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Book of Mormon


"The Book of Mormon began as a collection of engraved metal plates that were compiled and abridged by a prophet-historian named Mormon."





Book of Mormon
by Vivian Malli

Vivian Malli has been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 1993. She currently serves as a seminary teacher for the Church's Educational System, which provides religious education to young adults throughout the world.

What exactly is the Book of Mormon?

Like the Bible, the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. Spanning a history of more than 700 years, it chronicles the spiritual saga of two ancient American civilizations, which were visited and taught by Jesus Christ.

The Book of Mormon began as a collection of engraved metal plates that were compiled and abridged by a prophet-historian named Mormon, who summarized the writings of 15 other prophets who presided over the Nephite, Lamanite and Jaredite nations in ancient America, mostly from 600 B.C. to 421 A.D..

The Book of Mormon came from four sets of metal records.

1. The Plates of Nephi form 11 of the 15 sections of the Book of Mormon and describe the generations of Lehi, an Israelite who sailed his family to a "promised land" in the New World after being warned by God to flee Jerusalem before the Babylonian captivity. Lehi's clan spawned two rival nations, the Nephites and the Lamanites, who blossomed in the Americas as long as they had faith in Jesus Christ.

2. The Plates of Mormon make up at least 3 sections of the Book of Mormon, mainly summarizing the last days of the Nephites, who were exterminated in a genocidal campaign by the Lamanites. Moroni, a Nephite captain and Mormon's son, finished writing his people's history on these plates before he buried all four sets of metal plates in a hillside located in current-day upstate New York.

3. Found in the last sections of the Book of Mormon, the Plates of Ether tell the story of the Jaredites, a group of families guided by God to the New World shortly after the Tower of Babel was destroyed. The Jaredites became a great nation, teeming with millions of people under various kingdoms. Idolatry and wickedness undid the Jaredites, who eventually killed each other in a massive civil war. Moroni obtained the plates from a group of Nephites, who discovered the Plates of Ether in the ruins of a Jaredite city, close to the Nephite homeland.

4. The Plates of Brass are mentioned in the first sections of the Book of Mormon and were transported to the New World in 600 B.C. by Lehi's family. The Nephites kept these records, which included the five books of Moses, writings from ancient Israelite prophets (such as Isaiah) and a history of the Jews through the early days of King Zedekiah's reign.

Who discovered the Book of Mormon?

Joseph Smith discovered the Book of Mormon in Manchester, New York after learning about its whereabouts from a series of angelic visitations by Moroni in September 1823. After considerable spiritual preparation, Smith obtained the plates in 1827 and translated the Book of Mormon "into modern speech by the gift and power of God." He re-buried the plates "by the wisdom of God" in 1838.

First published in 1830, the Book of Mormon has been translated into more than 100 languages and had its 100 millionth copy printed in April 2000.

Copies are available from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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