How does The Book of Mormon answer these questions:
1. What is the purpose of life? How do I find personal meaning?
However, one of my favorite scriptures in the Book of Mormon is this:
Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy. (2 Nephi 2:25)
I think this verse really helps to outline the purpose of life in one very short phrase. We’re here to have joy. Mormons know, though, as do most people, that joy and worldly pleasures are not the same thing. Some things people consider fun are really only meaningful in this life and some aren’t even meaningful here. True joy comes from finding the Lord Jesus Christ, accepting His gospel, and living the way He taught us to live. That takes in building a wonderful eternal family, doing good to others, worship, and anything else that can continue beyond the grave. When we’re living life God’s way, we find a peace we can’t find any other way. When we choose joy, we’re on God’s path. (Terrie’s response.)
2. How can I learn God’s will for me?
Mormons believe we are here for a purpose. There is a grand plan of salvation that takes in all of us, but each of us also have our own personalized plan. To learn what it is, we have to pray and ask God to help us learn what He wants us to do. This involves thinking and studying and making some decisions on your own and then praying to ask God if you’ve chosen well. The hard part of this process, often, is being willing to accept the answer even when we don’t really want to hear it. God’s plan for us isn’t always what we would plan with our limited understanding.
However, when we pray, we don’t always get the entire answer all at once. There is a scripture in the Book of Mormon that says:
30 For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have (2 Nephi 28:30).
This means that God often gives us small amounts of information as we are ready. He may tell us a little about His plan and then wait to see if we are going to act on what we have already received. He may also wait until we are comfortable with that part and then add a little to it. In time, we will know His pl
3. Did I live before this life?
The Book of Mormon prophet Alma references clearly the Savior’s doctrine of a pre-mortal life where we lived as intelligent spirits and grew in the presence of God, before coming to mortality to further progress. Alma explains the opportunities presented to the spirit children of God in the premortal existence in these words
In the first place being left to choose good or evil; therefore they having chosen good and exercising exceedingly great faith, are called with a holy calling…on account of their faith, while others would reject the Spirit of God on account of the hardness of their hearts and blindness of their minds, while, if it had not been for this they might have had as great privilege as their brethren. Or in fine, in the first place they were on the same standing with their brethren; thus this holy calling being prepared from the foundation of the world for such as would not harden their hearts, being in and through the Atonement of the Only Begotten Son” (Alma 13:3-5; emphasis added ).
The “first place” here refers to one’s first estate or premortal existence.
For additional information visit lifebeforelife dot org here.
4. Why does God allow suffering?
In the Book of Mormon, we read about a group of people who were converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Some people think that if we are righteous, we’ll never have any trials, but this isn’t true. These people still suffered persecution from their enemies. (See Mosiah 23:21.) Their suffering was in part to fulfill a prophecy that had been made while they were wicked, but it was also to test their patience and faith.
Some trials come about because of the choices we make and some come because of choices others make. Some are a chance for us to be tested, to learn more about ourselves, to learn to depend on God, or to grow more than we could have otherwise. Some things just happen, but when they happen, God can use them to help us grow if we’re willing to grow. Life on earth is meant to be a test and a school—an opportunity to become more than we ever imagined we could be. (Read more.)
5. Does God still speak today?
The Book of Mormon is, itself, evidence that God cares about our generation as much as He cared about the ancient Jewish people. It is a record written in the Biblical era, but concerns another group of Christians, demonstrating that God’s love wasn’t restricted to one time or place. It came to us today only because God restored the prophets to the Earth after a period of apostasy that had been prophesied in the Bible—but those prophecies also contained a promise that it was not forever.
A Mormon church leader said:
“What has happened to David’s living God? It is the greatest insult to reason to suggest that God, who spoke so freely to the prophets of the Old Testament including Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, and the other prophets, now stands mute, uncommunicative, and silent.
We may well ask, Does God love us less than those led by the ancient prophets? Do we need his guidance and instruction less? Reason suggests that this cannot be. Does he not care? Has he lost his voice? Has he gone on a permanent vacation? Does he sleep? The unreasonableness of each of these proposals is self-evident.” (See Communion With the Holy Spirit, James E. Faust, Ensign, May 1980, 13)
Yes, God still speaks today through a living prophet, just as He has throughout history except in times of apostasy.
Learn more about the modern prophet, Thomas Monson from an unofficial source.
Learn more about Thomas S. Monson from an official source.
6. How does the Mormon church view divorce?
Greetings! My name is Jonathan and I am a student at Joliet
Junior College. I am currently trying to gather information from
various religions and their views on divorce. My parents separated
when I was young and in order for my mother to participate in the
Sacraments she had to get an “annulment” signed. An annulment states
that my mother was never married to my father. Until she got it signed
she was considered to be “living a life of sin and would be punished
for it.” If you can let me know what your religions views are on this
issue that would be great. I am not looking for any long responses.
Just a few words on your religions opinion would be fantastic. Thank
you for your time.
Yes, Mormons read both the Bible and the Book of Mormon. The ancient people of the Book of Mormon had scriptures with them when they left Jerusalem. Since this happened at 600 BC, they had approximately what is in today’s Torah. Their prophets frequently quoted from the book in their sermons and writings so all the people who followed God were familiar with them.Mormons believe that the Bible was perfect as originally written by each individual author. We know we don’t have all the records because some writings are mentioned in the Bible that we don’t have. We also, of course, recognize that it has been copied and translated many times. Since each translation is different, each one can’t be equally right, so we accept the original Bible and recognize there may have been copy and translation errors, depending on the translation used. Mormons use the King James translation in English. Every Mormon age eight and over studies the Mormon scriptures across a four year rotation and the Bible is studied for two of those four years. The Book of Mormon receives one year and the Doctrine and Covenants receives the final year.
“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.” (See title page of the Book of Mormon.)
The Book of Mormon alone is proof of the Christianity of Mormons. Here is a quote from the Book of Mormon itself, a testimony of our Christianity as powerful as any found in the Bible, which Mormons also accept:
26 And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins (2 Nephi 25:26).
Why haven’t I ever received a miracle?
Some people want miracles before they are willing to commit to a religion or even to God. They think that if God wants them to convert and to believe in Him, they should have a sign or some other form of proof. Some who study the scriptures note the many miracles mentioned and wonder why they have been left out.
The first family mentioned in the Book of Mormon had four sons initially, with two more born later in the narrative. The first two sons were not very valiant and eventually became wicked. God did the very best He could for them. They had many miracles and even received visits from angels, usually when they were abusing their younger brothers. The angels came to rescue the younger brothers and to warn the older ones to behave. Despite these many miracles, Laman and Lemuel never did gain a testimony of the gospel. They often claimed their father and younger brother Nephi had imagined their visions, even when angels told them these visions were true. They simply removed from memory anything that didn’t fit their chosen world-view. It wasn’t convenient to have faith—faith would require obedience and they had no desire to obey. They imagined that if they decided not to believe, the commandments would simply go away and not be true.
God doesn’t often send miracles to convert us because we aren’t converted by miracles. A person who does not want to believe will not change simply because of a miracle. He has to choose to accept God’s teachings. For some, a miracle will convert, but for others, it will not.
In the Bible, Jesus said there were blessings for those who believed after seeing proof, but there were greater blessings for those who believed without proof. A desire for faith, and a willingness to go through the steps of gaining faith, is more important than receiving a miracle, and the testimonies gained through the process of gaining faith have longer lasting benefits.
Miracles are called that because they are rare. The Book of Mormon teaches that miracles come after we believe, not before. Many of us have experienced miracles, but mistaken them for luck or the result of our own work. When we watch for them, we discover we do indeed receive miracles.
10. Is every word a prophet says scripture?
When a prophet is speaking as a prophet, his words are official. However, prophets are human beings and they have lives that don’t involve running the church. Mormon prophets arise from the ordinary membership, not a theological seminary. They have families, hobbies, and outside activities. They even have opinions.
Mormons believe that where God has not given an official answer to a question, we are free to study the issue, compare it to other doctrinal teachings, and make our own decision. God gave us our intellects and expects us to use them. Even prophets are allowed to have opinions. In the Book of Mormon, the ancient prophet Alma told his son:
20 Now, my son, I do not say that their resurrection cometh at the resurrection of Christ; but behold, I give it as my opinion, that the souls and the bodies are reunited, of the righteous, at the resurrection of Christ, and his ascension into heaven (Alma 40:20).
He was a prophet and he was teaching the gospel, but he was also offering his opinion on something he didn’t know. Later in this conversation, he explains there were some things on this subject God told him when he asked, but other things he was not sure about. A prophet is giving official information when he teaches what came from God.
From time to time, people will quote something a prophet said without noting that this opinion was never canonized. If it is not in our scriptures or other official doctrine, it is not scripture and not official. It is just one person exercising his right to have an opinion. It should be noted that the Journal of Discourses is not scripture and not canonized. Brigham Young did not review the journal for mistakes and therefore, must not be quoted as “proof” of Mormon belief.
11. Does the Book of Mormon talk about America?
The first prophets of the Book of Mormon had visions in which they saw Columbus coming to the Americas and learned the country would have an important role to play in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Because so many people came here looking for the ability to practice their religion, the founding fathers addressed the issue of religion when they set out to create a Bill of Rights. Although the practice of religious freedom was not perfect and many times, even after the country was founded, religions found themselves officially persecuted, there was a law and a tradition in place that eventually made it possible for the gospel to survive.
Joseph Smith protested that the Constitution lacked what would eventually become the fourteenth amendment. This amendment allowed the federal government to force states to obey the constitution. Prior to this amendment, Mormons were persecuted by the states and the federal government did not have the ability to prevent it even if they had wanted to do so.
Despite these challenges, religious freedom has flourished and been fought for. It has allowed the gospel of Jesus Christ to be restored and allowed churches of all kinds to develop and grow. Mormons strongly support the concept of religious liberty for everyone, not just themselves.
The Book of Mormon also prophecies of the Civil War.
Mormons believe in angels. Angels play a critical role in the Bible and in the Book of Mormon. They also play a critical role in church history. When it was time for Joseph Smith to become the first prophet of the restoration God sent an angel, Moroni, to train him for the role. From time to time, angels have played important roles in the church.They also play an important role in the lives of ordinary people. Jeffrey R. Holland, a Mormon apostle, said, “I believe we need to speak of and believe in and bear testimony of the ministry of angels more than we sometimes do. They constitute one of God’s great methods of witnessing through the veil, and no document in all this world teaches that principle so clearly and so powerfully as does the Book of Mormon.” (See For a Wise Purpose, by Jeffrey R. Holland, Ensign, Jan. 1996, 16-17.)
The large and small miracles of life are often the work of angels in our lives. They can testify to us of Jesus Christ and His gospel, help us find truth, comfort us, and guide us. While Mormons don’t believe each person is assigned a guardian angel, they do believe angels minister to us in times of need.