Bishop Richard C. Edgley: Book of Mormon, combined with Spirit, is missionary's most powerful resource
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Related stories from the 2011 Seminar for New Mission Presidents:
shared his experience earnestly reading the Book of Mormon in 1955 as a ranch hand in Bancroft, Idaho, preparing to serve a mission.
Speaking June 25 at the 2011 Seminar for New Mission Presidents, he related that even though the days were long, hard, boring and hot, he dreaded the evenings when he would return to his dingy basement bedroom.
"With nothing else to do I started reading the Book of Mormon in a way I've never read it before," said Bishop Edgley, first counselor in the Presiding Bishopric. "It didn't take me long until the light turned on and I felt the Spirit flood across my body. I read verse by verse, I prayed and I pondered.
"It got to the point that as I went to work the following day, I could hardly wait for night to come when in the solitude of that dreary, dark bedroom I could immerse myself in the scriptures and feel that wonderful, glowing spirit that comes from the Book of Mormon."
Bishop Edgley said he knows he always had a testimony, but at that point he felt the testifying spirit.
He said the impetus for the Church's growth is the Book of Mormon as delivered to the Prophet Joseph Smith.
"The Book of Mormon testifies of the truthfulness of the Church," he said, "and every honest reader can have their own personal revelation as to its authenticity and all that that means."
Bishop Edgley noted that many would criticize the Book of Mormon, and some have gone to great efforts to disprove it, to no avail.
"Our assignment as missionaries is not to prove the Book of Mormon, as that is beyond our calling and beyond our ability," he said. "But our assignment is to teach and testify of the Book of Mormon in such a way that it will entice the reader to prove to himself as he seeks the Holy Ghost and receives his own personal revelation."
The Book of Mormon, combined with the Spirit, is the most powerful resource the missionaries will have in bringing about the conversion of those they teach, Bishop Edgley said.
He admonished the mission presidents to teach their missionaries from the Book of Mormon, teach the missionaries to teach from the Book of Mormon, teach them to prepare investigators for conversion by following the formula in Moroni 10:3-5, teach them to help investigators become immersed in those sacred scriptures, and have them read and discuss passages form the book with their investigators, sharing insights and feelings.