I have been thinking a lot about how the Book of Mormon introduces itself here and there in the record itself; also about how I would present an introduction to the book. What a hard job that would be! So many different potential audiences! I thought, though, that trying to prepare one such introduction would be a good challenge for me. I say “one such” because it would be impossible to do a perfect one. Each write-up would focus on different things that would also be a good introduction to the book. And each write- up would tailor it to a different audience, focusing on those details that would connect with those people.
So without time to write it up fully this morning (and knowing me, I’ll get on to some other question and never finish!), here is a list of some of the things I might include:
- A comparison or summary of the Old and New Testaments, explaining that the Old Testament is a record of a people with a covenant, but who misunderstood Christ when he came; the New Testament is a record of many individuals who believed in and worshiped Jesus Christ as their Savior, but who misunderstood the place of the Abrahamic Covenant in the future Church. The Book of Mormon is a record of a people who both worship Christ himself and hold tight to the Abrahamic Covenant.
- They are a branch of the family of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob who broke off from the rest about 600BC in part because the rest of the family rejected the coming of a Messiah who would overcome the sins of all the world, and not just deliver the covenant people from physical oppression (see the summary of Lehi’s preaching in chapter 1 of 1st Nephi).
- This branch of the family keeps written records from the moment they brake off from the rest of Israel, through hundreds of years in a new home, until finally in about 400AD they have also rejected both Christ and God’s covenants and destroy each other in a civil war. Mormon is a man who lived at the end of this war. He was the inheritor of the large collection of records which described their wars and prophets and how their faithfulness or unfaithfulness had affected the prosperity of the people. Mormon was afraid that the people would not keep their records now that they had rejected Christ and God’s covenants. So he made an abridgement of these records, a much smaller version that he could carry around while the civil war raged on and on (see Mormon, chapter 6). The large collection of records he buried up in a hill to keep them safe. He continued to add his own record of the war on his smaller version. When he died, his son Moroni inherited the smaller record and continued to add to it. He was the last person to write on that record, and he buried it in the ground. It was this smaller record that Joseph Smith found and translated.
- Maybe a chart or another way to show how certain parts are abridged and certain parts aren’t?\
- An explanation of the idea of “plain and precious” and “covenants” being taken (see 2 Nephi) and perhaps also pointing to the preface to section 76.
Well Micah is laying on my lap kicking my arms and laughing, so I think it’s time to go and get him breakfast!