Jesus Christ Is the God
of That Land, by Minerva K. Teichert (1949, oil on board,
36 x 48). Superimposed on the western
hemisphere and flanked by Quetzal birds, native American
symbols of liberty and freedom, this painting conveys the
central message of the Book of Mormon That Jesus is
the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all
nations. Courtesy Leonard J. Arrington.
An Overview of the Book of
Joseph Smith called the Book of Mormon the most
correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our
religion and said that a person would get
nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any
other book (TPJS, p. 194), for it contains the
fulness of the gospel of
Jesus Christ (D&C 20:8-9). To members of THE
CHURCH of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints, the Book of
Mormon forms the doctrinal foundation of the Church and
speaks the word of God to all the world.
Title Page of the Book of Mormon
Joseph Smith once wrote, I
wish to mention here that the title-page of the Book of
Mormon is a literal translation, taken from the very last
leaf, on the left hand side of the collection or book of
plates, which contained the record which has been
and that said title-page is not
modern composition, either of mine or of any other man
who has lived or does live in this generation (HC
Book of Nephi
Written by Nephi1, an ancient prophet who fled
Jerusalem with his father, Lehi, and Lehi's family
shortly after 600 B.C., this book tells of their travels
under divine guidance to the Western Hemisphere.
Book of Nephi
The Second Book of Nephi (2 Nephi) is a work
written about 550 B.C. by the same author who wrote 1
Nephi and included it on his small plates.
Written by Jacob, fifth son of Lehi, sometime
after 545 B.C., the work follows the pattern outlined by
Nephi1 for making entries on the small plates by
including sacred sermons, significant revelations,
prophecies, and some historical information. Jacob, a
Nephite prophet, wrote to persuade all men to come
unto Christ (Jacob 1:7).
Following the pattern set by his father and
predecessors (Jacob 1:2-4; cf. Enos 1:13-16), Enos, son
of Jacob, personally recorded the testimony and prophetic
promises granted to him.
Jarom, son of Enos, recorded a brief summary of
the fortunes of the Nephites during his lifetime (c.
This book concluded and filled the small plates
of Nephi. It contains brief statements by a succession of
record keepers who were descendants of Jacob but
apparently not spiritual leaders: Omni, Amaron, Chemish,
Abinadom, and Amaleki (fourth-second centuries
Mormon assumed the prerogative of an editor and
appended this historical postscript to the small plates
to bring its conclusion into correlation with the opening
of the book of Mosiah. This appendage, called the Words
of Mormon, was composed about A.D. 385.
The book of Mosiah is religiously rich,
symbolically meaningful, chronologically complex, and
politically significant. Although its disparate events
range from 200 to 91 B.C., they are unified particularly
by the theme of deliverance and by the reign of the
Nephite king Mosiah 2.
The book of Alma is the longest book in the
Book of Mormon. It was abridged by Mormon, principally
from the records of three men, Alma2 (chaps. 1-16,
27-44), Ammon (chaps. 17-26), and Alma's son Helaman1
(chaps. 45-62), and concludes with remarks by Mormon
(chap. 63). Its broad theme is that the preaching of the
word of God in pure testimony is mightier than politics
or the sword in establishing peace, justice, equality,
and goodness (Alma 4:19; 31:5).
The book of Helaman chronicles one of the most
tumultuous periods in the history of the Nephites and
Lamanites (52-1 B.C.).
The book of 3 Nephi is the dramatic and
spiritual climax of the Book of Mormon. It focuses on
three advents of Jesus: first, as the child born in
Bethlehem; second, as the resurrected Lord visiting the
Nephites; and third, at his second coming as the final
judge at the end of the world.
The first section of 4 Nephi briefly summarizes
four generations of peace, righteousness, and equality
that resulted from the conversion of the people to the
gospel of Jesus Christ after the visit of the resurrected
Savior. In contrast, the last section foreshadows the
later destruction of the Nephite nation that followed a
gradual and conscious rejection of the gospel
The short Book of Mormon (A.D. 320-400/421),
within the Book of Mormon, documents the extraordinary
collapse of Nephite civilization, as had been
The book of Ether is Moroni 2's abbreviated
account of the history of the jaredites, who came to the
Western Hemisphere at the time of the great
tower of Babel and lived in the area later known as
the Nephite land northward, much earlier than
Between A.D. 400 and 421, Moroni 2, the last
custodian of the gold plates, compiled the final book in
the Book of Mormon record.