Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Trick of Treat - How the world views the Book of Mormon for Good or for Evil

While most people fit into one of these two categories, it's safe to say there isn't only "TWO" types of people but for the sake of this article, let's assume that there are either people "for" or "against" God revealing the works of his people from any dispensation. These two groups can be summed up in "One of Two ways"

The Book of Mormon is a trick!
A fiendishly clever counterfeit that poses as the word of God.
The Book of Mormon is a treat!
An example of the Love our father in heaven has for all of his children.
I am here to declare that it is an ABSOLUTE treat and that it declares unto the world that Jesus Is The Christ.

I have noticed in my dealings with any and all of my fellow man, that this question nearly comes up all the time.

Why do you even want this "Book of Mormon" when the bible is enough?
It comes up either in acute curiosity or sometimes with foul language from those that mis-understand the goodness of God and his gifts.
One You Tuber once said, "Book of Mormon, WHAT A LOAD OF "censored", how can Mormons claims to be Christians when they follow such inconcievable "censored"? Even Jehovahs Witnesses and Catholics follow Bible alone..."

They almost mean to ask us, "Why can't you be happy enough with the Bible?"

Its not all about that. Even if Joseph Smith only translated one sentence of the "Book of Mormon" and for sake of humor, lets say it was this one:

"My father Lehi dwelt in a tent" (which is an actual verse in Nephi)

And if Joseph translated one verse and Joseph Smith passes away in middle of the night and the Lord decided to go ahead and make Oliver Cowdry in the contemporary prophet, Joseph Smith would have still been responsible for helping to bring forth the Book of Mormon.

By Joseph Smith becoming a prophet, it was useful in the reopening the communication channel between God and Man and that is a very important thing! For many purposes that could take up volumes of time and giga-bytes of space here on Blogger, I'll stick to the topic at hand: Trick or Treat?

Perhaps its not all their fault for being skeptical of the Book of Mormon.
After all, it is an idea so foreign to their understanding, that some can't help but look at it with a doubtful eye.

They are not taught by their seminaries or their pastors or their teachers that God goes about his work "causing all people to write the things of God" to later become a testimony and a witness that he is God... but the Book of Mormon isn't about just ANY group of people.

It would be "easier" on the world if it were a trick then the cunning and craftiness of Man could continue interpreting the scriptures how they pleased, mankind would continue to try and "secularize" the words of God, following ONLY those things they consider more important and ignoring many of the "Plain and Precious" things which entails the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon helps to condemn such foolishness of men.

It can be so easily missed by the learned and by those who "draw near unto him with their lips only" because to "TRULY KNOW" the savior, one must have that personal relationship with him. Believe Christ and not just "Believe in him." Even the Jew and the Muslim believes in him and calls him a "Great Prophet" and an "ICON worthy of mention." What separates True Christians from Johnny Christians is the simple fact that "real followers of Jesus actually follow him and are doers of the word" and "knowers of the word are content with being experts on the words of Christ"

The purpose of the Book of Mormon is to "Testify of Christ and his divinity" and any true believer in Christ would have to agree that Jesus Christ is divine! They feast upon the words of Christ that teach man all things that they must do for salvation!
(2 Ne. 32: 3)

What is this Book of Mormon anyhow?

"It is a record of God’s dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains, as does the Bible, the fulness of the everlasting gospel." ...
"The book was written by many ancient prophets by the spirit of prophecy and revelation. Their words, written on gold plates, were quoted and abridged by a prophet-historian named Mormon. The record gives an account of two great civilizations. One came from Jerusalem in 600 B.C., and afterward separated into two nations, known as the Nephites and the Lamanites. The other came much earlier when the Lord confounded the tongues at the Tower of Babel. This group is known as the Jaredites. After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are among the ancestors of the American Indians. "
Introduction to "The Book Of Mormon"

But who were these "Nephites and Lamanites?" The bible doesn't mention them?

The Old Testament doesn't mention them by name but there are hints regarding this people and that of many others who the Lord has said would be among "The Isles of the Sea" as quoted by Isaiah. (See Isaiah 23: 2; 24:15; 42: 10)

The family of Lehi, and primarily Nephi, spoke of themselves as being part of this extended branch of the house of Israel and mentions several times that they are this people whom Isaiah had mentioned.
(1 Ne. 19: 10, 12, 16; 21: 8; 22: 4; 2 Ne. 10: 8, 20-21; 2 Ne. 29: 7)

2 Nephi Chapter 3: Verse 4
4 For behold, thou art the fruit of my loins; and I am a descendant of Joseph who was carried captive into Egypt. And great were the covenants of the Lord which he made unto Joseph.

So this people, being descendants of the House of Israel, also wrote of their prophesies and of their faithfulness to God while living upon the Promised Land or as many of us now know this land today as, "The American Continent" (primarily in Central America.)

Furthermore, the Old Testament dates back to as late of around 600 B.C. which was right along the time that the family of Lehi disappeared from the history of the Holy Land. (Perhaps if the Nephites had made a sea voyage back to Palestine at around 33 A.D. and handed over some of their scripture to Peter and his apostles, that 600 year gap could have been filled and it would have been included in most Christian churches and considered canonized but this is not what had been prophesied of Nephi should be the fate of the record of which they were creating.

Like Isaiah, who knew of the scattering and migration of many of the House of Israel, the Lord showed unto him the coming forth of a new record and called it
"The Stick of Joseph" or the "Record that would proceed forth from the seed of Joseph" and one day would become reunited with the "Stick of Judah" or the "Record of the Jews" at some future date.

¶ The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying,
16 Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions:
17 And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. Ezekiel 37:15-17

There is "no record" of any writings of Joseph that exist in the Bible so one must acknowledge that this record should come forth from "The Seed of Joseph" in order to fulfill the prophesy of Ezekiel and be made known unto the remnants of the house of Israel at some future time. All words of the Lord shall come to pass and shall all be fulfilled and there is nothing that the Lord speaks through mouth of his holy prophets that shall not come to pass.

It is with a joyous heart that we as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have this record and it stands as a witness of Jesus Christ and that he speaks to all that are of the House of Israel as he did in the Holy Land, as he did unto the seed of Joseph, who occupied the Isles of the Sea, and he will yet reveal records which have not yet been uncovered that belong to the Lost tribes of Israel who were also commanded to write these things.

Nephi recognized that the records which he kept would aid to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ and that there would be more to come!!!

"And it shall come to pass that the Jews shall have the words of the Nephites, and the Nephites shall have the words of the Jews; and the Nephites and the Jews shall have the words of the lost tribes of Israel; and the lost tribes of Israel shall have the words of the Nephites and the Jews. 2 Ne. 29: 13

The Book of Mormon is this truly a "treat" and not the "trick" that it is so ignorantly referred to as from time to time.

It's purpose is to primarily convince the Jews and the Gentiles that Jesus is the Christ. By the hand of Mormon as it is written on the "Title Page" we learn that:

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

Many Christians know that the Jews are of the seed of Abraham and part of the Abrahamic Covenant which still stands today. God will bless all nations and kindreds of the earth through the "Abrahamic Covenant." This "lost tribe" of Israel is no more lost to the world and we now have their record.

There are many who believe in Christ but so few actually "believe him."
I echo the words of my heroes of the Book of Mormon.
Like unto Nephi, Ether, Benjamin, Mosiah, Alma the Elder, Alma the Younger, Ammon, Helaman, Mormon and Moroni that these are the words of Christ. As part of my testimony, I add the words of "Nephi" when he wrote:

And if they are not the words of Christ, judge ye—for Christ will show unto you, with power and great glory, that they are his words, at the last day; and you and I shall stand face to face before his bar; and ye shall know that I have been commanded of him to write these things, notwithstanding my weakness. 2 Nephi 33:11

I too will stand along side these men (who have since centuries passed away) at that great bar and testify that these things are true. For I used their words and through their testimonies, helped many to "Come unto Christ" through the precious truths that they wrote.

I know with no shade of any degree that this work is directed of the Lord of Hosts Those who have faith in Christ, and have ears to hear, shall recognize his voice when he calls for them. I truly know our lord and savior and know them to be his words. I know that we have a prophet of God on the earth today and his name is "Thomas S. Monson" and that he stands as a special witness of Jesus Christ for our day. God has restored the fullness of the Gospel on the earth and the work to "Bring to Pass the Immortality and Eternal Life of Man" is being directed by his prophet and apostles alive on the Earth today in his holy name I declare these things, even in the name of the resurrected Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.