Posted by: 2thdocbob | 26 March 2016

The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ: More than a classic

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On this date in 1830, the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ was published for the first time. After 186 years, it has stood the test of time. BYU’s Maxwell Institute today discussed why the book should be considered a classic.

Numerous false ideas have been advanced to explain away its divine origin. It began with the Spaulding theory, which claims that the book was copied from the so-called Spaulding Manuscript. This theory seems to resurface every 20 years or so, and it is currently past due. In the late 1970’s, I read the Spaulding manuscript. It is a very simplistic writing, and is obviously fictional. The only common feature with the Book of Mormon is some major battles and a great deal of death at the end of the book. It is patently false.

The critics have had their fun, too, but in the end, scholars are demonstrating that this book simply could not be an invention of an unlearned boy from upstate New York. It began with Eber D. Howe’s Mormonism Unvailed [sic], which was the first to question supposed inconsistencies in the book. Most of these criticisms were motivated by a desire to discredit a new religion and its prophet, Joseph Smith. But the criticisms were frequently rooted in a lack of scholarly understanding of the ancient Hebrew writing styles. As scholars learn more of Hebrew literary technique, they find consistencies within the Book of Mormon. Chiasmus and other Hebrew poetic techniques, colophons and many Hebraic idioms were unknown in Joseph Smith’s day. And it happened too frequently to be mere coincidence or invention. Scholars continue to point out old Hebrew literary characteristics throughout the book which were unknown in the late 1820’s.

The great Middle Eastern scholar Hugh Nibley addressed many of these objections in a 1962 article in the LDS periodical The Improvement Era, entitled “Howlers in the Book of Mormon.” Two later apologists, Matthew Roper and John Gee, compiled a list of howlers that they have addressed in their blog. It seems that as time passes, the work of scholars vindicates the Book of Mormon against its critics.

However, as a book of holy scripture, The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ will never be proven by scholarly efforts. These might make us feel good about the book, but they will never have the power or the ability to convince anyone of its truth.

On the Title Page of the Book of Mormon, we are given a statement of the purpose of the book:

“Which is to show unto the remnant of the house of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever—And also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations.”[1]

The Book of Mormon stands as a witness of Jesus Christ as our Savior and Redeemer. From beginning to end, Christ is mentioned, quoted, testified of, and worshiped. One cannot read very far in the book without encountering a mention of Christ.

In the introduction, we are told:

“The crowning event recorded in the Book of Mormon is the personal ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ among the Nephites [a group central to the Book of Mormon story] 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.”[2]

A book that explains the gospel of Jesus Christ, God’s plan for our happiness, and how to gain peace in this life and eternal salvation in life to come would certainly be valuable beyond measure.

We view the Book of Mormon as a book of Holy Scripture, on a par with the Bible. The Old Testament witnesses of the Christ who was to come; the New Testament witnesses of the Christ who did come; the Book of Mormon witnesses of the Christ who came and who will come again. In our Articles of Faith we teach “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.”[3] the-kjv-bible-and-the-book-of-mormon-episode-24-2011-10-18Both sacred volumes support and testify of each other.

The Book of Mormon closes with an invitation to all: an invitation to come unto Christ.

“Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
“And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.”[4]

Significantly, it is also a book with a promise. Earlier in the final chapter, in Moroni 10:3-5, we find a promise that if anyone will read the Book of Mormon with a sincere heart, with real intent and having faith in Christ, God will make the truth of this volume known to that individual through the power of the Holy Ghost.[5] Again, from the Introduction:

“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.”[6]

I join with millions of others who have put that promise to the test in testifying of the truthfulness of this great book. I know without question that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I have felt that promised witness on many occasions. I testify that Joseph Smith translated this book from ancient records through the gift and power of God, just as he said he did. There is really no other explanation for it. It stands alongside the Bible as God’s word for us. Through years of study of both sacred books, I have seen and felt by the Spirit that the two books testify of each other. The Book of Mormon clarifies many difficult doctrines in the Bible.

I also testify that we have a loving Father in Heaven who continues to communicate with man. Because he loves us, he sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to ransom us from the effects of sin. Jesus truly is our Savior! At this Easter season it important to remember that he redeemed us from sin and death through his Atonement and Resurrection. This witness has been reinforced again and again as I have studied the Scriptures.

I witness to all who read this of the truth of the Book of Mormon. And you may have this witness for yourself, if you desire.4634426.jpg

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For further information, please visit http://www.bookofmormoncentral.org/ and https://www.mormon.org/ , or ask a missionary. You know who they are: they stand out in a crowd. They are devoting 18 to 24 months of their lives to bear this witness to all the world.

[1] Title Page https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/bofm-title?lang=eng

[2] Introduction https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/introduction?lang=eng

[3] Article of Faith 8 https://www.lds.org/scriptures/pgp/a-of-f/1?lang=eng

[4] Moroni 10:32-33 https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/moro/10?lang=eng

[5] Moroni 10:3-5 https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/moro/10?lang=eng

[6] Introduction https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/introduction?lang=eng

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