The Scriptures on Religion

If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. (James 1:26-27)

The Scriptures

And again, the Lord has said that: Ye shall defend your families even unto bloodshed. Therefore for this cause were the Nephites contending with the Lamanites, to defend themselves, and their families, and their lands, their country, and their rights, and their religion. (Alma 43:47)

We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others; but we do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men, nor dictate forms for public or private devotion; that the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience; should punish guilt, but never suppress the freedom of the soul. (Doctrine and Covenants 134:4)

Some time in the second year after our removal to Manchester, there was in the place where we lived an unusual excitement on the subject of religion. It commenced with the Methodists, but soon became general among all the sects in that region of country. Indeed, the whole district of country seemed affected by it, and great multitudes united themselves to the different religious parties, which created no small stir and division amongst the people, some crying, “Lo, here!” and others, “Lo, there!” Some were contending for the Methodist faith, some for the Presbyterian, and some for the Baptist. (Joseph Smith — History 1:5)

Behold, we have not come out to battle against you that we might shed your blood for power; neither do we desire to bring any one to the yoke of bondage. But this is the very cause for which ye have come against us; yea, and ye are angry with us because of our religion.

But now, ye behold that the Lord is with us; and ye behold that he has delivered you into our hands. And now I would that ye should understand that this is done unto us because of our religion and our faith in Christ. And now ye see that ye cannot destroy this our faith.

Now ye see that this is the true faith of God; yea, ye see that God will support, and keep, and preserve us, so long as we are faithful unto him, and unto our faith, and our religion; and never will the Lord suffer that we shall be destroyed except we should fall into transgression and deny our faith. (Alma 44:2-4)

Rickety signature.

Scripture Links

My Book of Mormon and Holy Bible

Note: Since was redesigned many of these shortcuts do not work. Check back for updates.

Studying from my scriptures is a great way to improve my life. I want to know how to quickly get to them online, and it has been useful to me to learn these shortcuts.

To link to a scripture so that it is highlighted use:
= English (de=German, es=Spanish, fr=French, it=Italian)
= Helaman
= chapter
= verse range
= starting verse at the top of the page (not highlighted).

When no language is specified, defaults to English.
Here is a list of abbreviations. This is about all you need to know except for a few additional ones I list.

To refer to separate verses use commas:,4-5#1

To refer to the study helps indexes: links to Guide to the Scriptures. Substitute for gs bd, tg, in, jst, biblemaps, or chmaps for the other helps. Add a through z to access the contents, for example lists all topics beginning with d. This works for the other helps except for the JST which uses a number to refer to select passages. biblemaps, in addition to a through z, also accepts a map number from 1 to 14 as does chmaps with map numbers from 1 to 7. biblephotos and chphotos only accept numbers 1 to 32 and 1 to 18 respectively.

Old Testament


Only use ot for contents (ot/contents) or The Epistle Dedicatory

Genesis gen Ecclesiastes eccl
Exodus ex The Song of Solomon song
Leviticus lev Isaiah isa
Numbers num Jeremiah jer
Deuteronomy deut Lamentations lam
Joshua josh Ezekiel ezek
Judges judg Daniel dan
Ruth ruth Hosea hosea
1 Samuel 1_sam Joel joel
2 Samuel 2_sam Amos amos
1 Kings 1_kgs Obadiah obad
2 Kings 2_kgs Jonah jonah
1 Chronicles 1_chr Micah micah
2 Chronicles 2_chr Nahum nahum
Ezra ezra Habakkuk hab
Nehemiah neh Zephaniah zeph
Esther esth Haggai hag
Job job Zechariah zech
Psalms ps Malachi mal
Proverbs prov

New Testament


Only use nt for contents (nt/contents)

Matthew matt 1 Timothy 1_tim
Mark mark 2 Timothy 2_tim
Luke luke Titus titus
John john Philemon philem
The Acts acts To the Hebrews heb
The Epistle to the Romans rom The Epistle of James james
1 Corinthians 1_cor 1 Peter 1_pet
2 Corinthians 2_cor 2 Peter 2_pet
Galatians gal 1 John 1_jn
Ephesians eph 2 John 2_jn
Philippians philip 3 John 3_jn
Colossians col Jude jude
1 Thessalonians 1_thes Revelation rev
2 Thessalonians 2_thes

Book of Mormon


Only use bm for the first seven items below

Book of Mormon contents bm/contents
Title Page bm/ttlpg
Introduction bm/introduction
The Testimony of Three Witnesses bm/thrwtnss
The Testimony of Eight Witnesses bm/eghtwtns
Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith bm/jstestimony
A Brief Explanation about The Book of Mormon bm/explanation
First Nephi 1_ne Alma alma
Second Nephi 2_ne Helaman hel
Jacob jacob Third Nephi morm
Enos enos Fourth Nephi 4_ne
Jarom jarom Mormon 1_ne
Omni omni Ether ether
Words of Mormon w_of_m Moroni moro
Mosiah mosiah

Doctrine and Covenants


Doctrine and Covenants contents dc/contents
Explanatory Introduction dc/introduction
Chronological Order of Contents dc/chrono
Official Declaration—1 od/1
Official Declaration—2 od/2

Pearl of Great Price


Pearl of Great Price contents pgp/contents
Introductory Note pgp/introduction
Selections from the Book of Moses moses
The Book of Abraham abr
Facsimile No. 1 abr/fac_1
Facsimile No. 2 abr/fac_2
Facsimile No. 3 abr/fac_3
Joseph Smith—Matthew js_m
Joseph Smith—History js_h
The Articles of Faith a_of_f

Zerahemnah versus Moroni

This is tomorrow’s post posted today. My trip to Nephi, which was going to be today’s post, I will post tomorrow so as to give me more time to sort through all the photographs. First rule of blogging — always have some posts in reserve.

Sometimes a goal that may be considered dull can be made interesting with a little thought. For example, to liven the study of the scriptures I will sometimes pick a character and write about him or her. Because I will be posting it online I study hard and think of a different way to present what I find.

A World War Two documentary I watched showed battles from the perspective of both sides. I thought it would be interesting to try the same thing with a Book of Mormon battle. To show you want I mean here is an example of a February 2007 article I posted to MormonWiki. It was about a nasty piece of work called Zerahemnah. He was a Lamanite commander around 74 B.C., in the eighteenth year of the reign of the judges, first appearing in the Book of Mormon record in Alma 43:5.

Preparations for War

The Nephites

The Nephites saw the Lamanites were coming upon them so they made ready for war, placing their armies in Jershon. Their chief captain of all the armies was Moroni who equipped his men with breastplates, arm-shields, head-shields, and thick clothing.

The Lamanites

The Lamanites massed by the thousands at Antionum, the land of the Zoramites. Zerahemnah made Amalekites and Zoramites, for they were the more murderous, chief captains over the Lamanites.


The Nephites

The Nephites wanted to:

  • Defend their lands, homes, wives and children.
  • Preserve their rights and privileges.
  • Keep their liberty to worship the true and living God.
  • Protect the Anti-Nephi-Lehis.

The Lamanites

Zerahemnah wanted to get the Lamanites angry with the Nephites so that:

  • He could have power over the Lamanites.
  • He could overpower the Nephites and make them slaves.
  • He could stop their worship of God and their faith in Christ.

[Read more…]

My Faith continued

Yesterday I posted the first part of My Faith. Here is the conclusion:

“Which Church Is Right?“ quoted Bible verses and was methodical and logical in its presentation. It was the first time that I’d thought of a church that way, though I didn’t have any real feeling about it. The prophet’s testimony was different. A paragraph that stood out was:

It caused me serious reflection then, and often has since, how very strange it was that an obscure boy, of a little over fourteen years of age, and one, too, who was doomed to the necessity of obtaining a scanty maintenance by his daily labor, should be thought a character of sufficient importance to attract the attention of the great ones of the most popular sects of the day, and in a manner to create in them a spirit of the most bitter persecution and reviling. But strange or not, so it was, and it was often the cause of great sorrow to myself. (Joseph Smith—History 23)

I thought it strange too, and identified with Joseph.

Another paragraph:

During the space of time which intervened between the time I had the vision and the year eighteen hundred and twenty-three—having been forbidden to join any of the religious sects of the day, and being of very tender years, and persecuted by those who ought to have been my friends and to have treated me kindly, and if they supposed me to be deluded to have endeavored in a proper and affectionate manner to have reclaimed me—I was left to all kinds of temptations; and, mingling with all kinds of society, I frequently fell into many foolish errors, and displayed the weakness of youth, and the foibles of human nature; which, I am sorry to say, led me into divers temptations, offensive in the sight of God. In making this confession, no one need suppose me guilty of any great or malignant sins. A disposition to commit such was never in my nature. But I was guilty of levity, and sometimes associated with jovial company, etc., not consistent with that character which ought to be maintained by one who was called of God as I had been. But this will not seem very strange to any one who recollects my youth, and is acquainted with my native cheery temperament. (Joseph Smith—History 28)

I was impressed that Joseph would admit to “foolish errors”. To me, someone telling a lie would not say this so openly.

I now know that being impressed by these two paragraphs was the Spirit acting upon me. After over thirty years the deep convincing that I felt is still with me.
Elder Vance Burton (left) and Elder David R. Wilson (right) at my baptism

I wrote to the Bishop of the Macclesfield Ward and asked him about the Church and that I wanted to know more. He replied to my letter, inviting me to travel to Macclesfield and meet with the missionaries. I did so, and recall one memory from our first meeting. I was being taught the first discussion and my mind wandered. When I was a child my mother used to say in a kindly way that “I was off wool gathering” when I didn’t pay attention. The missionaries asked me a question about what was being taught and from then on I was attentive. After the first discussion the missionaries told me that there were missionaries in Crewe and that I would be taught by them.

[Read more…]


Now that Daniel will be serving his mission in Mongolia, friends have asked questions about that country. This Wikipedia article is a good source of information and here is the official government tourist website.

The Church came recently to Mongolia. In 1984, Monte J. Brough traveled to Mongolia on a hunting trip. In May 1992 Elders Merlin Lybbert and Monte Brough, members of the Asia Area Presidency, traveled to Mongolia to explore the possibility of the Church providing humanitarian aid. Prior to this trip, the Mongolian ambassador to the United States had traveled to Brigham Young University, which had paved the way for Elders Lybbert and Brough by providing positive contact with the Mongolian government.

After several months of negotiation, permission was granted to send six missionary couples to assist the country’s higher education program and to teach others about the Church.


16 September 1992
First missionary couple, Kenneth and Donna Beesley, arrive.
20 September 1992
First sacrament meeting held in the Beesley’s apartment.
6 February 1993
First converts, Lamjav Purevsuren and Tsendkhuu Bat-Ulzii, are baptized.
15 April 1993
Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve and Elder Kwok Yuen Tai of the Seventy visit Mongolia.
August 1993
First six young elders arrive.
September 1993
The Ulaanbaatar Branch is organized.
24 October 1994
The Church is registered with the Mongolian government.
11 April 1995
The first Mongolians receive mission calls.
1 July 1995
The Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission officially established.
Church-sponsored humanitarian projects include the support of the Mongolian Scout Association, training of professional accountants, cold weather housing, teaching English, and relief for victims of grass fires. Seminary and Institute classes begin.
March 1996
First four sisters arrive.
15 September 1996
The Ulaanbaatar Mongolia District is organized with Togtokh Enkhtuvshin as president
12 June 1997
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve visits with Dr. R. Gonchigdorj, chairman of parliament.
Membership reaches 1,850 in nine branches.
6 June 1999
The first LDS meetinghouse, a converted cinema, is dedicated by Elder Richard E. Cook.
The Church responds to an appeal by the Mongolian government for help after a severe winter followed by the worst drought in 60 years. Three shipping containers of clothing and quilts are sent, in addition to 8,000 food boxes.
Fall 2000
Construction began on the five-story Bayanzurkh Church Center that will house the mission home and office, service center, meetinghouse, and Church Education System offices.
Translation of the Book of Mormon into Mongolian completed.
June 2001
The Darkhan meetinghouse is dedicated by Elder Richard E. Cook, the first Church-built meetinghouse in Mongolia.
Membership reaches 4,358 in two districts and 21 branches.
Membership reaches 5,455.
Membership reaches 6,735.
1 Jan 2007
Members 7,306; Missions 1; Districts 2; Branches 26; Percent LDS .2 or one in 468.
1 Jan 2008
Members 7,721; Missions 1; Districts 2; Branches 21.
1 Jan 2009
Members 8,444; Stakes 1; Missions 1; Districts 2; Branches 21; Percent LDS .28 or one in 360.
1 Jan 2010
Members 9,239; Stakes 1; Wards 6; Missions 1; Districts 2; Branches 16; Percent LDS .28 or one in 360. The name of the stake is Ulaanbaatar Mongolia West, organized 7 June 2009, first president being Odgerel Ochirjav.


“Mongolia” 536-537, Deseret Morning News 2011 Church Almanac.

External Articles

Mary Nielsen Cook, “A Mighty Change in Mongolia,” Ensign, June 1996, 75–76. Scroll down to second article.
Don L. Searle, “Mongolia: Steppes of Faith,” Ensign, Dec 2007, 54–59.
Blog post, Mongolia Specifics.


2010: Added membership details for 2007 and 2008.
2011: Added membership details for 2009. Adjusted some dates.

Missionary Paul – Part 8 of 10

This is part eight of a ten part series chronicling Paul’s Mission. It is told mostly in his own words using excerpts from his letters and photographs sent home.

October 2005

Elder Bodily and I didn’t get transfered so we are both here in Concord for another transfer. Yesterday we went and played soccer in Oakland with all of the Spanish missionaries. It was fun. We are going to have the mission president come do a fireside in our branch on the 16th which should be good. We watched all the sessions of conference. This next Tuesday is transfer day so I’ll see if we move anywhere. Working on Hondas is no fun. They are over engineered. The photos came through fine. Tell Steven he has to get married before I get back as well. I don’t like weddings.

The mission is going well. We are teaching a lot of people. The other elders in our branch had a baptism yesterday and we have one coming up on the 6th of November that looks like it might fall through. The couple is having some serious marital problems. I am the junior companion. I haven’t heard from Jake C. I currently weigh 175 pounds. We ran two miles Saturday morning. You don’t need to send anything. A CD with the wedding photos would be fine, the branch mission leader has a computer.

I am currently serving in the cities of Concord, Clayton, Martinez, and Pleasant Hill California. Many of the Latino people here are receptive to the gospel message and the work is moving forward slowly but surely. Many of the people we meet are from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Peru. The food here is excellent. I think I like Mexican food the best. It is wonderful to be able to learn about many different countries without having to do any traveling and invite everyone to come unto Christ.

I am fine. I lost weight don’t worry. Make Daniel get a hair cut.

November 2005

A day usually goes like this:

6:30 Wake up, exercise
7:00 Breakfast, shower, get ready
7:30 Book of Mormon study
8:00 Personal study
8:30 Companionship study
9:30 Personal study
10:00 Language study
10:30 Leave apartment
11:00 Something: appointments, meetings. Usually we go tracting
1:00 Lunch: sometimes it moves or is dropped according to the schedule
2:00 Something: sometimes appointments. Sometimes we go tracting.
Check contacts, media referrals, you name it
5:00 Dinner: sometimes it moves or is dropped according to the schedule
6:00 Usually appointments or drop-in visits, member visits
9:00 Return home, plan for the next day
9:30 Get ready for bed
10:30 Sleep

We usually have a lot of people we need to get a hold of. The Spanish culture is kind of lax so appointments fall through alot but drop-in visits work well too. We have two baptism dates set right now, we expect to set three more soon. Transfers are next week on the 22nd, I could move or stay. I’ll probably eat with the mission president for Thanksgiving. They put out a newsletter every month, I’m saving them up and you can look at them when I get back.

I was transferred to the Oakland-Berkeley University (Student Single) Ward and I’m over referrals and supplies in the mission office. Use the mission home address if you want to send anything. Elder Vernon my MTC companion is
the new assistant to the president and we’ll live in the same apartment. The apartment is on top of a convenience store across the street from the temple. It should be fun.

Office is fun, we use computers. My main job is handling referrals and supplies for the mission but we get pulled into a little of everything and stay really busy. We ate Thanksgiving at our bishops house. It was fun. I’ll try and think of something for you to send me. I liked the last Christmas picture, that one can last can’t it?

December 2005

In the singles ward almost all of the members go home for the holidays as they are students away from home. We do have the new Kruger’s Christmas DVD that seems to be pulling in a lot of referrals. Our ward doesn’t have church on Christmas so we have to pick one to go to. I don’t know which one we will choose. Church will probably be at 9:30. We have two lines and two cell phone numbers at our apartment so you can call any time you feel like if I’m there, they shouldn’t be busy.

[Aunt] Susan’s package came right before the 1st. My companion and I are really enjoying opening them every night and we always read the accompanying scripture story. Send some of that Cukaburro licorice, it’s really tasty and some beef jerky and a bacon cheddar cheese whiz with ritz crackers. We have a huge stockpile of candy so don’t send any more and there isn’t room in the suitcases to bring anything more home so don’t send any trinkets.

I order supplies for the mission ie. Books of Mormon, manage church media generated and visitor center referrals, baptism records, and keep the office running. You’d better get reading [the Book of Mormon]. If you can manage a little more than 8 pages a day you should finish.

We are going to the Berkeley families ward for Christmas. We’ll leave for church around 9 PST and won’t be back until 1:30 PST or so. We might have somewhere to go after church so I’ll try and email you again to say when would be the best time if it’s not after church. The call is 30 minutes, the last two times you went over so have everything planned out this time. Write down some things to talk about so we don’t have to talk about the weather again.

We watched the Christmas devotional and we’ll watch the Commemoration broadcast as well.

Missionary Paul – Part 7 of 10

The Book of Mormon.
This is part seven of a ten part series chronicling Paul’s Mission. It is told mostly in his own words using excerpts from his letters and photographs sent home.

August 2005

There are about 110 to 200 people that come every week to the branch here. They all are Spanish speaking although some of the kids don’t speak Spanish very well. Si me amáis, guardad mis mandamientos.

You might want to consider picking up the institute Book of Mormon manual. I like it. Today we had a big barbecue and ate all of the food left over from the stake’s youth conference. The library’s Internet is hardly working today. It took the whole hour to look at the pictures. The pictures normally download quickly, but we had to use the computers later in the day when they run very slowly.

I am getting transferred to concord. It will probably be faster to wait until next week for my address than to send them to the mission home but it’s up to you. Dad’s [conversion] story came though. I spoke yesterday in church about missionary work—twenty minutes. Send me some socks, not the green striped ones they don’t last. The ones with the gold toe are good.

September 2005

If someone asks for my address you are supposed to give them the mission home address so they don’t send mail to my old apartments. Have Steven send the camera TV cable with the socks if you could. Tell Jake C that they have been holding all the mail because of transfers so if he was expecting a reply from a letter he might have sent I still haven’t got it. My new companion is Elder Bodily from Pittsburg Pennsylvania. My room mates are Elders De Olivera and Gionet from Brazil and New Brunswick so I am learning a little Portuguese and French.

[Read more…]

Missionary Paul – Part 3 of 10

This is part three of a ten part series chronicling Paul’s Mission. It is told mostly in his own words using excerpts from his letters and photographs sent home.

October 2004

The building I am in has fourteen apartments in it I think. We live in the basement. Out the window we look into a hill which ramps up to the car dealership behind which you can’t really see because the hill is steep and tall. The Hilltop english ward is the exact same chapel as the rock gardens with a different color scheme. Our apartment is in the Hilltop Bay View complex. These computers are really locked down tight! Sarah’s email has a little bit of news for Mom. Tell her to get well.

The Malara family has three more weeks until their baptismal date. We taught them a third discussion yesterday. The Dad is really neat because he somehow managed to learn everything correctly from the Bible and already knows all of the doctrine. Usually if you run into someone that knows the Bible they fight every point and nothing gets accomplished. He is working on changing around his work schedule so he can come to church.

[Sarah,] what is happening at your work? Mom said you were working full time. Have you moved out of the grunt work yet? How is your new computer working? School started didn’t it? What classes are you taking? Do you have one more year left after this one? Ok, talk to you later.

I am well. The apartment locks the packages in a closet and puts the key in your locked mail box. My indoor soccer shoes are in there right? Put in my allen wrenches, the two sets that fold up into a metal handle if you can find them. The missionary work is good. This past week we had a big party in the Centro de Estacas, I think it is called the Inter-Stake Center in English, where all of the Spanish wards and branches in the mission came. There was a lot of food and a dance after. It was good, the Malara family came and my Colombian bike racer friend came with his two teenagers that are not members. Photo of Paul with little girl

Tomorrow, Tuesday, we are going back to the ISC (interstake center) to watch the BYU ballroom dancing company. The Malara family is coming again and hopefully William the Peruvian will come too. The Colombian former professional bike racer is fun. His name is Don Carlos Vargas, a recent convert and 50 years old. My companion and I went on a bike ride with him. 48 miles with a 7 mile uphill at the end to the top of a mountain. It was tiring. I couldn’t keep up with Don Carlos but I came in a couple of minutes behind him, the first missionary to ever make it up the mountain at the end. Our branch president, President Gomez, as well as another member named Walter are the only ones from Chile. There are not very many people here from the countries that are well off like Chile and Argentina. Most of the members are from Mexico and El Salvador.

It drizzled for a couple of days, not too much rain. For Christmas send me those laptop speakers that Steven has with a power adapter and will run them and the cd player. If someone has an old one that will be perfect. I think Daniel has one that he might want to sell. If not there is one here for 12 dollars, nothing fancy, it only has to play the Book of Mormon cds. Also if you can find the Hymns in Spanish that would be really neat.

I can usually understand people pretty well if I focus. Like this Spanish guy who is talking to his friend sitting next to me using the computer. When I read I understand a lot. I’m not too bad at reading out loud, however, I don’t speak very well. Those pictures sound interesting, how did your camera work out? It has been good. We are currently teaching the Malara family and committed all three of them to baptism yesterday. We are also teaching William, Miguel, Eduardo, Jarbaf and Ayuso. I buy a little bit of food like bread milk and cereal but we usually have dinner with a member so I don’t need much. There is a Food Max across the highway that is close. I usually buy my cereal, bread, and milk from Costco. You just missed the letter I sent to Jake C, I’ll have to him to go to YSA next time. I’ll write it in my planner.

This week it was a little cold in the chapel when we got there. I didn’t think much of it and went to Sunday school. A few minutes later my companion called me out and we went to the heater room. He says to me, We’ve got to get the some heat in that chapel before everyone leaves. The chapel was 57 degrees. I tinkered with the thermostat computer for a while until I figured out that everything was good to go on that end. I felt the vents and they were cold. I felt the pipes going into the heater and they were cold as well. We followed the pipes into the boiler room and the temperature gauges read 60 degrees, no hot water. I tinkered with the boiler a bit and got the pump motor to start humming but not turning. I pulled out my pen and jammed in in the shaft to start it turning and it fires up. I cut the heat to the rest of the building and had the chapel up to 68 degrees before sacrament meeting. It was good.

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