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Mormonism 101: The Scriptures
The Relation of the Bible and the Book of Mormon
Everybody knows the Bible, most religions teach by it. Most everybody has heard about the Book of Mormon, and, quite sadly, there are many controversies out there against it. Of all other books, the Torah, Koran, Jehovah's Witness Bible and others, people have chosen the Book of Mormon (and Mormonism in general) as the biggest focus of attack. "For 179 years this book has been examined and attacked, denied and deconstructed, targeted and torn apart like perhaps no other book in modern religious history—perhaps like no other book in any religious history. And still it stands." -Elder Jeffery R Holland
If I could prove to the world the greatness and truthfulness of both these books together, and yet that seems like such a vain desire. Instead I wish to bear my solemn testimony and witness that I know these books are God's words, and they still speak to us today. Instead of going on a huge tangent and rant, I would like to simply explain the relation of these scriptures.
As we know takes place in the Middle Eastern countries. It mostly focuses on Israel, these being God's chosen people, due to Christ being born a Jew. Even though Jews were a chosen people, this doesn't limit God's love to only them. Are we not all his children? Does he not love us all equally? Does he not want us all to return to him? "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" - Mark 16:15 After Christ ascended to heaven, the apostles are sent to teach and preach to the other nations and people that surrounded the land of Israel.
The Bible is amazing. Not only does it give us a history of the World from the beginning, it tells us of great prophets, mighty miracles, and the most important of course, the life, ministry and teachings of Christ. We get to witness first hand through its pages what he went through, his birth, baptism, ministry, trail, rejection, love, mercy, death, resurrection, miracles, and so much more!
Not only is the Bible important, Holy, and an amazing read, it is irreplaceable. If there is one thing I wish to tell the world, its that the Book of Mormon in no way, shape, or form replaces, denies, or competes with the Bible. Think what you will, I cannot change opinion, but I bear my solemn witness and cannot deny it.
Now, one important thing happened after the ressurected Christ showed himself to his apostles, and before he sent them out to minister in the world. He told them "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd." -John 10:16 What do you suppose Christ meant by this? Why did he send his apostles out into the world afterward? Though Christ's ministry was limited to Israel while he was mortal, the Jews weren't the only people on the earth. "For God so loved the world", not "Isreal", or "the Jews". Everybody. Christ was talking about people on other nations, the islands of the sea, and far away lands. Australia, Great Britain, Iceland, and the Americas among many others. So enters The Book of Mormon
The Timeline of the Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon starts about 600 BC, in Jerusalem, the first year of the reign of King Zedekiah, who, as stated in 2 Chronicles 36:11-13, was not the best king. In fact, he ruled in such iniquity, that God was going to destroy Jerusalem. However, God is merciful, as he always is before his wrath is poured out. So what does he do? Verse 15 reads "And the Lord God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place."
"Betimes" means early. Ever since Zedekiah began his reign, he was wicked. So God sent his messangers, or his prophets, early in his reign to warn the people to repentance! "Therefore, I would that ye should know, that after the Lord had shown so many marvelous things unto my father, Lehi, yea, concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, behold he went forth among the people, and began to prophesy and to declare unto them concerning the things which he had both seen and heard." - 1 Nephi 1:18 And then what happened?
1 Nephi verses 19-20 "And it came to pass that the Jews did mock him because of the things which he testified of them; for he truly testified of their wickedness and their abominations...And when the Jews heard these things they were angry with him; yea, even as with the prophets of old, whom they had cast out, and stoned, and slain; and they also sought his life, that they might take it away." Now finish verse 16 in 2 Chronicles: "But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, till there was no remedy."
A Branch of the House of Israel
As the book continues, God leads Lehi and his family are into the wilderness towards a new land, where they are protected from the destruction of Jerusalem. That new land, begins in South America, and eventually works up to cover all of the American continents and their islands "And it came to pass that they did multiply and spread, and did go forth from the land southward to the land northward, and did spread insomuch that they began to cover the face of the whole earth, from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east." - Helaman 3:8
A lot happens within the 600+ years that Lehi and family leave Jerusalem. Murmerings, miracles, wars, peace, murders, secret combinations, mass growth both in body and spirit. Now, back to when Jesus told his apostles about his other sheep, the Book of Mormon holds an account of when he came to visit the people in the Americas, about 3 Nephi 11. Towards the end of his ministry among these people, just as he told his apostles, he states:
"And verily, verily, I say unto you that I have other sheep, which are not of this land, neither of the land of Jerusalem, neither in any parts of that land round about whither I have been to minister. For they of whom I speak are they who have not as yet heard my voice; neither have I at any time manifested myself unto them. But I have received a commandment of the Father that I shall go unto them, and that they shall hear my voice, and shall be numbered among my sheep, that there may be one fold and one shepherd; therefore I go to show myself unto them." - 3 Nephi 16:1-3
The Book of Mormon: Another Testament
Just as the New Testament is another Testament to the Old, the Book of Mormon is another testament to the Bible. If one book that teaches and testifies of Christ can bring so many people as a whole, and within individuals, so much faith and a knowledge of Jesus, how much more could another book, which also bears witness of Jesus Christ, enhance that faith?
Prophets and people that loved and Followed Christ and his teachings in these the American Continents. Their lives, struggles, miracles, and truths revealed to them over the course of nearly a thousand years time condensed and concentrated with "not even a hundreth part" of all this into one volume of scripture. Brought forth for our time. Preserved by the hand of God for these the latter days. It doesn't end with the Book of Mormon either, other books have been prophesied to come forth. The examination of the Dead Sea Scrolls has been underway, other records that have been hidden and preserved from the other nations will be revealed also in the coming years.
How can we know?
James 1:5-6 "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed."
Who would know the answer to everything? God. Who created everything? God. If these books really are his words, wouldn't he know that also? He wants us to ask him. He commands that we pray to him daily. He's to give us the answers we seek, we just have to ask.
"And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things. And whatsoever thing is good is just and true; wherefore, nothing that is good denieth the Christ, but acknowledgeth that he is." -Moroni 10:4-6
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