Hello – Religious Mysteries, and Living the Good Life

See all the posts in this series, or go back to “Hello”.

Changing Your Life
“You simply won’t believe how much this book can change your life.”

A number of years ago, a friend of mine was teaching a lesson about gospel mysteries. He began his comments by reading a little scripture in Alma. The scripture quotes Ammon, a Book of Mormon missionary, as he teaches,

“He that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing—unto such it is given to know the mysteries of God (see Alma 26:22).

He told us that his first reaction was to think that these “mysteries of God” referred to the really deep questions – the kind of goofy conjecture that often takes a class or congregation off topic in an otherwise calm Sunday school class or fast and testimony meeting (you know the kind I’m talking about). After thinking about it, though, he realized that these aren’t really the mysteries that Ammon is talking about.

To most people, where they come from – really come from – is a total mystery. To most people, how to make choices that lead to true happiness – not just fleeting satisfaction – is a total mystery.

Living with these kinds of questions is tough. Living with the consequences of bad choices made on imperfect information is tough.

One of my favorite promises from within the Book of Mormon comes not from the original text itself, but from an introduction that was added after the book was translated. We’re told that the Book of Mormon

“puts forth the doctrines of the gospel, outlines the plan of salvation, and tells men what they must do to gain peace in this life and eternal salvation in the life to come” (Introduction; emphasis added).

The gospel of Jesus Christ isn’t about minding your vices so that, in the final balance where your life’s actions are accounted for, the scales are tipped towards “good.” It’s about making your life here – the one you’re living right now – sweeter and more fulfilling.

The Book of Mormon, precisely because it contains the doctrines of the gospel, truly can change your life for the better.

Joseph Smith said that

“a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”

Gordon B. Hinckley said,

“Those who have read (The Book of Mormon) prayerfully, be they rich or poor, learned or unlearned, have grown under its power…. Without reservation I promise you that if you will prayerfully read The Book of Mormon, regardless of how many times you previously have read it, there will come into your hearts… the Spirit of the Lord. There will come a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to his commandments, and there will come a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God.”

Those are quite the assertions.

Now, it’s a big book, and you might find the idea of just jumping straight in to be intimidating. Consider as a starting point these questions:

The Book of Mormon contains answers to many other “questions of the soul.” If you’re interested in a copy of the Book of Mormon, visit mormon.org and request a copy.


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