Scriptorian’s Key to the Book of Mormon

I want to share once again a powerful tool I’ve found to scripture mastery. It’s simple to use, and requires a tenth as much memory power as memorizing hundreds of scriptures.

I learned this on my mission almost 40 years ago, and I still remember most of it. Here’s how it works – instead of memorizing hundreds of scriptures, you just memorize important chapter headings. For example, 2 Nephi 9 (which we learned about last Sunday) is about the Atonement of Christ. Once you memorize that information, every time you try to remember “that scripture about the atonement”, the odds are it is in 2 Nephi 9. You can flip to that book, look at your highlights, and find it in a heartbeat. It actually gives you scripture mastery with minimal effort.

I have prepared a document I call “Scriptorian’s Key to the Book of Mormon”. It has only 90 simplified chapter headings which give you mastery of the whole book! They are short and easy to remember.

Here’s what I suggest: Get up each morning, do your morning routine, sit down for 2 minutes and memorize one more chapter heading, then review the previous four days. Say your morning prayers and head off to your day. Add 1, review 4 every day until you are finished.

In less than three months you will be a Book of Mormon scriptorian.

I have created a new page on the Un-Blog “Scriptorian’s Key“. It contains the key and a link where you can download the PDF version of the Scriptorian’s Key for the Book of Mormon and D&C.

I have been planning to make a similar key for the New Testament. Let me know if you would like these additional Scriptorian’s Keys.

I know just a few of you will actually make use of this tool. We’re all busy in various ways, and it does require a small but sustained effort.  But, I want to share it because memorizing this key has blessed my life for four decades, and has had a lot to do with why I do what I do today. I call upon it almost every day to lead me to references I love, but can’t remember the exact verse.

Brother John

© February 2012, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved. Non-commercial reproduction permitted.

About John Pontius

I am a lover of truth.
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26 Responses to Scriptorian’s Key to the Book of Mormon

  1. Debra James says:

    Personal opinion….I think the Liahona was more for the benefit of the people who did not have the faith Nephi and Lehi had, to make it easier for them to follow directions communicated to them. A physical immediate result if you will of the exercising of their faith? Some people need that in order to start to exercise great faith?


  2. Leslie says:

    I also would love the New Testament keys please! Thank you so much for your work! I did a similar thing with the Book of Mormon in the 90s, but it covered more chapters. I was amazed how helpful it was, but over the years I failed to review as often as I needed to in order to retain the less used chapters. This is more concise which I love! Going to dig in to the D&C. Thanks again. 🙂


  3. New Teatament keys would be great, if only or the Gospels.
    Thanks for this great resource. I’ll be starting it today.


    • Hi, I have been working on a New Testament version of the Scriptorian’s Key off and on for years. It is difficult because there is so much to condense into a single sentence. It requires reading every chapter. It also requires picking the best account from the Gospels when the same story appears multiple times. I hope to keep going until it is finished just for my own edification, and perhaps for the few who actually use the Scriptorian’s Keys to their full benefit.


  4. sean says:

    I think one of my buddies uses this method to memorize passages of the Book of Mormon.
    In seminary, my teacher had a DVD full of songs that were basically the scripture mastery verses set to music. I thought it was kind of fun.


  5. velichik says:

    What a wonderful idea! In addition to this, I’d really like to see the D&C.


    • Hi Velichik,

      If you look at the “Pages” menu across the top of the opening screen there is a tab called “Scriptorian’s Keys”. In there I have included the BoM key, and the D&C key.



  6. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you! This is just what I need!


  7. K-Jo says:

    I also ask the question along with FJC….why the need for the Liahona when Lehi had already received such marvelous visions of the spirit? I have wanted to ask that question so often, but now I see that I am not the only one. During the last lesson about the Liahona a few weeks ago, I thought…..”wouldn’t it be great if we all had a physical Liahona until we could grow more accustomed to the “still small voice” one? 🙂

    Oh, and Brother John, Yes please send the other PDF files for the scriptures. How awesome!


    • Hi K-Jo,

      I’m working on the New Testament “Scripture Mastery” list. It might take a few days. I have posted the BoM and D&C on the same page for everyone to download who is interested.

      I can see I’m going be writing an UnBlog on the Liahona. Wonderful concepts there.




  8. FJC says:

    Thank you Donald. Good thoughts.


  9. strategicreader says:

    I will commit these to memory.
    I would love a D&C and New Testament version.
    There was a time when I had many passages memorized….no longer.
    I have wondered many times how to put together a short version that would help me to be able to teach from scripture as guided by the Spirit.
    I believe that your method is part of the answer.
    Thanks John.


  10. Jack Baker says:

    I thank you for this! it would be wonderful to have the guide for the other scriptures. Thank You again.



  11. Melody says:

    Thank you for this! I am very interested in the others, as well. I’d like to pass them along to my son who is leaving on his mission in a few weeks.


  12. Donald says:

    FJC….maybe a similar question would be why did Joseph Smith need the physical plates if he had the Urim & Thummim? I’m not sure I really know. Perhaps the physical object reinforce (or measure?) faith….both their faith and the faith of those around them…. maybe these objects (whether metal plates, urim and thummim or a Liahona) gave evidence that what they were doing and what was happening was real? Perhaps these “outward” objects gave evidence of an inner spiritual strength? Maybe they could measure their standing before the Lord?


  13. Jo Ann Christl says:

    I would love to have a scriptorian key for the additional schriptures. Thank you very much.

    Jo Ann Christl


  14. kenh says:

    Count me in for the Friday chat!


  15. Donald says:

    I will do it.


  16. FJC says:

    This is wonderful Brother John. Thank you so much for sharing.

    I do have a question for you. It would be fun to have an open forum for questions for you once a month for those of us who are learning. Maybe others have considered this thought as well somewhere along the line.

    I have been trying to figure out the need for the Liahona. Both Nephi and Lehi have had lots of experience with the Holy Ghost in many ways. They have been directed to leave, return twice, take a life, endure great hardship, etc. etc. It certainly seems that the Holy Ghost could have continued to inspire and direct their physical and spiritual journeys, without the aid of the Liahona. So often in lessons we compare the two powers. Maybe that’s part of the answer, since it is so visual. Do you or others have any thoughts on this idea?


    • Good question. I hadn’t thought about it until you proposed it. I’ll let the group reply if they want to as I ponder your question.

      When you say an open forum, are you talking about using the UnBlog, or a chat format? Again, I had never thought about it.

      Terri – whom the whole Un-Blog world knows is my lovely wife – suggested doing an Un-Blog the Friday before the “Teachings of the Prophets” lesson in RS and Priesthood to help people prepare for receiving and discussing that lesson. I thought it was an inspired thought. I must be dragging bottom on my spiritual keel, because I had never thought of that one either!

      Brother John


  17. Brenda Esselman NC says:

    I am one who will do the scriptorian key memorize. Thanks


  18. Lisa says:

    I will use this and would definitely find value in tools for other books. Thank you for your service in drawing others to Christ.


  19. JoyT says:

    This is great! Thank you. My brain doesn’t seem to retain scriptures that I have tried to memorize more recently in my life like it did when I was younger. I think this will be very helpful.


  20. Sharon Cox says:

    This is a great tool. Thanks for sharing it. I will certainly use it as a reference guide even if I am unable to memorize it.

    PS: Not sure if you noticed that some of the words on the right of the page are cut off.


  21. Phillip says:

    Yes, I would like Scriptorian Keys for the other scriptures. And thank you for sharing your testimony of Jesus Christ through your Unblog, firesides online and your books. Your testimony has changed my life and brought me closer to the Savior.


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