You may want to use one or more of the following ideas to supplement the suggested lesson outline.
President Ezra Taft Benson taught, “Excluding the witnesses to the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants is by far the greatest external witness and evidence which we have from the Lord that the Book of Mormon is true” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1987, 105; or
Ensign, May 1987, 83).
President Benson referred to 13 sections in the Doctrine and Covenants that testify of the Book of Mormon:
D&C 1, 3, 5, 8, 10–11, 17–18, 20, 27, 42, 84, and 135. You may want to study these sections as you prepare to teach the lesson.
3. Drawing nearer to God through the Book of Mormon
The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “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” (
History of the Church, 4:461).
President Ezra Taft Benson cited this quotation, then asked: “Is there not something deep in our hearts that longs to draw nearer to God, to be more like Him in our daily walk, to feel His presence with us constantly? If so, then the Book of Mormon will help us do so more than any other book” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1986, 6; or
Ensign, Nov. 1986, 7).
D&C 135:34. “Translated by the gift and power of God” ()
Joseph Smith completed the translation of the Book of Mormon in about 65 working days (“I Have a Question,”
Ensign, Jan. 1988, 46–47). Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve commented on the speed of this process:
“One able LDS translator in Japan, surrounded by reference books, language dictionaries, and translator colleagues ready to help if needed, indicated that he considered an output of one careful, final page a day to be productive. And he is retranslating from earlier Japanese to modern Japanese! More than 50 able English scholars labored for seven years, using previous translations, to produce the King James Version of the
Bible, averaging about one precious page per day. The Prophet Joseph Smith would sometimes produce 10 pages per day! (see the bulletin Insights: An Ancient Window [Provo, Utah: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (F.A.R.M.S.), Feb. 1986], 1).
“A second marvel of the Book of Mormon translation process is that from what we know, rarely would Joseph go back, review, or revise what had already been done. There was a steady flow in the translation. …
“Emma Smith said of the inspired process: ‘After meals, or after interruptions, [Joseph] would at once begin where he had left off, without either seeing the manuscript or having any portion of it read to him’ (“Last Testimony of Sister Emma,”
Saints’ Herald, 1 Oct. 1879, 290). One who has dictated and been interrupted must usually resume by inquiring ‘Now, where were we?’ Not so with the Prophet!
“If one were manufacturing a text, he would constantly need to cross-check himself, to edit, and to revise for consistency. Had the Prophet dictated and revised extensively, there would be more evidence of it. But there was no need to revise divinely supplied text. Whatever the details of the translation process, we are discussing a process that was truly astonishing!” (“By the Gift and Power of God,”
Ensign, Jan. 1997, 39–40).
As the Book of Mormon is translated into many languages today, miracles continue. Relate the following story shared by Priscilla Sampson-Davis, a member of the Church in Ghana:
“About two years after my
baptism, I had a vision. … I saw that I was at a sacrament meeting, and somebody in white apparel came and stood in front of the stand and called me. I came forward and stood by him, and then he asked me to turn around and look at the faces of the people, to see if they were all enjoying the service. I looked, and I said I couldn’t see any difference in their faces. Then the man in white asked me to look carefully. I saw that some of those in the congregation had bent down their heads. The man asked me why those people were not joining in the singing. I told him that they couldn’t read English, and so they couldn’t sing, so they bent down their heads. He asked me if I wouldn’t like to help my sisters and brothers … so that they too could join in singing praises to our Heavenly Father. Though I could speak Fante [the dialect spoken by the people], I couldn’t write it well. But I didn’t say no; I said that I would try, that I would do my best. Then the vision passed away. Immediately I got up and took a paper and pencil and started translating the song ‘Redeemer of Israel’ into Fante.”
Sister Sampson-Davis translated the hymns, some missionary pamphlets, and the Gospel Principles manual. Then, under assignment, she assisted in the translation of the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. She observed: “It says in the scriptures that in the last days people will hear the gospel in their [own] tongues. This is what the Lord wanted me to do, and it is by his grace that I do it” (“An Instrument in His Hands,” in “All Are Alike unto God,” ed. E. Dale LeBaron , 40–42).