Getting “Nearer to God”: A History of Joseph Smith’s Statement

Title

Getting “Nearer to God”: A History of Joseph Smith’s Statement

Book Title

Living the Book of Mormon: Abiding by Its Precepts

Publication Type

Book

Chapter

3

Year of Publication

2007

Authors

Editors

Strathearn, Gaye (Secondary), and Swift, Charles (Secondary)

Pagination

41-54

Publisher

Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University/Deseret Book

City

Provo, UT/Salt Lake City

Terms of use

Items in the BMC Archive are made publicly available for non-commercial, private use. Inclusion within the BMC Archive does not imply endorsement. Items do not represent the official views of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or of Book of Mormon Central.

Bibliographic Citation

Esplin, Scott C. "Getting “Nearer to God”: A History of Joseph Smith’s Statement" In Living the Book of Mormon: Abiding by Its Precepts, Edited by Strathearn, Gaye, and Swift, Charles. 41-54. Provo, UT/Salt Lake City: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University/Deseret Book, 2007.

Abstract

The Prophet Joseph Smith’s statement, “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book,” may be one of his most recognizable quotes. Millions of readers of the Book of Mormon find it in the sixth paragraph of the book’s introduction. Hundreds of thousands of general conference participants hear it cited repeatedly from the pulpit. Books, articles, and even entire symposia use it as a theme. However, how many people familiar with the quote understand its context? For example, why did Joseph say what he did regarding the Book of Mormon? Who were “the brethren” to whom he made the statement? What sparked the declaration? How has it been used over time? Answers to these important historical questions help us better appreciate the power and application of Joseph’s prophetic statement in our modern day.
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