May, 29, 2012

A Concordance to the Book of Mormon

From the Education in Zion Gallery

Many Sunday school lessons have been spent highlighting the history and coming forth of the scriptures we use. These stories cultivate in us a deeper sense of reverence and appreciation for these works and they become more sacred in our hands. Often, however, we neglect to recognize the effort that has also gone into compiling the indexes, Topical Guide, and Bible Dictionary. Few know the story of George S. Reynolds and his well-spent time in jail.

Reynolds was the first Latter-day Saint to be imprisoned for polygamy [1]. While in prison, he obtained a copy of the newest edition of the Book of Mormon, which at that time finally featured numbered chapters and versus [2]. Seeking to continue to serve the Church despite his circumstances, Reynolds began creating a concordance for the Book of Mormon. Day after day he recorded each instance of every word and many phrases. He nailed pages of the Book of Mormon to the prison wall and carefully catalogued his findings [3].

The concordance Reynolds worked on while in prison was finally published in 1899. This book laid the foundation for those who later worked on the Topical Guide and the index of the Book of Mormon. May Reynolds’s tremendous effort be recognized by us the next time we turn to one of these study helps!

[1] Bruce A. Van Orden, Prisoner for Conscience’ Sake: The Life of George Reynolds (Salt Lake
City: Deseret Book, 1992), 118.
[2] George Reynolds to John Nicholson, September 20, 1879, published in “Correspondence,”
Millennial Star 41, no. 42 (October 20, 1879): 669.
[3] George S. Reynolds, A Complete Concordance of the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City:
Deseret Book, 1899), [3].