Hinckley: Chapter 16 The Book of Mormon

This lesson is about as straightforward and simple as lessons come. Simply put, follow President Hinckley’s promise of the Book of Mormon found at the end of the lesson:


“Brothers and sisters, without reservation I promise you that if you will prayerfully read the Book of Mormon, regardless of how many times you previously have read it, there will come into your hearts an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord. There will come a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to his commandments, and there will come a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God.”


This is a prophet of our Lord, Jesus Christ, declaring to us that the Book of Mormon is the very means for our returning home to our Father in Heaven. This book should be a part of our daily lives, our scripture reading, our Sunday activity, when we are struggling, suffering, grateful, and glad. We must not only read this book, we must know what it testifies of and refer to those many testimonies often. And most of all, we must teach its truths to our children.


God has never revealed where exactly the Nephites and Lamanites lived. Many BYU professors have tried to find clues and spent hours and money trying to figure it all out for us. Where this may be an interesting hobby, none of us should be so determined to find physical proof for this book. What’s precious about it is the words that testify of “an unshakable conviction that Jesus is the Christ. … that is the purpose of the coming forth of this remarkable and wonderful book.” As Pres. Hinckley states: “The evidence for its truth and validity lies within the covers of the book itself. The test of its truth lies in reading it. It is a book of God.”


It is to our benefit that we seek to believe and have faith in its words.  


We live in a world where truth is challenged, if not completely ignored. Even among members of the church, we tend to seek after earthly solutions not realizing eternal solutions are waiting for us within the pages of the Book of Mormon.


One of my favorite stories in the Book of Mormon is actually a Bible story; however, the story and it’s lesson are mentioned at least four times in the Book of Mormon.


The original story comes from Numbers 21:6-9. As usual, the Israelites are complaining, so “the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, and much people of Israel died.” As the people begged Moses to ask for help, the Lord tells Moses to “Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole … Everyone that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.”


First of all, we need to understand that the serpent is a symbol of Christ. In the Garden of Eden, Satan played counterfeit by appearing to Eve as a serpent. Second, all that the people had to do was look at the serpent on the pole and they would live.


If we look at 1 Ne 17:41, Nephi tells us that the Israelites had hardened their hearts and needed to be compelled. The Lord sent the fiery flying serpents AND “prepared a way that they might be healed.” ALL THEY HAD TO DO WAS LOOK.


Alma adds to our understanding, in Alma 33:19-22, that “many did look and live,” but there were those who actually hid their eyes so they wouldn’t look. Their hearts were so hardened they refused to believe enough to even look. AND THEY PERISHED. Alma’s very last pleading words, to his son Helaman, are to “look to God and live” (Alma 37:35-37).


Later, Helaman clarifies to his people that the serpent was a symbol of Christ who also would be lifted up on the cross.


“And as many as should look upon that serpent should live, even so as many as should look upon the Son of God with faith, having a contrite spirit, might live, even unto that life which is eternal” (Hel. 8:15).


The Book of Mormon “[came] forth by the gift and power of God … to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ” (from the title page of the Book of Mormon). John the Beloved testified,


“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up; That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:14-16).


Finally, Nephi expresses his gratitude for the plain words of the gospel by testifying “that as these things are true, and as the Lord God liveth, there is none other name given under heaven save it be this Jesus Christ, of which I have spoken, whereby man can be saved” (2 Ne. 25:20).


The Book of Mormon testifies of Jesus Christ. It is His life we must learn to follow and His way we must willingly obey. When we diligently teach our children with all our hearts “we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins” (2 Ne. 25:26).

Our world is evil. It will get harder and harder to stay on the path of holiness, and our children will likely be drawn into temptation in all its ugly forms. Read the Book of Mormon daily. Read it to your children. Talk to them about Jesus Christ. Testify of Him.


Why is it that we hear of so many members of our church leaving? Pres. Hinckley said those who are “in obedience to His commandments, they prosper and grow, but when they disregard him and his word, there comes a decay.” This decay will turn into apostasy. This is a direct result of NOT reading the Book of Mormon regularly.


In this lesson, we are reminded that if the Book of Mormon is true then…


  • Jesus is the Son of God and the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh
  • Jesus is our Redeemer, the Savior of the World
  • Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God
  • [The President of the Church] is a prophet
  • The Church is true
  • The Bible is true


Yes, the Book of Mormon proves all these. And believing all these will keep us safe on the path of eternal life. So, keep reading …….


Just read one more interesting thing …

Mormon has recorded for us what Jesus Christ told the Nephites in 3 Ne. 26. He was commanded to write the “lesser part … WHICH IS EXPEDIENT THAT THEY SHOULD HAVE FIRST, TO TRY THEIR FAITH, and if it shall so be that they shall believe these things then shall the greater things be made manifest unto them. … I will try the faith of my people” (vs. 9-11).

That teaches me that reading, believing, and obeying what is in the Book of Mormon is the means of demonstrating our faith, proving to the Lord that we are ready for the “greater things” He has waiting for us. That makes reading and understanding the Book of Mormon one of the most important things we can ever do.