Book of Mormon/Plain and precious doctrines

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Plain and Precious Book of Mormon Doctrines

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Question: Is the Book of Mormon simply a "bad copy of the Bible?"

That Joseph or anyone else had made up the Book of Mormon from 'whole cloth' would be infinitely more miraculous than the divine account of its origin

It is claimed that the Book of Mormon is nothing more than a "bad copy of the Bible"; that anyone could have churned out such pedestrian, warmed-over ideas by borrowing liberally from the Bible and his own personal experiences. However, it would have been truly amazing if Joseph Smith had come up with any one of these doctrines on his own.

The Book of Mormon has many marvelous and unique doctrines that expand on the Biblical text. The sincere reader knows that all scripture is inspiring. The prophet Nephi in the Book of Mormon makes the bold claim that it would contain "many plain and precious" doctrines that originally existed in the Bible, but were subsequently removed, either deliberately or by error (1 Nephi 13:26–40). The following is a partial list of some of these "many plain and precious" doctrines that are found in the Book of Mormon, but are either not found in the Bible, or are not spelled out clearly enough to prevent great debate and disagreement among Christians seeking to know the will of God.

Taken together, they are convincing evidence that the Book of Mormon is scripture, and that it indeed contains "many plain and precious things" that were removed from the Bible, or not taught clearly enough by Biblical authors to prevent confusion and disagreement among sincere Christians. As George Q. Cannon once said “no wicked man could write such a book as this; and no good man would write it, unless it were true and he were commanded of God to do so.” That Joseph or anyone else had made up the Book of Mormon from 'whole cloth' would be infinitely more miraculous than the divine account of its origin, as given by Joseph Smith.

Plain and precious things in the Book of Mormon that were removed from the Bible

Question: What "plain and precious" teachings does the Book of Mormon provide regarding the Savior and His mission?

Book of Mormon doctrines relating to the Savior and his mission

Question: What "plain and precious" teachings does the Book of Mormon provide regarding Satan?

Book of Mormon doctrines relating to what the devil doesn't want us to know

Question: What "plain and precious" teachings does the Book of Mormon provide regarding the purpose of life?

Book of Mormon doctrines relating to the purpose of life

  • "Adam fell that men might be, and men are, that they might have joy" (2 Nephi 2:25)
  • The fall of Adam and Eve was part of God's plan – had he not fallen, they would have remained in the garden forever, knowing no joy or misery, doing no good nor evil, having no children. (2 Nephi 2:22–25)
  • "For it must needs be that there is an opposition in all things" (2 Nephi 2:11)
  • In mortality, men are given all choices, and "they are free to choose liberty and eternal life through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil." (2 Nephi 2:27, Helaman:14:30-31)
  • This life is a probationary state, a time to prepare to meet God. (Alma 42:1-10,13, Alma 12:24 (20-24), Alma 34:32)
  • Do not procrastinate the day of your repentance (Alma 34:32-34, Helaman 13:38)
  • True wisdom, foolishness defined (2 Nephi 9:28–29,42)
  • The blessings of obedience to God's commandments (Mosiah 2:41)
  • The natural man is an enemy to God. What we must do to become saints (Mosiah 3:19)
  • The answer to the age-old question: 'Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?': The Lord tries the patience and faith of his people (Mosiah 23:21)
  • "O, remember my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in they youth to keep the commandments of God." (Alma 37:35)
  • Because men's hearts are false, unsteady and quickly lifted up in pride, God must chasten them with many afflictions, lest they completely forget Him. (Helaman 12:1-6)
  • We have a fullness of joy when we labor to bring souls unto Christ (3 Nephi 28:9-10)

Question: What "plain and precious" teachings does the Book of Mormon provide regarding faith, repentance, baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost?

Book of Mormon doctrines relating to faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end

  • No unclean thing can enter into the kingdom of heaven (1 Nephi 10:21,1 Nephi 15:34, Alma 7:21, Alma 40:26, Alma 45:16)
  • The still, small voice of the Spirit is felt (1 Nephi 17:45)
  • At the resurrection, those who do not repent shall have a perfect knowledge of all our guilt, uncleanness and nakedness, while the righteous shall have a perfect knowledge of their enjoyment and their righteousness, being clothed in purity. (2 Nephi 9:14)
  • "We are saved by grace, after all we can do." (2 Nephi 25:23)
  • It isn't enough to have faith once, repent once, and be baptized. We must press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end. (2 Nephi 31:19-20)
  • Baptism existed before John the Baptist (2 Nephi 31:4–6,8,11–12 Mosiah 18:10,13,15–17)
  • The fruits of pride (3 Nephi 6:10–16)
  • The only source of inequality of men is due to sin and transgression (Alma 28:13)
  • How to retain a remission of your sins (Mosiah 4:11-26)
  • How to endure to the end (Mosiah 4:29-30)
  • To gain salvation, men must repent, keep the commandments, be born again, cleanse their garments through the blood of Christ, be humble and strip themselves of all pride and envy, and do the works of righteousness (Alma 5:14-35)
  • Our sins hold us back and bind us down to destruction (Alma 7:14-16)
  • How to nourish and grow our faith in Jesus Christ (Alma 32:6-43)
  • We are to have "faith unto repentance" (Alma 34:15-17)
  • The gospel is defined (3 Nephi 27:13-21, (also referred to as "the doctrine of Christ") 3 Nephi 11:31-41, 2 Nephi 31:10-21)
  • We receive no witness until after the trial of our faith (Ether 12:6)
  • "If men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." (Ether 12:27)
  • You cannot have faith and hope without being meek and lowly of heart (Moroni 7:43-44)
  • "And the first fruits of repentance is baptism; and baptism cometh by faith unto the fulfilling the commandments; and the fulfilling the commandments bringeth remission of sins." (Moroni 8:25)
  • The remission of sins brings meekness and lowliness of heart, which in turn bring the visitation of the Holy Ghost (Moroni 8:26)

Question: What "plain and precious" teachings does the Book of Mormon provide regarding the requirements for baptism?

Book of Mormon doctrines relating to qualifications for baptism

  • We must be willing to follow the Savior with full purpose of heart and with real intent. (2 Nephi 31:3, 2 Nephi 31:10-13)
  • We must repent of our sins, thereby witnessing unto the Father that we are willing to take upon us the name of Christ. (2 Nephi 31:3, Moroni 6:2–3)
  • We must be willing to come into the fold of God, and to be called His people ((Mosiah 18:8)
  • We must be willing to bear one another's burdens, willing to mourn with those that mourn, comfort those that stand in need of comfort. (Mosiah 18:9)
  • We must be willing to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all places, even until death. (Mosiah 18:10)
  • We must be willing to serve God, keep His commandments, and desire to have His Spirit poured out more abundantly upon us. (Mosiah 18:10, Mosiah 21:35)
  • Notwithstanding the Savior being holy, he was baptized to witness to the Father that he was willing to keep his commandments. (2 Nephi 31:7)
  • We must repent, be baptized and become as a little child or we can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God. (3 Nephi 11:37–38)
  • We must have a broken heart and a contrite spirit. (Moroni 6:2-3)
  • Baptism not for infants (Moroni 8:4-23)
  • Baptism and repentance are for those that are accountable and capable of committing sin (Moroni 8:10)

Question: What "plain and precious" teachings does the Book of Mormon provide regarding prayer?

Book of Mormon doctrines relating to prayer

  • Preparation precedes revelation (1 Nephi 16:23,24,28,29)
  • We are not to perform anything without first praying, that God will consecrate the performance for the welfare of our souls. (2 Nephi 32:9)
  • How to understand the things of God (1 Nephi 15:2–4)
  • Trust not in the arm of flesh (2 Nephi 4:34,2 Nephi 28:31)
  • "Seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand." (Jacob 4:10)
  • The answer to the question 'Does it do any good to pray for others?' (Mosiah 27:14)
  • Where, When and What we are to pray for (Alma 34:17-27)
  • If we do not care for the poor and the needy, the Lord will not answer our prayers (Alma 34:28-29)
  • We are to live in thanksgiving daily (Alma 34:38)
  • The Savior's sermon on prayer in the Americas: we are to hold up His light by following His example of praying always (3 Nephi 18:15-25) (see also 3 Nephi 11 - 18 for examples of the Savior praying among the Nephites)
  • If a man offers a gift, or prays grudgingly to the Lord, it is the same as if he gave nothing - except he shall do it with real intent, it profits him nothing (Moroni 7:6-8)
  • Charity is the pure love of Christ. (Moroni 7:47) We are to pray with all the energy of our hearts to be filled with this love (Moroni 7:48, Moroni 8:26)
  • We are to pray with real intent, having faith in Christ (Moroni 10:3-5) (see also James 1:5-6)
  • We are to ponder before asking God the truth of any thing (such as the Book of Mormon), then pray with real intent (i.e. be willing to do what the Lord tells you). A testimony of the truth then comes by the power of the Holy Ghost (Moroni 10:3-5)

Question: What "plain and precious" teachings does the Book of Mormon provide regarding the scriptures?

Book of Mormon doctrines relating to the power of the Scriptures

  • To profit and learn from the scriptures, we are to 'liken' them unto ourselves (1 Nephi 19:23)
  • Why we need the Book of Mormon in addition to the Bible (2 Nephi 29:1-14, Title Page (see end of last paragraph))
  • The scriptures "enlarge the memory" of the people (Alma 37:8)
  • "Yea, we see that whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God, which is quick and powerful, which shall divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil, and lead the man of Christ in a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery which is prepared to engulf the wicked— And land their souls, yea, their immortal souls, at the right hand of God in the kingdom of heaven, to sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and with Jacob, and with all our holy fathers, to go no more out." (Helaman 3:29-30)

Question: What "plain and precious" teachings does the Book of Mormon provide regarding the present day?

Book of Mormon doctrines relating to our day

  • The answer to the age-old question 'How can God be a god of love, yet have commanded the Israelites to destroy the Canaanites?' (1 Nephi 17:32–45)
  • When nations ripen in iniquity, the Lord destroys them. (1 Nephi 17:37-38, 2 Nephi 1:7, Alma 45:16, Ether 2:8-12)
  • Priestcraft defined and condemned (2 Nephi 26:29-31)
  • God is a God of miracles, the same yesterday, today, and forever, but works among the children of men according to their faith (2 Nephi 27:23, Ether 12:12 (7-22), Mormon 9:7-11,15-21, Moroni 7:27,37 (35-38) Moroni 10:7-19)
  • "All things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator." (Alma 30:44) (Note that none of the 300+ exoplanets discovered move in a regular form! see also Abraham 4:16-18)
  • Two more proofs there is a God: (2 Nephi 2:13)
    • Our conscience (the light of Christ) witnesses to good and evil acts. Evolution didn't give us that!
    • We and all things exist- if there were no God, all things would vanish. (Note that this answers one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of physics - why was there one part in a billion more matter than antimatter created at the Big Bang (broken symmetry)- leaving us!)
  • Under what circumstances we are justified in going to war (Alma 43:45-47, Alma 48:14-16,Alma 43:29-30)
  • The coming forth of the Book of Mormon is a sign that the Lord has commenced to gather Israsel and fulfill his covenants (3 Nephi 29:1-9)
  • "Touch not the evil gift, nor the unclean thing" (Moroni 10:30)
  • How we can become an instrument in the Lord's hand:
    • keep the commandments throughout our lives, and actively do good to bless those around us (2 Nephi 1:24)
    • do much good in word and deed (2 Nephi 3:24)
    • bring people to a knowledge of the truth, even though you may endure "much tribulation and trials" Mosiah 23:10)
    • Help people escape bondage (Alma 1:18)
    • "Be patient in long-suffering and afflictions, that ye may show forth good examples in me" (Alma 17:9-11)
    • see also Alma 26:3, Isaiah 54:16, and references to "servants" in Jacob 5.

Other plain and precious things in the Book of Mormon

  • "By small and simple things are great things brought to pass, and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls" (Alma 37:6, 1 Nephi 16:9)
  • The Lord will not give a commandment without preparing a way for us to obey it. (1 Nephi 3:7, 1 Nephi 17:3)
  • The guilty take the truth to be hard (1 Nephi 16:2)
  • Joseph of Egypt's vision of what would befall his posterity to the last days (2 Nephi 3:5–16)
  • The best sermon on gratitude and humility ever given (Mosiah 2:19-25)
  • The difference between physical death and spiritual death (Alma 12:16)
  • How to teach with power and authority (Alma 17:1-3)
  • The preaching of the word of God has a more powerful effect to lead people to do that which is just than anything else, even more powerful than the sword. (Alma 31:5)
  • When we are slothful and forget to exercise faith and diligence, then the Lord's marvelous works cease in our life, and we do not progress in our journey (Alma 37:38-46)
  • "Bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love" (Alma 38:12)
  • The Spirit of Christ is given to every man to know good from evil (Moroni 7:16-17)
  • Everything which invites men to do good, and to believe in Christ is sent from God. Everything which persuades men to do evil, believe not in Christ, and deny Christ is of the devil (Moroni 7:16-17)
  • The role and ministry of angels (Moroni 7:25,29-32)
  • By the power of the Holy Ghost, men may know the truth of all things (Moroni 10:5)


Part(s) of this issue are addressed in a FairMormon video segment. Click here to see video clips on other topics.