The Book of Mormon
How the Book of Mormon changed a family's life
As part of the process of restoring the ancient church, God used His prophet Joseph to bring to light a book of ancient scripture called the Book of Mormon (from which the “nickname” of the Church is derived). Like the Bible, the Book of Mormon
(BOM) is the record of God’s instructions as given to ancient prophets. The Bible gives the record of prophetic revelations received on the eastern hemisphere; in contrast, the BOM gives the record of prophetic revelations received on the western hemisphere. ()
A Mormon woman describes the influence of the Book of Mormon on her life
Around 600 B.C., God instructed a prophet named Lehi, then living in what is modern-day Israel, to take his family to a new land. Following God’s instructions, Lehi was led across the ocean to the American continent where his descendents established a great civilization, probably one of many civilizations on the continent at the time. After Lehi’s death, God called other prophets as well, establishing a centuries-long relationship with Lehi’s descendants, just as He did with the Israelites in the eastern hemisphere. After Christ’s resurrection and ascension in the “old world,” He visited this people on the American continent
as well, just as he promised He would in the New Testament.
Some mistakenly believe that Mormons use the Book of Mormon in place of the Bible. This is not the case; rather, this book is a companion to the Bible
. Both are records of God’s dealings with ancient peoples and ancient prophets, and both are given the weight of scripture.
(Scriptures: The Book of Mormon)
How You can Know for Yourself
But how can one know that the BOM is truly a record of God’s revelations to prophets on the American continent? Mormons believe that individuals can receive personal revelation for themselves just as prophets can receive global revelation for the Church. The prophet Joseph Smith’s experience serves as a good example of how to learn truth directly from God.
- First, Joseph Smith carefully considered his question: Which religion should he join? He studied the question out, visiting various churches to better understand their doctrines and studying the Bible to try to learn the will of God. We should also consider and study out our question: Is the Book of Mormons truly a record of God’s dealings with an ancient people? First and foremost, we should read the book, or at least important parts of it. We might also explore the history of how it was brought to light in the 19th century or converse with those whose lives it has changed.
- Second, after having studied his question out, Joseph asked God to show him the truth. Mormons believe that we, too, can ask God to reveal to us personally whether or not the Book of Mormon is a true record of ancient prophets. The nature of God’s response varies from person to person. Typically, God communicates through the Holy Ghost, stirring our emotions and quickening our intellect. Various attempts have been made to describe the experience; it has been called a “feeling,” a “burning in the bosom,” and “a quickening of the mind.” While difficult to explain, the experience is very real. I myself have felt it on many occasions.
A prophet of God describes the process of revelation
It is important to note that the timing of God’s response varies from person to person. I have met many who received their response quickly. Others take longer, among them Brigham Young, the second prophet God called after Joseph Smith. All who receive responses have an unwavering desire to know the truth. Regardless of how long the response takes, they continue to study the question in their minds, meditating and reading, studying and conversing until they finally come to know for themselves through the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon, like the Bible, is the word of God as revealed through ancient prophets.
(Scriptures: The Testimony of the Holy Ghost)
An online copy is available from www.lds.org
. Additionally, a hard copy can be requested for free by clicking here
, or purchased from a non-Church publisher on Amazon.com
The Book of Mormon: An Introduction