The above featured image was painted by David Lindsley.
The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. The teachings in it are enlightening. The stories in it are incredible. But nothing compares to what you do not find in the text – that is the sweet feeling that overcomes you as you read the words found therein. The spirit of God manifests itself in its pages like no other book you could ever read. That is why millions of followers proclaim this book to be the word of God.
How to Read or Obtain the Book of Mormon
Read using a Smart Device – The book is often read by using the “Gospel Library” app downloaded on any smart device such as iPhones and Android phones.
Read on the Computer – The Book of Mormon can be read online from the website of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at https://churchofjesuschrist.org.
Receive Physical Copy for Free – A free copy of the physical book can be obtained by filling out the form at the following link: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/comeuntochrist/requests/free-book-of-mormon.
Purchase a Physical Copy – You can purchase a physical copy from numerous places online at a very small cost. One online location is at https://store.churchofjesuschrist.org.
Purchase the Annotated Version – The Annotated version was published by David Hocking. This version includes many insights on the historical and doctrinal relevance of the book not found anywhere else. https://beaconlightbooks.com/.
Original Publication of the Book of Mormon – If you are doing historical research, it is often interesting to compare to the very first edition of the Book of Mormon which was published in 1830.
Information on the Original Manuscript – For those serious on their research in history, the original manuscript is in the process of being published to the best that is available to us today. Learn about this on the below link.
Questions and Answers
Question One: Who was Joseph Smith?
Joseph Smith was a young obscure farm boy living in upstate New York in the early 1800s. When he was about 14 in 1820, he did not know which church to join, so he took his answer to God in prayer and received a marvelous vision telling him to join none of the churches.
Question Two: Tell me about the Gold Record?
About 5 years later, he was visited by an angel which told him of a gold record which had the history of an ancient people. The record was buried in what is now the called the Hill Cumorah not far from his home. It took four more years before the Angel was able to entrust Joseph with the record as the Angel knew that once he had it, many would try very hard to take it from him. Throughout the course of the next year, he translated the record through the gift and power of God.
Question Three: How did he translate the record?
There are several historians who have written books on this topic. To be brief, the record came with an artifact called the Urim and Thummim (means Light and Truth). It had a breast plate and spectacles. Through the power of God, he was able to look through this device, he had to study out the symbols in his mind, and then was able to receive from God the knowledge necessary to translate the book. Joseph also received many revelations through this device.
Question Four: Did Joseph Smith use a seer stone?
This is another topic of which historians have written books and some contend over. Some historians claim he only used the Urim and Thummim which contained two seer stones placed in spectacles. Other historians claim he sometimes used a different seer stone independent of the Urim and Thummim. What is agreed upon is that he used the power of God to do the translation.
Question Five: Were there other witnesses who saw the Gold Plates?
There are at least twelve people who saw the Gold Record.
Three witnesses include Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris and David Whitmer. These three were shown the Gold Plates and other Book of Mormon artifacts by an Angel of God. Read their account here: https://bookofmormonheartland.com/joseph-smith-the-three-witnesses/
Shortly after the three witnesses where shown the record by an Angel, Joseph Smith himself showed the gold record to eight more witnesses. Their names are Christian Whitmer, Jacob Whitmer, Peter Whitmer Jr., Hiram Page, Joseph Smith Senior, Hyrum Smith and Samual Smith. Read about their account here: https://bookofmormonheartland.com/joseph-smith-testimony-of-the-eight-witnesses/
Additionally, Mary Whitmer was also shown the gold record, Read about her account here: https://bookofmormonheartland.com/mary-whitmer-the-other-witness-of-the-gold-plates/
Question Six：I was told that DNA proves the Book of Mormon to be false. Do you have an answer to that?
Bio-geneticist and author Donald Yates wrote a book called Old Souls in a New World. Donald is a Native American of the Cherokee tribe. He claims that his tribe has a genetic marker called Haplo-Group X Type 2 which ties his people to Galilee. He also claims that there are many cultural ties of his people to the Jews. He claims that many of his tribe have fully embraced their Jewish heritage.
Question Seven: How can one believe such a far fetched story?
No one can make you believe the story. But either Joseph was called by God to do this work, or he was a fraud. If he was called to do the work, and the Book of Mormon was translated by the power of God, then it is the most important story on the earth since the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you read the Book of Mormon with an intent to find out, the Holy Ghost will manifest to you by the power of God that it is true. And if God manifests it to you by his power, can there be any greater witness?
What is the Book of Mormon?
The Book of Mormon is a historical record that is about the ancestors of the Native American Indians. It begins 600 BC in Jerusalem. And ends about 421 AD in America with Moroni sealing up the record and burying it in the earth. Aside from Jerusalem, exact locations of the story are not known for certain. Many sources, such as this source put pinpoints of where I and others think it happened. But the teachings in the book far outweigh the certainty of where it happened. Evidences supporting its historical truths are all around in North America, Central America, and South America. I find the historical evidences of North America to be the most compelling, others are more convinced of other locations.
But in this article, I intend to give the broad overview of what you will find for certain in the book. What is certain is that it contains the teachings of many prophets who prophesied of the coming of Christ. For these people, the prophesies included Christ visiting them after his resurrection. They were taught that Christ would visit the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and that they were a branch of this house. They were taught the plan of salvation and the importance of believing in Christ in order to be saved from their sins.
Soon after arriving in America, the family split into two prominent factions – Nephites and Lamanites. The Nephites were named after the fourth son of Lehi who had become a spiritual leader in the family. The Lamanites were named after the eldest son who in general rebelled against his father’s teachings. The Nephites retained the pre-christian religion and practiced the Law of Moses. The Lamanites fell into apostosy and hated the Nephites. The majority of the book is on the pre-christian teachings among the Nephites.
Eventually, Christ did come and visit them. They learned the same teachings that were taught by Jesus to the people in the old world including the sermon on the mount. He was only with them for a fairly short period of time, but it was long enough that the entire land was converted and lived in a state of peace for nearly 200 years. Jesus called 12 disciples to teach and baptize among the people and to continue building his church among the people.
Eventually, the people fell into a state of unbelief. They began to took up false gods. They turned their backs on Jesus Christ and denied him. And by the end of the fourth century AD, the Nephites were virtually destroyed from off the face of the earth. Anyone who was left was forced to assimilate with the rest of the Lamanites, deny the Christ, or be killed.
The rest of this article will be focused on the main teachings of each of the books in the Book of Mormon.
The First Book of Nephi
The beginning of the book is about Nephi’s father – Lehi, but it is told from Nephi’s perspective. It tells of Lehi’s calling to be a prophet and of his vision where he saw Christ descends from heaven. It tells of his calling to testify to the people of Jerusalem of the coming of the Messiah and of the eminent destruction Jerusalem. He also proclaimed that the city would be destroyed, that many should be killed and that many would be carried away to Babylon (1:13). It was because he complied with his revelation that he was commanded in a dream to take his family and leave Jerusalem. The prophesy of Jerusalem being destroyed was fulfilled in 587 BC.
First Nephi is one of the funnest of all the books to read. It is very personal about Nephi. In Nephi, we see the challenges of a person who is willing to stand up for his belief in God. Because of his sure faith, miracles happen. His challenges with older brothers who rebel against God while he stands true are very inspiring. It is in general, very fun and easy to read. Below are some of my favorite verses.
1 Nephi 3:7
7 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.
1 Nephi 10:19
19 For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round.
1 Nephi 14:14
14 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory.
The Second Book of Nephi
Second Nephi has a little bit of story and a lot of doctrinal teachings. It even includes several chapters of the Book of Isaiah found in the Bible. Some of the chapters are expounded on with commentary by Nephi and by Nephi’s younger brother Jacob. For the beginner, it is a difficult read. But if you are hungry for the teachings of God, it is a marvelous and a rewarding read. If you are new to the book, then do not feel bad if you either skip the Isaiah chapters or speed read them – simply so that you not be discouraged. If you are used to reading the Bible, you know how perplexing Isaiah can be. Commentary on the Isaiah chapters can be found here.
For perspective on the big picture of the story, Lehi and his family have now arrived by boat into “The Promised Land” – a land for their family and a land with great promises bestowed upon it. The family splits up and has many tribes with most associating themselves either as Nephites or as Lamanites. The Nephites practice the Law of Moses. The Lamanites fall into a state of not believing in Christ and not having the Law of Moses available to them.
2 Nephi 2:6-7
6 Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth.
7 Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered.
2 Nephi 19:6
6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
2 Nephi 25:23
23 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.
The Book of Jacob
Jacob was the younger brother of Nephi and a great spiritual leader to this growing extended family. His short book is all focused on his gospel oriented teachings.
18 But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God.
19 And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good—to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted.
27 Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none;
28 For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts.
10 Wherefore, brethren, seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand. For behold, ye yourselves know that he counseleth in wisdom, and in justice, and in great mercy, over all his works.
Enos, Jarom, Omni, Words of Mormon
These four books are the shortest books of the Book of Mormon. They complete the translation the Small Plates of Nephi that were made by the hand of Nephi and were actually translated by Joseph Smith after he completed the translation of the rest of the book that was in the Gold Plates. This circumstance was made necessary as Martin Harris took the beginning of the Book of Mormon and lost it. The Small Plates of Nephi were used to complete the beginning of the record.
Enos was the son of Jacob and has a wonderful conversion story that is very similar to mine and yours. It was based on prayer. Jarom and Omni cover a significant historical time with very little detail. They end with the Nephites joining up with another group of people located to the north of Land of Nephi. This group was called the People of Zarahemla and once referred to as the Mulekites. The People of Zarahemla left Jerusalem and came to America not long after Jerusalem was destroyed by Babylon. These two groups, the Nephites, and the People of Zarehemla joined together and were now often referred to as “The People of God”.
4 And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens.
5 And there came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.
6 And I, Enos, knew that God could not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away.
11 Wherefore, the prophets, and the priests, and the teachers, did labor diligently, exhorting with all long-suffering the people to diligence; teaching the law of Moses, and the intent for which it was given; persuading them to look forward unto the Messiah, and believe in him to come as though he already was. And after this manner did they teach them.
26 And now, my beloved brethren, I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption. Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved.
The Book of Mosiah
The Book of Mosiah is one of the best parts of the Book of Mormon. It begins with King Benjamin handing over the kingdom to his son Mosiah. But his farewell speech is one of the most moving speeches ever given resulting in a mass conversion of people to the gospel of Jesus Christ with the people taking a covenant to live following God’s teachings looking forward to the coming of Christ.
Next the book turns to a record of a people who had previously left Zarahemla to return to the battle lost lands known as the Land of Nephi where they would live amongst their enemies. The situation turned bad there as the people lost sight of Gods path. Abinidi, a chosen prophet, condemned the king for his wickedness and was burnt at the stake. But before his killing, one of the kings servants listened to Abinidi, was converted, and forced to flee. After Abinidi’s death, this former servant of the king – Alma – wrote down the words of Abinidi and taught the people in secret. He and his converts were soon forced to flee the land. The people who remained in the land were eventually forced into bondage by the Lamanites and eventually returned to Zarahemla. The group with Alma and the group from the Land of Nephi all returned to Zarahemla near the same time. Nearly all these people were now believers in Christ.
During the reign of King Mosiah, the sons of the king and the son of their new religious leader Alma, rebeled against the teachings of God. And because of the faith and prayers of certain righteous people, the sons of King Mosiah and of Alma receive a miraculous conversion – a conversion which they never turn from. The event of this conversion is what this painting is about.
At the end of the book, the four sons of King Mosiah forsake their place to be king and instead chose to serve a mission in the Lamanite lands with the intent to convert the Lamanites to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They never again waivered in the gospel. The son of Alma who was dear friends with the sons of King Mosiah stayed behind and served as the new Chief Judge in the land. He would later resign and spend his time teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the land.
19 For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.
26 But behold, and fear, and tremble before God, for ye ought to tremble; for the Lord redeemeth none such that rebel against him and die in their sins; yea, even all those that have perished in their sins ever since the world began, that have willfully rebelled against God, that have known the commandments of God, and would not keep them; these are they that have no part in the first resurrection.
27 Therefore ought ye not to tremble? For salvation cometh to none such; for the Lord hath redeemed none such; yea, neither can the Lord redeem such; for he cannot deny himself; for he cannot deny justice when it has its claim.
Mosiah 18: 8-10
8 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witness of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—
10 Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?
The Book of Alma
The Book of Alma is the longest book and it is a day where miracles took place on numerous occasions. I am talking about the type of miracles that just make one ponder on often. The book begins about 91 BC and covers a period of democratically elected judges ruling the people. Alma the Younger was the first chief judge. And even though the judges were democratically elected, that did not mean it was a time of peace. On the contrary, it was a time of great divisions and wars.
Eventually, Alma would step down as the chief judge so that he could focus on using the teaching of the gospel. Sometimes he was well received. Sometimes he was threatened, imprisoned, and mocked.
While Alma was doing much to keep the fire of the Christian faith alive in the Nephite lands, his friends, the sons of the former King Mosiah, were in the Lamanite lands where they worked miracles and converted thousands of Lamanites. These people were once a blood thirsty people, but in their conversion, buried their weapons of war and swore an oath never to again shed blood. And in their new peaceful state, they gained enemies of the local folk who wanted them dead. To avoid annihilation, they were persuaded to move into the Nephite lands where they were promised protection.
The wars continued…
14 And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?
15 Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you? Do you look forward with an eye of faith, and view this mortal body raised in immortality, and this corruption raised in incorruption, to stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body?
11 Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection—Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life.
12 And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow.
13 And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of the wicked, yea, who are evil—for behold, they have no part nor portion of the Spirit of the Lord; for behold, they chose evil works rather than good; therefore the spirit of the devil did enter into them, and take possession of their house—and these shall be cast out into outer darkness; there shall be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, and this because of their own iniquity, being led captive by the will of the devil.
12 And it came to pass that he rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it—In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children—and he fastened it upon the end of a pole.
13 And he fastened on his head-plate, and his breastplate, and his shields, and girded on his armor about his loins; and he took the pole, which had on the end thereof his rent coat, (and he called it the title of liberty) and he bowed himself to the earth, and he prayed mightily unto his God for the blessings of liberty to rest upon his brethren, so long as there should a band of Christians remain to possess the land.
The Book of Helaman
The book of Helaman demonstrates just how quickly believers can falter and turn away from righteousness. Of all of the Book of Helaman, the most memorable is the prophesy given by Samuel the Lamanite.
1 And now it came to pass that Samuel, the Lamanite, did prophesy a great many more things which cannot be written.
2 And behold, he said unto them: Behold, I give unto you a sign; for five years more cometh, and behold, then cometh the Son of God to redeem all those who shall believe on his name.
3 And behold, this will I give unto you for a sign at the time of his coming; for behold, there shall be great lights in heaven, insomuch that in the night before he cometh there shall be no darkness, insomuch that it shall appear unto man as if it was day.
4 Therefore, there shall be one day and a night and a day, as if it were one day and there were no night; and this shall be unto you for a sign; for ye shall know of the rising of the sun and also of its setting; therefore they shall know of a surety that there shall be two days and a night; nevertheless the night shall not be darkened; and it shall be the night before he is born.
5 And behold, there shall a new star arise, such an one as ye never have beheld; and this also shall be a sign unto you.
6 And behold this is not all, there shall be many signs and wonders in heaven.
7 And it shall come to pass that ye shall all be amazed, and wonder, insomuch that ye shall fall to the earth.
8 And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall believe on the Son of God, the same shall have everlasting life.
The Book of Third Nephi
About the time when Jesus was on the Cross in Jerusalem, great destruction took place in America. It was an incredible natural disaster which records of a great earthquake and a think darkness covering the land. But the catastrophe settled. And the whole land was changed. And soon, at the next gathering at the temple, Christ did come and he stayed with them for a period of time. Not long, but just long enough for him to administer to the people, heal the sick and lame, organize his church, and teach the people his teachings. He called 12 disciples to baptize and to teach the people.
3 Nephi 11:3-7
3 And it came to pass that while they were thus conversing one with another, they heard a voice as if it came out of heaven; and they cast their eyes round about, for they understood not the voice which they heard; and it was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, and notwithstanding it being a small voice it did pierce them that did hear to the center, insomuch that there was no part of their frame that it did not cause to quake; yea, it did pierce them to the very soul, and did cause their hearts to burn.
4 And it came to pass that again they heard the voice, and they understood it not.
5 And again the third time they did hear the voice, and did open their ears to hear it; and their eyes were towards the sound thereof; and they did look steadfastly towards heaven, from whence the sound came.
6 And behold, the third time they did understand the voice which they heard; and it said unto them:
7 Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him.
3 Nephi 12:3-11
3 Yea, blessed are the poor in spirit who come unto me, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 And again, blessed are all they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5 And blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
6 And blessed are all they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled with the Holy Ghost.
7 And blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.
8 And blessed are all the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9 And blessed are all the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.
10 And blessed are all they who are persecuted for my name’s sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 And blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake;
3 Nephi 15:16-21
16 This much did the Father command me, that I should tell unto them:
17 That other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
18 And now, because of stiffneckedness and unbelief they understood not my word; therefore I was commanded to say no more of the Father concerning this thing unto them.
19 But, verily, I say unto you that the Father hath commanded me, and I tell it unto you, that ye were separated from among them because of their iniquity; therefore it is because of their iniquity that they know not of you.
20 And verily, I say unto you again that the other tribes hath the Father separated from them; and it is because of their iniquity that they know not of them.
21 And verily I say unto you, that ye are they of whom I said: Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
The book does continue. But for the rest, you are going to have to read it yourself. But pay attention to the promise stated below.
The Book of Mormon Promise
If you will read the Book of Mormon, you will feel the spirit of God working within you. The book itself states that if you will read these things, and pray to God in faith, he will manifest unto you the truthfulness of the words through the power of the Holy Ghost.
Moroni 10: 4-5
4. 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.
5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
I testify to you that if you will read this book, you will feel closer to Christ. You will feel joy. You too will know that the teachings found in the book are inspired from God and are true. You will know that Jesus is the Savior of the world and is also your personal redeemer.