History and Story Behind the Book of Mormon Part 2

About the Church of Latter-Day Saints holy Book of Mormon, history of the famous religious work.



Contents: The Book of Mormon is not the Mormon Bible but rather an account of the ancient people of the Americas, just as the Bible is an account of the ancient people of the East.

Although the Book of Mormon contains an account of the Jaredites, who migrated to America before 2000 B.C., most of the book covers the thousand-year history of a group of Hebrews led by the prophet Lehi who came to the Americas in 600 B.C. They split into two tribes, the Lamanites (dark people who lived in the wilderness) and the Nephites (light people who built cities). The Lamanites became the ancestors of the American Indians. Eventually, however, the tribes began warring and destroyed each other in battles that lasted until 421 A.D. The last of the survivors of the Nephite people, including Mormon and Moroni, compiled and saved the recorded history of their people. These stories were written onto gold plates, known collectively today as the Book of Mormon.

The most important aspect of this history is the appearance of Christ in America after his ascension and his teachings to the Nephites. The time of the Crucifixion exactly parallels a rapid series of earthquakes, floods, and fires in the Americas, and three days after the disaster Christ came before the Nephites saying, "Behold, I am the light and the life of the world...."

Among the important doctrines included in this volume are faith in Christ, repentance for the remission of sins, baptism, and laying on of hands. The Mormon faith also incorporates the doctrine of a lay priesthood and the eligibility for the attainment of deity by all Mormons, according to the model of the Lord Jesus Christ, whose resurrection exemplifies the complete union of spirit and body.

The story of Adam and Eve in the Book of Mormon is considerably different in tone from that given in Genesis, where the fall from innocence is considered a sin. In the Book of Mormon, the fall from innocence allowed for the creation of all things, especially the awareness of joy. And thus, as in other spiritual teachings, it is suggested that life itself be used as an instrument for coming closer to the divine nature, the true potential of humankind. Nevertheless, the book is filled with stories of hellfire and brimstone as part of the picture leading to repentance.

Three classes of plates comprise the Book of Mormon: the Plates of Nephi (the secular and sacred history of the peoples); the Plates of Mormon (commentaries by Mormon and additions to the Plates of Nephi made by Mormon and Moroni); and the Plates of Ether (history of the Jaredites, abridged and commented upon by Moroni). In addition, brass plates (the Plates of Laban) were brought from Jerusalem by Lehi's people, containing scriptures and genealogy.

Thus between the records brought by Lehi's following and the new teachings of Christ in America, there is a bridge between Jews and Gentiles, Old World and New World, and the Judeo-Christian heritage and the culture and beliefs of the ancient American tribes.

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