The revealed text

The revealed text
The light of revelation at the Whitmer farm where Joseph and Oliver worked upstairs to finish translating the Book of Mormon

Monday, December 28, 2015

Lesson 1 - the Keystone of Our Religion

Because the Book of Mormon is the "keystone of our religion," we ought to know where the events took place. The text speaks of covenants associated with the promised land. Where is the promised land? What did Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery have to say about that?

Looking Northeast at the Hill Cumorah (upper right) and the valley in which the Jaredites and Nephites had their final battles. Photo by J. Neville from a drone at 400 feet.

From Moroni's America, p. xi: 

     When we read the Book of Mormon under the light Joseph and Oliver provided, we see it in a completely new way.
     We come to realize that the Gospel was restored where it was lost.
     The light of the Gospel was extinguished in the Old World when the Apostles were killed and the Church fell into apostasy, but that light endured in the New World until the Nephite civilization was finally destroyed in New York around 400 A.D. What better place for the restoration of the Gospel than the scene of its disappearance? And from the New World, the gospel is taken back to the Old World.
     We come to realize that the early history of the Church paralleled Nephite history, in reverse.
     The Nephites were destroyed in New York, so the Church was established there. The Nephites had been driven from Zarahemla and diminished on their way to Cumorah, so the Church grew on its way to Zarahemla from Cumorah. Joseph Smith was eventually buried in an ancient Nephite cemetery in Nauvoo—across the river from Zarahemla.
     Finally, we come to realize that just as the Gospel was taken from the entire Earth, now it is spreading to the entire Earth.
And the Book of Mormon is the means for making that possible.


1. When we read the Testimony of the Three Witnesses, what were the witnesses testifying of? Read their testimony closely.

2. What additional things did these three men testify about? Oliver Cowdery, for example, wrote 8 letters about early Church history. Here's how he introduced them (from Letter VII, p. 4).

That our narrative may be correct, and particularly the introduction, it is proper to inform our patrons, that our brother J. SMITH jr. has offered to assist us. Indeed, there are many items connected with the fore part of this subject that render his labor indispensable. With his labor and with authentic documents now in our possession, we hope to render this a pleasing and agreeable narrative, well worth the examination and perusal of the Saints.-To do justice to this subject will require time and space: we therefore ask the forbearance of our readers, assuring them that it shall be founded upon facts. (emphasis added)

     In Letter VII, Oliver described the location of the final battles of the Jaredites and the Nephites this way:

At about one mile west rises another ridge of less height, running parallel with the former, leaving a beautiful vale between. The soil is of the first quality for the country, and under a state of cultivation, which gives a prospect at once imposing, when one reflects on the fact, that here, between these hills, the entire power and national strength of both the Jaredites and Nephites were destroyed. 

(Letter VII, p. 14) (emphasis added)

     Notice that Oliver said this was a fact. It was not speculation, a guess, or a tradition of unknown origin. It is a fact that these final battles took place in New York.


2016 Gospel Doctrine - Book of Mormon

In 2016, the course of study in the LDS Church is the Book of Mormon. Each Monday, this blog will offer suggestions for Gospel Doctrine teachers that correlate to each week's lesson, according to this schedule. The links go to the lessons on

Lesson 1“The Keystone of Our Religion”1–5Listen
Lesson 2“All Things According to His Will”6–10Listen
Lesson 3The Vision of the Tree of Life11–15Listen
Lesson 4“The Things Which I Saw While I Was Carried Away in the Spirit”16–19Listen
Lesson 5“Hearken to the Truth, and Give Heed unto It”20–24Listen
Lesson 6“Free to Choose Liberty and Eternal Life”25–28Listen
Lesson 7“I Know in Whom I Have Trusted”29–32Listen
Lesson 8“O How Great the Goodness of Our God”33–36Listen
Lesson 9“My Soul Delighteth in the Words of Isaiah”37–41Listen
Lesson 10“He Inviteth All to Come unto Him”42–46Listen
Lesson 11“Press Forward with a Steadfastness in Christ”47–50Listen
Lesson 12“Seek Ye for the Kingdom of God”51–55Listen
Lesson 13The Allegory of the Olive Trees56–60Listen
Lesson 14“For a Wise Purpose”61–65Listen
Lesson 15“Eternally Indebted to Your Heavenly Father”66–70Listen
Lesson 16“Ye Shall Be Called the Children of Christ”71–74Listen
Lesson 17“A Seer … Becometh a Great Benefit to His Fellow Beings”75–78Listen
Lesson 18“God Himself … Shall Redeem His People”79–83Listen
Lesson 19“None Could Deliver Them but the Lord”84–88Listen
Lesson 20“My Soul Is Pained No More”89–93Listen
Lesson 21“Alma … Did Judge Righteous Judgments”94–97Listen
Lesson 22“Have Ye Received His Image in Your Countenances?”98–101Listen
Lesson 23“More Than One Witness”102–6Listen
Lesson 24“Give Us Strength According to Our Faith … in Christ”107–11Listen
Lesson 25“They Taught with Power and Authority of God”112–15Listen
Lesson 26“Converted unto the Lord”116–119Listen
Lesson 27“All Things Denote There Is a God”120–23Listen
Lesson 28“The Word Is in Christ unto Salvation”124–27Listen
Lesson 29“Give Ear to My Words”128–32Listen
Lesson 30“The Great Plan of Happiness”133–37Listen
Lesson 31“Firm in the Faith of Christ”138–41Listen
Lesson 32“They Did Obey … Every Word of Command with Exactness”142–45Listen
Lesson 33“A Sure Foundation”146–49Listen
Lesson 34“How Could You Have Forgotten Your God?”150–54Listen
Lesson 35“Repent and Return unto the Lord”155–59Listen
Lesson 36“On the Morrow Come I into the World”160–63Listen
Lesson 37“Whosoever Will Come, Him Will I Receive”164–67Listen
Lesson 38“Old Things Are Done Away, and All Things Have Become New”168–72Listen
Lesson 39“Behold, My Joy Is Full”173–76Listen
Lesson 40“Then Will I Gather Them In”177–80Listen
Lesson 41“He Did Expound All Things unto Them”181–84Listen
Lesson 42“This Is My Gospel”185–89Listen
Lesson 43“How Could Ye Have Departed from the Ways of the Lord?”190–93Listen
Lesson 44“I Speak unto You As If Ye Were Present”194–97Listen
Lesson 45“Never Has Man Believed in Me As Thou Hast”198–201Listen
Lesson 46“By Faith All Things Are Fulfilled”202–5Listen
Lesson 47“To Keep Them in the Right Way”206–9Listen
Lesson 48“Come unto Christ”210–14