President Benson has boldly declared, “It is not just that the Book of Mormon teaches us truth, though it indeed does that. It is not just that the Book of Mormon bears testimony of Christ, though it indeed does that, too. But there is something more. But there is something more. There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book. That is a bold statement! He says there is “power in the book.” What sort of power? How is that power manifest?
Since “power” is intangible, we can only define power as we see the results of power or its effect on something. When we speak of the power of the wind it is because we see the effects of wind. Similarly the power of water is defined when we see its effects. In the natural world we could substitute the word “energy” for power.
The most powerful forces in the universe are unseen. The energy contained in gravity, electricity, radio waves, magnetism, heat, light and the sun affect each of us every day. We are literally surrounded by unseen energy and vibration. The tremendous energy in our weather patterns are created because of the energy radiated by the sun, energy so powerful that it reaches us, though it travels millions of miles through space. Radio waves bounce about us continually. Vast amounts of information are transmitted instantly all over the globe via unseen energy.
All of this power has one source, the light of Christ. In a scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants, another scriptural book of the LDS church, the light of Christ is explained as the “light which proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space.” It is the “light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne.” (D&C 88:13) :Indeed, God is not only all powerful, but the source of all power. After his resurrection Jesus says, “all power is given unto me in heaven and earth.” (Matthew 28:18)
Man has gained great knowledge about the powers of the universe, but sometimes we think it is solely our own efforts. We marvel at the exponential explosion of knowledge in the last 200 years and mistaken think it’s completely the product of man’s ingenuity, but it is God who has graciously allowed man to access this knowledge through the Light of Christ. Without the Light of Christ, men’s minds are darkened. There would be no forthcoming knowledge. Hannah in 1 Samuel 2:3 praises God and says, “Talk no more exceedingly proud; let not arrogancy come out of thy mouth; for he Lord is a God of knowledge.” Many scientists have humbly acknowledged that God led them in their discoveries. Isaac Newton considered God to be essential to nature and the absoluteness of space. He said, “The most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.” http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/sciencefaith.html
THE WORDS OF CHRIST CONTAIN GREAT POWER AND ENERGY
The words of Jesus Christ contain power. John tells us that “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the word was God. . . all things were made by him; and without was anything made that was made.” (John 1:3)) In Genesis God spoke and said, ”Let there be light and there was light.”(Genesis 1:3) Jacob, Nephi’s younger brother describes the power of the words of Christ during the creation of the earth. “For behold, by the power of his word man came upon the face of the earth, which earth was created by the power of his word. Wherefore, if God being able to speak and the world was, and to speak and man was created, O then, why not able to command the earth, or the workmanship of his hands upon the face of it, according to his will and pleasure?” (Jacob 4:9) When Jesus was aboard the ship with his disciples and a great storm arose with a tremendous wind, all Jesus had to do was speak and the wind stopped. It was by the power of his word. Paul teaches that Jesus “upholdeth all things by the word of his power.” (Hebrews 1:3)
OUR THOUGHTS ARE AN ENERGY FIELD
There is great energy all around us. Our thoughts have an energy field. Each of us projects energy into the universe. David O. McKay, the 9th President of the church, said the following:
“Every person who lives in this world wields an influence, whether for good or for evil. It is not what he says alone, it is not alone what he does. It is what he is. Every man, every person radiates what he or she is. Every person is a recipient of radiation. The Savior was conscious of that. Whenever he came into the presence of an individual, he sensed that radiation—whether it was the woman of Samaria with her past life; whether it was the woman who was to be stoned or the men who were to stone her; whether it was the statesman, Nicodemus, or one of the lepers. He was conscious of the radiation from the individual. And to a degree so are you, and so am I. It is what we are and what we radiate that affects the people around us.
… As individuals, we must think nobler thoughts. We must not encourage vile thoughts or low aspirations. We shall radiate them if we do. If we think noble thoughts, if we encourage and cherish noble aspirations, there will be that radiation when we meet people, especially when we associate with them.
The effect of our words and acts is tremendous in this world. Every moment of life you are changing to a degree the lives of the whole world. … So, it’s not the surroundings, it isn’t the positions; the thing that will influence [others] in this world, are personalities. No matter what you are people will feel and recognize this. You radiate, you can’t hide it. You may pretend something else, but that will not affect people.”8
President Brigham Young also talks about that “invisible influence which attends visible beings.”
“I rejoice in the privilege of meeting with the Saints, in hearing them speak, and enjoying the influence that is within and around them. That influence opens to my understanding the true position of those who are endeavoring to serve their God. I do not require to hear them speak to enable me to know their feelings. Is it not also your experience that, when you meet persons in the street, in your houses, in your offices, or in the workshops, more or less of an influence attends them which conveys more than words can?. . . That knowledge is obtained through that influence which attends intelligent beings, and betrays the atmosphere in which they delight of live.” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 3:225)
NATURE RADIATES POWER AND ENERGY
Why do we love to be in a beautiful natural setting? What is it about the green of the grass, the beauty of flowers, the majesty of mountains, or the rhythm of the ocean waves that seem to soothe us? The earth emits life-giving energy. Moses tells us that plants became “living souls.” “And out of the ground made I, the Lord God, to grow every tree, naturally, that is pleasant to the sight of man; and man could behold it. And it became also a living soul.” (Moses 3:9) A few years ago I visited Switzerland, the home of my ancestors. I was overwhelmed with the beauty surrounding me. It was ineffable. The only thing I thought to do was write a poem. I would like to share it with you. I don’t consider myself a poet, but these words just came to me as a gift.
I am surrounded by breathtaking beauty.
Encompassed by life-giving energy.
Lush shades of green envelop me,
Whispering to me that God is near.
What a feast my eyes behold!
How can such beauty be described?
My eyes see, but the grandeur enters my soul.
I become one with everything I see.
Mountain brooks sing over moss-covered rocks,
Wildflowers splash the mountainside with color
Splendid trees tower about me,
A carpet of green spreads beneath them.
Life giving water flows from mountain snows,
Moisture nourishes the earth through foggy mists,
Clouds drift in and out and everywhere,
Mysteriously revealing shadowy mountain peaks.
Ancient cabins dot the hillside,
Their wood weathered with stories,
Oh, if I could only read their secrets!
I wonder who lived and loved and died there.
Lush mountain meadows drape the hillside,
Cream colored cows graze peacefully,
Bells round their necks gently sway,
Their symphony of tones creating a magnificent bell choir.
These are my roots,
This is my ancestral home.
I was born here centuries ago.
Though I say good-by for now,
My heart will always be in my mountain home.
ALL OBJECTS RADIATE ENERGY
Not only do we as people and all of nature radiate energy, inanimate objects do as well. Jacque Lusseyran, a hero of the French Resistance in World War II, lost his eyesight when he was seven years old. He describes learning to discern the unseen energy and light around him.
“I was aware of a radiance emanating from a place I knew nothing about, a place which might as well have been outside me as within. But, radiance was there, or, to put it more precisely, light. It was a fact, for light was there. . . [It was] a light so continuous and so intense [and] was so far beyond my comprehension that sometimes I doubted it. . . How could I have lived all that time without realizing that everything in the world has a voice and speaks? Not just things that are supposed to speak, but the others, like the gate, the walls of the house, the shade of the trees, the sand and the silence.” 10
THE MAGNITIC PULL OF THE BOOK OF MORMON
All of the above are different manifestations of the power of the Light of Christ which surrounds us. This power is stronger than sight or any of the five senses. The Light is Christ is like a magnet which draws us to everything good. In like manner there is actual power in the Book of Mormon. Though inanimate, it radiates light and energy. It contains the words of Christ which have a drawing power that will bring us to Christ if we will allow it to. Perhaps this pull is not unlike the power of a magnetic field.
The vibrational energy of the words, thoughts, faith and prayers of the writers of the Book of Mormon were directed towards its future readers. Their prayers transcended time and space. Enos, another writer in the Book of Mormon, prayed with great faith that the record which he was writing would be preserved for future generations, that it might bring them to Christ.
“Wherefore, I knowing that the Lord God was able to preserve our records, I cried unto him continually, for he had said unto me: Whatsoever thing ye shall ask in faith, believing that ye shall receive in the name of Christ, ye shall receive it. . . And I had faith, and I did cry unto God that he would preserve the records; and he covenanted with me that he would bring them forth . . . in his own due time.” (Enos 1:16)
Enos’ fervent prayer was for future generations. The Lord answered his prayer with a promise that he would do as Enos desired. Nephi also wrote with great love for his future readers. He said, “But I, Nephi, have written what I have written, and I esteem it as of great worth, and especially unto my people. For I pray continually for them by day, and mine eyes water my pillow by night, because of them; and I cry unto my God in faith, and I know that he will hear my cry. And I know that the Lord God will consecrate my prayers for the gain of my people. And the words which I have written in weakness will be made strong unto them; for it apersuadeth them to do good; it maketh known unto them of their fathers; and it speaketh of Jesus, and persuadeth them to believe in him, and to endure to the end, which is life beternal. (2 Nephi 33:3-4)
I have felt the power of Nephi’s prayer in my life. His prayer has been answered in my life because the Book of Mormon has “persuaded me to do good and to believe in Jesus.”
In Isaiah 29 there is a rather obscure prophesy about a voice speaking from the dust. “And thou shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust.” (Isaiah 29:2) He then speaks of a sealed book that is delivered to a man who is “not learned”, and that the Lord will do proceed to do a “marvelous work and a wonder.”
Is not the Book of Mormon as a “voice which whispers out of the dust?” It has a familiar spirit to those who have ears to hear. Speaking of our day Nephi makes a similar prophecy as Isaiah, “yet the words of the righteous shall be written, and the prayers of the faithful shall be heard, and all those who have dwindled in unbelief shall not be forgotten. . . . For those who shall be destroyed shall speak unto them out of the ground, and their speech shall be low out of the dust, and their voice shall be as one that hath a familiar spirit; for the Lord God will give unto him power, that he may whisper concerning them, even as it were out of the ground; and their speech shall whisper out of the dust.” (2 Nephi 26:15-16) Could it be that we are actually feeling the vibrational energy of the power of their testimony? The scripture says that God will give their words power that those words will touch our hearts. Could this be the actual power that President Benson is talking about? I believe it could be so. Why would the words of the Book of Mormon seem familiar to us when we hear them for the very first time? Perhaps the power of the words of the Book of Mormon even extend from the spiritual realm of our pre-existence. The truths taught in the Book of Mormon were taught to us before we were even born. When we hear them again it is as if we are remembering something we were taught long ago. The Doctrine and Covenants teaches us that “we received our first lessons in the world of spirits.” (D&C 138:56) Our first tutorial of the Book of Mormon was before we were even born.
When President Benson says that there is a power which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the Book of Mormon, he is speaking a REAL POWER. He goes on the say, “You will find greater power to resist temptation. You will find the power to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path. The scriptures are called “the words of life” (D&C 84:85), and nowhere is that more true than it is of the Book of Mormon. When you begin to hunger and thirst after those words, you will find life in greater and greater abundance.”
President Benson then quotes from Elder Marion G. Romney. “Our beloved brother, President Marion G. Romney, who celebrated his eighty-ninth birthday last month and who knows of himself of the power that resides in this book, testified of the blessings that can come into the lives of those who will read and study the Book of Mormon. He said: “I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity—the pure love of Christ—will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness” (Ensign, May 1980, p. 67).
These promises—increased love and harmony in the home, greater respect between parent and child, increased spirituality and righteousness—are not idle promises, but exactly what the Prophet Joseph Smith meant when he said the Book of Mormon will help us draw nearer to God.”10