In 2020 the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is using the Book of Mormon for its course of study. Now is the perfect time to look for greater insights into the Book of Mormon and have an awesome tool to store all your insights for instant retrieval later. I have assembled a list below of Book of Mormon commentary options you may find helpful as you study this year.
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Now for Book of Mormon commentary items, I’ve put a few here that are either popular, or not, and classified them by type. I recommend you give each of them a look to see where you are at in your understanding. I hesitate to try and indicate any kind of score on these as they each serve a purpose and have different insights.
“The Book of Mormon Made Easier” by David Ridges (Available on Audible, CD, paperback, hardback, Kindle) – Brother Ridges is a retired CES (Church Education System) instructor and I’d say there’s a high likelihood you’re familiar with his works. He has a collection of books in a “Made Easier” series which share the scriptures and his insights as you read. It all just flows together. He’s got a three volume series on the Book of Mormon which is available online at Amazon, or online or in a store at Deseret Book and Seagull Book and Tape and probably elsewhere. The books are very popular. If you look them up on Amazon you can “look inside” and see if these are right for you.
Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon by Robert Millet and Joseph Fielding McConkie – This is a 4 volume set which doesn’t go straight through the Book of Mormon as some other commentaries, but approaches it by topic and then studies the scriptures with prophetic statements about those verses.
The Book of Mormon Study Guide by Thomas Valletta (and others) – This one is a massive single-volume work that is full of questions and answers. The answers come from a variety of sources including authoritative statements and other commentaries.
Building Faith with the Book of Mormon by Glenn Pearson and Reid Bankhead (Available but out of print) – I can see this is available on Amazon and I’ve been told it’s available in e-book format but don’t see it on Kindle. This book is really neat. This is a topical commentary of sorts that fits perfectly into what ScriptureNotes.com offers. The way its designed is to give you a key topic in the Book of Mormon and then give you a set of verses that go with that topic. There’s about 90 topics with quite a variety. The authors’ commentary runs anywhere from 1/2 a page to 2 pages per topic, then they give a take-off scripture to start with and other passages to study, and then a series of study questions to answer about the topic to help ensure you’re getting some depth out of the topic. It is a great book to study with.
There are several other popular hardback commentaries you can find if you go to Ebay or a used book store like Abebooks.com and do a search for “Book of Mormon commentary.” Some are still in print while others are out of print. All have some value for gaining insights. There’s a doctrinal commentary by Monte Nyman, another by Reynolds and Sjodahl, another by Ogden and Skinner, and more. These kinds of commentaries make a program like Scripture Notes invaluable. You can’t carry these to church or easily reference them when reading the scriptures. However, if you study from them once, you can store all the cool things you learn from them in your individual verse notes of Scripture Notes and then you will always have them with you wherever you go.
“The Book of Mormon Made Harder – Scripture Study Questions” by James Faulconer (Available in paperback, Kindle) – I love this book. In a word play on Brother Ridge’s books, Brother Faulconer has limited his own comments to very minor items like historical facts, and then asks lots of questions that make you think. A given chapter may only have a couple questions while others will have several. Questions are key to revelation. With this book you can read your scriptures and just check for where the next question is and ponder it while reading.
Paul Hyde’s commentary on the scriptures (FREE) – Paul was a 35-year CES teacher and has the added distinction of being awarded an honorary doctorate from the Tolkien Society of America for his contributions to Tolkien scholarship. That’s automatic bonus points in my book. 🙂 Paul’s commentary is a free set of downloadable PDF’s organize uniquely with chapter.verse.word notation like 2.5.12 is chapter 2, verse 5, word 12, and they he’ll say what that word is and what his comments are about it.
GospelDoctrine.com by Ryan Constantine (FREE) – back when I taught Gospel Doctrine for a few years, this was my weekly go-to site for quotes and commentary. Ryan has done a great job filling in tons of information from general authorities, Nibley, and his own thoughts. It’s a wonderful free resource. Always a good relevant quote to be found, and some good thoughts on the verses as well.
Step-by-Step with Alan Miner (FREE) – Brother Miner’s commentary steps through the Book of Mormon by chapter and verse but within each verse he highlights phrases which you can click and go to commentary on those phrases. Sometimes it’s his own thoughts, but he also pulls in commentary from other LDS commentaries which is nice for highlighting unique thoughts. If you download his pdf’s he’s organized the text into a colorful outline and afterward put all his commentary.
Book of Mormon podcast by Mike Stroud (FREE) – Brother Stroud is a retired 30-year CES instructor and has a wonderful verse-by-verse podcast on the Book of Mormon. Each episode is a single chapter from the scriptures. Sometimes a long chapter like Jacob 5 gets broken into 3 segments. I mention this podcast in my Making Isaiah Plain resources because what Brother Stroud covers in 2 Nephi on the Isaiah chapters is extremely valuable and makes it very plain to understand why Nephi included these chapters in the book. This podcast runs on the Podomatic app which is a free download for Android and Apple phones. You can also listen to it on your computer. Just get a free account at Podomatic (no spam from them) and favorite the podcast, and in the app menu, click favorites to find the podcast. As of today, he’s in Mosiah 24 and it’s podcast 97. I’m not certain how many hours that is so far, but I’d guess around 80. Podcasts run from perhaps 25 minutes to usually not more than an hour (aside from where they are broken up into multiple parts for a single chapter). This is shaping up to be a Magnum Opus which may end up around 200-250 hours of a single commentary that is very accessible and insightful to individuals. Oh, and they are being transcribed so you can download PDF’s of the audio if you choose.
Gospel Talktrine by Mark Holt (FREE) – Mark hosts his podcast through Soundcloud. His podcast teaches the LDS Gospel Doctrine lessons a week before they are scheduled in Sunday School so you can use it to prepare for the upcoming week. I just started listening to Mark and really like that he’s pointing out specific insights instead of general overviews.
Talking Scripture podcast by Mike Day and Bryce Dunford (FREE) – These two brothers are institute teachers at the University of Utah. I just started listening to this podcast as well and I like the insights they share as well. It’s not a commentary but a Come Follow Me lesson and they are just getting started on the Book of Mormon.
Book of Mormon Videos (FREE) – Here’s a link to the major film “clips” the Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-Day Saints has produced. They are telling the story of almost the entire Book of Mormon to help bring it to life for people.
Teaching with Power (FREE +) – Brother Ben Wilcox has a highly recommended Come Follow Me video podcast for free on YouTube, and offers inexpensive and downloadable Powerpoint slides, lesson plans, and activities through an Etsy store. His blog contains much of the content, but not the same as is on the video.
“Don’t Miss This” – Come Follow Me Lessons on YouTube (FREE)- This is one I just got notified about. Dave Butler & Emily Belle Freeman post a video every week that covers the Come Follow Me lesson for that week. They’ll be starting the Book of Mormon now and having watched my first “episode” they are a delightful pair of presenters with good energy and enthusiasm for the content.
Discussions on the Book of Mormon by BYU Faculty (FREE) – This is a 63 part video series where BYU religion faculty discuss the Book of Mormon, several chapters at a time in each half-hour episode. Not comprehensive, but an overview of highlights. This series was filmed some years ago.
New BYU Roundtable Discussions (FREE) – A new set of BYU professors from the Department of Ancient Scripture discuss the Book of Mormon. This seems set up like they are going to have these discussions all year to match with Come Follow Me.
Book of Mormon Student Manual published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FREE) – This is an official resource of the church for use in institute classes. The student manual contains mostly general authority quotes and brief statements of explanation for blocks of verses. It’s a great source for finding official quotes including from outside writings of general authorities. Along those lines, I really love the LDS citation index which lets you look for all quotes from conferences for any verse.
Got a favorite Book of Mormon commentary? Shoot me a message and let me know and I’ll consider adding it to this list.