Title Page -Written by Moroni -found by Joseph at the end of the plates -subsequently translated by Joseph (History of the Church 1:71)
What is the greatest issue to confront mankind in modern times?
The Role of the Book of Mormon “Few men on earth, either in or out of the Church, have caught the vision of what the Book of Mormon is all about. Few are they among men who know the part it has played and will yet play in preparing the way for the coming of Him of whom it is a new witness…The Book of Mormon shall so affect men that the whole earth and all its peoples will have been influenced and governed by it….There is no greater issue ever to confront mankind in modern times than this: Is the Book of Mormon the mind and will and voice of God to all men?” (Bruce R. McConkie, Millennial Messiah, pp. 159, 170, 179)
The Purpose “What is the major purpose of the Book of Mormon? To bring men to Christ and to be reconciled to him, and then to join his church—in that order. (Ezra Taft Benson, in Conference Report, Oct. 1984, p.5).
Power “There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book. You will find greater power to resist temptation. You will find the power to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path” (President Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign 11/86, 7).
More Power “I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope and charity— the pure love of Christ—will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy and happiness” (Marion G. Romney, General Conference, April, 1980).
A Lifetime Pursuit “Every Latter-day Saint should make the study of this book a lifetime pursuit. Otherwise, he is placing his soul in jeopardy and neglecting that which could give spiritual and intellectual unity to his whole life. There is a difference between a convert who is built on the rock of Christ through the Book of Mormon and stays hold of that iron rod, and one who does not” (Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, 1/88, p.5)
Whooaaaa, Nellie! “No member of this Church can stand approved in the presence of God who has not seriously and carefully read the Book of Mormon” (Joseph Fielding Smith, CR, 10/61, 18).
The Keystone Statement Understanding what we do about a keystone, why did Joseph call the Book of Mormon the “keystone of our religion”? How does changing the possessive pronoun so that it reads “the Book of Mormon is the keystone of my religion” add meaning?
“The Book of Mormon Adventure” by President Spencer W. Kimball “May I tell you of a great adventure? As I traveled to a weekend assignment, I took with me an unusual book which was my constant companion. I could lay it down only to sleep, eat, and change trains. It fascinated me, captivated me, and held me spellbound with its irresistible charm and engaging interest. I have read it many times. “As I finished it, I closed the book and sat back, absorbed as I relived its contents. Its pages held me, bound me, and my eyes were riveted to them. I knew the book was factual, but as has been said, ‘Truth is stranger than fiction.’... “I found in it life at its best and at its worst, in ever-changing patterns. I hardly recovered from one great crisis until another engulfed me.... “This dramatic story is one of the greatest ever played by man.... “Its story has a vital message to all people.... “Archaeologists may be excited as they read of ruins of ancient cities, highways, and buildings.... “Journalists will find in this book crisis after crisis, presenting rich material for limitless climactic stories.... “This unparalleled book should intrigue navigators.... “The student of economics will find in this unusual book the disintegration of nations through pride, soft living, and luxuries, terminating finally in hunger and fetters.... “The astronomer and geologist here may see signs in the heavens and new stars come into focus, three days without sun... nights without darkness... and a vapor of darkness so impenetrable that no glimmer, nor candles, nor torches, nor fire could give any light.... “Engineers will learn... that... centuries ago, men erected buildings, temples, and highways with cement.... “The psychologists may find studies in human behavior and the workings of the human mind and the rationalizing processes where men convince themselves that ‘good is bad, and that bad is good.’... “The educator will find treasures of literature and poetry.... “This comprehensive book should be studied by politicians, government leaders, kings, presidents, and premiers to see the rise and fall of empires, and the difference between statesmanship and demagoguery.... “Scientists will read of unusual instruments never patented or remade or duplicated, of elements which, without recharging, illuminate dark spaces indefinitely.... “Military men may learn much in strategy, intrigue, in movements, in morale.... “But after all, it is not the book’s dramatic crises, its history, its narrative that are so important, but its power to transform men into Christlike beings worthy of exaltation. “It is the word of God. It is a powerful second witness of Christ. And, certainly, all true believers who love the Redeemer will welcome additional evidence of his divinity.... “My beloved friends, I give to you the Book of Mormon. May you read it prayerfully, study it carefully, and receive for yourselves the testimony of its divinity” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1963, pp. 62–65, 67–68).
The Book of Mormon -When it was initially taken to the E.B. Grandin Press in Palmyra, it was 590 pages and ONLY ONE PARAGRAPH!
The Testimonies of the Witnesses With a companion, study the differences between the testimonies of the Three and the Eight. What are the differences? What else did the Three see? (D&C 17:1) What were they commanded to do after they had seen? (D&C 17:3) Of the Three and the Eight, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, Martin Harris, Jacob Whitmer, John Whitmer and Hiram Page all left the Church. Of those who fell away, Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris were the only ones to return. NONE of them ever denied their testimony of the plates!
The Room Full of Plates “When Joseph got the plates, the angel instructed him to carry them back to the hill Cumorah, which he did. Oliver says that when Joseph and Oliver went there, the hill opened, and they walked into a cave, in which there was a large and spacious room. He says he did not think, at the time, whether they had the light of the sun or artificial light; but that it was just as light as day. They laid the plates on a table; it was a large table that stood in the room. Under this table there was a pile of plates as much as two feet high, and there were altogether in this room more plates than, probably, many wagon loads; they were piled up in the corners and along the walls. The first time they went there the sword of Laban hung upon the wall; but when they went again it had been taken down and laid upon the table across the gold plates—it was unsheathed, and on it was written these words: “This sword will never be sheathed again until the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of our God and His Christ.” I tell you this as coming not only from Oliver Cowdery, but others who were familiar with it,….[Don] Carlos Smith was a young man of as much veracity as any young man we had, and he was a witness to these things. Samuel Smith saw some things, Hyrum saw a good many things, but Joseph was the leader” (Brigham Young, JD, 19:174-5).
The Twelfth Witness of the Book of Mormon -Take a moment to write down your testimony of your experience with the Book of Mormon. What have you seen, felt, heard and been shown by this marvelous book? -How can you be a better witness of the Book of Mormon?
The Plates—Physical Descriptions “These records were engraven on plates which had the appearance of gold, each plate was six inches wide and eight inches long, and not quite so thick as common tin. They were filled with engravings, in Egyptian characters, and bound together in a volume as the leaves of a book, with three rings running through the whole. The volume was something near six inches in thickness, a part of which was sealed” (Joseph Smith, HC, 4:537)
More physical descriptions of the plates You recollect that when the Book of Mormon was translated from the plates, about two-thirds were sealed up, and Joseph was commanded not to break the seal; that part of the record was hid up” (Orson Pratt, JD, 3:347). The plates were about eight inches wide and each one was thinner than common tin. There were so many, however, that it made a book about six inches thick. All the sheets were bound together by three golden rings that passed through one edge, and three smaller rings fastened the other edge of about one third, so that this part was sealed. Each sheet was engraved on both sides with small beautiful characters, but they were very strange and not at all like anything Joseph had seen before” (George Q. Cannon, “The Life of Joseph Smith, the Prophet” p.23).