The Book of Mormon, which members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (inadvertently referred to as the Mormon Church) testify is Another Testament of Jesus Christ, is a volume of scripture that is comparable to the Holy Bible. The Book of Mormon does not in any way detract from the teachings of the Bible, but in fact, the two volumes of scripture complement each other. What is taught in the pages of the Holy Bible is also taught in the Book of Mormon with added clarity to enable the diligent student of the scriptures to gain a better understanding of the doctrine and principles that are being taught. Both volumes testify of the life, the infinite love, the ministry, and the vicarious atonement of Jesus Christ who is the Son of the Living God – the Savior of all mankind.
The Coming Forth of the Book of Mormon
Concerning the translation, importance, and significance of the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, the first prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ, stated,
This messenger [Moroni] proclaimed himself to be an angel of God, sent to bring the joyful tidings that the covenant which God made with ancient Israel was at hand to be fulfilled, that the preparatory work for the second coming of the Messiah was speedily to commence; that the time was at hand for the Gospel in all its fullness to be preached in power, unto all nations that a people might be prepared for the Millennial reign. I was informed that I was chosen to be an instrument in the hands of God to bring about some of His purposes in this glorious dispensation (History of the Church, 4:536-537).
Joseph Smith later stated,
I translated the Book of Mormon from hieroglyphics, the knowledge of which was lost to the world, in which wonderful event I stood alone, an unlearned youth, to combat the worldly wisdom and multiplied ignorance of eighteen centuries, with new revelation, which (if they would receive the everlasting Gospel,) would open the eyes of more than eight hundred millions of people, and make “plain the old paths,” wherein if a man walk in all the ordinances of God blameless, he shall inherit eternal life (History of the Church, 6:74).
The First Publication of the Book of Mormon
Having completed the work of translation, Joseph Smith stated, “we went to Palmyra, Wayne County, New York, secured the copyright, and agreed with Mr. Egbert B. Grandin to print five thousand copies for the sum of three thousand dollars (History of the Church, 1:71).
Yet, initially, Mr. Grandin rejected the offer to print the surprisingly large order of 5,000 copies of the Book of Mormon, as he believed “this gold Bible business” to be a hoax and a gross imposition. In a brief time, however, he reconsidered, being assured that he would be linked to the printing of the book only in a business way. Before committing to a contract though, he asked his friend John H. Gilbert, an experienced printer who was “good at figures,” to help him determine what it would cost to produce the enormous number of books—an edition size rarely considered by large-city publishers let alone by country printers (Two Significant Sites of the Restoration, Ensign, Sept. 1998, 35–36.)
The Book of Mormon was subsequently printed in the Grandin Building located in downtown Palmyra, New York, starting in mid-August 1829, and the first copies were offered for sale in Grandin’s bookstore on 26 March 1830, as another witness of the divinity and mission of Jesus Christ. The total printing cost was in the amount of $3,000 which was financed by Martin Harris, a family friend, who mortgaged part of his farm. Joseph Smith was 23 years of age at the time.
Testimonies of the Book of Mormon
Since its publication, millions of people worldwide have read the Book of Mormon. After reading it, they have gained their own personal witness and testimony that the book is indeed the Word of God, They have also discovered that by reading, studying, and pondering the words of scripture contained therein, a person can draw closer to Jesus Christ.
The testimonies of two past Church leaders concerning the power of the Book of Mormon are cited below.
Gordon B. Hinckley, the 15th President and Prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, stated,
Believe in the Book of Mormon as another witness of the Son of God. This book has come forth as an added testimony to the world of the great truths concerning the Master as set forth in the Bible. The Bible is the testament of the Old World. The Book of Mormon is the testament of the New World, and they go hand in hand in testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I can’t understand why those of other faiths cannot accept the Book of Mormon. One would think that they would be looking for additional witnesses to the great and solemn truths of the Bible. We have that witness, my brothers and sisters, this marvelous book of inspiration which affirms the validity and the truth of the divine nature of the Son of God. God be thanked for this precious and wonderful testimony. Let us read it. Let us dwell upon its truths. Let us learn its message and be blessed accordingly (meeting, Baltimore, Maryland, 15 Nov. 1998; quoted in “Recurring Themes of President Hinckley,” Ensign, June 2000, 18–19).
James E. Faust, the Second Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1995 until his death in 2007, stated:
A keystone keeps an arch in place; without a keystone the whole arch will collapse. Why is the Book of Mormon the keystone of our religion? Because it is central to our history and theology. It is the text for this dispensation. Nothing took priority over getting the Book of Mormon translated and published. Everything was held until that was accomplished. There were no Apostles until it came into being. Ten days after the book’s publication the Church was organized. Publication of the Book of Mormon preceded missionary work because Samuel Smith needed to have it in hand before he could go forward as the first missionary of the Church. Sections 17 and 20 of the Doctrine and Covenants indicate that the Brethren could not fully know the divinity of the latter-day work until the Book of Mormon was translated. …
… May our testimonies ring forth with power and authority and conviction concerning Joseph Smith, the greatest prophet who has ever lived, and concerning the Book of Mormon, which he brought forth (“Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon,” Ensign, January 1996, 7).
My Personal Witness of the Book of Mormon
After meeting with missionaries on a regular basis for about a year, and learning about the teachings and doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ, I finally made the decision that I would not be baptized until I had read the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants (a collection of modern revelations), and the Pearl of Great Price (which contains the Book of Moses, the Book of Abraham, and Joseph Smith’s Story), each in their entirety. I was inspired to develop a 40-day reading calendar to accomplish the reading of all three volumes.
As I read the Book of Mormon, the Holy Spirit bore witness to me that what I was reading was indeed true – what I was reading was indeed the Word of God. I soon gained a personal testimony of the truthfulness of the book and came to the full realization that the book was exactly as Latter-day Saints testify of it being – Another Testament of Jesus Christ.
Before being baptized, I was studying to be a Baptist minister and I had already read the Bible in its entirety some nine times, but somehow I always felt that there should be more to the story. I testify that I discovered the rest of the story through the pages of the Book of Mormon. I have been a member of The Church of Jesus Christ since March of 1998, and in that time, I have read the Book of Mormon nine more times in its entirety. Each time I read the Book of Mormon I discover truths that have always been there, but perhaps I missed in previous readings.
I have found that, like the Bible, the Book of Mormon never grows old. Depending on my station in life at any particular moment, the truths contained within its pages take on new meaning, and as I learn more, I indeed draw closer to the Savior, and learn to love Him even more. I invite everyone to read the Book of Mormon and discover for themselves the power of the gospel that it contains, and as a person does so, I testify that he will draw closer to the Lord Jesus Christ.