The entire Book of Mormon is rich with stories, sermons, and discourses that teach gospel truths, but sometimes it’s fun and rewarding to “skip” to some of the best parts first. Here are a few things you may want to check out:
Immediately after Lehi left Jerusalem with his family, he had a vision with deep symbolic meaning about the Tree of Life.
In the vision, he sees the tree and partakes of its fruit, which he describes as “white to exceed all whiteness” and “sweet, above all he had tasted… and desirable to make one happy.” He then desires his family to partake, and details the perils that stand in the way of arriving at the tree and eating the fruit.
A few chapters later, his son Nephi is shown the same vision, and is given an interpretation of what the symbols all mean. It is a beautiful and instructive discourse on God’s love for his children, and his Plan of Salvation he has created for us to learn, grow, and return to him.
Read the vision in 1 Nephi Chapter 8 (Lehi’s dream) and Chapter 11 (Nephi’s interpretation); pages 14 and 19 in the printed book. You may also want to read a talk about Lehi’s Vision by Elder David Bednar by clicking here.
In the year 124 BC, a Nephite prophet and king named Benjamin was about to turn his kingdom over to his son Mosiah. He desired to gather all of the people who he had faithfully served during his lifetime into one large group so he could give them one last discourse.
So many people turned out to hear him that they had to erect a tower for him to be seen and heard. And even that wasn’t enough, so he had the speech written down and distributed to those who could not hear.
His speech is a terrific discourse in humility, love, and service… and is punctuated with one of the most well-loved scriptures in all of the Book of Mormon: “When you are in the service of your fellow beings, you are only in the service of your God.” King Benjamin goes on to teach profound truths about the life, ministry, and atonement of Jesus Christ.
Read the entire discourse in Mosiah 2, 3, and 4; pages 147 to 157 in the printed book.
Alma was the son of the prophet Alma, which is why he is sometimes referred to as “Alma the younger.” Early in life, he was an apostate who actively attempted to destroy the church. Through a miraculous angelic visitation, he became converted to Jesus Christ and then became one of the most stalwart and influential prophets in the entire Book of Mormon. His teachings about the Atonement of Jesus Christ, overcoming the natural man, the resurrection, and judgment are invaluable.
One of Alma’s most well-known and well-loved sermons is on the topic of Faith. He travels with several of his brethren to reclaim a group of apostates known as Zoramites, who believe in a false concept of election. While there, they discovered a great multitude of poor people who had been cast out by the Zoramites, and were not permitted to worship in the buildings they had helped to construct. They were distraught and sought advice from Alma about what they should so since they now had no place to worship God.
Alma the proceeds to teach an all-time great sermon on the concept of faith. He explains to them that those who seek signs do not have faith, because if you know something, there is no cause to believe. He then compares faith to a seed, and challenges the people to exercise even a particle of faith—the size of a mustard seed—that will then grow when nourished and eventually bear glorious fruit.
He then promises them that by so doing, they will “pluck the fruit, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white… and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst.”
Read this beautiful sermon in Alma 32, found on page 288 of the printed book.
The crowning event of the Book of Mormon is an account of the personal ministry of the resurrected Jesus Christ to the Nephite people immediately following his crucifixion and resurrection in Jerusalem.
In the Bible, Jesus taught his disciples “Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” (John 10:16)
The glorious message of the Book of Mormon is that the Nephite people are at least some of the other sheep Jesus was referring to. He appeared to them, ministered and preached to them for several days, established his new law, and organized his church there by calling 12 apostles.
He preached to them the exact same gospel—the only true and living gospel—that he had taught in the holy land. He delivers a discourse to them that is similar to the Sermon on the Mount; he speaks the Beatitudes, and instructs them that His teachings transcend and take precedence over the law of Moses.
You can read this entire account in 3 Nephi 9 to 28, and pages 424 to 462 in the printed book.
The Book of Mormon records many great stories of miracles performed by Nephite prophets.
This story, found in chapter 5 of the Book of Helaman, follows two brothers, Nephi and Lehi (who were named after the original Nephi and Lehi found at the beginning of the Book of Mormon), in their missionary efforts with their centuries-old enemies, the Lamanites in the year 30 BC.
Nephi and Lehi have much success, baptizing thousands of Lamanites into the true gospel, but are eventually captured by an army and thrown into prison. When the Lamanites later arrive at the prison to execute them, they found the two brothers surrounded by a protective ring of fire. The prison walls began to shake, and a dark cloud descended on the area.
At that moment, a voice was heard by all the people, commanding them to repent and to stop trying to kill Nephi and Lehi. Several of the people fell to their knees and prayed, and were delivered from the darkness when they became surrounded by fire themselves. They then saw angels descending from heaven.
The experience was so powerful that over 300 Lamanites who were present were immediately converted. They then bore witness of the event to other Lamanites, and the majority of Lamanites became repented and converted as a result.
The story is powerful and beautifully written, and can be found in Helaman, Chapter 5, or on page 377 of the printed book.