Case Stayner

Case Stayner

Since its inception in September 1827, many have asked the question: “What is the Book of Mormon?” Some of you may know the answer. Many stories have emerged over the last 200 years of its origin and the man who discovered it, Joseph Smith. Smith was the first modern (Latter-day) prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints until his death on June 27, 1844. He is often ignorantly referred to as the man who found a golden Bible buried in a hill in New York. That “golden Bible” is the Book of Mormon, and its discovery was anything but ordinary.

In 1820, then a teenager, Joseph Smith and his family were caught up in what Smith described as a “war of words and tumult of opinions” regarding religion (JSH 1.10). Smith stated that each band of religionists were “zealous in endeavoring to establish their own tenets and disprove all others” (JSH 1.10). Smith’s greatest endeavor was to know for himself which religion was true. Which was God’s? He wondered how so many religions could exist at the same time, yet each proclaim they were right and of God. Smith knew the Bible was the word of God spoken to his disciples, the apostles and prophets, and so to know which religion was truly God’s, Smith went into a grove of trees and prayed to God asking which religion was his.

Seeking an answer from God, it was revealed to Smith in no ordinary fashion that none of the religions then currently on the earth were God’s. In that grove, Smith described his experience: “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!” (JSH 1.17). God the Father and his resurrected son, Jesus Christ, appeared to Joseph Smith, not only revealing to Smith by them that none of those churches were theirs, but that pure truth would be restored to the earth through Joseph Smith. Proof of God’s work is the Book of Mormon.

The Book of Mormon follows a family (The Family of Lehi) beginning at 600 B.C. until 400 A.D. Lehi was a prophet who was directed to by God to “depart out of the land of Jerusalem, (because) the people (sought) to destroy his life” (1 Nephi, heading). Over the course of 1,000 years, Lehi’s family became numerous, living in the Americas. Many of his descendants chose to believe in and follow Christ and his prophets. They believed Lehi and others were called by God to be prophets who taught about Christ and His gospel. Many others did not and they became wicked, fighting against and persecuting the followers of Christ. Lehi’s son, Nephi, prayed to God asking if his father was truly a prophet. It was revelated to Nephi that he was: “I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoke by my father” (1 Nephi 2.16). Like Smith who prayed to know which church was God’s, Nephi prayed to know if following his father was of God. This pattern of revelation has continued throughout time from God to his prophets, and evidence of revelation and pure truth from God is contained in the Book of Mormon.

Unlike contemporary depictions of its founding, such as television renditions of Smith pulling a book from a magic hat, the Book of Mormon is a record of holy scripture translated from “reformed Egyptian” (Seminary Manual, 142). Nephi, who was also a prophet, “stated that he wrote in ‘the language of the Egyptians’ when he engraved” God’s words on plates. At approximately 400 A.D. the last surviving righteous man, Moroni, buried a compilation of the teachings of Jesus Christ, revealed to the prophets in the Americas, in a hill. That hill is The Hill Cumorah, New York, where Joseph Smith was directed to unearth the record in 1827.

The Book of Mormon is evidence that truth shall be established to the earth-that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God’s only true church currently on the earth! I invite all to read its contents and pray to God asking if it is true. I testify that all who do will come to know for themselves that Jesus Christ is the Son of God the Father and the Savior of the world, that Joseph Smith is a prophet, that prophets exist today to reveal God’s words, that the Book of Mormon is true Scripture, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God’s only true church!

Case Stayner holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Idaho State University and is currently working to obtain his master’s in secondary education from Grand Canyon University. He loves writing in his free time and teaching English and other subjects at his place of employment. The most important things he values in life are his religious beliefs, including his faith in God the Father and his son Jesus Christ and his dedication to his family.