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The Power of the Book of Mormon

Derek Cordon
June 06, 2023 11:15 AM

"I invite each of you to open God’s podcast for you personally by diving into the Book of Mormon and studying the truths found there-in. Ponder again on those truths and again ask God in the name of Christ for yet another confirmation of them."
Thank you for that beautiful music. I love the fact that the young man who bore his testimony and the young woman who was directing the music are from Africa. My wife and I just returned from central Africa. We did not get a chance to go to Tanzania. People are coming to the Gospel of Jesus Christ in droves. It was a beautiful visit.  

My dear brothers and sisters, Bonnie and I feel so blessed to be here at this institution of higher education with you today. We want to express our deepest gratitude to President Kusch for this cherished opportunity. We just love the school’s stated mission of developing capable and trusted disciples of Jesus Christ. You are indeed studying in dedicated space and we want you to know that our Savior Jesus Christ is aware of each of you individually, your hopes, concerns and desires. 

On the topic of trusted discipleship of Jesus Christ, by a raise of hands, how many of you were 18 or younger five years ago? A few of you. In June of 2018, just months after being sustained as Prophet, Seer and Revelator, President Russell M. Nelson called a special worldwide devotional for our youth…He spoke to EACH OF YOU!

Pres. Nelson introduced the theme of the devotional and said,

“We would like to talk with you about the greatest challenge, the greatest cause, and the greatest work on earth. And we want to invite you to be part of it!” [i]  

I felt the spirit of the Lord confirm the importance of this great invitation that night. What a marvelous invitation. 

What exactly did his invitation mean? 

President Nelson went on to say, “Anytime you do anything that helps anyone—on either side of the veil—take a step toward making covenants with God and receiving their essential baptismal and temple ordinances, you are helping to gather Israel. It is as simple as that.” [ii]  

I believe that includes any time we do something that helps ourselves make and keep covenants with God. What could possibly prepare us for this great work? I would venture to guess that most of us subscribe to various apps and media content providers. We have come to rely on podcasts for teaching and information. This morning I would like to share with you a source far more powerful and influential than any worldly subscription or podcast can provide. Immediately following the invitation President Nelson continued his remarks: 

“What will help you? As you continue to read daily from the Book of Mormon, you will learn the doctrine of the gathering, 6 truths about Jesus Christ, His Atonement, and the fulness of His gospel not found in the Bible. The Book of Mormon is central to the gathering of Israel. 7 In fact, if there were no Book of Mormon, the promised gathering of Israel would not occur.” [iii]

I would like to highlight today how the Book of Mormon does the following:

1. Changes hearts;

2. “[T]ells men what they must do to gain peace in this life;”

3. Witnesses of our Savior and the truth of His kingdom; and

4. How it is a witness that God is a God of miracles and the Book of Mormon is a tool of power in bringing those about.

First, the Book of Mormon changes hearts.

I would like to tell you a story that is near and dear to me, of a man who lived in England in the early 1800s. Alfred described himself dejectedly as a heavy drinking, wicked man loosely connected to the Anglican Church. Following the heart-wrenching death of his eight-month-old daughter he was in the depths of despair and knew he needed to make major changes in his life. He felt a prompting to earnestly work to find God. Resolutely, Alfred wrote in a letter, “I am quite willing to give up my sins and do anything to find salvation.” Alfred knew it was time to find the peace of God in his chaos of life.

As he began to truly search for God, he met Mary Powell, a recent convert of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Mary sat with Alfred and listened sympathetically as Alfred confided in her his story. At the conclusion, without missing a moment, Mary spoke with honest conviction as she related to him the message of the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ. She told him of a marvelous book that contained truths that could heal the heart and set him on his new path, however she did not, unfortunately, have a copy to give him.

The power of the Book of Mormon is real, and can reach out, taking strangers by the heart and guide them to places they have never imagined going. That is exactly what happened to Alfred. There was something about the book that he couldn't let go of and so Alfred traveled to a neighboring city to find a copy. Arriving in town he met two young missionaries who immediately, and I would assume, very happily, presented him with a copy of the Book of Mormon.

It took only days to read the small book that would change his life in large ways. Enraptured by the spirit that emerged from the Book of Mormon, Alfred began to experience the spirit as it seeped into the empty spaces of his fragile heart. 

This new book of scripture answered many of Alfred’s deepest questions regarding religion and life, such as the nature of God and Alfred’s own purpose here on earth. 

As he completed the book he was deeply touched by the challenge and promise found in the 10th chapter of the book of Moroni: 

3. “Read these things…and ponder it in your hearts. 

4. Ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faither in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. 

5. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” 

Alfred had read with real intent and now gained a witness that the Book of Mormon is a true book of God. That promise is as good today as it was then. 

There are 1,000s of stories like this in the Church of how the Book of Mormon changed the hearts of individuals. Some of you probably have experienced similar moments in your own personal lives. Why then does this particular story matter so much to me? 

Alfred Cordon is my 2nd Great Grandfather. 

The Book of Mormon was the catalyst to change the trajectory of a family not even yet realized. He and his wife joined the Church in 1839 in England, and since then many hundreds, if not thousands of his descendants have been blessed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

I am eternally grateful for Mary Powell’s courage in sharing the truths she had found for herself in the Book of Mormon. To this day, in quiet reverence, my family still remembers her as the person courageous enough to open her mouth and prepared with exactly what Alfred needed, the Book of Mormon and her testimony of its truthfulness. I will one day grasp the hands of Mary, who brought to life the restored gospel of Jesus Christ to my Great Great Grandfather. We have been blessed by her gathering efforts, though small and seemingly insignificant at the time and most grateful for the tool prepared to help in this great work, The Book of Mormon with which the Spirit could expand the heart of my ancestor and change his life, and mine forever. 

The prophet Joseph Smith stated that: “The Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.” [iv]  

Brother and Sisters, it is a miracle, a gift from God, that we have this book with us today. We can open it, read, ponder and find answers to life’s questions. The Book of Mormon does all this, and it might be sitting next to us on our bed stands or kitchen counter, hopefully doing more than holding down paper or gathering dust. 

Second, the Book of Mormon tells me what I must do to gain peace in this life. 

While serving as mission president I had an opportunity to meet with a former stake president who had distanced himself from the Church and his covenants. I asked him what was the catalyst that drove him from the Church. He had several excuses which basically came down to distancing himself from the tree and the rod of iron spoken of in 1 Nephi. He referenced things he had read on social media. I asked who wrote the articles. He wasn’t sure. What were the authors’ credentials? Again, he wasn’t sure. I then held up a Book of Mormon. I asked him: “Regardless of how you feel about the Church, what is the worst thing that could happen to you if you and your family if you abided by the precepts found in this sacred book.” He responded that he knew his life would be good and there would be peace in his life if he were to follow its principles. Now, I asked: “What is the worst thing that can happen to you and your family if you live by the principles the world preaches via social media?” There was silence for a moment. He stated: “My family could be destroyed.” I felt a surge of strength as I again had the opportunity to testify that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. 

President Nelson has said: “The Book of Mormon shatters the false beliefs that happiness can be found in wickedness and that individual goodness is all that is required to return to the presence of God.” [v]  

King Benjamin’s address found in the book of Mosiah had a significant impact on me as a young college student as I pondered how to have greater peace in my life. As his people prepared to hear this great prophet king’s message they attended the temple, “that they might offer sacrifice and burnt offerings.” [vi]  

Once spiritually prepared as families they “pitched their tents round about the temple, every man having his tent with the door…towards the temple, that thereby they might remain in their tents and hear the words which King Benjamin should speak unto them.” [vii] The imagery of that impressed upon me immensely. Focusing on a prophet and a temple, I wasn’t worried about what was going on beside me. By following that great counsel, I have found peace in my life. 

This is a book that can change our lives. Each of you can find peace and the Lord’s direction for your lives as you immerse yourself in daily study the Book of Mormon coupled with staying on the covenant path. 

President Nelson has said: “Nothing opens the heavens quite like the combination of increased purity, exact obedience, earnest seeking, daily feasting on the words of Christ in the Book of Mormon, and regular time committed to temple and family history work.” [viii]  

Third, The Book of Mormon witnesses of our Savior and the truth of His Kingdom. 

The Book of Mormon’s importance with regards to the restoration of the gospel is very evident. The Church was restored and organized on April 6, 1830, but not before the Book of Mormon was published in March of that same year. The Book of Mormon is a tool prepared specifically to help bring all of our Father’s children to a knowledge of His great plan of Happiness. By gaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon through the Holy Ghost we “will also come to know by the same power that 1. Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, 2. that Joseph Smith is His revelator and prophet in these last days, and that 3. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom once again established on the earth, preparatory to the Second Coming of the Messiah.” [ix]  

As Bonnie and I have traveled the world as missionaries and in her General Officer callings we have met hundreds, even thousands of members who have gathered in the covenant path because of first gaining a testimony of this sacred book. It is a book with a sacred purpose boldly stated in the Title Page written by the hand of Mormon. “Written by way of commandment, and also by the spirit of prophecy and of revelation…to show unto the remnant of the house of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord…And also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God.” [x]  

Brothers and sisters, I testify that it is a book blessed to “convince” those with an open heart of eternal truths. It so strongly references a visit of our resurrected Savior to His people in the Americas. It is a second witness that Christ is our Savior. 

With a testimony of the Book of Mormon we can put our full confidence in the Lord’s prophet of this dispensation, Joseph Smith, and the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ that he restored to the earth. We can anchor ourselves in the words of modern prophets against the winds of adversity and secularism that fill the world today. We can with certainty know where our safe harbor Is and find peace therein. 

Fourth, The Book of Mormon is a book of power and teaches us that God is a God of miracles. 

The Book of Mormon helps us understand the nature of God. I love God’s own words in the Book of Mormon in describing how he works. 

“For Behold, I am God; and I am a God of miracles; and I will show unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and I work not among the children of men save it be according to their faith.” [xi]

That God of the Old Testament who parted the Red Sea and allowed the Children of Israel to pass on Dry ground. That same God who healed the sick and raised the dead. The same God who took upon himself in some miraculous way the sins, pains and infirmities of the entire human race is the same God who will, if we are willing perform miracles in our lives today. Time and time again I have been a witness to these truths. 

Two of our missionaries in Brazil were walking along the road when a woman on the other side of the intersection rolled down her window and waved them over. Again, she was holding up a familiar blue copy of the Book of Mormon such as the one I have here. The elders assumed, naturally, that she was a member and ran over to see how they could help. As they approached, the woman said that she recognized the logo on the back of the book as the same logo those two missionaries had on their missionary tags. She desperately asked for more information. After pulling over she explained to the missionaries that her daughter had brought home the book without explanation as to where she had received it and threw it away. This woman saw the book in the trash and could not stand seeing a book being tossed away like that. She retrieved it and began to read it. It captivated her. She could not seem to put it down. She found herself reading it for hours on end. “What is this book?” she again asked of the missionaries. For those of you who were missionaries, would that have been a great thing? The missionaries were amazed. I think it would be every missionary’s dream in reality. They gave her a quick overview and set up a time to meet with the woman and her family. Needless to say, there were baptisms within a very short period of time. A miracle indeed!

President Nelson has stated: “When I think of the Book of Mormon, I think of the word power. The truths of the Book for Mormon have the power to heal, comfort, restore, succor, strengthen, console and cheer our souls.” [xii]  

It seems that the power the Book of Mormon can play in our own lives is focused on what we may need in that moment. Do you recall Joseph Smith’s account of Moroni’s 3 visits with him in September of 1823? In the first visit that night Moroni taught Joseph many things including that, “there was a book deposited…and that the fulness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior.” [xiii]  

After closing the vision, Moroni came again relating “the same things which had done at his first visit, without the least variation; which having done, he informed me of great judgments which were coming upon the earth,” [xiv] amongst other things. He came again, repeating verbatim what he had previously revealed and added more. I think sometimes our study of the Book of Mormon is similar. How many times have you picked up the scriptures and something new pops off the page or a verse gives new meaning to your life or gives new direction? This, brothers and sisters, is personal revelation. 

On another occasion in our mission, a young adult was riding in a packed bus in Curitibam, Brazil. He was 16 or 17 at the time. He boarded early and happened to get one of the coveted seats. Soon the bus was bursting at its seams with commuters heading into work. He noticed a woman get on board and quickly offered her his seat. She gladly took it and then asked him why he would give up his seat for her. He joyfully responded that he was a member of the Church of the Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She was not expecting that answer. She was impressed although not interested in his Church, she was curious what that institution was teaching their young people this type of behavior. As she prepared to get off the bus, he invited her to come to Church. Just as Mary Powell had done for Alfred, he had planted a seed. Sunday came and this young man dutifully waited at the door of the building, sure she would come…and she did! She showed up. He quickly introduced her to the missionaries who just happened to have a Book of Mormon for her. She was very intrigued. She was somewhat familiar with the Bible but this was new. She accepted the gift and began to read. A little background, her parents came from a different part of the world where Christianity was not accepted, and she had very little prior knowledge of Christ or his gospel. 

President Nelson stated, “Something powerful happens when a child of God seeks to know more about him and His Beloved Son. Nowhere are those truths taught more clearly and powerfully than in the Book of Mormon.” [xv]  

This woman from the bus experienced that power as she accepted Moroni’s challenge, read this testament of Jesus Christ, gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon, and most importantly, a testimony of Christ’s role as her Savior and Redeemer. Through her honest attempts to learn truth, she gained her personal testimony of the restoration of the true gospel of Jesus Christ. 

May I reiterate Joseph Smith’s statement with regards to the Book of Mormon. “Man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts than by any other book.” [xvi]  

This holy book has a special purpose of helping each of God’s children know that Jesus is the Christ, his Church has been restored, and his atonement is real for each of us individually. 

I invite each of you to open God’s podcast for you personally by diving into the Book of Mormon and studying the truths found there-in. Ponder again on those truths and again ask God in the name of Christ for yet another confirmation of them. It doesn’t matter that you already have a testimony of its truthfulness. Ask again. I promise the answer will come. Allow God to prevail in your lives and share this joy with those around you. The true effect of what you share will somebody, you have no idea how far that ripple will go. I’m sure that Alfred Cordon had no idea that generations would thank him for accepting the gospel. 

I testify that The Book of Mormon is the word of God. It was prepared with the specific purpose of convincing God’s children of Him and his Plan of Happiness. I testify that Jesus is the Christ. My Savior. The Redeemer of the world and that his church has been restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith and that we indeed have a living prophet on the earth today in President Nelson. 

I testify of these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


[i] Worldwide Youth Devotional, August 2018
[ii] Hope of Israel, Worldwide Devotional for Youth, June 3, 2018.
[iii] Hope of Israel, Worldwide Devotional for Youth, June 3, 2018
[iv] Introduction to the Book of Mormon.
[v] The Prophet Teaches: The Book of Mormon Part 3, July 1, 2020.
[vi] Mosiah 2:3
[vii] Mosiah 2:5-6
[viii] Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives
April 2018, General Conference.
[ix] Introduction to the Book of Mormon..
[x] Title page of Book of Mormon.
[xi] 2 Nephi 27:23
[xii] Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2017, 62.
[xiii] Joseph Smith History, 34.
[xiv] Joseph Smith History, 45.
[xv] The Book of Mormon: What Would Your Life Be Like without It?
October 2017
[xvi] Joseph Smith, History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ed. B. H. Roberts, 2nd ed. rev. (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1957), 4:461.

About the Speaker

Derek Cordon

Derek Cordon is an accomplished business professional with over 33 years of experience in business management and sales within the hi-tech industry. He received his bachelor's degree from Brigham Young University and his master’s in business administration from San Jose State University. Currently, he serves as a valued member of the customer success management team at Domo, located in Utah County.

Beyond his professional achievements, Derek has dedicated a significant portion of his life to service in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He served as a full-time missionary in the Argentina Cordoba Mission and has spent years serving in various capacities within the Young Men's organization, Bishop, high councilor, and as Mission President over the Brazil Curitiba mission.

Derek is a devoted husband to Bonnie, and together they have four children and seven grandchildren.
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