Tuesday, July 2, 2013
What is the Book of Mormon?
From Boyd K. Packer, Let Not Your Hearts Be Troubled (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1991), 280-282.
The Book of Mormon is often introduced as “a history of the ancient inhabitants of the American continent, the ancestors of the American Indians.” We have all seen missionaries about the world with street boards displaying pictures of American Indians or pyramids and other ruins in Latin America. That introduction does not reveal the contents of this sacred book any better than an introduction of the Bible as “a history of the ancient inhabitants of the Near East, the ancestors of the modern Israelites” would reveal its contents. The presentation of the Book of Mormon as a history of the ancestors of the American Indians is not a very compelling nor a very accurate introduction. When we introduce the Book of Mormon as such a history–and that is the way we generally introduce it–surely the investigator must be puzzled, even disappointed, when he begins to read it. Most do not find what they expect. Nor do they, in turn, expect what they find
. . . The Book of Mormon is not biographical, for not one character is fully drawn. Nor, in a strict sense, is it a history. While it chronicles a people for a thousand and twenty-one years and contains the record of an earlier people, it is in fact not a history of a people. It is the saga of a message, a testament.