Author of our ...religion?
Updated: Oct 3, 2021
"I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book." ~ Joseph Smith
The Book of Mormon will bring the sincere reader closer to Christ. Though Joseph clearly organized a church in which to teach its precepts, do we read it to gain a testimony of a religion? Or of our Savior. Is not the Book of Mormon another testament of Jesus Christ?
And yet it is used time and time again to point to a church. Many churches in fact! I saw a list of upwards of 10 - 15 different religions that align themselves with the Book of Mormon. All of which call each other apostate, by the way. Spoiler alert: When you get to the judgement bar, and you're looking around for a church to save you, to plead your cause to the Father, you will have an awful realization that you are looking to the wrong source!
There are save two churches only. (1 Nephi 14:10) Two kingdoms. The kingdom of God and the kingdom of the devil. When Christ was on the earth, he didn't establish a religion. His Kingdom was on the earth when he was on the earth. They went house to house and also taught where people were already gathering like the synagogues. He did not have churches built up unto him, and certainly did not get gain from it, and I cannot think of any scriptures that speaks favorably of anyone who does. "Church" did not denote a building, but an assembly of a community of followers. I am so humbled by the many christians of different denominations who have taught me so much of truly worshipping the Lord, many who know their Savior far better than I ever did! And I, being part of the true church, was part of God's kingdom, but they were part of the devil's. I cannot even reconcile that type of thinking to my understanding now.
Consider these two churches in Nephi's writings as you ponder on "even every one," in vs 36 below. Even every one. God showed Moroni our time! Us! The people reading the records he's preparing! What does he tell us he sees? (Mormon 8)
35 Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing. 36 And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities; and your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts.
That doesn't sound like he's saying the Church of the Lamb of God is spanning the globe, full of good global citizens, lead by a global faith leader! And that size of community sounds noticeable to me. I don't think Moroni missed it. Not when he also noted only a few not lifted up in pride. He saw us! He saw us misunderstanding the records before us. But he still tried. Who else in the area of religion would need to hear it this way, "Even EVERY one?" There's no exemption clause or caveat for the one true church to not even get honorable mention.
Do we believe the Book of Mormon contains the fully restored gospel? Or does it need added upon?
In 3 Nephi 11, Christ himself declares His doctrine:
28 And according as I have commanded you thus shall ye baptize. And there shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto been; neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there have hitherto been.
29 For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.
30 Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.
31 Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine.
32 And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me.
33 And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.
34 And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned.
35 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost.
36 And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one.
37 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things.
38 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.
39 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.
And then He concludes with:
40 And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock.
Do Latter-Day Saints, of whom I have always been one, believe the Book of Mormon contains the fully restored gospel, or not? Do we add to the teachings of Christ and declare more is required for salvation? Really humbly examine this. Christ states how to inherit the kingdom of God. In various realms of glory, the kingdom of God would be the highest.
So I will end by putting forth the question again, is the Book of Mormon given to us to convert us to a religion or to our Savior?
Do we know this book like we need to that we may know how to come unto our Savior? Do we know our Savior like we need to for our salvation? It's all there before you. Abide by its precepts and you will get nearer to God than you ever before thought possible! The Book of Mormon is the greatest hits of people who have come into God's presence in this life and they teach us how! Do you read it to know how? Do you understand that it's available to you?
And now, who can stand against the works of the Lord? Who can deny his sayings? Who will rise up against the almighty power of the Lord? O then, wonder not, but hearken unto the words of the Lord. Doubt not, but be believing! and come unto the Lord with all your heart, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him. Ask with a firmness unshaken that ye will serve the true and living God! (Mormon 9:26-28)
Even Christ, the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him. Christ, the author and finisher of our faith.