The LDS Book of Mormon is an account of several groups of Christian people, who lived in the Americas thousands of years ago. Central to The Book of Mormon is the account of the resurrected Jesus appearing to one of those groups—the Nephites—and teaching them the gospel and establishing his church among them.
During Jesus’ ministry in Judea and just before he was crucified, he gathered together his followers and gave them a glimpse into his future and ongoing ministry. On that occasion, he said:
And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold [the people in Judea]: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd (John 10:16).
Later, when the resurrected Christ appeared to the Book of Mormon people, he proclaimed: “Ye are they of whom I said: Other sheep I have which are not of this fold” (3 Nephi 15:21).
Clearly, Jesus Christ is the Savior of all God’s children wherever and whenever they live. His gospel is as relevant to every race of people as it was to his followers in Judea.
The LDS Book of Mormon is Another Testament of Jesus Christ
In these latter days, in an effort to dispel doubt, disbelief and confusion about the identity of Jesus Christ and the truths of his gospel, Heavenly Father brought forth another testament of Jesus Christ as a companion to the Bible. The name of this additional testament of Jesus Christ is called The Book of Mormon.
The roots of The Book of Mormon are planted in the Bible. About 600 B.C., an Israelite prophet named Lehi, who was a contemporary of Jeremiah, prophesied to the people in Jerusalem that they would be conquered and destroyed by the Babylonians if they did not repent.
When the people rejected Lehi and sought his life, the Lord removed him and his family then guided them on an eight-year journey through the Arabian wilderness. In a fertile land that they called Bountiful, the family constructed a ship and crossed the ocean to a land of promise, which would later be called America.
Like the Bible, the LDS Book of Mormon contains the history of a covenant people, who were the ancient inhabitants of America. Like the people in the Bible, the ancient Americans were by prophets of God, who prophesied that the Book of Mormon people would be visited by the resurrected Christ.
After his resurrection, Jesus Christ fulfilled the prophets’ words. Here is part of the account of Jesus’ appearance to the Book of Mormon people.
And it came to pass, as they understood they cast their eyes up again towards heaven; and behold, they saw a Man descending out of heaven; and he was clothed in a white robe; and he came down and stood in the midst of them; and the eyes of the whole multitude were turned upon him, and they durst not open their mouths, even one to another, and wist not what it meant, for they thought it was an angel that had appeared unto them.
And it came to pass that he stretched forth his hand and spake unto the people, saying:
Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world.
And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning.
And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words the whole multitude fell to the earth; for they remembered that it had been prophesied among them that Christ should show himself unto them after his ascension into heaven (3 Nephi 11:8-12).
The LDS Book of Mormon details the account of Jesus’ appearance to the ancient Americans.
- The Savior showed the Book of Mormon people the wounds in his hands, feet and side, and invited them to come to him.
- He established his church among the Book of Mormon people. He began by calling and empowering twelve apostles to lead his church, as he had done among the people in Judea.
- He taught the Book of Mormon people the Beatitudes and the principles contained in the Sermon on the Mount.
- He explained that he was the Savior of all God’s children throughout the world and prophesied of his continuing global ministry.
- He healed these Book of Mormon people of their sicknesses and afflictions, prayed for them, blessed their children, and called down angels from heaven to minister and protect them.
- He taught the Book of Mormon people about the sacrament.
- He gave the twelve apostles of The Book of Mormon power to confer the gift of the Holy Ghost upon those who were baptized.
- He clearly explained to the Book of Mormon people all the scriptures. He prophesied of the great events of the last days, and taught the people the fulness of his gospel.
- He commanded the Book of Mormon people to call the church after his name: The Church of Jesus Christ.
Clearly, The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ.
The Authors of the LDS Book of Mormon
About four centuries after Jesus appeared to the ancient Americans, a Book of Mormon prophet named Mormon selected and abridged sacred writings of the prophets of his people, and he presented these writings in the context of the LDS Book of Mormon’s thousand-year history. Utilizing the language called “Reformed Egyptian,” Mormon engraved his book on thin plates of gold. Because Mormon was the primary author, the book was called after his name: The Book of Mormon.
At the end of his life, Mormon gave the sacred book to his son, Moroni, who would complete and safeguard it. Over the next two decades, Moroni added to and finished The Book of Mormon then hid it away in a protective stone vault on a hill in modern upstate New York.
The LDS Book of Mormon Comes Forth
Fourteen hundred years later, in the year 1823, this same Moroni (now a glorified angel) was sent from the presence of God to instruct a young prophet named Joseph Smith. After four years of divine schooling, Moroni delivered the sacred The Book of Mormon record into the hands of Joseph Smith for translation by the gift and power of God.
The fact that God called a prophet to do his work should not seem strange. The world has always received the word of God through prophets such as Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel and Malachi.
The LDS Book of Mormon proves that God is perfectly consistent in all ages: When he does his work among men and speaks to them, he always does so through a prophet. The prophet Amos declared, “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7).
Joseph Smith was the prophet of God, who was called by God to re-establish the true Church of Jesus Christ upon the earth in these last days. The first thing that Joseph Smith was assigned to do was translate and publish The Book of Mormon. Among the reasons that the coming forth of The Book of Mormon was so important are the following:
- The LDS Book of Mormon contains the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- The LDS Book of Mormon stands as a second witness with the Bible that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of Mankind, who manifests himself unto all nations.
- Together, the Bible and the LDS Book of Mormon are destined to “grow together, unto the confounding of false doctrines and laying down contentions, and establishing peace” (2 Nephi 3:12).
- The LDS Book of Mormon is a second witness that testifies that “all people must come unto [Christ], or they cannot be saved” (1 Nephi 13:40).
- The LDS Book of Mormon contains “the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ” (D&C 20:9; 42:12), and it restores the plain and precious truths that were lost in or purposely taken away from the translation of the Bible.
- The primary purpose of The LDS Book of Mormon is to convince all people “that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself to all nations” (The Book of Mormon title page).
By 1830, Joseph Smith had completed translating The Book of Mormon, and subsequently he published it. Shortly thereafter, on April 6, 1830, The Church of Jesus Christ was once again established on the earth.
The Church was called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and The Book of Mormon would become the Church’s “keystone.” Testifying of the truthfulness of The Book of Mormon,the Prophet Joseph Smith declared, “[It is] the “keystone of our religion, and a man [will] get nearer to God by abiding its precepts, than by any other book” (The Book of Mormon Introduction).
Promise of the LDS Book of Mormon
The LDS Book of Mormon contains a unique promise to test the book’s truthfulness. With little doubt, no other book on earth contains such a promise.
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 real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things (Moroni 10:4-5).
In other words, if a person reads the LDS Book of Mormon with the sincere intent to learn and discern the truthfulness of the book, that person will receive a direct answer from God concerning the validity of The Book of Mormon.
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