In 1 Nephi 6, Nephi pauses from the story briefly to describe the purpose for writing this book. Verse 3:
3 And it mattereth not to me that I am particular to give a full account of all the things of my father, for they cannot be written upon these plates, for I desire the room that I may write of the things of God.
4 For the fulness of mine intent is that I may persuade men to come unto the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and be saved.
1 Nephi 1:20 says:
20 … But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.
In both verses, Nephi describes why he’s writing this book. In one, he points us to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of these old testament prophets who will save us. In the second, he wants to show us the “tender mercies” bestowed on those God chooses because of their faith.
I’m not sure what to make of this connection. All I have are some random thoughts:
God chooses us because of our faith. If we put our trust in God, we are chosen. We choose God, He then chooses us. There is no interview, no qualifying exam. We are worthy because He loves us. That’s it.
I think being delivered or being saved can have two connotations. In this life, he may deliver us from our enemies. We will be protected and watched over and cared for. This is a central theme of the Book of Mormon. So much of it is about material salvation, being blessed with prosperity because of righteousness – this is more communal than individual. When the society in general falls into wickedness, the righteous few suffer along with the rest. I think people forget this point. War, poverty, sickness affects us communally. In so many ways, we are in this together. Bunkers in the backyard will not save us.
And of course, there is a spiritual salvation, being able to find peace in a troubled world here and now, but also an endearing hope for something better in the next life. The purpose of the book is to show us how to get both this peace and this hope. There’s something communally applicable here as well. We find peace in our relationships, with our family, our friends, with our neighbors, our colleagues, and congregational family. Bringing God into our relationships can help us find peace.
The purpose of the Book of Mormon, then, in summary, is to bring us to God and in that we can find salvation and deliverance, perhaps spiritually and materially. But I think this is meant for us collectively because we find this peace and this salvation together.