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Thursday, May 8, 2014

EQ Pre-Lesson: Joseph Fielding Smith Chapter 9: Witnesses of the Book of Mormon


Chapter 9: Witnesses of the Book of Mormon


This week we are discussing Chapter 9 of the Joseph Fielding Smith Manual. Instead of going over the lesson as a whole in this blog, I'm going to cover a few vital points.

What is truth?
"All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also, otherwise there is no existence." (D&C 93:30)

Some would say that there are two types of truth, spiritual truths, and temporal (or scientific) truths. However, truth is all in one. Truth exists without bias. One truth does not put itself above another. Truth IS; no more, no less. Interpretation and application is what gives order and meaning to truth. Deciphering the truth, it's importance, and meaning is sometimes the most difficult thing to do. 

The gospel is true. It contains many truths. It is up to each of us to discover the truth(s) of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and of the Book of Mormon. Just as scientists dedicate their lives to discovering the universe, and all things in it, we dedicate ourselves to discovering God, and all his teachings. We begin this process by following Moroni's promise, "And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost." (Moroni 10:4) This is just a beginning though. We can't do do this once, and expect to be enlightened for life. We have to go through this same process over and over throughout our lives.

So, after having found the Book of Mormon to pass the test of truth, it is then our duty to determine it’s value. As I said before, the order and importance of truth is irrelevant without interpretation and application. So, how important is the Book of Mormon to you? Has it changed you? “Have ye been spiritually born of God?... Have ye experienced this mighty change of heart?” (Alma 5:14) These aren’t questions anybody can answer, except for you. Ponder the change the Book of Mormon has brought about in you. The greater the change, the more you should consider its importance.


"Do eternal consequences rest upon our response to this book?
Yes, either to our blessing or our condemnation"
- President Ezra Taft Benson -

STANDING AS A WITNESSES

That's a peculiar phrase isn't it? It's strong. It's powerful. It doesn't inspire movement. Wait, what? Standing as a witness inspires us to stand. This isn't about taking the gospel to the world. This is about standing firm. This is about holding firm to the Iron Rod when the scorn from the great and spacious building gets personal. This is about standing strong in your testimony in the face of temptation, persecution, false doctrine, harassment, ridicule, or provocation. This is about being firm and immovable. Standing as a witness at all costs.

So, let's tie all of this together:

  1. Discover the truth of the gospel. Not "your truth," but the unalterable truth that does not change based on your opinions, how you feel, or who you're trying to impress.
  2. Evaluate the importance of the truth you have discovered. What does it mean to you? Is it something  you need to protect, and keep for your own, or something you want to share with others?
  3. Stand as a witness. Be firm, and immovable.

Homework:
Read the lesson
Evaluate areas of your life where you struggle to stand as a witness of the Book of Mormon, and the restored gospel.
Strengthen your testimony in those areas so that you may stand firm, and immovable as a witness of the Book of Mormon, Christ, and his restored gospel.