What Can We All Learn about Repentance from the Tragic Loss of the 116 Book of Mormon Pages? #504


The first work on the Book of Mormon’s translation took place in Harmony, Pennsylvania in the spring of 1828. Joseph Smith’s primary scribes were his
wife Emma Smith and his close friend Martin Harris. During this time, Martin badgered Joseph with requests to allow him to show the translation manuscript to his wife and other close friends. The Lord initially forbade them to share the
manuscript, but after Joseph’s third request, the Lord finally allowed Joseph to give Martin permission, but commanded that he show them to only four specific people. After some time with no word from Martin, Joseph felt urged to visit him about the manuscript. To Joseph’s horror, he discovered that,
despite Martin’s commitment to keep it safe, he had lost the manuscript. Joseph was commanded by the Lord to repent and promised that if he would humble himself, the work of translation could again resume. Thankfully, Joseph and Martin did humble themselves
and the work continued not long after. Some time later, Oliver Cowdery took over as scribe and worked with Joseph to complete the translation. Toward the end of the translation, after heartfelt
prayer and humble repentance, Martin became one of the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon. He beheld an angel displaying the plates and
other ancient objects in a glorious vision. Both Joseph Smith and Martin Harris learned
many important principles about repentance with the episode involving the loss of the 116 pages. They learned that sinful actions sometimes
have dramatic and enduring consequences, bearing the full weight of agency and accountability. They also gained a testimony that repentance
is always possible, through obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel and through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Although they had transgressed the Lord’s commandments, they were nevertheless allowed to return to their sacred calling of bringing forth the Book of Mormon after heartfelt repentance. The example of Joseph and Martin in the outcome
of the loss of the 116 pages teaches, as President Dallin H. Oaks has promised, that Past sins and transgressions, when properly repented of, will not bar us from experiencing even very profound divine manifestations. We may not all behold visions or angelic visitations
as Joseph and Martin did, but we may still experience manifestations of God’s love and feel the abundant joy of the full influence of the Holy Ghost and the testimony of God’s beloved Son. And now you knowhy

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