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).