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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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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Nov 18

Write It Down

Many of us receive impressions from the Spirit from time to time. When that happens, what do we do with those impressions? Do we ponder over them? Do we treasure them? Do we care enough about them to write them down and keep a record of them?

Let’s take a look at what the scriptures say about writing down impressions as they come.

In 1 Nephi 6:3, Nephi informs us:

3 And it mattereth not to me that I am particular to give a full account of all the things of my father, for they cannot be written upon these plates, for I desire the room that I may write of the things of God.

From this we can see that it was more important to Nephi to write down the things of God than anything else. He wrote the things down that were of the greatest importance. What could be more important than direct, personal communication from Heavenly Father?

The Nephite people did the same thing and felt the same way. In 2 Nephi 25:23, we are told:

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.

They wrote for their posterity, to help them come unto Christ. In verse 26, we learn:

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.

They kept records to help their children know the Gospel. They wanted their children to really know Christ.

We learn that the same thing was done in Jacob 1:4, which tells us:

4 And if there were preaching which was sacred, or revelation which was great, or prophesying, that I should engraven the heads of them upon these plates, and touch upon them as much as it were possible, for Christ’s sake, and for the sake of our people.

Again, we see that they wrote down their spiritual and sacred experiences so that they would be preserved for the benefit of the people.

King Benjamin explained in detail the purpose of keeping records of sacred and spiritual experiences in Mosiah 1:2–7, which explains:

2 And it came to pass that he had three sons; and he called their names Mosiah, and Helorum, and Helaman. And he caused that they should be taught in all the language of his fathers, that thereby they might become men of understanding; and that they might know concerning the prophecies which had been spoken by the mouths of their fathers, which were delivered them by the hand of the Lord.

3 And he also taught them concerning the records which were engraven on the plates of brass, saying: My sons, I would that ye should remember that were it not for these plates, which contain these records and these commandments, we must have suffered in ignorance, even at this present time, not knowing the mysteries of God.

4 For it were not possible that our father, Lehi, could have remembered all these things, to have taught them to his children, except it were for the help of these plates; for he having been taught in the language of the Egyptians therefore he could read these engravings, and teach them to his children, that thereby they could teach them to their children, and so fulfilling the commandments of God, even down to this present time.

5 I say unto you, my sons, were it not for these things, which have been kept and preserved by the hand of God, that we might read and understand of his mysteries, and have his commandments always before our eyes, that even our fathers would have dwindled in unbelief, and we should have been like unto our brethren, the Lamanites, who know nothing concerning these things, or even do not believe them when they are taught them, because of the traditions of their fathers, which are not correct.

6 O my sons, I would that ye should remember that these sayings are true, and also that these records are true. And behold, also the plates of Nephi, which contain the records and the sayings of our fathers from the time they left Jerusalem until now, and they are true; and we can know of their surety because we have them before our eyes.

7 And now, my sons, I would that ye should remember to search them diligently, that ye may profit thereby; and I would that ye should keep the commandments of God, that ye may prosper in the land according to the promises which the Lord made unto our fathers.

King Benjamin taught his sons how important the plates were. He also taught them the great value in maintaining and keeping the records. He even warned what would happen if the records were not kept properly.

In Omni 1:17, we in fact see what happens to a people when proper records are not kept:

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.

From these verses, we can learn the importance of writing down things that we learn from the Lord through the Holy Ghost. Elder Richard G. Scott had this to say about an experience he had with personal revelation:

“…strong impressions began to flow to me again. I wrote them down. The message included specific counsel on how to become more effective as an instrument in the hands of the Lord. I received such an outpouring of impressions that were so personal that I felt it was not appropriate to record them in the midst of a Sunday School class. I sought a more private location, where I continued to write the feelings that flooded into my mind and heart as faithfully as possible. After each powerful impression was recorded, I pondered the feelings I had received to determine if I had accurately expressed them in writing. As a result, I made a few minor changes to what had been written. Then I studied their meaning and application in my own life.”

“Subsequently I prayed, reviewing with the Lord what I thought I had been taught by the Spirit. When a feeling of peace came, I thanked Him for the guidance given. I was then impressed to ask, ‘Was there yet more to be given?’ I received further impressions, and the process of writing down the impressions, pondering, and praying for confirmation was repeated. Again I was prompted to ask, ‘Is there more I should know?’ And there was. When that last, most sacred experience was concluded, I had received some of the most precious, specific, personal direction one could hope to obtain in this life. Had I not responded to the first impressions and recorded them, I would not have received the last, most precious guidance.”

“To Acquire Spiritual Guidance,” General Conference Report, October 2009

Not only should we write down our thoughts and impressions, but we should ask if there is more that the Lord would have us to know. In many instances, such as with Elder Scott, there may be much more there for us. Who knows who might benefit from our doing this?

See also:

1 Nephi 5:21
Jacob 1:4
3 Nephi 27:23
Mosiah 2:8–9
2 Nephi 25:23,26
Mosiah 26:33
Ether 4:1
D&C 68:4

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Nov 08

The Scriptures We Are Missing

It amazes me the amount of scripture that we know that is missing. There are missing scriptures mentioned in the Bible and in the Book of Mormon. And then there is the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon as well.

Here is what Elder James E. Talmage had to say on the topic:

Missing Scripture.—Matthew’s commentary on the abode of Joseph, Mary and Jesus at Nazareth, “and he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, he shall be called a Nazarene” (2:23), with the fact that no such saying of the prophets is found in any of the books contained in the Bible, suggests the certainty of lost scripture. Those who oppose the doctrine of continual revelation between God and His Church, on the ground that the Bible is complete as a collection of sacred scriptures, and that alleged revelation not found therein must therefore be spurious, may profitably take note of the many books not included in the Bible, yet mentioned therein, generally in such a way as to leave no doubt that they were once regarded as authentic. Among these extra-Biblical scriptures, the following may be named; some of them are in existence to-day, and are classed with the Apocrypha; but the greater number are unknown. We read of the Book of the Covenant (Exo. 24:7); Book of the Wars of the Lord (Numb. 21:14); Book of Jasher (Josh. 10:13); Book of the Statutes (1 Sam. 10:25); Book of Enoch (Jude 14); Book of the Acts of Solomon (1 Kings 11:41); Book of Nathan the Prophet, and that of Gad the Seer (1 Chron. 29:29); Book of Ahijah the Shilonite, and visions of Iddo the Seer (2 Chron. 9:29); Book of Shemaiah (2 Chron. 12:15); Story of the Prophet Iddo (2 Chron. 13:22); Book of Jehu (2 Chron. 20:34); the Acts of Uzziah, by Isaiah, the son of Amoz (2 Chron. 26:22); Sayings of the Seers (2 Chron. 33:19); a missing epistle of Paul to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 5:9); a missing epistle to the Ephesians (Eph. 3:3); missing epistle to the Colossians, written from Laodicea (Col. 4:16); a missing epistle of Jude (Jude 3).”

Jesus the Christ, James E Talmage, p. 113

And in 2 Nephi 4:1–2, we read:

1 And now, I, Nephi, speak concerning the prophecies of which my father hath spoken, concerning Joseph, who was carried into Egypt.

2 For behold, he truly prophesied concerning all his seed. And the prophecies which he wrote, there are not many greater. And he prophesied concerning us, and our future generations; and they are written upon the plates of brass.

In Alma 33:3 and many other places, the writings of the prophet Zenos are referenced.
In Alma 33:15, the words of Zenock are also mentioned.

And of course the writings of the isles of the sea (2 Nephi 29:11).

And then the sealed portion of the plates from Ether 4:4–6, we read:

4 Behold, I have written upon these plates the very things which the brother of Jared saw; and there never were greater things made manifest than those which were made manifest unto the brother of Jared.

5 Wherefore the Lord hath commanded me to write them; and I have written them. And he commanded me that I should seal them up; and he also hath commanded that I should seal up the interpretation thereof; wherefore I have sealed up the interpreters, according to the commandment of the Lord.

6 For the Lord said unto me: They shall not go forth unto the Gentiles until the day that they shall repent of their iniquity, and become clean before the Lord.

7 And in that day that they shall exercise faith in me, saith the Lord, even as the brother of Jared did, that they may become sanctified in me, then will I manifest unto them the things which the brother of Jared saw, even to the unfolding unto them all my revelations, saith Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of the heavens and of the earth, and all things that in them are.

My personal belief is that we will someday receive much of these scriptures either again, or for the first time. What a wonderful thing to look forward to!

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Mar 04

New Version Released!

We are pleased to announce that a new version of the study journal has been released.  Most of the updates had to do with notes not saving properly.  The note editor has also been updated.  A few other minor things were fixed as they were found.  If you would like a free LDS Scripture Study journal, claim yours at http://www.ldsscripturestudy.com/ .  We always welcome feedback!  Please let us know about your experience on our Contact Page.

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Mar 02

What Constitutes True Scripture?

A few weeks ago, a couple of intriguing articles came out addressing some ways to contemplate the origins of different types of text.  Some we know to be historical fiction, as the author of such texts plainly declares them so.  Others claim to be true and authentic.  How can we tell the difference?  These articles give some helpful guidelines and insights.

Here are some excerpts:

“When discussing the meaning of scripture, people often raise the question of historicity. Unfortunately, this is a complicated topic with many distinct yet overlapping issues — issues that are frequently misunderstood or conflated. Historicity essentially means that a person mentioned in an ancient text really lived, that an event really happened, that a place actually existed.

Thus, historicity relates to questions such as, did Moses really exist? Was there really an Israelite exodus from Egypt? Was there a Mount Sinai? Alternatively, one can ask, did a historical Gandalf ever live? Was there really a siege at Helm’s Deep? Was there actually a volcano named Mount Doom where Sauron had his forge and workshop? The issue of historicity is thus an ontological question — a question about the nature of reality as reflected in historical texts.”

Source

“It’s important to realize that not all the books of the Bible present themselves as history. The Bible includes poetry, proverbs, moral exemplars, etc. The book of Job may very well be a work of fiction — a parable of sorts, or a proto-philosophical dialogue. But Job doesn’t present itself as history (though some modern readers have assumed it to be such). That is, if Job is a work of fiction, it’s still authentic, because it makes no internal claim to be historical.

Likewise, in the Book of Mormon, the allegory of the olive tree in Jacob 5 isn’t historical; it presents itself as inspired fiction. The book of Kings, on the other hand, clearly presents itself as authentic history, though it makes no internal claim to inspiration or revelation.”

Source

These two articles present some thought-provoking observations on how we can consider parts of our Standard Works through our careful and prayerful studies.

Thoughts?

 

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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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Apr 22

Online Scripture Study Journal

Would you like an LDS Scripture Study journal? Take a look at what our study journal has to offer.

The Gospel study journal:

  • gives you the full LDS scriptures online
  • allows you to quickly retrieve notes and ideas that you have recorded.
  • makes it easy to share these 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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