ORIGINAL INTRODUCTION

A Message from Michael Allred

The following is an adaptation of the greatest book on the face of the earth, The Book of Mormon. Greatest because it holds that key that unlocks all of the mysteries of the universe.  It creates a domino effect that leads all that accept it as the truth toward a deep understanding of what all existence is about.  There is a purpose in all things.  Following the true teachings and doctrine of Christ is the doorway to liberty, joy and the power of creation. It leads to absolute proof that Jesus Christ is in all fact the Son of God, The Savior of the world. He did rise from the grave, a resurrected eternal being of love and light.  And it reveals a stunning realization that every life began in a pre-mortal existence and is of infinite worth.

This my testimony.  The Book of Mormon is a true and inspired record.  I know this to be as real and true as I know the world to be round.  Every human being can discover this truth for themselves.

Many wonderful and terrible things have transpired in my life–All bringing me to this commitment–the inspiration that led me toward attempting this project.  My true intent is to do this work justice–to provide an easily accessible visual thread through all the events in The Book of Mormon.   

Of course we don’t know exactly what these people looked like, and all my research to make this a worthy effort could only ever be insufficient.  But I hope it will reach an appreciative and engaged audience just the same.  This is a powerful and true generational record that is rich with elements relatable to any soul.

To persuade the reader to the intellectual truth and authenticity of The Book of Mormon and to continue my own personal enthusiasm, I’ll be including anecdotal and archaeological evidence to peruse.

Most importantly, let me make clear this is in no way a substitute for The Book of Mormon itself, which is a sacred book.   This project is a primer at best.  It is a visual guide, flaws and all, that will hopefully make the events of the actual scriptures come alive and be more easily understood when they are read in full as they should be.  The Gospel in it’s fullness will be found in the sacred scriptures–not here.  But hopefully the spirit will be present in these pages as you, dear reader, turn them.

And so, the following is a 1000-year record of a people who left Jerusalem in approximately 600 B.C. journeying to ancient America where they thrived and battled until their extinction after 400 A.D.  They kept permanent records of their history on thin plates of metal, including:

1) The Plates of Brass they brought with them from Jerusalem, consisting of the priceless record of their people, including the five books of Moses and other holy books like Isaiah.

2) The Plates of Nephi  (including the Small and Large Plates of Nephi) which were passed from generation to generation from the time they reached the promised land, in the Americas, through the coming of the resurrected Christ (visiting his “other sheep” -see St. John 10:16), to their eventual destruction.

3) The 24 Plates of Ether which contained a history of another people, the Jaredites, who came to the Americas at a time after the fall of the tower of Babel.  These records were found in 121 B.C. at which time the Jaredites had been thought to be extinct.

4) And ultimately, The Golden Plates of the Prophet Mormon on which Mormon abridged and condensed all of the above into what is now called known as The Book of Mormon. These plates were then sealed up by Mormon’s son, Moroni, and hidden under a Stone in the Hill Cumorah until they were delivered to and translated by The Prophet Joseph Smith over 1400 years later in 1830 to begin this final dispensation.  

Finally, for anyone who has ever asked themselves the big questions...Does God exist? Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going? How can I be truly happy? ...seek out The Book of Mormon. Read it. Absorb it. Ponder it. It proves itself to be true. It supports and sustains the truthfulness of the Old and New Testaments, that Jesus is The Christ, and that Prophets live and guide us with love and faith in these latter days. God is always with us.


THE TRUTH OF ALL THINGS–Part 1

I’m a sceptic and took the long way to what I’ve come to know to be true. I’ve always tended to disbelieve everything until the truth knocks me upside the head. So, I’ll approach what I write here assuming that I’m addressing sceptics like myself. And, like politics, I completely realize that no one can force their point of view on anyone, and so I will try to be as “matter of fact”as possible.

Where to begin? First off, where did The Book of Mormon come from? If it is a work of fiction, it is the most researched, flawless, and prescient work of writing in the history of mankind. If fiction, its author, Joseph Smith, a farm boy from upper New York State, who had a fourth grade education at best, was a genius beyond any measurable level. Many of the archaeological findings that support the authenticity of The Book of Mormon as an ancient record were discovered long after Joseph Smith’s death. Keep in mind that the Book was first published in 1830. Ask yourself what anyone knew of the ancient cultures of Central America before that time and what of that was Joseph Smith reasonably privy to. From this point of view you begin to build a crushing load of circumstantial evidence that supports that there was no possible way that Joseph Smith authored The Book of Mormon. So, if not him, who?

When everything I intend to present here goes back to that question, I ask one simple thing--please keep your mind open to the possibility that God does in fact exist and wants us to have the knowledge that has been shared by prophets and accumulated in scriptures throughout the history of mankind to this day. Big leap? The biggest. Until you take that leap. A leap of faith. Faith and fact. That’s what we’re dealing with here. And here I’ll present facts. And here the reader will determine what those facts add up to. I contend that those facts will support that Joseph Smith was in fact a Prophet of God and did in fact, translate the golden plates of Mormon through the power of God just like he said he did. And for this he was murdered and martyred.

For some of the best detailed cultural and archaeological writings on the subject I would point you in the direction of any of the books by the highly regarded Professor Hugh Nibley as well as The Book of Mormon on Trial by J. Milton Rich, Charting the Book of Mormon by John W. Welch and J. Gregory Welch, Light From The Dust by Scot Facer Proctor and Maurine Jensen Proctor, Images of Ancient America by John L. Sorenson, Land of Promise by Michael Wilcox, and Sacred Sites by Joseph L. Allen, PHD. In the meantime, I’ll summarize what has carried the most profound weight for me personally and inspired me toward this project. And keep in mind, though intellectual interest and tangible evidence can prove a thing...feeling a thing is where faith trumps all. Example: Do you have a soul? Can you see it? Faith is a belief in something unseen. In other words, I can only hope that facts will spur a cerebral interest that will result in a spiritual evolution. Without faith, and applying the knowledge, it will ultimately be meaningless. So, take it or leave it. It’s up to you.

EXHIBIT A

The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The first American church to actually be named after Jesus Christ. The fastest growing church in the world. According to U.S. News & World Report,” Since World War II, its ranks have expanded more than 10-fold...more than half outside the United States.”

So, is this the true Church of Jesus Christ, restored by the Prophet Joseph Smith in this, the last dispensation of man on earth? It’s very clear to anyone who has read this far what my testimony to the answer is. Let’s look at the facts.

Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were killed in Carthage, Illinois by a mob June 27,1844. The Church and its original members were forced from one community to the next by angry mobs who were threatened by their prosperity, literally running them across the country. These mobs were often formed by local ministers whose careers were at risk by the loss of their congregations to the “Mormon” church (full disclosure: A couple of years ago I found out, after my Aunt Erna Butler gave me an old family journal, that my great great grandfather, Reddick Allred, was one of the early converts and personally knew the first five presidents of the church in his lifetime).

At one point Governor Lilburn W. Boggs of Missouri wrote an extermination order actually making it legal to murder Mormons! At this fragile beginning, in this relatively new nation of liberty, how did the Church survive? How did it actually go beyond survival to actually thrive, even after its leader and prophet was murdered? The American Moses, Brigham Young, succeeded Smith as Prophet and led the greatest pioneer movement in American history. The Church settled and prospered in Utah near the dead water of Salt Lake City where no one gave them favorable odds to last. That city now speaks for itself as one of the most stunningly designed and beautiful cities in America. As Jesus Christ Himself taught in the Sermon on the Mount,” Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them” (St. Matthew 7:20).

I’d like to suggest a book written by W. F. Walker Johanson called What Is Mormonism All About? which effectively answers 150 of the most commonly asked questions about The Church and its members. This will leave more space to discuss the book that inspires the virtues.

At the close of this installment I’d like to jump ahead to the end of The Book of Mormon where the last Prophet of the book, Moroni, leaves an inspired promise to everyone who reads it and is the key to many conversions: “And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.”(Moroni 10:4-5)