Scripturally blessed

We are, in this generation, extremely blessed with abundant access to inspired words of the Savior and the holy prophets, from the earliest days to the present. These utterances, now compiled as the Standard Works with many added study helps, are bound as four or three volumes in one, and individually. They are saved in various electronic formats, and translated into many tongues. Almost anyone can, at will, "feast upon the words of Christ" in intimate, personal meditation.

Yet unlike commodities of the marketplace whose increased presence lessens their worth, the scriptures retain and even increase in value as their volume increases, and the more they are used. In fact, here and there in these very scriptures are examples that attest to their value.

As told in the Book of Mormon, for example, without records, the language of the people of Zarahemla was corrupted and "they denied the being of their Creator" (Omni 1: 17).

When they finally received the scriptures after many generations "there was great rejoicing among the people of Zarahemla ... because the Lord had sent the people of Mosiah with the plates of brass..." (Omni 1:14).

On another occasion, when the Savior visited the children of Lehi after His resurrection, He spoke to them regarding the scriptures and charged them to "search these things diligently." Then He asked to see the records they had kept. Noting that the sublime prophecies of Samuel the Lamanite, though well remembered by this people, had not been written, He said:

"How be it that ye have not written this thing, that many saints did arise and appear unto many and did minister unto them?

"And it came to pass that Nephi remembered that this thing had not been written.

"And it came to pass that Jesus commanded that it should be written; therefore it was written according as he commanded" (3 Nephi 23:1,7, 11-13).

Today, are not the Savior's words ratified by our gratitude in being able to read Samuel's Messianic words uttered at the peril of his life?

Even so, in the scriptures are multiple references to prophets whose words we do not have, such as Zenos and Zenock and Neum. Added to these are sundry discourses of Old Testament prophets, as well as epistles of Paul no longer extant. (See "Lost Books" entry in the Bible Dictionary.)

Wouldn't the entire Christian world rejoice if some of these ancient writings were to be discovered?

It may be something akin to the joy expressed by the children of Israel after they returned from captivity to their homeland in the reign of Nehemiah and heard the law read to them.

"And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up:

"And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground....

"So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading."

The people were told: "This day is holy unto the Lord your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.

"Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength" (Nehemiah 8:5-9).

Truly, the scriptures are to us "a pearl of great price" (Matthew 13:46) whose value is in direct proportion to the degree that we study their pages and abide their precepts.

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