Now, we're in the home here where Joseph and Emma worked together and Oliver Cowdery came, by commandment, really. Oliver was living in New York, in this upper state of New York. And he was visited by a heavenly message of some kind that he was needed here by Joseph Smith in Pennsylvania. And he ran with the prophet's brother from Palmyra to where we are now in Pennsylvania. We made it in two days. He ran--I don't know how long it took him, maybe five days. But he ran like a deer. And he introduced himself, at the front door here, to Joseph Smith. And after he said his name--"I'm Oliver Cowdery; I'm here to help you"--Joseph said, "I've been expecting you." And after a day or two to get acquainted, they began their work here. And this desk--a desk like this; this is a reproduction--on April 7, 1829, they had parchment paper. And actually, paper was in short supply. They ran out of paper during the process of translation. For a pen, Oliver used the quill of a turkey feather in an inkwell.
We sometimes take for granted the fact that it's not a pen like we carry in our pockets or purse. It's ink and a turkey feather. Well, they started on April 7, 1829. They lost--Joseph and Emma had lost the previous translation, which is another story. And they worked assiduously while being hounded by mobs, even some adversarial relationships with members of the family, until they were done. They had to move from Pennsylvania back to New York to finish the work. Meanwhile, they had to file for a copyright, and the restoration of the priesthood came, and 15 revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants had to be recorded. About 60, 65 working days, they got that job done. They translated. So the book was done on June 30 of that year, translating at about the rate of six to eight manuscript pages per day. Have you ever been to circumstances nowadays where the bishop or elders quorum president or someone challenges to read the Book of Mormon in four months? Mm-hmm. Well, in our own ward, we've had that same kind of--we were in the same ward for a while. When you pat yourself on the back for reading the book in four months, just remember, the Prophet translated it in less time than that. So don't be too proud of yourself. Quite miraculous, really, through the gift and power of God. We have a lot of suggestions about how it was done. We know that they had a table like this. We know they had the golden plates, covered usually. And Joseph used these: the Urim and Thummim, seer stones, in the hat. And it was easier for him to see the light when he'd take that position.
To me, it's like having my mobile phone in my hand. And I can get messages on it that you can't see. That's true. And they had nothing like that. So it's just the gift and power of God, how he was able to do that in that period of time. They started in Palmyra, had to come here, worked as long as they could, and then ended up in Fayette, New York, where the manuscript was finally finished. But, you know, to me the Book of Mormon is the tangible evidence that all these other events really did take place. One can debate another's statement about visions and prayers and angels and so on, because those are personal experiences. But to leave the Book of Mormon as tangible evidence that all this happened means that you and I and any other interested person can get a testimony for himself that these things are true. At the end of the Book of Mormon it says if you'll ask God with a sincere heart and with real intent, He will manifest the truth of it unto you by the power of the Holy Ghost. And that means not only the Book of Mormon but the entire process of restoration, which includes the Book of Mormon and the restoration of the priesthood and all the blessings of the priesthood to God's children. When I think about that promise of Moroni, I think about the millions of people throughout the world who have taken that exhortation to heart and have done that. They have asked God with faith in Christ, having a sincere desire to know and a real intent to follow through on the answer they receive. And they do receive. I have received that answer. Millions have. I remember, when I was 14, I had a--my high school English teacher was very educated, skillful, persuasive. And so a lot of the things that he said made me question if there was even a God. Oh. And that year we were studying the Book of Mormon in seminary. And I came to Mosiah, chapter 4, verse 9. And it just electrified me because--you know what it says. "Believe in God; believe that he is." Believe that "he created all things, both in heaven and in earth." Believe that He has all power and all wisdom. And believe that He comprehends all things. That's not exactly right. But that's what I remember. But that had such a profound influence on my testimony, that bit in the Book of Mormon. And I know that many, many people have had similar experiences with other verses in the Book of Mormon that have made their testimony just steadfast and immovable. That is a miraculous book in many, many ways--not just the way it came to be but the effect that it has on individual lives today. Well, the Book of Mormon really clarifies the Bible. Let me give you just a little example. One day I was at a national prayer breakfast in Washington, D.C. And the president of the country was hosting that prayer breakfast. But before the breakfast started, we had a little mingling time. And I was meeting with a Jewish rabbi, having a nice conversation with this Jewish rabbi, who was a rather senior citizen. I was a little less senior then. And a younger rabbi came over to interrupt our conversation by asking the older rabbi, "Where is it in the Old Testament where the Lord talks about the stick of Ephraim and the stick of Judah and where they'd be joined together one day?" And the older rabbi stroked his beard, and he said, "Well, I think you'll find it in the book of Ezekiel." And I said, "You'll find it in the 37th chapter of Ezekiel." And of course the senior rabbi turned to me and said, "How did you know that?" I said, "For us it's core doctrine." Because in 37th chapter of Ezekiel it talks about the stick of Judah, the Bible, and the stick of Ephraim, the Book of Mormon, being bound together. And I carry around my visual evidence that they're bound together, as I have the standard works here in one volume. Mm-hmm. Well, they've blessed our lives. I can't imagine life without the word of God as recorded by ancient prophets and kept for our day, for our guidance and direction. Thank you.