5 Ways You Can Tell the Book of Mormon Was Written for Our Day

By David A. Edwards

Church Magazines

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Here are just five of the many ways you can tell that this ancient book was meant to help with modern life.

Book of Mormon

You’ve probably heard people say that the Book of Mormon was written for our day. It’s a true statement. Prophets have declared it.1 The book itself says it.2 But what makes this book so well suited for this particular time in history?

1. It teaches the gospel of Jesus Christ plainly and simply.

There’s always been confusion in the world, but it’s a little different today. Not only are there lots of ideas floating around, but there are also many more ways to communicate them to more people. When bloggers and trolls talk religion, finding the truth can feel like listening for a melody while an orchestra’s instruments are all tuning up.

Fortunately for us, the Book of Mormon rings true. It teaches us in plain terms about our Heavenly Father’s plan and Jesus Christ’s role in that plan (see, for instance, 2 Nephi 2; 9; Mosiah 2–5; Alma 11–12; 34; 42). It teaches us very simply what the steps are on the path to eternal life (see, for instance, 2 Nephi 31). And it contains Jesus Christ’s teachings, in person, following His Resurrection (see 3 Nephi 11–28).

2. It shows how to follow the living prophet and face ridicule and persecution.

Prophets have never been all that popular, and that hasn’t really changed. People still question and criticize them and their teachings—they just have a multitude of communication platforms to do it on. There’s never been a time when it’s been more important to follow the prophet.

In one sense, the Book of Mormon is the story of what happens when people choose to be humble and follow the Lord’s prophets—or not—in good times or in bad.

Following prophets

Not following prophets

Led to safety

Examples: Lehi’s family; Jared’s people; Alma the Elder’s people

Led astray

Examples: People following false teachers such as Nehor and Korihor (see Alma 1; Alma 30), dissenting groups such as the Amlicites and Zoramites (see Alma 2–3; 31; 35)

Supported in trials

Example: Alma the Elder’s people strengthened and comforted (see Mosiah 24:10–15)

Left to suffer for a time

Example: People of King Noah (see Mosiah 11:24)

Given knowledge from God

Example: People of Gideon given new teachings about Jesus Christ’s Atonement (see Alma 7)

Left to dwindle in unbelief

Example: Lamanites (see 2 Nephi 5:20)

Warned of coming dangers

Example: Nephi’s people (see 2 Nephi 5:5); Nephites in their wars against Lamanites (see Alma 48:15)

Vulnerable to captivity or destruction

Examples: People of Noah (see Mosiah 11:23; 19); people of Ammonihah (see Alma 16:2–3, 9–11); Jaredites (see Ether 15); Nephites (see Mormon; Moroni)

In addition, the Book of Mormon has many examples of how to react when people are making fun of or questioning your beliefs. For instance:

3. It shows how to gain your own testimony.

In our time, it is absolutely essential that we learn spiritual truths and gain a personal testimony. Those who will spiritually survive the last days are those who “are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide” (D&C 45:57).

Fortunately, the Book of Mormon is like a how-to guide on coming to know the truth for yourself. From Nephi to Moroni, we read how those with “desires to know” can study and “ponder” and “cry unto the Lord,” asking “with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ,” and can have the truth “manifested unto [them] by [the] Holy Spirit,” because “by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things” (1 Nephi 2:16–17; Moroni 10:3–5).

4. It shows how to share the gospel with power.

young men

President Monson has said: “Now is the time for members and missionaries to come together, to work together, to labor in the Lord’s vineyard to bring souls unto Him. He has prepared the means for us to share the gospel in a multitude of ways, and He will assist us in our labors if we will act in faith to fulfill His work.”3

The Book of Mormon gives us some of the greatest examples of how to share the gospel powerfully and effectively. For instance, the sons of Mosiah had the right motivation (see Mosiah 28:3), studied the scriptures and taught with power and authority (see Alma 17:2–3), loved and served the people, built on common beliefs, bore bold testimony at the opportune moment, worked hard, and followed the Spirit (see Alma 17–22).

5. It shows how to prepare for Jesus Christ’s coming.

This is the winding-up scene of the history of the world: the latter days. We’ve been told that part of the Church’s mission is to help prepare the world for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. It’s a tall task, but the Book of Mormon offers us some help.

President Ezra Taft Benson said, “In the Book of Mormon we find a pattern for preparing for the Second Coming.” He said we could see this pattern if we study the “portion of the book [that] centers on the few decades just prior to Christ’s coming to America.”4

This portion of the Book of Mormon (Helaman through 3 Nephi 8), contains, for instance, a record of people rejecting prophets, leaving the faith, persecuting the faithful, and explaining away the fulfillment of signs and prophecies. It shows societal disruption, materialism, pride, and war. But it also contains a record of prophets’ warnings; prophecies and signs fulfilled; and people humbling themselves, repenting, following the prophets, and being blessed and protected.

Conclusion

As you study the Book of Mormon and compare it to your own life, you’ll doubtless find other evidence that it was written for our day. As the Spirit helps you see this truth more clearly, you’ll appreciate the book more and your testimony of it will grow. And who knows? You may want to go back and read it again.

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