“‘Study the Book of Mormon,’ President Benson Urges Texans,” Ensign, July 1988, 80
Speaking at a biregional conference at the Dallas, Texas, Convention Center April 24, President Benson urged Latter-day Saints to become scholars of the Book of Mormon.
In a city where forty years ago the Church struggled to have a hundred members attend a meeting, President Benson was the concluding speaker at a conference that drew more than ten thousand members from the Dallas and Fort Worth regions.
Other General Authorities participating in the conference were Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder H. Burke Peterson of the First Quorum of the Seventy.
Renewing the message that the Book of Mormon “is the standard we are to use,” President Benson stressed, “It shows that Joseph Smith was a prophet. It contains the words of Christ, and its great mission is to bring men to Christ. All other things are secondary.”
The purpose of the book is “the convincing of the Jew and the Gentile that Jesus is the Christ,” President Benson said, quoting from the title page. He noted that “it proclaims that we must endure to the end in righteousness. We must live to the end as a Saint.
“God is the author of the book. It is a record of a fallen people, compiled by inspired men for our blessings today. These people never had the book. It was meant for us,” President Benson said.
Urging Church members to read, study, and ponder the Book of Mormon daily, President Benson said missionaries are not as effective unless they are using the Book of Mormon. Church classes are not as Spirit-filled unless members hold it up as a standard, and LDS homes are not as strong unless parents use the book to bring their children to Christ.
“Our nation will continue to degenerate unless we read and heed the words of the God of this land, Jesus Christ, and quit building up and upholding secret combinations,” President Benson stated.
President Benson’s message was complemented by Elder Maxwell’s talk about the restoration of the scriptures.
“It is through the restoration of the scriptures that we get a glimpse of premortality,” Elder Maxwell said. “The restoration of the scriptures tells us Jesus was the creator of this and other worlds.”
Elder Maxwell added that the restored scriptures are a bridge between the Old Testament and the New Testament.
“As an Apostle of Jesus Christ, I bear witness to you that Jesus is our Savior,” he said. “I witness that he lives and is the presiding high priest of this church.”
Elder Peterson said that some fifty years before the birth of Christ, a good father taught his sons, including Helaman, “the most important lesson [that] faith must be based on a foundation of a testimony of Jesus Christ.”
Elder Peterson added, “It has been my observation that one cannot force faith or testimony. … When it comes to the heart, the heart cannot be pushed. It must be led.”
Elder Peterson challenged members to consider:
—Whether their homes are places where love is unequaled.
—Whether parents accept their children instead of criticizing them.
—Whether something good is said about each member of the family each day.
—Whether their homes are places where love will grow.
Correspondent: Annelle Dugan is the Longview Texas Stake public communications director.