The Book of Mormon
Another Testament of Jesus Christ
THE BOOK OF MORMON
AN ACCOUNT WRITTEN BY
THE HAND OF MORMON
TAKEN FROM THE PLATES OF NEPHI
Wherefore, it is an abridgment of the record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites--Written to the Lamanites, who are a remnant of the house of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile--Written by way of commandment, and also by the spirit of prophecy and of revelation--Written and sealed up, and hid up unto the Lord, that they might not be destroyed--To come forth by the gift and power of God unto the interpretation thereof--Sealed by the hand of Moroni, and hid up unto the Lord, to come forth in due time by way of the Gentile--The interpretation thereof by the gift of God.
An abridgment taken from the Book of Ether also, which is a record of the people of Jared, who were scattered at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people, when they were building a tower to get to heaven--Which is to show unto the remnant of the House of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever-- And also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that JESUS is the CHRIST, the ETERNAL GOD, manifesting himself unto all nations--And now, if there are faults they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ.TRANSLATED BY JOSEPH SMITH, JUN.
The Testimony of Three Witnesses
Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come: That we, through the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record, which is a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, their brethren, and also of the people of Jared, who came from the tower of which hath been spoken. And we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety that the work is true. And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates; and they have been shown unto us by the power of God, and not of man. And we declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bear record that these things are true. And it is marvelous in our eyes. Nevertheless, the voice of the Lord commanded us that we should bear record of it; wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, we bear testimony of these things. And we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgment-seat of Christ, and shall dwell with him eternally in the heavens. And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen.OLIVER COWDERY
The Testimony of Eight Witnesses
Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come: That Joseph Smith, Jun., the translator of this work, has shown unto us the plates of which hath been spoken, which have the appearance of gold; and as many of the leaves as the said Smith has translated we did handle with our hands; and we also saw the engravings thereon, all of which has the appearance of ancient work, and of curious workmanship. And this we bear record with words of soberness, that the said Smith has shown unto us, for we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken. And we give our names unto the world, to witness unto the world that which we have seen. And we lie not, God bearing witness of it.
|JOSEPH SMITH, SEN.
|PETER WHITMER JUN.
|SAMUEL H. SMITH
The Law of Witness
Just as the Book of Mormon is a second witness of Christ, men were appointed by God to join Joseph Smith as a witness of the Book of Mormon. This is in accord with what the Apostle Paul wrote to the saints in Corinth: "In the mouth of two or three witness shall every word be established." (2 Corinthians 13:1) Eleven men besides the Joseph Smith saw and testified of the gold plates and of the authenticity of the Book of Mormon.
The three men who were witnesses of gold plates also testified separately to the divine origin and truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. Oliver Cowdery, a schoolteacher who served as Joseph's scribe, said the following:
"I wrote, with my own pen, the entire Book of Mormon (save a few pages), as it fell from the lips of the Prophet Joseph Smith, as he translated it by the gift and power of God... It contains the everlasting Gospel, and came forth to the children of men in fulfillment of the revelations of John, where he says he saw an angle come with the everlasting Gospel to preach to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people." (Millennial Star 21:544).
David Whitmer, a young farmer, later gave this testimony:
"It was June 1829...the angel showed us...the plates, as I suppose to fulfill the words of the book itself...Joseph, Oliver, and myself were TOGETHER when I saw them...We were overshadowed by a light. It was not like the light of the sun nor like that of a fire, but more glorious and beautiful ...I heard the voice of the Lord as distinctly as I ever heard anything in my life, declaring that the records of the plates of the Book of Mormon were translated by the gift and power of God." (Millennial Star 40:771)
Martin Harris, a friend of Joseph Smith, said the following:
"I know the Book of Mormon is true...I know that the plates have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice declared it unto us: therefore I know of a surety that the work is true...Did I not at one time hold the plates on my knee an hour and a half, whilst in conversation with Joseph...? Yes, I did. An as many of the plates as Joseph Smith translated I handled with my hands, plate after plate." (Millennial Star 21:545.)
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