Here, you need this!

When I worked in a department store in domestics selling sheets, towels, mattress protectors, pillows, etc., I could sell men anything because they rarely had the knowledge to be a savvy shopper of these items, or the inclination to obtain it, sadly.

"Here, you need this" was generally enough to make the sale.

Well, this post is aimed at everybody. Everybody NEEDS this resource. It's called the Scripture Citation Index. Whether you use the web-based version or the app -- in English or Spanish, you NEED this resource.

What is a citation index, exactly?

In short, it's another way of searching for the information you already access. In this case, by scripture instead of keyword, title, speaker, or topic.

Citation indexes are common in academia. I used them all the time when I was in higher education.

You can even use Google Scholar as a citation index, but that goes beyond the scope of this posting. I'll just give you a quick example.

I know of a handful of current academic articles on the benefits of camel milk. If I want to see what's been published lately or if these articles have been replaced by better research, I simply put one of the article titles in Google Scholar and it tells me how many articles have cited this article recently, what they are and where they are. Then I can read up.

Cited, citation, do you get the connection?

How the Scripture Citation Index works

Suppose you are reading your Come, Follow Me scripture assignment for this week and you find Ether 3:5 particularly inspiring. You ask yourself, "I wonder if this scripture has ever been quoted in General Conference?"

To answer this question, access the Scripture Citation Index and look at the right-hand column. Scroll down to the Book of Mormon and look for a tile entitled, "Ether." Click on Ether, then click on the tile for chapter 3 and then look for a reference to verse 5 or a scripture block that contains verse 5.

There is one reference that is wholly Ether 3:5. It brings up one tile that looks like this:

2004-A:68 James E. Faust
Did You Get the Right Message?

James E. Faust referenced Ether 3:5 in his talk entitled, "Did You Get the Right Message?" from April General Conference in 2004, page 68 of the Ensign. 

Here it is:
Some of us may need something startling like a burning bush experience to awaken our senses. In such an experience the essential nature of something—a person, a situation, an object—is suddenly perceived. We understand this to be inspiration. To be able to perceive by inspiration the common and ordinary things of life in their true meaning is a special gift. Many people fail to perceive inspiration because God’s “great power … looks small unto the understanding of men” 9  Ether 3:5 or because they are “less and less astonished at a sign or a wonder from heaven.” 10  3 Ne. 2:1

The Citation Index indicates by color where the scripture quote is and it takes you right to it in the middle column.

What could be easier?

Who is responsible for the Scripture Citation Index?

The index is the brainchild and life's work of Professor Richard C. Galbraith, now emeritus, of Brigham Young University.

He's been working on it for over 50 years, for free! Read up on him and his effort from this recent article in the Deseret News and this recent article from the Church News. In the Deseret News article one of his children remarked:
"... no other father would have the persistence to work on such a huge project for no money. “If he got paid a million dollars, it would have only worked out to about 50 cents an hour.”
I cannot imagine a better use of leisure time than this. Contrast this with playing video games for over 50 years and it puts things in vivid perspective.

Does the Church endorse it?

The Scripture Citation Index is hosted on Brigham Young University's site as and NOT the Church's website.

However, the Church has endorsed it as much as it is possible to do. I've found multiple references to it, and official encouragement to use it, on the Church website, the Church History website, the official Seminary and Institute instructions, and in the Ensign.

The first reference I ever saw was in the October 2011 Ensign attached to an article written by Elder D. Todd Christofferson. The Citation Index debuted online in 2010.

Did I mention the repository of General Conference talks goes all the way back to 1942 and not just 1971 like the Church website?

You DO need this!

There are many ways to utilize this phenomenal resource. It's often my ace-in-the-hole when I'm trying to find a quote or reference.

I guess my secret's out.

However, I never wanted it to be a secret. I first wrote about this wonderful resource on this blog in a January, 2011 blog posting.

The Citation Index has simply gotten better and better. Instead of just taking you to the text of the General Conference talk, there are now links to listen or watch it as well.

You're Welcome!

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