Book of Mormon Internet Resources

This page is periodically updated – most recently on 03 March 08. Any suggestions are welcome! (add comments below)

GENERAL RESOURCES

LDS General Conference Scriptural Index
“This index links from scriptures to the general conference talks that cite those scriptures. So, for example, suppose you want to know who has cited 1 Ne. 3:7 in general conference; click on the Book of Mormon link at the left and scroll down to 1 Ne. 3; there you’ll find the answer. Who has quoted Matt. 5:48? Use the New Testament index to find out.

“We have indexed the scriptures cited by speakers in LDS General Conference between 1942 and the present. You can sort the citation index by scripture (the default), by speaker, or by date of citation.” (from the website)

From lds.org:
Elder Ballard Speaks: Is There Scientific Proof Authenticating the Book of Mormon?

New Era/Ensign Articles:
Composition and History of the Book of Mormon

Various:
BM Resources by Spackman
Misunderstanding Scripture Language

Discipleship:

-“And with All Thy Mind” by John W. Welch – another classic address – viewable as a web page; downloadable in various formats, including pdf and mp3

Purposes of the Book of Mormon: 1 Ne. 13:39-40

-To establish the truthfulness of the Bible

-From President Hugh B. Brown’s superb talk, “Profile of a Prophet” (here’s another version arranged according to parallistic patterns):

“there is no chapter in all literature, sacred or profane, which I say to you as a lawyer, has greater evidential value, than the chapters in Third Nephi where multitudes of people said, we saw him, we felt of his hands and his side, we know he is the Christ.

VERSE- or CHAPTER-SPECIFIC RESOURCES

1 Ne. 1:18-20 Why did the people of Jerusalem reject the message of Lehi and the other prophets (e.g., Jeremiah)?

-“The False Gods We Worship” by President Spencer W. Kimball

1 Ne. 8, 11-12, 15

-“Lehi’s Dream: The Indispensable Foundation of the Book of Mormon” by Bruce Satterfield of BYU-I (rough draft)

1 Ne. 11:36; 12:18-19 “the pride of the world;” “the pride of the children of men;” “the pride of [Nephi’s] seed.”

-“Beware of Pride” by President Ezra Taft Benson – a landmark address!!

-“Hubris and Ate: A Latter-day Warning from the Book of Mormon” by Richard D. Draper. From the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies

1 Ne. 12:1-3 Nephi’s vision of his people at the time of Christ’s first coming; parallels to our day – the last days before Christ’s Second Coming (cf. JS-M 1:27-37).

-Regarding the last days, Elder Holland gave a marvelous and powerfully reassuring talk during a CES fireside on 12 Sept. 2004:

Terror, Triumph, and a Wedding Feast

2 Ne. 6-8

-Garold N. Davis, “Book of Mormon Commentary on Isaiah

2 Ne. 9

-Elder James E. Faust, “The Supernal Gift of the Atonement

-Elder Spencer J. Condie, “The Fall and Infinite Atonement

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Some More Thoughts on Reading…and Writing

One of my favorite evangelical intellectuals (though he might object to such a title) is Albert Mohler. It has been my experience, as I’ve listened to his excellent podcast and read some of the things he’s written, is that he’s as committed to the truth as he is insightful. Our doctrinal differences aside, we share many values, which in turn makes his commentary so valuable to me. I can honestly say that in our modern culture of spin and wishy-washiness, I truly admire Dr. Mohler.

One instance of how I’ve benefited from his ministry is a blog entry that he wrote that I’d read before, and found again tonight, called, “Some Thoughts on the Reading of Books” (the title of my post is a homage (/ə ˈhɒmɪdʒ/) to his). It’s a great complement to my post of a few days ago. Below is an excerpt, followed by my comments.

A few initial suggestions:

1. Maintain regular reading projects. I strategize my reading in six main categories: Theology, Biblical Studies, Church Life, History, Cultural Studies, and Literature. I have some project from each of these categories going at all times. I collect and gather books for each project, and read them over a determined period of time. This helps to discipline my reading, and also keeps me working across several disciplines.

I’m still in the organizing stage of this, but I can see how it will be beneficial. Ever since reading a post by a friend of mine, “Expanding literary horizons,” I’ve wanted to read a broader range of literature (in sense 5, not just sense 2), and to do so in a more organized fashion. Here’s a partial example: I’m concurrently reading a lot of LDS books, particularly those dealing with the Book of Mormon; a few fantasy books; one book of historical fiction; and I continue my long-held practice of enjoying the occasional short story or five. But two experiences in particular make me feel like I should read more biography. One was my reading last summer of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute‘s book on Wilhelm Röpke, which was much more engaging and entertaining – even motivating – than I had expected. It even birthed an interest in me in economics, “which thing I had never supposed.” (Note: the book on Röpke is part of a series entitled “The Library of Modern Thinkers” by ISI – I plan on reading each of these titles, and recommend them to you.) The second was a comment that I read (or heard?) from one of my long-time role models, Dr. Robert L. Millet of Brigham Young University, in which he related his experience of reading the biography of Billy Graham and finding it tremendously inspiring (I apologize if I’m putting words in Bro. Millet’s mouth – I admit to having a faulty memory, and hope to be nothing but faithful to his actual statement). Scripture is the most powerful literature for helping us become more Christ-like; and, while on a different level, biography and other literature can certainly help us do the same.

2. Work through major sections of Scripture. I am just completing an expository series, preaching verse by verse through the book of Romans. I have preached and taught several books of the Bible in recent years, and I plan my reading to stay ahead. I am turning next to Matthew, so I am gathering and reading ahead — not yet planning specific messages, but reading to gain as much as possible from worthy works on the first gospel. I am constantly reading works in biblical theology as well as exegetical studies.

My current calling as gospel doctrine teacher is quite motivating in this way. In another post, I’ll list some non-internet resources for studying the BM. (Dr. Mohler might take umbrage at my applying his post to the BM, but no offense is meant, of course. At the same time, I absolutely stand by my position that the Book of Mormon is a divinely inspired, historical record that contains the fullness of the gospel; it is a true book and is unique in its powerful witness of the divinity, mission, Atonement, grace, and doctrine of Christ, and is needed in the world more each day.)

3. Read all the titles written by some authors. Choose carefully here, but identify some authors whose books demand your attention. Read all they have written and watch their minds at work and their thought in development. No author can complete his thoughts in one book, no matter how large.

Among the admittedly few authors who fit in this category for me are these (I’m sure that at some point I’ll write posts discussing them individually):

C. S. Lewis – especially his space trilogy and Till We Have Faces. I recommend reading the books themselves before reading anything about them, including book descriptions; such material could very well spoil them for you. These works’ contributions to making me a better person have been significant, and will continue, I expect – which I’ll blog about another time.

Neal A. Maxwell – His Collected Works is a must-have for the serious disciple of Christ. (Not incidentally, in 2006 BYU’s Institute for the Study and Preservation of Ancient Religious Texts, or ISPART, was renamed the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship in honor of the deceased apostle.)

Robert Millet – I mentioned him above. Probably the most prolific LDS author today, he was Manager of Outreach and Interfaith Relations for Church Public Affairs the last I heard, which makes his writings particularly relevant to us right now. Some of his latest works include Claiming Christ: A Mormon-Evangelical Debate, with Gerald R. McDermott, published by Brazos Press; Bridging the Divide: The Continuing Conversation Between a Mormon and an Evangelical, with Gregory C. V. Johnson (whom I also greatly admire. This work is a sort of follow-up to Robinson and Blomberg’s How Wide the Divide?: A Mormon & an Evangelical in Conversation; Blomberg also provides the Foreword to Bridging…), from Monkfish Publishing; The Vision of Mormonism: Pressing the Boundaries of Christianity, published by Paragon House; the controversial (among some evangelicals) A Different Jesus?: The Christ of the Latter-day Saints, by well-known evangelical publisher Eerdmans; and a reprint of his Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, co-written with Joseph Fielding McConkie and Brent L. Top, from Deseret Book, which was difficult to find and expensive for years.

Peter Kreeft – I consider him to be the Catholic Neal A. Maxwell (as far as his insightfulness, commitment to the truth, and amazing power of expression, mind you; not in terms of apostolic calling). His books and other writings and his lectures have been at least as beneficial in my life as those of any other person outside the (LDS) Church. He is unabashedly Catholic, for which dedication I commend him. It’s thanks to him that I came to view the Catholic Church not as some leftover from centuries ago (I’m ashamed to admit that I once thought along those lines), but rather as a vibrant, dynamic force with an intellectual, philosophical, moral history worthy of the attention and respect of us Latter-day Saints. Dr. Kreeft’s books How to Win the Culture War: A Christian Battle Plan for a Society in Crisis and Ecumenical Jihad: Ecumenism and the Culture War, and the lectures that they are based on, offer poignant counsel in fighting for the culture of Christ. His Philosophy of Tolkien: The Worldview Behind the Lord of the Rings is proving to be not only a great way to understand LOTR, but also “an engaging introduction to philosophy,” as the description of the book claims. Some LDS may find getting past Kreeft’s pro-Catholic stance difficult in places, but there’s no question in my mind that it’s worth the time and effort. Listen to his lectures, and you’ll understand what I mean.

Yes, these ↑ are some of my heroes.

4. Get some big sets and read them through. Yes, invest in the works of Martin Luther, Jonathan Edwards, and others. Set a project for yourself to read through the entire set, and give yourself time. You will be surprised how far you will get in less time than you think.

A few sets come to mind: Journal of Discourses, (which a friend gave me years ago after he got them on CD-ROM!); BYU’s series of Annual Book of Mormon Symposia books, which, in superb bit of news, are evidently being reprinted; and again Elder Maxwell’s Collected Works. The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley are also highly recommended, though I haven’t made it that far yet.

5. Allow yourself some fun reading, and learn how to enjoy reading by reading enjoyable books. I like books across the fields of literature, but I really love to read historical biographies and historical works in general. In addition, I really enjoy quality fiction and worthy works of literature. As a boy, I probably discovered my love for reading in these categories of books. I allow some time each day, when possible, to such reading. It doesn’t have to be much. Stay in touch with the thrill.

Amen to that. I’ll post some other time on my own tastes in the areas of the classics and contemporary fiction…

6. Write in your books; mark them up and make them yours. Books are to be read and used, not collected and coddled. [Make an exception here for those rare antiquarian books that are treasured for their antiquity. Mark not thy pen on the ancient page, and highlight not upon the manuscript.] Invent your own system or borrow from another, but learn to have a conversation with the book, pen in hand.

I am a huge advocate of making a book your own by writing in it (with a few exceptions). It may be impossible to get the most out of your books without doing so.

I would write more for this post, but I must go read. More later. For now: Tolle! Lege

I consider Dr. Mohler’s engagement in both reading and writing praisewrothy. I read some time ago – I’m don’t recall where – that parents often focus on helping their children become good readers to the neglect of developing their writing skills – a mistake I plan on avoiding when I become a parent. Furthermore, one of my favorite teachers of all time said something about himself that I have found to be true for me. To paraphrase, “If I really want to learn something, I have to write about it.” Just as there’s no substitute for (the benefits of) reading, there’s no substitute for expressing oneself in writing. Or, to state it another way: It has truthfully been said that he who can read but doesn’t is little better off than he who cannot read; the same principle applies to the art of writing.

The blogosphere is a wonderful thing: it provides a forum to those of us who need to improve our writing and think we have something worth saying, and makes those writings available to others (hopefully for better and not for worse, overall). At the same time, it’s a little scary how long a post can get, almost without the author’s realizing it…

Any suggestions, further resources, or comments?

The Importance (Urgency?) of Reading

From a blog entry by Andy Farmer of Covenant Fellowship Church Family Life Ministry :

Reading quality Christian books will never replace the reading of God’s word or the preaching of your pastor, but it will help you hear and understand with greater maturity. A good book will challenge your thinking and motivate your heart. It will dislodge error and give you an appetite for truth. Good books humble us by reminding us that, to paraphrase an old Irish proverb, ‘good ideas often aren’t new, and new ideas often aren’t good’.

This excellent quote, which I found while searching for a good blog on Family Life Education (FLE for short), gives a superb answer to the question, “Why read?” Of course I agree with his idea that “quality Christian books” can be a tremendous force for good in our lives, and would extend the claim to all good literature. While the above quote is my favorite part of the entry – particularly where it talks about good books dislodging error, which has more and more often been my grateful experience – the author also offers what I consider valuable insights on determining whether something is worth our time. Andy’s entry is a short, worthwhile one; I heartily recommend it to you. And of course it is no surprise that Scripture passes all his criteria with flying colors.

He ends with a quote from C. S. Lewis: “The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are. (C.S. Lewis, The Quotable Lewis p.233), which reminds me of one of Wayne Booth‘s most widely recognized contribution to the field of literary theory: the concept of “the company we keep.” From UC Press:

In The Company We Keep, Wayne C. Booth argues for the relocation of ethics to the center of our engagement with literature…While not ignoring the consequences for conduct of engaging with powerful stories, it will attend to that more immediate topic, What happens to us as we read? Who am I, during the hours of reading or listening? What is the quality of the life I lead in the company of these would-be friends?

The page also provides some comments by critics: “[An] almost indecently satisfying book,” from Anatole Broyard, New York Times Book Review. I’m somewhat familiar with Booth’s theory, and I like what I’ve learned about it, and by using it, so far. No matter how much teenagers (and those stuck in the teenager stage of life) protest, we are undoubtedly affected by “the company we keep,” whether speaking of individuals or groups, or of anything they may create.

So, we’ve gone full-circle: Andy Farmer reminds us of the primacy of Scripture, and Booth gives us another reason for that primacy – as we become more familiar with the life and teachings of Christ and those whom He has set apart to represent Him, we become more like Him. It has become clear to me (though nonetheless astounding) that this is by design.