What if Moroni had met his demise before he could hide the sacred gold plates in the Hill Cumorah? And what if William Tyndale’s translations of the Holy Bible had been destroyed by King Henry VIII?
Throughout ancient and modern history, prophets and disciples have made tremendous sacrifices, even with their own lives, to preserve the scriptures we have today. Without these individuals, our access to holy writ would be much more limited. In honor of these sacrifices, the Church has produced a 30-minute program that will air over general conference weekend April 5 on KSL-TV, Channel 5, in Salt Lake City at 1:30 p.m. and nationally on April 6 on BYUtv cable at noon MDT. KSL.com and BYUtv.com will also have live streams available.
The program is narrated by Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and was inspired by his April 2010 general conference talk, “The Blessing of Scripture.” The video focuses on the sacrifices made throughout history to preserve the word of God.
In the video he says, “The scriptures remind us of what we knew in our premortal life. And they expand our memory in another sense by teaching us about people and events that we did not experience personally. These scriptures take us to significant events we did not experience in person. They are a touchstone of measuring correctness and truth, for teaching us selflessness and charity, strengthening our faith and lighting our path.”
Some of the events covered in the video include the stories of William Tyndale, Book of Mormon prophets, Mary and Caroline Rollins (girls who recovered unbound pages of the Book of Commandments that had been scattered by a mob) and a new video depiction of Christ’s visit to the Americas as recorded in 3 Nephi chapter 11. The new scenes were shot at various locations and the program features members from around the world.
Elder Christoffel Golden of the Seventy and a member of the Church Scripture Committee said, “Modern and rapidly evolving technology has enhanced the power and immediacy of holy writ, allowing users within a click or two to find the desired portion of scripture they seek. Digital enrichment has also enabled us to better comprehend the circumstances, history and geography of the people and events in which a particular scriptural text was written. This added knowledge can sharpen our capacity to comprehend the context and message of a particular verse, chapter or section. Yet, beyond all of this, and this should ever be remembered, the scriptures can be meaningful only when they are understood by and through the power of the Holy Ghost and when we act upon what we have learned.”
Elder Stanley G. Ellis of the Seventy and also a member of the Church Scripture Committee said, “I have always loved the scriptures. This video reminds me of all the Lord has done through courageous disciples to allow us to have them. It has given me a deeper appreciation for the Word of God. It touched my heart.”
“Those who don’t have the recorded word of God eventually cease to believe in Him and forget the purpose of their existence,” said Elder Christofferson. “The outcome is the same for those who have the sacred writings and never open them. You will remember how important it was for Lehi’s people to take the brass plates with them when they left Jerusalem.” In one scene from the video a present-day girl is shown reading her scriptures. As she closes her eyes, she is transported back in time to a scene that depicts Moroni being pursued by Lamanite warriors.
“God uses scripture to unmask erroneous thinking, false traditions, and sin with its devastating effects,” said Elder Christofferson. “Our Father in Heaven is a tender parent who would spare us needless suffering and grief and at the same time help us realize our divine potential.
“The scriptures are the touchstone for measuring correctness and truth, and they are clear that real happiness lies not in denying the justice of God or trying to circumvent the consequences of sin but in repentance and forgiveness through the atoning grace of the Son of God.
“Scripture tutors us in principles and moral values essential to maintaining civil society, including integrity, responsibility, selflessness, fidelity and charity. In scripture, we find vivid portrayals of the blessings that come from honoring true principles, as well as the tragedies that befall when individuals and civilizations discard them.”
Elder Christofferson noted that because of the incredible sacrifices in the past, followers of Christ today have access to a robust library of scripture. At no other time in the history of humanity have the children of God been blessed with such amazing resources. The Book of Mormon has been translated into more than 100 languages and the entire Bible has been translated into more than 500 languages.
Add technology to the accessibility of God’s word and its impact is infinitely greater.
“Study the scriptures carefully, deliberately. Ponder and pray over them. Scriptures are revelation, and they will bring added revelation,” said Elder Christofferson. “Consider the magnitude of our blessing to have the Holy Bible and some 900 additional pages of scripture, including the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. 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.
“In the end, the central purpose of all scripture is to fill our souls with faith in God the Father and in His Son, Jesus Christ — faith that they exist; faith in the Father’s plan for our immortality and eternal life; faith in the Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Historical and scriptural accounts illustrating the faith of others serve to strengthen our own faith.”