Tag Archives: Doctrine

#BOMSummer DAY 84, Moroni 8-9: “Confirming Evidence”

Moroni 8-9,

President James E. Faust:

What, then, is the Book of Mormon? It is confirming evidence of the birth, life, and crucifixion of Jesus and of his work as the Messiah and the Redeemer. Nephi writes about the Book of Mormon: “All ye ends of the earth, hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ.” (2 Ne. 33:10.)

Nephi and his brother Jacob join with Isaiah to constitute three powerful pre-Messianic voices proclaiming the first coming of Jesus. Isaiah is quoted extensively by Nephi because he is the principal Old Testament prophet who prophesied of the coming of the Messiah.

The Book of Mormon establishes the truthfulness of the Bible. (See 1 Ne. 13:40.) It is evidence “to the world that the holy scriptures are true.” (D&C 20:11.) It foretells the establishment of the fulness of the gospel of peace and salvation. It was written to give us principles and guidelines for our eternal journey.

One of the ultimate messages of the Book of Mormon, and indeed of the Old Testament and all human history, is that mankind cannot reach perfection on its own. There is another message which comes through loud and clear from its pages. It is the often unpopular and seemingly harsh injunction—“Repent or perish.” When the Book of Mormon people listened to this prophetic message, they flourished. When they forgot the message, they perished.

In Galatians Paul said, “The law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ.” (Gal. 3:24.) The records maintained by the Book of Mormon prophets—and portions of what is now the Bible brought from the eastern continent—served, according to Abinadi, “to keep them in remembrance of God and their duty towards him.” (Mosiah 13:30.) So the Book of Mormon is a schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ. (See Mosiah 13:27–32.)

The test for understanding this sacred book is preeminently spiritual. An obsession with secular knowledge rather than spiritual understanding will make its pages difficult to unlock.

To me it is inconceivable that Joseph Smith, without divine help, could have written this complex and profound book. There is no way that Joseph Smith, an unlearned young frontiersman, could have fabricated the great truths it contains, generated its great spiritual power, or falsified the testimony of Christ that it contains. The book itself testifies that it is the holy word of God….

With the aid of modern computer science, a topical guide has been placed in the King James Version of the Bible, containing doctrinal cross-references to the other scriptures. From these references we find countless confirming evidences that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon with the aid and power of God. On almost every one of its 531 pages are numerous references that tie in doctrinally to the King James Bible. In comparison, many statements that seem fragmented in the Bible are more complete in the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants.

References to teachings also taught in the Old Testament and the New Testament are so numerous and overwhelming throughout the Book of Mormon that one can come to a definitive conclusion by logic that a human intellect could not have conceived of them all. But more important than logic is the confirmation by the Holy Spirit that the story of the Book of Mormon is true.

All scriptures are one in that they testify of Jesus. Jacob, a Book of Mormon prophet, reminds us that “none of the prophets have written, nor prophesied, save they have spoken concerning this Christ.” (Jacob 7:11.) Speaking of the scriptures, the Psalmist said, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Ps. 119:105.)

The Book of Mormon will encourage only righteousness. Why, then, has hostility been engendered against the book? In part, no doubt, it may have come because the origin of the book was from golden plates delivered to Joseph Smith by an angel. These were seen and handled by selected witnesses, but not put on public display. Perhaps it is also because it is claimed primarily to be the work of ancient prophets here on the American continent.

The great worth of the Book of Mormon was declared by the Savior himself. He said in 3 Nephi, “This is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me.” (3 Ne. 11:32.)

The Redeemer further declared in the Book of Mormon, “Behold I have given unto you my gospel.” (3 Ne. 27:13.) As a special witness, I testify that Jesus is the Christ and that Nephi’s and Isaiah’s prophecies of His coming have in fact been fulfilled. Like Nephi, “We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophecy of Christ.” (2 Ne. 25:26.)

I testify that the Savior will come again, and that at his second coming some will say, “What are these wounds in thine hands and in thy feet?” He will show the wounds in His hands, wrists, and feet, and they will ask when and where he received these wounds. He will answer: “I am Jesus that was crucified. I am the Son of God.” (D&C 45:51–52.)

I testify through the sure conviction that springs from the witness of the Spirit that it is possible to know things that have been revealed with greater certainty than by actually seeing them. We can have a more absolute knowledge than eyes can perceive or ears can hear. God himself has put his approval on the Book of Mormon, having said, “As your Lord and your God liveth it is true.” (D&C 17:6.) (“The Keystone of Our Religion,” Ensign, Nov. 1983.)

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#BOMSummer DAY 80, Ether 8-10: “New Covenant”

Ether 8-10,

:

The Savior referred to the Book of Mormon as His “new covenant” with the house of Israel. It is a tangible sign of Christ’s culminating covenant with mankind. The divine teachings of this book, as a third testament, clarify doctrine and unify the Old Testament with the New Testament. Scriptural covenants, testaments, and witnesses since the beginning of time relate to the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the central act of all human history.

The Book of Mormon is the most important religious text to be revealed from God to man “since the writings of the New Testament were compiled nearly two millennia ago.” Joseph Smith declared the Book of Mormon to be “the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion.” It is the only book that the Lord Himself has testified to be true.

The crowning event of this sacred record is the personal ministry of the resurrected Lord to people of ancient America. To them He made this revelatory announcement:

“Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God. I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are. I was with the Father from the beginning. …

“… The scriptures concerning my coming are fulfilled. …

“I am the light and the life of the world. …

“… Whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost. …

“… I have come unto the world to bring redemption unto the world, to save the world from sin.

“Therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will I receive, for of such is the kingdom of God. … I have laid down my life, and have taken it up again; therefore repent, and come unto me, … and be saved.”

After that supernal introduction, the Master reinforced His identity by allowing the multitudes to thrust their hands into His side and feel the prints of the nails in His hands and in His feet. Then they knew that the very God of Israel stood in their presence—He who had been slain for the sins of the world.

He instructed the people. He taught them to pray, to repent, to be baptized, to partake of the sacrament, to know of His doctrine, to understand the importance of sacred ordinances and covenants, and to endure to the end. (“A Testimony of the Book of Mormon,” Ensign, Nov. 1999.)

#BOMSummer DAY 69, 3 Nephi 14-16: “The Lord Himself Said”

3 Nephi 14-16,

Elder Neil L. Andersen:

The Lord Himself said the Book of Mormon contains “the fulness of my everlasting gospel” (D&C 27:5; see also D&C 42:12). The Book of Mormon unveils the plan of salvation and “answers the great questions of the soul.”

The lessons of truth in the Book of Mormon are taught in the difficult circumstances of war and oppression, in the sermons of prophets, in the conversations of fathers to sons, and in the Savior’s own words. There is a central theme: “God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people” (Mosiah 15:1). There are those who are seeking: “And I will tell you of the wrestle which I had before God” (Enos 1:2). There is the constant call to leave our sins behind and step to a higher level: “And it came to pass that I was three days and three nights in the most bitter pain and anguish of soul; and never, until I did cry out unto the Lord Jesus Christ for mercy, did I receive a remission of my sins. But behold, I did cry unto him and I did find peace to my soul” (Alma 38:8; emphasis added). And there are the comforting and peace-filled words of the Savior: “Will ye not now return unto me … that I may heal you? … If ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive” (3 Nephi 9:13–14).

The Book of Mormon gently passes its stories and testimonies before us. As we ponder them and pray about them, the Lord reveals to the quiet chambers of our hearts our own need to repent and change. As we covenant with the Lord and make changes in our lives, we feel the power of His Atonement and confirming peace. As our spiritual journey progresses, we feel strengthened by His grace as we confront the difficulties and disappointments of life. An Apostle has said, “When we want to speak to God, we pray. And when we want Him to speak to us, we search the scriptures.”

This is the peace of the true doctrine of Christ found in the Book of Mormon. (“The Book of Mormon: The Great Purveyor of the Savior’s Peace,” Ensign, Jan. 2008)

#BOMSummer DAY 52, Alma 48-50: “Endless Treasure”

Alma 48-50

:

The Book of Mormon is an endless treasure of wisdom and inspiration, of counsel and correction, “adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest [among us]” (D&C 89:3). At once, it is rich in nourishment for the most learned, if they will humble themselves (see 2 Ne. 9:28–29).

From the Book of Mormon we learn about:

The plan of salvation or “the great plan of happiness” (Alma 42:8; see also Alma 42:5, 8, 12, 30).

The doctrine of Christ and the Atonement (see 2 Ne. 31:2–21; 2 Ne. 32:1–6; 3 Ne. 11:31–40; 3 Ne. 27:13–21).

Why death is necessary (see 2 Ne. 9:4–6; Mosiah 16:8–9; Alma 12:25–27).

Life after death in the spirit world (see Alma 40:11–14).

The workings of the evil one (see 2 Ne. 2:27; Alma 28:13; 3 Ne. 2:2).

The order of the priesthood (see Mosiah 29:42; Alma 4:20; Alma 5:3, 44; Alma 13:1–10).

Sacramental prayers (see Moro. 4:3; Moro. 5:2).

A sure way to judge between good and evil (see Moro. 7:16).

How to retain a remission of your sins (see Mosiah 4:26).

Clear, prophetic warnings and many, many other things pertaining to the redemption of man and to our lives. All are parts of the fulness of the gospel (see D&C 20:9). (“The Book of Mormon:Another Testament of Jesus Christ—Plain and Precious Things,” Ensign, May 2005.)

#BOMSummer DAY 51, Alma 46-47: “Your Keystone”

Alma 46-47,

The Prophet Joseph Smith, who translated the Book of Mormon through “the gift and power of God,” described the Book of Mormon as “the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion.”

Since the Book of Mormon’s first printing in 1830, more than 174 million copies have been published in 110 different languages, demonstrating that the Book of Mormon is still the keystone of our religion. But what does this mean for each of you?

In architectural terms a keystone is a main element in an arched gateway. It is the wedge-shaped stone in the very center and at the highest point of an arch. It is the most important of the stones because it keeps the sides of the arch in place, preventing collapse. And it is the structural element that ensures the gate, or opening below, is passable.

The keystone is the very center

In gospel terms it is a gift and blessing from the Lord that the keystone of our religion is something as tangible and graspable as the Book of Mormon and that you can hold it and read it. Can you see the Book of Mormon as your keystone, your spiritual center of strength?

Keystone in an arch

President Ezra Taft Benson expanded on those teachings of Joseph Smith. He said: “There are three ways in which the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion. It is the keystone in our witness of Christ. It is the keystone of our doctrine. It is the keystone of testimony.”

President Benson further taught: “The Book of Mormon teaches us truth [and] bears testimony of Christ. … But there is something more. There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book. You will find greater power to resist temptation. … You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path.” (“Look to the Book, Look to the Lord,” Ensign, Nov. 2016)

#BOMSummer DAY 17, 2 Nephi 25-26: “The Keystone”

#BOMSummer Day 17, Ezra Taft Benson, “The Book of Mormon—Keystone of Our Religion,” Ensign, Nov. 1986

2 Nephi 25-26

President Ezra Taft Benson:

The Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion. This was the Prophet Joseph Smith’s statement. He testified that “the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion” (Introduction to the Book of Mormon). A keystone is the central stone in an arch. It holds all the other stones in place, and if removed, the arch crumbles.

There are three ways in which the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion. It is the keystone in our witness of Christ. It is the keystone of our doctrine. It is the keystone of testimony.

The Book of Mormon is the keystone in our witness of Jesus Christ, who is Himself the cornerstone of everything we do. It bears witness of His reality with power and clarity. Unlike the Bible, which passed through generations of copyists, translators, and corrupt religionists who tampered with the text, the Book of Mormon came from writer to reader in just one inspired step of translation. Therefore, its testimony of the Master is clear, undiluted, and full of power. But it does even more. Much of the Christian world today rejects the divinity of the Savior. They question His miraculous birth, His perfect life, and the reality of His glorious resurrection. The Book of Mormon teaches in plain and unmistakable terms about the truth of all of those. It also provides the most complete explanation of the doctrine of the Atonement. Truly, this divinely inspired book is a keystone in bearing witness to the world that Jesus is the Christ (see title page of the Book of Mormon).

The Book of Mormon is also the keystone of the doctrine of the Resurrection. As mentioned before, the Lord Himself has stated that the Book of Mormon contains the “fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ” (D&C 20:9). That does not mean it contains every teaching, every doctrine ever revealed. Rather, it means that in the Book of Mormon we will find the fulness of those doctrines required for our salvation. And they are taught plainly and simply so that even children can learn the ways of salvation and exaltation. The Book of Mormon offers so much that broadens our understandings of the doctrines of salvation. Without it, much of what is taught in other scriptures would not be nearly so plain and precious.

Finally, the Book of Mormon is the keystone of testimony. Just as the arch crumbles if the keystone is removed, so does all the Church stand or fall with the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. The enemies of the Church understand this clearly. This is why they go to such great lengths to try to disprove the Book of Mormon, for if it can be discredited, the Prophet Joseph Smith goes with it. So does our claim to priesthood keys, and revelation, and the restored Church. But in like manner, if the Book of Mormon be true—and millions have now testified that they have the witness of the Spirit that it is indeed true—then one must accept the claims of the Restoration and all that accompanies it.

Yes, my beloved brothers and sisters, the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion—the keystone of our testimony, the keystone of our doctrine, and the keystone in the witness of our Lord and Savior.  (“The Book of Mormon—Keystone of Our Religion,” Ensign, Nov. 1986).

#BOMSummer DAY 13, 2 Nephi 9: “Both Are Necessary”

#BOMSummer Day 13, L. Tom Perry, “The Power of Deliverance,” Ensign, May 2012 (2)

2 Nephi 9

Elder L. Tom Perry:

What a blessing it is to have an account of the mission of our Lord and Savior declared in the Book of Mormon to add a second witness to the doctrine declared in the Bible. Why is it important for the world to have both the Bible and the Book of Mormon? I believe the answer is found in the 13th chapter of 1 Nephi. Nephi records: “And the angel spake unto me, saying: These last records, which thou hast seen among the Gentiles [that is, the Book of Mormon], shall establish the truth of the first [which is the Bible], which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved” (1 Nephi 13:40).

Neither the Bible nor the Book of Mormon in and of themselves is sufficient. Both are necessary for us to teach and learn about the complete doctrine of Christ. The need for the other does not diminish either one of them. Both the Bible and the Book of Mormon are necessary for our salvation and exaltation. (“The Power of Deliverance“, Ensign, May 2012)

#BOMSummer DAY 9, 1 Nephi 22-2 Nephi 1: “A Confirming, Clarifying, Unifying Witness”

#BOMSummer Day 9, Elder Tad R. Callister, “The Book of Mormon—a Book from God,” Liahona and Ensign,Nov. 2011

1 Nephi 22-2 Nephi 1

Elder Tad R. Callister:

An honest, unbiased reading of the Book of Mormon will bring someone to the same conclusion as my great-great-grandfather, namely: “The devil could not have written it—it must be from God.”

But why is the Book of Mormon so essential if we already have the Bible to teach us about Jesus Christ? Have you ever wondered why there are so many Christian churches in the world today when they obtain their doctrines from essentially the same Bible? It is because they interpret the Bible differently. If they interpreted it the same, they would be the same church. This is not a condition the Lord desires, for the Apostle Paul declared that there is “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5). To help bring this oneness about, the Lord established a divine law of witnesses. Paul taught, “In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established” (2 Corinthians 13:1).

The Bible is one witness of Jesus Christ; the Book of Mormon is another. Why is this second witness so crucial? The following illustration may help: How many straight lines can you draw through a single point on a piece of paper? The answer is infinite. For a moment, suppose that single point represents the Bible and that hundreds of those straight lines drawn through that point represent different interpretations of the Bible and that each of those interpretations represents a different church.

What happens, however, if on that piece of paper there is a second point representing the Book of Mormon? How many straight lines could you draw between these two reference points: the Bible and the Book of Mormon? Only one. Only one interpretation of Christ’s doctrines survives the testimony of these two witnesses.

Again and again the Book of Mormon acts as a confirming, clarifying, unifying witness of the doctrines taught in the Bible so that there is only “one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” For example, some people are confused as to whether baptism is essential for salvation even though the Savior declared to Nicodemus, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). The Book of Mormon, however, eliminates all doubt on that subject: “And he commandeth all men that they must repent, and be baptized in his name, … or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God” (2 Nephi 9:23).

There exist various modes of baptisms in the world today even though the Bible tells us the manner in which the Savior, our great Exemplar, was baptized: “[He] went up straightway out of the water” (Matthew 3:16). Could He have come up out of the water unless He first went down into the water? Lest there be any discord on this subject, the Book of Mormon dispels it with this straightforward statement of doctrine as to the proper manner of baptism: “And then shall ye immerse them in the water” (3 Nephi 11:26).

Many believe that revelation ended with the Bible even though the Bible itself is a testimony of God’s revelatory pattern over 4,000 years of man’s existence. But one incorrect doctrine such as this is like a domino set in motion that causes the fall of other dominoes or, in this case, the fall of correct doctrines. A belief in the cessation of revelation causes the doctrine that “God is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Mormon 9:9) to fall; it causes the doctrine taught by Amos that “surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7) to fall; and it causes the doctrine that “God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34) and thus speaks to all men of all ages to fall. But fortunately the Book of Mormon reenthrones the biblical truth of continuous revelation:

“And again, I speak unto you who deny the revelations of God, and say that they are done away, that there are no revelations. …

“Do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever … ?” (Mormon 9:7, 9).

In other words, if God, who is unchangeable, spoke in ancient times, He will likewise speak in modern times.

The list of doctrinal confirmations and clarifications goes on and on, but none is more powerful nor poignant than the Book of Mormon’s discourses on the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Would you like to have emblazoned on your soul an undeniable witness that the Savior descended beneath your sins and that there is no sin, no mortal plight outside the merciful reach of His Atonement—that for each of your struggles He has a remedy of superior healing power? Then read the Book of Mormon. It will teach you and testify to you that Christ’s Atonement is infinite because it circumscribes and encompasses and transcends every finite frailty known to man. That is why the prophet Mormon declared, “Ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ” (Moroni 7:41).

No wonder the Book of Mormon proclaims with boldness, “And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ” (2 Nephi 33:10). Together with the Bible, the Book of Mormon is an indispensable witness of the doctrines of Christ and His divinity. Together with the Bible, it “teach[es] all men that they should do good” (2 Nephi 33:10). And together with the Bible, it brings us to “one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” That is why the Book of Mormon is so crucial in our lives.  (“The Book of Mormon—a Book from God,” Liahona and Ensign,Nov. 2011).