I believe that each time I read the Book of Mormon I come to know the Savior a little better. My goal in starting over this time is to increase my relationship with the Savior, but also to share with my future grandson my testimony of the divinity of Jesus Christ and the Plan of Salvation. I want all my children and their children to know that I believe in Christ; that all that I am and do is to be like him and closer to Him.
We need to become like him. I love all the examples of Christ-like living of the people in the Book of Mormon: Moroni – an example of forgiveness and courage; Ammon – and example of repentance and service to his fellow people; Alma the Elder – example of faith as he earnestly prayers for his wayward son, and an example of perfect hope; the Stripling Warriors – examples of obedience; Nephi – also an example of obedience, but also an example of courage and forgiveness, not to mention a gentle heart; Captain Moroni – an example of loyalty and courage; The Brother of Jared – an example of great faith and compassion as he moved to the ends of the earth because he had compassion for those he loved; King Benjamin – an example of work and loving service; Mormon – an example of being a peacemaker; Abinidi – an example of courage and honesty.
I want to be like these heroes. I pray that my children and grandchildren develop these character traits as well. What better way to help them, and myself, along that path then through the study of their lives and testimonies of Jesus Christ?
We are all on our way to becoming like Christ. But we must know him to become like him in every way. I love this story shared in a Conference talk:
“This Man Knows the Shepherd” by Robert E. Wells (CR, Nov. 1980, p. 12)
Some time ago a great actor in the city of New York gave a wonderful performance in a large theater, at the close of which there were rounds of applause. He was called back again and again. Finally someone called to him, “Would you do for us the Twenty-third Psalm?” “Why yes, I know the Twenty-third Psalm.” He recited it as an actor would, perfectly, with nothing left to be desired as far as a performance was concerned. When he was finished, again there was thunderous applause. Then the actor came to the front of the stage and said: “Ladies and gentlemen, there is an old man sitting here on the front row whom I happen to know. I am going to ask him without any notice if he will come and repeat the Twenty-third Psalm.” The elder gentleman, of course, was frightened. Trembling, he came to the stage. Fearfully, he looked out over the vast audience. Then, as though he were at home only with one, he closed his eyes and talked to God, and said, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” Then changing to address the Savior directly and intimately: “yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me, they rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” When the old man had finished, there was no applause, but there was not a dry eye in that house. The actor came to the front of the stage. He, too, was wiping his eyes. And he said, “Ladies and gentlemen, I know the words of the Twenty-third Psalm, but this man knows the Shepherd.”
Boyd K. Packer said: “We are no more or less than the image of Christ which does become engraved upon your countenance – that you are he and he is you.”
I also want to develop a better understanding of basic gospel principles. I am going to search for a better understanding of these doctrines taught in the Book of Mormon:
a. Jesus is the Son of God.
b. Jesus is the Christ.
c. Christ is the Promised Messiah.
d. The Fall of Adam.
e. The Plan of Salvation
f. The Atonement
g. The Resurrection
h. The Spirit World
i. The Necessity of Ordinances
j. The Doctrine of Justification (the relationship between grace and works)
k. The gathering of Israel.
l. Continual revelation.
So tomorrow we start. Tomorrow I will be studying the title page. I decided it counts as scripture study. After all, Moroni wrote it under the direction of the Spirit.
So, join me. Read the title page and the testimonies of the witness. Read the commentary on my blog and comment. Let us all work together to edify, strengthen and uplift our study.
I know that this is the right thing to do for me. I am hoping someone (I know there are a few of you) will join me. Feel free to share the links. The more the merrier.