The Book of Mormon

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(This is an excerpt from the introduction of the book Verse by Verse: The Book of Mormon.)

There is no book like the Book of Mormon. It is the most correct of any book on earth; it is the keystone of Latter-day Saint faith (Book of Mormon, Introduction). Indeed, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stands or falls with the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. The Lord himself testifies of its truthfulness (D&C 17:6). He acted as one of its editors (3 Nephi 23:7–14), and it stands as a supreme witness of him (Book of Mormon, Title Page). More than half of the verses in the Book of Mormon refer to Jesus Christ. The book presents one hundred name-titles of our Lord and testifies of the reality of God the Father and his interest in his children. It is a primer on the Father’s great plan of happiness.

President Ezra Taft Benson declared: “The Lord Himself has stated that the Book of Mormon contains the ‘fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ’ (D&C 20:9). That does not mean it contains every teaching, every doctrine ever revealed. Rather, it means that in the Book of Mormon we will find the fulness of those doctrines required for our salvation. And they are taught plainly and simply so that even children can learn the ways of salvation and exaltation.”

The Book of Mormon was of inestimable value in laying the foundation for the restoration of the gospel in these latter days. President Benson explained that a “powerful testimony to the importance of the Book of Mormon is to note where the Lord placed its coming forth in the timetable of the unfolding Restoration. The only thing that preceded it was the First Vision. . . . Think of that in terms of what it implies. The coming forth of the Book of Mormon preceded the restoration of the priesthood. It was published just a few days before the Church was organized. The Saints were given the Book of Mormon to read before they were given the revelations outlining such great doctrines as the three degrees of glory, celestial marriage, or work for the dead. It came before priesthood quorums and Church organization. Doesn’t this tell us something about how the Lord views this sacred work?”

The Book of Mormon is of immense value to each of us personally. It serves as a personal scriptural tutor, no matter what our station or situation might be—prophet or Primary child, Saint or unrepentant sinner, scholar or simple student. President Benson continued: “The Book of Mormon . . . was written for our day. The Nephites never had the book; neither did the Lamanites of ancient times. It was meant for us. . . . Each of the major writers of the Book of Mormon testified that he wrote for future generations. . . . If they saw our day, and chose those things which would be of greatest worth to us, is not that how we should study the Book of Mormon? We should constantly ask ourselves, ‘Why did the Lord inspire Mormon (or Moroni or Alma) to include that in his record? What lesson can I learn from that to help me live in this day and age?’”

The Book of Mormon teaches us to hear the voice of inspiration (1 Nephi 18:3; Enos 1:2–4, 10; Helaman 5:30; 3 Nephi 11:3). It teaches us how we should live and how we will be judged (Moroni 10:32–34). It reveals to us the enemies of Christ and his gospel: false doctrines, false educational philosophies, characteristics of false teachers, pride, apathy, and Lucifer, the chief enemy of Christ. It serves as a guide concerning the future. It discloses the pattern of the Second Coming and how to prepare for it (Acts 1:11; 3 Nephi 1–11). It brings the Spirit of the Lord into the lives of those who study it. “There is a power in the [Book of Mormon] which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book,” President Benson testified, “You will find greater power to resist temptation. You will find the power to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path. . . . When you begin to hunger and thirst after those words, you will find life in greater and greater abundance.”

Years ago, Elder Marion G. Romney of the Quorum of the Twelve (later of the First Presidency) promised the following, based on his experience: “I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence will increase, mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity—the pure love of Christ—will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness.”

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