I have been trying really hard to make these posts much shorter. They take me an average of 3 hours to compose because there is always so much I want to share! Once again I tried, and there was just too much to write about. The Spirit flows and I can't stop typing!
I started this post a few weeks ago when I was gallivanting off on a scripture chain. I came across some scriptures in the Book of Mormon that talk about how the Book of Mormon is a testament of the Bible. This caught my attention because I know so many people wonder about us Mormons and our "special book". This is the perfect opportunity to clear up the common misunderstanding that we don't believe in or read the Bible - which I have heard many times from people of other faiths.
What is the Book of Mormon?
The Book of Mormon is an ancient record written from the early inhabitants of the American continent - descendants of the House of Israel who left Jerusalem between approximately 600 BC and 400 AD.Today we know their descendants as the Native American people. They kept records of their history, genealogy as well as instruction given to them from God - most if it for our day. The ancient prophets were given revelation and prophecy for future generations - us. Their records were kept on plates of gold knowing that they would be preserved through time and would come forth in latter days to reveal additional witness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The Book of Mormon is a second witness of Jesus Christ and a witness of the truthfulness of the Bible. After the Lord was resurrected and visited his disciples in Jerusalem, he came to the Americas to visit the people here and give them his gospel as well. He taught them who he was and helped them establish his church in their land. He patterned it the same way in Jerusalem with 12 ordained apostles, the keys of the priesthood and ministered unto them for a short time.
It's been interesting for me to learn over the years of Native American tribes and descendants who share oral histories that parallel events in the Book of Mormon. It's another testimony to me of the truthfulness of this book. In 1827, after the angel Moroni (who buried the records to preserve them) revealed to Joseph Smith their existence and where they were buried, the prophet Joseph Smith by the gift of God was allowed to translate the records into the English language for our day.
This is a great link for more about the Book of Mormon http://mormon.org/book-of-mormon/
We Have the Bible - Why the Need for a Second Book of Scripture?
In the Book of Mormon the prophet Nephi speaks about the two witnesses of Jesus Christ on 2 separate continents as revealed to him. The Bible which was written on one side of the world and the Book of Mormon written on the other. Both would serve as true witnesses of the Lord Jesus Christ - to help bring all nations of the earth unto him.
2 Nephi 29:7
Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth?
The Lord cares about all his people. Before there was TV, phones and internet it was near impossible to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to all the earth. Because God is a loving God, he sent his son to visit inhabitants of other lands so that all could know who the Savior was and have that opportunity to follow him.
The prophet Nephi saw our day and knew that the argument would arise stemming from scriptures such as Revelation 22:18-19
18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.Nephi goes on to say in chapter 29:
8 Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also.
9 And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that I speak forth my words according to mine own pleasure. And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever.
11 For I command all men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north, and in the south, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them; for out of the boks which shall be written I will judge the world, every man according to their works, according to that which is written.
12 For behold, I shall speak unto the Jews and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the Nephites and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the other tribes of the house of Israel, which I have led away, and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto all nations of the earth and they shall write it.
13 And it shall come to pass that the Jews shall have the words of the Nephites, and the Nephites shall have the words of the Jews; and the Nephites and the Jews shall have the words of the lost tribes of Israel; and the lost tribes of Israel shall have the words of the Nephites and the Jews.
14 And it shall come to pass that my people, which are of the house of Israel, shall be gathered home unto the lands of their possessions; and my word also shall be gathered in one. And I will show unto them that fight against my word and against my people, who are of the house of Israel, that I am God, and that I covenanted with Abraham that I would remember his seed forever.
This scripture is so beautiful and powerful to me. From this we learn that when Christ returns to the earth and the tribes are all gathered together, we will obtain a new record from the lost tribes of Israel. They will also obtain our records the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Together these records will all serve as a powerful witness of the Lord Jesus Christ and that he loves us all. That he visited many lands and people to testify of himself and his word. No one is forgotten. Our Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ want us all to return to them. God is the same today and tomorrow as He was yesterday.
2 Nephi 28:29
Wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough!
After the apostles died, many books from the Old and New Testament were incorrectly translated time and time again which resulted in many plain and precious truths being lost. We also know that many books were lost and therefore we have a great deal of missing scripture.
I see the wisdom in the Lord asking the Nephite people to keep a record as he clearly knew that many truths in the Bible would be lost and that when the gospel was restored we would need to have those lost truths revealed.
1 Nephi 13:29
And after these plain and precious things were taken away it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles; and after it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles, yea, even across the many waters which thou hast seen with the Gentiles which have gone forth out of captivity, thou seest—because of the many plain and precious things which have been taken out of the book, which were plain unto the understanding of the children of men, according to the plainness which is in the Lamb of God—because of these things which are taken away out of the gospel of the Lamb, an exceedingly great many do stumble, yea, insomuch that Satan hath great power over them.
Furthermore, we know that God always speaks to His children. It would not be fair that he spoke to them in ancient times and then one day ceased all instruction and communication. God will always instruct His children through a living prophet. The times we live in now are much different than the times of Moses or the aspostles. We experience different challenges and therefore need instruction that will help us in our day. That is the beauty of having a living, modern day prophet.
The prophet Joseph Smith helped restore this gospel to the earth and all that was lost when the last of the apostles on both continents were killed. Missionary work began and the gospel was again spread throughout the world. Today we only need one prophet, and one set of 12 apostles upon the earth. With our technology the prophet Thomas S. Monson can speak to all the inhabitants of the earth. He leads the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints the same church and organization that existed when Christ was on the earth.
The Bible Prophesies of the Book of Mormon
In Ezekiel 37:15-17 Ezekiel speaks about two sticks (scrolls) together becoming one. One being a scroll of Judah and the other of Ephraim.
15 The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying,
16 Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions:
4 And thou shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust.
10 For the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered.
I love the Bible and the Book of Mormon and have a testimony of both. I have a great love for the prophets of old and all that they sacrificed for future generations. I love learning about the Jews, the history, and Christ's ministry on the Earth. I love learning about the fulness of the gospel and the precious truths that have since been found. I love the bigger picture that the scriptures teach me about life, the purpose of this earth and the plan for after we die. Most of all, I love my Savior Jesus Christ and all he has done for me. I love that he loves us all so much that we would have the opportunity to learn of him and know of him and that by coming unto him we can forever be with him.
I say this in his holy name, Jesus Christ, amen.