“We Know Our Record to Be True”

Brant Gardner

Textual: This original chapter is one of the most important in all of Mormon’s text, as it will describe the appearance of the resurrected Lord in the New World. There can be no greater moment in history than when men are able to come face to face with their God, and this is the event that occurs. As fitting such a spectacular event, the event will occur spectacularly. Because of the importance of this chapter, Mormon begins it with a testimony. He specifically states “we know our record to be true.” This important event is a matter of record, and a matter recorded by a “just man who did keep the record.” Mormon also testifies to the testifier. He indicates that Nephi did miracles, and “there was not any man who could do a miracle in the name of Jesus save he were cleansed every whit form his iniquity.”  Mormon is proclaiming that Nephi is a true recorder or a true event.

Mormon explicitly references Nephi as his source for this material. He has noted this before, in 3 Nephi 5-10. That previous record indicated that Nephi’s record was kept as a separate record from the rest of the plate tradition, and Mormon is deferring to that account. Here Mormon notes again that he follows this account. Mormon makes a new chapter here for the obvious reason that this is there is a new focus in his narrative. He has been giving us the preliminary history that sets up the arrival of the Atoning Messiah, and now the time for that arrival is here. As Mormon begins this chapter, he ties it to the person and the miracles that ended the last chapter. There is a continuation, and the continuation is one of righteousness. This righteous person continues, and the value of the gospel continues into this new era for the Nephites.

There is a great contrast in the before and after pictures of Nephite society that will emerge. Mormon has painted a picture of a Nephite society that has been destroyed, and one that has forgotten its God. Nevertheless, all is not lost as there are some righteous who will survive. As Mormon gears up for the narrative of the arrival of the Messiah, there are two things that will occur, the destruction of the wicked and the blessing of the righteous. There must be some of both, and Mormon has brought both of those segments of society to the brink of this transforming event.

Multidimensional Commentary on the Book of Mormon