The Book of Mormon is one of the most influential-as well as controversial-religious documents in American history, and is regarded as sacred scripture by followers around the world, including members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the fourth-largest religious body in the United States.
According to Mormon belief, The Book of Mormon was inscribed on golden plates by ancient prophets. It contains stories of ancient peoples migrated from the Near East to the Americas, founding civilisations led by kings, prophets, and priests, and continuing in the religious practices of the Israelites.
The narrative also explains that Jesus Christ appeared to the New World peoples after his resurrection. The golden plates were discovered in upstate New York and translated by Joseph Smith, Jr., under the guidance of an angel, Moroni. From this divine revelation, Smith founded the Mormon sect, which is now comprised of more than 12.5 million members worldwide.