What is the real power of the sword over the written word? Edward Bulwer-Lytton was the author who wrote that "the pen is mightier than the sword" and I really think that he has a point. I think it is difficult to measure the influence that the written word has against that of wars and fighting. I don't think that the correlation is exactly one-to-one. However, I know that the influence of the written word lasts far longer than that of a war. Children can never experience what their parents experience, but we can all read something truly meaningful and feel the significance of the words. We can all have an experience with literature and with words. Think of the Bible, probably the most influencial book in all of history. It has lasted not just for generations, but for centuries. The power of the words in that book has not diminished over the years, but has maintained a significance for all those who read it.
The same is true of the Book of Mormon. I saw the influence of the words in that Book in the lives of people that I taught while I was in Portugal. When they actually read and tried to understand what was written there, a profound change occurred within them. They were happier. They were different. They were never the same after they read from the Book of Mormon, but changed for the better. How can anything even begin to compare with that kind of change, a change so deep that it causes an entire life change? Truly, the written word has a power that cannot be measured.
The past week I went to a museum here in Provo. It's called the Crandall Printing Museum and I've actually been wanting to go there for a long time. They walked us through the history of the Gutenburg printing press and the process of printing on that particular press. Then we met Benjamin Franklin and he showed us his press and told us about the influence of the words he printed on his press. Then we talked about the printing of the Book of Mormon. The whole experience was more profound for me than I had imagined. I think I had forgotten the power that words can have. When I was there I could begin to see the vision of all that the words of the Book of Mormon and the Bible have done for us throughout time.
When we talked about the printing of the Book of Mormon, I was reminded of how miraculous its printing was. Who could have even imagined printing 5,000 copies of a book in that day? And who would have imagined doing it in such a short period of time? What a miracle! The influence of the Book of Mormon cannot be measured and it is all thanks to the God of Miracles who made it all happen.
It is no wonder when we realize the importance of the word that we are commanded to keep journals and histories. Who can know what influence our own words may have in someone's life?