Just a few weeks ago at general conference, I spoke about the immense power the Book of Mormon can have in our lives. I urged you to think about three related questions: First, what would your life be like without the Book of Mormon? Second, what would you not know? And third, what would you not have?
I also asked these questions on my Facebook and Twitter pages shortly after I spoke. Thank you for sharing with me your thoughtful, inspired comments.
On Twitter, Sue told me, “As a convert to the church, I wouldn’t have everything I hold dear. My husband, my deep faith in God and His Son, countless blessings.”
Lisa on Facebook said, “Without the Book of Mormon I don’t know if I would still have a life. During the darkest times of my life the Book of Mormon is what got me through. I’m not sure if there are words that can adequately express how much the Book of Mormon means to me. It is my anchor, a source of faith, hope and peace. I look forward each day to that time at the end of the day, when the house is quiet, that I can read and ponder the teachings in this great book. I love the Book of Mormon. I love how it teaches and testifies of the Savior. I love how it motivates me to be a better person and I love the peace and the perspective it brings me.”
I also liked what Jake on Twitter said: “I would not personally know that my Savior loves and knows me. He knows me. And is there to help me.” Another, Andy, replied. “Without the Book of Mormon I wouldn’t know that Jesus is the Christ or about His infinite Atonement.”
I know, as Andy knows, that the Book of Mormon provides the fullest and most authoritative understanding of the Atonement of Jesus Christ to be found anywhere.
Since President Monson’s challenge six months ago to “prayerfully study and ponder the Book of Mormon each day,” I have tried to study the Book of Mormon more deeply myself. I invite you to do the same. In my studies, I’ve made lists of what the Book of Mormon is, what it affirms, what it refutes, what it fulfills, what it clarifies, and what it reveals, as documented below.
Looking at the Book of Mormon through these lenses has been an insightful and inspiring exercise! I recommend it to each of you. I promise that as you ponder what you study, the windows of heaven will open, and you will receive answers to your own questions and direction for your own life.
My Book of Mormon Lists
The Book of Mormon affirms:
- The individual identity of Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ.
- The necessity of the Fall of Adam and the wisdom of Eve, that men might have joy.
The Book of Mormon refutes notions that:
- Revelation ended with the Bible.
- Infants need to be baptized.
- Happiness can be found in wickedness.
- Individual goodness is adequate for exaltation (ordinances and covenants are needed).
- The Fall of Adam tainted mankind with “original sin.”
The Book of Mormon fulfills biblical prophecies that:
- “Other sheep” shall hear His voice.
- God will do “a marvelous work and a wonder,” speaking “out of the dust.”
- The “stick of Judah” and the “stick of Joseph” will become one.
- Scattered Israel will be gathered “in the latter days” and how that will be done.
- The land of inheritance for the lineage of Joseph is the Western Hemisphere.
The Book of Mormon clarifies understanding about:
- Our premortal existence.
- Death. It is a necessary component of God’s great plan of happiness.
- Postmortal existence, which begins in paradise.
- How the resurrection of the body, reunited with its spirit, becomes an immortal soul.
- How our judgment by the Lord will be according to our deeds and the desires of our hearts.
- How ordinances are properly performed: for example, baptism, sacrament, conferring the Holy Ghost.
- The Atonement of Jesus Christ.
- The Resurrection.
- The important role of angels.
- The eternal nature of priesthood.
- How human behavior is influenced more by the power of the word than the power of the sword.
The Book of Mormon reveals information previously unknown:
- Baptisms were performed before Jesus Christ was born.
- Temples were built and used by people in ancient America.
- Joseph, 11th son of Israel, foresaw the prophetic role of Joseph Smith.
- Nephi (in 600–592 BC) foresaw the discovery and colonizing of America.
- Plain and precious parts of the Bible have been lost.
- The Light of Christ is given to each person.
- The importance of individual agency and the need for opposition in all things.
- Warnings about “secret combinations.”