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This is the first Spiritual SOAP post in the series.
In our class, we started in 3 Nephi 11 of the Book of Mormon, mainly because this is where Jesus comes and teaches his most basic doctrines of salvation.
“Gather, don’t Scatter”
Scripture: A large group of people gathered around the temple astonished about the great changes that had taken place in their surroundings (earthquakes, fires, many people dying, etc.)
- They gathered and weren’t scattered when destruction came
- They didn’t just gather anywhere. They gathered together at the temple
- As they gathered, they were open in their lack of knowledge but openly discussed their concerns as well.
- If we want to have strength, gather with fellow believers
- Gather at a place of worship. Examples of places of worship include: churches, homes of the faithful, the temple, etc.
- When we are gathered it is good to be open with one another and openly discuss our lack of knowledge, issues, and concerns. This is how we grow.
I pray that I will always remember to turn to God in times of need, but also that I will turn to God in the good times as well. I pray that He will lift me up and I will be able to have great associations with believers. I pray that my home will be a place where God’s Spirit can dwell and a refuge for my children and anyone else seeking the Lord.
What thoughts do you have when you apply Spiritual SOAP to this scripture?
Keeping with the tradition started last year, here is a list of the April 2013 LDS general conference “best quotes” (according to me) for you to vote on. Feel free to add any other quotes or thoughts you had about conference this year as well.
Also, just for fun, I included another poll with the top 5 quotes selected by readers of the blog from all of last year for you to vote on.
My first thought was to share the traditional stories those of us who have been around the Mormon Church for awhile have all heard. I’m sure there are many bloggers out there who are well more versed on the history of Mormon faith healing and miracles, but for those of you interested, there are quite a few Mormon faith healing stories of the first Mormon prophet, Joseph Smith. Those of you who have stories to share on the history of healing or perhaps a relative who was miraculously healed, please share in the comment section because I know there are a lot of faith healing stories out there which would be beneficial for all of us to hear.
Also, as I researched, I found numerous inspirational stories of faith and healing from Mormons all over the world. For example, the LDS Addictions Recovery website has some amazing testimonials of people who were on the street and totally addicted who turned their will to God and were healed.
Another miraculous healing I recently read in the very inspiring book Let it Go by Chris Williams. This book is about Chris’s experience with a drunk driver hitting his family’s car. Chris’s wife, unborn son, daughter, and one of his sons were instantly killed. His other son was in very critical condition and had brain damage. Doctors thought that he had a very slight chance of survival, and if he did survive, would have permanent brain damage. Chris relates a story of how he felt God’s love encircle him and as he laid hands on his son to give him a blessing of healing, he felt God tell him to say his son would be completely healed. Three weeks later, his son was o.k. and released from the hospital.
While all of these examples are awesome, and the Good Lord has shown His hand countless times, I thought that I would share a few personal stories that were very impressive for me at various stages of my life. As I reflect on each of them, I am grateful for God’s merciful hand in my life.
I’ll start with the story of my sister being brought back to life, then share a personal story of healing within myself, and conclude with a recent story about my wife and our unborn daughter (due this June 20th).
The Day my Sister Died (and lived)
I was seven years old, but that didn’t stop my father from granting me my wish to help out on the farm. On this particular day I was busy pulling down a 80 lb hay bales, and rolling them to the feeding trough, cutting the strings and distributing the hay for the yearling calves. I wanted to make sure I was doing my job correctly, so I was very focused on making sure I did as my father had taught me and not clump the hay all in one spot. Rather, spread it out evenly so all the calves could get a good meal.
My focus was suddenly snapped as I heard a shrill screaming shrieking noise that startled me. I wondered what could be making that noise and when I looked a few hundred feet away from where I was it scared me even more. The noise was coming from my father. Tears were streaming down his face and he was running faster than I had ever seen him run in my life. What was even more frightening was my little sister, who was 3 1/2 years old was laying limp and lifeless in his arms. I dropped everything I was doing and ran towards my grandfathers house where I saw my father running.
By the time I entered the pantry my grandmother, grandfather, and father were surrounding my young sister. She was laying in my father’s arms limp and they couldn’t find a pulse. My grandmother had called for help and in the meantime, grandpa and dad proceeded to give her a blessing.
My father knows more precisely what was said in the blessing, but if I recall it correctly, he commanded her to be healed and promised that she would live a life of service to God. Shortly thereafter, her pulse returned and her stay in the hospital was very short.
She was daddies little girl and always followed him around the farm wherever he went. I’ve had conversations with him about how proud of her he was and how much he loved his little girl. On that particular day, as he was pulling hay bales down, he didn’t realize that she had slipped out of grandpa and grandma’s home to follow him. He pulled a line of hay from a stack that was 13 bales high, each bale weighing 80-100 lbs. which came crashing down right on top of her. It was the first healing miracle I witnessed and it made an impression on me that the Lord can and still does work miracles through His faithful servants.
Today, my sister is one of the most dedicated and committed members of our family to the Lord, Jesus Christ as she and her husband serve as pastors and missionaries for a local Foursquare Church. They are also beginning the process of planting a new church. She is a sweet blessing to our family and I thank the Lord that her life was spared at that time. Many times throughout my life she has touched me and moved me to be a better person who is more dedicated to the Lord.
My Blessing of Healing
Those of you who follow this blog know of my struggles I’ve had in the past with anxiety and depression. Those of you who read my book know how big of a challenge it was for me to overcome anxiety and depression, especially in my personal relationships.
Shortly after I was married to my wife, I was still struggling with sever anxiety. I was traumatized by my parents’ divorce at a young age and I still had panic that my wife may leave me or be taken away from me.
A couple weeks after we were married, I was visiting a friend of mine. My wife was on a trip to Taiwan and I was scheduled to go visit her. However, I was in a state of panic wondering if she would still want me knowing I was suffering so much from anxiety, etc. I asked my friend to give me a blessing.
In the blessing, God talked to me through him. I felt words of comfort and he also pronounced a blessing of healing, that I would be freed from anxiety.
Since that time, I have never suffered from a panic attack, which is a miracle given that I had suffered for years prior to that. I feel the Lord’s hand in my life as I am a husband and father of two beautiful kids (soon to be three), which leads me to the final story of healing.
Healing for My Wife and Unborn Child
A few months ago my wife told me she was very weak from bleeding. Given that she was about 15 or 16 weeks pregnant, I knew that wasn’t a good thing. We had had a miscarriage before so I thought that perhaps this was the case. My mind then went to the “what if” situations of if it was something more that could be wrong with her and she was bleeding internally.
As the blood kept coming, I knew we needed to do something. I called her Dad to see if we could have him come over and watch our kids who were sleeping and then called the hospital and explained the situation. I then had the impression to give her a blessing of healing.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Mormon concept of giving a blessing, I’ll try and summarize it. Members of the church who hold the Melchezedek Priesthood have the authority and power to act as the “voice” of God so to speak and give a blessing. Blessings can be given for comfort, or for healing. In the case of healing, we annoint the person receiving the blessing with consecrated oil, place our hands on their head, and then speak the words the Lord gives us. It is a very humbling experience because going into the blessing the person doesn’t know what words are going to be given. (Read this article for a more detailed description on blessings).
Before I started speaking the words during the blessing, the Lord’s Spirit came over me and I sensed a complete feeling of peace and that everything was going to be fine. I knew in my heart that whatever happened would be the Lord’s will and I was prepared to accept it.
When I began speaking, I was impressed to speak the words that she would be healed and the baby would be fine. For a split second I had a bit of doubt seeing how much she had bled (which seemed like much more compared to the miscarriage we had had), but I put the doubt out of my mind and focused on the promptings I received.
Shortly afterwards, her bleeding slowed down and we didn’t even need to go into the doctor that evening.
She is now 26 weeks along and we found out we are going to be having a little girl.
These are just a few “Mormon Faith Healing Stories” that I have personally witnessed in my life. I’m positive there are many of you out there who have stories to share. Whether you are Mormon or not, I know that the Lord can and does heal according to His will and the faith of the people receiving and/or giving the healing. I would love if you shared some healing stories you have seen in your life. I think it will be a great blessing to those who read this.
I’ve been very busy working with our full-time Mormon missionaries in our ward the past couple months and have been very impressed with all the work and effort they put in. It has been a while since I have been this heavily involved in missionary service. Some days can be very awesome and others can be very trying.
I am reminded of experiences on my mission when I meet or speak with the sister missionaries in our ward (congregation) nearly every day. There are many, many people out there who have little or no concept of who God is and who Jesus Christ is. Many people when asked say they are Christian, but when speaking more in depth they rarely pray and have little or no concept of what the Atonement of Jesus Christ is and how it applies to our lives. I have been re-ignited in my faith as to the importance of this message by actively going out and meeting people in my community and seeing the challenges they face and the struggles they have trying to rely on their own strength rather than Gods.
This week was particularly difficult for us. We had been working with a great family the past few weeks who had begun to embrace reading scripture together, coming to church, and praying as a family. The father of the home even made the comment of how different his kids were (in a good way) since coming to church. However, things changed pretty quickly when his ex-wife heard about her kids going to the Mormon church and meeting with the Mormon missionaries. Although she hasn’t ever gone to church (according to her kids and ex-husband), she was very passionate that they quit going to the Mormon church and start going to the Catholic church she was raised in. Needless to say, when the sister missionaries went to visit Rick and his kids and found out about their mother’s concerns and also that the kids and Rick wouldn’t continue on with lessons, we were pretty discouraged.
It was during times like this when I was on my mission that I reflected on the inspiring times in my life so I could stay positive. With this in mind, I thought I’d share an inspiring story from my Mormon mission in Frankfurt, Germany during the mid ’90s.
Inspiring Mormon Missionary Story
The most inspiring moment on my mission was working with a man named Herr Neuhaus. Hr. Neuhaus was an older gentleman who had lived a very rough life. When we came across him, he was very angry at God. His wife had recently passed away and he was very depressed. Life for him when we met him was drinking and smoking and staring at the TV.
I learned on my mission in Germany to be very direct and bold. That was their style over there. So when we first met him and he bellowed out that he didn’t have any interest (they all said that initially), I told him that he might not have interest, but God had interest in him.
He replied that “God doesn’t love me…” which gave me a window into his tortured soul. I immediately felt compassion for him and I feel that by the grace of God I was able to feel for Hr Neuhaus a small amount of love that God has for each of us as sinners.
I engaged him in conversation on why he thought God didn’t love him. This is when he shared with us his story of his wife dying despite all the prayers he had offered in her behalf that she would live.
That first day, we just listened mainly and I really felt so awful for him. However, I knew that through the power of the Atonement, he could be made whole again and Jesus could fill him up with love once more.
I testified of this and challenged him to read the Book of Mormon, especially the parts on the Atonement of Christ and faith. I promised him if he did this that he would feel God’s love once more.
To make a long story short, God was true to His promise to those who show faith in Him. Not only was Hr Neuhaus healed from his suffering, but he was also healed from his addictions of smoking and drinking. I felt honored when he asked me if he would baptize him, which I did on May 11, 1997.
This was the only person I baptized while I was on my mission.
When I reflect on this experience, I am once again reminded of the importance of being a witness for Jesus Christ. I have seen personally and many times have witnessed other people such as Hr Neuhaus who chose to embrace the teachings and gospel of Jesus. Their lives are renewed and the cares and struggles of this world are swallowed up in hope and deliverance.
Please take a moment and share your favorite missionary experience either as a missionary, or a pastor, or just in your daily walk with God. I think it would be very beneficial for other readers of this blog.
1 Peter 3:15 discusses the importance of always being ready to share our testimonies of the gospel of Christ.
That time came for me unexpectedly (which it usually does).
We are getting ready to paint our house and I have had painters over the past few days coming over to give us quotes on pricing.
The other day, the doorbell rang and there was a clean-cut young man standing there. His image was much different than the last painter who came 1/2 hour late and who clearly was suffering from a hangover. This young man was punctual and actually dressed nicely. More importantly, he was friendly and very professional as he assessed the property, making small conversation and asking the right questions. He was also very thorough in his process of putting a proposal together.
While he was putting together a few scenarios for me, we discussed his goals in life. I learned that he was preparing to go to college. We discussed this for awhile and it came up that I had gone to BYU. At this point he seemed a little interested and asked me about my experience there. I told him about what I had majored in and what I had learned.
He went on to tell me that he used to attend the Mormon church until he was 15 when his parents were divorced. He decided to move up from Nevada to the Seattle area with his mom, where he didn’t feel he had the support he needed or friends at church, so he fell away.
Immediately I had a lot of questions in my mind such as: by falling away does he mean falling away from God or the Mormon Church? How has his life been since falling away? Is he considering coming back?
However, since we were in a business situation and I also had a meeting I needed to get to, I didn’t delve deeper into the conversation.
When he left, I felt the need to help him and wondered if I made the right decision in that moment, or if I should have dug a bit deeper.
What would you have done?
Those of you who have read this blog over the years know of my past struggles with Anxiety and Depression. Many of you know my story and how I was able to overcome anxiety and depression.
Since writing the book, Discovering Light, I have been contacted by other bloggers, medical practitioners, and non-profit companies to share my story. I feel that anxiety and depression is something that is only recently being acknowledged and accepted in society and in order to help inform people, I welcome all opportunities to share my story.
One thing I’ve learned is that each person struggles with anxiety and depression in a unique way and there isn’t a cure-all for everyone. Many people struggle for years and feel terribly alone and isolated.
When one of the administrators of the website: With Real Intent reached out to me about a series they are doing on anxiety and depression and asked me to write an article, I gladly accepted.
The series is called Peculiar Minds and has articles from many different people who are or have suffered from anxiety and/or depression in various forms. It is very interesting to see what works for some people and how each person deals with anxiety and depression. I wish that there had been this type of site when I was struggling.
I encourage you to visit their site and forward this on to anyone who may be struggling at this time.
Last November, I wrote a post entitled ”The Democrat Party is Satan’s Plan?” and relayed an experience I had in Sunday School class with conservative members openly discussing politics and how they thought Democrats were following Satan. Needless to say, the article created a stir among both Republican and Democrat Mormons and Christians alike.
One of my friends I’ve met through this blog, who happens to be a Mormon Democrat, emailed me personally about the article I wrote and wanted to have a Democrat point of view heard on the blog. Although we differ in political views, we share many common religious views and as I’ve stated over and again, one of the purposes of this blog is to bring people together and closer to Christ regardless of our religious and/or political views. Therefore, I decided to interview him via email responses since he is a Mormon Democrat and I am not. Also, since today is President’s Day, I thought it would be good to share this.
Before I get into the interview questions, I’ll share a little bit of his background.
Background of my Mormon Democrat Friend
My friend lives in the Philedelphia area and is currently serving as the Stake Sunday School President. He works as a regional manager and is successful in his field. He and I have talked on occasion since we are in the same field of work and the conversations we’ve had have helped me.
He is married and has raised 4 children. Three of whom have served full-time missions. He has served throughout his life in the church accepting callings as Gospel Doctrine teacher, Young Men’s leader, Seminary instructor (similar to leading a bible study), and other callings.
He also serves his community and is currently the Judge of Elections in his town that is just outside of Philadelphia.
The reason why I share his background is because I think most Mormons (at least the ones in the West where I live) are Republican and assume that all Mormons share the same political view. If we saw my friend actively working in his church callings and community service, you probably wouldn’t be able to distiguish if he were Republican or Democrat unless you engaged in a political conversation with him. My hope is that this interview can open up some dialogue, tolerance, and understanding between Mormon Republicans and Democrats and that we can do a better job of working together respectfully in spite of our political differences.
Initial response when asked if he would do an interview
I’ll discuss them with you but I won’t get into a debate, argument or fight over them. One, that’s not me and two, my positions are constantly changing and evolving. As I gain new understanding and light, my positions change and evolve. This approach has served me well as it has allowed me to not just use the light and knowledge I’ve been blessed with to keep me on the right path but I’ve leverage the insight I’ve been given to deepen my understanding and see farther. I will say though, that I leave open the possibility up front that my views are wrong and may need to be abandoned tomorrow. Most of us make more bad decisions than we make right choices, are wrong more often than we’re right, myself, especially myself (!) included.
1. How have you been able to “keep the faith” so to speak while being surrounded by conservative Mormons who oftentimes say things very derogatory about your views?
It’s been challenging at times. I give as well as I get so I go easy on those who want to put me or my political party right up there with Satan. I know they are wrong. What else matters. Fact is most members of the church haven’t thought deeply about their political positions as they relate to the gospel of Jesus Christ. They are more Republican and conservative than they are Mormon and Christian. I don’t see that changing anytime soon despite the very best efforts of the brethren to yank us back and get all of us to be more reasonable and patient with each other.
2. How do you see your political affiliation lining up with your religious beliefs?
As Harry Reid said in a BYU devotional last year, “I’m a Democrat (and a liberal) because I am Mormon.” That says it all.
3. What is your perspective on people of the same faith who are of a different political party?
They have as much right to be wrong as I do.
4. Where do you think Christian and Mormon Democrats and Republicans can find common ground?
Simple answer; We should unite around the church’s three fold mission, to which “caring for the poor and needy” was added last year making it a four-fold mission. Except it’s not called the mission of the church any more. Rather the handbook refers to the four functions as “divinely appointed responsibilities” Look it up in the Handbook of Instructions, I believe Chapter two, Section 2.2 to be precise. If more of us, especially me, would stop pontificating about the evils of the federal welfare system ( and it is evil!) and actually use the inspiration and the guidance of the sprit, to which we so often pat ourselves on the back for possessing, and do something significant and substantial to help the poor and the needy, poverty would be reduced and Zion would be established a lot faster.
5. You brought up an article from 1998 that mentioned one of the church General Authority’s stating that there should be more Mormon Democrats. Why do you think they advocated this?
According to Elder Jensen, and I take him at his word since 1) he is a General Authority or was at the time of the interview anyway 2) the interview was conducted in the Church Office Building in SLC giving it an added emphasis and endorsement and 3) the interview was authorized directly by the Prophet and Quorum of the 12, he stated the brethren thought it wise the church not be perceived to be aligned with any one party, that there were times when the church would need the help of both liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republican and that if 80 to 90 percent of the members are Republican, Democratic lawmakers would be less likely to come to church’s side in times of need. Now doesn’t that make a lot of sense! Don’t you just love the Prophet! Wouldn’t it be cool if more of us paid attention to what he and the Q of the 12 said and did? Just saying.
Although I don’t agree politically with everything my Mormon Democrat friend(s) believe, I think that it is good to try and understand their perspective.
This interview is just a first step, but an example of how we can open up and try to learn from others who may not have the same views that we have. The main thing I learned from this interview was that my friend has a sincere desire to follow the Lord as well as the prophets. Also, I definitely agree with his views that we should be more patient with each other since we are all fallible and imperfect.
If you are a Repbublican, what are your thoughts of this initial interview? Are there other questions you would have asked?
If you are Democrat, does this represent your views or are there other things you would have discussed?
Why do you think Elder Jensen pointed out that we need more Mormon Democrats?
Finally, what other suggestions do you have on how we can not only tolerate each other, but love each other as Jesus would have us do?
A couple of weeks ago we had Stake Conference (this happens twice/year and is a regional meeting when Mormon congregations gather together within a geographical region to listen to various speakers). One speaker who stood out to me was a young lady named Kayla. What stood out to me was her funny and enthusiastic attitude as well as her fresh approach to the Gospel. She described having grown up as a Christian and then leaving the faith for a while and then recently having an experience that led her to the Mormon faith, and having a relationship with the Lord once again. As she told her story, I witnessed the Holy Spirit come over her and it touched my heart deeply and I wanted readers of this blog to hear her story as well.
After the conference, I asked her if she minded if I asked her a few questions for readers and she was kind enough to answer a few questions for me. The rest of this post includes my questions and her answers.
Why did you decide to join the Mormon church rather than the church you were raised in?
A couple weeks ago I wrote about women holding the priesthood. The discussion turned from women holding the priesthood to a lively discussion on Heavenly Mother. Some of my Evangelical pastor friends who have followed my blog for a few years were shocked and appalled to learn that Mormons were openly discussing this. I think they kind of also felt a “bait and switch” because this is something they hadn’t heard of before in my writings, but more importantly isn’t mentioned in Mormon books they have such as: The Book of Mormon, A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, Doctrine and Covenants, etc.
The reaction of my friend reminded me of a similar experience I had while I was in Germany on a Mormon mission in the mid 1990s. As a missionary, you always are worried about what a member might say when you bring a potential convert to church with you. There are many strange things out there that prophets have done or said over the years that some members full heartedly believe. You invite people to visit church with the hopes that someone doesn’t say something “crazy” and scare them off.
On this particular day, it wasn’t a Mormon church member that scared our potential convert off, but a song called “O My Father“. Part of the song discusses that there is a Mother in Heaven. When my German friend read that verse he looked like someone had punched him in the gut as he turned and looked at me with a questioning look. Right after the service he ran out the door and we really never saw him again after that.
With this experience in mind, and the fact that the doctrine of a Heavenly Mother isn’t official LDS doctrine, I tried to explain that to my non-Mormon friends online.
Other LDS, or Mormon, friends who follow the blog jumped in and shared quite a few recent comments made by Mormon prophets and apostles who discuss us having Heavenly Parents. Even with all of the educating of the doctrine of having a Heavenly Mother, I have the feeling my Evangelical friends are still very uneasy with the concept.
Why Evangelicals are Shocked
I think there is an underlying reason why Evangelicals are shocked to learn of Mormons discussing having a Heavenly Mother, and that is the way Mormons view our relationship to who God is vs. how Evangelicals view our relationship to God.
In the book “How Wide the Divide?”, Stephen Robinson states the following about how Mormons view God:
Since Latter-day Saints take seriously and literally the scriptural language about becoming the children of God (Rom 8:16), it makes sense to us that the children will grow up to be like their Father. According to Scripture, God is the Fother of spirits (Heb 12:9). We are his offspring (Acts 17:29), and offspring grow up to be what their parents are…(How Wide the Divide, pg 80)
The Evangelical point of view of man’s relationship to God is described by Craig Blomberg in the same book as God being the “Creator” and man being the “creatures”. Therefore, God is like the sculptor who sculpts a statue. Although the statue is in the image of a human, the statue does not possess the traits of a human and is a completely different creature.
I believe that Mormons who feel we are the literal offspring of God have this in mind when they discuss having a Heavenly Mother. A very good example of this is the song I mentioned previously, “O My Father”. A portion of the song reads:
I had learned to call the Father, Through thy Spirit from on high,
But until the key of knowledge Was restored, I knew not why.
In the heavens are parents single? No, the thought makes reason stare!
Truth is reason, truth eternal tells me I’ve a mother there.
Mormons take the biblical scripture literally to mean that they are the offspring of God. With that thought in mind, many Mormons assume that it is logical that God has a wife (Heavenly Mother) who conceived our spirits. Evangelicals view man’s relationship with God much differently in the sense that God created us and formed us in His image, but we are not literal offspring of God.
If you are not a Mormon, what are your thoughts about the concept of a Heavenly Mother?
If you are a Mormon, why do you think there isn’t much discussion surrounding having a Heavenly Mother? Do you consider the concept of having a Heavenly Mother to be speculation, or do you consider it to be an official doctrine?
The conversation was interesting because there were some investigators (people considering joining the Mormon church) as well as some “seasoned” Mormons in attendance. When I asked questions about the importance of scripture, I noticed that most of the non-Mormons revered the Bible and most of the Mormons in the class acknowledged the Bible, but didn’t hold it as high as the Book of Mormon.
Mormons’ View of Scriptures
For those of you who are not as familiar with Mormons’ view of scriptures, I’ll briefly go over each scripture along with some quotes by LDS prophets on each.
If you ask a Mormon if they believe in the Bible the answer will always be “yes”. However, for most Mormons there is a little asterisk next to that yes because, according to Mormon belief:
We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly (see Articles of Faith 1:8)
Mormons believe that there was an apostasy after the original apostles died and over the years, parts of the Bible were removed, therefore the Bible is not the complete book that it once was.
In fact, the Book of Mormon has scriptures that discuss the “plain and precious truths” that were taken away from the Bible, thus making the Bible an incomplete book as to containing the whole Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Joseph Smith worked throughout his life on what he called the “inspired version” of the Bible, which includes additions to the King James Bible that he received through revelation. Although he never was able to complete the version, Mormons have the Joseph Smith Translation included in many of their scriptures (they do not claim this to be the official Bible, but have it to offer “insight”.)
I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book (Book of Mormon Introduction)
Many Mormon Apostles and Prophets have voiced of the importance of the Book of Mormon and even declare blessings that will come into ones’ life when studying the Book. The late prophet, Ezra Taft Benson said:
It is not just that the Book of Mormon teaches us truth, though it indeed does that. It is not just that the Book of Mormon bears testimony of Christ, though it indeed does that, too. But there is something more. There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book. You will find greater power to resist temptation. You will find the power to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path. The scriptures are called “the words of life” (D&C 84:85), and nowhere is that more true than it is of the Book of Mormon. When you begin to hunger and thirst after those words, you will find life in greater and greater abundance. (see talk: The Book of Mormon: Keystone of our Religion)
Since this talk was given by Ezra Taft Benson in 1986, I feel that many Mormons have focused heavily on reading the Book of Mormon above any other scripture, which is what I witnessed in the Sunday School class.
The Doctrine and Covenants (D&C) are revelations that were given to Mormon prophets (mostly Joseph Smith) dealing with various doctrines and organizational structure of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) that aren’t found in either the Bible or Book of Mormon in detail.
Some of the key revelations (in my opinion) include: how to receive answers to prayer, organizational structure of the Church, Priesthood defined and execution of callings within the priesthood, revelation on the Three degrees of glory (heaven), and The Word of Wisdom (no alcohol, coffee, etc.).
The Pearl of Great Price (PGP) has two books (Moses and Abraham) that Joseph Smith translated from papyri that was found. It contains more details on the first books of Genesis in the Bible.
Joseph Smith’s history is also included here. The history is mainly his account of his First Vision, or when God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him and told him to reestablish Jesus’ church.
In addition to these books, the PGP has the Articles of Faith (similar to a Creed), a revelation from a later prophet declaring it illegal to practice polygamy anymore, and a revelation extending the priesthood to black members.
One of the unique aspects of Mormonism is the claim that their church leaders are prophets, or mouthpieces, for the Lord. As such, most Mormons believe that the writings of the apostles and prophet found in Church publications such as the Ensign are to be considered scriptural.
Which Scripture is Most Important?
A case can be made for each scripture. For example, without the Bible, there wouldn’t be any of the other scriptures because Joseph Smith was led to pray for guidance from a scripture he read from the Bible.
On the other hand, Mormon prophets have declared the Book of Mormon the most important book…but if Mormons only had the Book of Mormon, they wouldn’t know exactly how to run the church and additional components to the faith such as the Word of Wisdom, eternal marriage, etc. wouldn’t exist.
Finally, I can see how some people would feel that Modern-day Prophets’ revelations trump all of the other scriptures (such as doing away with polygamy and using water instead of wine for communion).
Just for fun, I’ll close with a poll for you to rank what you feel is the most important scripture.