Porter - Christ in The Book of Mormon
"The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it."
Joseph Smith Jr.
(Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 121)
O remember, remember, my sons, the words which king Benjamin spake unto his people; yea, remember that there is no other way nor means whereby man can be saved, only through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, who shall come; yea, remember that he cometh to redeem the world.
And remember also the words which Amulek spake unto Zeezrom, in the city of Ammonihah; for he said unto him that the Lord surely should come to redeem his people, but that he should not come to redeem them in their sins, but to redeem them from their sins.
And he hath power given unto him from the Father to redeem them from their sins because of repentance; therefore he hath sent his angels to declare the tidings of the conditions of repentance, which bringeth unto the power of the Redeemer, unto the salvation of their souls.
And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.
Preface and Introduction
The scriptures are the best commentary on the scriptures and Lord through His divine wisdom has provided the best way and means for an individual to learn of Him and come unto Christ. The Savior declared that ‘the scriptures are they which testifies of Him’. In Lehi’s dream of the Tree of Life it is recorded that no one passed through the mists of darkness to the Tree and partook of the fruit except they ‘held tightly and grasp firmly the word of God’.
The Book of Mormon is another Testament of Jesus Christ and many members rehearse the stories within the text often forgetting that the doctrinal focus of all scripture is to help the individual Come unto Christ. Reading scripture is not enough as they instruct that all should ‘feast, ponder, study, grasp firmly’ the words that a loving God has provided.
There are two key issues that cause both seasoned members and those weak in their faith to fall away from the Church.
First: Many fail to realize that it is their own personal responsibility to ‘come unto Christ’ and have their own relationship with their Savior and God rather than rely on others for their testimony. As one grows in the Gospel it is necessary to chose faithful mentors to believe, such as parents and priesthood leaders along their paths of spiritual growth. However, the time will come that each must stand on their own and be prepared to meet the ‘bridegroom’ with the own oil they have dearly and personally purchased. Some might like to blame the Church and priesthood leaders for their lack of spiritual experiences, failing to understand that the Church organization exists to provide the helpful and necessary aids and opportunities to the individual, IF THEY choose to Come unto Christ. The blame for the lack of spiritual experiences falls squarely upon shoulders of the individual. Testimonies are not genetic and the Gospel is new to every generation and must be discovered by the experiences, desires, and agency of the individual. Personal testimonies require a ‘sure foundation’ that is built upon the “rock” of Christ rather than the sandy arms of flesh. All must ask themselves, as questioned by Alma:
14 And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts? 15 Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you? Do you look forward with an eye of faith, and view this mortal body raised in immortality, and this corruption raised in incorruption, to stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body? Alma 5:14-15
If a person has yet to receive ‘his image upon their countenances’ or ‘feel to sing the song of redeeming love’ or rejoice in the ‘joy of their redemption’ as our first mother Eve declared, then perhaps to understand what it means to Come unto Christ is yet to be realized.
The Second issue is a lack of a “standard” of truth. If there is no standard, there is no standard. The “authority” that exist in a ‘standard of truth’ is an absolute imparted by the individual. The scriptures or priesthood leaders have no authority unless the individual gives them that power in their life. We are counseled NOT to trust in the arm of flesh, and that includes our own arm of understanding, education as well as teachers, professors, detractors and even the Internet. The standard of truth is the word of God found in the scriptures. God is perfect and sees the end from the beginning and has provided all with His word. Through the inspiration of the Prophets, God has provided a standard of truth for every age, dispensation and circumstance. God cannot change His word and doctrines for the better, because He is already perfect, and He will not change the perfect to make things worse for personal preference.
The two key elements that cause one to fall away are: (1) Not Coming unto Christ, and (2) Not recognizing and using the standard of truth provided by a God with an eternal perspective. A loving God has revealed His will, and will ask of mankind nothing except it be for their benefit, happiness, salvation, and exaltation.
For this reason this compilation has been provided, using only the scriptures in the Book of Mormon that focus on the message and mission of Jesus Christ. The topics or chapter headings contain the verses in the Book of Mormon that focus on the particular elements, issues, and doctrines surrounding Christ that Book of Mormon prophets felt would facilitate the quest to Come unto Christ.
Throughout this work there may be many verses repeated because of the subjects and their relationship to each other. This is not meant to be an exhaustive work, but a resource and reference. There may be many other passages providing doctrinal or historical insights in the Book of Mormon that might pertain to the topics and titles listed, however, the effort has been made to maintain a focus on those issues and passages that pertain to Jesus Christ rather than doctrinal content or discussion.
Bruce H. Porter
1 Jesus Christ 1
2 Faith in Jesus Christ 11
3 Come Unto Christ 21
4 First Coming of Christ 25
5 The Condescension of Jesus Christ 31
6 Jesus Christ The Only Begotten 35
7 Jesus Christ The Son of God 37
8 Jesus Christ The Lamb of God 51
9 Jesus Christ The Messiah 57
10 Jesus Christ The Savior 63
11 Jesus Christ The Mediator 67
12 Jesus Christ The Atonement 69
13 Jesus Christ The Advocate 75
14 Jesus Christ The Redeemer 77
15 Jesus Christ and Redemption 85
16 Jesus Christ The Good Shepherd 93
17 The Spirit, Gifts, and Light of Christ 95
18 Jesus Christ The Creator 97
19 Jesus Christ Jehovah The Holy One of Israel 99
20 Jesus Christ The Lord 107
21 Jesus Christ Lord of Hosts 115
22 Sacrifice of Jesus Christ 117
23 Jesus Christ and The Resurrection 125
24 Second Coming of Jesus Christ 131
25 Appearances of Jesus Christ 133
26 Types of Jesus Christ 137