Sunday, July 12, 2015

Some Thoughts on the Study of the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ

The testimony of the two witnesses of Christ, the Bible and the Book of Mormon, runs together. The flood of truth "shall grow together" "unto the laying down of contentions, and establishing peace" (2 Nephi 3:12). We do not take up Scripture to contend, for by Scripture comes the millennial peace.

Such rising scriptural convergence changes for all time the very nature of Scripture, even as it bursts open the sluices for yet "other books" to swell the tide. The Book of Mormon, in expression of its own witness, both signifies and clarifies the Bible and thus contains "the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ." That being so, can we ever truly separate, even in casual speech, what has so fruitfully grown together? 

See Doctrine and Covenants 20:9; Boyd K. Packer, "The Reason for Our Hope," Conference Report, October 2014; Neal A. Maxwell, "The Book of Mormon: A Great Answer to 'The Great Question,'" The Voice of My Servants: Apostolic Messages on Teaching, Learning, and Scripture, 221-38.

Hugh Nibley felt the Book of Mormon to run deeper even than Shakespeare: We should not be surprised at finding traces and echoes on every side. Conjuring up enemies and apostates on every side is a different matter; the waters of life will inevitably flow into the dry patches, "unto the confounding of false doctrines," if we will keep up with our reading and sharing (2 Nephi 3:12).

To find and to trace, and to listen well, is inevitably to write--and to write well. But I hope readers of the Book of Mormon will dust off scholasticism and a clinging Alexandrian staleness. I hope those who take up the Book of Mormon as their theme will be so caught up into the heavens that their words will ring with a high beauty. I hope writers will let endless geographies alone, let insincere critics alone, let entirely alone online debates (see Titus 3:9; 1 Timothy 1:4).

May we teach, not tilt.

Latter-day Saints, by the millions, give themselves to daily study. Such spirited and spiritual absorption among the general membership partakes of more intellectual horsepower and yields more insight than do the methods of the schools. And how sophomoric to label someone else's reading devotional and one's own, academic (2 Nephi 9:28)--how close to sophistry. There is no advanced Book of Mormon scholarship beyond the scope of child or teen. Even so, none of us can daily approach the Book of Mormon from every angle or, daily, multiply comment beyond measure. 
See Elder David A. Bednar, "Three Methods of Scripture Study," CES Fireside, 4 February 2007.

One method stands superior to the rest:

We must all discover the scriptures for ourselves. 

Then we must walk in their light.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.