For those who believe Jesus Christ will set foot upon the earth again, this time “coming in the clouds of heaven” (Matthew 24:30) in the fulness of His glory, that day can’t come soon enough. However, as much as we would like Him to come today or tomorrow, His purposes and His plan must be fulfilled leading up to that event.
One of those purposes is preparation. So that His truth and mercy can be offered to every kindred, nation, tongue, and people to give them a chance to be ready, the Lord began calling prophets and apostles in these times and restored His Church as He organized it in the meridian of time. His prophet and apostles are ensuring that His words are going forth throughout the world, giving as many as will listen a chance to learn of the gospel of Jesus Christ and become His disciples—a process that takes time.
One of the first steps in this process was the translation of a record left behind by ancient inhabitants of the American continents, an additional testimony of the divinity of Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God.
This record and its coming forth through a modern-day prophet are represented in the Parable of the Hidden Journals. The great-grandfather represents Christ, and the first journal is the testaments of Him already in the world’s possession—the Bible. Flynn’s family represents followers of Christ, who treasure what they have and wish for more knowledge about Him. Flynn represents Joseph Smith the prophet, who learned by revelation from God about a record hidden away to preserve it through the ages, in particular protecting it due to a split in an ancient part of one of the twelve tribes of Israel.
The new journals, celebrated by Flynn’s family because of the wealth of new knowledge they provided, represent The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.
This book is a gift to those who yearn for more knowledge about Jesus Christ. It came about largely through the efforts of Mormon, who was both a prophet and a historian in the fourth century A.D. I’ll set the stage a bit here.
About a millennium before Mormon’s time, his ancestor Lehi lived in Judea. Lehi was warned by the Lord to flee Jerusalem, thereby escaping life-threatening persecution for his testimony of the Messiah and destruction at the hands of the Babylonians. Led by the Lord, Lehi and his family journeyed and sailed to the Western Hemisphere to inherit a new land. After Lehi’s death, the family split. One group followed Nephi, who had become a prophet as well, and the other group followed a domineering older brother who had rejected the Lord’s gospel.
Over the next thousand years, Nephi and his descendants kept records and wrote about their testimonies of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. They knew that the other half of their tribe would destroy these records if they obtained them, so they prayed for the Lord to preserve their records and worked to safeguard them. (Examples are found in 2 Nephi 25:21; Jacob 1:2–4; Enos 1:13–17; Words of Mormon 1:8–11; Mosiah 28:20; Alma 37:1–2, 14.)
Under the influence of the Holy Ghost, Mormon gathered up these records and condensed them into a single volume, the purpose of which wasn’t clear to him at the time—but he followed the Lord’s instructions with faith. He could see that Nephi’s descendants were about to be eliminated in a massive war. Mormon then lost his life in that war, but his son Moroni finished the abridgement and sealed it with his own testimony of Jesus Christ. He hid this record it where it would stay hidden until it was time for it to come to light in 1827.
At that time, the Lord tasked a young man named Joseph Smith with translation of this record, a task he could accomplish only through God’s power. It was not to take the place of the Bible, but to instead stand with the Bible as an additional witness that Jesus of Nazareth was not a mere teacher, philosopher, or motivational speaker, but that He lives again; that He is the Redeemer and Savior of humankind and the only hope we have for salvation and for true peace.
I offer to you my knowledge based on experience that both a sincere reading of The Book of Mormon and asking Father in Heaven if it’s a true book will bring an answer from Him to you personally. As he was finishing the book, Moroni urged us to “ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost” (Moroni 10:3–5).
As a person striving to be a disciple of Christ, I find very meaningful the idea that God wants to give me more knowledge of my Savior and to communicate with me individually. The Father wants you to know more about His Son, the Lamb of God. I promise that reading The Book of Mormon will bring you closer to Christ and help you prepare even more fully to meet Him when He comes again. If you have questions or would like to know more, please reach out!
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