“Book of Mormon Is ‘a Standard for the Church,’ President Benson Tells Priesthood Leaders,” Ensign, May 1986, 105
The “great standard” Latter-day Saints are to use is the Book of Mormon, said President Ezra Taft Benson Friday, April 4, in an address at the annual Regional Representatives’ Seminar held in association with general conference.
The Book of Mormon “shows that Joseph Smith was a prophet. It contains the words of Christ, and its great mission is to bring men to Christ, and all other things are secondary. The golden question of the Book of Mormon is ‘Do you want to learn more of Christ?’ The Book of Mormon is the great finder of the golden contact. It does not contain things which are ‘pleasing unto the world,’ and so the worldly are not interested in it. It is a great sieve,” said President Benson.
In his stirring address, President Benson noted that Latter-day Saints have “not been using the Book of Mormon as we should. Our homes are not as strong unless we are using it to bring our children to Christ. Our families may be corrupted by worldly trends and teachings unless we know how to use the book to expose and combat falsehoods.”
President Benson counseled that “We are to use the Book of Mormon in handling objections to the Church.” He said that “the Book of Mormon exposes the enemies of Christ. It confounds false doctrines and lays down contention. It fortifies the humble followers of Christ against the evil designs, strategies, and doctrines of the devil in our day.”
“Every Latter-day Saint should make the study of this book a lifetime pursuit,” said President Benson. In attendance at the seminar were General Authorities, general presidencies of auxiliaries, and the approximately 215 regional representatives from throughout the world.
Also announced at the seminar was a major change affecting Church single adult age-group classifications and a new age-group guideline for single adult wards (see adjacent article).
Following President Benson, President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, spoke on missionary work; then President Thomas S. Monson, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, spoke on principles of Church welfare. Elder L. Tom Perry also discussed aspects of welfare in the Church.
A major emphasis in this year’s seminar was the theme, “An Invitation to Come Back,” a discussion of principles and ways to assist those who are less active in the Church to increase their Church activity. Speaking on this theme were Elder David B. Haight, Elder Neal A. Maxwell, and Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve, and Elder Carlos E. Asay of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy. A panel consisting of all seven members of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy responded to questions about assisting the less active.
Friday evening in the Tabernacle at the annual leadership meeting attended by General Authorities, regional representatives, and stake presidents from throughout the world, the central matters presented during the day at the Regional Representatives’ Seminar were again discussed for the benefit of the Church’s nearly 1,600 stake presidents.
In sequence, those who spoke were President Howard W. Hunter, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve, who addressed helping the less active; Presiding Bishop Robert D. Hales, who discussed the principles associated with the law of tithing; President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, who counseled leaders on our obligation to share the gospel; President Thomas S. Monson, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, who discussed the essential principles of welfare; and President Ezra Taft Benson, who spoke briefly in concluding remarks, again stressing the fundamental role of the Book of Mormon as the great aid provided by the Lord his people in the latter-days. President Benson requested that his undelivered text be published in this issue. It is printed on page 79.