Tonight I ran into an interesting Chinese saying: 溫 故 知 新 (Wen Gu Zhi Xin), which literally means “review the ancient, know the new.” One meaning is that by studying ancient wisdom, you can better grasp current events. (One Chinese classics site even has that saying as its title. It’s a cool site where you can study several ancient writings such as the deep Analects of Confucius. One great example is Lunyu 1.15.)
To understand the present by studying the past is what the Book of Mormon begs us to do. It was written by ancient prophets who saw our day and sought to warn us and guide us through their inspired selection of writings from the records of an ancient people. Moroni, the son of its primary editor, Mormon, and the final writer of that record, put it this way: “I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing” (Mormon 8: 35).
And in the next chapter, Mormon 9, he wrote:
 Behold, I speak unto you as though I spake from the dead; for I know that ye shall have my words.
 Condemn me not because of mine imperfection, neither my father, because of his imperfection, neither them who have written before him; but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been.
By studying that work, we have a chance to learn from history and be more wise than the Nephites or their more ancient counterparts, the Jaredites, both of whom followed a similar pattern: both collapsed and were destroyed as a consequence of their sins, their pride, and their materialistic secret combinations that corrupted the government of their people and drew them into constant and hopeless war.
The teachings of the Book of Mormon are becoming more relevant than ever before. There is so much we need to learn and pay attention to, including details such as the importance of preparation and food storage for survival in times of chaos, and learnings from broad themes such as the inversion of values when wicked government begins to turn against the values that once brought liberty and peace.