“And in them shall be written my gospel, saith the Lamb, and my rock and my salvation.”
Christ’s Gospel is in the Book of Mormon. I’ve written books explaining just how much of His Gospel is contained in the Book of Mormon. When writing The Second Comforter I found the Book of Mormon was the best source to explain the process. In the Preface to Eighteen Verses I wrote (and meant) the following: “I am convinced the Book of Mormon is the preeminent sacred text for our times. All other volumes of scriptures are not just inferior to it, but vastly so.” (Id. p. iii.)
The Book of Mormon contains Christ’s Gospel. It also contains His “rock” and His “salvation.” What is the “rock” contained within it?
John Hall thought the better translation of Christ’s colloquy with Peter would have included the Lord identifying Peter not as a “rock” but as a “seer stone.” And upon the stone or seership would the Lord build His church.
I’ve thought the Book of Mormon was more a Urim and Thummim than a book. It is a tremendous source of subject matter upon which to ponder, oftentimes drawing a veil at critical moments while inviting the reader to ponder, pray and ask to see more. Used in that fashion, the Book of Mormon can open the heavens and make any person a seer indeed.
The words of a prophet are best understood by a prophet. If you can come to understand the Book of Mormon’s words, you can become a prophet. Or, more correctly, a seer before whom scenes of God’s dealings with mankind, past, present and future, will be put on display. Mosiah 8: 17 reports: “But a seer can know of things which are past, and also of things which are to come, and by them shall all things be revealed, or, rather, shall secret things be made manifest, and hidden things shall come to light, and things which are not known shall be made known by them, and also things shall be made known by them which otherwise could not be known.”
Another way to interpret the “rock” is found in Eighteen Verses where I discussed the meaning of 1 Ne. 1: 6. The meaning of the “rock” before Lehi (who wrote in Egyptian and would therefore understand meanings) would mean Ma’-at. Facsimile 2. figure 4, for example, shows the image of the Horus Hawk atop a rock and on the heavenly boat.
Still another meaning is found in Moses 7: 53 where Christ uses the term as a proper noun, or name for Himself. He is “the Rock of Heaven.” In this instance the meaning of the above verse is that you can find the Lord within the Book of Mormon. (Remember that EB Grandin’s print shop provided all punctuation and capitalizations to the first edition. It was actually John H. Gilbert who did the work, which he described in a written recollection of the events dated 8 September 1892. (John Gilbert’s September 8th, 1892 recollections) If this was a proper noun and Gilbert did not capitalize it, we still don’t. But that would not mean the word “rock” ought not to be rendered instead “Rock” as a proper name for Christ.)
The “salvation” to be found in the Book of Mormon is the same as salvation to be found in all the Gospel. That is, by finding Christ. For life eternal consists in coming to know Christ, and in turn Christ introducing you to the Father. (John 17: 2-3.) It is this appearing which Joseph Smith referred to as literal, not figurative. (D&C 130: 3.)
The prophetic message of the Book of Mormon is deeper and more profound the closer you examine it. It begins to become quite unlikely Joseph Smith could have produced such wisdom unless it truly is an ancient document. Of course the critics labor to make it seem so, but they haven’t seriously examined its contents to see what it says.