How Much Do You Really Know About the Book of Mormon?

Torrance Grey

Image: By Prosfilaes, from Wikimedia Commons

About This Quiz

The Book of Mormon is one of four important texts to the members of the Jesus Christ Church of Latter-Day Saints -- the others being the Bible, the Book of Doctrine and Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price. For Christians in the Catholic and Protestant traditions, this wealth of sacred literature might be confusing. Others might have assumed that the LDS Church relies on only one holy book, the best-known: the Book of Mormon. (It's even better known now that "South Park" creator Trey Parker used it as the name of a hit Broadway musical satirizing the Mormon religion). 

So what *is* the Book of Mormon? The LDS tradition says that it is a historical testimony of other Christian 
peoples (or, at first, pre-Christian descendants of Israelites) who lived in the Americas. This testimony was discovered by Joseph Smith in the late 1820s, and translated it from a language called "reformed Egyptian" with the use of a "seer stone." (If all this is getting hard to believe, try to remember that the Judeo-Christian Bible features, we kid you not, a talking donkey. Really, Google "Baalam's ass.") The Book explains that God called several peoples across the ocean to the New World, where they lived -- not always in harmony -- and were visited by Jesus, who gave them new laws, shortly after his resurrection and ascension in the New World. 

If none of this is new to you, you're likely to do well on our quiz! And if most of this wasn't familiar, well, you're liable to learn some things, even if you don't score high. Good luck!

The Book of Mormon is divided into ...

Both the language and the organization of the Book of Mormon resembles that of the Bible. It's the Quran which is divided into suras, which can be seen as long chapters or short books.

Which of these is the first book of the Book of Mormon?

Nephi was a prophet who, with his family, built a ship and sailed to the Americas. (Note: If you said "2 Nephi" -- come on, you're just not trying!)

True or false: There is a book of Mormon within the Book of Mormon.

This is a little confusing. But "Mormon" is a book, like 1 Nephi, within the Book of Mormon. It is written by Mormon, except for the last two chapters, which are written by Moroni.

How many books does the Book of Mormon have?

This is pretty concise compared to the Jewish and the Christian Bibles. It should be said, though, that the Book of Mormon isn't their only sacred text. They read the Bible as well, a book of doctrines and teachings, and the "Pearl of Great Price."

How many books are named after Nephi?

This is more than are named after one person in either the Jewish or the Christian Bibles. The Jewish Bible has two books named for the prophet Samuel, while the Christian one has three named for the apostle John (technically, they are letters he wrote).

What relation was Lehi to Nephi?

Lehi was the one who spearheaded his family's flight from Jerusalem and their settling in the wilderness. Along with Lehi and Nephi, Lehi's wife Sariah, his other sons Laman, Lemuel and Sam, and his (unnamed) daughters went along.

What was the name of the immigrant civilization that preceded the Nephites in the Americas?

The Jaredites are said to have fled Israel and crossed the ocean around the time of the Tower of Babel. This is long before Nephi and his family crossed.

Which brother of Nephi became the father of a rival people to the Nephites?

Laman was the oldest son of Lehi; he and Lemuel both resented and opposed Nephi. When the righteous Nephi and his family went off to live in the wilderness, the rest of the family, as a whole, became "the Lamanites" and rivals to the Nephites.

Which of these is the fourth civilization named in the Book of Mormon?

The Mulekites were descendants of Mulek, the only surviving son of the last king of Judah. The name "Mulek," literally translated, means "dear little king."

Who was the king of Judah during the events described in 1 Nephi?

Zedekiah was king when Judah fell to the Babylonians. Lehi and his family, having advance warning, escaped from the city and from being carried off into slavery.

In which book, primarily, would you find the story of the Jaredites?

Ether was the last of the Jaredite prophets. In Book of Mormon tradition, the book he narrates is named for him.

What is the name Lehi and his family gave to the land they discovered at the edge of the Arabian peninsula?

They gave the land this name because it was fertile, unlike much of Arabia. However, they were not destined to stay there, but to go on to the New World.

Moroni is the _____ book in the Book of Mormon.

Moroni is the last prophet of the ancient peoples in the Americas, and the one who sets down in writing the last of their history. He will return to tell Joseph Smith the location of the plates.

What relation was Moroni to Mormon?

When Moroni set down the last of the Nephites and Lamanites' history, he was finishing the work started by his father Mormon.

Why is there no book of Lehi?

Joseph Smith gave about 116 manuscript pages to his business partner to take home. The partner, Martin Harris, lost them. Smith then said the Lord commanded him not to try to recreate them, but to forge ahead with the rest of the book.

The material that would have been the book of Lehi came from ______.

Here's how it worked: The record of the Nephites was on "the plates of Nephi," some of which were large, and some small. Both were transcribed onto the golden plates that Joseph Smith was directed to. Smith said that the actual plates of Nephi, large and small, had reverted to the angel Moroni's possession, and were no longer on earth.

How did Mormon die?

Mormon foresaw the destruction of the Nephite people, but was unable to escape the tide of violence. The final chapters of the book of Mormon (not the overall Book of Mormon) tell us he died after the battle at the Hill of Cumorah.

What is Zarahemla?

Zarahemla was a land in the New World, named after an early leader of its people. The Nephites, fleeing from the tyranny of the Lamanites, went to Zarahemla and were welcomed by its people.

In Book of Mormon chronology, in what year was Jesus Christ born?

The Book's chronology does not contradict that of general Christian theology. Mormons believe that when Christ was born in Bethlehem, the people of the Americas witnessed a night without darkness, and then saw the Christ star in the skies.

In which book would you find the account of Jesus's visit to the people of the Americas?

According to Mormon doctrine, Jesus visited the Americas shortly after his ascent into heaven, after he taught the disciples on earth for 40 days after his resurrection. The account of his visit is found in the third book of Nephi.

Who is Ishmael, in the Book of Mormon?

The Ishmael in the Book of Mormon isn't the same as the one in the Jewish and Christian Bibles -- the son of Abraham and the half-brother of Isaac. Instead, he is a good man who, with his family, makes the trip into the desert with Lehi and his family.

What is the Liahona, or "ball of curious workmanship"?

The family of Lehi finds the Liahona, which directs them toward their destined home in the New World. However, they also find it only works when they are faithful to God.

According to Nephi's prophecies, "plain and precious things" would be removed from what?

This prediction by Nephi is the basis of Mormon distrust of Catholic and Protestant editions of the Bible. Nephi says that those who do not know the full truth of God will edit important things out of the holy scriptures.

Nephi also foresaw the rise of a "great and abominable _____."

Recently, the LDS Church has made efforts to squelch the idea that this is the Roman Catholic church. However, this idea was commonly voiced among earlier generations of Mormons.

Which of these books takes a backward step in terms of chronology?

Much of the Book of Mormon proceeds in a chronological order, from Lehi's journey across the desert, to the lives of the Nephites and Lamanites in the New World, to Jesus's visit and beyond. An exception is the book of Ether, which tells the story of the Jaredites, and how they fell from God's grace and were destroyed.

Who translated the history of the Jaredites?

Mosiah led his people, a segment of the Nephites, to Zarahemla. There, he was able to translate the book of Ether, which contained the history of the Jaredites.

What relation was Mosiah I to Mosiah II?

You might expect King Mosiah II to be the son of Mosiah I, but that's not so. Mosiah I's son was King Benjamin, then came the second King Mosiah.

In which book would you find Mosiah I's story?

You'd expect the book of Mosiah to be about Mosiah -- and you'd be right, but it's a different one, Mosiah the second. More confusingly, very little of the book of Omni is attributed to Omni; instead, it's considered to be mostly the work of writers called Amaron, Abinadom and Amaleki.

Over what land were Mosiah I and II and Benjamin kings?

Zarahemla is the land that a subsection of Nephites escaped to. Mosiah, already a prophet when he arrives, is later made king of Zarahemla.

Who "hid up" the sacred records of the people in 4 Nephi?

Ammaron later told Mormon where the records were, so that Mormon could find and abridge them. Ammaron did this because he saw that Mormon, though quite young, was righteous.

Which of these is NOT a name from the Book of Mormon?

Hey, we're not making fun. But you've got to admit, there are some pretty odd names found in the Book of Mormon.

True or false: The Book of Mormon has been translated into as many languages as the Bible.

The Bible has been translated into 670 languages. The Book of Mormon boasts only about one-sixth of that number, having been translated into 108 languages.

What subtitle would you find on a present-day Book of Mormon?

This subtitle was added to stress that the Book of Mormon is a companion narrative to the Bible, but with equivalent authenticity. Don't laugh about "You've Seen the Musical, Now Read the Book" -- the LDS Church actually used this slogan to capitalize, slyly, on the hit musical, "The Book of Mormon."

What was the original subtitle of the Book of Mormon, as written by Joseph Smith?

This somewhat wordy subtitle was appended by Smith when he wrote (or translated) the first version in 1830. To be fair, a lot of early 19th-century publications had wordy titles and subtitles.

True or false: Alma is the only book in the Book of Mormon named for a woman.

This statement is wrong on two levels. First, the Alma in the Book of Mormon is a man. Second, there is no "one book" of the book of Mormon named for a woman; they are all named for men.

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