Solid Gospel Reading

  • The Scriptures of Course (all standard works) 
  • Teachings Of The Prophet Joseph Smith 
  • The Words of Joseph Smith 
  • Lectures on Faith 
  • The Second Comforter: Conversing With the Lord Through the Veil 
  • Any of a number of works by Hugh Nibley (Approaching Zion is a foundational one) 
  • Beloved Bridegroom: Finding Christ in Ancient Jewish and Family Customs 
  • Preserving the Restoration

(As of 2015) These books, in my view are a great foundation if you want to understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They provide an organized place to study and understand the doctrine and teachings of the fullness of the Restored Gospel. The Church does a wonderful job of distributing and publishing basic curriculum manuals and doctrines for members and new converts. Their focus is basic, as it should be. Beyond that, study of the Gospel fullness is primarily an individual responsibility. I personally believe that some things are intended to only be found by personal study and searching.

You can purchase all of these books on Amazon for around $55. About what you'd spend on 1 tank of gas for your car these days. If your willing to read electronic versions of one or two of them, it really doesn't cost much. There are of course other books I still need to study that may be added.

The Standard Works (Holy Bible, Book of Mormon, D&C, Pearl of Great Price)

They are "The Standard" to which we can/should compare or validate what we learn. The Scriptures are obviously the foundation. How many people have they inspired? How many questions have they answered? How many precious truths are in them? How important are they? The living word, revelation, and Gospel ordinances should also be in this paragraph about Scripture.

Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and The Words of Joseph Smith.

A testimony of The Prophet Joseph is part of the baptismal interview, so it's presumed that if you are a member you have some degree of a testimony of his calling. What sometimes happens is we stop there. We gain a testimony of his calling, and that his experience in the Sacred Grove is true, but then we don't search out and study a large portion of the things he taught. Seems so simple, but having grown up in the church I see how common this is. Many of his priceless and crucial teachings can get left by the wayside as members do our best to live our religion in these modern times. The words of Joseph, his sermons, his life, and his teachings have a focus that we need to retain before it gets lost. As the visionary prophet of the restoration it would seem highly important to find and study his teachings that are available to us. Not just the bits and pieces that are published in the approved curriculum church manuals. Those can be good, and they offer the basics. But their purpose isn't to include everything, and more and more the curriculum dept of the Church dictates what is and is not in them. So our personal study should probably at some point include continuing to learn as much as we can of what the Prophet said and taught.

Lectures on Faith.

These used to be part of the D&C. They were prepared for the School of the Prophets. In fact they were why the D&C is called Doctrine and Covenants. Previously the book was called "The Book of Commandments". The lectures were removed without a vote by the Church which should have taken place for such a change to occur. I enjoy the lectures every time I read them. They are very informative. If you haven't read them and studied them you need to.

The Second Comforter: Conversing with the Lord through the Veil.

This book is a manual for anyone seeking the fullness of the Gospel. The doctrine of the Second Comforter and related teachings have been gathered together in one place and published alongside scriptural examples and personal testimony. The back cover states "This book is about the process of receiving the Second Comforter". It's presented in such a way that any sincere reader can read, understand, and then apply what's taught in their life. It describes the process as set out through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and uses the scriptures to illustrate the path Christ walked and taught. It's intended for the reader to follow it as well and receive what is offered. The author asks no one to read or accept the book unless they get confirmation from the Spirit that what is written and the testimony given are true. I got that witness and it has never left. This book is a well of truth. Read and see for yourself.

Approaching Zion (and or any number of works by Hugh Nibley)

This author's blunt essays are enjoyable if you feel inclined to press further into Gospel topics. Hugh was never a General Authority yet he taught incredible and profound truths to the Latter Day Saints. His perspective about Latter Day issues along with his gifts and talents with regard to Egyptian studies, languages, and history, make him great company. After a few chapters it will be clear he is much more interested in the truth than being liked, or making money, or trying not to offend people. The content can be a bit shocking or uncomfortable at times. He pits Babylon against Zion and shows how easily we in our present day religious culture can become deceived and seduced by counterfeits, and errant beliefs. This work deals with how we become customers of Babylon thinking we are in Zion. The World and the Prophets is another classic by Hugh. He addresses key issues with such clarity that my eyebrows often raise and I ask myself "Is he allowed to say that?" Approaching Zion is a must read. It helps our eyes open to the situation we find ourselves in.

Beloved Bridegroom: Finding Christ in ancient Jewish and Family Customs:

This book addresses Christ's title of "The Bridegroom" as well as offers a light filling perspective on Christ's culture and background that often gets little time or attention. Sometimes in a modern American LDS church viewpoint Jesus becomes Americanized. We see him through our vantage point more than the one he actually grew up in. This book adds lots of meaning and understanding to many scriptures by addressing what it meant to grow up with a Jewish Family and Jewish Customs. Important context for the background for Christ's words and teachings. This is one of those books where the content is many more times as dense as the written words on the page. If we want to know the Lord and to understand Him, can we skip seeking to understand the culture, customs, and religion he grew up in? I love this book. The symbols the authors addresses and the tone are simple, yet profound. The title says it well. "Finding Christ in ancient Jewish and Family Customs".

Preserving the Restoration 

"There is currently a groundswell of change taking place in Mormonism. Various denominations, including the largest sect, the LDS Church headquartered in Salt Lake City, are confronting serious questions about the truthfulness of their claims to be the "one true" religion. This book deals with many important events and teachings of the restoration through Joseph Smith. Any who either believe or dispute that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and any who are interested in or are participating in the various denominations of Mormonism will benefit from this book. Joseph Smith founded a religion intended to revolutionize the world. He was restoring ancient truths that were lost through apostasy and endeavoring to guide its adherents in establishing a New Jerusalem in the Americas. None of the various Mormon denominations, from the largest to the smallest, have been faithful to Joseph Smith or his revelations, and therefore have little chance of accomplishing the prophesied promises. This book discusses the earliest roots of Mormonism. It relies extensively on early Mormon documents, diaries, journals, contemporary correspondence and contemporary news sources to trace back to the beginning of the Mormon faith. It examines the social, legal and political influences that have reshaped key doctrines in Mormonism."  (taken from amazon.com)

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