Sunday, June 24, 2007

My Testimony of the Book of Mormon

Like many of you, I started gaining my testimony of The Book of Mormon at a very young age. I remember waking up very earlier as a family to read from its pages. I remember the spirit I felt as a kid every time we read from it. It wasn’t an overwhelming feeling or anything it was just a peaceful feeling. I remember the days we would get up to read the scriptures in the morning verses the days we didn’t I felt so much happier throughout the day, the day just seemed to go smoother. I don’t think I ever really took the time to think much about as a child but as I look back I realize that it was the Holy Ghost testify to me of the truthfulness of this book.

Elder Gary Coleman, of the seventy says, “We may come to know the truth of all things God has revealed, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”

My testimony continued to grow after I got married. I remember noticing that my husband and I communicated so much better when we were having regular scripture study.

I always knew how important it was to have regular scripture study but I was never very good at it. I would go for awhile reading and then I would go for awhile just reading here and there. Then when I would get a new determination to make sure I read everyday I would usually start at the beginning and go from there. Because of this I never was able to get through the entire Book of Mormon.

When I married my husband he of course had read the Book of Mormon several times and had not only a very strong testimony of it but he has a love for it that I don’t see in very many people. It wasn’t until a few years ago when I started gaining that deeper testimony and that kind of love of this book.

Many of you remember in 2005 when Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley made the challenge for everyone to read the Book of Mormon from cover to cover by the end of the year. When I first heard this I thought great my husband and I are already about half way done so we can do this. But after thinking more about it my husband and I decided to start from the beginning and read it all the way through a faster pace then we had been doing.

So we did that. We read pretty well. We had figured out how much we had to read each day so we could be done by the end of the year. Well December came and even though we were trying hard to stay on our schedule we got behind. So we had to read quite a lot each day to finish. But I remember 4 days in Dec. of 2005 when my husband got the flu really bad. He was stuck in bed almost all week. I remember it so well because during those days I read to him. I read all day for days so we could fulfill this challenge the prophet gave to us. During these days is when my love for this remarkable book began. I gained such a strong love for Nephi, Alma, Ether, Mormon, Moroni and all of these prophets. I will always be so thankful for our inspired prophet who gave us this challenge. It was because of this I took the time to read the Book of Mormon straight through and not only read it but reading more then a chapter or so a day so I was finally able to really understand what was going on and to really grow to love these people.

One of my favorite parts of the Book of Mormon is of the prophet Ether. He was the only righteous man on the earth. He had to go up in a cave and watch his people destroy each other through their wickedness. Yet he stayed faithful. I think this and so many stories relate to us so well. How many of you youth, are, or just feel like you are, the only ones out there trying to do what is right? How many of us adults at times feel that way? Yet unlike Ether, we are able to come to church on Sundays, listen to general conferences, read from the Ensign and New Era so we know there are so many others out there trying so hard to stay faithful as well. Can we just have the faith and determination of Ether and endure till the end no matter what is going on around us.

From the Book of Mormon we learn about:,

The plan of salvation

The doctrine of Christ and the Atonement

Why death is necessary

Life after death in the spirit world

The workings of Satan

The order of the priesthood

Sacramental prayers

A sure way to judge between good and evil

All are parts of the fullness of the gospel

When I first was asked to talk on my testimony of the Book of Mormon I started thinking a lot about it. I knew I had such a strong testimony of the truthfulness of it. I know without a shadow of doubt that this book was preserved by God himself and brought to us through the hands of Joseph Smith and translated by the Urim and Thumim by the power of the Holy Ghost. But I still wondered “Why?”

Why is this Book so important? Why were these certain bits of information so important so many sacrificed so we could have them now in the latter days? Why are we told to read this particular book everyday over and over again?

I asked my husband this question and he told me it was because it contains the fullness of the Gospel in it. He said it tells us everything we need to know for this life. And I knew that to be true but it still bothered me. What is it about ever single chapter in this book that is so important that they were preserved? Because we know there were pages lost. We know that the prophets were told only to right certain things down and leave out other details. So from that it tells me that these few pages we have are priceless. Every single page is so important. And it dawned on me. Which you guys will probably think it is crazy it took this long for me to really understand it. But our Father in Heaven knew that the world was going to get so wicked that his gospel would get completely lost. So he had his righteous men right down the most important things that they could tell us so we would have there words here in the later days. When I think of it in modern day way, and I think about if Heavenly Father knew that all righteousness was going to be destroyed in the next 20 years don’t you think he would have somebody compile the most important prophesies our latter-day prophets have had. So in generations to come they would again be able to have the fullness of the gospel on the earth. So many of the prophets in the Book of Mormon were shown these latter days. They saw the things we were going to face. Don’t you think it is important to continually study the warnings they have for us. For us in this day and age.

Elder L. Tom Perry says, “The Book of Mormon is a voice of warning to this generation.”

In the Book of Mormon chapter 8 verse 35, Moroni writes, “Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing.”

President Ezra Taft Benson says: “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).

Elder L. Tom Perry says,”Each time we read the book we should probably ask ourselves: “Why did these writers choose these particular stories or events to include in the record? What value are they for us today?”

What are some of the lesson we can learn from the book of Mormon?

Elder Perry answers this, “Among the lessons we learn from the Book of Mormon are the cause and effect of war and under what conditions it is justified. It tells of evils and dangers of secret combinations, which are built up to get power and gain over the people. It tells of the reality of Satan and gives an indication of some of the methods he uses. It advises us on the proper use of wealth. It tells us of the plain and precious truths of the gospel and the reality and divinity of Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice for all mankind. It informs us of the gathering of the house of Israel in the last days. It tells us of the purpose and principles of missionary work. It warns us against pride, indifference, procrastination, the dangers of false traditions, hypocrisy, and unchastity. Now it is up to us to study the Book of Mormon and learn of its principles and apply them in our lives.”

I know in my own personal life there has been several times when I have been struggling with a problem and I turn to the scriptures and open them up and the answer is right there. Moments like that I truly feel as if Heavenly Father has just sent down a letter from heaven just for me.

I think one of the biggest lessons I learn from the Book of Mormon is of the pride cycle. It starts in just the first book of Nephi and goes through the entire Book of Mormon. When things are tough they turned to the lord and they are humbled so Heavenly Father blesses them yet once things started to get easier they would stop relying on Heavenly Father they tend to rely on themselves more and they get prideful so Heavenly Father has to humble them and the whole cycle begins again. We read these stories and think why don’t they ever learn. But how many times have we gone through the exact same cycle. When things are really hard or when we have a really big problem we turn to Heavenly Father. We pray more at that time then any other time. But the thing we need to learn from the Book of Mormon is that we need to continue to turn to him in times of plenty.

As we study this book over and over again and as we open it up when we are having problems we will be able to get answers we will be able to learn from these past prophets so we don’t have to go through the same trails.

I know this is why this book was preserved through generation and generation. This is why there is about 5,000,000 currently being distributed each year. Because this book is the word of God. This is our instruction manual that he has prepared for us here in the latter-day.

Near the end of the Book of Mormon Moroni says, “And I exhort you to remember these things; for the time speedily cometh that ye shall know that I lie not, for ye shall see me at the bar of God; and the Lord God will say unto you: Did I not declare my words unto you, which were written by this man, like as one crying from the dead, yea, even as one speaking out of the dust? …

“And God shall show unto you, that that which I have written is true” (Moro. 10:27, 29).

Pres. Hinckley says,” 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.”

I know that this book is the true word of God. I know that Moroni compiled these books from the words of true prophets of God. He then buried these plates in the ground. Years later an angel came to Joseph Smith and taught him until he was ready to receive these plates. Then Heavenly Father led him directly to the place Moroni had buried them. I know there, is where Joseph Smith also received the Urim and Thumim and through this he was able to translate this ancient record. And I know that the reason we have this today is because this is what Heavenly Father knew we needed to know for these latter-days and to be able restore the fullness of the gospel upon the earth today. So we to can return to him again. I know the more and more we study the Book of Mormon the stronger our testimony will grow. Each and ever one of us can know with every bit of our being that this is the true word of god.

Written by Kiera Conover on 6/24/07.

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