We are given little indication in the biblical record that the prophet-writers delivered and preserved their messages for any day other than their own. To be sure, such prophets as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Malachi, Peter, Paul, John, and others spoke of the distant future; by the power of the Spirit, they saw and described the doings of peoples of another time and place. While their words were given to the people of their own time, their writings have and will yet find application and fulfillment both now and in the future. And yet we never see a particular prophet from the Bible address himself directly to those who will one day read his pronouncements.
How very different is the Book of Mormon. It was prepared and preserved by seers, those who saw things not visible to the natural eye (see Moses 6:36), who wrote and spoke to us; they saw and knew our day and addressed themselves to specific issues that a people in the last days would confront. . . . President Ezra Taft Benson taught that 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.”
President Ezra Taft Benson taught that 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.'
. . . The Book of Mormon has a spirit all its own. “Something powerful happens when a child of God seeks to know more about Him and His Beloved Son,” President Russell M. Nelson declared. “Nowhere are those truths taught more clearly and powerfully than in the Book of Mormon. . . . I’ve made lists of what the Book of Mormon is, what it affirms, what it refutes, what it fulfills, what it clarifies, and what it reveals. Looking at the Book of Mormon through these lenses has been an insightful and inspiring exercise! I recommend it to each of you. . . . When I think of the Book of Mormon, I think of the word power. The truths of the Book of Mormon have the power to heal, comfort, restore, succor, strengthen, console, and cheer our souls.”
The Book of Mormon is far more than just another theological treatise, more than a collection of great doctrinal sermons. (It would be worth its weight in gold, even if that was all it was!) It is not just a book that helps us feel good; it is a heavenly document that has been given to help us be good. It is as though the Nephite prophet-leaders are beckoning and pleading to us from the dust: “We sought for the Lord. We found him. We applied the gospel of Jesus Christ and have partaken of its sweet fruits. We know the joy of our redemption and have felt to sing the song of redeeming love. And now, O reader, go and do likewise!” The Book of Mormon is of course an invitation to come unto Christ, but it is also a pattern and roadmap for how to achieve that consummate privilege. This invitation is extended to all humankind, the rank and file as well as the prophets and apostles.
[The Book of Mormon] is not just a book that helps us feel good; it is a heavenly document that has been given to help us be good.
The Book of Mormon does more than teach with plainness and persuasion the effects of the Fall and the absolute necessity for the blessed Atonement of Jesus Christ. It cries out to us that unless we acknowledge our fallen state, put off the natural man, apply the atoning blood of Christ, and be born again, we can never be like or live with our Lord. Nor can we ever hope to establish Zion, a society of the pure in heart. Stated differently, this book is not just another book about religion. It is religion. Our challenge, therefore, is not just to read and study the Book of Mormon; we must live it and accept it and apply the very points of its doctrine (see 1 Nephi 15:14). . . .
Too much effort has been expended over too many centuries, too much blood has been shed, too many tears have watered the pillows, and too many prayers have ascended to the ears of our Heavenly Father; too great a price has been paid for the Book of Mormon record to be destroyed. Or discarded. Or ignored. No, it must not be ignored, either by the Latter-day Saints (the present custodians of the stick of Joseph) or by a world that desperately needs its message and transforming power. . . .
Stated differently, this book is not just another book about religion. It is religion.
So here we are today. In compliance with prophetic mandates, millions of Latter-day Saints across the world search and pray and teach each day from the Book of Mormon. Many Saints are finding answers to their questions and solutions to their problems. . . . Many have begun to feel that subtle but certain transforming influence that flows from the Book of Mormon—they have begun to sense its sanctifying power. Theirs is a greater yearning for righteousness and the things of the Spirit, a heightened sensitivity to people and feelings, and a corresponding abhorrence for the sins of the world. Many have come to the point where they honestly and truly desire to maintain an eye single to the glory of God (see Doctrine and Covenants 88:67–68). . . .
It is my conviction that our minds and hearts can be shaped by the Book of Mormon, by its lessons and logic, testimony and transforming power. It can provide us with the judgment and discernment that is so essential to perceiving the false doctrines of the world as well as those matters that are downright irrelevant. When we abide by the precepts taught in the Book of Mormon, we will gradually begin to acquire faith like the ancients, the faith that strengthens resolve and provides courage and peace in a time of unrest. So much of the anxiety, fear, apprehension, exhaustion, and doubt that now exists in society is so very unnecessary; we can have the right to that lifting and liberating Spirit that produces hope and peace and rest. We need not walk in darkness at noonday or traverse the path of life in twilight when we can instead bask in the bright light of the Son.
It is my conviction that our minds and hearts can be shaped by the Book of Mormon, by its lessons and logic, testimony and transforming power.
The scriptures testify that perilous times lie ahead before the Son of Man will set His foot upon this earth to reign as King of kings and Lord of lords. . . . I am convinced that the Book of Mormon will be one of the few mainstays to which we can rivet ourselves and one of the few constants and standards to which we can hold in a relativistic world. It is holy and solid ground in a world that continues to slide on the sinking sands of secularity, and it is one of the few ensigns around which a weary people can rally in that future day when demons and mischievous mortals join hands to destroy the faithful. Truly, those who “treasure” up the word of the Lord “shall not be deceived” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:37).
God has been gracious to me in planting within my heart a testimony of the grand Restoration, which has a tangible and solid evidence of its truthfulness—namely, the Book of Mormon. I know that this book is the word of God and that the Lord God is its author. It speaks peace and joy to my soul. It is a quiet, steadying influence in my life. My day is not complete until I have read at least a few chapters. Reading it is like coming home. It is a gift of God that we are expected to receive, understand, and experience. . . .
God grant that we might be wise in the day of our probation. May He strengthen us in our sacred care and keeping of the timely and timeless Book of Mormon. Having done all we can to read it, study it, understand it, teach it, testify of it, and live according to its precepts, we can then rest our souls everlastingly with our Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ, together with those who paid such a dear price to preserve and bring forth this precious book.