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The Book of Mormon
Prophecies for the modern world
What is The Book of Mormon?
In 1823, the prophet Joseph Smith learned of a book written by ancient Americans. It testifies of Jesus Christ. The book was named after a man called Mormon, who abridged the history of his people. He obtained the book in 1827, and translated most of what we now have in the year 1829. The book was published in 1830, and shortly after that the church was organized. Naturally, non-members nicknamed the church "Mormon" after this remarkable book.
For your own free copy of the Book of Mormon, visit the official LDS web site, and follow the links. Or download a copy from Jumbo.com.
Download a Free
"PROOF" - all the evidence for the Book of Mormon in one place
The simplest way to find out if the book is genuine is to read it and then ask God in prayer. But if you don't feel comfortable doing this, there is plenty of physical evidence too. A few years ago it put together a book summarizing all the evidence that supports the Book of Mormon. The contents page looks like this:
PART ONE: WHAT’S SO GOOD ABOUT THE BOOK OF MORMON?
PART TWO: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
PART THREE: MOUNTAINS OF EVIDENCE
The majority of the book is the last section, "mountains of evidence." It includes:
As I said, the book was completed a few years ago, and I would probably do it differently now. It is only a summary of the evidence - each point would need many pages to examine in any detail. Some points are stronger than others. But it is still (as far as I know) the only guide anywhere to ALL the different forms of evidence. It is offered "as is" - it could do with being revised, but I don't see it as a high priority.
Click here to download the whole book (Microsoft Word format, zipped)
Click here to download an Adobe Acrobat PDF version (not zipped)
For more in-depth evidence
As noted, that book was just a summary, and may be out of date. For more detailed analyses and scholarly evidence, visit FARMS - the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies.
The Book of Mormon as a
book of predictions
The Nephite history mainly deals with the years before the first coming of Christ. It closely parallels the history of the modern world in the years before the second coming of Christ. This is hardly surprising, as the book was given to help us prepare for the Second Coming. For simplicity's sake, let us compare Nephite history in the years BC (Before Christ, according to their own calendar), with modern history in years B2000 (Before the year 2000).
The following historical periods are based on the periods identified in the Mitchell-Beazley timeline of world history, and the Penguin Atlas of World History.
The Renaissance of the tribe of Joseph and the modern Renaissance
The Nephite world has its roots in the decay of ancient Israel in the sixth century BC. The tribe of Joseph gained a new start when the prophet Lehi rediscovered the lands we call the Americas. The majority eventually embraced the existing culture, and this came to shape the Nephite world. See 1 Nephi for details.
The Modern world has its roots in the decay of the medieval world in the sixth century B2000. The western world gained a new start when scholars and traders rediscovered the Greco-Roman writings. The majority eventually embraced these ideas, which came to shape modern world.
Nephite history and modern history
After showing the origins of the Nephites, the Book of Mormon races through several centuries in just a few pages in order to focus on the period of interest. This period started with the discovery of Zarahemla (sometime between 279 and 130 BC - the Book of Mormon does not give more specific dates). This event signaled the physical movement of the entire people. Nephite ideas were changed forever. (See Omni 1:12-19 and later books.)
Modern history, historians tend to agree, began with the American and French revolutions (224 and 211 B2000), an event that signaled physical changes for the entire western world. Modern ideas were changed forever.
The age of discovery
This period also saw tremendous discoveries due to the greater travel (between the lands of Nephi and Zarahemla), discoveries of new ideas (meeting the Jaredites), and discovering lost scriptures (the book of Ether).(See Omni 1:27-29; Mosiah chapters 7-8, 17-18, 22-24.)
This period also saw tremendous discoveries due to the greater world travel, scientific discoveries, and discovering lost scriptures (the Book of Mormon).
|Note that all the parallels from here onwards take place after the Book of Mormon was published. There is no possibility of faking them.|
The age of Nationalism
These forces led to an upsurge in Nationalism. See for example, Zeniff's attempts to not just defend his people, but his irrational and obsessive desire to recapture his ancestral lands, supported by many (but not all) of the Nephites. This was the mood circa 200 BC and onward.(See Mosiah 9:1-3 and chapters 9-24)
These forces led to an upsurge in Nationalism. According to historians, this characterized the international mood circa 200 B2000 and onward (that is, the early 19th Century).
The age of Colonialism
Naturally, this obsession with peoples' "rightful homeland" led to conflicts. Ultimately, the stronger nations controlled the weaker nations as colonies. The key date was 120 BC, when the Lamanites controlled Noah's kingdom.(See Mosiah 19:15; 21:3 etc.)
Naturally, this obsession with peoples' "rightful homeland" led to conflicts. Ultimately, the stronger nations controlled the weaker nations as colonies. The key date was 116 B200, when the treaty of Berlin (AD 1884) carved up Africa for the Europeans.
The most significant 100 years.
If you calculate the average number of pages devoted to each year, the most important period in Nephite history (apart from the year when Jesus visited in person), was the "reign of the judges". The Nephite calendar was based on this 100 years, from 92 BC to AD 9 (remember that there is no "year zero"). It was a century of tremendous changes (see below).(See Alma 1:1 to 3 Nephi 2:4-8)
Practically all historians agree that, whichever way you measure it, the twentieth century (100 - 0 B2000) is the most significant 100 years in the history of the world (apart perhaps from the ministry of Jesus). It was a century of tremendous changes (see below).
The first great war
The year 87 BC saw a war that was so great that the dead could not be numbered.(See Alma 2-3, especially 3:1)
The years 86-84 B2000 saw a war that was so great that it was called "the war to end all wars".
The "roaring twenties" and great depression
The 80s and 70s BC saw a great obsession with money. But this led to a decline in religious observance. The intelligentsia (such as the lawyers) increasingly pursued money for its own sake. Things went wrong, and we begin to see great masses of the poor.(See Alma 4:6-8; chapters 11, 32)
The 80s and 70s B2000 saw a great obsession with money. But this led to a decline in religious observance. The intelligentsia (such as the investors) increasingly pursued money for its own sake. Things went wrong, and we begin to see great masses of the poor.
The second great war
Although there had been small wars since the last big one, they were insignificant compared to what happened between 76 and 60 BC (though not everyone was fighting for all this time). This was the greatest and most terrible war in Nephite history.(See Alma 28:2 to 62:41)
Although there had been small wars since the last big one, they were insignificant compared to what happened between 61 and 55 B2000 (though not everyone was fighting for all this time). This was the greatest and most terrible war in modern history.
The post war period
The Nephite postwar period was characterized by an economic boom, and new possibilities in travel lead to ordinary people traveling to distant parts.(See Alma 62:48; 63:4-9; Helaman 3:3-9; 3:24-25)
The modern postwar period was characterized by an economic boom, and new possibilities in travel lead to ordinary people traveling to distant parts.
The old ideas of who is "Nephite" and "Lamanite" changed. (See Helaman 5:50, 6:31) There is an increasingly significant "youth" culture (See Alma 56; 3 Nephi 1:29). There is a decline in religious faith generally (See Helaman 16:15-21). But the true church has some great successes (The brothers Nephi and Lehi)
Old Institutions are losing respect. There is the rise of the "youth" culture (with the creation of the economically independent "teenager" in the 1950s). There is a decline in general religious observance. Despite this, with new ideas being tried and tested, the true church also grows rapidly.
The dominance of "Christian" civilization
These processes led to Nephite culture beginning to dominate their world. Even old enemies (e.g. the Lamanites) began to follow their ways. The barriers began to break down earlier, but the key date was 13 BC, when Lamanites officially joined the Nephite church. (Note that the Nephites are referred to as "Christian" because of their heritage, but their behavior did not always reflect this).(See Helaman 11:21 - the process began as early as Helaman 6:8)
These processes led to Western culture beginning to dominate their world. Even old enemies (e.g. the Communist countries) began to follow their ways. The barriers began to break down earlier, but the key date was 11 B2000, when the Berlin wall came down. (Note that western civilization is referred to as "Christian" because of its heritage, but its behavior does not always reflect this).
The major dated prophecy
Everyone knew that AD1 was important to the Christians, even if they did not know much about the prophecies of the Messiah. But after the date had passed for a few years, most people began to forget the prophecies and assume that they would not be fulfilled. Just when they did not expect it (34 years later), the final prophecies were all fulfilled in a dramatic way. The wicked were destroyed by environmental catastrophes, and Jesus descended from the sky.(See 1 Nephi 10:4; Helaman 14:1-2; 3 Nephi 2:1-3)
Many people feel that AD2000 is important to the Christians, even if they do not know much about the prophecies of the seventh seal. But after the date has passed for a few years, most people will begin to forget the prophecies and assume that they will not be fulfilled. Just when they do not expect it, the final prophecies will all be fulfilled in a dramatic way. The wicked will be destroyed by environmental catastrophes, and Jesus will descend from the sky. The prophecies have all been fulfilled so far, so why should this be any different?
The near certainty that the Nephite peoples (especially their Lamanite companions) met others when they arrived, and the influence of native American culture on the new arrivals, has been well documented. It is too complex to discuss here, but FARMS is a good place to start.
For a similar approach to the Book of Mormon (though it differs in other ways) see the "Greater Things" scriptural codes site at http://www.greaterthings.com/Books/Vision/Part-I-past_contents.htm . I am not comfortable with looking for hidden messages in the scriptures, but that is just my opinion. They tend to go much further than I would - e.g. they make future predictions with more confidence than I think is wise. Also, their comparisons between old ancient and modern history are not as precise and year-by-year as those on this page.
The bottom line
The Book of Revelation gives the main events preceding the Second Coming. But the Book of Mormon gives the detail.