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Strive to follow Bible’s precepts, holy message

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The Holy Bible is the bedrock of Christianity, miraculously preserved by Providence, and protected by courageous men, said Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve.

Elder Ballard addressed the Sunday morning session, beginning his words by holding up the Bible.

"It is holy because it teaches truths, holy because it warms us with its spirit, holy because it teaches us to know God and understand His dealings with men, and holy because it testifies throughout its pages of the Lord Jesus Christ," he proclaimed.

He said many brave martyrs and reformers led the way to bring the Bible to the people after it was kept back from them in the Dark Ages. Since then, "Tens of millions of individuals have come to a faith in God and Jesus Christ, seeking truth through the Holy Bible," said Elder Ballard.

Among those who studied the Bible was Joseph Smith Jr., who "searched the Bible, seeking to know which of the many denominations was that of Jesus Christ."

Elder Ballard spoke of Joseph having followed the promptings of the Bible to pray for further spiritual light and knowledge from God in 1820. "Oh, what marvelous light and truth were shed upon him that day as he beheld the glorious manifestation of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ," he said.

"How grateful we should be for the Holy Bible. In it we learn not only of the life and teachings of Christ, we learn of His Church and His priesthood and of the organization which He established and called the Church of Jesus Christ in those former days. We believe in that Church and we believe that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that same Church, restored to earth, complete and with the same organization and the same priesthood."

Without the Bible, "we would not know of His Church then, nor would we have the fulness of the gospel now," said Elder Ballard.

He said that some claim "Mormons are not Christians because they have their own Bible, the Book of Mormon."

"We say that we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, and the Author of our Salvation, and that we believe and revere and love the Holy Bible. We do have additional scriptures, including the Book of Mormon, but it supports the Bible, never substituting for it....

"The scriptures are rich in history, doctrine, stories, sermons and testimonies, all of which are ultimately focused on the eternal Christ and His physical and spiritual mission to Heavenly Father's children."

Elder Ballard encouraged members to read and study the Bible. "You young people, especially, do not discount or devalue the Holy Bible. It is the sacred, holy record of the Lord's life....

"Our great responsibility as Christians is to share all that God has revealed with all of His sons and daughters."

He explained that the Old Testament is the first testament of Christ, the New Testament is the second and the Book of Mormon the third. "Each of these three testaments is a part of the great, indivisible whole of the Lord's revealed will to His children."

Elder Ballard bore solemn witness "that we are true and full believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, and in His revealed word through the Holy Bible."