Wherefore, it is an abridgment of the record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites—Written to the Lamanites, who are a remnant of the house of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile—Written by way of commandment, and also by the spirit of prophecy and of revelation—Written and sealed up, and hid up unto the Lord, that they might not be destroyed—To come forth by the gift and power of God unto the interpretation thereof—Sealed by the hand of Moroni, and hid up unto the Lord, to come forth in due time by way of the Gentile—The interpretation thereof by the gift of God.
An abridgment taken from the Book of Ether also, which is a record of the people of Jared, who were scattered at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people, when they were building a tower to get to heaven—Which is to show unto the remnant of the house of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever—And also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations—And now, if there are faults they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ.
TRANSLATED BY JOSEPH SMITH, Jun.
The Book of Mormon Title Page
According to Joseph Smith,Joseph Smith: “I wish to mention here that the title-page of the Book of Mormon is a literal translation, taken from the very last leaf, on the left hand side of the collection or book of plates, … Continue reading the title page of the Book of Mormon was written by Moroni, the concluding author of the book. It was included in the very left-most end of the book, which for us, would look like the beginning, but the book was formatted in the Hebrew style, which is read from right to left. So the title page was written by Moroni on the very last page of the abridgment.
“it is an abridgment of the record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites”
Have you ever wondered why Mormon abridged the Nephite record? Why didn’t he just include the full record?
The simple answer is that there were far too many records to include in a single volumeHelaman 3:13-16, or probably a single room.Brigham Young shared the following account: “I believe I will take the liberty to tell you of another circumstance that will be as marvelous as anything can be. This is an incident in the life … Continue reading
“written to the Lamanites… and also to Jew and gentile”
Who are the Lamanites?
Well, that one’s simple: they are the descendants of Lehi.LDS.org defines Lamanites as, “A group of people in the Book of Mormon, many of whom were descendants of Laman.” Besides descendants of Laman, the people of the Book of Mormon often … Continue reading And while society loves to tell the latter-day saints that Native Americans didn’t come from the middle-east, Joseph Smith and the Lord called them Lamanites, and that’s good enough for me.Joseph Smith was blessed with many experiences with both the Lamanites and the ancient inhabitants of the Americas. He met several of the people of the Book of Mormon, saw visions of the past, and … Continue reading There are also others, such as Polynesians, native Central and South Americans, and probably several native Canadian tribes that are also descendants of Lehi. It has very little to do with the percent of Lamanite blood. If a person has ancestry that can be traced to Lehi, they can consider themselves Lamanite.
Who are the Jews?
This one’s also simple. A descendant of Judah is a Jew. This is the tribe of Israel that is easiest to trace back, because we have a practically unbroken record back to the time of Judah.
Who are the Gentiles?
This is an interesting one. Those outside the church often claim that we call anyone outside the church a gentile. They probably make this mistake because they hear us use the word a lot, and place their own definition of the word on our use of it. Most people think the word gentiles refers to those who aren’t latter-day saints. They consider it synonymous with the word heathen (which Google defines as a derogatory term defined as, “a person who does not belong to a widely held religion (especially one who is not a Christian, Jew, or Muslim) as regarded by those who do.”Google search: define heathen
This is a misconception. It’s true that the term has occasionally been used to refer to those outside of the church, but that use is rare.
We are much more likely to think of the word gentile in its Book of Mormon sense. And though this use is consistent with the term used in the Bible, it most often refers to modern gentiles, those of the latter days. The Book of Mormon discusses in great detail the role of the gentiles in the latter-days, saying that, “this land,” meaning the Americas, “said God, shall be a land of thine inheritance, and the Gentiles shall be blessed upon the land.”2 Nephi 10:10 The book promises that the knowledge of the Book of Mormon “should come forth from the Gentiles, that he may show forth his power unto the Gentiles, for this cause that the Gentiles, if they will not harden their hearts, that they may repent and come unto me and be baptized in my name and know of the true points of my doctrine, that they may be numbered among my people, O house of Israel.”3 Nephi 21:9
Basically, by the Book of Mormon definition of the word gentiles, almost all of us are gentiles. I’m a gentile. My family is a gentile family, and the promises of the Lord are extended to us so long as we repent, come unto the Lord, be baptized, and follow His doctrine. If we do so, we will be numbered among the house of Israel, and even adopted into that house. The term gentile is neither a derogatory term nor a negative thing at all. It refers to bloodline. Those who are not of the line of the 12 tribes of Israel are gentiles, and the Lord promises that those who follow him, from whatever bloodline, will be blessed.
Written by way of commandment, and also by the spirit of prophecy and of revelation
What is the spirit of prophecy? What is the spirit of revelation?
According to the angel in John’s revelation, “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”Revelation 19:10
Brigham Young has said that those who read the scriptures should do so in the same spirit as those who wrote the scriptures.“Do you read the scriptures, my brethren and sisters, as though you were writing them a thousand, two thousand, or five thousand years ago? Do you read them as though you stood in the place of the … Continue reading
If the Book of Mormon was written by the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus, and we should be reading the book in the same spirit in which it is written, then we should be reading the Book of Mormon in the spirit of our testimonies of Jesus Christ. That’s how we are to get the most out of the book.
The spirit of revelation is a gift available to every person who has received the gift of the Holy Ghost.Elder David A. Bednar: “Revelation is communication from God to His children on the earth and one of the great blessings associated with the gift and constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. … Continue reading The spirit of revelation usually functions as the feelings and whisperings that come from the Holy Ghost.David A. Bednar: “Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery gained valuable experience with the spirit of revelation as they translated the Book of Mormon. These brethren learned they could receive … Continue reading
“hid up unto the Lord”
During Nephite times, a unique curse was laid on this land (I have no idea if the curse was lifted later or not), which states, “whoso shall hide up treasures in the earth shall find them again no more, because of the great curse of the land, save he be a righteous man and shall hide it up unto the Lord. For I will, saith the Lord, that they shall hide up their treasures unto me; and cursed be they who hide not up their treasures unto me; for none hideth up their treasures unto me save it be the righteous; and he that hideth not up his treasures unto me, cursed is he, and also the treasure, and none shall redeem it because of the curse of the land.”Helaman 13:18-19 Obviously, Moroni was a righteous man, and hid this treasure up unto the Lord.
Since the priesthood has the power to bind and seal on earth, it would be no surprise to one day learn that the Book of Mormon was sealed and protected to come forth in the Lord’s own due time.
Neal A. Maxwell gave one of the most beautiful descriptions of the experience of reading the Book of Mormon. he said,
For my part, Brothers and Sisters, I am glad the book will be with us “as long as the earth shall stand.” I need and want additional time. For me, the Book of Mormon is like a vast mansion with gardens, towers, courtyards, and wings. My tour of it has never been completed. Some rooms I have yet to enter, and there are more felicitous fireplaces waiting to warm me. Even the rooms I have glimpsed contained further furnishings and rich detail yet to be savored. There are panels inlaid with incredible insights, and design and décor dating from eden. There are even sumptuous banquet tables painstakingly prepared by predecessors which await all of us. Yet we as church members sometimes behave like hurried tourists, scarcely venturing beyond the entry hall. May we come to feel as a whole people beckoned beyond the entry hall. May we go inside, far enough to hear clearly the whispered truths from those who have slumbered, which whisperings will awaken in us individually, a life of discipleship as never before. Neal A. Maxwell, The Great Answer to the Great Question, FARMS audio cassette, Deseret Book.
I feel the same way.
“to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God,”
This convincing is so needed!“Noted on the very title page is the book’s special role in “convincing” mortals “that Jesus is the Christ” (see also 2 Ne. 25:18). In a day of disbelief and equivocation regarding … Continue reading
If the Book of Mormon does no other thing for people than bring them to the Savior, it is a miracle beyond expression. No wonder the prophets call the Book of Mormon a cornerstone of our faith.Gordon B. Hinckley: “the Book of Mormon. I hold it in my hand. It is real. It has weight and substance which can be physically measured. I open its pages and read, and it has language both … Continue reading No wonder, also, that this is it’s chief purpose,S. Dilworth Young: “That is its chief purpose: to bear witness for Christ to the convincing of Jew and gentile that Jesus is the Christ and that his gospel is for all men.” S. Dilworth … Continue reading and as such, it is the most precious book possessed by man David B. Haight said, “The Book of Mormon, a record of the inhabitants of ancient America, was translated by ‘the gift and power of God’ and made available to all people. Its pages … Continue reading The Book of Mormon is a genuine miracle.Gordon B. Hinckley: “Brethren and sisters, if there are miracles among us, certainly one of them is this book. Unbelievers may doubt the First Vision and say there were no witnesses to prove … Continue reading
“if there are faults they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of God”
In my opinion, this is one of the most valuable statements from the title page. The Book of Mormon, though the most correct book on earth“I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any … Continue reading, is not perfect. Neither were its many authors or its translator. But they were prophets. We can trust their words. Some people stop with the first line, “If there are faults they are the mistakes of men,” and leave it at that. But the major point here is, “condemn not the things of God.” The Book of Mormon is the word of God. It contains the fulness of the Gospel, and one of the greatest issues we will deal with in this life is how we respond to the question, “Is the Book of Mormon the mind and will and voice of God to man?”Ezra Taft Benson: My beloved brothers and sisters, we hardly fathom the power of the Book of Mormon, nor the divine role it must play, nor the extent to which it must be moved. “Few men on … Continue reading
I testify that it is.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -Chas Hathaway is the author of the books Scripture Study Made Awesome, Marriage is Ordained of God, but WHO Came Up with Dating? and Giraffe Tracks. Learn more at chashathaway.com. Please participate in the conversation by adding comments and sharing with friends on the web!
Gospel Living Made Awesome is not an official work of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If Chas says something stupid, it's his own fault.
|↑1||Joseph Smith: “I wish to mention here that the title-page of the Book of Mormon is a literal translation, taken from the very last leaf, on the left hand side of the collection or book of plates, which contained the record which has been translated, the language of the whole running the same as all Hebrew writing in general [that is, from right to left]; and that said title page is not by any means a modern composition, either of mine or of any other man who has lived or does live in this generation.” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, (2011), 57–68|
|↑3||Brigham Young shared the following account: “I believe I will take the liberty to tell you of another circumstance that will be as marvelous as anything can be. This is an incident in the life of Oliver Cowdery, but he did not take the liberty of telling such things in meeting as I take. I tell these things to you, and I have a motive for doing so. I want to carry them to the ears of my brethren and sisters, and to the children also, that they may grow to an understanding of some things that seem to be entirely hidden from the human family. Oliver Cowdery went with the Prophet Joseph when he deposited these plates. Joseph did not translate all of the plates; there was a portion of them sealed, which you can learn from the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. When Joseph got the plates, the angel instructed him to carry them back to the hill Cumorah, which he did. Oliver says that when Joseph and Oliver went there, the hill opened, and they walked into a cave, in which there was a large and spacious room. He says he did not think, at the time, whether they had the light of the sun or artificial light; but that it was just as light as day. They laid the plates on a table; itÂ was a large table that stood in the room. Under this table there was a pile of plates as much as two feet high, and there were altogether in this room more plates than probably many wagon loads; they were piled up in the corners and along the walls. The first time they went there the sword of Laban hung upon the wall; but when they went again it had been taken down and laid upon the table across the gold plates; it was unsheathed, and on it was written these words: “This sword will never be sheathed again until the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of our God and his Christ.” I tell you this as coming not only from Oliver Cowdery, but others who were familiar with it, and who understood it just as well as we understand coming to this meeting, enjoying the day, and by and by we separate and go away, forgetting most of what is said, but remembering some things. So is it with other circumstances in life. I relate this to you, and I want you to understand it. I take this liberty of referring to those things so that they will not be forgotten and lost. Carlos Smith was a young man of as much veracity as any young man we had, and he was a witness to these things. Samuel Smith saw some things, Hyrum saw a good many things, but Joseph was the leader.” Journal of Discourses Volume 19, page 38|
|↑4||Google search: define heathen|
|↑5||2 Nephi 10:10|
|↑6||3 Nephi 21:9|
|↑8||“Do you read the scriptures, my brethren and sisters, as though you were writing them a thousand, two thousand, or five thousand years ago? Do you read them as though you stood in the place of the men who wrote them? If you do not feel thus, it is your privilege to do so, that you may be as familiar with the spirit and meaning of the written word of God as you are with your daily walk and conversation” –Discourses of Brigham Young, 128.|
|↑9||Elder David A. Bednar: “Revelation is communication from God to His children on the earth and one of the great blessings associated with the gift and constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught, ‘The Holy Ghost is a revelator,’ and ‘no man can receive the Holy Ghost without receiving revelations’ (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith , 132). The spirit of revelation is available to every person who receives by proper priesthood authority the saving ordinances of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost—and who is acting in faith to fulfill the priesthood injunction to ‘receive the Holy Ghost.’ This blessing is not restricted to the presiding authorities of the Church; rather, it belongs to and should be operative in the life of every man, woman, and child who reaches the age of accountability and enters into sacred covenants. Sincere desire and worthiness invite the spirit of revelation into our lives.” –David A. Bednar, The Spirit of Revelation, General Conference, April 2011|
|↑11||Neal A. Maxwell, The Great Answer to the Great Question, FARMS audio cassette, Deseret Book.|
|↑12||“Noted on the very title page is the book’s special role in “convincing” mortals “that Jesus is the Christ” (see also 2 Ne. 25:18). In a day of disbelief and equivocation regarding this preeminent fact, this “convincing” effect is so needed! How sharp-edged that promise! “The Book of Mormon will be “read upon the housetops” (2 Ne. 27:11). Even if neglected, it will constitute a lingering invitation for “as long as the earth shall stand” (2 Ne. 25:22).” LDS General Conference, October 2003, Sunday Afternoon Neal A. Maxwell|
|↑13||Gordon B. Hinckley: “the Book of Mormon. I hold it in my hand. It is real. It has weight and substance which can be physically measured. I open its pages and read, and it has language both beautiful and uplifting. The ancient record from which it was translated came out of the earth as a voice speaking from the dust. It came as the testimony of generations of men and women who lived their lives upon the earth, who struggled with adversity, who quarreled and fought, who at various times lived the divine law and prospered and at other times forsook their God and went down to destruction. It contains what has been described as the fifth Gospel, a moving testament of the new world concerning the visit of the resurrected Redeemer on the soil of this hemisphere. The evidence for its truth, for its validity in a world that is prone to demand evidence, lies not in archaeology or anthropology, though these may be helpful to some. It lies not in word research or historical analysis, though these may be confirmatory. The evidence for its truth and validity lies within the covers of the book itself. The test of its truth lies in reading it. It is a book of God. Reasonable men may sincerely question its origin; but those who have read it prayerfully have come to know by a power beyond their natural senses that it is true, that it contains the word of God, that it outlines saving truths of the everlasting gospel, that it came forth by the gift and power of God “to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ.” (Book of Mormon title page.) It is here. It must be explained. It can be explained only as the translator himself explained its origin. Hand in hand with the Bible, whose companion volume it is, it stands as another witness to a doubting generation that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. It is an unassailable cornerstone of our faith. The Cornerstones of Our Faith, LDS General Conference, October 1984|
|↑14||Gordon B. Hinckley: “Brethren and sisters, if there are miracles among us, certainly one of them is this book. Unbelievers may doubt the First Vision and say there were no witnesses to prove it. Critics may scorn every divine manifestation incident to the coming forth of this work as being of such an intangible nature as to be unprovable to the pragmatic mind, as if the things of God could be understood other than by the Spirit of God (1 Cor. 2:11). They may discount our theology. But they cannot in honesty dismiss the Book of Mormon. It is here. They can feel it. They can read it. They can weigh its substance and its content. They can witness its influence. Faced with its presence, but unwilling to believe the story of its coming forth, they have sought an explanation for it, other than the one given by the Prophet that it was engraven on golden plates by ancient prophet-historians, and that their record was revealed and translated by the gift and power of God (D&C 135:3; BM Title Page).” Gordon B. Hinckley, Conference Report, October 1959, pp. 118-120|
|↑15||“I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.” History of the Church, 4:461; from instructions given by Joseph Smith on Nov. 28, 1841, in Nauvoo, Illinois; reported by Wilford Woodruff.|
|↑16||Ezra Taft Benson: My beloved brothers and sisters, we hardly fathom the power of the Book of Mormon, nor the divine role it must play, nor the extent to which it must be moved. “Few men on earth,” said Elder Bruce R. McConkie, “either in or out of the Church, have caught the vision of what the Book of Mormon is all about.Few are they among men who know the part it has played and will yet play in preparing the way for the coming of Him of whom it is a new witness. …The Book of Mormon shall so affect men that the whole earth and all its peoples will have been influenced and governed by it. …There is no greater issue ever to confront mankind in modern times than this: Is the Book of Mormon the mind and will and voice of God to all men?”(Millennial Messiah pp. 159, 170, 179.) We testify that it is. –Ezra Taft Benson, Flooding the Earth with the Book of Mormon, General Conference October 1988.|
|↑17||LDS.org defines Lamanites as, “A group of people in the Book of Mormon, many of whom were descendants of Laman.” Besides descendants of Laman, the people of the Book of Mormon often called the descendants of Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael Lamanites. Even Nephites who turned away from their faith sometimes came to be called Lamanites. Mulekites (and likely others) also mixed into the Nephites, and so eventually into the Lamanites as well. So, while there are several branches or types of Lamanites, the one consistency is that they are all descended from Lehi, either through his sons or his daughters|
|↑18||Joseph Smith was blessed with many experiences with both the Lamanites and the ancient inhabitants of the Americas. He met several of the people of the Book of Mormon, saw visions of the past, and conversed with the heavens on many things relating to the Lamanites, their ancestry, and the promises made to their posterity. I consider his authority on the subject far better than anything modern scientists or historians can conjure up. D&C 32:1-2 “And now concerning my servant Parley P. Pratt, behold, I say unto him that as I live I will that he shall declare my gospel and learn of me, and be meek and lowly of heart. And that which I have appointed unto him is that he shall go with my servants, Oliver Cowdery and Peter Whitmer, Jun., into the wilderness among the Lamanites.”|
|↑19||David A. Bednar: “Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery gained valuable experience with the spirit of revelation as they translated the Book of Mormon. These brethren learned they could receive whatever knowledge was necessary to complete their work if they asked in faith, with an honest heart, believing they would receive. And over time they increasingly understood the spirit of revelation typically functions as thoughts and feelings that come into our minds and hearts by the power of the Holy Ghost. (See D&C 8:1–2; 100:5–8.) As the Lord instructed them: ‘Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation; behold, this is the spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground. Therefore this is thy gift; apply unto it’ (D&C 8:3–4). I emphasize the phrase ‘apply unto it’ in relation to the spirit of revelation. In the scriptures, the influence of the Holy Ghost frequently is described as ‘a still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12; 1 Nephi 17:45; see also 3 Nephi 11:3) and a ‘voice of perfect mildness’ (Helaman 5:30). Because the Spirit whispers to us gently and delicately, it is easy to understand why we should shun inappropriate media, pornography, and harmful, addictive substances and behaviors. These tools of the adversary can impair and eventually destroy our capacity to recognize and respond to the subtle messages from God delivered by the power of His Spirit. Each of us should consider seriously and ponder prayerfully how we can reject the devil’s enticements and righteously ‘apply unto it,’ even the spirit of revelation, in our personal lives and families.” –David A. Bednar, The Spirit of Revelation, General Conference, April 2011|
|↑20||S. Dilworth Young: “That is its chief purpose: to bear witness for Christ to the convincing of Jew and gentile that Jesus is the Christ and that his gospel is for all men.” S. Dilworth Young, Conference Report, April 1965, pp. 51-53|
|↑21||David B. Haight said, “The Book of Mormon, a record of the inhabitants of ancient America, was translated by ‘the gift and power of God’ and made available to all people. Its pages are for the ‘convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations.’ The Book of Mormon is the most correct book on earth and contains the pure gospel of Christ. It is the most precious book possessed by man.” –David B. Haight, Joseph Smith the Prophet, General Conference, October 1979|
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