In a General Conference address given by Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, he spoke about modern instruments that have allowed scientists to discover how much larger the universe is than they previously thought. Speaking of the size of the universe and the innumerable galaxies within he said: 

“...before mankind had instruments powerful enough to gather celestial light and bring these galaxies into visibility, we did not believe such a thing was possible. The immensity of the universe didn’t suddenly change, but our ability to see and understand this truth changed dramatically.

The Apostle Paul taught a parallel principle regarding spiritual knowledge. “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, “he wrote to the Corinthians, “for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

In other words, if you want to recognize spiritual truth, you have to use the right instruments.”

One of the most important instruments that God has given us in our day for receiving further light and truth is the Book of Mormon.

President Benson taught: “How important is the Book of Mormon? Joseph Smith called it “the keystone of our religion….A keystone is the central stone in an arch. It holds all the other stones in place, and if removed, the arch crumbles. Just as the arch crumbles if the keystone is removed, so does all the Church stand or fall with the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. The enemies of the Church understand this clearly. This is why they go to such great lengths to try to disprove the Book of Mormon, for if it can be discredited, the Prophet Joseph Smith goes with it. So does our claim to priesthood keys, and revelation, and the restored Church. But in like manner, if the Book of Mormon be true - and millions have now testified that they have the witness of the Spirit that it is indeed true - then one must accept the claims of the Restoration and all that accompanies it.”

President Benson goes on to say, “We…should know the Book of Mormon better than any other book. Not only should we know what history and faith-promoting stories it contains, but we should understand its teachings…..I have noted within the Church a difference in discernment insight, conviction, and spirit between those who know and love the Book of Mormon and those who do not. That book is a great sifter....It is not just that the Book of Mormon teaches us truth, though it indeed does that. It is not just that the Book of Mormon bears testimony of Christ, though it indeed does that, too. But there is something more. There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book.”

President D. Todd Christofferson has taught, “Indeed, studying the Book of Mormon invites the Spirit, and the Spirit is the medium of revelation. This suggests that we study in a thoughtful, meditative fashion - pondering, praying, and perhaps making notes as we read. This puts us in a condition to receive added light and understanding, both about what we are studying and about other matters.”

I’m going to share a personal experience I’ve had with my ability to perceive additional light and truth because of reading the Book of Mormon, and while I do that I want you to be thinking about a time when serious study of the Book of Mormon has illuminated your life in some way.

Shortly after we moved to Texas, after we got settled in and 3 of my 4 kids were away at school each day, I decided to begin a serious study of scripture. It had been a while. I had been following the commandments, reading bits and pieces of scripture along the way and felt perfectly comfortable and happy with the amount of light I had in my life. I don’t remember the moment that I decided to devote more time to scripture and conference talks but I'm grateful I did. I started out reading the Pearl of Great Price. And then moved on to the Book of Mormon. I also began to listen to scripture on the computer as I cleaned house, pausing to write down ideas or insights that came to me. Additionally I would often listen to scriptures as I drove around running errands. 

As I made it a priority to listen or read every single day, not to just to check off that I had done it, but with the desire to truly learn, something within me began to change. As I came to a deeper understanding and love of Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon, my desire to share that love with my family increased. Inspiration for myself and my family increased. My very nature began to change. Instead of being relieved to see my children walk out the door to school each day after a hectic morning, as I almost always had felt, I began to miss them and to look forward to their return and moments we could spend together learning and talking. Hectic mornings became less hectic as my focus turned outward and my patience grew.

At some point the most unexpected thought of bringing my children them home to instruct them began to seem not only inspired of the spirit, but actually possible. I had never felt like I was very good at nurturing and I certainly never thought I had patience be around them 24/7. But as I continued to read and ponder both the Book of Mormon and General Conference talks I knew that homeschooling them was what God wanted me to do. I talked to my husband about how I felt and asked him to pray and ponder it as well. He came to the same conclusion. 

This past year of homeschooling them has been the most amazing experience I have ever had. We have grown closer as a family, they have strengthened relationships with each other, we have strengthened our gospel foundations and have had opportunity to share gospel light with others. This doesn’t mean everything has been blissful and easy, but the experiences we've had have all contributed to our mental and spiritual growth. 

And it all stemmed from a decision to seriously study the Book of Mormon. 

There was further light and a particular path that God wanted for our family, that might never have been realized had I not begun that study. Does this mean that the path God currently has my family on is the path for everyone or that our path will never change? No. But that is the beauty of personal revelation. If we are seeking to listen to and follow the whisperings of God, we will have faith and courage wherever he leads us, however often he changes our direction. 

Could you be so much happier and at peace in your life than you are now, even if things already seem great? If you want to know, study the Book of Mormon.

Going back to the words of President Benson, “Now the spirit, as well as the body, is in need of constant nourishment. Yesterday’s meal is not enough to sustain today’s needs. So also an infrequent reading of “the most correct of any book on earth,” as Joseph Smith called it, is not enough. Not all truths are of equal value, nor are all scriptures of the same worth. What better way to nourish the spirit than to frequently feast from the book which the Prophet Joseph Smith said would get a man “nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book?... We have an increasing number who have been convinced, through the Book of Mormon, that Jesus is the Christ. Now we need an increasing number who will use the Book of Mormon to become committed to Christ. We need to be convinced and committed….My beloved brethren and sisters...let us continually reread the Book of Mormon so that we might more fully come to Christ, be committed to Him, centered in Him, and consumed in Him”

Richard G. Scott has said, “We talk to God through prayer. He most often communicates back to us through His written word. Don’t yield to Satan’s lie that you don’t have time to study the scriptures. Choose to take time to study them. Feasting on the word of God each day is more important that sleep, school, work, television shows, video games, or social media.

President Uchtdorf said: “The Savior has told us in our day. “That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day. The more we incline our hearts and minds toward God, the more heavenly light distills upon our souls. And each time we willingly and earnestly seek that light, we indicate to God our readiness to receive more light. Gradually, things that before seemed hazy, dark, and remote become clear, bright and familiar to us.”

The Book of Mormon has a power that I have felt while reading it. I know it is a true book. It testifies of Christ and contains a fullness of his gospel. It brings peace and understanding and joy to my life. I know it will do the same for you. Will you take the time to really read it?

Suggestions for Additional Study

The Things of My Soul - Boyd K. Packer

Safety for the Soul - Jeffrey R. Holland

The Battle in our Brains - Catherine A. at Segullah

I remember when I was in school often thinking things like, "Why do I need to know this?" or "When am I ever going to use this?" and being really annoyed at things I was made to learn that seemed to have no practical application whatsoever. I enjoyed most everything I learned, including science (the no math parts of it) but I hated math with a passion. Up until this last year even, I felt like I was literally incapable of learning mathematics above a 6th grade level. I knew that my kids could learn math using some fantastic online resources and from their dad, so I wasn't concerned about that as far as homeschooling went, but as we've gone through the year I've realized that if they can succeed at mathematics, maybe I can too? It still does not come easily for me but I'm trying. I signed myself up for Khan Academy and am very slowly starting to grasp basic concepts that I never fully understood.

I've tried hard not to pass on my hatred of math to my kids and I've hoped to encourage better attitudes in them towards the subject by showing them how often math is used every day and that it is used in creating so many things that they love to do (toys, video games, movies, etc.).

The same goes with science. I want them to understand the science behind some of the things we do to help make science more relatable. Since I think basic life skills are very important as well I've been trying to teach them the math and science involved in those things, whether it be building a box, proper hygiene habits or baking a loaf of bread. I don't just want to show them how to make bread or tell them only that we knead bread. I want them to know why we knead bread. So today I supervised them in making a basic loaf of white bread. Didn't they do a great job?

We followed this simple recipe and while the bread was on its first rise we watched the following videos:

The kids were wishing we could inflate our own blobs of gluten. I wonder if a bike pump would work?

Another great resource for the science of making bread is a book by Emily Beuhler. Please note that while I am not an amazon affiliate, the link below will take you to the Amazon Marketplace listing, where you can preview the book.

Bread Science: The Chemistry and Craft of Making Bread

Here is a simple experiment you can do to show the kids how yeast works in bread:

Yeast Experiment