Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Critical Importance of the Book of Mormon in our lives!


"Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, yet lackest though one thing: sell all that thou hast and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me." - Luke 18:22

I have pondered this story many times. Contemplating how I would react if I was in the exact situation. I want to believe that I would sell all that I have and follow Jesus! It's hard to comprehend why this young man who sought after Jesus, who desired to follow him, and who already kept all the commandments, couldn't let go of his wealth to follow Christ. As I liken the scriptures to myself, I start to understand this young man, and to recognize that I too have weaknesses that restrict me from fully following Christ.  For this young man it was his wealth, for others it may be forgiveness, pride, judging others, impurity, anger, dishonesty, or addictions. It seems as weaknesses are prayerfully conquered, another appears.  I'm not sure we can ever get to a point where we no longer have to keep our eyes and hearts open to the Holy Ghost, so that we are ready to hear the call to change and follow. At times we may justify, that we don't have the Savior standing in front of us; that it would be different if we didn't have to fully rely on faith. I don't think this is true. I'm not sure it would make a difference. However, the Lord has given us ways to feel his communication as if he is standing in front of us. We have the Holy Ghost, personal revelation, and a living prophet. The scriptures say, that if a prophet speaks it is as if Christ himself has spoken. This helps answer the simple question... Do we follow what the prophet tells us? ....As if the Savior himself was standing before us?

Well, this last general conference, Thomas S. Monson, only spoke for a few minutes. In those few minutes he "implored" us to read the Book of Mormon. In fact, I have made a few notes and then looked up key words in the dictionary, so that I may better understand what the prophet is telling us to do!

(Here are my notes from Thomas S. Monson's talk)
"I speak of the POWER of the Book of Mormon, and the CRITICAL need we have to STUDY, PONDER,  and APPLY it's teachings in our lives.

"The importance of having a FIRM and SURE TESTIMONY of the Book of Mormon cannot be overstated."

"I IMPLORE each of us to prayerfully study and ponder the Book of Mormon EACH DAY."

IMPLORE



Let me start at the bottom, where the prophet, Thomas S. Monson, implores us to read the Book of Mormon daily. Implore means to beg someone earnestly or desperately to do something. There stood the prophet, the living mouth piece of Christ, who wasn't well, and only spoke for 7 minutes, stood up and earnestly begged us to read the Book of Mormon. As I went back and prayerfully studied his short talk, I could feel the desperation as he quietly IMPLORED us to read daily! I think we should put studying the Book of Mormon above all else. If you're not a member of the church, you can go to Mormon.org and request a Book of Mormon for free. I promise it will bring peace and joy to your life, and comfort to your home! Thomas S. Monson is not just a prophet for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; he is a prophet to the whole world. A mouth piece of Christ. A watcher on the tower. A leader in the confusion. A light in the darkness. Following him will bring us closer to Christ, to where we will be able to drop all and follow Christ!

POWER



Now back up to my first note... "The power of the Book of Mormon"...
When I looked up power, it is the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events.  Wow! When we read daily, we are giving the Book of Mormon the ability to influence our behavior and how we handle the events in our lives. Events could mean trials, tribulations, sickness, temptations, weaknesses, or emotions. The Book of Mormon will help us to feel the comfort and guidance of the Holy Ghost in our lives, as it will put our hearts and minds closer to Christ and invite the spirit into our homes and our lives. It will literally empower us with spiritual power!!

CRITICAL
He goes on to say the Critical need to study, ponder and apply. Critical has several meanings that help us understand how important it is that we heed the call to read daily. First definition is relating to or denoting a point of transition from one state to another. This is just what we were talking about as we comparing ourselves to the young man asked to sell all he had. He wasn't in a spiritual state where he was able to let go of his wealth to follow Christ...but it is critical that we read the Book of Mormon as it can help us transition into a state of mind where we are able to let go of those things that hold us back. Second definition for critical is having a decisive or crucial importance in the success, failure, or existence of something. Bingo!! It is critical that we read the Book of Mormon daily for the success of our faith, the success of our eternity, and the success of our attitude. At least for me those three things are instantly increased with my scripture studies! Third and last definition of critical is (of a person), extremely ill and at risk of death...for this case we are all at "risk of spiritual death"!

STUDY
Now that we fully understand that we have not just been asked to read the Book of Mormon daily, but we have been "implored" to do so. We understand that we are in critical need of the power of the Book of Mormon in our lives. Now let's look at how to make the Book of Mormon a part of our daily lives. Thomas S Monson used the same vocabulary that we typically hear with reading the scriptures....Don't just read...STUDY, PONDER, AND APPLY!! Since we hear those words often when referring to scriptures we may take them lightly. Think about your kids studying for a Chemistry test...they stay up late, focus completely, and review notes, all in an attempt to retain everything they possibly can. The definition of study is the devotion of time and attention to acquiring knowledge...so as we "study", we need to do so with the intent of acquiring knowledge. Which we know from Laman and Lemuel vs. Nephi, that "if' we want to acquire knowledge of spiritual matters, we need to do so with the power of the Holy Ghost and accompanied with prayer. If we will do this, we will have an enlightenment of understanding of what we are reading and how it applies in our own personal lives. Second definition of study is a detailed investigation and analysis of a subject or situation. I love the different ways to study the Book of Mormon, as we read it daily, we will be able to approach our "study" in new directions each time, which will deepen our understanding. This understanding of "study" tells us to analyze or investigate the stories and lessons we learn from our forefathers, as we do, we will be able to understand what they are telling us that is pertinent in our lives. The last definition of "study" that I loved was to make an effort to achieve (a result).  Through our studying we will be able to recognize the qualities that we need to achieve our ultimate goal of being Christ like in all we do and say! This leaves us with the conclusion that to truly study the Book of Mormon we need to start with prayer and then put in the effort to retain, and understand as much as we can , so that we can use our knowledge in bringing ourselves, our families, and our neighbors to Christ!

PONDER
It is necessary to understand how to ponder the scriptures, because as we study them, we will need to think carefully about the topics we are studying, so that we will comprehend what the Lord is telling us so that we can make an accurate decision of how to apply our understanding in our daily lives. (And that's the definition of ponder :) )

APPLY
Now for the most important part of Study, Ponder, and Apply! How do we apply what we learn from our Book of Mormon study?  Definition one; give one's full attention to a task and work hard. I Love this definition. As we are guided by the Holy Ghost of an attribute, quality, or attitude that we need to develop, it is going to take our full attention to change our current habit.With our full attention we will need to work hard to accomplish the desired result! The next definition of apply is to put into operation or practical use. Perfect! As we acquire knowledge we need to act on what we learn and put it into action in our lives and homes.

FIRM AND SURE TESTIMONY



While doing all of this, we should be developing a firm and sure testimony of the Book of Mormon.
A testimony is simply a formal statement; in this case it is a recounting of a religious matter. (Definition :) ) If something is firm it is solid, almost unyielding, and unlikely to change. Couple that with a sure testimony; confident in what one knows, having no doubt that it is right, true beyond doubt, and able to be trusted. So as you pray for the Holy Ghost to inspire and teach you in your daily reading, make sure you ask for a firm and sure testimony as well. For once that is developed, the winds of the adversary, and cunning words of the eloquent, won't be able to move your solid, confident understanding of the truthfulness of the sacred record, passed down for generations specifically for our day; THE BOOK OF MORMON!

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