General Conference
This Day


This Day

Our living prophet is doing his part to flood the earth with the Book of Mormon. We must follow his lead.

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

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Ronald A. Rasband's Book of Mormon

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

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Elder Rasband with Mission President and Elder Hanks

Left to right: Elder Ronald A. Rasband, young missionary; President Harold Wilkinson, president of the Eastern States Mission; and Elder Marion D. Hanks, General Authority Seventy.

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.

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Ronald A. Rasband's Book of Mormon

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.

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Church Leaders Meet With First Lady of The Gambia

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.

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Ronald A. Rasband Meets with Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi

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

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Ronald A. Rasband with Lesotho Royalty

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

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Ronald A. Rasband with Ambassador Indra Mani Pandey
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InterfaithSummit: Italy: Attendees

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.

Notes

  1. See Jacob 2:2–3; Mosiah 2:14, 30; 5:7; Alma 7:15; and many other verses in the Book of Mormon.

  2. Mosiah 2:9.

  3. Alma 53:20.

  4. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (2007), 64. The full statement given by Joseph Smith on November 28, 1841, in council with the Twelve Apostles: “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.” The key reference to “correct” can be attributed to revelation received in the book’s translation and the doctrine taught in the Book of Mormon that establishes better than any other book the “plain and precious” truths of the gospel (see 1 Nephi 13:40).

  5. See “The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles,” a declaration by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, January 1, 2000: “We bear testimony, as His duly ordained Apostles—that Jesus is the Living Christ, the immortal Son of God. He is the great King Immanuel, who stands today on the right hand of His Father. He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come. God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son” (ChurchofJesusChrist.org).

  6. See Isaiah 49:26; 1 Nephi 21:26; 22:12; Doctrine and Covenants 66:1.

  7. The word of God is found in the scriptures. For example, in the Book of Mormon, Laman and Lemuel questioned, “What meaneth the rod of iron?” referring to Lehi’s dream. Nephi responded, “It was the word of God; and whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish; neither could the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away to destruction” (1 Nephi 15:23–24).

  8. See “The Restoration of the Fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: A Bicentennial Proclamation to the World,” which includes the following: “We declare that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, organized on April 6, 1830, is Christ’s New Testament Church restored. This Church is anchored in the perfect life of its chief cornerstone, Jesus Christ, and in His infinite Atonement and literal Resurrection. Jesus Christ has once again called Apostles and has given them priesthood authority. He invites all of us to come unto Him and His Church, to receive the Holy Ghost, the ordinances of salvation, and to gain enduring joy. … We gladly declare that the promised Restoration goes forward through continuing revelation. The earth will never again be the same, as God will ‘gather together in one all things in Christ’ (Ephesians 1:10)” (ChurchofJesusChrist.org).

  9. 2 Nephi 4:16.

  10. See Quentin L. Cook, “Be Not Weary in Well-Doing” (Brigham Young University devotional, Aug. 24, 2020), speeches.byu.edu; Eliza Smith-Driggs, “This Week on Social: How to Develop a Love for the Lord, Yourself and Others,” Church News, July 17, 2020, thechurchnews.com.

  11. Third reading, yellow: geology or geography; fourth reading, black: storyline of the Book of Mormon.

  12. “Another Testament of Jesus Christ” was added as a subtitle to all editions of the Book of Mormon. Church leaders made the name change to further emphasize the purpose of the book as stated on the title page: “And also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations.”

  13. Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is an expression of our love for Him. Disciples have been baptized; they take upon themselves the name of Jesus Christ; they strive to follow Him by embracing His attributes as described by the Apostle Peter: “Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity” (2 Peter 1:5–7; see also Preach My Gospel: A Guide to Missionary Service [2019], 121–32).

  14. President Russell M. Nelson, an internationally known heart surgeon before his call to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1984, gave a lecture at a medical school in Accra, Ghana, in 1986 on the history of heart surgery. Interviewed later by the media, he explained he was there “as a servant of the Lord to help [the people] become better citizens, to build strong families, to gain true happiness and prosper in the land.” He returned to Accra, Ghana, on November 16, 2001, for the groundbreaking of the Accra Ghana Temple (see “Ground Broken for First Temple in West Africa,” Church News, Nov. 24, 2001, thechurchnews.com).

  15. See General Handbook: Serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 5.1.1.1: “In our day, the Lord calls men through the President of the Church to be ordained as Apostles and to serve in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (see Doctrine and Covenants 18:26–28)” (ChurchofJesusChrist.org).

  16. See Russell M. Nelson, “The Book of Mormon: What Would Your Life Be Like without It?,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2017, 60.

  17. 3 Nephi 11:10–11.

  18. See Russell M. Nelson, “The Book of Mormon: What Would Your Life Be Like without It?,” 61.

  19. Russell M. Nelson, “The Book of Mormon: What Would Your Life Be Like without It?,” 62.

  20. See Moses 7:62.

  21. The Beira Mozambique Temple was announced on April 4, 2021, by President Russell M. Nelson. More than half a million people live in Beira, which lies on the coast of the Indian Ocean.

  22. Examples of the hope and promises found in the Book of Mormon include 2 Nephi 31:20; Jacob 4:4–6; Alma 13:28–29; 22:16; 34:41; Ether 12:32; Moroni 7:41; 8:26.

  23. Elder and Sister Rasband met with the royal family on February 10, 2020, when on assignment in Africa to dedicate the Durban South Africa Temple.

  24. Doctrine and Covenants 1:23.

  25. Elder Rasband met with Ambassador Indra Mani Pandey, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva, while on assignment to the Interfaith Forum in Bologna, Italy, on September 17, 2021.

  26. Elder Rasband met with His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of the Eastern Orthodox Church while on assignment to the Interfaith Forum in Bologna, Italy, on September 13, 2021.

  27. Teachings: Joseph Smith, 64. A keystone is a wedge-shaped piece of masonry that sits at the crown of an arch, holding the other pieces in place. The Prophet Joseph described the Book of Mormon as “the keystone of our religion” because of its importance in uniting the Church through principles and ordinances. The Book of Mormon serves as a “keystone” for the lives of members, helping them stay firmly on the covenant path.

  28. See Ephesians 2:19–20. Jesus Christ is the chief cornerstone of our Church, which bears His name. Just as the laying of a cornerstone at the temple is symbolic of the main stone forming the corner of the foundation of God’s house, Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of our faith and our salvation. He gave His life that we might live; there is none equal to Him in strength, in purpose, or in love.

  29. You can share it from your mobile phone. One way is by opening the Gospel Library app, going to the “Scriptures” collection, and then tapping “Share Now” at the top. Or from within the Book of Mormon app, you can tap the “Share” icon, which displays a digital code that a friend can easily scan using his or her phone.

  30. Russell M. Nelson, “Hope of Israel” (worldwide youth devotional, June 3, 2018), HopeofIsrael.ChurchofJesusChrist.org. “On June 3, 2018, President Russell M. Nelson and his wife, Wendy W. Nelson, invited the youth to ‘enlist in the youth battalion of the Lord’ and take part in ‘the greatest challenge, the greatest cause, and the greatest work on earth.’ And what is the greatest challenge? The gathering of Israel” (Charlotte Larcabal, “A Call to Enlist and Gather Israel,” New Era, Mar. 2019, 24).

  31. Doctrine and Covenants 123:12.

  32. See 2 Nephi 4:27; Mosiah 4:3; 15:18; Alma 46:12.

  33. 1 Nephi 13:37.