The Plates of Brass and the Book of Mormon

Note: this entry is an attempt at fulfilling a specific assignment for my FDREL 121 course in the Pathway program (school). It will read more formally than I like for blog posts, and there are specific references to my faith and Scripture, as defined by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Feel free to read and comment, as usual, but know that this is not me “imposing my religion on you.” It’s a way to share what I’m learning about. I don’t intend it to be offensive, and I hope that it garners some comments and discussion.

This week, we studied 1 Nephi 1-5. I also to use a specific Scripture Study Skill while I was reading, so that it actually became studying. This Week’s Skill that I tried to work on is called “Visualize.”

I’m going to quote my definition of Visualize from my Gathering Attendance Report (another assignment I turned in this week):

“What I garnered by reading about Visualize as a Scripture Study Skill (before our Gathering) was that it’s a sort of ‘Journalistic’ approach to Scripture: Who, what, when, where, why, and how. It also goes deeper than that; the last guideline offered is ‘What is implied but not stated outright? (What are the scriptures not saying that must be happening?)’ This led me back to a question I’d read earlier somewhere in this course’s material, about WHY some things were included, and some things were left out of scripture.”

I had a thought about what is included in the Book of Mormon while I was walking from work to my car, Wednesday or Thursday evening. First Nephi 5: 11-14 states that the plates of brass “did contain the five books of Moses… a record of the Jews from the beginning… down to… the reign of Zedekiah… the prophesies of the holy prophets, from the beginning… down to… the reign of Zedekiah; and… many prophecies which have been spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah… Lehi also found… a genealogy of his fathers…”

It has occurred to me to wonder why these things were not included in their entirety in the Book of Mormon. Did the authors/compilers of the Book of Mormon know that the Pentateuch and Jewish lineage information still existed somewhere in the “Holy Land,” near Jerusalem?

I’ve begun to search for answers using the lds.org search engine. One answer can be found in 1 Nephi 6:1 “I, Nephi, do not give the genealogy of my fathers in this part of my record; neither at any time shall I give it after upon these plates which I am writing; for it is given in the record which has been kept by my father; wherefore, I do not write it in this work.” It makes sense that Nephi himself would not use the plates he’d forged by the sweat of his brow for his own writing to copy something he already had in the brass plates; that would have been a waste.

Browsing the search results, I found that the Book of Mormon Study Guide mentions something about my question, on page 38. It’s about Second Nephi, chapter 3. The passage about 2 Ne 3:6-21 mentions “the prophecy of the Joseph, who was sold into Egypt, which is not found in the Bible we have today. It was restored, however, to the Prophet Joseph Smith and is found in the Joseph Smith Translation as Genesis 50:24-38. Lehi found it on the brass plates that his sons obtained from Laban in Jerusalem.”

Somehow, whoever integrated the Plates of Brass into the Book of Mormon knew which passages of the Pentateuch and other books from the Old Testament needed to be retained, even though they had no idea what records, if any, were preserved on the other side of the world.

Believing as I do that all of Scripture is inspired or revealed, I can accept the idea that the decisions made regarding what to pass forward and what to leave behind were also guided by the Holy Ghost.

I testify that the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price are scripture in the same way that the Bible is scripture: they are all inspired or revealed words from God, and have been preserved for the instruction and enlightenment of all who would search them diligently. I believe that Jesus Christ is our chosen Savior and resides with Heavenly Father right now. I believe that Joseph Smith is the Prophet of the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and I believe that Church to be God’s Church. I also believe that other churches and religions each have some amount of the Truth, but this Church has as much as can be had at this time, and will receive all of it, eventually.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

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