My missionary companion and I were talking to someone when we heard a voice calling to us. Shocked, we turned to see Roberto running toward us. We hadn’t seen him for several weeks; we had given him a Book of Mormon and tried to teach him more about the Church, but at first, it didn’t seem like he was very interested, and we didn’t want to push him if he wasn’t ready to hear more.
But on this day, he was bursting with excitement. He explained that he had been on the bus, had seen us on the street, and felt an impulse to get off the bus to talk to us.
What had changed?
He had read The Book of Mormon. Nephi [a Book of Mormon prophet] had become his hero. Reading that book opened his heart, and changed his life. Over the course of the next few weeks and months, he continued to learn more. Two and a half weeks before I left the country, he was baptized. He gave up his dream of being in the military in his country, and served a mission himself.
Nephi has become one of my heroes as well. During a particularly difficult time last year, I read The Book of Mormon with a very specific purpose in mind. I needed guidance and answers about the challenges I was facing. I was amazed to find insights on nearly every page. With a fine pencil, I made notes about the things I learned. I still benefit from those notes, and feel a great sense of wonder that words written so long ago could have such deep significance for me.
And how many times that has happened! So often, I go to scriptures I have read repeatedly throughout my life, and yet, I see and feel something new. The scriptures are a marvel to me.
[F]east upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.
One way this has been true in my life is not simply because of what the words on the page say, but also because of how feasting on — earnestly studying, pondering, and praying about — the word of God helps bring the Lord’s Spirit into my life. The more I make time for and open my heart to the word of God, the more I feel His love and personal guidance. The more I understand how to face the challenges of life. The more I understand the Savior and His atonement, and what I need to do to draw closer to Him and to Heavenly Father.
Elder Robert D. Hales, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve apostles, said this:
What a glorious blessing! For when we want to speak to God, we pray. And when we want Him to speak to us, we search the scriptures; for His words are spoken through His prophets. He will then teach us as we listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
Several years ago, I wanted to learn more about the temple. One night, I spent over an hour studying in the Bible Dictionary and in the Old Testament. And I had a significant a-ha experience that helped me understand more about the ancient roots of temple worship. God answered the desires of my heart through the power of the scriptures. Over the course of the next several weeks, I studied more and came to love the temple more through the power of the scriptures and the words of living prophets.
Today, I lay on my bed listening to talks from men whom we sustain to be living prophets and apostles. They speak to us twice a year in our General Conferences. As is often the case, I was listening to their counsel with specific questions and needs in mind. And I received specific guidance, anchors for the challenges I am currently facing. I simply can’t make it alone. I need God and His word to help me!
The examples of legion, from my life and from the lives of hundreds of people I know. I cannot adequately express the gratitude I have for the word of God. I know the scriptures are true. I know God speaks through prophets in our day as well. The words of prophets, both ancient and modern, are my lifeline. The power in their teachings is real. As I seek to follow their teachings, I find peace and perspective.
Once again, I share from Elder Hales:
If you have not heard His voice speaking to you lately, return with new eyes and new ears to the scriptures….
As with voices from the dust, the prophets of the Lord cry out to us on earth today: take hold of the scriptures! Cling to them, walk by them, live by them, rejoice in them, feast on them. Don’t nibble. They are “the power of God unto salvation” that lead us back to our Savior Jesus Christ.
And this, so that we may someday return to live with our Father in Heaven again.