What is the Book of Mormon?
The Book of Mormon is another witness of Jesus Christ.
Does it seem possible that God stopped talking to man after the last page of the New Testament? Or the last page of the Old Testament, for that matter? Our ancestors were taught by living prophets, and those prophets recorded holy scripture—profound spiritual lessons embedded in the history of their people. While many of our questions and struggles are similar to those of biblical times, it only makes sense that a loving God would continue guiding His children with additional messages of hope and wisdom applicable to their lives. The Book of Mormon is exactly that: continued revelation from God that serves as a witness to the truths in the Bible and to the divinity and teachings of Jesus Christ.
The Book of Mormon answers essential questions that we all have at some point: Is there life after death, and what’s waiting for us on the other side? What is the purpose of life, and how can I find happiness and peace now? Does God know me and hear my prayers? How can I avoid sin and learn to truly repent? How can I become the best possible version of myself?
Like the Bible, the Book of Mormon is an ancient record of God’s teachings to His people.
The Book of Mormon prophets lived in the Americas from approximately 600 BC to AD 400, and they wrote the histories and the powerful spiritual lessons taught to their people. Like us today, the women and men of those times struggled with temptation, searched for wisdom, and led happier lives when they followed the teachings of Jesus Christ. We can recognize ourselves in their stories—inspired and inspiring spiritual records that are similar in form and content to those in the Bible.
Faithful Christian prophets wrote and safeguarded the records now contained in the Book of Mormon for centuries before they were compiled by the ancient prophet Mormon. (People often refer to us as “Mormons” because his name is in the book’s title, but we are followers of Jesus Christ—and the official name of the Church bears His name: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.) We believe that Jesus Christ’s gospel was restored on earth by the Prophet Joseph Smith, who in 1829 translated the ancient scriptural texts by the gift of revelation from God. Like the ancient prophets who came before him, Joseph Smith served as God’s messenger and testified of Jesus Christ’s Atonement and of the Savior’s ability to change our lives for good.
The Book of Mormon is a fundamental part of Jesus Christ’s restored Church on the earth today.
God promises us that if we read the Book of Mormon with an open heart and mind, He will reveal to each of us its divinity and its truth through inspiration from the Holy Spirit. Some 80,000 Mormon missionaries are teaching people about this book on six continents in 107 languages—and these people are currently putting that promise to the test. Missionaries give out copies of the Book of Mormon for free, yet more than 15 million members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints count it among their most valuable possessions. Like these members, people from all over the world, from every possible background, are learning that the Book of Mormon can help us find peace and faith in this life and eternal salvation in the life to come.
Why is the Book of Mormon significant?
The Book of Mormon has influenced the lives of millions of people around the world by bringing them closer to Jesus Christ.
When something is important, we write it down. When it’s really important, we share it. People everywhere document events in history. We take note of meaningful speeches from leaders. We write down the things we know—because we want future generations to know them too.
The principles that were recorded in the Book of Mormon—faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, joy, salvation—changed the lives of an ancient people. See how these principles continue to change lives today.
How can the Book of Mormon benefit my life?
Scriptures are more than just old words and stories. They are relevant, timely messages for the problems we face.
When you approach reading the Book of Mormon by frequently asking yourself, “What is this really saying?” you’ll find there are many relevant messages for you today. The book was written to inspire readers to make decisions that would ultimately improve their lives and bring them closer to God. It was the authors’ hope that their words would lead people to Jesus Christ and change behaviors; would lift sadness, uncertainty, and fear; would offer purpose and direction to people’s outlook on life; and would give people evidence that God is still “a God of miracles” (Mormon 9:10).
The significance of the Book of Mormon in the world could be measured in the quantity of copies distributed or the overall increase in the number of people who choose to follow Jesus Christ after reading the book. The most important effect, however, is distinctly personal. The Book of Mormon answers questions, provides hope, and solidifies spiritual strength in people, one by one.
The people whose lives have changed from reading the Book of Mormon found it when they were sinners or when they were faithful, when they felt hopeless or when they were happy. To find meaning in the Book of Mormon, people may be learned or uneducated, alone or surrounded by friends and family, financially successful or economically strained. The only common characteristic is that people who are affected by this book pick it up with a simple desire to know and understand its truth.