“He Saw the Heavens Open”

Joseph F. McConkie, Robert L. Millet

The Book of Mormon, then, like the Bible, rests on the testimony that the heavens have been opened, that God speaks, and that he calls prophets, endowing them with power from on high. Such was Lehi’s testimony, for which his neighbors sought his life. As it was with Lehi, so it was with Joseph Smith. He too testified of the contents of a book of revelation, which caused great anger among the ungodly, who in turn sought his life. Unlike the book that Lehi read, the book given to Joseph Smith is available for all to read and prayerfully ponder. Within its covers is found that knowledge which will bring men closer to God than any other book ever published. Such is the adventure that the student of the Book of Mormon begins every time he or she opens the pages of this marvelous work and seeks the Spirit of the Lord to aid in understanding it.

“And He Had Caused the Cursing to Come Upon Them”

Because of their iniquity the Lamanite peoples were cursed with “a skin of blackness.” Our text tells us that they were so cursed in order that they would not be enticing to the Nephites.

The Old Testament contains ample evidence that when the children of Israel married outside the covenant they were dissuaded from the worship of the true and living God and quickly embraced the idolatry and whoredoms of the Canaanites.

“The Mother of the Son of God”

The first edition of the Book of Mormon (1830) read as follows: “Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of god, after the manner of the flesh.” indeed, Christ is God, the God of creation, the God of Israel, and the Father of salvation. Mary is his mother.

Joseph Smith changed this phrase to “mother of the Son of God” in the 1837 and 1840 editions of the Book of Mormon, and all subsequent editions have retained the alteration. Joseph Smith exercised his prophetic-editorial right to clarify and explain what had previously been written.

“The Son of God”

Christ-Messiah is God! explained Elder Bruce R. McConkie.

“Such is the plain and pure pronouncement of all the prophets of all the ages. In our desire to avoid the false and absurd conclusions contained in the creeds of Christendom, we are wont to shy away from this pure and unadorned verity; we go to great lengths to use language that shows there is both a Father and a Son, that they are separate Persons and are not somehow mystically intertwined as an essence or spirit that is everywhere present.Such an approach is perhaps essential in reasoning with the Gentiles of sectarianism; it helps to overthrow the fallacies formulated in their creeds. But having so done, if we are to envision our Lord’s true status and glory, we must come back to the pronouncement of pronouncements, the doctrine of doctrines, the message of messages, which is that Christ is God. And if it were not so, he could not save us.” (Promised Messiah, p. 98.)

Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 1