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Jacob 1-4. Jacob is unsurpassed as a doctrinal teacher. Thirty-one pages in the Book of Mormon are in Jacob’s own words. Born between 600 and 593 BC Devastatingly direct ! (Isaiah like!)

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jacob 1 4
Jacob 1-4

Jacob is unsurpassed as a doctrinal teacher.

Thirty-one pages in the Book of Mormon are in Jacob’s own words.

Born between 600 and 593 BC

Devastatingly direct! (Isaiah like!)

In fewer than 28 pages, the record from Jacob to Mosiah covers about 421 of the total 1021 years covered by the entire Nephite record (41%).


“No prophet in the Book of Mormon, by temperament or personal testimony, seems to have gone about that work of persuasion any more faithfully than did Jacob. He scorned the praise of the world, he taught straight, solid, even painful doctrine, and he knew the Lord personally. His is a classic Book of Mormon example of a young man’s decision to suffer the cross and bear the shame of the world in defense of the name of Christ. Life, including those difficult early years when he saw the wickedness of Laman and Lemuel bring his father and mother down to their graves in grief, was never easy for this firstborn in the wilderness” (Christ and the New Covenant [1997], 62-63).


Jacob the unshaken and unshakable --- born in affliction, refined in service, triumphant in Christ. His question to his brethren is his question to us, a question stemming from his prophetic calling in which the redemption of Christ was the pre-eminent and preoccupying fact of his life and service:

“Wherefore, beloved brethren, be reconciled unto (God) through the atonement of Christ, his Only Begotten Son,…having faith, and having obtained a good hope of glory in him before he manifesteth himself in the flesh…Why not speak of the atonement of Christ, and attain to a perfect knowledge of him…?”

Why not, indeed?

Jacob 1:7-8 “Suffer His Cross”

Saints are to carry the cross of service and consecration, the cross of devotion and obedience (B.R.M., Mormon Doctrine, 178).

Jacob 1:14Lamanites & Nephites

Jacob 1:17-19

Teach them the word of God with diligence!

(Location -Temple)

Jacob 2:2 “Magnify Mine Office”

“President John Taylor said on one occasion, speaking to the brethren of the priesthood, ‘If you do not magnify your callings, God will hold you responsible for those you might have saved, had you done your duty.’”

“This is a challenging statement. If I by reason of sins of commission or omission lose what I might have had in the hereafter, I myself must suffer and, doubtless, my loved ones with me. But if I fail in my assignment as a bishop, a stake president, a mission president, or one of the General Authorities of the Church --- if any of us fail to teach, lead, direct, and help to save those under our direction and within our jurisdiction, then the Lord will hold us responsible if they are lost as the result of our failure” (Hugh B. Brown, C.R., Oct. 1962, 84).


Jacob spends much of verse ten in chapter two apologizing, in effect, for the sins he must address and the language he must use in addressing them. This bold and unyielding manner of preaching is almost as hard on Jacob as it is on the guilty ones in his audience.

Elder Oaks said, “Last week I was talking with a member of the Quorum of the Twelve about comments we had received on our April conference talks. My friend said someone told him, ‘I surely enjoyed your talk.’ We agreed that this is not the kind of comment we like to receive. As my friend said, ‘I didn’t give that talk to be enjoyed. What does he think I am, some kind of entertainer?’ Another member of the quorum joined in the conversation by saying, ‘That reminds me of the story of the good minister. When a parishioner said, “I surely enjoyed your sermon today,” the minister replied, “In that case, you didn’t understand it.”’


You may remember that this April conference I spoke on pornography. No one told me they ‘enjoyed’ that talk --- not one! In fact, there was nothing enjoyable in it even for me.

Talks in conference are given to inspire, to edify, to challenge, or to correct. It is given to be heard under the influence of the Spirit of the Lord, with the intended result that the listener learns from the talk and from the Spirit what he or she should do about it” (“The Dedication of a Lifetime” [CES fireside for young adults, May 1, 2005], 1).

Jacob 2:10-11

Sounds a bit like General Conference. Verse 8, the word which healeth the wounded soul.

Jacob 2:13, 17-19

The Lord never intended the L.D.S. to be a poverty stricken and destitute people. He intended that their goodness should entitle them to inherit the good things of the earth if they were used properly… (with hard work). Do not get the idea that we have a quarrel with wealth if it is legitimately acquired. It is the utilization of wealth which is often subject to criticism (Stephen L. Richards, Where is Wisdom?, 57-58).

Jacob 2:18-19

Before all else, “Seek for the Kingdom of God.”

“When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for our affection, the demands on our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our priorities” (Ezra T. Benson, Ensign, May 1988, 4). (Matthew 22:36-38).


President David O. McKay counseled us to be cautious regarding that which we seek. Though we may obtain almost anything we work for, it may come at a high price: “What seek ye first? What do you cherish as the dominant, the uppermost thought in your mind? What this is will largely determine your destiny… You may win in this world almost anything for which you strive. If you work for wealth, you can get it, but before you make it an end in itself, take a look at those men who have sacrificed all to the accomplishment of this purpose, at those who have desired wealth for the sake of wealth itself. Gold does not corrupt man; it is in the motive of acquiring that gold that corruption occurs” (Treasures of Life [1962], 174-75).


President Boyd K. Packer said, “We want our children and their children to know that the choice of life is not between fame and obscurity, nor is the choice between wealth and poverty. The choice is between good and evil, and that is a very different matter indeed.”

When we finally understand this lesson, thereafter our happiness will not be determined by material things. We may be happy without them or successful in spite of them (C.R., Oct. 1980, 28-29).

President Harold B. Lee thought on this matter during the 1970’s:

“Today we are basking in the lap of luxury, in the like of which we have never seen in the history of the world. It would seem that probably this is the most severe test of any we have ever had in the history of the church.”


Rockefeller was famously quoted in that year as saying, “God gave me my money” (in Reo Bennett, “How the Richest Man in the World Observes Christmas,” Woman’s Home Companion, December 1905, 14).

Now, that’s sort of troubling to Christian people. God gave him his money? Some have used the quote as evidence that John D. Rockefeller was a bad man—that he believed he deserved to be rich when other people were poor. But that’s not actually what he meant.

In 1906 Rockefeller went on to tell a newspaper reporter for the New York American: “I believe the power to make money is a gift from God . . . to be developed and used to the best of our ability for the good of mankind” (to William Hoster, quoted in Jules Abels, The Rockefeller Billions: The Story of the World’s Most Stupendous Fortune [New York: Macmillan, 1965], 279–80).


What Rockefeller meant was this: He believed that he made money because he was charged with helping others with his money, and he honestly believed (as he wrote at other times) that if he stopped giving his money and giving it in the right way, then God would take his money away.

Now, that still might trouble you theologically that God would intervene in the direct finances of John D. Rockefeller, but you have to admit that it doesn’t sound so weird at that point. John D. Rockefeller believed that he was rich because he gave so much, and throughout his life, before he was a rich man, he gave a lot. He was a charitable person.


Brigham Young hinted that this kind of challenge would befall the Church:

President Brigham Young said, “The worst fear I have about this people is that they will get rich in this country, forget God and His people, wax fat, and kick themselves out of the Church and go to hell. This people will stand mobbing, robbing, poverty, and all manner of persecution, and be true. But my greater fear for them is that they cannot stand wealth” (Brigham Young, cited in Preston Nibley, Brigham Young, 127-28).

(1 Timothy 6:10)


Jacob 2:17

“Be free with your substance”

Marion G. Romney as a Bishop said, “Be liberal in your giving, that you yourselves may grow. Don’t give just for the benefit of the poor, but give for you own welfare. Give enough so that you can give yourself into the kingdom of God through consecrating of your means and your time” (Ensign, July 1982, 4).

Jacob 2:23

Which was the worst sin of those discussed by Jacob?

“The doctrine of this Church is that sexual sin --- the illicit sexual relations of men and women --- stands, in its enormity, next to murder” (James R. Clark, comp. Messages of the First Presidency, 6:176).

“No more loathsome cancer disfigures the body and soul of society today than the frightful affliction of sexual sin” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Restoration of All Things, 261).

Jacob 2:27-31, 35

Why plural marriage?

To raise up seed unto me!

Joseph Smith stated: “I have constantly said no man shall have but (other than) one wife at a time, unless the Lord directs otherwise” (Teachings, 324).

Jacob 2:28

How does the Lord feel about “the chastity of women?”

“A beautiful, modest, gracious woman is creation’s masterpiece” (David O. McKay, Gospel Ideals, 449).

(Proverbs 31:10)

Jacob 2:30 “Raise Up Seed Unto Me”

There were three types of plural marriage approved of God in ancient times:

1. A widow could call upon the nearest kinsman of her deceased husband to marry her and keep her and her children from being destitute.

2. In cases of sterility (Abraham and Sarah) plural marriage was permitted, if sanctioned by the Lord.

3. To raise up seed unto the Lord when He commands it.

Polygamy - More than one spouse at a time.

Polygyny - More than one wife at a time.

Polyandry - More than one husband at a time.

It is best called plural marriage.

History of plural marriage:

Revealed in 1831 to Joseph Smith.

Joseph Smith lived it in 1841, and possibly earlier.

Joseph Smith recorded it in 1843 (D&C 132).

Implemented in 1852.

Abandoned in 1890.

After the manifesto there was a gentleman’s agreement with the United States just to let it die out.

At one time Joseph Smith said:

“Would to God I could tell you what I know. But you would call it blasphemy, and there are men upon this stand who would want to take my life!” William and Wilson Law and others who were present when Joseph made that statement did seek his life just two years later because of the doctrines revealed in D&C 132 (Life of Heber C. Kimball, 1967, 322).

The decision to live this law was not easy to make. Joseph Smith was a righteous man, and it was difficult for him to overcome his own feelings as well as the marriage customs of his day in order to keep this commandment.

“He knew the voice of God – he knew the commandment of the Almighty to him was to go forward – to set the example, and establish Celestial plural marriage. He knew that he had not only his own prejudices and prepossessions to combat and to overcome, but those of the whole Christian world stared him in the face; but God, who is above all, had given the commandment, and He must be obeyed.


Yet the Prophet hesitated and deferred from time to time, until an angel of God stood by him with a drawn sword, and told him that, unless he moved forward and established plural marriage, his Priesthood would be taken from him and he should be destroyed! This testimony (Joseph) not only bore to my brother, but also to others – a testimony that cannot be denied” (Eliza R. Snow, Biography and Family Record of Lorenzo Snow, 1884, 69-70).

“Brigham Young said in a discourse delivered at Provo on July 14th, 1855, that ‘If any man had asked me what was my choice when Joseph Smith revealed that doctrine (plurality of wives), provided that it would not diminish my glory, I would have said, “Let me have but one wife.” …I was not desirous of shrinking from any duty, nor of failing in the least to do as I was commanded, but it was the first time in my life that I had desired the grave, and I could hardly get over it for a long time” (B.H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church).
President Heber J. Grant said,

“No individual was permitted to take a plural wife without the written recommendation of the Bishop of the ward in which he resided, vouching for his character.

Not only that, the president of the stake had to vouch for his character as well. And before he could go into the temple to marry a plural wife the President of the Church had to give him a recommend” (C.R., 1930, 185).

Doctrine and Covenants 132:15-19

Three case studies on marriage!

Jacob 3:1-10 “The “Pure in Heart”

“Zion can be built up only among those who are the pure in heart, not a people torn by covetousness or greed, but a pure and selfless people. Not a people who are pure in appearance, rather a people who are pure in heart. Zion is to be in the world and not of the world, not dulled by a sense of carnal security, nor paralyzed by materialism. No, Zion is not things of the lower, but of the higher order, things that exalt the mind and sanctify the heart” (Spencer W. Kimball, C.R., April 1978, 122).


Jacob 4:2

The Nephites did write on other materials.

Probably leather or paper. One might conclude that the engravings on the plates would rarely if ever be their first draft of a document.


Jacob 4:12 “Why Not Speak of the Atonement of Christ?”

Brothers and sisters, given man’s true self-interest, why should we really speak much of anything else? (Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign, November 1986, 53).

Jacob 4:14 “Looking Beyond the Mark”

When figuratively speaking, we are more interested in the physical dimensions of the cross than what was achieved thereon by Jesus. Or, when we neglect Alma’s words on faith because we are too fascinated by the light-shielding hat reportedly used by Joseph Smith during some of the translating of the Book of Mormon (Neal A. Maxwell).

“Sometimes we focus too much of our attention and energy upon our temporal wants, not only to entertain ourselves and gratify our physical appetites, but also to gain recognition, position, and power. We can become so consumed by the pursuit of these things that we sacrifice the sweetness and enduring peace of mind that are found in spiritual well-being” (Dean L. Larsen, Ensign, November 1987, 12).