PROVO, Utah — The “power of the Book of Mormon” is in the witness of the Holy Spirit that accompanies it — “the witness that the book is true and that it is proof of the latter-day Restoration, the witness of the truth of the doctrine that it teaches and the witness that its testimony of Jesus Christ is true,” said Elder D. Todd Christofferson on Friday, June 23.
Speaking to missionaries and new mission leaders at a Provo Missionary Training Center devotional during the 2023 Seminar for New Mission Leaders, Elder Christofferson expressed gratitude for the Prophet Joseph Smith and for his incomparable achievement in translating and publishing the Book of Mormon.
“I have a testimony that it was done by this young, faithful servant through ‘the gift and power of God,’ just as he said,” said Elder Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
Displaying a photograph of the re-creation of Joseph and Emma Smith’s home in Harmony, Pennsylvania, Elder Christofferson described the small structure where Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon into English in 1829.
“It was in these humble circumstances and with these rudimentary tools, in a remote spot, unknown to, and unseen by any but a few individuals among the world’s vast population, that almost all the ancient Book of Mormon text was ‘downloaded’ from reformed Egyptian engravings on metal sheets of gold to pen and ink script on paper in modern English,” said Elder Christofferson.
He noted that President Russell M. Nelson once referred to the coming forth of the Book of Mormon as “a miraculous miracle.”
‘Use the Power of the Book of Mormon’
Focusing on Chapter 5 of the second edition of Preach My Gospel, Elder Christofferson addressed the topic, “Use the Power of the Book of Mormon.”
“Use the Book of Mormon to help people have spiritual experiences, especially a witness from the Holy Ghost that the book itself is the word of God,” he said. “When you teach the gospel using the Book of Mormon, your teaching will resonate with power and clarity in the heart and mind.”
Elder Christofferson also highlighted the chart in Chapter 5 of “Preach My Gospel” that gives scripture references in the Book of Mormon to address questions of the soul. He shared 2 Nephi 26: 24-28 and 3 Nephi 9: 13-14 to show how “the Book of Mormon teaches clearly that Christ’s love extends to everyone, and that to feel His love, we need only repent and turn to Him. No one is beyond reach.”
He then invited other members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and their wives — his wife, Sister Kathy Christofferson, Elder Dale G. Renlund and Sister Ruth Renlund, and Elder Ulisses Soares and Sister Rosana Soares — to give examples from the Book of Mormon that taught how Jesus Christ’s gospel can answer a question of the soul or other important aspects of the gospel.
The converting power of the Book of Mormon
Elder Christofferson said relying primarily on the Book of Mormon while teaching does not mean that a missionary diminishes or devalues any other scripture. “To those that know and love the Bible, we can explain how the Bible and Book of Mormon support each other. The Book of Mormon amplifies and strengthens the teachings and witness of the Bible concerning Jesus Christ.”
Chapter 5 of “Preach My Gospel” includes helpful information about how to help people read and understand the Book of Mormon, he taught.
It also details specific suggestions on how missionaries can read the Book of Mormon with those they teach to help them feel the “converting power of the Book of Mormon,” Elder Christofferson said. “It is real, but if a person doesn’t read and pray about it, he or she will not likely feel that power.”
He encouraged missionaries to be “gently insistent — kindly, but persistent” when inviting others to read the Book of Mormon. “Remember that in all of this, you are trying to help people learn how to read [the Book of Mormon] on their own,” said Elder Christofferson.
He also encouraged the congregation to continue their own lifelong conversion by “reading and studying the Book of Mormon each day, even if at times it is only a few verses.”
The Book of Mormon “has been instrumental in my own conversion. It has taught me much of what I know about Jesus Christ. It is the foundation of my testimony and witness of Him. It has drawn me close to Him. It is the principal source of my understanding of the great plan of redemption. It is the basis of my testimony of the Restoration,” he said.
He asked missionaries and leaders to “study and pray to know that the witness of the Book of Mormon concerning Jesus Christ — who He is and what He has done and continues to do — is true … .”
“I am converted,” he concluded. “Jesus Christ is the resurrected Redeemer of humankind.”