passes its stories and testimonies before us. As we ponder them and pray about them, the Lord reveals to the quiet chambers of our hearts our own need to repent and change. As we covenant with the Lord and make changes in our lives, we feel the power of His Atonement and confirming peace. As our spiritual journey progresses, we feel strengthened by His grace as we confront the difficulties and disappointments of life. An Apostle has said, “When we want to speak to God, we pray. And when we want Him to speak to us, we search the scriptures.”

This is the peace of the true doctrine of Christ found in the Book of Mormon. (“The Book of Mormon: The Great Purveyor of the Savior’s Peace,” Ensign, Jan. 2008)

#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 67, 3 Nephi 8-10: “Receive the Promise of Moroni Often”

3 Nephi 8-10,

:

Testimony will come to you in pieces as parts of the whole truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ are confirmed. For instance, as you read and ponder the Book of Mormon, verses you have read before will appear new to you and bring new ideas. Your testimony will grow in breadth and in depth as the Holy Ghost confirms that they are true. Your living testimony will expand as you study, pray, and ponder in the scriptures.

The best description for me of how to gain and keep this living testimony has already been referred to. It is in the 32nd chapter of Alma in the Book of Mormon. You may have read it many times. I find new light in it every time I read it. Let’s review the lesson it teaches once again tonight.

We are taught in those inspired passages to begin our quest for testimony with “a particle of faith” and with desire for it to grow. Tonight you have felt faith and that desire as you listened to stirring talks of the Savior’s kindness, His honesty, and of the purity His commandments and Atonement made possible for us.

So a seed of faith is already planted in your heart. You may even have felt some of the expansion of your heart promised in Alma. I did.

But, like a growing plant, it must be nurtured or it will wither. Frequent and heartfelt prayers of faith are crucial and needed nutrients. Obedience to the truth you have received will keep the testimony alive and strengthen it. Obedience to the commandments is part of the nourishment you must provide for your testimony.

You remember the promise of the Savior: “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.”

That has worked for me, as it will for you. One of the doctrines of the gospel I was taught when I was young is that the greatest of all the gifts of God is eternal life.6 I learned that part of eternal life is to live together in love in families forever.

From the first time that I heard those truths and they were confirmed to my heart, I felt obligated to make every choice I could to avoid contention and seek peace in my family and in my home.

Now, only after this life can I enjoy the fulness of that greatest of all blessings, eternal life. But amidst the challenges of this life, I have been given at least glimpses of what my family in heaven can be like. From those experiences my testimony of the reality of the sealing power exercised in temples has grown and been strengthened.

Watching my two daughters be baptized in the temple for their ancestors has drawn my heart to them and to those ancestors whose names we found. The promise of Elijah that hearts would be turned to each other in families has been granted to us. So faith for me has become certain knowledge, as we are promised in the book of Alma.

I have experienced at least some of the joy which my ancestors felt when the Savior came into the spirit world after His mortal ministry. Here is the description in the Doctrine and Covenants:

“And the saints rejoiced in their redemption, and bowed the knee and acknowledged the Son of God as their Redeemer and Deliverer from death and the chains of hell.

“Their countenances shone, and the radiance from the presence of the Lord rested upon them, and they sang praises unto his holy name.”

My feeling of their joy came from acting on my testimony that the Lord’s promise of eternal life is real. That testimony was strengthened by my choosing to act upon it, as the Savior promised that it would be.

He has also taught us that, in addition to choosing to be obedient, we must ask in prayer for testimony of truth. The Lord taught that to us in His command to pray about the Book of Mormon. He said through His prophet Moroni:

“Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.

“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.”

I hope that you all have proved that promise for yourself or that you will do it soon. The answer may not come in a single and powerful spiritual experience. For me it came quietly at first. But it comes ever more forcefully each time I have read and prayed over the Book of Mormon.

I do not depend on what has happened in the past. To keep my living testimony of the Book of Mormon secure, I receive the promise of Moroni often. I don’t take that blessing of a testimony for granted as a perpetual entitlement. (“A Living Testimony,” Ensign, May 2011)

#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 64, Helaman 16-3 Nephi 2: “Tangible Evidence”

Helaman 16 – 3 Nephi 2,

I offer you a challenge. I recently learned that many young people spend an average of seven hours a day looking at TV, computer, and smartphone screens. With this in mind, would you make a small change? Will you replace some of that daily screen time—particularly that devoted to social media, the internet, gaming, or television—with reading the Book of Mormon? If the studies I referred to are accurate, you could easily find time for daily study of the Book of Mormon even if for only 10 minutes a day. And you can study in a way that allows you to enjoy it and understand it—either on your device or in book form. President Russell M. Nelson recently cautioned, “We should never make reading the Book of Mormon seem like an onerous duty, like the gulping of nasty medicine to be swallowed quickly and then checked off with finality.”

For some of you younger children, you might read it with a parent, grandparent, or loved one. If a chapter, verse, or portion becomes difficult enough to discourage your reading, move on to the next and the next. I picture you following the example of Mary. I picture you excitedly finding time and a quiet place to read the Book of Mormon. I see you discovering answers, feeling guidance, and gaining your own testimony of the Book of Mormon and a testimony of Jesus Christ. As you look to the book, you look to the Lord.

You will pore through the passages of this precious book and encounter your beloved Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, on nearly every page. It is estimated that some form of His name is used an average of once every 1.7 verses. Even Christ Himself testified of its truthfulness in these the latter days, stating, “As your Lord and your God liveth it is true.”

I am grateful for the invitation and promise that the Lord has offered through the prophet Moroni to each of you—and to everyone who reads the Book of Mormon. I close by reading this invitation and promise and adding my testimony: “And when ye shall receive these things [the Book of Mormon], I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of [Jesus] 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.”

I bear testimony of the Restoration of the gospel in these latter days and of the Book of Mormon as tangible evidence of that Restoration. Just as the words of this book inspired a 12-year-old girl to embrace the restored Church of Jesus Christ nearly two centuries ago, the truths you will find there will uplift and inspire you in a similar way. They will strengthen your faith, fill your soul with light, and prepare you for a future you scarcely have the ability to comprehend.

Within the book’s pages, you will discover the infinite love and incomprehensible grace of God. As you strive to follow the teachings you find there, your joy will expand, your understanding will increase, and the answers you seek to the many challenges mortality presents will be opened to you. As you look to the book, you look to the Lord. The Book of Mormon is the revealed word of God. Of this I testify, with all my heart and soul, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. (“Look to the Book, Look to the Lord,” Ensign, Nov. 2016)

#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 54, Alma 53-55: “As Timeless As Truth”

Alma 53-55,

President Gordon B. Hinckley:

Permit me to tell you how Parley Pratt came to know of the book about which he wrote these words. In August of 1830, as a lay preacher, he was traveling from Ohio to eastern New York. At Newark, along the Erie Canal, he left the boat and walked ten miles into the country where he met a Baptist deacon by the name of Hamlin, who told him “of a book, a STRANGE BOOK, a VERY STRANGE BOOK! … This book, he said, purported to have been originally written on plates either of gold or brass, by a branch of the tribes of Israel; and to have been discovered and translated by a young man near Palmyra, in the State of New York, by the aid of visions, or the ministry of angels. I inquired of him how or where the book was to be obtained. He promised me the perusal of it, at his house the next day. … Next morning I called at his house, where, for the first time, my eyes beheld the ‘BOOK OF MORMON’—that book of books … which was the principal means, in the hands of God, of directing the entire course of my future life.

“I opened it with eagerness, and read its title page. I then read the testimony of several witnesses in relation to the manner of its being found and translated. After this I commenced its contents by course. I read all day; eating was a burden, I had no desire for food; sleep was a burden when the night came, for I preferred reading to sleep.

“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” (Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, 3d ed., Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1938, pp. 36–37).

Parley Pratt was then twenty-three years of age. The reading of the Book of Mormon affected him so profoundly that he was soon baptized into the Church and became one of its most effective and powerful advocates. In the course of his ministry he traveled from coast to coast across what is now the United States, into Canada, and to England; he opened the work in the isles of the Pacific and was the first Mormon elder to set foot on the soil of South America. In 1857, while serving a mission in Arkansas, he was shot in the back and killed by an assailant. He was buried in a rural area near the community of Alma, and today in that quiet place a large block of polished granite marks the site of his grave. Incised in its surface are the words of another of his great and prophetic hymns, setting forth his vision of the work in which he was engaged:

The morning breaks; the shadows flee;
Lo, Zion’s standard is unfurled! …
The dawning of a brighter day
Majestic rises on the world.
The clouds of error disappear
Before the rays of truth divine; …
The glory bursting from afar
Wide o’er the nations soon will shine.

Parley Pratt’s experience with the Book of Mormon was not unique. As the volumes of the first edition were circulated and read, strong men and women by the hundreds were so deeply touched that they gave up everything they owned, and in the years that followed not a few even gave their lives for the witness they carried in their hearts of the truth of this remarkable volume.

Today, a century and a half after its first publication, it is more widely read than at any time in its history. Whereas there were 5,000 copies in that first edition, today’s editions are ordered in lots of as many as a million, and the book currently is printed in more than a score of languages.

Its appeal is as timeless as truth, as universal as mankind. It is the only book that contains within its covers a promise that by divine power the reader may know with certainty of its truth. (“An Angel from on High, the Long, Long Silence Broke,” Ensisn, Nov. 1979.)

#BOMSummer DAY 53, Alma 51-52: “Marvelous Understanding”

Alma 51-52

President Gordon B. Hinckley:

Even though some of you may be fully occupied with families and have little time for other things at this stage of your lives, you can enlarge your minds and broaden your understanding through the reading of good books. There is much of worth on television. I am the first to recognize this. But I am also mindful of the tremendous waste of time indulged in by many, and particularly by those who spend hours watching titillating trash. How marvelous a thing is a good book! How stimulating to read and share with a great writer thoughts that build and strengthen and broaden one’s horizon! You may think you are too busy. Ten or fifteen minutes a day with the scriptures, and particularly with the Book of Mormon, can give you marvelous understanding of the great eternal truths which have been preserved by the power of the Almighty for the blessing of His children. As you read of the life and teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ, you will draw closer to Him who is the author of our salvation. (“Rise to the Stature of the Divine within You,” Ensign, Nov. 1989.)

#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)