Recently, my one-and-a-half-year-old daughter found my copy of the holy scriptures and tore out a page. She then ripped that page into smaller pieces. Out of curiosity, I wanted to know what message a tiny piece of holy writ, devoid of all other context, would have for me. One side of the torn piece began in the middle of a sentence, declaring:
“. . . salvation was, and is, and is to come, in and through the atoning blood of Christ, the Lord omnipotent.
“For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble. . .”
The list of Christlike attributes was cut off by the rip in the page. The other side of the page picked off a few verses later and neatly contained two complete verses which read:
“And now I have spoken the words which the Lord God hath commanded me.
“And thus saith the Lord: They shall stand as a bright testimony against this people, at the judgment day; whereof they shall be judged, every man according to his works, whether they be good, or whether they be evil.”
I was so struck with how perfect and succinct this little sermon was that I immediately put pen to paper to share the message. It’s fitting that the first thing you read if you chance to rip a page out of the divine word is the proclamation that Jesus is the Christ and the centrality of His redemptive Atonement in the Gospel Plan. Nothing is more important in eternity than Christ’s Atonement, except, perhaps, our individual decision to accept or reject it in our lives.
Thankfully, the prophetic word just quoted explained exactly what we can do to accept the Savior, follow Him, and become His Saints: We must listen to the Holy Spirit’s promptings and become humble, meek, and submissive like little children. This is the recipe for salvation.
In the end, we will each be judged according to our actions, thoughts, and desires, whether they were good or evil. And those who have the prophetic record containing this powerful witness of Jesus Christ and the true points of His Gospel, will be judged according to an even higher standard. It’s a blessing to have this information so that we may look inward and correct our errors, humble ourselves, and draw closer to the Lord.
Some may be racking their minds trying to identify the part of the Bible where the above passage is found. Which book was this little page torn from? Would it surprise you to learn that this tremendous witness of our Redeemer is not in the Bible? Instead, the passage is part of a sermon delivered by a Hebrew prophet-king named Benjamin around 124 B.C. (Mosiah 3:17-24). His sermon, and the record of numerous other holy prophets of God, is found in The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.
In 2020, I wrote an article titled “The Book of Mormon Speaks of Christ.” I encourage you to read it. I reiterate the essence of that testimony now. The Book of Mormon is and does exactly what its inspired introduction says:
“The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible. It is a record of God’s dealings with ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains the fulness of the everlasting gospel. . . .
“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.”
This is not a fairy tale. It’s not the whimsical imagination of man. It’s history. It’s truth. I witness of the veracity of The Book of Mormon, the one who brought it forth, and the Lord of whom it teaches.
Despite the uplifting, enlightening, powerful message of Christ found in the sacred volume, Christendom flinches and recoils when the Lord offers them more of His word. Why? Why wouldn’t a Christian want to have more of Jesus’ words? Why wouldn’t they want to know more of His miracles, judgements, and revelations to holy Israelite prophets – the lost sheep He talked about during His ministry (John 10:16; see also 3 Nephi 15:12-24)?
It’s a falsehood to claim that the Bible says there will never be more revelation or scripture. It simply doesn’t say it. It warns against adding to specific books, such as John’s Revelation and the book of Deuteronomy, but nowhere in the Bible does it say that revelation, prophets, and scripture would cease. Nowhere. That is an apostate view created by uninspired creed-followers. In fact, it is directly refuted by multiple passages, several of which I cite here and leave you to search out and ponder: Acts 2:16-21; Amos 3:7; Revelation 19:10; John 14:26.
In The Book of Mormon, the Lord directly addressed those Christians who would one day reject the record and the great light it shines on Him. He said:
“Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible. . . .
“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.
“Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written.
“For I command all men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north, and in the south, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them; for out of the books which shall be written I will judge the world, every man according to their works, according to that which is written.
“For behold, I shall speak unto the Jews and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the Nephites and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the other tribes of the house of Israel, which I have led away, and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto all nations of the earth and they shall write it” (2 Nephi 29:6-12).
Strong words, but they are the words of the living Lord. I testify that they are true and that you will account for them one day.
The logic is also flawless. It is pharisaical to believe you have the only truth, or the only book, and that God can’t speak to whomever He pleases and bring forth whatever ancient or modern records He wants. He led away the lost tribes of Israel, did He not? He has also prophesied of their return, hasn’t He? How will all of that happen without continuing, modern revelation? Why did He promise to pour out visions and dreams if He didn’t intend for revelation to continue? Why would God change now when He has plainly said that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever?
God always adapts His teachings to people in their circumstances. He gave the hosts of Israel the law of Moses because they weren’t prepared to receive His higher law. But, later, after apostasy and a period of cessation of revelation, He sent John the Baptist to prepare the way for Him. Then, He came into the world to give a higher law. When His apostles were later murdered and the churches went astray after false doctrines, another period of darkness prevailed and necessitated a Restoration – the “marvellous work” that Isaiah foretold of in the last days (Isaiah 29:14).
We should all be able to admit that God doesn’t abandon His children. He loves them. He doesn’t cease speaking to them. He doesn’t ignore them because something He said to another group will suffice any more than parents stop teaching a younger child because they already taught it all to the older sibling. The times that revelations have stopped for a season have been times when people have embraced wickedness, rejected the Lord, and chased away the Holy Spirit. Yet, still, God continuously reveals His word through the Holy Spirit to people in all corners of the map who are humble and prepared to receive it. This is good logic.
If you think about it, Ezra Taft Benson’s statement on revelation is pure truth:
“God’s revelation to Adam did not instruct Noah how to build the Ark. Noah needed his own revelation. Therefore the most important prophet so far as you and I are concerned is the one living in our day and age to whom the Lord is currently revealing His will for us.”
Who can deny this? The man to whom Christians looked for counsel in Peter’s day was Peter. He was their authorized prophet and the one to whom the Lord gave revelations and guidance. Ancient Israelites, however, looked to Moses or Isaiah or Jeremiah, depending on when they lived. The Lord always speaks through prophets, brings forth additional revelations to add upon what He has previously given, and leads His followers by the voice of His Spirit if they let Him.
The problem is that Christians are like the wicked Hebrews of old who, when the Lord came down to the mountain to speak with them with His own voice, feared, distanced themselves, and “stood afar off” (Exodus 20:18-21). They could have had so much more, but they chose not to receive it. It’s the same today with people who are content to have only the Bible, rejecting both continuing prophetic revelation that adds to the scriptural canon and the personal manifestations of the Holy Spirit.
The Lord’s words are applicable here:
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” (Matthew 23:37)
At a time when the Bible and Christian precepts are under sustained attack on every side, The Book of Mormon’s confirmation and clarification of core Biblical tenets and of the hope of victory over evil should be a breath of fresh air to Christendom. Christian disciples should rejoice that the Lord has given them another book that teaches of Him, that glorifies His name, that bolster’s the Bible’s validity, and that proclaims pure truth. I thank God from the bottom of my soul for The Book of Mormon!
I know for myself through the unmistakable manifestations and power of the Holy Ghost that The Book of Mormon is true and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was divinely restored by the Lord through the instrumentality of a modern prophet, Joseph Smith. Another angel really did fly through the heavens “having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on earth” as the Apostle John prophesied would happen preceding the Savior’s return in glory (Revelation 14:6).
From the long-awaited Restoration in 1830 to the present, the Lord has continued to call men to serve as prophets, seers, and revelators, giving here and there His word and will to mankind. The core of what these men have taught and are teaching is found in the Bible and established, elucidated, and expanded in The Book of Mormon.
I close with a serious invitation. Read The Book of Mormon. Study it. Bask in its light, which is from the Lord. Let it strengthen your faith in Jesus Christ, which is its purpose, as explained by the prophet Nephi:
“And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins. . . .
“And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out” (2 Nephi 25:26, 29).
Finally, I invite you to put the book’s internal challenge to pray to God for your own independent witness of its truthfulness to the test (see Moroni 10:3-5). I’ve put this challenge to the test and I have my answer from the Spirit. It’s true! It’s from God, not from the mind of Joseph Smith. It was penned by ancient Hebrew prophets who inhabited ancient America. Their stories are contained in this sacred record. Their miracles are therein recorded. Their warnings, prophecies, and counsel to us, their future readers, are precious beyond description. They were brought to light by an angel and translated by the Prophet Joseph Smith through God’s power. It truly is a “marvellous work.”
Neither hell nor the Devil can ever make me deny my testimony of The Book of Mormon and of Jesus Christ who is the central figure of that volume. I’d be lying to myself and to my God were I to reject what the Holy Ghost has imparted to my heart. It really is true! And if this written witness of Jesus Christ and The Book of Mormon was the last testimony I ever had the chance to share, I’d be satisfied.
February 19, 2022
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