Rank #1: The Story About "HOW" We Got The Book Of Mormon
How it went from Gold Plates to the Book of Mormon
Hey everyone, this is Russell. I want to welcome you guys back to the Book of Mormon Challenge podcast. I am super excited for today’s episode. I apologize to those who have been waiting. It has taken a while. It’s interesting how when you try to move forward on important things like this how many things get in the way.
So today, I got my kids ready for school, I woke up early this morning to get all the outlines prepared, got up, got my kids out the door to school, and then now I’m back in here recording this before I’m allowing myself to go into the office and get started on my day, to make sure you guys have it. Because I keep wanting to dive into 1 Nephi Chapter 1, I’ve got the entire episode all prepared and ready, and there’s so much exciting stuff I want to share with you. But I felt like there was a preamble, something I needed to give and share with you before that. And it’s the story of how we actually got the Book of Mormon.
I’m sitting here in my office, and I have as you know, one of the original 5000 books that was printed here. And I’m not so much going to go into how the book was printed and published and things like that, that’s not the purpose of the podcast. But how did we actually get it?
Every time I share anything with my friends who aren’t members of the church, they are confused, “So what is this? A new Bible? A new translation?” And not matter how many times I explain it they always get confused. So I want to kind of go through the details of the story and it’s one of the most amazing, insane, cool stories in the history of the world, yet nobody seems to talk about it very much. So I wanted to share it because I think it’s important. And my goal, in fact, my entire goal of this podcast, I think I’ve told you. There’s a couple of reasons, one is to get me to really get back into studying and learning and trying to find out the most amazing things from the Book of Mormon. But number two is to get you excited about the Book of Mormon.
It’s not so much me telling you my commentary on the Book of Mormon, that’s not my goal. My goal is to talk about it in a way that gets you so excited after you hear the episode that you have to go and open it, you have to read the next chapter or the next verse. If I can do that, then I’ve done my job correctly. So I figure the best thing I can do today is get you so excited that if you haven’t got the Book of Mormon yet, you’re like, “Alright I’m going to go and just buy one, I’m going to go order it online.” Whatever you need to do, you’re going to get one and so you’ll actually open it and start reading it.
So that’s my goal today, just to get you pumped by….because the back story about how it came to be because it really is fascinating. And hopefully you’ve listened to some of the earlier episodes, I talk about the history and all those kind of things. If not, please go back to the very beginning. I’m trying to, all these episodes kind of build on each other. So make sure you’re listening to them as you go.
But this story is really, really cool. If you listened to a couple of episodes ago, I talked about Joseph Smith and his first vision. So if you remember that, I’ll kind of recap it really quickly. As a 14 year old kid he was confused and trying to figure out which church to join, and he went and he prayed and had a vision where Heavenly Father and Jesus came to him and said, “Don’t join any of the churches.” And he was like, “What? I never even considered that.” And they’re like, “Yeah, don’t join any church. None of them are here and you’re going to be an instrument to help bring back my true church here on the earth.”
So he has this vision and he goes and tells his family about it, tells other people and he thinks that everyone is going to be excited to hear that Heavenly Father and Jesus came to him, and what actually happened was the opposite. He was lucky to have his family and people close to him believe him, but most of the people in the community didn’t. And he was persecuted really heavily. He was, his family was, and it was a really, really difficult time for the next few years.
If you can imagine as a young boy having this vision and then not hearing from Heavenly Father again, you’re like, “What happened? Did I do something wrong?” You know, what’s the next step? So that’s kind of where this part of the story picks up. It’s Joseph Smith wondering that same thing, what’s the next step?
So most of this podcast is going to be coming from two different things. One is Joseph Smith History. I went through the history and found some really cool parts of the story to tell. And the second one is a talk given by President Russell M. Nelson, who is the living prophet of the church today. This is a talk he gave called A Treasured Testament. He gave it a long time ago, I don’t know, 1992. So a long time ago, but it kind of tells the back story and shares some of the amazing insights, some amazing quoting of stuff from that as well.
The goal of both of these things is to get you so excited to open up the book and start reading with me because the next episode we are going 1 Nephi Chapter 1, and we’re finally going to be diving in.
So what happened, in Joseph Smith History he was talking about how there had been a space of time between the first vision and he was trying to figure out what to do. And he said during that time, you know he was a young boy. He was a teenager, and as most teenagers, I’ve got two boys, twin boys who are going to become teenagers here in about two months or three months from now. And he started just doing what teenagers do and he said, “I frequently fell into many foolish errors and displayed the weaknesses of youth and foibles of human nature. I’m sorry to say it lead me to diverse temptations offensive in the sight of God. But in making this confession, no one needs to suppose me guilty of any great or malignant sins, a disposition to commit such was never in my nature, but I was guilty of levity and sometimes associating with jovial company, etc. Not consistent with the character of which ought to maintained by one who was called of God, as I had been.”
So can you imagine that? You’re a young kid and you see Heavenly Father, you see Jesus, but then you’re a teenager and you’re doing stupid stuff and whatever, but always having that guilt of, I should be better. I know better than this. But continually falling back on those ways. And I don’t know about you, but I have those things all the time, where I feel like our Heavenly Father has blessed me so, so greatly, yet I do stupid things. I’m like, “Why am I doing this? I should be better than that.”
And I think he felt the same way, obviously. He goes on and said, “I often felt condemned for my weaknesses and imperfections.” So that’s kind of how he felt going into this. So it’d been I think 3 or 4 years after the first vision and he was like, “Alright, I need to find out where I fit with God.” And hopefully all of us have this conversation. It’s a scary one, it’s one that sometimes I don’t think any of us really want to go ask because you might find out and that can be kind of scary.
But Joseph Smith thought, I’m going to find out what God thinks. Am I doing okay? Where am I at with him? So he goes on to say, “I betook myself to prayer and supplication to the Almighty God for forgiveness of all my sins and my follies. And also for a manifestation to me that I might know of my state and standing before him.”
Can you imagine going to Heavenly Father like, “Okay, so I need to know my state and my standing. How am I doing? Am I doing good, am I doing bad?” something that I’m sure we’re all super curious about, but man, that’s a scary thing. What if he told you? What if he was like, “Man, you’re doing a horrible job Russell.”? But he did that.
But first, he asked for forgiveness of his sins, “I know I’ve not been doing what you, I haven’t been living up to what I believe what you want me to be, so I’m asking for forgiveness. And then I want to know my standing. How am I doing? What should I be doing? You came to me, what now? Obviously you don’t come to everyone, what was the purpose, and what should I be doing?”
He goes on to say, “I want to know of my state and standing before him, for I had a full confidence in obtaining a divine manifestation as I’d previously had one.” Can you imagine, he’s like, “I’ve had a vision before, I’m probably going to have one again.” He just believed it that much. I think most of us, we forget of the miracles we’ve had in our life and we just kind of pass them off, whereas he was like, “You know I had a miracle last time, he came and visited me. I think he’s going to visit me again. Let’s go pray.”
And he did that, which is such a cool thing. So much faith, I wish I had that faith like that. So he went in there and asked for forgiveness of his sins, he prayed to know his state before God and what happened next is amazing. What happened next is an angel came and appeared to him in his room. And the angel’s name was Moroni.
So those of you guys who don’t know who Moroni is yet, you know obviously the word Mormon from the Book of Mormon. So Mormon was the last prophet, one of the last prophets in the Book of Mormon and he had a son named Moroni. Moroni was the last one who was kind of writing all the history and he was the last righteous person in the land at the time, so he had been entrusted with these Gold Plates. These are metal pages that they had been etching in their history for 600 years of what was happening with them and with God, it was their journals.
So he had all of these, they called them Gold Plates, where they were metal pages and they all had all these things etched in them. So Moroni had these and before he died he went and buried them in a hill so that nobody could find them. But they were a history of his people. So that’s kind of who Moroni was.
So he’s sitting there in bed praying to find out his standing before God and all the sudden this angel appears to him. And the angel’s name was Moroni and Moroni started talking to him. And the first thing Moroni tells him is, “Hey, just so you know Joseph Smith, my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindred’s and tongues, where there should be both good and evil spoken among all people.”
So you imagine that, an angel comes and just so you know, if you start on this mission, your name is going to be used for good and evil. So people who love you are going to think that you are the greatest thing in the world, and the rest of the world is going to hate you and think you’re an evil, horrible person.
Can you imagine stepping into your mission, you know at this time he was, I don’t know how old he was at the time, but still a teenager, maybe 18-19 years old or something like that. And say, just so you know if you decide to go on this mission, your mission should you choose to accept it is this thing and your name is going to be used for both good and evil.
So then he goes on and says, “Okay, there was a book deposited, written on gold plates, giving the account of the former inhabitants of this continent and the source from whence they sprang.” He also said, “That the fullness of the everlasting gospel is contained in it, as delivered by the savior to the ancient inhabitants.”
So he said, there’s these gold plates that I buried up in the mountain. He said that on these’s plates are record of the ancient Indians, the people who used to live here in America. And it talks about when the savior came to them. He said that, “I buried these in the mountain and I also, because I know that you don’t know how to speak the language that we wrote in, there are also two stones and silver bows, and these stones fastened to the breast plate constitute what are called the Urim and Thummim.” And he says, “The Urim and Thummin are what were called seer stones, these stones are what would constitute seers in ancient or former times, and that God had prepared them for the purpose of translating this book.”
So he didn’t know what these were, but he said, “There’s these seer stones, if you look through them you’ll be able to translate the Book of Mormon, they’re also buried in the mountain.” And he kind of explained the whole thing. So I’m sure Joseph Smith is like, “Oh my gosh, this is so cool. There’s these buried gold plates in a mountain and there’s these seer stones. If I look through the stones I can translate this ancient language.” This is, I don’t know about you, but this is better than any movie in the history of the world.
So the angel’s telling him this stuff, then after that the angel starts quoting him scriptures. So he’s quoting him scriptures from Isaiah and Malachi and all these things. So he’s quoting these scriptures and he quotes the scripture and he says, ‘This is about to be fulfilled.” And he quotes another scripture and says, “This is about to be fulfilled.” And he quotes another one and says, “This is not yet fulfilled, but it’s soon going to be.”
So the angel is like telling him, all these things these ancient prophets wrote about, like Isaiah, all these people, they testified that in the coming days, in the future, these things are going to happen. He’s like, all those things are being fulfilled right now. You are the literal fulfillment of all these prophecies of all the prophets up until this point.
Can you imagine being this kid, sitting here thinking I’ve read Isaiah, I’ve read these people, I’ve read these words and what they were talking about was happening. I’m experiencing this right now. Can you imagine that? Imagine yourself as a kid going through this.
So he goes through the things, he shares all these things, and at the end of it, then the angel leaves. So Joseph is sitting here in bed going, “What in the world just happened? An angel visited me, told me about these gold plates, these really cool Urim and Thummim, seer stones, I’ll be able to translate this book. Then he started telling me all these, quoting these scriptures and telling me that all this stuff is actually happening right now and it’s coming true. And he’s telling all this stuff….”
And as he’s thinking about it, pondering and meditating about it, all the sudden the light comes back in the room and the angel appears again. So the angel appears a second time and then tells him the exact same thing. And he’s like, “What in the world?” So he tells him the exact same thing as the first time. So he’s like, okay I get it. He listened to the whole thing, and the second time the angel added something, he said he informed him, “There’s going to be great judgments which are coming upon the earth and great desolations by famine, sword and pestilence and these grievous judgments should come upon the earth in this generation.” So he said that and then he left again.
So the first time he comes and tells the story and leaves. The second time he comes again and tells the entire story again and then he’s like, “Oh by the way, in the very near future the whole world is going to be roght with desolations, famine, sword, pestilences and the grievous judgments are coming upon the earth because this is a wicked time and a wicked place we live in.” and then he leaves.
Can you imagine, Joseph Smith is probably like, “What? An angel came to me twice. You just told me again that all the fulfillment of all these prophecies are happening…” and he’s sitting there thinking about it, and guess what happened? The same messenger came a third time. He said he gave him the exact same message again, but this time he added a caution, and this is what he said, “The same messenger at my bedside and I heard him rehearse or repeat over again to me the same things as before, and this time he added a caution to me telling me that Satan would try to tempt me in consequences of my indignant circumstances in my father’s family.” Because Joseph Smith’s family was really poor at the time, “To get the plates for the purpose of being rich. This he forbade me saying I must have no other object in view of getting the plates but to glorify God, and must not be influenced by any other motive than that of building the kingdom. Otherwise, I would not get them.”
So he comes back and tells the whole thing and says, “Oh by the way, these gold plates are worth a ton of money and just so you know, you are going to be tempted like crazy from Satan to sell these things because you are poor and you are broke and if you try to use that for any purpose like that, if you even think about it, you’re not going to get them.” In fact, in another spot he actually says, “You’ll be destroyed if you try to use them for anything else.”
Can you imagine this angel telling you, just be good or you’re going to be destroyed. I don’t know about you, but that would scare me a lot. So he gets the warning, be careful what you do with these because it really, really matters.
So then the angel leaves again, and that’s when it ends. So now he’s sitting there, and he’s laying there in bed and all the sudden the sun starts coming up and he realizes, “I’ve been talking to this angel the entire night.” So he gets up and he’s like, “I gotta go to work in the farm.” So he runs out, starts working in the farm and he’s super tired, he hasn’t slept all night and his dad notices how tired he is and says, “Go back home, go take a nap, go get some sleep.”
So he’s walking back to the house and he’s jumping over this fence as he’s going back to the house and he passes out, literally falls on the floor and just goes unconscious. And a few minutes later he wakes up, and guess who he sees when he wakes up? The same angel again. And the angel tells him the same message again. The entire message. Then after he tells him the message, then he’s like, “Go tell your dad what I just told you.” I wonder if he was just like, “Dude, I spent the entire night with you. Why wouldn’t you have told your parents about this?”
So he tells him the whole message again and says, “Go tell your father.” So Joseph Smith gets back up, walks over to his dad and is like, “Alright dad, this is what happened, a messenger came…” and tells him the whole thing and his dad, and this is so telling of the relationship this father and son had, his father told him, “This is from God. You need to go do exactly what the angel told you to do.”
So the angel had told him in the vision exactly where the gold plates were at, and they were in a hill called Hill Cumorah, which happened to be right by his house. I wish I had time, I wish I had enough time to have researched this ahead of time, I wanted to but I just ran out of time and I wanted to get this episode out. But it’s interesting, all the things the lord had to do to get Joseph Smith to end up in Palmyra, New York next to the Hill Cumorah.
His family wasn’t born there, he wasn’t raised there, they were born somewhere else. And there were all sorts of insane things. There was a volcano that erupted that made their family crops die, which made them go bankrupt, which made them move their farm three or four times to eventually get to this spot hundreds of miles, I don’t know how far away, hundreds of miles away from where they were born and raised to this farm that happened to be next to the exact same spot where angel Moroni, where Moroni before he was an angel, where Moroni had buried these plates.
So the lord had moved their family and shoved them to this spot, boom, so they were in the right spot to be able to go and get those plates. So Joseph Smith knew where, he’d seen the vision of exactly where it was at, so he walked over to the Hill Cumorah and found the spot where those plates were at and let’s see if I can find where it says….its talking about the Hill Cumorah, he said, “On the west side of this hill, not far from the top under a stone of considerable size, lay the plates deposited in a stone box. The stone was thick and rounding in the middle and on the upper sides, and thinner towards the edges so that the middle part of it was visible above the ground, but the edges all around were covered with earth.”
So imagine this, Joseph finds this spot and he’s like, “This is it, this is the spot.” And then he started digging it out. So it says, “Having removed the earth, I obtained a lever which I got fixed under the edge of the stone, and with a little exertion I raised it up, I looked in and there indeed I beheld the plates and the Urim and Thummim, and the breast plate, as stated by the messenger. The box in which they lay was formed by laying stones together in some kind of cement. In the bottom of the box lay two stones cross ways over the box and on these stones lay the plates and the other things with them.”
Can you imagine that? You have these visions and then you go and you find this rock, you move the rock and then boom, in there, just like the angel had said, there are these gold plates, and there’s the Urim and Thummim to translate, everything is there. I can’t even imagine, as a teenaged kid, can you imagine find that? That’s like the greatest treasure in the world.
So the first thing he does when he sees it, is start grabbing it to pull it out. That’s the first thing I would do, I need to touch it. And he started to grab it and he said, “I made an attempt to take them out, but was forbidden by the messenger and was again informed that the time for bringing them forth had not yet arrived, and neither would it until four years from that time. But he told me I should come to that place in precisely one year from that time, and that he would there meet with me, and that I should continue to do so until the time should come for obtaining the plates.”
So he’s like, “don’t touch these plates, you’re not allowed to.” And he’s like, “Ah, but I want the gold. This is so cool.” And the angel’s like, “Don’t touch it. You gotta come back next year.” So he goes on to say, “Accordingly, as I had been commanded, I went at the end of each year and at each time I found the same messenger there and received instructions and intelligences from him at each of our interviews, respecting what the lord was going to do and how in what manner his kingdom was to be conducted in the last days.”
So every year for four years he goes back, the angel talks to him again, sends him away. He comes back and keeps doing this for four more years. So for four years he gets to learn about him, see him. I’m sure, can you imagine how much curiosity he’d have, “What is on these things. I want to read them so bad.”
Okay, then fast forward a little bit later, after four years, he says, “The length of time had arrived for obtaining the plates and the Urim and Thummim and the breast plates on the 22nd day of September 1827, having gone as usual at the end of another year, to the place where they were deposited. The same heavenly messenger delivered them unto me with this charge, that I should be responsible for them, that if I should let them go carelessly or through any neglect of mine that I should be cut off. But if I would use all my endeavors to preserve them until he, the messenger, should call for them, that I should be protected.”
So I’m going to trust you with these gold plates, but if you lose or you neglect them you will be cut off. I don’t know exactly what cut off means, but it does not sound like very much fun. So he finally gets the gold plates and the chance to take them, and there’s rumors. Because he’s been talking about this, he’s told people an angel came to him, there’s gold plates, he told people about it and people didn’t believe him. But they thought, “Well, if he does have gold plates then we want them.” And the persecutions that came from that point forward were insane, people trying to steal them and trying to murder him.
There are so many stories that I just don’t have time to tell you guys today, but it’s crazy. But I do want to share a little bit about the translation process, because this is the coolest part. This is why this book, again I’m holding in my hand right now, one of the original 5000, why this book is so exciting.
Because imagine this, if somebody told you there was this book that was inscribed upon golden plates that the ancient American’s told their stories, their dealings with God, the talked about God, when Christ came to them, and the entire history of their life, and if you read this book you’ll understand Jesus, and Christ and salvation better than anything else on earth. And it’s all on these gold plates. And to be able to read it you have to translate, and there were these little seer stones that you look through and as you look through them you’ll see the character and it will tell you what the actual word needs to be and be able to find out and decode this book and find out what it is.
If someone told me that, I’d be like, “I have to read this book. This sounds like the most exciting, interesting, fascinating story in the history of world.” And it is, yet hardly anybody in the world knows about it. That’s what us, as Mormons are always talking about. “If you understood what’s in this book you would go crazy. If you knew what was here, if you realized what we had to go through to get this.” Imagine Joseph Smith going back for four years and seeing these gold plates and wondering what in the world is on there. These have been protected for thousands of years from the world and now today they are, the lord is telling me let’s bring these out. Aren’t you curious what’s on there?
Aren’t you curious, all the revelations, all the prophecies of Isaiah and Malachi, all these prophecies where the angel came back and said, “Look, this is the literal fulfillment of that prophecy. Isaiah was talking about this moment right here.” Aren’t you curious what he’s talking about? What’s actually inside the book? I don’t know how you couldn’t be curious. It drives me wild when people are like, “Oh, well I’m not going to read it.” It doesn’t make any logical sense to me whatsoever, even just out of raw curiosity. What in the world could possibly be in here?
Especially when you have people like me where it’s literally changed their life. If you look at, I can’t even tell you happiness…everything…if you know me and follow me and wonder, “Man, why is Russell so happy?” This is the foundation of why. So I don’t know how much more of an endorsement I can give than that. This will bring you more peace, security, happiness….I don’t even know how…it’s everything I’m saying and a whole much more. It’s insane.
So I’m hopefully getting you excited to like, “What was on those gold plates?” Aren’t you curious?
With that said, I’m going to jump over to this talk from President Russell M. Nelson that he gave back in 1992 because there are some quotes I’m going to share from this. So I’m going to read some parts because it’s going to explain how the translation part worked. Because if you think about this, Joseph Smith was a young boy, he had no formal education, he could barely read, and he had in a very, very short period of time, and I’ll explain that here in a second, had to take these gold plates that were written in some ancient language that most people didn’t even know at the time, and he had to translate them into English, and he did the whole thing in less than three months.
So how is that even possible? Now me, as an author I’ve written two books, those who know me, I’m writing book number three right now, just for me to write a book, it takes me four or five years of research, one year of actual writing, and my books aren’t even that good compared to this. This book is weaving out 600 years of history from multiple different civilizations, inside the book there’s all sorts of proof elements.
One of the things in here is an ancient type of Hebrew poetry called Chiasmus, I’m probably going to pronounce it wrong, chiasmus, which is this really cool ancient type of poetry that we didn’t even find out about until well after the Book of Mormon was published and then scholars found out about this thing. You go back to the Book of Mormon, the entire book is laced with this amazing poetry where sometimes it’s within four or five versus, sometimes its wrapped within 20 or 30 chapters to be able to see the whole hierarchy of this poetry that’s been built into the book. All these things that there’s no way that Joseph Smith or any human could have done that, unless they lived at that time, actually doing it.
Anyway, there’s so many proof elements, but none of those matter. My goal, again is not to get you to prove any of this, other than to read it and pray and ask God, because he’ll tell you. But just to get you excited and intrigued. Alright I’m going to jump into this talk.
So the first thing that Russell M. Nelson said, he said, “I’m intrigued that Joseph Smith, an unschooled young man in rural America could have translated this Semitic language mix into the English language. The unlikely scenario relates to Isaiah’s remarkable prophecy. In Isaiah Chapter 29, Verse 14 he said, ‘I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, even a marvelous work and wonder.’
This, the becoming forth of the Book of Mormon, the restoration of the church, this is the marvelous work and wonder that Isaiah was prophesying about, that the angel Moroni came back and said, “Look…remember Isaiah was talking about a marvelous work and wonder that’s going to happen in the last days, this is it. It begins today.”
Can you imagine that? I’m going to go on and keep reading this. It says, “Truly this latter day work is precisely that. Think of the short time that Joseph Smith took to translate the Book of Mormon. Working from April to June of 1828, Joseph translated the first 116 pages that Martin Harris later lost.”
So kind of the back story, and I’m going to actually share this story when we get a little deeper in the Book of Mormon, there’s a huge miracle around it. But they translated the first 116 pages, it was called the Book of Lehi. And when you read the Book of Mormon you’ll notice there’s not Book of Lehi. Where’d the Book of Lehi go? And Lehi was the father of Nephi. So they translated the first 116 pages and Martin Harris got all excited and begged to be able to show his family so they could justify all the money, time and effort he’s spent on this. And Joseph Smith went and asked the Lord, said, ‘Hey can Martin Harris show his family these pages?” and the lord said no.
And then Joseph Smith told Martin Harris, Martin Harris was like, “Please.” And they went back and forth and kept fighting and praying and finally the Lord is like, “Fine, go do it.” So he did and he lost the pages. So they were going to start retranslating and the Lord’s like, “No, no, no. I told you not to give it to him, you did, you sinned, you are losing the power to translate for a season.”
So he took away his ability to even translate for a while, then they started retranslating it and said, “Look, we’re not going to re-translate that because if you do, Satan will use that as a tool to get people to not believe in this work. So instead you’re going to start on this other book,” that was kind of an afterthought, that was called the Book of Nephi, and again, I’ll tell you that story when we get to the Book of Nephi. It’s a similar story, but it’s written by Nephi, Lehi’s son.
So the first 116 pages are lost and we’ll never, we never have had a chance to see those unfortunately. So that was the first translation, then they started over and it said, “Joseph began translating again on Tuesday, April 7,1829 with Oliver Cowdery as his scribe. The manuscript was completed eighty-five days later, on June 30 of that year.”
So 85 days, they translated the entire Book of Mormon. I don’t know about you, but it’s taken me more than 85 days just to read it, let alone translating it from an ancient language.
“Of course, not all of that time was spent working on the translation. The prophet and his scribes all took time to eat, to sleep, to seek employment, to receive the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods, to make at least one and possibly two trips to Colesville, 30 miles away….” Which again, they didn’t have cars back then, so 30 miles is like 500 miles now days. “…to receive and record 13 other revelations that are now sections of the Doctrine and Covenants, to move from Harmony to Fayette, to acquire the Book of Mormon copyright, and to begin making arrangement for the publication of the Book of Mormon. Conservatively estimated that left 65 or fewer working days on which the prophet and his scribes translated this book, which contains 531 pages in its current edition.”
Alright that’s 8 pages per day. “Consider that when you translate a book from another language or as you try to read at your own schedule of the Book of Mormon.”
It said, “Oliver Cowdery testified a few days later, ‘these days were never to be forgotten. To sit under the sound of a voice dictated by the inspiration of heaven, awakened with the utmost gratitude of this bosom.”
Can you imagine that, sitting there as Joseph Smith is translating this book by the gift and power of God? He said, “Those were days never to be forgotten. To sit under the sound of a voice dictated by the inspiration of heaven.” So cool.
It said, “Day after day I continued, uninterrupted to write from his mouth as he translated the history of a record called the Book of Mormon.” He goes on to say, “The details of this miraculous method of translation are still not fully known, yet we do have few precious insights. David Whitmer wrote: ‘Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light, and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear and on that appeared the writing. One character at a time would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principle scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to Brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear and another character with the interpretation would appear. Thus the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power man.’
Can you imagine that, he just got the gold plates, they’re in this hat or something, and then he pulls it up so there’s not light shining in there and he’s got this stone and he looks down and he looks at the character, which is like, imagine ancient reformed Egyptian, right, a little thing. And he puts the seer stone over it, and below the seer stone it’s like, “This is what that word or that phrase means.” He would say the word, he’d write it down, and it would disappear and he’d go to the next word.
I can’t even imagine how cool this is. This is better than if you guys watch those movies like National Treasure or something, where they’re trying to decipher the secret message from the founding fathers. This is secret messages from God. This is secret messages from his prophets on ancient America, aren’t you curious what he said? I hope you are.
Alright, let me come back in here. So Emma Smith, this is Joseph’s wife, it says, “Emma Smith, who acted as an earlier scribe for Joseph gave this account in 1856: ‘When my husband was translating the Book of Mormon, I wrote a part of it, as he dictated each sentence, word for word, and when he came to proper names he could not pronounce, or long words he spelled them out, and while I was writing them, if I made any mistake in spelling, he would stop me and correct my spelling, although it was impossible for him to see how I was writing them down at the time. Even the word Sarah he could not pronounce at first, but had to spell it out and Ij would pronounce it for him.
‘When he stopped for any purpose at any time he would, when he commenced again, begin where he left off wiout any hesitation, and one time while he was translating he stopped suddenly, pale as a sheet, and said, ‘Emma, did Jerusalem have walls around it?’ when I answered yes he replied, ‘Oh I didn’t know, I was afraid I had been deceived.’ He had such a limited knowledge of history at that time that he did not even know that Jerusalem was surrounded by walls.”
I got chills just sharing that. Can you imagine, he’s reading stuff and sharing it and he’s discovering it as we’re discovering it and we’re reading it. He’s asking Emma is that actually true? That is so cool. It says, “On another occasion Emma recorded: ‘The plates often lay on the table without any attempt at concealment, wrapped in a small linen tablecloth which I had given him to fold them in. I once felt of the plates as they thus lay on the table, tracing their outline and shape. They seemed to be pliable like thick paper, and would rustle with a metallic sound when the edges were moved by the thumb, as one does sometimes thumb the edges of a book.”
“Although the prophet would polish his skills over the years, Emma acknowledged that Joseph possessed only rudimentary literacy at the time he translated the gold plates.” This is coming from his wife, who loves him. I can imagine most husband’s spouses are willing to tell the true story about who the person actually is. So this is what Emma said about Joseph’s ability to actually do something like this.
She said, “Joseph Smith could neither write nor dictate a coherent and well-worded letter, let alone dictating a book like the Book of Mormon. And though I was an active participant in the scenes that transpired, it is marvelous to a me, a marvel and a wonder, as much so as to anyone else.”
So his wife is like, there’s no way he wrote this book. I love him but he’s not that smart. He couldn’t even dictate a coherent or well-worded letter. So it’s just, it’s fascinating. So as you go on here, that kind of gives you kind of a glimpse of what happened as they translated this book.
And then the story afterwards, again, I could spend 20 podcasts just pre-setting up the book, but I want to get into the book. But after that they had it translated right, so it was written out and then they had to go and there is a whole story about how they got EB Grandin to actually print this book that I’m holding in my hands right now. They went and had to get it typed so they had to get the money for it. If you look back in the day, they didn’t have type writers or printers, they had to get every letter, letter by letter, THE, print it out and stamp ink on it, and they’d stamp that onto a piece of paper and cut the bindings, sew it together.
So when I look at this book and I open it up and I look at the ink and how it’s so hard to read in some areas and I look at the bindings how they’re hand sewn together. I look at the sacrifice that went into this, but not just that. The translation that happened prior to it, and then to get this book and all the people trying to steal the gold plates from him and eventually, the angel took the gold plates back.
And then they get the book, get it printed, get it out there, and then they thought, “Man, everyone in the world is going to freak out when they see this. They’re going to be so excited. Can you imagine the miracles that happened for us to get this thing.” And they gave it out to the world initially, as you know, the world didn’t just runningly accept it. People did, but not everybody. And to this day it’s still, Satan fights against it so hard because he doesn’t want it to get into people’s hands.
But as you read the Book of Mormon, in this talk he shares like 30 different amazing things about the Book of Mormon, but there’s one that I want to stress because it’s the key. I think that the biggest tragedy to me is that Christians who are great Christian people who are scared to read it or don’t want to read it, or whatever it might be, and we’ll get more into those reasons as we dive into the book, but I want all my Christian brothers and sisters to feel comfortable with this.
So this is one thing that President Nelson talked about, he said, “The Book of Mormon reveals that Jesus of Nazareth, born of Mary is literally the son of God. No book of scripture bares more solemnly the weighty burden of that testimony than does the Book of Mormon. It’s pages contain nearly 4000 references to Christ using more than 100 different titles for him. His holy name is mentioned on the average of once every 2.8 verses. No wonder this book has been designated another testament of Jesus Christ.”
So anyone who’s scared like, “This is going to take away from the Bible. Or this is going to take away from Christ.” Or whatever, no. This is another testament of Christ. The whole purpose, the whole focus of this book is to get people to believe in Christ, to get them to turn their heart to Christ. It is the most amazing proof we have that our savior came to this earth, that he died, and he was resurrected again.
I promise you that if you read it and you ponder about, and you pray about it, you don’t have to take my word for it, you don’t have to take anyone’s word for it. But if you pray, if you read and you pray about it, our Heavenly Father will tell you it’s true.
I had an interesting talk yesterday with one of my friends and he said that there was someone who lives by us, who as a young boy became a member of the church and got baptized and then left. He hasn’t been back to church for, I don’t know 50-60 years. And he was going and he was trying to get him to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it and find out what he once knew. So finally the guy said, “I commit, I will read the Book of Mormon and I’ll pray about it.” And he’s like, “Cool.”
So he came back a week later and said, “How’d it go?” and he’s like, “Well, I spent 3 hours online researching the Book of Mormon and I didn’t feel good.” And he said, “Well of course you didn’t. What were you reading about it.” And he kind of told him, and he’s like, “you’re reading people who hate the church, who hate the Book of Mormon. How do you think you’re going to feel.” And he’s like, “I didn’t feel good about it.” And he said, “How about this, I want you to take a different challenge. This time spend 3 hours actually reading the Book of Mormon and then tell me how you feel.”
That’s the test. When you read the book you will feel the Lord’s spirit, you will feel the Holy Ghost, you will feel the feelings of God because this book is from him. Don’t read about the book, that’s my one fear of this podcast , you’re going to listen to me talk about the book and then you’re going to base your judgments based on that. Please don’t.
My only goal of this podcast is to get you so excited that you go and you open the book and you read it. And if you read it you will feel that, I promise you that. You’ll read it and you’ll feel it and then pray about it and ask God if it’s true. Don’t take my word for it, don’t take anyone’s word for it because that’s not the goal. The goal is not to convince you of anything, the goal is for you to read it, to feel it and then to pray and ask God.
And then if you do, it’ll change your life. I promise you that. It’s changed my life, it’s changed millions of other people’s lives around the world and it’ll change yours as well.
Alright to end, I want to end actually reading part of, the ending part of this talk from President Nelson and then I want to share my testimony as well. But I thought he did such a good job kind of summing this up. He said, “It is a book that the Lord Jesus Christ has personally testified to be true. In the form of an oath, the Lord said, referring to the Prophet Joseph Smith’s work, ‘He has translated the book, even that part which I have commanded him, and as your Lord and your God liveth it is true.’
So that was in Doctrine and Covenants section 17 verse 6 where Jesus Christ himself testified that the Book of Mormon is true. He said, “you know well that this promise that the Lord offers to the readers of the Book of Mormon. If you do these last commandments of mine, which I have given you, the gates of hell shall not prevail against you, for my grace is sufficient for you, and you shall be lifted up at the last day.
“The Prophet Joseph Smith declared and his successor, President Ezra Taft Benson, has reaffirmed that at the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion. It is a treasured testament of truth. It is the prophesied sign that the Lord has commenced to gather Israel and fulfill his covenants. “
So I just want to testify to you, just like the angel did when he told Joseph Smith when he came three times in the night and again the next day, and then every year for the next four years. He said that all of the prophecies from the old testament, all of the things that Isaiah and all these prophets wrote about, that were going to happen in the last days, they’re happening. It’s happening all around you.
And Satan’s going to deceive you and try to get you blind to it by keeping you busy and I feel this in my life every single day. There’s so many things that are happening. So many things fighting for our time, good things that are fighting for our time, it’s hard to keep our eyes open enough to look for the truth. But it’s there, it’s right in front of our eyes. It’s been restored.
There was a boy who was humble enough and worthy enough to pray and get Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ to come to him. He then, through the gift and power of God was able to go and find these Gold plates, this old record of people who lived here on the ancient American Continent. People who actually had a chance to see Christ and feel the wounds in his hands and his feet and put all those things in their record.
He was able to translate them by the gift and the power of God. They weren’t translated 10, 50, 100 times by tons of different people. It was translated once. So this book in my hands that I’m holding today is the exact same thing that came, went from the prophets here in ancient America, right into the Gold plates, then from one translation being put here in this book. So when you read this, you know it hasn’t been changed, hasn’t been manipulated. It is literally the words of God.
And what’s interesting is that the ancient prophets who wrote this, this book was not for them. They didn’t have a chance to see it right. As you read through the book you’ll see, they were writing this book, the Lord commanded them and said, you’re writing this book. It’s not for you, it’s for a future people who need to have this book. This book will turn their hearts back to God.
So they’re like, I’m not writing this for my people, I’m writing it for you, whoever is reading this someday in the future. I’m writing this for you so you’ll know what happened to us, so you can protect yourself and you can protect your families.
So it was written by ancient American prophets for me and for you, specifically for today. Specifically for us to get through the challenges and the trials and tribulations and all the amazing things that Satan’s throwing at us today, this book was written to protect us and to save us and to bring us closer to Christ. He is our savior, he is our messiah, he is our God and he’s our king.
I testify to you that this book will draw you closer to him than anything else on this planet. And I want you, I pray that you read it and that you feel it. And if you do that, like I said, your life will be changed forever, just like mine has.
So I want to share that with you on the end of this episode, and get excited because on the next episode we’re going to be diving into 1 Nephi Chapter 1. So if you don’t have your Book of Mormon yet, go and get one. If you go to bookofmormonchallenge.com there’s a link where you can get a free one. Or you can go to Amazon, I’m sure you can get a free one on Amazon. Just get a copy of it because I want you to start reading this together with me, otherwise what’s the point of all this work I’m putting into it, right?
So we’re going to go to 1 Nephi chapter 1. This is the way that the game is going to be played. I’m going to tell you about 1 Nephi Chapter 1. I’m going to get you so excited, so fired up, and so pumped to read it and then I’m going stop and I’m going to leave you hanging and that’s going to drive you to go and actually read it. And that’s how this podcast is going to go moving forward.
I’m going to get you excited about what’s happening, what to look for, the magic, the secret messages, all the amazing things that the Lord has weaved into these verses that if you’re not careful you’re going to miss it. I’m going to set those things up so you can look for them and you can find them so when you read them you’ll have these amazing spiritual moments where you’ll be reading something and it’ll hit you.
And for everyone it’s going to be different. Everyone’s at different times and points in your lives. And some things you’ll read and it won’t make sense, and some things you’ll read and you won’t be ready for it. But some things you’ll read and you’ll sit there and be like, how in the world did this prophet, and it could be Alma or Nephi or Leman, not Leman, Helamin or Moroni, how did they know? How did they know that I would be struggling with that today? They literally, they must have put that chapter in for me. They must have put that verse. That phrase must have been for me. They saw our day and they must have known that was for me.
You’re going to have those experiences and it’ll be the most amazing, spiritual, coolest things, when those things happen. It doesn’t happen all the time, but I promise you that if you will read this book with me, and dive in there and study it, and you’ll be looking for those things, and you’re praying for answers to your prayers, as you read them, you’ll find that these prophets hid things in here specifically for you, things that you may have read in the past, or other people read and it didn’t touch them, but when you read it, it will hit you differently than it has hit anybody else in the history of time. And you’ll know that scripture was specifically written for you.
And that’s what’s so magical about this book. I hope that you take me up on the challenge and you dive in and you read it and you enjoy it. With that said, I will end this episode of the podcast. Thank you so much for listening and for participating. I will see you guys on the next episode when we jump into 1 Nephi Chapter 1.
Sep 12 2018
Rank #2: The #1 way to protect yourself from sin...
As you start this journey, the adversary will try to keep you from reading and praying. This episode will give you the #1 way to protect yourself from sin so you can get your prayers answered.
Hey everyone, this is Russell Brunson. I want to welcome you back to the Book of Mormon Challenge podcast. I hope that so far you have been taking the challenge, you have been reading, you have been praying and you have been trying to get an answer. I actually want to apologize, it’s been a little while since I’ve done an episode and honestly, it’s interesting, whenever you try to do something amazing in your life, and hopefully this is kind of a metaphor for you guys as well. It feels like the adversary wants to try to stop you. And it’s crazy how the more I want to do this podcast and get in the right state and have the right spirit and all those kind of things, the more temptations and trials and things come up in my life that try to keep me from doing it.
And I’m sure for a lot of you guys it’s going to be similar as you try to go on this journey and try to read. The adversary is going to do everything in his power to keep you from actually doing it, to keep you from reading, to keep you from concentrating, to keep you from praying, to keep you from asking. And that’s just kind of his pattern.I felt it, I know that so far since I’ve launched this podcast a lot of amazing things have happened, some huge amazing conversations have been opened with people, it’s just been powerful and amazing. But as soon as anything amazing starts happening, the adversary tries to stop it.
So I am here to kind of re-commit and to re-push forward and to be more consistent for you, but also for me as well. Also, just kind of, I’m going to make a couple of changes to the format, so I want to kind of explain that to you here. So this is going to be kind of the last big foundational episode for a while. I’m going to keep doing the bigger ones that are like 30 minutes to an hour, when I get excited about a topic I want to deep dive and go there because there’s tons of stuff I want to share. But moving forward, I want to make sure that, sometimes the bigger episodes take me a lot longer to think through and get the notes and stories and get everything perfect, and then obviously praying to make sure I have the spirit, all those things to be able to deliver it to you and I don’t want to keep that from progression and momentum.
So what I’m going to be doing, I’ll keep doing some of the longer ones, like this, where we deep dive into things. But after this one I’m going to start jumping into shorter episodes. And the goal with the shorter episodes, honestly is, my goal with the whole podcast is just to get you to read and to pray. That’s it. I want you to read the Book of Mormon and I want you to pray. If I can get you to do that then I’ve succeeded, because that’s my only goal.
So as I shift from the episodes moving forward, you’ll notice I’m going to be picking, for example, it might be 1 Nephi: chapter 1. And I’m going to go and study deep into the commentary and figure out the coolest, most exciting things possible that I can do to get you excited to read chapter one. That’s my goal. Then chapter 2 I’m going to go and find the best, most amazing, most exciting things and preset the story and get you so excited that you have to go and read it. And I’m kind of good at this in my marketing background, at getting people hooked and excited, so my goal is to hook you, give you a story and then push you to go and actually read each of the chapters. So that’s kind of the game plan.
So I’m excited. Next episode will be coming out in a couple of days and we’ll keep moving forward a little bit faster on those. And again, my goal with this is to get you into the book, reading and praying. So that’s kind of the goal.
After the last episode we talked about how to get your prayers answered. I got so much good feedback from all of you guys and I appreciate it. But honestly, the biggest feedback I got from people and it’s also interestingly enough, the same thing that I struggle with the most and so I wanted to address it in this episode. The title of this episode is called “No more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.”
So the biggest question, the biggest problem people were messaging me with were, “Russell, I want to read and I want to pray but I don’t feel worthy. I don’t feel like I can get an answer.” Or “I know that I’m not living right in my life, and I struggle to repent and I don’t know how to do it.” Or “I’ve tried to repent but I’ve fallen back in and the things that I try to do right, Is in and I make the mistake again.” Or all sorts of things like that. “I want to do good Russell, but I keep making mistakes and because I make mistakes I don’t feel worthy to actually pray and get the answers.”
And like I said, that’s the pattern, what the adversary wants to do. As soon as you try to take a step towards the light and towards truth, he will immediately bombard you with everything he can to distract you, to make you sin, to make you feel guilty, to make you not feel worthy because those are the feelings and the thoughts and things that will keep you from reading and praying.
So first off, I want to give some context and some things to kind of help you guys with, because it’s something I have struggled with my entire life. I think I’ve been on this planet for 38ish years now and I struggle with this on a daily basis. So I know I’m not alone, and if I am alone then this episode is for me. But if I’m not alone, then hopefully this will be for you as well.
Alright, some of the context to this and what, honestly it’s the thing that, not frustrating. That’s not the right word, but the thing that I struggle with the most is I want to do good. And there’s a scripture in Mosiah and I’m going to read it and it comes back to the title of today’s presentation. Again, the title is “No more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.”
So in Mosiah 5:1,2 if you’ve read the Book of Mormon, there’s this amazing king, his name is King Benjamin. He’s about to die and before he dies he gets all his people together and he starts preaching to them, kind of his last message, “What can I do to help you guys to make sure you’re going to succeed in life, you’re going to be good people, you’re going to be able to return back to God?” And in this speech if you look at verse 1 and 2 of Mosiah Chapter 5 this is what he says,
“And now, it came to pass that when King Benjamin had thus spoken to his people, he sent among them, desiring to know of his people if they believed the words which he had spoken to them. And they all cried with one voice, saying: Yeah, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually. “
I remember reading that in seminary when I was a kid and thinking, “Oh my gosh. As I soon as I get the spirit, as soon as I know it’s true, the most amazing thing is going to happen to me. I’m never going to have the desire to sin ever again.” That’s what I interpreted this, King Benjamin’s people heard his word, they were excited. They were like, “I’m going to do this.” And it said they had no more disposition to do evil but to do good continually. So I always thought that as soon as I repented, as soon as I was right, that I would have no more desire to do evil, but I’d only want to do good.
And then suck us into the real world and guess what happened, I felt the spirit, I wanted to change, I did change. But what shocked me, what surprised me was that all the sudden my desire to do evil did not go away. Actually let me step back, my desire to do evil did go away, but my….how do I explain this right? I didn’t want to do sin, but I still sinned. I still got tempted, I had temptations, I had trials, all these things that pulled me back into sin. So while I had a disposition to do good continually, I didn’t want to do evil, I still sinned.
And I kept sinning and I kept sinning and it was so hard and so frustrating. In fact, to this day I still struggle with this. I know, I think all of us have our temptations, our sins that we struggle with. And while I have desire, I’m going to point my life, I feel similar to how King Benjamin’s people felt. I have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually. But I want to add dot, dot, dot, yet I’m still tempted like crazy and I fall way too often. That’s how, if it was me writing the scripture, that’s what I would have said. “Russell has no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually, yet for some reason he’s so weak he keeps screwing up, therefore he’s yet to be perfect.”
That’s how I felt and I remember being frustrated by that and if you read in Matthew, Matthew 26: 41, in this scripture he’s talking about this, he says,
“Watch and pray that y enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak.”
When I read that I was like, okay, that’s how I feel. I’m willing, my spirit is willing to do it, but my flesh is weak. And I was like, I’m frustrated, how do I….. I don’t want my flesh to be weak. Why am I so weak?
And it’s funny, if you look at our problems, our issues, it all comes down to our flesh, our body. It’s the temptations of the body we struggle with. So our flesh is weak, even though our spirit is willing. Our spirit wants to do what’s right, but then the problem is our flesh.
And as I started thinking about this a lot I realized that if you look at our lives here on Earth, what is the big test? We come to Earth, we have a chance to be here, we get these bodies, these amazing physical bodies and then our goal is to see what we’re going to do with them. So if you look at what is the big test? The big test is 100% to do with our bodies. What are we going to do with these bodies?
If you look at the commandments and everything, all of the commandments, everything leads to either how you’re treating your own body, or how you’re treating other people’s bodies. So if you look at the commandments or the rules or whatever you want to call them, it’s like what things we put into our bodies. There’s codes of health that the Lord’s given us, there’s things that we’re not supposed to do to our bodies. We’re not supposed to injure ourselves, we’re not supposed to do things like that.
Then how we treat other people’s bodies, thou shall not murder, thou shall not commit adultery. It’s the big great test, if you want to look at the big secret of what is this life about, it’s that. How are we going to treat our own bodies and other people’s bodies. So we’re given these bodies, this flesh that’s weak, that wants to do sin, wants to do these bad things and the spirit wants to do what’s right.
So the big conundrum, the big problem, the big struggle, the big thing that we’re fighting with is, what are we going to do? Are we going to give into the flesh or are we going to stay strong with the spirit? So I want you guys thinking about that, it all comes down to this. How we treat our bodies and how we treat other people’s bodies. All the commandments somehow tie into that. Either the sins I’m making against my own body, or the sins I’m making against other people’s bodies. There’s not sins against other things, it’s all tied to those, to our bodies.
When I realized that I’m like, oh my gosh. I have to figure out how to be able to control, how to be able to control my flesh, how to control my body. So for me, that created an obsession with personal development. If you know anything about me or my background you know that I’m mildly obsessed with this.
I built a big company that teaches entrepreneurs marketing and sales and things like that, but really in that journey over the last decade and a half of my life I’ve become obsessed with personal development. How do we develop ourselves? How do we control our habits, our problems, our mindset, our energy, all these kind of things?
So if you ever came to my office and you saw, I’ve got a bookshelf with hundreds of thousands of dollars of books and courses teaching personal development. It’s become an obsession with me. I think it stems back, the reason I have that obsession is because it comes back to this problem right here. I have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually, yet for some reason I keep messing up.
So I’m like, I need to keep personally developing myself so I don’t mess up. What is it going to be? So I could go on for days teaching personal development strategies and things like that, but there’s a couple of principles and processes that had the biggest effect on me. And I think that when I took repentance, how do I forsake my sins, how do I repent, how do I try to do what’s right? And I took these lessons I learned inside of personal development, the blend of those two things, is what’s helped me to be able to control my flesh and to be able to do what the spirit actually wants me to do.
And again, I’m not perfect. In fact, this episode is specifically for me to help remind me of these things. But it has been a huge help to me, and I hope it has helped you as well as you’re going down this journey. Because if we’re not careful, as soon as you start the path forward and start trying to do good, I promise you that temptations, the whirlwinds, the trials, all this stuff is going to beat on you because the adversary does not want you doing the right thing.
So if I can give you guys some information and some stuff that helped me, hopefully it will help you guys as well on this journey. So that way you can go and you can read and you can feel the spirit and you can pray because if you do that, your life will change forever. We have to break free of the sins of our body if we’re going to be able to do that.
Alright so the thing I want to share with you, and again there’s so much good stuff I could talk about but the thing I think is going to be the most impactful for you is something I learned from Tony Robbins. And if you know who Tony Robbins is, he’s a 6’7” giant, he was on infomercials all throughout the 80’s, if you’ve seen the movie Shallow Hal, he was in Shallow Hal, but I became a friend of his, me and him became friends about 10 years ago. I had consulted for his business and then I was in, I spoke at a couple of his events, he spoke at 2 of my events, I spoke at one of his events last month, so we’ve got a really good friendship and respect for each other.
But I remember, there’s so many good things that I learned from Tony, but one of the ones that had the biggest impact on me was at the very first event I went to of his. He started talking about this concept that he called the six human needs. And I’m going to kind of go through it with you guys, but for me, when I understood this, this had probably the most profound effect on me, my relationships, my spouse, my…more so than anything else, so I wanted to share with you because when you understand this process, it gives you guys the tools you need to not only have the disposition to not do evil, but to do good continually, but it gives the framework to be able to resist the temptations and be able to protect yourself and your family so you can actually do what’s right.
Okay, so six human needs, this is kind of the concept I want to teach about, and I wish I had a whiteboard I could show you and I could map this out and it’d make more sense. But maybe as I’m explaining it, if you have a piece of paper out, try to write these things down and it’ll make more sense.
So the six human needs, there are four needs of the body and there’s two needs of the spirit. I’m going to spend most of the time today talking about the needs of the body because that’s our goal right now, how do we overcome the body? I’ll touch upon the needs of the spirit because they’re important, but I’m not going to focus on that during this podcast.
So there’s four needs of the body, a couple of things to understand before I explain what these four needs are. First off, if you in any circumstance of your life, three of these four needs are met, it causes a physical addiction inside of your body. So if you get three of these four needs, you get a physical addiction. So that’s the number one thing to understand.
The number two thing to understand is that you’ll notice that two of these things are opposites and the other two are opposites. So it causes this weird conundrum where it’s like I need this and I need this but those two things are opposite, so because of that it causes all sorts of craziness that creates this amazing life that we live in right now.
So if you’re writing these things down, the first need of the body is called certainty. Every single one of us needs certainty. So write down the word certainty if you have a piece of paper out. Certainty. We want to feel certain. I want to feel certain that when I come home at night my wife’s going to be there. I want to feel certain that there’s food on my table. I want to feel certain that there’s a paycheck coming home every day. We crave and we need certainty. So that’s the first human need.
The second human need is the exact opposite of certainty. It’s variety. I need to be entertained, I need new stuff happening, I need to be… I get fired up and I have variety and excitement with things that are happening. So the second thing our body craves is we need variety. We need certainty, but we also need variety. So that’s need number one, and that’s need number two.
Now need number three, this one is significance. I want to feel significant, I want to feel good about myself. When I walk in a room I want to feel good about myself, I want to feel good about my accomplishments, I want to feel significance. So significance is the third human need.
Now if you look at the opposite of significance, significance is all about me, me, me, me, I want to feel great about myself. The opposite of that is love and connection. I want to show love and connection and affection towards somebody else. So that’s the fourth human need, love and connection.
So if you go write these down you’ve got, certainty and variety. Then you have significance and you have love and connection. And again, certainty and variety are opposites, significance and love and connection are opposites.
So hopefully you’ve written those down. I’m going to kind of take you guys through an exercise that when he explained this to me, it just made so much sense. Remember earlier I mentioned that if any situation any three of these four needs are met, it will create an addiction, a physical addiction inside your body, inside your flesh.
For example, think about, for those who are married think about your spouse. For those who aren’t married yet, think about the last time you went on a date with somebody. So you meet this new person and you go on a date with them, and what happens? You’re out on this date and there’s variety, the first time you’ve been with them, you don’t know them that well and you’re asking them all these questions and there’s this variety and excitement.
And that person, if they like you back, they start asking you questions and all the sudden, “oh my gosh, I feel significant.” You feel significant. “They care about me and they’re asking me questions about who I am.” And you feel that.
And then the third one is at the end of the date, you take them to the doorstep and they give you a hug and a kiss and boom, you feel love and connection. And boom, what just happened? Variety happened, significance happened, and love and connection happened and all the sudden boom, that fast it creates a physical addiction, we fall in love with that person, we start dating them and eventually get married and it’s amazing.
What happens with most people after they get married? What happens is all the sudden now they are married to that person because they’re craving certainty because they want the fourth human need, they want certainty. So they get that certainty, that person is married, they’re going to be home when I get home.
But then what happens? Certainty starts driving our lives, and now variety disappears. Now I no longer want to go on dates with my wife, I no longer do things. We’re certain, but the variety goes away. Year one maybe there’s still variety, year two and by year three and four and five or by year seven, which is when most people start having their marital issues, variety is gone. You have tons of certainty, no variety. So that’s gone.
And at first your spouse loves you and talks about you all the time so you have all this significance and you feel special and all this stuff, but eventually the more you’re around someone, the less significant they make you feel, you make them feel because you’re not as enamored with them because eventually you’ve heard all their stories a million times and you’re like, “Yep, it’s the same person I wake up to every single day.” Suddenly that significance goes away and a lot of times love and connection drifts as well.
What happens is all those things start falling apart and you lose that addiction to the body and that’s why a lot of times marriages fall apart. For some people, and I have friends who have gone through this and it’s a horrible thing, their marriages start falling apart because this physical addiction goes away. They lose variety, they lose significance, and now maybe they have certainty and love and connection, but they lost the other two. But that physical addiction goes away.
And then they go to the office and they start working, and some people become workaholics, this is something I struggle with. I go to work and what happens? I go to work every single day and I sit at my desk and I feel certainty, I know exactly what I’m going to do every single day. And then I’m creating cool things, I feel really excited, I get this variety, it’s amazing. And then people who listen to my podcast or read my emails or see my facebook comments or like my instagram things, I feel significance and I get love and connection from my customers. And all the sudden I’m getting four of my needs met and boom it creates this huge addiction and becomes a work addiction.
And sometimes because we’re not getting our needs met at home, we start shifting and get our needs met at work. Maybe we get our needs met at the gym. Some people start going and start working out and every single day they go and work out and they get this certainty working out, plus they get the variety, “I’m working out chest today, and triceps and new exercises, new things, new people.” People check them out, “Man, you’re getting strong, you’re looking good.” You’re getting love and connection and all the sudden all your needs are met at the gym and because you’re not getting them met at home you start shifting to the gym and get your needs met there.
It’s interesting. Or, and this is kind of the really negative side of it, is somebody goes to the office and their spouse is, they’ve got certainty with their spouse but variety, significance, love and connection are starting to wane, but they’ve got a secretary or they’ve got somebody they need at work and that person all the sudden thinks they’re interesting and starts asking them questions and they get this significance. And then they start flirting with that person and they get variety and love and connection and boom, that’s how divorces happen, that’s how affairs happen because these needs are met somewhere else.
So it’s interesting, and it’s not just in marriage though, it’s in all aspects of life. Some people go to school and they love it, because they go to school and they wake up every morning and get certainty. They get the variety of learning new things, they get significance of getting A’s on their test, they get love and connection of their study groups and school becomes an addiction. I’ve got family members who have got 800 doctorate degrees because they’ve got this physical addiction to school.
Drugs are the same way, right. Drugs, you take this drug and you know with certainty you’re going to feel a certain way, plus you get the variety of the amazing things that happen from the drugs, you get the love and connection of the people you’re hanging out with, you’re significant, and it causes a physical addiction.
Same thing with food, every time you eat food, you get certainty of I’m going to feel full. But then you get the variety, like last night my wife and I went to sushi, I got the variety of this roll and this roll and it was amazing. And then I’m sitting there talking with my spouse and I get love and connection with the people I’m at dinner with and boom, it creates a food addiction.
It doesn’t matter what you struggle with, all of us have different things, but if you understand it all comes down to this. Our body is creating addictions when three of these four needs are met. And then we fall out of addiction when some of these things are not being met.
And one thing that Tony said was amazing, when he said it, it was amazing. He said, “if you look at this, there was never a marriage that ever ended where all of the needs of somebody were being met. There’s never been a kid who strayed if all their needs were met.”
If you look at family life, and this is something I’m hyper aware of with my kids. If my kids are getting all these needs met at home, they’re getting significance and love and connection and variety, and certainty in the home, they’re not going to leave. It’s when they start losing that addiction that go and start going after drugs or other friend groups or things like that, because they’re craving these needs and they have to get them met somewhere.
So people will give up their values, they’ll give up their beliefs, they’ll give up everything in order to get these needs met somewhere. And that’s what’s fascinating as humans. We will give up everything to get these needs met. You will get these needs met one way or the other. So if you’re not getting them met in one aspect in your life, you’re going to get them met somewhere else. It happens, we can’t exist as humans without it. Our body is weak, we must have these.
So when Tony told me that, he said, “No marriage ever ended when all the needs of the spouse are being met.” So my wife and I sat down and said, “Okay, how do we protect our marriage.” I said to my wife, Collette, “Collette, do you have certainty?” and she’s like, “Yeah, I feel totally certain you’re going to be here.” I’m like, “Cool, do you feel variety?” She’s like, “Well, not like we used to.” I’m like, “Oh no, variety’s down. Do you feel significant?” And she’s like, “Yeah, yeah. You do a good job.” I’m like, “Do you feel love and connection?”
I’m looking at this like I need to create an addiction with my wife with me. How do I light her up? How do I give her variety so that she’s excited? How do I give her certainty so that she feels certain? How do I make her feel significant? How do I give her love and connection? Because there’s been no marriages ever ended where the needs of the spouse have all been met.
And the same thing comes back to my wife. She’s asking, “How do I make you feel certain Russell? How do I give you significance? How do I give you love and connection?” With my kids it’s the same thing. When I’m looking at my kids I’m like, “Okay, how do I make sure my kids feel all of these things so they get the physical body addiction here, inside of our home?”
For those of you guys who are trying to figure out, how do I get my kids to go to church, how do I get the people that I’m steward of at church, how do I get them connected? It’s the same thing. When people are bored out of their minds at church they’re not getting their needs met, they’re going to leave, they’re going to go do different things. But if you’re in church and you get this certainty of knowing something, you get the variety of learning new things, you get the significance of being able to share, if you get the love and connection of people in the congregation, people you’re around, that’s what gets people to stick, because it creates a physical addiction there.
So for you, I want you thinking about, think about the things that you’re addicted to in your life. What TV shows, what foods, what exercises, what people? And start looking at this, are my needs being met by these people? And then look at things that are good that for some reason aren’t the way that you want them to be, and think about are my needs being met there?
And it’s like, man if I struggle to go to church, if I struggle to read scriptures, if I struggle to whatever your issue is, my guess is because you’re needs aren’t being met somewhere else, so you’re going there to get those needs met.
So for me, this was the big secret, the big aha, understanding this. I started looking at my life and started realizing the reason why I keep going to my pet sin, the reason I keep having these issues is because my needs aren’t being met here, therefore I’m trying to get those needs met over here.
When I became aware of that, I started saying, okay I need to figure things out. I’m going to talk about, I’m going to come back to this in a second, but first I want to talk about one more thing because I know some of you guys I left you with a cliffhanger.
So those are the four needs of the body and then there are two needs of the spirit, and most people unfortunately never get to the needs of the spirit, because they’re so focused on trying to get the needs of their body met. But the needs of the spirit, number one is growth. So I need to grow, I need to learn, I need to expand. And then number two is contribution, I need to help other people. So those are the needs of the spirit, growth and contribution. So after the needs of the body are met, that’s when typically you start shifting from me, me, me, looking at your own internal desires, to shifting to external. I need to grow and contribute. So growth and contribution are the two needs of the spirit.
So those are the six human needs. So the next thing I want you to think about is looking at the things you’re struggling with, looking at yourself and saying, “I have no more disposition to evil but to do good continually, but I keep struggling, because this is where I keep going. I keep falling back into this thing.” And then start looking, “Why am I doing that? What’s the addiction? This thing that I’m looking for, what’s the addiction it’s causing?” It’s creating certainty….look at all the things, “Oh my gosh, it is creating addiction, I keep going back to it.” And then say, “Why am I going there? Where are my needs not being met? Is it with my spouse? With my family? With my church?” whatever the thing is.
If you’re struggling at work, I see people all the time they get burned out. I ask why they’re burned out and when I look at it, the reason why they’re burned out is because these needs aren’t being met. It’s not because they’re tired. Our bodies and our minds can handle more, but it’s because we’re not getting the addiction, we’re not getting the needs met in that spot, so we fall away. When our needs are met, we don’t fall away.
If you’re getting burned out at work, it’s like what’s happening? I’m losing my variety, I’m losing my certainty, I’m losing my significance, I’m losing my love and connection, which one of these is fading? Then it’s like, lets double down and create that.
Alright, some of my notes here. So again, no kids ever strayed if their needs were met. So look at your children, how can I make sure their needs are met? No marriages ever ended when all of their needs were met. So look at your spouse, look at your significant other, how can you light them up, how can you make sure that their needs are being met? And then the last one is for you. What needs are not being met?
If you are sinning, it needs your needs are not being met somewhere else, somewhere positive. What happens is we shift from here’s the positive…because it’s not necessarily bad to get our needs met, in fact we have to have it. Our bodies are built in this way where we have to have these four things. So it’s not a bad thing, it’s just that if we’re not getting them in wholesome, good spots, then we’re getting them from wicked, evil things. It transitions.
So it’s like, how do I break the addiction over here and how do I create the addiction with the positive things. So start looking for yourself. I’m looking for significance, that’s why I keep going to this issue. I’m looking for love and connection and I keep going to this issue. How do I get it with the positive things?
I’ve got a friend and he’s an LDS author, well, he’s not an LDS author. He’s LDS and he’s an author of an amazing book. His name is Ben Hardy and he wrote a book called Willpower Doesn’t Work. It’s interesting, as I’ve been on this journey in my life trying to figure out how in the world to break myself of these temptations because I want to do good continually, I’ve studied a ton about willpower and I’ve read a lot of books on here’s how to do willpower.
And what’s interesting is I read Ben Hardy’s book, he talked about when he was going in to get his doctorate, PHD or whatever his big degree was, his goal was to study willpower. And as he got into the study of it, he realized, oh my gosh, willpower actually doesn’t help. It’s not as white knuckle-ness and hoping we die before we break any sins. That’s not willpower, that’s not a way to live.
Instead what he found is the only thing that actually has a measurable effect on change is actually changing your environment. Changing the things around you is what makes it easier. An easy example of this is your house. If I’m trying to lose weight and I walk in the house everyday and my cupboards are filled with cookies and ice cream and donuts, you’re not going to lose weight, it’s impossible because the environment will not let you do that. But if you come and take all that stuff out and you throw it in the garbage and you replace with actually healthy stuff, you change the environment, it becomes really easy to lose weight.
Same thing in all aspects of life, in business and relationships, you change the environment, you change your life. So what I want to give you through that lens, if I want to break myself of these sins I keep struggling with, it’s not going to be by me white-knuckling trying to “Don’t look at bad pictures, don’t talk to bad people, don’t take that thing.” It’s going to be you changing the environment in a way where your needs are being met somewhere else in a positive way.
So become hyper, super conscious of this. The biggest thing I learned from Tony, when you become conscious of something and aware of it, then you can change it and affect it. So for you guys, now that you’re aware of it, now you can affect it. Now you can make that change for yourself. So change the environment and then make sure these needs are being met in a positive way and that your body is not going to desire and pull to this other thing, and it’s going to make it so you can focus on doing good continually because you’re getting your needs met by doing good.
So create an environment where your needs are already being met. Create an environment for your kids where your needs are being met. Create an environment for your spouse, for your marriage where your needs are being met. I’m talking about a physical environment. Look around you, look how things are set up, what’s your room look like? If you’re trying to figure out and read your scriptures, where are they at physically? Where are they at?
If you’re trying to break yourself of a TV addiction because you’re getting your needs met, you’re certain your show’s going to be on, your favorite show. Variety of what’s the story line today, the love and connection of sitting there watching with your spouse. Boom, it’s an addiction instantly, TV. If your TV is in your room and it’s keeping you from doing the right thing, you have to change the environment. You have to rip the TV out of the thing and throw it away. You need to create an environment where your needs are going to be met.
When you do that it takes this pressure and this strain off of you trying to go and, the pressure and strain gets taken off of the thing you keep falling back into. Does that make sense?
So all of us has these addictions, all of us have these temptations, all these things that we’re struggling with. So I’ve given you some tools to understand how to beat it, how to change your environment, how to change these things so the needs of your body are being met in positive ways as opposed to negative ways. So that’s the first thing.
The second thing, I want to share with you a story, kind of a metaphor that hopefully help you understand why it’s worth it. Now I taught an Elders Quorum class about a year ago and did this example for them and it was pretty impactful and I want to share with you guys. And I wish I could, again, if you were in front of me I could be even more impactful.
So I need you to imagine this for a minute. I want you to imagine right now that in your hand you’re holding a silver ounce. I’m kind of a nerd so I collect precious metals, gold and silver and things like that. But if you look at one ounce silver coin, I want you to hold that in your hand and kind of envision this is a one ounce silver coin. I’m going to tell you a story about silver because when you understand this it’s pretty powerful.
So if you look at a one ounce silver piece right now, and it fluctuates, everyday it’s going up and down, but as of today it was $18.49 when I was looking at it online. One silver ounce is worth $18.49. I can go to any pawn shop in America, I could take that silver piece in and they would give me $18.49 back for it. That’s the value of one piece of silver.
Now the interesting thing about silver, silver holds its value. So if you look back at the US monetary system, when we first started making coins, we actually put silver inside of the coins. It wasn’t 100% silver, but there was silver inside of them. So 1964 was the last year that quarters and stuff had silver in it. So 1964, if you find a quarter from 1964 or earlier, there’s actually silver inside of there, and it was worth what that silver was actually worth.
So 1964 if you went to buy a gallon of gas, guess how much it cost? It cost 25 cents. So that’s how much it cost to buy a tank of gas in 1964. Now fast forward to today….actually sorry, let me step back. If you were to take that same 1964 quarter and you were to go to a pawn shop right now and give it to them and say, “Hey, here’s a 1964 quarter, there’s silver in here.” The pawn shop owner would say, “yes, there is.” And what he would do is actually give you $3.34 for a 1964 quarter, because that’s how much silver is actually inside one of those quarters. So they will actually trade you that.
Now what’s interesting, if you look at today, if you were to actually drive by the gas station today, guess what? A tank of gas cost about that much, about $3.34, for that same quarter. So that means in 1964 a quarter bought a tank of gas, the silver equivalent of a quarter cost a tank of gas and today that same amount of silver still buys a tank of gas. So you look at inflation and how that stuff works, the value of silver is the same today as it was in 1964, as it was in 200 BC. Silver holds its value throughout time.
Now I want to take you to a dark night in Jerusalem where Judas went to betray our Savior. And if you know the story, he traded the savior for 30 pieces of silver. So if you look at that, what’s one piece of silver worth today? Now, obviously I don’t know what size his silver was, but if you look at a silver coin today, as of this morning it was worth $18.49. If you look at 30 pieces of silver, it was $554.70.
So Judas traded Christ for the equivalent, this is not $554 in Judas’ time, which is worth $18 million today. No, no. The value of the silver that Judas traded Christ for back in his time was $554.70. How many of you guys would have happily given Judas $554 to leave Christ alone and not take him to his crucifixion. It’s amazing. 30 pieces of silver.
Now, when I did this lesson the first time, I actually had 30 pieces of silver on the desk and I looked at those things and I said, “Look guys, 30 pieces of silver, that’s $554 in Judas’ time, that’s what he gave up for Christ. How many of you guys think that’s ridiculous?” And everyone’s like, “No, $500 to give up Christ, that wouldn’t be worth a million dollars, ten million dollars.” I said, “I know.” Then I stopped and said, “I want you to look at this.” And I picked up one piece of silver and I said, “Right now what’s the value of what you’re addicted to instead of following Christ? This one piece of silver is worth $18.49, for some of you guys this is an addiction to TV. Some of you guys this is an addiction to pornography. Some of you guys it’s an addiction to drugs or alcohol or whatever your sin is. Everyone’s got different things, we all struggle. And anyone who tells you otherwise is not telling you the truth.”
And I said, “What would you do to not trade this piece of silver for Christ?” So I wanted to give you that object lesson, and hopefully it makes sense explaining it this way. It’s just I want you to understand that each of those coins is these little pet sins, these little things we have to give up. And we’re giving up so little for so much. $18 worth of silver, $554 worth of silver is what Judas gave up Christ for. What’s the value of your sins? Would you give up those things for Christ? That’s the power I want you guys understanding behind here.
And that’s the whole vision of this podcast for me and for you. Reading the Book of Mormon is important. It’s going to change your life, it’s going to change your vision, but when it all comes back, it’s coming down to Christ. He died for us, he died for our sins. He paid the ultimate price, the ultimate penalty so that we could someday return to live back with him. And right now, the thing that’s keeping us from that, are these little pesky sins, these little things, these temptations, these trials, these things we have that are holding us back.
I don’t know about you, but as I listen to this podcast, my goal is similar to King Benjamin. I want to message you guys later and I want to find out. That’s what Kind Benjamin said, I’ll read it from Mosiah 5:1,2 again, he said,
“And now, it came to pass that when King Benjamin had thus spoken to his people, he sent among them, desiring to know of his people if they believed the words which he had spoken to them. And they all cried with one voice, saying: Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.”
I want to come out and ask you guys, you’ve been listening to this podcast, you’ve been reading the Book of Mormon, you’ve been praying, how do you feel? I want you to say, “Russell, I feel different. I feel no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually. All these things I’m doing right now, they’re keeping me from Christ, they’re keeping me from following him. I want to give them up. I don’t want to give up Christ for the equivalent of $554 that Judas gave him up for.”
That’s how dumb it is, think about how stupid and how petty most of our sins and temptations are. They’re ridiculous, yet they’re keeping us from Christ. Judas gave him up for money, $554 in today’s dollars, that’s it. What are you giving him up for? Think about that for yourself.
Now that you understand that, make this challenge real for you. Because it’s the difference from struggling and it’s the difference from actually having that impact on your life and your family’s life forever. So if you listen back to the last episode we talked about how to get your prayers answered, and I think one of the biggest concerns most of you guys had was, “I want to but I don’t feel worthy. I don’t feel in a place where I’m clean.” And I understand that.
So my challenge to you and my test to you is to go back and listen to this episode and figure out, okay I need to change my environment so my needs are getting met in positive ways, and when I do that, I’m not going to keep falling into sin and falling into these things that are pulling the spirit away. I’m going to feel worthy because I’m doing what’s right. When you mess up, that’s okay. We all are going to mess up, repent and then look at the environment. What do I need to change to make sure this doesn’t happen again? What are the things I need to do to make sure my needs are being met here in my relationship or my family or my church or whatever it is, the rock, the thing that you need to be able to be successful, how do I make sure my needs are being met there?
And if they’re not, how do I make them met? If I’m in church right now and I’m bored out of my mind and I’m like, “I’m not going to go church anymore, I’m bored.” You look at that and say, “How do I create more certainty in church? What is it that I need to do? How do I create more variety in church? Maybe it’s me, maybe it’s not them. Let me come to church and let me, what can I do to light this up? How can I get more love and connection at church? Maybe I’ve been waiting for people to come talk to me, but maybe I go and talk to them? Maybe I create love and connection that way. How do I create an addiction in the positive things in life, so I don’t create an addiction in the negative things?”
And that’s the goal, that’s the goal of this podcast, that’s the goal of everything I’m doing right now and I hope you guys take me up on the challenge. If not, I’m going to keep drilling this into your mind every single day until you do, because I promise you when you do, it’ll change your life.
I’m going to end with a quote from Ezra Taft Benson, the same one that we have at the intro of the podcast, he said,
“There is a power in the book…” he’s talking about the Book of Mormon, “There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of it. You will find greater power to resist temptation, you’ll find the power to avoid deception, and you will find the power to stay on the straight and narrow path. When you begin to hunger and thirst after these words, you will find life in greater and greater abundance.”
I promise you that if you do this challenge, if you follow me and you do it, you will change your life. With that said, what’s going to start the next podcast episode, I’m starting on 1 Nephi, chapter 1. And I want you guys to jump in and listen to it and I’m going to do my best to get you so excited that you’re going to go read the book.
Now if I get you to listen to the podcast and think it’s cool and not read the book, it means I failed. The podcast is not a replacement for the Book of Mormon. It never has been, it never will be. In fact, if you look at it that way, then everything I’ve done here not only is a failure, but it’s pulling you away from it. And if that’s the case I will stop this podcast and I will delete immediately, because that’s not my vision or my mission.
My vision and my mission with this is to get you enough belief and enough hope that you will open the book and you will read it, because like Ezra Taft Benson said here, the second you begin a serious study of the book there will be a power which will flow into your lives, the moment you begin a serious study of it. You will find greater power to resist temptation, which will bring you closer to Christ. You will find power to avoid deception, which will bring you closer to Christ. You’ll have the power to stay on the straight and narrow path, which will bring you closer to Christ.
Do not, you guys, give up the relationship with your savior for 30 pieces of silver. $554 in today’s dollars, that’s what he gave it up for. Don’t give it up for your sin. Don’t give it up for the thing that’s holding you back. Change your environment, get your needs met and then let’s go and let’s change your life, let’s change your world. I promise you guys that if you do that, life will become better for you in all aspects.
With that said, go to bookofmormonchallenge.com, take the challenge, we’re still working on the app, we’ve got a couple of other cool things coming out for you guys as well. I hope you enjoy it, I hope you take the challenge and I will see you next week when we start diving into 1 Nephi, Chapter 1.
Jul 09 2018
Rank #3: The Secret To Getting Your Prayers Answered (And How To Know It's Actually From God)
The hardest part about getting your prayers answered is being able to recognize when they are being answered. This episode will help you to learn how to get the answers to your prayers, and more importantly how to know they are coming from God.
Hey everyone, this is Russell Brunson. Welcome back to the Book of Mormon Challenge podcast. I’m so excited to have you here and I’m excited for today’s episode. The title for today’s episode is, The secret to getting your prayers answered and how to know it’s actually from God.
I’m picking up this podcast a couple of weeks after my last one and I feel kind of bad. If you remember I did a day, it was Parley P. Pratt’s birthday and I decided to take the whole day off and try to read the entire Book of Mormon in a day, and I was going to do a whole bunch of mini podcasts throughout the day and afterwards and try to share with you the things that were happening, and I recorded one or two of them, but they didn’t turn out amazing and I wanted to kind of put my thoughts together and really focus on helping, probably the biggest question I’ve been getting from people who’ve listened to this podcast is, “Russell, I’ve been reading the Book of Mormon, I’m going to try it, but I don’t know how to pray. How do I pray? How do I get answers? When I do get an answer, how do I know it’s actually from God?”
As I’ve been thinking about that and kind of putting together this episode, I didn’t, I decided to not post those other mini episodes, and I wanted to kind of recap it here first because actually during that day, I received answers to some of my prayers, and it was special so I wanted to kind of share some of those experiences with you on this podcast as we’re talking about how to get your prayers answered.
With that said, I’m going to jump right into this. As you know on Parley P. Pratt day I tried to read the entire Book of Mormon. I ended up spending about 18 hours doing it. I got about, actually I got to page 266, which is not quite halfway there. So I didn’t quite hit it, but I got almost halfway there. So I’m going to block out another day, and do the rest of it. And I will keep you in the loop of how that goes. But it was amazing. It was really neat to read it that way and try to keep my focus for 18 hours.
It was kind of tough, there were times where I’d get tired, and I’d have to stand up and read while I was walking around. And other times where I’d sit in different locations, or just a whole bunch of stuff. But it was a really special experience and I’m so grateful I had an opportunity to do that. And I cannot wait to do part two, coming soon. So I will let you know.
But as I was reading the book, and I remember I got an answer to a prayer while I was reading. And when I did that, I jumped off and I recorded my thoughts right afterwards. And I’m not going to share that recording, instead I’m just going to kind of share the thoughts right now, because it’s a pretty neat thing.
There’s a quote I heard on my mission, I don’t know who said it, so I’m not going to give them credit, unfortunately, but whoever said it was awesome. They said, “Prayer is how we speak to our Heavenly Father, and oftentimes the scriptures are how he speaks back to us.”
So I kind of heard that a lot in my life, and there have been times where I’d try to use the scriptures as a way to get answers and I knew that on Parley P. Pratt day as I was reading I was looking for some answers. But it was crazy, within the first hour of me reading, I got the first answer to my question. I was going crazy because it’s so cool when it happens.
I actually want to share with you guys a funny story before I tell you the prayer I was trying to get answered and how it got answered. It’s funny, on my mission I got about 7 months into my mission I got the dreaded “Dear John” letter. The girl I was dating at the time, who I was convinced I was going to marry and everything, sent me the letter saying that she was not only dating somebody, but she was engaged and was going to be getting married here very soon.
As a young 19 year old missionary, I was destroyed. I just remember crying and I could barely control myself, I was just like, I’m out serving the lord and this is the person who I’m supposed to be marrying. Why would you take her from me, I’m doing everything that you told me to do?
I remember a day or two later, I had a chance to go meet with my mission president, his name was President Giddons, and as I was meeting with him he must have either heard what happened or he saw it on my face, or maybe I told him, I don’t know. I was just broken, and I told him, “My girlfriend is getting married.” And he looked at me and said, “You know what, you can find comfort in the scriptures.”
And I remember when he said that I was kind of frustrated. I was like, you know what, there’s nobody in the scriptures who got a Dear John letter. There’s nobody in here who could even relate to me, there’s no way. And I remember going home that night kind of being a little frustrated and the next morning saying, you know what, I’m going to start over at the very beginning, start reading the scriptures and I don’t care if I have to read the Book of Mormon, the Old Testament, the New Testament, everything, I don’t care. I’m going to read the entire thing just to prove to President Giddons that there’s nothing in here that’s going to comfort me for this problem.
And that was 19 year old Russell. I started at 1 Nephi, chapter 1 in the Book of Mormon and I started reading and what was crazy is, by 1 Nephi Chapter 2:15 I got my answer. What’s happening in the book at the time, if you haven’t started reading it yet, I encourage you once again to go to Bookofmormonchallenge.com get your free copy of the book and go and read it, but at this point, Lamen and Lemuel are the older brothers of Nephi. Nephi’s this younger kid who is good, who is listening to his dad and following what the Lord says and trying to do everything.
But they were asked to do a really hard thing. They had to leave their family, leave their gold, their riches, all their money, their home and go into the wilderness and to basically leave. And it was hard for them. It was not an easy thing to leave everything you loved behind and wander into the wilderness. And they’re out there in the wilderness wandering and in Chapter 2 Verse 15 there was a scripture, and when I read this scripture it was like a punch in the face. It said,
“And Lamen and Lemuel being the eldest did murmur against their father and they did murmur because they knew not the dealings of that God who had created them.”
I remember reading that and I was sitting here listening to myself murmur about my girlfriend and how sad I was and all these things. And when I heard that, it said, Lamen and Lemuel, they murmured because they knew not the dealings of that God who had created them. And as I read that I felt the spirit and the spirit told me to quit murmuring, quit complaining, the lord’s got something special for you, just wait.
So I decided to wait. I stopped murmuring and I went on my way and served my mission the best I could and I got home. A few months after I got home from my mission I met a beautiful girl named Collette. A few months later than that, I somehow convinced her to marry me and since then we’ve had 5 amazing children.
We had a family night a little while ago with the kids and we were reading the scriptures from the beginning and we read this verse. And I told them, “You guys this verse is all about you.” And we read it and I said, “That’s Lamen and Lemuel being the eldest did murmur against their father and they murmured because they knew not the dealings of that God who had created them.”
And the kids said, “Dad, how is that about us?” I said “Because one day a little while ago I murmured and the only reason I murmured was because I didn’t know who Collette was, and I didn’t know who you guys were and I’m so grateful that I stopped murmuring and let the lord do what he wanted to do with me. Because if I didn’t I would never have had you guys.”
And it was such a special thing, looking backwards. A lot of times it’s hard to look backwards when it’s happening in the moment. But for any of you guys who are going through trials, I encourage you to do what I learned this day, and that’s to not murmur, because you have no idea what God’s got in store for you.
So that was one of the first times I got an answer from reading the scriptures. Again, prayer is how we speak to Heavenly Father and the scriptures is how he speaks back to us. So when I was going on this Parley P. Pratt day, I knew I needed an answer to some prayers and I didn’t know what to do, so I was praying for an answer and I jumped into the scriptures and what was cool, within the first, still 1 Nephi, the first section of the book, I got the answer to the prayer I was looking for.
So I’m going to give you some context into the question I was looking for and then the answer I got, just to show you guys the pattern of how this works. When you understand, when you see the pattern of something, then you’re able to replicate it and do it over and over again.
For me, about a year ago I got introduced to an organization called Operation Underground Railroad. I had never heard of this before, I found out about it through a really sacred experience that I don’t feel comfortable sharing on this podcast right now, but I got a call to see if I would be willing to help with Operation Underground Railroad, and I had never heard of it, I didn’t know what it was.
So I went online and started Googling and found Operation Underground Railroad and started watching the videos and I found out about this guy named Tim Ballard and Tim goes to the deepest, darkest places on this earth and goes and saves little children from horrible, horrible, evil people.
And I remember that night as I was watching the videos I was actually, I have a vlog that I do and I was recording myself and I said, “I feel like tonight the direction of my life is forever changed.” And I knew that it was something that I needed to be part of and to help in any way I could. So I decided I would jump in and help.
I’m not super talented at a lot of things, but there are a couple of things that I’m good at. And I said, you know what, I’m going to try to help this organization the best that I know how, and I know how to do it through this thing called a sales funnel. For most of you guys, you have no idea what that is, don’t even worry about it, but I was like I’m going to build a funnel for Operation Underground Railroad to try to get their message out to the world and try to shine a light on this evil, evil thing that’s happening.
They say when you shine a light in a room, all the cockroaches scatter to the corners. I said, if I could help magnify this message and shine a light in the room I’m going to do it. And I don’t know how I’m going to do it but I’m going to do it. So I started running as fast as I could and started putting together a plan based on my own ideas and the plan seemed good, but for some reason it didn’t seem….I don’t know, you know that feeling where you’re like, this is good but it didn’t seem great? Like I’m missing something.
So before then, I was supposed to drive down to Utah and meet with Tim Ballard and some other people who are involved in this organization and the day I was supposed to be heading down there I was praying in the morning, “I need help. I need inspiration. I’m supposed to present these guys with my plan and my plan’s not very good.”
And in the middle of that prayer I had a flash of inspiration from Heavenly Father. The inspiration was simple, you need to make a documentary and you need to call Nick Nanton. And at the time, you’re probably thinking who’s Nick Nanton, and that’s almost how I felt. I had met him five or six years earlier, we had a conversation for less than 5 minutes and I hadn’t seen him since. He’s the guy who had done documentaries in the past, he had a lot of success with him. So I said okay.
I messaged him on Facebook Messenger, I was like, “Hey Nick, we talked once five or six years ago, I know we don’t know each other that well, but I don’t know if you believe in God, but I do and he told me today that you are supposed to help me do a documentary for this group called Operation Underground Railroad, check them out and let me know what you think.”
I got a message back from him a few minutes later, he said, “Brother, I’m in.” I said, okay. We’re making a documentary. Then I drove down to Utah, I presented this to Tim Ballard and some of the other people down there and they said, “yes, that’s it. That’s right.”
So we went back to the drawing board and said okay let’s do it. I called Nick up and introduced him to Tim and said, “You guys, let’s make this documentary.” And they went for the next 3 or 4 months, flew around the world to Haiti and all over the place to capture this story in a way that not only shines light in the darkness but helps to capture hope.
We got back after the documentary, they finished the filming of it, I do a big event once a year for entrepreneurs and we had about 3,000 entrepreneurs coming to this event. We had Tim Ballard come and we had Nick Nanton come and we had them show, do a private screening for this group to show them the documentary. So we showed them this amazing documentary that talked about Operation Underground Railroad and the mission and what they were doing.
And I’m sure I’ll do a whole podcast in the future just on that topic alone, but after we showed that documentary, from the group of entrepreneurs we were able to raise over a million dollars right there that will go on to save hundreds of kids from sex trafficking, which was one of the most amazing, special moments of my life.
In fact, if you want to see the trailer and eventually the documentary, if you go to ourfilm.org, you can see. As of right now the trailer is there, and in the future the documentary will be there.
So we did that and it was such an exciting thing, but I knew that that wasn’t the end. I knew that was the beginning. We had this documentary, how do we get this out to the world? How do we shine such a light on this darkness that the evil goes away? And I didn’t know the answer to that. I honestly still don’t know the answer to that. And I was scared and nervous once again.
As I started my Parley P. Pratt day and started reading as fast as I could, as soon as I got to 1 Nephi Chapter 17 I read these versus. Some context of what’s happening here, Nephi, Leman and Lemuel have left Jeruselem, they’ve gone across the wilderness and they found this amazing place, they called it the land of Bountiful and there’s trees and an Ocean, and it’s probably like sitting in San Diego. It’s perfect weather, they’re loving it, their family is there, they’re prospering finally for the first time in years and then Nephi has a vision and the vision says, “Nephi you’ve got to build a boat and you’re going to leave this amazing land and we’re going to take you somewhere else.”
So Nephi, as he always does, says, “Okay I’m going to do it.” And he starts running, comes back down and starts building a boat and what happens? Immediately his brothers Lamen and Lemuel, they start murmuring again right. That’s all they know how to do. They’re complaining and they’re angry and frustrated with Nephi. And he’s like, “No this is amazing.” They even talked about killing him, they were so frustrated. And they said, “Nephi, you don’t even know how to build a boat. You don’t have any actual skills, you’re not going to be able to do this. The boat’s going to sink, we’re all going to die.” And Nephi said to them,
“I said unto them that they should murmur no more against their father, neither should they withhold their labor from me. For God has commanded me that I should build a ship. And I said unto them if God had commanded me to do all things, I could do them. If he should command to me I should say unto this water, be thou earth, it should be earth. And if I should say it, it would be done. Now if the lord has such great power and has wrought so many mighty miracles among the children of men, how is it he cannot instruct me that I should build a ship?”
“Russell, how is it he cannot instruct you how to launch this documentary? Russell, how is it he cannot instruct you how to get this message out?” That’s the message I heard that morning as I read this. And I felt the spirit so strongly. I was like okay, I’m just going to go forward and do it and the lord will instruct me how to do this mission he’s asked me to go on.
So that’s, you guys, that’s why I’m hoping you guys are catching some of this. I’m hoping you’re feeling it. That’s why these scriptures are so important. How many of you are like, “Where’s God today? Why is he not talking to me? Why is he not helping us?” He is, he wants to. But we have to be willing. And this is the lesson I’m learning over and over and over again.
I come doing this podcast and I’m nervous because I don’t want people thinking that I am perfect in any way, because I am so far from that. I struggle everyday to read the scriptures. It’s a difficult daily process for me, but man every time I do, I feel it. And that’s the key.
So the challenge for me, the reason why I did this whole Book of Mormon challenge, I’m hoping as many of you guys as possible come on with me, but I’m doing it for myself as well, to get me back into the scriptures. I forget these things. I’m going through this process and I felt the spirit that morning, when I’m reading this, or reminding me of when I felt the spirit earlier in my life, and it’s like, the lord is there, if we’ll just open the scriptures and read. If we’ll pray, pray, pray, open the scriptures and read, he’ll answer our prayers.
Alright, so I want to jump into this now. Again, the title of this podcast was The Secret to Getting Your Prayers Answered and How to Know it’s Actually From God. The whole reason why I’ve titled it this and why I’m doing this podcast is because a lot of you guys have been asking me that. “Okay Russell, I’m doing this thing now. How do I know that it’s true?” and I tell people, “You pray about it.” “Okay, I’ve prayed a lot in my life, what then? Is something going to happen? Is an angel going to come to me?”
Probably not, but let me explain to you how it’s worked for me. And I don’t know if this is the same way it works for everybody, but this is the pattern that I’ve learned, and I’ve used it and its helped guide me throughout my life. So I’m going to kind of walk you guys through that.
So with that said, the two questions I want to answer in this podcast. Question number one, if you’re writing these down, how do you get prayers answered? And question number two, how do you know it’s actually from God and not just some voice in your head?
So those are the two questions we’re trying to go for. As I was breaking this down I realized there’s kind of different types of answers we’re looking for. So I broke it into three types of answers and there’s probably more, but these are the three I was able to kind of think through and identify.
So the first one, the first type of answer is a yes, or a no. This is the kind of thing where it’s so important you’re not going to move forward until you get an answer. The second one is inspiration and guidance, try to take you somewhere. And then the third one is comfort.
So I’m going to kind of go through these. The first type of answer is a yes or no. This is the ones where you don’t move until you get an answer. So a good example of this is like marriage. Before I got married to my beautiful wife, Collette, I was not going to just go on this path with my eternal companion without asking Heavenly Father first, “you have the ability to see the future and everything that’s happened forever and what’s going to happen, is the right companion for me? Should I really marry her? I love her, she’s beautiful, I think she’s awesome, but what do you think? You have better vision than me, you can see a lot more than me.”
So we prayed, and it wasn’t just a prayer and the answer came, it was work. I had to pray, my wife had to pray, we prayed separately, we prayed together and we thought through it and it took a while, but we didn’t stop until we got an answer. I was not going to go kneel across the alter and be married for time and all eternity to my beautiful wife, unless Heavenly Father said, “Yes.”
So we did that, we prayed, I’ll also add that we fasted while we prayed. Fasting is where you don’t eat or drink while you’re praying. Usually fast for a day or two or however long you are, but fasting is amazing, fasting will amplify your prayer. So if you really want an answer, I recommend adding fasting with it as well. So that was one example. We prayed and prayed until we got an answer. And only after we got the answer did I make my movement. So that was the first thing.
The next big one, that happened earlier in my life was when I prayed about the Book of Mormon. Is the Book of Mormon true? Is there a God in Heaven? Is Jesus our Savior? Those questions we talked about two episodes ago during the three givens. All those questions I prayed and I was not going to move until I had a yes or a no.
It blows my mind to this day, that some people will leave the church or they’ll forget God without getting an actual answer. I would never move without the answer to something that’s so important. The quote I shared with you guys two episodes ago from Bruce R. McKonkie, talking about the Book of Mormon said, “These are deep, and solemn and ponderous matters, we need not think we can trifle with sacred things and escape the wrath of a just God. Either the Book of Mormon is true or it is false. There is no middle ground.”
So when I was reading that book and I was praying about it, I was like, I am not moving until I get a yes or a no. There’s no middle ground. I can’t be like, oh I’m just going to kind of go down the middle. There’s either a yes or a no and I have to know what it is. And I’m not moving until I get the answer. So those are the yes and no kind of questions. When you pray until you get an answer and those ones usually take more work. It’s usually not just a quick answer and you get it. They take a little bit of time.
That’s number one. Type of answer number two, I called it inspiration or guidance. This is where you’re trying to get inspiration for your life, for what you’re doing, trying to get guidance to make sure you’re doing the right things. There’s a quote I heard on my mission as well, and again I don’t know who said this one so I can’t give it to anybody, but it said, “Pray as if everything depends on the lord, and then work as if everything depends on you.”
This is where most of my answers come from. When I wake up in the morning and I know that I’m going in a direction, I kneel down and I start praying. I pray and ask the lord. I pray as if everything depends on the lord, and I end my prayer, I’m not looking for a yes or a no, I’m looking for inspiration and guidance. Then I go and work as if everything depends on me.
Operation Underground Railroad, I was asked to be part of this thing, so I prayed for inspiration and guidance and I started running. I started running and running and moving forward and then every morning I would pray for guidance. I would pray as if everything depended on the Lord, and I would work as if everything depended on me. I kept moving forward and moving forward and moving forward. And there’s something magic about moving forward.
When you move forward, the lord blesses you. Sometimes it’s not immediately. For me it was the 11th hour. It was literally the morning, getting ready to jump in the car and drive down to present my plan with these people and I didn’t have the plan yet. I’m sitting there praying in the morning. But the lord knew I was moving forward. I was working as if everything depended on me, and then just when I needed it he gave me the inspiration. This is what you should do. You need to make a documentary. This is the person you need to call. I was guided.
This is true in my business, I don’t know about you guys if you own companies or businesses, I get this every single day. I’m trying to make the best decisions possible. I pray every morning, guide me, lead me, make sure I do the right thing so I can serve my audience the best that I possibly can. Then I work as if everything depends on me. I cannot tell you how much guidance I get. Every single day there’s things that come up, there’s ideas, there’s things that just come to my head that aren’t my own idea. They show up, and then I’m able to go and move forward on those things, because I’m praying for inspiration and guidance. And when you pray for it, it appears.
Next on my list here, books. I’ve written two books now, and working on others. But when I’m writing my books, it’s crazy, I’ll be studying and praying and figuring things out and my books having nothing to do with spirituality or church. These are business marketing books, but still I’m looking for inspiration. How can I change somebody’s life with these books? And I’m praying and I’m researching and all the sudden in the middle of stuff, all the sudden these ideas pop up, these patterns show up, things that I didn’t know before come to my head.I’m like, “That is not my idea, I don’t know where it came from, it’s amazing.”
Same thing happens to me when I speak on seminars and stages. Before I get onstage every single time, I pray “Heavenly Father please give me the guidance to inspire these people and know what to do and to say to actually help people to change their lives.” And then I get onstage and start speaking and the most amazing things always happen. I don’t know where they come from half the time because they come out of my head, they come out of my mouth. I’m like, “I’ve never said that before, I don’t know where that came from, but it came. It showed up when I needed it.”
I talked to Tony Robbins about this and Tony said the same thing, “I have an outline of what I’m going to talk about, I get onstage and then it just, something magical happens. Something’s channeled through me, I don’t know what it is.” But I know, and you guys know. It just comes from me, as long as I’m in a place where I’m trying to serve other people, it just shows up. And it’s true.
All my callings in church, on my mission, I saw it over and over and over again. One of my favorite stories of my mission, there were these things called media referrals where somebody will see on TV an ad for the Book of Mormon or a movie called the Lamb of God or something. So I got this call one day on my mission saying, “Hey, this girl requested..” I can’t remember if she requested a bible or what she requested, “if you could deliver it, here’s her address.” So we jumped in the car, drove over, met her, gave her the thing she ordered and asked her if we could teach her a lesson, a missionary discussion.
She said, “Yes.” We came in and taught her the first discussion, told her about Joseph Smith, about the Book of Mormon and we gave her a Book of Mormon, she was so excited to read it and we scheduled the appointment for two days later. We came back two days later and knocked on the door and her mom opened it and she said, “Sorry, she’s not here right now.” And we said, “Where is she?” “She’s actually in jail for a little while.”
We’re like, “Oh, are you serious? She was so excited, we could have helped her, we could have shifted her life. I know that this message, it could have been the thing for her.” She’s like, “Yeah, I’m sorry but feel free to come back, maybe she’ll be out in a couple of weeks.” So we came back a couple of weeks later, she was still gone. Came back a couple weeks later, and then finally after a couple of tries we just kind of gave up.
Fast forward a month or two later, my companion and I were sitting there, and all of our appointments that morning had followed through, it was raining outside and we thought, we have to go out and knock on doors to find someone, and to be completely honest we didn’t really want to go out in the rain and get soaking wet. So we’re sitting there and we’re like, “You know what, let’s pray. Let’s ask Heavenly Father where we should go. Maybe he’s got someone prepared for us today.”
So my companion and I sat in our car, we sat down and folded our arms and prayed, we said, “Heavenly Father, please give us the inspiration we need, please guide us to somebody today who is ready to hear this message.” We ended the prayer and sat there for a few minutes and I was like, “You know what, I don’t remember that girl’s name, but we visited her a couple of months ago and she’s the one who went to jail.” My companion looked at me and he’s like, “Are you kidding me?” I’m like, “What?” and he’s like, “I honestly was thinking of the exact same person right now.” I’m like, “Are you serious?”
That person, her face or whatever came to both of our minds at the exact same time, and we got so excited, so we jump in the car, we were trying to find her house, race over to her house, go knock on the door. The door opens and her mom comes out again and we’re like, “how’s it going? Is so and so here.” And she’s like, “No you guys, I told you. She’s in Jail.” And we’re like, oh I guess we weren’t paying attention or maybe…
We were kind of frustrated and were about to turn away and walk away, and then the mom, her name was Monica, she said, “I have a quick question. You guys keep coming by, how do you know her. What are you visiting for?”and we said, “We’re from the Mormon Church and she had called before and we had given her the Book of Mormon.” She said, “Oh I’ve seen it here. The Book of Mormon is here by her bed. What is that? I’m just curious what it is you guys do, what you talk about?” and we’re like, “Do you have a few minutes and we’ll tell you?” She’s like, “Sure, come on in.” we were like, really?
So we came in and we had a chance to teach her the first discussion. Told her about the Book of Mormon, about Joseph Smith and Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ coming to him and setting up this church and all the amazing stuff I’ve been sharing with you guys on this podcast and Monica felt it. She felt the spirit and she said, “Please come back.”
We came back a day or two later and talked about Jesus Christ and his sacrifice for her and how he had died to save her from her sins, and how she could repent for her sins, and we told her about that and she was so excited. And we came back and taught the third discussion, the fourth and all the way on and she ended up getting baptized. It was one of the most amazing experiences.
And what’s cool is fast forward to the time I got home from my mission, I actually got an email from Monica’s daughter after she got out of jail. She said, “Hey, I got out of jail and my mom got baptized, as you know, and now I’m going to church with her.” It was just such a cool thing. I remember thinking how special it was to know that our Heavenly Father knew that Monica was prepared, knew exactly where she was at. And as soon as I was willing to pray, as if everything depended on the lord, then he opened it to me. And showed us exactly where and how to find her.
The same thing is true inside of our families. Pray as if everything depends on the lord and then work as if everything depends on you.
The third type of answer we’re looking for, the first one again was yes and no questions. Number two was inspiration and guidance and number three is comfort. I’ve used this so many times in my life. Someone who’s struggled, who needs comfort right now, I testify to you that the Lord will comfort you through prayer. This is the way he answers our prayers.
I know my girlfriend got married on my mission, as funny as it is now looking back on it, prayer is what gave me comfort. I have a handicapped sister who is two years older than me, and when my handicapped sister, Stacy passed away, I didn’t know how to take that. It was hard, it was scary, it was all those things wrapped into one and prayer is what comforted me. There’s trials in our family and society, things that happen all the time and prayer is how we get comfort.
So those are the three types of answers. We have our yes and no’s, we have our inspiration and guidance, and we have comfort. That’s usually where we’re, at least for me personally, where I’m looking for how to get my prayers answered.
Alright, so I’m going to dive back into this. There’s two questions, number one is how to get your prayers answered, and number two is how do you know the answer is coming from Heavenly Father, not something you just made up in your head?
So question number one I broke down into a couple of steps. So step number one to how to get your prayer answered. Step number one is you have to sanctify yourself. What does that mean? There is a scripture in Joshua 3:5 it’s one of my favorite scriptures. It’s really simple, really easy, but it was a turning point for me. In Joshua 3:5 Joshua is actually meeting with his people and they’re about to go in and try to recapture, repossess their promised land, which is obviously a scary thing. There’s armies and wars and this crazy that they have to do.
So in Joshua 3:5 it says, “And Joshua said to his people, sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” So what does that mean to sanctify yourself?
Sanctify means to clean yourself, be prepared, be clean, the Lord wants to do wonders among you, but you have to be clean first. If you are out there breaking all the commandments and doing all sorts of horrible, evil things, the Lord’s not going to come to you, he’s not going to answer your prayers. You need to be clean if you want answers from God, you want his spirit to visit you, you have to clean yourself, you have to sanctify yourselves.
So how do you do that? You do that through a process we call repentance. Repentance is basically asking our Heavenly Father to figure you. Maybe we’ll do a whole episode on repentance because it’s important and there’s a lot that goes into it. But it’s basically, repentance is as simple as stopping what you’re doing, turning your heart to God and asking him for forgiveness. That’s what repentance is.
On my mission it was interesting, I told you guys before, I went in the mission field and I was praying and asking, “Is the Book of Mormon true?” and what’s funny is I asked that question over and over and over again for months and I never got my yes or my no. I was asking, I was praying, I was moving forward, but I never got my yes or my no and I was always stressed out.
Then I remember one day getting the answer, and it wasn’t the answer that I thought. I was looking for a yes or a no, but the answer I got was not that I needed a yes or no, the answer I got was that I needed to be clean. I needed to sanctify myself. I’m like, what? I’m on a mission. If you know anything about the Mormon church, going on a mission is not simple. You have to be clean, you have to prepare yourself, there’s all these things you don’t do before you go on your mission to be ready.
But as I heard that I started thinking, what have I not cleaned up in my life? What have I not repented of? I’ve stopped doing a lot of bad things that I was doing. I mean nothing grievous or super evil, but what did I not repent from? What have I not asked forgiveness of? And I started thinking back and I was remembering, oh my gosh, there’s a lot of things that I’ve done that I never asked for forgiveness.
So I started praying and asking Heavenly Father for forgiveness. And after I asked for forgiveness, that’s when the answers came. So for you guys, it’s important to understand, you have to be clean, you have to repent first. There’s a talk by Elder Jeffery R. Holland that he gave, and he’s one of my favorite apostles, he’s an amazing person. In this talk he was talking about people like us, who are trying to do things, trying to have the lord help us with whatever it is, answers to questions, to help change the world, whatever it is we’re trying to do inside of our sphere of influence.
And he was talking to us, he said, “Brethren, if you are struggling with self control, I ask you to pray to your Father in Heaven for help. Pray to him as Enos did, who wrestled before God and struggled mightily in the spirit. Wrestle like Jacob did with an angel, refusing to let go until a blessing had come. Talk to you mom, your dad, your bishop, get the best help you can from all the good people who surround you. Avoid at all costs others who tempt you, weaken your will or perpetuate the problem. If anyone does not feel worthy tonight, he can become worthy through repentance and the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Savior wept and bled and died for you. He has given everything for your happiness and salvation, he is certainly not going to withhold help from you now.”
When I hear that I just start thinking, okay I need to get away from the people that are distracting me, I need to get clean. I don’t know how to explain it more than that. We’ve got to become clean.
Sometimes we think, there’s no way that based on all the stuff I’ve done in the past, I’ve done so many bad things and there’s no way that I could be forgiven. I get that. It’s one of Satan’s great lies that he tells us, that what you’ve done is too bad. The lord’s not going to come to you. He’s not going to forgive you. He’s not going to help you. And I think this last line is so powerful.
“The Savior wept and bled and died for you. He has given everything for your happiness and salvation, he’s certainly not going to withhold help from you now.”
One of my favorite phrases that I ever heard that actually came from the Savior’s lips, it was before the crucifixion and he was outside of Jerusalem looking at the entire city, looking at this people, the people who were eventually going to crucify and kill him, and in Matthew Chapter 23 he said this, “Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem thou that killest the prophets and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not.”
And then fast forward, this is when it comes back to the two different witnesses, so fast forward, not even that far in the future, but across the world on the other side of the world, after Christ was crucified, then he came to the people here on the American continents and what’s cool, in the Book of Mormon, in 3 Nephi 10:6, the Lord actually came to the people in America, I talked about that earlier, it was one of the most amazing things. But when he came here he said almost the same thing to the people in America.
He said, “Oh ye house of Israel whom I have spared, “
So these people here in America, they were part of the house of Israel that he had taken away from Jerusalem and he spared them over here in America.
He said, “how oft will I gather you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, if ye will repent and return unto me with full purpose of heart.”
I hear those scriptures twice now, I think of a hen and chickens, and I don’t live on a farm, but I’ve been to a farm once or twice, and you look around and there’s these chickens running around and a hen gathers them together and the chickens run away, and they gather them together and they run away, and it keeps happening over and over and over again.
And how many times do we look like those little hens, those little chickens who are running around and messing up and messing up and messing up. And the lord is like the hen saying, “Come back. Come back.” It’s Satan who’s telling you it’s too late to come back. You can, no matter where you are, and no matter what you’ve done wrong, you can come back.
Literally, he’s looking at his people who are about to crucify and kill him and he says, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often would I have gathered thy children together even as a hen gathers her chickens under my wings and you would not.” He will continue to forgive us over and over again.
So that’s the key. So I’m going to kind of repeat this. Step number one is you’ve got to repent. You’ve got to sanctify yourself. The lord is going to do wonders. He’s going to answer your prayers, he’s going to lead you and guide you and help you know exactly what to do. He is going to answer your prayers and when he does that, your life is going to change, and when your life changes, you have the ability to change other people’s lives. That is the marvelous work and wonder that the lord wants for you.
So if you were going to go on this journey and change yourself and change other people and if you want those blessings, you have to do what Joshua said, you have to sanctify yourself because tomorrow the Lord wants to do wonders among you.
That’s number one, step number two, after you’ve cleaned yourself, you’ve repented and you’ve tried your best to do what’s right, and again, we’re never going to be perfect. But you’ve done your best to repent and try to make those shifts in your life, the second step is you’ve got to study it out. Now this is a really cool scripture that helped me to really understand that, a lot of times I would go and say a prayer, “Hey I have a question.” I’d pray and nothing would happen.
I’m like, huh. Maybe the lord doesn’t know, maybe he doesn’t care, maybe he’s not even there, or whaever. And I had all these thing, I’m sure all of us have had those same feelings sometimes. Oliver Cowdery was a guy who was helping Joseph Smith to translate the Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith was translating and Oliver Cowdery was writing it down by hand on this paper.
In Doctrine and Covenants section 9, there’s some verses where the Lord’s talking to Oliver Cowdery and he says something that when you read this and you hear this, it will make your mind open like, “Oh, that’s how I receive answers to my prayers.” So this is what he told Oliver Cowdery, he said,
“Behold ye have not understood, ye have supposed that I would give it unto you when you took no thoughts, save it was to ask me. But behold I say unto you that you must study it out in your mind, then you must ask me if it be right. And if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you, therefore you shall feel that it is right. But if it not be right, you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have the stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong.”
I want to kind of emphasize a couple of things, at the very beginning it says, “You took no thought, save it was to ask me.” So, all you did was just asked me. If you go to a teacher like, “Hey, what’s the answer to the question.” The teacher’s going to be like, “I’m not going to tell you. How are you supposed to learn and grow if I just give you the answer?” So the Lord tells Oliver Cowdery here, you took no thought, save it was to ask me. You have to do more than just ask me.
He says, “Behold, I say unto you, you must study it out in your mind.” You gotta study it, you gotta figure it out first. Study it out in your minds, “And then you must ask me if it is right. And if it is right, then you shall feel that it is right.” You will feel the spirit. The spirit will tell you that it is right. But first you have to study it out in your mind. And then if it be not right, then you should have no such feeling.
So that’s how it works. We can’t just go ask him, we have to do the work first. We have to study it out in our minds, figure out the answer and then pray about it, and when we do, we’ll feel if it’s right. Or we will have no such feeling.
So before I got an answer to my question of if the Book of Mormon is true, I had to actually read the Book of Mormon. I had to read it, study in my mind, I had to think is this logical, does it make any sense? And then I got an answer to my prayer. Before I was going to marry Collette, I didn’t just say, “Oh she’s cute. Let me pray. Should I marry her?” I had to study it out. I had to go on dates with her and figure it out and ask her questions and we had to figure out if we were a right fit. I had to think about it and pray about it, I had to fast about it. Allthese things I had to do and then I got an answer to my prayer.
Before we moved to this home I was like freaking out. If I move to this home, is this going to be a good place for my kids, is it going to be bad. I don’t know if it’s going to be good. So before we made the decision we prayed about it, we studied it out. We looked at the school systems here, we figured things out and studied in our minds and prayed and then if the answer is true, we’ll feel if it is right.
Now one thing about this, this is especially true with yes or no questions. We don’t come to the Lord, “is the answer yes or no.” because he has to have us feel something and we’re like, wait was that for the yes or the no? We gotta figure out, I think this is the right way. Then we say, “Heavenly Father, I feel like the Book of Mormon is true. I read this thing, I studied it, I feel really good about it. Is the Book of Mormon true?” Boom, you’ll feel it.
“Heavenly Father, I met this girl, I’ve been dating her. I fasted, I pray with her, I’ve done everything I can. I know about her, I met her family. I feel like she’s the right one. I think I should marry her. Heavenly Father, should I marry Collette?” Boom, I got my answer.
So don’t do what most people do and take no thought, save it was to ask me. Do what you’re supposed to do. Study it out in your minds, and then after you’ve studied it out in your mind, then ask him if it is right. And if it is right, then you shall feel that it is right. The spirit will tell you, you’ll feel it. If it’s not right, you will not feel the spirit.
Is this making sense? So that’s step number two. Step number one was sanctify yourself, step number two is to study it out, and step number three now, you have to listen, and recognize, and follow the voice of the spirit. And this is where we transition to the second big question now. How do I actually know that this voice is from God, it’s not just something in my head that I’m just making up?
I don’t know about you, but that was my biggest concern all through high school. I would pray for something and I’d have an inspiration and I’m like, “Wait, was that from me? Did I just think that? Or was that from God? Or was that just something I thought from a movie I saw? Or was that evil?...” and I didn’t know. How many of you guys have felt that before? It’s scary. What if I have inspiration and it’s from somewhere that’s wrong or evil? I don’t know. How do I know what the spirit actually is?
For you guys, one of the biggest things is, and I’m going to share with you guys a really powerful tool that I’ve learned. The biggest thing, you need to start recognizing. I remember I had some really good teachers when I was younger and I would be in class with them and they would teach something where the spirit would be there and they would feel it. And they would ask us, “Hey do you feel that.” We’d be like, “Yeah I do.” “That right there, that’s the spirit.”
I remember on my mission we knocked on a lady’s door and we came in and started teaching her about the scriptures, we showed her the Book of Mormon and read about it, and then I remember showing her the picture of Joseph Smith in the First Vision. I remember I told the story of the first vision and I felt the spirit so strong as I told that story. And I looked at her and I could tell that she felt it. I said, “Did you feel that?” and she had tears in her eyes, she said, “Yeah.” I said, “That’s the spirit telling you it’s true.”
If you listen to my other podcasts, I encourage you if you haven’t or if you have, go back and maybe listen to them again, and as you listen to them, notice what you feel. If you don’t feel it with me, then go read the Book of Mormon, or go read the Bible, or go…a big key for us, one of the things we have to learn is we have to learn to feel and then recognize that spirit. So you’re putting yourself in spiritual situations, you’re going to church, learning about Christ, doing things that are good. Notice how you feel.
Because as soon as you start recognizing, “oh that’s what the spirit feels like. Oh wow, that’s what it is.” Then you can start becoming, it becomes a lot easier. As soon as I realized, and it was sometime through high school, towards the end of my junior or senior year, were the first couple of times I felt the spirit. And what was neat is that, fast forward on my mission when I started praying and I asked if the Book of Mormon was true, and I felt this thing I was like, “That’s the feeling, there it is. That’s the spirit.”
So that’s the thing that’s going to take, and I don’t’ know how to explain it other than you feel something. It’s like, for me, it’s weird when I feel it, because I’ll be reading the scriptures or something that’s not, I don’t know. Sometimes when you go to the movies or something and you see this big amazing thing and you feel like an adrenaline rush, it’s almost like I’m in a situation where there should be no adrenaline rush and all the sudden I get this adrenaline rush. I don’t know, it’s hard to explain and it’s going to be different for everyone. So as you feel it, I want you to start recognizing it, because that’s how you’re going to, the more clear you understand what the feeling is, the better you’re going to be able to recognize it as you’re moving forward on things.
Again, the question, how do you know it’s actually coming from God and not just in your head? The best explanation I’ve ever heard about this, ever, is from a book called Following the Light of Christ into His Presence by John Pontius. I was actually listening to the audiobook of this probably almost a year ago now, and I was listening to it and as I got into it, there was this one section that he called, The Voices. It had such a huge, profound impact on me. In fact, so much so that I’m not even going to try to teach this to you, I’m just going to read this from the book, because it was so powerful.
So I’ll kind of set this up. He basically said that there are three voices inside of our mind. So when you’re hearing stuff inside your head, thoughts and things like that, there’s three voices. We start learning how to distinguish which voice is which, man it makes things so much easier.
So the three voices, I’ll kind of give you what they are ahead of time. Number one is your mind, this is your brain, this is the conversations you’re having inside your head. Number two is Satan’s temptations, this is Satan, this is the adversary, this is the person who hates us, who’s trying to destroy us. Now as I read this, there’s some things that will make sense for Mormons, for those who aren’t Mormon, I’ll give a little preface just so you understand what this means.
I think the next podcast episodes I’m going to do, I think the next three I’m going to talk about the three main questions, where do we come from, why are we here, and where are we going? But so the next episode, if that’s where I’m going with where do we come from, I’ll talk more about this. But as you know, we believe we came, we lived with our Heavenly Father ahead of time, and if you read in the Book of Revelation it talked about Satan was there, there was a big war in heaven and he left with a third of the stars, so we believe that a third of the hosts of heaven, a third of Heavenly Father’s children came to earth here, with Satan and they are basically, they work for Satan, tempting us.
So as we get to Satan’s voice, the voice of the adversary, it’s Satan or the people that are here, his minions that are tempting us and trying us at the same time. There’s that voice of Satan that’s there all the time. Then the third is the voice of the spirit.
So these are the only three voices that are happening inside of our head. So when you start understanding what they sound like, now you can start becoming very clear like, “Oh, this is what that meant. This is what I should be doing.” So I’m going to read these sections. So again, the book is called Following the Light of Christ into His Presence by John Pontius.
“There are three main sources of voices in a healthy mind, the first is the voice of your own mind. You hear yourself think, you talk with yourself, you discuss things with yourself, you argue with yourself, berate, praise, and jabber with yourself all day long. This voice is distinguishable because it is unsure, or in other words, it questions things. It’s seldom definite or decisive. It almost always asks questions. ‘What is that? Who is that? Why did you say that? What does that mean? Do you suppose? What would happen if? I wonder…’ Even when it is empathetic it leaves open the possibility of change. ‘I’m definitely going to bed now, okay? I’m going to go to town if the car will start.’
“You’ll notice that this voice usually takes the personal case. ‘I think I should fast today.’ The Holy Spirit would have said, ‘Fast today.” Okay so that’s the first voice, that’s your mind. Your mind is the one always asking questions. So remember that.
“The second voice comes from Satan’s realms. It is unlikely that we receive much personal attention from the king of kingdoms personally, rather we deal with his minions, his messengers, and his tempters. These beings have been in the business of tempting mankind for as long as the earth has existed, perhaps even longer. They are undoubtedly very skilled and highly motivated. Each has probably tempted thousands of people just like us, they have spent thousands of years in intimate contact with mortals. They have much more experience with tempting mortals to sin than we could possibly ever have in resisting it.
“They know the subtleties and the tricks necessary to entice and trick us into failing. The undoubtedly specialize in their works, meaning that there are certain men that specialize in anger, marital infidelity, family disharmony, murder, drugs, illness, depression, hate, or a million of other maladies, sins and vices. Once successful, they linger with year after year with those that they afflict. When we hear the voice from this source it will be cleverly disguised and enticing. It will appeal to the natural carnal, central, and devilish side of us. There are real intelligences in the message and malice of forethought. They plan and plot against us, and their messages are carefully chosen.
“A prompting from this source will nearly always be stated as an absolute. ‘Don’t let them get away with that. You’re too tired to pray. You deserve better. Pay them back. No one will ever notice. It should be yours anyway. Just take it. She’s your wife, not your mother. Football only happens once per year, church can get along without you for one Sunday. She wants you. It’s only natural. He loves you more than your husband, how can you not love him back.’
“These promptings will always lead us away from the truth. They prompt us to disobey, to not pray, to abandon church assignments and family responsibilities to commit sin and walk in forbidden paths. They have destroyed millions of souls and you’re simply the next on their list. They are confident, efficient and successful and they hate us with unimaginable intensity. From their perspectives they are engaged in an all out war against us. Our perspective barely even includes a realization that they exist. It’s no wonder that they win so frequently.
“One of their weaknesses is that they can rarely voice just one lie. While the Holy Spirit generally prompts us just once, the tempter often voices many objections to each prompting. The Holy Spirit may prompt us to call everyone to family prayer. Thereafter the evil suggests many reasons why you should not obey. ‘Everyone’s tired; they’re just going to complain. You don’t feel like it. The wife is already in bed, it’s late, and it’s useless. You can do it tomorrow.’ This is actually one of the ways we may discern the voices. The Holy Spirit whispers the truth, and thereafter the opposition tirades against it.”
Okay there’s number two, which are Satan’s temptation. This one’s interesting to me the more I think about it, because when I first was listening to this as an audiobook, I started thinking, we always talk about how everyone’s got their pet sins, or their things that they fall back on. And I honestly believe that when we’re born, Satan’s got these people tempting us to do all sorts of things, and when we find out, “the thing I struggle with is pornography.” Or “My struggle is Lying or cheating or stealing.” They figure out what our things are and then we literally have someone assigned to us that’s trying to tempt us. They know, “That’s what Russell falls for every single time.” They’re coming back and they’ll keep tempting us with that thing over and over and over again.
Alright, so there’s number two. Now number three…So number one was your mind, number two is Satan’s temptations, and number three is the Spirit. It says,
“The third source of information in our minds is the voice of the Lord through the Holy Spirit. This voice always entices us to do good. To believe, to serve, to pray, and to repent. It often prompts contrary to where you were headed. If you were just settling into the super bowl on Sunday morning, it would tell you to go to church. If you were already on your way to church, it would prompt nothing but would give us the feelings of comfort and satisfaction. The voice of the conscious is easy to recognize because it is the only one of the three that prompts us to do good.
“These promptings come as an absolute statement. The Holy Spirit would say, ‘Fast today.’ Your mind would have said, ‘I wonder if I should fast today? Or perhaps I should fast.’ Any time you have a prompting to do good it has come from God.”
So the mind has questions, it’s trying to question things. Satan is typically telling you either to do bad or it’s bombarding you with a whole bunch of things, and the spirit prompts you to do something once. As I was reading this, it was interesting. The spirit will tell you to do something. Like the spirit will say, “Hey you should fast today.” And then instantly Satan’s going to come tempt you and be like, “You shouldn’t fast today, you’re hungry. Instead you should go do whatever.” It will like bombard you with five or six different things to try to fight against that.
And then your mind’s like, “That’s true, I shouldn’t fast. What if I did this today….” And it starts questioning it. So if you look at that, almost every situation you’re going to be hit by all three of those things. The spirit’s going to come and say, “Go to church.” Or it’s going to say, “Read the Book of Mormon.” So you hear that spirit says, “Read the Book of Mormon.” It’s precise, it tells you to do something. It’s a still, small voice and it usually says something once and it stops.
Then instantly Satan comes in with his temptations and doesn’t say something once, he usually comes in and like, “No, don’t read the Book of Mormon. You don’t even have a copy and it’s going to take a long time and it sounds like scripture and it’s going to be a lot of work. You’re catholic anyway, you already have a scripture.” All these things, it won’t just be one, it’ll be one, two, three, four, five.
And your mind will be like, “That’s a good point. What about this?” and your mind will start questioning it, and that’s how you’ll know. So the voice we listen to is the still, small voice. The command that’s leading us towards good. There’s one more paragraph I want you to read because he kind of bundles these all together. He said,
“We have been talking a lot about promptings, perhaps even the term needs clarification. A prompting is information that originates outside of one’s mind. The Holy Spirit prompts to do good, the Devil prompts to do evil. Our mind’s consider and analyze the promptings and make decisions concerning them. These promptings all appear and sound exactly like our own thoughts. The only way to differentiate between them is the way we have already discussed. Good comes from God, evil comes from the adversary, questions and analysis comes from within. It really is just that simple.”
So I don’t know about you guys, but when I heard that, it just made so much sense. It made things so clear. All the sudden I was like, okay. I just need to pay more attention. When something comes to me, I’m listening. Was it a still, small voice that just told me to do something once? And what happened afterwards? This isn’t just church stuff. Every single day when I’m doing my work, what I do for my business, I’m going in there, I’m listening for voices.
Usually it will be like, “Hey you should do this.” Something that’s leading towards good and instantly Satan comes in and is like, “Oh, you could do this.” And just shortcuts to the ways that aren’t serving my audience the highest will immediately come in. And my brain’s trying to figure out, what was the first thing?
It’s interesting, I read a book a little while ago called Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, he’s one of my favorite authors. But in Blink, the subtitle of the book is The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. And it’s interesting, the premise of the entire book is like if you look at the majority of decisions, most people their instinct, their initial reaction is truth. And then they come back and try to rationalize it, and figure things out, and most of the time when they do that, they actually end up with the wrong answer.
They said that the blink the decision, the immediate thing that you hit with initially is typically the right answer. And as I was reading that, listening to that, I was like, I think that that’s the spirit. I think what happens, we have a situation and instantly the spirit comes and tells us what to do with a still, small voice and then the borage of tempters come into us and start fighting things and we try to analyze things and half the time we end up on the wrong path. But if we listen to the blink instinct, the first thing, that’s almost always the truth. It’s interesting.
I just thought it was kind of an interesting tie in as I read that book and thinking about this. And I don’t know how these things correlate, and obviously Blink wasn’t written through a spiritual eye, but as I read that I was thinking about this, it became very, very interesting to me.
So for me, as I pray for guidance every day in my business, I’m always trying to listen to the voice of the spirit. It’s happening in business, happening in my family, it’s happening as I’m praying and moving forward on things.
Alright, so the last step in this process, step number four. Step number one if we come back here, was to sanctify yourself, step number two was to study it out, step number three is to listen and recognize the voice of the spirit, step number four is to follow the voice of the spirit. After we hear, then we must do. Movement is essential. I think a lot of times the Lord gives us little things. He tests us, tries us, gives us little things to see if we’re going to be good stewards of what he gives us. And when you do little things, he gives you more. And when you do more, he gives you more. And when you don’t pay attention, you fall back. It’s interesting.
So movement is essential. It’s important when you know the truth that you act on it. In times of my life where I follow promptings from the spirit and I move forward I get more of them. Times in my life where I ignore, or I fight against them, or follow Satan instead, I’ve noticed the voice gets quieter and quieter and I hear it less often.
So I want to kind of end this back in Joshua, back in the Old Testament because if you read the entire Joshua chapter three, the story keeps on getting good. So Joshua 3:5 is the verse I shared earlier where it said, “And Joshua said to his people, sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.”
Then you fast forward, the nice thing about history is we have a chance to actually see what happens. So the people didn’t sanctify themselves, and then the Lord said unto Joshua, if you go down to verse 7. “The Lord said unto Joshua, this day will I begin to magnify thee, inside of all of Israel that they may know, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.” So you remember Moses took the children of Israel out and came to the Red Sea, parted the Red Sea and everyone moved through it. So then he told Joshua, I’m going to let all of Israel see that you are just like Moses.
And he said, “And thou shalt command the priest that bared the arc of the covenant saying that when ye come to the brink of the water in Jordan, ye shall stand still in Jordan.” So coming to Jordan, which is this huge body of water, they’re coming down to it and then in verse 15 he tells these guys, “you’re going to need to come down and we’re going to cross this water.” And I’m sure the people, you know, you’r ecoming down to the water, you’re like, “There’s water there. There’s not a bridge.” It’s not like Moses where everything had been parted. It was like go.
If you keep reading down, 15 says, “and as they that bare the arc were come unto Jordan and the feet of the priest that bare the arc were dipped in the brim of the water.” So their feet actually, they didn’t stand on the side and wait there, wait for a miracle. Like Joshua said, “We gotta go, we’re going across the water, so let’s go.” So it said, they walked down and the brim of their feet were actually in the water. It says in verse 17, “and the priest that bare the arc of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan.”
So they walked down to the water, they had to move and then they stepped in the water, and as soon as their feet hit the water, then it parted and they were on dry ground and able to walk through it. They didn’t walk and wait, “Okay, we’re waiting Lord. We’re waiting.” They said, “Alright, he told us to cross this water, go.” And they started going, and as soon as they did, as soon as their foot hit the water, boom, it parted underneath them.
That’s the kind of movement we have to have. We have to follow the voice of the spirit, we have to get good at listening and then acting. Listening and then acting, that’s the key you guys. That’s how we get answers to our prayers. And if we listen to the little prayers and act on them, then the Lord will bless us with bigger things. If we follow the bigger things, then he gives us more. But it’s essential that we listen and we act.
So that covers the core things I wanted to share on this episode, you guys. So right now what I wanted to do was I wanted to testify to you guys that the Lord does answer prayers. If he’s never answered your prayer in the past, he will. I promise you that. He’s answered my prayers over and over and over again. There have been times in my life where I haven’t received answers and sometimes it scares me, but it’s also helped me to realize that maybe it’s because I need to cleanup myself first. Maybe the answer right now is no. Maybe whatever it is, but if we pray and we have faith and keep moving forward, the answers will come. I promise you that.
Now I want to kind of recap everything really quick. So once again, step number one, sanctify yourself, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you. Number two, study it out in your mind, “For behold, I say unto you that you must study it out in your mind and then you must ask me if it be right. And if it be right, ye shall feel that it is right. But if it be not right, ye shall have no such feeling. Ye shall have a stupor of thoughts which will cause you to forget the thing which was wrong.” Sanctify yourselves, study it out in your mind.
Number three, listen for the voice of the spirit. The voice always entices us to do good, to believe, to serve, to pray and repent. It’s promptings always come as absolute statements. Number four when you hear the voice then you have to move. Turn off all the other voices and just run. I testify to you guys that when you do these steps, the Lord will answer your prayers.
You can and should be using this process every single day, when you need inspiration or guidance, when you need comfort, when you need answers. If you are here with me on this podcast, then one of the biggest questions I want you be answering and asking yourself every single day is this, is the Book of Mormon true? That’s the Book of Mormon challenge you guys, is it true.
I want you guys to find that out, because when you find that out there’s so much more I can share with you. There’s this whole world of possibility and things that when you know the Book of Mormon is true, you’ll know they’re true as well. And I want you guys to understand that. So it is now time for you officially to find out. I challenge you to do that. If you don’t have the Book of Mormon yet, go to bookofmormonchallenge.com and get a free one there, and start reading it. Or we’re still working on the app, we’re going to have reading lessons and plans and stuff like that to help you guys get through it. But now is the time, go to bookofmormonchallenge.com and get a copy of the book and then you gotta read it.
Like I said, the steps are simple, sanctify yourself, clean yourself, repent, make sure you are right with God. Number two, read it, study it in your mind, understand it, figure out if you think it’s true. And then pray about it, number three, that is where you start listening for the voice, listening for the spirit. Start paying attention so you can recognize the voice, recognize the spirit. Then number four is when you do hear the voice of the spirit, then you gotta move, then you gotta act. When you do that the Lord’s going to bless you.
I promise you that, I cannot wait for you guys to have that experience, now is the time, go to bookofmormonchallenge.com, thank you again so much. This is Russell Brunson and I’ll see you on the next episode.
Apr 30 2018
Rank #4: I'm Reading The WHOLE Book Of Mormon In A Day (Hopefully...)
Today I'm going to try to read the WHOLE Book of Mormon in one day... but before I do, I need to answer some important questions that you've been asking.
Hey everyone, this is Russell Brunson. I want to welcome you back to the Book of Mormon Challenge podcast. I am so excited for today’s episode. It’s actually 5:30 in the morning, and I got up really early today because I’m going to be taking you guys on a really special journey, and I’ll tell you about it here in a second, but I am just ecstatic.
I couldn’t fall asleep last night, and this morning I set my alarm for like 5:20, and I was up at 5:00 I couldn’t even, which never happens for me. That’s how excited I am for today.
Really quick, so I launched the podcast this week, which is a huge thing, it’s something I wanted to do, honestly, for a couple of years now. And then about 6 months ago or so, I recorded the first two episodes and got excited, then I got nervous and then I didn’t do anything about it and then finally, this week I was like, I just need to get this live.
So Monday I called my brother up, who does all my audio editing, and got the podcast live. And it’s live and I just kind of shared it with friends and family and people I know, and it’s been really fun to see people’s feedback. And anyway, I’m just going to keep going on this journey and it’ll be a lot of fun.
So as I have said out there, there are a lot of people obviously, members of the LDS church that listen to it, but I’ve had a lot of friends, and I’ve got a big following online, and I didn’t really, I haven’t published it out there. I think I’m going to talk about it a little bit today, just let people know about it in case they’re curious. But some of my friends who aren’t members listened to it, and it’s been kind of fun and interesting to hear some of their feedback.
Anyway, I really enjoyed it, and it’s opening doors to conversations I normally don’t have. So hopefully this, for those of you guys who are members of the church, who if you like this, feel free to share this with other people and hopefully it will help open up doors for you to talk about things that we should be talking about.
The one thing I want to talk about really quick, the biggest question I’ve been getting so far by people is, “What’s the Book of Mormon Challenge, Russell? What is it?” Well, there’s a couple of things. The most basic and the most simple is that I’m challenging everybody, including me to actually go and read the Book of Mormon. And then not to take my word for it, or Google’s word for it, but to actually go and pray and see what the Lord says, and say, ask him to find out if it’s true. Because if it is true, like I talked about in episode 1 and 2, this is a huge deal and you should know about it, and you should care about it…It’s huge.
But you gotta find out for yourself, so that’s my challenge for you. Now, when you go to BookofMormonChallenge.com, the sites up there right now and all there are is download links to, or subscribe links to this podcast on both apple and android. And a link to where you can get a free copy of the Book of Mormon from lds.org, and just basically a place you can put your email address in to get on a notification list.
I’m working on a bunch of really cool things behind the scenes. We have an app coming out and a bunch of other stuff, so those things are coming but for right now I just wanted to start. I wanted to stop using the fact that the site and everything wasn’t finished as an excuse, and I just wanted to start.
Alright, so with that said, the Book of Mormon Challenge is for everybody to read the Book of Mormon. After you read it to pray about it, ask Heavenly Father if it’s true. If it is true, then I got so many exciting things I want to share with you, but that part is up to you. So that’s still the challenge.
And as I was thinking about this, I thought about when did I take that challenge? And it’s been, man, it’s been…I’m getting old, it’s been like 20+ years since I had that experience. And it changed the trajectory of my life, and I’m so grateful for it. But I wanted to go though it again with everybody. So I was like, I’m going to start reading the Book of Mormon again, in more detail. As you know, if you listened to the intro of this show, and episodes 1 and 2, I actually bought one of the first editions of the Book of Mormon, one of the first 5,000.
And what’s fun, I’ve had a chance with my kids to read it, but I don’t know the book is kind of frail and fragile, and I haven’t really just read the whole thing, and I’ve wanted to. And Monday, after I launched the podcast I started thinking about a story, and there’s a story about a guy named Parley P. Pratt, some of you guys may know him. People who are members of the Mormon church probably know him, but most people probably don’t.
But he was one of the first people to join the church and he lived back when Joseph Smith was alive in the 1820’s, and somebody gave him one of the first 5,000 copies of the book and he started reading it and I found a quote from him last night, he said, it said,
“Parley P. Pratt was introduced to the Book of Mormon in an experience that will forever change his life. Later he recalled, ‘I read all day, eating was a burden, I had no desire for food. Sleep was a burden because when the night came I preferred reading to sleep.”
And he actually read the entire Book of Mormon in an entire day. Like he said, sleeping and eating became a burden to him. I always thought that was the coolest story. I can’t believe he read the entire book in a day. Anyway, on Monday I was thinking about that, I should do a Parley P. Pratt day and actually try to read the entire Book of Mormon in a day, just like he did. How fun would that be?
And then I was like, I wonder if I could find the date that he actually did that and I started searching and I couldn’t find it anywhere. Then I just went to Wikipedia and looked it up. And it turns out that today was actually Parley P. Pratt’s birthday. So this was Monday I found this out. I was like, oh my gosh, Thursday is his birthday. What if I made it a Parley P. Pratt day, I took work off and I just read the entire book in a day? That was the idea, I got excited and now here we are today. I’m going to read the entire book today.
So I am pumped and excited and so that’s what’s going to be happening. So I’m actually going to record multiple sections of this podcast throughout the day to just kind of talk about some of the stuff I’m reading in the book, obviously it’s a huge book and I’m not going to have time to talk about everything. But some of the big story lines I’m going to jump back in and just record little pieces for you guys, with the hope that it gets you pumped and excited to go and actually get the book and read it.
Those who are members and haven’t been reading it recently, it’s going to hopefully get you excited to go back in and read it. Those who have no idea what this is about, hopefully get you inspired to actually open it up and read the book. That’s my goal, so it’s going to be kind of fun.
Alright, another couple of things I want to go through before I stop this recording and open the book and start reading. As I’ve kind of opened the flood gates of this podcast, the questions from people I love keep flying in, so I wanted to talk about one because I think it’s really, really important as a preface to any of you guys who are thinking about, “Should I read this? Should I not? I’m scared, do I do it?” and the question a lot of people keep asking me is “Are Mormon’s Christians?” and they’re like, “I know you’ve been a Mormon for a long time, but are you guys Christians? What do you guys believe?”
I actually, there’s an app on my phone called Voxer, it’s kind of like a walkie-talkie app, so a couple of my friends who asked me that question, I actually voxed them back a response. I kind of did a little mini history lesson. Let me explain kind of where everything fits in the world history and where Mormons come from. And I explained it and I’ve sent that to two or three people and they’re always like, “Oh, I didn’t know that. That’s what you guys do? That’s what you believe? That’s what Mormons are?” and I’m like, “Yeah.” And then it’s really fun.
So I thought I would just go through that really quick with you guys because if you see where it fits in the timeline of world events and Christianity, it makes a lot more sense. So that’s what I’m going to do, I want to kind of walk you guys through that process.
For all my good Christian friends, I’m going to start with the Old Testament. So if you read the Old Testament right, everything inside the Old Testament is pointing to Christ. In fact, it’s interesting, two weekends ago it was Easter Sunday, it was the Passover, a bunch of stuff, and we don’t actively as Mormons, like most Christians celebrate the Passover, but one of our close friends, Monica Tanner who goes to church with us, she actually grew up Jewish and then she became Mormon later, but her and her family always celebrates Passover.
So she actually invited us over to their house for Passover dinner, which was one of the coolest things ever. So we went through and we learned all their traditions with the Passover, how it works, and we actually had a Passover meal, we had unleavened bread, it was the coolest thing ever.
And she was going through it and she was explaining all this stuff to us, the symbolism, I’ve always known about the symbolism in the Old Testament and how it all points to Christ, but going through the Passover, it was so cool to see. It was just amazing to see how everything pointed to Christ, it’s such a cool….maybe I’ll see if I can get her to come on and do an episode because it was just amazing to see how all those things, how they all pointed to Christ.
So we fast forward, and we know that Christ comes. He’s born from Mary who was a virgin and he lives this life. And what’s so cool is we have the New Testament that documents that, right. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all tell the story of Christ and his coming, and his life and everything that happens here on this earth.
There’s where it’s very, we believe the same thing. I have friends who are like, “Oh you don’t believe, you guys are Mormons, you don’t believe what we believe.” I’m like, “No, we believe the same things, I read the Old Testament, it all points to Christ. I read the New Testament. I love Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. All that stuff, we believe all that stuff.”
So I don’t want people thinking that we don’t. We do, I think I’ve read it and I understand it more than most people. I believe it and it’s something that we cherish.
So here’s where I want to go into the timeline. So Christ is here on earth and before he’s crucified he organizes his church and it’s somewhere between 30 and 34 A.D. right. He calls 12 apostles; he gives them keys of authority to do certain things to be able to build his church. So he calls his 12 apostles and then he goes out and starts teaching and sometimes it’s received really well, other times it’s not so well. And as we know eventually Christ is crucified. And then 3 days later on Easter morning, he’s resurrected the greatest miracle in the world. And because he was resurrected, we as human beings all have the chance to be resurrected as well, which is one of the greatest gifts ever. If not, the greatest gift.
And I’ll go deeper on other episodes about Christ and him being our Messiah, our Savior. By far that moment of him suffering and dying for our sins and then rising again is the most important thing that ever has, and ever will happen on this earth. We love Christ, we sustain him as our savior. So for any Christians, yes, that is the most important event in the history of time. From the beginning of time until forever, and that’s huge.
Now, if you look at what happened after that, I want to talk about the history side, because it’s just, it’s interesting. So when Christ comes back, he comes back to his apostles and says, “Okay, now it’s time to go out and teach this gospel.” If you read the New Testament, the Acts of The Apostles, they’re going out there and doing these things. And the rest of the New Testament, these letters they’re writing to different people trying to maintain the church and there’s false doctrine popping up coming from other religions and other faiths and other belief’s and they get converted into Christianity, but when the apostles leave they start doing all sorts of crazy things.
They’re writing all these letters trying to, “No, that’s not what we believe. We believe this, this, and this.” And they’re trying to keep this new church together and it’s hard. It wasn’t in the day and age, like we live in now where there’s internet and things that connect people. They’re trying to spread this message around the world and it’s hard, and they’re going out there.
And then about 65 A.D. the persecution of the Christians starts happening and it’s getting worse and worse and worse, and that’s happening for the next 250 years. Now by about 100 A.D. all the apostles have been killed and most of them by some pretty bad, they didn’t die happy deaths. In fact, I have a list here that I pulled up. Andrew was crucified, Bartholomew was beaten almost to death and then crucified, James was stoned to death, the other James was beheaded, John as you know, was exiled and then he ended up dying of old age, Judas (not Iscariot, but the other Judas) was stoned to death, Matthew was speared to death, Peter was actually crucified upside down because he didn’t want to die the same way the Savior did, he didn’t feel he was worthy of that. Phillip was crucified, Simon was crucified, Thomas was speared to death, Mathias was stoned to death.
It wasn’t a happy thing. People weren’t all excited, they didn’t take this message of Christianity well. So within 100 years all the 12 apostles of Christ were gone and false doctrines among all the churches started creeping up like crazy, and it kind of just went out of control. We start moving into the dark ages and all these things because of that.
Now if you look at, again, history. About 325 A.D. there was this dude named Constantine, and he was not a good person but he wanted power and he was like, “How do I get power?” And he’s like, “I’m going to, there’s this little thing, this cult of people called Christianity, if I take that and make that the official church it will give me ability to have power.” So he, not in a righteous, good way took all this, took this Christianity thing and made it the national church, made it this big thing, and that’s when Christianity as we know it was formalized like, okay this is Christianity.
Now, about that time started the dark ages, and the dark ages there’s all this time going by where there’s Christianity and you read about all these evil, horrible things that happened in the name of Christianity, very non-Christian things happened during this time. About 1054 A.D. the church splits into the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church, that’s the split of Christianity. But that’s kind of what it was.
Now fast forward a little bit further down the timeline, 1388 John Wycliffe, he was a Catholic priest. He denounced the Catholic Church, he didn’t like it. He was branded as a heretic and then he actually went and translated the bible into English. So if you look at before, there wasn’t printing presses, there wasn’t computers, there’s one or two people who have the bible and they’re like, “Oh yeah, the bible says this. You gotta do this.” And they’re like controlling people based on what they’re saying, “here’s the word of God. This is what it is.”
So he was a big instrument in getting it translated into English so that other people could actually know about it. But still it was like, there was this book and people just didn’t have it.
Now fast forward a little further down the timeline, 1455 Gutenberg invents the printing press, which literally changes the world. Bibles were printed all over the place, as well as other books. Bibles were printed and now people, human beings can actually read it themselves and be like, “Wait a minute, it didn’t say that. This is what it actually said.” Right, and it gives people the ability to actually know what the scriptures said.
Think about that, for the first 1500 years after Christ was born people didn’t have access to his words. They just had access to what not righteous people wanted them to believe about his word. It’s kind of crazy if you look at it.
Fast forward a little more, 1520. This is when it starts, the religious landscape starts shifting a lot. 1520 there’s a dude named Martin Luther, and Martin Luther he is going through and he is reading the Bible and reading this and seeing what the Catholic Church is doing and he’s like, “This doesn’t make sense.” There’s things that aren’t quite jiving here.
In fact, one of his biggest pet peeves was the selling of indulgences, which basically means people would go and would go to their church and they would pay money to get their sins removed. So they do bad things, they would commit adultery, they’d murder, they’d do whatever and they’d go to the church and say, “Hey, I’m going to buy some indulgences, here’s some money.” And then the church would forgive them of their sins.
And he was like, this is not doctrinal, this is not what the scriptures say, this is not a real thing. And he wasn’t very happy about it, so what he did is one day he wrote up what was called the 95 Thesis’, he wrote this whole thing up and depending, I was studying last night, depending on different accounts some people say it was a letter he mailed, some people say he went up to the door of the church and nailed these thesis’ to the door. But regardless he basically wrote, “These are 95 things that are not correct that we should be looking at. This is not doctrinal, this is stuff that’s being made up.”
And so he nailed this stuff to the door of the church, or mailed the letter, or probably a variation of a bunch of things, I don’t really know. But that started what we call the Protestant Reformation, where everyone is like, “You’re right. This isn’t right.” And this is when churches started breaking off from the Catholic Church. We call it the Protestant Reformation, they were protesting the Catholic Church.
So they were protesting, they broke off and all the sudden this when all these Christian churches start popping up. Where someone would say, “I believe this is how things should be.” And they would start their own church and they were protesting and they would start it and it became, again, the Protestant Reformation is what this whole thing was. People protesting the Catholic Church and starting their own churches.
It was such an important thing because it was giving people the ability to be like, “What do I believe the scriptures mean?” and they would believe that and they could start congregations and churches based on that, so they could worship God in the way that they believed was actually true. And it was super important to the whole foundation of Christianity, I believe.
So that’s happening and this is happening all over the world. Now fast forward the timeline a little more, boom 1776 America is founded, Columbus comes to this land, a little bit later George Washington comes and they fight for American freedom and one of the biggest things they fight for is religious freedom. They don’t want to have the government to be in charge of religion.
So they come here to American, they create the constitution, they fight the revolutionary war and this amazing thing happens where they’re able to actually worship God in the way that they believe is right. The first time this has happened. There was no government to say, “No, this is what you must believe.” It’s scary nowadays if you look at where government is going, they’re trying to make it creep back to that.
But America was based on religious freedom, you could worship however or whatever you want. So it created this environment now where people could believe whatever they wanted but the pros and cons to that. So what happens is there’s all these churches popping up and they’re all over the place and there’s tons of them.
And I can just imagine what it was like then, I know what it’s like today, but everyone’s believing different things. And one person says, “This is the truth.” And another person says, “This is the truth.” And people are like confused and picking sides and everyone’s trying to, everyone in their best interest is like, “I’m trying to work out my own salvation with fear and trembling like the scriptures say. I gotta figure out what’s true. I need to know what truth is.”
Which, this is by the way, the entire message of my podcast. It’s not for us to say, my opinion is this. The whole message of this podcast is what is the actual truth? I’m going to put my opinion on the side and I’m going to suspend my own judgment and try to find out what is God’s truth and what does God actually believe, what is the actual truth?
So people are trying to figure that out the best that they can. And there are revivals and all sorts of crazy stuff starts happening. Fast forward to the year 1820, so this is where this is kind of coming to a head here in America. All these churches, everything is happening, 1820 there is a boy that lives in upstate New York, he’s 14 years old, and he’s in the middle of this religious environment and all he wants to do is figure out what church is true. Which one should he follow? In fact, from his history I’m going to read a little part of what he wrote. He said,
“During this time of great excitement, my mind was called up in serious reflection and great uneasiness. I often said to myself, what is to be done? Who of all these parties are right or are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it? How shall I know it? While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the Epistle of James, 1st chapter, 5th verse which reads, ‘if any of ye lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given to him.’
He then said,
“Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the hearts of men than this did at this time to mine. It seemed it ended with great force in every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God, I did. For how to act, I did not know. And unless I could get more wisdom than I then had, I would never know. For the teachers of religion from the different sects understood the same passage of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the bible.
“At length I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion or else I must do as James directs, that is ask of God. At length I came to the determination to ask of God, concluding that if he gave wisdom to them that lacked wisdom, and would give liberally and upbraideth not, I might venture.”
So he reads the scripture that says, “If any of ye lack wisdom, let him ask of God. That giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him.” And he’s like alright, the scriptures say if you got a question go ask God and he’ll tell you. By the way, it’s the same message I have for you guys today. So Joseph Smith read that and he’s like, “I’ve got to figure it out.”
He’s a 14 year old boy. I’ve got 12 year old twins right now, he’s a young, young, young person. And as only a young person can do, he’s like, the bible, everyone explains it differently so what am I supposed to do?
So he went out next to his home and there was this grove of trees. I’ve actually had a chance to go there, it was one of the neatest experiences of my life. He goes in this grove of trees and he kneels down and starts praying. And his question is simple, “Heavenly Father, which church should I join. Whatever is your truth, I will do it. If you say this is the church I will go there. I don’t care what it is, whatever you tell me is the actual truth, I will do because I want to follow the truth.
So he sits down, he kneels down and starts praying and what happened next is not something I don’t think he expected, I don’t think anybody expected it, but what happened was amazing. And I’ll, again, I’m going to read to you his own words of what he said happened.
“I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. When the light rested upon me I saw two personages whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other, ‘this is my beloved son, hear him.’
So what happened to him is he had this vision from heaven. Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ came to him and I can just imagine, I don’t know what would happen. I don’t know what you would do. I can’t even imagine that situation, it’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever heard, once again, if it’s true it’s the most amazing thing that’s ever happened.
Again, this is why it’s so important for you guys to, I’m going to do a whole podcast on how to get answers to prayers, but you guys have to find out if this is true. Because if it’s true, if Heavenly Father and Jesus came to a boy and told him the answer to this question, which church is true, what should I join? If that’s true, do you want to know the answer to the question? It’s amazing.
So he asks them, “Which church should I join?” and they basically came back and said don’t join any of them. In fact, let me see if I can find in his own words what he said. He said,
“My object to going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner therefore did I get possession of myself was I able to speak that I asked the personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right? For this time it had never entered my heart that all were wrong and which I should join. I was answered I must join none of them for they were all wrong and the personages who addressed me said that their creeds were an abomination inside, and that those professors who were all corrupt.
“They draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts were far from me, they teach doctrines for the commandments of men having a form of Godliness but they deny the power thereof.”
So he basically said don’t join any of them. What’s interesting, if you look at this, all these churches are there and my belief is that there’s truth in all these churches. Every one was going back to the Bible and saying, “This is what this means.” And they were trying their best to do these things, and there’s truth in every single church. And I want you guys to understand that because I have friends in every religious denomination in the world and I have so much love and respect for all of them and there’s truth in every single one of them.
I love going to other churches and reading other people’s scripture. I’m a big believer in that, because there’s truth in every single one of them. But basically what Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ said to Joseph Smith was there’s truth in all of them, but none of them have the fullness of the truth. And that was the key.
They also didn’t have the authority. When Christ was here and he called 12 apostles, he put his hands on their heads and gave them authority, priesthood authority to do things. When they were killed that authority kind of disappeared off the face of the earth.
So what happened through this vision and others, was basically Joseph Smith was called to restore the true church back on earth. Now I want to talk about this, so if you look at the history of the timeline, there was the Catholic Church and it broke into two things. We have the Roman Catholic Church, and the Eastern Orthodox Church and from there, there were these Protestant Churches that were protesting the Catholic church and started their own things.
Where does the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Mormons, where do they feel they fit? We’re not a protestant reformation. We weren’t protesting the Catholic Church to start our own thing, we consider ourselves the restoration of the church. We’re restored back to the original church. And there’s so many cool things I want to share with you guys in future podcasts about what happened.
Our Heavenly Father came back, he restored, he called a prophet and 12 apostles, and he gave the priesthood authority to these men, he created temples. Have you ever wondered about, in the Old Testament temples were such a vital part of all these things and these covenants were being made in the temples and there’s so much amazingness, where are those today if they were gone?
Heavenly Father came back and restored temples; they restored all these things that were lost during the dark ages, during all the persecutions of Christians, during all this history. Like how I went through all these plain and precious truths, these amazing things that were there that disappeared; all those things were restored back.
So the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is not a Protestant Church, it’s a restorationist church. It was restored back to be the same church that was set up when Christ was here. So once again, there is a prophet today on earth, just like there was in Christ’s time. There are 12 apostles, all those things have been brought back. That’s the message, that’s what’s so exciting about this.
That’s kind of where we feel like we fit. And once again, we are Christians, we believe in Christ, we believe he’s our Savior, all those things are the same. We just believe that his true church that was on earth when he was here, the one he set up, over the years has fallen apart and become corrupt and he came back to restore in these latter days.
So there’s where Mormons are and how we are Christians. The next question that people always ask me is, “What is this Book of Mormon? I already have a Bible. What’s the point of this? Why do we even have this? I don’t understand.” So the back story on that, because I’m going to explain it and then I’m going to, I’m anxious to jump in and start reading. I’m going to try to read the whole thing today, so I’m excited.
After this first vision, we call the first vision, it’s the first time that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ came and explained it to Joseph Smith. After that there were a whole bunch of other visions from other people, from angels that came to Joseph Smith. One of them happened September 21, 1823, he was praying in the upper room of his parents log home in New York and an angel came to him. The angel’s name was Moroni, and he appeared to Joseph Smith and said, “God has work for you to do.” And he was like, “okay.” And he said, I’m going to read from his account.
“He informed Joseph that there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates giving the account of the former inhabitants of this continent and the source from wence the sprang. The book could be found in a hill not far from the Smith family farm. This was no ordinary history, it contained the fullness of the everlasting gospel as delivered by the Savior.”
Imagine this, an angel comes to you and says, “Okay, there’s work Heavenly Father needs you to do. There’s a hill not too far from your house, and in that hill there are buried these plates.” Plates, we always call them plates, but that sounds weird to most people. It’s like a book written on gold pages, like scratched in. Because back in the day, paper isn’t going to last thousands of years, so they had gold and silver plates and they would sketch in the writings in these plates so they would be preserved and wouldn’t get destroyed from the elements.
So there’s this book written on gold plates, and it’s over here and we’re going to go get it. So eventually he went and he found it, dug it up from the earth, this angel named Moroni and he gives him this book. And he’s looking in the book, and the book is written in old reformed Egyptian, it’s not English, he couldn’t read it. And he’s like, “What is this book?” and he’s like, “Your job is to translate this book from this old language to English.”
And Joseph Smith is a young kid at the time and he’s like, “I don’t know how to translate. I’m not a translator, I don’t know how to speak this weird language that’s etched into these plates.” He said, “Don’t worry, you’re going to translate this through the gift and power of God.”
I’ve written two books, and the reason why I tell you that is both of my books took me over a year to write. I feel like they’re pretty good books, but they’re not the book I’m about to read today. This book I’m about to read today, I’m holding it in my hand, it is thick, it is hard to read, not hard to read but its scripture. It’s not like an easy to read, sit down and read stories and its nice and happy. It’s a thick real book, it’s a book of scripture.
Joseph Smith begins translating and I’m not going to get into this podcast how he translates, because I don’t have all the details in front of me, but he translated this through the gift and power of God. The entire translation period from the time he started, to the time it ended, was three months between April and June of that year. Three months.
Now I don’t know about you, I could not write my own book in three months, and I had ten years of me studying and doing and implementing to do the thing I was writing my book on. This is a book that covers over a thousand years of history, with thousands of characters and wars and geology, and theology and it’s amazing. And he translated the whole thing in three months, through the gift and power of God.
Now when he was translating it, the question is what’s on, what were on these golden plates? What was the book? What is it about? So I’m going to give you guys a hint because I’m about to read it. But I’m going to get you guys excited just so you’ll know what it is, and hopefully give you guys some desire to actually open it up and read it.
Don’t be like, “I’m not going to read it.” Are you crazy? If some dude told you there’s a book from God, I don’t know, I’ve read most every religious book I could find because I’m like, “If somebody else believes it, I want to read it and find out if it’s true. This is important for me. It should be important for all of us.”
So what did he find? So he started reading this book and found out, when you start reading the book, when you start translating it, it begins about 600 years before Christ was born, in Jerusalem. There was a prophet named Lehi, if you’re looking at the Old Testament, this was about the same time that Jeremiah was alive. So Jeremiah was a prophet, and if you read Jeremiah it talks about it in there. It said that there were many prophets in the land.
So Jeremiah was a prophet, there were other prophets. And one of the prophet’s name was Lehi, and that’s where the book starts. It’s Lehi and his family. And Lehi has this vision, he says, “Look, Jerusalem is going to be destroyed, and if you look at history actually it was destroyed.” I think 12 or 13 years later. But he has this vision that Jerusalem is going to be destroyed, you need to go and tell people to repent, as most prophets are told to do.
So Lehi goes out and tells all the people, “Repent, you need to repent. Jerusalem is going to be destroyed.” And they’re like, “Are you kidding me. Jerusalem is like the biggest city in the world, we’re not going to be destroyed.” And they start mocking him, they stone him, they try to kill him and they’re like, “you’re crazy.” So Lehi, this dude back 600 years before Christ is born has another vision that says, “You need to get your family out of here, you’re going to be destroyed.”
So they gather up all their belongings and they leave Jerusalem, and that’s when the book takes place, this exodus of Jerusalem. And they don’t know where they’re going. They go in the wilderness, and then they start having these visions, “you need to go back to Jerusalem and you have to go get these brass plates.” And they’re like, “Why do we get the brass plates.” And they force them to go back and there’s this whole story about how they go back and get these brass plates.
They get the brass plates, and the brass plates are actually the Old Testament. It was Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, I believe, maybe some more of it. But it’s these brass plates back then. So they have the Old Testament that they were able to get and they take these brass plates and they wander in the wilderness for a whole bunch of years and eventually they land on a sea shore, and then the Lord comes to them and says, “you need to build a boat.” And they build a boat, and they jump in the boat and sail across to land.
They end up landing here in America, and then they become the ancient inhabitants here in America. So they were part of the ancient Indians, they weren’t all the Indians, but they were a part, a big section of the Indians came from Lehi and his family. So they come here to America and the storyline is amazing.
There’s these two brothers and these brothers get in a fight and they split into two different groups, and one group is more righteous, they’re called the Nephites, the other group is more evil, they’re called the Lamenites. And the whole book is the story of their civilization and the wars between the two of them and God coming to them and prophesying and prophets coming, and all these amazing things.
So it’s their dealings. The people who lived here anciently, the ancient Indians and their dealings with God. And it’s about a thousand year history. So it starts 600 years before Christ came, and now the coolest thing, and I cannot wait to get to this part in the book, I don’t know what time I’m going to get to it. It might be noon, it might be 5:00 tonight, it might be midnight. I don’t know how long it’s going to take me to get there, but towards the end of the book, the prophets here in America are telling them, “Look, there’s this guy, he’s going to be the Savior. He’s coming here, he’s coming to earth. His name is Jesus Christ and he’s the Savior of the world and he’s going to redeem us of our sins.”
Now imagine this, this is other people on the other side of the world in ancient America and they’re like, “You’re crazy, this isn’t a real thing.” The prophet’s telling them, “There’s a sign when he’s born, this is what’s going to happen.” And the people don’t believe him and they’re threatening to kill them and then the sign happens. And they realize that, oh my gosh, on the other side of the world in a little manger in Jerusalem a baby is born who is going to become our Savior and they know that he’s born.
And they’re on the other side of the world, again, there’s no internet or TV. But they know he’s been born and they don’t know what’s happening. And however many, thirty some odd years later, Christ is crucified. When he’s crucified, the whole world shakes and there’s earthquakes and destruction, all this stuff is happening.
And the whole story of this is here in the Book of Mormon you guys, it’s so cool. And all this stuff is happening and if you look at the history, Christ is crucified and three days later he rises and comes back. He spends time with his apostles, sets up the church, gets the apostles to go and at the end of the New Testament, Christ ascends back into heaven and one of the things he says at the very end, he says, “There are other sheep in my fold, them I must see too.” And he leaves.
In the New Testament we have no idea what he’s saying. He says, “I have other sheep I need to go visit, I’m out of here guys.” Boom, he leaves. Then what happens in the Book of Mormon, all the sudden these other sheep, this other fold of Christians on the other side of the world, who have been waiting for this day, they’ve been waiting for their savior, he comes to them. And you get to read it in the Book of Mormon.
He comes down from heaven and they get to see him and they see the wounds in his hands and his feet and they get to worship him and he comes down and says, “You guys, let me tell you what happened, and let me tell you the story of my life. And let me tell you the story of how I suffered and died for your sins.” And here in America, he did the same thing he did in Jerusalem, he comes and calls a prophet and calls 12 apostles and sets up his church.
What’s cool is he sits there and teaches his people. He gives almost the same sermon on the mount to the people here in America, all these things, and so they’re writing these words down in these gold plates, because that’s what they had to record stuff. And they’re writing them down in these gold plates, and you’re hearing it straight from the Lord, the lips of our savior and they’re being written down in these gold plates.
And this is why this is so important. Because if you look at this, when the Book of Mormon was translated, Joseph Smith wasn’t a scholar who knew a whole bunch of languages, he didn’t have any ulterior motive. If you look at the history of the Bible, it was in the hands of evil people for years who were trying to get the people to believe certain things. And we don’t know what happened with the translations, but things shifted and changed and there’s stuff that happened.
If you look at this, there was a young boy who got this record, these gold plates, and through the gift and power of God he translated them in three months, and after it was done, it was written, it was published in a book, the book I’m holding in my hand, one of the first 5000 that I’m holding here. And it didn’t change. It wasn’t translated over and over again, people tweaking and changing. It was done once and now it’s here.
So when you read this, you read the most accurate, the most pure account of Christ giving the sermon on the mount to a different people, but it’s the same message. You hear him talk about these things that are confusing in the Bible, and he explains them and they’re so simple and so pure and so clean and so much easier to understand, because it wasn’t translated from Hebrew to Greek to Italian to English eventually, through ten different variation processes.
I don’t know if you guys ever played that game phone booth where you whisper in someone’s ear and they whisper and like ten people down the message is all messed up. That’s literally what’s happened to the Bible throughout time.
With that said, I love the Bible, it is an amazing thing. But when you read the Bible with the Book of Mormon, it clears up confusion. You hear what he said to the people in Jerusalem, you hear what he said to the people here in America and all the sudden you’re like, “Oh, that makes perfect sense now.”
The Lord said, “In the mouth of two or three witnesses will every word be established.” So this is the second witness. In fact, the title page of the Book of Mormon it says, “The Book of Mormon, Another Witness of Jesus Christ.”
So what’s amazing about this, you have two different people from two different sides of the world who had no communication channel through them ever, and they’re both saying, “We saw the prints in his hands and in his feet.” This is what he told us, this is what the truth is. This is what the doctrines are. This is what we should believe.
And because of that, that is why I know that Christ is my savior. That is why I know that what he did is true. That’s why I have absolute certainty and faith in him as our savior. Because it’s not just one standard, two separate people have told me the same thing. That’s why it’s so powerful you guys. That’s why it’s so exciting, that’s why I cannot wait to read this thing today.
Now, I don’t want to give a spoiler alert, but after Christ came to America and after he preached to these people, he left after that again and after that people were righteous for a long time. And it’s cool because you hear all their teachings and prophecies and angels come and all the amazingness that you learn from God from these people in the Book of Mormon, and then eventually throughout generations of time, it gets more and more wicked.
And towards the end of the Book of Mormon, like 400 or so, 450 years after Christ had come to them, then the people get wicked and get more and more wicked and eventually these two groups, the Nephites and the Lamanites, they fight so much that eventually all of the righteous people are pretty much destroyed.
At the very end of the Book of Mormon, there’s basically two people left. One is a guy named Mormon, and that’s where we get our name. Everyone’s like, “Why do we call you guys Mormons, that’s the weirdest thing ever.” So there was a guy named Mormon and he was one of the last righteous people on earth and he was the person who, he had all these gold plates, from over a thousand year history of people, they’re all writing their histories and he took all this stuff, and I don’t know how many were there, I’m imagining dozens, if not hundreds of different books of histories, of records.
So he took all of these records from a thousand years, and he was the one, this was back 400 years after Christ came, he went and abridged, not abridged, but he took the book and put it in order, he went through all of it and said, “Okay, this is the history that’s most important for our people.” And he abridged this thing and put it together into the gold plates. Here’s the abridged version of our history that’s most important, the most important things for some future generation.
He knew that his people were being destroyed off the earth, that this book was going to be buried up, and someday in the future God was going to bring this book forth. What are the most important things that these people can learn from our history, and he compiled them to the gold plates. And then he gave them to his son, this is Mormon, he had a son named Moroni. Moroni then wandered and eventually buried them in a hill and then he died.
So then fast forward to the 1800s, this angel Moroni, this same person who buried these gold plates, came back as an angel to Joseph Smith and said, “Okay, let me show you where the plates are.” And he dug up the gold plates, and Joseph was able to translate them, and that’s kind of how things fit together.
So Mormon is the guy that took all the history of his people and put it together in a way that we could read and get the most important things for our day and Moroni was his son who buried the Book of Mormon and actually brought it back.
So if you ever see a Mormon temple and you see there’s this dude on the top of all of them, a gold guy with a trumpet, that is the angel Moroni. And it’s Mormon’s son, the one who buried the Book of Mormon, and actually as an angel came and showed Joseph Smith where it was at.
So there you go you guys. There is the history of Christianity as it relates back to Mormons, what we believe. Yes, we are Christians. Yes, we love the Bible. Yes, there’s a new book called the Book of Mormon and that’s why it’s exciting and how it fits into the whole grand scheme of this world. And that’s why it’s so exciting.
So with that said, I’ve been talking for about 42 minutes. I am going to go and start reading the Book of Mormon right now from page number one and I’m going to try to read this entire thing today. You know what I’m going to do. I’m going to end this and have this be one episode of the podcast, and then I will do a separate episode of me kind of going through different parts that I learn today. Because this one’s already getting long and I want to make sure that you guys listen to this whole thing through.
That’s the game plan you guys. Once again, I’m doing the Book of Mormon Challenge again because hopefully this will inspire some of you guys to do this as well, that’s what the Book of Mormon is. That’s why I’m so excited, that’s why you should be so excited. That’s why we should all be excited. This book has changed my life. This book will change your life if you will allow it to, I promise you that. But don’t take my word for it. Go to bookofmormonchallenge.com. You can go request a free copy of the Book of Mormon there, or if you want, you can read it online. If you go to lds.org and search Book of Mormon, the whole thing is online, you can read it there as well.
But read it. And just don’t take my word for it. Just read the whole thing from beginning to the end and then go ask our Heavenly Father. And I’m going to end kind of where I started. Joseph Smith, when he was a 14 year old kid and didn’t know what to do, the scripture that changed his life and changed the world as I know it and as you know it, was this, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not and it shall be given him.”
So the same thing’s for you. Right now, you know about his, hopefully I’m getting you excited about it, but it’s up to you to find out. Okay, you lack wisdom right now, so read it, ponder about it, think about it, figure out is this true? And then go ask Heavenly Father and I promise you, if you ask him, he’ll tell you. And I will do a podcast episode really soon talking about how to get answers to your prayers because when you understand, it’s exciting. You don’t have to take your own word for it, or other people’s word for it. Our Heavenly Father wants to tell you. He wants to give you revelation. He will. He asks us.
He says, “Knock and it shall be opened unto you. Seek and you shall find.” Ask, if you lack wisdom ask of God. He wants us to ask and if you ask he will tell you. I kind of want to share that with you as well. I’m diving into the Book of Mormon you guys, wish me luck. I hope I can get it all done today. Appreciate you all for listening. If this has helped you at all please share it with other people who you think will be interested as well and we’ll talk soon. Bye everybody.
Apr 12 2018
Rank #5: The 3 "Givens" Of Faith...
There are 3 "Givens" that we can not prove, but are the foundation for our faith. Because these "Givens" can not be proven, they have to be given to you by our Heavenly Father. This episode talks about what they are, and how you can KNOW that they are true.
Hey everyone, this is Russell and I want to welcome you to this episode of the podcast. This is one that I am super excited to share with you guys because this is actually a talk that I wrote almost three years ago. I gave it in a ward we were in, and then recently after that we moved to a different ward and I had a chance to kind of rewrite this thing, and then I shared it as a class inside the Elder’s Quorum and then a couple of months later I got asked to speak in church again and I wanted to share it with so many people. So I kind of reworked it again and shared it again.
I knew that if and when I ever started this podcast that this was going to be really the first episode after the introduction, because this is the foundation. If you think about anything in life, if you think about a building, the first thing people do is lay the foundation. And if the foundation is brittle and soft, the building will collapse, it will tip over, it won’t be very good.
You think about relationships, the foundation is the beginning, when you first meet your spouse. The time, the energy, the effort you put in the foundation is the key. It’s what makes the relationship great. In a business it’s the same thing.
Everything in life that’s good and everything that’s going to become great starts with having the right foundation. I think a lot of times people get into religion or beliefs or things like that and they don’t really have a foundation. They’re going off of opinions or thoughts or things. I remember once hearing Elder Bruce R. McConkie speak and he said his job was not to try to force his beliefs on other people, his job was to figure out what does God actually believe and then match and align our beliefs with his.
Because what we believe, we have beliefs that come and go, but we need to know what the truth is and then we need to shift our beliefs to the truth, because the truth is really the only thing that matters.
So that’s kind of what I wanted to begin with here, the three givens presentation is all about that foundation and aligning yourself with the truth. And when you have that as the foundation, that gives you the ability to have everything else you want in life. It gives you the ability to go from good to great and beyond. So that’s what this presentation is about. Because those that don’t have this initial foundation, there will be a time in everybody’s life, and it’s happened in different parts of my life, I know it’s happened in your life and people around you where the test and the trials and the temptations come and they come hard. It’s rare that any of us get to escape this life without any of those things.
And this foundation, at least for me, is what gives me the ability to know and to wake up with absolute certainty all the time. I talked about this in the initial podcast and I’m sure we’ll have an episode just on this, but there’s three questions we need to know. Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going? And to really understand that, you have to understand the three givens. This is the foundation of everything.
There’s a quote from Jeffery R Holland that I love that talks about this, about when the trials and temptations and all these things come and they try to destroy us. How are we going to take that? What are we going to do? And he said, “When difficult times come upon us, when temptation seems all around, will we be, are we now prepared to stand our ground and outlast the intruder? Are we equipped for combat to stay loyal for as long as it takes? To stay true for the duration of the war? Can we hold fast to the principals and the people that truly matter eternally to us?”
So that’s my question for you, are you? And if not, it’s the foundation we need to build a solid foundation. For me this is the foundation of my faith. Some of these things, depending on who’s listening, I know we’ve got people who are members of the church listening and so you will know and understand some of these things.
We have people who were part of the church who have left, who suddenly things are going to be hard for. You’re not going to want to believe them. But like I said, it’s not about what we believe, it’s about what is the truth. What does God believe? We need to believe what he believes because it’s what’s true.
Then we also have people who are non members here who, some of these things may be brand new to you. Some of you may believe one or two of them, or understand a couple of them, but some may be foreign. But there are three essential things we must know, as the foundation of our faith.
So to kind of give you guys the back story behind this, why do I call this the three givens? The reason, when I was in 8th grade, I had a teacher and we have a lot of teachers in school, and my guess is most of you guys don’t remember any of your teachers names. There are very few that I remember their names. But there was one teacher I had in a subject I didn’t really love, it’s math. But he was so excited about math. When he would come, he was so excited about math. His name was Mr. Turner, and he would come in and start teaching and talking, and I didn’t know half the time what he was talking about, but he was so excited and so passionate.
And for me now, fast forwarding all these years later as someone who is an educator and an author and someone who speaks, that passion and enthusiasm is what makes people remember you. Mr. Turner was someone who was just so passionate about math, and while I think I struggled in his class mostly because I wasn’t a good student and was not in the right spot in my life to really learn and grow, I do remember this random conversation he had the first day he had the first day of class.
It was about a concept that he called the givens. It was funny, as I was first preparing this talk a couple of years ago, I was like I need to email Mr. Turner and see…I’m sure he doesn’t remember me, I was the quiet, awkward kid in the back who didn’t ever raise my hand, but I was listening. So I emailed him, in fact, I found the email just recently here, so in the email I said, I was able to find his email address somewhere online, and I didn’t know if it was him or not, but I wanted to try and see. Because I wanted to make sure I understood this right.
So my email to him was, “Hey Mr. Turner, I’m sure you don’t remember me, but you were my 8th grade geometry teacher back in 1993.” Which actually, as of today, was 24 years ago, crazy. Anyway, “You were honestly one of the best teachers I’ve had through my entire schooling, even college. I wanted to thank you for that. Also, I’m actually writing a talk for church tomorrow and I had flashback back to the first day of 8th grade where you were talking about the foundations of math. I’m not sure if I remember this one 100% correct, but you said something about there being givens that were un-provable, but we had to believe them for the rest of math or geometry to work. I think there was a line, a line segment, a point, and probably a few others. Did I get that right?”
“In my talk I’m going to relate that faith and how there are givens that you have to have to believe in, that aren’t really provable. Anyway, I want to let you know, 21 years later, that the kids remember what you’re teaching and it still has an impact on them. Thanks, Russell Brunson.”
So I got an email back from him a couple of days later that said, “Thank you so much for the email. It does my heart good to know what I’m teaching truly has an impact on my students. Your 21 year old memory is pretty good. The three givens are a point, a line, and a plane. Let me know how your talk went, I’m sure it’s going to be excellent given that it was related to math. Thanks Mr. Turner.”
So what he said, and I want to kind of sum this up. What he said is basically, if you look at geometry, I remember him always talking about Euclidean geometry and about how cool Euclid was and all these things. He was so excited. But he said all this whole theory, this whole science, everything based on geometry is all provable except for three things. But these three things are the foundation points and I can’t prove these, but if these three things are true, if they’re a given, then all of geometry works. If you take them away everything crumbles. He said these are the three things. One is a point, a line, and a plane.
If we define these things, this is a point, this is the line and the plane, I can’t prove those but these are the three givens. And based on the fact that these three givens, if we believe that they’re true, all of math works. And I just remember when he told me that, how amazing…for me it tied so much to faith.
If you think about faith, there are things you have to have faith in that we can’t prove them, but if we believe in them then everything else great in this world happens because of that. So the reason why I knew that a point and line and plane were true is because Mr. Turner said, “These are true and because they are true, therefore all geometry works.”
So for me, I was like what are the givens of my faith? Things that aren’t, that I can’t prove are true but they are true. What are those things? And just like I had to get Mr. Turner to tell me, “Hey Russell, these are the three givens.” I need somebody who I trust to tell me that these givens are true. And it can’t be someone here on this earth, because people here on earth are persuaded, they have all sorts of different agendas and ideas and things like that, it has to be somebody eternal. It has to be God.
So for me, I figured out these were the three givens of my faith. And if these three things are true, then everything else amazing in my life became amazing because of these three things. And I can’t prove them, the only way you can prove them is to go and ask God, which is my message of this entire podcast. I will never try to logically convince you of anything. What I’m going to do is try to inspire you and get you excited to go ask God yourself.
And if I was looking at what I should be asking him, what do I need to know is true? It’s these three givens. Because after you understand these and you believe these and he has told you they are true, everything else in your life will be built around it and you’ll have absolute certainty, absolute confidence. You’ll know exactly where you came from, why you’re here and where you’re going.
So these are my three givens, and if you’re taking notes, write these down, because these are the foundation of my faith and of your faith, and I believe that they are true. Not because I convinced myself or I can logically prove it to you, but because God has told me. These are things that he will tell you as well if you will ask him.
Alright, so number one, my first given is there is a God and he loves us. That’s given number one. Given number two is that Jesus is the Christ. And given number three is that the Book of Mormon is true. Those are my three givens. Now again, I know this not because of myself, but because I asked God and I received revelation directly from him on all three of these and I’ll talk about that as we kind of go on.
But the coolest thing for you, as I share these things with you, don’t take my word for it. Please don’t take my word for it. I want you to hear it and then I want you to see the pattern of how I got my answer and then I want you to take action and I want you to follow that pattern as well. That’s my only goal from this.
But if these three things are true, I promise you, the plan of happiness, everything else that comes from that is all true. But these are the three givens that I can’t prove. Just like in geometry, I can’t prove a point, a line, or a plane, but because they are true, this amazing thing called geometry is possible.
Alright, let’s hear that once again. Number one, there’s a God and he loves us. Number two, Jesus is the Christ. Number three, the Book of Mormon is true. Like I said, depending on where you are coming at this, if you’re already Christian you probably already believe in number one and two. If you’re Mormon you probably believe one, two and three. If you were Mormon at one time and you’ve left the faith, you probably don’t believe number three, and maybe don’t believe number two. I know you’re all in different spots.
So my encouragement to you is to look at this, this is the foundation of faith. You need to know, not based on your own opinion, based on God’s opinion. What’s his opinion on these three things? Figure it out and everything else will change for you.
Alright, let’s jump into this. Given number one, there is a God and he loves us. For me, when I was born into this world I just assumed there was a God and I think most people do as well. I fast forward 19 years of my life and I had a chance to go on a mission, I went to Cherry Hill, New Jersey and I had one of the most amazing experiences of my life. It was scary, it was fun, it was exciting. But it was pretty cool.
I had a chance to knock on doors and teach people about God and about Christ and all these amazing things. And what was interesting is as I was going out there I assumed everyone believed in God too. We all believe in God. And as I started knocking on doors and talking to people I found out really quickly that a lot of people don’t. In fact, not only do some people not believe in God, they don’t believe in Christ, they don’t believe in God, they don’t even believe in anything.
And as I met atheists and agnostics and other people out there, I was like, huh. And some of them had very convincing arguments, they were very logical. I was like, huh. As you’re going door by door by door trying to explain to people about this amazing thing that’s happened and they’re coming back saying, “That doesn’t even matter because there is no God.” After a while I started wondering, is there a God?
I always assumed there was, but I don’t know. All the sudden I got scared. I’m trying to convince people that the Book of Mormon is true and that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that his church is back here on earth, but I started thinking, but what if there’s no God? If there’s no God this whole thing collapses. This is one of the givens. If this isn’t true then everything else disappears. I realized, I gotta know if this is true. I have to know there’s a God. I assume there is, but how do I know? I need to know this, I can’t just go on blind faith. I need to know.
So for me, it started this study of trying to understand who God was. I’m sure we’ll have episodes that will go deeper into that, but it’s outside the concept of today. Today, I needed to know that. So I started studying the Book of Mormon, which we’ll talk about why it’s such an amazing book here in a minute. But in the book there’s a really cool story. There’s a guy named Alma who is a prophet and he had a fight with this guy named Korihor who’s an antichrist.
And it’s in Alma chapter 30, verse 44, if anyone wants to read it. But Korihor was someone who did not believe in God and he came out and he started preaching to all these people, laughing, “Why are you following the prophets? Why are you caring about a God? There’s this guy named Jesus who’s supposed to be coming in the future, I’m sure it’s going to happen. They’re just telling you this stuff about God because they want to control you and they’re trying to take away your agency and all these things and that’s why they’re doing this.”
And Alma the prophet was like, “What are you talking about? You know that’s not true. We don’t make any money from this, we’re volunteering our time, we’re working with our own hands to pay for our own things. We’re here to help each other and God is true.”
And they started fighting back and forth and finally Korihor comes back to Alma and says, “Well if you would show me a sign, if you just show me a sign, then I will believe you.” And Alma, I’m sure, I’m envisioning this situation, he’s debating with this antichrist, I’m sure that he had the situation where the antichrist is looking like, “Are you serious? You need a sign?” and this is what Alma said in Alma 30:44, chapter 30, verse 44 he said, “Thou hast had signs enough, will you tempt your God? Will you say show unto me a sign when you have a testimony of all these, they brethren, all the holy prophets and the scriptures are laid before thee and all things to note that there is a God. Yea, even the earth and all the things upon the face of it, yea and it’s motion and all the planets which move in the regular form, do witness that there is a supreme creator.”
Alma is basically saying, “Look around. Do you not see what’s happening around us? There’s a sun that comes up every morning and goes down. There’s a moon and all these things. There’s breath and life and plants and animals and birth and death. These amazing creations had to have a creations had to have a creator. Plus you have these scriptures in front of you. These scriptures, these are people who have met God, who have talked to God, who have written stories on it. You have all the testimony of your brethren, people who have interacted with him. What more do you need? Do you honestly need a sign?”
And Korihor came back and said, “Yeah, I need a sign. If you show me a sign, then I’ll believe you.” And I just imagine Alma, letting out a sigh of breath and be like, “Alright, well if the Lord wants it done, he’ll send you a sign.”
What happened to Korihor is he was then struck dumb. He lost his voice and they came back to him and said, “Okay, there’s your sign. What do you think?” and he can’t talk and he’s freaking out and starts writing down on a piece of paper, “You’re right. I can’t talk. Only God could have done this, I believe there’s a God now. Take this away, I want to be able to speak again.” And they’re like, “No, if you get your voice back, you’re going to continue to go down the same path.”
He said, “No, it wasn’t me. Satan came and convinced me to do these things and taught me the words to say, but let me talk again and I promise I’ll come back and I’ll do good now.” And Alma basically said, “Well, it’s up to God. If he wants to give it back he can, but it’s kind of up to him.” And the Lord didn’t give him his voice back.
So Korihor ended up going house to house begging for food and eventually it says he was trodden down and died. I don’t know what the word trodden means, in my head it’s horses stomping on somebody, but I don’t know if that’s true or not. All I know is he went through a horrible experience and then he died.
As I read that, I just started thinking. I’m looking around me and realizing he’s right, Alma was right. All things denote that there is a God. The fact that I live here on this earth, that 37 years ago I was born, I had these amazing parents, I grew up, eventually I was able to find my wife and now we have kids. Just all these things that are happening, all things denote that there is a God.
And as I started looking around, in the scriptures they talk about the plan of happiness, and I look as I followed this plan, which some say was made up or invented or whatever. Korihor would have said it was created because they’re trying to hold you back. I look at the more I follow this plan of happiness, the more I do what’s right, the more I follow these commandments of God, the more that I try to be like him and try to do what he would want me to do, the more happy I’ve been in my life.
And as I’ve deviated from that path, that’s when I feel, the times in my life that have been dark, that I haven’t felt happiness. As I look at our creator, look at our father and the plan he’s created for us and as I followed it, it is what’s gotten me to know that there is a God. I think for all of us that needs to be the first question. We have to know beyond ourselves.
If we pray, when we pray and then receive an answer, that’s how you know there’s a God. Someone told me there’s this guy you gotta meet, I don’t know who he is, but as soon as I meet him the first time and I hear his voice, I know that he’s real.
So for me, I started praying on my mission, begging and pleading for answers, as I heard his voice, I knew that he was real. I testify to you that there is a God in the heavens. He is literally our father. I know that he loves us, he cares about us more than we will ever know or understand while we’re here on this earth. But number one is true. There is a God and he loves us. I don’t know that because I was logically convinced but because I have heard his voice, and I know that you can hear his voice too, but you gotta ask. You gotta pray and when you do that he’ll respond to you.
So that’s given number one, there is a God and he loves us. Alright given number two, Jesus is the Christ. Once again, this is something that in my naivety, growing up in Utah, I assumed everyone believed in Christ. You know, I thought the argument was “Is the Book of Mormon a real thing?” I thought that was the question. But for the majority of the world, they aren’t even Christians.
I look at today, I was in 8th grade 24 years ago, so I was on my mission almost 20 years ago and back then as I was knocking on doors in New Jersey I was shocked at how many people didn’t believe in Christ. But today it’s even worse. Christianity, 20 years ago I would have assumed the majority of people thought they were Christians. But today with Facebook and with my interaction with literally thousands and thousands of people around the globe, most people I don’t think consider themselves Christians anymore.
I have people come to me and say, “Russell, are you Christian?” I say, “Of course I am.” And they’re like, “Man, I can tell.” I’m like, 20 years ago I think everyone identified themselves as Christian. It’s shocking to me that they’re not. So because of that, it gets even more complicated now. We need to know that.
So the question is how do you know that Jesus is the Christ? That’s a good argument. How do we know that? There’s a book that talks about it, we’ve seen some movies on TV but how do we know? Believing is good, but we can know. When you know it becomes a firm foundation as opposed to just kind of hope.
So on my mission, I’m out there tracting and we’re knocking on doors and meeting people, and again up to that point in my life I just assumed that everyone believed in Christ. Or that the majority of people did. And we went to this lady’s house and knocked on her door and she let us in and we had the chance to teach her. For her, her daughter had actually passed away in a car wreck three or four years earlier. And she was, you could see she was still really, really struggling with it. We go back and have these discussions with her and talk about life and again, going through the three questions, where do we come from, why are we here, and where are we going. And helping her understand that, not just from her own perspective but from her daughter’s.
“Where did you and your daughter come from? What’s the purpose here? Her dying early? Where is she going now?” and helping her understand that. We taught her for a bunch of weeks and then one day she called us or we went by her house, I can’t remember exactly what the situation was. But she said, “Hey, there are these debates that are going to be on TV. It’s a Christian/Muslim debate and I want you guys to be here to help support me as I’m watching this.”
As missionaries, normally we don’t watch TV, maybe it wasn’t the right thing for us to watch, but I thought you know this is an investigator that we’re working with and I was kind of fascinated. I hadn’t met a lot of Muslims up to that point. I didn’t know what they believed and I was curious. I wanted to see this debate happen.
So we went to her house and she turned on the TV and we had a chance to watch this debate. And what’s cool is there was a Christian and there was a Muslim and each of them had a chance to come up and present to the world what they believe. And everything’s obviously very logically based. But it was fascinating watching this debate as they’re going back and forth and back and forth.They keep taking turns and like, tag teaming each other.
And I remember watching, I think we watched about three hours. And when these debates ended I was sitting there just fascinated because I learned so much about Muslims and what they believe and what the core sect of Christianity believes and all sorts of things. I remember afterwards the investigator is like, “Oh yeah, that Christian guy destroyed the Muslim.” And I started thinking, and as I was listening, I didn’t feel the same way. I felt very strong that the Muslim guy had a lot stronger foundation he was on.
And as the Muslim guy kept attacking the Christian guy in these debates, what he kept coming back to, he said, “Why do you guys believe Christ is the savior?” and the Christian guy said, “Because it says it in the bible.” And the Muslim guy would come back and say, “You have one witness. You can’t rely everything on this one witness. The Muslim believe because we have witness of this and this and there’s multiple people and sources and stuff showing that this is true. Right now you’re relying on the Bible saying the Bible says that Jesus is the Christ, therefore it is true. But what makes you believe the Bible’s true? What if it’s not? What if it’s….”
And he kept attacking. And what was funny and interesting to me, what’d he say, he said, “You guys say that the Bible is the word of God because it says it’s the word of God. There’s only one testament, there for it can’t be true.” That’s what the Muslim guy kept saying. And as I was hearing that I was like, he’s right. What’s the proof?
I love the Bible, more than most people. In fact, I have tons of Christians be like, “Well you’ve never read the Bible.” I’m like, “Have you?” and they’re like, “No.” and I’m like, “Well I actually have. And I actually really enjoy it.” So it’s funny, when they tell me that and very few of them have actually read it. Yes, I have read the Bible, I love it, it’s amazing. But it’s one testament.
And I started smiling as I was explaining to this woman, I said, “Look, the Christian guy didn’t have a lot to stand on because he had this one testament. If he had another testament, if there was another section of the world, if there were other people in a different part of the world who saw Christ, who saw the wounds in his hands and his feet, and would say, yes we saw him. Then the Christians would have won instantly because that was the argument.”
But I know if I would have went to that Christian debater and I would have said, “Hey dude, you’re awesome. I have this really cool book it’s called The Book of Mormon, it’s another testament of Jesus Christ.” He would have said, “You’re evil, get that away from me.” And I say, “No, you don’t understand. You have this amazing book called the Bible, it’s the people in Jerusalem. They saw Christ, he came to them after he was resurrected and they saw the wounds in his hands and his feet. And they said, Jesus is the Christ. And it’s true, I believe it. But the problem is it’s one testament. You don’t know. If there’s a car wreck on the side of the road and this horrible accident happens and there’s one witness and then you go to court and the guy’s like, ‘this is what happened.’ It doesn’t stand up very strong, but there’s three or four people, all who have the same testimony saying, ‘Yeah, that is actually what happened.’ Then guess what happens? Suddenly it becomes a very strong case. Look, there’s three people, different situations, different parts of life, who all said the same thing, therefore it’s probably true.”
“So the Book of Mormon, what it is, it’s these people in ancient America, the same time that Christ was in Jerusalem and he was crucified and he died and then came back and they saw the wounds in his hands. Then he ascended up into heaven and then he came to the other side of the globe, to the Americas. And this is before they had cell phones or fax machines or post offices or even boats for crying out loud that could get there. He came to the other side of the world, came to them and said, ‘Hey you guys, my name is Jesus Christ, your prophets talked about me as well. Feel the wounds in my hands and my feet. I was just crucified, I did what your prophets have been talking about. Feel the wounds in my hands and my feet.’ And they did, and they wrote these things down, and that’s what the Book of Mormon is.”
“It’s an ancient record of people who lived the same time that Christ was in Jerusalem, but after Christ was crucified, after he left there, he came to the people in America and they saw the same thing.Now we have these two books from two separate sides of the world, two witnesses of Christ saying, ‘yes, he did die and he did rise again.”
And I as I started looking at it from that lens, I said, that is the power. That is what makes, that’s why the Book of Mormon is so essential. It’s the second testimony, it’s the second witness of Jesus Christ.
It was just fascinating to me. But after we left that discussion I went back and kept thinking, I believe Christ is the savior and we have these two different witnesses, but I’ve never even asked. I’ve never asked God. I assumed it was true but how am I supposed to go tell people the Jesus is the Christ if I don’t know that? What if this guy that was the Muslim debating guy was right?
And I remember I was scared by that. I remember towards the end of my mission I was reading the New Testament, and I wanted to read it chronologically because I wanted to hear the stories in the order. So Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John if you’ve read them, Matthew tells the whole story from his point of view, then Mark tells the story from his point of view, then Luke does, then John. So I found this table you could read, okay read Matthew these verses, then Mark, then Luke, then John. And it told all the stories chronologically.
So I read the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, in chronological order and as I’m reading these things I’m hearing, I’m getting this beautiful glimpse and view of the Saviors life as he’s going through his ministry and his birth, his life, his ministry and then his Crucifixion. And I remember the day, I remember the chair I was sitting in, in New Jersey, as I read about the Crucifixion and just the emotion, the pain, and all those things I felt as I read that.
I remember as I finished those chapters that day for my study, it ended with Christ being put into the tomb, and then I left that day to go out and start knocking on doors and start talking about Christ. I remember being nervous for the next day, because I knew the next morning I was going to read about the resurrection. I remember thinking, I’ve read about it before, but I don’t want to believe it, I want to know. I want this to be a given. I want to know, I want to be able to have this so strong in my foundation of my faith, that nothing could ever rock me, no matter what. I need to know.
And that whole day as we were knocking on doors, I was praying, when I read this tomorrow, Heavenly Father I need to know. I need to know if Jesus Christ is my Savior. I need to know, I need an answer to this prayer. I kept praying and praying and praying.
And the next morning I woke up and I remember being scared, and I knelt down and I said a prayer saying, “Heavenly Father, I need to know if Jesus is the Christ. I believe he is. I’ve been going out there doing and serving and taking this on faith, but I need to know.” And that morning as I opened up my scriptures and I started reading about the resurrection I felt it. I felt it from our Heavenly Father, and he told me that Jesus is the Christ. He’s our Messiah, he’s our Redeemer. He came not just to save me, but to save my family. He came to save my friends. He came to save the people that went before me, the people who come after me, he came to save you.
But we have to listen to him, we have to understand. I remember feeling so much relief after that experience and being like, understanding at that point that my faith that I’ve been running with for so long, now I knew that it was true. And one of my favorite scriptures, no that’s not true. This is my favorite scripture. My favorite scripture is in a book called the Doctrine and Covenants, and it’s in Section 19 verse 16-19. It’s the only time in scripture where Christ himself explained what he did for us.
There are a lot of people who tell this story. You hear it from Matthew, and Mark, and Luke, and John’s perspective. You hear it from other prophet’s around the world. You hear it from a lot of different places, but this is the only time where Christ himself explained what that experience was like for him. So I want to share with you, in his own words. Doctrine and Covenants, Section 19, verses 16-19, he said,
“For behold I God have suffered these things for all that they might not suffer if they would repent. But if they would not repent, they must suffer even as I. Which suffering caused myself, even God the greatest of all to tremble because of pain and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit and would that I might not drink the bitter cup and shrink. Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.”
As I heard that I was just like, man! Listen to how he explains that, he said, “which suffering caused myself, even God the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain. And to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit.” That’s what he went through for us. When I imagine that and visualize it, I see the pain that he went through, it’s amazing. It was part of the plan, and we’re going to talk in other episodes about the plan and make it more clear, but he did that for us.
In a thing that we call the Atonement, it’s a big word, but in a way that doesn’t make sense to all of us obviously, but his suffering and what he did in the Garden of Gethsemane, and then what he suffered again on the cross, somehow made it possible for us to be forgiven of our sins. So that we can return back to our Heavenly Father, so we can live with him again someday. So we can live with Christ, so we can live with our families up in Heaven.
And for me, that is so vitally important because I love my family. I love my mom and my dad, I love my brothers and my sisters, I love my kids, I love my wife. And if I knew that this life was the end, and I if I knew that I was going to die and it was going to be the end of it, this life would be miserable. What would be the point of any of it?
But because Christ came, because he did what he did, because he fulfilled this plan of happiness and he became our Savior, our Messiah, our Redeemer, and he gave us the ability to be forgiven of our sins so we could become clean and we could someday return back to Heavenly Father, because of that I get to be with my family again. I get to be with him again.
And it’s the coolest thing in the world. I want to testify to you that I know that Jesus is the Christ. Our Heavenly Father has told me. It’s not something that I doubt, or I waver, or I wonder. I know it’s true. But what’s cooler is I know that you can know it’s true. You don’t have to take my word for it, you don’t have to take anyone’s word for it. You don’t have to listen to Christian/Muslim debates. You don’t have to listen to anything.
All you gotta do is go ask him. He wants you to know. He needs you to know. Because when you do that, it’ll change your life. It’ll change the people’s life’s that you’re entrusted with, your kids, your family, people around you. But you need to know.
So given number two is Jesus is the Christ. Okay, that brings me now to given number three, which is the Book of Mormon is true. Now, the first two givens are ones that most people inside of Christianity believe already, this is one that may be a little bit of a stretch for you. But I want to kind of bring you back to what we talked about earlier. It’s not important for us to try to get other people to try to believe our opinions, the goal is to figure out what is God’s opinion, what is actual truth and then conform our belief’s to that.
So for those of you guys who have heard of Mormons and you may be freaking out, I don’t want you to, I want you to suspend your judgment, listen to what I have to say, and then I want to challenge you to find out for yourself if it’s true. Because if it is true, this is the most important thing you will have ever heard. If it’s not true, then it doesn’t really matter. But you need to know.
So with that said, I’m going to jump right into this. The Book of Mormon is the keystone of our conversion. Joseph Smith said that the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion, so what is a keystone? If you look at an archway, a keystone is that thing in the middle that holds everything together. If the keystone collapses or breaks the entire arch collapses as well. And I know and we know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints lives and dies on the fact of if the Book of Mormon is true or not.
Now the coolest thing about this, and I want you guys to understand this because this is just common sense, and it takes a minute to understand this. But the Book of Mormon is literally the key that you can use to figure out if anything is true. So let me explain how it works. So think about inside of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, people always come up to me, “I have questions. I have concerns.” Or whatever, and I’m like, “Cool, what are the concerns?” And they’re like, “Okay well, you guys used to have plural marriage, or you didn’t let blacks have the priesthood for a while, or women don’t get the priesthood. Or what do you believe about gay marriages?” On and on.. I get all sorts of stuff.
And I always laugh, I’m like, “Okay cool. Let me explain how this whole thing works. So number one, I recognize your objections. You’re telling me that you’re concerned about blank, or you have questions about blank?” and they’re like, “Yes that is my question.” I’m like, “Cool. Alright, so let me go find the answer to that. And the answer to all your questions you can find inside modern revelation. There is a prophet or an apostle who has spoken about every concern you can dream of. I promise you, you can find that, you can Google it. Go to LDS.org, do a little searching and you’ll find the answers to your questions. They’re always there.”
So number one, I recognize the objection. Number two, I find the answer inside of modern revelation. You may look at that and say, “Okay, well who is this guy, who is Gordon B. Hinkley who said that? He’s just some dude, so how do I believe that?” Which is a good, that is the right question. Why should I believe this guy? Why should I believe this person, this prophet or…you say they’re a prophet or apostle, why should I believe what they have to say is true or that it even matters?
So then the third thing to understand, the answer to that question, if that is true, it has 100% to do with whether or not we have modern prophets and modern revelations. So what I believe is that we have a prophet, just like when Christ was here he had 12 apostles, and when he left he called a prophet, 12 apostles, right. And we believe that same thing is on earth today. We believe in modern revelation.
So we believe that when the church or people or whatever have a question that our Heavenly Father reveals those things to the prophet, just like he did in the days of old. He does the same thing today.
So the question is, is that person receiving revelation? Is he really a prophet? Do we really have modern revelation? So the only way to know if that is true is to say, okay this is the prophet or the 12 apostles, or whoever the revelation came through inside of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, how do I know if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is actually true?
Well, what is the keystone? The keystone’s the Book of Mormon. If the Book of Mormon is true, that means we have modern day prophets living on Earth today, who receive revelation directly from God and if we have modern prophets on Earth who receive revelation directly from God and they said this, then that is God’s will, and therefore we need to conform our will to what God’s is.
So that’s it, every question, every concern, every doubt, everything, all hinges on this one thing, this keystone, this book called the Book of Mormon. So any concern you give me, it’s going to be the same thing. I’m going to say, “okay, this is your concern. Here’s the answer, but I don’t want you to believe in that answer or not. All you need to know is that this answer came from a prophet of God and the way you know if that prophet is actually true, is if the Book of Mormon is true. If the Book of Mormon is true, then the prophet is a prophet and this is what God said.”
So all you have to do is figure out if the Book of Mormon is true. Does that make sense? When I first got that, it made so much sense. So it’s always funny to me because I hear people who are thinking about leaving the church, who leave the church, they always say, “Oh well, I have all these questions.” Okay, what are the questions? Because I have none right now. I can’t think of one question I got. There’s some things that I’m trying to figure out and understand, but I have no questions.
And they always give me some question and I’m like, “Okay, boom. This is where it’s been answered.” And they’re like, “Oh well how…” and they have some reason why they don’t believe the things of the prophet. I’m like, “Well what’s your opinion on the Book of Mormon?” “Well, you know it’s a good book…” okay, you need to understand that this is the key. It comes back to that. Is the Book of Mormon true? If the Book of Mormon is true, we have prophets on Earth today. If we have prophets on Earth today, then God has already told us the answer and you just have to believe what the prophet said.
Now it’s easy, looking back in time, if you’re sitting there and you’re like, there’s this dude named Noah and he’s building a huge boat and he came to me and said the world’s going to flood, we should get on the boat. Looking back, we’re like, “You morons, why didn’t you get on the boat. The Earth’s going to flood. Noah’s the prophet, it makes perfect sense.”
But what happened in real life? Everyone’s looking around like, “That dude’s crazy. Why is he building a boat? Why is he collecting animals? It’s starting to rain but the guy’s still insane.” It starts flooding up and soon the entire world’s destroyed.
That’s where we’re at today. We have prophets. They’re here. I know it, I believe it. Heavenly Father told me. Now it’s your shot to figure that out. Do we really have prophets? How do I know that? The way I know that is this thing, this keystone called the Book of Mormon. That’s the key, that’s why it’s so important. That’s why it’s one of the three givens. Because if it is true, then a whole bunch of amazing stuff has happened that you need to know about. It means that God has restored his church on earth, it means there’s a prophet, 12 apostles, it means there is revelation come from heaven. It means there’s authority.
All these amazing gifts and keys and things, that’s why Mormons are so excited. That’s why people look at me like, “Russell, why are you so excited all the time?” Do you not realize what’s happening around us? Our Heavenly Father is here, living. Giving us revelation and messages and if we listen to him, he tells us what to do and I don’t have to stress about things. I know where I came from, I know why I’m here, I know where I’m going and I don’t have doubt. I have absolute certainty because Heavenly Father told me the Book of Mormon is true, therefore I know that we have modern day prophets, that means revelation is here, I know where I’m going, I’m not concerned.
So that’s what I need you guys to understand. I want to tell a story about someone I met on my mission, her name was Robin, and Robin actually grew up in Arizona. She was an anti-Mormon. Now, what is an anti-Mormon? Anti-Mormon is somebody who not only is like, not a member of the church but who is actively fighting against the church.
So she was so deep into it that she would go out and she would proselyte, she’d find the missionaries where they were knocking on doors and follow them and try to save the people as they would leave. She actually had her own radio show where she had hours every single day talking about how evil the church was and how the doctrines were false and how we’re leading people astray and all sorts of stuff. And she did that for years in real life.
And then she decided to move to New Jersey. So she left her anti-Mormon friends and all those people and went to New Jersey, and when she was there she was just doing her normal thing and studying and learning. And one day she was like, thinking about all this stuff with the Mormon church that she would talk about, all the weird things we do and believe and all sorts of stuff. And for some reason, she had this aha. What if instead of looking at this, here’s all these evil things, I’m going to look at it from their perspective, what if these things were true? Which, I thought was a really good question to ask. What if these things were true? What would that mean?
So she started going through the different doctrines, “Here’s this thing. What if that was true? What would that mean?” And she’d study and learn about it and she’s like, “Huh. What about this one. What if this was true?” and just by changing her perspective it changed the questions and changed what she was searching for and how. And after a while, every time she would go down a different topic and say what if, it would open up a whole new world to her.
And one day she was like, “I have a lot of questions now, I need to ask somebody.” So I don’t know if she saw or she called, but somehow the sister missionaries in our area got a hold of her and they started teaching her. And I still remember because I was the District Leader at the time, and I remember getting a phone call from one of the sister missionaries saying, “We met this lady named Robin, she’s amazing but she used to be an anti-Mormon and she has all sorts of questions, we don’t know how to answer them.” So they started bringing me in to answer some of the questions too, which was really fun.
And every week, every time they’d do a discussion, she started coming to church, coming to church, she had a whole list of questions. We’d answer question after question and they weren’t the type of questions you’d normally get on your mission, they were the deep ones where you’re like, “Wow. How do you even know about that?” Not that anything is hidden or secret, but it was just I didn’t even know the answer to a lot of these things.
So I’d be like, “Well let me go find out.” And I’d go research and study and ask questions and come back, “okay, this is what I found out.” And the questions kept coming and kept coming. And then one day I saw her, I was like, “Alright Robin, what’s our question for today?” and she said, “I don’t have any more questions.” I was like, “What do you mean you don’t have any more questions? You are the question queen, you always have questions.” And she’s like, “Guess what happened Elder Brunson?” I’m like, “What?” She’s like, “I’ve been reading the Book of Mormon, as you know and finally I decided to do what you guys keep telling me and I prayed about it and our Heavenly Father told me it’s true. I don’t have any more questions anymore. I just want to get baptized.”
And I just remember how powerful that was. It was kind of funny, her biggest concern, she’s like, “Well, I want to get baptized, but my husband hasn’t been doing this journey with me and he used to do anti-Mormon stuff with me and I’m pretty sure he’s going to be upset about it.” So it took her like two or three weeks for her to get the courage to go talk to her husband and finally she said, “Husband…” I don’t remember his name, “I’m thinking about getting baptized.” And he’s like, “Alright.” And she’s like, “Aren’t you mad?” and he’s like, “No, you’re the one that hated the Mormons, not me.”
So she was so excited and wanted to get baptized and what’s funny, she was an amazing person, she was into all sorts of crafts and things like that and doing cool stuff, and she’d been going to Relief Society and all the Relief Society women fell in love with her and she wanted to teach Relief Society on Wednesday. But she only wanted to teach Relief Society if she was actually a member.
So I remember we did the baptism for her on a Wednesday night and then did the confirmation afterwards and that night she taught Relief Society. It was just so cool to see somebody, for me, who had come from such a far extreme. One side of the extreme was, she was actively fighting against the church, she hated it. But as soon as she shifted her questions to “What if this is true? What would that mean for me? What would that mean for my family? What if this was true, what would that mean?”
And then to sincerely search for those questions. And it’s okay to have questions, we all have questions. But the only real question that we need to understand and know is, is the Book of Mormon true? And when she asked that, our Heavenly Father told her and then the rest of the questions went away, because now she knew.
And the same thing is true, the exact same thing is true for you. I wanted to share that story with you because it shows just how big and how fast a change can happen when you’re willing to stop and ask. So if you have questions, that’s okay. It’s not bad to have questions or doubts or concerns or whatever, but know where to get the answers. The wrong place to get the answers is this thing called Google.
Now I am an internet marketer, once again if you Google my name you will see, for the last 14 plus years of my life I have been manipulating the search engines, the algorithms and everything to make money for myself and my businesses and it’s done great. I also have friends who have manipulated the search engines in really bad ways and basically anything they want to publish they can. And they write and do all sorts of stuff and rank things, I mean it’s crazy.
So if you want to try to find answers going to Google, just know that the answers you are getting are from somebody who has an agenda who’s putting in the time and the money and the effort to get that ranked where it needs to be. I want you guys to be fully aware of that, it’s not difficult to gain the search engines for someone who’s spent a decade of their life doing it. It’s not difficult. So that’s not what you need to put your faith in.
The reason why the Book of Mormon is such a powerful thing is because unlike the Bible, if you know the history of the Bible, the Bible came and it’s amazing and I’m going to do a whole podcast on this, but there was a time when nobody had access except the people who were in charge of the church. And as it started getting passed out, things changed and things were modified. And as amazing as the book is, you can tell that many of the plain and precious things have been taken away from it. Many of the doctrines have been hidden or distorted or whatever, for evil purposes.
So you have to understand as you’re going in with the Book of Mormon, it was translated once. The book that I have, this original one, one of the original 5,000, it went from Golden Plates, Joseph Smith reading it to somebody and writing it down, to going to a printer and it was printed on paper, and that’s it. It hasn’t been translated over a hundred years or centuries. It is what it is.
So the question is, is it true? Robin found out. As soon as she found out it was true, that means we have modern prophets, that means all these other things are true. So for you, that’s the key, it’s the keystone when you understand that. It is true.
Now I want to tell you kind of my, how I got my testimony of the Book of Mormon and how this became one of my givens, it became the foundation of my faith. So I was in New Jersey, I was about 7 months into my mission. It was funny because I always wanted to receive an answer to my prayer. I had prayed about asking Heavenly Father if the church was true, and I never received an answer.
I remember my dad, when I was growing up, he told me his conversion story and he was in the MTC when he got his testimony. So I thought, okay cool. When I’m in the MTC I’ll get my testimony. When I got there, I started going through it and I didn’t get it. I remember leaving on the plane to New Jersey, flying and being like, oh my gosh. I don’t have a testimony. I believe this is true but I don’t know. I need to know.
In my mission I was going through and I was doing the motions, I was trying, I was praying and I found out later, I had to go through this trial of my faith. They always say, faith precedes the miracle. This was a trial of my faith and I had to go through there and I had to repent and I had to clean up my life and my thoughts and my actions. I had to become a better person and through going through this repentance process while I’m out serving the Lord, just really figuring it out.
About 7 months into my mission I had an amazing experience. I had a zone leader, named Elder Franco, it’s fun actually, during the last General Conference, I hadn’t talked to him in 20 years, I saw him on Facebook. Someone in his family got called to be a General Authority or something. So I saw him pop up there. So I actually just messaged him. I’m like, “Hey, I don’t know if you realize, you were instrument in changing my life. A huge change, a directional shift.”
And he’s like, “Really? What happened.” And I told him. We had this zone conference that he was running and he asked me if I’d read a talk and it was a talk from Bruce R. McConkie, and it had some powerful quotes, I’m going to share a bunch of them with you guys here. But he had me read this talk, I’m going to read one piece of this to you. He said, and I read this during the intro podcast as well. Bruce R. McConkie said,
“These are deep and solemn and ponderous matters. We need not think that we can trifle with sacred things and escape the wrath of a just God. Either the Book of Mormon is true or it is false. There’s no middle ground. Either it came from God or his spawn in the infernal realms. It is not and cannot simply be another treaty on religion. Either it came from Heaven or from Hell and it’s time that all those who seek salvation to find out for themselves whether it’s from the Lord or if it’s from Lucifer.”
So he had me read that part of the talk and then I sat down and Elder Franco stood up and he said, “Alright you guys, did you hear what Elder Brunson just said? We are either servants of the Lord or servants of Lucifer. And I don’t know about you, but I want to find out right now which one it is, because either we’re doing the right thing or we’re doing something very, very evil. And we need to find out.” So he said, as a missionary we had a group of probably 20 of us, and he said, “Let’s kneel down and let’s ask Heavenly Father right now if the Book of Mormon is true because we need to know. He’s called us on this mission to go out there and tell other people about this message, this thing that’s happened, but we need to know if this is true. Otherwise, we could be doing, we could be serving the opposite side.”
And I remember as he said that, my palms started sweating and I got these butterflies and I was so nervous because I had prayed dozens of times a day for the last 7 months and beyond, begging and pleading and asking Heavenly Father to let me know the church was true. I was so scared in that moment. What if it’s not, what if I put my faith in the wrong thing. I started getting so nervous.
Then we kneeled down and Elder Brager was the person who said the prayer. Elder Brager starts saying the prayer and he said, “Heavenly Father, we’re gathered here together as a group of your missionaries, here to serve thee in the best way that we know how. But we have question for you, Heavenly Father, is the Book of Mormon true?”
And then he waited. And in that moment I felt the spirit stronger than I have ever felt before or since, as Heavenly Father told me that the Book of Mormon was true. Then Elder Brager said, “Heavenly Father, is Jesus Christ our savior?” and again I felt the spirit so strong.
And for me, in that moment, my prayer was answered and I knew, I didn’t think, I didn’t hope, I didn’t believe, I knew that the Book of Mormon was true. I knew that the message that we had, that we were giving, was from God. When I knew that, everything shifted for me. It wasn’t a hope or belief or faith, it was knowledge, it was a given. Heavenly Father told me and because I now knew that there was a God and he loved me and because I knew that Jesus Christ was our savior, because I knew the Book of Mormon was true, everything else became possible because of that. All the other amazing things that happened inside of the church, everything in my life, the entire plan of happiness, everything that’s happened from that point forward in my life became true because that day the foundation of my faith became complete. Because I knew that the three givens were true.
Now, I want to kind of speak for a moment on the Book of Mormon because I don’t want people to dismiss this. I’ve had some people that I share with and they go, “Ah, that’s great but you know, I’ve got the Bible.” And if you dismiss this, you are literally missing out on the most important message our Heavenly Father is trying to give to you and I need to try to clarify that. So hopefully the first quote here helped, and I’m going to kind of read part of it, but it basically said,
“…it is not and cannot simply be another treaty on religion. Either it came from Heaven or from Hell and it’s time for all those who seek salvation to find out for themselves whether it’s from the Lord or it’s from Lucifer.”
It’s from the Lord, there’s a reason why he did this big deal, a reason why he came to Joseph Smith and told him to translate this book. It wasn’t just that he was bored and needed something to do for the weekend. It’s because there was a very vitally important reason why he needed this thing to be done. So you need to find out first off, is this from the Lord or is it from Lucifer. That’s number one.
Number two, this is some more quotes from Bruce R. McConkie, and those who don’t know Bruce R. McConkie yet, he’s my favorite dead apostle. He is amazing, but of the people who have ever been in our church, he’s probably the biggest scholar ever. In fact, if you look at the triple combination that us Mormon’s like to use, the footnotes were basically done by Bruce R. McConkie. The entire footnotes between the Old Testament, the New Testament, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, like insane, that was basically his notes, the footnotes. There’s probably nobody on planet earth that knows and has read and understands the Bible more so than him, I would argue.
So I wanted to share that in context with this quote he said. He said,
“I have an unbound appreciation for both the King James version and the inspired version of the Bible. I stand reverential awes, I read it and I ponder the wonderous words they contain. I do not believe there is a person on earth who has a greater respect for or appreciation for the Holy Bible than I do. Now I say this in a prelude to making these flat and unequivocal declarations.
Number one, most of the doctrine set forth in the Book of Mormon far surpass their comparitable recitation than the Bible.
Number two, this Nephite record bears a plainer and purer witness of the divine sonship of Christ and the salvation that comes in and through his holy name, than do the old world scriptures.
Number three, men can get nearer to God, can have more of the spirit of conversion and conformity in their hearts, can have stronger testimonies, can gain a better understanding of the doctrines of salvation through the Book of Mormon than they ever can through the Bible.
Number four, more people will flock to the gospel standard, more souls will be converted, more of scattered Israel will be gathered, and more people will migrate from one place to another because of the Book of Mormon than ever was or will be the case with the Bible.
Number five, there will be more people saved in the Kingdom of God, ten thousand times over, because of the Book of Mormon than there ever will be because of the Bible.”
I remember hearing missionaries say, “Oh yeah, the Bible’s awesome, the Book of Mormon is a good book just like that.” And that’s not the truth, the Book of Mormon is a better book, it’s a clearer book, it’s a plainer witness. We need to be bold in that statement. The Bible is amazing and if it had not been for evil men who have taken it and done things with it, it would be perfect. Again, we believe that the Bible is the word of God, as far as it is translated correctly. But because of the translation, because of all the stuff, and I’m going to talk about the history of that so you guys understand and have a very clear picture of what’s happened, where it’s gone, and where it is today.
The Book of Mormon, though, is clean, it’s pure. When you read it, it makes more sense. When you read it, it’s clear. All of the things that were confusing in the Bible, it comes back like we talked about earlier, with the two separate witnesses. There’s things that Christ talks about in the Bible, that don’t make perfect sense, or the apostle, the things they talk about. You’re like, “I kind of understand that but I need some clarification.”
And because of those confusions we’re always…churches start popping up, someone’s like, “I think it means this.” And they’re like, “No, it means this.” And they fight and argue and all these things happen. Whereas, the Book of Mormon is the second book, it was only translated once. It came from people on the opposite side of the world, and Christ came to them and told them the same gospel, so now we have both of these books. You read them together and it’s like, “No, this is what Christ meant. This is what he actually said. Before translators changed and manipulated things, this is what the actual thing said, the way he gave it to people in America.”
It’s powerful, it’s not a good book, it’s the most important book ever. That’s the first thing to understand. Number two, why do we have and why do we need the Book of Mormon? Again, I talked about this during the intro session, but I want to talk about it again. So this was Joseph Fielding McConkie, it’s Bruce R. McConkie’s son, he said,
“Why a Book of Mormon? Because it’s the perfect test of spiritual integrity. Acceptance of the Book of Mormon requires the same faith that was necessary to accept Christ in the meridian time. As he was opposed by false traditions and a corrupt priesthood, so the Book of Mormon is opposed today. The doctrines are the same, the opposition is the same and the courage and faith necessary to accept it are the same.”
So how you treat, how I treat, how we treat the Book of Mormon, is how we would have treated Christ if he was here today. That’s why it’s so important. So you’re like, “Oh cool, it sounds nice.” And you push it away, that’s how you would have treated Christ. When I read that, when I understood, I was like, “Are you kidding me?” My attitude towards this thing, is what my attitude is and would be towards Christ. It is the same.
The doctrines are the same, the opposition is the same, the courage and the faith necessary to accept it, are the same. Are you guys getting this, does that make sense? That’s why the Book of Mormon is so important.
Now, it’s interesting, as I’ve had people that I love, family members, friends who have left the church. They always leave based on these things that aren’t based on the three givens. They leave based on, “Oh I read this thing over here and someone said this about Joseph Smith.” Or “I read this and I don’t believe this.” Or “I want to do this in my life.” There’s reasons why they leave.
But what’s interesting is that they don’t leave because they don’t believe in the Book of Mormon, they leave because Satan has somehow tricked them with some external thing. Jeffery R. Holland said,
“If he or she wants to leave this church it must be done by crawling over or under or around the Book of Mormon to make that exit. It is in that sense, the book is what Christ himself said it to be, a stone of stumbling, a rock of offense, a barrier on the path of those who wish not to believe in this work.”
The only way you can dismiss what’s happening today, why the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is here, what it’s doing, that there’s a prophet, 12 apostles, the only way you can walk around that is either go above the Book of Mormon, below it, around it. The book is here, it’s not leaving anywhere, it’s not changing.
So for you, you gotta figure out, is this the truth? Because if it is, you need to conform your beliefs and your thoughts to what God believes. Don’t you understand that? It’s not us trying to convert the Lord to shift his beliefs to ours. It’s figuring out, what does God actually believe? What does Christ believe? Because that’s what I need to believe when I get back with him. So I understand what he believes. I need to conform my will to his, not the other way around.
You need to figure out what the truth actually is. If you’re here today, if you’re listening to this, if you’re hearing the words of my mouth, what you are hearing is that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ came from the heavens to planet Earth. They came to a boy named Joseph Smith and they said, “This book, this thing, this Book of Mormon, we’re going to give to you is the word of God. And it’s so vitally important that we’re shifting everything. This is not something we’re going to make a little bit better. My church has been destroyed off the face of the earth. It’s been corrupted, it’s been taken off. We are starting this new. This is a restoration, we are bringing back the church the way that Christ set it up on Earth. This is how it’s going to work and you’re going to call a prophet and 12 apostles, we’re going to have all these things in place. And the way you’ll know that this is my work is because of this book. People have to accept this book to be able to become part of this church.”
So the book is the key you guys, the Book of Mormon. This is so vitally important. I don’t know how else I can stress it. How you treat this book is how you would treat Christ if he was here today. I need you guys to understand that because that’s how important it is for you.
You don’t need to take my word for it. I’m not saying just believe it blindly. I’m saying you gotta figure out if this is true or not. If somebody came and told me this, I would hope and pray that I would do everything in my power to figure out if this was true. Because either, if it’s from Satan, cool. I’m going to run away from this thing as fast as I can. But if it’s from God, I need to embrace it. I’m telling you today that it’s from God.
So if you’re here, you probably some type of respect for my opinion, but I don’t want you to base your merits on that, outside of just like, Russell believes this is true. Heavenly Father has told him it’s true. Let me go find out for myself because I need to know if it’s true.
I promise you guys, it’s worth it. It took me a long time to find the answer. I had to pray, I had to read, I had to ask, I had to ask, I had to change my life, I had to repent of my sins, I had to get in this spot where Heavenly Father was able to come to me and say, “Yes, this book is true.” And when he did, everything else changed for me. Like I said, I have absolute certainty. I know where I came from, I know what I am doing on this Earth, and I know where I am going.
That gives me so much certainty and hope and faith and excitement and happiness, and it’s something that’s there for all of us. It’s not disappearing, it’s not going away.
So those are my three givens. It’s where the foundation of my faith was born on and it’s what all of us need to have. So these are the three and you guys need to find out for yourself if they’re true.
Number one, there is a God and he loves us. Number two, Jesus is the Christ. And number three, the Book of Mormon is true.
Now I want to mention one thing. People will say I have a lot of questions. I don’t have questions, there’s things I don’t understand or I don’t know yet, but I don’t have questions because I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know there’s modern day prophets. I know that God is steering this ship and I know I can believe and have faith in that.
But I don’t know everything. So sometimes people ask me questions and I’m like, “I don’t know the answer to that.” And there’s going to be times, probably in this podcast where I’m going to tell you that I don’t know the answers to everything. I’m not all knowing. I do know a couple of things. I know the givens. I know our Heavenly Father has told me all those things are true, so I know that. But there are other things I don’t always know.
It used to kind of bother me, I didn’t know really what to do. I had a friend, his name is Robbie Summers who used to do sales for me, and now he’s a seminary teacher down in Utah. But he pointed a scripture out to me and it’s in 1 Nephi 11:16-17 and this is when the angel came to Nephi. And the angel said,
“Knowest thou the condensations of God? And Nephi said unto him, I know he loves his children, nevertheless I do not know the meaning of all things.”
I need you guys to understand because there’s going to be things that come up in your life where you’re like, “I don’t understand that? Why did God do that? Why did he allow that to happen?” and what we need to understand, again, we need to conform what we think and what we believe to what God believes.
So the angel once again said, “Knowest though the condensations of God?” Do you know why that happened? Why did that horrible thing happen to that good person? Why did this have to happen? Why did…I don’t know why. And what Nephi said, “I know that he loves his children, nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.”
I know that a lot of times bad things happen to great people. I don’t know the answers to all the questions. I don’t know why I was born here in America at this time, versus someone who was born in Kenya, versus someone who was born…..I don’t know why some people are born rich, some people are born poor, I don’t know why bad things happen to good people. I don’t know those things. But we can know the three givens and if we know those, we can have faith that God’s steering this ship, that we know where we’re going.
There’s things he told us. Number one, he told us “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and unbraideth not, and it shall be given to him.” We can ask God things and he’ll tell us.
Number two he said, “ask and it shall be given to you. Seek and you shall find. Knock and it shall be opened unto you.” But you have to ask. You have to do that part of it. Then he told us, he said, “And when you shall receive these things, I would exhort you that you would ask God the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true. And if you shall ask with a sincere heart, with a real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth unto you by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost you may know the truth of all things. “
It’s up to you guys though. It’s up to me, it’s up to you, it’s up to everyone listening to this. You gotta ask. I’ve asked, I know these things, and because of that my life is amazing. It’s not perfect. I have issues and problems and mistakes, I am probably the least qualified person on Earth to be doing a podcast about the church, but God has told me that these things are true and I know it, and I can’t not share it with other people.
So that’s the challenge. That’s the Book of Mormon Challenge you guys. It’s to read it and find out if it’s true because if it is true, it’s the most important message that you will ever have been given on this Earth. And it’s coming directly from God to tell you what you need to do with your life. Show you, direct you and steer you in the way to salvation for yourself, for your kids, for your family, for your posterity, that’s it.
After you guys know, then it’s important to keep it going, to keep reading, keep studying, keep learning. I want to end this with one of my favorite speeches. The first time I heard it was, Jeffery R. Holland was giving it in a talk called, “However long and hard the road.” And he shared this quote from Winston Churchill. So I’m going to kind of read it from his talk. He said,
“On the 10th of May 1940 as the specter of Nazi infamy moved relentlessly towards the English Channel, Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill was summoned to the post of the Prime Minister of England. He hastily formed a government and on May 13th went before the House of Commons with his maiden speech. I would say to the house as I say to those who joined this government. I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind, we have before us many, many long months of struggle and suffering. You ask what is our policy? I will say it. It is to wage war, war by sea, by land, by air with all of our might with all of our strength that God can give us. That is our policy.
You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word, victory. Victory at all costs. Victory in spite of terror, victory however long and hard the road may be.”
I testify to you guys, that you can know that this is true. We’re at a war right now, Satan is doing everything in his power to hide this, to block it from you. I look at, from a search engine, nerdy marketing standpoint, I look at this thing called the Book of Mormon, I look how Satan’s trying to destroy it. He came out with play called the Book of Mormon, you look at the search terms and how it’s trying to bury the Book of Mormon.
Satan is trying to keep this from you. Online, offline, everything. But it’s a message that’s important. And when you read it, it’s going to give you the tools, the energy, the faith, the hope, everything you need. The certainty to move forward, because it’s a war we’re fighting. I want you guys to win, I want to win, my family to win. I want to return back to our Heavenly Father. It’s because of that, I need to focus on the right things.
And for you right now, the first key is understanding the three givens. Understanding that you don’t have to hope and guess, Heavenly Father will tell you these things are true. He’s done it for me, he’s done it for millions of other people, and he’ll do it for you too.
There is a God and he loves us. Jesus is the Christ, the messiah has come, he has redeemed us already. And the Book of Mormon is true. He’s called prophets and apostles to lead us and to guide us through this turbulent time so we can survive the temptations of Satan, so that someday we can return back to him someday with our families.
That’s the message, that’s the good news, that’s the gospel. I testify to you guys that the Book of Mormon is true. I know that. I know with all my heart. I know that God lives, I know his son has come, that he lived for us, he died for us and because of that we can return back to him someday, which is the greatest message in the world.
And I’m so grateful to have a chance to share these things with you through this podcast. I hope that if nothing else, you take the challenge. Go to bookofmormonchallenge.com, sign up and just take the challenge. Put it to the test. Just find out for yourself if this book is true. Because if it is it’s going to change your life. I know it is, I testify of that and you can find out for yourself as well.
So go to bookofmormonchallenge.com, get signed up for the challenge, start reading with me, and I will see you guys on the next episode of the podcast. Thanks so much for hanging out, and we’ll talk to you soon.
Apr 09 2018