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Father's teachings still bless his life

Elder H. Bryan Richards of the Seventy recounted the first words of counsel in his patriarchal blessing: "Remember the teachings of your father."

"That counsel has been, and continues to be, a great blessing in my life," he said Sunday afternoon.

He spoke of how, after a Sunday School lesson about the First Vision, he "was wondering if it was really true. My father was leaving for a Church meeting. I stopped him and asked, 'Dad, how do we really know that Joseph Smith had that vision?'

"My father put his arm around me, and we sat on the sofa in our living room. There he shared with me the Prophet Joseph's account and his own testimony of its truthfulness. That experience with my father burns in my heart today," he said.

This quest for a personal testimony "is a journey each of must take," he said. "The Book of Mormon can and does change lives."

He spoke of his son's experience of reading the Book of Mormon two times before entering the Missionary Training Center prior to his mission to Japan.

"As I watched my son read from the Book of Mormon, I began to see a special change in his life. . . . That experience has anchored my son to the gospel of Jesus Christ," he said.

To help others "feel the power and spirit of the Book of Mormon," Elder Richards posed three questions.

Speaking of Helaman and his 2,060 stripling warriors, he said, "If I were to ask you who it was that taught these great warriors, all of you would know the answer — their mothers. My first invitation to you is to find out what their mothers taught them."

His second challenge was to discover specifically what Alma meant in his teachings of the word or seed "and plant it in your heart. You will have to go to Alma 33," he said. "When you do, your faith will take on a whole new dimension."

Third, concerning three great truths to teach children, he said, "My third invitation to you is to find out what Helaman asked his sons to remember and then teach those things to your children. I'll help you," he continued. "Read and ponder Helaman chapter 5."

Satan desperately fights the Book of Mormon, he continued, because of three divine truths: that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, that Joseph Smith is His prophet, and that the Church is the Lord's kingdom on the earth.

"(Satan) does not want us to come to that sacred knowledge," Elder Richards said.