What Is the Book of Mormon?

In 2017, President Thomas S. Monson challenged us to reinvigorate our study of the Book of Mormon:

I implore each of us to prayerfully study and ponder the Book of Mormon each day. As we do so, we will be in a position to hear the voice of the Spirit, to resist temptation, to overcome doubt and fear, and to receive heaven’s help in our lives (“The Power of the Book of Mormon,” General Conference, April 2017).

Six months later, President Russell M. Nelson shared with the church what he had done to follow the prophet’s counsel:

Since President Monson’s challenge six months ago, I have tried to follow his counsel. Among other things, I’ve made lists of what the Book of Mormon is, what it affirms, what it refutes, what it fulfills, what it clarifies, and what it reveals. Looking at the Book of Mormon through these lenses has been an insightful and inspiring exercise! I recommend it to each of you (“The Book of Mormon: What Would Your Life Be Like without It?” General Conference, October 2017).

For the remainder of 2019, I am going to take President Nelson’s challenge. Each day, I will make a list representing one of the six categories he identified. I’ll start today with the most basic of questions: What is the Book of Mormon?

  • It is a record of God’s dealings with a group of people who immigrated from Jerusalem to the American continent about 600 years before the birth of Jesus Christ (“Introduction“). It therefore provides evidence that God’s love for His children and His involvement in their lives is not limited to a single nation or region of the world.
  • The experiences and sermons in the book were carefully compiled and edited by a prophet named Mormon as his civilization was coming to an end (Words of Mormon 1:1-2). Some additional content was added after his death by his son, Moroni (Mormon 8:1, Ether 1:1-2, Moroni 1:1).
  • It was written for us. Moroni wrote, “I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing (Mormon 8:35).
  • Its purpose is to bring us closer to God by (1) reminding us what God has done in the past, (2) teaching us that we are bound to Him by covenant, and (3) affirming that He is willing to manifest Himself to us (Title Page of the Book of Mormon).

Today, I will be grateful for what the Book of Mormon represents: a tangible reminder that God loves all of His children and is involved in their lives, that we are connected to Him, and that we can communicate with Him.

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