JOHN - Having read most of the new Joseph Smith "Presidents of the Church" book I've noticed that Brother Joseph always quoted from the Bible, but rarely, if ever, from the Book of Mormon. Since he, himself, said that we'd get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts than by any other book, I find this just a bit curious. Might one reason be that when first published it read more like a novel instead of the chapter and verse easy-to-reference style that we now have? What's your take on it.

JOEL - Here are a few reasons that I can think of:

1. The few members of the church in the early days were all converts who were familiar with the Bible and fully accepted it as the word of God, but not as familiar with the Book of Mormon. So Joseph used the Bible often in his teachings to explain and support the newly revealed scripture and doctrines as they began to accept the Book of Mormon as God's word to them. Also, the Bible had been interpreted differently by the many Christian faiths that the members once belonged to, so it was important that the saints obtained the correct interpretation by a prophet of God.

2. Joseph's mission was to proclaim the true gospel to a world of people who only accepted the Bible as God's word, using it to show how the restored gospel could be found within its pages. Our missionaries do the same thing today. Much of what was included in the Joseph Smith lesson manual came from public discourses, sermons, and published articles directed at the many curious nonmembers who would not relate to anything other than Bible scriptures.

3. It is true that the Book of Mormon at first was only divided into books with no partitioning into chapters or verses, so it would be diffficult to provide an exact reference for a quoted scripture.

4. Pure coincidence that most of the Joseph Smith quotes that were chosen for the manual just happened to contain mostly Biblical references.

Take your pick.

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