The Book or Mormon is a treasure trove of information and knowledge about our Savior, Jesus Christ. Indeed, the subtitle of the book is “Another Testament of Jesus Christ,” and in so testifying, we learn many plain and precious truths about Him.
Carefully reading the Book of Mormon will give the reader added insights on the Atonement of Jesus Christ, His relationship to mankind, the Biblical record of Jesus Christ, the Lord’s work in the last days, and developing a personal relationship with Him.
Here are 5 teachings about Jesus Christ found in the Book of Mormon, with additional references and teachings found at the end of this article.
Many Christians not only exclude non-Christians from the effects of the Atonement, but they also believe that unbaptized children are lost.
The Book of Mormon prophet Jacob taught that, because of the mercies of Christ, where no law is given there is no condemnation. (See 2 Ne. 9:25.) King Benjamin recalled an angel’s explanation that Christ’s “blood atoneth for the sins of those who have … died not knowing the will of God concerning them, or who have ignorantly sinned.” (Mosiah 3:11–12.)
Thanks to a letter from Mormon to Moroni, we learn that “little children need no repentance, neither baptism. … But little children are alive in Christ.” (Moro. 8:11–12.)
Much of Christianity believes that the effects of Christ’s atonement are limited. Many people teach that belief in Christ is necessary for resurrection. Others believe that baptism and other sacraments are needed for resurrection.
However, Jacob clearly taught that Christ “suffereth [the Atonement] that the resurrection might pass upon all men, that all might stand before [Christ] at the great and judgment day.” (2 Ne. 9:22; italics added.)
Moroni wrote, “Because of the redemption of man, which came by Jesus Christ, … all men are redeemed, … which bringeth to pass a redemption from an endless sleep.” (Morm. 9:13.) This is a significant contribution to understanding the Christian theology of justice and mercy.
Similarly, many believe that the resurrection of mankind through Christ’s atonement does not include the physical body. Biblical translations on the subject differ, leading to confusion. For instance, Job 19:26 in the King James Version reads, “After my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.” In the Anchor Bible, it reads, “Even after my skin is flayed, without my flesh I shall see God.”
There is no ambiguity in the Book of Mormon. Shortly after the death of his father, Lehi, Jacob taught that “in our bodies we shall see God.” (2 Ne. 9:4.) Much later, Amulek taught that “the death of Christ shall loose the bands of this temporal death. … The spirit and the body shall be reunited again in its perfect form; both limb and joint shall be restored to its proper frame.” (Alma 11:42–43.)
Many Christians think of the Fall as a great tragedy and believe that Adam and Eve were wicked sinners and that the Atonement was necessary only to compensate for their mistake. This interpretation is understandable because of the incomplete biblical account.
Fortunately, the Book of Mormon clarifies the relationship between the Fall and the Atonement. Lehi explained, “If Adam had not transgressed … he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things … must have remained in the same state” forever. Consequently, Adam and Eve “would have had no children.” (2 Ne. 2:22–23.) He also explained that there would be no joy because there would be no sorrow, no righteousness because there would be no evil. Ultimately, there would be no chance for eternal life. (See 2 Ne. 2:11–27.)
“From the foundation of the world,” long before the Fall, the Savior was prepared for his mission of redemption. (Ether 3:14.) The Fall brought opposition and the opportunity to make choices; the Savior’s atonement enabled us to make choices that lead to eternal life. (See 2 Ne. 2:27.)
The Bible never refers to the fall of Adam and Eve and the atonement of Christ as part of a plan. By contrast, the Book of Mormon often uses such expressions as “the plan of our God” (2 Ne. 9:13), “the eternal plan of deliverance” (2 Ne. 11:5), “the plan of redemption” (Alma 12:25), and “the great plan of happiness” (Alma 42:8). The expression “plan of salvation” was first used in the scriptures by Jarom. (Jarom 1:2.)
Latter-day Saints need not wonder about the emphasis many Christians put on grace, sometimes to the exclusion of good works. The Book of Mormon teaches that both are crucial.
It mentions, for instance, the term grace thirty-two times. In speaking to his son Jacob, Lehi pointed out how critical grace is to salvation: “There is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life.” (2 Ne. 2:8.) Nephi also taught “that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” (2 Ne. 25:23.)
Relying upon the mercies of Christ, though, in no way lessens the importance of good works. Jesus Christ instructed his disciples in the Americas to do his works: “Ye know the things that ye must do in my church; for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do. …
“Therefore, if ye do these things blessed are ye, for ye shall be lifted up at the last day.” (3 Ne. 27:21–22.)
In either case, Jesus Christ is at the center, whether we consider God’s grace—all that he has done for us that we cannot do for ourselves—or God’s works, which we must emulate.
In the four Gospels, the concept of the Savior’s power and authority is not clearly associated with the idea of a priesthood like that which the priests and Levites possessed. The epistle to the Hebrews discusses Jesus Christ as the “great high priest,” yet it barely touches upon his authority as the means whereby his disciples might govern the Church. (See Heb. 4:14–5:10.)
In the Book of Mormon, Alma explains much more about the high priesthood. The Lord ordained priests to teach the people, and these priests were ordained after the order of the Son of God, so that the people “might know in what manner to look forward to [the] Son for redemption.” (Alma 13:2.) The high priesthood existed from the foundation of the world, prepared from eternity for those worthy to receive it. (See Alma 13:1–12.) The Book of Mormon also states that Melchizedek had a father, clarifying Hebrews 7:3 [Heb. 7:3], which declares that he was without father and mother. (See Alma 13:18.)
Adapted from the article, Unique Insights on Christ from the Book of Mormon, by Gilbert W. Scharffs
Additional points of doctrine learned about Christ (in the above article) include:
Teachings of Jesus – Dallin H. Oaks
The Book of Mormon Is Another Testament of Jesus Christ – (Lesson Manual)