Topical Bibliography: A — C
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When the Lord taught the parable of the pearl of great price (Matthew 13:45–46), he could have had direct reference to the great teachings on missionary work found within the Pearl of Great Price we value today as one of our choicest scriptural records. Contained within the histories, visions, doctrinal teachings and other inspired revelations in this standard work are some of the most important foundations and principles of missionary work for this and previous dispensations. As we learn of them our appreciation for the importance of sharing the gospel with others grows, and our understanding of the role of each member of the Church in taking the gospel to the nations of the earth deepens.
Many parents, as they have labored through the process of raising a teenager, may have wondered at times if Satan’s idea of destroying agency was such a bad idea. However, most parents have learned from experience that trying to control a child’s decisions, even in the right direction, can often result in the child’s rebellion. Very few, if any, like to be forced to do something, even if it is good. Having the right to live according to our personal desires and to exercise our agency, even if what we choose is not wise or good for us, is very precious to us. We prize our moral agency so highly that any attempt to undermine, circumvent, manipulate, control, or eliminate it often leads to conflict. These battles have spanned heaven and earth and have included both individuals and great assemblies.
Teachers should eagerly anticipate the lesson when their students will learn about the Fall of Adam and Eve. This doctrine is one of three great doctrinal topics that all Latter-day Saints should understand. According to Elder Bruce R. McConkie, “These three are the very pillars of eternity itself. They are the most important events that ever have or will occur in all eternity. They are the Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement.”
Articles of Faith
Atonement of Jesus Christ
The greatest concept we can study or teach is the plan of redemption—sometimes called the plan of salvation or the plan of happiness. The doctrines of the plan of redemption have more power to bring men to God than any other truth or concept. Many members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints quickly recognize the following diagram.
When Alma the Younger returned to Zarahemla following his mission to the Zoramites, “he caused that his sons should be gathered together, that he might give unto them every one his charge, separately, concerning the things pertaining to righteousness” (Alma 35:16). The Book of Mormon contains a significantly larger amount of counsel from Alma to his wayward son Corianton than to Helaman and Shiblon.
Within Alma’s teachings, we discover a concise explanation of the Fall of Adam and three elements necessary to reclaim each individual from the Fall, namely, death, the Atonement, and the Resurrection. This chapter will discuss the Fall of Adam and these three elements in Alma’s teachings to Corianton and also in the inspired teachings of modern apostles and prophets. This chapter will conclude that we can control only one of the three elements necessary to reclaim mankind from the Fall: whether we use the Atonement to repent of our sins and forgive others.
Baptism for the Dead
In 1979, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints published its edition of the King James Version of the Bible. The Scriptures Publication Committee decided to include portions of the Joseph Smith Translation in the new edition. For the first time, Latter-day Saints had access to Joseph’s inspired work in their own personal scriptures. Many Latter-day Saints may be unaware that the efforts to include the JST material in the new edition of the Bible were pioneered by Robert J. Matthews, former dean of Religious Education at Brigham Young University. Beginning in 1953, Brother Matthews began a letter-writing campaign to the RLDS Church (now called the Community of Christ), requesting permission to study the original JST manuscripts. Through his sustained efforts, the RLDS Church gave Brother Matthews permission to examine the manuscripts.
In November 2004 the Religious Studies Center at Brigham Young University published a facsimile transcription of all the original manuscripts of the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible.  I was privileged to be one of the editors of the project and worked with those manuscripts in preparing the publication. A facsimile transcription seeks to reproduce in print—as much as is humanly and typographically possible—the writing found on a handwritten document. Thus the transcription includes the writers’ original spelling, grammar, punctuation, line endings, omissions, errors, insertions, and deletions. The purpose of the publication is to provide scholars and lay readers with an accurate reproduction of the text as found on Joseph Smith’s original manuscripts. Its importance is in the fact that those documents had never been made public before but were stored in archives that were only available for study to a limited number of researchers.
The more we are acquainted with the life and ministry of the Prophet Joseph Smith, the more evident it becomes that Elder John Taylor did not overstate reality when he said that “Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it” (D&C 135:3). This passage goes on to specify that it was the abundance of revelation and scripture given Joseph Smith that particularly qualified him for such a lofty epithet.
Several approaches to interpreting Joseph Smith’s use of the so-called Jewish and Christian apocryphal literature have been employed both by critics of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (hereafter LDS), and by those professing faith in the Church and whose interests may be classified as apologetic. These approaches span the range of being probative of Joseph Smith’s restoration of lost texts and scripture and being dismissive of Mormonism generally, because its sacred religious texts are founded on flagrant plagiarism of apocryphal literature. Before one can answer the most important historical question at hand, how Joseph Smith used the Apocrypha and what relationship that body of literature had to early Mormon writings, it seems prudent to first of all establish some controls on the discussion. This is necessary because previous discussions have largely contented themselves with drawing out parallels between apocryphal writings and early Mormon publications without any discussion of whether or not Joseph Smith had access to the texts under discussion. Moreover, a wide variety of modern translations of ancient apocryphal texts are often employed when there is no possible way that someone living in the early nineteenth century could have known them. This is particularly important when citing phrases or words that Joseph Smith might have incorporated into the language of his revelations.
During the early 1970s, a practical need arose for a Latter-day Saint edition of the King James Bible. As explained by George A. Horton Jr., director of curriculum production and distribution for the Church Educational System, three different Bibles were in circulation among Church members—one for adults, one for seminary students, and one for Primary children. Not only did this system create an element of chaos, but it also increased costs.  About this time, the Spirit of the Lord seemed to be hovering over several people in various organizations within the Church. Two of these people were Horton and his colleague Grant E. Barton, who was then serving as a member of the newly formed Meetinghouse Library Committee.  Horton and Barton were neighbors who carpooled together to the Church Office Building, using the occasion to discuss a desire to have one Bible as well as teaching aids for an LDS edition.  Barton, Horton, and another colleague decided to survey various organizations of the Church to help them decide “what the ideal characteristics/features would be of the ideal Bible that would be used by all.”
Book of Abraham
Book of Mormon
Reprinted as “Christ among the Ruins,” in The Prophetic Book of Mormon, The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley 8. 380–434.
Presents information about the names used and the political and the social conditions of Lehi’s Jerusalem based on contemporaneous messages written on pottery found at Lachish.