Jan 24

Journal Edition of the Book of Mormon

At Deseret Book this morning, I noticed that there were Books of Mormon that were so-called “Journal” editions. As I opened one up, I quickly figured out why. They have over-sized margins so that you can write a lot more out to the side of the verses.

This is great news for us. Each time you create a note, it gets a note number and you create a title for it. You write this out in the margin of each scripture that you link to that note. This allows you to quickly refresh your memory of what the note is or look it up in your journal if you want to, whether that’s online or in the PDF of your notes that you can create and carry with you (either digitally in a device or printed out).

If you’d like to take a look at these journals, here is a link:

Book of Mormon – Journal Edition

Mar 24

In What Ways Will the Lord Try and Teach Us

Heavenly Father wants to give us every opportunity to do what is right.  Because of this, He will use different methods of teaching those who have varying levels of receptivity to Him.  The highest level is to be taught personally by God. The next highest is to be taught personally by Christ. The level just below that is to be taught by the Holy Ghost. Next are angels, holy men and scriptures, which are used to preach repentance and also to teach. If that does not work, the Lord sends natural disasters and calamities to help people repent. If that proves unsuccessful, they are delivered into the buffetings of Satan.  See the scripture references below for a more thorough study of this concept.

D&C 43:24-26 states:
24 O, ye nations of the earth, how often would I have gathered you together as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, but ye would not!
25 How oft have I called upon you by the mouth of my servants, and by the ministering of angels, and by mine own voice, and by the voice of thunderings, and by the voice of lightnings, and by the voice of tempests, and by the voice of earthquakes, and great hailstorms, and by the voice of famines and pestilences of every kind, and by the great sound of a trump, and by the voice of judgment, and by the voice of mercy all the day long, and by the voice of glory and honor and the riches of eternal life, and would have saved you with an everlasting salvation, but ye would not!
26 Behold, the day has come, when the cup of the wrath of mine indignation is full.


  • D&C 76:62
  • Joseph Smith History 1:17-19
  • Matthew 3:17
  • Matthew 17:5
  • Mark 1:11
  • 3 Nephi 11:7


  • Ether 3:13,19-20
  • 1 Nephi 11:1
  • 3 Nephi 10:12
  • Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Section Three 1838-39, p.150
    Now what is this other Comforter? It is no more nor less than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself; and this is the sum and substance of the whole matter; that when any man obtains this last Comforter, he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend him, or appear unto him from time to time, and even He will manifest the Father unto him, and they will take up their abode with him, and the visions of the heavens will be opened unto him, and the Lord will teach him face to face, and he may have a perfect knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God; and this is the state and place the ancient Saints arrived at when they had such glorious visions-Isaiah, Ezekiel, John upon the Isle of Patmos, St. Paul in the three heavens, and all the Saints who held communion with the general assembly and Church of the Firstborn.
  • 3 Nephi 11-27

Holy Ghost

  • John 14:26
  • 2 Nephi 32:3-5

Just Men/Scriptures/Angels

  • Mosiah 23:14-19
  • 2 Peter 1:13
  • 2 Peter 3:1
  • Mosiah 18:18-19
  • Mosiah 3:13
  • Alma 4:19
  • Ether 7:23
  • 3 Nephi 6:20
  • Moses 5:58
  • Index, “Teacher”
  • 1 Nephi 3:29
  • Mosiah 27:11
  • Joshua 1:8
  • D&C 1:37-39
  • TG, “Scriptures, Study of”
  • Moroni 7:29-31,36

Natural Disasters/Calamities

“The Lord said they would not heed that warning voice no more than they had heeded the warning voice of his servants. But I want to call the attention of the Latter-day Saints, and indeed if I had the power, the attention of all the world to the fact that God is speaking through the elements. The earthquakes, the sea heaving itself beyond its bounds, bringing such dire destruction as we have seen arethe voice of God crying repentance to this generation, a generation that only in part has heeded the warning voice of the servants of the Lord.
Melvin J. Ballard, Conference Report, October, 1923, p. 31. (Italics added)

  • Ether 9:29-35
  • 1 Nephi 2:24
  • Mosiah 1:17
  • 2 Nephi 5:25
  • Helaman 11:3-8,15,34
  • Alma 10:19-27
  • Alma 25:6
  • Helaman 10:6
  • 2 Nephi 26:4-6
  • D&C 87:6
  • 3 Nephi 8-10
  • Enos 1:23


  • Moses 6:15
  • D&C 78:11-12
  • D&C 82:21
  • D&C 104:9-10
  • Mormon 5:18
  • 2 Nephi 28:21-23
Mar 17

Gospel Scholarship: Why Keep a Study Journal?

Book of Mormon Study JournalWhat is so important about keeping a personal journal?

First, let’s establish a scope of what we are talking about. In my mind, a personal journal is something that I would pass on to my posterity. Therefore, I would write in it the things of most importance to me for them. This would be things like personal revelations and spiritual experiences, as well as major events in my life.

1 Nephi 19:3“And after I had made these plates by way of commandment, I, Nephi, received a commandment that the ministry and the prophecies, the more plain and precious parts of them, should be written upon these plates; and that the things which were written should be kept for the instruction of my people, who should possess the land, and also for other wise purposes, which purposes are known unto the Lord.”

Nephi understood that the things that he was going to write on the plates were for the instruction of the people who should live in the land after he did. He wrote on these plates the plain and precious parts of the prophecies and ministry that took place among his people. Nephi wasn’t the only person who thought this way.

1 Nephi 5:21 – They were able to preserve the commandments of the Lord unto our children.

Omni 1:17“And at the time that Mosiah discovered them, they had become exceedingly numerous. Nevertheless, they had had many wars and serious contentions, and had fallen by the sword from time to time; and their language had become corrupted; and they had brought no records with them; and they denied the being of their Creator; and Mosiah, nor the people of Mosiah, could understand them.”

It seems to me that the fact that their language had become corrupted had a direct relationship to the fact that they brought no records with them. Here is why I think this:

Moses 1:5-7:
“5 And a book of remembrance was kept, in the which was recorded, in the language of Adam, for it was given unto as many as called upon God to write by the spirit of inspiration;
6 And by them their children were taught to read and write, having a language which was pure and undefiled.
7 Now this same Priesthood, which was in the beginning, shall be in the end of the world also.”

Adam kept a book of revelations. He used it to teach his children to read and write. As a correlation to this, they had a language that was pure and undefiled. Therefore, his children were able to learn the same language. They were able to teach it to their children the same way. It’s interesting to note that this process is called “this same Priesthood”. The process of recording one’s personal revelations is considered to be a thing of the priesthood.

D&C 68:4“And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation.”

How could it become “scripture” save it were written down? The very root of the word, “script”, means “to be written.” When we are moved upon by the power of the Holy Ghost, we need to write it down. We can thus preserve a perfect memory of the event. We then have that memory recorded for retrieval at a later date. This can be for many reasons, one of which Nephi mentions:

1 Nephi 19:18“And I, Nephi, have written these things unto my people, that perhaps I might persuade them that they would remember the Lord their Redeemer.”

Throughout the Standard Works, the word “remember” and slight variations thereof appear 500 times. Do you think it’s important that we remember the teachings of the Lord to us? What about those personal things that He has revealed to you personally?

Just for the thrill of it, check out an article in the New Era, December 1980, page 26. It’s by President Spencer W. Kimball, and it’s called “President Kimball Speaks Out on Personal Journals.” He explicitly states, “We hope you will do this, our brothers and sisters, for this is what the Lord has commanded, and those who keep a personal journal are more likely to keep the Lord in remembrance in their daily lives.”

Well, a prophet has stated that it is a commandment, so that’s good enough for me.

Mosiah 17:4“But he fled from before them and hid himself that they found him not. And he being concealed for many days did write all the words which Abinadi had spoken.”

Why did Alma write all of this? He wrote it because he believed it and knew that it was true. So why don\’t we write down our own personal convictions and revelations?

2 Nephi 25: 23 & 26
23 – “For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.”
26 – “And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.”

Jacob 4:1-4
1 – NOW behold, it came to pass that I, Jacob, having ministered much unto my people in word, (and I cannot write but a little of my words, because of the difficulty of engraving our words upon plates) and we know that the things which we write upon plates must remain;
2 – But whatsoever things we write upon anything save it be upon plates must perish and vanish away; but we can write a few words upon plates, which will give our children, and also our beloved brethren, a small degree of knowledge concerning us, or concerning their fathers-
3 – Now in this thing we do rejoice; and we labor diligently to engraven these words upon plates, hoping that our beloved brethren and our children will receive them with thankful hearts, and look upon them that they may learn with joy and not with sorrow, neither with contempt, concerning their first parents.
4 – For, for this intent have we written these things, that they may know that we knew of Christ, and we had a hope of his glory many hundred years before his coming; and not only we ourselves had a hope of his glory, but also all the holy prophets which were before us.

Look at the reasons that these people gave for writing. They wrote to persuade their families to believe in Christ and to be reconciled to God. They wrote so that their families would know where to look for a remission of their sins. Sounds like a good idea to me.

Mar 14

What was the Profession of Nephi, son of Lehi?

What was the profession of Nephi, son of Lehi, who left Jerusalem in 600 B.C.?

1 Nephi 4:9“And I beheld his sword, and I drew it forth from the sheath thereof; and the hilt thereof was of pure gold, and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine, and I saw that the blade thereof was of the most precious steel.”

Nephi recognized at least what gold looked like, and what pure gold was. He recognized exceedingly fine workmanship. He saw that the blade of this sword was made of the most precious steel. He recognized the grade and quality of the steel with which it was made.

1 Nephi 16:10“And it came to pass that as my father arose in the morning, and went forth to the tent door, to his great astonishment he beheld upon the ground a round ball of curious workmanship; and it was of fine brass. And within the ball were two spindles; and the one pointed the way whither we should go into the wilderness.”

Once again, Nephi mentions the workmanship of the ball. He also knows the difference between gold, steel, and brass, as he has mentioned each one differently from this and the previous passage.

1 Nephi 16:18“And it came to pass that as I, Nephi, went forth to slay food, behold, I did break my bow, which was made of fine steel; and after I did break my bow, behold, my brethren were angry with me because of the loss of my bow, for we did obtain no food.”

It’s interesting at least that Nephi had a steel bow. He at least knew that it was made of a fine grade of steel. Did he make it? Maybe.

1 Nephi 16: 23, 31“23 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did amake out of wood a bow, and out of a straight stick, an arrow; wherefore, I did arm myself with a bow and an arrow, with a sling and with stones. And I said unto my bfather: Whither shall I go to obtain food?”

“31 And it came to pass that I did slay wild beasts, insomuch that I did obtain food for our families.”

Nephi knew at least enough about woodworking to make a bow and an arrow. They were a good enough bow and arrow that Nephi was able to “slay wild beasts.” He did take a sling and some stones with him hunting, which I’m sure he used, as well. However, had the sling and stones been all he needed to slay food, he would probably not have made the bow. Seeing as he did, in fact, make the bow and the arrow, it is reasonable to assume that he was able to successfully use them to obtain food for his family. Off that assumption, I also choose to believe that the bow and arrow that he made and then used were of a fairly good workmanship, because they were successful in slaying the food.

1 Nephi 17: 9 – 11,16

“9 And I said: Lord, whither shall I go that I may find ore to molten, that I may make tools to construct the ship after the manner which thou hast shown unto me?

10 And it came to pass that the Lord told me whither I should go to find ore, that I might make tools.

11 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did make a bellows wherewith to blow the fire, of the skins of beasts; and after I had made a bellows, that I might have wherewith to blow the fire, I did smite two stones together that I might make fire.”

“16 And it came to pass that I did make tools of the ore which I did molten out of the rock.”

Nephi knew the term “ore” and the process of turning the ore into tools. He knew that he had to molten the ore to extract the metal to make the tools. He appears to have also known how to make tools, as he does not say that the Lord told him how to make tools. He knew that a bellows was required to blow the fire. He knew how to make a bellows. He knew how to make fire, use the bellows to blow it to molten and extract the ore with which to make the tools he needed. He also was actually able to successfully make the tools that he wanted to make. Also, he knew which tools would be necessary to make the ship. He also must have known how to use each of those tools. If not, he might have been taught of the Lord how to use them.

1 Nephi 18:1-4“AND it came to pass that they did worship the Lord, and did go forth with me; and we did work timbers of curious workmanship. And the Lord did show me from time to time after what manner I should work the timbers of the ship. Now I, Nephi, did not work the timbers after the manner which was learned by men, neither did I build the ship after the manner of men; but I did build it after the manner which the Lord had shown unto me; wherefore, it was not after the manner of men. And I, Nephi, did go into the mount oft, and I did pray oft unto the Lord; wherefore the Lord showed unto me great things. And it came to pass that after I had finished the ship, according to the word of the Lord, my brethren beheld that it was good, and that the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine; wherefore, they did humble themselves again before the Lord.”

This ship was definitely not built after the way that men had built ships at that time. The plans for this ship, and the way to build it were revealed directly from heaven. Nephi built the ship exactly as the Lord had taught him to. According to the account, it was a very nice ship, as “the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine.” I would imagine that if Nephi wasn’t already learned in the craft of woodworking, after he built this ship, I would bet that he probably was.

1 Nephi 18:25“And it came to pass that we did find upon the land of promise, as we journeyed in the wilderness, that there were beasts in the forests of every kind, both the cow and the ox, and the ass and the horse, and the goat and the wild goat, and all manner of wild animals, which were for the use of men. And we did find all manner of ore, both of gold, and of silver, and of copper.”

Nephi knew the difference between gold ore, silver ore, and copper ore. He even sees fit to mention that they were available. He must have sought them out. Why would he do that? He would have had to want it for some reason. He must have known what it was for. We have already established that he knew at least that he could make tools with some kinds of ore.

1 Nephi 19:1“AND it came to pass that the Lord commanded me, wherefore I did make plates of ore that I might engraven upon them the record of my people. And upon the plates which I made I did engraven the record of my father, and also our journeyings in the wilderness, and the prophecies of my father; and also many of mine own prophecies have I engraven upon them.”

Nephi made plates of ore. From what I understand, they were made to be pretty much all the same dimensions. They were also very thin. It would have taken quite a skillful person to have made those plates by hand as Nephi did.

2 Nephi 5:14-15“And I, Nephi, did take the sword of Laban, and after the manner of it did make many swords, lest by any means the people who were now called Lamanites should come upon us and destroy us; for I knew their hatred towards me and my children and those who were called my people. And I did teach my people to build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance.”

Nephi “did make many swords” after the manner of the sword of Laban. Even though you have a specimen of what you are trying to make, you still have to have the knowledge of the process of making its duplicates. He would have had to know where to get the ore, how to molten the metal out of it, how to shape the metal, and how to finish off the process. We have already established that he knew all of these things. It also states that Nephi taught his people to work in all manner of wood, iron, copper, brass, steel, gold, silver, and other precious ores. Not only was he very adept at smithing, he knew carpentry. Much of this knowledge could have come from when the Lord taught him how to build the ship.

Helaman 6:11“And behold, there was all manner of gold in both these lands, and of silver, and of precious ore of every kind; and there were also curious workmen, who did work all kinds of ore and did refine it; and thus they did become rich.”

These people knew how to get ore. They knew the difference between each kind of ore. They were “curious” workmen. They worked all kinds of ore. These people would not have just known how to work this ore. They were probably taught it as a trade from father to son. Interestingly enough, all of this culture would have descended from Nephi. He would have been the one from whence their knowledge of ore originated.

Isaiah 54:16-17“Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy. No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.”

Another relevant verse – not entirely sure of exactly where it fits here.


I would submit, given the above scripture citations, that Nephi was a wood craftsman and also a metal smith. This is quite an interesting coincidence with Joseph Smith. The way that last names originated was by the profession of the family. So, at one time, Joseph Smith’s predecessors were actual metal smiths, themselves.


It is also interesting to note some of the following quotes:

“Cain, Qayin, is the wandering smith in Arabic, Hebrew, and Aramaic. A qayin is a blacksmith. He blackens his face professionally because he works at the forge. This is a mark of his profession, the blackened face. It advertises his profession, and he wanders. You find these, and they are great metal workers, as we will see Cain’s descendants are.” (Hugh Nibley, Ancient Documents and the Pearl of Great Price, edited by Robert Smith and Robert Smythe [n.p., n.d.], 3 .)

“Question: What does the name Cain mean? Answer: It means a traveling smith or metal worker.” (Hugh Nibley, Ancient Documents and the Pearl of Great Price, edited by Robert Smith and Robert Smythe [n.p., n.d.], 13.)

“Cain began as a farmer; but when following Satan’s instructions, he made use of that great secret of how to murder and get gain, the earth refused him her strength, and he became a wanderer. Since time immemorial that homeless tribe (the land of Nod means land of unsettled nomad) is designated throughout the East by the name Qayin, meaning a wandering metal-worker, the mark of his trade and his tribe being the face blackened at the forge; he is a skillful maker and peddler of weapons and jewels, the twin destroyers and corrupters of mankind.” Hugh Nibley, Brother Brigham Challenges the Saints, edited by Don E. Norton and Shirley S. Ricks [Salt Lake City and Provo: Deseret Book Co., Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1994], 60 – 61.)

Mar 09

What Do We Know About the Mulekites?

An informative article came to my attention recently regarding the Mulekites.  What is really known about their origin and background?  What information can we glean from their brief mention in the Book of Mormon?  What became of them?  This article from the March 1987 Ensign answers these and a host of other questions that you may not even know you had.


“A serious reader of the Book of Mormon will at some point likely ask himself how much is known about the Mulekites and about the role they played among Book of Mormon civilizations.

The thirty verses which comprise the Book of Omni, although written by five lesser-known authors, provide answers to many questions.

Just prior to his death, Amaleki completed the Book of Omni by briefly recording the account of King Mosiah’s discovery of the people of Zarahemla—the Mulekites. Without this brief record we would know little concerning the conversion of the Mulekites from an atheistic people into some of the most faithful Saints in the entire Book of Mormon.”

Read the entire article: The Mulekites – by Garth A. Wilson