As we celebrate the life and the Resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ and His victory over sin and over the grave, we remember His atoning sacrifice and His perfect love. As we consider His suffering beyond compare to cleanse us all from sin and to lift and heal our hearts and minds, we feel a depth of gratitude that inspires our love and devotion. We feel a deeper desire to “come unto Christ,” to know Him more completely and to follow Him more perfectly.
The Book of Mormon was written by prophets of God to help us learn how to come unto Christ. The prophet Nephi explained, “For the fullness of mine intent is that I may persuade men to come unto the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and be saved” (1 Nephi 6:4). “For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Nephi 25:23).
As another testament of Jesus Christ, the Book of Mormon is the word of God. It is a sacred invitation to come unto Christ, to feel His love, to follow Him, to know Him and to receive every good gift, including peace in this life and exaltation in the world to come.
It is little wonder then that our prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, taught and testified of the power of the Book of Mormon and exhorted us all, “I implore each of us to prayerfully study and ponder the Book of Mormon each day.” He promised that “as we do so, we will be in a position to hear the voice of the Spirit, to resist temptation, to overcome doubt and fear, and to receive heaven’s help in our lives.” It is my sincere hope and prayer that every young woman, her family members and her leaders will respond to this inspired, prophetic exhortation and thereby receive “a strong testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and of His gospel, [which] will help see us through to safety” (“The Power of the Book of Mormon,” April 2017 general conference).
About 12 years ago President Gordon B. Hinckley extended a similar invitation to read and study the Book of Mormon accompanied by these promises, “There will come into your lives and into your homes an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord, a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to His commandments, and a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God” (“A Testimony Vibrant and True,” Ensign, August 2005).
One young man shared how responding in obedience blessed his life. He wrote, “To this day, I have no idea why I accepted President Hinckley’s challenge to read the Book of Mormon. I had absolutely no desire to read it, but I can remember feeling like I should read it.” He said that he had become disillusioned with the gospel of Jesus Christ because he could see no relevance for it in his dysfunctional family. His peers who had no use for the Church seemed successful in their activities and satisfied with their lives. But as he kept his commitment, he recognized that by consistently reading the Book of Mormon, he felt empowered to resist the temptations that seemed to relentlessly bombard him. He testified, “I was strengthened and preserved by the protecting promise of a prophet.”
He said, “I finished reading the entire Book of Mormon for the first time in my life on … Christmas Eve. I wanted to give my Savior the only real gift that I could possibly give Him, my obedience to His commandments and willingness to follow His prophet” (Shared with permission).
For my friend, this experience set him on a path of righteousness that opened his heart to spiritual experiences which had converting power. He continued to study and to apply the sacred teachings of the Book of Mormon until he was blessed to realize President Hinckley’s final promise: “There will come into your lives … a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God.”
Like my friend who responded to the prophet of his youth, our young women will realize the prophetic promises in their lives as they faithfully respond to President Monson’s plea. What event could be more important than hearing the voice of the Spirit of the Lord? What skill or opportunity could take priority over the power to resist temptation and to overcome fear and doubt? Is there anyone too busy to receive heaven’s help?
In the sacred pages of the Book of Mormon, we find our Savior. We study that we may know how to come unto Christ, and be sanctified in Him “by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot” (Moroni 10:33). In heeding the precepts of the Book of Mormon we gain a “testimony of Jesus Christ and His gospel which will see us through to safety.”