Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon was first published by Joseph Smith, Jr. in March 1830 in Palmyra, New York. The book's main purpose is to testify of Jesus Christ, through the writings of ancient prophets of the Western Hemisphere. This book was abridged and compiled by the ancient American prophet Mormon and by his son Moroni in the 4th century, and it was written with the purpose of "the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God."
The prophet Joseph Smith called the Book of Mormon “the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion” and that a person “would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book” (TPJS, p. 194).
The Book of Mormon is accepted by the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as one of the four sacred texts of Mormonism along with the Bible, which is also held to be the Word of God, the Pearl of Great Price, and the Doctrine and Covenants.
The format of The Book of Mormon includes separate books written by different authors who recorded the dealings of God with the ancient inhabitants of the American continent. The book is composed of the following books:
• First Book of Nephi • Second Book of Nephi • Book of Jacob • Book of Enos • Book of Jarom • Book of Omni • Words of Mormon • Book of Mosiah • Book of Alma • Book of Helaman • Third Nephi • Fourth Nephi • Book of Mormon • Book of Ether • Book of Moroni
Is the Book of Mormon true?
The Book of Mormon challenge its readers to discover if it’s really what it claims to be, a true book written by ancient prophets in the American continent which contains the fullness of the everlasting Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
At the end of the Book of Mormon, in the 10th chapter of Moroni, verses 3-5 we can read:
"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.
"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."
This passage explains how a sincere researcher of the truth can discover by himself if the book is what it claims to be. By reading its content, meditating its words, and finally praying with a sincere and open heart, every person can come to know the truth of the Book of Mormon. In one of the last parts of the Book of Mormon it is explained that readers will “receive no witness until after the trial of their faith” (Ether 12:6).
If the book is true, then Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God, and that the church that was restored through him, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is indeed the kingdom of God in the earth that was established again to prepare the world for the Second Coming of the Lamb of God (Jesus Christ).
Brief summary of the content of the book
• 1 Nephi begins in ancient Jerusalem around 600 BC. It starts with the story of a prophet, Lehi, and it tells how this prophet, along with his family, and several others, was led by God to the Americas. Traveling from Jerusalem, after crossing the Arabian peninsula, this group of faithful finally reached the Americas by ship. The books from 1 Nephi to Omni tells the story of this family and its descendants from approximately 600 BC to about 130 BC, when the community ends up splitting into two main groups, called the Nephites and the Lamanites (from the names of two of Lehi’s sons. Nephites and Lamanites will then grow into two separate civilizations at war with each other for most of the period covered in the Book of Mormon.
• The Words of Mormon, were written by Mormon, and they include a short introduction to the books of Mosiah, Alma, Helaman, 3 Nephi, and 4 Nephi. These books were abridged by Mormon from a large quantity of existing records that reported the happenings of his nation's history from the time of Omni to his own life.
• 3 Nephi is probably the most important part of the Book of Mormon because it contains an account of the visit of the resurrected and glorified Jesus to the people in the Americas. This visitation happened sometime after His resurrection and ascension into heaven at Jerusalem. During his American ministry, Christ taught much of the same principles He gave to the people in the Old World. After His departure the people in the Americas lived in an enlightened and peaceful society for several generations.
• Mormon is an account of what happened during Mormon's life, and tells how the enlightened society of 3 Nephi and 4 Nephi again deteriorated into warring groups.
• Ether is an abridgment done by Moroni, and it was written shortly after the death of Mormon, his father. This part of the book describes the travels of another group of families, headed this time by a man named Jared and by his unnamed brother. This group also was led by God to the Americas. The Jaredites civilization was established on the American continent long before Lehi's family arrived in 600 BC.
• Moroni recounts the final destruction of Nefi’s descendants, and the idolatrous state of the remaining people. Moroni concludes the Book of Mormon by including a few spiritual insights and then closes with his testimony and an invitation to ask to God, in prayer, for a confirmation of the truthfulness of the book.