We have been studying the book of Jacob in the Book of Mormon in Gospel Doctrine class recently, as are you, most likely. As I have mentioned before, Jacob is one of my favorite prophets and writers, so I have been enjoying this part of our class. One of the comments that the teacher made about this book that stuck with me is that Jacob mentions this in the beginning of his book:
Nephi gave me, Jacob, a commandment concerning the small plates, upon which these things are engraven. And he gave me, Jacob, a commandment that I should write upon these plates a few of the things which I considered to be most precious…
Of course, Jacob follows this commandment, but the things he writes (allowing for possible editing by Mormon) apparently took up only seven chapters. Although one of these chapters is the longest chapter in the Book of Mormon, this is a relatively small contribution, possibly due to Nephi’s instruction to limit himself to “a few of the things which I considered to be most precious.”
So let’s look at what Jacob considered to be most precious. It’s an interesting list, really:
Chapter 1: Nephi’s charge to Jacob, The death of Nephi and the subsequent rise in the hard-heartedness of his people.
Chapter 2: Jacob condemns the love of riches, pride, persecuting others. Seek ye first the kingdom of God. Unchastity is an abomination.
Chapter 3: Seek to be pure in heart. Repent of your sins. Don’t hate the Lamanites, in some ways they are better than you. Awake from sin.
Chapter 4: The prophets testify of Christ. Unshaken faith can command nature. Be reconciled through the atonement. The Jews will reject Christ.
Chapter 5: The allegory of the olive trees, showing the Lord’s dealings with the house of Israel and the gentiles, who are grafted in.
Chapter 6: The allegory shall come to pass, the world shall be burned, but God stretches forth his hands unto his people all the day long. O be wise.
Chapter 7: Sherem denies Christ and is smitten as a sign to the Nephites, who repent and turn to God and are able to conquer their enemies. Jacob bids adieu.
As you can see, Jacob packs a lot of information and doctrine into these pages. So here’s a challenge. Let’s call it The Jacob Project: make a list of your own, of the things you would write about from your own experiences if you had only seven chapters in which to convey to posterity the most precious things you have learned in your life.
Here’s my list:
Chapter 1: The Book of Mormon is the word of God and testifies of Christ, and God will reveal this truth to any that sincerely seek it.
Chapter 2: God will preserve and bless those who labor in his kingdom.
Chapter 3: God hears and answers prayers.
Chapter 4: Obedience is always rewarded.
Chapter 5: Repentance is a lifelong process.
Chapter 6: If you don’t learn humility on your own, God will be happy to help you.
Chapter 7: The gospel is about love and peace. Joy comes from service and association with other people. No one is saved alone.
Try The Jacob Project and share your list with us below.