Book of Mormon: Keystone of Our Religion (Doctrine and Covenants sections 5, 14, 17)
Main lessons and doctrines:
1) The Lord is merciful and will forgive us as we humble ourselves and repent.
2) Right will always prevail over evil. “The works and designs (plans) and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated (stopped), neither can they come to naught (they cannot fail).
3) After we obtain a witness of the truthfulness of the gospel, we have a responsibility to testify of it (D&C 88:81)
4) Joseph Smith was chosen by the Lord to restore the doctrines of the gospel in these latter-days
4) The Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion and the best way to get closer to God.
5) Find out for ourselves the power of the Book of Mormon by reading and praying about it, and you will live a more abundant life.
Though Martin Harris transgressed while losing the 116 pages of the Book of Mormon, he repented and was a great friend and support to Joseph.
He also paid $3000 for the publication of 5000 copies of the Book of Mormon and became one of the three witnesses.
The Lord called three witnesses (Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris, and David Whitmer) to testify of the Book of Mormon to the world. They saw an
angel and heard the voice of God from the heavens. They also were permitted to see the gold plates, and also the Urim and Thummim, the Liahona, the sword of Laban, and the breastplate. Though they all eventually left the church, all three testified to the end of their lives that what they saw was of God and were solid witnesses of the Book of Mormon. Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris later returned to the church and were re-baptized. Their experience was a very spiritual one, seeing the angel, hearing the voice of God, and viewing the plates and other significant things.
The Lord also called eight witnesses to view and handle the gold plates, and their experience and testimony was more physical. It was a great relief to Joseph that others had been called to testify of what they had seen, and that the Book of Mormon plates were actually the word of God.
Please read and refer to President Ezra Taft Benson’s talk, “Book of Mormon: the Keystone of our Religion,” 1986.
The Book of Mormon is the keystone to our religion in three ways.
First, the keystone of our witness of Christ (the Book of Mormon is the second testimony of the divinity of the Savior, along with the Bible).
Second, the keystone of our doctrine (it contains the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ–everything that is necessary for our salvation).
Third, the keystone of our testimony (like the “keystone” in an arch, if the keystone is removed, everything else falls).
The Book of Mormon was written specifically for “our day.” It helps us become closer to God than by any other book.
“I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the keystone of our religion and a man would get nearer to God by abiding its precepts than by any other book.” Joseph Smith
“There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book. You will find greater power to resist temptation. You will find the power to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path. The scriptures are called “the words of Life” and nowhere is that more true than it is of the Book of Mormon. When you begin to hunger and thirst after those words, you will find life in greater an greater abundance.” President Ezra Taft Benson
“The Book of Mormon exposes the enemies of Christ. It confounds false doctrines and lays down contention (2 Nephi 3:12) It fortifies the humble followers of Christ against the evil designs, strategies, and doctrines of the devil in our day. The type of apostates in the Book of Mormon are similar to the type we have today. God, with his infinite foreknowledge, so molded the Book of Mormon that we might see the error and know how to combat false educational, political, religious, and philosophical concepts of our time. (“The Book of Mormon is the Word of God,” Ensign, Jan 1988).
“I find that when I get casual in my relationships with divinity and when it seems that no divine ear is listening and no divine voice is speaking, that I am far, far away. If I immerse myself in the scriptures the distance narrows and the spirituality returns. I find myself loving more intensely those whom I must love with all my heart and mind and strength, and loving them more, I find it easier to abide their counsel.” President Spencer W Kimball
PEARLS FROM THE LESSON:
Section 5:10: “This generation shall have my word through you.” (Lord speaking to Joseph)
Section 14;7; “And if ye keep my commandments and endure to the end, you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God.”
Section 17:6: “And he translated the book, even that part which I have commanded him, and as your Lord and your God liveth it is true.”