In 1988 President Ezra Taft Benson of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints asked the members of the church to "flood the earth" with the Book of Mormon. He said at the October General Conference of the church: "The time is long overdue for a massive flooding of the earth with the Book of Mormon for the many reasons which the Lord has given. In this age of the electronic media and the mass distribution of the printed word, God will hold us accountable if we do not now move the Book of Mormon in a monumental way."
Recall that in 1988 the Internet was in its infancy. The World Wide Web had not yet made its appearance. Smartphones were not yet invented. How far we have come in the technology that President Benson envisioned for flooding the earth!
The commandment to flood the earth with the Book of Mormon has never been rescinded. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I needed to do more with the technological gifts at my disposal to keep this commandment, so I started my Flood the Earth blog in 2016. I was not so naive as to think that I was going to flood the Internet with the Book of Mormon. I just wanted to add my drop. As the old saying goes, if we each add a drop, pretty soon we'll have an ocean.
I “finished” my blog in 2019, meaning I had made my first pass through the Book of Mormon, having posted 774 verses with comments and pictures–my 774 “favorite” verses, out of 6,604 possible choices. That is a lot of favorites. The pictures I posted were to add color and interest to my blog, and at least a few provided emotion and context to the accompanying verses. My comments came from my notes during personal scripture study over several years. The real heart of my blog, however, was neither the pictures nor my comments, but the verses themselves, the Word of God as written by ancient prophets and translated through God’s power by a modern-day prophet. I had simply put a few drops of God’s Word in the digital ocean in the hope that someone who needed a spiritual boost might stumble on just the right verse to brighten a bad day or lift a heavy heart.
Therefore, as I prepared my posts, I looked for passages that expressed hope and grace embodied in our Lord Jesus Christ. And I found them! Over and over again! Hundreds of them. I realized as never before how profoundly and thoroughly saturated the Book of Mormon is with messages of Christian love and encouragement and good news. Jesus permeates that book, and as I came to see the love Christ has for us, my heart became permeated with Him. I always knew Heavenly Father loved me, but I learned through this experience that Jesus loves me–really loves me.
Another fact that was confirmed to me over and over again was who the true author of the Book of Mormon is. More times than I can count, as I came to a particularly moving or uplifting or impactful verse of scripture, I asked myself: Could a twenty-three-year-old farm boy have written that? Did this profoundly rich expression of faith and hope germinate in the uneducated, nearly illiterate mind of a country bumpkin? I’ll grant that even a blind squirrel can find an acorn occasionally. But over and over again, verse after verse, statement after statement, doctrine upon doctrine, harmonized, consistent, true and uncompromising? Could any man write a book better than the Bible? Only one Author has both the knowledge and the right to produce such a book. Ancient prophets may have inscribed symbols on gold plates, Joseph Smith may have spoken the English interpretation, and Olivery Cowdry may have put the words on paper, but only God himself could have written that book. I witnessed that glorious truth repeatedly, and give it as my testimony to this day.
While I wanted to bless and inspire others with what I had found in the Book of Mormon, mostly I posted my blog for me. I wrote about, posted about, and pondered about the Word of God virtually every day for nearly two and a half years. The experience changed me. While I was gratified and often surprised by the comments and the “likes” my posts received, I was transformed by the Holy Ghost. My love for the scriptures deepened and widened. My heart expanded. The Spirit seemed to speak more clearly and directly to me, especially when I was immersed in the day’s writing. I was grateful every day for the opportunity to share my love for the Book of Mormon and for how the sharing penetrated my soul. When I posted my Farewell article to my followers at the close of the blog, it was like saying goodbye to an old friend.
Nevertheless, we don’t let old friends just slip away. A truly good friend is never far from our hearts. I realized my thirst to share has not satisfied with a few hundred posts on the Web. Drops of digital moisture evaporate quickly on the every-shifting sands of the Internet. I wanted my personal drop to continue to live. I wanted to ensure that my posterity would taste the Living Water that had nourished, and continues to nourish, my soul. The scriptures are an infinite well of inspiration from which we can dip endlessly. I had pulled up only a thimble full, but it was good and satisfying, and I wanted to put it into a form that would last longer than the brief flash of the World Wide Web.
Therefore, this book came about. I have selected my favorite “favorites”, the most hopeful and joyful and transformative passages, the ones that resonated most for me and sparked my deepest reverence and worship.
I offer this as my gift. I am simply regifting what has been given to me. I give it to my children and their children, that they would remember my love for them, for the Book of Mormon, and for my Savior. I give it to my friends and neighbors who have loved me, teachers who have taught me, leaders who have inspired me, ministers who have succored me. I give it to strangers who may stumble upon this little volume while they were searching for something uplifting, empowering, faith-promoting, and testimony-building. When we have drunk from the same cup of Living Water, we will be strangers no more.
The soul of this volume is the Living Word of God extracted from the pages of the Book of Mormon. It is from His Word and the Holy Ghost that we draw divine, revealed truth. My comments are purely my own interpretations and meditations and in no way represent official doctrine or statements of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If they are helpful to the reader, I am happy; if not, I’m content that the reader drew comfort and joy from the true words quoted directly from the Book of Mormon.
So drink with me; immerse yourself with me; taste the droplets until they become a stream, and then a river, and then an ocean in our lives. My mother used to say a person could drown in a teaspoon of water. If we all bring our teaspoons to the fountain, the Word of God can become a sea to cover the earth.