The prevalence of a spirit of contention amongst a people is a certain sign of deadness with respect to the things of religion. When men's spirits are hot with contention, they are cold to religion. - Jonathan Edwards “The Book of Mormon does not supplant the Bible. It expands, extends, clarifies, and amplifies our knowledge of the Savior. Surely, this second witness should be cause for great rejoicing by all Christians.” - Joseph B. Wirthlin

Monday, April 16, 2018

Elder Holland and the importance of place

Saturday in Jerusalem, Elder Holland provided perspective on the significance of sacred sites. He observed how sacred sites have an inherent significance and influence.

There should be a consensus that a site becomes sacred because of what happens there. Modern prophets have repeatedly identified the Hill Cumorah in New York as such a sacred site. Those who say it doesn't matter where the Book of Mormon took place are denying the significance of sacred sites. Would they also say it doesn't matter where Jerusalem was?

Worse, there are some who reject what the prophets have taught about the New York Cumorah, thereby depriving members of the Church of the opportunity to appreciate what the prophets have taught about this sacred site when they visit the Palmyra area.

When I was in Palmyra, New York, last week, I walked quite a bit through the battlefield west of the hill Cumorah.  Latter-day prophets have spoken and written about the importance of that site because both the Jaredite and Nephite civilizations were extinguished there.

It is also a sacred space because it is where Mormon and Moroni wrote much of the Book of Mormon, including the final chapters of the text.


Elder Holland is accompanying President Nelson on his trip around the world. Their second stop was in Jerusalem. They emphasized the importance of place in choosing the itinerary. One article explained it this way:

Elder Holland said President Nelson "decisively and instantly" determined that his first major gesture beyond LDS Church headquarters would be a visit to Jerusalem.

"He wanted to walk where the Savior walked and stand where prophets have stood and feel what we all feel here," said Elder Holland. "The rich powerful influence of this land is palpable. I think he wanted that personally, as well as for the church."

President Nelson said he had symbolic reasons for planning the global trip as he did.

"We wanted to start in Jerusalem to fortify ourselves with the message of the Lord Jesus Christ right from its very inception, here where he was born, where he lived, where he ministered and where he was crucified," President Nelson said. 

Elder Holland also said, "You don’t have to come to a scene, a setting, to appreciate the Savior, or the prophets or the events, you could do that in the privacy of a missionary apartment in South America or Asia or you could do it in a primary class in Eastern Europe," said Elder Holland. "But to add to that the privilege of being in the land that [the Savior] loved and on the soil that he walked, it really is a magnificent personal experience and I will never grow tired of that."

Likewise, we don't have to visit Cumorah to appreciate the events that took place there. But we can add to our appreciation of the events the privilege of being in the land that Mormon and Moroni and their people walked, making such a visit a magnificent personal experience of which we will never grow tired.

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