Book of Mormon

Articles and Talks Things to Ponder

Historical Vignettes Science-Religion From the Media

About Music Poetry and Verse Humor

Introduction to the
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Come Unto Christ

Book of Mormon
abridged and abbreviated preview
Book of Mormon

complete official edition on-line
Book of Mormon

12. Plain Reasoning and Empirical Findings
Some of the extensive evidences supporting the Book of Mormon as an ancient document that deals with real people and places.
Help in Understanding the Book of Mormon
Sometimes even as Latter-day Saints, reading from a position of faith, we have not always been aware of all the strengths of our scriptures.
Miraculous Printing of the Book of Mormon?
It took an "old-time" printer to notice that it may have been miraculous to print 5,000 copies of the Book of Mormon in only seven months with the technology of that time.
9. Is Mesoamerica the Setting of the Book of Mormon?
Here are ancient pyramids swallowed in the tropical jungles, mounds and walls entangled in vegetation, remains of cities buried in lava flows, hidden in lakes, and buried under centuries of earth.
8. When Joseph Smith Could Not Translate
Joseph had been upset about something in the house. He could not translate a single syllable until he had prayed for about an hour and asked for Emma's forgiveness.
7. Were the Golden Plates Gold?
The plates were 8 inches long, 6 inches wide, and 6 inches thick, which would weigh about 200 pounds if made of pure 24K gold. That is a lot for Joseph Smith to have carried.
6. A Case for Historicity: the Book of Mormon's Production Culture
Placed in the culture where the unstated assumptions become explicit, the text describes human motivations appropriate to that historical time and place.
5. Thoughts On Book of Mormon Geography
It's not always what is commonly assumed.
4. A Social History of the Early Nephites
I have examined the New World in an attempt to find a similar time, context, and contemporary culture with which to better see the text of the Book of Mormon.
3. A Jaredite Journey by Sea
A sea captain's viewpoint on boat specifications.
2. The Historicity of The Book of Mormon
For all its simple and straightforward narrative style, the Book of Mormon has a staggering wealth of detail that completely escapes the casual reader.
1. Hugh Nibley's Book of Mormon Challenge
Hugh Nibley once told his Book of Mormon class at BYU, "It should not be too much to ask you to hand in by the end of the semester (which will give you more time than Joseph Smith had) a paper of, say, five to six hundred pages in length, telling . . .

Articles and Talks
56. Turning 50: Things I Wish I'd Known Before
We are all children playing "adult" in a large telestial sandbox. Share your toys. Sell the boat and use the money to send someone to college.
55. Personal Roadblocks and Your Own Timetable
So often the roadblocks in our path gently steer us through the gateway to our real mission in life.
54. Facing the Right Way
It is so easy to be turned about without realizing it, where members of the Church, influenced by social and political unrest, are being caught up and led away.
53. Witnesses to the 1978 Revelation on Priesthood
"There was a Pentacostal spirit, for the Holy Ghost whispered with certainty into our minds and our very souls. Not one of us who was present on that occasion was ever quite the same after that."
52. All Are (Really) Alike to God: 1978 Priesthood Revelation
When President Kimball finished his prayer, the Lord gave a revelation in a miraculous and marvelous manner, beyond anything any of us then present had ever experienced.
51. Revelation and the Use of Human Language
The concepts given to a prophet are divine; the words with which he transmits them are human.
50. President Faust's Communion with Heaven
I have also felt the crushing burden, the self-doubts of inadequacy and unworthiness, the fleeting feeling of being forsaken, then of being reinforced an hundredfold.
49. Iraq: Homeland of Biblical and Jaredite Events
Mesopotamia, Ur, Assyria, Babylon, and Nineveh were all in present-day Iraq.
48. How Do I Get My Spouse to Change?
The only growth that means anything comes from our (and their) own inward desires. Any changes imposed from outside are only a sham, a concession to convenience.
47. What we work for determines if the work is telestial or celestial. The Law of Consecration is the law of the Celestial Kingdom revealed to us in this telestial setting.
All That Glitters
"Why would anyone want to get married?" Standing that close to this wondrous woman at the Academy Awards, the glitter was almost blinding.
45. Is the Strait and Narrow Confining?
The "strait and narrow" does not have to be any more confining than a carefully-tailored suit or a warm and heavenly embrace.
44. The Teenaged Brain in Today's World
Here's what happens in a not-yet-fully-developed brain.
43. Would You Have Been a Pharisee?
There is perhaps a greater possibility for evil in the earnest man gone wrong than in the merely apathetic.
42. What is the "Great and Abominable Church"?
Membership is based more on who has your heart than on who has your records.
41. What Happens to Children When They Die?
Their spirits immediately resume their normal adult stature. In the resurrection, their bodies assume the state of development at which they died, to then be raised to maturity by righteous and worthy parents.
40. Unrighteous Dominion
Some brethren do not understand that there is a marked difference between priesthood authority and priesthood power.
39. A New Look at the Great Apostasy
Many righteous Christians believe their "orthodox" Christianity must be divine because it has survived scandalous representatives.
38. The Rise of Relativism and the Decline of Virtue and Freedom in America
Being tolerant about the wrong things will cost us our virtue - then our freedoms.
37. The Power of Patriarchal Blessings
There are three patriarchal blessings besides your own that were given for you as clearly as your own personal blessing.
36. The Principle of Sacrifice
Those who make sufficient sacrifice will know that their course is pleasing in the sight of God; and they will have faith to lay hold on eternal life.
35. Fasting
One of the ways a sacrifice can be offered up is through fasting.
34. The Accidental Architect
As embarrassed as we may be by the shambles of our mortal effort, He will take the broken branches and fragments of plastic that we offer Him and create a castle.
33. Satan's Grasp
Satan would have us seek to meet our perceived needs with a reckless lack of concern for the consequences.
32. President Packer's Testimony of the Modern Apostleship
We think of those who have preceded us in these sacred offices, and at times we feel their presence.
31. Power From Abrahamic Tests
If we come offering what we think he wants, without having testimony that we are doing what he really does want, then we are not yet prepared.
30. Paradigm Shift
If you want to make quantum improvements, change your paradigm, your map. Begin to look at things from an entirely different level of thinking.
29. Reflections on Two Apostles
After the longest period of stable membership since early 1835, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has lost two of its members to death within the space of ten days.
28. Oh, How Lovely Was the Morning: Sunday, March 26, 1820?
Two researchers working independently have come up with evidence pointing toward a date for the First Vision.
27. Of Creativity and Intuition
One difference between the creator and the clod in all of us is that the creator says, "Look at that." And the clod replies grudgingly, "Look at what?"
26. Neal Maxwell's "Wintry Doctrine"
Sometimes the best people have the worst experiences, because they are the most ready to learn.
25. Marriage Supper of the Lamb
Marriage customs of the ancient church illuminate Christ's metaphor of marriage in which he is the Bridegroom and we are the Bride.
24. Leadership: Be a Gardener, Not a Mechanic
Remember that you can rent a person's back and hands, but you must earn a person's head and heart.
23. Isaiah's Voice on the Promised Millennium
Various aspects of everyday life as we know it now will continue during the Millennium.
22. Emma Smith's Witness of the Restoration
In 1879, a few months prior to Emma Smith's death, her son Joseph III interviewed her to answer some questions about church history.
21. Finding a Way to Bless Rather than a Reason to Judge
So we just ignore right and wrong, have a big love-fest and fail to teach rightness? Nope.
20. Endure to the End of Garbage
At some level, maybe resisting evil without fully overcoming is a part of what enduring to the end is all about.
19. Exploring Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence brings awareness of our own and others' emotions and how to manage them in positive ways.
18. Divine Designs for Marriage
In the crucible of marriage, couples may discover that their spouse has needs of which neither of them was previously aware.
17. Because He Hath Poured Out His Soul Unto Death
This manner of death allowed him time to do the pouring out. He could decide at what point to lay down his life.
16. Abandoning Anger
Little did I realize then that when I feel genuinely loving toward someone, I lose interest in correcting them. I just want to love and bless them.
15. Fatherhood is Sacred
It is not simply power that a father needs. It is the power to bless.
14. Fainting, Flopping, and the Joy of Heaven
The scriptural examples are almost humorous. When God unleashes his joy upon them, they are flopping to the earth as if they are dead.
13. President Benson's Testimony of the Savior
There is no truth or fact of which I am more assured, or know better by personal experience, than the truth of the literal resurrection of our Lord.
12. Visits of the Risen Lord, Jesus Christ, in Scripture
Furthermore, many accounts and testimonies tell of individuals since 1820 who have come to know that Jesus of Nazareth lives as a resurrected Being.
11. Hinduism: Special Wisdom for Latter-day Saints
In our LDS sense of connection and community, we want, at the very least, to be understood by our fellow believers and hope to be approved of. However, ...
10. A Law of Increasing Returns
Most people usually assume they are working with early crops, expecting, after the first rush of early returns, little more to come from continuing effort.
9. The Temple and the Atonement
Brigham Young said if you could only see your husband or wife as they will be in the glorious resurrection, - this very companion you now say you despise, - your first impulse would be to kneel and worship them.
8. Huge Nibley: Isaiah Speaks to Us
In fact there are no great men but just ordinary guys, with disastrous delusions of grandeur.
7. Hugh Nibley: One Peep At the Other Side
Hugh Nibley had a glimpse of life after life when he stopped breathing during an appendectomy in 1936. His crisis of faith was dramatically and instantly resolved by this experience.
6. Hugh Nibley: How to Get Rich
Is this realistic in the modern world? No! But that is just the point, says the Lord.
5. Hugh Nibley: Leaders and Managers
The leader has a passion for equality. For the manager, the idea of equality is repugnant and counterproductive.
4. Milk Before Meat - But Meat
My experience has been that people who feel the scriptures are too elementary for them have a minimal influence for good.
3. The Gospel and Animals
While moving slowly forward in pursuit of something to kill, my mind was arrested and, feeling condemned, I laid my gun on my shoulder, and from that time to this have felt no inclination for that murderous amusement." - President Lorenzo Snow
2. Various Thoughts On the Nature of Divine Law and Punishment
God doesn't have to lift a finger to inflict punishment for sin, but he does much more than lift fingers to keep us from getting into sin, and healing us when we get into it anyway.
1. Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall
A long list of ironic dangers we hardly think of.

Things to Ponder
31. Sheep Who Wander
Though some sheep may wander, the eye of the Shepherd is upon them, and sooner or later they will feel Divine Providence reaching out after them.
30. Spiritual Rebirth
My heart was touched, and I felt that I would not injure the smallest insect beneath my feet.
29. Judging Others by Their Church Activity
We tend to catagorize members according to their "activity," but that takes little or no account of the things of the heart.
28. Judging Others by Our Cultural Standards
How it floods my heart with sorrow to see so many Elders of Israel who wish everybody to come to their standard and be measured by their measure.
27. Why the Lord Allows What He Does
If joy and peace and rewards were instantaneous, there could be no development of character, no growth, no free agency.
26. The Gospel and the Church
One is the plan, which looks to the eternities and must necessarily be perfect; and the other is the work, which is right here and is anything but the finished product.
25. Self-Righteousness
It is the doctrine of the devil to retard the human mind and hinder our progress by filling us with feelings of self-righteousness.
24. Nurturing Each Other
If we would knowingly and unnecessarily hurt the vulnerable, as long as we ourselves feel safe, then we cannot be given the power to do so in eternity.
23. Having Fun
Joseph Smith disliked long-faced hypocrisy. He knew that much of what people call sin is not sin.
22. Faith in the Resurrection
It's a lot easier to believe in that than to believe I was created in the first place. Now that's really a mystery.
21. Callings in the Church
Second fiddle is not always easy to play, especially when you have been a soloist!
20. When and How to do Family History and Temple Work
Our effort is not to compel everyone to do everything, but to encourage everyone to do something.
19. Expansive People
They overlook trifles and keep their minds fixed on whatever is good and positive in the world.
18. Great People Outside the Church
Perhaps the Lord has placed such people on the outside of His Church where they can do more good for the cause than anywhere else.
17. The Unfair Contradictions of Life
We will be recompensed for our faithful endurance of life's contradictions, injustices, and flat-out unfair circumstances.
16. The Sacredness of Marriage
Marriage welds a man and a woman together in a way that is too personal and too permanent for a mere contract to accomplish.
15. Time As Not Our Natural Dimension
Time, as much as any one thing, whispers to us that we are strangers here.
14. There Are No Ordinary People
The dullest and most uninteresting person may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship.
13. True Greatness
The difficulty arises when inflated expectations of the world alter our definition of greatness.
12. The Tests of Life
All are part of the test, and there is more equality in this testing than we sometimes think.
11. The Resurrection
In the resurrection, the body will rise as it was laid to rest, and naturally develop forward or backward into its perfect stature.
10. The Nature of Joy
Joy arises out of our seeing good and evil and, having chosen the good, knowing we have made it ours by right of conquest.
9. The Nature of God
The Lord said, "I delight in a glad heart and a cheerful countenance."
8. The Meaning of Death
As seedlings of God, we barely blossom on earth; we fully flower in heaven.
7. Justice, Mercy and Grace
Handy definitions.
6. Friends We Feel We Have Always Known
Why are we drawn toward certain persons and they to us as if we had always known each other?
5. The Effects of the Holy Ghost
It inspires, cultivates and matures all the fine toned sympathies, joys, tastes, kindred feelings, and affections of our nature.
4. Historical Charicature
To highlight the mistakes and gloss over the greater good can be amusing, but it is often ugly and dishonest.
3. Freedom of Thought
We are not so concerned with whether your thoughts are orthodox or heterodox as we are that you shall have thoughts.
2. Blind Obedience
I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by Him!
1. The Bearing of Testimonies
Testimonies are not to be sermons or exhortations or travel reports or attempts to entertain.

Historical Vignettes
22. Hallelujah!
When Brigham attended one of the rehearsals, he asked the conductor to explain the counterpoint of "The Hallelujah Chorus."
21. Neal Maxwell in the Foxhole
During the battle for Okinawa, his own mortar position created an obvious invitation for the enemy to locate and eliminate his firing capacity - and him.
20. Joseph Smith Teaches Patience to Brigham Young
Shortly after they had settled in the Salt Lake Valley, Brigham became concerned about those few Saints who Odesired to leave for the gold fields of California.
19. Joseph Smith Forgives W.W. Phelps
W.W. Phelps had apostatized and signed an affidavit which was used to incarcerate Joseph in Liberty Jail. With great feelings of remorse, he earnestly desired to repent.
18. How President Benson's Mother-in Law Died
This choice woman's husband appeared to her. "He said he had come to tell me that my time in mortal life was ending and that on the following Thursday [it was then Friday], I would be expected to leave mortal life."
17. Heber J. Grant Meets Brigham Young
Instead of being angry at finding a stowaway, the man said to his driver, "This little boy is nearly frozen. Put him under the buffalo robe and get him warm." Heber sat right next to the kind man and was just settling in when the man asked, "What's your name?"
16. A Leader Too Busy with Details
He had tried to reach his grieving father but could not. His father was so busy with the details of his office and work that he could not respond to the promptings. Therefore, the son had come to his mother.
15. The Real J. Golden Kimball
I knew I would never think of Brother J. Golden the same way again. He was now another man in my mind. An incredible sense of humor was just one of his gifts.
14. President Snow Sees the Savior
"Now granddaughter, I want you to remember that this is the testimony of your grandfather, that he told you with his own lips that he actually saw the Savior, here in the Temple, and talked with him face to face.
13. Thomas Monson Starts a Rumor
Then I started a rumor: "Soon a new city will be opened for missionary work, where Brigham Young proselyted and baptized 45 persons in 30 days." The missionaries' weekly letters pleaded for the assignment to this "Shangri-la."
12. A Prophet's Surgeon: Russell M. Nelson
When he spoke those words, my heart sank. This momentous decision, which shaped the history of the Church, was not based on medical recommendation.
11. How David B. Haight Was Called to the Twelve
And as I was standing with that wonderful man and he's holding my hands, he says to me, "With all the love that I possess, I'm calling you to fill the vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles."
10. President Kimball's Late Night Visitors
President Kimball opened the door in his pajamas.
9. President McKay's Patriarchal Blessing
The patriarch looked into his eyes said "My boy, you have something to do besides playing marbles." Young David went into the kitchen and told his mother, "If he thinks I'm going to stop playing marbles, he is mistaken."
8. Joseph Smith's Majesty in Jail
On a sudden he arose to his feet, and spoke in a voice of thunder, or as the roaring lion.
7. Orson F. Whitney's Vision of the Savior
He was of noble stature and majestic mien - not at all the weak, effeminate being that some painters have portrayed; but the very God that He was and is, yet as meek and humble as a little child.
6. President Packer and the Ragamuffin
Someone has said that the Church often sees President Packer as a strict disciplinarian. President Kimball wrote of an incident that gives the lie to that perception.
5. Thomas Monson: Be Your Best Self
"Dear Elder Maughn: Happy to hear that you have tracted out the city of Kitchener. Now if you will teach and baptize the people in Kitchener, that will be your next assignment."
4. LeGrand Richards and Patriarchal Blessings
If we only knew that the Lord wanted our son and that his mission here upon the earth had not been cut short because of our letting him go to the beach that day with his friends.
3. LeGrand Richards' Ninetieth Birthday
"I love you brethren - and I love the women as much as the Lord permits."
2. Joseph F. Smith: Experiences of His Youth
When Joseph F. was 15 years old, he called out for the schoolmaster not to strike the girl. The schoolmaster, instead, "came at me. . ."
1. Heber J. Grant Forgives
President Taylor said, "Heber, how did you feel about that brother this morning when you left me?" President Grant said, "I felt like I wanted to go out and knock him down."

Science and Religion
9. Challenge to Atheists
So, come on you atheists: try to refute any of my three arguments.
8. Prairie Dog Language?
This is why software programmers never look at a section of programming code and say: "I wonder how this code sprang into being," or "Wow! This code must have evolved over millions of years by chance."
7. Was There Death Before Adam?
Can we reconcile the scientific evidence of ancient life and death with scriptural teachings that the fall of Adam was what brought death into the world?
6. The Relatedness of Living Things
One can believe in evolution and still believe in the Gospel. The Gospel embraces all truth; then if evolution is true, it is part of the Gospel."
5. A Mormon View of Creation
Had Joseph Smith's sacred writings, all before 1844, been taken seriously, his view would have eliminated most of the tedious arguments between "science and religion."
4. Reflections of a Scientist
Probably one of the most difficult problems in reading the scriptures is to decide what is literal and what is figurative.
3. Various Thoughts On Creation vs. Evolution
Genesis says, "Man was brought up out of "the dust of the ground." This could be used to promote the theory of evolution.
2. Time Magazine's New Ape-man
People's bone structures vary greatly. Doubtless, our ancient forebears were also diverse in their looks. How, then, can one assign a single fossil bone to a distinct place in human history?
1. Various Thoughts On Genes vs. Free-agency
Maybe a great deal of our behavior is programmed by DNA, but we do have the power to override the programming.

From the Media
5. A Father's Day Sentiment About My Dad
For all his many efforts, it was the way he loved our mother, and his way of loving and caring for us, that mattered the most.
4. Elder Dallin H. Oaks Interview Transcript From PBS Documentary 2007
The Mormons'case is unique in the fact that their persecution was officially sanctioned by at least two different state governments.
3. Information Overload Called Harmful
Their brains at some point even start to perceive gospel truths on the same level of reality as a video game.
2. Quitting the Mormon Church?
Dear Editor: I have been thinking of quitting the Mormon Church. Yes, if I can, I am going to get even with that church. As soon as I can find another church that teaches about . . .
1. Enough is Enough!
What I heard and saw was just the opposite from what the religious ministers were telling me.

About Music
3. Igniting Your Creative Fire
Creative inspiration does not give us the right to suggest to others that our work is inspired, and therefore perfect.
2. An Angel Sang
An overwhelming flood of warmth and love replaced the vision of Lynne, and I felt confident my singing would be just fine, despite the fact that I continued to cough and wheeze.
1. Making Music in Zion
To make the music of Zion we ought to be as Zion, having our hearts knit together in unity and love.

Poetry and Verse
6. Widow's Lullaby - Winter Quarters, 1847
Even here - here in this wind-swept place, this savage wilderness, you have been my courage and my star.
5. For Moms and Dads
May I lie back - not have to think about what they're stuffing down the sink, or who they're with, or where they're at and what they're doing to the cat.
4. Excuse This House
Some houses try to hide the fact that children shelter there. Ours boasts of it quite openly; the signs are everywhere.
3. Behold the Wounds
Behold the wounds in Jesus' hands, the marks upon His side. Then ponder who He meant to save When on the cross He died.
2. The Passing of Loved Ones
And in the morning those angel faces smile which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.
1. The Power of Example
When sheep go wrong, it won't take long 'Til the lambs are as wrong as they.

3. Patti Perfect
Patti gets up very early and runs her usual five miles. Then quiet meditation and scripture reading, before preparing the family breakfast. Now the Real Story:
2. Brigham Young's Sense of Humor
Brigham again walked to the pulpit, where he said, "We announced this morning that Zachary Taylor was dead and gone to hell - I am sorry!"
1. Hymns of the Lukewarm Church
A Comfy Mattress Is Our God, Pillow of Ages Fluffed for Me, I'm Fairly Certain That My Redeemer Lives