What is the Book of Mormon?
- The Book of Mormon is a book of scripture. As its subtitle states, it is a testament, or a witness, that Jesus Christ lives and that He is the Savior and Redeemer of the world.
- The Book of Mormon is a record of the ancient inhabitants of the North American continent. Just as God had prophets in the Old World (Jerusalem), there were prophets in the New World who taught the people about the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- The Book of Mormon is not the “Mormon Bible.” In fact, Mormons believe in and read the Holy Bible and we regard it as the holy word of God. The Book of Mormon is an entirely different book of scripture. We believe that God has revealed His word to all people in all generations and the Book of Mormon is simply a record of His dealings with a different nation than that of the Bible.
What is the purpose of The Book of Mormon?
As stated in the title page, the purpose of the Book is:
- To show unto the remnant of the House of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers
- To reveal the covenants of the Lord to the House of Israel, that they may know that they are not cast off forever
- To convince all people that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations
Where did the The Book of Mormon get its name?
As mentioned above, the Book of Mormon is a book of scripture kept by the ancient inhabitants of North America and covers a span of 1,000 years. A prophet, named Mormon, organized the thousand years of history into a book. The Book is named after him.
History of The Book of Mormon
Around 600 B.C., during the time of the prophet Jeremiah in the Bible, there were many prophets warning the people of Jerusalem of its imminent destruction if they did not repent. (And in 586, Jerusalem was destroyed and many of its inhabitants carried off to Babylon).
One of these prophets was named Lehi. After declaring repentance to the people, they tried to kill him. He was then commanded of the Lord to take his family and flee into the wilderness. They were joined by a few others. This people were eventually led to a land of promise, somewhere in the North American continent.
Over many centuries, this people grew and prospered. They were divided into two factions, namely the Nephites and the Lamanites. Typically, the Nephites were righteous and followed the commandments of God, while the Lamanites typically rebelled against the teachings of the Lord.
The culminating point of this book is the appearance of Jesus Christ. After the death and resurrection of Jesus, He appeared to this people and established His church, just as He had done in Jerusalem. In the Bible, He teaches His disciples, saying, “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” (John 10:16). The people of The Book of Mormon were some of Jesus’ “other sheep.”
Unfortunately, just as the Christians in the Bible were persecuted for their beliefs in Jesus, the people of The Book of Mormon were eventually killed and destroyed until there were very few righteous people left. One of these righteous disciples was Mormon, who compiled The Book of Mormon.
His son, Moroni, helped finish the book and added a few words of his own. When he had finished, he buried the book in a mountainside, trusting that God would bring forth its words at the right time.
For centuries, the book, written on golden plates (or tablets), sat buried in the hill. In the early 1800s, a young man by the name of Joseph Smith, was led to this hillside by an angel named Moroni—the same Moroni who had buried it many years before.
Joseph Smith had previously received a remarkable vision of God the Father, and His Son Jesus Christ, and had been called to be a prophet to restore the true church of Christ. Joseph was commanded to translate this ancient record into English. The Book of Mormon is this translation.
Why Read The Book of Mormon?
Since we already have the Holy Bible, many people wonder why they should even bother with the Book of Mormon. It’s a valid question; however, I know that I have been brought closer to Jesus by reading both books of scripture. If you read the Book, I know you can learn more about Jesus Christ and His gospel.
Additionally, if people read the Book and find it to be true, they can know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet called by God. If one discovers this, he or she can know that the church Joseph Smith established is the literal church of Jesus Christ, restored anew to the earth.
A Book with a Promise
Moroni, the last prophet to record his words in the Book of Mormon, left a promise to all those who read its pages:
3 “Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
4 “And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with dreal intent, having efaith in Christ, he will fmanifest the gtruth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
5 “And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” —Mornoni 10:3-5
Click here to request a copy of The Book of Mormon.