“I have sent mine everlasting covenant into the world, to be a light to the world, and to be a standard for my people and for the Gentiles to seek to it, and to be a messenger before my face to prepare the way before me.” (Revelation given through Joseph Smith, Jr., March 7, 1831, at Kirtland, Ohio)
In the early days of the Restored Church the Book of Mormon was the “key to conversion.” Over and over again the early Saints testified of the power they felt as they heard about, saw, touched and handled the book. Often times the book itself was the messenger inviting the presence of the Holy Spirit to confirm its genuineness. When Abigail Leonard heard about the Book of Mormon, she and a group of friends with whom she had gathered asked for a manifestation “of the truth and divine origin of this book,” although they had not yet seen it. Having requested such a witness “by the gift and power of the Holy Ghost,” Abigail testified, “I immediately felt its presence. Then, when the Book of Mormoncame, we were ready to receive it and its truths. The brethren gathered at our house to read it, and such days of rejoicing and thanksgiving I never saw before nor since.” Abigail Leonard was baptized in August of 1831. (Tullidge, Women of Mormondom, 162-63)
In 1835 Hyrum Smith and David Whitmer, missionaries of the Church of the Latter Day Saints visited the Huntington home. When Zina Huntington, in her early teens, returned from school one day she found the Book of Mormon on the windowsill of the family’s sitting room. As she picked it up, she felt the “influence of the Holy Spirit” and pressed the book to her bosom, whispering, “This is the truth, truth, truth!” (Zina D. H. Young, “How I Gained My Testimony of the Truth,” Young Woman’s Journal 4 (April 1893): 318)
Both of these sisters become women of stature within the Restoration, experiencing the gifts of the Spirit, through healing, prophecy and tongues. Their spiritual stature was built upon the foundation of the message revealed in the pages of the Book of Mormon.
This book was the engine designed by God to drive the latter–day work and it is still our primary missionary tool today. Let us boldly share and testify of this book, trusting that the Holy Spirit will bear witness of its truthfulness as we move out in faith. May we come to feel the joy and faith of the first generation converts, realizing once again how the demonstration of the Holy Spirit is directly tied to the sharing of this book and the assurances vouchsafed within its pages. The book is the fulcrum upon which the latter–day work balances and will be used by God to unite His Saints, gather Israel to Christ, to His doctrine and to the lands of their inheritances as He moves to complete the Marvelous Work and a Wonder!
“And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; And if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost; and by the power of the Holy Ghost, ye may know the truth of all things.” (Moroni 10:4-5)