PROVO, Utah — President Thomas S. Monson’s last message to the membership of the Church — delivered in the April 2017 general conference — focused on the power of the Book of Mormon.
That’s no coincidence, taught Elder S. Gifford Nielsen, a General Authority Seventy, during his Jan. 9 presentation at the 2018 Seminar for new missionary training center presidents and visitors’ center directors.
The late Church president was divinely directed to encourage others to read the Book of Mormon.
“He always owned his promptings and that is the message he was inspired to share,” said Elder Nielsen — adding that President Russell M. Nelson, president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, has also offered powerful testimony on the importance of the Book of Mormon.
It’s essential that new MTC presidents, visitors’ center directors and their respective companions also “own” their promptings from the Lord. And, as Presidents Monson and Nelson have taught, the Book of Mormon is essential to their new ministries.
Since its humble first printing of 5,000 copies, the Book of Mormon has flooded the earth. More than 180 million copies of the latter-day scripture have been distributed.
The fifth chapter of “Preach My Gospel” focuses on the key role that the Book of Mormon plays in missionary work and as a witness of Christ.
“I love ‘Preach My Gospel’,” said Elder Nielsen. “It helps me liken the scriptures unto myself. It’s my game plan.”
The new MTC presidents, visitors’ center directors and their companions will work frequently with missionaries who are still trying to develop a testimony of the Book of Mormon.
“You will be there to help light the lamp of this sacred book in the hearts of the missionaries,” he told those assembled.
As such, it’s essential to continue to build, each day, a personal testimony of the Book of Mormon. It remains the keystone of the restored gospel.
Elder Nielsen asked this special group to share their own insights and experiences with the Book of Mormon and its powerful witness of Jesus Christ.
Many told of miraculous moments from their own missions or personal conversions to the gospel.
The Book of Mormon, they added in their comments, offers a fullness of Christ’s doctrine by teaching key principles such as faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost and Christlike service.
Elder Brent H. Nielson, a General Authority Seventy and executive director of the Missionary Department, was asked to share his thoughts about the importance of the Book of Mormon.
“If we really want to understand the Atonement and who the Savior is, read the Book of Mormon,” he said.
His wife, Sister Marcia Nielson, added, “there is power wherever you open the Book of Mormon.”
Elder Nielsen said he has found joy through sharing spiritual insights with his wife, Sister Wendy Nielsen.
“Companionship study will always be your friend on your mission,” he said. “Never miss a day to express your feelings about the Book of Mormon with one another.”