Introduction

Book of Mormon Student Manual, (2009), 1–2


The Book of Mormon testifies of Jesus Christ and teaches us how to become His disciples. The Prophet Joseph Smith (1805–44) affirmed that “a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book” (History of the Church, 4:461; Book of Mormon introduction). As you study the Book of Mormon and are prayerful, the Holy Ghost continually bears witness to your heart and mind of the Savior’s divine role as the Redeemer of mankind.

The Book of Mormon exerts a powerful influence on the hearts of those who receive it and ponder its message. Elder Parley P. Pratt (1807–57), an early convert of the Restoration and an eventual member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, related the following regarding the first time he read the Book of Mormon:

Parley P. Pratt

“I opened it with eagerness, and read its title page. I then read the testimony of several witnesses in relation to the manner of its being found and translated. After this I commenced its contents by course. I read all day; eating was a burden, I had no desire for food; sleep was a burden when the night came, for I preferred reading to sleep.

“As I read, the spirit of the Lord was upon me, and I knew and comprehended that the book was true” (Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, ed. Parley P. Pratt Jr. [1938], 37).

Modern prophets have continually emphasized the need for every Latter-day Saint to read and reread the Book of Mormon. President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) declared, “I promise you that if each of you will [read the Book of Mormon], regardless of how many times you previously may have read the Book of Mormon, there will come into your lives and into your homes an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord, a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to His commandments, and a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God” (“A Testimony Vibrant and True,” Ensign, Aug. 2005, 6).

President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, shared how he learned that studying the Book of Mormon leads to personal revelation:

“I found [the Book of Mormon] to be plain and precious. …

“I learned that anyone, anywhere, could read in the Book of Mormon and receive inspiration.

“Some insights came after reading a second, even a third time and seemed to be ‘likened’ to what I faced in everyday life” (in Conference Report, Apr. 2005, 6; or Ensign, May 2005, 7).

Inspiration, as President Packer testified, will come as you consistently read from the Book of Mormon.

The Purpose of This Manual

This student manual supplements your reading and study of the Book of Mormon and should not replace it. The manual contains a compilation of prophetic insights and inspired counsel to assist you as you seek direction to “liken all scriptures” unto yourself (1 Nephi 19:23). Evaluate your learning habits and determine how this manual best complements your personal reading and study of the Book of Mormon. Possible study options may include (1) referring to the manual while you read, (2) reading the manual after you have read several chapters in the Book of Mormon, or (3) reviewing the manual before you read the scriptures to strengthen your comprehension of the assigned chapters.

How This Manual Is Organized

The student manual contains 56 chapters covering the entire Book of Mormon. Each chapter has five parts: Introduction, Commentary, study questions (in callout boxes), Points to Ponder, and Suggested Assignments.

Introduction

A brief introduction at the beginning of each chapter places the story in context, identifies themes, and identifies a few of the doctrines and principles found in the scripture block.

Commentary

The commentary section clarifies doctrines and principles found in the scripture block. A careful reading of the commentary allows you to further identify and analyze the inspired messages of the Book of Mormon prophets. You will see how prophets in our day liken the truths in the scriptures to modern conditions and prevalent worldly situations.

The commentary also frequently quotes from correlated Church publications, including True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference (2004), For the Strength of Youth: Fulfilling Our Duty to God (2001), Guide to the Scriptures (available on the Internet at www.scriptures.lds.org), and the Topical Guide and Bible Dictionary.

Study Questions

Throughout the commentary section you will find study questions in shaded boxes like the one below. These questions will help you search and understand particular verses.

Points to Ponder

The Points to Ponder section will help you reflect deeply on some items from your reading. Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles affirmed that pondering the scriptures will bring valuable results: “As you ponder and pray about doctrines and principles, the Holy Ghost will speak to your mind and your heart. From events portrayed in the scriptures, new insights will come and principles relevant to your situation will distill upon your heart” (in Conference Report, Oct. 2000, 19; or Ensign, Nov. 2000, 18). You may wish to have a scripture journal or separate notebook to record responses to some of these questions and impressions from your reading.

Suggested Assignments

At the end of every chapter are additional assignments that encourage personal application of truths from the scriptures. Some of these assignments may be incorporated into your class by your teacher if you are enrolled in a Book of Mormon religion or institute course. Please note that these assignments are suggestions and should be adapted according to your individual needs and direction from the Holy Ghost.

Information for Those with Disabilities

Alternative formats of this student manual may be available at www.ldsces.org. If you have difficulty using this manual due to a disability, please contact your instructor for additional resources.

Scripture Mastery

This manual contains a scripture mastery icon , which designates scripture mastery passages. During seminary, students are asked to become familiar with 100 scriptures identified as being doctrinally significant. Each time one of the 100 scripture mastery verses is listed, you will see the symbol identifying it.