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“For it came to pass in the commencement of the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah . . . .” (First Nephi 1:4; see also Second Chronicles 36:11-16)

“. . . Jared came forth with his brother and their families . . . at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people, and swore in his wrath that they should be scattered upon all the face of the earth; and according to the word of the Lord the people were scattered.” (Ether 1:33; see also Genesis 11:7-9)

I grew up in South Texas attending another Christian church. At the time, I knew nothing about the contents of The Book of Mormon. However, I was familiar with The Bible. It wasn’t until years later that I learned that The Book of Mormon account commences at the time that Zedekiah was king over Israel. Zedekiah is mentioned in the Bible record in the same time period that according to The Book of Mormon, Lehi left Jerusalem. Since both records spoke of Zedekiah, that was proof to me that Lehi was a real person. In 2 Chronicles Chapter 36, 2 Kings Chapters 15 and 24, and Jeremiah Chapter 7, Zedekiah is mentioned as the king over Jerusalem. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, came and destroyed the city when Zedekiah rebelled against him. According to The Book of Mormon, Lehi and his family left just in time.

The Book of Mormon’s Book of Ether tells of a group living near the Tower of Babel who were led by Jared and his brother who petitioned the Lord to not confound their language and to lead them to another land, which He did. In see also Genesis Chapter 11, we find an account of the scattering of people who were building the tower, and the confounding of their language.

To me, these two connections – Lehi at the time of Zedekiah, and the Jaredites at the time of the Tower of Babel, were a practical proof that The Book of Mormon was a true historical account.

I like practical and also spiritual proofs. For me, the spiritual proof of the validity of The Book of Mormon is evident in the effect of every page upon me, and upon what I have done with my life — my values, my occupation, my wife and family, my eternal goals.

My logic is that if The Book of Mormon is true, then Joseph Smith is a prophet. If Joseph is a prophet, then the church that he established must be the Lord’s Church. That is why I was baptized into His church.

" . . . the waters of Mormon, the forest of Mormon, how beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer. . . ." (Mosiah 18:30)

Because my father was a National Park Ranger, I spent part of my youth hiking and climbing in Grand Teton National Park. While there, I began reading the Bible each morning. I was completely overwhelmed by Christ’s teachings on the Sermon on the Mount, and realized that his instructions for us to love our enemies, to turn the other cheek, to do good to those who treat us unkindly, are truly divine. What would the world be like if we all followed such a high path! Later, I found the same teachings in the Book of Mormon.

As I read in Mosiah 18 about the small church that Alma founded in the wilderness, near the waters and forests of a place called Mormon, I realized that those ancient people felt the same way about their spiritual awakening in the wilderness as I did about my spiritual awakening in the Grand Tetons. The mountains, lakes, and rivers of the Tetons are very beautiful. Each year I try to hike to the spot and pray where I first felt the presence of Heavenly Father and learned for myself that the Book of Mormon is true.

"Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves – It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea it beginneth to be delicious to me." (Alma 32:28)

This thoughtful, instructive admonition is the way that anyone can find out for themselves if the Book of Mormon is truly inspired scripture. When I read The Book of Mormon and have followed this scripture, I have been blessed with a good feeling, and it has helped me increase my faith in my Savior Jesus Christ.

I accept the Holy Bible as the word of God as far as it is translated correctly. I also have faith that The Book of Mormon contains the word of God and his prophets, and will help us come unto Christ. I love the spirit I feel as I read The Book of Mormon.

"I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love." (2 Nephi 1:15)

I have always loved The Book of Mormon. As I grew up, our family would read it or the Holy Bible every day. I learned scriptural principles just like I learned my letters and numbers, little by little, each day building upon the one before. My well of faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Savior of the world was being filled by learning and living what my parents and the scriptures lovingly taught to me.

Fast forward to my 7th grade year in school. Something happened in one of my classes and I was met with the decision to be honest or silent. I chose honesty. In so doing, I lost all the friends I had since childhood, and threats of bodily harm started coming daily. I was lonely and scared. I didn’t tell my parents because I mistakenly thought that it would make things worse. I found a place to hide outside during lunch and decided to read The Book of Mormon to calm my troubled heart.

This became my lunchtime routine for a couple of months. During this time, I journeyed with the Book of Mormon prophets who kept the records of the Lord’s work among His children. Prophets like Nephi, whose own brothers tried to kill him for doing what was right, but whom he “frankly forgave.” (See 1 Nephi 7:21) Or Enos, a record keeper, who prayed all day and night not only for himself and his family, but for his enemies “that . . . they might be brought unto salvation . . . .” (See Enos 1:11-17) Or Alma, a wicked priest who (at the peril of his own life) repented of his many sins and taught his people so that many became desirous “to come into the fold of God, and to be called His people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens that they may be light . . . and stand as a witness of God at all times and in all things and in all places.” (See Mosiah 18:8-9)

It was a welcome and peaceful escape from the nervous worry that I felt daily. My constant companion in this journey with the prophets was the Holy Ghost, whispering to my heart that I was not alone, nor was I the only one who had suffered or been threatened for choosing right.

My greatest friend that I quietly found journeying with me was Jesus Christ. I came to know Him and His yearnings for us. His desires became my desires as well, and I found that I could face those who were bullying me with a courageous but forgiving heart. Though I am far from perfect, through The Book of Mormon I have felt that the Lord has “encircled me about eternally in the arms of his love.” (2 Nephi 1:15) I know that I can always count on Him to be with me when I open my scriptures to find answers or peace.

"Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world." (3 Nephi 11:10)


“Yea, blessed are the poor in spirit who come unto me, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
And again, blessed are all they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.
And blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
And blessed are all they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled with the Holy Ghost.
And blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
And blessed are all the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
And blessed are all the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”
(3 Nephi 12:3-9)

I haven’t always been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, but I grew up in a home that studied about Jesus Christ, and the scriptures were very important to me in learning about Him. I belonged to a different church and I got to go to Sunday classes that studied the Bible and in the summer I went to a Bible summer school where we also studied about Christ. I memorized scripture passages from the Bible and learned about the stories in the Bible. The Bible was a very important part of my life.

When my mom and sisters and I joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the missionaries told us that the Book of Mormon was another testament that taught of Christ too. I can remember reading in the Book of Mormon in the book of 3 Nephi, chapter 11, that Christ had come to ancient people and showed Himself to them. It is a great chapter that tells of His visit there, and the joy they felt as He was there and taught them.

Now I love studying both the Bible and the Book of Mormon too, and learning about Christ from both of those scriptures. I love the stories and being able to use them as I teach my children principles to live by. I like to look for ways that I can compare them to my life and improve as a person. For example, in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon, Christ teaches the beatitudes and ways we can be better individuals, and how we should treat each other. I really like being able to understand better ways of treating others. The Book of Mormon has had a great impact on my life and of the lives of my children.

"And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer" (Enos 1:4-10)

My soul hungered. My legs were burning from the climb. A moment’s rest at the top of the mountain was a needed reprieve. Beads of sweat pooled where my bicycle helmet met my forehead. Behind me I glimpsed the hair pin curves and twists of the narrow asphalt road exposed between the openings in the dense pines and oaks.

The view was spectacular, but my mind was elsewhere. During the arduous press up the incline, the words I had read were stirring deep in my heart. A seventeen year old boy raised in the Mormon faith, I had often heard my parents speak of the joy of the saints. I wanted to know with greater surety of the things of God. My heart was filled with desire for assurance and conviction of what I had been taught and what I hoped and professed to believe. I had felt God’s love for me and felt he cared when I prayed to him. Jesus’ teachings in the Bible were profound and brought out the best in me. My desire was to ask God about something else: the Book of Mormon.

I remembered the story of Enos, a hunter. He had been out hunting in the forest. Like me, he reflected on what his father had taught him and was filled with desire. Like him, I decided to pray. Climbing a large boulder and kneeling in the moss, I vocalized my desire to know what I believed to be true. I cried out for help. I pleaded for God to help me be a better person. I wrestled with the intensity of my soul, a wrestle that did not fully begin that day or end that day. I felt the love of God. My faith in Him and His Son grew. I trembled with the distinct knowledge of his love for me.

Like Enos, I turned my thoughts to others, and I knew of God’s love for all mankind, for each of his children. I felt strongly that God loves each one individually and I prayed for my family, my friends, and then for those I did not know, and finally for those I didn’t even like.

My conviction of the Book of Mormon solidified. I felt the truth of that book. God had given answer to the desire of my soul. I did not see angels, I did not hear a voice, but I felt deeply of God’s concern for me.

My journey that day had been a hunt that brought me nearer to God. Life is full of twists and turns and mountains to climb, replete with highs and lows, pain and joy, and sorrows and happiness. I still have much to learn and I still make mistakes. I know better that God cares about me, and that the story of Enos’s hunt in the Book of Mormon brought me closer to Him. My journey in life remains a hunt that draws me nearer to God.