“The Words of Christ—Our Spiritual Liahona,” Ensign, May 2004, 36–37
I feel it a sacred honor and a privilege to have joined with members of the Church around the world in sustaining the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators. We humbly declare that they are “special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world” (D&C 107:23). We testify that they “speak as they are moved upon by the Holy Ghost. And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation” (D&C 68:3–4). The Savior said, “Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same” (D&C 1:38). We declare to the world that these latter-day servants of the Lord speak the words of Christ.
The Savior said, “Search the scriptures; for … they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39). The Apostle Paul wrote to his trusted companion Timothy, saying, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16). We declare to the world that the Book of Mormon is scripture, given by inspiration of God. It, too, is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness.
We fervently declare that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, translated from ancient records by the gift and power of God. This ancient record was written and preserved to come forth in fulfillment of prophecy as a companion scripture to the Holy Bible, the two to be used as one in the hands of the Lord (see Ezek. 37:16–20). In the Book of Mormon we are admonished to “feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do” (2 Ne. 32:3). We testify that the Book of Mormon is a second witness of the life and mission of the Savior. It is, indeed, “Another Testament of Jesus Christ.” We declare that the Book of Mormon contains the words of Christ.
Six hundred years before the birth of Christ, the Lord directed the ancient prophet Lehi to leave Jerusalem with his family and embark on a marvelous journey that would ultimately take them across the many waters to a land that would become a “promised land” to them. The Book of Mormon is the scriptural record of the sojourn of these people on the ancient American continent. It contains the prophetic writings and revelations given to these people. Included in these divine communications are many prophecies of the Savior’s birth, His ministry, and His great atoning sacrifice. They describe His ultimate Crucifixion and Resurrection and foretell of His coming to that ancient American civilization. We read in the Book of Mormon that after His Resurrection and soon after His Ascension into heaven, Jesus Christ did truly manifest Himself unto them. Hear and feel with me the description of this marvelous event in history:
“And now it came to pass that there were a great multitude gathered together. …
“And they were … conversing about this Jesus Christ, of whom the sign had been given concerning his death.
“And … while they were thus conversing one with another, they heard a voice as if it came out of heaven; and … they understood not the voice which they heard; … it was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, … it being a small voice it did pierce them that did hear to the center, insomuch that there was no part of their frame that it did not cause to quake; yea, it did pierce them to the very soul, and did cause their hearts to burn.
“And … again they heard the voice, and they understood it not.
“And again the third time they did hear the voice, and did open their ears to hear it; and their eyes were towards the sound thereof; and they did look steadfastly towards heaven, from whence the sound came.
“And behold, the third time they did understand the voice which they heard; and it said unto them:
“Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him.
“And … as they understood they cast their eyes up again towards heaven; and behold, they saw a Man descending out of heaven; and he was clothed in a white robe; and he came down and stood in the midst of them; …
“And it came to pass that he stretched forth his hand and spake unto the people, saying:
“Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world.
“And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning.
“And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words the whole multitude fell to the earth; for they remembered that it had been prophesied among them that Christ should show himself unto them after his ascension into heaven” (3 Ne. 11:1–12).
The Savior blessed those people and taught them His glorious gospel just as He had done in Jerusalem. We are blessed to have within the pages of the Book of Mormon His words, even the very words of Christ, as spoken to that ancient civilization.
After Lehi and his family were commanded to leave Jerusalem, they were given a sacred instrument which worked as a compass for them, showing them the course that they should travel. We read that it worked only according to their faith in God. Alma, a Book of Mormon prophet, told his son Helaman that the compass was called “Liahona” (see Alma 37:38). He said:
“And now, my son, I would that ye should understand that these things are not without a shadow; for as our fathers were slothful to give heed to this compass (now these things were temporal) they did not prosper; even so it is with things which are spiritual.
“For behold, it is as easy to give heed to the word of Christ, which will point to you a straight course to eternal bliss, as it was for our fathers to give heed to this compass, which would point unto them a straight course to the promised land.
“And now I say, is there not a type in this thing? For just as surely as this director did bring our fathers, by following its course, to the promised land, shall the words of Christ, if we follow their course, carry us beyond this vale of sorrow into a far better land of promise.
“O my son, do not let us be slothful because of the easiness of the way” (Alma 37:43–46).
So we see, brethren and sisters, that the words of Christ can be a personal Liahona for each of us, showing us the way. Let us not be slothful because of the easiness of the way. Let us in faith take the words of Christ into our minds and into our hearts as they are recorded in sacred scripture and as they are uttered by living prophets, seers, and revelators. Let us with faith and diligence feast upon the words of Christ, for the words of Christ will be our spiritual Liahona telling us all things what we should do. Of this I bear solemn testimony, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.