Dec 04

LDS Study Tools – Encyclopedia of Mormonism

There are some wonderful gospel study tools provided by BYU. Today, we wanted to share one of the richest resources available for studying the Gospel. It’s called the Encyclopedia of Mormonism.

This excellent tool is available online in its entirety. It contains doctrinal entries on just about any Gospel topic you can think of. Each entry has scripture references about the topic you’re researching. You can copy and paste portions of the article into your research or talk. The Encyclopedia of Mormonism is an insightful and informative way to study the Gospel.

Take a look at a quick intro to the tool in the video below.

Here is the link to the Encyclopedia of Mormonism:

Encyclopedia of Mormonism

Check out other tools outlined on our Study Tools page.

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Dec 02

LDS Study Tools – RSS Feeds

There are myriad ways to communicate and disseminate information on the Internet. One that helps me keep up with news is called RSS (or Really Simple Syndication). These types of feeds are great for retrieving the latest articles and information directly from a website. This only works if the site offers RSS feeds, of course. You just copy the feed link from the site and put it into your RSS reader.

Of the thousands available, there are a few RSS feeds that will give you news and current events of the Church. Some give you access to wonderful articles on Gospel topics. Yet others will provide you with academic or scholarly research done on other theological subjects.

I wanted to provide you with a list of RSS feeds that I have found to be most related to the Church and Gospel. They are listed below:

So grab your favorite RSS feed reader and load those feeds into it. They are quite enlightening and informative.

Do you have other LDS RSS feeds that you really like? Post them in the comments below so we can share them with everyone.

Take a look at some of the other Gospel study tools that there are available.

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Nov 27

Gratitude – A Commandment

The Lord requires gratitude, and we are better by having it. We can never have too much, in fact. So, I wanted to chat a little about gratitude in my post today.

Let’s see what the scriptures have to say about gratitude. Let’s turn to D&C 59:21 which says:

21 And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments.

Pretty clear that we should be thankful for everything that the Lord has given us.

This is consistent with 1 Thessalonians 5:18, which tells us:

18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

It is interesting to note that when Lehi’s sons returned with the plates, the very first thing they did was to thank the Lord. But they didn’t just say a quick prayer and thank Him, they offered a sacrifice and burnt offerings. They may have even built an altar for this purpose. Then, once they had done that, Lehi looked at the plates. But the very first thing they did was to offer thanks. We see this in 1 Nephi 5:9–10, which tell us:

9 And it came to pass that they did rejoice exceedingly, and did offer sacrifice and burnt offerings unto the Lord; and they gave thanks unto the God of Israel.

10 And after they had given thanks unto the God of Israel, my father, Lehi, took the records which were engraven upon the plates of brass, and he did search them from the beginning.

In Alma 34:38, we are commanded to live in thanksgiving daily:

38 That ye contend no more against the Holy Ghost, but that ye receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you.

From the Gospel Topics section of the Church website, under Gratitude, we learn:

“The Lord has promised, ‘He who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious’ (Doctrine and Covenants 78:19). Gratitude is an uplifting, exalting attitude. People are generally happier when they have gratitude in their hearts. We cannot be bitter, resentful, or mean-spirited when we are grateful.”

For a further understanding of gratitude, I would highly recommend studying in detail the Gratitude entry in the Gospel Topics section of the Church website. There are plenty of talks, chapters from books and manuals, videos, and a lot more on the topic of gratitude. Take a look:

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-topics/gratitude?lang=eng

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Nov 26

Unique Gospel Study System

We’ve got a way to completely overhaul your scripture study. Take a look at what our study journal has to offer.

The Gospel study journal:

  • provides you with the full LDS scriptures online
  • allows you to quickly retrieve notes and thoughts that you have recorded.
  • you can print your journal notes out at any time.
  • makes it easy to share thoughts and ideas with others.
  • makes it easy to remember the entire thought you had when you made the note.
  • allows for new inspiration – not bind you to only what you’ve already learned.
  • helps keep your scriptures from wearing out because of over-marking them.
  • helps prevent losing all of your notes should your scriptures get lost.
  • provides some structure without being overly rigid.

The journal entries you create can be linked together. You can tag them with keywords. You can link scripture references to them. Entries may also contain citations from other books which you feel are relevant.

Take a look at the QuickStart Guide to see how easy it is to use.

We want to your feedback!

Please leave thoughts, comments, and suggestions on our Contact Us page.

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Nov 19

LDS Study Tools – Gospel Topics

Gospel study tools can be very useful in our quest to understand the Gospel. What we’d like to do is suggest tools and methods of studying that will help in your pursuit of the truth. Today, the tool we’re presenting is the “Gospel Topics” study tool on the Church website. It has a long list of topics down the left side. When you select one, an article on that topic appears on the right side.

This could be great for personal study and understanding. Or, it could be used to help in writing a talk. Maybe it could be used in other insightful and uplifting ways.

Here is a short video introducing the Gospel Topics section of the Church website:

Here is the tool:

Gospel Topics on churchofjesuschrist.org

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Oct 16

Recommended Reading: Searching the Scriptures – Gene R. Cook

Searching the Scriptures

Searching the Scriptures

While a member of the First Council of the Seventy, Elder Gene R. Cook wrote what seems to be one of the best books available on studying the scriptures. He has a considerable amount of expertise on the topic, being an Emeritus General Authority of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  To our good fortune, we have available to us this book, called “Searching the Scriptures.”  The subtitle reads, “Bringing power to your personal and family study.”  No truer description of this book could be conceived.

Elder Cook begins with an in-depth elaboration of what the scriptures are.  He insightfully expounds their importance to each of us.  It feels as though his primary purpose is to enlighten, uplift, and edify readers.  Should you wish to gain a solid foundation of scripture study, this book must become part of your library.

The next 70 pages are spent laying out the whats, whys, and hows of personal scripture study.  Elder Cook explains the different facets of feasting upon the word of the Lord.  His recommendations include asking questions, pondering about what is being read, looking for patterns, applying the scriptures to ourselves, and how to receive deeper understanding.

The balance of the book broadens the scope slightly to instruct us regarding family scripture study.  Elder Cook again goes to great lengths to convey his message.  He begins this third section with an explanation of how we will be blessed by studying together as a family.  His personal experience with this subject affords him a wealth of examples, stories, and suggested formats for family scripture study.

A description from DeseretBook.com:

One of the most valuable purposes of the scriptures is to serve as a tool to help us hear the voice of the Lord. But, as Elder Gene R. Cook emphasizes in his book, that blessing doesn’t come through casual effort.

In Searching the Scriptures, Elder Cook explores how we can effectively ponder, question, and mark the scriptures and understand how they apply to our lives. He also shares his testimony of the power and blessings that come from knowing God’s word. And he gives suggestions on how to organize family study and how to use the scriptures as a way to bless each family member. Relating personal experiences to show what has worked and what hasn’t, Elder Cook shares ways to motivate everyone in the family to participate and work to invite the Spirit to be present at reading time.

Elder Cook’s hope is to help Latter-day Saints gain a deeper understanding of what scriptures really are and how they apply to us today, and thereby have a desire to learn more from them.

Whether a seasoned scriptorian or someone who just wants to gain a solid foothold on mastering the Gospel, I highly recommend “Searching the Scriptures” by Elder Gene R. Cook.  It spends little time on my own bookshelf, as I gain a deeper understanding of scripture study every time I read it. This book is fully deserving of the spot it has earned in our Recommended Books section.

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Mar 25

Two Events This Week That You Won’t Want to Miss

Symposia, conferences, and lectures can be great ways to continue and deepen your understanding of the Gospel.  There are two events this week of which I wanted to make sure everyone aware.

From the UVU Eugene England Lecture Series page:

2013 Eugene England Memorial Lecture
“The Paradoxes of Religious Peace and Conflict”

Margaret Toscano
Associate Professor of Classics
University of Utah
Tuesday, March 26th – 7:00 p.m.
UVU Library Auditorium

Gender, myth, and religion are the focal points of Professor Toscano’s  research. She is both the co-editor and a chapter contributor for the book Hell and Its Afterlife: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, published by Ashgate in 2010. She has also published extensively on Mormon feminism for the last 27 years, including Strangers in Paradox: Essays in Mormon Theology (co-authored with her husband Paul) and many articles that have appeared in the Sunstone Magazine and Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. She has published articles on Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight books, the film O Brother, Where Art Thou? and the HBO-BBC TV series Rome.

From the 2013 Easter Conference page on BYU’s site:

With Healing in His Wings

BYU Religious Education and the Religious Studies Center will host BYU’s annual Easter Conference at 7:00 p.m. on Good Friday, March 29, 2013, in the Joseph Smith Building (JSB) auditorium.

Elder John M. Madsen will be the keynote speaker. Brad Wilcox and Brent L. Top will also speak. The two accompanying speakers are both professors at BYU, both are former mission presidents, and both have authored books about the Savior. All the speakers will talk about the Savior, his life, his mission, the Atonement, and his influence in our lives today. Attending the BYU Easter Conference is an ideal way to prepare to celebrate the Easter season.

Admission is free, and the public is invited and encouraged to attend.

I don’t believe I’ll be able to get to the one at UVU tomorrow evening.  However, if you are going to the one at BYU on Friday evening, let me know!  My wife and I will be attending.

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Jan 23

The Two Best Podcasts I’ve Ever Heard

On the commute in to work, it is nice to listen to something uplifting.  Though there is a lot of great music available, there are also some wonderful podcasts.  I’d like to take a minute to share two that have brought tears to my eyes, they’ve been so incredible.

The first is called “Classic Speeches.”  With selections as far back as 1950, this podcast features the best speeches given in recent Church history.  At first, I attempted to make a note of which ones were the best.  Noticing that I was writing down virtually every one, I abandoned that idea.  Some of the most memorable and doctrinally rich speeches from the latter half of the 20th century and the first part of this one are all packed into this marvelous podcast.

The second is called “Legacy.”  The approach this one takes is to cover as many aspects of history that involve the Church or Church members as possible.  The episodes feature guests who have a particular area of expertise.  They then discuss many things that some folks may not know with regards to that specialty.  For example, there was an episode about Palmyra, New York.  There have been episodes about the Nauvoo Temple, the Pioneers coming across the plains, Saints who have served at war, how the Church preserves old manuscripts, the Church History Library, and a whole slew of other topics.

From these two podcasts I have learned a great many things of which I was not previously aware.  They are full of insightful and uplifting content.  They are of much benefit to anyone seeking excellent podcasts relating to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Links to these podcasts and many others are available from the Audiovisual section of ldsscripturestudy.com.

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Jan 15

The Work Continues

Just about seven major events such as holidays and birthdays have taken up a bunch of time in the past two months.  It’s incredible how much time important things take up these days!
This past week we were working on some design mock-ups of how the Gospel Study Journal will look.  Though it is taking longer than expected, the design looks nice.  We want to provide something that is very simple to use, is visually appealing, and yet is able to do everything it is meant to.
Expect regular posts from now on, as the Christmas Holiday rush is now behind us.

Podcasts

I can’t wait to share with you some of the wonderfully uplifting and educational podcasts that I’ve been listening to on my way to and from work. I’ll write a post on the two that have been the most thought-provoking, educational, and inspirational in the next couple of posts.  It would be impossible to relate all of the new and wonderful things I have learned by listening to them.

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Oct 23

Exciting New Technology Coming Soon!

As Latter-day Saints, we diligently strive to gain a mastery of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is no more important body of knowledge to apply to ourselves as human beings. Consider the following quotation of Elder Boyd K. Packer:

“True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior…. That is why we stress so forcefully the study of the doctrines of the gospel” (Elder Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, Nov. 1986, p. 17).

We find that this proposition is based upon scripture:

“And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just–yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them–therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God.” – Alma 31:5

My life is a testament to the soundness of this principle. As I spend time straining to understand the Gospel, studying and pondering the Scriptures, and writing down things that come to my mind, my very core behaviors change. If only slowly, my own perceptions of myself and the world around me become more positive.

The purpose of Gospel Study Journal is to enhance Gospel study and further Gospel scholarship through technology. This will be accomplished primarily with a specially-designed Gospel Study Journal. There is no cost to you should you decide to create one. Your entries are your own, and are kept private.

As you study the Gospel, you may have inspiration that you wish to write down. Even while doing completely unrelated things, impressions may come to you. You may have an experience that you may wish to record. This Study Journal will offer to you a central location to record all such notes, thoughts, and impressions.

In addition, the study journal will allow you to:

  • link together entries that are related.
  • tag entries with keywords describing the content.
  • link related scripture passages to your entries for easy reference in the future.
  • include relevant citations to other uplifting books that are not in the Standard Works.

As I have spent a great deal of time considering different scripture marking systems, some of them seem to have certain drawbacks, for example:

  • Scriptures wear out – Over time as you mark your scriptures, they begin to look tattered and become difficult to read. There is no longer room for new notes.
  • Lost scriptures mean lost notes – Should you lose your set of scriptures, all of your notes are lost, too.
  • Storage and Retrieval of Thoughts – How many times do you say, “Now, where did I mark that thought or idea?” Many systems fail to provide a good way to retrieve thoughts.
  • Difficult to share with others – Sharing thoughts and notes isn’t as easy as handing them a copy.
  • Forgetfulness – To save space, we sometimes use symbols to mark our scriptures. This means we have to remember what the symbols mean. We run the risk of forgetting what we wrote down.
  • Skew of Meaning – Let’s say you write a thought out to the side of a verse that touched your heart one day. The next time you read through that passage, you may see that note and mistakenly tell yourself, “I already know the meaning of that verse.” This is more common than you might think, and you may not even realize it’s happening. The idea is to have a clean slate where you are able to receive continued revelation, even on verses you may have read many times.
  • Either too much or not enough structure – With many systems, you are either told exactly how to use the system, and it is in a rigid format (such as a book). The huge drawback with books are that they are linear. You read them front to back, and cannot access many pages or pieces of pages at once. You are tied into the structure of the book and cannot move things around as you want.

The Study Journal offered on this site will overcome all of these problems. You will be able to link journal entries to each other, tag them with keywords, link them to scripture passages, or even add citations from other books into your notes, among other things. The benefit of an immersive, intensive study of the Gospel is a tendency towards self-improvement. These are all things that have contributed to the creation of this site.

A preliminary version of the Gospel Study Journal will be available on http://www.ldsscripturestudy.com/ very soon. We will keep you posted on the progress!

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