Continually Hold On to Iron Rod, Elder Johnson Tells BYU–Idaho Students
Contributed By Kate Manning, Church News contributor
- Lehi’s dream from the Book of Mormon is an analogy for developing scripture study habits.
- 1. Those who did not ever hold on to the iron rod—people who never study their scriptures.
- 2. Those who held on but got distracted—people who get distracted from scripture study.
- 3. Those who held on and made it to the end—people who develop the habit of scripture study.
“Studying the scriptures continually helps us keep our eyes, our minds, and our hearts focused on the Savior, and as we apply and live the teachings found in the scriptures, we become more like Him.” —Elder Daniel L. Johnson of the Seventy
Continually holding fast to the rod of iron keeps individuals focused on the Savior, Elder Daniel L. Johnson of the Seventy taught during a Brigham Young University–Idaho campus devotional on May 12.
Elder Johnson invited his wife, Sister Marva Johnson, to bear her testimony before he gave his address. Sister Johnson shared her love for the knowledge that God can be trusted.
“If you ever … question the way to go,” Sister Johnson said, “we can have confidence that He knows. We can trust Him.”
Elder Johnson began his devotional address by using the story of Lehi’s dream from the Book of Mormon as an analogy for developing scripture study habits. He began the analogy with the significance of the prophet Lehi finding the Liahona.
“Recall that it worked according to their faith and diligence,” Elder Johnson said. “If they were slothful and forgot to exercise their faith and diligence, then it ceased to work and they did not progress in their journey.”
The prophet Lehi was expected to study and continually give heed to the Liahona along with the brass plates, Elder Johnson said. This study helped them progress in their journey without tarrying in the wilderness. “What was the Lord trying to teach them … through the workings of the Liahona?” Elder Johnson asked.
Elder Johnson answered the question by addressing the purpose of the Liahona and the brass plates. “The primary purpose of the Liahona and the scriptures is to help us know, understand, and become as the Savior is,” he said. “Studying the scriptures continually helps us keep our eyes, our minds, and our hearts focused on the Savior, and as we apply and live the teachings found in the scriptures, we become more like Him.”
As people become more like Christ, Elder Johnson said, they become candidates for eternal life.
Elder Johnson continued his address with references to the account of Lehi’s dream found in 1 Nephi 8. He discussed three of the four groups of people represented in the vision.
The first three groups entered the path that led to the tree of life, Elder Johnson said.
Reading from verses 21 through 23 in 1 Nephi 8, he pointed out that the iron rod is not mentioned.
“From that, we can assume that these members of the Church did not grasp hold of the rod of iron,” he said. “Members of this group apparently did not read or study the scriptures, did not listen to general conference or read the Ensign or attend their Sunday meetings, all of which represent the word of God, or the rod of iron.”
Group 2 clung to the rod of iron, Elder Johnson said. They also got distracted by the enticements of the world and became ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Elder Johnson continued his address by discussing the third group found in Lehi’s dream. They continually held fast to the rod of iron and reached the tree of life without heeding any scorn from the other groups found in the chapter. He suggested that this group kept their focus on the Savior continually.
“I would suggest that you start your day, every day, with the scriptures,” he said. “I would suggest that prayer and studying the scriptures go hand in hand. … Both of them keep you focused on the Savior and give you access to revelation.”
Elder Johnson concluded by testifying to those listening to the devotional that immersing themselves in the scriptures will help them come to know the Savior.