President Nelson begins his remarks by sharing the story of a tribal king he met in Ghana. This tribal king asked President Nelson to teach him more about Jesus Christ. President Nelson shared the Savior’s visit anciently to America by reading with the king from 3 Nephi.
The king then received the copy of the Book of Mormon from which he and President Nelson had just read. Responding joyfully, the king declared the additional knowledge about Jesus Christ he’d received was more precious to him than diamonds or rubies.
President Nelson then turned the king’s response into a question for us all. How valuable is the Book of Mormon to us? He then extended that question by asking three related ones:
We should all consider these questions.
What would your life be like?
Without the Book of Mormon, I’m pretty certain my life would be very different. I’m not sure what church I would have joined or even if I would be a member of any church. Joseph Smith’s father stayed aloof from the churches of his time and place because they didn’t have the truth he sought. Perhaps I would’ve done likewise.
Either way, I imagine I’d still be searching for the truth. A sincere search for truth, after all, lead me to read the Book of Mormon and seriously apply Moroni’s promise. That experience led to my testimony of not only the Book of Mormon but of everything connected with it — the Restoration of the Lord’s gospel, His Church, and the prophetic mission of Joseph Smith.
Without that testimony, I never would’ve served a mission. And had I served anyway, I doubt I would have stayed in the field very long. Within a week of arriving in Guatemala I began a battle with sickness that lasted much of my mission. My testimony was a bulwark support through that adversity.
What would you not know?
Without the Book of Mormon, I wouldn’t know or appreciate many simple truths restored through its pages, especially the Atonement. Where else do we find such clarity of exposition about the Savior’s ultimate sacrifice in both breadth and depth?
Certainly not in the Bible. The Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price speak clearly about the Atonement, but not with the same breadth or depth as the Book of Mormon.
Not understanding the Atonement, I’d probably be like one of my last mission companions before we met. He worried greatly his imperfections would lead others to reject the gospel and that both they and he would be damned for it. I used the Book of Mormon to help him to understand that the Atonement covers not only what we do wrong but also what we don’t do right. Without the Book of Mormon, I wouldn’t have had the understanding to help myself let alone someone else.
What would you not have?
Without the Book of Mormon, I wouldn’t have anywhere near the confidence level I have today. That’s because I never would’ve served the full-time mission which gave birth to my confidence and self-assertion.
As a teenager, I was the introvert of introverts. You could’ve looked in the dictionary for introvert and found my picture. How did I come out of my shell? The Lord sent me where a 30-year civil war had made much of the people introverted. Helping these people come out of their shell so I could teach them the restored gospel helped me to see I could come out of my shell as well.
What opportunities would I have missed if I didn’t have the confidence to assert myself? What friends and other relationships would I never have experienced without that confidence?
President Nelson’s three questions about the Book of Mormon are worthy of our consideration. How would you answer them? I’ve found my own consideration of these questions spiritually satisfying and enlightening. If you will take the time to reflect on your own answers to President Nelson’s questions, I believe you’ll find the same spiritual satisfaction and enlightenment come to you. And that will bring more joy in your journey.
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