Insights: The Newsletter of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship

Article Title

Missing the Mark


Book of Mormon, BYU, student, mark, lessons


In teaching Book of Mormon at Brigham Young University over the past quarter century, I have rarely found a student, whether true freshman or returned missionary, who knows what the word mark means in Jacob 4:14.1 Most of them know that the mark symbolizes Christ in this verse, but they do not know what a mark is. That is, if a mark symbolizes Christ, then mark must be something in real life other than Christ. In fact, most Book of Mormon readers justifiably feel satisfied and uplifted by relying on what they think mark means in this verse. While it is true that great lessons can be learned from this verse by relying simply on the symbolic meaning of mark, when the meaning of mark as it fell from the Prophet’s lips while translating becomes clear, whole new, additional dimensions of understandings of Jacob’s warning begin to unfold.