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Pyrrhic Victories

On the first day of an economics class that I took as an undergraduate at Brigham Young University, the professor, James Kearl, conducted a dollar auction, which is a game designed by Yale economist Martin Shubik. In the game, the auctioneer offers a dollar for sale at a starting bid of 5¢. The catch is… Continue Reading →

“A More Excellent Way” – Ether 12:11

Moroni tells us that the law of Moses was given by faith. It was a divinely inspired code of conduct given to help the children of Israel live to their full potential. (See Exodus 19:1-6.) But Moroni adds, “In the gift of his Son hath God prepared a more excellent way, and it is by… Continue Reading →

“A New Heaven and a New Earth” – Ether 13:9

Near the end of the Book of Isaiah, the prophet describes a future time of happiness for the Lord’s covenant people. Speaking on behalf of God, Isaiah expresses surprise that people who had rebelled and rejected God so many times were now seeking after Him and willingly following Him: I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am… Continue Reading →

“That They Should Perish Not” – Ether 13:7

When Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, he made the best of a bad situation, but he couldn’t have known that his relocation to Egypt would eventually save the lives of his father and the rest of his family. But years later, after rising to a position of authority, when his brothers traveled… Continue Reading →

“I Will Show Unto Them Their Weakness” – Ether 12:27

Moroni was painfully aware of his limitations. As he summarized the Jaredite record, he compared himself unfavorably to one of the authors of the Jaredite plates. Moroni worried that his imperfections would cause future readers to reject his writings, and he shared his anxiety with God in prayer: Behold, thou hast not made us mighty… Continue Reading →


The Jaredite king Emer presided over a period of prosperity, following a troubling time of political upheaval and distrust. Moroni tells us that “Emer did execute judgment in righteousness all his days” (Ether 9:21). What a relief it must have been for his people to know what to expect and to be able to have… Continue Reading →

“Thank and Praise the Lord” – Ether 6:9

While the Jaredites sat in enclosed barges for nearly a year, with all the food and animals they could carry, and with furious storms battering them, sometimes sinking them deep in the water, what did they do? How did they spend their time? Here is Moroni’s description: And they did sing praises unto the Lord; yea, the… Continue Reading →

“The Country Was Divided” – Ether 7:20

After arriving in the promised land, the first generation of Jaredites needed to make some foundational decisions about their new civilization. One of those was their form of government. The people wanted to choose a king. Their spiritual leader, the brother of Jared, opposed this idea. “Surely this thing leadeth into captivity,” he warned (Ether… Continue Reading →

“There Came Prophets”

A recurring theme in the Book of Ether is the arrival of unnamed prophets, warning the people of difficult days ahead and urging them to repent. These prophets were consistently rejected by the people but were sometimes protected by righteous kings. Here are some examples: During the reign of Shule, the fourth king, “there came… Continue Reading →

The Jaredite Generations

Thirty generations in fifteen chapters: in the Book of Ether, Moroni provides a sweeping history of the rise and fall of a civilization. At first glance, the book appears to be the story of the Jaredite people from the perspective of their kings. But upon closer consideration, it becomes clear that the narrative follows a… Continue Reading →

That Veil of Unbelief – Ether 4:15

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai (for the second time), his face was shining brightly. He was unaware of this until he saw the reaction of his people: They were afraid and unwilling to come near him. Only when he placed a veil over his face to hide the light were they willing to… Continue Reading →

“In the Mouth of Three Witnesses” – Ether 5:4

One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sins: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established. Deuteronomy 19:15 (See also Deuteronomy 17:6.) One of the features of this mortal life is… Continue Reading →

“That They May Shine Forth in Darkness” – Ether 3:4

Humans hate uncertainty. We want to be able to accurately predict the future. We want to be able to explain things that seem mysterious. We don’t like being left in the dark. As the Jaredites prepared to embark on a journey of unknown duration across the ocean, the brother of Jared became concerned about two… Continue Reading →

Four Years and Three Hours – Ether 2:14

After the first generation of Jaredites had traveled a great distance toward a land which God had promised would be “choice above all the lands of the earth” (Ether 1:42), they arrived at the ocean. Throughout their journey, they had prayed for instructions. Moroni tell us that they had been “directed continually by the hand… Continue Reading →

Names and Titles of Jesus Christ

In March, 2019, I studied 20 different names or titles of Jesus Christ which appear in the Book of Mormon. I was particularly interested in the way each name was used, both in the Book of Mormon and in the Bible.

Sermon Summaries

In 2018, I wrote summaries of many of the sermons in the Book of Mormon. Each summary describes the setting, the purpose, an outline of the sermon’s content, and my takeaways from the sermon.

In 2019, I used the Book of Mormon to study 365 questions—one per day. Here is a list of those questions, grouped by category, with a link to the blog post for each question.