While I’m not a huge fan of the Book of Mormon, I can appreciate how some scholars view it as a piece of ancient scripture. I also understand that its critics point out several errors. Yet I don’t think it’s important for me to have great faith in an ancient text just because I believe it was written by the “prophet” of the Bible. My point is that there are many factors affecting an ancient text, including the culture of the era and the beliefs of its native people. I believe that what is contained in the Book of Mormon reflects the beliefs and attitudes of its ancient people as they dealt with the American Indians, their environment, their native religion, and their neighbors.
In The Cultural and Historical Context of the Book of Mormon, author Jeff Lindsay provides a very interesting overview of the Book of Mormon. He explains that the book can be viewed as a historical document that speaks to the contemporary problems and issues of the early Americans. The book can also be viewed as a book of religious devotion to the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It’s possible that the book of Mormon contains no true meaning for the modern reader.
However, if you read the book of Mormon seriously, you will see that the book has meaning for its modern readers. For instance, when Alma tells his fellow believers that the “Book of Mormon” is a “history” of the Nephites, I can almost hear the laughter from the audience. Yet there is something deeper in the story. As I read the book, I realized that Alma, his son Mosiah, and the entire church had been instructed by God that their story would be told through this ancient text.
Many of the same problems that plagued the Nephites in the Book of Mormon are still troubling the modern people. In the Book of Mormon, there is a great deal of immorality in the Nephite society. And I’d like to know that the Book of Mormon isn’t a complete fraud, because even though many of the details are exaggerated, the teachings in the book are still true. The Book of Mormon is about the restoration of the gospel, and it includes some basic gospel principles.
Because I grew up in the 70’s, I appreciate what the Book of Mormon tells us about our own heritage. There were many stories about Native Americans that helped to prepare my young mind for my adulthood and for my role as an elder in my congregation. I know that the Book of Mormon reflects some of the struggles and hardships that were faced by the Native Americans of the Americas in the early days. I appreciate how the book of Mormon addresses some of the problems that the Indians had with their relationship with their European neighbors. I also love how the Book of Mormon addresses the subject of slavery in the Book of Mormon.
Because I work with young adults on a daily basis, the Book of Mormon gives me a way to bring up important issues without them having to ask me about them. I often discuss these issues with my students at church, and we can use the text to help them understand the struggles and challenges of today’s world. Some of these topics include poverty and crime, drug abuse, health care, and family breakdown. I can’t help but notice that we teach the Book of Mormon to children today, but that’s because the Book of Mormon speaks to the soul of God.
I am not a religious person, but I love the book of Mormon because it gives me an opportunity to share my feelings with others. I feel that I am called to share my spiritual experiences with others so they can learn from my words and my actions. I hope that the Book of Mormon will continue to inspire people to find a personal connection with God and to find a purpose in life.