Thursday, January 2, 2020

BOM Introductory Pages

The Book of Mormon Title Page

READ the Book of Mormon Title Page
What are the purposes of the Book of Mormon?
·       To show unto the remnant of the House of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers
·       That they may know the covenants of the Lord – that they (the reader) may have access to them, themselves
·       To convince the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God
·       That Christ manifests Himself unto all nations – and if all nations, then that includes you (the reader)
Who was the Book of Mormon written to?
·       Primarily to the Lamanites, the remnant of the House of Israel (see also D&C 3:18-20)
·       And also to Jew and Gentile
Who is the remnant of the House of Israel?
·       The descendants of Lehi – mostly Lamanites with a few Nephites who disaffected
·       Ancestors of former inhabitants of this (North America, a land “choice above all other lands” – 2 Nephi 1:5) continent (see JSH 1:33-34)
Why is it important to show them the “great things the Lord hath done for their fathers”? (see also D&C 3:16-20)
·       Because they don’t know what the Lord has done 
·       Because they do not know who they are (in relation to the “fathers” unto whom the Lord has done great things)
·       They do not know the promises the Lord made to their forefathers
·       They do not know their own great destiny - the opportunity to receive those same promises themselves

READ 3 Nephi 21:23-25
What is the Remnant prophesied to do in the Last Days?
·       Build the New Jerusalem or Zion
Who was the first official mission of the Church sent to find?
·     This Remnant (see D&C 28:8-9 and D&C 30:5-6) so that Zion could be established, as they (the remnant of the Lamanites) would build it
·       Details: Oliver Cowdery, Parley Pratt, Peter Whitmer, Ziba Peterson were the missionaries chosen but they could not get past the US Government Indian Agents who arrested them and threatened them with Fort Leavenworth if they tried to cross into Indian Territory again – (did they not have the faith to proceed?)…Independence, MO was as close as they could get to the Native Americans
Where were the missionaries going to look for them?
·       West, because the Indian Removal Act of 1830 had forcibly moved all Native Americans living in the eastern states to the “Indian Territory” in what is now Kansas
·       Specifically, they were headed to the “Rocky Mountains” (according to a contemporary letter written by Delilah McCoy from Independence, MO to her father) to find the “western tribes of Indians” who are descendants of Lehi according to Joseph Smith (see JS Papers, Documents, Vol 2, p. 354 and The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith by Dean Jesse, p 273)
·       We do not know how widely distributed the blood of the Remnant might be by now – which means they may not just be on an Indian Reservation somewhere in the Western Mountains
·       Hugh Nibley and others thought that the Remnant might be the Hopi tribe from Arizona
·       It is also interesting that the original manuscript of D&C 28:8-9 states where Zion was to be built: “it shall be among the Lamanites” – this original revelation was crossed out and in Sidney Rigdon’s handwriting is written “it shall be on the borders by the Lamanites” - which is how it presently reads in the D&C (see JS Papers, Revelations and Translations Facsimile Edition p. 53) which is how Independence was chosen and not the western mountains
Who are the “Gentiles” in the Book of Mormon? 
·       Both the majority of current members of the LDS church specifically and Europeans in general (see D&C 109:60 and 1 Nephi 13:34-35)
What is the role of the Gentiles with regards to the Remnant? (1 Nephi 15:13&17 and 3 Nephi 21:2-7)
·       To bring them the Fullness of the Gospel
·       To bring them the Book of Mormon
·       To assist them in building Zion


The Fullness of the Gospel

How does the Book of Mormon convince people that Jesus is the Christ or Anointed One?
·       It contains the testimonies of witness after witness who have stood in His presence - both before and after His mortal birth
·       It illustrates the path which anyone can follow to come unto Christ in the flesh and know Him for yourself; it contains the covenants and instructions needed to come unto Christ
·       It contains the invitation to awake, arise and go forward to find the Lord yourself and enter into His presence that you too might know of a surety that He is the Christ (see 3 Nephi 11:15)
·       It contains information about Christ’s character and attributes, which should increase your faith in His invitation to find Him
Why does the Title Page end with a warning and what is its significance?
·       There may be mistakes in the writing, translation or editing of the Book of Mormon
·       Regardless of this, if YOU condemn the things (words, ideas) of God contained in this book, despite the mistakes, you will not be fund spotless at the judgement seat of Christ because He commissioned this book to be written to you to save you

READ BoM Introduction – paragraph 6
Why did Joseph Smith say that the Book of Mormon was the “most correct book” of any book on Earth?
·       Because it most “correctly” (or accurately and plainly) testifies of the reality of the living Christ, the truth of His doctrine, and the invitation to come unto Him in this life through covenant
·       Because it was written by ancient prophets and translated directly by a modern prophet under the direction of the same Holy Spirit – it was not translated or transcribed and has not been changed to support the philosophies of men taught as if they were God’s truth

READ Testimony of Joseph Smith – paragraph 7
What does it mean to say that the Book of Mormon contains the “fullness of the Gospel”? 
·       The fullness of the Gospel includes the Doctrine of Christ or “first principles and ordinances” of the gospel including the birth of the Spirit/baptism of fire that shows that the covenant has been sealed upon the individual by the Holy Spirit of Promise 
·       The book testifies, through numerous examples, of the fact that all can abide in the covenant and come unto Christ in the flesh and thereby be redeemed from the Fall and sealed up to Eternal Life (See also D&C 42:12 and D&C 20:9; e.g. 2 Nephi 31-32, Mosiah 3-5,  Helaman 10, Ether 3, and 3 Nephi 11)
Why did the Lord call witnesses of the Book of Mormon?
·       Because He always calls witnesses (see Matthew 18:16 and 2 Corinthians 13:1)
·       But the witnesses’ testimonies are anecdotal and personal
·       As a result, we must still choose to believe or not
·       We must find out for ourselves and have our own personal experience and connection with God
·       We have the opportunity to be “witnesses” ourselves of the Book of Mormon
What is the significance of the fact that seven of the eleven witnesses were disaffected from the Church but never denied their testimonies of the Book of Mormon?
·       They knew it was true
·      They had many reasons, including hatred of Joseph Smith and a desire to embarrass him, to discredit the book but they did not because they feared God – they knew that He knew that they knew that the book was true
What proves that the Book of Mormon is true?
·       Does following its precepts bring you back into the presence of God or not? (see also LoF 2:54-56)
·     The testimony of the prophets who wrote it, testifying of its truthfulness at the judgement bar of Christ (see 2 Nephi 33:11-15)
What is a keystone?
·       The stone on the top of an arch that holds it together by gravity and leverage
How is the Book of Mormon the “keystone of our religion”? 
·       It teaches the reader what to believe (the correct attributes of God and the saving covenants) so that they can rend the veil and enter God’s presence
·      The Book of Mormon is physical proof that Joseph Smith, an uneducated farm boy, was a prophet of God – and that the other saving doctrines he revealed were also true (i.e. LoF, D&C, TPJS, etc.)


The Condemnation

How does one harden one’s heart in unbelief in response to the Book of Mormon – and what does “unbelief” mean?
·     Unbelief = not believing something isn’t true but believing that something else is true instead (because everyone believes something or else they would never act)
·       Hardening one’s heart is a result of pride – refusing to be penetrated or affected by the thinking or ideas of someone else, even God 
·       Hardening one’s heart in unbelief means thinking you know better than anyone else – you see the world how it is and you refuse to admit the slightest possibility that your beliefs might be wrong 

READ D&C 84:49-58
What does it mean to take the Book of Mormon lightly, such that we, as a people, would still be under condemnation to this day (as per Ezra Taft Benson)?
·       It means to not believe in its message of the Fullness of the Gospel enough to read it and “do” it (see v 57)
·       After over 180 years, we still have not established Zion, a place where the Lord can come to abide with His people (one heart, one mind, dwelt in righteousness and no poor among us – see Moses 7:18) because we will not exercise faith and live the covenant laid out in the Book of Mormon
·       Like the Children of Israel, we prefer to place men between us and God (see D&C 84:19-27)


God’s Character and Attributes (Lectures on Faith 3-4) QUESTIONS

A Correct Idea of God’s Character   READ LoF 3:2-5 What is necessary for any rational and intelligent being to exercise faith in God u...