Welcome back to Sunday School! Thank you for sharing your comments and thoughts as we begin our study of the Book of Mormon.
As you consider your goals for the coming year, please ponder President Nelson’s invitation during the October 2019 General Conference and his recent post to the Church website:
This is going to be an important year. We invite you to be a major part in sharing the message of the ongoing Restoration of the Savior’s gospel. We will share more about this soon, but you can start today by acting on the invitations I extended to you at last general conference to immerse yourself in the glorious light of the Restoration.
You may wish to begin your preparation by reading afresh Joseph Smith’s account of the First Vision as recorded in the Pearl of Great Price. Or ponder important questions such as “How would my life be different if my knowledge gained from the Book of Mormon were suddenly taken away?” or “How have the events that followed the First Vision made a difference for me and my loved ones?My 2020 Invitation to You: Share the Message of the Restoration of the Savior’s Gospel, President Russell M. Nelson
What plans have you made for studying the Book of Mormon this year?
Front Matter to the Book of Mormon
The Title Page to the Book of Mormon
This summary, written by the hand of Mormon himself, offers a glimpse into the author’s mind and outlines the key purposes of the Book of Mormon.
The prophet Joseph Smith explained:
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.History of the Church 1:71
Consider the following purposes for the Book of Mormon, as recorded by Mormon on the title page:
- 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
Because we know that the prophets who wrote in the Book of Mormon saw our day, we should pay special attention to their counsel.
If they saw our day and chose the things which would be of greatest worth to us, is not that how we should study the Book of Mormon? We should constantly ask ourselves, ‘Why did the Lord inspire Mormon or Moroni or Alma to include that in his record? What lesson can I learn from that to help me live in this day and age?President Ezra Taft Benson, General Conference October 1986
Introduction to the Book of Mormon
The Introduction to the Book of Mormon builds on Mormon’s title page by offering additional historical background and highlighting its unique characteristics:
The crowning event recorded in the Book of Mormon is the personal ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ among the Nephites soon after His resurrection. It puts forth the doctrines of the gospel, outlines the plan of salvation, and tells men what they must do to gain peace in this life and eternal salvation in the life to come.Introduction to the Book of Mormon
As discussed in class, the Book of Mormon presents the doctrinal foundation the Plan of Salvation with unique clarity. As you study the following list of names for the Plan of Salvation within the Book of Mormon, consider how each name expands your knowledge and deepens your faith.
|2 Nephi 9:6||The Merciful Plan of the Great Creator|
|2 Nephi 9:13||The Great Plan of our God|
|2 Nephi 11:5||The Eternal Plan of Deliverance from Death|
|Jacob 6:8||The Plan of Redemption|
|Jarom 1:2||The Plan of Salvation|
|Alma 41:2||The Plan of Restoration|
|Alma 42:8||The Great Plan of Happiness|
|Alma 42:15||The Great Plan of Mercy|
Testimony of Witnesses
The remainder of the front matter to the Book of Mormon contains the testimonies of various witness who assisted in work of translation and publication. If you were to write your testimony of the Book of Mormon among these witnesses, how would it differ? In what ways would your testimony be similar?
The testimony of the Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon stands forth in great strength. Each of the three had ample reason and opportunity to renounce his testimony if it had been false, or to equivocate on details if any had been inaccurate. As is well known, because of disagreements or jealousies involving other leaders of the Church, each one of these three witnesses was excommunicated from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by about eight years after the publication of their testimony. All three went their separate ways, with no common interest to support a collusive effort. Yet to the end of their lives—periods ranging from 12 to 50 years after their excommunications—not one of these witnesses deviated from his published testimony or said anything that cast any shadow on its truthfulness.Dallin H. Oaks, General Conference April 1999
A Brief Explanation about the Book of Mormon
This summary is primarily helpful for understanding the various plates that are discussed in the Book of Mormon. Of particular note is the explanation of the plates of Nephi:
The Plates of Nephi, which were of two kinds: the small plates and the large plates. The former were more particularly devoted to spiritual matters and the ministry and teachings of the prophets, while the latter were occupied mostly by a secular history of the peoples concerned.A Brief Explanation about the Book of Mormon
If the most important events of your life were recorded in the same manner as the plates of Nephi, what portion would be devoted to spiritual matters and what portion would be occupied by day-to-day events?