We recently received a question from a reader regarding our beliefs related to the Bible and the Book of Mormon. On this blog we often quote from the Book of Mormon, so I’m glad Marcus sent us his query about the book and its origins.
The quick definition of the Book of Mormon is this: Just like the Bible, the Book of Mormon is the word of God — it acts as another testament of Jesus Christ. Along with fellow members of my church, I believe in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon as scripture that contains God’s guidance as he revealed it to the prophets in ancient times.
Some of the differences between the two books are the setting and timing — the Bible was written by and about the prophets in Israel from the creation until shortly after Jesus Christ’s death. The Book of Mormon deals with the prophets who lived in the Americas between about 600 BC and 400 AD. One of these prophets, Mormon, compiled the various records onto gold-like plates (basically thin, metallic pages that are engraved on both sides). He then hid the records safely away, knowing that the faithful Christians would soon perish.
Fast forward a few hundred years to the early 1800s and we find the beginnings of Christ’s church as we know it today. Joseph Smith, a young boy at the time, was in the midst of a religious revival in his upstate New York town. He turned to the Bible for guidance in knowing which Church to align himself with, and he read that “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God” (James 1:5). So he did just that — he knelt in a nearby forest and asked God for the truth. In response to that humble prayer, God called on Joseph Smith to restore to the earth the gospel that Jesus Christ had preached nearly 2,000 years prior. As part of this restoration, Joseph Smith translated the ancient records of Mormon.
The combination of the Bible and the Book of Mormon creates a fullness to our church and the individual lives of its members. Both books testify of Christ. Both are necessary. The Book of Mormon reaffirms what we learn from the Bible — Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He came to earth to provide a way for us to overcome our sins. Through our faith we can know of the truthfulness contained in both books.
Look out for a follow-up post in the coming days from Tim, where he’ll share a more personal experience of believing and following the Book of Mormon.