The central message of this book is the message declared by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since its beginning. Joseph Smith, the first prophet of this dispensation, taught:
“The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it.”
Every prophet who has succeeded Joseph Smith has added his personal witness of the divine mission of the Savior. The First Presidency affirmed:
“As those who are called and ordained to bear witness of Jesus Christ to all the world, we testify that He was resurrected on that Easter morning nearly two thousand years ago, and that He lives today. He has a glorified, immortal body of flesh and bones. He is the Savior, the Light and Life of the world.”
Millions of faithful Saints have also had testimonies of the divinity of Jesus Christ. This knowledge has motivated them to make the sacrifices necessary to build The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the kingdom of God on the earth. The story of the establishment of the Church is one of faith, consecration, and joy. It is the story of living prophets who taught the truths of God to the modern world. It is the story of men and women from all walks of life who sought for the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ and, upon finding it, were willing to pay the price of becoming the Savior’s disciples. These stalwart Saints pressed on through sufferings and hardships, witnessing even in their darkest hours of the goodness of God and the joy of his love. They have left a legacy of faith, courage, obedience, and sacrifice.
The heritage of faith continues today. Latter-day Saints throughout the world are modern pioneers in their own homelands, where they live with faith and courage in a time fraught with new challenges and opportunities. There are pages of history yet to be written. We each have an opportunity to leave a heritage for generations to follow that will help them understand the joy of living and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
As we learn more about the faith of those who have gone before us, we can better understand those with whom we have joined hands in bearing witness of the Savior and helping to establish his kingdom. We can determine to live more righteously as faithful disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.
This book features the teachings of President Joseph Fielding Smith, who served as President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from January 23, 1970, to July 2, 19
The Book of Mormon testifies of Jesus Christ and teaches us how to become His disciples. The Prophet Joseph Smith (1805–44) affirmed that “a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book” (History of the Church, 4:461; Book of Mormon introduction). As you study the Book of Mormon and are prayerful, the Holy Ghost continually bears witness to your heart and mind of the Savior’s divine role as the Redeemer of mankind.
The Book of Mormon exerts a powerful influence on the hearts of those who receive it and ponder its message. Elder Parley P. Pratt (1807–57), an early convert of the Restoration and an eventual member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, related the following regarding the first time heread the Book of Mormon:
“I opened it with eagerness, and read its title page. I then read the testimony of several witnesses in relation to the manner of its being found and translated. After this I commenced its contents by course. I read all day; eating was a burden, I had no desire for food; sleep was a burden when the night came, for I preferred reading to sleep.
“As I read, the spirit of the Lord was upon me, and I knew and comprehended that the book was true” (Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, ed. Parley P. Pratt Jr. , 37).
Modern prophets have continually emphasized the need for every Latter-day Saint to read and reread the Book of Mormon. President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) declared, “I promise you that if each of you will [read the Book of Mormon], regardless of how many times you previously may have read the Book of Mormon, there will come into your lives and into your homes an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord, a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to His commandments, and a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God” (“A Testimony Vibrant and True,” Ensign, Aug. 2005, 6).
President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, shared how he learned that studying the Book of Mormon leads to personal revelation:
“I found [the Book of Mormon] to be plain and precious. …
“I learned that anyone, anywhere, could read in the Book of Mormon and receive inspiration.
“Some insights came after reading a second, even a third time and seemed to be ‘likened’ to what I faced in everyday life” (in Conference Report, Apr. 2005, 6; or Ensign, May 2005, 7).
Inspiration, as President Packer testified, will come as you consistently read from the Book of Mormon.