After receiving his vision in 1820, Joseph Smith realized that he should join none of the existing churches but should continue his daily activities until he received further direction from the Lord.
Visitation of Moroni
On the evening of September 21, 1823, he knelt in prayer to God to ask of his status before him. He described the event as follows:
While I was thus in the act of calling upon God, I discovered a light appearing in my room, which continued to increase until the room was lighter than at noonday, when immediately a personage appeared at my bedside, standing in the air, for his feet did not touch the floor.
He had on a loose robe of most exquisite whiteness. It was a whiteness beyond anything earthly I had ever seen; nor do I believe that any earthly thing could be made to appear so exceedingly white and brilliant. His hands were naked, and his arms also, a little above the wrist; so, also, were his feet naked, as were his legs, a little above the ankles. His head and neck were also bare. I could discover that he had no other clothing on but this robe, as it was open, so that I could see into his bosom.
Not only was his robe exceedingly white, but his whole person was glorious beyond description, and his countenance truly like lightning. The room was exceedingly light, but not so very bright as immediately around his person. When I first looked upon him, I was afraid; but the fear soon left me.
He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people.
He said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the fulness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants; (Joseph Smith–History 1:30-34)
That message was of great importance, because Moroni delivered it four times, thus firmly fixing it in Joseph’s mind: Moroni appeared to Joseph two more times that night and once the next morning and repeated his message. While Moroni talked with Joseph, Joseph saw in vision the location of the plates, which were buried in a nearby hill. After Moroni’s fourth visit, Joseph went to the hill, pried up a large rock, and saw the plates in a hole lined with rocks. Moroni appeared and forbade Joseph to take the plates. He told Joseph that for the next four years, he must come to that spot once a year and be instructed by Moroni about the ancient people. Joseph complied with Moroni’s instructions and visited the hill each year to be taught.
Accordingly, as I had been commanded, I went at the end of each year, and at each time I found the same messenger there, and received instruction and intelligence from him at each of our interviews, respecting what the Lord was going to do, and how and in what manner his kingdom was to be conducted in the last days. (Joseph Smith–History 1:54)
Finally, with the visit for the fourth year, the time came for Joseph to receive the plates.
At length the time arrived for obtaining the plates….On the twenty-second day of September, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-seven, having gone as usual at the end of another year to the place where they were deposited, the same heavenly messenger delivered them up to me with this charge: that I should be responsible for them; that if I should let them go carelessly, or through any neglect of mine, I should be cut off; but that if I would use all my endeavors to preserve them, until he, the messenger, should call for them, they should be protected. (Joseph Smith–History 1:59)
I give you my witness that Joseph Smith did receive the plates from the angel Moroni, and that the book which resulted from the translation of those plates is new scripture!
Another Testament of Jesus Christ
In order to understand about the Book of Mormon, let us draw a comparison between it and the Bible. The Bible was written by men who lived anciently in the Palestinian area. These men were prophets and received revelations from God. They recorded their visions and teachings on scrolls or other materials. These writings were translated and are available today as the Holy Bible. I accept the Bible as being the word of God and look to it for knowledge and testimonies of Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon was written by men who lived anciently in the American continents. These men were also prophets and received revelation from God. They recorded their visions and teachings on metal plates. The plates were condensed by a prophet named Mormon into a single set of plates. The plates and were given by Mormon’s son Moroni, as a resurrected person, to Joseph Smith. They were translated and are available today as the Book of Mormon. I accept the Book of Mormon as the word of God, and I look to it for knowledge and testimonies of Jesus Christ. To me, it is another testament of Jesus Christ.
The Book of Mormon begins in Jerusalem in the year 600 B.C. A prophet named Lehi was warned by God that Jerusalem was about to be destroyed and that he should take his family and flee the city. Lehi obeyed God, and his family traveled to the Red sea. Under guidance from the Lord, they constructed a ship and came to the American continents. Upon their arrival, they began to till the ground and build their homes. Not all of Lehi’s family were righteous. The two older sons, Laman and Lemuel, rebelled against their father and caused many conflicts in their family. Eventually, the righteous members of the family separated themselves from the rebellious ones, and two groups sprang up in the land. The righteous people were known as Nephites, being named after Nephi, a younger son of Lehi. The unrighteous people were known as Lamanites, being named after Laman.
The Nephites had prophets, and these men prophesied of Jesus Christ. They testified to the need for a Messiah, and they explained the atonement. They told the people to repent, and they gave them signs by which they would know of the birth and later of the death of Jesus. For 600 years, the Nephites and Lamanites coexisted in the land, sometimes at peace but usually at war.
The spiritual high-point of the Book of Mormon is the visit to the Nephites by the resurrected Jesus Christ. This occurred after his ascension to heaven as described in the Bible in the first chapter of Acts. The Savior taught and ministered to the people, and he chose 12 disciples to lead the people.
For almost 200 years after the Savior’s visit, the Nephites and Lamanites were one people and lived in righteousness. However, the people began to pursue the riches of the world, and they let jealousies and envy take hold in their hearts. They again separated into two groups, and for the next 200 years great wickedness and wars covered the land. Finally the last great war occurred, and the Nephite nation was destroyed. Only stragglers remained and they were hunted by the Lamanites and killed. One of the few remaining Nephites was the prophet of the people, a man named Moroni. His father, Mormon, had been the prophet before him but had been killed in battle. Prior to his death, Mormon had given Moroni the metal plates upon which he had condensed the history and religious life of the people. Moroni named that record the Book of Mormon after his father. Moroni closed the book with his testimony of Christ.
Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot. (Moroni 10:32-33)
Jesus Christ Appeared in Ancient America
Four hundred years before the time of Moroni, as the time for Christ’s crucifixion approached, great wickedness covered the Nephite land, infecting both the Nephites and the Lamanites. The chief judge of the Nephite government was slain, and the government was overthrown. The few people who remembered the signs of Christ’s death that had been given by the prophets looked forward to the appearance of the signs, knowing that the Son of God would be slain for the sins of the world. A great storm arose. Thunder! Lightnings! Cities burned! Other cities sank into the sea! Earthquakes! For the space of three hours, great destruction occurred. Then darkness covered the land, a darkness so thick that no light of any kind could be seen. As the people mourned for their loved ones who had been killed, a voice was heard from the heavens.
Wo, wo, wo unto this people; wo unto the inhabitants of the whole earth except they shall repent; for the devil laugheth, and his angels rejoice, because of the slain of the fair sons and daughters of my people; and it is because of their iniquity and abominations that they are fallen.
And many great destructions have I caused to come upon this land, and upon this people, because of their wickedness and their abominations.
O all ye that are spared because ye were more righteous than they, will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?
Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God. I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are. I was with the Father from the beginning. I am in the Father, and the Father in me; and in me hath the Father glorified his name. (3 Nephi 9:2,12-13,15)
The people were so astonished at hearing the voice that they ceased to mourn, and there was silence in the land. Later, the people discussed the wondrous thing that had happened. While they were talking, they again heard a voice from heaven, but they could not understand it. They heard the voice again and understood it not. The third time the voice came, however, they understood what was being said.
And behold, the third time they did understand the voice which they heard; and it said unto them:
Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name–hear ye him.
And it came to pass, as they understood they cast their eyes up again towards heaven; and behold, they saw a Man descending out of heaven; and he was clothed in a white robe; and he came down and stood in the midst of them; and the eyes of the whole multitude were turned upon him, and they durst not open their mouths, even one to another, and wist not what it meant, for they thought it was an angel that had appeared unto them. (3 Nephi 11:6-8)
I bear my witness that the resurrected Jesus Christ appeared to the Nephites!
Behold I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world.
And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning.
And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words the whole multitude fell to the earth; for they remembered that it had been prophesied among them that Christ should show himself unto them after his ascension into heaven.
And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto them saying:
Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world.
And it came to pass that the multitude went forth, and thrust their hands into his side, and did feel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet; and this they did do, going forth one by one until they had all gone forth, and did see with their eyes and did feel with their hands, and did know of a surety and did bear record, that it was he, of whom it was written by the prophets, that should come.
And when they had all gone forth and had witnessed for themselves, they did cry out with one accord, saying: Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Most High God! And they did fall down at the feet of Jesus, and did worship him. (3 Nephi 11:10-17)
Why Another Book of Scripture?
It is a teaching of “orthodox” Christianity that the Bible is the only book of Scripture. We are often asked, “Why do you have your own Bible?” Our answer is, “We don’t; we have the same Bible as you”. What the people are really asking is, “Why do you have another book of Scripture?” Through revelation from God, Nephi received the answer to that question. The Lord explained to the Nephites that he is the God of all people, and that he has prophets and scripture among all righteous people.
But behold, there shall be many–at that day when I shall proceed to do a marvelous work among them, that I may remember my covenants which I have made unto the children of men, that I may set my hand again the second time to recover my people, which are of the house of Israel;
And also, that I may remember the promises which I have made unto thee, Nephi, and also unto thy father, that I would remember your seed; and that the words of your seed should proceed forth out of my mouth unto your seed; and my words shall hiss forth unto the ends of the earth, for a standard unto my people, which are of the house of Israel;
And because my words shall hiss forth–many of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible.
But thus saith the Lord God; O fools, they shall have a Bible; and it shall proceed forth from the Jews, mine ancient covenant people. And what thank they the Jews for the Bible which they receive from them? Yea, what do the Gentiles mean? Do they remember the travails, and the labors, and the pains of the Jews, and their diligence unto me, in bringing forth salvation unto the Gentiles?
O ye Gentiles, have ye remembered the Jews, mine ancient covenant people? Nay; but ye have cursed them, and have hated them, and have not sought to recover them. But behold, I will return all these things upon your own heads; for I the Lord have not forgotten my people.
Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible. Have ye obtained a Bible save it were by the Jews?
Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all nations of the earth?
Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also.
And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that I speak forth my words according to mine own pleasure. And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I can not speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever.
Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written.
For I command all men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north, and in the south, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them; for out of the books which shall be written I will judge the world, every man according to their works, according to that which is written.
For behold, I shall speak unto the Jews and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the Nephites and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the other tribes of the house of Israel, which I have led away, and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto all nations of the earth and they shall write it.
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 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.
And it shall come to pass that my people, which are of the house of Israel, shall be gathered home unto the lands of their possessions; and my word also shall be gathered in one. And I will show unto them that fight against my word and against my people, who are of the house of Israel, that I am God, and that I covenanted with Abraham that I would remember his seed forever. (2 Nephi 29:1-14)
Prophecies of the Book of Mormon
The Bible prophesies of the Book of Mormon. Let us study those scriptures. Jesus taught the Jews that he would visit other people of the House of Israel.
I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. (John 10:14-16)
This prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus visited the Nephites, as explained previously. In speaking to the Nephites, he said.
And verily I say unto you, that ye are they of whom I said: Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. (3 Nephi 15:21)
People who oppose the LDS Church say the “other sheep” were the Gentile nations and that Jesus’ prophecy was fulfilled when Paul and the other missionaries took the Gospel to those nations. However, Jesus explained to the Nephites that when he said the other sheep would hear his voice, he meant literally hear his voice.
And they [the Jews] understood me not, for they supposed it had been the Gentiles; for they understood not that the Gentiles should be converted through their preaching.
And they understood me not that I said they shall hear my voice; and they understood me not that the Gentiles should not at any time hear my voice–that I should not manifest myself unto them save it were by the Holy Ghost.
But behold, ye have both heard my voice, and seen me; and ye are my sheep, and ye are numbered among those whom the Father hath given me. (3 Nephi 15:22-24)
From the ancient prophet Ezekiel, we have a prophecy of two written records that would become one in “Ezekiel’s” hand.
The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying,
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:
And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. (Ezekiel 37:15-17)
The Bible is the Stick of Judah because it is the religious history of the Jews. I witness that the Book of Mormon is the Stick of Joseph, the record of the tribe of Joseph. Today, we have them in one hand as testaments of Jesus Christ!
In giving his last blessing to his twelve sons, Jacob prophesied that his son Joseph would have descendants that would go over a “wall”.
Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall; (Genesis 49:22)
Lehi was a descendant of Joseph, and when he brought his family across the ocean, he fulfilled the prophecy that Joseph’s branches would run over the wall, for at that time the oceans were truly walls that restricted the people to their known world.
Isaiah prophesied that Jerusalem would speak out of the ground with a voice that was familiar to the people and that its speech would whisper out of the dust.
Woe to Ariel, to Ariel, the city [where] David dwelt! add ye year to year; let them kill sacrifices.
Yet I will distress Ariel, and there shall be heaviness and sorrow: and it shall be unto me as Ariel.
And I will camp against thee round about, and will lay siege against thee with a mount, and I will raise forts against thee.
And thou shalt be brought down, [and] shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust. (Isaiah 29:1-4, emphasis added)
Lehi’s migration to the American continent, as described in the Book of Mormon, began at Jerusalem; his posterity thus represents that city. Moroni, the last Book of Mormon prophet, buried the plates in the ground. Joseph Smith removed the plates from the ground, translated them, and published the Book of Mormon as a new witness of the familiar story of Jesus Christ, the Messiah.
We have discussed four scriptures that prophesy of the Book of Mormon. People who oppose the church, however, refer to chapter 22 of the Book of Revelation and claim that it forbids other books of Scripture besides the Bible. Let us look at the verses they use.
For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book. If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book;
And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. (Revelation 22:18-19, emphasis added)
In those verses, John said that no one should add to or take away from “the prophecy of this book”. It is clear that John was referring to his book of Revelation and not the Bible itself, for the following reasons:
The Book of Revelation is a book of prophecy or revelation while the Bible is a book of testimony. In Revelation 1:1 we read, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John”. That verse is a clear indication that the book of Revelation is a book of prophecy. The Bible, on the other hand, is a book of testimony of Jesus, containing two testaments of him.
When John wrote the verses quoted above, the Bible did not exist as a book. The various manuscripts were canonized into the Bible at a later date as manuscripts were collected by the Catholic church.
From another viewpoint, John said that no man should add to or take from the book of prophecy. He did not say that God could not add to the prophecy. If the Book of Mormon is true, then it was added by God not by man.
In Deuteronomy there is a verse that is similar to the verses from the book of Revelation that we just discussed .
Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. (Deuteronomy 4:2)
If that verse were interpreted in the way that some people interpret Revelation 22:18-19, most of the Bible would have to be discarded since it came after Deuteronomy was given. I think that in both Deuteronomy and Revelation, the Lord was not talking about the media used to record his revelations. I think he was talking about us being obedient to all his commandments rather than our picking and choosing the ones we would obey.
Shortly before closing the Book of Mormon, Moroni explained how those who read that book can know if the book is of God.
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.
And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things. (Moroni 10:4-5)
Moroni’s challenge to us is to sincerely read the Book of Mormon and to ask God in the name of Jesus Christ if the Book of Mormon is true. Moroni promises that if we do these things, God will reveal to us by the power of the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true! I give you my testimony that I know by that power that the Book of Mormon is true.
Book of Mormon Testifies of Jesus Christ
The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. Let us read verses from the Book of Mormon that teach of Jesus. Nephi, who left Jerusalem with his father Lehi in 600 B.C., saw in vision the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.
And it came to pass that he [the Spirit of the Lord who came to Nephi in vision] said unto me: Look! And I looked as if to look upon him, and I saw him not; for he had gone from before my presence.
And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the great city of Jerusalem, and also other cities. and I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white.
And it came to pass that I saw the heavens open; and an angel came down and stood before me; and he said unto me: Nephi, what beholdest thou?
And I said unto him: A virgin, most beautiful and fair above all other virgins.
And he said unto me: Knowest thou the condescension of God?
And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.
And he said unto me: Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh.
And it came to pass that I beheld that she was carried away in the Spirit; and after she had been carried away in the Spirit for the space of a time the angel spake unto me, saying: Look!
And I looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms.
And the angel said unto me; Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father!… (1 Nephi 11:12-21)
Lehi taught his son Jacob about the Redemption.
Nevertheless, Jacob, my firstborn in the wilderness, thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain.
Wherefore, thy soul shall be blessed, and thou shalt dwell safely with thy brother, Nephi; and thy days shall be spent in the service of thy God. Wherefore, I know that thou are redeemed, because of the righteousness of thy Redeemer; for thou hast beheld that in the fulness of time he cometh to bring salvation unto men.
And thou hast beheld in thy youth his glory; wherefore, thou are blessed even as they unto whom he shall minister in the flesh; for the Spirit is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. And the way is prepared from the fall of man, and salvation is free.
And men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil. And the law is given unto men. And by the law no flesh is justified; or, by the temporal law they were cut off; and also, by the spiritual law they perish from that which is good, and become miserable forever.
Wherefore, redemption cometh in and though the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth.
Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered.
Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise.
Wherefore, he is the firstfruits unto God, inasmuch as he shall make intercession for all the children of men; and they that believe in him shall be saved.
And because of the intercession for all, all men come unto God; wherefore, they stand in the presence of him, to be judged of him according to the truth and holiness which is in him. Wherefore, the ends of the law which the Holy One hath given, unto the inflicting of the punishment which is affixed, which punishment that is affixed is in opposition to that of the happiness which is affixed, to answer the ends of the atonement– (2 Nephi 2:2-10)
After his father Lehi’s death, Jacob, taught the people about the grace of Christ.
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved.
Wherefore, may God raise you from death by the power of the resurrection, and also from everlasting death by the power of the atonement, that ye may be received into the eternal kingdom of God, that ye may praise him through grace divine. Amen. (2 Nephi 10:24-25)
Nephi, Jacob, and another brother named Joseph taught of Christ.
Wherefore we labored diligently among our people, that we might persuade them to come unto Christ, and partake of the goodness of God, that they might enter into his rest, lest by any means he should swear in his wrath [due to their wickedness] they should not enter in, as in the provocation in the days of temptation while the children of Israel were in the wilderness.
Wherefore, we would to God that we could persuade all men not to rebel against God, to provoke him to anger, but that all men would believe in Christ, and view his death, and suffer his cross and bear the shame of the world;… (Jacob 1:7-8)
A righteous Nephite King named Benjamin taught his people of Jesus Christ.
For behold, the time cometh, and is not far distant, that with power, the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity, shall come down from heaven among the children of men, and shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay, and shall go forth amongst men, working mighty miracles, such as healing the sick, raising the dead, causing the lame to walk, the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and curing all manner of diseases.
And he shall cast out devils, or the evil spirits which dwell in the hearts of the children of men.
And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people.
And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary.
And lo, he cometh unto his own, that salvation might come unto the children of men even through faith on his name; and even after all this they shall consider him a man, and say that he hath a devil, and shall scourge him, and shall crucify him.
And he shall rise the third day from the dead; and behold he standeth to judge the world; and behold, all these things are done that a righteous judgment might come upon the children of men.
For behold, and also his blood atoneth for the sins of those who have fallen by the transgression of Adam, who have died not knowing the will of God concerning them, or who have ignorantly sinned.
But wo, wo unto him who knoweth that he rebelleth against God! For salvation cometh to none such except it be through repentance and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ. (Mosiah 3:5-12)
King Benjamin’s discourse had such a great effect on the people that they were converted to Christ.
And now, it came to pass that when King Benjamin had made an end of speaking the words which had been delivered unto him by the angel of the Lord, that he cast his eyes round about on the multitude, and behold they had fallen to the earth, for the fear of the Lord had come upon them.
And they had viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth. And they all cried aloud with one voice, saying: O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things; who shall come down among the children of men.
And it came to pass that after they had spoken these words the Spirit of the Lord came upon them, and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience, because of the exceeding faith which they had in Jesus Christ who should come, according to the words which King Benjamin had spoken unto them. (Mosiah 4:1-3)
A Nephite prophet named Alma taught of the change that comes to those who accept Christ.
And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?
Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you? Do you look forward with an eye of faith, and view this mortal body raised in immortality, and this corruption raised in incorruption, to stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body? (Alma 5:14-15)
Book of Mormon Changes Lives
A Nephite missionary named Amulek held a debate with a corrupt lawyer named Zeezrom. During the encounter, Amulek taught the redemption of Christ.
And he [Christ] shall come into the world to redeem his people; and he shall take upon him the transgressions of those who believe on his name; and these are they that shall have eternal life, and salvation cometh to none else.
Therefore the wicked remain as though there had been no redemption made, except it be the loosing of the bands of death; for behold, the day cometh that all shall rise from the dead and stand before God, and be judged according to their works.
Now there is a death which is called a temporal death; and the death of Christ shall loose the bands of this temporal death, that all shall be raised from this temporal death.
The spirit and the body shall be reunited again in its perfect form; both limb and joint shall be restored to its proper frame, even as we now are at this time; and we shall be brought to stand before God, knowing even as we know now, and have a bright recollection of all our guilt. (Alma 11:40-43)
The subsequent story (given in an earlier chapter on Faith) of Zeezrom’s conversion to Jesus Christ and activity as a missionary is one of the great stories of the Book of Mormon.
Nephite missionaries had great success in teaching the Gospel to the Lamanites. The Lamanites were converted to Jesus Christ, and they looked forward to his coming as the Messiah.
And they [the Lamanites] did also bury their weapons of war, according as their brethren had, and they began to be a righteous people; and they did walk in the ways of the Lord, and did observe to keep his commandments and his statutes.
Yea, and they did keep the law of Moses; for it was expedient that they should keep the law of Moses as yet, for it was not all fulfilled. But notwithstanding the law of Moses, they did look forward to the coming of Christ, considering that the law of Moses was a type of his coming, and believing that they must keep those outward performances until the time that he should be revealed unto them.
Now they did not suppose that salvation came by the law of Moses; but the law of Moses did serve to strengthen their faith in Christ; and thus they did retain a hope through faith, unto eternal salvation, relying upon the spirit of prophecy, which spake of those things to come. (Alma 25:14-16)
Ammon, one of the Nephite missionaries that taught the Lamanites, praised God for his opportunity to serve the Lord as a missionary.
And now, these are the words of Ammon to his brethren, which say thus: My brothers and my brethren, behold I say unto you, how great reason we have to rejoice; for could we have supposed when we started from the land of Zarahemla that God would have granted unto us such great blessings?
And now, I ask, what great blessings has he bestowed upon us? Can ye tell?
Behold, I answer for you; for our brethren, the Lamanites, were in darkness, yea, even in the darkest abyss, but behold, how many of them are brought to behold the marvelous light of God! And this is the blessing which hath been bestowed upon us, that we have been made instruments in the hands of God to bring about this great work.
Behold, thousands of them do rejoice, and have been brought into the fold of God.
Behold, the field was ripe, and blessed are ye, for ye did thrust in the sickle, and did reap with your might, yea, all the day long did ye labor; and behold the number of your sheaves! And they shall be gathered into the garners, that they are not wasted.
Yea, they shall not be beaten down by the storm at the last day; yea, neither shall they be harrowed up by the whirlwinds; but when the storm cometh they shall be gathered together in their place, that the storm cannot penetrate to them; yea, neither shall they be driven with fierce winds whithersoever the enemy listeth to carry them.
But behold, they are in the hands of the Lord of the harvest, and they are his; and he will raise them up at the last day.
Blessed be the name of our God; let us sing his praise, yea, let us give thanks to his holy name, for he doth work righteousness forever.
For if we had not come up out of the land of Zarahemla, these our dearly beloved brethren, who have so dearly beloved us, would still have been racked with hatred against us, yea, and they would also have been strangers to God. (Alma 26:1-9)
During the era that Ammon and the other missionaries taught the Lamonites, the Nephite prophet was a man named Alma. Alma had grown up as the son of the prophet, but he had not been converted to the Lord. Instead, he went about trying to destroy the church. He was converted through the appearance to him of an angel.
For I went about with the sons of Mosiah, seeking to destroy the church of God; but behold, God sent his holy angel to stop us by the way.
And behold, he spake unto us, as it were the voice of thunder, and the whole earth did tremble beneath our feet; and we all fell to the earth, for the fear of the Lord came upon us.v
But behold, the voice said unto me: Arise. And I arose and stood up, and beheld the angel.
And he said unto me: If thou wilt of thyself be destroyed, seek no more to destroy the church of God.
And it came to pass that I fell to the earth; and it was for the space of three days and three nights that I could not open my mouth, neither had I the use of my limbs.
And the angel spake more things unto me, which were heard by my brethren, but I did not hear them; for when I heard the words–If thou wilt be destroyed of thyself, seek no more to destroy the church of God–I was struck with such great fear and amazement lest perhaps I should be destroyed, that I fell to the earth and I did hear no more.
But I was racked with eternal torment, for my soul was harrowed up to the greatest degree and racked with all my sins.
Yea, I did remember all my sins and iniquities, for which I was tormented with the pains of hell; yea, I saw that I had rebelled against my God, and that I had not kept his holy commandments.
Yea, and I had murdered many of his children, or rather led them away unto destruction; yea, and in fine so great had been my iniquities, that the very thought of coming into the presence of my God did rack my soul with inexpressible horror.
Oh, thought I, that I could be banished and become extinct both soul and body, that I might not be brought to stand in the presence of my God to be judged of my deeds.
And now, for three days and for three nights was I racked, even with the pains of a damned soul.
And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world.
Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death.
And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more.
And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!
Yea, I say unto you, my son, that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy. (Alma 36:6-21)
There are many other wonderful stories in the Book of Mormon about conversions to Jesus Christ, stories that teach that lives are changed when people accept Christ and follow him.