Lesson 14 of the Book of Mormon Gospel Doctrines course covers four short books in the Book of Mormon, namely Enos, Jarom, Omni, and Words of Mormon. I cannot ever remember hearing or seeing anything quoted from these books. The teacher’s guide is devoted mainly to helping LDS members understand the supposed historical settings of these books. It also states that these books “emphasize that the scriptures have been prepared and preserved for us.”
The one thing that did catch my eye in the teacher’s manual was the question, “How can we know our sins have been forgiven?” This was asked in reference to Enos 1:5-6. The answer is in the form of the following quote from President Harold B. Lee.
“If the time comes when you have done all that you can to repent of your sins … and have made amends and restitution to the best of your ability … , then you will want that confirming answer as to whether or not the Lord has accepted of you. In your soul-searching, if you seek for and you find that peace of conscience, by that token you may know that the Lord has accepted of your repentance” (Stand Ye in Holy Places , 185).”
It’s interesting that he points them to their consciences as the place where they can know that they are forgiven. As the Bible makes clear, even the consciences of believers are not always trustworthy. For example in 1 Corinthians Paul talks about believers who consciences are weak. They felt guilty when they had no need to.
A much better source of reassurance that we are forgiven is the Bible. Especially pertinent this Easter Sunday is Romans 4:25. There Paul talking about Jesus says, “Who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification.” Many people don’t understand the significance of that last phrase. The two “for”s in this verse could also be translated because. He was delivered for, or because of our offenses; he was raised for or because of our justification. Justification is a legal term which describes an acquittal. In other words, Jesus was raised on Easter because God had justified us, or acquitted us. Just like a prisoner leaves a prison after serving his sentence, so also, Christ, after serving our sentence for sin, left the prison of the grave. His resurrection then is dramatic proof that God had accepted his payment for our sin – that our debt to God had been forgiven!
That’s much more solid proof than any proof we can receive from our consciences. It is my prayer that on this Easter weekend you see the full significance of Christ’s resurrection. May you see that your debt has been paid for – that you are forgiven on the basis of what Jesus has done. May you listen to the sure word of Scripture. “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.” (Hebrews 10:17-18)