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Nine Moons » Blog Archive : The Jacob Project » The Jacob Project

The Jacob Project

MCQ - April 19, 2012

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.


  1. I like this challenge … but I’ll have to think about it a while before I respond.

    (I just hate great posts like this hanging around without comments as if nobody had read them, and wanted you to know I’m thinking about it.)

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — April 19, 2012 @ 6:41 pm

  2. Thanks Ardis, you rock.

    Comment by MCQ — April 19, 2012 @ 7:11 pm

  3. In context of telling my posterity:

    1. You lived before you were born, you are here for a reason and you will still be alive after your mortal body dies.

    2. Life isn’t fair and your time in mortality is supposed to challenge you. It’s in the way of things. Bad times pass and so do good times. Keep this always in your mind.

    3. God and His son, Jesus Christ, will have your back more than you’ll realize. Work on being close enough to Him to recognize this.

    4. Reading the scriptures and praying every day seems like a pain and maybe even boring, but you’ll be glad you did.

    5. Cultivate your neighbors. Family’s important, but neighbors can save your life.

    6. Enjoy as much as you can of every day. It’s okay to have fun and will, in the long run, bless other’s lives as well.

    7. Get the epidural.

    That last one, Mcq, I’m not trying to be funny. I shove this down everybody’s throat.

    Comment by annegb — April 21, 2012 @ 8:32 am

  4. 1. To love God and to love neighbors really are the two great commandments.
    2. Love almost always involves respecting the person and trying to understand the person.
    3. Divine help has been needed for me to understand anyone: God, a neighbor, or myself.
    4. Doubt happens, and that’s fine. (Like Jacob, I’d summarize a memorable conversation. In my case, it’d be a friendly conversation with a branch president.)
    5. The development Christ-like character is both the main purpose of mortality and the reward for living the gospel.
    6-7. (Two chapters reserved for an extended allegory and related commentary. Maybe something drawing on Alma 32 with the word and a tree of the love of God.)

    Comment by Brian-A — April 21, 2012 @ 9:14 am

  5. Get the epidural: I’m sure you mean that literally, but it could be nice as a metaphor as well.

    Brian, if you care to summarize that conversation, I’d love to hear it.

    Comment by MCQ — April 22, 2012 @ 12:06 am

  6. Crap, I forgot to put something about love in there.

    Comment by annegb — April 22, 2012 @ 8:28 am

  7. MCQ (#5),

    I hope I didn’t oversell that conversation as more profound than it was. A few scriptures I knew listed knowledge and certainty as the outcomes of doing God’s will and of asking earnestly. So, having persistent doubts made me feel as though I wasn’t making progress. My branch president said that while he didn’t have many doubts, he knew that a lifetime of doubts await some of the righteous and sincere. He thought that wasn’t necessarily a tragedy, because however much evidence one has witnessed and whatever level of certainty one feels, belief is still a choice that one has to make. (That line, I recognized even at the time, depends critically on the definition of belief.)

    I didn’t finish the conversation convinced of anything, but I remember developing a sense that things would work out. The conversation gave me confidence that I’d be judged for the choices I make rather than the testimony I receive. I felt comfort realizing that to find who and if God is might take decades. I’d be patient; everything would be fine.

    Comment by Brian-A — April 24, 2012 @ 9:59 pm

  8. I remember that exact feeling that came over me during a similar conversation with a mission companion. Thanks for reminding me Brian.

    Comment by MCQ — April 25, 2012 @ 2:35 am

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  10. Dang this makes me wish I wasn’t stuck in Primary all day during church… :)

    Comment by roger — June 14, 2012 @ 10:53 am

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