Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon is one book of sacred scripture used by the Mormons. Mormon beliefs also embrace the Bible, and the Book of Mormon helps to testify of the truthfulness of the Bible and the divinity of the Savior.
“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.”
The Book of Mormon tells the story of the Savior’s visit, after His death, to another group of people, called the Nephites. Jesus was not just the Savior of the Israelites. He came to save all people and He visited others to deliver His message and organize His church. The books and chapters leading up to this appearance show how they were prepared for this visit, as do the early chapters of the Bible.
Like the Bible, the Book of Mormon begins with a single family. They were not the first group to come to the Americas from the Holy Lands, but they were the original keepers of the record. This was the family of Lehi, a prophet who lived at the time of the prophet Jeremiah. God had warned the people to repent or their city would be destroyed and their people taken captive. Because of the seriousness of their sins, multiple prophets had been called, including Lehi, a wealthy planter. The people were angered by the messages of these prophets, and Lehi was commanded by God to leave behind his wealth and possessions, and take his family into the wilderness.
At this time, his family consisted of his wife, Sariah, and four sons. There were also daughters, whom we know little about, and two more sons would be born in the wilderness. The two oldest sons, Laman and Lemuel, were rebellious. They resented leaving their comfortable lifestyle and complained and doubted. The two younger sons, Sam and Nephi, managed to escape their brothers’ influence to become righteous young men.
An angel revealed to the brothers that the youngest of these four sons, Nephi, had been chosen by God to lead the family when their father was gone. Despite the fact that the older boys didn’t really trust God or want to live the gospel, they resented the fact that the youngest son would rule over them. In time, they went from merely rebellious to violent, harsh men who often tried to kill Nephi and other family members.
When the family reached their new home in the Americas, they established a homeland for themselves, presumably surrounded by others who may have come before them from other places. In time, the parents died. The older brothers, unwilling to be governed by Nephi, escalated the violence. Nephi took his family and followers and moved a distance away to establish a new home. The family split into two distinct groups, the Nephites and the Lamanites. Throughout the Book of Mormon, we see the results of the Lamanites sins, and the efforts of the Nephites to return their family to the gospel. However, we also see what happens when good people forget to focus their lives around God.
The highlight of the book is the visit of the Savior to the Nephites after His death. He spent several days with them, helping them to organize their church, teaching them the gospel, and blessing them. The message of this visit is that the Savior is the Savior of us all, and that all who love Him and are willing to follow Him will be blessed. The message of the book is best summarized by this verse found early in the book:
“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