Sister Duenas' Talk given in Sacrament Meeting on Sunday, May 18, 2014
<sorry for the lateness in the blog, but we didn't receive a copy of her talk until the first week in June>
So, for future reference, when you ask a missionary what their favorite scripture is and tell them to give a talk on it, just know that we have MANY favorites. Asking us to choose just one is like asking a parent to choose their favorite child.
Since I couldn't choose from my many scripture children...I chose all of them :)
The entire Book of Mormon (and likewise with the Bible, Doctrine & Covenants and Pearl of Great Price) is wonderful to me. It contains the answers to many of life's questions. Every page is full of inspiration, revelation and testimony that Jesus is the Christ. Since we can't exactly read the Book of Mormon in under 10 minutes, for the sake of time I'll just mention a few of these wonderful pearls found in the Book of Mormon.
Question #1 - Is there a God?
There are many verses and chapters testifying of this, but my favorites that I feel really get the question answered are these: Alma 30: 43-45 and Alma 22: 7-11. They are very similar situations asking the same question but with very different outcomes.
The first situation (Alma 30: 43-45) is an example of what not to do or not the proper way to seek an answer to the question of if there is a God.
43 And now Korihor said unto Alma: If thou wilt show me a sign, that I may be convinced that there is a God, yea, show unto me that he hath power, and then I will be convinced of the truth of thy words.
44 But Alma said unto him: Thou hast had signs enough: will ye tempt your God? Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have had the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets? The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.
45 And yet do ye go about, leading away the hearts of this people, testifying unto them there is no God? And yet will ye deny against all these witnesses? And he said: Yea, I will deny, except ye shall show me a sign.
The second situation is an example of how to properly seek an answer to the question. In Alma 22: 7-11, Aaron is teaching Lamoni's father about God.
7 And Aaron answered him and said unto him: Believest thou that there is a God? And the king said: I know that the Amalekites say that there is a God, and I have granted unto them that they should build sanctuaries, that they may assemble themselves together to worship him. And if now thou sayest there is a God, behold I will believe.
8 And now when Aaron heard this, his heart began to rejoice, and he said: Behold, assuredly as thou livest, O king, there is a God.
9 And the king said: Is God that Great Spirit that brought our fathers out of the land of Jerusalem?
10 And Aaron said unto him: Yea, he is that great Spirit, and he created all things both in heaven and in earth. Believest thou this?
11 And he said: Yea, I believe that the great Spirit created all things, and I desire that ye should tell me concerning all these things, and I will believe thy words.
Don't be like Korihor (in the first situation). Be like Lamoni's father (in the second situation), and then once you have that testimony be like Aaron testifying, teaching and using the scriptures to help others gain a testimony.
Question #2 - How can a belief in Christ help me?
Alma's conversion in Chapter 36 of the Book of Mormon is a great example. Alma was in outright rebellion against God, leading away many of His children, leading them into a life of misery and destruction disguised as "freedom" and living the life of riches. Alma did this until he was struck down and faced all of his sins.
In Alma 36: 12- 15, we read:
12 But I was racked with eternal torment, for my soul was harrowed up to the greatest degree and racked with all my sins.
13 Yea, I did remember all my sins and iniquities, for which I was tormented with the pains of hell; yea, I saw that I had rebelled against my God, and that I had not kept his holy commandments.
14 Yea, and I had murdered so many of his children, or rather led them away unto destruction; yea, and in fine so great had been my iniquities, that the very thought of coming into the presence of my God did rack my soul with inexpressible horror.
15 Oh, thought I, that I could be banished and become extinct both soul and body, that I might not be brought to stand in the presence of my God, to be judged of my deeds.
Alma wanted not just to die, but to be "banished" (and) "extinct" so he wouldn't have to face God being as filthy as he was.
BUT, as many of us know, there is always hope, even in the depths of torment and misery. We see this in Alma 36: 17-20.
17 And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world.
18 Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death.
19 And now, behold when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more.
20 And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!
Alma's pain was replaced with joy.
Jesus Christ has the power to heal each and every one of us. All we must do is remember Him, act on even the tiniest seed of faith to call on Him and he will be there. Always.
I leave my testimony with you that I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God and the words of God "are written for our learning. That we through patience and comfort in the scriptures might have hope." (Romans 15:4)
I challenge you all to read the Book of Mormon and gain a firm testimony that you can share with your friends and loved ones.
I say these things in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.