Before you continue to ask,”has James gone apostate?” The answer is No!Never! My purpose In writing this wonderful blog is to help motivate readers to STUDY the Book of Mormon, not just read it. That’s not a type-o, I did mean, study the Book of Mormon. Yes I know, we all have heard it, we need to read, study and so forth.
By reading the Book of Mormon, we will learn by the spirit and it will teach us gospel truth. But, by studying it, we will be able to understand gospel truth, the nature of the book and more on the nature of ourself.
Reading the book is great and just from the literature point of view, The Book of Mormon is actually a really nice read. but obviously is not to be compared to the actual importance of the mammoth message that it teaches us that, Jesus is the Christ, the savior of the world and that His Gospel as been restored thru the Prophet Joseph Smith; not forgetting that if we come to know that if the book is true then everything in its sphere is true as well. These things include, Prophets, priesthood authority, being able to Baptize by that authority, Temple work and much more.
I truly believe that when that when I comes to the subject of studying, one can truly gained a testimony of these things. I have.
Knowing, understanding and applying all these principles to our lives can help us uncover precious truth of where we came from, what we are doing here in this Earth, where will we go after we die and the imperative notion that families can be together for ever (I hope that’s a good thing for everyone). So, I am Sorry to say, but just scrolling thru a few pages cannot give you all of that. You need to study it, ponder and pray. Eventually the spirit will teach you the truth of all things. (see Moroni 10:3-5)
I know that the subject is too familiar and almost cliché to say “study the book” so I had to ask my self a question, why Am I writing such a blog about such a familiar topic? Well, besides the fact that I want the whole world to accept Christ as the savior and see everyone join the true church by being Baptized thru priesthood authority, the idea to write about this topic struck me a few days ago.
I was sitting in a dark room with my wife. A pain in my liver began throbbing the more I ate snow caps and junk food. I heard many people grunting and making weird sound around me, it was terrifying and grotesque! There was a big light in front of us and it had been there for about 2 1/2 hours. It was then when I realized that it was not a nightmare but rather I was in a theater, watching one of Hollywood’s poor take on a beloved Bible story!
As I sat and annoyingly watched what seemed to be the birth child version of Harry potter, Masters and commander and gladiator, I began wondering if people had actually read the actual document of the book in which the movie had been portrayed? “I told myself, I really hope that the audience does not think that all this Sci-fi/ folklore shenanigans is actually in the bible.”
I also asked myself if this was the reason why there are so many atheist? For a second I understood them and realize that all the people who detain themselves from the truth of God and Christ had been taught to understand a different ” folklore” way of the scriptures. In other words, many of those who don’t know the doctrine or even mock the scriptures is due to the lack of correct teachings and true understanding of doctrine. Rather many stay away because the hear weird folklore version of the stories which are not true. Sadly, they are separated from the chance of eternity because of misconception
After the movie was over, I quickly went back and revised and study what was supposed to be the actual film. Doing so, I found that not only was the film doctrinally incorrect but the film maker had taken out characters to the story and added many new ones to the context which are unfamiliar to the scriptures. I rejoiced as I study over the text because I felt the spirit re-confirm the truth of the scriptures.
How would this world be without scriptures? There would not be such a place. Essentially, we are now also part of scriptures; and for me to think that people in one, two or nine hundred years from now, would think such pathetic things of our generation makes me want to throw up! Therefore many of our kind would not embrace us as well.
Joseph smith taught that many people have not accepted the truth because they do not know where to find it. This is certainly true, but If I may add that people don’t know where to find the truth because, blasphemies movies are keeping many humans from finding it.
while I was pulling the last few hairs I have left in my head, I told myself “if this movie had a different name and Hollywood had not told the world that it was from a bible account, then it would have been a good Sci-fi/ fantasy film.”
That was the beginning that tempted me to write this topic for my blog. I then began to think about my mission and how we helped people commit to read and study the Book of Mormon.
During the beginning of my mission we would invite dozens upon dozens of people to read the Book of Mormon thinking that if they read it, they would automatically convert or change their life.
Even though this was a positive and righteous approach, the results of it where Pygmy. As my mission went on, I began to be a bit wiser in my teaching and began to ask them, “what have you learn from what you read?” Almost all the time they had no clue, so we would to teach them.
Eventually, we began to ask them to not only read but also to pray and ask questions of what they read. In other words we were really asking them to study without using the word study because as challenging as it was for them when we would use the read, using the word study was a more frightening approach; therefore asking them to pray and ask questions would at least put them in the position where they had to ponder and use a familiar action of prayer. If they did not pray for themselves then they would pray with us.
The results were grand, investigators read more and ponder more, leading them to ask more question and act more in each commitment to prayer. Even if the verses we left them were short, they still had the chance to study and learn. With that said, each approach was different with each individual but we made sure we left them pondering which essentially is another form of studying. This method of “teaching people and not lessons” was due our mission presidents approach in teaching us how to be better teachers of the gospel.
We should not just read the Book of Mormon, rather we should study it and ponder on it. People don’t accept the gospel or the book not because they did not read but simply because they did not understand, If they did, they would accept it and treasured it by following each commitment the missionaries would leave them.
For us member we need to study not just read, so that our testimony can be fortified and grow. With that said, for those who are already familiar with the book, a re- read might be the right thing we need to motivate ourselves to learn more and study more. A good example comes from our Bishop in the Gainesville 2nd ward.
In our ward, our Bishop proposed a six month reading challenge. We were given a study guide sheet that showed a six month reading chart starting from the cover page all the way to Moroni ten. It did not matter when or when we read or if we had already started the book. The point was to read and study and get to know the power in the book.
To make the challenge more interesting they then posted a big paper size tree of life with no leafs in it, just branches. For each book in the Book of Mormon that we would finish, we had to add a leaf with the name of the book we read and our name if we wanted to. When the whole book would be finish we would then add a fruit with our name on it.
This is a magnificent challenge. Those who have undertaken the challenge have been taught by the spirit in a unique matter. We have learned things in which we had missed before when we read the book. I have also seen our wonderful primary and youth reading the book and putting their leafs on the tree of life. What an overwhelming sight!
In the end, it is better to start reading than to not to read at all. But nothing will compensate the power of a great study session. For those who might be struggling to study the Book of Mormon, may I suggest some key points that have helped me:
1. Pray and give thanks to Heavenly Father for the scriptures and ask for a sincere desire to read and study the Book of Mormon.
2. Pray for the spirit to illuminate you and teach you while you study the book.
3. Have your journal or study book opened with something to write, as to show the spirit you are ready to learn! You will gain a testimony by doing this, I promise!
4. Highlight scriptures that speak to you and write down the questions you may have… The learning while studying will not all happen at the moment of studying, It may come after and when you search more of the questions you have.
These are just a few examples of what has helped me. If you have any that can benefit anyone else, please feel free to comment on it.
The Book of Mormon is a true account of the living Christ, the son of Mary, the savior of the world. The book is the key stone of our faith and pure proof that there is and will be prophets of God once again in the Earth. By studying, we can, without a doubt, lose ourselves in truth and find our path leading to life eternal. Follow the spirit of god and not detoured films which take away of the spirit of learning and truth. This is the true and living Church and the Book of Mormon assures that.