How is the Book of Mormon different from the Bible? How did Joseph Smith obtain the “golden plates” or Book of Mormon?
The Book of Mormon is another witness that Jesus Christ really lived, that He was and is God’s Son. It contains the writings of ancient prophets. One of these, Lehi, lived in Jerusalem around 600 B.C. God commanded Lehi to lead a small group of people to the American continent. There they became a great civilization.
God continued to call prophets among these people. The Book of Mormon is a collection of the writings of their prophets and record keepers.
In September 1823, Joseph Smith was visited by a heavenly messenger named Moroni - the last of these ancient prophets to keep the record - in the same way that angels often appeared to Church leaders in the New Testament (see especially the book of Acts). The Angel Moroni informed Joseph that God had a work for him to do. Moroni told Joseph that a record of the ancient inhabitants of the American continent was buried in a nearby hill and that the record contained the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In September 1827, Joseph received the record, which was written on thin plates of gold. We now know it was not uncommon for people from that era of ancient America to keep records on metal plates. Joseph translated the book into English by the inspiration of God. The book is called The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. It is named after Mormon, an ancient prophet who made an abridgment of the sacred records of his people.
The Book of Mormon was published in 1830. Since that time it has blessed the lives of millions of people through its powerful message about Jesus Christ and His gospel.
The book verifies, as another testament of Christ, the reality and divinity of Jesus Christ. These prophets knew about Heavenly Father’s plan for His children and the mission of Jesus Christ. They recorded that Christ appeared, after His Resurrection, to the people in America, taught them His gospel, and formed His Church among them. The book contains the teachings of Jesus Christ, testifying of His Atonement and His love. It supports and verifies the Bible. The Bible contains prophecies about these people in America (see Ezekiel 37:15-17, Isaiah 29:18).
The Book of Mormon concludes with a great promise that those who read it and sincerely pray about it can know by the Holy Ghost that it is true (Moroni 10:4).
The main difference between the Book of Mormon and the Bible are where they were written. The Bible was written by prophets in Jerusalem and that surrounding area, whereas the Book of Mormon was written by prophets in the Americas. Both the Book of Mormon and the Bible testify of Christ and have many teachings of the prophets concerning His doctrine and gospel. Another difference I've found in the two books is the emphasis of certain doctrines. As we read in the Bible, each people was given revelation and scripture specific to what the people needed. This is evidenced in the Book of Mormon as well. We have doctrine contained in the Bible that is not in the Book of Mormon, and vice-versa with doctrine in the Book of Mormon that is not in the Bible. In how they are different, they indeed were written in different places and contain different parts of the doctrine. Through understanding both books as well as the teachings of the modern prophets, we can come to understand the fulness of Christ's doctrine. The Book of Mormon came about via a living prophet. In the 1800's, the angel Moroni led Joseph Smith to a set of gold plates which were hidden in a hill. These plates were the records and writings of the ancient prophets here in the Americas, and they were hidden to prevent them from being destroyed. Through the power of God, Joseph Smith translated these plates and the result is called The Book of Mormon. Show more
The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. During the Savior mortal life the prophets and apostles wrote of his teachings in the Bible. We know that there were people living on the other side of the Earth at the same time. Because God loves ALL his children, on all the Earth, he sent the Savior to teach the same principles in the Americas after his resurrection. The Book of Mormon is different in that it tells their story, from the Americas, but the same because God's teachings would be the same to all his children. Show more
James Rioux answered...
The Book of Mormon is just like the Bible in that it is the word do God. The difference is that the Bible has been changed, translated and retranslated by so many that what remains Is the word of God mixed with the precepts of man and leaves one with the questions "Which of all these translations is correct". The Book of Mormon is the word of God and Show more
Joseph Smith was given the "golden plates" by an angel of the Lord. So, believe it or not, the Book of Mormon wasn't translated by man. Joseph Smith was a common country boy with barely an eighth grade education. He couldn't possibly have written or even just translated the Book of Mormon without the help of God. Show more
Jay Staheli answered...
The Book of Mormon is a record of ancient history of the American Continent written by Prophets and compiled by Mormon. By obedience Joseph Smith recieve the plates by an Angel. Joseph Smith did not just receive them as a gift he had to wait and be obedient so he would be ready to obtain the plates. Show more
Just as the Bible teaches of the prophets and the dealings of Lord's covenant (or chosen) people in the Old World, the Book of Mormon records the Lord's dealings with his people in the New World (the Americas). The Book of Mormon is different from the Bible in its location; they both teach and affirm that God lives and loves all people and has a plan for them to learn, improve, and be happy. Similar to how the book of the law was found, translated, and implemented in Josiah's day (see 2 Kings 22-24), a record of the Lord's people came forth at a later time to shed light on a people who were lost, and in a time of darkness. The golden plates (the record from which the Book of Mormon was translated) came into the hands of Joseph Smith with the help of an angel (coincidentally the same person who had preserved and hid the record while in mortality). Having obtained the record, Joseph Smith was able to translate the plates through the gift and power of God. They were made available and the Lord's people now embrace the additional truths found therein. The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ Show more
The Book of Mormon is different form the Bible, because it is another witness and further evidence of the ministry of Jesus Christ. Joseph Smith obtained The Golden Plates because of a special messenger from God named Moroni. This messenger instructed Joseph on where they were and when he should obtain them. Show more
The Book of Mormon is similar to the Bible in the fact that it is a collection of writings of the prophets that lived on the American Continents, while the Bible is a collection of writings by the prophets that lived in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas. Since both are written by God's chosen prophets, they each teach of Jesus Christ, his role as Savior, His atonement, ministry, and church. Show more
The Book of Mormon is not a replacement for the Bible, it's an additional testament of Jesus Christ. Just as a psychology class might have more than one text book, the Lord has more than one record. Because that's what the Bible and the Book of Mormon are, records made by prophets of old. The Book of Mormon is a record kept by prophets here on the American Continent. Dating back to roughly 600 BC, this book contains the stories and revelations of the Lord's people living in a different part of the world. It always amazes me that there are people who think the Lord only had one prophet at a time, what about the rest of the world? It's not like they had internet or international newspapers. It makes sense to me that God would send the same revelations through different channels to ensure all of his children had access. The Golden Plates (where the book originates) were buried in the ground for just over 400 years after the birth of Christ. They contained an abridged version of 1000 years of records, made by prophets of old. The prophet Mormon compiled the most important revelations and hid them to come forth during the last days (which, by the way, we're in). With guidance from an angel of God, Joseph Smith retrieved the plates, safe and untouched for centuries. The Book of Mormon is a translation of those plates. They're not watered down, the teachings haven't experienced centuries of rewrites from random scribes. The revelations and stories are as new as the day they were first recorded, and it shows. They not only support the Bible, they help clarify things that were lost in translation. Because things were definitely lost in translation. Show more