The Book of Mormon not only attests to the reality of Jesus but also, more than any other book available to us, explains graphically why Jesus and his atonement are important. It is one thing to know that there is a Savior; it is another to realize why a Savior is so important, what the consequences would have been worldwide if there had been no Savior, and what the consequences will be individually-since there is a Savior-if any of us rejects him.
Since knowledge about Christ is the greatest knowledge mankind can possess, the book that most perfectly defines, supplies, and promotes that knowledge is the greatest of books. Our assertion is that the Book of Mormon gives a clearer exposition of the need for a divine Savior, the reality that Jesus of Nazareth is that Savior, and the process by which every individual man or woman can obtain the blessings of the atonement of Christ in his or her individual life than any other book known to and in circulation among the human family today.
The Book of Mormon teaches man’s absolute dependence on the Savior. It leaves no doubt that Jesus Christ, born of Mary, is the one and only Redeemer of mankind, that he always was and always will be the only Savior of the world. We note this statement from Nephi, recorded around 559 B.C.: “Behold I say unto you, that as these things are true, and as the Lord God liveth, there is none other name given under heaven save it be this Jesus Christ, of which I have spoken, whereby man can be saved” (2 Nephi 25:20). And about 500 years later Helaman testified to his sons: “Remember that there is no other way nor means whereby man can be saved, only through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, who shall come; yea, remember that he cometh to redeem the world” (Helaman 5:9; see also 2 Nephi 31:20-21; Mosiah 3:17; 4:8; 5:8; Alma 38:9).
There is no book as effective as the Book of Mormon to teach plainly and directly the nature of the fall of Adam and the necessity of the atonement of Jesus Christ. It explains how the Atonement works, how a person must go about gaining a remission of sins, and then how he can “retain a remission” of his sins “from day to day” (see Mosiah 4:12, 26). That is the major message of the Book of Mormon. It offers comprehensive statements on the purposes of God in the fall of Adam and the atonement of Jesus Christ that are not found anywhere in the Bible. (See such major doctrinal chapters as 2 Nephi 2, 9; Mosiah 3; Alma 34, 42.)
In 2 Nephi we read a statement from Jacob which describes in greater clarity than perhaps any other reference what would be the consequence for all mankind if there had been no atonement of Jesus Christ:
For as death hath passed upon all men, to fulfil the merciful plan of the great Creator, there must needs be a power of resurrection, and the resurrection must needs come unto man by reason of the fall; and the fall came by reason of transgression; and because man became fallen they were cut off from the presence of the Lord.
Wherefore, it must needs be an infinite atonement-save it should be an infinite atonement this corruption could not put on incorruption. Wherefore, the first judgment which came upon man must needs have remained to an endless duration. And if so, this flesh must have laid down to rot and to crumble to its mother earth, to rise no more.
O the wisdom of God, his mercy and grace! For behold, if the flesh should rise no more our spirits must become subject to that angel who fell from before the presence of the Eternal God, and became the devil, to rise no more.
And our spirits must have become like unto him, and we become devils, angels to a devil, to be shut out from the presence of our God, and to remain with the father of lies, in misery, like unto himself. (2 1 Nephi 9:6-9, italics added.)
Robert J. Matthews
A Bible! a Bible!