The Bible is certainly a magnificent witness of Jesus Christ and His divinity, but the crowning witness of the Savior and His Atonement is to be found in the Book of Mormon. Here are some of the ways the Book of Mormon deepens our understanding of Christ's Atonement.
1. The Power to Comfort Us in Our Afflictions
Some might wonder if the Savior’s Atonement plays any part in our lives beyond raising us from the dead and cleansing us of our sins. The Book of Mormon makes clear that it does. Through His Atonement, the Savior acquired the powers to strengthen, support, and comfort us as we experience the afflictions and infirmities of life. The Bible gives us some beautiful insights into Christ’s healing and comforting powers, particularly as recorded in Isaiah 53:3–5 and Isaiah 61:1–3. The Book of Mormon confirms these powers and gives us some additional insights into their breadth and origin.
Perhaps there are no more instructive verses in all of scripture that explain how and why the Savior suffered for us, and how that suffering enabled Him to be the ultimate Comforter, than these found in the book of Alma:
“And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
“And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities” (Alma 7:11–12; see also Mosiah 3:7).
It is one thing to understand that the Savior has comforting and healing powers. It is another to know how these powers might be applied in our own lives. The Book of Mormon shares multiple ways in which this is accomplished. Sometimes the simple words from the Lord, “Be comforted,” are sufficient. When the sons of Mosiah needed comfort as they began their mission to the Lamanites, “The Lord did visit them with his Spirit, and said unto them: Be comforted. And they were comforted” (Alma 17:10; see also Jacob 2:8).
Amulek counseled the persecuted poor among the Zoramites to “bear with all manner of afflictions,” and then he gave them the eternal perspective that made this possible—“a firm hope that ye shall one day rest from all your afflictions” (Alma 34:40–41). The Atonement of Jesus Christ brings eternal perspective, eternal perspective brings hope, and hope brings comfort.
When Limhi and his people were in bondage to the Lamanites, they suffered great afflictions, “and there was no way that they could deliver themselves out of their hands” (Mosiah 21:5). Then the Lord stepped in with His comforting powers “and began to soften the hearts of the Lamanites that they began to ease their burdens” (Mosiah 21:15).
On a similar occasion, when Alma and his people were in bondage, the Lord chose yet another way to comfort His people:
“I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.
“And . . . the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease” (Mosiah 24:14–15).
The Book of Mormon not only helps us understand that God can comfort us, but it also gives us specific examples as to how that might occur—by sharing the power of His words, by enhancing our eternal perspective, by softening the hearts of our enemies, and by strengthening us so we can more easily bear the burdens at hand. No doubt the Lord can comfort us in other ways, such as removing the affliction entirely, if He so desires.1 Recognizing all this, it is no wonder that Alma should say: “For I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day” (Alma 36:3).
These insights from the Book of Mormon, along with specific examples of their application, can strengthen our faith in the Savior’s healing powers and in His divine nature.