Among the “Ideas for Family Scripture Study and Family Home Evening” in the February 17-23, 2020 Come, Follow Me resources is this question: “How can you help your family members ‘rejoice in Christ’?” (2 Nephi 25:26). One of the ways that my husband and I tried to help our family gain a greater understanding and appreciation of our Savior and Redeemer was by studying the Book of Mormon. For as Nephi plainly testifies, “There is none other name given under heaven save it be this Jesus Christ … whereby man can be saved” (2 Nephi 25:20).
Marking and highlighting my small edition of scriptures was one way we started keeping track of what we were studying. As time went on, we found we didn’t understand some of the things that we were reading, especially the chapters reciting the prophecies of the Old Testament Prophet Isaiah: 2 Nephi 12-24.
We recognized we needed help. There were many books out there during those years, but we only wanted to read Church approved resources, so we purchased a Book of Mormon Student Manual: Religion 121-122.
Once we started using this manual, there was no turning back—it felt like blessings from heaven came pouring down on our family. It provided insights and helped bring the scriptures to life. We had great discussions then and still do.
One thing led to another, and I bought a large set of scriptures. Whenever I felt impressed, I would write on the pages what an explanation for a particular verse might mean according to the doctrines explained in our Book of Mormon Student Manual. Additionally, every time we completed reading the Book of Mormon, we wrote the year down at the back of it as a way of keeping track of the progress of our studies.
Hearkening to the Words of a Living Prophet
In 1996 I read in the Church News about President Gordon B. Hinckley speaking to those attending a regional conference at the University of Texas-Pan American field house in Edinburg, Texas. He urged them to read the Book of Mormon and mark in pencil every time there was a reference to the Savior (“Messages of inspiration from President Hinckley”, Church News, 30 December 1999). We decided to try that approach and completed it on December 16, 1996. We marveled, and still do, when we flip through the pages and see thousands of check marks indicating references to the Savior.
A few years later, I was in a conversation with my supervisor at work. Like many people in the community where we were living, she believed that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints did not believe in Jesus—we were judged not to be Christians. Since our home was only five minutes from the office, I asked if I could go home and get something to show her. My supervisor readily replied, “Okay.”
I returned with our Book of Mormon that had all the marked references to Jesus Christ. I randomly opened it and asked her to look at all of check marks. As I turned the pages, I ran my fingers up and down the numerous check marks on each page. She was quite surprised when I explained that all these check marks indicated references to Jesus Christ. At first, she looked at me in disbelief. So, we read several lines from the verses where the marks were, and she could clearly understand that each one referred to the Savior. She was awestruck. After a brief conversation, I said to her, “Now you can see clearly that we believe in Jesus Christ. You have seen and touched the Book of Mormon, and any time anyone says to you that ‘we do not believe in Jesus,’ you need to share what we have just experienced today.” She nodded her head to indicate that she was deeply moved. We had shared a great spiritual experience together.
Another Living Prophet’s Challenge to Read the Book of Mormon
At the October 2018 General Women’s Session, President Russell M. Nelson said: 'I invite you to read the Book of Mormon, between now and the end of the year. As impossible as that may seem with all you are trying to manage in your life, if you will accept this invitation with full purpose of heart, the Lord will help you find a way to achieve it. And as you prayerfully study, I promise that the heavens will open for you. The Lord will bless you with increased inspiration and revelation. As you read, I would encourage you to mark each verse that speaks of or refers to the Savior. Then, be intentional about talking of Christ, rejoicing in Christ, and preaching of Christ with your families and friends. You and they will be drawn closer to the Savior in this process. And changes, even miracles, will begin to happen' (“Sisters’ Participation in the Gathering of Israel,” Ensign, Nov. 2018, 68-70).
I was quite taken by surprise as I was already well into my personal reading of the Book of Mormon and had to start all over again. I check marked in pen over my President Hinckley pencil check marks and loved every minute of doing it. I completed President Nelson’s challenge on December 14, 2018. In the photo, two check marks can be seen that bring back a flood of good memories for me.
Find Ways to Look for Jesus Christ in the Holy Scriptures
In 1978, Susan Ward Easton completed a statistical study of 100 names or titles referring to Jesus Christ (from “Almighty,” “Lord of the Vineyard,” “Stone,” to “Wonderful”) and found that there are 3,925 references to the Savior in the Book of Mormon (“Names of Christ in the Book of Mormon,” Ensign, July 1978). Sister Easton explained: “In a word-by-word study, I have found some form of the Lord’s name mentioned an average of every 1.7 verses in the Book of Mormon.” She concluded, “To the prayerful and the sincere, the Book of Mormon bears a powerful testimony that “Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God.”
Currently, in addition to Church manuals, we can access a host of scripture resources online at: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/pages/mobileapps/gospellibrary?lang=eng.
It is possible to personalize these library resources by highlighting anything within the app. We can organize our thoughts with notebooks and tags in the updated Notes section, and we can add our own cross-references to link related content.
Additionally, we can include lists, chapter headings, hymns, videos, and more.
As we study the scriptures—using both traditional books and online tools—we can gain deeper insights. The scriptures will come alive as we “liken all scriptures unto us” (1 Nephi 19:23). We can have spiritual experiences and strengthen our testimonies that the Book of Mormon is truly Another Testament of Jesus Christ (see Gospel Topics: Book of Mormon)