Near the end of the Book of Mormon, Moroni provides specific instructions about how to organize the church. After describing how the Savior gave power to His disciples, how those disciples ordained other people to serve as priests and teachers, and how the sacramental bread and wine were blessed, Moroni provides some practical information about how membership in the church was tracked and how meetings were run. In the middle of this description, he tells us that members of the church were “remembered and nourished by the good word of God, to keep them in the right way” and that they relied completely on Jesus Christ, who was “the author and the finisher of their faith” (Moroni 6:4).
The Apostle Paul used this same phrase to refer to the Savior in his epistle to the Hebrews. Encouraging members of the church to “run with patience the race that is set before us,” he told them to “[look] unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.” He said they should remember all that He had endured “lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds” (Hebrews 12:1-3).
The word “author” in that passage is a translation of the Greek word archēgon (ἀρχηγός), which means a pioneering leader or a founder. Other translations of the Bible render that word as “pioneer,” “founder,” or “source.” (See Hebrews 12:2 on bible hub.com.)
The word “finisher” comes from the Greek word teleiōtēn (τελειωτὴν), which means “completer” or “perfecter.” It is related to the word teleios (τέλειος), which the Savior used when He commanded us to be “perfect, even as [our] Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).
So, “author and finisher” means “pioneer and perfecter.” He initiated our faith by setting an example for us of a faith-filled life and by giving us power through the ordinances of the gospel. He perfects that faith by leading us through experiences which sanctify us and help us to become more like Him and like His Father. Both Paul and Moroni teach us that we can remain steady and find joy and peace through the difficulties of life by remaining focused on the Savior, who originated our faith and who will refine and complete it.
President Russell M. Nelson taught that we can experience peace and joy even as we pass through difficult times if we remain focused on Jesus Christ:
Just as the Savior offers peace that “passeth all understanding,” He also offers an intensity, depth, and breadth of joy that defy human logic or mortal comprehension…. His joy is constant, assuring us that our “afflictions shall be but a small moment” and be consecrated to our gain.
How, then, can we claim that joy? We can start by “looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” “in every thought.” We can give thanks for Him in our prayers and by keeping covenants we’ve made with Him and our Heavenly Father. As our Savior becomes more and more real to us and as we plead for His joy to be given to us, our joy will increase (“Joy and Spiritual Survival,” General Conference, October 2016).
Today, I will “[look] unto Jesus,” remembering that He is “the author and the finisher of [my] faith.” I will remember how His life and teachings have sparked my faith and enabled me to have uplifting experiences in the past. I will trust that, if I rely on Him, then I will experience peace and joy even as I pass through difficult experiences. He will refine and improve my faith, so that eventually it will be perfect and complete, or in other words, finished.