When I was 15 years old, I studied the Book of Mormon in my sophomore seminary class [a released-time religious study class for youth ages 14-18). I gained a testimony of its truthfulness and learned to love it. I’ll never forget when I read the following verse in 3 Nephi, chapter 11:
“Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified should come into the world.”
Every prophet [on the American continent, as had Jesus Himself in John 10:16] had prophesied of this moment, and every believer had looked forward to it – and finally –here it was. Here He was, and I think it’s significant that the first thing He said was that His coming was a fulfillment of prophecy. This is a major theme of the Book of Mormon – that the Lord will fulfill every prophecy and every promise. Whether He gives them Himself or through the mouths of His prophets.
In 1986, President Ezra Taft Benson gave a promise about the Book of Mormon. He said:
There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of it. You will find greater power to resist temptation…and avoid deception…you will find life in greater and greater abundance.https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/1986/10/the-book-of-mormon-keystone-of-our-religion?lang=eng
President Benson also quoted Marion G. Romney, who promised that reading the Book of Mormon would increase love and respect in our homes.
That year, our oldest boys were 5, 4 and 1. My husband and I decided to begin a very simple study of the book with them. We just read and briefly talked about a few verses a day, which made for very slow progress. After an
entire year, we were only halfway through the book. The few minutes we spent were often chaotic, and I’m
sure I wondered: Why are we doing this?
Then one day, my son challenged me to a game of Memory. He said he’d been practicing, and he thought he
could beat me. He got his competitive spirit from me, and I’m ashamed to admit that I did a little bit of
trash-talking. To my 5-year-old. I’ll never forget his response: “Mom, the of Book of Mormon says you’re
not supposed to say you’re better than other people.”
Our son had drawn a real-life application from the story of the Zoramites and the Rameumptum. It was a small
thing, but it was also a great thing (see Alma 37:6). I am certain that unlimited real-life applications could be drawn from the Book of Mormon. No other book contains more truth or inspires more righteous living. No other book has more power to lead us to Christ. The Book of Mormon has been a help to me through all stages of my life. And I know many of my friends feel that same way.
In 2017, President Russell M. Nelson gave a conference talk on the Book of Mormon. In it, he asked the following
questions: “What would your life be like without the Book of Mormon? What would you not know? What
would you not have?”
I asked several friends to weigh in. Here are a few of their responses:
K: Without the Book of Mormon, I would not understand who Jesus Christ is!
J: I would not know the comprehensiveness of Christ’s atonement and mission.
F: I would be lost without the comforting knowledge that I can live with my Heavenly Father again
someday with no pain, no frustration and no contention.
C: Without it, I would still be searching for truth!
Others shared the following:
N: “I would not have the reassurance, every single time I read it, without fail, that life has a
purpose and all will be okay.”
L: “I learned to love the Book of Mormon in my youth, and I believe it prepared me for the greatest
sorrow of my life [her son was murdered]. Because of it, I have the peace of the promised glorious future for me and my family.”
S: “Without it, I expect I’d just be wandering, like many other people.”
And finally, M: “I would not have the answer I got that the Book of Mormon is truly what it claims to be, and to have that witness from God gives me an anchor that helps keep my feet planted in the Church of Jesus Christ.”
Why is the Book of Mormon such a powerful influence in our lives? Because it testifies of Jesus Christ. Scholars have suggested that Christ is referenced every 1.7 verses. That’s nearly 4000 times (see, for example, https://bookofmormonevidence.org/christ-in-the-book-of-mormon/). He is on every page, in every story.
That brings me to my answer to President Nelson’s question: Without the Book of Mormon, I would not know
how much Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love us, and how involved they are in our lives. An unchanging
God could not be involved in the details of the lives of the people in scripture, but not ours.
The Lord was there to show Nephi where to find ore so he could build a ship, and He will help us find our way,
as well. He was there to change the hearts of King Benjamin’s people, and He will change our hearts as we
turn to Him. Like Alma the Younger, He can carry us from the darkest abyss into the marvelous light of God.
He will make our burdens light and deliver us from the bondage of sin and addiction. Like the 2000
inexperienced stripling warriors, He will help us fight battles we don’t know how to fight, and He will protect
us. Like He touched sixteen small stones and turned them into light, He will touch our lives and our efforts and
make them shine. He will also light our way every day. He has compassion on us, as He did on them, and He
will heal us and bless us – and He will bless our children.
I believe that when the story of each of our lives has been completed, we will find Jesus Christ on every
page, in every day, in every story. We will find that He was more involved in our lives than we knew.
In President Nelson’s talk, He reminded us that the book was written for us. He said, “Its prophets saw our
day and selected the truths that would help us most. This is the book that will help prepare the world for the
Second Coming of the Lord. The Book of Mormon is our latter-day survival guide.”
I would like to tell a story about one way in which it has become a latter-day survival guide for me.
Last year, on March 11, 2020, we gathered with our children and grandchildren at a restaurant in town to
celebrate my husband’s birthday. We were there for two and a half hours, and – wonder of wonders! – none of us
were on our cell phones. So when we emerged from that restaurant, we discovered that the whole world had
I’m sure you remember that day as well. And maybe you watched, as I did, too much of the 24/7 news
coverage of the worldwide pandemic, then later, footage of riots in the streets, political and social unrest –
and some things you never expected to see in the United States of America. And maybe those reports kept
you up at night, like they did me. Truth is, I obsessed over the flow of bad news.
One day I asked my husband, who had recently retired from a job where he worked closely with leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, what he thought those leaders were doing. He said, “Well, I know what they’re not doing. They’re not standing around wringing their hands.” I took that as a bit of a suggestion.
And then, in July or August, when we were in Alma in our Come Follow Me study, and as I studied, I could see
parallels in what I was reading and what I was watching play out in the news. There in the books of Alma and
Helaman were wars and rumors of wars, the teachings of Korihor and other enemies of Christ, the earmarks
of a society in decline, the chilling evil brought about by secret combinations, and, on the other hand, the
courageous battle of the righteous to preserve their homes and their families.
To me, those parallels were evidence of the Lord’s love. I was reminded that He knows the beginning and the
end, and all that is transpiring has been prophesied. If His promises are sure – and I know they are – we can
say, like Alma: “I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and
their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day.”
I wrote in the margins of my Book of Mormon: Because of what I know, I ought to be one of the most
hopeful, happy people on earth!
After that, I watched the news less. I worried less. I was less discouraged. I would remind myself – okay – this
is happening – but hey – I know the end of the story. It’s been prophesied and written in this book. And I
know this book is true. So I can stop wringing my hands and fretting over every new piece of bad news.
I have spoken a lot about several promises today. But to me, the most powerful promise of the Book of
Mormon is the promise that we can know it’s true. If we ask God with a sincere heart, with real intent, having
faith in Christ, he WILL manifest the truth of it unto us, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
And of course, when we know that the Book of Mormon is true, we know it’s all true: We know Joseph Smith
was a prophet of God, and the restored Church of Jesus Christ is on the earth again.
We know that Christ is who He says He is. We know His promises are sure. Including this one:
“The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing;
persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of
God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime,
swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great
Jehovah shall say the work is done.” -Joseph Smith
Every time I study the Book of Mormon –- every time — I am encouraged, strengthened and uplifted. It is the
best remedy I know for anxiety and fear.
I want to share one last great promise from the book of Helaman [chapter 5, verse 12]:
“Remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must
build your foundation, that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind,
yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag yo
down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure
foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.”