The Book of Mormon as a Personal Guide09209_000_002
All of us feel, in our best moments, a desire to return home to live with God. He gave us the gift of His Beloved Son as our Savior to provide the path and to teach us how to follow it. He gave us prophets to point the way. The Prophet Joseph Smith was inspired to translate the record of prophets that is the Book of Mormon. It is our sure guide on the way home to God.
Joseph Smith said of that precious book, “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.” 1
The precepts of the Book of Mormon are the commandments of God we find in it. Some are direct commands from the Savior through His prophets as to what we are to do and what we are to become. The Book of Mormon gives us the Savior’s example to increase our faith and determination to obey His command to follow Him. The book is filled with the doctrine of Christ to guide us. Here is an example from 2 Nephi:
“[Jesus] said unto the children of men: Follow thou me. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, can we follow Jesus save we shall be willing to keep the commandments of the Father?
“And the Father said: Repent ye, repent ye, and be baptized in the name of my Beloved Son” (2 Nephi 31:10–11).
The book makes plain that we must receive the Holy Ghost as a baptism of fire to help us stay on the strait and narrow path. We are taught that we must pray always in the name of Christ, not fainting, and that if we do, we have this promise: “Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life” (2 Nephi 31:20).
The Book of Mormon makes plain in the marvelous sermon of King Benjamin what it means to have a love of God and of all men. When our natures are changed by the power of the Atonement and through our faithful obedience to the commandments, we will be filled with the love of God (see Mosiah 4:1–12).
The Book of Mormon also gives us confidence that we can become so purified in this life that we have no more desire to do evil (see Mosiah 5:2). This hope gives us courage and comfort as Satan tries to tempt and discourage us on our way.
Each time I read even a few lines in the Book of Mormon, I feel my testimony strengthened that the book is true, that Jesus is the Christ, that we can follow Him home, and that we can take those we love home with us. It has been for me the book of books. It is the word of God.
I pray that we and all those we love will drink deeply and daily from it. I testify in the name of Jesus Christ that it is a true guide.
Teaching from This Message
When we use the scriptures and the words of latter-day prophets as the source of all our teaching, we invite the Spirit to bear witness. This brings to our teaching ‘the power of God unto the convincing of men’ (D&C 11:21)” (Teaching, No Greater Call , 51). Consider reading highlights from President Eyring’s message, including Joseph Smith’s statement about the Book of Mormon. Invite family members to share how living the teachings found in the Book of Mormon helps them draw nearer to God.
“When learners discuss principles from the scriptures, they develop skills they need for their personal scripture study” (Teaching, No Greater Call, 54). Consider reading the scriptures referred to in this message and looking for and discussing the principles they teach.
My Own Book of Mormon
In August 2005, when President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) issued a challenge to Church members to read the Book of Mormon before the end of the year, I promised myself I would read the entire book. I was familiar with stories in the Book of Mormon but had never read it all the way through. Now I meant to keep my promise.
I had been taught to apply the scriptures to my life and make them my very own. So as I read, I wrote in the margins of the page what I thought the main idea of the passage was. I also underlined repeated words and phrases to show emphasis.
I placed my name next to names in the scriptures to help me remember that the word of God spoken to others can also be the word spoken to me. For example, in 2 Nephi 2:28 I wrote my name: “And now, [Hillary], I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments.” The more I made the Book of Mormon my own, the more excited I became about reading it every day.
As I read daily, my prayers became heartfelt and personal. I was also able to focus on my classes and follow promptings of the Spirit to befriend others. On the last night of the year, I finished the Book of Mormon.
I then understood the importance of reading the whole Book of Mormon, along with other scriptures, and want to do so many more times in my life.
Left: photo illustration by Craig Dimond
A Guide to Help Us Get Home
How would you feel if you were lost and didn’t know the way to get home to your family? Would you be happy if you could follow someone who could show you the way? President Eyring says the Book of Mormon is like a guide that helps us get back home to Heavenly Father.
Look at the pictures of some things the Book of Mormon tells us we need to do to get back home. Read 2 Nephi 31:10, 11, 20. Below each picture, write the correct verse from the Book of Mormon. You will need to use one of the verses twice.
Illustrations by Steve Kropp
Repent and be baptized.
Have bright hope.
Love God and all people.
Each time I read even a few lines in the Book of Mormon, I feel my testimony strengthened that the book is true, that Jesus is the Christ.
Christ in the Land Bountiful, by Simon Dewey © 2003 IRI