The Book of Mormon – Alternate Chronology

A reading chart for The Book of Mormon following a different order through the various subplots.

by Alan B. Sanderson, MD

I have always been fascinated by the many stories and subplots within the narrative of The Book of Mormon, where there are often multiple scenes of action happening simultaneously. Learning this chronology when I was young turned out to be a major milestone towards understanding and appreciating the book.

Some years ago as I was reading through the Book of Mosiah I began to wonder what it would be like to follow the various subplots in a different order. For instance, what would it be like to follow Alma and his people from the land of Mormon to the land of Helam, and all the way to Zarahemla without pausing the tell the story of King Limhi in the middle? Or what would it be like to follow the sons of Mosiah on their mission to the Lamanites, and then come back later to learn what happened to Alma the Younger while they were gone?

The Book of Mormon - Alternate Chronology Reading Chart

Alternate chronology reading chart

After some pondering I decided to map out a reading chart for an alternate pathway through these substories, and I revised it a couple of times as I read through the book. Several people have asked me for a copy of the chart, so I decided to post it here. (See below)

Studying The Book of Mormon through my youth was a good preparation for the years of academic work required for my professional training. Thinking through the complex narrative helped me develop the skills that I would later use to learn neuroanatomy and clinical localization. Perhaps my early fascination with the simultaneous subplots was a sign that I was just the sort of geek who was destined to become a neurologist someday.

The flawless and effortless flow of the Book of Mormon through its many story lines is circumstantial evidence that the book is true. Anyone who makes a serious study of the book will intuitively understand that it could not have been written by a poorly educated farm boy like Joseph Smith, and certainly not in the short amount of time and in the hurried circumstances in which it was produced. But the strongest evidence that the book is true comes through the Holy Spirit to the hearts of those who read it with an honest, inquisitive, and prayerful heart. I have felt that witness in my heart, and you can too if you are willing.

Reading Chart

Click here to download the pdf: BOM-alternate-update2018.pdf

Quoted Prophets

1 Nephi 20

1 Nephi 21

2 Nephi 3:6-21

2 Nephi 6:16-18

2 Nephi 7

2 Nephi 8

2 Nephi 12

2 Nephi 13

2 Nephi 14

2 Nephi 15

2 Nephi 16

2 Nephi 17

2 Nephi 18

2 Nephi 19

2 Nephi 20

2 Nephi 21

2 Nephi 22

2 Nephi 23

2 Nephi 24

2 Nephi 27

Jacob 5

Mosiah 14

Alma 33:4-11, 16

3 Nephi 22

3 Nephi 24

3 Nephi 25

The Jaredites

Ether 1

Ether 2

Ether 3

Ether 6

Ether 7

Ether 8

Ether 9

Ether 10

Ether 11

Ether 12:1-5

Ether 13

Ether 14

Ether 15

Lehi

1 Nephi 1

1 Nephi 2:1-15

1 Nephi 5

1 Nephi 8

1 Nephi 10:1-16

2 Nephi 1

2 Nephi 2

2 Nephi 3:1-5, 22-25

2 Nephi 4:1-12

Nephi – History

1 Nephi 2:16-24

1 Nephi 3

1 Nephi 4

1 Nephi 6

1 Nephi 7

1 Nephi 9

1 Nephi 16

1 Nephi 17

1 Nephi 18

2 Nephi 5

Nephi – Doctrine

1 Nephi 10:17-22

1 Nephi 11

1 Nephi 12

1 Nephi 13

1 Nephi 14

1 Nephi 15

1 Nephi 19

1 Nephi 22

2 Nephi 4:13-35

2 Nephi 11

2 Nephi 25

2 Nephi 26

2 Nephi 28

2 Nephi 29

2 Nephi 30

2 Nephi 31

2 Nephi 32

2 Nephi 33

Jacob to Amaleki

2 Nephi 6:1-15

2 Nephi 9

2 Nephi 10

Jacob 1

Jacob 2

Jacob 3

Jacob 7

Jacob 4

Jacob 6

Enos 1

Jarom 1

Omni 1

Zeniff to Noah

Mosiah 9

Mosiah 10

Mosiah 11

Mosiah 12

Mosiah 13

Mosiah 15

Mosiah 16

Mosiah 17

Alma the Elder

Mosiah 18

Mosiah 23

Mosiah 24

Limhi

Mosiah 19

Mosiah 20

Mosiah 21:1-22

Mosiah 7

Mosiah 8

Mosiah 21:23-36

Mosiah 22

Amaleki to Mosiah

Words of Mormon 1:12-18

Mosiah 1

Mosiah 2

Mosiah 3

Mosiah 4

Mosiah 5

Mosiah 6

Zarahemla to Sons of Mosiah

Mosiah 25

Mosiah 26

Mosiah 27

Mosiah 28:1-9

Mission of the Sons of Mosiah

Alma 17

Alma 18

Alma 19

Alma 20

Alma 21

Alma 22

Alma 23

Alma 24

Alma 25

Alma 26

Alma 27

Alma 28

Mosiah to Alma the Younger

Mosiah 28:10-20

Mosiah 29

Alma 1

Alma 2

Alma 3

Alma 4

Alma 5

Alma 6

Alma 7

Alma 8

Alma 9

Alma 10

Alma 11

Alma 12

Alma 13

Alma 14

Alma 15

Alma 16

Alma 29

Alma 30

Alma 31

Alma 32

Alma 33:1-3, 12-15, 17-23

Alma 34

Alma 35

Alma 43

Alma 44

Alma Counsels His Sons

Alma 36

Alma 37

Alma 38

Alma 39

Alma 40

Alma 41

Alma 42

Alma 45

Amalickiah and Captain Moroni

Alma 46

Alma 47

Alma 48

Alma 49

Alma 50

Alma 51

Alma 52

Alma 53:1-9

Helaman and the Stripling Warriors

Alma 53:10-23

Alma 56

Alma 57

Alma 58

End of the War

Alma 54

Alma 55

Alma 59

Alma 60

Alma 61

Alma 62

Alma 63

Helaman to Nephi

Helaman 1

Helaman 2

Helaman 3

Helaman 4

Helaman 5

Helaman 6

Helaman 7

Helaman 8

Helaman 9

Helaman 10

Helaman 11

Helaman 13

Helaman 14

Helaman 15

Helaman 16

3 Nephi 1

3 Nephi 2

3 Nephi 3

3 Nephi 4

3 Nephi 5:1-7

3 Nephi 6

3 Nephi 7

Visit of Christ

3 Nephi 8

3 Nephi 9

3 Nephi 10

3 Nephi 11

3 Nephi 12

3 Nephi 13

3 Nephi 14

3 Nephi 15

3 Nephi 16

3 Nephi 17

3 Nephi 18

Moroni 2

3 Nephi 19

3 Nephi 20

3 Nephi 21

3 Nephi 23

3 Nephi 26

3 Nephi 27

3 Nephi 28

Early Church to Apostacy

Moroni 3

Moroni 4

Moroni 5

Moroni 6

4 Nephi

Writings of Mormon

Mormon 1

Mormon 2

Mormon 3

Mormon 4

Mormon 5

Mormon 6:1-6

Words of Mormon 1:1-11

Helaman 12

3 Nephi 5:8-26

3 Nephi 29

3 Nephi 30

Moroni 7

Moroni 8

Moroni 9

Mormon 6:7-22

Mormon 7

Writings of Moroni

Mormon 8

Mormon 9

Ether 4

Ether 5

Ether 12:6-41

Moroni 1

Moroni 10

NOTE: I have updated this post to include the reading chart, with links to the chapters and verses on https://www.lds.org/scriptures/. I have corrected a few errors in the chart. Please use the Contact Page to report broken links or other problems. Write a comment below to tell us something new you learned by reading the book this way.


Alan B. Sanderson, MD is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is a practicing neurologist.

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About Alan Sanderson

I am a medical doctor, trail runner, and musician.
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4 Responses to The Book of Mormon – Alternate Chronology

  1. I want to explain one thing I noticed when I looked over the reading chart recently, which is the placement of Jacob chapter 7. I have always considered chapter 6 to be Jacob’s final testimony, and chapter 7 to be something like an appendix. I wanted to organize the chart so that Jacob’s final testimony was read last of all. Chapters 4-6 are a continuous narrative, so I had to place chapter 7 before chapter 4 to maintain that story line. We often forget that chapters 4 and 6 are so closely tied together because chapter 5 is so long that we rarely read all three chapters in one sitting.
    I was recently validated in my placement of chapter 6 by Elder David A. Bednar, who quoted verses from that chapter among “final teachings of great prophets in the scriptures.” (See https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2015/10/chosen-to-bear-testimony-of-my-name?lang=eng)

    Like

  2. I just found a really nice Book of Mormon reading chart which outlines the narrative structure of the book: http://nathanrichardson.com/2013/10/structural-chapter-reading-chart-for-the-book-of-mormon/. Enjoy!

    Like

  3. Pingback: Four Years of MormonDoctor.com | MormonDoctor.com

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