Study of the Book of Mormon is most rewarding when one focuses on its primary purpose—to testify of Jesus Christ. By comparison, all other issues are incidental.
When you read the Book of Mormon, concentrate on the principal figure in the book—from its first chapter to the last—the Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God. And look for a second undergirding theme: God will keep His covenants with the remnants of the house of Israel.
The Book of Mormon is a crucial component of that covenant. It is holy scripture that encompasses sacred writings from the small and large plates of Nephi, the plates of Mormon, the plates of Ether, and the plates of brass, which contained “the five books of Moses, … a record of the Jews, … and … prophecies of the holy prophets.”
When Mormon abridged these records, he noted that he could not write a “hundredth part” of their proceedings. Thus, historical aspects of the book assume secondary significance.
The Holy Bible has 66 individual books; the Book of Mormon contains 15. Its first book of Nephi—written some six centuries before the birth of Jesus—records that the prophet Lehi received a vision of the tree of life. His son Nephi prayed to know its meaning. In answer, he was given a remarkable vision. He beheld a virgin bearing a Child in her arms. He envisioned the Redeemer of the world, His earthly ministry, and His Crucifixion. He saw 12 others who would follow the Holy One. And he foresaw the ongoing opposition to the work of God and of His Apostles.
Other great prophets of the Book of Mormon—in their own way and time—testified of the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Among them were the brother of Jared, Zenock, Neum, and Zenos. Testimonies of Jesus Christ that predated His birth in Bethlehem were also recorded from King Benjamin, Abinadi, Alma the Elder, Alma the Younger, Amulek, the sons of Mosiah, Captain Moroni, the brothers Nephi and Lehi, and Samuel the Lamanite. In a seemingly endless sequence of prophetic proclamations—testimonies of “all the holy prophets” for “a great many thousand years before his coming”—the Book of Mormon makes the solemn declaration that Jesus is the Christ, our Savior and Redeemer. (“A Testimony of the Book of Mormon,” Ensign, Nov. 1999.)