Preface, in The Book of Mormon: The Keystone Scripture, ed. Paul R. Cheesman (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1988), ix.
In response to President Jeffrey R. Holland’s proposal that the Religious Studies Center hold an annual Book of Mormon Symposium on the Brigham Young University campus, the First Annual Book of Mormon Symposium was held on 27–28 September 1985. Outstanding papers were presented on Book of Mormon teachings that make it the keystone scripture of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: its message on Jesus Christ, on the ministry of the Father and the Son, on the doctrines of salvation, and on faith, hope, and charity, among others. There were also several papers on pre-Columbian Old World contacts with the New World. Those papers are published in this volume.
The Book of Mormon contains sacred writings of some of the inhabitants of ancient America. Its stated purpose is to witness to the world that Jesus is the Christ. This keystone scripture proves that the Bible is true and confounds false doctrines by restoring to their original clarity plain and precious doctrines lost from the Bible. Its history and doctrines were compiled to help us know how to combat the false religious, educational, political, and philosophical concepts of our time.
The Book of Mormon is a great standard and proves that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. Since the Book of Mormon was published over 150 years ago, it has withstood the criticisms and the praises of the world. The purpose of the symposium represented by this volume was to show there is much more we can learn from and about that scripture in the pursuit of truth and understanding.
The views expressed in these papers are the authors’ own and are not necessarily those endorsed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Brigham Young University, or the Religious Studies Center, collectively or individually.
Paul R. Cheesman