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:
- 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:
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:
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.
- 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 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:
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.
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
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)
- 2 week free trial for Mac and iOS
- iOS $14.99
- Mac $39.99
iThoughts (iOS and Mac)
SimpleMind (iOS, Mac, Android and Windows)
- Free version
- Very popular
- Full Featured $6.99 and up
Mindomo (iOS, Android)
Mindly (iOS, Android)
There are also web-based apps. Here are three:
- Free – 3 mind maps
- Personal, Pro, Business – $4.99 to $12.49/mo
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.