Much has been said about the Book of Mormon since its first publication in the 1800s. In my personal experience, and as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes mistakenly called the “Mormon Church,” I have heard it described as everything from “interesting,” “false,” “uplifting,” or “contrary to the Bible.” For myself, I describe it as the Word of God.
The Book of Mormon is a companion book of scripture to the Bible. The title page of the Book of Mormon states that this preserved record is written to the remnant of the House of Israel, to show what great things the Lord has done, that they may know the covenants He has made – that they are not cast off forever, and most importantly it is a witness that Jesus is the Christ. The Church of Jesus Christ believes that the remnant of the House of Israel comprises people across the entire earth. This magnificent testimony of ancient prophets was literally written and preserved for our time. The stories, sermons, and events within the pages of the Book of Mormon will bring the honest searching soul to our Savior Jesus Christ.
The Book of Mormon has always been a part of my life. I received my first set of scriptures at the time of my baptism, when I was 8 years old. From that time I often tried to read the Book of Mormon from start to finish. Due to the difficulty of the language, it took some years before I could read the entire book. However, again and again I was privileged to read of the miraculous account of Nephi, the first writer in the Book of Mormon, and his family. Nephi’s father Lehi was a contemporary of the prophet Jeremiah. Just as Jeremiah prophesied of Jerusalem’s imminent destruction, Lehi too warned the people to repent or be destroyed. From the Bible, we learn that these prophecies did come to pass, however we see what great things the Lord has done for his people. He preserved Lehi and his family:
But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance…. And it came to pass that the Lord commanded my father, even in a dream, that he should take his family and depart into the wilderness (1 Nephi 1: 20, 2:2).
In the first pages of the Book of Mormon, we can receive a witness that the Lord watches over those who are faithful to Him, and will provide a way for their deliverance. Lehi took his family into the wilderness, crossed the sea to a land of promise on the American continent, and a great, albeit relatively small, civilization was established.
Not only did I learn of miracles, but as I read and re-read the Book of Mormon, I was able to recognize that the Lord makes and keeps His promises. One of my favorite stories in the Book of Mormon is found in Mosiah. This is almost 500 years after Lehi and his family fled Jerusalem. A prophet named Alma is leading a community of righteous believers, when suddenly they are subjected to slavery and bondage by a rival group of people. The people prayed to the Lord that he would deliver them. In response the Lord said,
Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage. And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord god, do visit my people in the their afflictions (Mosiah 24: 13-14).
These people were delivered, just as the Lord had covenanted with them. I know that the promises I make to the Lord are real, and that He will always come through for me.
Lastly, the Book of Mormon has been an integral part of my testimony of Jesus Christ. I love the gospels of the New Testament with their accounts of miraculous healings and the ultimate sacrifice of Christ as He suffered in the garden and on the cross. In the Book of Mormon, there are additional accounts of Christ’s miracles and teachings. After His resurrection, He came personally to the faithful believers of the America’s. As recounted in the book of Third Nephi, Christ came to these people and declared Himself to be the Savior of the world.
Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world. (3 Nephi 11:14)
I was not there to feel the prints of the nails, but through the convincing power of the Spirit of God, I know that this record is true. The Book of Mormon has changed my life and continues to motivate me to come unto Christ and be transformed.
This article was written by Joy of Mesa, Arizona, and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.