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Smith stated that the title page, and presumably the actual title of the 1830 edition, came from the translation of "the very last leaf" of the golden plates, and was written by the prophet-historian Moroni.The title page states that the purpose of the Book of Mormon is "to [show] unto the remnant of the house of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; ...The Book of Third Nephi is of particular importance within the Book of Mormon because it contains an account of a visit by Jesus from heaven to the Americas sometime after his resurrection and ascension.The text says that during this American visit, he repeated much of the same doctrine and instruction given in the Gospels of the Bible and he established an enlightened, peaceful society which endured for several generations, but which eventually broke into warring factions again.Smith later stated that God allowed him to resume translation, but directed that he begin translating another part of the plates (in what is now called the Book of Mosiah).In 1829, work resumed on the Book of Mormon, with the assistance of Oliver Cowdery, and was completed in a short period (April–June 1829).Exceptions include the Words of Mormon and the Book of Ether.

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According to the narrative, Moroni was the last prophet among these people and had buried the record, which God had promised to bring forth in the latter days.The Book of Mormon is a sacred text of the Latter Day Saint movement, which adherents believe contains writings of ancient prophets who lived on the American continent from approximately 2200 BC to AD 421. Smith said that the last prophet to contribute to the book, a man named Moroni, buried it in Cumorah Hill in present-day New York, then returned to Earth in 1827 as an angel, revealing the location of the plates to Smith, and instructing him to translate it into English for use in the restoration of Christ's true church in the latter days.Critics claim that it was fabricated by Smith, drawing on material and ideas from contemporary 19th-century works rather than translating an ancient record. The pivotal event of the book is an appearance of Jesus Christ in the Americas shortly after his resurrection.Most editions of the book also contain supplementary material, including the "Testimony of Three Witnesses" and the "Testimony of Eight Witnesses".

This account begins in ancient Jerusalem around 600 BC.

It is written in English very similar to the Early Modern English linguistic style of the King James Version of the Bible, and has since been fully or partially translated into 108 languages.