2013 Book of Mormon - Chapter 1 (Institute Lesson by hgellor)
DOCTRINES AND PRINCIPLES IN THIS LESSON:•The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ.•The Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion.•Many witnesses have testified of the truthfulness of the Book ofMormon.•We draw closer to the Lord as we prayerfully study the Book ofMormon.Chapter 1"The Keystone of Our Religion"
The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ.Why is another witness of Jesus Christ valuable?Doctrine and Covenants 6:28And now, behold, I give unto you, and also unto my servant Joseph, thekeys of this gift, which shall bring to light this ministry; and in themouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.Matthew 18:16But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, thatin the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.President Ezra Taft Benson explained the meaning of the wordtestament:“‘Do we remember the new covenant, even the Book ofMormon?’ *see D&C 84:57+. In the Bible we have the OldTestament and the New Testament. The word testament is theEnglish rendering of a Greek word that can also be translated ascovenant. Is this what the Lord meant when He called the Bookof Mormon the ‘new covenant’? It is indeed another testamentor witness of Jesus. This is one of the reasons why we haverecently added the words ‘Another Testament of Jesus Christ’ tothe title of the Book of Mormon” (in Conference Report, Oct.1986, 4; or Ensign, Nov. 1986, 4).
Title PageThe Prophet Joseph Smith explained that“the title-page of the Book of Mormon is aliteral translation, taken from the very lastleaf, on the left hand side of the collectionor book of plates, which contained therecord which has been translated, thelanguage of the whole running the same asall Hebrew writing in general [that is, fromright to left]; and that said title page is notby any means a modern composition,either of mine or of any other man whohas lived or does live in this generation”(History of the Church, 1:71).Joseph Smith translated this page from the gold plates.
“UPON PLATES TAKEN FROM THE PLATES OF NEPHI”The golden plates which Joseph Smithreceived from Moroni contained severaldifferent sets of plates, including:1. the small plates of Nephi (Nephisunabridged record which constitutes 1Ne, 2 Ne, Jacob, Enos, Jarom, Omni),2. Mormons abridgment of the largeplates of Nephi which included thehistory of the people from Lehi toMormons day (the 116 pages containedMormons abridged record from thedays of Lehi to the days of kingBenjamin),3. Moronis continuation of Mormonsrecord (Mormon 8:1) which includesMoronis abridgment of the record ofthe Jaredites and his own history, and4. the sealed portion which contains thewritings of the brother of Jared, seeEther 3:25-27.In this instance the plates ofNephi referred to are thelarge plates.(see Student Manual, p. 407)gospeldoctrine.com
What can you learn from the first paragraph of the title page?The Book of Mormon:• is an account written by the Hand of Mormon upon PlatesTaken from the Plates of Nephi• is an abridgment of the record of the people of Nephi, andalso of the Lamanites• was written to the Lamanites, who are a remnant of the houseof Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile•was written by way of commandment, and also by the spirit ofprophecy and of revelation• was witten and sealed up, and hid up unto the Lord, that theymight not be destroyed• will come forth by the gift and power of God unto theinterpretation thereof• sealed by the hand of Moroni, and hid up unto the Lord, tocome forth in due time by way of the Gentile
What are some purposes of The Book of Mormon?“to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, theEternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations”The word Christ means “anointedone” in Greek. In Hebrew, Messiahmeans “anointed one.” The prophetLehi once referred to Jesus Christ as“a Messiah, or, in other words, aSavior of the world” (1 Nephi 10:4).Therefore, when we say that Jesus isthe Christ, we are testifying that Hewas the One who was anointed tosave us.
“to show unto the remnant of the house of Israel what great thingsthe Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know thecovenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever”“The Lord gave the name Israel to Jacob, the son of Isaac and grandson ofAbraham in the Old Testament (Gen. 32:28; 35:10). The name Israel can refer toJacob himself, his descendants, or to the kingdom those descendants oncepossessed in Old Testament times. …The twelve tribes ofIsraelAbraham’s grandson Jacob,whose name was changed toIsrael, had twelve sons. Theirdescendants have becomeknown as the twelve tribes ofIsrael or the children of IsraelThe scattering of IsraelThe Lord scattered and afflictedthe twelve tribes of Israel becauseof their unrighteousness andrebellion. However, the Lord alsoused this scattering of his chosenpeople among the nations of theworld to bless those nationsThe gathering of IsraelThe house of Israel shall begathered together in the lastdays before the coming of Christ(A of F 1:10). The Lord gathershis people Israel when theyaccept him and keep hiscommandmentsMembers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are the portion ofthe house of Israel that has been gathered to the knowledge of their fathersand to the covenants of the Lord. The Lord has declared, “For ye are thechildren of Israel, and of the seed of Abraham” (D&C 103:17)
“And now, if there are faults they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn notthe things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ.”What does this warning suggest about those who condemn the Book of Mormon?•Moroni was concerned that the Gentiles would find fault with the Book ofMormon. Writing in reformed Egyptian, which was not his native language, he felthis writings were not powerful like the brother of Jareds. It should be noted thatthe brother of Jared had the advantage of writing in his native language whichoriginated from the perfect, Adamic language. See Mormon 8:12, Mormon 9:31-33, and Ether 12:23-26.•Doctrinally, the Book of Mormon is "the most correct of any book on earth," butoccasionally one can find problems with syntax, grammar, etc. In one case, theawkwardness of Mormons engraving on plates becomes clear, thus we see thatthey buried their weapons of peace, or they buried the weapons of war, for peace.(Alma 24:19) These small imperfections are of no doctrinal consequence and theiroccurrence does not detract from the correctness of the book.In poking fun of this great work, readers need to remember thereply of the Lord to Moronis concern as recorded in Ether12:26, Fools mock, but they shall mourn; and in Mormon 8:12,And whoso receiveth this record, and shall not condemn itbecause of the imperfections which are in it, the same shallknow of greater things than these. gospeldoctrine.com
The Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion.What is the significance of a keystone?A keystone is the central stone in an arch. It holds all the other stones in place,and if removed, the arch crumbles.There are three ways in which the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion:•It is the keystone in our witness of Christ.•It is the keystone of our doctrine.•It is the keystone of testimony.President Ezra Taft Benson, October 1986 General Conference, The Book of Mormon—Keystone of Our Religion…the Prophet Joseph Smith said: “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon wasthe most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a manwould get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”
“The Book of Mormon is the keystone in our witness of Jesus Christ, who is Himself the cornerstone ofeverything we do. It bears witness of His reality with power and clarity. Unlike the Bible, which passedthrough generations of copyists, translators, and corrupt religionists who tampered with the text, theBook of Mormon came from writer to reader in just one inspired step of translation. Therefore, itstestimony of the Master is clear, undiluted, and full of power. But it does even more. Much of theChristian world today rejects the divinity of the Savior. They question His miraculous birth, His perfectlife, and the reality of His glorious resurrection. The Book of Mormon teaches in plain and unmistakableterms about the truth of all of those. It also provides the most complete explanation of the doctrine ofthe Atonement. Truly, this divinely inspired book is a keystone in bearing witness to the world that Jesusis the Christ (see title page of the Book of Mormon).“The Book of Mormon is also the keystone of the doctrine of the Resurrection. As mentioned before,the Lord Himself has stated that the Book of Mormon contains the “fulness of the gospel of JesusChrist” (D&C 20:9). That does not mean it contains every teaching, every doctrine ever revealed. Rather,it means that in the Book of Mormon we will find the fulness of those doctrines required for oursalvation. And they are taught plainly and simply so that even children can learn the ways of salvationand exaltation. The Book of Mormon offers so much that broadens our understandings of the doctrinesof salvation. Without it, much of what is taught in other scriptures would not be nearly so plain andprecious.“Finally, the Book of Mormon is the keystone of testimony. Just as the arch crumbles if the keystone isremoved, so does all the Church stand or fall with the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. Theenemies of the Church understand this clearly. This is why they go to such great lengths to try todisprove the Book of Mormon, for if it can be discredited, the Prophet Joseph Smith goes with it. Sodoes our claim to priesthood keys, and revelation, and the restored Church. But in like manner, if theBook of Mormon be true—and millions have now testified that they have the witness of the Spirit thatit is indeed true—then one must accept the claims of the Restoration and all that accompanies it.”
Many witnesses have testified the truthfulnessof the Book of Mormon.2 Nephi 27:12-1412 Wherefore, at that day when the book shall be delivered unto the man of whom I have spoken, thebook shall be hid from the eyes of the world, that the eyes of none shall behold it save it be that threewitnesses shall behold it, by the power of God, besides him to whom the book shall be delivered; andthey shall testify to the truth of the book and the things therein.13 And there is none other which shall view it, save it be a few according to the will of God, to beartestimony of his word unto the children of men; for the Lord God hath said that the words of thefaithful should speak as if it were from the dead.14 Wherefore, the Lord God will proceed to bring forth the words of the book; and in the mouth of asmany witnesses as seemeth him good will he establish his word; and wo be unto him that rejecteth theword of God!Ether 5:2-42 And behold, ye may be privileged that ye may show the plates unto those who shall assist to bringforth this work;3 And unto three shall they be shown by the power of God; wherefore they shall bknow of a surety thatthese things are true.4 And in the mouth of three witnesses shall these things be established; and the testimony of three,and this work, in the which shall be shown forth the power of God and also his word, of which theFather, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost bear record—and all this shall stand as a testimony against theworld at the last day.
The Three WitnessesOliver Cowdery David Whitmer Martin Harris”…we four, viz., Martin Harris, David Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery and myself, agreed to retire into the woods,and try to obtain, by fervent and humble prayer, the fulfillment of the promises given in the above revelation-that they should have a view of the plates. We accordingly made choice of a piece of woods convenient to Mr.Whitmers house, to which we retired, and having knelt down, we began to pray in much faith to AlmightyGod to bestow upon us a realization of these promises."According to previous arrangement, I commenced vocal prayer to our Heavenly Father, and was followed byeach of the others in succession. We did not at the first trial, however, obtain any answer or manifestation ofdivine favor in our behalf. We again observed the same order of prayer, each calling on and praying ferventlyto God in rotation, but with the same result as before.
"Upon this, our second failure, Martin Harris proposed that he should withdraw himself from us, believing,as he expressed himself, that his presence was the cause of our not obtaining what we wished for. Heaccordingly withdrew from us, and we knelt down again, and had not been many minutes engaged inprayer, when presently we beheld a light above us in the air, of exceeding brightness; and behold, an angelstood before us. In his hands he held the plates which we had been praying for these to have a view of. Heturned over the leaves one by one, so that we could see them, and discern the engravings thereondistinctly. He then addressed himself to David Whitmer, and said, David, blessed is the Lord, and he thatkeeps His commandments; when, immediately afterwards, we heard a voice from out of the bright lightabove us, saying, These plates have been revealed by the power of God, and they have been translatedby the power of God. The translation of them which you have seen is correct, and I command you tobear record of what you now see and hear."I now left David and Oliver, and went in pursuit of Martin Harris, whom I found at a considerable distance,fervently engaged in prayer. He soon told me, however, that he had not yet prevailed with the Lord, andearnestly requested me to join him in prayer, that he also might realize the same blessings which we hadjust received. We accordingly joined in prayer, and ultimately obtained our desires, for before we had yetfinished, the same vision was opened to our view, at least it was again opened to me, and I once morebeheld and heard the same things; whilst at the same moment, Martin Harris cried out, apparently in anecstasy of joy, "Tis enough; tis enough; mine eyes have beheld; mine eyes have beheld;" and jumping up,he shouted, Hosanna, blessing God, and otherwise rejoiced exceedingly."Having thus, through the mercy of God, obtained these glorious manifestations, it now remained for thesethree individuals to fulfill the commandment which they had received, viz., to bear record of these things;in order to accomplish which, they drew up and subscribed5 the following document:" (He then recordsthe Testimony of the Three Witnesses, see History of the Church, vol. 1, pp. 52-56)
Ttestimony of David Whitmer:“It was in June, 1829—the latter part of themonth. … We not only saw the plates of theBook of Mormon but also the brass plates, theplates of the Book of Ether, the platescontaining the records of the wickedness andsecret combinations of the people of the worlddown to the time of their being engraved, andmany other plates. … There appeared as itwere, a table with many records or plates uponit, besides the plates of the Book of Mormon,also the sword of Laban, the directors—i.e., theball which Lehi had, and the Interpreters [Urimand Thummim+. I saw them … , and I heard thevoice of the Lord, as distinctly as I ever heardanything in my life, declaring that the records ofthe plates of the Book of Mormon weretranslated by the gift and power of God” (inGeorge Reynolds, “History of the Book ofMormon,” Contributor, Aug. 1884, 403).
The Eight WitnessesLike the three witnesses, the Book ofMormon prophecies that there will beothers which will testify of this work,And there is none other which shallview it, save it be a few according to thewill of God, to bear testimony of hisword unto the children of men; for theLord God hath said that the words of thefaithful should speak as if it were fromthe dead. Wherefore, the Lord God willproceed to bring forth the words of thebook; and in the mouth of as manywitnesses as seemeth him good will heestablish his word; and wo be unto himthat rejecteth the word of God. (2 Ne27:13-4)
How many people actually saw the plates?Whenever Joseph carried the plates around the house, he kept them covered by a cloth of some type.Therefore, all of his family members saw the plates while bundled up but only Joseph Sr., Hyrum, and Samuelsaw the plates uncovered. This they did as part of the group of eight witnesses. The total number of thosewho saw the actual plates is twelve, excluding Joseph Smith. These include the three witnesses, the eightwitnesses, and Mary Whitmer.Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris were shownthe plates, the sword of Laban, the breastplate, the Liahona, andthe Urim and Thummim by Moroni. They did not handle theplates but saw an angel who spoke with them and commandedthem to testify of what they saw. They also heard the voice of theLord declaring the truth of these things.The eight witnesses saw no angel. They heard no voices. Theywere shown the plates by Joseph Smith. There testimony was tobe that they had seen and handled the plates-to prove to theworld that Joseph Smith actually had possession of an ancientrecord. gospeldoctrine.comWhat is the difference between what the 3 witnesses saw and what the 8witnesses saw?What is the value of including these testimonies in the frontof the Book of Mormon?
We draw closer to the Lord as we prayerfully studythe Book of Mormon.What stories, themes, or teachings canyou think of?In what ways do these stories, themes,or teachings help you draw closer toGod?What can we learn from the example ofthe people in this story?Where else have you seen this theme inthe Book of Mormon? Why do you thinkthis theme is repeated so often in thebook?How can this teaching help us live aChrist-centered life?
Elder Howard W. Hunter, Ensign, November 1979, Reading the ScripturesReading habits vary widely. There are rapid readers and slow readers, some who read only small snatches at a timeand others who persist without stopping until the book is finished. Those who delve into the scriptural library,however, find that to understand requires more than casual reading or perusal—there must be concentrated study.It is certain that one who studies the scriptures every day accomplishes far more than one who devotes considerabletime one day and then lets days go by before continuing. Not only should we study each day, but there should be aregular time set aside when we can concentrate without interference.There is nothing more helpful than prayer to open our understanding of the scriptures. Through prayer we canattune our minds to seek the answers to our searchings. The Lord said: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and yeshall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Luke 11:9). Herein is Christ’s reassurance that if we will ask, seek,and knock, the Holy Spirit will guide our understanding if we are ready and eager to receive.Many find that the best time to study is in the morning after a night’s rest has cleared the mind of the many caresthat interrupt thought. Others prefer to study in the quiet hours after the work and worries of the day are over andbrushed aside, thus ending the day with a peace and tranquillity that comes by communion with the scriptures.Perhaps what is more important than the hour of the day is that a regular time be set aside for study. It would beideal if an hour could be spent each day; but if that much cannot be had, a half hour on a regular basis would resultin substantial accomplishment. A quarter of an hour is little time, but it is surprising how much enlightenment andknowledge can be acquired in a subject so meaningful. The important thing is to allow nothing else to ever interferewith our study.We should not be haphazard in our reading but rather develop a systematic plan forstudy. There are some who read to a schedule of a number of pages or a set number ofchapters each day or week. This may be perfectly justifiable and may be enjoyable if oneis reading for pleasure, but it does not constitute meaningful study. It is better to have aset amount of time to give scriptural study each day than to have a set amount ofchapters to read. Sometimes we find that the study of a single verse will occupy thewhole time.