The Holy Bible and the Book of Mormon are companion scriptures that teach of Christ and testify of each other, President Russell M. Nelson, president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, taught young adults during an institute devotional on Sept. 17.
Speaking to a near capacity crowd in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum arena on the Utah State University campus in Logan, Utah, President Nelson invited listeners to “work on a project” with him.
“Would you like to know what I am working on now?” he asked. “Months ago, I read all the scriptures listed under the title of Jesus Christ in the Topical Guide. I invited young adults to do the same. Many have accepted that invitation. It changed my life.”
Now, the senior Church leader said, he is rereading the Bible. This time, he said, he is seeking to learn how the inspired and holy ancient record predicted the coming of the Book of Mormon.
“I want to know its prophecies about the gathering of Israel,” he said. “I want to find its prophecies about the Restoration of the gospel in its fullness in these latter days.”
Recognizing it is an unfinished project, President Nelson invited listeners to begin their study by participating with him. Sharing an experience he had with a Protestant minister, President Nelson spoke of his answer to the minister’s question if he believes in the Bible, “every word of it?”
“I think he expected me to say, ‘yes, as far as it is translated correctly,’ ” he said. “But I did not. I said, ‘Yes, especially Isaiah 29 and Ezekiel 37.’ ”
President Nelson invited listeners to begin with him in those particular chapters, because “they each foretell the coming forth of the Book of Mormon.”
He asked members of the Logan Institute council to read scriptures to the audience for President Nelson to discuss.
President Nelson walked listeners through more than a dozen scriptures related to the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in its fullness in the latter days, including the Old Testament prophet Isaiah forecasting that a book would be delivered to “him that is not learned.”
When referencing the combining of the stick of Judah and the stick of Joseph, President Nelson said, “When the Bible and the triple combination were first bound in one book, we felt that this amazing prophecy had been fulfilled. Now, most of you have all of those scriptures ‘bound as one’ in your telephone.”
Whether it is a prophecy about Joseph Smith or from the Bible, more can be said regarding evidences of the Book of Mormon.
“The Holy Bible is replete with prophecies about these latter days and the restoration of the gospel in its fullness,” President Nelson explained. “You students will want to prepare for such a conversation, as surely you will have a similar hour of opportunity in the future.”
President Nelson encouraged listeners to recognize their position is one of strength.
“You might reply, ‘If you like the voice of the Lord as contained in the Holy Bible, you will love the voice of the Lord as recorded in the Book of Mormon,’ ” he said. “You might ask ‘Do you know about the people who lived in ancient American civilizations?’ ”
Important truths have come through the Bible and Book of Mormon such as the ancient law of tithing and the building up of temples.
“My beloved brothers and sisters, we love the Holy Bible,” he said. “It’s the word of God. And we love the Book of Mormon. It is the great clarifying scripture provided to us by the gift and power of God. Indeed it is ‘Another Testament of Jesus Christ.’ These two books are companions. We hold them together — bound as one — as foretold long ago by prophets of God.”
Prior to President Nelson addressing institute students, his wife, Sister Wendy W. Nelson, shared a message about how the latter days are marvelous days, “days filled to over flowing with the fulfillment of prophecies.”
Sister Nelson shared three situations where a person relied on knowledge of the Lord, rather than the “manner of man.”
First, Sister Nelson spoke of Nephi.
“His impeccable obedience is always inspiring to me,” she said. “Nephi was asked by the Lord to do really impossible things. … Over and over again the Lord asked Nephi to do things Nephi did not know how to do. And yet, Nephi’s response was always the same.”
Sister Nelson spoke of Nephi’s courage to “go and do” what the Lord asked him to do, not because it will be fun or easy, but because it is what the Lord wanted him to do.
The second situation Sister Nelson spoke of was the Prophet Joseph Smith.
“The Prophet Joseph Smith was asked to build a temple in Nauvoo,” Sister Nelson said. “The Lord showed him exactly what the temple would look like.”
When the architect, William Weeks, approached the prophet with a plan, Joseph noticed there weren’t any circular windows. The prophet instructed Weeks that the windows should be circular — despite the known rules of architecture at the time.
“Because the Lord had shown the prophet the Nauvoo Temple in the vision, Joseph Smith was undaunted, he was determined that the temple would have circular windows as shown him by the Lord,” she said. “Joseph knew the Lord Himself was a true architect of the temple.”
The third situation Sister Nelson spoke of was about a young doctor named Russell M. Nelson.
“Over the years, young Dr. Nelson became an internationally renowned cardiovascular surgeon,” Sister Nelson said. “How did he do that? Only one way — he followed the counsel of the Lord and not the counsel of man.”
Sister Nelson spoke of the advances in medicine President Nelson made as a young doctor, specifically his work in developing the heart-lung machine that helped support the first open-heart operation on a human being in 1951.
“To become the successful surgeon he was to become and to do what had never been done before, he actually had to defy the very books from which he studied,” Sister Nelson said. “His medical textbook read, ‘do not touch the beating heart.’ ”
Even one of the most famous surgeons of that time proclaimed that any surgeon that attempted to operate on the heart would lose all credibility within the medical profession.
“However, young Dr. Nelson had a source he honored more than that famous surgeon, and a book which he honored more than his medical textbook,” Sister Nelson said. “Dr. Nelson’s source was the Lord, and the book was the Doctrine and Covenants.”
It was through pondering two truths in the Doctrine and Covenants — one, all blessings are predicated on obedience to divine law, and two, to every kingdom there is a law given — that Dr. Nelson started to wonder what eternal laws govern the beating heart?
“This question catapulted him into the journey of pioneering open heart surgery,” Sister Nelson said. President Nelson helped in the invention of the heart-lung machine that assisted in the surgery.
President Nelson continued to trust in the Lord, so much so that when he was called out of the operating room to follow the Savior, he was willing to “lay down his nets” — in his case his surgical gloves — and follow the Savior.
“Dr. Nelson did not want to live his life after the manner of man,” Sister Nelson said.
Sister Nelson taught that there will be times where a person will be compelled to do something that might not seem logical or possible at the time. She reminded listeners that, like Nephi, Joseph Smith and President Nelson, the Lord will provide a way.