For the month of November, I’ve chosen to center my Visiting Teaching Message around the talk Elder Gary E. Stevenson gave during last month’s General Conference. His talk as titled “Look to the Book, Look to the Lord”.
In his message Elder Stevenson expresses his view of how the Book of Mormon is the keystone to the Mormon faith, and how having a testimony of it can strengthen one’s faith.
“You may also find that as you stand and bear witness of the Book of Mormon, you will feel the same spirit of confirmation. The Holy Ghost will speak to your heart. You can also feel this same spirit of confirmation when you hear others share their testimonies of the Book of Mormon. Each of these spiritual witnesses can lead to the Book of Mormon becoming the keystone of your testimony.”
One of the first things you are encouraged to do when you begin investigating the Mormon Church is develop a testimony of the Book of Mormon. When I began having the missionary discussions, before I even had time to read the whole book they asked me to pray about it to know if it’s true, and to start by reading Moroni 10:3-5.
“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. 5And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” (emphasis mine)
So, in other words if you’ve prayed about the Book of Mormon and received the answer that it’s not from God and is in fact false, then you haven’t prayed with “real intent and a sincere heart’? That’s basically what this passage and the missionaries will tell you.
What I find interesting that you won’t find this type of disclaimer, or pattern of discovering if the Bible is true, in the Bible. As we’ll see later God makes it very clear in His word exactly how He feels about it and how it’s to be used in our lives.
I’m thankful that as a Christian I know that Jesus is the cornerstone of my faith, and not a book written by a false prophet.
Ephesians 2:19-22- Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
The Bible, not the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and nowhere in it are we commanded to pray about it to discover its truthfulness. Instead we are told how we are to use it in our lives, and what it means to God.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 – “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”
Psalm 138:2 “I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.”
Elder Stevenson went on later to say –
“Each of you can also receive a personal witness of this book! Do you realize that the Book of Mormon was written for you—and for your day? This book is one of the blessings of living in what we call the dispensation of the fulness (sp) of times.” (emphasis mine)
Does God need us to have a “witness” of the truthfulness of the Bible? His word stands whether people believe in it, or not. Isaiah stated that –
“The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” (Isaiah 40:8)
His word goes on forever –
1 Peter 1:25 “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. “
I pray with all my heart that the Mormons could understand that they don’t need extra “scripture”. God has proved what we need to know Him, His Son, and how we can have eternal life from His word. It’s perfect, and unfailing as it is, we don’t need to add to it, or another book to help us understand it. The Holy Spirit will help us understand it, as we read, pray, and study it’s passages, and we will be blessed because of it.