Friday, January 5, 2018

You Can't Defend It If You Don't Know It

We, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, recently lost our dear prophet. He had been sick for a while and it was obvious that his health was deteriorating as he would use the pulpit in the Conference Center to hold himself up as he spoke his words of wisdom during General Conference last spring. His absence was felt during fall's Conference, however his last talk, although short at only a couple of minutes, rang ever-strong and powerful in the ears of listeners: Read the Book of Mormon.

This was one of the many "pearls" President Monson was known for. He also encouraged members of the Church to know who we are, to know what we stand for, to not be afraid to make it known to others, and to always be kind. He was a great example of kindness and charity. Because of the way he lived and treated others, he was respected by leaders of other religions and people from all over the world. He lived his religion, always. He was firm in his beliefs and was an example of Christ. He knew the Book of Mormon to be true and promised us that if we read every day, we will be strengthened to withstand the temptations of the world around us.

We live time where wrong seems right and right seems wrong. How vital it is that we read and know the words of the Book of Mormon so we are ready to defend the truths of its gospel. How can we defend it if we don't know it? How can we say we believe the words to be true if we haven't read it?

The words of the Book of Mormon tell us that when we are doing right in the eyes of the Lord, we will be blessed and strengthened. When we are doing those things that are pleasing unto our Heavenly Father, He will never leave us alone. When we stand firm in our beliefs -- that Jesus is the Christ, that He came to earth to Atone for our sins, that He was resurrected so that we, too, can live again -- we will one day return with honor to the presence of our Heavenly Father, who loves us.

One of my favorite quotes from President Monson is:

Dare to be a Mormon;
Dare to stand alone.
Dare to have a purpose firm;
Dare to make it known.

As we read the Book of Mormon and follow the teachings of our beloved prophet, we will have the strength and courage to stand up for what we believe. That doesn't mean we force it on others to believe the same. It means we stand firm, no matter what the world is telling us is "right" at the moment. It means we stay true to the gospel, which is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

I am grateful for the Book of Mormon. I am grateful for the teachings of President Monson. He will be missed but I believe he is reunited with his wife. I am grateful for the knowledge that this gospel brings that death is not the end; that we can be together again with those we love; that if we stand with "a purpose firm", we will never be alone.

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