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Book of Mormon Title Page and Introduction | Scripture Study Insights


Book of Mormon Title Page and Introduction | Scripture Study Insights


Hello there. I’m Tyler Griffin, and this is Scripture Study Insights by Scripture Central. Welcome to a brand new year of study. Now, many of you may be wondering, do I really need to study the Book of Mormon again? I’ve read it dozens of times, some of you hundreds of times. Is there really anything else that this book can say to me that I don’t already know or that I haven’t already experienced? I can answer that question with an excited yes. There is so much more that God has to give us this year as we dive into a deep study of this book yet again. Just anecdotally speaking, I have taught professionally in the Church educational system for over 28 years between seminary and institute and BYU. I can say with authenticity that I am more excited to jump into a study of the Book Warman now than I’ve ever been before. Why? Because this book is so deep, it is so profound, it is so powerful that it’s a gift that just keeps on giving. We have more prophetic promises surrounding this book than any other book I know. I want to share a promise with you that was given by President Henry B.

Eyring many years ago when he made a very simple statement, The Book of Mormon will change your life. I believe this. I’ve experienced this again and again, and the beauty of this book is its ability to continue to change your life. A little analogy that I love using with the scriptures is of windows and mirrors. If you consider that these scripture pages are windows to the past, every time you open them up, they reveal things. You can see people, places, events far away, far in the past, and you can understand their world. Then with the help of the Holy Ghost and deep study, you can recognize that those very same windows to the past become reflective mirrors to your soul today, to your life, to your situation, to your struggles, and your questions. What I wanted to do is we begin this new year of study with the introduction, the title page, and all of those segments at the beginning of the Book of Morgan, is I wanted to take this approach of how can we help this book to actually change our life, regardless of how many times we’ve read it, regardless of how strong our testimony may or may not be, regardless of how well we know these prophets and their teachings.

Let me begin, before we dive into the title page, with a couple of promises. There are so many, apostolic and prophetic promises surrounding this book. A great exercise that you could go through this week would be to search for promises given for reading the Book of Mormon. Let me give you a quick pass through time. In October 1986, President Esratath Benson, who we can thank for bringing the Book of Mormon to the forefront and this idea of flooding the earth with the Book of Mormon, he said this, There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book. Did you catch that? He didn’t say, You need to read the book for days, weeks, months, even a year before you’re going to feel a difference. He promised that you’ll feel that power flow into your lives the very moment you begin a serious study. He didn’t say, This only works for the first-time readers, this works for everybody. My first invitation for all of us, me included, is to make this year different, where we study it more meaningfully, more purposefully, more intentionally.

Here are the promises that he then gives. You will find greater power to resist temptation. You will find the power to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the straight and narrow path. President Howard W. Hunter said this in 1989.

Reading it will have a profound effect on your life. It will expand your knowledge of the way God deals with man and will give you a greater desire to live in harmony with his gospel teachings. It will also provide for you a powerful testimony of Jesus.

Then our next prophet, Gordon B. Hinkley said, There will come into your heart an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord. There will come a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to His commandments, and there will come a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God. Then Thomas S. Monson, President Monson, April 2017.

We live in a time of great trouble and wickedness. What will protect us from the sin and evil so prevalent in the world today? I maintain that a strong testimony of our savior, Jesus Christ, and of his gospel will help us through to safety. If you’re not reading the Book of Mormon each day, please do so. If you’ll read it prayerfully and with a sincere desire to know the truth, the Holy Ghost will manifest its truth to you. If you do not have a firm testimony of these things, do that which is necessary to obtain one. It’s essential for you to have our own testimony in these difficult times, for the testimonies of others will carry you only so far. However, once obtained, a testimony needs to be kept vital and alive through continued obedience to the commandments of God, and through daily prayer and scripture study.

We live in a beautiful day, brothers and sisters, where from my view, there are more people doing more to study the gospel at deeper levels than ever in the history of the world. And it’s beautiful. We have more temples, more missionaries, more missions, more families progressing on the covenant path than ever before. But amidst all of this amazing progress and these amazing blessings that God has given us, we each individually need to dig a little deeper and build a little more conversion and a little more consecrated commitment to the Lord than ever before, and we can’t rely on other people to do that. In all of our efforts to understand the Gospel by watching podcasts or listening to what other people have to say about it, that’s wonderful, but it creates different jumping-off points. They’ll help get you so far, but eventually there’s a jumping-off point. You have to get off that train that other people are providing, and you have to move forward. I love the beauty of these promises that as we do our best to make a serious study of these scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon this year, we will find that greater power flowing into our life.

Now, finally, President Russell M. Nelson, in October of 2017, this was his final talk given before he was sustained as our prophet the following April. He said.

Something powerful happens when a child of God seeks to know more about him and His beloved son. Nowhere are those truths taught more clearly and powerfully than in the Book of Mormon. 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, sucker, strengthen, console, and cheer our souls. My dear brothers and sisters, I promise that as you prayerfully study the Book of Morman every day, you will make better decisions every day. I promise that as you ponder what you study, the windows of heaven will open and you will receive answers to your own questions and direction for your own life. I promise that as you daily immerse yourself in the Book of Mormon, you can be immunized against the evils of the day, even the gripping plague of pornography and other mind-numbing addictions.

Based on those promises and countless others like them that you can find as you do your own study, let’s dive in for a moment into some of these beginning parts of the Book of Morman and explore them in greater depth. The title page is often seen as front matter, something to just quickly get through. Can I recommend to you that according to Joseph Smith, it was written on the last leaf of the plates when he was translating them. It seems that it’s written by the Prophet Moronai, the very last thing, which is a perfect place for it being the title page because Moronai, as he’s finished the record, he can explain exactly what the book is, why it was written, how it was written, and more importantly, what you and I can gain from it. I want you to notice two things. Number one, the first paragraph, we could almost look at the title page as Moronai chapter 11, that it’s scripture. It’s not front matter. If you look at it as scripture, notice the bottom of the first paragraph, I’ll call it verse 1, the very last phrase says, The interpretation thereof by the gift of God.

Now, he’s talking about being able to interpret the plates that he’s writing in the latter days, the prophet Joseph would translate them by the gift and power of God, not by the knowledge of the world’s experts, of the linguists. The thing I wanted to point out is the book was written, as you see also in that first paragraph, by way of commandment and also by the spirit of prophecy and of revelation. Think about this. The army of prophets who wrote this book originally wrote it by way of commandment, by prophecy, and by revelation. Joseph Smith receives it by revelation. He translates it by the gift and power of God. The interpretation came by the gift of God. Now you and I have the book in our hands. That process isn’t going to change. The real power of the Book of Mormon is going to flow as it’s given as a gift of God, which means when I go into this book, instead of treating our study of the Book of Morgan as a task or a must-do on our to-do list where we can put a checkmark next to it every day, instead of having the book become a burden to our day, what if we changed our perspective and said, Wow, what the prophets have taught us is true.

This book is a book of answers, not just answers to random questions or to other people’s questions. This book has answers to my questions that I have right now. This book has direction from my life and the steps I’m taking on the covenant path today. This book teaches me how to connect with Jesus Christ better than any book I know. I want to understand the heavenly Father and his great plan of happiness for me and for my family. This book is a book that is filled every page. I can find symbols, types, shadows, teachings of attributes of God and His son, Jesus Christ that I want to implement into my own life. I can literally find the savior and myself on every page if I look for it and if I pray for it and if I humbly seek it. Now, the second paragraph of the title page is beautiful because it gives us all of the reasons why we need a Book of Morman. In my mind, this was one of Moronah’s most inspired moments when he wrote this. He gives us the reasons. It’s to show unto the remnant of the House of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers.

If I immerse in this book every day, I’ll get to see over and over again the hand of God through the history of time. As I see it in their lives, then those window panes into the past will more likely become mirrors reflecting my life where I can see God’s hand working in my life in miraculous ways today. Then he goes on to say that they may know the covenants of the Lord that they are not cast off forever. That’s a powerful reminder that I need every day that I’m not cast off forever, that I’m in a covenant relationship with God, and also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations. What a powerful way to start this book. This next part called the introduction was added in 1920 by the scripture committee, and it’s got some beautiful descriptions as well as some powerful statements and invitations regarding the Book of Woman. There’s a lot to be gained by diving in and reading that introduction. Next, we get the testimony of the three witnesses, the testimony of the eight witnesses, and then the testimony of Joseph Smith.

Powerful witnesses that this book is true and that it was translated by the gift and power of God from plates that were written anciently by these prophets. To me, the most beautiful thing is to notice how God uses the law of witnesses both anciently as well as in modern times. As we’ve seen multiple witnesses of the Book of Mormon in our day, prophetic witnesses. Here you get the three and the eight and the one. The power to me is to study these deeply and look at how they’re similar, look at what unique contributions each set of those witnesses add, and then to pause after doing that study and to ponder and reflect on what is my testimony? What is my witness of the Book of Morman? Because these individuals, they are sharing their testimony with us, not so that we sit back as spectators and watch them bear witness, but so that we feel inspired to seek the Lord in gaining our own witness today. My final invitation to us as we dive into this new year is to start afresh, read this book anew with a newfound meekness, a newfound humility to say, I’ve swam around in these pages hundreds of times, but I want to jump in again and begin another serious study of this book this year.

And an invitation I would give is one that I heard from Elder David A. Bednar a few years ago in a training for CES. When he invited teachers to, instead of giving all the answers to their students, invited them to send their students into the scriptures, seeking very specifically for answers to questions, concerns, and troubles that they were facing. There are a variety of ways you can do that, but perhaps it would be worth your effort as you embark on this year to let go of what you thought you’ve already interpreted, what you thought you already knew about these stories and these people and what they have to say to us today. And to start afresh, writing down one or two or maybe three major questions you have or concerns that you’re wrestling with or doubts that you’re facing or decisions you’re trying to make and you’re seeking for direction, you’re seeking for connection with heaven. Write those questions down and keep them on a sticky note or on a thought journal near your your Book of Morman as you study, and then dive in with those questions or that question or that concern on the front of your mind and make a serious, deep study of this book.

My experience has been that as you do that, these stories come off of the page. These characters become more real. It’s almost as if Nephi starts walking with you during the day as he points you to Jesus Christ, as he teaches you of heavenly Father’s love for you. It’s almost as if you can hear a Benadie’s testimony as he’s teaching eternal truths and powerful doctrines. Brothers and sisters, I want to begin this year with my witness added to the three, the eight, and Joseph, and the millions that have been given since then, including the powerful, prophetic witnesses, that the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. It was written by inspiration, it was translated by inspiration, and it will be unlocked by us by inspiration. There is so much God wants to tell us. There are so many answers God wants to give us, but we have to let go of some of those burdens we’re carrying and drop them at His feet as we seek His will to do to live our lives according to His plan for us as we walk with Him.

As we embark on this new year, hold to the rod. He’s given us His words here. I know they’re true, and the Book of Mormon will change your life as it brings you to Christ and teaches you of heavenly Father and His great plan for our happiness. I leave that with you in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, Amen. Know that you’re loved.

As we conclude this week’s lesson, we’d like to introduce you to an innovative study tool that we have created specifically with you in mind. First, find the Gospel Learning app wherever you download your apps and create an account. There are many features available on this app to help deepen your study, but we want to show you a special section called the Gospel Explorer. This section can enhance your Come Follow Me study with one of three doctoral pathways. The first on the left-hand side is on the purpose of the Book of Mormon. This branch is into a study of truth with a fantastic video by Jared Halverson. We encourage you to watch it. Another branch discusses how the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. You may also enjoy evidences of the Book of Mormon in some videos off to the left. The center branch is all about witnesses and testimonies of the Book of Mormon. Be sure to watch Tad, our Collisters talk on if the Book of Mormon was man-made or God-given. And the bottom video is entitled How the Book of Mormons Complexity shows its authenticity. The pathway on the right focuses on our responsibility to learn the gospel individually and how to become better learners and teachers of the gospel.

While there are so many great videos here, especially if you are a parent or have a teaching calling, we would encourage you to watch the Prophet’s video entitled What We Are Learning and Will Never Forget. If you need help understanding how to use the New Gospel Explorer feature, watch the tutorial, which can be found in the description. We hope you become closer to your savior through a deeper and more thoughtful study of Come Follow Me.


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