The story of how the Book of Mormon came to be is a long one…
Mormon was an ancient prophet born in 310 AD Central America. He spent his life observing and participating in warfare. His people, the Nephites, defended themselves against the Lamanites. In 385 AD, the Lamanites annihilated the Nephites in one great, last battle.
In addition to leading men into battle, Mormon, as instructed by the Lord, made a historical compilation of His people, mainly of the house of Israel, whom He had led out of Jerusalem to inhabit the regions in and around Central America. By referring to many volumes of records, which were engraved upon thin gold or brass plates, Mormon engraved his own narrative style history of the Lord’s dealings with His people in the New World. Before going out against the Lamanites for the last time, Mormon gave his son Moroni charge of his book. Moroni finished the book and became the last known survivor of the Nephite nation.
For decades, Moroni wandered alone throughout central and northern America, hiding from the Lamanites–ancestors of today’s Native Americans. Before he died, Moroni buried his father’s book of gold plates in a hillside in present day Wayne County, New York. There the plates rested for 1,400 years.
To fulfill the covenant that God the Father made with Abraham, with his son Isaac, and with Isaac’s son Jacob (Israel), Mormon’s record was destined to come forth to all of Israel’s descendants in the last days. This record was to contain the gospel of Jesus Christ and the ancient account of His visit among Israel’s descendants in the New World. Mormon’s record, the gospel of Christ, came forth to a latter-day prophet, Joseph Smith, a descendant of Jacob’s son, Joseph, who was sold into Egypt.
As a resurrected being, Moroni gave Joseph Smith charge of Mormon’s plates on September 22nd, 1827. Before returning the plates to Moroni, Joseph was given the power to translate the reformed Egyptian characters engraved upon them into English, and The Book of Mormon was published in 1830. However, there was a second printing in 1837 and a third in 1840 to correct errors that were found
In the book of Mormon (140 million in print), Jesus states that the act of Israel’s latter-day descendants reading this book is in itself a sign to them that the Father’s work has begun…that He will soon fulfill His covenant to all the house of Israel, to bring them knowledge of their Redeemer and restore them to their lands of inheritance. This is why the Book of Mormon is referred to as “Another Testament of Jesus Christ.”