Lesson 1: The Keystone of Our Religion

Book of Mormon: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual, (1999), p. 1–5 — annotated and facilitated by Don R. Hender


Purpose:

To help class members understand how the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion and how abiding by its [most correct] precepts helps us draw nearer to God.

It is not that the Book of Mormon's is 'most correct' in being perfect or free from the nominal publication errors of man. It is that the Book of Mormon is the most direct and plain Word of God, coming straight with just the translation of Joseph Smith to being true to the precepts of God as recorded by prophets who have written them by and of the spiritual guadance of prophets of God. The Bible on the other hand has been handed down through the years and translated and edited by any number of so removed hands of man who are not so inspirered to maintain the high standard of the true precepts of God. In this is to be found the 'most correct' principles and precept as correctly taught by men of God, were the Bible does suffer from a degree of the corruptions of the handlings and precepts of man.

To Guard Against Satan's Attack:

Since the Book of Mormon is the critical 'Keystone,' Lucifer will seek to destroy one's testimony in this particular word of God. Many of his such attacks further attack also the Bible and all foundational beliefs in our Lord Jesus Christ as well. Lucifer will even advance the concept that there is no Devid and there is no sin, and whatever else is appealing to the carnal natural man to achieve his intent of destorying the souls of man and causing them to be miserable even as he is.

Joseph Smith said: "I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth [in the preservation of the true and correct precepts of godliness], and the keystone of our religion, and [therefore] a man would get nearer to God [godliness] by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book."

Happiness is finding God & reconciling one's self unto Him, by conforming one's intelligence to the light and truths of God.

Preparation

1. Read, ponder, and pray about the following scriptures: 1 Nephi 13:38–41; 19:23; 2 Nephi 25:21–22; 27:22; 29:6–9; Mormon 8:26–41; Ether 5:2–4; Moroni 1:4; 10:3–5; Doctrine and Covenants 10:45–46; 20:8–12; 84:54–58. Also study the introductory material to the Book of Mormon, including the title page, the introduction, the Testimony of Three Witnesses, the Testimony of Eight Witnesses, and the Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith.

2. Additional reading: “The Book of Mormon—Keystone of Our Religion” (Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, Nov. 1986, 4–7; see also Conference Report, Oct. 1986, 3–7).

3. Obtain a copy of the Book of Mormon Class Member Study Guide (35684) for each class member. (You should receive copies from the Sunday School presidency.)


Book of Mormon Class Member Study Guide, (1999), 1–2


Prayerfully study the following scriptures: 1 Nephi 13:38–41; 19:23; 2 Nephi 25:21–22; 27:22; 29:6–9; Mormon 8:26–41; Ether 5:2–4; Moroni 1:4; 10:3–5; Doctrine and Covenants 10:45–46; 20:8–12; 84:54–58. Also study the introductory material to the Book of Mormon.

• According to the second paragraph of the title page of the Book of Mormon, what are three purposes of the Book of Mormon?

There are actually four if you separate them out:

  • 1. Show unto the remnant of the House of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers;
  • 2. that they may know the covenants of the Lord,
  • 3. that they are not cast off forever (this could be part of knowing the covenants)
  • 4. to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that JESUS is the CHRIST, the ETERNAL GOD, manifesting himself unto all nations

    There is also a 'disclaimer'

  • if there are faults they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ.

    • What have you learned from the Book of Mormon about Jesus Christ?

      Jesus Christ, who is Jehovah 'condescended' not just to come to earth but to suffer for sins of man.
      Jesus Christ as the Spirit God Jehovah formed the temporal bodies of Adam and Eve. (Ether 3)
      Jesus Christ is the God of this Land and men must serve him or be destroyed.

    • How has the Book of Mormon strengthened your testimony of Jesus Christ?

      To come to appreciate and understanding just who Jesus Christ is and what he has done and does.
      The clearity and plainness of the Book of Mormon makes knowing Jesus understandable.

    • What passages in the Book of Mormon are particularly inspiring to you?

      Knowest thou the condescension of God?
      Other have seen these things - the vision of all.

    Suggestion for Family Discussion

    As a family, read the following statement by President Marion G. Romney:

    “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” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1980, 90; or Ensign, May 1980, 67).

    Talk about the blessings that will come to your family as you follow this counsel. Make a plan to meet as a family daily to study the Book of Mormon. Encourage each family member to take responsibility to follow the plan.

    4. In advance, ask one class member to prepare to summarize [or what stands out] the Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith, another to prepare to summarize the Testimony of Three Witnesses, and a third to prepare to summarize the Testimony of Eight Witnesses.

    Joseph Smith's Testimony:

    Three Witnesses Testimony:

    Testimony of Eight Witnesses:

    5. If the following materials are available, prepare to use them during the lesson:
    a. The pictures Moroni Appears to Joseph Smith in His Room (62492; Gospel Art Picture Kit 404) and Joseph Smith Receives the Gold Plates (62012; Gospel Art Picture Kit 406).
    b. “For Our Day,” a four-minute segment of Book of Mormon Video Presentations (53911).

  • "And it came to pass that I beheld* the remnant of the seed of my brethren, and also the book of the Lamb of God, which had proceeded forth from the mouth of the Jew, that it came forth from the Gentiles unto the remnant of the seed of my brethren.
    "And after it had come forth unto them I beheld other books, which came forth by the power of the Lamb, from the Gentiles unto them, unto the convincing of the Gentiles and the remnant of the seed of my brethren, and also the Jews who were scattered upon all the face of the earth, that the records of the prophets and of the twelve apostles of the Lamb are true.
    "And the angel spake unto me, saying: These last records, which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall establish the truth of the first, which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved.
    "And they must come according to the words which shall be established by the mouth of the Lamb; and the words of the Lamb shall be made known in the records of thy seed, as well as in the records of the twelve apostles of the Lamb; wherefore they both shall be established in one; for there is one God and one Shepherd over all the earth."
    ~ Book of Mormon | 1 Nephi 13:38-41

    [* Note: When one take time to consider all that Nephi saw in conjunction with his experience with the vision of the tree of life from 1 Nephi 11 to and thru 1 Nephi 14, it becomes evident that Nephi is viewing and having a guided tour by the angel guide through, as it were, the vision of all the world such as was seen by Mahonri Moriancumr. And the 'tree of life' asspect must but be one portion of that enlarged vision of all things. Nephi was told he could not write what John the Revelator wrote even though Nephi saw that as well. And one must consider that Nephi's affinity for Isaiah's writings is from their shared experience of they both having this same vision. No wonder that Isaiah's writings are so plain and understandable to Nephi—"Nephi had seen 'the vision.'"]

    "And I did read many things unto them which were written in the books of Moses; but that I might more fully persuade them to believe in the Lord their Redeemer I did read unto them that which was written by the prophet Isaiah; for I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning."
    ~ Book of Mormon | 1 Nephi 19:23

    "Wherefore, for this cause hath the Lord God promised unto me that these things which I write shall be kept and preserved, and handed down unto my seed, from generation to generation, that the promise may be fulfilled unto Joseph, that his seed should never perish as long as the earth should stand.
    "Wherefore, these things shall go from generation to generation as long as the earth shall stand; and they shall go according to the will and pleasure of God; and the nations who shall possess them shall be judged of them according to the words which are written."
    ~ Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 25:21-22

    "Then shall the Lord God say unto him: The learned shall not read them, for they have rejected them, and I am able to do mine own work; wherefore thou shalt read the words which I shall give unto thee.
    "Touch not the things which are sealed, for I will bring them forth in mine own due time; for I will show unto the children of men that I am able to do mine own work.
    "Wherefore, when thou hast read the words which I have commanded thee, and obtained the witnesses which I have promised unto thee, then shalt thou seal up the book again, and hide it up unto me, that I may preserve the words which thou hast not read, until I shall see fit in mine own wisdom to reveal all things unto the children of men."
    ~ Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 27:20-22

    "Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible. Have ye obtained a Bible save it were by the Jews?
    "Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth?
    "Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also.
    "And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that I speak forth my words according to mine own pleasure. And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever."
    ~ Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 29:6-9)

    "And no one need say they shall not come, for they surely shall, for the Lord hath spoken it; for out of the earth shall they come, by the hand of the Lord, and none can stay it; and it shall come in a day when it shall be said that miracles are done away; and it shall come even as if one should speak from the dead.
    "And it shall come in a day when the blood of saints shall cry unto the Lord, because of secret combinations and the works of darkness.
    "Yea, it shall come in a day when the power of God shall be denied, and churches become defiled and be lifted up in the pride of their hearts; yea, even in a day when leaders of churches and teachers shall rise in the pride of their hearts, even to the envying of them who belong to their churches.
    "Yea, it shall come in a day when there shall be heard of fires, and tempests, and vapors of smoke in foreign lands;
    "And there shall also be heard of wars, rumors of wars, and earthquakes in divers places.
    "Yea, it shall come in a day when there shall be great pollutions upon the face of the earth; there shall be murders, and robbing, and lying, and deceivings, and whoredoms, and all manner of abominations; when there shall be many who will say, Do this, or do that, and it mattereth not, for the Lord will uphold such at the last day. But wo unto such, for they are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity.
    "Yea, it shall come in a day when there shall be churches built up that shall say: Come unto me, and for your money you shall be forgiven of your sins.
    "O ye wicked and perverse and stiffnecked people, why have ye built up churches unto yourselves to get gain? Why have ye transfigured the holy word of God, that ye might bring damnation upon your souls? Behold, look ye unto the revelations of God; for behold, the time cometh at that day when all these things must be fulfilled.
    "Behold, the Lord hath shown unto me great and marvelous things concerning that which must shortly come, at that day when these things shall come forth among you.
    "Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing.
    "And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities; and your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts.
    "For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted.
    "O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies—because of the praise of the world?
    "Why do ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not?
    "Yea, why do ye build up your secret abominations to get gain, and cause that widows should mourn before the Lord, and also orphans to mourn before the Lord, and also the blood of their fathers and their husbands to cry unto the Lord from the ground, for vengeance upon your heads?
    "Behold, the sword of vengeance hangeth over you; and the time soon cometh that he avengeth the blood of the saints upon you, for he will not suffer their cries any longer."
    ~ Book of Mormon | Mormon 8:26-41

    "And behold, ye may be privileged that ye may show the plates unto those who shall assist to bring forth this work;
    "And unto three shall they be shown by the power of God; wherefore they shall know of a surety that these things are true.
    "And in the mouth of three witnesses shall these things be established; and the testimony of three, and this work, in the which shall be shown forth the power of God and also his word, of which the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost bear record—and all this shall stand as a testimony against the world at the last day."
    ~ Book of Mormon | Ether 5:2-4

    "Wherefore, I write a few more things, contrary to that which I had supposed; for I had supposed not to have written any more; but I write a few more things, that perhaps they may be of worth unto my brethren, the Lamanites, in some future day, according to the will of the Lord."
    ~ Book of Mormon | Moroni 1:4

    "Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
    "And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
    "And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
    ~ Book of Mormon | Moroni 10:3-5

    "Behold, they have only got a part, or an abridgment of the account of Nephi.
    "Behold, there are many things engraven upon the plates of Nephi which do throw greater views upon my gospel; therefore, it is wisdom in me that you should translate this first part of the engravings of Nephi, and send forth in this work.
    "And, behold, all the remainder of this work does contain all those parts of my gospel which my holy prophets, yea, and also my disciples, desired in their prayers should come forth unto this people."
    ~ Doctrine and Covenants | Section 10:44-46

    "And gave him power from on high, by the means which were before prepared, to translate the Book of Mormon;
    Which contains a record of a fallen people, and the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles and to the Jews also;
    "Which was given by inspiration, and is confirmed to aothers by the ministering of angels, and is declared unto the world by them—
    "Proving to the world that the holy scriptures are true, and that God does inspire men and call them to his holy work in this age and generation, as well as in generations of old;
    "Thereby showing that he is the same God yesterday, today, and forever. Amen.
    ~ Doctrine and Covenants | Section 20:8-12

    "And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received—
    "Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.
    "And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.
    "And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written—
    "That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father's kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion."
    ~ Doctrine and Covenants | Section 84:54-58

    Suggestions for Lesson Development

    Attention Activity

    As appropriate, use the following activity or one of your own to begin the lesson.

    Draw a stone arch on the chalkboard:

    keystone

    Explain that when an arch such as this one is constructed correctly, it can remain standing even without any mortar between the stones. •

    What holds the arch together?

    Write the word keystone on the center stone of the arch. Explain that the keystone of an arch holds the other stones in place. This lesson discusses the keystone of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    Scripture Discussion and Application

    Prayerfully select the scripture passages, questions, and other lesson material that will best meet class members’ needs. Discuss how the selected scriptures apply to daily life. Encourage class members to share appropriate experiences that relate to the scriptural principles.

    1. The Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion.

    Have class members turn to the introduction to the Book of Mormon, and invite a class member to read the sixth paragraph.

    If you used the attention activity, write Book of Mormon on the chalkboard under the word keystone.

    If you did not use the attention activity, write on the chalkboard Book of Mormon = keystone and explain that the keystone of an arch holds the other stones in place and prevents the arch from collapsing. •

    Why do you think Joseph Smith called the Book of Mormon the keystone of our religion?

    President Ezra Taft Benson explained, “Just as the arch crumbles if the keystone is removed, so does all the Church stand or fall with the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1986, 5; or Ensign, Nov. 1986, 6).

    • Why does the Church “stand or fall with the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon”?

    After discussing this question, have a class member read the following statement by President Benson: “There are three ways in which the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion. It is the keystone in our witness of Christ. It is the keystone of our doctrine. It is the keystone of testimony” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1986, 4; or Ensign, Nov. 1986, 5).

    Write on the chalkboard Witness of Christ. •

    Have class members turn to the title page of the Book of Mormon, and explain that this page was written by the prophet Moroni. According to the second paragraph, what are three purposes of the Book of Mormon? (To show the remnant of the house of Israel the great things the Lord has done for their fathers; to teach the covenants required by the Lord; and to convince all people that Jesus is the Christ, manifesting Himself to all nations.)

    • In 1982 the subtitle Another Testament of Jesus Christ was added to the title of the Book of Mormon. Why is it important to have this additional testament of the Savior? (See 1 Nephi 13:38–41; 2 Nephi 29:6–9.) Why is it important to declare to the world that the Book of Mormon testifies of Christ?

    • What have you learned from the Book of Mormon about Jesus Christ? How has the Book of Mormon strengthened your testimony of Jesus Christ?

    Write on the chalkboard Doctrine. •

    In what ways is the Book of Mormon the “keystone of our doctrine”? (See D&C 10:45–46; 20:8–12.)

    President Benson stated: “The Lord Himself has stated that the Book of Mormon contains the ‘fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ’ (D&C 20:9). That does not mean it contains every teaching, every doctrine ever revealed. Rather, it means that in the Book of Mormon we will find the fulness of those doctrines required for our salvation. And they are taught plainly and simply so that even children can learn the ways of salvation and exaltation” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1986, 4; or Ensign, Nov. 1986, 6).

    • How has the Book of Mormon increased your understanding of important gospel doctrines?

    Write on the chalkboard Testimony. •

    Why is the Book of Mormon fundamental to a testimony of the restored gospel?

    • What blessings come to those who receive a testimony of the Book of Mormon and follow its teachings? What must we do to gain a testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon? (See Moroni 10:3–5.)

    Invite class members to talk about how they came to know that the Book of Mormon is true.

    2. Many witnesses have testified of the Book of Mormon.

    If you are using the pictures of Moroni appearing to Joseph Smith and of Joseph Smith receiving the gold plates, display them now. Have the assigned class member summarize the events recorded in the Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Then explain that after Joseph Smith had finished translating the Book of Mormon, other people were privileged to see the plates. Have the assigned class members present their summaries of the Testimony of the Three Witnesses and the Testimony of the Eight Witnesses. •

    Why was it important to have witnesses of the gold plates? (See Ether 5:2–4.) How do you think having additional witnesses helped the Prophet Joseph Smith?

    • What other witnesses do we have that the Book of Mormon is true?

    If you are using the video presentation “For Our Day,” show it now.

    3. The Book of Mormon was written for our day.

    Point out that although the Book of Mormon is an ancient document, it was written and preserved for our day (2 Nephi 25:21–22; 27:22; Mormon 8:34–35; Moroni 1:4). •

    Read with class members Mormon 8:26–41. Explain that these verses contain a prophecy about the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. What conditions did Moroni foresee would exist in the world when the Book of Mormon was again brought forth? (Write class members’ responses on the chalkboard. Answers may include those in the list below.) How are these conditions evident in the world today?

    a. “The power of God shall be denied” (verse 28).

    b. “There shall be great pollutions upon the face of the earth” (verse 31).

    c. People will “lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts” (verse 36).

    d. People will “love money … more than [they] love the poor and the needy” (verse 37).

    e. People will be “ashamed to take upon [themselves] the name of Christ” (verse 38).

    • In what ways can the teachings of ancient prophets be a source of help to us? How might knowing that the Book of Mormon was written for our day influence the way we study it? (See 1 Nephi 19:23.)

    President Benson taught: “The Book of Mormon … was written for our day. The Nephites never had the book; neither did the Lamanites of ancient times. It was meant for us. … Each of the major writers of the Book of Mormon testified that he wrote for future generations. … If they saw our day and chose those things which would be of greatest worth to us, is not that how we should study the Book of Mormon? We should constantly ask ourselves, ‘Why did the Lord inspire Mormon (or Moroni or Alma) to include that in his record? What lesson can I learn from that to help me live in this day and age?’” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1986, 5; or Ensign, Nov. 1986, 6).

    4. The Book of Mormon can bring us nearer to God.

    Have a class member again read the sixth paragraph of the introduction to the Book of Mormon. •

    What are precepts? (Commandments or principles.) How can the precepts of the Book of Mormon bring us nearer to God?

    • If we do not study the Book of Mormon, what will be the consequences to us, individually and as a church? (See D&C 84:54–58.)

    • What changes and blessings have come into your life when you have studied and pondered the Book of Mormon regularly?

    Conclusion

    Read or have a class member read the following statement by President Ezra Taft Benson:

    “The moment you begin a serious study of [the Book of Mormon, you] will find greater power to resist temptation. You will find the power to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path. … When you begin to hunger and thirst after those words, you will find life in greater and greater abundance” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1986, 6; or Ensign, Nov. 1986, 7).

    Encourage class members to experience the fulfillment of these promises for themselves by studying the Book of Mormon this year.

    As directed by the Spirit, testify of the truths discussed during the lesson.

    Give each class member a study guide. Encourage class members to use these study guides as they study the scriptures in preparation for class each week.

    Additional Teaching Ideas

    The following material supplements the suggested lesson outline. You may want to use one or both of these ideas as part of the lesson.

    1. The importance of the Book of Mormon in the Restoration of the gospel

    List the following phrases on the chalkboard without the accompanying numbers:

    6. Temple work for the dead begins.

    3. The Melchizedek Priesthood is restored.

    5. Apostles are called.

    1. Joseph Smith receives the First Vision.

    4. The Church is organized.

    2. The Book of Mormon comes forth.

    Ask class members to identify the order in which these events occurred (the numbers to the left of the events indicate their correct order; add these numbers to the chalkboard as class members identify the proper order of events). Then read or have a class member read the following comment by President Ezra Taft Benson:

    “A … powerful testimony to the importance of the Book of Mormon is to note where the Lord placed its coming forth in the timetable of the unfolding Restoration. The only thing that preceded it was the First Vision. …

    “Think of that in terms of what it implies. The coming forth of the Book of Mormon preceded the restoration of the priesthood. It was published just a few days before the Church was organized. The Saints were given the Book of Mormon to read before they were given the revelations outlining such great doctrines as the three degrees of glory, celestial marriage, or work for the dead. It came before priesthood quorums and Church organization. Doesn’t this tell us something about how the Lord views this sacred work?” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1986, 3; or Ensign, Nov. 1986, 4).

    2. Sharing the Book of Mormon

    Consult with the bishopric and the ward mission leader about how members can obtain copies of the Book of Mormon to share with nonmember friends and acquaintances.

    In class, suggest that a class goal this year should be to share the Book of Mormon with nonmember friends and acquaintances. Explain to class members how they may obtain copies of the Book of Mormon, and encourage each class member to give a copy to at least one friend or acquaintance during the year.

    Several times during the year, as the Spirit directs, ask class members if any of them have yet shared a copy of the Book of Mormon. Invite class members who have done this to briefly describe the experience. Continue to encourage class members to share the Book of Mormon with others.

    List of suggested scripure readings:

    38 And it came to pass that I beheld the remnant of the seed of my brethren, and also the book of the Lamb of God, which had proceeded forth from the mouth of the Jew, that it came forth from the Gentiles unto the remnant of the seed of my brethren.
    39 And after it had come forth unto them I beheld other books, which came forth by the power of the Lamb, from the Gentiles unto them, unto the convincing of the Gentiles and the remnant of the seed of my brethren, and also the Jews who were scattered upon all the face of the earth, that the records of the prophets and of the twelve apostles of the Lamb are true.
    40 And the angel spake unto me, saying: These last records, which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall establish the truth of the first, which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved.
    41 And they must come according to the words which shall be established by the mouth of the Lamb; and the words of the Lamb shall be made known in the records of thy seed, as well as in the records of the twelve apostles of the Lamb; wherefore they both shall be established in one; for there is one God and one Shepherd over all the earth.
    (Book of Mormon | 1 Nephi 13:38 - 41)

    23 And I did read many things unto them which were written in the books of Moses; but that I might more fully persuade them to believe in the Lord their Redeemer I did read unto them that which was written by the prophet Isaiah; for I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning.
    (Book of Mormon | 1 Nephi 19:23)

    Isaiah had seen 'the vision' as Nephi had seen the vision of Jesus Christ. Thus Nephi had a great affinity for the words of Isaiah, for in them he read that which he had also seen but in the words and perspective of another.
    21 Wherefore, for this cause hath the Lord God promised unto me that these things which I write shall be kept and preserved, and handed down unto my seed, from generation to generation, that the promise may be fulfilled unto Joseph, that his seed should never perish as long as the earth should stand.
    22 Wherefore, these things shall go from generation to generation as long as the earth shall stand; and they shall go according to the will and pleasure of God; and the nations who shall possess them shall be judged of them according to the words which are written.
    (Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 25:21 - 22)

    22 Wherefore, when thou hast read the words which I have commanded thee, and obtained the witnesses which I have promised unto thee, then shalt thou seal up the book again, and hide it up unto me, that I may preserve the words which thou hast not read, until I shall see fit in mine own wisdom to reveal all things unto the children of men.
    (Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 27:22)
    6 Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible. Have ye obtained a Bible save it were by the Jews?
    7 Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth?
    8 Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also.

    9 And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that I speak forth my words according to mine own pleasure. And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever.
    (Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 29:6 - 9)
    31. Wherefore the fruit of thy loins shall write, and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write; and that which shall be written by the fruit of thy loins, and also that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah, shall grow together unto the confounding of false doctrines, and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins, and bringing them to a knowledge of their fathers in the latter days; and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord.
    (JST | Genesis 50:31)
    compare Ezek. 37:15-28

    26 And no one need say they shall not come, for they surely shall, for the Lord hath spoken it; for out of the earth shall they come, by the hand of the Lord, and none can stay it; and it shall come in a day when it shall be said that miracles are done away; and it shall come even as if one should speak from the dead.
    27 And it shall come in a day when the blood of saints shall cry unto the Lord, because of secret combinations and the works of darkness.
    28 Yea, it shall come in a day when the power of God shall be denied, and churches become defiled and be lifted up in the pride of their hearts; yea, even in a day when leaders of churches and teachers shall rise in the pride of their hearts, even to the envying of them who belong to their churches.
    29 Yea, it shall come in a day when there shall be heard of fires, and tempests, and vapors of smoke in foreign lands;
    30 And there shall also be heard of wars, rumors of wars, and earthquakes in divers places.
    31 Yea, it shall come in a day when there shall be great pollutions upon the face of the earth; there shall be murders, and robbing, and lying, and deceivings, and whoredoms, and all manner of abominations; when there shall be many who will say, Do this, or do that, and it mattereth not, for the Lord will uphold such at the last day. But wo unto such, for they are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity.
    32 Yea, it shall come in a day when there shall be churches built up that shall say: Come unto me, and for your money you shall be forgiven of your sins.
    33 O ye wicked and perverse and stiffnecked people, why have ye built up churches unto yourselves to get gain? Why have ye transfigured the holy word of God, that ye might bring damnation upon your souls? Behold, look ye unto the revelations of God; for behold, the time cometh at that day when all these things must be fulfilled.
    34 Behold, the Lord hath shown unto me great and marvelous things concerning that which must shortly come, at that day when these things shall come forth among you.
    35 Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing.
    36 And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities; and your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts.
    37 For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted.
    38 O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye aashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies—because of the praise of the world?
    39 Why do ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not?
    40 Yea, why do ye build up your secret abominations to get gain, and cause that widows should mourn before the Lord, and also orphans to mourn before the Lord, and also the blood of their fathers and their husbands to cry unto the Lord from the ground, for vengeance upon your heads?
    41 Behold, the sword of vengeance hangeth over you; and the time soon cometh that he avengeth the blood of the saints upon you, for he will not suffer their cries any longer.
    (Book of Mormon | Mormon 8:26 - 41)

    2 And behold, ye may be privileged that ye may show the plates unto those who shall assist to bring forth this work;
    3 And unto three shall they be shown by the power of God; wherefore they shall know of a surety that these things are true.
    4 And in the mouth of three witnesses shall these things be established; and the testimony of three, and this work, in the which shall be shown forth the power of God and also his word, of which the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost bear record—and all this shall stand as a testimony against the world at the last day.
    (Book of Mormon | Ether 5:2 - 4)
    1 NOW I, Moroni, after having made an end of abridging the account of the people of Jared, I had supposed anot to have written more, but I have not as yet perished; and I make not myself known to the Lamanites lest they should destroy me. 2 For behold, their awars are exceedingly fierce among themselves; and because of their bhatred they cput to death every Nephite that will not deny the Christ. 3 And I, Moroni, will not adeny the Christ; wherefore, I wander whithersoever I can for the safety of mine own life. (Book of Mormon | Moroni 1:1 - 3) background - Part which is referenced.
    4 Wherefore, I write a few more things, contrary to that which I had supposed; for I had supposed not to have written any more; but I write a few more things, that perhaps they may be of worth unto my brethren, the Lamanites, in some future day, according to the will of the Lord.
    (Book of Mormon | Moroni 1:4)

    3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
    4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
    5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
    (Book of Mormon | Moroni 10:3 - 5)

    45 Behold, there are many things engraven upon the plates of Nephi which do throw greater views upon my gospel; therefore, it is wisdom in me that you should translate this first part of the engravings of Nephi, and send forth in this work.
    46 And, behold, all the remainder of this work does contain all those parts of my gospel which my holy prophets, yea, and also my disciples, desired in their prayers should come forth unto this people.
    (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 10:45 - 46)

    8 And gave him power from on high, by the means which were before prepared, to translate the Book of Mormon;
    9 Which contains a record of a fallen people, and the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles and to the Jews also;
    10 Which was given by inspiration, and is confirmed to others by the ministering of angels, and is declared unto the world by them—
    11 Proving to the world that the holy scriptures are true, and that God does inspire men and call them to his holy work in this age and generation, as well as in generations of old;
    12 Thereby showing that he is the same God yesterday, today, and forever. Amen.
    (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 20:8 - 12)

    54 And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received—
    55 Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.
    56 And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.
    57 And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written—
    58 That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father's kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion.
    (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 84:54 - 58)

    THE
    BOOK OF MORMON


    AN ACCOUNT WRITTEN BY
    THE HAND OF MORMON
    UPON PLATES TAKEN FROM THE PLATES OF NEPHI

    1 Wherefore, it is an abridgment of the record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites—Written to the Lamanites, who are a remnant of the house of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile—Written by way of commandment, and also by the spirit of prophecy and of revelation—Written and sealed up, and hid up unto the Lord, that they might not be destroyed—To come forth by the gift and power of God unto the interpretation thereof—Sealed by the hand of Moroni, and hid up unto the Lord, to come forth in due time by way of the Gentile—The interpretation thereof by the gift of God.

    2 An abridgment taken from the Book of Ether also, which is a record of the people of Jared, who were scattered at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people, when they were building a tower to get to heaven—Which is to show unto the remnant of the House of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever—And also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that JESUS is the CHRIST, the ETERNAL GOD, manifesting himself unto all nations—And now, if there are faults they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment–seat of Christ.

    TRANSLATED BY JOSEPH SMITH, JUN. (Book of Mormon | Preface Title Page:Heading - 2)

    INTRODUCTION


    1 The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible. It is a record of God's dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains, as does the Bible, the fulness of the everlasting gospel.
    2 The book was written by many ancient prophets by the spirit of prophecy and revelation. Their words, written on gold plates, were quoted and abridged by a prophet-historian named Mormon. The record gives an account of two great civilizations. One came from Jerusalem in 600 B.C., and afterward separated into two nations, known as the Nephites and the Lamanites. The other came much earlier when the Lord confounded the tongues at the Tower of Babel. This group is known as the Jaredites. After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are the principal ancestors of the American Indians.
    3 The crowning event recorded in the Book of Mormon is the personal ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ among the Nephites soon after his resurrection. It puts forth the doctrines of the gospel, outlines the plan of salvation, and tells men what they must do to gain peace in this life and eternal salvation in the life to come.
    4 After Mormon completed his writings, he delivered the account to his son Moroni, who added a few words of his own and hid up the plates in the hill Cumorah. On September 21, 1823, the same Moroni, then a glorified, resurrected being, appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith and instructed him relative to the ancient record and its destined translation into the English language.
    5 In due course the plates were delivered to Joseph Smith, who translated them by the gift and power of God. The record is now published in many languages as a new and additional witness that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God and that all who will come unto him and obey the laws and ordinances of his gospel may be saved.
    6 Concerning this record the Prophet Joseph Smith said: "I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book."
    7 In addition to Joseph Smith, the Lord provided for eleven others to see the gold plates for themselves and to be special witnesses of the truth and divinity of the Book of Mormon. Their written testimonies are included herewith as "The Testimony of Three Witnesses" and "The Testimony of Eight Witnesses."
    8 We invite all men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in their hearts the message it contains, and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if the book is true. Those who pursue this course and ask in faith will gain a testimony of its truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost. (See Moroni 10:3–5.)
    9 Those who gain this divine witness from the Holy Spirit will also come to know by the same power that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, that Joseph Smith is his revelator and prophet in these last days, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord's kingdom once again established on the earth, preparatory to the second coming of the Messiah.
    (Book of Mormon | Preface Introduction:Heading - 9)

    Note: In today's official Introduction to the Book of Mormon it states that Moroni hid up the plates in the hill Cumorah. And there is no speculation beyond that clear concise statement. No 'theory' of one or two Cumorahs or their therorized locations other that the one hill Cumorah in New York state is made and should not be delved into in the Gospel Doctrine class.

    Joseph Smith stated that the Book of Mormon was the 'most correct' of any book ... and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than any other book. It must be considered that Joseph Smith was speaking particularly concerning the 'most correct' in relationship to correct doctrinal principles and precept and not as to the earthly errors made by man. In line with the man assignable errors the Book of Mormon and the Bible count well in parallel as to the errors of men's handling of the transcription and publishing of the scriptural text.

    THE TESTIMONY OF THREE WITNESSES

    1 BE IT KNOWN unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come: That we, through the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record, which is a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, their brethren, and also of the people of Jared, who came from the tower of which hath been spoken. And we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety that the work is true. And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates; and they have been shown unto us by the power of God, and not of man. And we declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bear record that these things are true. And it is marvelous in our eyes. Nevertheless, the voice of the Lord commanded us that we should bear record of it; wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, we bear testimony of these things. And we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgment–seat of Christ, and shall dwell with him eternally in the heavens. And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen.

    OLIVER COWDERY
    DAVID WHITMER
    MARTIN HARRIS
    (Book of Mormon | Preface 3 Witnesses:Heading - 1)

    THE TESTIMONY OF EIGHT WITNESSES

    1 BE IT KNOWN unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come: That Joseph Smith, Jun., the translator of this work, has shown unto us the plates of which hath been spoken, which have the appearance of gold; and as many of the leaves as the said Smith has translated we did handle with our hands; and we also saw the engravings thereon, all of which has the appearance of ancient work, and of curious workmanship. And this we bear record with words of soberness, that the said Smith has shown unto us, for we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken. And we give our names unto the world, to witness unto the world that which we have seen. And we lie not, God bearing witness of it.

    CHRISTIAN WHITMER
    HIRAM PAGE
    JACOB WHITMER
    JOSEPH SMITH, SEN.
    PETER WHITMER, JUN.
    HYRUM SMITH
    JOHN WHITMER
    SAMUEL H. SMITH
    (Book of Mormon | Preface 8 Witnesses:Heading - 1)

    TESTIMONY OF THE PROPHET JOSEPH SMITH


    1 The Prophet Joseph Smith's own words about the coming forth of the Book of Mormon are:


    2 "On the evening of the...twenty-first of September [1823]...I betook myself to prayer and supplication to Almighty God....
    3 "While I was thus in the act of calling upon God, I discovered a light appearing in my room, which continued to increase until the room was lighter than at noonday, when immediately a personage appeared at my bedside, standing in the air, for his feet did not touch the floor.
    4 "He had on a loose robe of most exquisite whiteness. It was a whiteness beyond anything earthly I had ever seen; nor do I believe that any earthly thing could be made to appear so exceedingly white and brilliant. His hands were naked, and his arms also, a little above the wrists; so, also, were his feet naked, as were his legs, a little above the ankles. His head and neck were also bare. I could discover that he had no other clothing on but this robe, as it was open, so that I could see into his bosom.
    5 "Not only was his robe exceedingly white, but his whole person was glorious beyond description, and his countenance truly like lightning. The room was exceedingly light, but not so very bright as immediately around his person. When I first looked upon him, I was afraid; but the fear soon left me.
    6 "He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people.
    7 "He said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the fulness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants;
    8 "Also, that there were two stones in silver bows—and these stones, fastened to a breastplate, constituted what is called the Urim and Thummim—deposited with the plates; and the possession and use of these stones were what constituted Seers in ancient or former times; and that God had prepared them for the purpose of translating the book.
    * * * * * * *

    9 "Again, he told me, that when I got those plates of which he had spoken—for the time that they should be obtained was not yet fulfilled—I should not show them to any person; neither the breastplate with the Urim and Thummim; only to those to whom I should be commanded to show them; if I did I should be destroyed. While he was conversing with me about the plates, the vision was opened to my mind that I could see the place where the plates were deposited, and that so clearly and distinctly that I knew the place again when I visited it.
    10 "After this communication, I saw the light in the room begin to gather immediately around the person of him who had been speaking to me, and it continued to do so, until the room was again left dark, except just around him, when instantly I saw, as it were, a conduit open right up into heaven, and he ascended until he entirely disappeared, and the room was left as it had been before this heavenly light had made its appearance.
    11 "I lay musing on the singularity of the scene, and marveling greatly at what had been told to me by this extraordinary messenger; when, in the midst of my meditation, I suddenly discovered that my room was again beginning to get lighted, and in an instant, as it were, the same heavenly messenger was again by my bedside.
    12 "He commenced, and again related the very same things which he had done at his first visit, without the least variation; which having done, he informed me of great judgments which were coming upon the earth, with great desolations by famine, sword, and pestilence; and that these grievous judgments would come on the earth in this generation. Having related these things, he again ascended as he had done before.
    13 "By this time, so deep were the impressions made on my mind, that sleep had fled from my eyes, and I lay overwhelmed in astonishment at what I had both seen and heard. But what was my surprise when again I beheld the same messenger at my bedside, and heard him rehearse or repeat over again to me the same things as before; and added a caution to me, telling me that Satan would try to tempt me (in consequence of the indigent circumstances of my father's family), to get the plates for the purpose of getting rich. This he forbade me, saying that I must have no other object in view in getting the plates but to glorify God, and must not be influenced by any other motive than that of building His kingdom; otherwise I could not get them.
    14 "After this third visit, he again ascended into heaven as before, and I was again left to ponder on the strangeness of what I had just experienced; when almost immediately after the heavenly messenger had ascended from me the third time, the cock crowed, and I found that day was approaching, so that our interviews must have occupied the whole of that night.
    15 "I shortly after arose from my bed, and, as usual, went to the necessary labors of the day; but, in attempting to work as at other times, I found my strength so exhausted as to render me entirely unable. My father, who was laboring along with me, discovered something to be wrong with me, and told me to go home. I started with the intention of going to the house; but, in attempting to cross the fence out of the field where we were, my strength entirely failed me, and I fell helpless on the ground, and for a time was quite unconscious of anything.
    16 "The first thing that I can recollect was a voice speaking unto me, calling me by name. I looked up, and beheld the same messenger standing over my head, surrounded by light as before. He then again related unto me all that he had related to me the previous night, and commanded me to go to my father and tell him of the vision and commandments which I had received.
    17 "I obeyed; I returned to my father in the field, and rehearsed the whole matter to him. He replied to me that it was of God, and told me to go and do as commanded by the messenger. I left the field, and went to the place where the messenger had told me the plates were deposited; and owing to the distinctness of the vision which I had had concerning it, I knew the place the instant that I arrived there.
    18 "Convenient to the village of Manchester, Ontario county, New York, stands a hill of considerable size, and the most elevated of any in the neighborhood. On the west side of this hill, not far from the top, under a stone of considerable size, lay the plates, deposited in a stone box. This stone was thick and rounding in the middle on the upper side, and thinner towards the edges, so that the middle part of it was visible above the ground, but the edge all around was covered with earth.
    19 "Having removed the earth, I obtained a lever, which I got fixed under the edge of the stone, and with a little exertion raised it up. I looked in, and there indeed did I behold the plates, the Urim and Thummim, and the breastplate, as stated by the messenger. The box in which they lay was formed by laying stones together in some kind of cement. In the bottom of the box were laid two stones crossways of the box, and on these stones lay the plates and the other things with them.
    20 "I made an attempt to take them out, but was forbidden by the messenger, and was again informed that the time for bringing them forth had not yet arrived, neither would it, until four years from that time; but he told me that I should come to that place precisely in one year from that time, and that he would there meet with me, and that I should continue to do so until the time should come for obtaining the plates.
    21 "Accordingly, as I had been commanded, I went at the end of each year, and at each time I found the same messenger there, and received instruction and intelligence from him at each of our interviews, respecting what the Lord was going to do, and how and in what manner His kingdom was to be conducted in the last days.
    * * * * * * *

    22 "At length the time arrived for obtaining the plates, the Urim and Thummim, and the breastplate. On the twenty-second day of September, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-seven, having gone as usual at the end of another year to the place where they were deposited, the same heavenly messenger delivered them up to me with this charge: That I should be responsible for them; that if I should let them go carelessly, or through any neglect of mine, I should be cut off; but that if I would use all my endeavors to preserve them, until he, the messenger, should call for them, they should be protected.
    23 "I soon found out the reason why I had received such strict charges to keep them safe, and why it was that the messenger had said that when I had done what was required at my hand, he would call for them. For no sooner was it known that I had them, than the most strenuous exertions were used to get them from me. Every stratagem that could be invented was resorted to for that purpose. The persecution became more bitter and severe than before, and multitudes were on the alert continually to get them from me if possible. But by the wisdom of God, they remained safe in my hands, until I had accomplished by them what was required at my hand. When, according to arrangements, the messenger called for them, I delivered them up to him; and he has them in his charge until this day, being the second day of May, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-eight."
    24 For the complete record, see Joseph Smith—History, in the Pearl of Great Price, and History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, volume 1, chapters 1 through 6.
    25 The ancient record thus brought forth from the earth as the voice of a people speaking from the dust, and translated into modern speech by the gift and power of God as attested by Divine affirmation, was first published to the world in the year 1830 as THE BOOK OF MORMON.
    (Book of Mormon | Preface Joseph Smith:Heading - 25)

    A BRIEF EXPLANATION ABOUT
    THE BOOK OF MORMON

    1 The Book of Mormon is a sacred record of peoples in ancient America, and was engraved upon sheets of metal. Four kinds of metal record plates are spoken of in the book itself:
    2 The Plates of Nephi, which were of two kinds: the Small Plates and the Large Plates. The former were more particularly devoted to the spiritual matters and the ministry and teachings of the prophets, while the latter were occupied mostly by a secular history of the peoples concerned (1 Nephi 9:2–4). From the time of Mosiah, however, the large plates also included items of major spiritual importance.
    3 The Plates of Mormon, which consist of an abridgment by Mormon from the Large Plates of Nephi, with many commentaries. These plates also contained a continuation of the history by Mormon and additions by his son Moroni.
    4 The Plates of Ether, which present a history of the Jaredites. This record was abridged by Moroni, who inserted comments of his own and incorporated the record with the general history under the title "Book of Ether."
    5 The Plates of Brass brought by the people of Lehi from Jerusalem in 600 B.C. These contained "the five books of Moses, . . . And also a record of the Jews from the beginning, . . . down to the commencement of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah; And also the prophecies of the holy prophets" (1 Nephi 5:11–13). Many quotations from these plates, citing Isaiah and other biblical and nonbiblical prophets, appear in the Book of Mormon.
    6 The Book of Mormon comprises fifteen main parts or divisions, known, with one exception, as books, each designated by the name of its principal author. The first portion (the first six books, ending with Omni) is a translation from the Small Plates of Nephi. Between the books of Omni and Mosiah is an insert called The Words of Mormon. This insert connects the record engraved on the Small Plates with Mormon's abridgment of the Large Plates.
    7 The longest portion, from Mosiah to Mormon, chapter 7, inclusive, is a translation of Mormon's abridgment of the Large Plates of Nephi. The concluding portion, from Mormon, chapter 8, to the end of the volume, was engraved by Mormon's son Moroni, who, after finishing the record of his father's life, made an abridgment of the Jaredite record (as the Book of Ether) and later added the parts known as the Book of Moroni.
    8 In or about the year A.D. 421, Moroni, the last of the Nephite prophet-historians, sealed the sacred record and hid it up unto the Lord, to be brought forth in the latter days, as predicted by the voice of God through his ancient prophets. In A.D. 1823, this same Moroni, then a resurrected personage, visited the Prophet Joseph Smith and subsequently delivered the engraved plates to him.

    9 About this edition: Some minor errors in the text have been perpetuated in past editions of the Book of Mormon. This edition contains corrections that seem appropriate to bring the material into conformity with prepublication manuscripts and early editions edited by the Prophet Joseph Smith. (Book of Mormon | Preface Explanation:Heading - 9)

    November 1986 (October Conference)

    The Book of Mormon—Keystone of Our Religion

    President Ezra Taft Benson


    The Book of Mormon—

    President Ezra Taft Benson

    My beloved brethren and sisters, today I would like to speak about one of the most significant gifts given to the world in modern times. The gift I am thinking of is more important than any of the inventions that have come out of the industrial and technological revolutions. This is a gift of greater value to mankind than even the many wonderful advances we have seen in modern medicine. It is of greater worth to mankind than the development of flight or space travel. I speak of the gift of the Book of Mormon, given to mankind 156 years ago.

    This gift was prepared by the hand of the Lord over a period of more than a thousand years, then hidden up by Him so that it would be preserved in its purity for our generation. Perhaps there is nothing that testifies more clearly of the importance of this modern book of scripture than what the Lord Himself has said about it.

    By His own mouth He has borne witness (1) that it is true (D&C 17:6), (2) that it contains the truth and His words (D&C 19:26), (3) that it was translated by power from on high (D&C 20:8), (4) that it contains the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ (D&C 20:9, D&C 42:12), (5) that it was given by inspiration and confirmed by the ministering of angels (D&C 20:10), (6) that it gives evidence that the holy scriptures are true (D&C 20:11), and (7) that those who receive it in faith shall receive eternal life (D&C 20:14).

    A second powerful testimony to the importance of the Book of Mormon is to note where the Lord placed its coming forth in the timetable of the unfolding Restoration. The only thing that preceded it was the First Vision. In that marvelous manifestation, the Prophet Joseph Smith learned the true nature of God and that God had a work for him to do. The coming forth of the Book of Mormon was the next thing to follow.

    Think of that in terms of what it implies. The coming forth of the Book of Mormon preceded the restoration of the priesthood. It was published just a few days before the Church was organized. The Saints were given the Book of Mormon to read before they were given the revelations outlining such great doctrines as the three degrees of glory, celestial marriage, or work for the dead. It came before priesthood quorums and Church organization. Doesn’t this tell us something about how the Lord views this sacred work?

    Once we realize how the Lord feels about this book, it should not surprise us that He also gives us solemn warnings about how we receive it. After indicating that those who receive the Book of Mormon with faith, working righteousness, will receive a crown of eternal glory (see D&C 20:14), the Lord follows with this warning: “But those who harden their hearts in unbelief, and reject it, it shall turn to their own condemnation” (D&C 20:15).

    In 1829, the Lord warned the Saints that they are not to trifle with sacred things (see D&C 6:12). Surely the Book of Mormon is a sacred thing, and yet many trifle with it, or in other words, take it lightly, treat it as though it is of little importance.

    In 1832, as some early missionaries returned from their fields of labor, the Lord reproved them for treating the Book of Mormon lightly. As a result of that attitude, he said, their minds had been darkened. Not only had treating this sacred book lightly brought a loss of light to themselves, it had also brought the whole Church under condemnation, even all the children of Zion. And then the Lord said, “And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon” (D&C 84:54–57).

    Has the fact that we have had the Book of Mormon with us for over a century and a half made it seem less significant to us today? Do we remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon? In the Bible we have the Old Testament and the New Testament. The word testament is the English rendering of a Greek word that can also be translated as covenant. Is this what the Lord meant when He called the Book of Mormon the “new covenant”? It is indeed another testament or witness of Jesus. This is one of the reasons why we have recently added the words “Another Testament of Jesus Christ” to the title of the Book of Mormon.

    If the early Saints were rebuked for treating the Book of Mormon lightly, are we under any less condemnation if we do the same? The Lord Himself bears testimony that it is of eternal significance. Can a small number of us bring the whole Church under condemnation because we trifle with sacred things? What will we say at the Judgment when we stand before Him and meet His probing gaze if we are among those described as forgetting the new covenant?

    There are three great reasons why Latter-day Saints should make the study of the Book of Mormon a lifetime pursuit.

    The first is that the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion. This was the Prophet Joseph Smith’s statement. He testified that “the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion” (Introduction to the Book of Mormon). A keystone is the central stone in an arch. It holds all the other stones in place, and if removed, the arch crumbles.

    There are three ways in which the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion. It is the keystone in our witness of Christ. It is the keystone of our doctrine. It is the keystone of testimony.

    The Book of Mormon is the keystone in our witness of Jesus Christ, who is Himself the cornerstone of everything we do. It bears witness of His reality with power and clarity. Unlike the Bible, which passed through generations of copyists, translators, and corrupt religionists who tampered with the text, the Book of Mormon came from writer to reader in just one inspired step of translation. Therefore, its testimony of the Master is clear, undiluted, and full of power. But it does even more. Much of the Christian world today rejects the divinity of the Savior. They question His miraculous birth, His perfect life, and the reality of His glorious resurrection. The Book of Mormon teaches in plain and unmistakable terms about the truth of all of those. It also provides the most complete explanation of the doctrine of the Atonement. Truly, this divinely inspired book is a keystone in bearing witness to the world that Jesus is the Christ (see title page of the Book of Mormon).

    The Book of Mormon is also the keystone of the doctrine of the Resurrection. As mentioned before, the Lord Himself has stated that the Book of Mormon contains the “fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ” (D&C 20:9). That does not mean it contains every teaching, every doctrine ever revealed. Rather, it means that in the Book of Mormon we will find the fulness of those doctrines required for our salvation. And they are taught plainly and simply so that even children can learn the ways of salvation and exaltation. The Book of Mormon offers so much that broadens our understandings of the doctrines of salvation. Without it, much of what is taught in other scriptures would not be nearly so plain and precious.

    Finally, the Book of Mormon is the keystone of testimony. Just as the arch crumbles if the keystone is removed, so does all the Church stand or fall with the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. The enemies of the Church understand this clearly. This is why they go to such great lengths to try to disprove the Book of Mormon, for if it can be discredited, the Prophet Joseph Smith goes with it. So does our claim to priesthood keys, and revelation, and the restored Church. But in like manner, if the Book of Mormon be true—and millions have now testified that they have the witness of the Spirit that it is indeed true—then one must accept the claims of the Restoration and all that accompanies it.

    Yes, my beloved brothers and sisters, the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion—the keystone of our testimony, the keystone of our doctrine, and the keystone in the witness of our Lord and Savior.

    The second great reason why we must make the Book of Mormon a center focus of study is that it was written for our day. The Nephites never had the book; neither did the Lamanites of ancient times. It was meant for us. Mormon wrote near the end of the Nephite civilization. Under the inspiration of God, who sees all things from the beginning, he abridged centuries of records, choosing the stories, speeches, and events that would be most helpful to us.

    Each of the major writers of the Book of Mormon testified that he wrote for future generations. Nephi said: “The Lord God promised unto me that these things which I write shall be kept and preserved, and handed down unto my seed, from generation to generation” (2 Ne. 25:21). His brother Jacob, who succeeded him, wrote similar words: “For [Nephi] said that the history of his people should be engraven upon his other plates, and that I should preserve these plates and hand them down unto my seed, from generation to generation” (Jacob 1:3). Enos and Jarom both indicated that they too were writing not for their own peoples but for future generations (see Enos 1:15–16, Jarom 1:2).

    Mormon himself said, “Yea, I speak unto you, ye remnant of the house of Israel” (Morm. 7:1). And Moroni, the last of the inspired writers, actually saw our day and time. “Behold,” he said, “the Lord hath shown unto me great and marvelous things concerning that which must shortly come, at that day when these things shall come forth among you.

    “Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing” (Morm. 8:34–35).

    If they saw our day and chose those things which would be of greatest worth to us, is not that how we should study the Book of Mormon? We should constantly ask ourselves, “Why did the Lord inspire Mormon (or Moroni or Alma) to include that in his record? What lesson can I learn from that to help me live in this day and age?”

    And there is example after example of how that question will be answered. For example, in the Book of Mormon we find a pattern for preparing for the Second Coming. A major portion of the book centers on the few decades just prior to Christ’s coming to America. By careful study of that time period, we can determine why some were destroyed in the terrible judgments that preceded His coming and what brought others to stand at the temple in the land of Bountiful and thrust their hands into the wounds of His hands and feet.

    From the Book of Mormon we learn how disciples of Christ live in times of war. From the Book of Mormon we see the evils of secret combinations portrayed in graphic and chilling reality. In the Book of Mormon we find lessons for dealing with persecution and apostasy. We learn much about how to do missionary work. And more than anywhere else, we see in the Book of Mormon the dangers of materialism and setting our hearts on the things of the world. Can anyone doubt that this book was meant for us and that in it we find great power, great comfort, and great protection?

    The third reason why the Book of Mormon is of such value to Latter-day Saints is given in the same statement by the Prophet Joseph Smith cited previously. He said, “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book” (History of the Church, 4:461). That is the third reason for studying the book. It helps us draw nearer to God. Is there not something deep in our hearts that longs to draw nearer to God, to be more like Him in our daily walk, to feel His presence with us constantly? If so, then the Book of Mormon will help us do so more than any other book.

    It is not just that the Book of Mormon teaches us truth, though it indeed does that. It is not just that the Book of Mormon bears testimony of Christ, though it indeed does that, too. But there is something more. There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book. You will find greater power to resist temptation. You will find the power to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path. The scriptures are called “the words of life” (D&C 84:85), and nowhere is that more true than it is of the Book of Mormon. When you begin to hunger and thirst after those words, you will find life in greater and greater abundance.

    Our beloved brother, President Marion G. Romney, who celebrated his eighty-ninth birthday last month and who knows of himself of the power that resides in this book, testified of the blessings that can come into the lives of those who will read and study the Book of Mormon. He said:

    “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” (Ensign, May 1980, p. 67).

    These promises—increased love and harmony in the home, greater respect between parent and child, increased spirituality and righteousness—are not idle promises, but exactly what the Prophet Joseph Smith meant when he said the Book of Mormon will help us draw nearer to God.

    Brethren and sisters, I implore you with all my heart that you consider with great solemnity the importance of the Book of Mormon to you personally and to the Church collectively.

    Over ten years ago I made the following statement regarding the Book of Mormon:

    “Do eternal consequences rest upon our response to this book? Yes, either to our blessing or our condemnation.

    “Every Latter-day Saint should make the study of this book a lifetime pursuit. Otherwise he is placing his soul in jeopardy and neglecting that which could give spiritual and intellectual unity to his whole life. There is a difference between a convert who is built on the rock of Christ through the Book of Mormon and stays hold of that iron rod, and one who is not” (Ensign, May 1975, p. 65).

    I reaffirm those words to you this day. Let us not remain under condemnation, with its scourge and judgment, by treating lightly this great and marvelous gift the Lord has given to us. Rather, let us win the promises associated with treasuring it up in our hearts.

    In the Doctrine and Covenants, section 84, verses 54 to 58, we read:

    “And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received—

    “Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.

    “And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.

    “And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written—

    “That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion.” [D&C 84:54–58]

    Since last general conference, I have received many letters from Saints, both young and old, from all over the world who accepted the challenge to read and study the Book of Mormon.

    I have been thrilled by their accounts of how their lives have been changed and how they have drawn closer to the Lord as a result of their commitment. These glorious testimonies have reaffirmed to my soul the words of the Prophet Joseph Smith that the Book of Mormon is truly “the keystone of our religion” and that a man and woman will “get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”

    This is my prayer, that the Book of Mormon may become the keystone of our lives, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.



    November 1986 [October Conference]
    The Gift of Modern Revelation

    The Gift of Modern Revelation

    President Ezra Taft Benson


    President Ezra Taft Benson

    My beloved brothers and sisters, on this glorious occasion as we have gathered here together, I wish to give thanks to our Father in Heaven for the gift of modern revelation and particularly for the books of Latter-day scripture which He has given us.

    I love the Bible, both the Old and the New Testaments. It is a source of great truth. It teaches us about the life and ministry of the Master. From its pages we learn of the hand of God in directing the affairs of His people from the very beginning of the earth’s history. It would be difficult to underestimate the impact the Bible has had on the history of the world. Its pages have blessed the lives of generations.

    But as generation followed generation, no additional scripture came forth to the children of men. Without additional revelation to guide them, men began to interpret the Bible differently. Numerous churches and creeds developed, each using the Bible as its authoritative source.

    But this in no way lessens the worth of the Bible. That sacred and holy book has been of inestimable worth to the children of men. In fact, it was a passage from the Bible that inspired the Prophet Joseph Smith to go to a grove of trees near his home and kneel in prayer. What followed was the glorious vision that commenced the restoration of the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth. That vision also began the process of bringing forth new scripture to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Bible in bearing witness to a wicked world that Jesus is the Christ and that God lives and loves His children and is still intimately involved in their salvation and exaltation.

    Through the prophet Nephi, the Lord warned against those who might say that the Bible was all the scripture the world would need. He said:

    “Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, … and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth? …

    “Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another? …

    “And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever” (2 Ne. 29:7–9).

    Today we have three new books of scripture: the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. I love all of these sacred volumes. This afternoon I would like to speak particularly about the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants. These two great books of latter-day scripture are bound together as revelations from Israel’s God for the purpose of gathering and preparing His people for the second coming of the Lord. As President John Taylor wrote, the bringing forth of these two sacred volumes “cost the best blood of the nineteenth century” (D&C 135:6), namely the lives of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum.

    To the Prophet Joseph Smith the Lord said, “This generation shall have my word through you” (D&C 5:10). The Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants are part of the fulfillment of that promise. Together these two great works of scripture bring great blessings to this generation.

    Each of these two books of modern scripture contains a powerful proclamation to the world. The Book of Mormon title page declares its purpose is threefold: to show what great things the Lord has done, to teach of the covenants of the Lord, and to convince both Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ.

    Section 1 of the Doctrine and Covenants is the Lord’s preface to the book. The Doctrine and Covenants is the only book in the world that has a preface written by the Lord Himself. In that preface He declares to the world that His voice is unto all men (see D&C 1:2), that the coming of the Lord is nigh (see D&C 1:12), and that the truths found in the Doctrine and Covenants will all be fulfilled (see D&C 1:37–38).

    Each of these two great latter-day scriptures bears powerful and eloquent witness of the Lord Jesus Christ. Virtually every page of both the Doctrine and Covenants and the Book of Mormon teaches about the Master—His great love for His children and His atoning sacrifice—and teaches us how to live so that we can return to Him and our Heavenly Father.

    Each of these two great latter-day books of scripture contains the knowledge and the power to help us live better lives in a time of great wickedness and evil. Those who carefully and prayerfully search the pages of these books will find comfort, counsel, guidance, and the quiet power to improve their lives.

    Of the Book of Mormon, President Marion G. Romney has said:

    “If our young folks are traditioned in the teachings of the Book of Mormon, they will not only be inspired with righteous courage to choose the right by example, … they will also be so schooled in the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ that they will know what is right.

    “From almost every page of the book, there will come to them a moving testimony that Jesus is indeed the Christ, the Son of the Living God, our Redeemer and Savior. This witness alone will be a sustaining anchor in every storm” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1960, p. 112; italics added).

    Speaking of the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants, President Joseph Fielding Smith said: “If we will put them into practice, if we will keep the commandments of the Lord, we will know the truth and there shall be no weapon formed against us that shall prosper. There shall be no false doctrines, no teaching of men that will deceive us. … If we will search these revelations then we will be fortified against errors and we will be made strong” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1931, p. 17).

    Many years before the coming of the Savior to this earth, the prophet Enoch saw the latter days. He observed the great wickedness that would prevail on the earth at this time and foretold the “great tribulations” that would result from such wickedness; but in the midst of what was otherwise a very gloomy prophecy, the Lord promised, “But my people will I preserve” (Moses 7:61). How would He do so? Note what the Lord Himself promised He would do to preserve His people. He said:

    “And righteousness will I send down out of heaven; and truth will I send forth out of the earth, to bear testimony of mine Only Begotten; … and righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare” (Moses 7:62; italics added).

    The Lord promised, therefore, that righteousness would come from heaven and truth out of the earth. We have seen the marvelous fulfillment of that prophecy in our generation. The Book of Mormon has come forth out of the earth, filled with truth, serving as the very “keystone of our religion” (see Introduction to the Book of Mormon). God has also sent down righteousness from heaven. The Father Himself appeared with His Son to the Prophet Joseph Smith. The angel Moroni, John the Baptist, Peter, James, and numerous other angels were directed by heaven to restore the necessary powers to the kingdom. Further, the Prophet Joseph Smith received revelation after revelation from the heavens during those first critical years of the Church’s growth. These revelations have been preserved for us in the Doctrine and Covenants.

    These two great works of scripture, then, become a major tool in the Lord’s hand for preserving His people in the latter days: the Book of Mormon, written under the hand of inspiration for our day, preserved through the centuries to come forth in our time, translated by the gift and power of God. It is the keystone of our religion. It is the keystone of our doctrine. It is the keystone of our testimony. It is a keystone in the witness of Jesus Christ. It is a keystone in helping us avoid the deceptions of the evil one in these latter days. Satan rages in the hearts of men and has power over all of his dominions (see D&C 1:35). But the Book of Mormon has greater power—power to reveal false doctrine, power to help us overcome temptations, power to help us get closer to God than any other book (see Introduction to the Book of Mormon).

    The Book of Mormon must be reenthroned in the minds and hearts of our people. We must honor it by reading it, by studying it, by taking its precepts into our lives and transforming them into lives required of the true followers of Christ. Speaking of the central role of the Book of Mormon in our worship, President Joseph Fielding Smith said:

    “It seems to me that any member of this Church would never be satisfied until he or she had read the Book of Mormon time and time again, and thoroughly considered it so that he or she could bear witness that it is in very deed a record with the inspiration of the Almighty upon it, and that its history is true. …

    “No member of this Church can stand approved in the presence of God who has not seriously and carefully read the Book of Mormon” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1961, p. 18; italics added).

    Likewise, the Doctrine and Covenants becomes an essential part of our spiritual life. The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “In these infant days of the Church, there was great anxiety to obtain the word of the Lord upon every subject that in any way concerned our salvation” (History of the Church, 1:207).

    Thus, the Doctrine and Covenants is a glorious book of scripture given directly to our generation. It contains the will of the Lord for us in these last days that precede the Second Coming of Christ. It contains many truths and doctrines not fully revealed in other scripture. Like the Book of Mormon, it will strengthen those who carefully and prayerfully study from its pages.

    Do we, as Saints of the Most High God, treasure the word He has preserved for us at so great a cost? Are we using these books of latter-day revelation to bless our lives and resist the powers of the evil one? This is the purpose for which they were given. How can we not stand condemned before the Lord if we treat them lightly by letting them do no more than gather dust on our shelves?

    My beloved brothers and sisters, I bear my solemn witness that these books contain the mind and the will of the Lord for us in these days of trial and tribulation. They stand with the Bible to give witness of the Lord and His work. These books contain the voice of the Lord to us in these latter days. May we turn to them with full purpose of heart and use them in the way the Lord wishes them to be used, I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.