“Lesson 6 Class Preparation Material: The Book of Mormon—the Keystone of Our Religion,” Foundations of the Restoration Teacher Material (2019)
“Lesson 6 Class Preparation Material,” Foundations of the Restoration Teacher Material
Shortly after the Book of Mormon was published in March 1830, the Lord commanded Joseph to organize the restored Church of Jesus Christ. Missionaries began selling copies of the Book of Mormon as they traveled. The book began to have a profound impact in gathering people to the Church.
The same year the Book of Mormon was published, a young man named Parley P. Pratt felt inspired to sell his farm in Ohio so he could preach the Bible. Shortly after selling the farm, Parley and his wife, Thankful, traveled east. As they neared Palmyra, New York, Parley felt prompted to get off the boat. He disembarked, and Thankful continued her journey. Parley then walked 10 miles to the home of a Baptist deacon. The deacon told him about a book he had acquired that was translated from gold plates. Parley later recorded the following:
I opened [the Book of Mormon] with eagerness, and read its title page. I then read the testimony of several witnesses in relation to the manner of its being found and translated. After this I commenced its contents by course. I read all day; eating was a burden, I had no desire for food; sleep was a burden when the night came, for I preferred reading to sleep.
As I read, the spirit of the Lord was upon me, and I knew and comprehended that the book was true, as plainly and manifestly as a man comprehends and knows that he exists. (Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, ed. Parley P. Pratt Jr. , 37)
Since the early days of the Church, millions of people have discovered what Parley was taught by the Holy Ghost that night—that the Book of Mormon is true. It contains the word of God.
As Joseph Smith completed the translation of the Book of Mormon in June 1829, the Lord Himself testified of its truthfulness.
The Lord later affirmed the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and provided reasons He brought it forth.
Years later on a Sunday in 1841, the Prophet Joseph Smith spent the day in council with the Twelve Apostles at the house of President Brigham Young, who was serving at the time as president of that quorum. While talking with them on a variety of subjects, Joseph taught the significance of the Book of Mormon:
I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book. (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith , 64)
Study the following sections to learn more about these truths taught by the Prophet Joseph.
Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught:
The Book of Mormon is the most correct of any book on earth because it centers upon the Truth (see John 14:6; 1 Nephi 13:40), even Jesus Christ, and restores the plain and precious things that have been taken away from the true gospel (see 1 Nephi 13:26, 28–29, 32, 34–35, 40). The unique combination of these two factors—a focus on the Savior and the plainness of the teachings—powerfully invites the confirming witness of the third member of the Godhead, even the Holy Ghost. Consequently, the Book of Mormon speaks to the spirit and to the heart of the reader like no other volume of scripture. (David A. Bednar, “Watching with All Perseverance,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2010, 41)
When an arch is constructed, the two sides are built up with external supports to hold them upright. The space at the top of the arch is carefully measured, and the keystone is cut to fit it exactly. When the keystone is put in place and the pressure from the other stones rests on it, the arch stands firm without supports.
President Ezra Taft Benson explained how the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion:
There are three ways in which the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion. It is the keystone in our witness of Christ. It is the keystone of our doctrine. It is the keystone of testimony.
The Book of Mormon is the keystone in our witness of Jesus Christ. … Much of the Christian world today rejects the divinity of the Savior. They question His miraculous birth, His perfect life, and the reality of His glorious resurrection. The Book of Mormon teaches in plain and unmistakable terms about the truth of all of those. It also provides the most complete explanation of the doctrine of the Atonement. …
The Book of Mormon is also the keystone of the doctrine of the Resurrection. … The Book of Mormon offers so much that broadens our understandings of the doctrines of salvation. Without it, much of what is taught in other scriptures would not be nearly so plain and precious. …
… The Book of Mormon is the keystone of testimony. Just as the arch crumbles if the keystone is removed, so does all the Church stand or fall with the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. … If the Book of Mormon be true … then one must accept the claims of the Restoration and all that accompanies it. (Ezra Taft Benson, “The Book of Mormon—Keystone of Our Religion,” Ensign, Nov. 1986, 5–6; italics added)
Consider marking words or phrases in the following statements that teach how the Book of Mormon helps us draw nearer to God and blesses our lives.
President Benson taught:
There is a power in the [Book of Mormon] which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book. You will find greater power to resist temptation. You will find the power to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path. The scriptures are called ‘the words of life’ (Doctrine and Covenants 84:85), and nowhere is that more true than it is of the Book of Mormon. When you begin to hunger and thirst after those words, you will find life in greater and greater abundance. (Ezra Taft Benson, “The Book of Mormon—Keystone of Our Religion,” 7)
President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency has also testified:
The effect of the Book of Mormon on your character, power, and courage to be a witness for God is certain. The doctrine and the valiant examples in that book will lift, guide, and embolden you. … Prayerful study of the Book of Mormon will build faith in God the Father, in His Beloved Son, and in His gospel. It will build your faith in God’s prophets, ancient and modern. It can draw you closer to God than any other book. It can change a life for the better. … I plead with you to drink deeply and often from its pages. (Henry B. Eyring, “A Witness,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 69–71)
And President Russell M. Nelson has promised:
I promise that as you prayerfully study the Book of Mormon every day, you will make better decisions—every day. I promise that as you ponder what you study, the windows of heaven will open, and you will receive answers to your own questions and direction for your own life. I promise that as you daily immerse yourself in the Book of Mormon, you can be immunized against the evils of the day, even the gripping plague of pornography and other mind-numbing addictions. (Russell M. Nelson, “The Book of Mormon: What Would Your Life Be Like without It?” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2017, 62–63)