President's Pen 9-12-16 (Book of Mormon)

As missionaries in the Texas Houston South Mission, we know our purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ, by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. We do this through our constant efforts to find, teach, invite, retain, and activate God’s children; we love it, we live it, and we do it! We begin with the “End in Mind”, and see God’s children as he does. We are Disciples of Jesus Christ and the best missionaries in the world! 

Dear Elders & Sisters, 

We love you!  Please know you are always in my prayers and in our hearts.  We are blessed to serve with you and are grateful for your goodness, hard work, and desire to help all come unto Christ. 

What does the Book of Mormon mean to you?  I want you to ponder that question as you think about your daily personal study, how often you use it when you teach, how you introduce it, how you commit your investigators to read it, how you read it with them, and whether or not you believe it truly answers the questions of the soul.

This week in your district council you’ll read and discuss, “The Book of Mormon, A Miraculous Miracle”, a talk given by President Russell M. Nelson to the new mission presidents this past June.  This is keeper!!!  Among the many things he teaches about the Book of Mormon, the myths it refutes and the many things it affirms and reveals (number these as you read the talk), what I personally love is his testimony of what it does for missionary work, “The Book of Mormon is true! It is irrefutable! It will be your most effective instrument in bringing souls unto Jesus the Christ.”

When a prophet, seer, and revelator teaches us that the most effective instrument in bringing souls unto Christ is the Book of Mormon, I hope this awakens and stirs your soul.  The best way to find out if what a prophet speaks is true is by following their counsel… In addition to the Holy Ghost, the Book of Mormon is the convincing evidence, the keystone, and witness that what we teach is true.  We can’t underestimate its power to draw men and women nearer to God than any other book. 

This then begs the question… Are you using it effectively as an instrument to help people come unto Christ and experience the conversion we desire?

A suggestion from President Nelson… “Remember that the Spirit of the Lord and the Book of Mormon are your most powerful resources in conversion. Encourage investigators to read it from the very beginning, including the title page, the introduction, the testimonies of the Three and Eight Witnesses, and the testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith.”

When you introduce the Book of Mormon, is it just another book, or is it a book of answers that can bless their lives?  Do you have people desperate to get their hands on the book as you share what it means to you personally and what it can answer for them?  Do you share how it has blessed and changed your life?  Do you get them excited about what it will teach them and how it will fill them with the Spirit? You might role play this with your companion and ask yourselves when you’re done, “Would I want to read the Book of Mormon after that introduction?”  It may be a revealing exercise and an opportunity to improve your approach.

Do you use it when you find???  Consider this door or street contact approach… “Hi, we’re your missionaries and representatives of Jesus Christ.  We were praying this morning to find someone that God has prepared to learn more about Him and His Son Jesus Christ.   We felt inspired to knock your door and or talk to you.  We have evidence that God loves and knows you and we wanted to share this evidence with you.  It will only take 10 minutes and we promise you that it will change your life.  Can we take some time with you now/tonight to share more?  We what we have to share will answer the questions of your soul and we’ll give you a copy of it to help answer your questions…” (Yes, knock doors during slow hours of the day, talk to everyone!!)

Another suggestion from President Nelson, “Make the book relevant to investigators by first learning their questions of the soul and then sharing verses that answer these questions.” How do you do this? Here are two questions that you might ask… “What is on your mind?” or “What concerns do you have?”  If you’re going to find out the questions of their soul and then teach their needs, let the Book of Mormon be the instrument that will help you answer these questions.  Just the other day someone asked a question about death and what happens to us when we die; where did we go, the Book of Mormon (Alma 40).

What if they ask a really hard question you’re not ready for?  You could guess and get it wrong, or you could show them how to use the topical guide and suggest that you both study to find the answer.  In the process, you teach them to fish and help them become converted as they study things out for themselves.  Of course there is a great list of questions of the soul found in Preach My Gospel (pg. 107) that you can study and review, but this list is just scratching the surface. 

What if they haven’t read when you come back?  Of course you follow the counsel of Elder Holland and show your heartfelt devastation, but after that you say, “Let’s start reading together right now!”.   When you read, you go slow and pause.  You do them no good if you blow through a verse without stopping to discuss.  Remember that scripture language is not easy for most, maybe not even for you, so take your time.  You might suggest that you read a sentence and then have them read a sentence.  You should listen to the Spirit and stop and ask a question or describe something you like or can personalize to them.  You should be praying in your heart that the Spirit will witness the truth to them as they read.  Remember BREAD – Give the background, read, explain, apply, and declare your witness.

Yet another suggestion from President Nelson, “Study chapter 5 in Preach My Gospel. It contains a wealth of suggestions on how to use the Book of Mormon. Pay special attention to the end of chapter 5: “Ideas for Study and Application.”  The missionary department shared with me that the least used pages in PMG are the ideas for study and application.  My dear friends, many of you are seeking answers on how to become better missionaries, and l love this desire… I invite you to take the time to do the personal and companion study exercises in PMG.  If President Nelson is telling you to PAY SPECIAL ATTENTION to these pages, I think it’s a good idea that we do!

Elders & Sisters, what does the Book of Mormon mean to you?  Do you treasure it, feast from it, believe its words, and desire for all to enjoy the blessing of coming to know the Savior as they read it?  I invite you to double down on your efforts to know and love the Book of Mormon.  You can’t be an effective missionary if you aren’t studying from it daily.  You can’t avoid the fiery darts of the adversary if you don’t develop a habit of studying from it every day and never miss a day for the rest of your life.  Your mission gives you sacred time to study it in a way that may never compare, don’t waste this time!  Follow the counsel of President Henry B. Eyring, “Prayerful study of the Book of Mormon will build faith in God the Father, in His Beloved Son, and in His gospel. It will build your faith in God’s prophets, ancient and modern. It can draw you closer to God than any other book. … I plead with you to drink deeply and often from its pages. It has in it the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the only way home to God.”

I add my testimony that it is true.  I love the Book of Mormon, it fills my soul and on so many occasions it has answered my questions.  Just recently it answered one that I needed as a dad and brought peace to something I’ve been working on.  Above all else, it has personally helped me come to know the reality of the Savior and of His infinite love for me.  It has taught me to know that the Doctrine of Christ is the only path and way home to God.  I am blessed to study from it each day.  I invite you to do the same and then share it relentlessly and passionately with everyone you teach. 

Mission Update…

How are you doing on personalizing the principles challenge?  Are you teaching simply, personally, and with the power and authority you’ve been given?  Zone meetings are next week, more details to come…  Love ya!

President Hall