A few nights ago for scripture study we talked about Moroni and how far and long he wandered to stay away from the Lamanites and protect the plates. I hadn’t realized that it was probably thousands of miles. My husband ended by saying and we have the scriptures right by our beds, we need to read them.
Then on Sunday morning I watched this video of the great sacrifices that Joseph Smith and other early saints went through to translate and make available the Book of Mormon. I love Elder Hollands words about how they would not have done what they did if this book wasn't true. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and I am grateful for the sacrfices made so that I can have access to its words.
Then I thought of others like Nephi who also risked their lives to obtain the word of God and I felt blessed and grateful to all of these wonderful men for their faith and their diligence in bringing the word of God to me. I think I often take for granted all that has gone on before so that I can have access to the scriptures right in my own home, right next to my own bed, always at my fingertips whenever I chose to pick them up. I need to be more faithful and diligent in my personal scripture journey because if I don’t I will be risking my own spiritual life and there is no reason why I or any of us should do this when our scriptures lie right by our beds (or on our bookshelves).
And when I shared all of these thoughts with my husband he reminded me of these great words from Elder Christofferson:
On October 6, in the year 1536, a pitiful figure was led from a dungeon in Vilvorde Castle near Brussels, Belgium. For nearly a year and a half, the man had suffered isolation in a dark, damp cell. Now outside the castle wall, the prisoner was fastened to a post. He had time to utter aloud his final prayer, “Lord! open the king of England’s eyes,” and then he was strangled. Immediately, his body was burned at the stake. Who was this man, and what was the offense for which both political and ecclesiastical authorities had condemned him? His name was William Tyndale, and his crime was to have translated and published the Bible in English.
William Tyndale was not the first, nor the last, of those who in many countries and languages have sacrificed, even to the point of death, to bring the word of God out of obscurity. We owe them all a great debt of gratitude. We owe perhaps an even greater debt to those who faithfully recorded and preserved the word through the ages, often with painstaking labor and sacrifice—Moses, Isaiah, Abraham, John, Paul, Nephi, Mormon, Joseph Smith, and many others. What did they know about the importance of scriptures that we also need to know?
In Tyndale’s day, scriptural ignorance abounded because people lacked access to the Bible, especially in a language they could understand. Today the Bible and other scripture are readily at hand, yet there is a growing scriptural illiteracy because people will not open the books. Consequently they have forgotten things their grandparents knew.
I suppose that never in history has a people been blessed with such a quantity of holy writ. And not only that, but every man, woman, and child may possess and study his or her own personal copy of these sacred texts, most in his or her own language. How incredible such a thing would have seemed to the people of William Tyndale’s day and to the Saints of earlier dispensations! Surely with this blessing the Lord is telling us that our need for constant recourse to the scriptures is greater than in any previous time. May we feast continuously on the words of Christ that will tell us all things we should do (see 2 Nephi 32:3).