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.