I love the Holy Bible. It is the single most influential book in the history of the world. It is the book with the most distributed copies, it is the most read, and it has been translated into more languages than any other book.
For more than forty years I have been studying, teaching, and writing about the Bible. One of my favorite adjectives in the English language is “biblical.” One of my master’s degrees and my doctorate are in biblical studies. I’ve written and published two books on the Old Testament and three books on the New Testament.
I’ve enjoyed nearly fourteen years’ personal experience in the lands of the Bible—in Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Greece, and Italy. I’ve conducted thousands of hours of field trips in those lands, and led students on between 35 and 40 long walks in the footsteps of the prophets and the Savior.
Much of my life for four decades has been focused on understanding the Bible, and helping others understand it.
But! Having said all that, I quickly add that there’s a book that is far greater than the Bible, the most Christian book on earth, that teaches best the Christ-like life. It is the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is not just another testament of Jesus Christ—it is the best testament that exists.
I agree with the Prophet Joseph Smith, that a person can get nearer to God by abiding by the precepts of the Book of Mormon than by any other book in the world. And I agree with Elder Bruce R. McConkie when he testified that the Old and New Testaments are books preserved by the Lord to prepare people for the restoration of all things and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon.
“Ponder the truths you learn,” the modern apostle wrote, “and it will not be long before you know that Lehi and Jacob excel Paul in teaching the Atonement; that Alma’s sermons on faith and on being born again surpass anything in the Bible; that Nephi makes a better exposition on the scattering and gathering of Israel than do Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel combined; that Mormon’s words about faith, hope and charity have a clarity, a breadth and a power of expression that even Paul did not attain; and so on and so on.”
Elder McConkie added these unequivocal declarations:
1. Most of the doctrines of the gospel, as set forth in the Book of Mormon, far surpass their comparable recitation in the Bible.
2. The Nephite record bears plainer and purer witness of the divine Sonship of Christ and the salvation which comes in and through His holy name than do the Old World scriptures.
3. Men can get nearer to the Lord; can have more of the spirit of conversion and conformity in their hearts; can have stronger testimonies; and can gain a better understanding of the doctrines of salvation through the Book of Mormon than they can through the Bible.
4. More people will flock to the gospel standard; more souls will be converted; more of scattered Israel will be gathered because of the Book of Mormon than was or will be the case with the Bible.
5. There will be more people saved in the kingdom of God—ten thousand times over—because of the Book of Mormon than there will be because of the Bible. (Ensign, November, 1983).
All of that is not to depreciate the Holy Bible in any way; it is a great and influential record. It only tends to highlight the importance and excellence of the volume the Prophet Joseph Smith brought forth by the gift and power of God for the benefit of all humankind. As far as books go, the Book of Mormon stands supreme in its capacity to affect human lives here and forever.
Besides my feelings about God’s word, I will briefly share other aspects of my testimony: I know that our Heavenly Father lives and loves His children—and I love Him, and His Son, and the Holy Ghost. Having literally walked in the footsteps of the Son of God, and having studied, taught, and written about His life and ministry for the past forty years, I testify that He lives. He is the Savior of the world, and He is my personal Savior—He has rescued me from death and sin. He still speaks, as He has always spoken, through His prophets (Amos 3:7). I honor the prophets Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Isaiah, Peter, Paul, and many others, and I know that prophets still live on earth in our day and speak God’s words. The Church of Jesus Christ was lost from the earth, as prophesied (2 Thessalonians 2:3), and it has been restored on earth in these last days, as prophesied (Acts 3:21). Heaven is not far away. I love life, and I am a happy man.