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About Taylor Halverson

Dr. Taylor Halverson received a B.A. from Brigham Young University in Ancient Near Eastern Studies in 1997, an M.A. in Biblical Studies from Yale University in 2001 and an M.S. in Instructional Technology from Indiana University in 2004. He completed Ph.D.s in Instructional Technology and Judaism & Christianity in Antiquity—both from Indiana University in 2006.

Dr. Halverson focuses his teaching, research, and professional work on helping others become lifelong learners. He does so through several core areas

  • Improving teaching and learning
  • Educational technology, including technology integration into teaching and learning
  • Innovation, design, and creativity, including entrepreneurship
  • Literary and comparative studies of the Book of Mormon, the Old and New Testaments and other ancient literature, ancient kingship and authority, and Judeans during the neo-Babylonian period

Dr. Halverson currently works at BYU full-time at the Center for Teaching and Learning. He is also the founder and co-chair of the Creativity, Innovation, and Design group, acting associate director of the Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, and has taught a variety of courses at BYU including: “Old Testament,” “Book of Mormon,” “History of Creativity,” “Innovation Lab: The Design Thinking Experience,” and “Illuminating the Scriptures: Designing Innovative Scripture Study Tools.” Dr. Halverson is a contributor to the popular LDS Bible Videos project and the LDS Scripture Citation Index site and a columnist for the Deseret News. He and his wife Lisa lead travel tours to Israel, the Mediterranean, and Mesoamerica.

2 Nephi 6-10. Jacob’s Masterful Discourse

One of the most beautiful and doctrinally significant discourses in the Book of Mormon was given by Jacob, brother of Nephi in 2 Nephi 6-10.  The farewell speech of King Benjamin or the sermons of Jesus Christ when he visited the American continent are all well known.  But seldom do we recognize that 2 Nephi 6-10 comprises a single lengthy gospel discourse.

The structure of Jacob’s mighty speech is quite simple.  2 Nephi 6 serves as an introduction to his discourse, outlining the key themes that he wishes to talk about, and establishing a framework for understanding and interpreting Isaiah 50-52:2.  Jacob quotes these two Isaiah chapters in 2 Nephi 7 & 8.  Next, Jacob moves to the main body of his discourse, found in chapter 9, to explicate gospel principles and elucidate the meaning of the words of Isaiah.  He concludes his discourse in 2 Nephi 10, encouraging his listeners to live in joy and happiness because of the covenants and atonement of the Lord. Continue reading

2 Nephi 1. Resurrecting Deep Sleepers

Have you ever wondered if you would sleep through the sound of the trumpets on resurrection morning (D&C 45:45-46)?  Or have you ever considered that sleeping patterns of today may adversely affect you tomorrow?  From a spiritual perspective these are essential questions about our personal salvation.  Fortunately, the scriptures provide us powerful insights about the symbolic meaning of resurrection that teach us how to overcome and avoid an “endless sleep” (Moroni 9:13) that could befall us at any time.

Quite early the Book of Mormon exposes us to the idea of spiritual resurrection.  Upon arrival to the Promised Land, and in preparation for his own death, Lehi gave counsel and blessings to each one of his children.  His sons Laman and Lemuel had experienced considerable difficulty keeping the commandments, which left them vulnerable to the full measure of God’s justice.  Lehi feared for their eternal welfare, so accordingly he exhorted them to repent using bold commands and figurative language. Continue reading

1 Nephi 12-14. Nephi’s Grand Vision

Introduction

Nephi provides one of the most remarkable visionary experiences recorded in scripture.  In the short sweep of four chapters he unveils patterns of the plan of salvation woven into the threads of world history.  In the process he also elucidates four vital gospel themes which appear throughout scripture and in the words of living-day prophets.  A careful study of Nephi’s grand vision of 1 Nephi 11-14 will prepare us to understand the patterns of the plan of salvation and the gospel as they are manifested in history and throughout the scriptures.

We will explore this vision today using three perspectives.  The first two perspectives are “apocalyptic literature” and “salvation history.”  The last perspective involves four key themes present in Nephi’s vision, which are also found repeatedly throughout the Book of Mormon.  When we understand these four key themes we have made significant inroads to understanding patterns and themes throughout the Book of Mormon, other scripture, and history.  In preparation to carefully investigate Nephi’s vision let us study each of the three perspectives introduced here: apocalyptic literature, salvation history, and the four gospel themes. Continue reading

1 Nephi 12-14. Nephi’s Grand Vision

Introduction

Nephi provides one of the most remarkable visionary experiences recorded in scripture.  In the short sweep of four chapters he unveils patterns of the plan of salvation woven into the threads of world history.  In the process he also elucidates four vital gospel themes which appear throughout scripture and in the words of living-day prophets.  A careful study of Nephi’s grand vision of 1 Nephi 11-14 will prepare us to understand the patterns of the plan of salvation and the gospel as they are manifested in history and throughout the scriptures.

We will explore this vision today using three perspectives.  The first two perspectives are “apocalyptic literature” and “salvation history.”  The last perspective involves four key themes present in Nephi’s vision, which are also found repeatedly throughout the Book of Mormon.  When we understand these four key themes we have made significant inroads to understanding patterns and themes throughout the Book of Mormon, other scripture, and history.  In preparation to carefully investigate Nephi’s vision let us study each of the three perspectives introduced here: apocalyptic literature, salvation history, and the four gospel themes. Continue reading

Revelation 5-6 and 19-22. Views and Perspectives

Introduction

The Book of Revelation has long been the source of much mystery, speculation, fantastic interpretations, and the source of near suffocating fervor that the world will be destroyed in five minutes (I just hope that I can finish this article before that happens!).  Though the Book of Revelation can cause confusion due to bizarre images, strange symbols, and unfamiliar sights we can take courage that with some simple interpretive keys the words, symbols, and messages of this text can be meaningful for our lives now.  Joseph Smith has encouraged us with the words, “The Book of Revelation is one of the plainest books God ever caused to be written.”1  Sometimes I joke that the only time I have ever questioned the prophetic calling of Joseph Smith is his statement concerning the Book of Revelation.  Well seriously now, if we exercise our faith and go to work reading, thinking, and praying about the text we will discover as Joseph Smith declared that the Book of Revelation is indeed quite plain.  Again, this takes faith and work. Continue reading


  1. History of the Church, 5:342.