I believe The Book of Mormon is true. Those who don’t believe it, though, have to find a justification in their minds for how Joseph Smith could have invented the book. Recently an acquaintance of mine was explaining one of his possible theories: He said that maybe Joseph did indeed have supernatural help writing the book, but help from Satan, not God. Let’s dive into that theory a little more:
There’s this great bit in the New Testament, in Mark, where the people see Christ casting out devils. The people are amazed, but some of them are also a little suspicious…
“And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils.”
And Christ says back, “How can Satan cast out Satan? And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. …And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end.”
In other words, “Satan is never going to inspire you to follow God. He’s never going to tell you to do something that’s just going to make his life more difficult. It’s true that he can appear to you as an angel of light, but with the purpose of tricking you into doing or believing something wrong. If an angel appears to you and says, “Jesus Christ is your Savior,” rest assured, that’s not Satan. But if an angel appears and says something like, “Christ is meh, you should worship me,” or, “money is all that matters,” or, “mom jeans are the best,” that’s when you really have to worry.
So let’s take that principle from the Bible and apply it to The Book of Mormon. Now a lot of people, unfortunately, make up their minds about The Book of Mormon well before even reading it. They’ll hear something about it from their pastor or they’ll look up “problems with the Book of Mormon,” or, heaven forbid, they’ll watch an episode about it on South Park, and that’s as far as their study goes. But as we actually look at what The Book of Mormon teaches, ask yourself if you’re a religious person, is this something inspired of God or of Satan? Would Satan say something like this? Because it HAS to be one or the other. Here’s just a sampler platter of verses:
“…we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins” (2 Nephi 25:26).
“And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds … it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall” (Helaman 5:12).
“Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness…” (Moroni 10:32)
“Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth…” (Mosiah 4:9)
“Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do” (2 Nephi 32:3).
“Whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day” (Alma 36:3).
“Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast” (Ether 12:4).
And if you suspect I’m just cherry-picking the good parts here … The Book of Mormon references Jesus Christ 3,925 times. That’s an average of one reference to Christ every 1.7 verses. I wish I could just read you the whole thing right now. But whether or not you believe the historicity of The Book of Mormon, there can be no doubt that this book testifies and teaches that Jesus Christ is our Savior. He lived, suffered for our sins, died, and was resurrected. Either it’s an elaborate plot by Satan, the kind which Christ Himself said doesn’t make any sense at all, OR it’s inspired of God.
I’m not telling you what to believe but hopefully based on the theme of The Book of Mormon that these verses outline you understand a little more why Latter-day Saints are proud to call The Book of Mormon another testament of Jesus Christ.
Christ visited the Book of Mormon peoples after His resurrection. These people were descendants of Judah and Joseph who had been led away from Jerusalem around 600 B.C., and Christ told them they were His “other sheep” (John 10:16). Because a great destruction had occurred and had killed the more wicked of them, those remaining were pretty righteous and worthy to receive from Christ. Christ’s teachings to them and the miracles manifest to them were greater than what Christ could offer during His ministry in the old world. It seems like every Christian would want to read about these things as they are so thrilling:
And they arose from the earth, and he said unto them: Blessed are ye because of your faith. And now behold, my joy is full.
And when he had said these words, he wept, and the multitude bare record of it, and he took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them.
And when he had done this he wept again;
And he spake unto the multitude, and said unto them: Behold your little ones.
And as they looked to behold they cast their eyes towards heaven, and they saw the heavens open, and they saw angels descending out of heaven as it were in the midst of fire; and they came down and encircled those little ones about, and they were encircled about with fire; and the angels did minister unto them (3 Nephi 17: 20 – 24).
And there’s more. It all came from Christ through His prophets.