I’ve always been one to take a challenge seriously. When the challenge comes from the person whom I believe to be a spokesman for the Lord, I’ve never taken a challenge more seriously.
Such was the case when Gordon B. Hinckley, 16th president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, challenged the members of the church to complete their own personal reading of the Book of Mormon by the end of the 2005 calendar year. I was anxious to become more familiar with the words of these ancient American prophets, their testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ, and the lessons that we learn about how to better live our lives according to the plan and will of God, our eternal Father in Heaven.
It was on Christmas Eve where I read a passage recording the words of the Savior to the Nephites, a people of the ancient Americas who were spared amidst the destruction that occured on this continent following the death of Christ near Jerusalem. After appearing to them amidst questions among the people whether or not He were an angel, the Savior testified that He is “the light and the life of the world; and OI have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning.”
It was at this moment where I received an outpouring of the Holy Spirit of the love that both our Father in Heaven and His Son have to sacrifice beyond human comprehension on our behalf so that we may become sanctified and worthy to know of Their love to the fullest and to enjoy the life that They enjoy today. I have always been moved by the pure words of the Savior to these people, who were preserved because of their faith and diligence in living in preparation for His visit to them. The Savior promised as much when He spoke to the stubborn Jews when He said, “other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” (John 10:16)
Truly, the Savior remembers all people, and for that reason has suffered for all God’s children and visited many of His followers throughout the Earth. The Book of Mormon is a powerful, convincing testimony of both truths. Besides moving me closer to Christ and in helping me remember the immediacy we ought to feel to live the commandments of God, the Book of Mormon is the standard to the world that the Lord has indeed reached out to us on Earth once again by revealing the fulness of His teachings to man in our very day. As Isaiah prophecied in the Old Testament, a sealed book would contain the testimony of those crying from the ground that the Savior lives and that he has done a “marvelous work and a wonder” in our day by restoring His Church through His anointed servant, Joseph Smith (Isa. 29: 4, 10-14).
This book, sealed from men who would be otherwise motivated by the greed of using the record’s ancient gold-plated material for their own benefit, was revealed to a young man who had simply entered a grove of trees seven years earlier, praying to know what church to join. As the chosen prophet to restore the gospel of Jesus Christ in the last days before the Savior’s return, Joseph Smith saw our Father in Heaven and the Savior in the flesh and was told that preachers of the day and others had drawn near to Christ in word, but were further separted in their heart, as Isaiah also saw (Isa. 29:14). The Book of Mormon is the searing testimony that the full and pure restoration of Father in Heaven’s plan to the world was certainly not of man’s wisdom, but of deity using a humble servant, even a farm boy, to fulfill Their purposes.
When read with humility, I know that the words of the Book of Mormon will penetrate the heart of every seeker of truth and too convince them that once again, as in Christ’s day, “the kingdom of God is come upon (them)” (Luke 11:20). Anyone seeking to know what must be done in order to achieve eternal life will find it in the Book of Mormon, the very testimony of those believers in Christ that Old Testament prophets described as living on the “isles of the sea.” It is the very tool that God has preserved through various servants over centuries of time to know that He has set forth His full teachings to help His children prepare to meet Him, and first, His Son, who I have absolutely no doubt will reign on Earth in a day soon to come.