Friday, November 21, 2014

The role the Book of Mormon should have in our lives

A few months ago, I gave a talk in sacrament meeting on the Book of Mormon. I was given one months notice and I decided to read 10 pages per day from the Book of Mormon leading up to my talk. I read 10 pages per day about 80% of the time and only a few pages on the days I "failed" to reach my goal. But I never gave up. I noticed, that as I read, I was given greater power in my faith in Jesus Christ and in my current trials at that time. Strength that ultimately led back to the Savior as it's source. I also found more peace in my life which seemed to be falling apart, but was really just falling into place. And I still am enduring trials, but I know that the Lord is only strengthening me as a person, and that all these things will be for my profit and learning, even if I endure them kicking and screaming like a child at times (not literally). 

I'm still reading The Book of Mormon each day, and I'm so grateful I gave this talk on it. It helped me to truly understand the importance of daily reading from the Book of Mormon. I add the Bible here and there, or other scriptural texts, but the Book of Mormon is always read, no matter what else I plan on reading that day. If you find there's "something missing" at the end of the day, and you've read other scriptures. Perhaps open the Book of Mormon. Maybe it's been what you've been missing?

My Talk:

The Role the Book of Mormon should have in our lives.

I want you to ponder for a moment the topic. What is the role, that the Book of Mormon SHOULD have, in YOUR life? What role should the Book of Mormon have in my life? Now think to yourself, what role does the Book of Mormon CURRENTLY have in my life? Does the role the Book of Mormon SHOULD have in your life, and the role that it CURRENTLY has in your life, match up? Is the Book of Mormon playing the role in your life that it should be? If it’s not, why isn’t it? 

If you are uncertain on what role The Book of Mormon should have in your life, perhaps this talk today will help broaden your understanding, as you allow the spirit to speak to your spirit.

To help us better understand what role it should have in our lives, we first have to answer the question, “What is the PURPOSE of the Book of Mormon?” 

Mormon Doctrine, By Bruce R. McConkie, States:
“Purposes of The Book of Mormon are: One. To Bear record of Christ, certifying in plainness and with clarity of his divine Sonship and mission, proving irrefutably that he is the Redeemer and Savior; Two. To teach the doctrines of the gospel in such a pure and perfect way that the plan of Salvation will be clearly revealed; and Three. To stand as a witness to all the world that Joseph Smith was the Lord’s anointed through whom the foundation was laid for the great latter-day work of restoration.”

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that the The Book of Mormon is “the keystone of our religion.” In Preach my Gospel it states:
“An arch is a strong architectural structure made from wedge-shaped pieces that lean against each other. The middle piece, or keystone, is usually larger than the other wedges and locks the other stones in place. When Joseph Smith called The Book of Mormon “the keystone of our religion,” he taught that The Book of Mormon holds our religion together.”

President Ezra Taft Benson taught that the Book of Mormon is the Keystone of our Religion in at least three ways: One. Witness of Christ. Two. It contains the Fulness of Doctrine. And Three. Is the Foundation of Testimony.

Now that we have a clear understanding of what the three purposes of the book of Mormon Are, let’s go through them one by one.

ONE: To Witness of Christ.

Preach my Gospel teaches us that:
“A central purpose of the Book of Mormon is to convince all people that Jesus is the Christ. It testifies of Christ by affirming the reality of His life, mission, and power. It teaches true doctrine concerning the Atonement--the foundation for the plan of salvation. Several of those whose writings are preserved in the Book of Mormon SAW CHRIST PERSONALLY. The brother of Jared, Nephi, and Jacob saw the pre-mortal Christ. Mormon and Moroni saw the risen Christ. In addition, multitudes were present during the Savior’s brief but powerful ministry among the Nephites. Those who know little or nothing about the Savior will come to know know Him by reading, pondering, and praying about the Book of Mormon. The testimony of the Book of Mormon confirms the testimony of the Bible that Jesus is the Only Begotten Son of God and the Savior of the world.”

In 2 Corinthians 13:1 The Bible teaches the following about the law of witnesses:
“In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.” In harmony with this law, both the Book of Mormon and the Bible testify of Christ. Hence why a key statement in the title of the Book of Mormon is, “Another testament of Jesus Christ.” To prove to the world that Jesus IS the Christ. The only Begotten son, and Savior of the world. 

2 Nephi 25:26 States:
“And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.”
Moving on to the second purpose of the Book of Mormon:

TWO: To teach the Fullness of the Doctrines of the Gospel.

In Mormon Doctrine it says:
“Almost all of the doctrines of the gospel are taught in the Book of Mormon with much greater clarity and perfection than those same doctrines are revealed in the Bible. Anyone who will place in parallel columns the teachings of these two great books on such subjects as the atonement, plan of salvation, gathering of Israel, baptism, gifts of the Spirit, miracles, revelation, faith, charity, (or any of a hundred other subjects), will find conclusive proof of the superiority of the Book of Mormon teachings.”

In the October 1999 General Conference, Elder Russell M. Nelson bore his testimony of the Book of Mormon, saying: 
“The Book of Mormon was written anciently for OUR Day... The word atonement, in any of its forms, is mentioned only once in the King James Version of the New Testament. In the Book of Mormon, it appears 39 times! The Book of Mormon also contains more references to the Resurrection than does the Bible... 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.” 

Also, if you look in the footnote in 2Nephi Chapter 12:2a it states: “Comparisons with the King James Bible in English shows that there are differences in more than half of the 433 verses of Isaiah quoted in the Book of Mormon, while about 200 verses have the same wording in the King James Version.”

There are many more examples proving that the Book of Mormon teaches the fullness of the Doctrines of the gospel, but I hope that these examples have sufficed. Moving on, to:

THREE: It is the Foundation of Testimony.

From the 1988, “A Witness and a Warning,” we learn that, “Just as the arch crumbles if the keystone is removed, so does all the church stand or fall with the truthfulness of The Book of Mormon. The enemies of the church understand this clearly. This is why they go to such great lengths to try to disprove The Book of Mormon, for if it can be discredited, the Prophet Joseph Smith goes with it. So does our claim to priesthood keys, and revelation, and the restored Church. But in like manner, if the Book of Mormon be true--and millions have now testified that they have the witness of the spirit that it is indeed true--then one must accept the claims of the Restoration and all that accompanies it.”

Now that we have a better understanding of what the PURPOSE of the Book of Mormon is, we can have a more complete understanding of what role the Book of Mormon should have in our lives. 

When I was a single adult, one of the institute teachers in Calgary, Brother Manden, shared a very though provoking insight to us about the Book of Mormon. He said, “We don’t read it, to complete it.” To me, it doesn’t matter how many times you read a verse, but the way that the Lord teaches us, is through the spirit. And the Book of Mormon is one of the biggest tools that he uses. So it doesn’t matter how many times we read it, what matters is who we become after each time we sit down and read from it’s pages. Personal Revelation is available to each of us as we Study the Book of Mormon.

What are you personally doing to draw closer, and increase your faith in our Lord? What are you doing as a Family to strengthen each other and draw closer to the Savior? The Lord will teach you from on High. Pray together. Read together. Satan keeps us from using our time wisely, and distracts us from strengthening our Families. What are you allowing to stand in the way between you and Christ? And are you WILLING? To give up those things that are standing between you, and what you need to be?

While in University I learned an acronym that might be easy to remember since it is the name of a member in the ward. The acronym is RULA. R.U.L.A. And it stands for:
Read-Understand-Liken-Apply (repeat)
In 1 Nephi 19:23 we read:
“And I did read many things unto them which were written in the Books of Moses; But that I might more fully persuade them to believe in the Lord their redeemer I did read unto them that which was written by the prophet Isaiah: For I did Liken All scripture unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning.” I’ll repeat the last line of that scripture again, “For I did liken all scripture unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning.”
In preach my gospel it states, 
“You...must be willing to ACT on the doctrine, to INCORPORATE it into your daily lives, and, as necessary, to Repent.”

Now is the time to go forward with Faith. Now is the time to begin your legacy of Faith. Now is the time for you to prepare for eternity. Kneel each day and pray to the Lord. He will not fail thee nor forsake thee. By the Power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of ALL things. Now is the time to change. Repentance is Always possible. As you live the standards you will be led. Arise. Give up the things that are standing between you, and what you need to be. We will not become perfect in a day, month or a year, but we can start by turning our weaknesses to strengths. He wants us to Follow him NOW. 

2 Nephi 32:3-5 states:
“Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you ALL things what ye should do. Wherefore, now after I have spoken these words, if ye cannot understand them it will be because ye ask not, neither do ye knock; wherefore, ye are not brought into the light, but must perish in the dark. For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it WILL show unto you ALL things what ye should do.”

In other words, If you want to fix problems in your life, read the Book of Mormon.

In Relief Society a few weeks ago, Bobbi Barfuss made a comment pertaining to her Mother. She said, “As a young Mother, my Mother was reading all the parenting books she could. Not wanting to “mess up.” I mean, spending hours reading them. Then one day the thought came clearly to her mind saying, “If you spent as much time reading the scriptures as you spend reading these books, you would be a far better Mother, and will be able to know what you need to do.” -End Quote.

We read in D&C 84:45-54: 
“For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light, and whatsoever is light is spirit, even the Spirit of Christ. And the Spirit giveth light to every man that cometh into the world; and the spirit enlighteneth every man through the world, that hearkeneth to the voice of the spirit. And every one that hearkeneth to the voice of the spirit cometh unto God, even the Father. And the Father teacheth him of the covenant which he has renewed and confirmed upon you, which is confirmed upon you for your sakes, and not for your sakes only, but for the sake of the whole world. And the whole world lieth in sin, and groaneth under darkness and under the bondage of sin. And by this you may know they are under the bondage of sin, because they come not unto me. And whoso receiveth not my voice is not acquainted with my voice, and is not of me. And by this you may know the righteous from the wicked, and that the whole world groaneth under sin and darkness even now. And your minds in times past have been darkened by un-belief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received.” -End of verse.
Sometimes people think they don’t need God. That they can do it themselves. Say that it’s no big deal, everybody does it... Don’t bring God’s Standards down. Some people bring it down, so that they can feel alright where they are at. While in University, my Professor at BYU-Idaho, Brother Riggins said to us, referring to peoples attitudes towards the scriptures, “I couldn’t fit God into my schedule today.” - No, everything we do should be the other way around. Rather than fitting God into your busy schedule, you should try to fit busy things into your spiritual schedule.”

Elder Natress, of the fifth quorum of the seventy said, “Everything you listen to, read and watch within the next year will largely determine your eternal outcome.
You need constant attachment, constant focus to the word of God.” 

In the Book, “The Power of Focus,” J. Paul Getty States, “ The individual who wants to reach the top in business must appreciate the might of the force of habit - and must understand that practices are what create habits. He must be quick to break those habits that can break him - and hasten to adapt those practices that will become the habits that help him achieve the success he desires.” -End Quote.

Habits we have been encouraged and commanded to implement are daily scripture study, both individually and as a Family.
In the 1800’s they used to sit around the fire-place and read to each other. Why not do that more often, than sit and watch T.V.? Make it a habit to spend time with your family doing quality things.

The Book of Mormon is an Anchor in each of our lives. It is an anchor to Christ. To the Spirit. To God. If you aren’t doing so now, or haven’t done so before, I would like to encourage you to go home TODAY and pick up your Book of Mormon and begin reading. Start with a goal in mind. Perhaps you would like to finish it before the end of this year? Maybe you want to read 30min. per day, even if some days that means only 10 verses. You could do a chapter a day, or even 10 pages per day, which was the rate that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon. Just set a goal that is achievable for YOU, write it down, and post it somewhere you will see it every single day. Then follow through and Do It! If you miss one day on accident, let it go and start again the next day as if you never missed a beat. Missing one day doesn’t make you a failure. Quitting altogether makes you a failure.

I know that the Book of Mormon is true, and that it is the most correct book of any book on earth. It brings me the peace I need in my life and I draw nearer to my Father in Heaven as I read it, and I know you can too. I testify in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.