One of the defining characteristics of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often inadvertently referred to as the Mormon Church) is that it has scripture in addition to the Bible. The most notable of this supplemental scripture is the Book of Mormon, a book chronicling the history of the people living in the ancient Americas. The key purpose of the Book of Mormon is to be another witness of Jesus Christ. When the prophets of the Book of Mormon were writing their stories and sermons, they were inspired to know that their words would be for our time, not just theirs. Their words, warnings, and prophecies were directly written with our world in mind.
What’s in the Book of Mormon, Anyway?
The Book of Mormon contains the history of the people living in the American continents, beginning at about 600 B.C. and concluding at 400 A.D. These records coincide with the time period of many books in the Bible. The Book of Mormon recounts stories of family strife, missionary work, wars, conversions, and most importantly, the visit of Jesus Christ to the Americas.
Christ’s visit to the Book of Mormon peoples is central to the message of the Book of Mormon. I personally have found great inspiration, comfort, and direction when reading these passages. The doctrine of Jesus Christ transcends all race, creed, and time, and that becomes evident through reading the Book of Mormon.
The Book of Mormon also contains accounts of several wars between the Nephites and the Lamanites, the two most prominent groups of people in the Book of Mormon. Through reading about these wars, we can see the impact that faith and obedience have on a group of people, and we can see the devastating and widespread effects of pride and wickedness. Is there any part of this that we can’t relate to today? Our world right now is full of war, greed, and destruction. The Book of Mormon provides the answers we need to bring ourselves back into the light.
The World Needs Another Witness of Christ
The world today seems to be continually moving further and further away from the doctrine of Jesus Christ. Values that used to be common and accepted are now seen as stodgy, out of date, and even intolerant. So many people operate under the delusion that they can be happy and enlightened through solely their own efforts; they think that they don’t need the redemption offered by Christ.
The Bible isn’t strong enough anymore to stand alone as a witness of Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon is there to add strength to the testament of the Savior. Mormons also have living prophets and apostles who are set apart as special witnesses of Christ. Our world needs many witnesses of Jesus Christ to effectively spread His message.
The Book of Mormon Is for Individuals
This book is not intended just to stand as a witness against the world–it is here for you individually, to help, guide, and comfort you through your journeys and trials. I have read the Book of Mormon through several times, and each time I learn something new. Different chapters and verses shine to me, and the Holy Ghost teaches me and helps me through the adversity I face.
I remember one time in particular when I was facing a situation that greatly affected me, but one over which I had little control. I was distraught; I didn’t know what to do or how to move forward. So I opened my scriptures and started reading in the book of 3 Nephi when Jesus Christ is ministering among the American peoples after His resurrection. I came across this verse: “And Jesus said unto them: Pray on; Nevertheless they did not cease to pray” (19:26). In that moment I knew that God knew me and that He knew my pain. All I could do in that situation was to keep praying, and I felt peace.
You too can find the peace you seek by reading the Book of Mormon. The testimonies of the Savior are powerful and beautiful, and you are invited to develop your own witness of Jesus Christ. (See Moroni 10:3 – 5). The Book of Mormon is meant for our times and for those individuals living in our times; it is meant for you.