« PreviousContinue »
people with whom comparison is made. Note the prediction: "And thou shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust." (Isa. 29:4).
The Book of Mormon contains pointed and specific predictions of its own coming forth in the latter days, and these prophecies harmonize with the Biblical Scriptures. Nephi, foreseeing the eventual annihilation of his people as the result of transgression, and having been shown in vision the degraded future of the Lamanites, whom he designated "the seed of my brethren," spoke of the promised restoration of the records in this wise:
"But behold, I prophesy unto you concerning the last days; concerning the days when the Lord God shall bring these things forth unto the children of men. After my seed and the seed of my brethren shall have dwindled in unbelief, and shall have been smitten by the Gentiles; yea, after the Lord God shall have camped against them round about, and shall have laid siege against them with a mount, and raised forts against them; and after they shall have been brought down low in the dust, even that they are not, yet the words of the righteous shall be written, and the prayers of the faithful shall be heard, and all those who have dwindled in unbelief shall not be forgotten. For those who shall be destroyed shall speak unto them out of the ground, and their speech shall be low out of the dust, and their voice shall be as one that hath a familiar spirit; for the Lord God will give unto him power, that he may whisper concerning them, even as it were out of the ground; and their speech shall whisper out of the dust." (2 Nephi 26).
The nation thus "brought down" has spoken "out of the ground"; her speech has come forth "out of the dust"; for the original of the Book of Mormon was actually taken out of the ground, and the voice of the sacred record is as that of one speaking from the dust of the past.
A NEW WITNESS OF THE CHRIST
An Independent Scripture
HE angel Moroni, who made known to Joseph Smith the existence and repository of the inscribed plates from which the Book of Mormon has been translated, informed the modern prophet that the metallic pages con tained the fulness of the everlasting Gospel as delivered by the Savior to the former inhabitants of the Western Continent. The book is more than a series of annals and chron
Invaluable as the ancient record may have proved in giving to man the history of a once mighty but now extinct nation, in demonstrating the origin and significance of traditions cherished by the degenerate Indians as evidence of a more enlightened past, in explaining ethnological data otherwise unrelated and largely inexplicable in these respects the Book of Mormon could have been nothing more than an important contribution to the common fund of human knowledge, possibly of great academic interest but certainly of small vital value.
No apology could be consistently demanded for surprise, wonder, or even incredulity over the announcement of a messenger sent from the presence of God to restore to the
possession of mortals a mere history of dynasties and kingdoms, of migrations and battles, of cities builded and destroyed, and of the rise and fall of commonwealths.
The miraculous interposition of Divine power in such a matter is without recorded precedent and apparently lacking in the essential element of necessity.
The priceless character of the Book of Mormon lies in its sacredness as a compilation of Holy Scripture, telling primarily of the dealings of God with the ancient peoples of the West, of the Divine purpose in their isolation on a previously unknown continent, the teaching and practise of the Gospel with all its essential laws and ordinances enjoined through revelation entirely apart from the Biblical Scriptures, and particularly of the solemn testimony of a great nation relating to the atoning death and literal resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer and Savior of the race.
The avowed purpose of Jehovah, in leading Lehi and his colony from Jerusalem and conducting them across the great waters to the American shores, was to separate unto Himself a body of Israelites who would be cleansed from false tradition and the defiling precepts of men respecting the appointed mission of Christ in the flesh. As Moses was led into the desert and later into the mountain top, as Elijah was impelled to seek the cavern's solitude, that each might the better hear the Divine voice-so a nation was sequestered in the New World that they might learn the word of revealed truth in its simplicity and plainness.
In the mind of God it had been decreed that the life, death, and resurrection of His Only Begotten Son be attested by other witnesses than Galilee, Samaria and Judea. While Lehi and his people were journeying through the deserts of Arabia, the Lord revealed by vision and the visitation of angels unto the prophet and again unto Nephi that,
six hundred years later, the Son of the Eternal Father would be born of the Virgin of Nazareth, that He was to be the Redeemer of the world, that a prophet would go before Him crying repentance unto the people and baptizing them in Jordan, and that twelve Apostles would attend the Savior and continue to teach and administer after the Lord's death and resurrection.
The doctrine of the coming Christ and the necessity of repentance and baptism had been preached by prophets throughout the six centuries of preparation. At the time of our Lord's birth at Bethlehem, the predicted signs of the glad event were witnessed in America, and prominent among these was the absence of darkness between two days. The tragedy on Calvary was signalized in the West, as the prophets had foretold, by great disturbances of the earth, and by the continuation of darkness between two nights.
The more righteous part of the people had been preserved from destruction; and to a multitude of these, assembled about the Temple, the crucified and resurrected Lord appeared, with the solemn accompaniment of the Father's proclamation from the heavens: "Behold my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name: hear ye Him." (3 Nephi, chap. 11).
The people looked upward, “And behold they saw a Man descending out of heaven; and He was clothed in a white robe, and He came down and stood in the midst of them, and the eyes of the whole multitude were turned upon Him, and they durst not open their mouths, even one to another, and wist not what it meant, for they thought it was an angel that had appeared unto them. And it came to pass that He stretched forth His hand and spake unto the people, saying, Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world; And behold, I am the
light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning."
He permitted them to see and feel the wounds of the cross in His hands, feet, and side; and they worshiped Him.
The Book of Mormon is a new and independent witness of the divinity of Jesus Christ and His Gospel, by which all mankind may be saved through obedience, and without which no man can have place in the Kingdom of God.
WHEN CHRIST STOOD ON AMERICAN SOIL His Church Established Among the Ancient Americans
URING His brief period of mortal ministry our Lord the Christ established His Church, with Apostles empowered and directed to administer the ordinances essential to membership and to build up the institution. This was done in Palestine; and from that land the message of salvation was carried into every country known to the inhabitants of the Eastern Continent. In the period immediately following the Lord's departure, the Apostles prosecuted the work of the ministry with such zeal and effectiveness that we read of them: "And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following." (Mark 16:20).
We are expressly informed of the rapid growth of the Church in apostolic times. Paul, writing approximately thirty years after the Ascension, declared that the Gospel had been made known to every nation-"preached to every