Sunday, May 23, 2021

Elder Gong on Father Lehi's Children

 In the Saturday Morning Session of the 191st Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held in Salt Lake City on April 3, 2021, Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles made this important observation: "We rejoice that God loves His children in our different backgrounds and circumstances, in every nation, kindred and tongue with room for all in his inn. Over the past 40 years, church members have become increasingly international. Since 1998, more church members lived outside than inside the United States and Canada. By 2025, we anticipate as many church members may live in Latin America as in the United States and Canada. The gathering of Father Lehi's faithful descendants is fulfilling prophecy."

Elder Gong Speaking in April 2021 General Conference

Elder Gong is clearly saying that Father Lehi's faithful descendants are in Latin America. But what prophecy is being fulfilled when large numbers of Latin Americans join the Church? Actually, there are several.

1 Nephi 10:13, 14. Lehi's posterity in the Americas is part of the scattering of Israel. After the scattering, the Gentiles will receive the fulness of the Gospel, and then the remnants of the house of Israel, including Lehi's posterity, will be gathered. 

1 Nephi 15:13-20. After the Gentiles scatter the Lamanites, the Gentiles will share the Gospel with the Lamanites via the Book of Mormon. The Lamanites will accept the Book of Mormon, come to know their true identity as members of the house of Israel, be grafted into the true olive tree by joining the Church, and never be confounded or scattered again.

1 Nephi 19:16. The Nephites perceived themselves as inhabiting an isle of the sea 2 Nephi 10:20. The Lord promised to remember the isles of the sea and gather them with the rest of the house of Israel.

1 Nephi 22:7-12. After the rest of the house of Israel has been scattered and confounded, a mighty nation (Spain - see the article "Mighty Nation = Spain) will scatter the Lamanites. After the Lamanites are scattered, the marvelous Book of Mormon will come forth from the Gentiles to the Lamanites. The Lamanites will accept the Book of Mormon, come out of obscurity and darkness into the light of the Gospel, and be gathered to the lands of their inheritance alongside the rest of the house of Israel.

2 Nephi 10:8. The house of Israel will be gathered from the isles of the sea and from the four parts of the earth and multiple Gentile nations will participate in this gathering.

3 Nephi 16:12. The posterity of Lehi, part of the house of Israel, will come to a knowledge of the fulness of Christ's gospel. This implies an understanding of temple ordinances.

Temples of the Most High, Prevalent throughout the Americas

3 Nephi 20:13. The remnants of the house of Israel, scattered abroad, will be gathered from the four quarters of the earth and brought to the knowledge of Jesus Christ their redeemer.

3 Nephi 20:18. The Lord will gather the house of Israel together abundantly, in large numbers.

  • The Lord will establish Zion among Lehi's descendants. This means stakes will be organized. Stakes in Latin American countries as of May 2021: Brazil 277, Mexico 222, Peru 112, Argentina 78, Chile 74, Guatemala 51, Ecuador 42, Venezuela 34, Bolivia 33, Honduras 31, Colombia 30, El Salvador 22, Dominican Republic 21, Uruguay 18, Nicaragua 14, Paraguay 11, Costa Rica 10, Panama 7, Puerto Rico 5.
  • The Book of Mormon will be made known to the Gentiles who will realize that native Americans are a remnant of the house of Israel.
  • The Gentiles will then take the Book of Mormon to Lehi's descendants.
  • The Gentiles will be established in the Americas and set up as a free people before the Book of Mormon comes forth. Note how precisely this prophecy was fulfilled: 
    • 1776-1783 US independence
    • 1809-1825 Bolivia independence
    • 1810-1818 Argentina independence (included Paraguay)
    • 1810-1819 Colombia independence (included Panama)
    • 1810-1821 Mexico independence
    • 1810-1821 Central America (Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala) independence
    • 1810-1823 Venezuela independence
    • 1811-1826 Peru independence
    • 1811-1828 Uruguay independence
    • 1812-1826 Chile independence
    • 1822-1825 Brazil independence
    • 1830 Book of Mormon published
    • Canada is a different animal. It became increasingly independent in 1848, 1867, and 1931. Newfoundland and Labrador joined with Canada in 1949. The Canadian constitution became effective in 1982, although Queen Elizabeth II remains head of state.
  • The Gentiles will be numbered among the house of Israel. This means members receive patriarchal blessings. It could also refer to the huge mestizo population in Latin America where most people have some native American and some European ancestry.
3 Nephi 21:23. The Gentiles will assist Lehi's posterity, a remnant of the house of Israel, in building the city New Jerusalem. If New Jerusalem were to be built today, using the same general contractors (Layton, Okland, Jacobsen) who build many Latter-day Saint temples, a high percentage of the workforce would be Hispanic immigrants. See The Center for Construction Research and Training, Chart Book (6th Edition): Labor Force Characteristics - Hispanic Workers in Construction.

Ether 13:8 Lehi's posterity, a remnant of the house of Joseph, will be built upon the Americas which is the land of their inheritance. They will build the New Jerusalem and no more be confounded. Witness the growing political power of Hispanics throughout the hemisphere. This brings to mind statements of the early latter-day prophets that Zion in the New World is all of North and South America.
  • "The whole of America is Zion itself from north to south, and is described by the Prophets, who declare that it is the Zion where the mountain of the Lord shall be, and that it should be in the center of the land. When Elders shall take up and examine the old prophecies in the Bible, they shall see it." Joseph Smith, April Conference 1844. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 362. See the blog article "Biblical Passages Referencing the Book of Mormon."
  • "What is Zion? ... What land is it? It is the land that the Lord gave to Jacob, who bequeathed it to his son Joseph and his posterity, and they inhabit it, and that land is North and South America." Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 2:258.
  • "Tell the people that North and South America are the land of Zion." Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 8:72.
  • "This land, North and South America, is the land of Zion; it is a choice land - the land that was given by promise from old father Jacob to his grandson and his descendants, the land on which the Zion of God should be established in the latter days." Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses 15:279.
For President Nelson's thoughts on this subject, see the blog article "President Nelson in Guatemala."

For President Hinckley's thoughts on this subject, see the blog articles "Father Lehi in the Mexico City Temple" and "Lehite Temples."

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Ancient Transoceanic Voyage

 On April 28, 1947, Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl (1914-2002) set sail from Callao, Peru in a balsa wood raft built with primitive technology. 16th century Spanish and Indian chroniclers left drawings of balsa wood rafts Europeans saw plying the waters off South America when they first came to Peru. Heyerdahl's raft was similar to those depicted in the old drawings.

Thor Heyerdahl's Raft on Display in the Kon Tiki Museum, Oslo, Norway.
Photo by Kirk Magleby, June 8, 2009.

After drifting in the South Equatorial Current for 101 days and traveling more than 7,000 straight-line kilometers, Heyerdahl's raft crashed into the atoll at Raroaia in the Tuamotu Archipelago, French Polynesia, on August 7, 1947. Heyerdahl demonstrated that pre-contact South Americans could have reached eastern Polynesia using materials and techniques available to them.
1947 Kon Tiki Expedition Embarkation and Landfall Points

One person fascinated by Heyerdahl's expedition was John L. Sorenson (1924-2021), then serving as a missionary on Rarotonga in the Cook Islands, 1,900 straight line kilometers west of Raroaia. Sorenson got exciting news of Heyerdahl's voyage via shortwave radio. Ancient transoceanic contacts would be one of Sorenson's research passions for the rest of his life. 

Other scholars were less impressed, writing off Heyerdahl's heroics as a publicity stunt. The hard science, they insisted, was showing gradual population of Polynesia from Melanesia (New Guinea, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Fiji) to the west.

Heyerdahl's scholarly reputation was rehabilitated when an article appeared in the journal Nature on July 8, 2020. Nature is the #1 peer reviewed academic journal on the planet with an impact factor of 42.778. An article entitled "Native American gene flow into Polynesia predating Easter Island settlement" was written by Alexander G. Ioannidis of Stanford, Javier Blanco-Portillo, and Andrés Moreno-Estrada, both of National Laboratory of Genomics for Biodiversity (LANGEBIO), Irapuato, Mexico, plus 33 co-authors from 5 countries. Deep ancestry genomic research in the Americas and Polynesia demonstrated at least one contact ca. AD 1150 between the Zenu people of Colombia and French Polynesia. Genetic inheritance from Colombia is now demonstrated for the South Marquesas (AD 1150), the North Marquesas (AD 1200), Palliser (AD 1230), Mangareva (AD 1230), and Rapa Nui (Easter Island) (AD 1380).
DNA Transfer from South America to Polynesia

This means that while Cahokia was at its peak on the Mississippi, while Tula Hidalgo was interacting with Chichén Itzá in Mexico, and while the crusades were just getting underway in Europe and the Middle East, at least one person from northern South America traversed more than 7,000 kilometers of open ocean and founded a posterity that has remained in eastern Polynesia ever since. Never underestimate ancient American capabilities. As a point of reference, the straight line distance from Tenerife in the Canary Islands to Antigua in the Caribbean (the Atlantic traversed by Columbus) is 4,756 kilometers.

Biblical Passages Referencing the Book of Mormon

 After the Book of Mormon appeared in Palmyra, NY on March 26, 1830, some of the early Saints such as Parley P. Pratt scoured the Bible looking for passages they thought referenced this new book of scripture. They considered these verses biblical "proofs" of the Nephite text.

Genesis 48:16 "and let them [Ephraim and Manasseh, sons of Joseph] grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth." "Multitude" is self-explanatory. Joseph's posterity would be numerous. "In the midst of the earth" the early Saints interpreted as the Americas, the Western Hemisphere between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Genesis 48:19 "his [Ephraim's] seed shall become a multitude of nations." Lehi was a descendant of Manasseh (Alma 10:3). Ishmael was a descendant of Ephraim and Ishmael's sons married Lehi's daughters (Erastus Snow citing Joseph Smith in Journal of Discourses 23:184). Lehi's sons took the daughters of Ishmael to wife (1 Nephi 16:7) and Nephi mentions that he had sisters (2 Nephi 5:6). Some of the "multitude of nations" descended from Ephraim, son of Joseph, were in the Americas where many indigenous nations from the Arctic to Patagonia flourished prior to European contact. Today more than 30 independent nations occupy the Western Hemisphere. 

Genesis 49:22 "Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall." The early Saints interpreted "the wall" as the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and "over the wall" as the Americas.

Genesis 49:25 Joseph's posterity would receive "blessings of the deep that lieth under." The early Saints interpreted this as the ocean the Lehites crossed to reach their promised land in the Americas.

Genesis 49:26 Joseph's blessings would prevail "unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills" which the early saints identified as the mountain ranges in the Western Hemisphere. From Jacob's vantage point in Egypt, the Americas would be the "utmost bound."

Shaded Relief Map from NASA
Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM)

Genesis 49:26 Joseph being "separate from his brethren" the early saints interpreted as a type for the Lehites being in the Americas separate from the rest of the house of Israel.

Numbers 23:9 Israel will live alone implies the separation of the New World from the Old. Israel shall not be reckoned among the nations suggests the fact that the Old World nations were largely unaware of the Americas before Columbus.

Deuteronomy 33:13 Joseph's land in the Americas would be blessed of the Lord. It would be well-watered both by precipitation and by subterranean waters.

Deuteronomy 33:14 Joseph's land in the Americas would be blessed agriculturally. See the blog article "Food Crop Staples."

Deuteronomy 33:15 references ancient mountains which are the backbone of the Americas from Alaska to Patagonia. The precious things of the lasting hills are minerals such as gold, silver, and copper.

Deuteronomy 33:16 Joseph being separated from his brethren is a type for the Lehites being in the New World apart from the rest of the house of Israel.

Deuteronomy 33:17 Joseph has a mission to perform to the ends of the earth. From the perspective of the Old World, the New World is the ends of the earth. From the perspective of the Church in the latter days, missionaries go to the ends of the earth.

Deuteronomy 33:28 Israel dwelt in safety in the Americas, kept from the knowledge of other nations, for generations. See 2 Nephi 1:8. The "fountain of Jacob" refers to Joseph who was planted near a well and given the blessings of the waters beneath the earth. Jacob through Joseph will live in a land that is agriculturally rich and well-watered.

Psalms 85:11 "Truth shall spring out of the earth" refers to the Nephite plates of gold dug up by the prophet Joseph Smith on September 22, 1823 and transferred to his safekeeping on September 22, 1827.

Psalms 85:11 "righteousness shall look down from heaven" was interpreted by the early Saints as the Angel Moroni returning to the earth as a resurrected, glorified being.

William Weeks' Drawing of the Angel Moroni
Weathervane Atop the Nauvoo Temple

Isaiah 11:11 "the Lord shall set his hand a second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros [upper Egypt], and from Cush [Nubia], and from Elam [western Iran], and from Shinar [southern Iraq], and from Hamath [western Syria], and from the islands of the sea." The Nephites in the Americas considered themselves upon one of the isles of the sea (2 Nephi 10:20, 21)

Isaiah 28:21 "that he may do his work, his strange work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act." We know from D&C 95:4 and D&C 101:95 that as of December 16, 1833, the Lord's strange act and strange work was still a future occurrence. The early Saints interpreted this passage as referring to the discovery of large cities and high civilization in ancient America via Stephens and Catherwood's pathbreaking 1841 book Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan. See The Times and Seasons, published at Nauvoo, Illinois under the editorship of Joseph Smith, Vol. 3 No. 22 (September 15, 1842). See also George J. Adams, "A Lecture on the Authenticity and Scriptural Character of the Book of Mormon" (Boston: J.E. Farwell, 1844).

Isaiah 29:2 "it shall be unto me as Ariel." For the early Saints, this was the Nephite nation.

Isaiah 29:3 "I will camp against thee round about, and will lay siege against they with a mount, and I will raise forts against thee." This was the final battle at Cumorah.

Isaiah 29:4 "And thou shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust." The Nephite nation was brought down and the Nephite recordkeepers spoke out of the ground or the dust as their plates of gold were dug up, translated, and published by the prophet Joseph.

Isaiah 29:5 "the multitude of the terrible ones shall be as chaff that passeth away: yea, it shall be at an instant suddenly." 230,000 Nephites were destroyed in a single day at Cumorah (Mormon 6:10-15).

Isaiah 29:6 "Thou shalt be visited of the Lord of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire." The destruction at the death of Christ included thunder (3 Nephi 8:6), quaking of the earth (3 Nephi 8:12), tumultuous noises (3 Nephi 10:9), great storm (3 Nephi 8:5), great and terrible tempest (3 Nephi 8:6), and fire (3 Nephi 8:8).

Isaiah 29:7-10 "dream of a night vision," "hungry man dreameth," "thirsty man dreameth," "drunken, but not with wine," "stagger, but not with strong drink," "spirit of deep sleep," "closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered." The early Saints interpreted these passages to :mean the great apostasy that gripped the earth from the death of Christ's original apostles to the opening of the heavens in the spring of 1820.

Isaiah 29:11 "words of a book that is sealed" refers to the plates of gold and their sealed portion.

Isaiah 29:11 "men" refers to Joseph Smith, Jr. (1805-1844) and Martin Harris (1783-1875).

Isaiah 29:11 "one that is learned" refers to Charles Anthon (1797-1867), Professor of Classics at Columbia College.

Portrait of Charles Anthon that Hung for Many Years
in the Classics Library, Columbia University

Isaiah 29:11 "Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed:" Paraphrase of the conversation Martin Harris had with Charles Anthon in New York City in the winter of 1828.

Isaiah 29:12 "him that is not learned" refers to the prophet, Joseph Smith.

Portrait of Joseph Smith by David Rogers
September, 1842

Isaiah 29:13 "draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:" The early Saints interpreted this as a description of the various sects of Christianity active in Joseph Smith's day.

Isaiah 29:14 "I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder:" This is the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and the restoration of the Kingdom of God upon the earth through the prophet, Joseph Smith. See D&C 4:1, 6:1, 11:1, 12:1, 14:1, 18:44.

Isaiah 29:18 "in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness." The book, of course, is the Book of Mormon.

Isaiah 43:16 "the Lord, which maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters;" The early Saints saw this as a reference to the transoceanic voyages of Lehi and Mulek.

Isaiah 49:1 "Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far;" The Nephites and Lamanites were considered part of the house of Israel inhabiting isles (2 Nephi 10:20-21). The Americas were certainly far from the Levant.

Isaiah 51:5 "the isles shall wait upon me, and on mine arm shall they trust." During their righteous periods, the Nephites in the Americas fit this description.

Isaiah 60:1 "thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." Joseph Smith's first vision comes to mind, as well as the prophet's other angelic ministrants.

Isaiah 60:2 "darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee." This can be seen as the great apostasy followed by the restoration through Joseph Smith.

Isaiah 60:4 "thy sons shall come from far" was seen as the gathering of Israel from all parts of the earth. In the early days of the Church, it was a literal gathering to Kirtland, Missouri, Nauvoo, and then Utah.

Isaiah 60:9 "the isles shall wait for me." This could refer at least in part to the Nephites and Lamanites in the Americas. 

Isaiah 60:9 "the ships of Tarshish first," Many biblical scholars locate Tarshish in the Guadalquivir delta of southwestern Spain (See for example John Day, "Where was Tarshish?" in Let Us Go Up to Zion, Essays in Honour of H.G.M Williamson, Vetus Testamentum Supplements, Vol. 153 (Leiden: Brill, 2012). See also Elizabeth Knott, "New Perspectives on Phoenician Sailing" November 10, 2014 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Columbus made four voyages from southwestern Spain to the Americas in 1492 - 1502. His ships were the first to cross the Atlantic in modern times.

Columbus Sailed from Ports that were
Part of Ancient Tartessos in Spain

Isaiah 60:9 "bring thy sons from far" Columbus brought native Americans with him back to Spain on his first 3 voyages. Ditto many other European voyagers.

Isaiah 60:9 "their silver and their gold with them" could refer to Spanish treasure fleets that brought American silver and gold to the Old World in large quantities.

Ezekiel 36:24 "I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries" could refer in part to countries in the Americas.

Ezekiel 37:16 "Take thee one stick, and write upon it, for Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions:" The stick written upon for Judah is the Bible.

Ezekiel 37:16 "Then take another stick, and write upon it, for Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions:" The stick that came after the Bible, written upon for Joseph (Ephraim) is the Book of Mormon.

Ezekiel 37:17 "Join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand." In the hands of the Latter-day Saints, the Bible and the Book of Mormon have become a single set of scriptures. They are sometimes bound together in a single volume. The 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon was bound to look very similar to a trade Bible of the period, emphasizing the physical reality of the two becoming one in a believer's hand.

1830 Bible Sold in EB Grandin's Print Shop in Palmyra
Alongside Replica 1830 Book of Mormon

Hosea 11:10 "the children shall tremble from the west." The early Saints interpreted this to mean from the Americas, west of Judea.

John 10:16 "Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold and one shepherd." The Savior himself interpreted this passage as referring to the Nephites and Lamanites in the Americas (3 Nephi 15:21).

Revelation 14:6 "I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people." The early saints thought this angel was Moroni who brought the Book of Mormon to the prophet Joseph Smith.
All of this biblical close reading was facilitated by a fulfilled prophecy proof mandate the Saints found in modern revelation:

3 Nephi 10:14 "he that hath the scriptures, let him search them, and see and behold if ... all these things are not unto the fulfilling of the prophecies of many of the holy prophets." 

Mormon 8:22 "the eternal purposes of the Lord shall roll on, until all his promises shall be fulfilled."

Moroni 10:28-29 "I declare these things unto the fulfilling of the prophecies." "God shall show unto you, that that which I have written is true."

D&C 29:10 "that which was spoken by mine apostles must be fulfilled; for as they spoke so shall it come to pass."

D&C 42:39 "that which I spake by the mouths of my prophets shall be fulfilled."

D&C 52:36 "that the prophecies may be fulfilled."

D&C 101:19 "And all these things that the prophets might be fulfilled."

D&C 109:23 "thou hast put forth thy hand, to fulfill that which thou has spoken by the mouths of the prophets, concerning the last days."
Modern scholarship has also contributed to the list. For example, Jeremiah 38:1,6 my be a reference to Mulek, son of King Zedekiah. See Robert F. Smith, "New information about Mulek, Son of the King," in Reexploring the Book of Mormon: A Decade of New Research (Salt Lake City and Provo: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1992) pp. 142-144. See also John A. Tvedtnes, John Gee, and Matthew Roper, "Book of Mormon Names Attested in Ancient Hebrew Inscriptions," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 9, no. 1 (2000) p. 51.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Come Follow Me 2021 Resources

I volunteer as Executive Director of Book of Mormon Central (BMC). As 2020 progressed, we became the most important source of Come Follow Me enrichment material outside the institutional Church. My blog article entitled "Outstanding Come Follow Me Resources" describes what we did last year.

Our offerings for 2021 are even more robust. Content that follows the Come Follow Me 52-week schedule is posted on Book of Mormon Central. Content about the Doctrine and Covenants and Church History is posted on our exciting new Doctrine and Covenants Central. Content from both centrals makes it into ScripturePlus and the BMC Archive. These four, each a major entity in the expanding BMC ecosystem, offer a rich array of material to help people maximize their scripture study experience in the 2021 Doctrine and Covenants year.

  • BMC co-founder, Lynne Hilton Wilson, has a thoughtful series of YouTube videos called "Hard Questions in Church History" that draw on her experience directing the Stanford Institute of Religion.
  • Outstanding BYU Religious Ed professor, Anthony Sweat, has an engaging series of YouTube videos entitled "The Unfolding Restoration" that draw on his experience teaching the popular BYU course, "Foundations of the Restoration."
  • Talented BYU Idaho Religious Ed professor, Scott Woodward, produces an animated short YouTube video explaining each section in the Doctrine and Covenants that many families are finding helpful since Scott's approach appeals to students of all ages.
  • Former BMC staff member, Stephen Smoot, did a series of 7 YouTube videos explaining aspects of Joseph Smith's First Vision that draw on the articles he published in the Joseph Smith History section of Pearl of Great Price Central.
  • The Doctrine and Covenants Central website, curated by Scott Woodward (BYUI) and Casey Griffiths (BYU) launched on January 1, 2021. It includes:
  • Our weekly Come Follow Me Resource Guide is a visual index with links to content from BMC and others organized by the sections specified for each week in the Come Follow Me curriculum.
  • The BMC Archive Doctrine and Covenants section houses a growing collection of books, book chapters, articles, insights, media, and other content relevant to the Doctrine and Covenants.
  • BMC's signature KnoWhys in 2021 generally treat Doctrine and Covenants or Church History themes.
  • The most-watched Come Follow Me weekly YouTube video presentation in the Church in 2021 is the long-form "Come Follow Me Insights" with Taylor Halverson and Tyler Griffin.
  • Marianna Richardson and Stephanie Sorensen, both on the BYU faculty, bring unique insights to their weekly YouTube video series entitled "Come Follow Me: Act in Doctrine."
  • A loyal following is developing behind "Come Follow Me with John Hilton III" who shares wit and wisdom each week in his YouTube video series.
  • "Come Follow Me with Taylor Halverson" takes one point from each week's reading and elaborates on it in a characteristically erudite YouTube video series.
  • "Come Follow Me with Casey Paul Griffiths" is a delightful weekly YouTube video series from one of the best Doctrine and Covenants teachers in the Church.
  • ScripturePlus has transformed the way tens of thousands of Latter-day Saints read their scriptures. The pattern of verse/enrichment material/next verse/enrichment material is so engaging and thought-provoking it transforms one's daily devotions. ScripturePlus brings commentary from Steve Harper, Casey Griffiths, and Susan Easton Black together, linked to a section or a verse in the text. It has images from Ken Mays, Jack Welch, and others. It has 360 degree tours of key Church History sites, as well as BMC KnoWhys with their videos. The most used feature in ScripturePlus are the reading plans. We currently have 13 reading plans available with more coming online regularly. The 2021 Doctrine and Covenants reading plan averages 14 verses per day and is a superb way to do Come Follow Me. ScripturePlus is currently available in both English and Spanish.
  • The most-watched Come Follow Me weekly YouTube video presentation in the Church in 2021 in Spanish is the long-form "Ven, Sígueme con Pepe Valle."
  • For a woman's perspective, Spanish-speaking members watch Cecy Gastelum's weekly YouTube video series "Ven Sígueme: Te lo Cuento en Diez."
  • Youth are attracted to "Melody Dice," a weekly YouTube video series where Melody Monroy treats Church History topics in the context of contemporary, faithful, fun-loving Hispanic Latter-day Saint life.
  • Spanish-speaking children of all ages increasingly like the clever, animated weekly YouTube series "Ven Sígueme Kids" produced by Daniel Acosta. 
  • Diligent students of the Restoration are attracted to the more erudite occasional YouTube video series "Historia de la Iglesia" by Hispanic gospel scholar, Noé Correa as part of his long-running "Por Fe y Estudio" programs.
  • Hispanic families around the Church increasingly gather on Monday evenings to participate in "La Noche de Hogar con Benji Monroy," a weekly YouTube video series designed for families to interact with each other and the Come Follow Me curriculum.
  • "Come Follow Me Insights" with Taylor Halverson and Tyler Griffin are subtitled in Portuguese and posted as a weekly YouTube video series entitled "Estudo do Vem, e Segue-Me." 
  • "Come Follow Me with John Hilton III" episodes are subtitled in Portuguese and posted as a weekly YouTube video series entitled "Vem, e Segue-Me com John Hilton III."
  • Former Brazilian Mission President & former Director of the Sacred Grove Historic Site, Dale Bradford, narrates a weekly YouTube video series in Portuguese entitled "Histórias de Joseph Smith" that provides background details illuminating the Doctrine and Covenants.
  • All of this BMC content is supplemented by user generated content shared by members of the Church among themselves in our three Come Follow Me Facebook groups:
All of this content is packaged alongside Book of Mormon material which appears on BMC websites, Facebook pages, Instagram channels, etc. A few key metrics across our 3 publication languages @ February 2, 2021:
  • BMC Facebook followers: 201K
  • Members of BMC Facebook Groups: 203K
  • BMC YouTube subscribers: 403K
  • BMC unique website visitors: 3.5 Million
  • ScripturePlus mobile app launches: 3.7 Million
  • BMC website pageviews: 16.7 Million
  • BMC YouTube video views: 46.5 Million
  • BMC user engagements across all channels: 200 Million
Kirk Magleby, volunteer Executive Director, Book of Mormon Central. We build enduring faith in Jesus Christ by making the Book of Mormon and other Restoration Scripture accessible, comprehensible, and defensible to people everywhere. We educate the curious, support the struggling, and reinforce the strong.