Q. How do you know that The Book of Mormon is not meant to be tied to any particular denomination, especially the Mormon Church which uses it exclusively as a means for winning converts?
A. Back in the Summer of 1828 when Joseph had first completed over a hundred pages of dictation with Martin Harris and others as his scribe, he lost those pages when Harris took them to show his wife and friends. After a period of chastisement from the Lord for having trusted Harris with the manuscript, Joseph received further instructions what he should do.
It is in those instructions that we find the original purpose for The Book of Mormon clearly stated – it was for all believers. Stated two full years before Joseph started his own church, and before he began using it exclusively in that church:
46 And, behold, all the remainder of this work (The Book of Mormon) does contain all those parts of my gospel which my holy prophets, yea, and also my disciples, desired in their prayers should come forth unto this people (Inhabitants of America).
47 And I said unto them, that it should be granted unto them according to their faith in their prayers;
48 Yea, and this was their faith-that my gospel, which I gave unto them (Tribe of Joseph) that they might preach in their days, might come unto their brethren the Lamanites (Non-believers), and also all that had become Lamanites because of their dissensions.
49 Now, this is not all-their faith in their prayers was that this gospel should be made known also, if it were possible that other nations should possess this land (Native Americans, Colonialists, and others.);
50 And thus they did leave a blessing upon this land (United States) in their prayers, that whosoever should believe in this gospel in this land might have eternal life;
51 Yea, that it might be free (Democracy) unto all of whatsoever nation, kindred, tongue, or people they may be.
52 And now, behold, according to their faith in their prayers will I bring this part of my gospel to the knowledge of my people. Behold, I do not bring it to destroy that which they have received (Bible), but to build it up.
53 And for this cause have I said: If this generation harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them.
54 Now I do not say this to destroy my church (Body of Christ), but I say this to build up my church;
55 Therefore, whosoever belongeth to my church need not fear, for such shall inherit the kingdom of heaven.
56 But it is they who do not fear me, neither keep my commandments but build up churches unto themselves to get gain, yea, and all those that do wickedly and build up the kingdom of the devil-yea, verily, verily, I say unto you, that it is they that I will disturb, and cause to tremble and shake to the center.
57 Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I came unto mine own, and mine own received me not (John 10:16).
58 I am the light which shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not.
59 I am he who said-Other sheep have I which are not of this fold-unto my disciples, and many there were that understood me not.
60 And I will show unto this people that I had other sheep, and that they were a branch of the house of Jacob (Tribe of Joseph);
61 And I will bring to light their marvelous works, which they did in my name;
62 Yea, and I will also bring to light my gospel which was ministered unto them (The Book of Mormon), and, behold, they shall not deny that which you have received (Bible), but they shall build it up, and shall bring to light the true points of my doctrine, yea, and the only doctrine which is in me.
63 And this I do that I may establish my gospel, that there may not be so much contention; yea, Satan doth stir up the hearts of the people to contention concerning the points of my doctrine; and in these things they do err, for they do wrest the scriptures and do not understand them.
64 Therefore, I will unfold unto them this great mystery;
65 For, behold, I will gather them as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, if they will not harden their hearts;
66 Yea, if they will come, they may, and partake of the waters of life freely.
67 Behold, this is my doctrine-whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church.
68 Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church.
69 And now, behold, whosoever is of my church, and endureth of my church to the end, him will I establish upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.
70 And now, remember the words of him who is the life and light of the world, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Amen. (D&C 10)
All surviving Book of Mormon witnesses eventually left Joseph Smith and his church because he went beyond the original purpose of The Book of Mormon. However none of them ever recanted their testimony of The Book.