Nephi wrote, “For my soul delighteth in the scriptures, and my heart pondereth them, and writeth them for the learning and profit of my children” (2 Nephi 4:15). What can a child know from reading the Book of Mormon? As a parent or grandparent what would you hope your children and grandchildren come to understand from its pages?
Nephi expressed his desire for his children saying, “For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God” (2 Nephi 25:23). He continues, “we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins” (2 Nephi 25:26). Parents and grandparents in our day have the same desire as Nephi.
President Russell M. Nelson testifies that the Book of Mormon writings do just as Nephi had hoped. He said, “Something powerful happens when a child of God seeks to know more about Him and His Beloved Son. Nowhere are these truths taught more clearly than in the Book of Mormon” (“The Book of Mormon: What Would Your Life Be Like without It?” October 2017 general conference). President Nelson continues, “The Book of Mormon provides the fullest and most authoritative understanding of the Atonement of Jesus Christ to be found anywhere. … The full power of the gospel of Jesus Christ is contained in the Book of Mormon.”
How can we help our children gain the precious knowledge that the Book of Mormon contains?
Creative parents and grandparents of our day find a variety of ways to get the words from the pages of the Book of Mormon into the hearts of their children. They read with them and to them. They tell stories from the Book of Mormon at bedtime. They “liken” the scriptures to their children in their daily lives by asking them thoughtful questions and helping them process truths. Sometimes they may listen to an audio recording or maybe watch a video. Most important they are diligent, deliberate and consistent in their efforts.
In a recent testimony meeting a young boy said, “Everybody has things they like to do. Some people like football and some people like soccer. They spend a lot of time practicing the things they like to do. I think reading the scriptures takes practice too. It’s something I like to do.”
Persistence is the key for a child to understand the language and style of the scriptures. Unfamiliar words and phrases begin to take on meaning with every reading of the Book of Mormon. For young children, “if a chapter or verse becomes difficult enough to discourage your reading, move on to the next and the next” (Elder Gary E. Stevenson, “Look to the Book, Look to the Lord,” October 2016 general conference). The essential element is to read and then read it again and again.
Great blessings are promised as we read the scriptures daily. Nephi urges us to “feast on the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will teach you all things what ye should do” (2 Nephi 32:3).
President Nelson promises, “My dear brothers and sisters, I promise that as you prayerfully study the Book of Mormon every day, you will make better decisions — every day. I promise that as you ponder what you study, the windows of heaven will open, and you will receive answers to your own questions and direction for your own life. I promise that as you daily immerse yourself in the Book of Mormon, you can be immunized against the evils of the day, even the gripping plague of pornography and other mind-numbing addictions” (October 2017 general conference).
What more could we desire for our children and grandchildren? This is surely what Nephi desired as he labored diligently to write so that his children might know their Savior Jesus Christ. As we read the Book of Mormon with our children and grandchildren each will receive the promise, “All thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children” (3 Nephi 22:13).