If it is real, every claim made by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true. If it is false, the entire Church and gospel of Jesus Christ as found in this book is fabricated—a wholehearted deception.
That is the simple truth.
It all hinges on the Book of Mormon.
So how did the Book of Mormon get placed in this crucial position and come to be known as the keystone of our religion? Do you know why?
Before we discuss that fact, let’s analyze keystones. Do you know from where the reference to keystones comes? It is simple, really. In the Roman arch, the topmost stone is referred to as the keystone for good reason. The Internet provides many sources with greater detail, much more than the range of this article. Here is just a snippet from Wikipedia:
“A keystone (also known as capstone) is the wedge-shaped stone at the apex of a masonry arch or typically round-shaped one at the apex of a vault. In both cases it is the final piece placed during construction and locks all the stones into position, allowing the arch or vault to bear weight.”
Like a candle in the dark, the Book of Mormon provides us with the assurance that the path we are traveling is true and right and good.
I find it interesting that in this pivotal position relative to our faith, the Book of Mormon also comes with a promise that we can know for ourselves that it is true. Have you read it?
The Keystone and Moroni’s Promise
This excerpt is taken from the prophet Moroni. Before he buried the plates for the last time, he wrote a promise to anyone who would read the records. This promise encourages sincere readers how to find out for themselves the truth of the record:
3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things. (Moroni 10:3-5)
That’s it. I put this promise to the test, and I can tell you that it works. The Book of Mormon is true, but I am not alone. Tens of thousands of people have followed these simple steps and regularly testify in word and deed of its validity.
The physical evidences of the truth of the Book of Mormon are numerous. Ancient records and people, proliferation of the book throughout the world, and the miraculous compilation are evidence enough… The Book of Mormon has 531 pages. It was translated in 65 days. That accounts for more than eight pages a day for over two months. There were no computers then.
The greatest deception is imagining that a book of this caliber could be written by man. The Book of Mormon has stood for centuries, changed lives, and added insight, meaning and evidence to the beautiful truths of the Bible. The math adds up to the fact that this record came about by God’s handiwork though many men over centuries. Joseph Smith translated it by the gift and power of God.
531 pages / 65 days = 8.169230769230769 pages a day is impressive, but you need not depend on physical evidence.
You can know for yourself that the Book of Mormon is true.
Still, leave the keystone in place and the arch stands firm. Take it away, and the whole arch falls to the ground. The Roman arch can’t stand without the keystone in place, and so it is for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It lives or dies by the validity of the Book of Mormon.
What Does It Mean?
If the Book of Mormon is true, then that means that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and all it teaches is also true. Incredibly, this means that we have living apostles and prophets in our day to guide us. We have the gospel of Jesus Christ to help us through life’s challenges, and hope in Jesus Christ of not only a better day now, but of everlasting life and eternal joy. It also means that we will be resurrected and freed from all of this life’s hardships. The hope we have in Jesus Christ promises that we will be reunited with our loved ones, relieved of all our physical, mental, and emotional challenges, and live forever in peace and everlasting joy. This promise means that all our temple covenants will be realized through Jesus Christ. Even then, despite our good intentions, I believe these blessings cannot fully be appreciated yet.
The truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ means that we can be reconciled to God. What does that even mean? To me, being reconciled to God enables us to receive all the gifts He has prepared for us here on earth and in the world to come and eternal life with Him and His Son.
You don’t have to wait until the next life to learn of the truth of these promises. You can know of the validity yourself right now by gleaning a testimony of the Book of Mormon. Elder Quentin L Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained that as part of the plan of salvation, the Savior has prepared “many mansions,” or kingdoms of glory, for all of mankind. He said that at the time Joseph Smith received revelations and organized the Church, the vast majority of Christian churches taught that the Savior’s Atonement would not bring about the salvation of most of mankind, but then he further clarified the hope that we have in the Savior.
“Because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, all spirits blessed by birth will ultimately be resurrected, spirit and body reunited, and inherit kingdoms of glory that are superior to our existence here on earth” (Quentin L. Cook, “Our Father’s Plan—Big Enough For All His Children,” April 2009).
See D&C 76:40-42 for more on this subject. Read the whole section for a detailed summary outline.
40 And this is the gospel, the glad tidings, which the voice out of the heavens bore record unto us—
41 That he came into the world, even Jesus, to be crucified for the world, and to bear the sins of the world, and to sanctify the world, and to cleanse it from all unrighteousness;
42 That through him all might be saved whom the Father had put into his power and made by him;
Why Does It Matter?
President Russell M Nelson does a fantastic job of explaining why the Book of Mormon matters.
“In a most miraculous and singular way, the Book of Mormon teaches us of Jesus Christ and His gospel” (Russell M. Nelson, “The Book of Mormon: What Would Your Life Be Like Without It?” October 2017).
President Nelson opened the Book of Mormon to 3 Nephi 11 and together with an African tribal king read the Savior’s sermon to the Nephites. He then presented him the copy of the book. The king’s response came from his heart: “You could have given me diamonds or rubies, but nothing is more precious to me than this additional knowledge about the Lord Jesus Christ.”
And he is not alone. Many have described why the Book of Mormon matters to them.
Whenever I hear anyone, including myself, say, “I know the Book of Mormon is true,” I want to exclaim, “That’s nice, but it is not enough!” We need to feel, deep in “the inmost part” of our hearts that the Book of Mormon is unequivocally the word of God. We must feel it so deeply that we would never want to live even one day without it. I might paraphrase President Brigham Young in saying, “I wish I had the voice of seven thunders to wake up the people” to the truth and power of the Book of Mormon.”
It is tried and true, and was written for our time.
Still unsure? Well you can know for yourself as well by putting the Book of Mormon to the test. Just as I have described, Moroni’s promise was written for you as well. You can know for yourself.
And in addition to the written word, the Church is now releasing Book of Mormon Videos, further solidifying the essential role of the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ today.
The First Presidency simply states about the new Book of Mormon videos: “It is our hope that these videos will lead to increased study and understanding of the teachings of the Book of Mormon.“
The title page of the Book of Mormon states its purpose, including, in part, that the book is 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.”
That is the purpose of the Book of Mormon.
It does that and a lot more.
“I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.” – Joseph Smith
In 1989, Walter Penning formed a consultancy based in Salt Lake City and empowered his clients by streamlining processes and building a loyal, lifetime customer base with great customer service. His true passion is found in his family. He says the best decision he ever made was to marry his sweetheart and have children. The wonderful family she has given him and her constant love, support, and patience amid life's challenges is his panacea.