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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 fullness of the everlasting gospel.
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 BC, 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 the principal ancestors of the American Indians.
After Mormon completed his writings, he delivered the account to his son Moroni, who added a few words of his own and hid up the plates in the hill Cumorah. On September 21, 1823, the same Moroni, then a glorified resurrected being, appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith and instructed him relative to the ancient record and its destined translation into the English language.
In due course the plates were delivered to Joseph Smith, who translated them by the gift and power of God. The record is now published in many languages as a new and additional witness that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God and that all who will come unto him and obey the laws and ordinances of his gospel may be saved.
Concerning this record the Prophet Joseph Smith said: “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than any other book.”
In addition to Joseph Smith, the Lord provided for eleven others to see the gold plates for themselves and to be special witnesses of the truth And Divinity of the Book of Mormon.
We invite all men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, to ponder 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. (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 the Latter-Day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom once again established on earth, preparatory to the second coming of the Messiah.
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The Book of Mormon is a sacred record of peoples in ancient American, and was engraved upon sheets of metal. Four kinds of metal record plates are spoken of in the book itself:
The Plates of Nephi, which were of two kinds; the Small Plates and the Large Plates. The former were more particularly devoted to the spiritual matters and the ministry and teachings of the prophets, while the latter were occupied mostly by a secular history of the peoples concerned (1 Nephi 9:2-4). From the time of Mosiah, however, the large plates also included items of major spiritual importance.
The Plates of Mormon, which consists of an abridgement by Mormon from the Large Plates of Nephi, with many commentaries. These plates also contained a continuation of the history of Mormon and additions by his son Moroni.
The Plates of Ether, which present a history of the Jaredites. This record was abridged by Moroni, who inserted comments of his own and incorporated the record with the general history under the title ”Book of Ether.”
The Plates of Brass brought by the people of Lehi from Jerusalem in 600 BC. These contained “the five books of Moses, . . . And also a record of the Jews from the beginning, . . . down to the commencement of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah; and also the prophecies of the holy prophets” (1 Nephi 5:11-13). Many quotations from these plates, citing Isaiah and other biblical and nonbiblical prophets appear in the Book of Mormon.
The Book of Mormon comprises fifteen main parts or divisions, known, with one exception, as books, each designated by the name of its principal author. The first portion (the first six books, ending with Omni) is a translation from the Small Plates of Nephi. Between the books of Omni and Mosiah is an insert called The Words of Mormon. This insert connects the record engraved on the Small Plates with Mormon’s abridgement of the Large Plates.
The longer portion, from Mosiah to Mormon, chapter 7, inclusive, is a translation of Mormon’s abridgement of the Large Plates of Nephi. The concluding portion, from Mormon, chapter 8, to the end of the volume, was engraved by Mormon’s son Moroni, who, after finishing the record of his father’s life, made an abridgement of the Jaredite record (as the Book of Ether) and later added the parts known as the Book of Moroni.
In or about the year AD 451, Moroni, the last of the Nephite prophet-historians, sealed the sacred record and hid it up unto the Lord, to be brought forth in the latter days, as predicted by the voice of God through his ancient prophets. In AD 1823, this same Moroni, then a resurrected personage, visited the Prophet Joseph Smith and subsequently delivered the engraved plates to him.
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