With all the mountains of information being fed to the world today, how comforting it is to know that the Lord has preserved His dealings with His children as contained in His holy scriptures, Elder L. Tom Perry told a worldwide congregation of college-age young adults.
"My encouragement to you tonight is to study the doctrines of the Lord's Church," said Elder Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve, speaking at a Church Educational System fireside Sunday, March 4. "Here is our foundation of truth. It will stand the test of time. It is the doctrine and His revealed covenants we must take upon ourselves which will lead us back to His presence. It is the only course which will lead to life eternal."
Elder Perry urged more than 20,000 young adults gathered in the BYU Marriott Center to search the scriptures, especially the Doctrine and Covenants or "capstone of our religion." An estimated 135,000 more heard the address live, via satellite, throughout North, Central and South America. The fireside, translated into 22 languages, was broadcast on a delayed basis throughout Europe and will also be made available on videotape to institute students around the world.
During his address Elder Perry said that from the signs of the times — such as the invention of the steamboat, steam locomotive, telegraph, telephone, electric light, automobile and airplane — it is evident that the Lord is directing the destiny of His children on earth.
"To me, the most significant evidence of the Lord's concern for His children is the way He has provided channels to direct us in His path," Elder Perry said, speaking of the scriptures. "I marvel at how these wondrous stories of God's dealing with His children here on earth were preserved through the ages."
Elder Perry noted that there is a record of God's communication with His children. "From the time of the creation we have the beautiful scriptures that lay a pattern to guide us through mortality," he said. "We learn our beginnings through the story of Adam and Eve."
From the Old Testament, he continued, you learn of Father Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Ruth and Esther. The New Testament, he added, is a record of the Savior Jesus Christ.
"Here we may come to know the events of His life, His lineage and His miraculous though humble birth. . . . We learn of His teachings — His example, His love, His knowledge, His power, His judgment, His kindness, His mercy, His patience. Moreover, we learn of His suffering at Gethsemane, His agony on the cross, His death and resurrection."
Elder Perry said he marvels that the Lords' dealings with His prophets have been preserved through all ages of time in the scriptures. However, he added, the words of the Old and New Testaments were not recorded on materials of permanent quality. "To preserve them from generation to generation, they had to be copied over and over in order to keep them from the destructive forces of nature."
Because of various translations, the Lord saw fit at the time of the Restoration to bring forth a new witness of His mission. "The Prophet Joseph Smith told us the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth and is the keystone of our religion and a man would get nearer to God by abiding its precepts than any other book."
From reading the Book of Mormon it is clear, Elder Perry added, that Joseph Smith could not be the author of the Book of Mormon. The Doctrine and Covenants gives us evidence of the translation power of the Prophet Joseph Smith as contained in the 20th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants.
"The Lord continues to inspire His holy prophets to make a record of His dealings with them," he said. "In our time we have another scripture. Not one of ancient origin as are the Bible and the Book of Mormon, but one that has come forth in our time, contained in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants."
The entire book of scripture, he said, stands as a warning that God will not be mocked. Those who heed His warning will find protection and peace but those who refuse it will reap bitter fruit.
"The Doctrine and Covenants is not a book just for the Latter-day Saints. It is more than that. It belongs to the world — to the Catholic, the Protestant, the Methodist, to the infidel, to the non-believer," Elder Perry said, quoting Joseph Fielding Smith. "It is his book if he will accept it. The Lord has given it unto the world for their salvation."
Elder Perry said Joseph Fielding Smith went on to say that in his judgement there is no book on earth yet to come to man as important as the Doctrine and Covenants which "contains the word of God to those who dwell here now. It is our book. It belongs to the Latter-day Saints."
The Lord has carefully planned for the guidance of His children through mortality. "The population growth indicates He is sending many more of His spiritual children to earth to have a mortal experience," he said. "Technology makes travel and communication accessible to all corners of the earth and, most important, He is protecting and preserving His holy scriptures for our guidance."
The full text of Elder Perry's address is available on the Church News web site: www.ldschurchnews.com.