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The Book of Mormon

The publication of the Book of Mormon was a significant event in the life of the church. With its publication in March 1830, two sets of witnesses testified to it as the history of the early peoples of the Western Hemisphere. Joseph said that he translated the record by the gift and power of God.

It told the story of three groups of people: (1) the descendants of an ancient prophet named Lehi and his family, who fled Jerusalem approximately 600 years prior to the birth of Christ; (2) the Jaredites, a group who came to the Western hemisphere at the time of the "great tower" of Babel; and (3) the descendants of a group who left Jerusalem at the time that King Zedekiah was taken captive into Babylon. The family stories became intertwined, but the primary emphasis of the book was to bear an additional testimony that "Jesus is the Christ," according to the opening statement.

The Book of Mormon spoke to many of the needs of the early church. Its story referred to the "land of promise," the "choice land," and other images that were part of the heritage of the United States. It presented a vision of a perfect social order based on religious principles. It advocated a system of lay priesthood and a preference for democracy rather than monarchy.