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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tasting our Fruits

When hostess went out of business, the United States was devastated. They had lost their Twinkies. I and my friends were among those who were saddened. A few months ago, I walked into Wal-Mart with my companion (at this time I am on my mission). I am surprised to see a set-up for Twinkies sitting in the middle of the floor. My eyes widened and I was happy. It was "The sweetest come back ever." I mentioned to him that I thought  I would never see them again. He replied back with, "I have never tried a Twinkie before, so I could live without them." I was a bit taken back at his reply. So, I said, with much enthusiasm, "Than I will buy a box so you can try them." When we arrived to the apartment, I quickly opened the box and gave one to him. Its sweet creme filling, complemented the fluffy yellow sponge-cake so perfectly. I enjoyed it.
This is much what we as members do with The Book of Mormon. The sweet knowledge it had brought us has given us great joy. We want all to "try it."
Now there are some things with Mormonism that has occurred in the past which cause people to be weary of reading the sacred book.
I have the unique privilege to labor in North Carolina. With it, comes the great opportunity to talk with leaders of other faiths. I have learned much from them, and would not have grown if it weren't for them. They have a problem when I say that "I KNOW" this is the truth. I have mentioned how important the Truth was in a previous post. One of the people I talked to agreed with me, and stated that the truth is based on facts. He said, "The truth is always based on the facts. I am not convinced that the facts your religion presents is the truth based on the many inconsistencies throughout the history of Mormonism concerning its leaders and its writings." (emphasis and underline added) The combination of underlined words forms a complete sentence. This sentence is the objection by any who have objections. It reads, "I am not convinced your religion presents the truth based on the history concerning its leaders and its writings."
Basically, they said I don't think your religion is true. It is because of it's history. Believe it or not, this is a concern for a lot of people. Often times we want to argue with them, but contention is not the way of the Lord. So the question which comes to mind then is "how do you answer those questions then?" The answer is simple.
Before I answer, I must understand their point of view. They are learning of all of these things, and they do not believe God is the one leading it, through his prophets. Jesus Christ warned all that there would be false prophets in the last day, "Beware of false prophets which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves." (Matt 7: 15) For us to know the sweetness of a Twinkie, or the flavor of a fruit, we must open our mouths and taste it. I love to explore food. I want to know how they all taste. I seek after them. Christ said something similar to this earlier in his Sermon, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened." (Matt 7: 7-8)

This is a large concern for people. Jesus Christ then told us how we can tell, "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit."
The important part is seeking, you will not find anything if you do not explore, "he that seeketh findeth." So, that leads to how we answer objections. We have a unique Book of Scripture. It is known as the Book of Mormon. It is the first fruit of the Prophet Joseph Smith Jr. We invite people to read it (or taste it, so to speak) to see if it is good or evil. If it be good, than it is of God because, "every good tree bringeth forth good fruit." Our claim echoes Joseph Smith's which is, "... the Book of Mormon [is] the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man [will] get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book." (emphasis added) What have you against getting nearer to God? If is doesn't bring you closer to Him, you know it is not His. But if it does, you will know Christ better. You will not be one to whom Christ will say, "I never knew you" (Matt 7: 23). 
I believe Preach My Gospel explains it the best:

Joseph Smith taught that the Book of Mormon is “the keystone of our religion” (introduction to the Book of Mormon). On another occasion he stated: “Take away the Book of Mormon and the revelations, and where is our religion? We have none” (History of the Church, 2:52).
An arch is a strong architectural structure made from wedge-shaped pieces that lean against each other. The middle piece, or keystone, is usually larger than the other wedges and locks the other stones in place. When Joseph Smith called the Book of Mormon “the keystone of our religion,” he taught that the Book of Mormon holds our religion together.
The Book of Mormon is what makes or breaks all of our claim. Objections ought to be answered through the Book of Mormon. President Ezra Taft Benson said:
“… All objections, whether they be on abortion, plural marriage, seventh-day worship, etc., basically hinge on whether Joseph Smith and his successors were and are prophets of God receiving divine revelation. …
“… The only problem the objector has to resolve for himself is whether the Book of Mormon is true. For if the Book of Mormon is true, then Jesus is the Christ, Joseph Smith was his prophet, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true, and it is being led today by a prophet receiving revelation.” (A Witness and a Warning, 4–5).

President Ezra Taft Benson taught  the Book of Mormon is the keystone in at least three ways:
1.) Witness of Christ: “The Book of Mormon is the keystone in our witness of Jesus Christ, who is Himself the cornerstone of everything we do. It bears witness of His reality with power and clarity.”

2.) Fulness of doctrine: “The Lord Himself has stated that the Book of Mormon contains the ‘fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.’ (D&C 20:9[;27:5].) … In the Book of Mormon we will find the fulness of those doctrines required for our salvation. And they are taught plainly and simply so that even children can learn the ways of salvation and exaltation.”
3.) Foundation of testimony: “Just as the arch crumbles if the keystone is removed, so does all the Church stand or fall with the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. The enemies of the Church understand this clearly. This is why they go to such great lengths to try to disprove the Book of Mormon, for if it can be discredited, the Prophet Joseph Smith goes with it. So does our claim to priesthood keys, and revelation, and the restored Church. But in like manner, if the Book of Mormon be true—and millions (15 million as of October 5, 2013) have now testified that they have the witness of the Spirit that it is indeed true—then one must accept the claims of the Restoration and all that accompanies it” (A Witness and a Warning [1988], 18–19).

President Uchtdorf said this October, "It’s natural to have questions—the acorn of honest inquiry has often sprouted and matured into a great oak of understanding. There are few members of the Church who, at one time or another, have not wrestled with serious or sensitive questions. One of the purposes of the Church is to nurture and cultivate the seed of faith—even in the sometimes sandy soil of doubt and uncertainty. Faith is to hope for things which are not seen but which are true. Therefore... first doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith." This goes for all who read the Book of Mormon. Have faith that God spoke to the people here before they had the Bible. Nephi said it best when he wrote, "And now, my beloved brethren, and also Jew, and all ye ends of the earth, hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good." (2 Nephi 33: 10). You can read it online, or you can order a physical copy.

So, to answer any objections, my invitation is that of Jesus Christ, "Ask, Seek, and Knock." When you do this He will answer; you will find; it will be opened.

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