Sunday, August 2, 2015

2015-08-02 President's Message

Dear Elders and Sister,

Sometimes it is easy to take even our greatest blessing for granted. As I was reading Alma 5 this morning, I was impressed by how important it is to REMEMBER the blessings we receive from Heavenly Father. (Alma 5:6,26) There are many husbands who take their good wife for granted. There are many wives who take their good husband for granted. Many of us take for granted the amazing blessings of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. We have a living prophet. We have priesthood authority from God. We have the ordinances of baptism and of the temple. We have the Holy Bible, which teaches us so much about Jesus Christ. We have the Doctrine and Covenants, which gives us a record of revelation in our time. We have the Pearl of Great Price, which contains the records of several prophets. And we have the Book of Mormon, which teaches us more about the Atonement of Christ than any other book of scripture.

President Gordon B. Hinckley said: "Those who have read the Book of Mormon prayerfully, be they rich or poor, learned or unlearned, have grown under its power. 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...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." (Ensign, June 1988, p6)

The Book of Mormon brings the Spirit of the Lord into your heart when you read it because it was inspired by God. The prophet Mormon prayerfully compile the record of hundreds of years of history into a single book. The Lord designed it to bring the reader a "might change of heart."

I want you to know that I have personally tested the promises of the book, those made in Moroni 10 and those made by prophets and other leaders. I have found that the power of the spirit bears witness to my soul that it is true. I have now read the book many, many times. I don't read it now to find out if it is true. I read it now because I love the "diamonds of truth" that I find on its pages. The Lord teaches my mind and blesses my spirit every time I read it.

I invited each of you to read the Book of Mormon cover to cover between July 1 and September 30. If you are reading in English, you should finish Mosiah 25 today (page 196). If you are reading Tagalog, you should finish Mosiah 26 (page 287) today. If you are not quite to this point, please take extra time during your unscheduled time (evening or lunch) to read and catch up. Work together as a companionship to support each other. You need to read about 6 pages per day in English or 8.5 pages per day in Tagalog to stay on pace.

You are now entering the life story of one of the greatest missionaries that ever lived--Alma the Younger. His story starts in Mosiah 27 and ends in Alma 45. I have learned so much about missionary work from Alma. His faith, his diligence, his love for the people, his courage, his endurance of hard times...all inspire me. I am excited for all of us to share the life of this wonderful man. He was a man who repented from a very wicked life to become one of the greatest prophets of all time. His life is a lesson for us that our future is not dependent on our past. Our future depends on the faith we have in God now...AND our willingness to go to work and become the man or woman that God will make of us.

Use this book in your missionary work. Make sure that every investigator has a copy, including every family member of every investigator. Each of them need a copy that they can read and ponder and pray about. Encourage your family and friends at home to read it. Help them gain the spiritual strength they need.

I promise, that as you prayerfully read the Book of Mormon your faith will grow. Your power to preach the gospel will grow. I promise that if your investigators, recent converts and less-active members read the book, their faith will grow. You will see it and feel it. The Lord will speak to you through its pages.

Sister Ostler and I love you. We pray for you. We weep with you. We rejoice with you. Thank you for being such faithful servants of the Lord.

Mahal ko po kayo,

President Ostler