John Whitmer, Record-keeper

Why does the Lord ask us to keep written records? One reason is to communicate our experiences to others, including future generations. But another reason is more immediate: the process of writing forces us to think things through more carefully. We learn and we grow as we write. In March 1831, John Whitmer was called... Continue Reading →

“It Mattereth Not”

The heavenly messenger who appeared to Joseph Smith as he went to procure wine for the sacrament taught him an important principle: We can completely miss the most important aspects of our experiences when we are focused on less-important details. Quoting Jesus Christ, the messenger said: It mattereth not what ye shall eat or what ye shall... Continue Reading →

Stirred Up

What would possess a group of people to invade and occupy their own Capitol Building while their elected representatives were conducting official government business on their behalf? How could they convince themselves that this action was morally acceptable, or that it was even helpful to their cause? The troubling events this week in the United... Continue Reading →

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 →

“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 →

Cumorah

Mormon was 73 years old when he gathered his people for their final battle (Mormon 6:5). He had begun leading Nephite armies nearly 60 years earlier, at the age of 15 (Mormon 2:2). He had seen a lifetime of battles, and he knew the likely outcome of this conflict, but he believed that his people's... Continue Reading →

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