The introduction of the book of Mormon is a favorite section of mine and one That I used so many times while on my
Mission. It is a powerful statement that clearly explains why the book demands reader attention.
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 fulness of the everlasting gospel.
As I wrote in my last post, right out of the bat this book makes a very bold claim. It is not merely a theological tract or philosophical essay, but is in very fact holy scripture comparable to the bible. Not only that, but it contains the fullness of the gospel along with the Bible.
I often wondered what it means that the book of Mormon and the bible contain the fullness of the gospel. Certainly, not all doctrines are clearly taught in these works and some were withheld until our days, so what exactly does this mean. I had a lot of insights on this while on my mission. First of all, I think christs definition of his gospel in 3 Nephi 27 is really key.
13 Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you-that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me.
14 And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil-
15 And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works.
16 And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world.
17 And he that endureth not unto the end, the same is he that is also hewn down and cast into the fire, from whence they can no more return, because of the justice of the Father.
The third paragraph of the introduction here is also very illustrative
The crowning event recorded in the Book of Mormon is the personal ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ among the Nephites soon after his resurrection. It puts forth the doctrines of the gospel, outlines the plan of salvation, and tells men what they must do to gain peace in this life and eternal salvation in the life to come.
The gospel here is defined very clearly as the core teachings that Christ came to the earth, was crucified and rose on the third day and that thanks to him all men may have eternal life. The book of Mormon and the bible lay bare the fact that Jesus is the only source and provider of salvation. It can be said that the fullness of the gospel can be found when the doctrine is clearly expounded so as to give us confidence in his saving grace and turn us towards him. Christ is the living Christ and in that sense no text or doctrine can be full if it is limited. Instead, the purpose of the scripture must be to turn us towards the Christ!
9 Behold, I am the law, and the light. Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life.
This theme of looking to Christ in order to live us so clearly stated throughout the book of Mormon as to become almost it’s credo.
The introduction continues to again state that the book of Mormon was written by prophecy and revelation and through prophets. Thus, this book truly
can he said to have a divine pedigree. The 5th paragraph again emphasizes this when declaring that Joseph Smith translated them by the gift and power of god. Clearly no other explanation for the origin of the book of Mormon can be defended by members of the church.
Joseph smiths statement about the book of Mormon is one of the more controversial things in the book of Mormon, but I have a testimony that this is true and that a person will draw closer to god through consistent study of the book of Mormon. I saw this on my mission as investigators that studied the book of Mormon grew so much closer to god in remarkable ways!
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 by any other book.”
The last two paragraphs are of course along with Moroni 10:3-5 the most common things used when introducing the Book of Mormon to an investigator this is a powerful and bold invitation to all men everywhere to read the book and not merely flip through it but to truly ponder it and then turn to
God in sincere prayer. Sadly, I saw that even though the way to know of the books truth is so simple many reject it precisely for that reason hardening their hearts and lacking confidence in god and his power.
Those that do gain a witness of the book of Mormon will know a few very key things as already mentioned. They will know that Jesus is the Christ, that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the true church of Christ is on the earth today. When someone has that witness and keeps it through continued reading, prayer and sacrament attendance, trials
can and will come, but they will not be able to shake the convictions firmly planted in the soul by the Holy Ghost.