It may surprise you to learn that the Book of Mormon is actually a book about Jesus Christ, the same Jesus found in the Bible. The Mormons (a nickname for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) added a subheading to the book to explain that it is a second witness of the Lord. The Bible often tells us there is a need for two or more witnesses of anything important—it was even a part of Jewish law.
The Book of Mormon contains more references to the Savior than even the Bible and it is difficult to find even one page that does not refer to Him or to some aspect of His gospel. Over the next few months, I’ll be adding articles here that introduce you to what the Book of Mormon really says about Jesus. You may be surprised to find out just what is really in the book. It’s likely not at all what you’ve heard. While people often think they know what is in the Book of Mormon because a witnessing class or anti-Mormon class offered them a few snippets, we know, of course, that you have to read an entire book and look at everything in context in order to really know the message it offers. You are invited to read the entire book—you can do so free either online without having to register or by requesting that missionaries bring you a copy. Your Mormon friends can also obtain a free copy for you.
While you’re waiting, or while you’re reading, this series will help you become aware of things to look for relating to the Savior Jesus Christ and his gospel as taught in the Book of Mormon. It can’t possibly cover everything, of course. It’s just an overview of some of my personal favorite sections.
The Book of Mormon is the history of a group of ancient Christians, just as the Old Testament is a history of the Jews and the New Testament is a history of early Christians in the Holy Lands. All three books, of course, are far more than mere history books. The histories are given as a way to illustrate important eternal truths. They help us understand God’s interactions with real people and the consequences and blessings that come from our choices in life.
In the Book of Mormon, we follow a family that is headed by Lehi, a prophet in Jerusalem just before the fall. When his life is endangered, he is commanded by God to take his family and flee to a promised land. Eventually, he, his family, and a few others find themselves in what we today know to be the Americas, although we don’t know where in the Americas. Lehi’s two oldest sons are wicked and eventually break away from the rest of the family to form an evil civilization. The two groups are in continual conflict with each other, although the righteous group, known as the Nephites, work hard to convert the Lamanites, as the evil group called themselves. From time to time, the two groups reverse their commitments to God, but in general, anyone who had a testimony of Jesus Christ chose the name Nephite.
Because Lehi was a prophet and brought with him the scriptures available at the time, the people knew of God and His gospel. Through revelation, they learned of Jesus Christ even before He was born.
This scripture from early in the Book of Mormon helps to outline the book’s commitment to preaching of the Lord Jesus Christ:
For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do. … And 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 25:23-25)
Follow along as I share with you some of my favorite teachings of Jesus Christ in the Book of Mormon.
Learn about how Joseph Smith got the Book of Mormon.
Terrie Lynn Bittner
The late Terrie Lynn Bittner—beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend—was the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that appeared in Latter-day Saint magazines. She became a member of the Church at the age of 17 and began sharing her faith online in 1992.