Chapter 10: Flooding the Earth and Our Lives with the Book of Mormon
Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Ezra Taft Benson, (2014), 136–45
During 2015, LDS members will be studying the latest manual published by their church, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Ezra Taft Benson. We will evaluate this book regularly, chapter by chapter, by showing interesting quotes and providing an Evangelical Christian take on this manual. The text that is underlined is from the manual, with our comments following.
Millions have come unto Christ because of the truths in the book that Moroni delivered to Joseph Smith.
Despite the claim, “millions” have not come to Christ because of the Book of Mormon. Rather, millions have come to Chrsit through the Bible, God’s special revelation. Even if we consider those who have converted to Mormonism, how can it be said that “millions” have come to the conclusion that the LDS Church is true based mainly on their personal testimony of the Book of Mormon.
It also ought to be pointed out that when Benson made this comment, there were fewer than 4 million Mormons in the entire world! Surely “millions” is quite an exaggeration.
Also, the majority of Latter-day Saints have become Mormons because they were born into the faith, they live in an area where the majority are LDS (including the states of Utah and Idaho as well as neighborhoods throughout the western United States), or they most appreciate the way Latter-day Saints take care of their families and each other. How many teenagers claim to be Mormon but have never even read this unique LDS scripture? I doubt the majority have. In fact, I have heard many Mormon missionary candidates whom I have either met or heard about who had not read this unique LDS scripture all the way through before their mission.
Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson
The Book of Mormon was written for us.
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. 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.
As I read this, I find it fascinating that Moroni supposedly “abridged” the records. What were these records written on? How did he compile these? And then he took everything and put these together on plates of gold? The story is so far-fetched that, really, it would require a miracle for everything come together as it supposedly did.
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?”
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?
Of course, a case could be made for Aesop’s Fables helping people have better lives. Or consider the possibility that someone gets instruction from the Quran, the Vedas, or the Tripitaka. Regardless of how many good moral instructions someone might receive from these sources, this doesn’t make any of these books “scripture.” Truth is not about pragmatism. If the Book of Mormon is a historical book—as Mormon leaders such as Benson purport it to be—and it really originates in God, then the lessons are scriptural. If not, then the lessons are nice but nothing more than made-up stories and should not be considered historcial scripture.
As we study the Book of Mormon daily, the power of the book will flow into our lives.
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.
I find it interesting that LDS Church leaders focused three of this manual’s twenty-four chapters on “scripture.” Two (chapters 9 and this one) focused specifically on the Book of Mormon. Chapter 8 (“The Power of the Word”) deals with LDS scripture, in general, and certainly the Bible was included. However, more emphasis in that chapter was made on the Book of Mormon. For instance, under a section talking about “study(ing) God’s word” on page 121, Benson cited Smith about how “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.” But I look through the rest of the chapter and, while Bible references are quoted, I don’t see anything encouraging the members to read the Bible, just the “scriptures.” And most of the praise is heaped upon the Book of Mormon. Truly this is a shame.
Men may deceive each other, but God does not deceive men. Therefore, the Book of Mormon sets forth the best test for determining its truthfulness—namely, read it and then ask God if it is true [see Moroni 10:4]. …
In the chapter 9 review, we took a closer look at Moroni 10:4 and showed how this test is not biblical.
This, then, is the supreme assurance for the honest in heart—to know by personal revelation from God that the Book of Mormon is true. Millions have put it to that test and know, and increasing millions will yet know.
And how will they know? Through a feeling they have? This is not a biblical way to test truth.
Now the spirit, as well as the body, is in need of constant nourishment. Yesterday’s meal is not enough to sustain today’s needs. So also an infrequent reading of “the most correct of any book on earth,” as Joseph Smith called it, is not enough. (History of the Church, 4:461.) Not all truths are of equal value, nor are all scriptures of the same worth. What better way to nourish the spirit than to frequently feast from the book which the Prophet Joseph Smith said would get a man “nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book”? (History of the Church, 4:461.)
As quoted in chapter 8. However, the correct method to get divine nourishment is through God’s divine word, the Word of God—specifically, the Bible.
Do eternal consequences rest upon our response to this book? Yes, either to our blessing or our condemnation.
And the Christian responds that there is no condemnation for denying the authority of the Book of Mormon, which has a number of flaws.
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 on the iron rod, and one who [is] not.
A person places his soul in jeopardy for denying the words of the Bible, not the Book of Mormon.
We must flood the earth and our lives with the Book of Mormon.
We each need to get our own testimony of the Book of Mormon through the Holy Ghost. Then our testimony, coupled with the Book of Mormon, should be shared with others so that they, too, can know through the Holy Ghost of its truthfulness.
Can you imagine what would happen with an increasing number of copies of the Book of Mormon in the hands of an increasing number of missionaries who know how to use it and who have been born of God? When this happens, we will get the bounteous harvest of souls that the Lord promised.
“I have a vision of flooding the earth with the Book of Mormon.”
I have a conviction: The more we teach and preach from the Book of Mormon, the more we shall please the Lord and the greater will be our power of speaking. By so doing, we shall greatly increase our converts, both within the Church and among those we proselyte. … Our commission then is to teach the principles of the gospel which are in the Bible and the Book of Mormon. “These shall be their teachings, as they shall be directed by the Spirit” (D&C 42:13).
The Book of Mormon is the instrument that God designed to “sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out [His] elect.” (Moses 7:62.) This sacred volume of scripture needs to become more central in our preaching, our teaching, and our missionary work.
… In this age of the electronic media and the mass distribution of the printed word, God will hold us accountable if we do not now move the Book of Mormon in a monumental way.
We have the Book of Mormon, we have the members, we have the missionaries, we have the resources, and the world has the need. The time is now!
My beloved brothers and sisters, we hardly fathom the power of the Book of Mormon, nor the divine role it must play, nor the extent to which it must be moved. …
I challenge all of us to prayerfully consider steps that we can personally take to bring this new witness for Christ more fully into our own lives and into a world that so desperately needs it.
I have a vision of homes alerted, of classes alive, and of pulpits aflame with the spirit of Book of Mormon messages.
I have a vision of home teachers and visiting teachers, ward and branch officers, and stake and mission leaders counseling our people out of the most correct of any book on earth—the Book of Mormon.
I have a vision of artists putting into film, drama, literature, music, and paintings great themes and great characters from the Book of Mormon.
I have a vision of thousands of missionaries going into the mission field with hundreds of passages memorized from the Book of Mormon so that they might feed the needs of a spiritually famished world.
I have a vision of the whole Church getting nearer to God by abiding by the precepts of the Book of Mormon.
Indeed, I have a vision of flooding the earth with the Book of Mormon.
I await the day when the Mormon leadership attempts to flood the earth with the Bible. Alas, I cannot see this day ever happening.
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