Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was the devotional speaker at BYU-Idaho on June 12.
The title of his talk was Out of obscurity: How merciful the Lord has been.
Cook said his main emphasis in his talk was what the efforts the Church has made to collect, preserve and share their history especially in the last several years.
“These efforts are helping the history of the Church to come ‘out of obscurity,’” Cook said in his devotional talk. “In learning more, we will bind our hearts together with the Saints of yesterday and today.”
Cook said we are able to know more about the history of the Church than ever before and that has been because of the recent projects the Church has released such as the Joseph Smith Papers.
“Founded in 2001, the project is publishing all of Joseph Smith’s documents—his letters, journals, revelations, histories, minutes of meetings he attended, and even business and legal records,” Cook said. “The project is a massive undertaking. Already, 17 very thick volumes have been published. When the project is complete in about five years, there will be an additional ten books or so.”
Cook said the Church has also focused more on the history of women in the Church.
“We need to listen to the voices of women from the past—to hear their counsel, learn from their examples, and be strengthened by their testimonies,” Cook said.
He also said that in 2009 the Church opened a Church History Library and that has helped keep and preserve more history records than ever before.
“There are now more than 11 million images in the Library's online catalog,” Cook said. “And more are put up at a rate of approximately 300 images per hour.”
Cook said there is a new Church history project which is about to be published.
“For the first time in nearly a hundred years, a new multi-volume history of the Church is being issued under the direction of the First Presidency and the Quorum of Twelve Apostles,” Cook said.
The title of this project is Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days.
“Saints is the story of how God restored His everlasting covenant because of His love for His children,” Cook said. “It shows how the Lord restored His gospel to provide hope and peace in times of tumult, trial, and suffering. It also shows how restored covenants lead to exaltation through Jesus Christ.”
The first volume will be the history of the Church until Nauvoo, 1846. The second volume will go up until the Salt Lake Temple, 1893. The third volume will go up until the Swiss Temple which is in 1955, and the fourth volume will bring the story up to present time.
The first volume will be published in September of this year.
“The first one is so precious,” Cook said. “It goes from the first beginnings of the Church, to the first vision, through Kirtland, and to Nauvoo. So it’s a really important time for the Church.”
Cook said this narrative history is completely factual even though it is written as a narrative.
“If it says it was raining on a certain day, we have historical evidence that it was raining on that day,” Cook said. “So while it’s written narratively, it’s actual history.”
He said Saints will help us keep the covenants we make by enlarging our memories.
“It will help us to always remember what the Savior has done for us,” Cook said. “Without records of God’s dealings in the past, we could not “remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men.”
Cook said he hopes those who listen to this message are able to gain a desire to read and study Saints. He also hopes that when people have questions about the Church, he wants them to go to authentic sources.
“We now know more than we have ever known before,” Cook said. “We don’t know all of the historical details of everything, we don’t pretend to.”
To get more information about Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days you can visit saints.lds.org