Religious Educator: Perspectives on the Restored Gospel


Book of Mormon, General Conference

Document Type



Joseph Smith referred to the Book of Mormon as the keystone of our religion; however, the book was not frequently studied in worship services or in gospel instruction in the early Church. In the 1970s, focus on the scriptures increased as the curriculum for adult gospel study shifted from manuals discussing the scriptures to the actual scripture texts. The Book of Mormon became part of the correlated curriculum for Sunday School Gospel Doctrine lessons, and Seminaries and Institutes also increased their use of scriptural content. In response, Church leaders oversaw the preparation of a fully cross-referenced version of the standard works, enabling publication of the first LDS edition of the Bible in 1979 and the triple combination in 1981. President Spencer W. Kimball had told those involved in these projects that the goal was “to assist in improving doctrinal scholarship throughout the Church.” Church focus on the Book of Mormon intensified in 1985 when Ezra Taft Benson became President of the Church, emphasizing the importance of the Book of Mormon as the keystone of our witness of Christ, our doctrine, and our testimonies.