Now that Come Follow Me is finished with references to the Pearl of Great Price, I’m thinking about how the Pearl of Great Price doesn’t get equal billing with the rest of the Standard Works of the Church. As you know, the Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants are on rotation to be studied every four years. Here we are in 2022—an Old Testament year. We study it in Sunday School, and we have our own Come Follow Me Old Testament manual to study at home.

The Pearl of Great Price does not get it’s own year or its own Come Follow Me manual. What happens is the Pearl of Great Price gets divided up—a little bit here and even less there. The books of Moses and Abraham are included for a few weeks with the Old Testament. Joseph Smith-Matthew may get a little airtime while the New Testament is being studied, and the Articles of Faith and Joseph Smith-History might receive a mention or two during a Doctrine and Covenants’ year. You could reason the Pearl of Great Price is too short, just sixty-one pages, or that it is five separate, unrelated books. But for whatever reason the Pearl of Great Price doesn’t receive its full due, we miss out on dense doctrine, essential history, modern application, a timeline from Adam and Eve to Joseph Smith, and pearls found nowhere else.

On the macro level, the Pearl of Great Price is the least quoted of our canonized scriptures, excepting one verse—Moses 1:39. I checked the Corpus of Latter-day Saint General Conference Talks, 1851-2020, so I know that statement is accurate. On a micro, personal level, in February, my nephew sent a group email inviting family members to read the Book of Mormon before Easter. No one’s nephew ever sent a group email inviting family members to read the Pearl of Great Price before any thing.

The reason I am campaigning for the Pearl of Great Price and bear testimony of it often is that I enjoy reading it, studying it, and writing about it. It always feels new and fresh. The years I spent typing the text and writing a book about what I found by typing it changed my life. It has added gospel knowledge, understanding, and testimony, pearl by pearl. When I can’t sleep, I listen to it over and over.

I made a list of forty-nine of my favorite topics in the Pearl of Great Price, which is way too long to include here, so I cut it to sixteen. Even that is too long. So, here are just a few of my favorite, favorite pearls of Great Price.

  1. Pearls of Great Price

    “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it” (Matthew 13:45-46).

    I believe Elder Franklin D. Richards came to this name for this compilation by inspiration. The curtain of revelation opens again and again in the Pearl of Great Price as the God of Heaven interacts with His prophets.
  2. The Pearl of Agency:

    The word agency/agents is not found in the Bible or Book of Mormon. In regular dictionaries it is defined as an insurance company, an agency like the Central Intelligence Agency, a free agent in professional sports, a city in Iowa, or a television drama. It is rarely found in secular or Christian literature as defined and taught in Latter-day Saint theology. What I am saying is that agency was a lost doctrine that has now been restored in latter-day scripture.

    Agency/agents is found four times in the Doctrine and Covenants and three times in the Pearl of Great Price. The Pearl of Great Price words are precise and profound:

    “The Lord said unto Enoch: I . . . gave . . . man his agency” (Moses 7:32). “And it is given unto them to know good from evil; wherefore they are agents unto themselves” (Moses 6:56). God teaches agency to His children by allowing them to experience opposition. “They taste the bitter, that they may know to prize the good” (Moses 6:55). Satan is the enemy of agency. “Satan . . . sought to destroy the agency of man” (Moses 4:3).

    The scriptural meaning places responsibility on the individual. Agency is the gift of free will and choice, the freedom and opportunity to become. Agency is a person’s most precious possession, excepting his/her life. When agency is lost, the rest of life is spent in attempts to recover lost rights, privileges, reputation, and/or trust. The first war over agency was fought in the premortal world.
  3. The Pearl of BAPTISM

    Only in the Pearl of Great Price can you read four accounts of four dispensation heads receiving baptism or baptizing: Adam, Enoch, Noah, and Joseph Smith. Baptism is the gate for everyone from Adam to an eight-year-old child standing in the font ready to be baptized by authority. Baptism is the first ordinance of the gospel, showing God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 

    Adam: “And our father Adam spake unto the Lord, and said: Why is it that men must repent and be baptized in water” (Moses 6:53)? The Lord answered: “As ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit” (Moses 6:59). “Adam . . . was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord, and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the water, and was brought forth out of the water. And thus he was baptized” (Moses 6:64–65).

    Enoch: “And he gave unto me a commandment that I should baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, which is full of grace and truth, and of the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of the Father and the Son” (Moses 7:11).

    Noah: “And it came to pass that Noah continued his preaching unto the people, saying: Hearken, and give heed unto my words; Believe and repent of your sins and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, even as our fathers” (Moses 8:23–24). 

    Joseph Smith: After Joseph and Oliver Cowdery were ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood by John the Baptist, John “commanded us to go and be baptized, and gave us directions that I should baptize Oliver Cowdery, and that afterwards he should baptize me. Accordingly we went and were baptized. I baptized him first, and afterwards he baptized me” (Joseph Smith—History 1:70–71). 

    Much of the world believes the account of Adam and Eve is an allegory. Others are puzzled by the fact that Adam and Eve seemed to have a spoken language. But because of the Pearl of Great Price, we know details such as:

    “Adam and Eve . . . made all things known unto their sons and their daughters” (Moses 5:12). They spoke in sophisticated language to each other.

    “A book of remembrance was kept, in the which was recorded, in the language of Adam, for it was given unto as many as called upon God to write by the spirit of inspiration” (Moses 6:5). They had written language.

    “The records of the fathers, even the patriarchs, concerning the right of Priesthood, the Lord my God preserved in mine own hands; therefore a knowledge of the beginning of the creation, and also of the planets, and of the stars, as they were made known unto the fathers, have I kept even unto this day, and I shall endeavor to write some of these things upon this record, for the benefit of my posterity that shall come after me” (Abraham 1:31). They were highly intelligent in spoken and written word.

    The fact that Earth is female and speaks is another lost doctrine. She lets Enoch know of her desires and speaks in her own defense: “And it came to pass that Enoch looked upon the earth; and he heard a voice from the bowels thereof, saying: Wo, wo is me, the mother of men; I am pained, I am weary, because of the wickedness of my children. When shall I rest, and be cleansed from the filthiness which is gone forth out of me? When will my Creator sanctify me, that I may rest, and righteousness for a season abide upon my face” (Moses 7:48)?

    As I studied the words of the Pearl of Great Price, I became aware of what I am calling “invitations of from the Lord.”  They are opportunities to serve Him as He desires. Here are a few:

    Walk with me” (Moses 6:34).
    Be baptized” (Moses 6:52).
    Receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Moses 6:52).
    Ask” (Moses 6:52).
    Repent” (Moses 6:27).
    Bear record of me” (Moses 6:63).
    Choose me” (Moses 7:33).
    Teach it unto your children” (Moses 6:57).
    Choose ye this day, to serve the Lord God who made you” (Moses 6:33).
    Go forth and do as I have commanded thee” (Moses 6:32).
    Open thy mouth and it shall be filled” (Moses 6:32).
    Teach it freely unto your children” (Moses 6:58).
    Take heed that no man deceive you” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:5).
    Remain. . . steadfast” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:11).
    Pray ye the Lord” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:17).
    Treasure. . . up my word” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:37).
    Gather together” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:37).
    Learn a parable” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:38).
    Know that he is near” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:39).
    Watch. . . for you know not at what hour your Lord doth come (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:46).
    Know this” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1: 47).
    Be ye . . . ready” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:48).
  7. The Pearl of KOLOB

    The word Kolob is found eight times in all scripture, all in the Pearl of Great Price, all in the book of Abraham. Here is another lost treasure. Is it not a privilege to know the name of a great governing star (see Abraham 3:3) that is “nigh unto the throne of God” (Abraham 3.9)! And there is more. Kolob governs “all those [planets/stars] which belong to the same order as [Earth]” (Abraham 3:3), and time is reckoned differently on Kolob. “According to its times and seasons in the revolutions thereof… one revolution is a day unto the Lord… [which is] one thousand years [Earth time]” (Abraham 3:4–5).
  8. The Pearl of INTELLIGENCES

    Another lost doctrine found in the Pearl of Great Price is that we have always existed as intelligences. “Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones; and God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born” (Abraham 3:22-23).

    The extension of this doctrine is that nothing was created from nothing. “Organized” is the definition of creation from intelligences to every human, earth, every thing above, below, and beyond. This is the magnificent God we worship.
  9. The Pearls of ENOCH and ZION

    Zion is all encompassing as a present and future reality. The word Zion appears 97 times in the Old Testament, once in the New Testament, 24 times in the Book of Mormon, 62 times in the Doctrine and Covenants, 18 times in the Pearl of Great Price. In the Pearl of Great Price, Saints led by Enoch— their latter-day prophet—received visits, instructions, and ordinances from Jesus Christ. Under His tutelage, Enoch’s people grew in righteousness as individuals and as a community and lived worthily enough to be translated. 

    This did not happen overnight. The scripture says: “Zion, in process of time, was taken up into heaven” (Moses 7:21). The process began when Enoch received the priesthood from Adam at age twenty-five and his prophetic calling at sixty-five. The City of Zion was translated 365 years later, which is more than 133,225 days of preaching, teaching, learning, preparing, yielding to the Lord’s will as tutored by Him. “And all the days of Zion, in the days of Enoch, were three hundred and sixty-five years. And Enoch and all his people walked with God, and he dwelt in the midst of Zion; and it came to pass that Zion was not, for God received it up into his own bosom; and from thence went forth the saying, Zion is fled” (Moses 7:68–69). No, it did not happen quickly.

    Importantly, this translated City of Holiness still exists and continues in righteousness today, and, equally important, we will build another City of Zion. The prophecy is sure: “Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent” (Article of Faith 1:10). 

    The book of Moses provides a definition and a list of qualifications to build and become a Zion city: “The Lord called his people ZION because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them” (Moses 7:18). Enoch and his people achieved and sustained this level of righteousness because of three necessary components: a prophet; a unified, obedient, willing, and hardworking people; and the Lord’s personal involvement. “Enoch and all his people walked with God, and he dwelt in the midst of Zion” (Moses 7:69). 

    The Lord gives a glimpse of the future: He said: “As I live, even so will I come in the last days [of] great tribulations . . . [when] the heavens shall be darkened, and a veil of darkness shall cover the earth; and the heavens shall shake, and also the earth; and great tribulations shall be among the children of men, but my people will I preserve …. And righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare, an Holy City, that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem” (Moses 7:60–62; italics added). 

    Enoch’s righteous city is not merely an example from ancient history. This translated city has a role in the future. The Lord prophesied of a reunion between the people in Enoch’s city and the inhabitants of New Jerusalem, the coming Zion city. Enoch and his people are planning and preparing for it, and every prophet since Enoch has been performing his labors to prepare for another city of Zion. 

    Enoch described the emotions the inhabitance of former-day Zion and latter-day Zion will experience at their reunion: “And the Lord said unto Enoch: Then shalt thou and all thy city meet them there, and we will receive them into our bosom, and they shall see us; and we will fall upon their necks, and they shall fall upon our necks, and we will kiss each other” (Moses 7:63). 

    Let Zion in her beauty rise; her light begins to shine. 
    Ere long her King will rend the skies, majestic and divine, 
    The gospel spreading thru the land, a people to prepare 
    To meet the Lord and Enoch’s band triumphant in the air (Hymns, 41).