Online Book of Mormon study tool aids religion students

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A new website aimed to draw people’s attention to the Book of Mormon may also be a useful study tool for enhancing scripture teaching and study.

The website, titled “Book of Mormon Central,” is affiliated with the Ancient America Foundation, an organization dedicated to sharing information “on archaeological and other cultural discoveries that throw light on the historical claims of the Book of Mormon,” according to its website.

“It is not a part of the LDS Church or BYU,” said John Welch, Chairman of Book of Mormon Central, “although (Book of Mormon Central) serves as an umbrella organization that draws together and links back to many affiliated organizations.”

Elle Peterson, a junior at BYU, uses the new Book of Mormon website to help her complete a paper for her Book of Mormon class. (Credit: Maddi Driggs)
Elle Peterson, a junior at BYU, uses the new Book of Mormon website to help her complete a paper for her Book of Mormon class. (Maddison Dayton)

The website delves deeper into the Book of Mormon and the history and culture of the time period. Anyone can access its comprehensive archive, which “houses over a thousand pieces on the Book of Mormon, including articles, book chapters, photos, paintings and video files,” said Stephen Smoot, a Research Project Manager for Book of Mormon Central.

The site has Book of Mormon Central Commentary, which offers explanation and interpretation of the Book of Mormon, verse by verse. An annotated text of the Book of Mormon is also available, offering explanations linked to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints canon and the Book of Mormon Central archive.

“I think the (Book of Mormon Central) would be helpful to use for personal study as well as for school, and it might be a good missionary tool,” said Cole Peck, 20, a BYU freshman studying mechanical engineering.

“KnoWhys” is a feature of the website consisting of daily posts of essays, podcasts and videos that focus on delving deeper into a particular aspect of the Book of Mormon. These KnoWhys are available on a variety of social media platforms.

According to Book of Mormon Central, KnoWhys are designed to build testimony and understanding by exploring important historical, cultural and prophetic information found in the Book of Mormon.

“It is our prayer that this will help you develop a testimony built of thousands of elements so that you … will not be shaken in your knowledge of and love for the one and only Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,” Smoot said. “I want anyone using Book of Mormon Central’s resources to never forget the main focus of this endeavor: to draw people into the text of the Book of Mormon. All of our resources are a means to an end, and that end is building appreciation for the Book of Mormon as a complex, rich, deep and sophisticated ancient text as well as the word of God.”

According to Smoot, the best tool for students is yet to come.

“We’re developing an interactive text of the Book of Mormon that will include annotations and other study notes to deepen readers’ understanding,” Smoot said. “We would hope that students will use the interactive text, when it’s available in the near future, to better appreciate the depths one can (plunge) when reading the Book of Mormon.”

In the meantime, there are plenty of resources already up and running on the website designed to allow anyone studying the Book of Mormon to do so on a much deeper level.

“Everything on this website is being designed to bring students back into the text of the Book of Mormon,” Welch said. “We all need to know the Book of Mormon text forwards and backwards, top to bottom, linguistically and doctrinally, culturally and practically. All the tools on this website will help visitors to come to know the Book of Mormon with the heart, mind and soul.”
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