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I submit that anyone who reads the Book of Mormon and receives a testimony of its truthfulness by the power of the Holy Ghost will be motivated to live a life more consistent with the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. He or she will become a better person. The Book of Mormon is action oriented. It is motivational. As long as the Spirit continues to strive with such individuals, their consciences will not let them be completely at peace until they improve their lives. Abiding by the precepts, teachings, and commandments taught so clearly in its pages will help a person proximately in this life and ultimately in the life to come. As a result, I resonate positively to the theme of this symposium: “Living the Book of Mormon: Abiding by Its Precepts.”
Under the guidance of some of the best thinkers on the Book of Mormon, the Abinadi narrative springs to life as each chapter approaches Abinadi’s story and words from a different perspective. Whether viewed through a sociopolitical, literary, theological, philosophical, or historical lens, new insights and a new appreciation for the richness of Abinadi’s discourse will help readers reignite their passion for the beauty and depth of the Book of Mormon. This volume is written for an informed, Latter-day Saint audience and seeks to make a contribution with other high-quality research and writing being done on the Book of Mormon. It is produced by members of Brigham Young University’s Book of Mormon Academy, a group of scholars dedicated to research on the Book of Mormon. Each of the members brings a different area of expertise to bear on the Abinadi narrative. As that narrative is viewed from a variety of angles, its richness, beauty, and profound meaning come more clearly into focus. ISBN 978-1-9443-9426-4
An important part of drawing nearer to God is coming to know and understand Him through the scriptures He has given us—especially the Book of Mormon, since it contains many plain and precious truths missing from our current Bible. Although most Book of Mormon passages are easy to understand, some are more difficult, such as Abinadi’s teachings about the Father and the Son in Mosiah 15:2–5. Yet Mormon’s inclusion of these words in his abridgment suggests that the Lord wants us to have these teachings and wants us to understand them. Accordingly, many have written about what Abinadi taught—that Jesus Christ is the Father and the Son—and have provided valuable insights and explanations. In these discussions, however, a satisfactory explanation of why Abinadi spoke this way appears to be unaddressed. Abinadi’s teachings can help us know God better and thereby draw nearer to Him if we (1) correctly interpret the why and what of his message and (2) apply his teachings in our study of the scriptures.
This is the fascinating and inspiring story of Johann Huber, one of Austria’s earliest LDS converts. Huber was a controversial political figure in Haag but soon went from the frying pan into the fire when he informed his neighbors of his LDS baptism in Munich in 1900. For the next decade, he weathered relentless persecution from friends, neighbors, Catholic clerics, the local public school, and government officials. Despite attacks from determined opponents, Huber was extraordinarily loyal to his adoptive faith and played a lead role in laying the foundation of the Church in Austria and its ongoing legacy. ISBN 978-0-8425-2933-4
The choices we make may not affect the future history of our nation, but they do impact our personal destiny and influence those in our families and other circles of influence. Indeed, the cause-effect relationship of our choices is a major message of the Book of Mormon. In its pages, we learn about the nature of human agency and the enduring consequences of our choices. This chapter will discuss what agency is; how, where, and by whom various principles of agency are taught; and how understanding and applying the basic elements of agency will bring us nearer to God.
Two nineteenth-century men, Alexander Campbell and Joseph Smith, each launched restoration movements in the United States. They vied for seekers and dissatisfied mainstream Christians, which led to conflict in northeastern Ohio. Both were searching for the primordial beginning of Christianity: Campbell looking back to the Christian church described in the New Testament epistles, and Smith looking even further back to the time of Adam and Eve as the first Christians. Campbell took a rational approach to reading the Bible, emphasizing the New Testament, and began by advocating reform among the Baptists. Smith took a revelatory approach to reading the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, and adding new scriptures. This book is a comparison of these two nineteenth-century men and the restoration movements they created with an in-depth examination of what restoration meant to both groups, as well as their beliefs, their interactions with each other, their similarities, their differences, and their unique contributions to Christianity. This book is copublished by BYU Press and Abilene Christian University Press. ISBN 978-1-9443-9428-8
Equality and charity are two expressions of the same principle—both require humility and meekness; both are central to the message of the Book of Mormon. With distinct clarity, the Book of Mormon teaches over and over again that “all are alike unto God,” and this simple truth is the antidote for many of the pride problems that keep people from coming unto Christ and from extending service and love to all of His children. Whenever an individual or a nation achieves greatness in the Book of Mormon, it is because the people are free with their substance and treat each other as equals. In contrast, the many tragic pitfalls of pride that the Book of Mormon outlines can be traced to a person or persons withholding charity and thinking they are above another. Alma’s deep sorrow was because of the “great inequality among the people, some lifting themselves up with their pride, despising others, turning their backs upon the needy and the naked and those who were hungry, and those who were athirst, and those who were sick and afflicted”. In the kingdom of God, righteousness and devotion are what matter—not prestige, power, or possessions. Love, compassion, and abundance of heart characterize the real Christian, not acquisitiveness and selfishness. The Book of Mormon declares that the true Saints of God are those who put “off the natural man” and become “new creatures” in Christ—”submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love”.
This volume explores the possibility that mortality is framed and informed by God’s love in more ways than we normally suppose. We live within the cosmic embrace of God’s love, even when we encounter difficulties. Hence, as the medieval Catholic thinker Catherine of Siena suggested, “All the way to heaven is heaven” because gospel obedience brings joy and, in a perfectly natural way, fits us for the celestial kingdom. In the process we are stretched out along the long arc of God’s love. Our hearts turn to others, and not just to those about us but also to our ancestors and generations yet unborn. As we discover the depths of Christ’s Atonement, our everyday thinking and conduct begin to hum the miracles of God’s love, chief of which is that there is no bottom to that love. ISBN 978-1-9503-0409-7
One of the key messages of the Book of Mormon is that the human soul must change, must progress, must become. The Book of Mormon is, in effect, a handbook of change, with the Lord seeking to motivate mighty change within us by using the lives and teachings of the Book of Mormon protagonists as the means to teach us how to become. At the heart of the Book of Mormon, in the books of Mosiah and Alma, Alma the Younger makes the subject of change, progression, and becoming the very essence of his life and sermons, and thus Alma the Younger becomes a quintessential standard of how to become like God.
Just as modern missionaries can learn much from the methods of the sons of Mosiah, we can learn much about strengthening wavering members from the example of Alma the Younger in his remarkable reform of the Nephites in Zarahemla. A careful study of Alma 4–16 shows that Alma the Younger models many important principles of activation that are helpful to us today. This study examines principles of activation derived from the account of Alma’s labors among the apostate Nephites, particularly in the city of Zarahemla in Alma 4 and 5.
The implications of ancient Hebrew psychology including the divine origin of man and the responsibility for one’s actions
The Lord has told us that many things in the Apocrypha are true and many false. The fascination that apocryphal writings generally hold for Latter-day Saints was recognized in a 1983 BYU symposium on this topic addressed by fifteen scholars representing a wide range of expertise. Those addresses are collected in this book.
Paul’s Witness to the Early History of Jesus’ Ministry / Richard Lloyd Anderson
Paul’s Earnest Pursuit of Spiritual Gifts / Robert C. Freeman
“An Hebrew of the Hebrews”: Paul’s Language and Thought / C. Wilford Griggs
Paul Among the Rhetoricians: A Model for Proclaiming Christ / Gary Layne Hatch
Hebrew Concepts of Adoption and Redemption in the Writings of Paul / Jennifer Clark Lane
The Jerusalem Council / Robert J. Matthews
Paul Among the Prophets: Obtaining a Crown / Michael W. Middleton
Walking in Newness of Life: Doctrinal Themes of the Apostle Paul / Robert L. Millet
What is a Mortal Messiah? / Craig J. Ostler
The Holy Ghost Brings Testimony, Unity, and Spiritual Gifts / Rex C. Reeve, Jr.
A Triumph of Faith: Paul’s Teachings in Second Timothy / John G. Scott
The Jewish and Gentile Missions: Paul’s Role in the Transition / Gaye Strathearn
Today, it’s hard to imagine Apostles not being able to visit any part of the world. But the Saints in South America waited twenty years between visits. Follow the experiences in 1948 of Apostle Stephen L Richards and his wife Irene in Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay that changed the course of the Church in Latin America. In addition, the book has a prologue and epilogue that tell the history of the Church in Latin America before and after the Richardses’ visit. ISBN 978-1-9443-9477-6
The 2013 BYU Church History Symposium This volume is a collection of essays by prominent LDS scholars–including keynote speakers Richard Bushman and David Holland–that discuss the interest in the ancient world shared by Joseph Smith and the early Latter-day Saints. Topics include Joseph Smith’s fascination with the ancient Americas, his interaction with the Bible, his study of Hebrew and Greek, his reading of Jewish and Christian apocryphal writings, and his work with the Book of Abraham in the context of nineteenth-century Egyptology. Together, these essays demonstrate that Joseph Smith’s interests in antiquity played an important role in his prophetic development as he sought to recover ancient scripture, restore the ancient Church, and bring the Latter-day Saints into fellowship with the sacred past. ISBN 978‐0‐8425‐2966‐2
This volume aims to assist in the personal and family study of the history and teachings of the Old Testament. The book gathers some of the clearest writings on the Old Testament that have been published by the Religious Studies Center at Brigham Young University. The Old Testament is not only foundational to our understanding of the birth, life, atonement, crucifixion, and resurrection of the Savior, as found in the New Testament, the Book of Mormon, and other scripture, but it also teaches us about God, our faith history, and the spiritual heritage of the house of Israel. ISBN 978-1-9503-0420-2
The 42nd Annual Brigham Young University Sidney B. Sperry Symposium The Psalmist asks, “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord?” This year’s Sperry Symposium discusses ascending into the Lord’s mountain within the context of theophany, ancient temple worship, sacred space, sacrifice, offerings, and hymns and songs in the text of the Old Testament and the Book of Mormon. The scriptures contain a rich treasury of information of how ancient Israelites and the people in the Book of Mormon worshipped God and expressed themselves through ritual and devotions as found in the Psalms. These explorations of ancient temple worship help us to better understand and appreciate latter-day temple and worship traditions. ISBN 978-1-60907-581-1
The 42nd Annual Brigham Young University Sidney B. Sperry Symposium The Psalmist asks, “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord?” This year’s Sperry Symposium discusses ascending into the Lord’s mountain within the context of theophany, ancient temple worship, sacred space, sacrifice, offerings, and hymns and songs in the text of the Old Testament and the Book of Mormon. The scriptures contain a rich treasury of information of how ancient Israelites and the people in the Book of Mormon worshipped God and expressed themselves through ritual and devotions as found in the Psalms. These explorations of ancient temple worship help us to better understand and appreciate latter-day temple and worship traditions.