“Use Book of Mormon to Counter Error, President Benson Teaches,” Ensign, Jan. 1989, 75–76
“Use the Book of Mormon in handling objections to the Church,” President Ezra Taft Benson told nearly ten thousand Latter-day Saints attending a multistake conference in San Diego on October 30.
“God reveals his will today to the Church through the prophets,” President Benson said, explaining that the Book of Mormon provides answers to modern questions. He outlined a four-step method for using the Book of Mormon to deal with objections to Church teachings:
Understand the objection.
Give the answer as provided by the scriptures.
Show that the correctness of the answer depends on whether we have revelation through modern prophets.
Show that whether we have revelation through modern prophets depends on whether the Book of Mormon is true.
“Every person is eventually backed up to the wall of faith, and there he must make his stand,” President Benson said.
The President said that the Book of Mormon is the great standard Latter-day Saints are to use to show that Joseph Smith is a prophet. The Book of Mormon’s great mission is to bring us to Christ.
In his opening remarks, President Benson testified that Joseph Smith was the instrument God used to translate the sacred record of a fallen people. “Those people never had the book,” he said. “It was meant for us.” He explained that the Book of Mormon exposes the enemies of Christ, confounds false doctrine, lays down contentions, and fortifies the humble followers of Christ.
The Book of Mormon does not contain things that are pleasing to the world, so the world is not interested in it, President Benson said. He noted that our homes are not as strong as they could be if we are not using the Book of Mormon to bring our children to Christ. Likewise, our nation will continue to degenerate unless we read and heed the words of God in that sacred book.
The conference was held in two sessions at the San Diego Convention Center, with more than 5,400 people attending the morning session and more than 4,500 the afternoon session.
Sister Flora Benson accompanied her husband and spoke briefly at the morning session. Elder L. Tom Perry of the Council of the Twelve, Elder Gene R. Cook of the First Quorum of the Seventy, and their wives, Sister Barbara Perry and Sister Janelle Cook, also spoke at the conference. President Thomas E. Brown of the California San Diego Mission spoke as well.
During the morning session, Elder Perry encouraged everyone, especially the youth, to study the lives of the prophets and to honor and respect them. In the afternoon, he spoke about “reuniting and reinstitutionalizing” the family. He urged fathers to develop patience, gentleness, and love unfeigned toward family members and to be sensitive and willing to share the burden of taking care of children.
Elder Cook exhorted members to study the scriptures daily—individually and as a family.
President Brown urged the audience to be determined and not to give up, even though some investigators might take years to join the Church.
At the close of the morning session, President Benson returned to the microphone to comment: “God bless the temple that is going to be erected here.” After a slight pause, he added “And soon, I hope!”
Correspondent: Robert McGraw is San Diego-Escondido California multiregional public communications director.