Nephi is of my heroes in the Book of Mormon. He loved the scriptures and he loved bearing his testimony of Jesus Christ. Early in the Book of Mormon he states his purpose in writing when he says, “The fulness of my intent is to persuade men to come unto the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and be saved.” He says that he “delights in the scriptures,” and writes for “the profit and learning of his children.” In this blog I want to get Nephi’s testimony “out there.” I don’t know who will read this blog, if anyone, but in a way I’m doing it for Nephi. At the end of his record he says, “If they (meaning the Book of Mormon) are not the words of Christ, judge ye——for Christ will show unto, with power and great glory, that they are his words, at the last day, and you and I shall stand face to face before his bar, and ye shall know that I have been commanded of him to write these things, notwithstanding my weakness.” I look forward to meeting Nephi. I’ll be able to see him “face to face.” I will be able to tell him that I made an effort to share his testimony.
Joseph Smith said that the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion. How is it the keystone? Architecturally, the keystone of an arch is the stone in the middle which holds up the entire structure. Without the keystone the whole structure would collapse. Figuratively, a keystone refers to a central supporting element of a larger structure without which the whole structure would collapse. So, the Book of Mormon is the central supporting element of Mormonism. Quoting President James E. Faust, “The Book of Mormon is a keystone because it establishes and ties together eternal principles and precepts, rounding out basic doctrines of salvation. It is the crowning gem in the diadem of our holy scriptures.”
THREE WAYS IN WHICH THE BOOK OF MORMON IS THE KEYSTONE OF OUR RELIGION
President Ezra Taft Benson was the prophet of our day who re-emphasized the importance of the Book of Mormon and encouraged the members of the church to make a study of the Book of Mormon central in their lives. He gave several General Conference talks devoted to the Book of Mormon. One such talk was The Book of Mormon—the Keystone of our Religion. 12(Oct 1986). In his conference address he lists three reasons why the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion.
“The Book of Mormon is the keystone in our witness of Jesus Christ, who is Himself the cornerstone of everything we do. It bears witness of His reality with power and clarity. . . . Much of the Christian world today rejects the divinity of the Savior. They question His miraculous birth, His perfect life, and the reality of His glorious resurrection. The Book of Mormon teaches in plain and unmistakable terms about the truth of all of those. It also provides the most complete explanation of the doctrine of the Atonement. Truly, this divinely inspired book is a keystone in bearing witness to the world that Jesus is the Christ (see title page of the Book of Mormon).
The Book of Mormon is also the keystone of the doctrine of the Resurrection. As mentioned before, the Lord Himself has stated that the Book of Mormon contains the “fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ” (D&C 20:9). That does not mean it contains every teaching, every doctrine ever revealed. Rather, it means that in the Book of Mormon we will find the fulness of those doctrines required for our salvation. And they are taught plainly and simply so that even children can learn the ways of salvation and exaltation. The Book of Mormon offers so much that broadens our understandings of the doctrines of salvation. Without it, much of what is taught in other scriptures would not be nearly so plain and precious.
Finally, the Book of Mormon is the keystone of testimony. Just as the arch crumbles if the keystone is removed, so does all the Church stand or fall with the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. The enemies of the Church understand this clearly. This is why they go to such great lengths to try to disprove the Book of Mormon, for if it can be discredited, the Prophet Joseph Smith goes with it. So does our claim to priesthood keys, and revelation, and the restored Church. But in like manner, if the Book of Mormon be true—and millions have now testified that they have the witness of the Spirit that it is indeed true—then one must accept the claims of the Restoration and all that accompanies it.”
I echo President Benson. The Book of Mormon has brought me closer to Christ. It is the keystone of my testimony of Christ. The Bible teaches me of his ministry on the earth. The Book of Mormon teaches me more clearly about how much I need him. The Book of Mormon teaches clearly about the Fall of Adam and its effect on all mankind. It teaches me that the Fall is an integral part of Heavenly Father’s plan for his children to have eternal life. President Benson says that “just as a man does not really desire food until he is hungry, so he does not desire the salvation of Christ until he knows why he needs Christ. No one adequately and properly knows why he needs Christ until he understands and accepts the doctrine of the Fall and its effect upon all mankind. And no other book in the world explains this vital doctrine nearly as well as the Book of Mormon.”
The Book of Mormon teaches me that God is the same “yesterday, today and forever.” It has taught me that his gospel has been the same throughout the ages. It teaches me that the Atonement of Christ was “prepared from the foundation of the world for all mankind which ever were since the Fall of Man, or who are, or who ever shall be, even unto the end of the world.” (Mosiah 4:7) Jacob, the second writer in the Book of Mormon, says that his intent in writing is so that their children might know that they “knew of Christ and had a hope of his glory many hundred years before his coming, and not only we ourselves, had a hope of his glory, but also all the holy prophets who were before us” (Jacob 4:4). What marvelous clarity!
The Book of Mormon states as does Jesus in Luke 24, when he walked on the road to Emmaus with two of his disciples, that all the prophets have testified concerning him. Abinadi, a powerful witness of Christ, who suffered death by fire for his testimony, said: “Did not Moses prophesy concerning the coming of a Messiah, and that God should redeem him people? Yea, even all the prophets, ever since the world began, have they not prophesied more or less concerning these things? Have they not said that God himself shall down among the children of men, and take upon him the form of a man, and go forth in mighty power upon the face of the earth?” (Mosiah 13:33-34) There is so much congruency between the Bible and the Book of Mormon!
So, on this blog, I take delight in testifying of the truth of the Book of Mormon and that it has brought me closer to Christ each and every day.