From Deila: How can we help our young adults to have faith in the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith when they are so unhappy with the church and leaving it?
Answer: The Book of Mormon, and also the scriptures in general, have never received the diligent searching they have deserved. If so, their deeper, empowering layers of truth would have been uncovered at a time before this crisis arose and could have prevented it. Sadly, the church has relied on its academic arm for scriptural research, whereas these “wise and learned” continue to come under the severest condemnation in the scriptures for trivializing and wresting God’s word.
The end result is that our “taking lightly the things which we have received” has created a spiritual blindness to an entire other dimension of God’s truth that could have motivated and captured the interest of the younger generation and even had them leading the way, just as millennials today are leading the way in many areas of human endeavor. As that chance has passed, however, and in the 1990s was even severely put down, it is now too late to stem a general attrition.
Still, because the Lord in his great foreknowledge has his plan too, in which he ever seeks to bring forth good out of evil, there remains a redeeming factor to this problem. The words of Isaiah and John tell of a category of “servants” of God who fulfil an important endtime mission of restoring the ethnic lineages of the house of Israel, who are the Jews, Ten Tribes, and Lamanites of today. These servants fulfil Joseph’s and Ephraim’s birthright roles of saviors of their brethren.
When these “see what had not been told them and consider what they had not heard” and come to “know the true points of my doctrine” (cf. Isaiah 52:15; 3 Nephi 21:6, 8), the Father’s great plan of fulfilling his covenants with the house of Israel will be fulfilled. Zion will be established and our Savior will come. If we let ourselves be guided by what the scriptures actually say, therefore, not by our own spin on them, we won’t go far astray but accomplish all of God’s will for us.