Read Book of Mormon, prophet admonishes

Addressing 3,600 members of the Church at the Corpus Christi Texas multi-stake Conference on Sunday, Jan. 7, President Gordon B. Hinckley encouraged every man and woman, and every boy and girl who is old enough, to read again the Book of Mormon during the coming year.

President Hinckley addressed the gathering at the University of Texas-Pan American Auditorium, located in Edinburg. Members attending the conference came from the Corpus Christi, Harlingen and McAllen Texas stakes, and from the Laredo District of the Texas McAllen Mission.Accompanying President Hinckley to Texas were his wife, Marjorie; Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve and his wife, Patricia; and Elder F. Enzio Busche of the Seventy and his wife, Jutta.

President Hinckley acknowledged the presence of many members who had traveled great distances to attend the conference, some of them from across the border in Mexico. He spoke of the recently announced acquisition of a site for a temple that will soon be constructed in Monterrey, Mexico, about 150 miles south of McAllen, Texas. He noted that a temple in Monterrey will assist all the members of northern Mexico as well as members from the stakes' geographical area. "Monterrey is much closer than Dallas and, in about three or four years, you will be able to go to Monterrey in about a third of the time that it takes to go to Dallas."

Directing his remarks to the "sons and daughters of Father Lehi," he told of having attended graduation exercises at a Church school in Mexico. He was introduced to a young woman who had received a scholarship to study medicine at the University of Mexico. President Hinckley said that he also met the young woman's grandmother, who had joined the Church years ago. "She had literally come out of the bush of Mexico," he said. "She could neither read nor write. She was totally illiterate. The girl's mother had grown up in the Church, but in conditions of severe poverty. She had learned to read and write just a little. And then there was this beautiful girl, the third generation, well-educated and with great promise before her. I said to myself, `Here is the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ to touch the lives of people, to lift them, to give them new ambition, to give them a desire for better things, to give them an understanding of who we are as sons and daughters of God with a divine birthright and an eternal destiny if we will take advantage of it.' It is a miracle I see everywhere I go."

In encouraging the members to read the Book of Mormon, President Hinckley said: "This was written for the convincing of the Jew and the Gentile that Jesus is the Christ. There is nothing we could do of greater importance than to have fortified in our individual lives an unshakeable conviction that Jesus is the Christ, the Living Son of the Living God. `This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent.' (John 17:3.)

"There is nothing more precious, nothing more wonderful than to have a conviction in our hearts concerning the reality and the divinity of the Savior and Redeemer of the world. And, my brothers and sisters, that is the purpose of the coming forth of this remarkable and wonderful book. There is no other book in all the world like it. There is no other book that contains a promise concerning its truth comparable to the promise given by Moroni in this book. Great is its power to affect people."

President Hinckley suggested to the members that they place a check mark with a pencil every time there is a reference to Jesus Christ in the Book of Mormon. "There will come to you a very real conviction as you do so that this is in very deed another witness for the Lord Jesus Christ," he said.

He read from the Jan. 6 issue of the Church News about a man who, on a street in Puerto Rico, stole a package that was a gift-wrapped copy of the Book of Mormon from a woman who is a member of the Church. A few days later, the attacker wrote the woman, apologized for his deed and asked her forgiveness. He indicated that he had stolen the package thinking it would be of value to sell but discovered it was something that "made me want to make my life over. I am looking up the church that you belong to."

After reading the story, President Hinckley said: "Read the Book of Mormon. Partake of its spirit. Draw closer to the Savior as you read this great testimony of His reality and of His divinity."

While in Texas, President Hinckley spoke also at a meeting of the Texas McAllen Mission and at a priesthood leadership meeting on Saturday, Jan. 6.

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