Wednesday, March 6, 2013

March 3rd, 2013  Dear Elders and Sisters of the California Santa Rosa Mission – fellow servants of the Lord Jesus Christ.

David A. Feitz shared the following in the October 2011 special edition dedicated to the Book of Mormon.

“One evening my missionary companion and I knocked on the door of a young man who was an international student studying at one of London’s many universities. He invited us in, and we explained that we were missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He seemed eager to learn more about the Restoration of the gospel, so we testified of the Prophet Joseph Smith and told him about a sacred book from our Heavenly Father called the Book of Mormon. We emphasized that it was sacred because it testifies of Jesus Christ.
We explained that he could know for himself of its truthfulness and offered to give him a copy. As I handed the Book of Mormon to him, he got up from his chair and left the room without saying a word. I held the Book of Mormon in my hand momentarily, and my companion and I looked at each other in puzzled silence, wondering what to do. I put the book down on the table.

We could see our young friend in the kitchen washing his hands and drying them on a fresh towel. He came back into the room and picked up the Book of Mormon from the table and simply said, “My people always wash their hands before they touch something sacred.” Tears came to my eyes as I watched this young man open the Book of Mormon for the first time and turn its sacred pages with his clean hands.
Alma taught that the scriptures are sacred and are preserved to bring souls to salvation. He declared to his son Helaman, “God has entrusted you with these things, which are sacred, which he has kept sacred, and also which he will keep and preserve for a wise purpose in him, that he may show forth his power unto future generations” (Alma 37:14).

I was sent on a mission to teach the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, yet I was the one being taught by this young man with his clean hands. In many cultures—including my own—it isn’t necessary to wash our hands before reading the scriptures, but his simple gesture of respect was a reverent and powerful reminder of the sacredness of the Book of Mormon.”

I wonder if we treasure this wonderful book of holy writ with the reverence and love that I deserves?  I wonder if we reverence the things we read in it and apply them in our lives so that we too can “come closer” to Christ as Joseph Smith so beautifully described?

President Ezra Taft Benson warns us that we don’t take this marvelous book too lightly.  He stated: (The Book of Mormon – Keystone to our Religion)

“In 1829, the Lord warned the Saints that they are not to trifle with sacred things (see D&C 6:12). Surely the Book of Mormon is a sacred thing, and yet many trifle with it, or in other words, take it lightly, treat it as though it is of little importance.

“In 1832, as some early missionaries returned from their fields of labor, the Lord reproved them for treating the Book of Mormon lightly. As a result of that attitude, he said, their minds had been darkened. Not only had treating this sacred book lightly brought a loss of light to themselves, it had also brought the whole Church under condemnation, even all the children of Zion. And then the Lord said, “And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon” (D&C 84:54–57).  (Italics added for emphasis)
“If the early Saints were rebuked for treating the Book of Mormon lightly, are we under any less condemnation if we do the same? The Lord Himself bears testimony that it is of eternal significance. Can a small number of us bring the whole Church under condemnation because we trifle with sacred things? What will we say at the Judgment when we stand before Him and meet His probing gaze if we are among those described as forgetting the new covenant?”

Often times, I see copies of the Book of Mormon on the floor or just here and there – are we not holding this sacred work with the reverence that it needs?

I have asked each of you to always hold a copy of the Book of Mormon in your hand when we are out in public and I ask that we recommit ourselves to doing this.  There is a great power that this brings to us and to those we teach.  It is the power to convince all that Jesus is the Christ; that His church – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints contains the fullness of the gospel; it holds truths that can be found no where else; it has convincing power that Joseph Smith is the prophet of the Restoration.

Let us hold this precious and marvelous book with reverence, let us study it’s precepts every day.  Most importantly, let each of us recommit ourselves to live the truths that are given us.  President Benson continues:

“Mormon himself said, “Yea, I speak unto you, ye remnant of the house of Israel” (Mormon 7:1). And Moroni, the last of the inspired writers, actually saw our day and time. “Behold,” he said, “the Lord hath shown unto me great and marvelous things concerning that which must shortly come, at that day when these things shall come forth among you.

“Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing” (Mormon 8:34–35).
If they saw our day and chose those things which would be of greatest worth to us, is not that how we should study the Book of Mormon? We should constantly ask ourselves, “Why did the Lord inspire Mormon (or Moroni or Alma) to include that in his record? What lesson can I learn from that to help me live in this day and age?”

What an inspiration!  I love to the Book of Mormon.  I testify to each of you of the sacredness of this Holy Book and that in it is the power to convince men and women to the truthfulness of the Restored Gospel – even to the conversion of our own souls.

Love to all,

President Alba

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