Those of us whove read the Book of Mormon, and prayed to know if it is true, could gather in a giant stadiumor several stadiumsand spend daysweeks, evensharing why we feel its such an awesome book. The Relief Society, of course, would cater this event and undoubtedly serve chicken salad with red grapes on croissants. And wed have a blast. Every person who has humbly knelt and fervently asked if its true would have a different story to tell. All inspiring, all exciting. From young children to centenarians, from repentant criminals to earnest ministers, each person would have felt the same witness from the Holy Ghost.
Maybe this is why our eyes light up and we feel such an instant connection when we meet another church member. It isnt just because we belong to the same churchits because theres an underlying understanding that weve each traveled the same road. Weve each asked God, “Is this really Christs restored church? Is the Book of Mormon what it claims to be?” and gotten the same resounding affirmation. And many of us have chosen to change our lives, often in monumental ways, to get baptized and become faithful members. Meeting another church members means we already know a great deal about them, about their determination and their devotion.
One of the Holy Ghosts chief functions is to be a “testator.” This means he testifies of truth, and can assure anyone at all, that the Book of Mormon is a true account. Later, when baptized, we receive the gift of his constant companionship. But long before that the Holy Ghost can speak truth to anyone sincerely seeking. And he does. This power, alone, is enough to astonish us and leave us almost speechless. That a member of the Godhead would reach into our hearts to bear witness of truth, is humbling and thrilling all at once.
And we all love the Book of Mormon. As a second witness of Christ, it not only confirms the glorious teachings of the Bible, but restores the missing onesfinally we have the fullness of Christs gospel. Like I say, we could all sit around for days on end saying why we cherish this book. But could it be even grander than we might suppose?
In 1986 President Benson said, “It is not just that the Book of Mormon teaches us truth, though it indeed does that. It is not just that the Book of Mormon bears testimony of Christ, though it indeed does that, too. 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 avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path.”
Whoawhat? It actually gives us power? Too many people see this book as a fascinating history of the inhabitants of ancient America. Or as a collection of inspiring stories. But those things are just the tip of the iceberg. What it actually does, when we begin a serious study of it, is to empower us. How many movies have you seen about someone with a light saber? Or robotic parts that give them superhuman capabilities? Or special paranormal talents? People want to believe theres a way to rise above the mundane, to be exceptional in some way. Gifted. Heroic. And so we hear tales of extraordinary characters and the amazing feats of wonder they perform.
What none of these stories captures is the actual, true power that can course through the veins of every single human being, if they would only study the Book of Mormon. Sometimes people feel it the minute they pick it up! I know of two women who say they gained a testimony the first time they held the book in their hands, before they even opened the cover. And those who study it diligently testify of the huge impact this habit has on their livesthey are literally empowered to resist the adversary, think clearly, maintain peace in their homes, and achieve their goals. There are people who have struggled with pornography and other addictions, who have found their missing miracle in the simple act of daily study of the Book of Mormon.
Another incredible side effect of scripture study is the opening of the heavens. Lets call it the Inspiration Conduit. Whatever youve been praying about, whatever concern you haveeven if completely unrelated to the passage youre readingcan crystalize and become clear when you study. The mere act of reading the Book of Mormon somehow fine tunes that radio channel and eliminates the static. Suddenly a decision weve been wrestling with, or a solution weve been seeking, becomes clear, even obvious.
Because the power it imparts is so transformative and so strong, Satan uses every device in his arsenal to keep us from consistent study. Occasional dipping in and out is okay, because you might not unlock the immense power if you only read casually. But he will do anything he can to keep us too busy and preoccupied for the diligent study that brings power. With power like that, he can be defeated, and he will summon armies to prevent it.
What if we all made a mid-year resolution to read a chapteror a few versesevery single day, and then keep a journal about the power for righteousness we see in our lives as a result? What if we decided that, of all the vitamins we take, workouts we do, and self-improvement efforts we make in our lives, this one has the greatest chance for the greatest change? Im thinking light sabers are going to look like toothpicks.
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SarahAugust 7, 2014
Our area president has challenged us to read it twice this year...a few verses a day ain't goin to accomplish that here in the pacific!!! Everyone else, no excuse to read a few verses a day. If you are that busy, you can't...you are too busy
Robert CowartAugust 7, 2014
Thanks Joni for an excellent reminder to study and ponder what is to me at least the greatest book ever written. What JOY we will have when we can read the rest of it that the current world is not worthy of. Bob Cowart