Sunday, January 5, 2020

Book of Mormon

The dawn of a new year is often a time of reflection and commitment. Each of us enters this new year with a personal, prophetic invitation to study the Book of Mormon. In addition to the gospel truths taught from its pages, the Book of Mormon itself stands as the foundation of a testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Whomever or wherever you are, I implore you to take seventeen minutes and listen to Elder Jeffrey R. Holland testify of the Book of Mormon during general conference in October 2009 (go to  During this apostolic testimony, Elder Holland said:

"For 179 years this book has been examined and attacked, denied and deconstructed, targeted and torn apart like perhaps no other book in modern religious history—perhaps like no other book in any religious history. And still it stands. Failed theories about its origins have been born and parroted and have died—from Ethan Smith to Solomon Spaulding to deranged paranoid to cunning genius. None of these frankly pathetic answers for this book has ever withstood examination because there is no other answer than the one Joseph gave as its young unlearned translator. In this I stand with my own great-grandfather, who said simply enough, 'No wicked man could write such a book as this; and no good man would write it, unless it were true and he were commanded of God to do so.'

If anyone is foolish enough or misled enough to reject 531 pages of a heretofore unknown text teeming with literary and Semitic complexity without honestly attempting to account for the origin of those pages—especially without accounting for their powerful witness of Jesus Christ and the profound spiritual impact that witness has had on what is now tens of millions of readers—if that is the case, then such a person, elect or otherwise, has been deceived; and if he or she leaves this Church, it must be done by crawling over or under or around the Book of Mormon to make that exit."

No one can deny that the Book of Mormon exists. Some may disregard, discredit, or disparage the book - but they cannot deny that it exists. Naysayers may contrive a myriad of theories regarding the origin and authorship of the book - but they cannot deny that its pages teach and testify of Jesus Christ. As stated by one of its prophetic authors, Nephi, Christ himself will testify of the authenticity of the Book of Mormon:

“And if they are not the words of Christ, judge ye—for Christ will show unto you, with power and great glory, that they are his words, at the last day;” - 2 Nephi 33:11

Given the divinity of the Book of Mormon and its power to bless our lives, it is up to each of us to define and refine our relationship with the book and its teachings.

Do we join the large and spacious throngs and ridicule the book, its origin, or religion in general? Do we let doubts or unanswered questions cloud our perception of the book and its purpose? Do we ignore or disregard the book because we are too busy or content to need its power in our lives? Do we admire the book and speak highly of it in occasional conversations? Do we spend a few minutes reading the book when it is convenient and circumstances permit? Do we make time to regularly and diligently study and ponder the book and its teachings? Do we share its peace and power with others as we might share our favorite pin, post, or podcast? If someone was watching our daily lives, how might they describe our relationship to and with the Book of Mormon?

Elder Holland and a countless host of others have witnessed to the truth and divinity of the Book of Mormon. I add my humble testimony to theirs - the Book of Mormon is, undoubtedly and unequivocally, another testament of Jesus Christ. Abiding by its precepts will bring peace and purpose to our lives.

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