Published in March 1830 in the town of Palmyra, New York, The Book of Mormon is one of the most significant religious works to emanate from America in the 19th century.
Who wrote The Book of Mormon?
It’s said the original Book of Mormon text was translated by ‘divine inspiration’ by ancient prophets through revelations that appeared to them. A prophet-historian called Mormon quoted and relayed these words and wrote them on gold plates.
Joseph Smith was born in Vermont in 1805. He claimed to have had a number of experiences that led him to believe he was a prophet, namely seeing a vision of the Father and Son in 1820. In 1823, he received a vision of an angel instructing him of these plates containing a Judeo-Christian history of an ancient American civilisation, which were buried in a drumlin in Manchester, New York. His translation of these plate and publication of them as The Book of Mormon led to his founding of the Church of Christ, later known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Smith led the Church until his murder in 1844.
What is in The Book of Mormon?
The text is believed to be a record of the communications of God with those living in what we know today as the North American continent, long before the arrival of the puritans. It is the foundation of the belief of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as Mormons and records the ministry of Christ, lays out the principles of his teachings, and affirms how one must live their life in order to obey his gospel and be eternally saved. Made up of around 6,000 verses of teachings as recorded by ancient prophets, The Book of Mormon is intended to confirm truths within the Holy Bible. While the Bible tells the stories of those living in the eastern hemisphere, The Book of Mormon is based on the experiences of those living in what is now considered the United States of America. Unlike the Bible, members of the Mormon faith believe that the text was created from episodes of divine intervention, as opposed to being written down by men from eyewitness accounts or to whom stories were told.
Millions of Mormons from around the world continue to consult this book for their daily worship and it remains the grounding for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
- Article by:
- Charles Lippy
Dr Chuck Lippy explores Christianity in America, considering the separation of church and state, the emphasis on personal experience and the impact of immigration. He also touches on the Enlightenment and the Great Awakening, as well as the development of the Mormons, the Shakers, and the Pentecostal church.