How to Make the Scriptures User-friendly
If you are anything like me, you woke up this morning with a set of things you are worrying about. Your mind may be taken up with concerns about money, relationships, work, health or any number of other problems. You may chat about these issues on the phone with your friends, or even pray about them, but you may have trouble finding a correlation between these timely issues and the scriptures. We know that the answers to our daily dilemmas can be found in the scriptures, but sometimes it is hard to see the connection between the Nephite-Lamanite wars and our current challenges!
That’s what the User-friendly Book of Mormon is all about. With a little creative thinking, we can form links between our modern problems and the ancient stories in the Book of Mormon. For example, let’s take a look at the story of Nephi going back to get the brass plates. It is more than a story of obedience and courage; it can also be read as a parable for our day.
Finding Ourselves in the Stories
If we approach each story in the Book of Mormon with a goal to find ourselves there, we can apply its teachings to our challenges, relationships, church callings, and other areas of weakness. Just to give you an idea of how it works, here are a few of the chapter titles from the User-friendly Book of Mormon:
The Parable of Nephi and Netflix
Family Feud: What to Do When the Kids Want to Kill Each other
Isaiah Goes to Girls’ Camp
The Things of My Soul: Mormon and Scrapbooking
Sixteen Stones: The Brother of Jared’s Guide to Dating
To Me He Doth Not Stink: Marital Love in the Scriptures
You can tell from these titles that we will be looking for practical solutions to everyday problems in these great stories, and we will find them there! In addition, I think it is acceptable to smile a bit while we consider these topics. It’s hard to make changes in our lives, and it’s sometimes hard to face the truth about ourselves. We can do so with a modicum of humor, we may be able to summon the courage to do what needs to be done.
Finding Jesus in the Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon is a Christ-centered book. That is one of the reasons we love it so much; there is hardly a page that doesn’t bear witness of the saving mission of Jesus Christ. As we look for Jesus in the Book of Mormon, our Christian consciousness will deepen.
It is in the Book of Mormon, I believe, where we truly come to understand what it means to be born again. The rebirth of the spirit is portrayed several times, and each time it is accompanied by covenant making. These covenant Christians set an example for us, as they translate an emotional, fervent conversion to Christ into a life of obedience and sacrifice. Covenants are the key, and the Book of Mormon teaches us how to go about becoming bound to the Savior through our covenants.
You Don’t Have to be a Scholar to Get It
The Book of Mormon isn’t an easy read, but it is readily understandable to the open and seeking heart. As we liken the scriptures to ourselves, and seek to learn more about the Savior through the stories it tells, our understanding will deepen. Even if you get confused about the different colonies and groups, or the various sets of plates, you can be perfectly clear on the most important message of the Book of Mormon. It is a testament of Jesus Christ and his love for mankind, as manifest in his life and mission, and atoning sacrifice.
The Book of Mormon claims a miraculous origin, and surely it is hard to imagine that anyone, let alone an unlearned farm boy from Vermont, could have created such a complex and compelling narrative in just under three months of work. But regardless of your feelings about its origins, the Book of Mormon has much to offer by way of wisdom and insight about our relationship with both God and our fellow men. It really is a treasure trove, and all we need in order to access it is to pay attention and place ourselves squarely in the action.
When we do so, we find that the Book of Mormon is truly user-friendly!