Life without the Book of Mormon?

by Sharon Lindbloom
20 November 2017

LDS apostle Russell M. Nelson spoke at the Mormon Church’s October 2017 General Conference and asked, “The Book of Mormon: What Would Your Life Be Like without It?” After his conference address, Mr. Nelson asked the same question of Mormons on Twitter, Facebook, and in a blog post at lds.org. On Facebook he wrote,

“When I spoke at general conference, I asked three specific questions: First, what would your life be like without the Book of Mormon? Second, what would you not know? And third, what would you not have?”

Mormon readers left 612 comments (as of this writing), enthusiastically answering Mr. Nelson’s questions. From these comments and others that Mr. Nelson cited in his writings, Mormons shared some things one might expect. They said that without the Book of Mormon they would not know the restored gospel (Mormonism), they would not be putting their trust in modern-day (LDS) prophets, they would not consider that Jesus came to America, they would not set their sights on eternal families, and they would have no knowledge of Mormonism’s doctrines of heavenly parents and pre-mortal life.

In reality, several of these things (and other prominent doctrines of Mormonism) are not to be found in the Book of Mormon, but for many Latter-day Saints the Book of Mormon represents an embodiment of their entire faith system. So, without the Book of Mormon (i.e., The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), all of the teachings specific to Mormonism (including those previously mentioned) would be unknown, whether actually in the book or not.

These Mormon-specific answers to Mr. Nelson’s query are no surprise, but consider some of the other answers he received. Mr. Nelson’s Mormon readers told him that without the Book of Mormon their lives would be hopeless, faithless, joyless, empty, and without meaning.

They said that without the Book of Mormon they would not know that God is a tender Father, that Jesus is the Christ, that there is a specific purpose for life, that there is life (resurrection) after death, that God lives and loves, and that Christ’s atonement plays a specific role in the plan of salvation.

They said that without the Book of Mormon they would have no peace, no hope, no trust in God, no belief in Christ, no joy, no strength, no direction in life and, in some cases, no life at all (suicide).

This is a puzzle. I’m not a Latter-day Saint; therefore, I don’t have the Book of Mormon in my life (in the sense of believing and embracing it). Yet because of Christ, my life is filled with

  • Hope (“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from Him” Psalm 62:5),
  • Faith (“the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus” 1 Timothy 1:14), and
  • Joy (“Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory” 1 Peter 1:8).

I know that

  • God is my tender Father (“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him” 1 John 3:1),
  • Jesus is the Christ (“And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life” 1 John 5:20),
  • Christ’s atonement secured my salvation (“…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us…while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, …rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation” Romans 5:8-10),
  • God lives (“But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God and the everlasting King. At his wrath the earth quakes, and the nations cannot endure his indignation” Jeremiah 10:10), and
  • God loves (“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” John 3:16).

I know

  • There is life after death (“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live’” John 11:25),
  • The reason God gave me life (“…bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” Isaiah 43:6–7), and
  • What He wants me to do with that life (“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” Ephesians 2:10).

I am filled with

  • Peace (“Christ Jesus…He Himself is our peace” Ephesians 2:13-14), and
  • Strength (“I can do all things through [Christ] who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13).

How is it that without the Book of Mormon, my life is overflowing with all of these good things?

I’ve read the Book of Mormon, yet I didn’t find hope, faith, joy, godly knowledge, peace, or strength in its pages. I found all of these things (and more) in Christ Jesus, the very Word of God (John 1:1-5).

I’m thankful beyond measure for God and His tender mercies toward me. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17).

LDS apostle Nelson asked, “What would your life be like without the Book of Mormon?” Truly, the Book of Mormon adds nothing of value to my life. In fact, if I believed it, the Book of Mormon would rob me of my trust in Christ alone (see 2 Nephi 25:23) and my blessed eternal hope that rests on His grace and mercy (see Moroni 10:32).

Former-Mormons-now-Christians, who at one time embraced the Book of Mormon, have expressed what their life is like now that they no longer believe the book to be true. “Blessed, Humbled, Graced-Filled and Loved,” said one. “So much better,” said another, explaining that the Book of Mormon had prevented her from clearly seeing and understanding Jesus and His atonement. “Without the Book of Mormon my life is so grace-filled and Christ-centred,” said one man, “I am so undeserving but grateful.” People who are now in Christ explain that life is better, hope is greater, peace is sweeter, without the Book of Mormon than it ever was with it. This is because, as one former Mormon put it, “Without the Book of Mormon I have confidence in the Bible as the complete word of God and have found that Jesus is enough.”

Are you longing for peace in your life? Do you need hope and strength as you travel life’s journey? Don’t search for it in the Book of Mormon; Jesus offers the rest you yearn for in Him (Matthew 11:28).

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
-Romans 15:13-