Nephi obtained a promise from the Lord that his record would be preserved for as long as the earth exists. Those who have access to his record and teachings will be held accountable for what they do with them.
“…The Lord God promised unto me that these things which I write shall be kept and preserved, and handed down unto my seed, from generation to generation, that the promise may be fulfilled unto Joseph, that his seed should never perish as long as the earth should stand. Wherefore, these things shall go from generation to generation as long as the earth shall stand; and they shall go according to the will and pleasure of God; and the nations who shall possess them shall be judged of them according to the words which are written.” (2 Nephi 25:21-22)
-Which nations possess the record of the Nephite prophets as initiated by Nephi (a large portion of which is found in the Book of Mormon)?
-Is it at all intimidating to know that you will be responsible, in God’s eyes, for what you do with the truths found in the Book of Mormon?
-Do you think the blessing of having the light and knowledge contained in the Book of Mormon is worth the added responsibility?
-Are most, or all, true covenants with God tied to covenants he has made with others who have gone before (such as how promises received by Nephi were tied to the promises Joseph received)?
Teachings of Prophets, Seers, and Revelators:
“…Note where the Lord placed [The Book of Mormon’s] coming forth in the timetable of the unfolding Restoration. The only thing that preceded it was the First Vision. In that marvelous manifestation, the Prophet Joseph Smith learned the true nature of God and that God had a work for him to do. The coming forth of the Book of Mormon was the next thing to follow. Think of that in terms of what it implies. The coming forth of the Book of Mormon preceded the restoration of the priesthood. It was published just a few days before the Church was organized. The Saints were given the Book of Mormon to read before they were given the revelations outlining such great doctrines as the three degrees of glory, celestial marriage, or work for the dead. It came before priesthood quorums and Church organization. Doesn’t this tell us something about how the Lord views this sacred work?” (Ezra Taft Benson, “The Book of Mormon—Keystone of Our Religion,” Ensign, Nov. 1986, 4).
“…We must make the Book of Mormon a center focus of study…it was written for our day. The Nephites never had the book; neither did the Lamanites of ancient times. It was meant for us. Mormon wrote near the end of the Nephite civilization. Under the inspiration of God, who sees all things from the beginning, he abridged centuries of records, choosing the stories, speeches, and events that would be most helpful to us.
Each of the major writers of the Book of Mormon testified that he wrote for future generations. Nephi said: ‘The Lord God promised unto me that these things which I write shall be kept and preserved, and handed down unto my seed, from generation to generation’ (2 Ne. 25:21). His brother Jacob, who succeeded him, wrote similar words: ‘For [Nephi] said that the history of his people should be engraven upon his other plates, and that I should preserve these plates and hand them down unto my seed, from generation to generation’ (Jacob 1:3). Enos and Jarom both indicated that they too were writing not for their own peoples but for future generations (see Enos 1:15–16, Jarom 1:2).
Mormon himself said, ‘Yea, I speak unto you, ye remnant of the house of Israel’ (Morm. 7:1). And Moroni, the last of the inspired writers, actually saw our day and time. ‘Behold,’ he said, ‘the Lord hath shown unto me great and marvelous things concerning that which must shortly come, at that day when these things shall come forth among you.
‘Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing’ (Morm. 8:34–35).
If they saw our day and chose those things which would be of greatest worth to us, is not that how we should study the Book of Mormon? We should constantly ask ourselves, “Why did the Lord inspire Mormon (or Moroni or Alma) to include that in his record? What lesson can I learn from that to help me live in this day and age?” (Ezra Taft Benson, “The Book of Mormon—Keystone of Our Religion,” Ensign, Nov. 1986, 6).