What the Book of Mormon Is…

I have recognized in myself an ability to follow the prophet in a unique way.  Listening to the prophet, following his instructions, and becoming what I’m asked to is important to me and something that motivates and inspires me.  What I’ve discovered though is that I’m exceptionally slow at getting there.  I set in my mind to follow through on a challenge that President Nelson gave us in General Conference a couple conferences ago.  His talk was designed to make us think about what our lives would be like “without the Book of Mormon”.  He then shared how he had taken the time to consider the Book of Mormon in a few different contexts;

“…Among other things, I’ve made lists of what the Book of Mormon is, what it affirms, what it refutes, what it fulfills, what it clarifies, and what it reveals. Looking at the Book of Mormon through these lenses has been an insightful and inspiring exercise! I recommend it to each of you.”

Well, here’s some self-critique to my grand idea.  First of all, it wasn’t a recent conference, it was back in October of 2017.  Second, Russell M. Nelson was NOT the prophet yet.  Third, he actually acted because of a challenge that (then) President Monson gave us “each of us to prayerfully study and ponder the Book of Mormon each day.”

So, I was a bit wrong in my memory of why I had these intentions and a little bit tardy in my execution of them.  None-the-less, it was an amazing exercise.  In my previous post, I shared something special to me that I had discovered when reading the Book of Mormon it was much easier, more interesting, and meaningful when I read the Book of Mormon faster.  Not at high speed, but by taking a whole hour each day to read it.  I can cruise through 7-10 Chapters in a single day.  That made it so I can connect thoughts, stories, characters, and even books of scripture to gather greater meaning.  Well, the last two months, I took on the same strategy.  I missed a few days because of travel and vacations, but I got through the Book of Mormon again in just a few weeks.  This time, my intention in reading was to do as (now) President Nelson challenged, to make a similar list to his in what the Book of Mormon is, what it affirms, what it refutes, what it fulfills, what it clarifies, and what it reveals.

To further illuminate my inability to do things timely, in Sunday school last week as I scrolled down to the bottom of the “Come Follow Me” lesson, this same declaration and challenge that Russell M. Nelson gave us was included in that lesson.  If I was even remotely “timely” I would have had all my reading done by then to add the lesson more fully.

REGARDLESS… What a great experience!!!  It is ALWAYS a good idea to follow the Prophet and the Apostles.  Our lives will be blessed when we do.  Being in the Book of Mormon, with purpose, brings greater understanding, imbeds the principles of the gospel into my heart, my mind, my life, and my actions.  Finally, as I read over the list this morning of how the Book of Mormon fits into my life in answer to each of those descriptions, I was humbled and reminded of how important it is to me.

I’ve included my list and then the list of our prophet.  I’m sure I may have gotten something “wrong” as I went through, but many of these were thoughts that I typed out as I read.  Whether or not the Book of Mormon actually fulfills those things as I thought about them, I don’t know.  Also, I refused to read President Nelson’s list until after I finished.  I wanted to have my own clear thoughts before borrowing some of his.

What the Book of Mormon…

Is              Amount to, represent, signify, consist of, constitute

  • History of the native people of America, a lineage that goes directly back to the Israelites:Nephite/Lamanites  People of Zarahemla (descendant of Mulek), People of Coriantumr, People of the Brother of Jared
  • A record with a specific intent to persuade men to come unto God – 1 Nephi 6:4
  • A “How To Guide” for Faith – Alma 32, Moroni 7
  • The Book, the stories, the scriptures, the thoughts are specifically for ME as the reader to liken, receive inspiration, and become more of what the Lord wants me to be.
  • A testimony of Jesus Christ and declaration of his birth
  • The fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ:  Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Repentance, Baptism by Immersion, the Gift of the Holy Ghost… and Enduring to the End in Righteousness
  • … a journal – a document meant to be used for reading and teaching, not just for the exercise of writing
  • Sacred  – 1 Nephi 19
  • An invitation, A warning, A call to repentance

Affirms       asserts strongly, declares, confirm the validity of, heightened sense of value, through the experience of something emotionally or spiritually uplifting

  • Teachings and events that occurred in the Bible (Tower of Babel)
  • It is important to keep records, to journal, and keep history.  Not one per family, but individually
  • Jesus Christ, the Messiah will come
  • The Lord is over all those he has chosen, because of their faith
  • Importance of families
  • Gratitude
  • Importance of Ordinances in our lives from “burnt offerings, to baptism”
  • The Lord can do EVERYTHING, but he gives us an opportunity to do for ourselves in order to grow
  • With the Lord’s help, we can accomplish anything.
  • Pride DESTROYS
  • Missionary Work, and works of bringing forth Zion are behaviors to seek after.
  • The Book of Mormon serves as a Key… It has the ability to free us from sin, captivity, worldly controls, and unhappiness.  We can use this key to stay free
  • This is a record of Fathers… yes, with our Father In Heaven at the helm ultimately, but much of the instruction given is from a father to his sons and family.  Out of love, helping them to find the right path in their own lives.  Recognizing that there is really only one true path and it will bring the greatest happiness into their lives…. Lehi to his sons, Alma to his son, Mosiah to his sons, Mormon to Moroni,
  • All men should have charity, which charity is love – 2 Nephi 26:30
  • Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; – Mosiah 29:26
  • Foreordination is a principle which prepared leaders but requires faith in this life
  • This is HIS church upon the earth and He will set it up HIS way, example:  – 3 Nephi 1… 11 & 12 Apostles

Refutes           prove to be wrong or false, disprove, contradicts, disproves

  • Revelation, miracles, and angelic visits were not just for those that lived in Biblical times
  • Jesus Christ truly was the Savior that the Jews looked past, and ignored.  He was not just a man, or a prophet, but the real Savior of this world.  He suffered and died specifically for us, so we could be made clean to live with our Heavenly family again some day.
  • Wickedness will not bring Happiness, but leads to Destruction
  • Answers to prayer and revelation are NOT just for spiritual leaders, or those called.  Each and every one of us can seek, ask, and have a personal relationship with our Heavenly Father and receive answers to our questions from HIM through the Holy Ghost – 1 Nephi 11
  • This is the way, the one true path to salvation and exaltation
  • The Bible is the only word of God that exists:  I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth?  Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word?  – 2 Nephi 2:29
  • Governments run by kings inevitably will fail.  Judges, hold each other accountable – Proper government
  • Infant Baptism is NOT a correct principle – Moroni 8

Fulfills          bring to completion, or reality, achieve or realize

  • A commitment our Heaven Father has implied by giving us something to feast upon in order to learn and grow.
  • There are people in all corners of the world, the Lord knows each of them, and in the Book of Mormon, visits them as well.
  • Delivery of the “book” revealed in – 1 Nephi 13
  • Jesus Christ came to earth to fulfill the Law…  He had to come in order to fulfill the justice/mercy part of the plan of salvation.  Jesus was the sacrifice needed for each of us to be saved.
  • The Law of Moses was fulfilled when Jesus was born, suffered, and crucified

Clarifies           make less confused, more clearly comprehensible

  • Our Father in Heaven hears our prayers, knows HIS children, and still answers those prayers today, through visions, angels, thoughts, feelings, and with the Holy Ghost.
  • Our Father in Heaven knows ALL his children individually, in every part of the world
  • The Lord does not condone the wickedness and abominations of his people.
  • Agency with the Atonement gives us the opportunity to fail over and over again, eventually learn, and be allowed to become clean
  • Righteousness leads to blessings and Exaltation
  • Our Father in Heaven is consistent
  • The way to answers: – 1 Nephi 15:11
  • The Lord allows us to pass through various trials, this is critical for our growth and building of faith.
  • A warning – not “a maybe” but a warning of what REALLY is going to happen
  • Specific to the Jews:  “Convincing them of the true Messiah… that they need not look forward any more for a Messiah to come” – 2 Nephi 25
  • Angels are real:  Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. – 2 Nephi 32:3
  • Living the Law of Moses didn’t save… but it did serve to strengthen faith in Christ… which will lead to salvation – Alma 25:16
  • Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost act as one, but are three separate beings – 3 Nephi 11
  • Proper Baptism by Immersion with someone having authority
  • Institutes the Sacrament, with one having authority, the Bread, the wine, the sacrifice being a Broken Heart and a Contrite Spirit

Reveals           make previously unknown or secret information) known to others

  • Our Father in Heaven hears our prayers, knows HIS children, and still answers those prayers today, through visions, angels, thoughts, feelings, and with the Holy Ghost.
  • The America’s are a land of promise, preserved for the people that are led here.
  • The Lord works by way of patterns. – 1 Nephi 3:7, 1 Nephi 17:3
  • The Plan of Happiness/Plan of Salvation, and the correct path to follow
  • There are very real forces against us causing all sorts of evil against us in this world
  • There are incredibly strong forces of good that we can call upon more powerful than anything worldly that have, still do, and will act for our good.
  • The literal gathering of Israel is to take place
  • The Holy Ghost is a real gift, that reveals, comforts, and testifies.
  • Heavenly Father Loves Us, loves me
  • The destructive Pride Cycle
  • Mountains are Special to our Heavenly Father
  • A great and a marvelous work (the restoration of the Gospel) will occur to fulfill the covenants made with Israel.
  • Our Heavenly Father is extremely patient!
  • The very Earth we live upon was created by Jesus Christ
  • The correct order and design of Christ’s church upon the earth
  • Our Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ are Merciful and Just
  • The Gathering of Israel in the last days
  • New Jerusalem to be built in the last days in the promised land

… from President Russell M. Nelson

President Nelson’s Book of Mormon Lists

The Book of Mormon is:

  • Another testament of Jesus Christ. Its major writers—Nephi, Jacob, Mormon, Moroni—and its translator, Joseph Smith, were all eyewitnesses of the Lord.
  • A record of His ministry to people who lived in ancient America.
  • True, as attested by the Lord Himself.

The Book of Mormon affirms:

  • The individual identity of Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ.
  • The necessity of the Fall of Adam and the wisdom of Eve, that men might have joy.

The Book of Mormon refutes notions that:

  • Revelation ended with the Bible.
  • Infants need to be baptized.
  • Happiness can be found in wickedness.
  • Individual goodness is adequate for exaltation (ordinances and covenants are needed).
  • The Fall of Adam tainted mankind with “original sin.”

The Book of Mormon fulfills biblical prophecies that:

  • “Other sheep” shall hear His voice.
  • God will do “a marvelous work and a wonder,” speaking “out of the dust.”
  • The “stick of Judah” and the “stick of Joseph” will become one.
  • Scattered Israel will be gathered “in the latter days” and how that will be done.
  • The land of inheritance for the lineage of Joseph is the Western Hemisphere.

The Book of Mormon clarifies understanding about:

  • Our premortal existence.
  • It is a necessary component of God’s great plan of happiness.
  • Postmortal existence, which begins in paradise.
  • How the resurrection of the body, reunited with its spirit, becomes an immortal soul.
  • How our judgment by the Lord will be according to our deeds and the desires of our hearts.
  • How ordinances are properly performed: for example, baptism, sacrament, conferring the Holy Ghost.
  • The Atonement of Jesus Christ.
  • The Resurrection.
  • The important role of angels.
  • The eternal nature of priesthood.
  • How human behavior is influenced more by the power of the word than the power of the sword.

The Book of Mormon reveals information previously unknown:

  • Baptisms were performed before Jesus Christ was born.
  • Temples were built and used by people in ancient America.
  • Joseph, 11th son of Israel, foresaw the prophetic role of Joseph Smith.
  • Nephi (in 600–592 BC) foresaw the discovery and colonizing of America.
  • Plain and precious parts of the Bible have been lost.
  • The Light of Christ is given to each person.
  • The importance of individual agency and the need for opposition in all things.
  • Warnings about “secret combinations.”

Some of the challenge with this endeavor was REALLY knowing and understanding doctrine. As I look at what was “revealed” in the prophets list, I guess I never realized that some of these are only brought to our understanding from the Book of Mormon.  Fortunately, I was raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  I have been in every Primary, YM/Priesthood, Seminar lesson that is given. I have been brought up to be a believer in the Book of Mormon.  There have been times in my life where I have taken that for granted, but can honestly say I have read the Book of Mormon over a dozen times (that I can remember).  I know of the true principles it teaches, and I attempt (not always successfully) to live by the things I learn.

So, what would my life be like without the Book of Mormon?  I believe I would have constant questions that I didn’t have answers to.  I think I would live by the incomplete truths that I could get from the Bible.  I would still strive to be better each day, but with a curious wondering, and a feeling of “something-is-missing”.  One of the things the Book of Mormon helps to do is increase my relationship with Jesus Christ and my Heavenly Father.  I not sure I would understand their character, or who they are in my life without the Book of Mormon.

To be honest, the Book of Mormon has been such a light in my life, when I’m not reading it (which has been a lot of my life) I’ve felt guilty for not spending each day with it.  It has taken almost half a century for me to recognize how to read it, and how important it is for me to be reading it regularly.  I may still falter and not consider it a priority now and then, but overall, this book has brought me greater Joy and Happiness.

As I conclude, I do get a guilty feeling within that I don’t share this happiness with people the way that I should.  This is a GREAT book that will bring the same Joy and Happiness to others’ lives, that I feel.  I need to figure out ways to get it in front of their eyes, and into their hands, and a part of their lives.  Once I do, I have a faith to know that the power within and the light of Christ within them will motivate them to want to learn more and become of part of HIS Gospel.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s