Names and Titles of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in the Book of Mormon

Dru Brown

Dru H. Brown, "Names and Titles of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in the Book of Mormon," Religious Educator 24, no. 3 (2023): 65–83.

Dru H. Brown ( is a seminary teacher in Hyrum, Utah.

Picture of Christ appearing to the AmericasOne of the most important tasks we undertake in this life is to come to know Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, or to truly understand and emulate their character and attributes. Jesus Christ Appears to the Nephites, by Arnold Friberg. Courtesy of Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Keywords: Godhead, Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ

“Good morning, brothers and sisters. We welcome you to sacrament meeting. I am Bishop Evans and will conduct this meeting. We would like to recognize President Iverson from the stake presidency, who is presiding. We will open this meeting with hymn 100; Sister Clyde will conduct the music with Brother Langford on the organ.” An introduction of this kind is a familiar, nearly weekly ritual for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. However, someone new to the Church might be confused by the series of labels they just heard. What is a bishop? President of what exactly? Brother and sister? Is the whole congregation related to each other?

Obviously, the labels we use are titles. Used in Church settings, the titles “brother” and “sister” represent the relationship we have in God’s family and as covenant members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In addition to brother or sister, each of us have titles associated with various parts and stages of our lives. Those serving as full-time missionaries hold the title “Elder” or “Sister.” The set-apart leader of an elders quorum or Relief Society in a ward holds the title “President.” Other common titles we hold throughout our lives might include son, daughter, husband, wife, Mr., Mrs., Ms., dad, mom, mother, or father. Titles quickly express characteristics such as authority, responsibility, and familial or relationship status.

In the Intercessory Prayer, Jesus Christ taught, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). One of the most important tasks we undertake in this life is to come to know Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, or to truly understand and emulate their character and attributes. In this sense, President Russell M. Nelson’s recent counsel to “study everything Jesus Christ is by prayerfully and vigorously seeking to understand what each of His various titles and names means personally for you”[1] takes on new meaning and importance. Just as the titles we hold can quickly communicate characteristics about us, the titles Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ choose for themselves and the titles prophets to use in scripture can concisely teach us about their character and attributes. Additionally, the names and titles of deity used in scripture are often surrounded by lengthier descriptions that help us learn more about those attributes.

Following President Nelson’s invitation, the purpose of this study is to search the Book of Mormon for names and titles of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and compare the findings between prophetic authors of the Book of Mormon and to other works of scripture. This study will help clarify what we know about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ across scriptural accounts, help us better understand their intimate relationship with us, and ultimately increase our faith in and love for them.


To catalog the names and titles of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ found in the Book of Mormon, I completed two full readings of the book. The first reading focused on finding and marking any instance of a name or title found; the second reading was quicker and less meticulous than the first reading and focused on locating any names or titles that were missed on the first pass. All titles were collected in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet categorized by chapter and book. I included totals of each name or title, chapter, and book, as well as totals for two major divisions in the book—the small plates and large plates—and for the entire Book of Mormon. The number of verses and word counts for each chapter were also added to the spreadsheet. For comparison, I conducted a similar study of the New Testament—including two readings and a similar spreadsheet.

Once the spreadsheets were complete, my analysis of the data included a comparison of names and titles, chapters, books, and book divisions. During the analysis, I watched for any unique associations or patterns to surface from the data, particularly patterns that reveal more about the character and attributes of the Father and Son. The results can be found in the analysis section of this paper.

Before I list the results of the study, a discussion of the names and titles of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ is necessary. President Dallin H. Oaks recently taught: “Before the Fall, our Heavenly Father spoke directly to Adam and Eve. Thereafter, the Father introduced His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, as our Savior and Redeemer and gave us the command to ‘hear Him.’ From this direction we conclude that the scriptural records of words spoken by ‘God’ or the ‘Lord’ are almost always the words of Jehovah, our risen Lord, Jesus Christ.”[2] Based on this quote, we can reasonably assume that unless the Father is specifically identified, most of the names and titles of Deity we encounter in scripture refer to Jesus Christ. However, the Savior also stated in response to Philip’s plea to see the Father, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9). Due to their unity in character and attributes, names and titles of the Son could also be attributed to the Father and vice versa. Thus, to unlock the fullest understanding of what has been revealed to us through scripture, I chose to search for the names and titles of both the Father and Son found in the Book of Mormon and New Testament. From this point, “names and titles” refer to the names and titles of both Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.


The following tables are samples of the full results, including a brief explanation. The tables presented in this section are the foundation for the analysis described later.

Scripture/BookTotal Names and Titles
Small plates (1 Nephi–Words of Mormon)1,324
Large plates (Mosiah–Moroni)2,827
Overall total4,151

Table 1. Total names and titles in the Book of Mormon

In his account of the Book of Mormon abridgment, Mormon stated that he searched among all the Nephite histories and found what we know as the “small plates.” Mormon found such special value in the small plates that he included them without abridgment at the end of his record (see Words of Mormon 1:4–5). Table 1 shows the total number of names and titles found in the Book of Mormon and in the small and large plates. A comparison of the small plates and large plates divisions can be found in the analysis section.

Name or title in the Book of MormonTotal number
Jesus, Jesus Christ489
Father, Father in Heaven250
Lord [our/their/thy/your] God104
Lord God104
Son, Son of God 100
Lamb, Lamb of God70
Lord of Hosts57
Holy One, Holy One of Israel47

Table 2. Top names and titles used in the Book of Mormon

Table 2 lists the ten most-used names or titles in the Book of Mormon, which represent 90.2% of all names and titles used, with seventy-eight other titles making up the remaining 9.8%. In a similar study of names and titles in the Book of Mormon, Susan Easton Ward found more than one hundred names.[3] The difference between the total number of titles found in this study and Black’s study is likely due to combining names into similar categories. For example, the titles “Jesus,” “Christ,” and “Jesus Christ” are similar enough that I included them in the same category during data collection. If all categories were expanded, the total would be more than one hundred.

Analysis and Discussion

When approaching any study of scripture, it is useful to begin with a question in mind. How did Jesus Christ show charity in his ministry? What can I learn from Nephi about dealing with wayward family members? What can the war chapters in the Book of Mormon teach me about keeping my covenants today? Beginning with a question changes your focus from simply reading the scriptures to searching the scriptures. When analyzing the data for this project, I began my study with several questions and then allowed the patterns and associations in the data to provide answers. Using this strategy, the data led to lessons, connections, and gospel truths and ultimately to a greater understanding of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. The following questions will guide the discussion for this section:

  1. What do the Father and Son emphasize about themselves in the Book of Mormon?
  2. Why did Mormon find the small plates so valuable?
  3. What did Jesus Christ teach us about Heavenly Father?
  4. To what extent is the Book of Mormon Christ-centered?

Analytic tools

Before using the data to help answer the guiding questions, I first need to introduce the tools that were used to evaluate the data. The total number of names and titles found in any chapter of the Book of Mormon (Tables 1–2) is an interesting and helpful starting point, but number totals are not a good measure of concentration. For example, when comparing Mormon 7 (453 words/13 titles) and Mormon 8 (1,719 words/41 titles), the larger chapter may seem like the better place to learn about the character and attributes of the Father and Son. However, when measuring by concentration (by dividing the word count by the number of titles), we find that Mormon 7 has a title every 34.85 words, and Mormon 8 has a title every 41.93 words. Measuring concentration rather than totals can make level comparisons between large and small chapters and even between different works of scripture. The following tools are used to compare Book of Mormon names and titles in various ways to discover patterns and associations.

Verse/Title ratio (V/T ratio)Achieved by dividing the number of verses of a chapter by the number of titles found in the same chapter. The V/T ratio provides a measure of the average number of verses that pass before a name or title is found. This tool is effective when comparing chapters with similar verse sizes. Susan Easton Ward used this tool when she established that there was a name or title of Christ every 1.7 verses in the Book of Mormon.[4]
Word/Title ratio (W/T ratio)Achieved by dividing the word count of a chapter by the number of titles found in the same chapter. The W/T ratio provides a measure of the average number of words that pass before a name or title is found. This tool is effective when comparing chapters with dissimilar verse sizes and is therefore useful for comparing chapters in different works of scripture. 

What do the Father and Son emphasize about themselves in the Book of Mormon?

The Lord often chooses to reveal himself through names and titles, with each carrying great meaning. In Genesis 1:1, only four words pass before the Old Testament introduces us to the first title in scripture: “God.” The Guide to the Scriptures teaches, “It is generally the Father, or Elohim, who is referred to by the title God. God the Father is the supreme ruler of the universe. He is all powerful, all knowing, and everywhere present through His Spirit.”[5] God employs a variety of other names and titles—through the inspired words of prophets or his own voice—to teach his children about his character and invite us to emulate those attributes in ourselves.

Recognizing the names and titles used most often in the Book of Mormon may help us see the divine attributes Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ want to emphasize most about themselves. Table 2 lists the frequency of individual names and titles found throughout the Book of Mormon. An adequate discussion of all titles in Table 2 is more than we have space for, but selecting and discussing the three titles below still gives an indication of what a full discussion could provide.

Jesus Christ. Multiple forms of this title appear in the Book of Mormon, including Jesus, Christ, Jesus Christ, Jesus the Christ, and Christ Jesus. The Hebrew name given to the Savior at his circumcision was Joshua or JeshuaJesus in the Greek—which means “Savior” or “God is help.”[6] Although common in his day, the name was very fitting for the mission that Jesus would perform during his mortal ministry. Through his Atonement, Jesus Christ saves us from the dual enemies of sin and death and helps us overcome and grow from the challenges we face in mortality. The title Christ is the Greek form of the Hebrew Messiah, meaning “anointed.”[7] Anciently both priests and kings were anointed prior to assuming their roles.[8] As the Anointed, Jesus Christ was the Beloved and Chosen from the beginning (see Moses 4:2) to fulfill the role of High Priest (see Hebrews 5:4–10) or mediator in the plan of salvation. He will also assume the role of King of kings and Lord of lords when he comes again (see Revelation 19:16).

Son of God. Multiple forms of this title appear in the Book of Mormon, including Son, Son of God, the Only Begotten Son, and so forth. Titles referring to the sonship of Jesus Christ refer to the relationship Jesus Christ has with Heavenly Father. While each of us is a spirit child of heavenly parents, Jesus is the “Only Begotten of the Father in the Flesh.”[9] Elder Robert E. Wells taught that Jesus Christ being the literal Son of God was essential to his performing the Atonement:

This title signifies that Jesus’ physical body was the offspring of a mortal mother and of an immortal Eternal Father, which verity is crucial to the Atonement, a supreme act that could not have been accomplished by any ordinary man. Christ has power to lay down His life and power to take it again because He had inherited immortality from His Heavenly Father. From Mary, His mother, Christ inherited mortality, or the power to die. This infinite atonement of Christ and Christ’s divine Sonship go together hand in hand to form the single most important doctrine of all Christianity.[10]

Holy One of Israel. This title consists of two ideas: “Holy One” and “Israel.” The first part of the title focuses on the holiness of the Lord, which means “sacred, having a godly character, or spiritually and morally pure.”[11] The second part emphasizes the covenant relationship between Jesus Christ and the house of Israel—the Lord’s covenant people. The posterity of Lehi was a remnant of the house of Israel (see 1 Nephi 19:24), and Nephite prophets likely invoked this covenant relationship by using this title, helping a wandering people remember that they were not forgotten by the Lord (see Jacob 7:26). This message is also significant to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who are God’s covenant people today and are included in the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (or Israel).

President Nelson provides even more dimension to this title when he recently emphasized an alternate Hebrew meaning to the name Israel: “With the help of two Hebrew scholars, I learned that one of the Hebraic meanings of the word Israel is ‘let God prevail.’ Thus the very name of Israel refers to a person who is willing to let God prevail in his or her life.”[12]

As we seek to adopt the attributes of holiness and willingness in our lives, what greater example do we have of someone willing to let God prevail than Jesus Christ, who perfectly kept all the Father’s commandments (see 2 Nephi 31:7) and suffered the will of the Father in all things (see 3 Nephi 11:10–11)?

Why did Mormon find the small plates so valuable?

The Nephite prophet Mormon was so intrigued by the small plates that he was willing to add the entire set of plates into the completed Book of Mormon without alteration (see Words of Mormon 1:5). What impacted his heart so deeply in the words of those prophets? Mormon answers when he described the small plates in this way, “And the things which are upon these plates pleasing me, because of the prophecies of the coming of Christ; and my fathers knowing that many of them have been fulfilled” (Words of Mormon 1:4). In addition to prophecies of Christ, the small plates are the source for some of the clearest explanations in scripture about the plan of salvation, the central role of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and the doctrine of Christ.

From the data collected for this project, we gain a numerical perspective of the deep conviction that Mormon felt as he read the accounts of Christ and his gospel in the small plates. Table 3 captures the comparison of names and titles between the large and small plates. Because the Book of Mormon is uniform in its average verse size—large plates=40.7 words/verse; small plates=40.3 words/verse—the V/T ratio is a good measuring tool for this comparison.

 Total versesWord countTotal titlesV/T ratio
Small plates1,69068,0821,3241.3
Large plates4,963200,07828271.8

Table 3. Comparison of the small plates to the large plates

Table 3 shows that while the large plates are nearly three times the size of small plates in terms of verse and word count and contains more than two times the total number of names and titles, the small plates are much more concentrated (the small plates with a title every 1.3 verses compared to the large plates with a title every 1.8 verses). The lower V/T ratio in the small plates suggests a higher concentration of names and titles and therefore the potential for greater focus on Christ-centered sermons, attributes, and discussions.

Adding to this contrast, we previously learned that Mormon felt strongly enough about the Christ-centered nature of the small plates that he made no alteration to the record. The large plates, on the other hand, were abridged from an unknown number of source records. Mormon’s abridgement of the Nephite source records focused, in part, on finding Christ-centered stories and sermons (see Words of Mormon 1:4), inspired accounts to benefit those in the last days, and sometimes adding in “and thus we see” conclusions where necessary to help the reader connect with gospel principles. After the tedious and intense work of pouring over source records while listening for the quiet inspiration of the Holy Ghost in creation of the large plates, the results of Table 3 show numerically why Mormon found the small plates “pleasing” and sought to include them in his finished work.

What did Jesus Christ teach us about Heavenly Father?

As Seminaries and Institutes focus on deepening conversion to Jesus Christ and his restored gospel, we quickly find that the Savior’s focus was to point us to the Father. On several occasions, Jesus overtly turned praise heavenward with statements like, “Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God” (Matthew 19:17); “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do” (John 5:19); and “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). Jesus’s propensity for directing us to the Father continues in the Book of Mormon.

In addition to locating areas of higher name and title concentration, the data helps pinpoint exactly where Jesus refers to the Father in the Book of Mormon. A closer look at these instances and their surrounding words and phrases uncovers a great deal about the character and attributes of the Father, with whom each of us is seeking to develop a personal relationship (see John 17:3). For example, in the Savior’s teachings to the gathered Nephites and Lamanites found in 3 Nephi 11–29, we find 174 instances of the title “Father”—that is, 69.6% of usages of “Father, Heavenly Father” in the Book of Mormon are found in these nineteen chapters. Table 4 is a sample of what we can learn about Heavenly Father from 3 Nephi 11–29.

3 Nephi 16
  • The Father hears prayers we offer to him in the name of Christ.
  • The Father makes covenants with us.
  • The Father is a God of mercy and justice.
  • The Father is no respecter of persons, he loves all his children, including those outside his covenant (Gentiles).
  • The Father causes those who fight against his people to fall; he protects his people.
3 Nephi 20
  • The Father covenanted with Abraham, the house of Israel, and with us; he fulfills the covenants he makes.
  • The Father gathers, comforts, redeems, saves, and makes bare his holy arm to all nations.
  • The sword of the Father’s justice hangs over those who don’t repent.
  • The Father raised up and sent Jesus Christ to turn us away from sin.

Table 4. What Jesus Christ taught about the Father in 3 Nephi 16 and 20

To what extent is the Book of Mormon Christ-centered?

Some in our day claim that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are not Christian.[13] Elder Jeffrey R. Holland explains that this critique generally stems from a difference in doctrinal beliefs. He said, “So any criticism that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not hold the contemporary Christian view of God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost is not a comment about our commitment to Christ but rather a recognition (accurate, I might add) that our view of the Godhead breaks with post–New Testament Christian history.”[14] Understanding that this critique focuses on doctrinal differences and not commitment to Christ for those on either side is essential when approaching this question, because the answer necessitates a direct comparison between the New Testament and the Book of Mormon.

For most of the Christian world, the Bible stands as the gold standard of Christian canon—and in some cases is the only accepted scriptural canon, or the concept of sola scriptura.[15] As a Christian religion, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints accepts the King James Version of the Bible as one of its four standard works. Due to its universal acceptance, the Bible—the New Testament specifically—is an excellent work with which we can compare to verify if the Book of Mormon is Christ-centered. In our case, the goal is not to determine which work is more Christian than the other. Rather the goal is to demonstrate numerically that the Book of Mormon is (1) a Christ-centered book of scripture and (2) that the Book of Mormon stands “as a companion scripture to the Bible”[16] in testifying to the world that Jesus is the Christ. Tables 5–6 compare the names and titles gathered from both the New Testament and the Book of Mormon.

Comparison CategoryNew TestamentBook of MormonDifference
Total chapters260239-21
Total verses7,9576,604-1353
Total words180,365268,160+89,149
Total books/epistles2715-12
Total number of names and titles4,1174,151+34
Number of different titles17788-89
V/T ratio1.91.6-0.3
W/T ratio43.564.6+21.1

Table 5. Data comparison between the New Testament and Book of Mormon

Name or titleNew TestamentBook of MormonDifference
God, My God1,2151,281+66
Jesus, Jesus Christ1,131489-642
Father, Heavenly Father249250+1
Son, Son of God124100-24
Lord Jesus, Lord Jesus Christ1190-119
Lord [our/their/thy/your] God12104+92
Man, Son of Man900-90
Lamb, Lamb of God2670+44
Master, Good Master622-60
Lord of Hosts, Lord God of Hosts057+57

Table 6. Eleven most-used titles in the New Testament and Book of Mormon

Based on the comparison tables above, several important details come to light:

Powerful witnesses. In terms of total names and titles, the New Testament (4,117 titles) and Book of Mormon (4,151 titles) are remarkably similar, demonstrating that both books are powerful witnesses of Jesus Christ.

Consider literary construction. At first glance, by verse count the Book of Mormon (6604 verses) seems like a smaller work of scripture than the New Testament (7,957 verses), leading to the Book of Mormon’s smaller V/T ratio. On closer inspection, though, the Book of Mormon’s total word count (268,160 words) and average verse size (40.61 words/verse) are much larger than the New Testament (180,365 words and 22.5 words/verse). Therefore, the best measuring tool for comparing the books is the W/T ratio. Using this metric, the New Testament has a W/T ratio of 43.5 words/title and the Book of Mormon has a W/T ratio of 64.6 words/title.

If using the New Testament as a baseline of Christ-centeredness, the lower concentration of names and titles found in the Book of Mormon indicates that the Book of Mormon might not clear the benchmark. However, it is important to consider the literary construction of each work of scripture. For example, the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) are narratives of the Savior’s life—many of the 648 references to the title “Jesus, Jesus Christ” in the Gospels are Jesus personally saying or doing things. The Book of Mormon is also written in a narrative style, but the storyline follows the line of Nephite and Lamanite prophets rather than the ministry of Christ, making the comparison between the two works of scripture more indirect. The only exception to this is 3 Nephi 11–29, which is the account of Jesus Christ’s visit and ministry in the Americas. Table 7 focuses on a more direct comparison of 3 Nephi 11–29 and the Gospels.

Comparison Category3 Nephi 11–29Four GospelsDifference
Names and Titles3931,795-1,402
Word count17,74182,590-64,849
W/T Ratio45.146.0-0.9

Table 7. Comparison of 3 Nephi 11–29 and the Gospels

Table 7 shows that when comparing the Book of Mormon and New Testament narratives of the Savior’s ministries, the two works have nearly identical concentrations of names and titles.

Another example of literary structure is the use of epistles in the Book of Mormon and New Testament. The epistles of Paul, Peter, John, James, and Jude are a departure from the narrative of the ministries of the Savior and the Twelve Apostles found in the first part of the New Testament. The New Testament epistles were “regulatory in nature” and provided early Church congregations answers to questions, doctrinal teachings, and encouragement to make and keep covenants.[17] Epistles are also found in the Book of Mormon, though not as extensively as in the New Testament. If we assume the epistles in the Book of Mormon and New Testament serve similar purposes, we could reasonably expect to see parallels in the data in the same way that we saw parallels in a similar comparison of Christ’s ministry (see table 7).

Book/Epistle(s)Names and TitlesWord CountW/T Ratio
Pauline Epistles1,45950,19034.4
Epistles of John1353,11023.0
Epistles of Peter1124,01135.8
Total NT1,75760,22334.3
Helaman to Captain Moroni (Alma 56–58)235,441236.6
Captain Moroni and Pahoran (Alma 60–61)332,62679.576
Mormon’s Epistles to Moroni (Moroni 8–9)472,08344.319
Total BoM10310,15098.5

Table 8. Comparing Epistles in the Book of Mormon and New Testament

Table 8 tells a much different story than table 7. The Book of Mormon epistles have a much lower concentration (W/T ratio ranging from 44.3 to 236.6) than their New Testament counterparts (W/T ratio ranging from 23.0 to 62.3). However, looking deeper at the literary structure of the Book of Mormon epistles reveals some possible reasons for this disparity. While containing great spiritual insights, the epistles in Alma 56–58 and 60–61 contained wartime communications rather than church instruction, complicating the comparison to New Testament epistles. A more direct comparison to the New Testament religious epistles is found in Mormon 8–9 because they serve a similar purpose of spiritual instruction. If we focus only on Mormon 8–9 in table 8 (44.3 words/title), we find that these chapters have much more in common with the New Testament epistles (34.3 W/T ratio).

Patterns in apocalyptic writings. Another interesting detail arises when comparing apocalyptic writings found in the Book of Mormon and New Testament. Jared Halverson, associate professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University, describes this unique kind of scriptural writing: “Both the writings of Daniel and the book of Revelation typify the apocalyptic genre, which is generally defined as ‘a genre of revelatory literature with a narrative framework, in which a revelation is mediated by an otherworldly being to a human recipient, disclosing a transcendent reality which is both temporal, insofar as it envisages eschatological salvation, and spatial insofar as it involves another, supernatural world.’”[18] As mentioned by Halverson, the book of Revelation falls into this category in the New Testament. In the Book of Mormon, Lehi’s vision of the tree of life (1 Nephi 8) and Nephi’s interpretation of the vision (1 Nephi 11–14) meet the criteria of apocalyptic writings. Table 9–10 compare these two apocalyptic accounts.

Comparison Category1 Nephi 81 Nephi 11–14Revelation
Names and Titles38131200
Word count1,2215,35711,995
W/T Ratio32.131240.89359.975

Table 9. Comparison of apocalyptic writings

Name or Title1 Nephi 8Percent concentration1 Nephi 11–14Percent ConcentrationRevelationPercent concentration
God, My God0/1,2810%22/1,2811.7%78/1,2066.5%
Father, Heavenly Father0/2500%2/2500.8%5/2492.0%
Word of God0/30%1/333.3%3/933.3%
Lamb, Lamb of God0/700%56/7080%23/2688.5%
Tree, Tree of Life5/1729.4%9/1752.9%3/3100%
Rod of Iron5/683.3%1/616.7%1/1100%
Waters of Life0/20%0/20%3/3100%
Fountain of living water0/10%1/1100%0/20%

Table 10. Comparison of specific names and titles in apocalyptic writings

While table 9 does not show much connection between the Book of Mormon and New Testament apocalyptic writings using the W/T ratio, Table 10 highlights another type of pattern. According to the project data, some of the names or titles that are mostly or exclusively found in the Book of Revelation are similarly found mostly or exclusively in the chapters of 1 Nephi 8, 11–14. Shon D. Hopkin, professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University, explains one of these instances:

In the book of Revelation, the title Lamb is used twenty-six times. Unsurprisingly, the Book of Mormon’s usage mirrors these proportions. . . . Tying these themes back to Old Testament use of the lamb symbol may indicate why Nephi and John chose to emphasize the title so often. The two strongest Old Testament connections for the symbol of the lamb are the temple setting (in which ritual impurity is overcome through the sacrifice of the lamb), and the Passover meal (in which the children of Israel triumphed over the ultimate symbol of worldliness, Egypt, and the ultimate symbol of mortality, the death of the firstborn). John and Nephi seem to be drawing their readers back to the connection between temple rituals and ordinances, pointing toward the true Lamb whose blood can remove sin and who will triumph over all enemies.[19]

Where other names and titles are found throughout scripture in various concentrations, table 10 demonstrates the titles Lamb of God, rod of iron, tree of life, and water (fountain of living water or waters of life) are concentrated only in the book of Revelation and 1 Nephi 8, 11–14. The presence of these specific titles in both places may suggest a pattern that connects and validates apocalyptic writings, further linking the New Testament and Book of Mormon together as witnesses of Christ.

The Power of Titles

“Study everything Jesus Christ is by prayerfully and vigorously seeking to understand what each of His various titles and names means personally for you.” This statement by President Nelson is one of many recent quotes by our Church and S&I leaders[20] that directs us to study the names and titles of Jesus Christ, but why? Why place such a premium on studying the name and titles of Christ? I think the answer comes in the change that happens in our lives as we actively seek to know our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ (see John 17:3). As mentioned in the introduction, titles quickly communicate the character, attributes, and tendencies of the one holding the title. When we study titles of the Father and the Son, we come to better understand who they truly are and how they can help and bless us. Then we start to notice the Father and Son speaking, acting, and blessing people in the scriptures in these ways. Two brief examples of the Savior exemplifying the attributes ascribed in his titles can help illustrate this process.

Alma the Younger. After being visited by an angel, Alma the Younger laid unconscious for two days, during which time he suffered close to death. But after grasping onto the thought of Jesus Christ, he regained consciousness and expressed his mighty change of heart. He said this of his experience: “My soul hath been redeemed from the gall of bitterness and the bonds of iniquity. I was in the darkest abyss; but now I behold the marvelous light of God. My soul was racked with eternal torment; but I am snatched, and my soul is pained no more” (Mosiah 27:29; emphasis added).

Alma experienced the Savior’s power as he exercised faith in Christ, was “snatched” from spiritual freefall, and was cleansed from his sins. Later in the Book of Mormon, Alma speaks of Jesus Christ as the Good Shepherd (see Alma 5:37–41). Few better examples exist in scripture of the Good Shepherd, figuratively equipped with a shepherd’s crook, snatching the wayward Alma and leading him back to the fold. No wonder Alma could share this title so powerfully as part of one of his greatest sermons. Alma had been the sheep and was saved by the Good Shepherd. Could the Good Shepherd not do the same for any of us?

Enos. After praying mightily for a remission of his sins, Enos finally heard the voice of the Lord, who stated that Enos was forgiven. As his guilt was swept away, Enos responded, “Lord, how is it done?” The Lord answered, “Because of thy faith in Christ, who thou hast never before heard nor seen” (Enos 1:7–8). Enos exercised such great faith in his Savior that he was able to obtain forgiveness and spiritual peace to the degree that his faith became unshaken ever afterward (see Enos 1:1–11).

When we are freed “from captivity by payment of a ransom,”[21] something only our Redeemer can do, we develop a greater connection with and love for our Savior. Elder Holland taught, “It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines.”[22] Little wonder that Enos shares this title in his final Book of Mormon verse, “And I soon go to the place of my rest, which is with my Redeemer; for I know that in him I shall rest” (Enos 1:27; emphasis added). So too can we find rest as we place our faith and trust in our Redeemer.


In this project, we explored which names and titles of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are emphasized in the Book of Mormon; how the prophet Mormon may have been impacted by the concentration of names and titles they saw; and how the numerical patterns found within the names and titles of the Book of Mormon and New Testament are a testimony of their Christ-centeredness. Ultimately, learning about the revealed names and titles of the Father and Son and what those titles personally mean to us helps us know how to become like them.

picture of SLC temple holiness to the LordLearning about the revealed names and titles of the Father and Son and what those titles personally mean to us helps us know how to become like them. Photo by Rob Martin,

Generally, when I approach studying the Book of Mormon, I am seeking spiritual insights, answers to questions, or feelings of peace and connection to the Savior, and I usually accomplish that goal. However, the process of approaching the Book of Mormon from a numerical perspective by searching out and studying the names and titles of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ has changed me in a different way. With spiritual muscle memory, I now see the names and titles of the Father and Son wherever I am reading in the scriptures, and the associated attributes help me know them better. The weekly sacramental invitation to “take upon [me] the name of [the] Son” (Doctrine and Covenants 20:77) finds new meaning as the Spirit gradually writes his names and titles “not in tables of stone, but in the fleshy tables of [my] heart” (2 Corinthians 3:3).

Jesus taught, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). By seeking to follow the Good Shepherd, he shows me the way to become a better father to my family and a better minister to my seminary class and ward members. I am developing a more teachable, peaceful, and submissive attitude as I turn to the Lamb of God. And while I cannot be the Light of the World, I can rely on him for strength in my darkest hours and help others find peace in him when they are struggling. As the Lord changes each of us in these ways and more, it is little wonder that King Benjamin was inspired to teach his people, “I say unto you, that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent” (Mosiah 3:17; emphasis added).


[1] Russell M. Nelson, “Prophets, Leadership, and Divine Law” (Worldwide Devotional for Young Adults, January 8, 2017), Gospel Library.

[2] Dallin H. Oaks, “The Teachings of Jesus Christ,” Liahona, May 2023, 102.

[3] See Susan Ward Easton, “Names of Christ in the Book of Mormon,” Ensign, July 1978, 60.

[4] See Easton, “Names of Christ,” 60.

[5] Guide to the Scripture, “God, Godhead,” Gospel Library.

[6] Bible Dictionary, “Jesus.”

[7] Bible Dictionary, “Christ.”

[8] Bible Dictionary, “Anoint.”

[9] “The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles,” Gospel Library.

[10] Robert E. Wells, “Our Message to the World,” Ensign, November 1995, 65.

[11] Guide to the Scriptures, “Holy,” Gospel Library.

[12] Russell M. Nelson, “Let God Prevail,” Ensign or Liahona, November 2020, 92.

[13] See Gospel Topics, “Are ‘Mormons’ Christian?,” Gospel Library.

[14] Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Only True God and Jesus Christ Whom He Hath Sent,” Ensign or Liahona, November 2007, 40.

[15] See Robert M. Bowman Jr., “Understanding Sola Scriptura: The Evangelical View of the Authority of the Bible,” Biblical Christianity,

[16] “The Restoration of the Fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: A Bicentennial Proclamation to the World,” Gospel Library.

[17] Bible Dictionary, “Pauline Epistles.”

[18] Jared M. Halverson, “Lehi’s Dream and Nephi’s Vision as Apocalyptic Literature,” in The Things Which My Father Saw: Approaches to Lehi's Dream and Nephi's Vision, ed. Daniel L. Belnap, Gaye Strathearn, and Stanley A. Johnson (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2011), 56-57].

[19] Shon D. Hopkin, “Seeing Eye to Eye: Nephi’s and John’s Intertwining Visions of the Tree of Life,” in Apocalypse: Reading Revelation 21–22, edited by Julie M. Smith (Provo, UT: Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, 2016), 5.

[20] Chad H Webb, “We Talk of Christ, We Rejoice in Christ” (Seminaries and Institutes of Religion Annual Training Broadcast, June 12, 2018), Gospel Library.

[21] Merriam-Webster, s.v. “redeemed,”

[22] Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Laborers in the Vineyard,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2012, 33.