The home-study seminary program is designed to help you strengthen your understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ and apply its teachings in your daily life through a study of the scriptures. For your study this school year, you will first complete reading assignments from the scripture text for this course—the Book of Mormon—and then you will complete the individual lessons. Once a week you will meet with a seminary teacher to submit your work and participate in a weekly lesson.
Seminary is a daily religious education program. Prayerfully studying your scriptures should be a daily practice. You will need to work on your seminary assignments each school day, even though you will not attend a seminary class each day. There are 32 units to be completed during the course. The reading chart on page viii shows what you should study for each unit. Your teacher will help you understand when each unit is due. The lessons in this study guide should each take about 30 minutes to complete, in addition to your daily scripture study.
You should have two scripture study journals (or two notebooks), separate from your personal journal, in which you will write the assignments from the study guide activities. Each week that you meet with your teacher, you should turn in the scripture study journal containing the completed assignments from the study guide activities you completed for that week. Your teacher will read and respond to the assignments and return that scripture study journal to you the following week. You could also write your responses on paper in a loose-leaf binder and turn in the pages you did that week. Then, when your teacher returns the pages, you could put them back into the notebook.
Using This Manual in a Daily Seminary Program
This manual may be used by teachers and students in a daily seminary program to enhance lessons or for make-up work. However, it is not intended to be given to every daily seminary student. If a student needs to make up a lesson for credit, the teacher may assign him or her to complete the home-study lesson that corresponds with the lesson that was missed.
Using the Home-Study Student Manual
Book of Mormon Reading Chart
Welcome to the Book of Mormon
What Is the Book of Mormon?
The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. It contains the writings of ancient prophets, giving an account of God’s dealings with one branch of the house of Israel on the American continent. For Latter-day Saints the Book of Mormon stands alongside the Bible, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price as holy scripture. The Book of Mormon is a record of great ancient-American civilizations.
Since it was first published in English in 1830, the Book of Mormon has been translated into many languages, and printed copies have totaled more than 150 million. It has been described by prophets of God as the “keystone” of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Why Is the Study of the Book of Mormon Important to Me?
President Ezra Taft Benson taught that the blessing of drawing nearer to God awaits you as you study the Book of Mormon with a sincere heart:
“Is there not something deep in our hearts that longs to draw nearer to God, to be more like Him in our daily walk, to feel His presence with us constantly? If so, then the Book of Mormon will help us do so more than any other book.
“It is not just that the Book of Mormon teaches us truth, though it indeed does that. It is not just that the Book of Mormon bears testimony of Christ, though it indeed does that, too. But there is something more. There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book. You will find greater power to resist temptation. You will find the power to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path. The scriptures are called ‘the words of life’ (see D&C 84:85), and nowhere is that more true than it is of the Book of Mormon. When you begin to hunger and thirst after those words, you will find life in greater and greater abundance” (“The Book of Mormon—Keystone of Our Religion,” Ensign, Nov. 1986, 7).
The Book of Mormon was written for us today. Mormon, the ancient prophet after whom the book is named, and his son Moroni abridged centuries of records when compiling the gold plates from which the Prophet Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon. God, who knows the end from the beginning, inspired His prophets on what to include in the abridgment that we would need for our day. Moroni, who was the last of the prophets to write in the Book of Mormon, foresaw our time: “Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing” (Mormon 8:35).
President Benson also taught that studying the Book of Mormon will help you discern between good and evil:
“The Book of Mormon brings men to Christ through two basic means. First, it tells in a plain manner of Christ and his gospel. It testifies of his divinity and of the necessity for a Redeemer and the need of our putting trust in him. It bears witness of the Fall and the Atonement and the first principles of the gospel, including our need of a broken heart and a contrite spirit and a spiritual rebirth. It proclaims we must endure to the end in righteousness and live the moral life of a Saint.
“Second, the Book of Mormon exposes the enemies of Christ. It confounds false doctrines and lays down contention. (See 2 Ne. 3:12.) It fortifies the humble followers of Christ against the evil designs, strategies, and doctrines of the devil in our day. The type of apostates in the Book of Mormon are similar to the type we have today. God, with his infinite foreknowledge, so molded the Book of Mormon that we might see the error and know how to combat false educational, political, religious, and philosophical concepts of our time” (“The Book of Mormon Is the Word of God,” Ensign, May 1975, 64).
About the Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon is made up of 15 smaller books. Eight of these books begin with a heading that was written on the original gold plates translated by the Prophet Joseph Smith: 1 Nephi, 2 Nephi, Jacob, Alma, Helaman, 3 Nephi, 4 Nephi, and Ether. Some chapters in the Book of Mormon are also preceded by a heading that was included on the original gold plates (except for the sentences about the inclusive chapters): Mosiah 9, Mosiah 23, Alma 5, Alma 7, Alma 9, Alma 17, Alma 21, Alma 36, Alma 38, Alma 39, Alma 45, Helaman 7, Helaman 13, 3 Nephi 11, and Moroni 9.
At the beginning of each chapter in the Book of Mormon there is a brief summary of the chapter printed in italics. These chapter summaries were written and added under the direction of the First Presidency and were not part of the original Book of Mormon text from the gold plates.