What Chapter 13 is About
In essence, this chapter discusses the reasons for why we need the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is God’s answer to Satan’s great and abominable church (GAAC). The goal of the GAAC is to slay the saints of God, torture them, bind them down, yoke them and bring them into captivity (v. 5). How does the GAAC do that? Obviously this slaying and torture is spiritual … Satan seeks to kill our very souls. The only way our souls can be killed is if we give into the temptations of the Devil and in turn end up living a life full of sin and never repenting. And the way the Devil gets us to sin is to teach us false doctrines. False doctrines are as numerous and various as the paths that are not “straight and narrow.” Some doctrines can be completely false while other doctrines can contain an element of truth yet be mixed with false principals. The only way to defend against false doctrines is to teach and apply true and pure doctrines.
Originally the true doctrines of the Gospel were found in the unaltered version of the modern-day Bible. It was written by the Jews (probably not in the strict sense, rather in a broad context). From the Jews, this book went to the Gentiles. After it went to the Gentiles, the GAAC was formed and the book fell into that church’s possession. While in the GAAC’s possession, “many plain and precious things [were] taken away from the book” (v. 28). From the GAAC the book went “forth unto all nations of the Gentiles” (v. 29) including America.
And here is where the problem begins … “because of these things which are taken away out of the gospel of the Lamb, an exceedingly great many do stumble, yea, insomuch that Satan hath great power over them” (v. 29). Because correct principals are missing from the Bible, many people develop an un-pure understanding of the true gospel of Christ. And therefore, they err and stumble in sin.
In response to Satan’s subtle plan, God instructed Lehi and his posterity to keep records. Since Lehi’s posterity keeps this commandment, the Lord is able to restore much of the plan and precious parts of his Gospel to the earth. In verse 35 he says, “I will manifest myself unto thy seed, that they shall write many things which I shall minister unto them … these things shall be hid up, to come forth unto the Gentiles, by the gift and power of the Lamb.”
As we know, the records of Lehi’s posterity are contained in the Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith, by the power of God, translated these records and now the world has another testament of Jesus Christ. Many will not believe any of the Bible. Therefore the purpose of the Book of Mormon is twofold … to prove that the Bible is indeed true (or that what it is trying to teach is true) and to restore the many plain and precious parts of the Gospel.
Besides the Book of Mormon, “other books” came forth by the power of God (v. 39). These other books are probably the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price. There are also the records of the Lost Tribes of Israel that are yet to come forth too. Doubtless these records will yet again prove that Christ’s gospel is universal and is the same among all people.
And what is the main message of the Bible, the Book of Mormon and the other books? “That the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved” (v. 40).
13:37 – “And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb; and whoso shall publish peace, yea, tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be.” For some reason, when I read this scripture, I felt this is our mission as latter-day Saints. All that we should do should help build up the kingdom of God.
13:41 - In this verse, Nephi talks about how the Bible and the Book of Mormon testify of Christ and his Apostles. The part that I really enjoy is where it says, “They both shall be established in one.” My inlaws and I were talking about the Church and Church policies over the years. One of the things my father-in-law talked about was how the Book of Mormon was still called the Mormon Bible or the Gold Bible when he was a missionary. Then he talked about how when President Benson prophesied that the Book of Mormon would flood the Earth. My father-in-law said that he thought the prophet was really stepping out on a limb when he said that. But now, the Book of Mormon is being widely accepted by people and other religions. The Book of Mormon is no longer being referred to as the Gold Bible or the Mormon bible, rather it is being accepted as scripture, just like the Bible. The Bible and the Book of Mormon are beginning to be accepted as one.
I recall from my mission when I was on splits up in Senahu, the missionaries stayed with this family who was Nazarene. The family was so used to being around Mormons that they believed in the Book of Mormon. In fact, the father who was a pastor for the same, often used the Book of Mormon in his sermons and would frequently ask the missionaries for help when he read out of the Book of Mormon.