*Joseph Smith did not refer to passages from the Book of Mormon in his writings or sermons, nor was it cited very often by early church leaders. (Grant Hardy)1*Despite the effort that went into the translation, Joseph Smith did not make the book the foundation of the church. (Richard L. Bushman)2*Joseph seems somewhat detached from the book after its publication. He betrays little if any ‘pride of authorship.’ (Daniel Peterson)3*Mormonism would not have endured had its leaders relied solely on the Book of Mormon. (Kenneth Godfrey)4
Q. Why do we read The Holy Book of Mormon?
A. Because it teaches Christ:
-There are 25% more references to Christ than in the New Testament.
-Of its 6607 verses, 3925 mention Christ.
-There is a reference to Christ every 1.7 verses.
-Jesus is mentioned by over 100 different names.2
Q. Why should you read it?
A. To learn of Jesus.
Q. How many writings are there on the Holy Book of Mormon?
A. 6319 and counting.5
Q. How many copies are there of the Holy Book of Mormon?
A. 150 Million and counting.6
Q. In how many languages has the Holy Book of Mormon been printed?
A. 82 full translations + 25 partial translations + American Sign Language + Audio and counting.7
If you read it for any other reason, you will be wasting your time.
It does not claim to be a book on geography; though some is mentioned. It does not claim to be a book on wildlife, boat building, metallurgy, farming or population growth patterns; though these items are mentioned. It does not mention who their neighbors were, or how many there were. It simply claims to be about Jesus Christ – his love, mercy, and grace:
3 And it mattereth not to me that I am particular to give a full account of all the things of my father for they cannot be written upon these plates for I desire the room that I may write of the things of God.
4 For the fulness of mine intent is that I may persuade men to come unto the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and be saved. (1 Nephi 6)
Unless you read it for the purpose it was intended, you will be missing the mark.
1Grant Hardy in Royal Skousen ed., The Book of Mormon, the Earliest Text, Yale University Press, 2009, p. xxii) [more quotes here]
2Richard L. Bushman, Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism, p. 142; Terryl L. Givens, By the Hand of Mormon, p. 186.
3Dan Peterson, “Embracing the power of the Book of Mormon,” Deseret News, January 5, 2012.
4“David Whitmer and the Shaping of Latter-day Saint History” by Kenneth Godfrey in The Disciple as Witness: Essays on Latter-day Saint History and Doctrine in Honor of Richard Lloyd Anderson, FARMS, 2000.
5A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography by Jeanette W. Miller, Donald W. Parry, and Sandra A. Thorne, Provo: Research Press, 1996.
6Scott Taylor, “Book of Mormon: Printing passes 150 million,” Deseret News, April 19, 2011.
7“180 Years Later, Book of Mormon Nears 150 Million Copies,” Ensign, Mar 2010, pp. 74-76.