Thank you so much, Elder Nielson, for your beautiful message. We needed that.
My dear brothers and sisters, President Russell M. Nelson has taught us recently: “To do anything well requires effort. Becoming a true disciple of Jesus Christ is no exception. Increasing your faith and trust in Him takes effort.” Among the recommendations that he gave us to increase our faith in Jesus Christ is that we become engaged learners, that we immerse ourselves in the scriptures to understand better Christ’s mission and ministry. (See “Christ Is Risen; Faith in Him Will Move Mountains,” Liahona, May 2021, 103.)
We learn in the Book of Mormon that the scriptures were an important part of Lehi’s family—so much so that Nephi and his brothers returned to Jerusalem to obtain the plates of brass (see 1 Nephi 3–4).
The scriptures reveal God’s will for us, much as the Liahona did for Nephi and his father. After he broke his bow, Nephi needed to know where he should go to obtain food. His father, Lehi, looked at the Liahona and saw the things that were written. Nephi saw that the spindles functioned according to the faith, diligence, and attention given to them. He also saw writing which was easy to read and which gave them understanding regarding the paths of the Lord. He became aware that the Lord brings about great things through small means. He was obedient regarding the directions given by the Liahona. He went up the mountain and obtained food for his family, who had suffered so much from the lack thereof. (See 1 Nephi 16:23–31.)
It seems to me that Nephi was a student dedicated to the scriptures. We read that Nephi delighted in the scriptures, pondered them in his heart, and wrote them for the learning and profit of his children (see 2 Nephi 4:15–16).
President Russell M. Nelson said:
“If we ‘press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, … [we] shall have eternal life’ [2 Nephi 31:20].
“To feast means more than to taste. To feast means to savor. We savor the scriptures by studying them in a spirit of delightful discovery and faithful obedience. When we feast upon the words of Christ, they are embedded ‘in fleshy tables of the heart’ [2 Corinthians 3:3]. They become an integral part of our nature” (“Living by Scriptural Guidance,” Ensign, Nov. 2000, 17; Liahona, Jan. 2001, 21).
Our desire to be part of the gathering of Israel on both sides of the veil will increase. It will be normal and natural for us to invite our family and friends to listen to the missionaries. We will be worthy, and we will have a current temple recommend in order to go to the temple as often as possible. We will work to find, prepare, and submit the names of our ancestors to the temple. We will be faithful in keeping the Sabbath day, attending church every Sunday to renew our covenants with the Lord as we participate worthily in taking the sacrament. We will resolve to remain on the covenant path, living by every word that proceeds forth from the mouth of God (see Doctrine and Covenants 84:44).
Delighting in the scriptures is more than hungering and thirsting for knowledge. Nephi experienced great joy during his life. However, he also faced difficulties and sadness (see 2 Nephi 4:12–13). “Nevertheless,” he said, “I know in whom I have trusted” (2 Nephi 4:19). As we study the scriptures, we will better understand God’s plan of salvation and exaltation, and we will trust in the promises that He has made to us in the scriptures, as well as in the promises and blessings of modern prophets.
One afternoon, my wife and I were invited to a home of a friend. Their seven-year-old son, David, had never heard the Bible story of David and Goliath, and he wanted to hear it. As I began to tell the story, he was touched by the way David, with his faith and in the name of the God of Israel, wounded and killed the Philistine with a sling and a stone, having no sword in his hand (see 1 Samuel 17).
Looking at me with his enormous dark eyes, he asked me firmly, “Who is God?” I explained to him that God is our Heavenly Father and that we learn about Him in the scriptures.
Then he asked me, “What are the scriptures?” I told him that the scriptures are the word of God and that in them he would find beautiful stories that would help him to better know God. I asked his mother to use the Bible that she had in her home and that she not let David go to sleep without reading the whole story to him. He was delighted as he listened to it. The scriptures and our knowledge of God are gifts—gifts that we too often take for granted. Let us cherish these blessings.
While serving a mission as a young man, I observed that by our teaching with the scriptures, the lives of many people were transformed. I became aware of the power in them and how they can change our lives. Each person to whom we taught the restored gospel was a unique individual with different needs. The holy scriptures—yes, the prophecies written by the holy prophets—brought them to a faith in the Lord and to repentance and changed their hearts.
The scriptures filled them with joy as they received inspiration, direction, consolation, strength, and answers to their needs. Many of them decided to make changes in their lives and began to keep God’s commandments.
Nephi encourages us to delight in the words of Christ, because the words of Christ will tell us all the things we need to do (see 2 Nephi 32:3).
I invite you to have a permanent plan to study the scriptures. Come, Follow Me is a great resource that we have for teaching and learning the gospel, deepening our conversion to Jesus Christ, and helping us to become like Him. When we study the gospel, we are not simply seeking new information; rather, we are seeking to become “a new creature” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
The Holy Ghost guides us toward truth and testifies to us of the truth (see John 16:13). He illuminates our minds and renews our understanding and touches our hearts through God’s revelation, the source of all truth. The Holy Ghost purifies our hearts. He inspires in us the desire to live according to the truth and whispers to us ways to do so. “The Holy Ghost … shall teach you all things” (John 14:26).
Speaking of the words He revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith, our Savior said:
“These words are not of men nor of man, but of me; …
“For it is my voice which speaketh them unto you; for they are given by my Spirit unto you … ;
“Wherefore, you can testify that you have heard my voice, and know my words” (Doctrine and Covenants 18:34–36).
We should seek the companionship of the Holy Ghost. This goal should govern our decisions and guide our thoughts and actions. We must seek everything that invites the influence of the Spirit and reject anything that deviates from this influence.
I testify that Jesus Christ is the beloved Son of our Heavenly Father. I love my Savior. I am grateful for His scriptures and for His living prophets. President Nelson is His prophet. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.