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.)