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The Book of Mormon is ‘the ultimate tool’ for missionaries, says Elder Christofferson

Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles testifies of the Book of Mormon and its capacity to convert

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Elder D. Todd Christofferson, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, holds up a Book of Mormon while speaking during a devotional at the Provo Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News


The Book of Mormon is ‘the ultimate tool’ for missionaries, says Elder Christofferson

Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles testifies of the Book of Mormon and its capacity to convert

merlin_2958671.jpg

Elder D. Todd Christofferson, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, holds up a Book of Mormon while speaking during a devotional at the Provo Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

PROVO, Utah — Saying the Book of Mormon has a unique capacity to convert, Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles invited missionaries to give it a special place in their service.

Speaking at a Tuesday, Jan. 17, devotional at the Provo Missionary Training Center, Elder Christofferson underscored that the Book of Mormon has to be “the ultimate tool in your missionary toolkit” in gathering Israel, he said, sharing the scripture 3 Nephi 29:1, which states that the appearance of the Book of Mormon is the sign that “the covenant which the Father hath made with the children of Israel ... is already beginning to be fulfilled.”

Then citing the Lord’s declaration in Doctrine and Covenants 29:7, “for mine elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts,” Elder Christofferson noted that in reading the Book of Mormon, the elect will hear His voice and respond.

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Elder D. Todd Christofferson, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, speaks during a devotional at the Provo Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Quoting President Russell M. Nelson, Elder Christofferson emphasized that the Book of Mormon clarifies many plain and precious truths which were lost for centuries and provides a full and authoritative understanding of Jesus Christ’s Atonement.

Referencing President Nelson’s counsel from his October 2017 general conference talk, Elder Christofferson invited missionaries to ponder what their life would be like without the Book of Mormon and to ponder what the Book of Mormon affirms, what it refutes, what it clarifies and what it reveals.

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Missionaries listen as Elder D. Todd Christofferson, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, speaks during a devotional at the Provo Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

“This is today,” he said. “This is our life. This is real. This is what we’re experiencing. This is to us. This is speaking to us right now for the circumstances in which we find ourselves right now.”

Missionary work through generations

The early missionaries of the Church, Elder Christofferson explained, relied heavily on the Book of Mormon, seeing it as tangible proof of the Prophet Joseph Smith’s calling and divine work of God. Joseph Smith could have translated and published the Book of Mormon only if he had been commissioned by God to carry out His work.

Elder Christofferson told of Samuel H. Smith, brother of Joseph Smith, who had served as a missionary in 1830, when the Book of Mormon was seen as the “whole missionary program.”

Despite unkind treatment and multiple rejections, Smith found success in siblings Rhoda Young Greene, the wife of a Methodist pastor, and Phineas Young, Rhoda’s brother, who purchased a copy of the Book of Mormon.

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Elder D. Todd Christofferson, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, speaks during a devotional at the Provo Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Phineas Young was the brother of Brigham Young, who lent the Book of Mormon to the latter. After studying the Book of Mormon and the restored gospel for two years, Brigham was baptized in April 1832.

Brigham gave his copy to his sister, Fanny Young Murray, who passed it on to her son-in-law, Heber C. Kimball. The latter is the great-great grandfather of Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder Christofferson said, remarking on the impact of one book leading to the emergence of the second president of the Church (Brigham Young) and a member of the First Presidency (Heber C. Kimball).

“It’s amazing,” he added, “one book.”

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Missionaries listen as Elder D. Todd Christofferson, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, speaks during a devotional at the Provo Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Elder Christofferson spoke of Joseph Smith Sr. serving in New York, where he helped convert his brother John Smith and John’s son, George A. Smith. Upon returning home, Joseph Smith Sr. was imprisoned for an alleged $14 debt. 

He was given the opportunity to be relieved of debt and freed if he denied the validity of the Book of Mormon. Elder Christofferson said Joseph Smith Sr. refused and, as a consequence, remained in jail for four months, but managed to convert two men during his incarceration.

Parley P. Pratt heard of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and obtained a copy, said Elder Christofferson. Pratt read the Book of Mormon, gained a testimony, and shared his knowledge with audiences in New York, he added. His only convert was his brother, Orson, but they were both very important converts as the two brothers later served in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

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Choir members sing during a devotional at the Provo Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

One’s responsibility

In conclusion, Elder Christofferson shared a video testimony he recorded in the Sacred Grove, where he relayed the history and experiences of Joseph Smith. 

One summer night, Elder Christofferson went to the grove and prayed to know if Joseph’s experience was true. He said he didn’t receive a witness of the First Vision until weeks later at his home, while studying the Book of Mormon. 

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A missionary takes notes as Elder D. Todd Christofferson, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, speaks during a devotional at the Provo Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Upon this experience, Elder Christofferson said he learned one does not need to be in a particular place to receive guidance and revelation and that the Book of Mormon is a catalyst for gaining the witness of the Spirit.

“Your Heavenly Father knows you, and the hopes and desires of your heart. Wherever you are, as with me, He will speak to you in His own time and way, and if you’re sincere and willing to act on His answers, He will reveal to you what you desire to know.”

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Elder D. Todd Christofferson, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, speaks during a devotional at the Provo Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Elder Christofferson expressed his gratitude for Joseph Smith and the sacrifices he made in bringing to light the Book of Mormon. He said everyone has a responsibility to make the necessary sacrifices to fulfill his or her commitment to God.

Everyone has a part in the marvelous gathering of Israel and in preparing a people ready to receive the Lord when He returns, Elder Christofferson said. He bore his testimony of the authority possessed by missionaries to teach, speak and testify of Jesus Christ.

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Sister Kathy Christofferson and Elder D. Todd Christofferson, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, center, pose for a portrait with their grandchildren after a devotional at the Provo Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023. Grandchildren from left are Ben Christofferson, Jake Christofferson, Katherine Nufer, Rachael Nufer and Grace Nufer.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

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