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What Is the Book of Mormon?

Reading its words can help us understand our purpose in life, answer important questions, and draw closer to Jesus Christ.

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The Book of Mormon contains sacred writings from followers of Jesus. Just like God spoke to Moses and Noah in the Bible, He also spoke to people in the Americas. These men, called prophets, wrote down God’s word. Their writings were eventually gathered into one book by a prophet named Mormon.

God’s people have always been taught by living prophets. Like us today, the women and men of those times struggled with temptation, searched for wisdom, and led happier lives when they followed the teachings of Jesus Christ. We can recognize ourselves in their stories—inspired and inspiring spiritual records. The Book of Mormon is evidence that God loves all His children and is involved in their lives. It serves as a witness to the truths in the Bible and to the divinity and teachings of Jesus Christ.

The Book of Mormon answers the big questions

The Book of Mormon can help us understand the essential questions that we all have at some point: 

  • Is there life after death?
  • What’s waiting for us on the other side? 
  • What is the purpose of life? 
  • How can I find happiness and peace now? 
  • Does God know me and hear my prayers? 
  • How can I avoid sin and learn to truly repent? 

If you want, missionaries can meet with you and discuss the passages that answer these questions. They'll also bring you a free copy of the Book of Mormon.

The promise of the Book of Mormon

God promises us that if we read the Book of Mormon with an open heart and mind, He will reveal to each of us its divinity and its truth through inspiration from the Holy Spirit. Some 80,000 missionaries are teaching people about this book on six continents in 107 languages—and these people are currently putting that promise to the test. Missionaries give out copies of the Book of Mormon for free, yet millions of people count it among their most valuable possessions. Men and women from all over the world, from every possible background, are learning that the Book of Mormon can help us find peace and faith in this life and eternal salvation in the life to come.

How do we have the Book of Mormon today?

In 1823, Joseph Smith was led by an angel to the ancient records and translated them by the power of God.  Like the ancient prophets who came before him, Joseph Smith served as God’s messenger and testified of Jesus Christ’s Atonement and of the Savior’s ability to change our lives for good.

Why is the Book of Mormon significant?

The principles that were recorded in the Book of Mormon—faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, joy, salvation—changed the lives of an ancient people. In our day, the Book of Mormon has influenced the lives of millions of people around the world by bringing them closer to Jesus Christ. Here are a few stories:

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3 women's experience with the Book of Mormon

Three women explain how the Book of Mormon and its teachings have helped them develop a closer relationship with God.

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Richard Auger on the Book of Mormon

Richard was diagnosed with cancer and found comfort in the Book of Mormon.

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Frank Mansuetto on the Book of Mormon

“I realized that the words that were in [the Book of Mormon] were speaking to me personally.”

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Tim Gates on the Book of Mormon

Tim Gates talks about the role the Book of Mormon has played in his life.

How can the Book of Mormon benefit my life?

Scriptures are more than just old words and stories. They are relevant, timely messages for the problems we face. When you approach reading the Book of Mormon by frequently asking yourself, “What is this really saying?” you’ll find there are many relevant messages for you today. The book was written to inspire readers to make decisions that would ultimately improve their lives and bring them closer to God. It was the authors’ hope that their words would lead people to Jesus Christ and change behaviors; would lift sadness, uncertainty, and fear; would offer purpose and direction to people’s outlook on life; and would give people evidence that God is still “a God of miracles” (Mormon 9:10).

The significance of the Book of Mormon in the world could be measured in the quantity of copies distributed or the overall increase in the number of people who choose to follow Jesus Christ after reading the book. The most important effect, however, is distinctly personal. The Book of Mormon answers questions, provides hope, and solidifies spiritual strength in people, one by one.

Find peace by reading the Book of Mormon

The people whose lives have changed from reading the Book of Mormon found it when they were sinners or when they were faithful, when they felt hopeless or when they were happy. To find meaning in the Book of Mormon, people may be learned or uneducated, alone or surrounded by friends and family, financially successful or economically strained. The only common characteristic is that people who are affected by this book pick it up with a simple desire to know and understand its truth.

Common Questions

People have a lot of questions about “Mormons,” or more respectfully, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Click here to see the full list.

Here’s a short synopsis of the epic thousand-year history: 

In essence, the Book of Mormon is a story about a family. Lehi is a prophet in Jerusalem. God warns Lehi in a dream to take his family and leave Jerusalem because it will be taken over. They cross the ocean to the Americas. Laman and Lemuel, the oldest sons, don’t believe their father Lehi was inspired. They are always complaining. Their younger brother Nephi is full of faith. Nephi is chosen by God to lead the family and be their teacher. 

The people eventually split into two groups: the Nephites and the Lamanites. These groups are often at war and their faith is constantly being tested. This faith fills the pages of the Book of Mormon in the form of powerful sermons, life lessons, and spiritual experiences. 

After Jesus is resurrected, He appears to the people in the Americas. He teaches them about baptism and forgiveness. He heals their sick and blesses their children. He establishes His Church. Unlike those in Jerusalem, the people listen to Jesus. Afterward, they live in peace for hundreds of years. 

Over time, the people lose faith and war breaks out again, wiping out nearly the entire population. 

Like the Bible, the Book of Mormon has many authors. It is a collection of journals and histories passed down from one writer to another over a period of about 1,000 years. The first author is the prophet Nephi, who left Jerusalem with his family in 600 BC and sailed to the Americas. Nephi passed the record to his younger brother, who then gave it to his son. Each author gave the record to someone they trusted. Mormon was the name of the prophet who gathered all the writings into one book, so it is called the Book of Mormon.
 
In 1823, Joseph Smith was led to the ancient records and translated them by the power of God. 

The Book of Mormon supports the Bible and often clarifies the teachings of Jesus Christ. In the Bible, both Mark and Luke tell the same stories about Jesus, but you can learn more when you get information from two perspectives. 

Together, the Book of Mormon and Bible contain thousands of years’ worth of inspiration, guidance, and instruction. By studying both books, you can get a better understanding of who God is and what He wants for you. 

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