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BOM Seminary Student Manual

BOM Seminary Student Manual

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10

The Prophet Joseph Smith said that “the Book of Mormon was
themost correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our
religion” (History of the Church,4:461). He also said: “Take away
the Book of Mormon and the revelations, and where is our
religion? We have none” (History of the Church,2:52).

President Ezra Taft Benson explained:

“Akeystone is the central stone in an arch. It holds all the other
stones in place, and if removed, the arch crumbles.

“There are three ways in which the Book of Mormon is the
keystone of our religion. It is the keystone in our witness of Christ.
It is the keystone of our doctrine. It is the keystone of testimony.

“The Book of Mormon is the
keystone in our witness of
Jesus Christ, who is Himself
the cornerstone of everything
we do. Itbears witness of His
reality with power and
clarity. ...

“The Book of Mormon is also
the keystone of the doctrine of
the Resurrection. As
mentioned before, the Lord
Himself has stated that the
Book of Mormon contains the
‘fulness of the gospel of Jesus
Christ’ (D&C 20:9). That does
not mean it contains every
teaching, every doctrine ever
revealed. Rather, it means that
in theBook of Mormon we
will find the fulness of those doctrines required for our salvation.
And they are taught plainly and simply so that even children can
learn the ways of salvation and exaltation. The Book of Mormon
offers so much that broadens our understandings of the doctrines
of salvation. Without it, much of what is taught in other scriptures
would not be nearly so plain and precious.

“Finally, the Book of Mormon is the keystone of testimony. Just
asthe arch crumbles if the keystone is removed, so does all the
Church stand or fall with the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.
The enemies of the Church understand this clearly. This is why
they go to such great lengths to try to disprove the Book of
Mormon, for if it can be discredited, the Prophet Joseph Smith
goes with it. So does our claim to priesthood keys, and revelation,
and the restored Church. But in like manner, if the Book of
Mormon be true—and millions have now testified that they have
the witness of the Spirit that it is indeed true—then one must
accept the claims of the Restoration and all that accompanies it”
(in Conference Report, Oct. 1986, 4–5; or Ensign,Nov. 1986, 5–6).

Introduction—Prophets Testify of the Book of Mormon

President MarionG. Romney, who was a member of the First
Presidency, said: “If we would avoid adopting the evils of the
world, we must pursue a course which will daily feed our minds
with and call them back to the things of the spirit. I know of
nobetter way to do this than by daily reading the Book of

Mormon” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1980, 88; or Ensign,
May1980, 66).

All of the latter-day prophets have testified of the importance of
studying the Book of Mormon. President Ezra Taft Benson said:
“There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your
lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book. You will
find greater power to resist temptation. You will find the power
to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the strait
and narrow path. The scriptures are called ‘the words of life’
(D&C 84:85), and nowhere is that more true than it is of the
Bookof Mormon. When you begin to hunger and thirst after
those words, you will find life in greater and greater abundance”
(in Conference Report, Oct. 1986, 6; or Ensign,Nov. 1986, 7).

President GordonB. Hinckley said: “I would like to urge every
man and woman ... and every boy and girl who is old enough
toread to again read the Book of Mormon during this coming
year. This was written for the convincing of the Jew and the
Gentile that Jesus is the Christ. There is nothing we could do of
greater importance than to have fortified in our individual lives
an unshakable conviction that Jesus is the Christ, the living Son
ofthe living God. That is the purpose of the coming forth of this
remarkable and wonderful book. May I suggest that you read it
again and take a pencil, a red one if you have one, and put a little
check mark every time there is a reference to Jesus Christ in that
book. And there will come to you a very real conviction as you
doso that this is in very deed another witness for the Lord Jesus
Christ” (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley[1997], 44).

The Testimony of Three Witnesses

Testimony of Three Witnesses—What Does It Mean to
“Rid Our Garments of the Blood of All Men”?

Blood, as used in this phrase, is a symbol for sin. Those who
receive a calling from the Lord to testify to the world are said
tobe clean from the blood of the world if they teach and testify
faithfully. If they are not faithful in their calling, they will bear
some of the responsibility for the sins of those they might have
helped to learn the truth (see Jacob 1:18–19).

The Testimony of Eight Witnesses

Hefted—Lifted

Oliver Cowdery

David Whitmer

Martin Harris

Grace of God the Father
God’s gifts and power

11

Testimony of Eight Witnesses—Why Did God Call So
Many Witnesses?

The Lord has declared that “in the mouth of two or three
witnesses shall every word be established” (see 2Corinthians
13:1). Elder Joseph Fielding Smith, then a member of the Quorum
of the Twelve Apostles, explained: “[God’s] word has always been
proclaimed by the mouth of duly appointed witnesses who were
appointed to testify of his work. The Book of Mormon could not
come forth in any way other than the way it did, and fulfill the
law. Their prophets declared that the Lord would raise up ‘as
many witnesses as seemeth him good,’ [see 2Nephi 27:12–14]
toestablish his work” (The Restoration of All Things[1945], 107).

Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith

ABrief Explanation about the Book of Mormon

Brief Explanation—How Are the Different Sets of
Plates Represented in the Book of Mormon?

The illustration on page 12 of this manual helps explain how the
different sets of plates fit together to make up the Book of
Mormon record. Notice that there was much more written than
Mormon and Moroni were able to include on the plates of
Mormon (see Helaman 3:14–15; Ether 15:33).

Studying the Scriptures

Do two of the following activities (A–F) as you study the
introduction, testimonies, and brief explanation.

What Do They Mean to You?

In the quotation from the Prophet Joseph Smith in paragraph6 of
the introduction are the following three principles about the Book
of Mormon. In your notebook, explain how each principle is true
and what it means to you. Use the information in the introduction
and in the “Understanding the Scriptures” section to help you.

1.The Book of Mormon is “the most correct of any book on earth.”

2.The Book of Mormon is “the keystone of our religion.”

3.Aperson will “get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts,
than by any other book.”

Make a Keystone Arch

Using wooden blocks or other suitable material, construct an arch
(see the picture of an arch on p.9). Label the keystone “The Book
of Mormon.” Take your arch to class and show how the keystone
holds the arch together.

How Can I Know That the Book of
Mormon Is True?

Read the last two paragraphs of the introduction and, in your
notebook, explain what you must do to receive a witness from
the Spirit that the Book of Mormon is true.

What Did They Witness?

1.List what the Three Witnesses saw and heard and what the
Eight Witnesses saw and touched.

2.What does it mean to you that eleven other men testified that
the Prophet Joseph Smith did indeed have the gold plates
and that three of them saw an angel and heard the voice of
the Lord?

What Impressed You?

After reading the testimony of the
Prophet Joseph Smith, write at least
one thing that impressed you about
his testimony.

Prophets Speak Out on the Book of
Mormon

Make a chart with four columns. Label the first column
“Promised Blessings,” the second “Counsel about Reading the
Book of Mormon,” the third “What the Book Contains,” and
thefourth “Testimonies of the Prophets.” Read “What is a
Keystone?” and “Prophets Testify of the Book of Mormon” in the
“Understanding the Scriptures” section. Look for statements that
belong in one of the four categories and write them in the
appropriate column.

F

E

D

C

B

A

Secular history

(paragraph 2)—The history
of kings, wars, and so on

Abridgment (paragraph 3)—
Shortened version

Subsequently(paragraph 8)—
Later

Supplication(page 1,
paragraph 2)—Asking,
pleading

Countenance(page 1,
paragraph 5)—Appearance

The source from whence
they sprang
(page 1,
paragraph 7)—The place
they originally camefrom

Musing on the singularity

(page 2, paragraph 2)—
Thinking about the unusual
nature

Indigent circumstances

(page2, paragraph 4)—Poverty

Attested by Divine
affirmation
(page 3,
paragraph 8)—As God said it
would be

12

Some of the sources for the plates of Mormon

The plates of Mormon
that were given to the Prophet Joseph Smith
(does not necessarily reflect the order
of the books on the plates)

The
Book of
Mormon

The Plates
of Brass

The Plates
of Ether

The Small
Plates of Nephi

1 Nephi
2 Nephi
Jacob
Enos
Jarom
Omni

The Book
of Ether

Mormon’s explanation
for including the
small plates of Nephi

Moroni’s completion
of his father’s book

The personal writings
of Moroni, including
the title page

Quoted in

Quoted in

Included unabridged

1 Nephi through Omni

The Words of Mormon

Mosiah through
Mormon 7

Mormon 8–9

Ether

Moroni

The Sealed Portion

Translated by Joseph Smith

Abridged by M

oroni

Abridged
by Mormon

The book of Lehi
(part of Mormon’s
abridgment;
the 116-page
translation lost
by Martin Harris)

The Large Plates
of Nephi

Lehi

Mosiah
Alma
Helaman
3 Nephi
4 Nephi
Mormon 1–7

THE MAIN SOURCES FOR THE BOOK OF MORMON

What Do You Know about the Prophet Nephi?

You probably know that Nephi was one of the writers of the Book
of Mormon, but what else do you know about him? As you read
1and 2Nephi you will find out that Nephi was also a scholar, a
great hunter, a blacksmith, a shipbuilder, a navigator, a goldsmith,
a record keeper, a refugee, a temple builder, a king, a warrior, a
prophet, and a seer. Do you think a man with that kind of
experience could teach us something about life?

Where and When Did Nephi Live?

Nephi lived near Jerusalem, in the Southern Kingdom of Judah,
about 600 years before the birth of Christ. The powerful nations
ofBabylon and Egypt were competing for control of that part of
the world and that small kingdom of the Jews was caught in
themiddle.

Because of wickedness, the Northern Kingdom of Israel had been
conquered and its people carried away captive by the Assyrians
more than 100years before. At the time of Nephi, wickedness was
widespread, and the Jews were subject first to one foreign power
and then another. Prophets such as Jeremiah and Nephi’s father,
Lehi, prophesied that the kingdom of Judah would also be
destroyed if the people did not repent. The prophets Ezekiel
andDaniel also lived about this same time.

Why Did Nephi Write This Book?

There are some specific truths that Nephi hoped we would learn
by reading this book. His introduction gives a brief overview of
his family and their travels and struggles (see the paragraph
under the book title, before chapter1). He wrote that he would
show “that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those
whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them
mighty even unto the power of deliverance” (1Nephi 1:20).
Healso explained that his purpose was to “write of the things
ofGod” in order to “persuade men to come unto the God of
Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and be
saved” (1Nephi 6:3–4; see also Jacob 1:1–4).

As you read 1Nephi, therefore, be aware that he is teaching us to
come unto Jesus Christ and be saved. He uses the experiences of
his family to demonstrate the Lord’s power to save the faithful
both in this life and in the life to come.

The events in 1Nephi begin six hundred years before the birth
of Christ. At that time, the Jews, because of their wickedness,
had fallen under the control of the powerful Babylonian
empire. The prophet Jeremiah warned the Jews to submit to
Babylon or be destroyed (see Jeremiah 27:12–13). The prophet
Lehi was also called to warn them to repent (see 1Nephi
1:18–19). The Jews, however, chose to listen to the counsel of
false prophets who prophesied that Babylon, not Judah, would

1Nephi 1

The Prophet Lehi Is Called to
Warn the Jews

Lower
Sea

(Persian
Gulf)

Egypt

N
ile
R
iv
e
r

Judah

Israel

Babylon

(Mediterranean Sea)

Great Sea

Red
Sea

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