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Episode Info:

Today I'm going to try to read the WHOLE Book of Mormon in one day... but before I do, I need to answer some important questions that you've been asking.

---Transcript---

Hey everyone, this is Russell Brunson. I want to welcome you back to the Book of Mormon Challenge podcast. I am so excited for today’s episode. It’s actually 5:30 in the morning, and I got up really early today because I’m going to be taking you guys on a really special journey, and I’ll tell you about it here in a second, but I am just ecstatic.

I couldn’t fall asleep last night, and this morning I set my alarm for like 5:20, and I was up at 5:00 I couldn’t even, which never happens for me. That’s how excited I am for today.

Really quick, so I launched the podcast this week, which is a huge thing, it’s something I wanted to do, honestly, for a couple of years now. And then about 6 months ago or so, I recorded the first two episodes and got excited, then I got nervous and then I didn’t do anything about it and then finally, this week I was like, I just need to get this live.

So Monday I called my brother up, who does all my audio editing, and got the podcast live. And it’s live and I just kind of shared it with friends and family and people I know, and it’s been really fun to see people’s feedback. And anyway, I’m just going to keep going on this journey and it’ll be a lot of fun.

So as I have said out there, there are a lot of people obviously, members of the LDS church that listen to it, but I’ve had a lot of friends, and I’ve got a big following online, and I didn’t really, I haven’t published it out there. I think I’m going to talk about it a little bit today, just let people know about it in case they’re curious. But some of my friends who aren’t members listened to it, and it’s been kind of fun and interesting to hear some of their feedback.

 Anyway, I really enjoyed it, and it’s opening doors to conversations I normally don’t have. So hopefully this, for those of you guys who are members of the church, who if you like this, feel free to share this with other people and hopefully it will help open up doors for you to talk about things that we should be talking about.

The one thing I want to talk about really quick, the biggest question I’ve been getting so far by people is, “What’s the Book of Mormon Challenge, Russell? What is it?” Well, there’s a couple of things. The most basic and the most simple is that I’m challenging everybody, including me to actually go and read the Book of Mormon. And then not to take my word for it, or Google’s word for it, but to actually go and pray and see what the Lord says, and say, ask him to find out if it’s true. Because if it is true, like I talked about in episode 1 and 2, this is a huge deal and you should know about it, and you should care about it…It’s huge.

But you gotta find out for yourself, so that’s my challenge for you. Now, when you go to BookofMormonChallenge.com, the sites up there right now and all there are is download links to, or subscribe links to this podcast on both apple and android. And a link to where you can get a free copy of the Book of Mormon from lds.org, and just basically a place you can put your email address in to get on a notification list.

I’m working on a bunch of really cool things behind the scenes. We have an app coming out and a bunch of other stuff, so those things are coming but for right now I just wanted to start. I wanted to stop using the fact that the site and everything wasn’t finished as an excuse, and I just wanted to start.

Alright, so with that said, the Book of Mormon Challenge is for everybody to read the Book of Mormon. After you read it to pray about it, ask Heavenly Father if it’s true. If it is true, then I got so many exciting things I want to share with you, but that part is up to you. So that’s still the challenge.

And as I was thinking about this, I thought about when did I take that challenge? And it’s been, man, it’s been…I’m getting old, it’s been like 20+ years since I had that experience. And it changed the trajectory of my life, and I’m so grateful for it. But I wanted to go though it again with everybody. So I was like, I’m going to start reading the Book of Mormon again, in more detail. As you know, if you listened to the intro of this show, and episodes 1 and 2, I actually bought one of the first editions of the Book of Mormon, one of the first 5,000.

And what’s fun, I’ve had a chance with my kids to read it, but I don’t know the book is kind of frail and fragile, and I haven’t really just read the whole thing, and I’ve wanted to. And Monday, after I launched the podcast I started thinking about a story, and there’s a story about a guy named Parley P. Pratt, some of you guys may know him. People who are members of the Mormon church probably know him, but most people probably don’t.

But he was one of the first people to join the church and he lived back when Joseph Smith was alive in the 1820’s, and somebody gave him one of the first 5,000 copies of the book and he started reading it and I found a quote from him last night, he said, it said,

“Parley P. Pratt was introduced to the Book of Mormon in an experience that will forever change his life. Later he recalled, ‘I read all day, eating was a burden, I had no desire for food. Sleep was a burden because when the night came I preferred reading to sleep.”

And he actually read the entire Book of Mormon in an entire day. Like he said, sleeping and eating became a burden to him. I always thought that was the coolest story. I can’t believe he read the entire book in a day. Anyway, on Monday I was thinking about that, I should do a Parley P. Pratt day and actually try to read the entire Book of Mormon in a day, just like he did. How fun would that be?

And then I was like, I wonder if I could find the date that he actually did that and I started searching and I couldn’t find it anywhere. Then I just went to Wikipedia and looked it up. And it turns out that today was actually Parley P. Pratt’s birthday. So this was Monday I found this out. I was like, oh my gosh, Thursday is his birthday. What if I made it a Parley P. Pratt day, I took work off and I just read the entire book in a day? That was the idea, I got excited and now here we are today. I’m going to read the entire book today.

So I am pumped and excited and so that’s what’s going to be happening. So I’m actually going to record multiple sections of this podcast throughout the day to just kind of talk about some of the stuff I’m reading in the book, obviously it’s a huge book and I’m not going to have time to talk about everything. But some of the big story lines I’m going to jump back in and just record little pieces for you guys, with the hope that it gets you pumped and excited to go and actually get the book and read it.

Those who are members and haven’t been reading it recently, it’s going to hopefully get you excited to go back in and read it. Those who have no idea what this is about, hopefully get you inspired to actually open it up and read the book. That’s my goal, so it’s going to be kind of fun.

Alright, another couple of things I want to go through before I stop this recording and open the book and start reading. As I’ve kind of opened the flood gates of this podcast, the questions from people I love keep flying in, so I wanted to talk about one because I think it’s really, really important as a preface to any of you guys who are thinking about, “Should I read this? Should I not? I’m scared, do I do it?” and the question a lot of people keep asking me is “Are Mormon’s Christians?” and they’re like, “I know you’ve been a Mormon for a long time, but are you guys Christians? What do you guys believe?”

I actually, there’s an app on my phone called Voxer, it’s kind of like a walkie-talkie app, so a couple of my friends who asked me that question, I actually voxed them back a response. I kind of did a little mini history lesson. Let me explain kind of where everything fits in the world history and where Mormons come from. And I explained it and I’ve sent that to two or three people and they’re always like, “Oh, I didn’t know that. That’s what you guys do? That’s what you believe? That’s what Mormons are?” and I’m like, “Yeah.” And then it’s really fun.

So I thought I would just go through that really quick with you guys because if you see where it fits in the timeline of world events and Christianity, it makes a lot more sense. So that’s what I’m going to do, I want to kind of walk you guys through that process.

For all my good Christian friends, I’m going to start with the Old Testament. So if you read the Old Testament right, everything inside the Old Testament is pointing to Christ. In fact, it’s interesting, two weekends ago it was Easter Sunday, it was the Passover, a bunch of stuff, and we don’t actively as Mormons, like most Christians celebrate the Passover, but one of our close friends, Monica Tanner who goes to church with us, she actually grew up Jewish and then she became Mormon later, but her and her family always celebrates Passover.

So she actually invited us over to their house for Passover dinner, which was one of the coolest things ever. So we went through and we learned all their traditions with the Passover, how it works, and we actually had a Passover meal, we had unleavened bread, it was the coolest thing ever.

And she was going through it and she was explaining all this stuff to us, the symbolism, I’ve always known about the symbolism in the Old Testament and how it all points to Christ, but going through the Passover, it was so cool to see. It was just amazing to see how everything pointed to Christ, it’s such a cool….maybe I’ll see if I can get her to come on and do an episode because it was just amazing to see how all those things, how they all pointed to Christ.

So we fast forward, and we know that Christ comes. He’s born from Mary who was a virgin and he lives this life. And what’s so cool is we have the New Testament that documents that, right. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all tell the story of Christ and his coming, and his life and everything that happens here on this earth.

There’s where it’s very, we believe the same thing. I have friends who are like, “Oh you don’t believe, you guys are Mormons, you don’t believe what we believe.” I’m like, “No, we believe the same things, I read the Old Testament, it all points to Christ. I read the New Testament. I love Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. All that stuff, we believe all that stuff.”

So I don’t want people thinking that we don’t. We do, I think I’ve read it and I understand it more than most people. I believe it and it’s something that we cherish.

So here’s where I want to go into the timeline. So Christ is here on earth and before he’s crucified he organizes his church and it’s somewhere between 30 and 34 A.D. right. He calls 12 apostles; he gives them keys of authority to do certain things to be able to build his church. So he calls his 12 apostles and then he goes out and starts teaching and sometimes it’s received really well, other times it’s not so well. And as we know eventually Christ is crucified. And then 3 days later on Easter morning, he’s resurrected the greatest miracle in the world. And because he was resurrected, we as human beings all have the chance to be resurrected as well, which is one of the greatest gifts ever. If not, the greatest gift.

And I’ll go deeper on other episodes about Christ and him being our Messiah, our Savior. By far that moment of him suffering and dying for our sins and then rising again is the most important thing that ever has, and ever will happen on this earth. We love Christ, we sustain him as our savior. So for any Christians, yes, that is the most important event in the history of time. From the beginning of time until forever, and that’s huge.

Now, if you look at what happened after that, I want to talk about the history side, because it’s just, it’s interesting. So when Christ comes back, he comes back to his apostles and says, “Okay, now it’s time to go out and teach this gospel.” If you read the New Testament, the Acts of The Apostles, they’re going out there and doing these things. And the rest of the New Testament, these letters they’re writing to different people trying to maintain the church and there’s false doctrine popping up coming from other religions and other faiths and other belief’s and they get converted into Christianity, but when the apostles leave they start doing all sorts of crazy things.

They’re writing all these letters trying to, “No, that’s not what we believe. We believe this, this, and this.” And they’re trying to keep this new church together and it’s hard. It wasn’t in the day and age, like we live in now where there’s internet and things that connect people. They’re trying to spread this message around the world and it’s hard, and they’re going out there.

And then about 65 A.D. the persecution of the Christians starts happening and it’s getting worse and worse and worse, and that’s happening for the next 250 years. Now by about 100 A.D. all the apostles have been killed and most of them by some pretty bad, they didn’t die happy deaths. In fact, I have a list here that I pulled up. Andrew was crucified, Bartholomew was beaten almost to death and then crucified, James was stoned to death, the other James was beheaded, John as you know, was exiled and then he ended up dying of old age, Judas (not Iscariot, but the other Judas) was stoned to death, Matthew was speared to death, Peter was actually crucified upside down because he didn’t want to die the same way the Savior did, he didn’t feel he was worthy of that. Phillip was crucified, Simon was crucified, Thomas was speared to death, Mathias was stoned to death.

It wasn’t a happy thing. People weren’t all excited, they didn’t take this message of Christianity well. So within 100 years all the 12 apostles of Christ were gone and false doctrines among all the churches started creeping up like crazy, and it kind of just went out of control. We start moving into the dark ages and all these things because of that.

Now if you look at, again, history. About 325 A.D. there was this dude named Constantine, and he was not a good person but he wanted power and he was like, “How do I get power?” And he’s like, “I’m going to, there’s this little thing, this cult of people called Christianity, if I take that and make that the official church it will give me ability to have power.” So he, not in a righteous, good way took all this, took this Christianity thing and made it the national church, made it this big thing, and that’s when Christianity as we know it was formalized like, okay this is Christianity.

Now, about that time started the dark ages, and the dark ages there’s all this time going by where there’s Christianity and you read about all these evil, horrible things that happened in the name of Christianity, very non-Christian things happened during this time. About 1054 A.D. the church splits into the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church, that’s the split of Christianity. But that’s kind of what it was.

Now fast forward a little bit further down the timeline, 1388 John Wycliffe, he was a Catholic priest. He denounced the Catholic Church, he didn’t like it. He was branded as a heretic and then he actually went and translated the bible into English. So if you look at before, there wasn’t printing presses, there wasn’t computers, there’s one or two people who have the bible and they’re like, “Oh yeah, the bible says this. You gotta do this.” And they’re like controlling people based on what they’re saying, “here’s the word of God. This is what it is.”

So he was a big instrument in getting it translated into English so that other people could actually know about it. But still it was like, there was this book and people just didn’t have it.

Now fast forward a little further down the timeline, 1455 Gutenberg invents the printing press, which literally changes the world. Bibles were printed all over the place, as well as other books. Bibles were printed and now people, human beings can actually read it themselves and be like, “Wait a minute, it didn’t say that. This is what it actually said.” Right, and it gives people the ability to actually know what the scriptures said.

Think about that, for the first 1500 years after Christ was born people didn’t have access to his words. They just had access to what not righteous people wanted them to believe about his word. It’s kind of crazy if you look at it.

Fast forward a little more, 1520. This is when it starts, the religious landscape starts shifting a lot. 1520 there’s a dude named Martin Luther, and Martin Luther he is going through and he is reading the Bible and reading this and seeing what the Catholic Church is doing and he’s like, “This doesn’t make sense.” There’s things that aren’t quite jiving here.

In fact, one of his biggest pet peeves was the selling of indulgences, which basically means people would go and would go to their church and they would pay money to get their sins removed. So they do bad things, they would commit adultery, they’d murder, they’d do whatever and they’d go to the church and say, “Hey, I’m going to buy some indulgences, here’s some money.” And then the church would forgive them of their sins.

And he was like, this is not doctrinal, this is not what the scriptures say, this is not a real thing. And he wasn’t very happy about it, so what he did is one day he wrote up what was called the 95 Thesis’, he wrote this whole thing up and depending, I was studying last night, depending on different accounts  some people say it was a letter he mailed, some people say he went up to the door of the church and nailed these thesis’ to the door. But regardless he basically wrote, “These are 95 things that are not correct that we should be looking at. This is not doctrinal, this is stuff that’s being made up.”

And so he nailed this stuff to the door of the church, or mailed the letter, or probably a variation of a bunch of things, I don’t really know. But that started what we call the Protestant Reformation, where everyone is like, “You’re right. This isn’t right.” And this is when churches started breaking off from the Catholic Church. We call it the Protestant Reformation, they were protesting the Catholic Church.

So they were protesting, they broke off and all the sudden this when all these Christian churches start popping up. Where someone would say, “I believe this is how things should be.” And they would start their own church and they were protesting and they would start it and it became, again, the Protestant Reformation is what this whole thing was. People protesting the Catholic Church and starting their own churches.

It was such an important thing because it was giving people the ability to be like, “What do I believe the scriptures mean?” and they would believe that and they could start congregations and churches based on that, so they could worship God in the way that they believed was actually true. And it was super important to the whole foundation of Christianity, I believe.

So that’s happening and this is happening all over the world. Now fast forward the timeline a little more, boom 1776 America is founded, Columbus comes to this land, a little bit later George Washington comes and they fight for American freedom and one of the biggest things they fight for is religious freedom. They don’t want to have the government to be in charge of religion.

So they come here to American, they create the constitution, they fight the revolutionary war and this amazing thing happens where they’re able to actually worship God in the way that they believe is right. The first time this has happened. There was no government to say, “No, this is what you must believe.” It’s scary nowadays if you look at where government is going, they’re trying to make it creep back to that.

But America was based on religious freedom, you could worship however or whatever you want. So it created this environment now where people could believe whatever they wanted but the pros and cons to that. So what happens is there’s all these churches popping up and they’re all over the place and there’s tons of them.

And I can just imagine what it was like then, I know what it’s like today, but everyone’s believing different things. And one person says, “This is the truth.” And another person says, “This is the truth.” And people are like confused and picking sides and everyone’s trying to, everyone in their best interest is like, “I’m trying to work out my own salvation with fear and trembling like the scriptures say. I gotta figure out what’s true. I need to know what truth is.”

Which, this is by the way, the entire message of my podcast. It’s not for us to say, my opinion is this. The whole message of this podcast is what is the actual truth? I’m going to put my opinion on the side and I’m going to suspend my own judgment and try to find out what is God’s truth and what does God actually believe, what is the actual truth?

So people are trying to figure that out the best that they can. And there are revivals and all sorts of crazy stuff starts happening. Fast forward to the year 1820, so this is where this is kind of coming to a head here in America. All these churches, everything is happening, 1820 there is a boy that lives in upstate New York, he’s 14 years old, and he’s in the middle of this religious environment and all he wants to do is figure out what church is true. Which one should he follow? In fact, from his history I’m going to read a little part of what he wrote. He said,

“During this time of great excitement, my mind was called up in serious reflection and great uneasiness. I often said to myself, what is to be done? Who of all these parties are right or are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it? How shall I know it? While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the Epistle of James, 1st chapter, 5th verse which reads, ‘if any of ye lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given to him.’

He then said,

“Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the hearts of men than this did at this time to mine. It seemed it ended with great force in every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God, I did. For how to act, I did not know. And unless I could get more wisdom than I then had, I would never know. For the teachers of religion from the different sects understood the same passage of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the bible.

“At length I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion or else I must do as James directs, that is ask of God. At length I came to the determination to ask of God, concluding that if he gave wisdom to them that lacked wisdom, and would give liberally and upbraideth not, I might venture.”

So he reads the scripture that says, “If any of ye lack wisdom, let him ask of God. That giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him.” And he’s like alright, the scriptures say if you got a question go ask God and he’ll tell you. By the way, it’s the same message I have for you guys today. So Joseph Smith read that and he’s like, “I’ve got to figure it out.”

He’s a 14 year old boy. I’ve got 12 year old twins right now, he’s a young, young, young person. And as only a young person can do, he’s like, the bible, everyone explains it differently so what am I supposed to do?

So he went out next to his home and there was this grove of trees. I’ve actually had a chance to go there, it was one of the neatest experiences of my life. He goes in this grove of trees and he kneels down and starts praying. And his question is simple, “Heavenly Father, which church should I join. Whatever is your truth, I will do it. If you say this is the church I will go there. I don’t care what it is, whatever you tell me is the actual truth, I will do because I want to follow the truth.

So he sits down, he kneels down and starts praying and what happened next is not something I don’t think he expected, I don’t think anybody expected it, but what happened was amazing. And I’ll, again, I’m going to read to you his own words of what he said happened.

“I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. When the light rested upon me I saw two personages whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other, ‘this is my beloved son, hear him.’

So what happened to him is he had this vision from heaven. Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ came to him and I can just imagine, I don’t know what would happen. I don’t know what you would do. I can’t even imagine that situation, it’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever heard, once again, if it’s true it’s the most amazing thing that’s ever happened.

Again, this is why it’s so important for you guys to, I’m going to do a whole podcast on how to get answers to prayers, but you guys have to find out if this is true. Because if it’s true, if Heavenly Father and Jesus came to a boy and told him the answer to this question, which church is true, what should I join? If that’s true, do you want to know the answer to the question? It’s amazing.

So he asks them, “Which church should I join?” and they basically came back and said don’t join any of them. In fact, let me see if I can find in his own words what he said. He said,

“My object to going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner therefore did I get possession of myself was I able to speak that I asked the personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right? For this time it had never entered my heart that all were wrong and which I should join. I was answered I must join none of them for they were all wrong and the personages who addressed me said that their creeds were an abomination inside, and that those professors who were all corrupt.

“They draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts were far from me, they teach doctrines for the commandments of men having a form of Godliness but they deny the power thereof.”

So he basically said don’t join any of them. What’s interesting, if you look at this, all these churches are there and my belief is that there’s truth in all these churches. Every one was going back to the Bible and saying, “This is what this means.” And they were trying their best to do these things, and there’s truth in every single church. And I want you guys to understand that because I have friends in every religious denomination in the world and I have so much love and respect for all of them and there’s truth in every single one of them.

I love going to other churches and reading other people’s scripture. I’m a big believer in that, because there’s truth in every single one of them. But basically what Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ said to Joseph Smith was there’s truth in all of them, but none of them have the fullness of the truth. And that was the key.

They also didn’t have the authority. When Christ was here and he called 12 apostles, he put his hands on their heads and gave them authority, priesthood authority to do things. When they were killed that authority kind of disappeared off the face of the earth.

So what happened through this vision and others, was basically Joseph Smith was called to restore the true church back on earth. Now I want to talk about this, so if you look at the history of the timeline, there was the Catholic Church and it broke into two things. We have the Roman Catholic Church, and the Eastern Orthodox Church and from there, there were these Protestant Churches that were protesting the Catholic church and started their own things.

Where does the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Mormons, where do they feel they fit? We’re not a protestant reformation. We weren’t protesting the Catholic Church to start our own thing, we consider ourselves the restoration of the church. We’re restored back to the original church. And there’s so many cool things I want to share with you guys in future podcasts about what happened.

Our Heavenly Father came back, he restored, he called a prophet and 12 apostles, and he gave the priesthood authority to these men, he created temples. Have you ever wondered about, in the Old Testament temples were such a vital part of all these things and these covenants were being made in the temples and there’s so much amazingness, where are those today if they were gone?

Heavenly Father came back and restored temples; they restored all these things that were lost during the dark ages, during all the persecutions of Christians, during all this history. Like how I went through all these plain and precious truths, these amazing things that were there that disappeared; all those things were restored back.

So the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is not a Protestant Church, it’s a restorationist church. It was restored back to be the same church that was set up when Christ was here. So once again, there is a prophet today on earth, just like there was in Christ’s time. There are 12 apostles, all those things have been brought back. That’s the message, that’s what’s so exciting about this.

That’s kind of where we feel like we fit. And once again, we are Christians, we believe in Christ, we believe he’s our Savior, all those things are the same. We just believe that his true church that was on earth when he was here, the one he set up, over the years has fallen apart and become corrupt and he came back to restore in these latter days.

So there’s where Mormons are and how we are Christians. The next question that people always ask me is, “What is this Book of Mormon? I already have a Bible. What’s the point of this? Why do we even have this? I don’t understand.” So the back story on that, because I’m going to explain it and then I’m going to, I’m anxious to jump in and start reading. I’m going to try to read the whole thing today, so I’m excited.

After this first vision, we call the first vision, it’s the first time that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ came and explained it to Joseph Smith. After that there were a whole bunch of other visions from other people, from angels that came to Joseph Smith. One of them happened September 21, 1823, he was praying in the upper room of his parents log home in New York and an angel came to him. The angel’s name was Moroni, and he appeared to Joseph Smith and said, “God has work for you to do.” And he was like, “okay.” And he said, I’m going to read from his account.

“He informed Joseph that there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates giving the account of the former inhabitants of this continent and the source from wence the sprang. The book could be found in a hill not far from the Smith family farm. This was no ordinary history, it contained the fullness of the everlasting gospel as delivered by the Savior.”

Imagine this, an angel comes to you and says, “Okay, there’s work Heavenly Father needs you to do. There’s a hill not too far from your house, and in that hill there are buried these plates.” Plates, we always call them plates, but that sounds weird to most people. It’s like a book written on gold pages, like scratched in. Because back in the day, paper isn’t going to last thousands of years, so they had gold and silver plates and they would sketch in the writings in these plates so they would be preserved and wouldn’t get destroyed from the elements.

So there’s this book written on gold plates, and it’s over here and we’re going to go get it. So eventually he went and he found it, dug it up from the earth, this angel named Moroni and he gives him this book. And he’s looking in the book, and the book is written in old reformed Egyptian, it’s not English, he couldn’t read it. And he’s like, “What is this book?” and he’s like, “Your job is to translate this book from this old language to English.”

And Joseph Smith is a young kid at the time and he’s like, “I don’t know how to translate. I’m not a translator, I don’t know how to speak this weird language that’s etched into these plates.” He said, “Don’t worry, you’re going to translate this through the gift and power of God.”

I’ve written two books, and the reason why I tell you that is both of my books took me over a year to write. I feel like they’re pretty good books, but they’re not the book I’m about to read today. This book I’m about to read today, I’m holding it in my hand, it is thick, it is hard to read, not hard to read but its scripture. It’s not like an easy to read, sit down and read stories and its nice and happy. It’s a thick real book, it’s a book of scripture.

Joseph Smith begins translating and I’m not going to get into this podcast how he translates, because I don’t have all the details in front of me, but he translated this through the gift and power of God. The entire translation period from the time he started, to the time it ended, was three months between April and June of that year. Three months.

Now I don’t know about you, I could not write my own book in three months, and I had ten years of me studying and doing and implementing to do the thing I was writing my book on. This is a book that covers over a thousand years of history, with thousands of characters and wars and geology, and theology and it’s amazing. And he translated the whole thing in three months, through the gift and power of God.

Now when he was translating it, the question is what’s on, what were on these golden plates? What was the book? What is it about? So I’m going to give you guys a hint because I’m about to read it. But I’m going to get you guys excited just so you’ll know what it is, and hopefully give you guys some desire to actually open it up and read it.

Don’t be like, “I’m not going to read it.” Are you crazy? If some dude told you there’s a book from God, I don’t know, I’ve read most every religious book I could find because I’m like, “If somebody else believes it, I want to read it and find out if it’s true. This is important for me. It should be important for all of us.”

So what did he find? So he started reading this book and found out, when you start reading the book, when you start translating it, it begins about 600 years before Christ was born, in Jerusalem.  There was a prophet named Lehi, if you’re looking at the Old Testament, this was about the same time that Jeremiah was alive. So Jeremiah was a prophet, and if you read Jeremiah it talks about it in there. It said that there were many prophets in the land.

So Jeremiah was a prophet, there were other prophets. And one of the prophet’s name was Lehi, and that’s where the book starts. It’s Lehi and his family. And Lehi has this vision, he says, “Look, Jerusalem is going to be destroyed, and if you look at history actually it was destroyed.” I think 12 or 13 years later. But he has this vision that Jerusalem is going to be destroyed, you need to go and tell people to repent, as most prophets are told to do.

So Lehi goes out and tells all the people, “Repent, you need to repent. Jerusalem is going to be destroyed.” And they’re like, “Are you kidding me. Jerusalem is like the biggest city in the world, we’re not going to be destroyed.” And they start mocking him, they stone him, they try to kill him and they’re like, “you’re crazy.” So Lehi, this dude back 600 years before Christ is born has another vision that says, “You need to get your family out of here, you’re going to be destroyed.”

So they gather up all their belongings and they leave Jerusalem, and that’s when the book takes place, this exodus of Jerusalem. And they don’t know where they’re going. They go in the wilderness, and then they start having these visions, “you need to go back to Jerusalem and you have to go get these brass plates.” And they’re like, “Why do we get the brass plates.” And they force them to go back and there’s this whole story about how they go back and get these brass plates.

They get the brass plates, and the brass plates are actually the Old Testament. It was Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, I believe, maybe some more of it. But it’s these brass plates back then. So they have the Old Testament that they were able to get and they take these brass plates and they wander in the wilderness for a whole bunch of years and eventually they land on a sea shore, and then the Lord comes to them and says, “you need to build a boat.” And they build a boat, and they jump in the boat and sail across to land.

They end up landing here in America, and then they become the ancient inhabitants here in America. So they were part of the ancient Indians, they weren’t all the Indians, but they were a part, a big section of the Indians came from Lehi and his family. So they come here to America and the storyline is amazing.

There’s these two brothers and these brothers get in a fight and they split into two different groups, and one group is more righteous, they’re called the Nephites, the other group is more evil, they’re called the Lamenites. And the whole book is the story of their civilization and the wars between the two of them and God coming to them and prophesying and prophets coming, and all these amazing things.

So it’s their dealings. The people who lived here anciently, the ancient Indians and their dealings with God. And it’s about a thousand year history. So it starts 600 years before Christ came, and now the coolest thing, and I cannot wait to get to this part in the book, I don’t know what time I’m going to get to it. It might be noon, it might be 5:00 tonight, it might be midnight. I don’t know how long it’s going to take me to get there, but towards the end of the book, the prophets here in America are telling them, “Look, there’s this guy, he’s going to be the Savior. He’s coming here, he’s coming to earth. His name is Jesus Christ and he’s the Savior of the world and he’s going to redeem us of our sins.”

Now imagine this, this is other people on the other side of the world in ancient America and they’re like, “You’re crazy, this isn’t a real thing.” The prophet’s telling them, “There’s a sign when he’s born, this is what’s going to happen.” And the people don’t believe him and they’re threatening to kill them and then the sign happens. And they realize that, oh my gosh, on the other side of the world in a little manger in Jerusalem a baby is born who is going to become our Savior and they know that he’s born.

And they’re on the other side of the world, again, there’s no internet or TV. But they know he’s been born and they don’t know what’s happening. And however many, thirty some odd years later, Christ is crucified. When he’s crucified, the whole world shakes and there’s earthquakes and destruction, all this stuff is happening.

And the whole story of this is here in the Book of Mormon you guys, it’s so cool. And all this stuff is happening and if you look at the history, Christ is crucified and three days later he rises and comes back. He spends time with his apostles, sets up the church, gets the apostles to go and at the end of the New Testament, Christ ascends back into heaven and one of the things he says at the very end, he says, “There are other sheep in my fold, them I must see too.” And he leaves.

In the New Testament we have no idea what he’s saying. He says, “I have other sheep I need to go visit, I’m out of here guys.” Boom, he leaves. Then what happens in the Book of Mormon, all the sudden these other sheep, this other fold of Christians on the other side of the world, who have been waiting for this day, they’ve been waiting for their savior, he comes to them. And you get to read it in the Book of Mormon.

He comes down from heaven and they get to see him and they see the wounds in his hands and his feet and they get to worship him and he comes down and says, “You guys, let me tell you what happened, and let me tell you the story of my life. And let me tell you the story of how I suffered and died for your sins.” And here in America, he did the same thing he did in Jerusalem, he comes and calls a prophet and calls 12 apostles and sets up his church.

What’s cool is he sits there and teaches his people. He gives almost the same sermon on the mount to the people here in America, all these things, and so they’re writing these words down in these gold plates, because that’s what they had to record stuff. And they’re writing them down in these gold plates, and you’re hearing it straight from the Lord, the lips of our savior and they’re being written down in these gold plates.

And this is why this is so important. Because if you look at this, when the Book of Mormon was translated, Joseph Smith wasn’t a scholar who knew a whole bunch of languages, he didn’t have any ulterior motive. If you look at the history of the Bible, it was in the hands of evil people for years who were trying to get the people to believe certain things. And we don’t know what happened with the translations, but things shifted and changed and there’s stuff that happened.

If you look at this, there was a young boy who got this record, these gold plates, and through the gift and power of God he translated them in three months, and after it was done, it was written, it was published in a book, the book I’m holding in my hand, one of the first 5000 that I’m holding here. And it didn’t change. It wasn’t translated over and over again, people tweaking and changing. It was done once and now it’s here.

So when you read this, you read the most accurate, the most pure account of Christ giving the sermon on the mount to a different people, but it’s the same message. You hear him talk about these things that are confusing in the Bible, and he explains them and they’re so simple and so pure and so clean and so much easier to understand, because it wasn’t translated from Hebrew to Greek to Italian to English eventually, through ten different variation processes.

I don’t know if you guys ever played that game phone booth where you whisper in someone’s ear and they whisper and like ten people down the message is all messed up. That’s literally what’s happened to the Bible throughout time.

With that said, I love the Bible, it is an amazing thing. But when you read the Bible with the Book of Mormon, it clears up confusion. You hear what he said to the people in Jerusalem, you hear what he said to the people here in America and all the sudden you’re like, “Oh, that makes perfect sense now.”

The Lord said, “In the mouth of two or three witnesses will every word be established.” So this is the second witness. In fact, the title page of the Book of Mormon it says, “The Book of Mormon, Another Witness of Jesus Christ.”

So what’s amazing about this, you have two different people from two different sides of the world who had no communication channel through them ever, and they’re both saying, “We saw the prints in his hands and in his feet.” This is what he told us, this is what the truth is. This is what the doctrines are. This is what we should believe.

And because of that, that is why I know that Christ is my savior. That is why I know that what he did is true. That’s why I have absolute certainty and faith in him as our savior. Because it’s not just one standard, two separate people have told me the same thing. That’s why it’s so powerful you guys. That’s why it’s so exciting, that’s why I cannot wait to read this thing today.

Now, I don’t want to give a spoiler alert, but after Christ came to America and after he preached to these people, he left after that again and after that people were righteous for a long time. And it’s cool because you hear all their teachings and prophecies and angels come and all the amazingness that you learn from God from these people in the Book of Mormon, and then eventually throughout generations of time, it gets more and more wicked.

And towards the end of the Book of Mormon, like 400 or so, 450 years after Christ had come to them, then the people get wicked and get more and more wicked and eventually these two groups, the Nephites and the Lamanites, they fight so much that eventually all of the righteous people are pretty much destroyed.

At the very end of the Book of Mormon, there’s basically two people left. One is a guy named Mormon, and that’s where we get our name. Everyone’s like, “Why do we call you guys Mormons, that’s the weirdest thing ever.” So there was a guy named Mormon and he was one of the last righteous people on earth and he was the person who, he had all these gold plates, from over a thousand year history of people, they’re all writing their histories and he took all this stuff, and I don’t know how many were there, I’m imagining dozens, if not hundreds of different books of histories, of records.

So he took all of these records from a thousand years, and he was the one, this was back 400 years after Christ came, he went and abridged, not abridged, but he took the book and put it in order, he went through all of it and said, “Okay, this is the history that’s most important for our people.” And he abridged this thing and put it together into the gold plates. Here’s the abridged version of our history that’s most important, the most important things for some future generation.

He knew that his people were being destroyed off the earth, that this book was going to be buried up, and someday in the future God was going to bring this book forth. What are the most important things that these people can learn from our history, and he compiled them to the gold plates. And then he gave them to his son, this is Mormon, he had a son named Moroni. Moroni then wandered and eventually buried them in a hill and then he died.

So then fast forward to the 1800s, this angel Moroni, this same person who buried these gold plates, came back as an angel to Joseph Smith and said, “Okay, let me show you where the plates are.” And he dug up the gold plates, and Joseph was able to translate them, and that’s kind of how things fit together.

So Mormon is the guy that took all the history of his people and put it together in a way that we could read and get the most important things for our day and Moroni was his son who buried the Book of Mormon and actually brought it back.

So if you ever see a Mormon temple and you see there’s this dude on the top of all of them, a gold guy with a trumpet, that is the angel Moroni. And it’s Mormon’s son, the one who buried the Book of Mormon, and actually as an angel came and showed Joseph Smith where it was at.

So there you go you guys. There is the history of Christianity as it relates back to Mormons, what we believe. Yes, we are Christians. Yes, we love the Bible. Yes, there’s a new book called the Book of Mormon and that’s why it’s exciting and how it fits into the whole grand scheme of this world. And that’s why it’s so exciting.

So with that said, I’ve been talking for about 42 minutes. I am going to go and start reading the Book of Mormon right now from page number one and I’m going to try to read this entire thing today. You know what I’m going to do. I’m going to end this and have this be one episode of the podcast, and then I will do a separate episode of me kind of going through different parts that I learn today. Because this one’s already getting long and I want to make sure that you guys listen to this whole thing through.

That’s the game plan you guys. Once again, I’m doing the Book of Mormon Challenge again because hopefully this will inspire some of you guys to do this as well, that’s what the Book of Mormon is. That’s why I’m so excited, that’s why you should be so excited. That’s why we should all be excited. This book has changed my life. This book will change your life if you will allow it to, I promise you that. But don’t take my word for it. Go to bookofmormonchallenge.com. You can go request a free copy of the Book of Mormon there, or if you want, you can read it online. If you go to lds.org and search Book of Mormon, the whole thing is online, you can read it there as well.

But read it. And just don’t take my word for it. Just read the whole thing from beginning to the end and then go ask our Heavenly Father. And I’m going to end kind of where I started. Joseph Smith, when he was a 14 year old kid and didn’t know what to do, the scripture that changed his life and changed the world as I know it and as you know it, was this, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not and it shall be given him.”

So the same thing’s for you. Right now, you know about his, hopefully I’m getting you excited about it, but it’s up to you to find out. Okay, you lack wisdom right now, so read it, ponder about it, think about it, figure out is this true? And then go ask Heavenly Father and I promise you, if you ask him, he’ll tell you. And I will do a podcast episode really soon talking about how to get answers to your prayers because when you understand, it’s exciting. You don’t have to take your own word for it, or other people’s word for it. Our Heavenly Father wants to tell you. He wants to give you revelation. He will. He asks us.

He says, “Knock and it shall be opened unto you. Seek and you shall find.” Ask, if you lack wisdom ask of God. He wants us to ask and if you ask he will tell you. I kind of want to share that with you as well. I’m diving into the Book of Mormon you guys, wish me luck. I hope I can get it all done today. Appreciate you all for listening. If this has helped you at all please share it with other people who you think will be interested as well and we’ll talk soon. Bye everybody.

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