Digital Life: A PDF of the LDS version of the Scriptures

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For a long time, most of the media that I consume every day has been from an electronic device. The only area where this has not been entirely true is with books, which are not always easily available in an electronic format, and are more difficult to markup on a computer. This is changing now with the availability of some amazing eBook readers and touch screen computers.

Recently, I made the jump to an electronic format for my scripture study and other church related reading. Currently, the best format for reading and marking up text on the computer is when it is in the form of a PDF. The LDS church makes most of its materials available as PDFs, but unfortunately that doesn’t include the scriptures, which are only available in various text formats or HTML.

In my quest to find all the standard works — the four books of scripture of the church: The Bible, The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine & Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price — in PDF, I found that you can get a KJV of the Bible from a number of places (but not the LDS version with the footnotes), and you can get the Book of Mormon (but again, without the footnotes).

That’s when I came across this post on MormonTechie.com. A comment there explained how to download the Church’s HTML version of the scriptures and convert it to a PDF:

This is what I did to get the scriptures into a pdf:

Use HTTrack to copy the online scriptures to your computer. You can find it at http://www.httrack.com/.

You’ll want to scan http://scriptures.lds.org/en/ and under “set options” use the following scan rules:

+*.png +*.gif +*.jpg -*.css -*.js -mime:application/foobar
-*/*listen*
-*/*server*
-*/*jst*
-*/*helps*
-*/*/gs/*
-*/*biblemaps*
-*/*chmaps*
-*/*biblephotos*
-*/*chphotos*
-*/*search*
-*/*options*
-*/*help*
-*/*-*
-*/*/dc/*/**
-*/*/bd/*
-*/*/tg/*
-*/*/in/*

That will leave only the scriptures (no index, dictionary, photos, guides, etc.) in order to make the final pdf a manageable size. Also under limits, set max mirroring depth to 4. That will prevent all the footnotes from being copied. The footnote links in the verses still work, they’ll just send you to the online footnotes in your browser. The other links will move you around the pdf.

That should take an hour or so to download. Then you can use adobe acrobat (or the trial version of acrobat if you don’t have it) to make a pdf of the site that is now located on your hard disk. After opening acrobat hit ctrl shift O and enter the location of the index web page. Select “get entire site.” You can change the font size, and formatting of the pdf you’ll make under settings. It will take 45 min or so for acrobat to make your pdf.

The pdf I made is just under 45 MB. Now I can use my tablet to read my scriptures and save all the ink highlighting and annotating I make (I use PDF Annotator from GRAHL software). Navigating through the scriptures is very quick within the pdf. If you click on a link that is outside of the pdf (like a footnote) it will open your web browser so you can still access that info.

I did this and it worked out pretty well. My PDF is actually more like 17 MB, which is nice. Like the commenter explains, it doesn’t include the footnotes in the PDF, but if you have internet access, then it will link you to the church website. But it is still pretty hefty for most computers and PDF annotators to handle. So I made some adjustments to the layout, and broke each of the books up into separate PDFs that link to each other. Pretty cool. Now I can read the scriptures in the PDF, and mark it up with PDF Annotator or PDF Revu (as I have been doing with the other church materials) to my heart’s content.

Here it is for anyone that doesn’t want to go through the whole process to make it themselves: scriptures.zip (18 Mb)

5 Responses to “Digital Life: A PDF of the LDS version of the Scriptures”

  1. Jeff

    Take a look at CutePDF which allows you to create a PDF without Acrobat…It installs as a printer but when you print to it, you get a PDF. Does that work in this case?

  2. Scott

    Thanks Jeff. I use CutePDF as my PDF printer actually, but no, it won’t work in this situation. The problem is that I need to print a document whose source is not just one long page, but many individual pages, and they all need to be hyperlinked to each other. I’ve looked and I don’t think there are really any other solutions besides Acrobat, unfortunately.

  3. Jon

    Thanks for the post! This will come in very handy for my study–I had the same interest in annotating a pdf version of the scriptures; it took a good amount of searching around to find this post. I use a free annotating program called pdf-xchange which does everything I need. I only wish I could secure a pdf version in the same layout as the paper scriptures, since I often associate page position with various scriptures.

  4. Pete

    Thank you so much for this, I was looking to get the scriptures on my PC and looked at the scriptures CD Rom, but unfortunately I’m running linux and so that wasn’t an option.
    I am going to find these pdf’s you created so useful

    Thanks again – Your a star!