Since I’ve been writing columns and blogs, I have come to realize much mightier the written word is than the sword. If you have ever heard the saying “The pen is mightier than the sword,” which originated in 1839 from the English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton, it has great truth. Reading words for good and/or reading words for evil have a monumental effect on the minds of man.
Critics comment on how reading a book about sinful exploits really doesn’t have any great effect on adults if they know the difference between right and wrong, but that is not true. The written word has such an effect on all of us — much more than we realize. So much of an effect that Edward Bulwer-Lytton, who wrote those words, knew how men and women can change minds. There are great examples of evil from things like communism as found in The Communist Manifesto to examples of goodness like the Constitution of the United States.
As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, our words of good come from our four scripture books, plus numerous inspiring words from our Church magazines as well as our prophets and apostles.
All of this was going through my mind when the calamity of the coronavirus appeared to be heating up this week. All church meetings canceled until further notice, live ordinances only at the temple, NCAA canceled March Madness, MLB and NHL postpone their seasons, Broadway goes dark and Disneyland and Disney World are closing. It sounds like the end of the world, but it’s not. We can have the faith to press forward through whatever happens around the world. It takes even the tiniest bit of faith, and we can find great comfort in reading the words from two different passages. From the Book of Mormon we read Ether 12 and from the New Testament we read Hebrews 11. When reading these passages, it’s like listening to the bearing of a great testimony during our monthly testimony meeting.
From Ether 12:3-15:
3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.
12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.
13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
14 Behold, it was the faith of Nephi and Lehi that wrought the change upon the Lamanites, that they were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost.
15 Behold, it was the faith of Ammon and his brethren which wrought so great a miracle among the Lamanites.
From Hebrews 11:16-22:
16 Yea, and even all they who wrought miracles wrought them by faith, even those who were before Christ and also those who were after.
17 And it was by faith that the three disciples obtained a promise that they should not taste of death; and they obtained not the promise until after their faith.
18 And neither at any time hath any wrought miracles until after their faith; wherefore they first believed in the Son of God.
19 And there were many whose faith was so exceedingly strong, even before Christ came, who could not be kept from within the veil, but truly saw with their eyes the things which they had beheld with an eye of faith, and they were glad.
20 And behold, we have seen in this record that one of these was the brother of Jared; for so great was his faith in God, that when God put forth his finger he could not hide it from the sight of the brother of Jared, because of his word which he had spoken unto him, which word he had obtained by faith.
21 And after the brother of Jared had beheld the finger of the Lord, because of the promise which the brother of Jared had obtained by faith, the Lord could not withhold anything from his sight; wherefore he showed him all things, for he could no longer be kept without the veil.
22 And it is by faith that my fathers have obtained the promise that these things should come unto their brethren through the Gentiles; therefore the Lord hath commanded me, yea, even Jesus Christ.
These words can give us great comfort and hope through whatever is happening right in front of our faces. Our church leaders love us and want the best for us throughout this difficult time. Just keep reading those words, which keep us going and help us to endure to the end. They are much more powerful than the sword.
Valerie Steimle has been writing as a family advocate for over 25 years. As a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she promotes Christian living in her writings and is the mother of nine children and grandmother to twelve. Mrs. Steimle authored six books and is a contributing writer to several online websites. To her, time is the most precious commodity we have and knows we should spend it wisely. To read more of Valerie's work, visit her at her website, The Blessings of Family Life.