Using the Book of Mormon to Meet Today's Challenges

Clyde J. Williams

Clyde J. Williams, “Using the Book of Mormon to Meet Today’s Challenges,” in Living the Book of Mormon: Abiding by Its Precepts, ed. Gaye Strathearn and Charles Swift (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2007), 25–39.

Clyde J. Williams was a professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University when this was published.

After more than thirty-two years of teaching and studying the Book of Mormon, I have gained a profound appreciation for the importance of this book in preparing us to meet the challenges of our day. Several Book of Mormon prophets left us clues indicating awareness that their writings would be very important for people of another time. While Mormon is credited with editing this work, he specifically told us, “I, Mormon, do write the things which have been commanded me of the Lord” (3 Nephi 26:12). Moreover, Mormon said of his impression to include the small plates of Nephi, “The Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, he worketh in me to do according to his will” (Words of Mormon 1:7). Nephi knew the Lord would preserve his words to go forth “from generation to generation as long as the earth shall stand” (2 Nephi 25:22). Therefore, he counseled all Israel, not just his own people, to liken the scriptures unto themselves that they might have hope (1 Nephi 19:23–24).

Writing after his people were destroyed, Moroni spoke to us personally, explaining, “I speak unto you as though I spake from the dead; for I know that ye shall have my words” (Mormon 9:30). On another occasion he declared why he knew so much about the latter days and those who would live at that time: “Behold, 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). Clearly, Moroni knew that we would need to learn to be more wise than his people had been (see Mormon 9:31).

Prophets and apostles have counseled us how to use the Book of Mormon. In April 1986, President Ezra Taft Benson pleaded: “I would particularly urge you to read again and again the Book of Mormon and ponder and apply its teachings. . . . [One] who knows and loves the Book of Mormon, who has read it several times, who has an abiding testimony of its truthfulness, and who applies its teachings will be able to stand against the wiles of the devil and will be a mighty tool in the hands of the Lord.”[1]

At the Mexico City Temple dedication in 1983, Elder Richard G. Scott had what he described as “one of those singular experiences that readjusts the course of a life.”[2] Having been impressed with profound feelings about the Book of Mormon he said, “It is not sufficient that we should treasure the Book of Mormon, nor that we testify that it is of God. We must know its truths, incorporate them into our lives, and share them with others.”[3] President Benson added: “If they [the Book of Mormon writers] 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?’”[4]

Our charge is not only to read and understand the scriptures but, more importantly, to apply them to the social, emotional, and spiritual challenges of our day. As parents, teachers, and individuals, we will find the Book of Mormon useful in a variety of settings and on virtually every major issue we may face. What follows is a discussion of how the truths of the Book of Mormon can help us face issues today.

Challenges within the Family

Siblings. Many families have or will face the challenges associated with sibling rivalries or quarrels. Several helpful lessons can be learned from the Book of Mormon. When children rebel as did Laman and Lemuel, parents sometimes feel helpless because wayward children cannot be forced to change. Their rebellion brings suffering and challenges to their parents and other siblings. Lehi promised his son Jacob, who had suffered unjustly at the hands of his brothers Laman and Lemuel, that the Lord would “consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain” (2 Nephi 2:2). A belief in this divine principle can help sustain the innocent in times of suffering and trial.

When Nephi frankly forgave his brothers for the terrible things they had done to him (see 1 Nephi 7), he set an example of how family members should treat each other, which is helpful in a time when unwillingness to forgive is the standard. Later in Nephi’s life, before he was commanded to leave Laman and Lemuel, he records how he allowed his brothers to “destroy my peace” and let the “evil one have place in my heart” until he was angry with them. Surely, few families could have harder challenges than those presented by Laman and Lemuel (see 2 Nephi 4:27). Yet Nephi responded to discouragement and “slacken[ing of] my strength” by pleading with the Lord for help and remembering all that the Lord had done and could do (see 2 Nephi 4:29–35). Nephi’s commitment to trust in the Lord and not the arm of flesh is a worthy example for all who face family stress.

In today’s world, with so much abuse and anger occurring in families, we may wonder why the Lord permits tragic things from happening. We can recall that even though Nephi was righteous and faithful, the Lord did not take Laman and Lemuel’s agency from them. However, even though Nephi was tied up, mocked, and threatened with death by his brothers, he was sustained by the Lord and given power to overcome his trials (see 1 Nephi 7:17; 17:47–48; 2 Nephi 5:4–5). Nephi’s example of dealing with the injustices imposed on him by family members is impressive. He recorded, “I did look unto my God, and I did praise him all the day long; and I did not murmur against the Lord because of mine afflictions” (1 Nephi 18:16). Nephi understood that while the Lord did not take away the agency of his brothers, He still loved him and would help him in his times of trouble.

The Book of Mormon also provides us with positive lessons that come through the influences of righteous siblings. Because of Nephi’s faithful example, Lehi could promise his youngest son: “Blessed art thou, Joseph. Behold, thou art little; wherefore hearken unto the words of thy brother, Nephi, and it shall be done unto thee even according to the words which I have spoken” (2 Nephi 3:25). Alma the Younger, who apparently knew he was soon to be “taken up by the Spirit,” told his wayward son Corianton to “counsel with [his] elder brothers in [his] undertakings.” Alma further reminded him that he stood “in need to be nourished by [his] brothers. And give heed to their counsel” (Alma 45:19; 39:10). The powerful influence of righteous siblings should not be underestimated.

Parents. When young people see their parents struggle or manifest weakness, what direction does the Book of Mormon provide? A classic lesson may be drawn from Nephi’s experience with the broken bow in 1 Nephi 16. With the Liahona recently discovered, the prospect for family unity seemed to be brighter. However, when everyone’s bows broke, the family was thrown into a crisis for food. Even Lehi, who felt a sense of responsibility for the whole journey, began to “murmur against the Lord” (1 Nephi 16:20). Nephi’s response illustrates the best way for any child to respond. He could have criticized his father for murmuring. He could have questioned the kind of example his father was setting. He could even have determined to take over the spiritual leadership of the family because he might have felt Lehi was suffering from the effects of old age. However, Nephi chose none of these approaches. He simply went to work and prepared a new bow, then asking his father to inquire where he should go to obtain food (see 1 Nephi 16:23). In this manner Lehi was reminded of his responsibility as the spiritual head of their family. It was thus the Lord, as it should have been, who chastised Lehi and provided him correction (see 1 Nephi 16:25).

The danger of failing to heed the counsel of a wise parent is presented in the tragic story of Corianton, who forsook his mission and went after a harlot (see Alma 39:2). In contrast, Helaman and Shiblon both followed their father’s counsel to “learn of me; for I know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day” (Alma 36:3). Consequently, their influence for good among their people increased.

In a similar way, Nephi and Lehi remembered Helaman’s counsel, which led them to remember their heritage and to build their lives on the foundation of Christ (see Helaman 5:5–15).

Individual testimony and conviction. The Book of Mormon illustrates that the family can and should be a setting in which individual testimony and conviction can grow and flourish. Some readers of 1 Nephi chapters 1 and 2 might think of Nephi as a young man just following his father without ever questioning. However, 1 Nephi 2:16 helps us see even he had questions and doubts, yet, following his father’s example, the resolution of his questions came by having “great desires to know” and “cry[ing] unto the Lord.” Nephi’s example is contrasted with Laman and Lemuel, who did not understand the dealings of God, did not believe, and did not seem interested in seeking an answer from the Lord (see 1 Nephi 2:12–13).

After his father’s death, Enos recalled how consistently he had listened to his father’s words and remembered his teachings, thus leading him to develop a closer relationship with his Father in Heaven (see Enos 1:1, 3). Alma the Younger also indicated that it was eventually his father’s words that led him to have a hope in Christ and to make a dramatic change in his life (see Alma 36:17–24).

Challenges with Morality and Love

Dealing with pornography and immorality. President Gordon B. Hinckley warned us to avoid pornography as we would a plague. He has described it as a “great disease that is sweeping over the country and over the entire world.” He called it a “vicious brew of slime and sleeze.”[5] While pornography was not the problem in Book of Mormon times, there were still problems with the same passions and resulting improprieties. One of the major sins of Jacob’s day was the infidelity of brethren who rationalized their actions using the excesses of David and Solomon as a justification (see Jacob 2:23). The effects of unfaithfulness is the same in any society. Jacob described the sorrow, mourning, and suffering that come in the wake of such moral abandonment, including the broken hearts of tender wives and the loss of children’s confidence (see Jacob 2:31, 33, 35). We see this same plague today as some parents are unfaithful to their covenants and leave their children wondering about the sacredness of broken temple covenants. Jacob’s warning still applies today—that immoral behavior would also lead to a curse on the land (see Jacob 3:3).

Alma warned Corianton of the grievous effects of his immoral conduct. He masterfully balanced emphasis on the seriousness of the transgression with hope to be found in the Atonement of Christ (see Alma 39:5–7). The sins of murder and adultery both have to do with the giving or taking of life. With adultery or fornication, a child could be brought into the world in unfavorable circumstances and the life of all involved may be severely affected because of these decisions. To tamper with the wellspring of life is to commit a grievous sin. Among Alma’s counsel to his son were instructions to do several things to avoid repetition of his serious moral transgressions: “Repent and forsake your sins, and go no more after the lusts of your eyes, but cross yourself in all these things. . . . Counsel with your elder brothers. . . . Acknowledge your faults [to those you have offended]. . . . And seek not after riches nor the vain things of this world” (Alma 39:9–10, 13–14). To “cross yourself” means to stop, cancel, and erase the effects of inappropriate behavior from one’s life.[6]

In His sermon at the temple in Bountiful, the Savior established the higher law among the Nephites. In doing so, He shifted the focus from outward actions—such as killing or adultery—to the thoughts preceding such actions (see 3 Nephi 12:27–28). Therefore, we too must move the battleground from outward actions, striving to maintain control of our thoughts and desires. Indeed, President Benson taught that “some of the greatest battles you will face will be fought within the silent chambers of your own soul.”[7]

Helping victims. Today, as in Jacob’s day, we have far too many who are victims of abuse or abandonment. Parents, spouses, siblings, and others perpetrate numerous forms of abuse upon the innocent. I know of no more tender and touching promises to those who have been victimized than the words of the Lord given by Jacob to those in his day who had been victims of immorality or infidelity. The following are eight promises or invitations offered to those who innocently suffer because of the choices or abuses of others.

  1. Be pure in heart themselves (see Jacob 3:1).
  2. Look to God with firmness of mind (see Jacob 3:1; D&C 6:36; Alma 58:11–12).
  3. Pray for help with exceeding faith (see Jacob 3:1).
  4. He will console you in your afflictions (the Lord generally does not immediately remove afflictions or their causes because of the principle of agency; see Jacob 3:1).
  5. Avoid feelings of anger or revenge—the Savior will plead our cause before the Father (see Jacob 3:1).
  6. God will send down justice upon those who seek your spiritual destruction (see Jacob 3:1).
  7. Receive the pleasing word (scriptures) from the Lord (see Jacob 3:2).
  8. Feast upon His love forever—He will not betray you (see Jacob 3:1–2).

Repentance and forgiveness. How does one repent and receive forgiveness when guilty of immorality or other serious sins? The sons of Mosiah forsook their sins and felt the need to repair the injuries they had caused wherever possible (see Mosiah 27:35). A barrier that often faces those who are confronted with the need to repent and receive forgiveness is the question of whether confession to the Lord is sufficient. As a former stake president, I often had individuals who questioned why they must go to their bishop or stake president to confess their sins. They wondered why they couldn’t just take care of the matter with the Lord if they were truly sorry.

The Book of Mormon contains the answer. In Mosiah 26, Alma the Elder was struggling with his new assignment as head of all the Church in Zarahemla. He feared he would do wrong as he dealt with the people and their iniquities. The Lord gave Alma the specific pattern that was to be followed. It included two confessions and two forgivenesses. Concerning matters that could affect one’s standing in the Church, Alma was told by the Lord that “whosoever transgresseth against me, him shall ye judge according to the sins which he has committed; and if he confess his sins before thee and me, and repenteth in the sincerity of his heart, him shall ye forgive, and I will forgive him also (Mosiah 26:29; emphasis added). The Lord has established the need for both confession to the priesthood leader and to Him. When the transgressor has had sufficient time to demonstrate to himself, to the priesthood leader, and to the Lord that he has truly repented or forsaken his sin, then the priesthood leader will forgive the individual so far as his standing in the Church is concerned. He may now exercise all the blessings of full membership in the Church. The Lord is the one who bestows the ultimate forgiveness, which includes a peace of conscience and spiritual joy.

Mighty change. Another important aspect of repentance that the Book of Mormon emphasizes is the “mighty change” that must occur (see Mosiah 27:25–26). After having been taught, warned, and prepared for some time by King Benjamin and many “holy prophets,” his people were ready to take upon themselves the name of Christ (Words of Mormon 1:17–18). The scriptures describe their experience as a “mighty change . . . in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil” (Mosiah 5:2). It would be hard to better describe the type of change that must occur in true repentance. It is not, as Mormon witnessed, the sorrow of the “caught” or the damned, who are sad because they cannot sin and still prosper (see Mormon 2:12–13). We see much of this attitude today as people, for example, lament contracting a disease as a result of leading a lifestyle in direct conflict to the laws of God. Instead, they must realize that a mighty change in values is required to bring the blessings of heaven into their lives.

Alma the Younger was prompted to ask the people at Zarahemla if they had experienced the kind of mighty change of heart that their fathers had in the land of Lehi-Nephi and if they had experienced such a feeling, could they feel so now (see Alma 5:13–14, 26). It is also apparent that once one has experienced a mighty change, retaining that spiritual rebirth requires vigilance in keeping the commandments, which many in Zarahemla at that time had failed to do.

How can I know I am forgiven? The question is often asked how can one know he or she is forgiven. President Harold B. Lee told of an experience he and President Marion G. Romney had with a young man who came to them seeking to know that the Lord had truly forgiven him of his past mistakes. President Lee indicated:

As we pondered for a moment, we remembered King Benjamin’s address contained in the book of Mosiah. Here was a group of people who now were asking for baptism, and they said they viewed themselves in their carnal state: “And they all cried aloud with one voice, saying: O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified. . . . After they had spoken these words the Spirit of the Lord came upon them, and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience” (Mosiah 4:2, 3.) There was the answer. If the time comes when you have done all that you can to repent of your sins, whoever you are, wherever you are, and have made amends and restitution to the best of your ability; if it be something that will affect your standing in the Church and you have gone to the proper authorities, then you will want that confirming answer as to whether or not the Lord has accepted of you. In your soul-searching, if you seek for and you find that peace of conscience, by that token you may know that the Lord has accepted of your repentance.[8]

Thus, Mosiah 4 offers one of the clearest descriptions of what one may expect from the Lord when He has extended forgiveness: a peace of conscience and fulness of joy because of what the Father and the Son have made possible for us.

What is real love? The moral condition of the world today calls to mind the question “what is love and how is it perceived?” It would surely puzzle many in the world if they read Alma’s counsel to his son Shiblon to bridle his passions so that he can be filled with love (see Alma 38:12). Many in the world would likely say “No, you unbridle your passions so you can be filled with love.” However, this is because many equate love as lust. It is vitally important for the world to understand what love really is and what its source is. Mormon wrote a sobering epistle to his son, Moroni, describing his people as so angry and hard in their hearts that “the Spirit of the Lord hath ceased striving with them” (Moroni 9:4). He wrote that his people had “lost their love, one towards another” (Moroni 9:5). In an earlier epistle to his son, Mormon taught clearly the power and influence that comes from the Holy Ghost, “which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love, which love endureth by diligence unto prayer, until the end shall come” (Moroni 8:26). To maintain this love, Moroni declared, we must pray with all the energy of heart. He also stated that it is bestowed only on those who are true followers of Jesus Christ (see Moroni 7:48). The lesson to be learned here is that a young person who wants to marry someone who will be faithful and enduring must find one who has the Spirit and desires to maintain that relationship with the Lord. True love is a gift of the Spirit, so some people may never experience this divine gift in this life.

Other Personal and Social Issues

Use of the scriptures. The Book of Mormon is replete with examples of the importance of using the scriptures and the dangers that arise when one does not. In Jacob’s day, it was their failure to understand the scriptures that led some Nephites to justify serious moral transgressions (see Jacob 2:23). We learn that the people’s failure to search the scriptures contributed significantly to the ability of Sherem to lead the people astray (see Jacob 7:3, 23).

We also learn that one reason the city of Ammonihah had gone into such a spiritual decline was that the people and their leaders had begun to “wrest,” or distort, the scriptures for their own unrighteous purposes (see Alma 13:20). Only after solemn warnings from Alma and Amulek did the people began to repent and search the scriptures (see Alma 14:1).

Similarly, the Zoramites had been led astray because they had not been searching the scriptures (see Alma 33:2). Perhaps the most devastating doctrinal problem that arose from this failure to search the scriptures was the people’s inability to accept and understand the Atonement of Jesus Christ (see Alma 33:14–17). Because of this dilemma, Amulek posed the “great question,” whether the word of salvation is in Christ (see Alma 34:5–6). Today, this same great question must be asked when scholars have relegated the Old and New Testaments to the realm of fiction.

In light of these illustrations, it is clear that the message from the Book of Mormon is the same given by the Savior near the end of His mortal ministry: “And whoso treasureth up my word shall not be deceived” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:37).

Boasting and arrogance. We live in a society that is full of boasting and arrogance. This attitude is contradictory to the Spirit of the Lord. The sports and entertainment world is overrun with these negative characteristics. Mormon reminds us that it is man’s nature to boast (see Helaman 12:5). He speaks of self-righteous pride, of boasting that often comes when we are victorious, which reflects the attitude of trusting in one’s own wisdom and power (see Mosiah 11:19; Mormon 3:9). Such a prevalent attitude was reflected by Korihor when he said, “Every man prospered according to his genius, and that every man conquered according to his strength” (Alma 30:17). In essence, Korihor was the ax boasting of itself and disregarding the one who swings the ax (see 2 Nephi 20:15). Another type of arrogance prevalent in society today comes in the form of youth who decide they know more than their parents and choose to ignore their counsel, as Corianton chose to ignore Alma’s counsel to his regret (see Alma 39:2).

Social classes. Social classes generally become a characteristic of any society. They are closely associated with pride and arrogance. Class distinctions seem to have been a major disease that brought Nephite society down to destruction (see 3 Nephi 6:12). Even with the Zion society established by Christ, the rise of social classes became a key factor in breaking up the law of consecration that had united the people for over one hundred and sixty years (see 4 Nephi 1:26). It should come as no surprise that many of our current societal problems have their roots in the inequities of class distinctions that thrive in modern societies.

Appearance and marking oneself. In a world where immodesty, extreme appearance, body piercing, and tattooing are prominent, insights from the Book of Mormon are most helpful. From Enos 1:20, 23 we learn that one of the signs of the loss of the Spirit is a dramatic change in one’s apparel. Often immodesty or other extremes in appearance are manifested. Frequently, those who have lost the Spirit begin to take on outlandish, even fearful-looking attire to intimidate others (see 3 Nephi 4:7). A classic illustration of marking oneself is found in the example of the Amlicites. They did not want to appear as Nephites and “marked themselves with red in their foreheads after the manner of the Lamanites” (Alma 3:4). The modern application of this type of practice is reflected in the sociological principle, “Appearance affects attitude, and then it reflects attitude.” Just as these Amlicites began to take on the appearance of the Lamanites, they also began to take on their attitudes. The spiritual principle is, “You can’t act like, think like, and dress like the world. It will cost you spiritually.”[9]

Challenges with the Proper Use of Our Time

The Sabbath and worship. The Book of Mormon give us significant insights in teaching the proper use of the Sabbath and proper worship. In Alma 31:9–25, we learn about Zoramite worship and Sabbath habits. Their prayer was a single set prayer, offered only once a week, given only in a designated place, the Rameumpton. This prayer was primarily a brief verbal boasting session in which the Zoramites declared their prideful and narrow attitude that they had been “elected” while the rest of humanity was doomed “to be cast by [God’s] wrath down to hell” (Alma 31:17). Clearly, these Zoramites worshiped weekly never speaking about God until the next Sabbath.

Their misguided worship practices further led them to use their time in many other wasteful and inappropriate ways. They shunned the poor, wore all manner of costly apparel, set their hearts on riches and were lifted up in their pride (see Alma 31:24–28).

Do these sound at all familiar? They are some of the same dangers we experience today. Confining our religious activities and thoughts to only three hours on Sunday, becoming prideful that we are the chosen people, and neglecting the poor while we accumulate material possessions is a real danger for Latter-day Saints today. Religion needs to be a daily concern. Jacob taught his people to “remember the words of your God; pray unto him continually by day, and give thanks unto his holy name by night” (2 Nephi 9:52; emphasis added). In further affirmation of this, we need to use more of our time in reflecting on the goodness of God. Amulek counseled that we should “live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which [God] doth bestow upon you” (Alma 34:38).

Idleness. Idleness is a pernicious habit that destroys our personal incentive for excellence and progression. Some years ago, I had the opportunity to visit communities in a developing country in Central America. I was struck that all of the children labored to help in the support of their families. This was starkly contrasted when I returned home to see one summer evening youth who were wandering around aimlessly looking for something to do. While the idle time may have seemed nice to them, I wondered how having so few responsibilities or obligations may eventually impact their character. Nephi described how the Lamanites became an idle people, which led them to be “full of mischief and subtlety” (2 Nephi 5:24). In Alma 1, we find an interesting pairing of words describing those who were becoming wicked. They are described as engaging in “idolatry or idleness” (Alma 1:32). The implication may be that idleness is more than sitting around. It is a compulsive or almost worshipful involvement in things that are vain and of no eternal worth.

As a stake president, I counseled returning missionaries to “refrain from idleness” (Alma 38:12). This can obviously be a danger to missionaries who have been involved in full-time service to the Lord and are then released. They suddenly have much more discretionary time and must make great efforts to use their time wisely and productively. One of the impressive lessons we learn from the people of Ammon, the Anti-Nephi-Lehies, is that their wholehearted acceptance of the gospel led them to turn from a life of “idleness” to “labor[ing] abundantly with their hands” (Alma 24:18).

Dealing with Life’s Tests and Challenges

In the first verse of the Book of Mormon, Nephi speaks of having suffered many afflictions yet being highly favored of God. How can this be? Similarly, Lehi refers to his travels from Jerusalem as “the wilderness of mine afflictions” (2 Nephi 3:1). To his son Jacob, Lehi had promised that the Lord would “consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain” (2 Nephi 2:2). It becomes apparent from the Book of Mormon that life will have tests and trials in spite of our righteousness or having found favor with God. One of the obvious lessons is that we can grow by overcoming afflictions. However, the Book of Mormon also teaches us that we may also impact to some extent those trials we face.

Describing the difficulty of Lehi’s journey, Alma noted that the Lord had prepared a way for the journey to be pursued in the most efficient way. However, because “they were slothful, and forgot to exercise their faith and diligence and then those marvelous works ceased, and they did not progress in their journey; therefore, they tarried in the wilderness, or did not travel a direct course, and were afflicted with hunger and thirst, because of their transgressions” (Alma 37:41–42). Alma indicated that the problems Lehi’s family experienced had direct application to things that are spiritual. Our journey through life is similar to this Book of Mormon account. How will our journey in life look compared to Lehi’s family’s journey? Will our path through life look like a straight, steadfast course, or will it be a meandering path with lengthy delays and side trips and ultimately a different destination than we originally intended?

The Book of Mormon is clearly one of the greatest sources we have to prepare us for today’s challenges and for exaltation in the kingdom of God. Speaking of using the scriptures to meet the problems we face, President Howard W. Hunter encouraged people “to have confidence in the strength and truths of the scriptures, confidence that their Heavenly Father is really speaking to them through the scriptures, and confidence that they can turn to the scriptures and find answers to their problems and their prayers, . . . [confidence] that the scriptures hold the answers to many—indeed most—of life’s problems.”[10]


[1] Ezra Taft Benson, “To the ‘Youth of the Noble Birthright,’” Ensign, May 1986, 43; emphasis added.

[2] Richard G. Scott, “True Friends That Lift,” Ensign, November 1988, 76.

[3] Scott, “True Friends That Lift,” 76; emphasis added.

[4] Ezra Taft Benson, in Conference Report, October 1986, 5.

[5] Gordon B. Hinckley, Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1997), 463–64.

[6] Noah Webster’s First Edition of An American Dictionary of the English Language, facsimile of 1828 edition (San Francisco: Foundation for American Christian Education, 1985) includes each of the definitions used.

[7] Ezra Taft Benson, The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988), 401.

[8] Harold B. Lee, The Teachings of Harold B. Lee (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996), 119.

[9] Boyd K. Packer, Sandy Utah Stake Conference, January 8, 1984, notes in author’s possession.

[10] Howard W. Hunter, The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, ed. Clyde J. Williams (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997), 186.