There are 3 videos linked with this lesson on the churches website. Two are very short portions of ETB talks at conference. This lesson is based on his 1988 conference talk that can be found here. The last video is a little over 3 minutes and is of various members of the church who have dealt with real life problems by using the Book of Mormon, it is certainly worth showing to a class.
I am treating this lesson as part 2 of last weeks lesson on the Book of Mormon and will refer back to that lesson as needed.
Often, I am slow to understand things, but I am finally starting to figure out the lesson manual (after how many years and different manuals?). The opening section of each lesson, is a good model to base the lesson on. A few weeks ago, the lesson had a very short opening so we could spend our time on the instructions itself, where this week, there are only 3 sections and the opening is rather long. It is primarily personal experiences of people who rose to the challenge ETB made to flood the earth with the Book of Mormon. I will be using this outline in my efforts to teach this subject by allowing more time to share personal stories of what has worked for the members of the Quorum.
In terms of timing, the last section is the heart of this lesson so I will keep things moving to make sure I allow plenty of time to cover that section, at least 10 minutes, but preferably 15. Section 1 can be covered quickly and many parts of section 2 were covered last week.
From the Life of Ezra Taft Benson
There are 3 main stories in the opening part of this lesson. I will paraphrase the 1st two (Margo Merrill and Howard MacOmber) and have someone read the last paragraph:
Another member told of the transformation that occurred in his testimony as he followed President Benson’s counsel to read the Book of Mormon: “When President Benson challenged us to read the Book of Mormon, I was 15 years old. I was already a faithful scripture reader, focusing mostly on the New Testament. But at President Benson’s urging, I started to study the Book of Mormon every day. That was a major turning point for me. The New Testament had taught me about the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ, and I will always be grateful for that. But I needed the depth that came from a study of the Book of Mormon. While the Bible helped me know about what Jesus did for people in the Holy Land, the Book of Mormon gave me a deeper understanding of what He has done for me. Through a study of the Book of Mormon, I gained a testimony of the infinite Atonement of my Savior. And later, when I faced crises that tested my faith, I turned to the Book of Mormon for comfort and strength. Now I never let a day go by without reading the Book of Mormon.
I will ask at this point if anyone has an example how the Book of Mormon has impacted their lives?
Personally, our family did two simple things (among others) towards accomplishing this. First, we left a copy of the Book of Mormon on our kitchen table (or very nearby). Invariably people would notice it and occasionally ask. This helped with our family reading time as well. Second, we made sure there was some artwork throughout the house. Often questions arose regarding these pictures. Simple things can make all the difference.
1 – The Book of Mormon was written for us.
(This section is short and should only take a few minutes, even with a little discussion, I will have the first two paragraphs read, then paraphrase the 3rd paragraph and read the last one myself)
The Book of Mormon … was written for our day. The Nephites never had the book; neither did the Lamanites of ancient times. It was meant for us. Mormon wrote near the end of the Nephite civilization. Under the inspiration of God, who sees all things from the beginning, he abridged centuries of records, choosing the stories, speeches, and events that would be most helpful to us.
Each of the major writers of the Book of Mormon testified that he wrote for future generations. … 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?”
Discuss the difference between merely reading the scriptures and studying (feasting) on the words.
From the Book of Mormon we learn how disciples of Christ live in times of war. From the Book of Mormon we see the evils of secret combinations portrayed in graphic and chilling reality. In the Book of Mormon we find lessons for dealing with persecution and apostasy. We learn much about how to do missionary work. And more than anywhere else, we see in the Book of Mormon the dangers of materialism and setting our hearts on the things of the world. Can anyone doubt that this book was meant for us and that in it we find great power, great comfort, and great protection?
2 – As we study the Book of Mormon daily, the power of the book will flow into our lives.
It is not just that the Book of Mormon teaches us truth, though it indeed does that. It is not just that the Book of Mormon bears testimony of Christ, though it indeed does that, too. But there is something more. 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.
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 strait and narrow path.
The scriptures are called “the words of life” (D&C 84:85), and nowhere is that more true than it is of the Book of Mormon. When you begin to hunger and thirst after those words, you will find life in greater and greater abundance.
I will ask how this works? How does a book help us resist temptation and avoid deception?
I will also ask what does it mean to seriously study?
Do eternal consequences rest upon our response to this book? Yes, either to our blessing or our condemnation.
Every Latter-day Saint should make the study of this book a lifetime pursuit. Otherwise, he is placing his soul in jeopardy and neglecting that which could give spiritual and intellectual unity to his whole life. There is a difference between a convert who is built on the rock of Christ through the Book of Mormon and stays hold on the iron rod, and one who [is] not.
3 – We must flood the earth and our lives with the Book of Mormon.
It will be difficult for us to flood the earth with the Book of Mormon if we have not first flooded our own lives with the book and its teachings. After all, every flood has to start somewhere, right? (from LDS Living, see source below)
Not just our lives, but then our families and our homes.
Want to be a better public speaker?
I have a conviction: The more we teach and preach from the Book of Mormon, the more we shall please the Lord and the greater will be our power of speaking. By so doing, we shall greatly increase our converts, both within the Church and among those we proselyte. … Our commission then is to teach the principles of the gospel which are in the Bible and the Book of Mormon. “These shall be their teachings, as they shall be directed by the Spirit” (D&C 42:13).
ETB went on to teach:
The Book of Mormon is the instrument that God designed to “sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out [His] elect.” (Moses 7:62.) This sacred volume of scripture needs to become more central in our preaching, our teaching, and our missionary work.
… In this age of the electronic media and the mass distribution of the printed word, God will hold us accountable if we do not now move the Book of Mormon in a monumental way.
We have the Book of Mormon, we have the members, we have the missionaries, we have the resources, and the world has the need. The time is now!
(I will go out of order here by covering the vision ETB had of this mission and then conclude with his challenge.)
I have a vision of homes alerted, of classes alive, and of pulpits aflame with the spirit of Book of Mormon messages.
I have a vision of home teachers and visiting teachers, ward and branch officers, and stake and mission leaders counseling our people out of the most correct of any book on earth—the Book of Mormon.
I have a vision of artists putting into film, drama, literature, music, and paintings great themes and great characters from the Book of Mormon.
I have a vision of thousands of missionaries going into the mission field with hundreds of passages memorized from the Book of Mormon so that they might feed the needs of a spiritually famished world.
I have a vision of the whole Church getting nearer to God by abiding by the precepts of the Book of Mormon.
Indeed, I have a vision of flooding the earth with the Book of Mormon.
(If there is time, we will discuss some of these points)
I challenge all of us to prayerfully consider steps that we can personally take to bring this new witness for Christ more fully into our own lives and into a world that so desperately needs it.
This challenge, made in 1988, is still very much valid today. In fact, with the additional opportunities to share digital copies of the Book of Mormon, the Church reissued this challenge in 2012 (Church News LDS.org) . We see people sharing their experiences and testimonies of the Book of Mormon on Youtube and Facebook now. We have been invited to add our testimonies to the I am Mormon section of Mormon.org run by the church. (the UK version of it can be found here). We can add our testimonies to the BookofMormonBelieve.com website (found here).
There is an amazing variety of Book of Mormon related Art that can and should find a place in our homes. For just £2.15 The complete set of Gospel Art can be purchased for your home (from the Online Distribution Center). If you only want a specific picture and can print it, go the the Churches Media Library and print your favorite Book of Mormon image. (this can be found here). These images can be used as a screen saver on your computer or as a background on your phone (if you want to do this and are unsure how, let me know, I can walk you through the process).
To flood the earth with the Book of Mormon has to start in our homes. And having the book on the nightstand by the bed, is merely a trickle, hardly a flood. We need to make more of an effort to bring the Book of Mormon into other aspects of our lives, and share its message whenever possible.
LDS Living has some notes regarding this lesson. Any and all personal experiences may come in handy during the course of this weeks lesson. I used a quote from this website to start section 3.
LeadingLDS has some power questions to add to the lesson to spark discussions.
Great Relief Society lesson with some great quotes that may find their way into my lesson can be found on The Exponent website.
Another great article, on how one person shared the Book of Mormon with others. (found here)