Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ

This morning, my companion and I got a text informing us that our mission president is sending out a challenge to read The Book of Mormon. I am so excited for this challenge! We immediately started reading The Book of Mormon over again.

The title of the book is "The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ." Within The Book of Mormon, there are a total of 6,607 verses. Out of those verses, Christ's name is mentioned 3,925 times. That means his name is mentioned on an average of every 1.68 verses. Within the New Testament, the writers use some form of his name every 2.1 verses. I was once given the challenge to read The Book of Mormon and highlight every time it mentions Christ. Within the time frame that I read it, I came to gain a closer relationship with my Savior. I know that The Book of Mormon can bring us closer to our Savior than any other book!

The way that this amazing book came about is a miracle in itself! There was a man named Joseph Smith who was given an ancient record written on golden plates. He was then commissioned by God to translate them. What gets me every time is that he was a man of VERY little education. Emma Smith, who acted as an earlier scribe for Joseph, gave this account in 1856:

"When my husband was translating the Book of Mormon, I wrote a part of it, as he dictated each sentence, word for word, and when he came to proper names he could not pronounce, or long words, he spelled them out, and while I was writing them, if I made any mistake in spelling, he would stop me and correct my spelling although it was impossible for him to see how I was writing them down at the time. Even the word Sarah he could not pronounce at first, but had to spell it, and I would pronounce it for him.

"When he stopped for any purpose at any time he would, when he commenced again, begin where he left off without any hesitation, and one time while he was translating he stopped suddenly, pale as a sheet, and said, “Emma, did Jerusalem have walls around it?” When I answered, 'Yes,' he replied, 'Oh! [I didn’t know]. I was afraid I had been deceived.' He had such a limited knowledge of history at that time that he did not even know that Jerusalem was surrounded by walls.’ (Edmund C. Briggs, ‘A Visit to Nauvoo in 1856,’ Journal of History, Jan. 1916, p. 454). …

“Although the Prophet would polish his skills over the years, Emma acknowledged that Joseph possessed only rudimentary literacy at the time he translated the gold plates:
“‘Joseph Smith … could neither write nor dictate a coherent and well-worded letter; let alone dictating a book like the Book of Mormon. And, though I was an active participant in the scenes that transpired, it is marvelous to me, “a marvel and a wonder,” as much so as to any one else.’ (Ibid)” (“A Treasured Testament,” Ensign, July 1993, 62–63).

There is no way that a man, with as little of an education as Joseph Smith had, could have translated the book. He had to have been inspired of God. I know that it is by revelation that he was able to translate The Book of Mormon into what we have today.

There is a challenge in the back of The Book of Mormon in the book of Moroni. It says this:

Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful‍ the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder‍ it in your hearts.
 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask‍ God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith‍ in Christ, he will manifest‍ the truth‍ of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know‍ the truth‍ of all things.

So here is my invitation: Read it. Pray about it. If you do it with the intention of acting on what answer you get, the Lord will provide you the answers that you are looking for. I can testify that it is true. I have read it, prayed about it, and received an answer for myself that it is true. Because it is true, I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet. That he really was inspired of God. God provided him away to bring forth The Book of Mormon so that we could have it today. I know that when I read from its pages, I feel peace and hope. You can feel the same way too.

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