My dear brothers and sisters, in the Book of Mormon the phrase “this day”1 is used repeatedly to call attention to counsel, promises, and teachings. King Benjamin, in his final address, admonished the people, “Hear my words which I shall speak unto you this day; … open your ears that ye may hear, and your hearts that ye may understand, and your minds that the mysteries of God may be unfolded to your view.”2 General conference is a similar setting. We come to hear counsel for “this day,” that we may be “true at all times”3 to the Lord and His gospel. Pressing upon me “this day” is the importance of renewing our commitment to the Book of Mormon, which Joseph Smith called “the most correct of any book on earth.”4
I hold in my hand a copy of the Book of Mormon. This is my 1970 vintage edition, and it is precious to me. By its appearance it is tired and worn, but no other book is as important to my life and my testimony as this one. Reading it, I gained a witness by the Spirit that Jesus Christ is the Son of God,5 that He is my Savior,6 that these scriptures are the word of God,7 and that the gospel is restored.8 Those truths rest deep within me. As the prophet Nephi said, “My soul delighteth in the things of the Lord.”9
Here is the back story. As a young missionary, I took the counsel of Elder Marion D. Hanks, who visited us in the Eastern States Mission. He was the former president of the British Mission, and two of his missionaries are on the stand this day: my dear Brethren Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and Elder Quentin L. Cook.10 Just as with his missionaries in England, he challenged us to read an unmarked copy of the Book of Mormon at least two times. I took up the task. The first reading I was to mark or underline everything that pointed to or testified of Jesus Christ. I used a red pencil, and I underlined many passages. The second time, Elder Hanks said to highlight principles and doctrine of the gospel, and this time I used blue to mark the scriptures. I read the Book of Mormon twice, as suggested, and then two more times, using yellow and black to mark passages that stood out to me.11 As you can see, I made many notations.
There was much more to my reading than just marking scriptures. With each reading of the Book of Mormon, front to back, I was filled with a profound love for the Lord. I felt a deeply rooted witness of the truth of His teachings and how they apply to “this day.” This book fits its title, “Another Testament of Jesus Christ.”12 With that study and the spiritual witness that was received, I became a Book of Mormon missionary and a disciple of Jesus Christ.13
“This day,” one of the greatest missionaries of the Book of Mormon is President Russell M. Nelson. When he was a newly called Apostle, he gave a lecture in Accra, Ghana.14 In attendance were dignitaries, including an African tribal king, with whom he spoke through an interpreter. The king was a serious student of the Bible and loved the Lord. Following President Nelson’s remarks, he was approached by that king, who asked in perfect English, “Just who are you?” President Nelson explained that he was an ordained Apostle of Jesus Christ.15 The king’s next question was “What can you teach me about Jesus Christ?”16
President Nelson reached for the Book of Mormon and opened it to 3 Nephi 11. Together President Nelson and the king read the Savior’s sermon to the Nephites: “Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world. … I am the light and the life of the world.”17
President Nelson presented the king with that copy of the Book of Mormon, and the king responded, “You could have given me diamonds or rubies, but nothing is more precious to me than this additional knowledge about the Lord Jesus Christ.”18
That is not an isolated example of how our beloved prophet shares the Book of Mormon. He has given copies of the Book of Mormon to hundreds of people, always bearing his witness of Jesus Christ. When President Nelson meets with guests, presidents, kings, heads of state, and leaders of business and organizations and of diverse faiths, whether at Church headquarters or in their own locations, he reverently presents this book of revealed scripture. He could give them so many things wrapped in ribbons that might sit on a table or desk or in cabinets as a reminder of his visit. Instead, he gives what is most precious to him, far beyond rubies and diamonds, as the tribal king described.
“The truths of the Book of Mormon,” President Nelson has said, “have the power to heal, comfort, restore, succor, strengthen, console, and cheer our souls.”19 I have watched as these copies of the Book of Mormon have been clutched in the hands of those who have received them from our prophet of God. There could be no greater gift.
Just recently he met with the first lady of The Gambia in his office and humbly handed her a Book of Mormon. He did not stop there. He opened its pages to read with her, to teach and testify of Jesus Christ, His Atonement, and His love for all God’s children—everywhere.
Our living prophet is doing his part to flood the earth with the Book of Mormon.20 But he cannot open the floodgates alone. We must follow his lead.
Inspired by his example, I have been trying to humbly and more fervently share the Book of Mormon.
Recently I was on assignment in Mozambique. The citizens of this beautiful country are struggling with poverty, poor health, unemployment, storms, and political unrest. I had the honor of meeting with the country’s president, Filipe Nyusi. At his request, I prayed for him and his nation; I told him we were building a temple of Jesus Christ21 in his country. At the end of our visit, I presented to him a copy of the Book of Mormon in Portuguese, his native language. As he gratefully accepted the book, I testified of the hope and promise for his people, found in the Lord’s words on its pages.22
On another occasion, my wife, Melanie, and I met with King Letsie III of Lesotho and his wife at their home.23 For us, the highlight of our visit was presenting them with a copy of the Book of Mormon and then sharing my testimony. When I look back on that experience and others, a verse of latter-day scripture comes to mind: “The fulness of my gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world, and before kings and rulers.”24
I have shared the Book of Mormon with India’s Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Indra Mani Pandey;25 with His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew26 of the Eastern Orthodox Church; and with many others. I have felt the Spirit of the Lord with us as I have personally handed them this “keystone of our religion”27 and borne my witness of Jesus Christ, the cornerstone of our faith.28
Now, brothers and sisters, you do not have to go to Mozambique or India or meet with kings and rulers to give someone this book of sacred teachings and promises. I invite you, this day, to give a Book of Mormon to your friends and family, your associates at work, your soccer coach, or the produce man at your market. They need the words of the Lord found in this book. They need answers to the questions of everyday life and of eternal life to come. They need to know of the covenant path laid out before them and the Lord’s abiding love for them. It’s all here in the Book of Mormon.
When you hand them a Book of Mormon, you are opening their minds and hearts to the word of God. You do not need to carry printed copies of the book with you. You can easily share it from your mobile phone from the scriptures section of the Gospel Library app.29
Think of all those who could be blessed by the gospel in their lives, and then send to them a copy of the Book of Mormon from your phone. Remember to include your testimony and how this book has blessed your life.
My dear friends, as an Apostle of the Lord, I invite you to follow our beloved prophet, President Nelson, in flooding the earth with the Book of Mormon. The need is so great; we need to act now. I promise that you will be participating in “the greatest work on earth,” the gathering of Israel,30 as you are inspired to reach out to those who have been “kept from the truth because they know not where to find it.”31 They need your testimony and witness of how this book has changed your life and drawn you closer to God, His peace,32 and His “tidings of great joy.”33
I testify that by divine design the Book of Mormon was prepared in ancient America to come forth to declare God’s word, to bring souls to the Lord Jesus Christ and His restored gospel “this day.” In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.