Center for Interfaith Cooperation

Hoosiers of Many Faiths in Community

The surprising history of the Book of Mormon

January 21 Ruth Ellen Homer gave a talk at the Interchurch Center about The Book of Mormon. Few people are more qualified to speak about the history and beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints than Ruth Ellen. She is a fifth generation Latter-day Saint, and has raised two more generations with her kids and grandkids. Since her marriage to John Homer forty years ago, she has spent at least two hours every single day studying scriptures and the history of the Church.

Here’s a short version of Ruth Ellen’s talk:

The Book of Mormon was written by ancient prophets in the Americas who identified with the Covenant of Abraham, observed the Law of Moses, built a temple designed like Solomon’s, and believed that Christ would be born in Bethlehem to serve as the Messiah.  

The central narrative spans a thousand years from 600 B.C. in Jerusalem to 421 A.D. in the New World, when the last prophet made his final entry in the book. Centuries later, he came as a resurrected person to guide the young Joseph Smith in retrieving, translating, and publishing this great volume of scripture. 

The book was published in Palmyra, New York in 1829, and Joseph organized The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the following year in 1830.  Reading the Book of Mormon was the common factor in people’s decision to join this new faith., a dynamic that continues today.

Church members accept the book in faith as the word of God and also welcome scientific corroboration of its setting. Research in both the Middle East and the Americas continues, and many details given in the text correspond to modern discoveries in archaeology, geology, botany, anthropology, and Hebrew literature, to name a few.

The Book of Mormon stands with the Holy Bible as another testament of Jesus Christ. Latter-day Saints believe He will soon return to earth and usher in a thousand years of peace, and the Book of Mormon is helping to prepare the way.

If you feel bad that you missed the talk and discussion, well you should. But don’t despair! Ruth Ellen has agreed to lead a Lunch & Learn at the Interchurch Center. Stay tuned for details.

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