• Quote of the Day

    “Surely the reason Christ said, ‘Father, forgive them,’ was because even in that terrible hour He knew that this was the message He had come through all eternity to deliver.”
    —Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Why the Book of Mormon?

In this month’s New Era, President Henry B. Eyring begins his message by saying, “When I was a young man I wondered why the Lord needed to have the Prophet Joseph Smith translate the Book of Mormon to begin the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” The rest of this article, titled “Why the Book of Mormon?” answers this question. President Eyring began finding answers when he started his service as a missionary. He focuses on four main answers: it is a powerful missionary tool, it testifies of Christ, it brings the Spirit, and it teaches and invites. As always, President Eyring offers simple but profound insights.

I believe that many other returned missionaries can tell similar stories of how their understanding of and relationship with the Book of Mormon grew through their missionary service. I know mine did. And, yes, I think that I now understand better why the Lord introduced the Book of Mormon at the beginning of the Restoration. This “marvelous work” is indeed both a strange and a wonderful thing, and it deserves much closer attention than most in the world are willing to give it.

Come unto Christ

In this month’s special issue of the Ensign on the Savior, President Henry B. Eyring discusses a pattern he has observed among those who accept the invitation to come unto Christ. In “Come unto Christ” (also available on the new Web site JesusChrist.lds.org) President Eyring mentions three truths the Holy Ghost has manifested to people he knew who came unto the Savior. President Eyring is a man who is very close to the Spirit, and the pattern he describes shows how the Spirit works on us to helps us become perfected in Christ. Basically, it leads from belief to action to total conversion. It is in that last step that he speaks of retention of converts. He gives what I believe to be an important insight:

“We sometimes speak of retaining members as if we held them in. We can and we must be a friend to those who have made the choice to come unto Him. They can become discouraged when trials come, as trials always do. Yet we must remember that the best and surest friends they have are the Savior and His Father, who is also their Father. Heavenly Father and the Savior will send them the Holy Ghost to comfort them and confirm their faith if they are humbly obedient.”

I believe that this is true of all who have come unto Christ, whether they were baptized last week or 80 years ago, whether they are converts or lifelong members.

He Lives!

In this month’s special issue of the Ensign on the Lord Jesus Christ is an article that compiles testimonies of the modern prophets regarding the Savior. “He Lives! The Witness of Latter-day Prophets” (also available on JesusChrist.lds.org) contains statements from 15 Presidents of the Church about the reality of Jesus Christ and His central role in the salvation of mankind. One remarkable thing about these quotes is the consistently bold manner of their declaration of Christ’s divinity. Another thing I find remarkable is the focus on the witness of the Spirit in the statements by Joseph F. Smith and Lorenzo Snow. After they made these statements, these men had visions, and through his granddaughter we know that Lorenzo Snow saw the Savior in the Salt Lake Temple. Yet it was the Holy Ghost bearing witness to their hearts that really gave them a testimony. And so it shall always be.

We Testify of Jesus Christ

The March 2008 issue of the Ensign and Liahona focuses on the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition to the testimonies of modern apostles and prophets, it contains stories and expressions of gratitude and love for the Savior from members around the world.
 
The first article in the issue is “We Testify of Jesus Christ” (also available on a new Church Web site, JesusChrist.lds.org). It is the last original message by President Gordon B. Hinckley published in the Church magazines and would be noteworthy for this fact alone, but it is also a strong and powerful witness of the reality of Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Savior of the world. As you read it, you can hear President Hinckley’s voice, his intonations, his earnest and matter-of-fact declarations of Christ’s divinity. He did, in fact, use many of these same expressions before, but that doesn’t matter. One of his legacies will be his testimony of the Savior, which will reverberate in our hearts for years to come. For instance, he said:
 
“Like the Polar Star in the heavens, regardless of what the future holds, there stands the Redeemer of the world, the Son of God, certain and sure as the anchor of our immortal lives. He is the rock of our salvation, our strength, our comfort, the very focus of our faith.”
 
I am grateful for President Hinckley and for the faithful witness he bore of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.