LDS Question 14: Just What Is the Book of Mormon, Anyway?
After Jesus Christ lived and died by crucifixion in the area of Israel, as most of you know, He was resurrected after being three days in the tomb; and, thereafter, stayed for a time [40 days] with the Apostles teaching them many things regarding His Kingdom on earth. But what most of you don't know, is that there were also people living at that time on these, the American Continents; AND, what you don't know is . . . that after His resurrection, Jesus Christ, personally, came to this land and appeared as the resurrected Savior (as there had been prophets on this land foretelling His coming just as there were in Israel). And Jesus Christ while teaching the people in Israel told them about the visit He must make here, in His teachings as recorded in the New Testament when He said . . . (John 10:16)
16. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
He appeared to this people and showed them the wounds in His hands and in His side. He healed their sick, and called 12 disciples and organized His church just as He did in Israel. For God loves all His children wherever they may be. So, He blessed the children, called His 12 Disciples (they were called "Disciples" because there can only be 12 Apostles on the earth at any one time) and organized His church and taught them as He did in Israel with the beatitudes and all things that they would need to know to live by his Gospel here on this land.
One group of the people on this land of America had arrived here some 600 B.C. and had left Jerusalem and traversed the ocean on a ship they had made. The prophets among them kept the record of their people on very thin, "scribable," tin like brass and gold plates because they would not be destroyed by time.
After nearly 1,000 [prox 945] years of the various prophets' writings had been kept and preserved and handed down from one generation to another, a prophet named Mormon (about 345 A.D.) was commanded to abridge these records into one volume. So, Mormon had to read all the records and, by his prayers and faith, decide which of all of them should be abridged into the one volume. This volume was then buried with some other items in a concrete box under a large stone on the East Coast of North America by Mormon's son named Moroni. Heavenly Father wanted these records to be kept so that there would be a second witness in these the last days, that Jesus is the Christ, by instruction from the Lord, the name of this book would be called the Book of Mormon, named after the man who abridged the plates.
So, that's where the name Mormon came from . . . and that is why we the people who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are called "Mormons."
And that is what the Book of Mormon is . . . an ancient of the first inhabitants of this land we call America.