“Plain and Precious Things Were Taken Away”

Joseph F. McConkie, Robert L. Millet

Thus it was that early in the translation of the Book of Mormon Joseph Smith received confirmation in his mind that “plain and precious” truths, including many covenants of the Lord, had been “taken away” or “kept back” by an organization whose influence was great and whose actions were abominable. We now learn one of the main reasons for Nephites introduction to the great and abominable church (earlier in the chapter): to show the impact of the malevolent machinations of this organization upon the scriptural records that the world would come to know as the Bible. The Restoration Prophet would therefore make such statements as the following: “From sundry revelations which had been received, it was apparent that many important points touching the salvation of men, had been taken from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled” (Teachings, pp. 9-10). Also: “From what we can draw from the Scriptures relative to the teaching of heaven, we are induced to think that much instruction has been given to man since the beginning which we do not possess now” (Teachings, p. 61). Finally, and perhaps most instructive in regard to Nephi's vision: “I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers. Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors.” (Teachings, p. 327.)

Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 1