In preparation for our upcoming bicentennial general conference celebration, President Russell M. Nelson has encouraged us, among other things, to “ponder important questions such as, ‘how would my life be different if my knowledge gained from the Book of Mormon were suddenly taken away?’” (“Closing Remarks,” Ensign, Nov. 2019, 57). While reading the resources in the January 20-26, 2020 Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families, it really struck me how lost I would be without this precious book. I have grown up with the restored gospel always in my life, so it can be easy for me to take the Book of Mormon, and all that it offers, for granted.
Plain and Precious Truths in the Book of Mormon
In his vision, Nephi saw that the Gentile nations valued the Bible, but it had some shortcomings: “Wherefore, thou seest that after the book hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God … thou seest—because of the many plain and precious things which have been taken out of the book, which were plain unto the understanding of the children of men, according to the plainness which is in the Lamb of God—because of these things which are taken away out of the gospel of the Lamb, an exceedingly great many do stumble, yea, insomuch that Satan hath great power over them” (1 Nephi 13.28-29).
The Lord referred to the state of the people at this time as an “awful state of blindness” (1Nephi 13:32) and said that they “do stumble exceedingly, because of the most plain and precious parts of the gospel of the Lamb which have been kept back” (1Nephi 13:34)
One of the questions asked in the “Ideas for Personal Scripture Study” in the Come, Follow Me study guide is “What are some of the precious truths that the Book of Mormon helps us better understand?” I found this to be a thought-provoking question.
Here are some of the things I came up with as I reflected on this:
The Book of Mormon helps me to better understand the covenants the Lord made with Israel and how and when those covenants are being fulfilled.
The Book of Mormon helps me to better understand the role of my Saviour. We can see how people in the promised land knew about Him and how He was foreordained to save us. We can also see how He ministered to the people of the Book of Mormon.
The Book of Mormon helps me understand Adam’s fall better and that this life is a probationary time. In conjunction with this, it gives me a more in depth understanding of the principles of agency and repentance.
These are just a few I thought of off the top of my head, but they are precious truths. I found it to be a worthwhile exercise to contemplate all the knowledge that comes to me through the Book of Mormon. I truly would stumble and be blind without these and other precious truths found on its pages. In October 2017, President Russell M. Nelson gave a talk in conference “The Book of Mormon: What would your Life be without It?” (Ensign, Nov. 2017). It is another great resource when pondering that question.
“Armed with Righteousness and with the Power of God”
I love this verse from the Come, Follow Me scripture readings: “And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory” (1 Nephi 14:14).
“Armed with righteousness and with the power of God” is the title of this week’s Come, Follow Me. What does it mean to be armed with righteousness? When we are armed, it typically means that we have a weapon. In this case righteousness is our weapon. Thinking about righteousness as a weapon brings this quote of Spencer W. Kimball to mind: “Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world … will be drawn to the Church in large numbers. This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of the Church are seen as distinct and different … from the women of the world.” (“The Role of Righteous Women,” Ensign, Nov. 1979). I think that we can take this quote to show how righteous women are a weapon against evil in the last days. The righteousness of men is also just as potent.
The other thing Nephi says we will be armed with is the power of God. God is omnipotent. I would like to be armed with His power. President Nelson said, “God so loved the world that He sent His Only Begotten Son to help us. And His Son, Jesus Christ, gave His life for us. All so that we could have access to godly power—power sufficient to deal with the burdens, obstacles, and temptations of our day” (“Drawing the Power of Jesus Christ into Our Lives,” Ensign, May 2017).
In his talk, he then outlined some ways that we can draw on this power:
Learn about Christ.
Choose to have faith in Him and follow Him.
Make covenants with Him and keep them with “precision.”
Reach up to Him in faith.
I will add one more from this October 2019 conference:
5. Worthily serve and worship in the temple. President Nelson tells us every time we do, we “leave armed with God’s power and with His angels having charge over [us]” (“Spiritual Treasures,” Ensign, Nov. Oct 2019).
This week’s Come, Follow Me readings have increased my appreciation of Book of Mormon and strengthened my resolve to live so that I can be armed with righteousness and with the power of God.