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President Ezra Taft Benson
(From Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, pp. 28-29)
I am deeply concerned about what we are doing to teach the Saints at all levels the gospel of Jesus Christ as completely and authoritatively as do the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants. By this I mean teaching the "great plan of the Eternal God," to use the words of Amulek (Alma 34:9). Are we using the messages and the method of teaching found in the Book of Mormon and other scriptures of the Restoration to teach this great plan of the Eternal God?
There are many examples of teaching this great plan, but I will quote just one. It is Mormon's summary statement of Aaron's work as a missionary:
And it came to pass that when Aaron saw that the king would believe his words, he began from the creation of Adam, reading the scriptures unto the kinghow God created man after his own image, and that God gave him commandments, and that because of transgression, man had fallen.
And since man had fallen he could not merit anything of himself; but the sufferings and death of Christ atone for their sins, through faith and repentance. (Alma 22:12-14.)
The Book of Mormon Saints knew that the plan of redemption must start with the account of the fall of Adam. In the words of Moroni, "By Adam came the fall of man. And because of the fall of man came Jesus Christ . . . and because of Jesus Christ came the redemption of man." (Mormon 9:12.)
Just as a man does not really desire food until he is hungry, so he does not desire the salvation of Christ until he knows why he needs Christ. No one adequately and properly knows why he needs Christ until he understands and accepts the doctrine of the Fall and its effect upon all mankind. And no other book in the world explains this vital doctrine nearly as well as the Book of Mormon.
We all need to take a careful inventory of our performance and also the performance of those over whom we preside to be sure that we are teaching the "great plan of the Eternal God" to the Saints. Are we accepting and teaching what the revelations tell us about the Creation, Adam and the fall of man, and redemption from that fall through the atonement of Christ? Do we frequently review the crucial questions which Alma asks the members of the Church in the fifth chapter of Alma in the Book of Mormon? Do we understand and are we effective in teaching and preaching the Atonement? What personal meaning does the Lord's suffering in Gethsemane and on Calvary have for each of us? What does redemption from the Fall mean to us? In the words of Alma, do we "sing the song of redeeming love" (Alma 5:26)?
What should be the source for teaching the great plan of the Eternal God? The scriptures, of courseparticularly the Book of Mormon. This should also include the other modern-day revelations. These should be coupled with the words of the Apostles and prophets and the promptings of the Spirit. Alma "commanded them that they should teach nothing save it were the things which he had taught, and which had been spoken by the mouth of the holy prophets" (Mosiah 18:19). The Doctrine and Covenants states: "Let them journey from thence preaching the word by the way, saying none other things than that which the prophets and apostles have written, and that which is taught them by the Comforter through the prayer of faith" (D&C 52:9).
Now, after we teach the great plan of the Eternal God, we must personally bear our testimonies of its truthfulness. Alma, after giving a great message to the Saints about being born again and the need for them to experience a "mighty change" in their hearts, sealed his teachings with his testimony in these words:
And this is not all. Do ye not suppose that I know of these things myself? Behold, I testify unto you that I do know that these things whereof I have spoken are true. And how do ye suppose that I know of their surety?
Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God. Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit; and this is the spirit of revelation which is in me. (Alma 5:45-46.)
(CR April 1987, Ensign 17 [May 1987]: 84-85.)
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