Thursday, July 17, 2014

Another book of scripture?

I want everyone who reads this post to know upfront that I love the Bible. I believe it to be the word of God. I believe it to be true. I believe that it can lead us down the path that God wants us to take and ultimately end up living in true happiness. But this blog post is more specifically about the Book of Mormon.

As a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I try to invite everyone to read the Book of Mormon. You may ask, "why not invite everyone to read the Bible?" Well, the rest of Christianity already believes the Bible to be the word of God. And for the most part, they don't need to find out if it is true because they grew up believing that it's true. And we hope to have those we teach to come to know that the Book of Mormon is true. But I might add that we do encourage everyone to start or continue reading the Bible as well as the Book of Mormon.

So, what is the Book of Mormon? Who wrote it? Why do we have it? The introduction to the Book of Mormon reads:

"The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible. It is a record of God's dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains the fulness of the everlasting gospel. The book was written by many ancient prophets by the spirit of prophesy and revelation. Their words, written on gold plates, were quoted and abridged by a prophet-historian named Mormon (which is why it is called the Book of Mormon, and also where our church got the nickname of "Mormons"). This record gives an account of two great civilizations. One came from Jerusalem in 600 B.C.,...The other came much earlier when The Lord confounded the tongues at the Tower of Babel..."

We often call the Book of Mormon the keystone of our religion. A keystone is the large, center stone in an arch that holds the other stones in place. The Book of Mormon has three main purposes: first and foremost, it's purpose it to bear witness that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, our Savior and Redeemer. Second, it contains the fulness of the doctrine of Christ, and helps support and clarify things taught in the Bible. And third, it is the foundation of our testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ's church once again established on the earth.

So where did the Book of Mormon come from? Nearly two hundred years ago, Joseph Smith was trying to decide which church to join. He visited many different sects, but never felt like any of them were right. After an appeal to the Bible, he came to the conclusion that in order to receive an answer, he must pray about it. As a result of that prayer, he was visited by God and Jesus Christ. They told him to join none of the churches, because they had lost the fulness of the gospel. They called him to be a prophet, and through him restored Christ's church to the same state it was in when Christ was on the earth. They led him to, and had him translate the ancient record written on gold plates, into what we have as the Book of Mormon.

You are probably thinking that that is the craziest thing you have ever heard, and that there is no way that that could happen. Well, let me ask you a few questions.

- Do you believe that the Bible is true?
- How do you know it is true?
- Do you know what's in the Bible?
- Why wouldn't you want more of God's word?

For those of you who believe in the Bible, let me test your faith a little bit. If you believe in the Bible you believe that Adam lived for 930 years (Genesis 5:3). You believe that Noah built an ark and fit at least two of every kind of land animal on it (Genesis 6). You believe that Moses saw God (Exodus 3), and parted the Red Sea (Exodus 14). You believe that a donkey spoke to Balaam (Numbers 22). You believe that Jonah spent three days in the belly of a whale, and then was spit up on shore (Jonah 1-2). And I could go on and on and on, the Old Testament has 929 chapters full of these crazy stories.

So why couldn't Joseph Smith's story happen?

I believe that it did happen. I believe that he really was chosen to be a prophet of the Lord and to restore Christ's church to the same state it was in when Christ was on the earth. And the reason I believe that is because I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I have read the entire thing, cover to cover, multiple times. I also read the Bible nearly every day, and my testimony of the Book of Mormon only strengthens my testimony and understanding of the Bible. 

So please, read or reread the Book of Mormon and pray to ask God if it is true. If the Book of Mormon is true, then what we teach is also true, then Joseph Smith was truly visited by God and Jesus Christ and they called him to be a modern day prophet, it's as simple as that. All you have to do is read the book and pray about it.