The Book of Mormon is a remarkable book. It is filled with spiritual commentaries, explanations, revelations, personal conversions and an account of the Savior's visit to some of his "other sheep". I really am lost to understand why so many people get so offended by it. It is beautiful!
I have always had an appreciation for the Book of Mormon. I never doubted its authenticity. One reason I have such conviction is because I have read it. I am baffled that a person could read this book and not be inspired by the Holy Ghost. How could anyone find fault with a book that so thoroughly teaches us to follow Jesus Christ?
In recent years I have become even more sure of the purity and divinity of this book. I have mentioned before that I have some acquaintances who are Messianic. In general, they shun traditional Christian practices and observe the Law of Moses or Torah. In my conversations with these Torah-Observant Christians, I found some overlap with LDS beliefs. I also found their conclusions confusing.
I would ask "What about the verse taht says Jesus is the last and great sacrifice?" or What about Jesus' explanation of how he fulfilled the law?". I got such strange looks! It turned out those phrases (and many others) are in the Book of Mormon.
First Alma explains the Law of Moses and that the Savior will fulfill the Law.
14 And behold, this is the whole meaning of the law, every whit pointing to that great and last sacrifice; and that great and last sacrifice will be the Son of God, yea, infinite and eternal. Alma 34
Later, during the Savior's visit, he explains more about the fulfilling of the Law of Moses.
19 And ye shall offer up unto me no more the shedding of blood; yea, your sacrifices and your burnt offerings shall be done away, for I will accept none of your sacrifices and your burnt offerings.
20 And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not. 3 Nephi 9
3 And he said unto them: Marvel not that I said unto you that old things had passed away, and that all things had become new.
4 Behold, I say unto you that the law is fulfilled that was given unto Moses.
5 Behold, I am he that gave the law, and I am he who covenanted with my people Israel; therefore, the law in me is fulfilled, for I have come to fulfil the law; therefore it hath an end.
6 Behold, I do not destroy the prophets, for as many as have not been fulfilled in me, verily I say unto you, shall all be fulfilled.
7 And because I said unto you that old things have passed away, I do not destroy that which hath been spoken concerning things which are to come.
8 For behold, the covenant which I have made with my people is not all fulfilled; but the law which was given unto Moses hath an end in me.
9 Behold, I am the law, and the light. Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life. 3 Nephi 15
Since my first encounters with Messianics I have read the Book of Mormon twice. I have also searched and studied more about the Law of Moses so that I might better understand my friends. I have been truly amazed by the Book of Mormon! It is filled with explanations about the Law of Moses! The Book of Mormon also shows the dangers of trying to follow the Law without continuous revelation.
Alma, a prophet, went to teach a group of people called the Zoramites. They were teaching false doctrines. When Alma encountered them, this is what he heard.
16 Holy God, we believe that thou hast separated us from our brethren; and we do not believe in the tradition of our brethren, which was handed down to them by the childishness of their fathers; but we believe that thou hast elected us to be thy holy children; and also thou hast made it known unto us that there shall be no Christ.When I read this, after an unpleasant encounter with a Messianic, I had chills! (Not the good kind!) This man, unlike others I have met of this faith, said many of the same things the Zoramites said! The next few chapters give a chilling warning of how far people might go if they are lead away by false teachings.
17 But thou art the same yesterday, today, and forever; and thou hast elected us that we shall be saved, whilst all around us are elected to be cast by thy wrath down to hell; for the which holiness, O God, we thank thee; and we also thank thee that thou hast elected us, that we may not be led away after the foolish traditions of our brethren, which doth bind them down to a belief of Christ, which doth lead their hearts to wander far from thee, our God. Alma 31
I am not trying to insult my Messianic friends. This isn't really about them and their beliefs. My point is that the Book of Mormon has answers, MANY answers, to the questions these seekers of truth are asking. Their reasoning is sound if the Bible is their only source. They reject the "traditions of men" and seek to follow the truest form of the gospel as they see it. I have great respect for that. But my testimony of the divinity of the Book of Mormon has grown exponentially because of this experience.
Let's say, just for the sake of arguement, that Joseph Smith, an uneducated, 24 year-old farmer from rural New York, made up the Book of Mormon. How could he know that such questions about the Law of Moses might come up one day? In the 1800's the religious fervor was about Protestant religions.Someone seeking to write a reliegious book at the time might write one that oposes the protestant movement or even the Catholic church. I find it hard to believe that someone would have the insight to include so much about the Law of Moses. Why would he do that?
The answer is, he didn't. No man or even a committee of men could have the forsight to write it. Only God could author such a book! It was through divine inspiration that this book was written by ancient prophets. Divine guidance brought about its translation. There can be no other logial explaination. Either Jospeh Smith was the greatest writer to ever live or he was who he claimed to be; a prophet of God, called to restore the true church on the earth.