Turning an eight-chapter book of scripture into a 1,000-plus-page commentary wasn't a seamless process for Jeffrey M. Bradshaw.
It involved thousands of books, a lot of morning hours and a hurricane that wrecked his house.
But the process wasn't entirely turbulent. After all, Bradshaw was dealing with the doctrinally rich Book of Moses, which he calls "a prophetic exposition of the entire Plan of Salvation from start to finish, all packed into eight chapters."
The result was "In God's Image and Likeness: Ancient and Modern Perspectives on the Book of Moses" (2010, Eborn Publishing).
A research scientist by profession, Bradshaw says this book of scripture — an excerpt of Joseph Smith's translation of the Bible found in the LDS Pearl of Great Price — becomes more impressive upon inspection.
"The more closely you examine it, the more beautiful the detail becomes," he said. "I guess that's why I couldn't leave it as a 200-page book."
Bradshaw began looking more closely at the Book of Moses when he lived in France. The catalyst was Hurricane Ivan, which destroyed his family's home in Florida and sent them overseas for a year.
Bradshaw has always loved the Old Testament. At the time of his move, he owned about 30 commentaries on the Book of Genesis. He also had time in the morning hours, and the idea of writing a commentary "took hold gradually."
"I found that before the e-mail started to come across the Atlantic in the mornings I was able to get a good couple, three hours of writing done," he said.
In the process, his collection of Old Testament books grew to well over 1,000. The bulk of his commentary was complete by the time his family returned to the United States.
Bradshaw, who works for the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition in Pensacola, Fla., admits he's not an expert. But he has enthusiasm and says he's familiar with the relevant literature.
"This isn't really my specialty," he said. "I write out of love."
His commentary comprises about 3,500 sources. It contains 1,101 pages and weighs in at around 8 pounds.
The Book of Moses details God's dealings with Adam and Eve, and Bradshaw found relevant sources in not just in Mormon and Christian literature but in Judaism, Islam and all the great world religions. He appealed to the ancient and modern, the scholarly and artistic — everything from Eastern Orthodox scholar Ephrem the Syrian to LDS painter Brian Kershisnik.
"Next to the story of the life of Jesus Christ, there's probably more art and literature and music devoted to the themes of the Creation and Fall than any other biblical topic," he said. "It was not as hard as I thought it would be to fill those pages."
As someone who works with artificial intelligence and robotics, Bradshaw also wanted to address "interesting scientific questions that crop up as you try to understand what these stories mean to us as we advance in scientific knowledge."
He doesn't believe in validating faith this way but says his LDS beliefs are "very compatible" with science.
"By everything that I've studied and by personal spiritual experiences, I've come to find that certain truths in religion are what they're advertised to be," he said.