Thursday, February 14, 2013

What is The Book of Mormon?

Another question from my non-LDS friend that I want to address today:

 "I haven`t understood why the prophecies of LDS are considered by critics to be more fake than those of any other religion in the world and I like the part in the Book of Mormon that says that there can still be new prophecies as opposed to general view in many religions that the prophecies ended forever with their favorite prophet.

But if it is clear that the Book of Mormon has been assembled in different times according to current political views of the leaders and made to look like a whole, then it would be understandable why some people don`t take it seriously. Personally I find all central books of religions are influenced by the writer`s views and it is known that the Bible was assembled over a long period. It would just be honest to admit that parts of the book have been added or rewritten later and are thus fictional illustration to held beliefs."

I wrote a blog post a while ago called: The Bible and The Book of Mormon are Both Good Fruit  which clarifies our belief in both the Bible and The Book of Mormon. I would encourage you to read that post.

What is The Book of Mormon?
 On the front cover of The Book of Mormon is says: "Another Testament of Jesus Christ" 
 The Book of Mormon is literally another testament of Jesus Christ along with the Holy Bible, which we use the King James Version. The same version used by most Christian religions.
On the Introduction   page of The Book of Mormon it explains where this book came from and what it is about.
  • The Book of Mormon is holy scripture written by prophets who lived on the American continent anciently from 600 B. C. to 421 A.D.  It was written by prophecy and revelation and contains the fullness of the gospel.
  • The record was written on plates of gold and passed down from prophet to prophet, each writing God's dealings with their people during their specific life-time. They were commanded of God to write down these things for a future people [us]. Because it was inscribed on metal plates, it was not destroyed.  A prophet-historian named Mormon abridged all the records into what is called The Book of Mormon. Moroni, Mormon's son was the last prophet of The Book of Mormon.  He was commanded to hide up the plates, to preserve them for a future generation.  He put the plates with other special artifacts in a stone box and hid them in a hill covered with a large stone. There it stayed hidden, and preserved until the Lord wanted them to be found.
  • Joseph Smith, commanded of God, was led to Hill Cumorah where the plates were hidden in the stone box in the hill..  He translated the plates. I wrote about it here.  You can also read Joseph Smith's own account of that experience here.
  • The record gives an account of two great civilizations. One came from Jerusalem in 600 B.C., and afterward separated into two nations, known as the Nephites and the Lamanites. The other came much earlier when the Lord confounded the tongues at the Tower of Babel. This group is known as the Jaredites. After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are among the ancestors of the American Indians.

One thing to keep in mind while reading The Book of Mormon: it is not necessarily in chronological order.  If you look on the very bottom of the page you are going to see dates.  This will tell you the general time period on that specific page.

For example in Omni we read about Mosiah, father of King Benjamin. The book of Omni occurred between 279 B. C. and 130 B. C. See photo below:

 In our natural minds we assume that this happened WAY before the events written later in the book about King Noah and Alma.  This actually occurred during the same time period.  You have events happening in one area, events happening in another area, but happening at the same time.  This makes it even more exciting to me. 
 See the photo below of Mosiah 17 when Abinidi was martyred. You will notice this happens during the same time period as the book of Omni, 37 pages earlier.
I wrote a Mosiah time line a few years ago for myself. You can view it here if you are interested.
What else about The Book of Mormon? 
 'The crowning event recorded in the Book of Mormon is the personal ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ among the Nephites soon after his resurrection. It puts forth the doctrines of the gospel, outlines the plan of salvation, and tells men what they must do to gain peace in this life and eternal salvation in the life to come." [ Introduction page]
"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
"We invite all men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in their hearts the message it contains, and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if the book is true. Those who pursue this course and ask in faith will gain a testimony of its truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost. (See Moroni 10:3–5.)

Those who gain this divine witness from the Holy Spirit will also come to know by the same power that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, that Joseph Smith is his revelator and prophet in these last days, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom once again established on the earth, preparatory to the second coming of the Messiah." [Introduction page]
It is TRUE.  It is of GOD.  You don't have to take anyone elses word for it. You can find out for yourself! 

"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]