According to the Lord’s divine plan, the righteous are to be gathered together in the last days, and the words given unto them are also to be gathered in—that all might be brought together in unity. Thus the word of the Lord, dispensed as seeds of truth to each nation of the world as the Lord deems appropriate, will sprout and unfold, becoming a tree of everlasting life.
The Book of Mormon is the textbook of conversion. Later in its pages, one of its principal figures and teachers, Alma the Younger, a descendant of Lehi and Nephi, compares faith to a seed and inspires his listeners to undertake a practical strategy in spiritual horticulture: “But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words” (Alma 32:27). He then unfolds his memorable counsel for understanding the principle of how the Lord cultivates within us the power to rise to our divine potential based on faith.
From the earliest days of the Restoration, the Book of Mormon has served as a magnet, drawing truth-seekers into the fold. Take the story of Joseph Smith’s younger brother, Samuel Harrison Smith. As a twenty-two-year-old returned from his mission, he was somewhat discouraged with the results. But look what came of his labors: On Saturday, April 14, 1832, Brigham Young, “the Lion of the Lord” (HC 7:435), was baptized after two years of intensive study and prayer centered on the Book of Mormon, a copy of which his brother Phineas had given him. Phineas had purchased the copy from the Prophet’s younger brother, Samuel Harrison, in April 1830, during the latter’s early missionary labors. Samuel also provided a copy to Reverend John P. Greene, husband of Phineas’ sister, Rhoda. Both were subsequently converted. Brigham Young had given his copy of the Book of Mormon to his sister, Fanny Young Murray, the mother-in-law of Heber C. Kimball, who, along with his family, also became converted because of it. These families were thus brought into the Church through the Book of Mormon. And the Book of Mormon became accessible to them as a result of the devoted missionary labors of the twenty-two-year-old Samuel Harrison Smith. Young Samuel had returned home discouraged from this early mission to upstate New York—unaware at the time that his labors would eventually yield such extraordinary fruit. (See Church History in the Fulness of Times, 74–75).
The sprouting seeds that come from a sincere study of the Book of Mormon lead to the growth and maturation of a tree of faith from which “by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst” (Alma 32:42).
Is it any wonder that the Lord has commanded us to share the Book of Mormon with our friends and colleagues so that they, too, can feast upon the fruit—learn divine truth through spiritual confirmation (see Moroni 10:4)? (Richard J. Allen)