Monday, March 14, 2016

Book Review: The Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon
Genre: Scripture, Religious Text, Anthology, Abridgement
Compiled and Edited by Mormon
You might like this book if you enjoy studying scripture, are curious about religion, or want to consider idea that God and Jesus Christ love you, that they have expectations of you, and want you to be happy.


This is not a usual book review, but I thought it would be an interesting exercise to write it anyway. I just finished reading The Book of Mormon again. I generally make an annual study of the entire book. Sometimes it takes me longer than a year, so no, I haven't read it as many times as you might think. I always have the intention to study it every day, but I don't always succeed. I've been nearly successful for the past year though, reading at least one chapter almost every day, and recording some impressions, questions and digressions after I read. Sometimes, I listen to it as an audiobook and record my impressions while it plays. Right now, it's in my mind as a whole, so I wanted to capture that.

When I consider it objectively, from the perspective of someone who is not a regular reader of scripture, there are a several things to point out.

  • Structurally and literarily, it's surely challenging because the writing is dense and archaic, thus it can be helpful to study it in small bites as I have done. 
  • There are sections that require effort, study and faith to make sense of, even for life-long members of my church, who are introduced to scripture as toddlers and grow up with the words and ideas in their eyes and ears. 
  • It's organized like many versions of the Bible, in chapters and verses. 
  • The source material was written over about a thousand year period starting about 600 BC, when Zedekiah was King of Judah and Jeremiah was the prophet-counselor to the king, which you can read about in the Old Testament. 
  • The family whose story it records fled Jerusalem during the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah and escaped the destruction that happened soon thereafter. 
  • They migrated to somewhere in the western hemisphere. 
  • All of this is a framework for prophetic and sacred information to be transmitted from God to man. 
  • As the photo implies, we believe it to be next to the Bible in both importance and core teachings. 


Through stories and anecdotes, the message of the book is reiterated over and over again in its 500-ish pages. These are quotes from various notes that I made during this last study.
  • Jesus Christ is real, He loves all people, and His teachings lead to happiness, peace and joy, both on this earth and also in the life to come. 
  • The afforementioned life to come (Heaven) is not a club, it's a state of being defined by the relationships we build while on this earth. 
  • Life is eternal. 
  • You can experience communication from God if you're willing to do so.
  • Faith does not and should not come cheaply. If we have opportunities to choose to believe, instead of having a free ride, spiritually speaking, we have opportunities to grow. 
  • You can find this out for yourself by "experimenting upon the word." 
I believe this message. I have had experiences that convince me it's true and I choose to see them as communication from God. Studying this book and experimenting with what it contains have been a reliable and direct way for me to feel spiritual well-being and come to understand the love of God. I have hope that I can overcome weaknesses and be forgiven for sins. I have hope in a life that expands far beyond this limited mortal scope, and that helps me have perspective when things seem not to make sense.

When I feel God's love and choose to recognize it, I have the confidence to open my heart to others. I seek out people and want to build relationships. I see fewer differences. I feel compassion and hope for myself and everyone around me. I am able to see the world holistically as beautiful, in spite of challenges and sorrows.

This is not the only source for many of these truths, but I believe it is the most complete and succinct source of all of them in one place. We say that it contains the fulness of the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ and all that His life means to us.

If you want to know more about what I believe or consider questions you might have about this book, here are some things you can watch and read.

The book itself, free and complete in digital form. You can also download it as an app and have it on your mobile device.

A more in-depth explanation of the origin and structure of The Book of Mormon from my church's website

The testimony of an apostle. 

Letter to a Doubter, by Terryl Givens (This is for anyone who has struggled with belief) 





1 comment:

  1. Ahhh...(that is deep sigh of contentment). Love that you took this unique way to bear testimony, and LOVE, "[Heaven]is a state of being defined by the relationships we build while on this earth." Best book ever!!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for sharing your insights!