FAIR Resources for Come, Follow Me – Book of Mormon

Introductory Pages of the Book of Mormon

Week 1: January 1–7, 2024

“[The Book of Mormon] seeks to convince all that Jesus is the Christ”

“[The Book of Mormon] seeks to convince all that Jesus is the Christ”

FAIR Faithful Resources for Come, Follow Me 2024 January 1-7. Introductory Pages of the Book of Mormon: “Another Testament of Jesus Christ.” These trusted sources can help you find answers to difficult questions and help you in your learning and teaching.

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Main Points to Ponder

  • Authorship and Translation: The introduction establishes that the Book of Mormon is a translated record of ancient American prophets, compiled and abridged by Mormon and his son Moroni.
  • Spiritual Purpose: The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ and is a means of restoring essential truths and principles that may have been lost or corrupted over time.
  • Historical and Geographical Context: The introductory section provides a framework for the historical and geographical setting of the Book of Mormon. It describes events occurring in the Americas from around 600 BCE to 421 CE, offering a unique perspective on ancient civilizations.
  • Testimony and Invitation: The introduction concludes with a testimony, affirming the divine origin and purpose of the Book of Mormon. Readers are invited to seek personal revelation to determine its truthfulness. The Book of Mormon urges all to come unto Christ and be reconciled to God through faith in Jesus Christ.

Faithful Answers to Difficult Questions

The Church changed the wording to remove the assumption (inserted into the Book of Mormon in the 1920’s) that all of the inhabitants of the Americas were exclusive descendants of Lehi

The Church made the change in wording to the introduction to the Book of Mormon to remove the assumption, which inserted into the Book of Mormon introduction in the 1920’s and not part of the original text, that all of the inhabitants of the Americas were exclusive descendants of Lehi. This had been the generally held belief from the time that the Church was restored.

This change makes the Book of Mormon introduction compatible with current DNA evidence and acknowledges the fact that Lehi’s group likely intermingled with the native inhabitants of the American continents based upon current knowledge of the DNA composition of the inhabitants of the New World. There is substantial scientific evidence of habitation in the Americas for thousands of years prior to Lehi’s arrival.

If Lehi had any descendants among Amerindians, then after 2600 years all Amerindians would share Lehi as an ancestor. Even if (as is probable) the Lehite group was a small drop in a larger population ‘ocean’ of pre-Columbian inhabitants, Lehi would have been an ancestor of virtually all the modern-day Amerindians if any of his descendants married into the existing New World population.

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The witnesses had much to gain by denying their experiences

Martin Harris noted that he would have been well-paid if he was willing to deny his witness:

A few hours before his death and when he was so weak and enfeebled that he was unable to recognize me or anyone, and knew not to whom he was speaking, I asked him if he did not feel that there was an element at least, of fraudulence and deception in the things that were written and told of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, and he replied as he had always done so many, many times in my hearing the same spirit he always manifested when enjoying health and vigor and said: ‘The Book of Mormon is no fake. I know what I know. I have seen what I have seen and I have heard what I have heard. I have seen the gold plates from which the Book of Mormon is written. An angel appeared to me and others and testified to the truthfulness of the record, and had I been willing to have perjured myself and sworn falsely to the testimony I now bear I could have been a rich man, but I could not have testified other than I have done and am now doing for these things are true.[1]

One non-member noted that the excommunicated Oliver Cowdery would have been the editor of a Democratic Party newspaper, “but was dropped on the discovery that he was one of the seven founders of Mormonism.”[2] Cowdery would have been advantaged to have denied his witness, but did not. Later, in 1848, an opposing political party opposed Cowdery’s Democratic candidacy partly because he was “one of the three witnesses to the discovery of the Golden Plates, or Mormon Bible, by Joe Smith.”[3] Richard Anderson noted that citations from the Book of Mormon were then used as “the basis of personal sarcasm against Cowdery.”[4] Again, Oliver would have been advantaged to distance himself from his testimony and witness, but did not.

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The witnesses never refuted their testimony in the Book of Mormon. In fact, David Whitmer even affirmed it “as then made and published”

It is claimed that no document exists of the testimonies of the Three and Eight Witnesses which contain their actual signatures, and that this somehow invalidates their testimonies as printed in the Book of Mormon, and that the witnesses statements in the Book of Mormon manuscript are written and signed only by Oliver Cowdery.

The claim that the witnesses somehow didn’t agree with their testimony as it was printed in the Book of Mormon during the entire period of their lives is nonsense.

The printer’s manuscript of the Book of Mormon is entirely in Oliver Cowdery’s handwriting, including the witness statements

The printer’s manuscript is a copy of the original Book of Mormon manuscript. This copy was made by Oliver Cowdery and taken to the printer. Therefore, the entire document is in Oliver’s handwriting. The original manuscript was placed in the cornerstone of the Nauvoo House.[1] Years later, it was removed and found to have been mostly destroyed by water damage. As a result of this, we do not have the portion of the original Book of Mormon manuscript containing the witness statements. It should be noted that in the 1830 Book of Mormon, the witness statements were included at the end of the book, rather than at the front as they are today.

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Emma Smith:
Emma Smith said in later interviews:

Q.-Are you sure that he had the plates at the time you were writing for him?

A.-The plates often lay on the table without any attempt at concealment, wrapped in a small linen tablecloth, which I had given him to fold them in. I once felt of the plates, as they thus lay on the table, tracing their outline and shape. They seemed to be pliable like thick paper, and would rustle with a metallic sound when the edges were moved by the thumb, as one does sometimes thumb the edges of a book….

“Q-Could not [Joseph Smith] have dictated the Book of Mormon to you, Oliver Cowdery, and the others who wrote for him, after having first written it, or having first read it out of some book?

“A.-Joseph Smith could neither write nor dictate a coherent and well-worded letter; let alone dictating a book like the Book of Mormon. And, though I was an active participant in the scenes that transpired, and was present during the translation of the plates, and had cognizance of things as they transpired, it is marvelous to me, ‘a marvel and a wonder,’ as much so as to anyone else.

“Q.-I should suppose that you would have uncovered the plates and examined them?

“A.-I did not attempt to handle the plates, other than I have told you, nor uncover them to look at them. I was satisfied that it was the work of God, and therefore did not feel it to be necessary to do so.

“Major Bidamon here suggested: Did Mr. Smith forbid your examining the plates?

“A.-I do not think he did. I knew that he had them, and was not specially curious about them. I moved them from place to place on the table, as it was necessary in doing my work.[1]


Q: “Do you believe that your husband, Joseph Smith died true to his profession?”

A: “I believe he was everything he professed to be.”[2]

Lucy Mack Smith:

I trembled so with fear, lest all might be lost in consequence of some failure in keeping the commandments of God, that I was under the necessity of leaving the room in order to conceal my feelings. Joseph saw this, and said, “Do not be uneasy mother, all is right—see here, I have got a key.”

I knew not what he meant, but took the article of which he spoke into my hands, and, upon examination, found that it consisted of two smooth three-cornered diamonds set in glass, and the glasses were set in silver bows, which were connected with each other in much the same way as old fashioned spectacles. He took them again and left me, but said nothing respecting the Record.[3]

Mary Whitmer:
Mary Musselman Whitmer (August 27, 1778 – January 1856) was the wife of Peter Whitmer, Sr. Through her son David Whitmer, she and her family became acquainted with Joseph Smith, Jr. around 1828. In 1829, probably during June, she was caring for three boarders (Joseph Smith, Emma Hale Smith, and Oliver Cowdery) in addition to her large household while the Book of Mormon was being translated. She said she was often overloaded with work to the extent she felt it quite a burden. During this time, the male boarders and members of her household were speaking of being shown the Golden Plates. One evening when she went to milk the cows, she said that a stranger with a knapsack spoke to her, explained what was going on in her house, comforted her, then produced a bundle of plates from his knapsack, turned the leaves for her, showed her the engravings, exhorted her to faith in bearing her burden a little longer, then suddenly vanished with the plates. She always called the stranger “Brother Nephi.”

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Section Summaries


Digging Deeper


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Saints Unscripted

Scripture Central: KnoWhy

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


Lesson Devotional

Book of Mormon Introduction

By Craig Lindquist, Contributor
We have spent these past weeks immersed in the birth, life, and teachings of Jesus Christ. We love Him. We worship Him. We are immensely grateful for the gifts He has given us. Of these gifts, Phillips Brooks wrote, “How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given. So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of his heaven.”1 This is the pattern of God’s gifts to us; they do indeed come quietly, without fanfare, often not even recognized.

One of the greatest of these gifts is the Book of Mormon. In its literary brilliance, its spiritual enlightenments, and its unveiling of heaven’s truths, it stands supreme in the earth of all books ever written. Wilford Woodruff wrote, “All the ingenuity of all the men under heaven could not compose and present to the world a book like the Book of Mormon. Its principles are divine—they are from God. They could never emanate from the mind of an impostor, or from the mind of a person writing a novel. Why? Because the promises and prophecies it contains are being fulfilled in the sight of all the earth.”2

This gift has come to us quietly after being prepared by a prophet of God over 1,600 hundred years before. His name was Mormon. He was an extraordinary man. He worked tirelessly to compile and prepare a record that was to be brought forth in these last days that the Saints of God might arm themselves with great spiritual power.

The book begins with Mormon giving us an introduction to his work and to whom he has written it—the Lamanites, the Jews, and the Gentiles, that they might know of Jesus Christ. Then, in 1981 an introduction to the Book of Mormon was included. This introduction gives an overview of the grand adventure we are about to be immersed in as we read. And oh, what an adventure it will be! We will learn of valiant Lehi and Sariah and their incredible family journey. We will learn of wars and rumors of wars. We will learn of once-great civilizations, now extinct because of poor choices. We will meet valiant prophets such as Moroni, King Benjamin, Nephi, and more. We will see lives change through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, such as those of Alma the Younger and thousands of humble Lamanites.

And the grandest adventure of all? We will sit at the feet of Mormon as he tells us of the wondrous, majestic visit of the resurrected Lord and Savior to the American continent. Nothing in all of literature can compare! In the introduction we will be given the challenge to ask our Heavenly Father if the things we will be reading are true. Let us do so. Joseph Smith said: “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book ever written, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts than by any other book.” Let us try his promise and see for ourselves. This year, may this grand adventure take root in our souls as we learn of, and then abide by, the Book of Mormon’s saving principles.
1 Phillips Brooks, “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” Hymns, p. 208, ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
2 Discourse by Wilford Woodruff, April 7, 1873, p. 1, The Wilford Woodruff Papers, wilfordwoodruffpapers.org/discourse/1873-04-07.
Craig Lindquist of WWPapers

Craig Lindquist

Craig Lindquist is an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is a father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, happily married to Dianna for the past 46 years. By trade he is a cabinetmaker, actor, and writer. He lives in Henderson, Nevada, except when he travels to film or to work on the construction of temples.

Lesson devotionals are provided by the Wilford Woodruff Papers Foundation. Its mission is to digitally preserve and publish Wilford Woodruff’s eyewitness account of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ from 1833 to 1898. It seeks to make Wilford Woodruff’s records universally accessible to inspire all people, especially the rising generation, to study and to increase their faith in Jesus Christ. See wilfordwoodruffpapers.org.