Most Prominent Scriptures in Mormondom

January 18, 2005 | 9 comments
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Thanks to a cool feature on the scriptures.byu.edu website, it’s easy to rank the scriptures by the frequency they’ve been cited in General Conferences since 1942. I guessed number one, but was surprised by several of the top ten. Before checking the answers, make a few guesses: What are the most prominent scriptures in Mormondom?

The Passages of Scripture Most Cited in General Conference, 1942 – 2004:

1 Moses 1:39
2 JS-H 1:15-20
3 Matt. 22:37-40
4 John 17:3
5 Matt. 6:33
6 Moroni 10:4-5
7 D&C 68:25-28
8 2 Nephi 2:25
9 A of F 13
10 Matt. 25:40
11 D&C 84:33-38
12 D&C 89:18-21
13 Abr 3:25-26
14 John 7:17
15 James 1:5
16 Matt. 28:19-20
17 John 14:6
18 Matt 5:48
19 John 3:16
20 Exodus 20:8-15
21 Matt. 16:16
22 Acts 4:12
23 Rom. 1:16
24 Dan. 2:44
25 John 14:27
26 Acts 3:21
27 Rev. 14:6-7
28 Matt. 11:28-30
29 D&C 59:23
30 Mosiah 18:9
31 D&C 121:41-45
32 Matt. 5:16
33 John 11:25
34 D&C 59:9
35 Mal. 3:10
36 John 3:5
37 2 Nephi 31:20
38 D&C 14:7
39 D&C 93:36
40 Mosiah 3:19
41 1 Nephi 3:7
42 Luke 23:34
43 Gen. 1:27-28
44 D&C 76:22-24
45 D&C 20:77
46 1 Cor. 15:22
47 Moro. 7:47
48 Matt. 3:17
49 John 14:15
50 Mark 16:15
51 Josh 24:15
52 Amos 3:7
53 D&C 130:20-21
54 1 Pet. 2:9
55 Matt. 16:17
56 D&C 1:30
57 D&C 18:10, 15-16
58 D&C 19:18
59 D&C 110:15-16
60 Matt. 24:14
61 Eph. 4:12
62 3 Nephi 11:7-10
63 D&C 101:80
64 D&C 58:27
65 Matt. 7:12
66 2 Nephi 2:27
67 3 Nephi 27:27
68 Matt. 6:9
69 Alma 41:10
70 D&C 88:118
71 D&C 89:8
72 D&C 1:38
73 Moroni 10:32
74 D&C 82:10
75 Matt. 24:14
76 A of F 1
77 James 1:27
78 A of F 9
79 John 5:39
80 A of F 3
81 A of F 4
82 D&C 38:30
83 Gen. 3:19
84 Philip. 4:7
85 D&C 13:1
86 D&C 38:27
87 Luke 22:42
88 Acts 3:21
89 BofM Title Page
90 John 14:26
91 Ether 2:12
92 John 16:33
93 Isa. 9:6
94 John 8:12
95 Eph. 2:20
96 Isa. 29:14
97 Matt. 4:4
98 Matt. 25:21
99 1 Tim. 4:12
100 A of F 12
101 A of F 8
102 Matt. 26:39
103 A of F 5
104 Prov. 22:6
105 Eph. 1:10
106 Matt. 4:19
107 Matt. 7:21
108 D&C 4:2

A note about my methodology: the filter on the BYU page is programmed to filter only by individual verse, so a popular passage like Matt. 22:37-40 can occupy four spots on the Top 100. I combined the verses into passages to improve the results .

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9 Responses to Most Prominent Scriptures in Mormondom

  1. Ryan Bell on January 18, 2005 at 10:46 am

    Wow, of 108 entries, I count only 13 from the Book of Mormon. That’s incredible.

  2. Geoff Johnston on January 18, 2005 at 10:50 am

    Interesting that Moses 1:39 tops the list. It is one of the great “why” verse in our scripture whereas most verses fall into the who, what, where, when, and how categories.

  3. danithew on January 18, 2005 at 10:50 am

    Is it possible at this site to see the scriptures/passages that are unique citations? A top ten of those and the contexts in which they are used might be interesting. I sometimes think we turn over the same soil over and over again … when there’s new ground to be discovered and examined for new insights.

    I guess I’ll have to go check for myself to see what this site offers.

  4. Peter Wiscombe on January 18, 2005 at 10:58 am

    I would have guess that 1 Nephi 3:7 would have been higher. I know it would be in my ward, where it is quoted in about every talk.

  5. Kaimi on January 18, 2005 at 11:07 am

    I didn’t do so bad — I didn’t realize there were 100 up here, I wrote down seven guesses. My guesses were:

    John 14:6 (17)
    Matthew 5, passim (18, at highest)
    Moses 1:39 (1)
    Moroni 10:4 (6)
    2 Ne 2:25-27 (8)
    Malachi 3:10 (35)
    D & C 4 (108).

  6. jonathan thomas on January 18, 2005 at 12:03 pm

    What a useful tool. It would be very interesting to see citation frequencies by decade, presidency duration or some other temporal increment to look for trends, patterns or emphases.

  7. ed on January 18, 2005 at 1:33 pm

    I love stuff like this.

    I looked at changes in the use of the Old Testament. I compared the periods 1942-1975 vs. 1976-2004. (The second period is fewer years, but due to an increase in citation rates, it contains about 51% of the citations.)

    First consider Exodus 20 (the 10 commandments.)
    Earlier period: 591 citations
    Later period: 250 citations

    Here is a list of the top non-Exodus 20 Old Testament citations (with number of cites in parentheses):

    Earlier period
    Daniel 2:44 (61)
    Amos 3:7(49)
    Isa 29:14 (46)
    Mal 3:10 (46)
    Gen 1:28 (41)

    Later period
    Mal 3:10 (39)
    Josh 24:15 (37)
    Dan 2:44 (30)

    On the other hand, total cites for the OT haven’t changed much at all:
    Earlier 7035
    Later 7157

    It would seem that we are using a greater variety of OT scriptures than in the past, with less concentration on the favorites.

  8. Matt Evans on January 18, 2005 at 1:40 pm

    Ryan and Jonathan,

    I don’t want to spoil my next post, but the fluidity of the Top 100 scriptures over the available period (since 1942) is remarkable. Only one (1!) of the Top 6 scriptures over the last 20 years was even in the Top 100 (hundred!) scriptures in the 1940s and 50s, and three of the Top 7 in the 1940s and 50s have now dropped all the way out of the Top 100. As Jonathan noted, this database is ripe for performing quantitive studies on Mormon trends. Too bad I don’t have powerful software that could track the history of different verses.

    More later.

  9. ed on January 18, 2005 at 1:42 pm

    Peter, I agree with you that I would have expected 1 Nephi 3:7 to be even higher.

    A less quoted verse is D&C 124:49

    Verily, verily, I say unto you, that when I give a commandment to any of the sons of men to do a work unto my name, and those sons of men go with all their might and with all they have to perform that work, and cease not their diligence, and their enemies come upon them and hinder them from performing that work, behold, it behooveth me to require that work no more at the hands of those sons of men, but to accept of their offerings.

    This one has been cited 5 times, only twice since 1959 (but once in 2004!).

WELCOME

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