As part of the Come Follow Me members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be exploring, reading, studying, and applying the principle teachings of the Book of Mormon. This week, individuals are introduced to the beginning sections of the Book of Mormon. From December 30 to January 5, we are engaged in understanding the essential purpose of the Book of Mormon – to testify of Jesus Christ. We already explored the Title Page of the Book of Mormon. Today, we will continue exploring what the Book of Mormon is all about and what its purpose is by reviewing and studying the Introduction page.
Holy Scripture Comparable to the Bible and Testifies of Jesus Christ
The first paragraph of the introduction sets the premise of the overall premise:
The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible. It is a record of God’s dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains, as does the Bible, the fulness of the everlasting gospel.
The first premise we discover here is that, like the Bible, the Book of Mormon is an account of ancient inhabitants of the Americas. The second premise, like the Bible, contains the fulness of the everlasting Gospel.
Within the Old and New Testament of the Bible, we encounter God’s dealings with humanity. From Adam on down to the Apostles of the First Century. We read of their struggles, their wars, their personal and national setbacks and triumphs. We read of their lineage and cultural heritage. How they worshiped God, and how they apostatized and were led into captivity. As we find in both scriptures – the messianic prophecies and the fulfillment of those prophecies in Jesus Christ. Like the Bible, we come to the Book of Mormon and read of ancient inhabitants of the Americas where they live, their cultural identity, their rise and fall, wars, victories, triumphs, and the coming of Jesus Christ.
The book was written by many ancient prophets by the spirit of prophecy and revelation. Their words, written on gold plates, were quoted and abridged by a prophet-historian named Mormon. The record gives an account of two great civilizations. One came from Jerusalem in 600 B.C. and afterward separated into two nations, known as the Nephites and the Lamanites. The other came much earlier when the Lord confounded the tongues at the Tower of Babel. This group is known as the Jaredites. After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are among the ancestors of the American Indians.
Both of these sacred texts have significant spiritual influence and impact on many people’s lives. The greatest spiritual influence and impact is that of testifying of Jesus Christ.
The crowning event recorded in the Book of Mormon is the personal ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ among the Nephites 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.
The Invitation to read and ponder the message in the Book of Mormon
One of the defining characteristics of the Book of Mormon is the invitation for all people – everywhere – to read and ponder the message it contains. It is not just an invitation to read and ponder. It is an invitation to that Jesus is the Christ, Son of the Living God.
We invite all men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in their hearts the message it contains, and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if the book is true. Those who pursue this course and ask in faith will gain a testimony of its truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost. (See Moroni 10:3–5.)
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.
The greatest spiritual influence and impact is receiving personal revelation of who Jesus Christ is. Next to this is to walk in the manner of what Christ taught in order to draw nearer to God.
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