Facsimile 3 from the book of Abraham

The only standard work with pictures---cool!

I have added to the Do-It-Yourself Scriptures page the text files for the Pearl of Great Price. In this post, I want to discuss some of the interesting aspects that are unique to the Pearl of Great Price, as well as how those aspects might affect the way a person would redesign the book.

Disconnectedness and parallel-ness

I said in my last post that the Doctrine and Covenants has no overarching narrative to tie it together. Well, the Pearl of Great Price has narratives within the individual books, but no super-narrative the links them together. Each entry is a stand-alone work that was created independently of the others. However, they all strongly relate to some other book of scripture. Moses and Abraham have lengthy passages that parallel Gen. 1–2 (and Gen. 3–8, in the case of Moses). Joseph Smith—Matthew parallels Matthew 24. Joseph Smith—History gives background information for D&C 2–13. And the Articles of Faith were composed between the dates of D&C 126 and 127. So while the individual entries of the Pearl of Great Price are not really related to each other, they are strongly related to other passages of scripture.

While I didn’t really address this fact in my do-it-yourself versions in Microsoft Word, I did when I tried redesigning the Pearl of Great Price in Adobe InDesign. If you go look at my Structured Edition of the Pearl of Great Price, you will find that I frequently showed how books were connected through the use of two design elements. First, I portrayed parallel passages with bars down the side containing references to the passage they paralleled (e.g., JS–M). Second, I inserted little icons marking where in Joseph Smith—History a particular revelation in the D&C occurred (e.g., JS–H 1:65, 67).


The book of Abraham is the only book in the standard works that comes with illustrations. That leads to all kinds of fantastic possibilities with custom-designed scriptures. For one thing, you have to figure out where to insert the facsimiles. At the end? In the most relevant passage? If the latter, which passages would you pick? As you can see in my Structured Edition, I chose the following:

  1. Facsimile 1: Abr. 1:12
  2. Facsimile 2: Abr. 3:1–14
  3. Facsimile 3: Abr. 3:15

Also, I would love to see a colored version of the facsimiles. I’ve sat down before with Microsoft Paint and tried filling in sections with the paint bucket, trying to make a pretty, Egyptian-hued version, but I never get very far. I would also like to see a clickable online version of the facsimiles where you can mouse over a section and have Joseph Smith’s explanation appear in a little pop-up box. If I were a computer whiz, I would do that, but alas, I have no idea how to. Any takers? I have fairly high-resolution versions if you need them.


As always, I hope this post gives readers a place to discuss their thoughts and preferences about this way of studying the scriptures. Please share your thoughts: What other factors are unique to the Pearl of Great Price? How would you go about reflecting the internal structure through design features?