Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon

2 Nephi 3

v. 11-12  One testimony I have of the Book of Mormon as scripture and Joseph Smith as a prophet is how they support and clarify the teachings of the Bible.  They do not contradict or destroy God's word as previously revealed.  They work together to bring the meaning of the gospel of Jesus Christ into focus, so that there is no mistaking what is expected of us.

v.  13  "And out of weakness he shall be made strong..."  Another testimony I have of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith comes from the very fact that Joseph was an uneducated boy of 14 when he first received his vision.  A lot of people find this to be a sticking point with them.  Why would God call a 14 year old boy to be His prophet?  Yet, to me, it makes perfect sense.  Joseph Smith was young and impressionable, malleable, humble, willing to listen to the Lord and obey in all things.  He was not already jaded or clouded with the teachings of the world.  He did not have his own beliefs and pride to contend with.

I also find it laughable when critics claim that Joseph himself wrote the Book of Mormon instead of being the instrument of translation.  I myself am a writer.  I am 45 years old, I'm college educated, and I have a Mensa-qualified IQ (I say not to brag, but to make a point).  And I struggle with the plot lines of a simple story of a housewife in a mid-life crisis.  Could I have written the Book of Mormon, with all its intricacies, with all its converging story lines, with all its Biblical references, with the many, many different themes that run throughout?  Good grief, no.  The Book of Mormon told simply as a story is epic in scope.  There is no way I could accomplish something like that.  So an uneducated farm boy?  I really don't think so.

v. 19-20  I am always moved by the phrase, "they shall cry from the dust."  When reading the Book of Mormon, I always feel a connection to the different men who share their stories, from the obedience and faith of Nephi, and his suffering when his own brothers turn against him, to Alma the younger who repents and spends the rest of his days trying to fix his wrongs, to Ammon, the great missionary whose joy and zeal in the work is contagious, to the great and righteous warriors, to that Nephi later in the book who sorrowed so much for the wickedness and stubbornness of his people, to the very end where Moroni walks alone, friendless and hunted.  I marvel at the sacrifices they made to record and preserve their words... for me.  To help me in my day to day struggles, to bring me to Christ, to help me know God better.

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