Latter-day Saints are turning to the Book of Mormon for our home and Sunday school curriculum this year. Supplement your Come Follow Me study with these great episodes of the Maxwell Institute Podcast, with more to come as the year progresses!
“I, Nephi…” We begin at the beginning, as Joseph M. Spencer offers a brief theological introduction to the book of First Nephi. What questions does Nephi’s book ask of us readers, and what questions are readers asking of the text today? This is the first in a series of interviews with authors of the Maxwell Institute’s new book series, The Book of Mormon: Brief Theological Introductions.
Terryl L. Givens says many readers consider Second Nephi to be the most challenging part of the scripture. His brief theological introduction helps readers see the patterns and desires of Nephi, who used his own prophecies and the words of Isaiah to restore a vision of God’s covenant with Nephi’s descendants, and with believers today.
Deidre Nicole Green presents Jacob as a vulnerable and empathic religious leader deeply concerned about issues of social justice. The prophet insists that religious and social life should not be separated into distinct spheres. His testimony of Jesus Christ is inseparable from his personal experiences of suffering and his compassion for those on the margins of society.
Literary scholar and theologian Sharon J. Harris investigates the messy middle era between the genesis of the Nephite people and their reorganization under King Benjamin. What keeps things—relatively—together through Enos, Jarom, and Omni? Harris uncovers the personalities, concerns, and patterns of righteousness and wickedness that are often overlooked in these short books.
In his book on Mosiah, philosopher and theologian James E. Faulconer untangles a complicated narrative—a fragmentary history about a fragmented people, written by a record keeper obsessed with unity. Faulconer unpacks what King Benjamin had in mind in speaking of the “mysteries of God.”
Alma is an idolatrous man in the Book of Mormon, a wicked man according to the text—until an angel’s rebuke leads to his repentance and then two decades of righteous service in realms both political and religious. But even then, Alma’s past haunts him, as English professor Kylie Nielson Turley discusses in this episode.
The Book of Mormon prophet Alma was on the wrong path. But much like the Apostle Paul on the road to Damascus, Alma experienced a shocking vision that changed everything. His sermons are the product of a person who understood what it meant to receive the grace of Christ and have a mighty change of heart.
Author Kimberly Matheson Berkey says book of Helaman is one of the best-kept secrets in the Book of Mormon. It marks a dramatic reversal in the history of Book of Mormon peoples. The spiritual tables turn. While the Lamanites righteously cast their eyes toward heaven, the Nephites take their first steps toward a surprising precipice where final destruction awaits.
The Book of Mormon has important things to say about how we say important things, according to David Charles Gore. He’s author of The Voice of the People: Political Rhetoric in the Book of Mormon. Gore says it’s not enough to be in possession of the truth. We also have to know how to share it in ways that actually reach other people’s hearts. The Book of Mormon shows readers how.
Terryl L. Givens presented the 2009 Laura F. Willes Book of Mormon lecture, “Joseph Smith’s American Bible: Radicalizing the Familiar.” Terryl L. Givens explores four motifs woven throughout the Book of Mormon—revelation, Christology, Zion, and scripture. Givens says these motifs are introduced in the visionary experiences of Lehi in the very beginning of the book, and are woven throughout the rest of the ancient record.
Most of the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon was tragically destroyed by the elements long ago. But the printer’s manuscript which was used to typeset the Book of Mormon is almost completely intact. Robin Scott Jensen co-edited the printer’s manuscript for the Joseph Smith Papers Project. It offers fascinating insight into the production of this keystone Latter-day Saint scripture.
The Maxwell Institute Study Edition of the Book of Mormon was published in 2019. We see it as a watershed moment in the history of Latter-day Saint scripture publishing—the first study edition ever published by a church affiliate, and it includes new formatting, useful footnotes, original artwork, and more. Editor Grant Hardy and artist Brian Kershisnik offer an insider’s look at the process of loving and publishing scripture.