The Book of Mormon has the power to change our lives and our perspective.
In August 1830, as a lay preacher, Parley Parker Pratt was traveling from Ohio to eastern New York. At Newark, along the Erie Canal, he left the boat and walked ten miles [16 kilometers] into the country, where he met a Baptist deacon by the name of Hamlin, who told him “of a book, a STRANGE BOOK, a VERY STRANGE BOOK! … This book, he said, purported to have been originally written on plates either of gold or brass, by a branch of the tribesof Israel; and to have been discovered and translated by a young man near Palmyra, in the State of New York, by the aid of visions, or the ministry of angels. I inquired of him how or where the book was to be obtained. He promised me the perusal of it, at his house the next day. … Next morning I called at his house, where, for the first time, my eyes beheld the ‘BOOK OF MORMON’—that book of books … which was the principal means, in the hands of God, of directing the entire course of my future life.
“I opened it with eagerness, and read its title page. I then read the testimony of several witnesses in relation to the manner of itsbeing found and translated. After this I commenced its contents by course. I read all day; eating was a burden, I had no desire for food; sleep was a burden when the night came, for I preferred reading to sleep.
“As I read, the spirit of the Lord was upon me, and I knew and comprehended that the book was true, as plainly and manifestly as a man comprehends and knows that he exists.” (Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, 3rd ed., Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1938, pp. 36–37.)
Parley Pratt was then twenty-three years of age. Reading the Book of Mormon affected him so profoundly that he was soon baptized into the Church and became one of its most effective and powerful advocates. …
Parley Pratt’s experience with the Book of Mormon was not unique. As the volumes of the first edition were circulated and read, strong men and women by the hundreds were so deeply touched that they gave up everything they owned, and in the years that followed, not a few gave their lives for the witness they carried in their hearts of the truth of this remarkable volume.
Today … it is more widely read than at any time in its history. … Its appeal is as timeless as truth, as universal as mankind.
[The Book of Mormon] has touched for good the lives of millions who have prayerfully read it and pondered its language. May I tell you of one such. …
He was a businessman, successful in his undertakings. In the course of his travels he met two of our missionaries. They tried to set up an appointment to teach him. He put them off, but finally agreed to listen. He somewhat perfunctorily accepted what they had to say. He became convinced in his mind that they spoke the truth, but he was not moved in his heart.
He decided that he would read the Book of Mormon. He said that he had been a man of the world, never given to crying. But as he read the book, tears coursed his cheeks. It did something to him. He read it again and felt the same emotions. What had been conversion of the mind became conversion of the heart.
His way of life was altered, his perspective changed. He threw himself into the work of the Lord. Today he fills a high and holy calling in the cause he has come to love.
Let me tell you [another] story about the Book of Mormon. I heard a man who was a banker in California tell this story. He said his secretary smoked, constantly smoked. She was addicted to smoking. She could not set it aside. She said to him one day, “How can I stop smoking?”
He reached down in his desk and took out a copy of the Book of Mormon and handed it to her. He said, “Now, you read this.”
She said, “All right, I’ll read it.”
She came back a couple of days later and said, “I’ve read 200 pages, and I didn’t see the word smoking anywhere. I didn’t see the word tobacco anywhere. I saw nothing that referred to it.”
He said, “Keep reading.”
So she came back another couple of days later and said, “I’ve read 200 more pages—no mention of smoking, no mention of nicotine, no mention of anything associated with tobacco.”
He said, “Keep reading.”
She came back three or four days later. She said, “I’ve read the entire book. I didn’t see tobacco anywhere; I didn’t see smoking anywhere. But,” she said, “there has come into my heart as a result of reading that book some influence, some power, that has taken from me the desire to smoke, and it is wonderful.”
Let me tell you of a letter which we received. … A man wrote, saying, “I am in a federal prison. I recently came across a copy of the Book of Mormon in the prison library. I have read it, and when I read Mormon’s lamentation over his fallen people—‘O ye fair ones, how could ye have departed from the ways of the Lord! O ye fair ones, how could ye have rejected that Jesus, who stood with open arms to receive you! Behold, if ye had not done this, ye would not have fallen’ (Morm. 6:17–18)—I felt that Mormon was talking to me. Can I get a copy of that book?”
We sent him a copy. Some time later, he walked into my office a changed man. He was touched by the spirit of the Book of Mormonand today is a successful man, rehabilitated, earning a living honestly for himself and his family.
Such is the power of this great book in the lives of those who read it prayerfully.
Brothers and sisters, without reservation I promise you that if you will prayerfully read the Book of Mormon, regardless of how many times you previously have read it, there will come into your hearts an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord. There will come a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to his commandments, and there will come a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God.
“Inspirational Thoughts,” Ensign
, July 1998, 2.
“The Great Things Which God Has Revealed,” Ensign
, May 2005, 82.
“The Symbol of Our Faith,” Ensign
, Apr. 2005, 4; quoting the title page of the Book of Mormon.
“Excerpts from Recent Addresses by President Gordon B. Hinckley,” Ensign
, July 1997, 72.
“Believe His Prophets,” Ensign
, May 1992, 51.
“An Angel from on High, the Long, Long Silence Broke,” Ensign
, Nov. 1979, 7.
“Four Cornerstones of Faith,” Ensign
, Feb. 2004, 6; quoting the title page of the Book of Mormon.
In Heroes from the Book of Mormon
“The Power of the Book of Mormon,” Ensign
, June 1988, 6.
“The Power of the Book of Mormon,” 4.
“Four Cornerstones of Faith,” 5.
“The Power of the Book of Mormon,” 5.
“The Power of the Book of Mormon,” 2, 4.
“Mormon Should Mean ‘More Good,’” Ensign
, Nov. 1990, 52.
 Discourses of President Gordon B. Hinckley, Volume 2: 2000–2004
“The Power of the Book of Mormon,” 6.
Extracted from “Chapter 16: The Power of the Book of Mormon,” in Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Gordon B. Hinckley, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City (2016), 226-233. https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/teachings-of-presidents-of-the-church-gordon-b-hinckley/chapter-16-the-power-of-the-book-of-mormon?lang=eng