Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon is the word of God. The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book” (Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 vols., introduction and notes by B. H. Roberts [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1932-1951], 4: 461). It contains the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ and stands as another witness that Jesus is the Christ. Throughout the Book of Mormon we are privileged to view panoramically the great blessings and tender mercies the Lord has shown to His children here upon the earth, and especially on this the American continent. When one comes to know the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, one will know that Jesus is the Christ, that Joseph Smith was indeed a prophet of God, and that this is the “only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth” (Doctrine and Covenants 1:30), once again established here in the latter days (see Introduction to the Book of Mormon).
Ancient Prophets prophesied that the Book of Mormon would come forth in the last days:
• Isaiah 29:4—And thou shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust.
Isaiah saw our day. The Book of Mormon would come forth and would bring again the gospel of Jesus Christ (see Doctrine and Covenants 20:9). It would spring forth out of the earth bringing us truth (see Psalm 85:11). We should cleave to this record because it not only contains the gospel message but the plain and precious things that are still there in their purity (see 1 Nephi 13:29).
• Isaiah 29:11—And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed:
Martin Harris delivered words of the book of Mormon to Professor Charles Anthon who confirmed the authenticity of the translation but declined to proceed when learning that he could not have the original (which was sealed). This encounter with the learned man was prophesied and fulfilled—another external proof of the Book of Mormon. In turn, we can individually bear witness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon on the basis of the confirmation of the Spirit.
• Ezekiel 37:19—Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand.
The Bible is the stick of Judah and the Book of Mormon is the stick of Joseph. Ezekiel saw our day and knew of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. The rendering of this scripture is even clearer in 2 Nephi 3:12.
• John 10:16—And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. This shows that the Lord remembers all His people and that two witnesses will testify that He is God (see 2 Nephi 29:8).
The Lord referred to the Nephite colony as His other sheep (see 3 Nephi 15:21). The Bible makes reference to this other people (see John 10:14-16). The Angel Moroni is referred to as bringing the gospel to preach to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people (see Revelation 14:6).
The honest seeker after truth can gain the testimony that Jesus is the Christ as he prayerfully ponders the inspired words of the Book of Mormon. Over one-half of all the verses in the Book of Mormon refer to our Lord. Some form of Christ’s name is mentioned more frequently per verse in the Book of Mormon than even in the New Testament. He is given over one hundred different names in the Book of Mormon. Those names have a particular significance in describing His divine nature. (CR October 1987, Ensign 17 [November 1987]: 83.)
(Ezra Taft Benson, The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], 56.)
Moroni’s Title Page to the Book of Mormon makes clear the four-fold purpose of the volume: “Which is to show unto the remnant of the House of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cost off forever – And also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that JESUS is the CHRIST, the ETERNAL GOD, manifesting himself unto all nations.” As Moroni consigned the plates to the earth until the time of the Restoration and looked back over the centuries covered by this sacred volume, he encapsulated the essence of the work in terms of (1) great stories of God’s blessings upon His people in the past, (2) great covenants for the present, (3) great hope for the future (i.e., that through the Atonement we are not “cast off forever” ) – all built upon the foundation (4) of Jesus Christ. This pattern is a prism for viewing the Book of Mormon:
• Stories of God’s Blessings—The Book of Mormon is a storybook of unsurpassed grandeur and inspiration. Watch for the greatness of our God and His mercy and kindness toward His children. Throughout the Book of Mormon there are many examples of how the Lord provided for His children—from deliverance from the Egyptians, to obtaining the plates of Laban, to building the ship and protecting the emigrants at sea, to delivering them from their enemies. In all things they received strength and blessings from the Lord. This is one of the main purposes in the Book of Mormon (see Title Page).
• See your own covenants in the mirror of holy writ—By studying the pages of the Book of Mormon, which chronicle the history of a remnant of God’s covenant people, you can see reflected with clarity your own opportunities and destiny as you strive to fulfill the promises you have made to your Father in Heaven and His Son Jesus Christ.
• Cultivate hope—The Book of Mormon is a handbook of hope. Focus on how you feel when you study it thoughtfully, prayerfully, and gratefully —new energy, harmony, peace, faith, hope.
• Recognize and appreciate the central doctrine taught that will bless your life: Jesus is the Christ—Knowing that Jesus is the living Christ is absolutely essential for our salvation and exaltation. In the Book of Mormon there are hundreds of references to our Savior (over 1,300 and an average of one every 1.7 verses). In 1982 the words, “Another Testament of Jesus Christ” were placed just below the title. Christ is the Greek term to denote the Anointed One—the one who in fact would atone for our sins. This is what made Jesus the Christ. This is why we are to study this book throughout our lifetime. This is how we will know the goodness of God and Jesus Christ whom He sent—and enjoy life eternal.
*Adapted from What We Need to Know and Do, by Ed Pinegar and Richard J. Allen
“I read all day; eating was a burden, I had no desire for food; sleep was a burden when the night came, for I preferred reading to sleep. As I read, the spirit of the Lord was upon me, and I knew and comprehended that the book was true, as plainly and manifestly as a man comprehends and knows that he exists. My joy was now full, as it were, and I rejoiced sufficiently to more than pay me for all the sorrows, sacrifices and toils of my life.”
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church, bore this testimony at General Conference, October 4, 2009 (2 videos):
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