The Book of Mormon is a complex book of scripture that has been written for our day and time. The Book of Mormon contains the teachings of ancient prophets regarding our Savior Jesus Christ and his Atonement. The Book of Mormon was hidden away in ancient times so that it could be brought forth in the latter days.
A lot of work and sacrifice has gone into the preparation of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. Many men and women have sacrificed their time, their personal interests; some have even sacrificed their lives for the coming forth of this important book of scripture. All this sacrifice was for our benefit in increasing our knowledge and understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In the early days of the Restored Church, the Saints were reprimanded by the Lord through the Prophet Joseph Smith for “treating lightly the things you have received” and that the Saints would “remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon” (D&C 84: 54,57). In modern times a modern Apostle, Ezra Taft Benson, echoed a similar statement:
Now, we have not been using the Book of Mormon as we should. Our homes are not as strong unless we are using it to bring our children to Christ. Our families may be corrupted by worldly trends and teachings unless we know how to use the book to expose and combat the falsehoods in socialism, organic evolution, rationalism, humanism, etc. Our missionaries are not as effective unless they are “hissing forth” with it. Social, ethical, cultural, or educational converts will not survive under the heat of the day unless their taproots go down to the fullness of the gospel which the Book of Mormon contains. Our Church classes are not as spirit-filled unless we hold it up as a standard. And our nation will continue to degenerate unless we read and heed the words of the God of this land, Jesus Christ, and quit building up and upholding the secret combinations which the Book of Mormon tells us proved the downfall of both previous American civilizations. – Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign May 1975, pg. 65
As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints we must ask ourselves, are we taking the reading of the Book of Mormon lightly?
Reading the Book of Mormon is not an easy thing to do, it will take effort, planning and dedication. You will have to sacrifice something that you are currently doing, and like doing, in order to successfully read the Book of Mormon. Whether it be time spent watching a favorite TV show, reading a book, playing video games, exercising, work, etc. You will have to make a conscious decision to choose almost every day, “Do I read the Book of Mormon, or do I do (whatever it is that you are currently doing).”
Some keys to successfully reading the Book of Mormon are as follows:
- Plan a time of day, or night, when you will be able to give the Book of Mormon your full attention, free from the cares of work, family and other important responsibilities. Heavenly Father knows your situation and knows how busy and stressed you are in your lives. He will bless you in ways you don’t currently realize as you sacrifice your time to read the Book of Mormon. Set aside a pre-determined amount of time each day or night to read so that you will have enough time to focus on your reading and understand the concepts that are being taught. A lot of the stories and sermons in the Book of Mormon can carry over through multiple chapters. Reading for a set amount of time will help the reader better understand what is being taught. Just as an FYI, the average half hour TV show is about 22 minutes of story without the commercials. 🙂
- Say a prayer before you open the book to read. Ask Heavenly Father for the Holy Ghost to assist you while you are reading and to help bring peace of mind and the ability to focus on what it is you are reading. Ask Heavenly Father for additional knowledge for questions you have regarding the Gospel, the Book of Mormon, or for any trials you are currently experiencing. Give thanks for the Book of Mormon and the teachings it contains. Give thanks for the untold efforts of others who have sacrificed to bring this book to you. If we pray for knowledge and understanding the Lord will give it to us line upon line. The prophet Nephi understood this when he said. “Behold, he hath heard my cry by day, and he hath given me knowledge by visions in the night-time. And by day have I waxed bold in mighty prayer before him; yea, my voice have I sent up on high;” 2 Nephi 4:23-24.
- Be careful not to read the Book of Mormon the same way you read novels, newspapers or magazines. The Book of Mormon is a unique book and requires us to ponder AS we read. We must pay attention to every word and sentence and how it fits into the preceding verses as well as the verses that follow. The prophet Mormon had a limited amount of space to write a thousand year history of his people and had to carefully choose what he wrote and how to write it. After Mormon’s death, the prophet Moroni stated in Mormon 8:5, that the plates he was to write on only had a small amount of room left to write and that he didn’t have enough ore (at the time) to make more plates. He then proceeded to give a powerful closing (at least what he thought was at the time) testimony regarding Jesus Christ.
- Pay attention to how you feel during and after you read the Book of Mormon. You will notice that the Spirit of God is present and that it will influence your thoughts, words and deeds over the course of the day. President Marion G. Romney once said regarding the blessings of reading the Book of Mormon:
“I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity—the pure love of Christ—will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness.”Pres. Marion G. Romney – Ensign, May 1980, 67
Recognizing this incredible influence in your personal life and in your family’s lives can be a great motivator for individuals to keep reading the Book of Mormon. These are some of the greatest blessings the Book of Mormon can bring into one’s home – the blessings of peace and charity, or the love of Christ.
Reading the Book of Mormon regularly will bless your life and help you gain a better understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I liken reading the Book of Mormon to the parable of the wise man and the foolish man. If we build our testimonies upon the rock of Jesus Christ by reading the Book of Mormon, we will not fall when the storms of temptations come.