Scripture Study and Mind Mapping

How do you study the scriptures? Do you explore by topic? Use Footnotes? Make notes as impressions come? A combination of these and other methods?

Regardless of how we study the scriptures, there is always room for improvement.

There are plenty of books on the subject of scripture study. To name a few”, Searching the Scriptures: Bringing Power to Your Personal and Family Study by Gene R. Cook, Scripture Study Tools and Suggestions by James E. Faulconer , and, of course, my book Digital Scripture Study for the Busy Latter-day Saint. Each of these books provides excellent suggestions for making your scripture study a rich spiritual experience.

However, they are only tools, and of little value without the Spirit’s guiding hand. Their purpose is to provide a way for us study it out in our minds, to ponder, and to know of what we need to inquire of the Lord so that the Spirit can work within us.

One potent tool is outlining. Creating an outline of verses, or a chapter provides clarity, reveals new insights, and brings forth further questions.

In the early 1960’s a new way of outlining was introduced by Tony Buzan, a graduate of the University of British Columbia in psychology, English, Mathematics and General Sciences, and inventor of Mind Mapping.

What is Mind Mapping

According to Mind/Maps Unleashed, “mind mapping is a powerful graphic technique that increases your creativity and productivity because it’s an excellent tool to let you generate more ideas, identify relationships among the different data and information, and effectively improve your memory and retention.”

Buzan’s concept of mind mapping started with colored pencils and paper, but has evolved in the digital age to powerful and fun applications. A list of popular mind mapping apps is at the end of this post.

How Mind Mapping Helps Me

For me, the Title Page of the Book of Mormon is a difficult read because of the grammatical structure. After creating a mind map, its purpose becomes much clearer. I began to see the relationship of the Book Mormon to the Gentiles, Jews, and the House of Israel. The map helped me put all of the pieces together.

One thing to keep in mind is mind mapping is more comfortable using a large screen such as your desktop computer, or tablet. While you can create mind maps on your smartphone, it is not something you will want to do for an extended period. However, the smartphone is great for quickly adding a thought or two to your mind map while on the go.

While this article is about mind mapping the scriptures, mind maps are useful in other ways. For example, this article was created using the mind mapping app MindNode.

Connecting Your Mind Map to the Gospel Library

When I create a mind map related to the material in the Gospel Library, I copy the link of the mind map and paste it in a Note in the Gospel Library. This is not always an easy task. Below, are the steps using MindNode as an example.

First, create a mind map, and get a copy of the URL by doing the following:

In MindNode

  • Tap on the Share icon
  • Tap on myMindNode
  • Tap on “Upload Document” or “Replace Document”
  • Tap on Share URL
  • Tap on Copy (swipe to the left if you do not see the command)

In the Gospel Library:

  • Select a verse or chapter
  • Tap on Note
  • In the Title field, add some information, e.g., “A mind map of the vision.”
  • Paste the link into the Note

The link will look like this:

https://my.mindnode.com/F3QyLMRzx3t6b3poGs8ZASdwQKQPg4a94SW2qnHk

Now the next time you are reading that chapter, or perhaps teaching a class, and you want to view or share it, just tap on the link.

However, there is a problem. Notice that the link starts with https:// indicating the link is to a website. To view the mind map you will need wifi access. Currently, the Gospel Library only works with website links.

Many apps today use x-callbacks that allow one app to link temporarily with another app. The most common use is to launch an application from within an application. However, there are applications like the Gospel Library that have not implemented them. Here is an example of a callback:

mindnode://open?name=D&C%206.mindnode

This callback would open the D&C 6 file in the MindNode app.

Until the Gospel Library allows callbacks, here is a workaround using Evernote. If you do not have Evernote download the app before continuing. Evernote works on all platforms, and they have various plans. The free version is all you need to do the following.

Solution

Open MindNode

  • Create a mind map in MindNode
  • Tap on the Share icon
  • Tap on “Export Type”
  • Tap on “Image”
  • Tap on “Send to App…”
  • Find and tap on “Evernote” (you may have to swipe to the left to find it)
  • Type a title or subject of the mind map
  • As an option, you can tap on the Notebook field to send it to a Notebook of your choice, and/or tap on the Tag field to create a tag, e.g., “Mind Map.”
  • Tap on Save

Open Evernote

  • Open the document you just saved
  • Tap on the share icon
  • Tap on the share icon
  • Tap on Copy Link

Open the Gospel Library

  • Paste the link in a note in the Gospel Library

The result will look like this:

https://www.evernote.com/shard/s9/sh/6f112220-3c8c-4afe-9503-97a3d94b5725/a403107cf73195f0d3e6728136b77dd6

At this point, you should be really puzzled. The link above is a link to the Evernote website, so how does this solve the problem of working without wifi access? An excellent question, and here is the answer.

Simple Explanation

When a website link to a document is triggered some apps, for example Evernote, reasons, “Hey, that is a link to the document on the internet, but I have my application right here on this tablet, so I am going open the document in the application instead of the internet.”

Presently MindNode does not have that function, so we used Evernote in its place.

As a side note, the Gospel Library does have the same function as Evernote. Tap on a link to the Gospel Library website version and, if you have the Gospel Library on your device, the link will open in your mobile Gospel Library

So that you can get a better idea of using mind maps in scripture study below are links to other maps I have created.

Isaiah in the Book of Mormon

Doctrine & Covenants 6

Look unto Jesus Christ (conference talk by Elder Kim B. Clark, April 2019)

As always, I look forward to your comments.

Cover photo by Photo by Derick Anies on Unsplash

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List of Mind Mapping Apps

There is a long list of mind mapping apps. Below is a summary of the more prominent ones.

MindNode (iOs and Mac)

  • Cost
    • 2 week free trial for Mac and iOS
    • iOS $14.99
    • Mac $39.99

iThoughts (iOS and Mac)

  • Cost
    • iOS $11.99
    • Mac $49.99

SimpleMind (iOS, Mac, Android and Windows)

  • Cost
    • Free version
    • Very popular
    • Full Featured $6.99 and up

Mindomo (iOS, Android)

  • Cost
    • Free

Mindly (iOS, Android)

  • Cost
    • Free version

There are also web-based apps. Here are three:

MindMeister

  • Cost
    • Free – 3 mind maps
    • Personal, Pro, Business – $4.99 to $12.49/mo

Coggle

  • Cost
    • Free

MindMup

  • Cost
    • Free

As an Apple user I prefer MindNode. Because of the following:

  • Quick start feature – this important to quickly capture an idea
  • Fast – I like to get my ideas down in a free flowing easy manner
  • Node color is automatically created by Mindnode which saves me time
  • External displays can show the whole map while on the iPad I can zoom in

As a side note, all of the mind map apps can communicate with each other via the Freemind or OPML format options. This is important for two reasons.

First, you may start with one app then later discover you prefer another one. For example, I used iThoughts many years until reading a review of MindNode and found that it was easier to use.

Second, you may need to send your mind map to someone who is using a different mind map app. When transferring between various apps, keep in mind that formatting is not always perfect, so you may have to do a little tweaking on the receiving end.

More On Taking Notes

A friend just reached out to me, and it caused me to start thinking about taking notes and revelation again. My friend, Paul Porter, had a great influence on my life, although on be knowns to him.

I will never forget the time he told me that he has his small notebook and pen ready during Sacrament meeting so that he could write any revelation as it came. That statement weighed heavily on my mind for some time. I am a slower learner, so it took me a while to go to his way of thinking, but now, I am a convert; it has enriched my life.

Paul uses actual pen and paper, and I use an Apple Pencil and my iPad, but the results are the same. I have talked in a previous post about taking notes and the reason that I use the digital form. In that post, I mentioned that there are several good digital notebooks available and that the app of my choice was Notability.

I have now changed from Notability because its competitor, GoodNotes, just came out last week with a new version. I always preferred GoodNotes but used Notability because it had a universal search of handwritten notes, but now GoodNotes not only added extensive searching but a great stacked filing structure among many other significant changes.

As I study the scriptures, I have GoodNotes open and take notes and draw out ideas as they come to me. Then if needed the handwriting is converted to text and copied in a note attached to a verse.

Currently, Notability and GoodNotes are only for iOS, but there are some excellent alternatives for Android. If you have a Galaxy Note9, you already have a built-in note-taking app and a handy pen.

Regardless of the method you use, there are significant benefits to handwriting notes. Give it a try.

Creating Personal Collections

In the Gospel Library, you can create a personal Collection. Building a personal Collection will save you time as you study the scriptures.

For example, I create a Collection called “Scripture Study.” The Collection contains the Topical Guide, Bible Dictionary, Come, Follow Me for Individuals and Families, Bible Videos/Teachings, Maps, and Hymns.

Notice that most of the items are found in different Collections. By having a Scripture Study Collection, I have quick access to each of the materials I use frequently.

A Collection can only hold complete content. For example, I could have the entire October 2018 General Conference, but not one of the talks from that conference. Or, I could have the whole Come, Follow Me curriculum but not only January.

To create a Collection depends on if you have an Apple or Android device.

Apple

• While in the Library, tap on Edit in the upper right-hand corner.

• Tap on the plus sign in the lower right-hand corner.

• Type the name of the Collection.

• Tap on Save.

Android

• Tap on the options menu in the upper right-corner (the three vertical dots)

• Tap on Custom Collections.

• Tap on the plus sign.

• Type the name of the Collection

• Tap on Add.

To add content to your Collection is also device dependent. In the examples below I am going to add the Come, Follow Me curriculum to my Scripture Study Collection.

Apple

• Go to the Come, Follow Me Collection, and then tap on Individuals and Families.

• Touch and hold your finger on Come, Follow Me – For Individuals and Families

• Tap on Add to and a list of personal Collections will be listed. Notice that you can also create a Collection on the fly, so it is not necessary to create a Collection first.

• Tap on Scripture Study.

Android

• Go to the Come, Follow Me Collection, and then tap on Individuals and Families

• Tap on the options menu (the three vertical dots below the picture) on Come, Follow Me – For Individuals and Families

• Tap on Add to and a list of personal Collections will be listed. Notice that you can also create a Collection on the fly, so it is not necessary to create a Collection first.

• Tap on Scripture Study.

Hope you found this helpful.