How Well Do You Know The Book of Mormon?

RELIGION

Torrance Grey

6 Min Quiz

Image: BMC Studios

About This Quiz

"You've seen the musical, now read the book!" That was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' witty response to being parodied in a hit musical play -- written by the creators of "South Park," of all people! But they had a good point. Many people don't know very much about the text that Mormons see as sacred, a book that is at the center of their faith. 

The Book of Mormon is about the history of God's people in a part of the world that was far away from Israel and the events of the Jewish and Christian scriptures, and about how Christ visited them as well, spreading the message of salvation. But do you know what part of the world, exactly, that was? Or how many peoples the Book of Mormon writes about? What about the backstory about how the Church's first leader came to write the Book of Mormon and the history of its publication and sales around the world?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is one of the fastest-growing faiths in the world. Whatever your beliefs, it might be good for you to understand the story told by The Book of Mormon, and how it influences the beliefs and lives of those who follow it to this day. 

What is the source material for The Book of Mormon?

"Gold" is not an exact term here. They're believed to be golden in color, not solid gold.

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How is The Book of Mormon organized?

The Book of Mormon's text looks a great deal like that of the Bible. The binding of most Books, too, is often a type of faux leather that resembles the Bible's.

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How many books does The Book of Mormon have?

For comparison, the Jewish Bible has 24 books, and the Christian Bible (the Protestant version) has 66.

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The Book of Mormon is the story of early peoples living in what part of the world?

One of the Book's most important points, missionaries say, is that Christ did not just bring his message to a select group of people in Judea. He also appeared to people living in the Western Hemisphere. However, this message of inclusiveness is somewhat undercut by the fact that those to whom he appeared were all descendants of Judeans/Israelites. Appearances to indigenous people elsewhere in the world are not recorded.

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Who discovered the golden plates?

Joseph Smith dug up the plates after receiving a vision from the angel Moroni. The writing was (according to Smith) the words of the prophet Mormon, telling the story of his people.

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Where did Joseph Smith find the plates?

The Hill of Cumorah is in present-day New York. A pageant is held on the spot every year, commemorating Smith's find.

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From what language did Smith translate the Book?

"Reformed Egyptian" was the language on the plates that Joseph Smith found, and is referred to in one verse, Mormon 9:32. No other artifacts with Egyptian-style writing have been found in the Americas.

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What is the first book called?

The book's full name is "The First Book of Nephi: His Reign and Ministry." As the name suggests, there are three more Books of Nephi that follow.

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Who were the Jaredites?

The Jaredites were the descendants of Jared and his brother, who crossed the sea from the Middle East. They were the first of four Semitic peoples in the New World whose story is told in the Book of Mormon.

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In what era did Jared and his followers live?

Jared and his family lived during a time of wickedness, when humanity tried to build a tower that reached heaven. Jared and his brother were righteous, though, and received instructions from God about how to escape to a new land.

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What is the common term for the vessels Jared and his family took to the New World?

The story of the passage to the New World parallels that of Noah and his family in the Ark. In both cases, it's God who orders their construction -- but Jared's family had eight barges, not just one.

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In which book is the journey of the Jaredites found?

Ether was the last of the Jaredite prophets. His book tells of his people, from their life in the Middle East through the end of their civilization.

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Who left Judea around 600 B.C. with a group of followers?

Both of these men fled Jerusalem around the time of the prophet Jeremiah, before the fall of the Judean kingdom. They took separate routes to the New World, with Lehi and his peoples spending a period of time by the Arabian Sea.

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Lehi and his followers called their new land by the sea _______.

Lehi and his followers crossed the Arabian Peninsula to arrive on the shore of the Arabian Sea. They did not stay in Bountiful permanently; God had other plans.

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Whose son was Mulek?

Zedekiah was king when Babylon destroyed the Judean kingdom in 600 B.C. Mulek was the only one of Zedekiah's sons to escape death, allowing him to found a people (two peoples, actually) in the New World.

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Which son of Lehi was the righteous one?

Laman was the rebellious son. Nephi was the good son and prophet, and his people are generally seen as righteous as well.

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In the New World, Zarahemla led which people?

Remember, the Mulekites were the people who crossed over from Bountiful. Centuries later, they were led by Zarahemla, who was in power when the Nephites discovered their existence.

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In which direction did the Nephites travel to find the Mulekite civilization?

The Mulekite civilization was north of that of the Nephites and Lamanites. Where exactly this was isn't clear. The Book of Mormon refers to a "neck" of land.

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Who led the Nephites northward, finding the Mulekites?

Mosiah and his followers were fleeing the heavy hand of the Lamanites. The Mulekites were glad to take them in, especially upon learning of their shared background as peoples who came from the Middle East.

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The story of the Jaredites was found on 24 plates of ______.

The history of the Jaredites was accidentally discovered by the Nephite leader, Limhi, when he went north to find the land of Zarahemla. He and his followers discovered the ruins of the Jaredite civilization, and also the testimony of Ether, writen on the gold plates.

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Who later led a group of people southward from Zarahemla, to reclaim Nephite lands?

Zeniff is eager for the Nephites to repossess their lands, but he also wants peace with the Lamanites, not to destroy them. For a while, his diplomacy works, and the peoples co-exist.

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About how long did the Nephites and Lamanites live in peace after Christ's visitation?

The peace came to an end during the time of the prophet Mormon, who was writing the history of his people. The Nephites were then destroyed in a war with the Lamanites.

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What relation was Moroni to the prophet Mormon?

Moroni was a living man when he buried the plates on which his father, Mormon, wrote his testament. But Moroni returned as an angel to reveal the plates' location to Joseph Smith.

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About how long elapsed between Moroni burying the plates and the revelation to Smith?

Why was it necessary for so long to pass before Moroni revealed the plates to God's people? We can't be sure.

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In what year was The Book of Mormon first published?

The first Book was published in the early 19th century. Joseph Smith and his fellow leaders paid for 5,000 copies to be made, when an average print run for a new book was about 1,000. It was a leap of faith!

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Where is the original printer's manuscript of the Book today?

The first manuscript was buried in the cornerstone of a house in Nauvoo, Illinois, once the Mormon "capital." Unfortunately, water and mold got to it there. This made the second copy, which was intact, the one that the LDS Church acquired and now preserves.

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What subtitle follows "The Book of Mormon" on most editions?

This subtitle wasn't always on the cover. It was added to bring across the message that the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is part of the Christian tradition.

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About when did the prophet Mormon live?

Mormon was born about 311 A.D. and died in the final war between the Lamanites and the Nephites. This would have been in about 385 A.D.

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To this day, about how many copies of The Book of Mormon have been sold?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is one of the fastest-growing faiths in the world. Sales of the Book of Mormon, all from the past 200 years, reflect that.

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Which of these is proposed to be the "waters of Mormon" in the book of Mosiah?

Scholars have proposed both a Mexican peninsula and the eastern United States as the "neck of land" where the Nephites, Lamanites, and Mulekites all lived. The locations proposed for the "waters of Mormon" correspond to those potential locations.

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Which of these is NOT a book in The Book of Mormon?

Yes, there's a Book of Mormon within the larger Book of Mormon, as well as books named Omni and Ether. Habakkuk, though, is from the Jewish scriptures/Old Testament.

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According to the Book of Mormon, is God a trinity?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not teach God is a trinity. In fact, God lives on a specific planet, Kolob, elsewhere in the universe. (Who knew?)

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Which of these things mentioned in The Book of Mormon is seen as historically inaccurate?

The Book of Mormon includes many references to livestock, materials and items that did not exist in the Americas prior to European settling. Mormon scholars strive to explain these discrepancies, often by saying that Joseph Smith used modern words in inexact ways.

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Joseph Smith, translator and publisher of The Book of Mormon, occupies what odd historical niche?

Smith was in jail for inciting a riot when the building was mobbed and he was killed. Because he had earlier announced his independent candidacy for president, this is considered an assassination.

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In 2011, The Book of Mormon received what odd, high-profile homage?

"The Book of Mormon" was written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, of "South Park" fame, as well as composer Robert Lopez. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints responded with an advertising slogan: "You've seen the musical; now read the book!"

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