"To Show unto the Remnant of the House of
Narrators and Narratives
One mark of great literature is that it shows a concept concretely and avoids telling or explaining it abstractly. Appropriately, then, the Book of Mormon purposes to "show unto the remnant of the House of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers." In part, this showing comes because the narrators in the Book of Mormon connect actively with their auditors or readers and relate many engaging stories.
Nephi tells his experiences from the first-person point of view, causing the reader to identify with him more fully. Mormon regularly uses we in making a point relevant to his latter-day audience, thus immediately engaging the reader. And following the lead of his father, Moroni speaks directly to a latter-day audience throughout his narration.
Mormon is very much aware that his audience is made up of latter-day Lamanites, Jews, and Gentiles; his son, Moroni, also knows his audience (see Mormon 8–9). In his closing testimony, Mormon focuses on "the remnant of this people who are spared" to issue a stirring challenge: "Know ye that ye are of the house of Israel. . . . Know ye that ye must come to the knowledge of your fathers, and repent of all your sins and iniquities, and believe in Jesus Christ, that he is the Son of God" (Mormon 7:1–2, 5).
Not only does Mormon speak to a latter-day audience but he counsels with them and personalizes what they learn from his narratives. "Now we see," he emphasizes, "that Ammon could not be slain" (Alma 19:23). Regarding the conversion that follows, he says, "thus we see that the Lord worketh in many ways to the salvation of his people" (Alma 24:27). Commenting on circumstances of people living at the time of the second Helaman, he confirms, "Thus we may see that the Lord is merciful unto all who will, in the sincerity of their hearts, call upon his holy name" (Helaman 3:27).
For his part, Moroni testifies to his audience, "[I shall] meet you before the pleasing bar of the great Jehovah, the Eternal Judge of both quick and dead" (Moroni 10:34). Here Moroni brings together past, present, and future. Although he wrote in our past, Moroni speaks to his readers in our present and anticipates meeting them in the future at the judgment bar. Similarly, his references to Jesus Christ combine references to both the past and the future. The title "Jehovah" is associated with the mission of the premortal Savior, the Alpha. The title "the Eternal Judge of both quick and dead" specifies the future mission of Jesus Christ, the Omega. At the judgment bar, we shall acknowledge that his association with the children of men has been timeless.
When we first encounter Mormon, in the Words of Mormon following the books from the Small Plates of Nephi, we learn a great deal about his narrative approach. He begins at the end of the Nephite drama: "I have witnessed almost all the destruction of my people," he says, and he supposes his son Moroni "will witness the entire destruction of my people" (Words of Mormon 1:1–2). Saying his account is brief, he prays that his brethren, the Lamanites and renegade Nephites, "may once again come to the knowledge of God, yea, the redemption of Christ" (Words of Mormon 1:8). He then focuses on an individual, King Benjamin, in whose experiences one finds the repeated dual threats to the Nephites. External opposition is by the Lamanites—who in Benjamin's time are defeated by the Nephites with their king at the fore wielding the sword of Laban (which is inherited by the kings and transferred with the records down to Mormon). Internal threats come in the form of false Christs, false prophets, and contentions. Benjamin's solution to both problems is to reign in righteousness and to have many holy men "speak the word of God with power and with authority" (Words of Mormon 1:17).
Mormon's methods as an editor-historian are complex, and he masterfully weaves the fabric of his part of the book. His art, though, is unobtrusive. Perhaps that is why relatively little attention has been paid to it.1 Mormon focuses on individuals, letting them speak for themselves as much as possible through sermons, letters, and dialogues. With the Lord's direction, Mormon selects those experiences that are most important to the book's overall purposes. As Grant Hardy in an essay on Mormon as editor has pointed out, the answer in part to what Mormon includes and excludes "lies in Mormon's purpose, which was not to give an exact historical account of ancient Nephite culture, but rather to turn our hearts to God." Mormon's focus on individuals emphasizes that "those who follow God are blessed, while those who reject him suffer."2
An important part of Mormon's method is using repetition, parallels, and contrasts to teach, emphasize, and confirm. He clearly knows the ancient principle that repetition can help alert and convince people. That is especially true of threefold repetition. When we knock at a door, we usually do it three times. A typical cheer is repeated three times, with the last cheer being the most emphatic. When we persist in trying something, the third try often produces the desired result. Jesus gives three ascending injunctions to the Nephite people gathered at the temple in Bountiful: "Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you" (3 Nephi 14:7). They are to speak, then move, then use vigorous action—each operation more intense than the last. On the first level, they are given what they ask for; on the second, they do the finding; on the third and most effectual level, they both receive (the door is opened to them) and act (implicitly, they go through the doorway). In the Old Testament, it is not until the third time Samuel tells about hearing a voice that Eli finally perceives it is the Lord's (1 Samuel 3:8). It is on the third time that the Nephites at the temple in Bountiful finally understand the heavenly voice (3 Nephi 11:5).
Repetition appears purposefully within Book of Mormon narratives; indeed, it seems that every important action, event, or character type is repeated. For instance, two wealthy men (Lehi and Amulek) lose their riches as they pursue prophetic callings. Kings Benjamin and Limhi each assemble their people in order to speak to them. Two sons of kings (Ammon and his brother Aaron) speak with kings (Lamoni and his father). Alma the Younger and Lamoni fall into trances in which they appear to be dead. Two detailed accounts are given of prophets threatened within a prison (Alma and Amulek, Nephi and Lehi). Two Lamanite leaders (who also are brothers) are killed by a spear within their tents. And prophets (Abinadi, Alma, and Samuel) are cast out of cities and then return at the Lord's bidding. Further, prophet-leaders (Lehi, Zeniff, and Mosiah) gather people to read records to them. Antichrists (notably Sherem, Korihor, and Nehor) lead people to follow their iniquities. A man named Ammon, living in the time of King Mosiah, is captured and taken before King Limhi—and ends up helping Limhi's people escape from captivity; Mosiah's son Ammon is captured and taken before the Lamanite king Lamoni and helps save Lamoni's people both spiritually and physically. And three prophets, Alma the Younger, Nephi the son of Helaman, and Samuel the Lamanite, depart out of the land and are "never heard of more," with the implication that Alma is translated and does not taste death (Alma 45:18–19).3
Repetitions in the Book of Mormon emphasize the law of witnesses at work within the book. This law is found in Nephi's testimony that he joined Isaiah and his brother Jacob in seeing the Redeemer: "Wherefore, by the words of three, God hath said, I will establish my word. Nevertheless, God sendeth more witnesses, and he proveth all his words" (2 Nephi 11:3). Again, Nephi quotes the Lord as saying, "Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another?" (2 Nephi 29:8). Near the end of the book, Moroni reaffirms the law of witnesses when he says, "And in the mouth of three witnesses shall these things be established; and the testimony of three, and this work, in the which shall be shown forth the power of God and also his word, of which the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost bear record—and all this shall stand as a testimony against the world at the last day" (Ether 5:4).4
Further, the repetitions underscore the relevance of one character or action to people living in a different time. Many persons and actions typify or foreshadow later persons and actions. For example, at one point when his life is threatened, Nephi commands his brothers that they not touch him, for, he says, "I am filled with the power of God, even unto the consuming of my flesh; and whoso shall lay his hands upon me shall wither even as a dried reed" (1 Nephi 17:48). Standing before a hostile king and his court, the prophet Abinadi similarly says, "Touch me not, for God shall smite you if ye lay your hands upon me, for I have not delivered the message which the Lord sent me to deliver" (Mosiah 13:3). Abinadi's face shines "with exceeding luster, even as Moses' did while in the mount of Sinai, while speaking with the Lord" (Mosiah 13:5). This heavenly transfiguration is repeated in the shining faces of the brothers Nephi and Lehi as they are held in prison (Helaman 5:36) and climaxes in the description of the resurrected Jesus: "and the light of his countenance did shine upon them" (3 Nephi 19:25).
This repetition links narratives together in what Robert Alter in The Art of Biblical Narrative calls "a kind of rhythm of thematic significance."5 Alter's point about actions in the Bible is directly relevant to the Book of Mormon parallels I have mentioned. He says, "Recurrence, parallels, analogy are the hallmarks of reported action in the biblical tale. . . . The two most distinctively biblical uses of repeated action are when we are given two versions of the same event and when the same event, with minor variations, occurs at different junctures of the narrative, usually involving different characters or sets of characters."6
Alter calls the recurrence of the same event a "type-scene" and considers it "a central organizing convention of biblical narrative."7 Some examples Alter notes are an annunciation to a barren woman (Sarah, Rebekah, or Hannah), an encounter with a future betrothed at a well (Abraham's servant and Rebekah, Jacob and Rachel, or Moses and Jethro's daughter), and a life-threatening trial in the wilderness (Ishmael and Isaac).8 Parallel episodes with their variations or contrasts reinforce and define each other and develop a larger pattern. They bring a narrative intensity as well as a sense of divine direction of events.
Alter notes that type-scenes contrast with each other as well. In the Book of Mormon, we see parallels and a crucial contrast in two scenes in which a very righteous person and a very wicked person put on disguises. Nephi disguises himself as the Jewish ruler Laban to obtain scriptures, which ultimately are for the good of a whole people (1 Nephi 4:19–38). The conspirator Kishkumen disguises himself and murders the chief judge for his own power and gain (Helaman 1:9–12). When we read the account of Kishkumen in the context of the book as a whole, we may well reflect on Nephi's directive from God to kill Laban and take on a disguise to save a nation (1 Nephi 4:13) and contrast it to the secret combination of robbers and murderers, of which Kishkumen was a part, that eventually caused the destruction of the Nephites (Ether 8:21).
Although it might be argued that some repetition and contrast in the Book of Mormon is accidental, the accumulated evidence is that such narrators as Mormon and Moroni intended parallel materials to instruct and convince. And even if they are not always conscious of the purposes for which they speak, they "write the things which have been commanded . . . of the Lord" (3 Nephi 26:12).
A clear example of a purposeful contrast of persons is that between Benjamin and Noah, a good king and a wicked one.9 These narratives are presented in significant detail and appear close to each other. King Benjamin is a model of the righteous king. He calls his people together to bless them, affirms that he has labored with his own hands that he might serve them and that they should not be laden with taxes, and humbly confesses his dependence on God (Mosiah 2:14–19; 4:19). King Noah, described soon thereafter, "did cause his people to commit sin, and do that which was abominable in the sight of the Lord" (Mosiah 11:2); he laid a tax of "one fifth part" of all his people possessed to support a luxurious lifestyle for himself, his wives and concubines, his priests, and their wives and concubines (Mosiah 11:3–4). Rather than consider himself a beggar before God, King Noah "placed his heart upon his riches, and he spent his time in riotous living" (Mosiah 11:14). At the time he proposes the institution of judges in place of a king, Benjamin's son Mosiah pointedly tells his people that if they could always have kings like Benjamin, "then it would be expedient that ye should always have kings to rule over you," but one wicked king can cause much iniquity and great destruction (Mosiah 29:13, 17). "Yea, remember king Noah," Mosiah says, "his wickedness and his abominations, and also the wickedness and abominations of his people. Behold what great destruction did come upon them" (Mosiah 29:18).
Finally, repetition intensifies and confirms in memorable ways. Jesus does not simply say that the multitude assembled at Bountiful must "repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things" (3 Nephi 11:37). He immediately follows this statement with a rearrangement of the three parts and intensifies the result: "And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God" (3 Nephi 11:38). Mormon confirms that Alma repeated elements of his personal experience in counseling his sons. Of his own life, Alma says, "I have been supported under trials and troubles of every kind, yea, and in all manner of afflictions; yea, God has delivered me from prison, and from bonds, and from death; yea, and I do put my trust in him, and he will still deliver me. And I know that he will raise me up at the last day, to dwell with him in glory" (Alma 36:27–28).
Alma then turns around and advises his son Shiblon to "remember, that as much as ye shall put your trust in God even so much ye shall be delivered out of your trials, and your troubles, and your afflictions, and ye shall be lifted up at the last day" (Alma 38:5).
Of the many narratives in the Book of Mormon, we will examine four representative ones developed by repetition and contrast. The first, Nephi's heroic quest to obtain the brass plates from Laban, is intensified and made memorable by events or concerns occurring three times. The second, the account of Ammon and the missionary effort among the Lamanites, builds its meaning with repeated emphasis on power. The remaining two, the encounter between Jacob and Sherem and the conflict between Alma and Korihor, present contrasting persons and world views. In each case, conflicts are resolved dramatically.
Conflict and resolution are found as well in other narratives not analyzed here, such as Abinadi's courageous stand before King Noah; Amulek's confrontation with Zeezrom, "one of the most expert" (Alma 10:31) lawyers in the land of Ammonihah; the showdown between Captain Moroni and the Lamanite chieftain Zerahemnah; the frightening story of the rise to power of the wicked Amalickiah; the experience of the brothers Nephi and Lehi in prison; Nephi the son of Helaman and his detection of the murder of the judge by the judge's brother; the whole drama of the visit of the resurrected Christ; and the fight to the finish between the last two Jaredite kings, Coriantumr and Shiz.
Repetition in Nephi's Quest
There is significant repetition in the hero's task given Nephi and his brothers—to retrieving from Laban the scriptural records that would preserve for Lehi and his family "the language of our fathers," the law, and "the words . . . of all the holy prophets . . . since the world began" (1 Nephi 3:19–20). This quest follows what Leland Ryken in How to Read the Bible as Literature calls "the storytelling principle of threefold repetition: a given event happens three times, with a crucial change introduced the third time."10
In the first of the three visits to Laban, and apparently without a plan, Laman futilely asks Laban to relinquish the records. Next, the brothers follow Nephi's plan to offer their gold, silver, and other precious things for the plates of brass, only to have Laban take all this wealth from them and then try to have them pursued and killed. The third time, Nephi goes alone with no plan: "I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do" (1 Nephi 4:6). Then the Lord's plan goes into effect. This marks the "crucial change" Ryken speaks about.
Each of these efforts is put into motion by a pledge, and the pledges become more and more intense. At the initial request to get the plates, Nephi says to his father, "I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded" (1 Nephi 3:7). After Laman's failure, Nephi increases his initial commitment to go and do what the Lord commanded and applies it to all the brothers: "As the Lord liveth, and as we live, we will not go down unto our father in the wilderness until we have accomplished the thing which the Lord hath commanded us" (1 Nephi 3:15). When the next plan fails and the older brothers are reproved by an angel for beating their younger brothers, Nephi calls for them all to "be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord" and affirms the power of God by alluding to the great miracle of the Israelites crossing through the Red Sea (1 Nephi 4:1–2). The emphasis has moved from "I will go and do," to we will not leave until "we have accomplished," to the Lord is "mightier than Laban and his fifty" and "the Lord is able to deliver us, even as our fathers, and to destroy Laban, even as the Egyptians" (1 Nephi 4:1, 3).
Finding Laban drunk in the street, Nephi is three times "constrained by the Spirit" to kill him (1 Nephi 4:10). The first is a simple injunction: Kill Laban. The second is the impression that the Lord hasd delivered Laban into Nephi's hands. Nephi thinks of three reasons why he could be justified in taking Laban's life: (1) Laban sought to take away Nephi's own life. (2) Laban would not hearken unto the commands of the Lord. (3) He had taken away property belonging to Nephi's family. The third constraint of the Spirit adds the crucial, convincing element: "The Lord slayeth the wicked to bring forth his righteous purposes. It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief" (1 Nephi 4:13).
Nephi then slays Laban, dresses in his clothes and armor, and with the help of Laban's servant Zoram, gets the brass plates and takes them outside the city wall. There, in calling to his frightened brothers, Nephi reveals his identity to Zoram—whom Nephi holds to keep from fleeing. Nephi then makes three levels of appeal to Zoram. These are introduced by a similar formulaic phrase, moving from sparing Zoram's life, to allowing him freedom, to having a place with Lehi's family:
And it came to pass that I spake with him, that if he would hearken unto my words, as the Lord liveth, and as I live, even so that if he would hearken unto our words, we would spare his life. And I spake unto him, even with an oath, that he need not fear; that he should be a free man like unto us if he would go down in the wilderness with us. And I also spake unto him, saying: Surely the Lord hath commanded us to do this thing; and shall we not be diligent in keeping the commandments of the Lord? Therefore, if thou wilt go down into the wilderness to my father thou shalt have place with us. (1 Nephi 4:32–34)
A three-part pattern is found as well in Sariah's lament to Lehi, with the pattern emphasized by the rhythmical "Behold . . . , and . . . , and . . . ": "Behold thou hast led us forth from the land of our inheritance [as a supposedly visionary man], and my sons are no more, and we perish in the wilderness" (1 Nephi 5:2). This feared decline is counterbalanced by Sariah's three-part praise uttered at the return of her sons. In this utterance, she echoes Nephi's initial commitment: "I also know of a surety that the Lord hath protected my sons, and delivered them out of the hands of Laban, and given them power whereby they could accomplish the thing which the Lord hath commanded them" (1 Nephi 5:8). For his part, Nephi affirms that he and his father obtained the records, searched these scriptures, and carried the records with them so the Lord's commandments could be preserved (1 Nephi 5:21–22).
Repetition of Power as a Narrative Focus
The missionary endeavor of Ammon with King Lamoni, found in a single chapter in the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon (Alma 17 through 20 in the current edition), is one of the most interesting stories in the Book of Mormon. By looking at this narrative as a single story, we discover that its center is the kingdom of God in contrast with the kingdom of man, the power of God in contrast with that of man. It shows the ideal power of the missionary. Mormon's headnote regarding the whole mission of the sons of Mosiah underlines this theme: The sons of Mosiah reject their "rights to the kingdom" (an earthly kingdom with its accompanying power) "for the word of God" and go up to the land of Nephi "to preach to the Lamanites." There they experience "sufferings and deliverance." This acceptance of God's power and denial of earthly glory is emphasized in the first paragraph of the 1830 edition. The sons of Mosiah, we are told, "taught with power and authority of God. . . . having refused the kingdom which their father was desirous to confer upon them" (Alma 17:3, 6). From this point on, the word power becomes a repeated drumbeat throughout the narrative.
Leaving behind a presumably comfortable life in Zarahemla, the sons of Mosiah depart into the wilderness to go among "a wild and a hardened and a ferocious people" (Alma 17:14). Although Aaron appears to have been the eldest of the four, in their journey Ammon is their leader but still their servant—he was "the chief among them, or rather he did administer unto them" (Alma 17:18). On arrival in Lamoni's court, Ammon, a king's son, declares his willingness to leave royalty behind him and "to dwell among this people for a time; yea, and perhaps until the day I die" (Alma 17:23). Offered the possibility of earthly reward (taking one of Lamoni's daughters to wife), Ammon opts instead to be the king's servant.
The story that follows gains dramatic intensity by a greater movement into dialogue and monologue, with the emphatic word being power. At the waters of Sebus, the king's servants express their fear of being slain for allowing the flocks to be scattered by robbers. Ammon's interior response is to say, "I will shew forth my power unto these my fellow-servants, or the power which is in me, in restoring these flocks unto the king, that I may win the hearts of these my fellow-servants, that I may lead them to believe in my words" (Alma 17:29). Ammon then serves the servants by being their champion, slinging stones at the bullies: "yea, with mighty power he did sling stones amongst them; and thus he slew a certain number of them insomuch that they began to be astonished at his power" (Alma 17:36). Later, reporting to the king, the other servants say they "do not believe that a man has such great power." The king wants to know, "Where is this man that has such great power?" The response is, "Behold, he is feeding thy horses" (Alma 18:3, 8–9). This faithfulness elicits even more amazement in King Lamoni, who is now sure Ammon is the Great Spirit. When Ammon enters, the king's servants call him "Rabbanah," which is interpreted as "powerful or great king" (Alma 18:13). In this scene of dramatic irony, we know that Ammon has turned down the opportunity to be king in order to be a missionary servant to Lamoni and his people. He, however, never reveals that to Lamoni. Indeed, he maintains the respectful stance of a servant: "What wilt thou that I should do for thee, O king?" (Alma 18:14).
The conversation that ensues revolves around the power question. Lamoni asks: "Tell me by what power ye slew and smote off the arms of my brethren that scattered my flocks— . . . if it were needed, I would guard thee with my armies; but I know that thou art more powerful than all they." Ammon being "wise, yet harmless," says unto Lamoni: "Wilt thou hearken unto my words, if I tell thee by what power I do these things?" (Alma 18:20–22).
Lamoni agrees to this missionary opening, and after an exchange of questions and answers in which Ammon teaches Lamoni about God, Lamoni then says: "I believe all these things which thou hast spoken. Art thou sent from God?" Ammon responds: "I am a man; and man in the beginning was created after the image of God, and I am called by his Holy Spirit to teach these things unto this people, that they may be brought to a knowledge of that which is just and true; and a portion of that Spirit dwelleth in me, which giveth me knowledge, and also power according to my faith and desires which are in God" (Alma 18:33–35).
Ammon expounds the history of God's dealings unto man, at which the now-believing Lamoni falls into a death-like trance. Ammon recognizes Lamoni's trance as a manifestation of the power of God: "He knew that the dark veil of unbelief was being cast away from his mind" (Alma 19:6).
King Lamoni rises on the third day, bears testimony of the Redeemer, whom he has seen, then swoons away again, as does the queen, and then Ammon, and then the attending servants. The serving woman Abish, secretly converted earlier, "knew that it was the power of God" that made the court swoon. She sees what she thinks is an opportunity, "by making known unto the people what had happened among them, that by beholding this scene it would cause them to believe in the power of God, therefore she ran forth from house to house, making it known unto the people" (Alma 19:17).
The action that most miraculously shows forth the power of God is the death of the man who tries to kill the unconscious Ammon—an event that causes great contention among the people as to "the cause of this great power" (Alma 19:24). Abish ends the contention when she lifts up the queen, who in turn takes Lamoni by the hand, and he arises. They "declare unto the people the self-same thing—that their hearts had been changed; that they had no more desire to do evil" (Alma 19:33).
Ammon's journey with Lamoni to the land of Middoni to deliver his brother Aaron and two other missionaries from prison brings to a climactic focus the question of power and control (Alma 20). Here, the king over all the land—Lamoni's own father—commands Lamoni to slay Ammon and then tries to kill Ammon himself when Lamoni refuses. But Ammon withstands his assault and immobilizes him; the king then offers Ammon whatever he wants—even up to half the kingdom. For the third time refusing earthly glory or power, Ammon asks only for freedom for his brothers and for Lamoni. This refusal of earthly power opens the way for Ammon to counter a cause of anger held by the Lamanites for centuries: their belief that Nephi had robbed them, that Laman and Lemuel's younger brother had taken over in both land and leadership. Ammon teaches Lamoni, who is a descendent of Ishmael, about the rebellions of Laman, Lemuel, and the sons of Ishmael. Then, before the king over all the land, Ammon responds to the Lamanite view that the Nephites are descendants of a liar and a robber (Alma 20:10–13). By forgoing earthly power, Ammon shows forth God's power and thus opens up the most significant missionary harvest in the Book of Mormon. The editor's (Mormon's) heavily repeated use of the word translated as power drives home that point.
Nephi's younger brother and spiritual heir, Jacob, also has an overarching view of God's dealings with Israel and a firm spiritual knowledge that comes from "the good word of Christ, and the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Jacob 6:8). They are evident in Jacob's sermons that are quoted at length by Nephi (2 Nephi 6, 9–10) and in the subsequent book of Jacob, which includes his challenging sermonic call to repentance (Jacob 2–3) and his quotation of Zenos's extensive allegory of the tame and wild olive trees. The aged Jacob's dramatic dialogue with the antichrist Sherem is the culmination of his ministry and a fitting close to the book of Jacob.
To this prophet, who has such power of convicting speech and such a comprehensive view of God's dealings with Israel, comes Sherem, described as "learned, that he had a perfect knowledge of the language of the people; wherefore, he could use much flattery, and much power of speech, according to the power of the devil" (Jacob 7:4). Testing his skills on the high priest, Sherem is patronizing and sarcastic as he tries to shake Jacob from the faith and accuses Jacob of the crimes of leading the people into false forms of worship, blasphemy, and false prophecy:
Brother Jacob, I have sought much opportunity that I might speak unto you; for I have heard and also know that thou goest about much, preaching that which ye call the gospel, or the doctrine of Christ. And ye have led away much of this people that they pervert the right way of God, and keep not the law of Moses which is the right way; and convert the law of Moses into the worship of a being which ye say shall come many hundred years hence. And now behold, I, Sherem, declare unto you that this is blasphemy; for no man knoweth of such things; for he cannot tell of things to come. (Jacob 7:6–7)
Note how Sherem calls Jacob "Brother," portraying himself as a concerned believer trying lovingly to correct a misguided fellow believer. He attempts to undermine Jacob's position by describing his teachings as "that which ye call the gospel" and Christ as "a being which ye say shall come," as if Jacob had himself fabricated the doctrines he taught.
Sherem challenges here the three central tenets of Jacob's life and teachings. At the beginning of his book, Jacob had accepted Nephi's charge to engrave on the plates "preaching which was sacred, or revelation which was great, or prophesying . . . of Christ and his kingdom, which should come" (Jacob 1:4, 6). Now Sherem disputes Jacob's authority as a prophet who could know by revelation concerning the future. Jacob's recounting of the event shows both the source of his knowledge as well as his ability to counter Sherem.
But behold, the Lord God poured in his Spirit into my soul, insomuch that I did confound him in all his words. And I said unto him: Deniest thou the Christ who shall come?
And he said: If there should be a Christ, I would not deny him; but I know that there is no Christ, neither has been, nor ever will be.
And I said unto him: Believest thou the scriptures?
And he said, Yea.
And I said unto him: Then ye do not understand them; for they truly testify of Christ. Behold, I say unto you that none of the prophets have written, nor prophesied, save they have spoken concerning this Christ. And this is not all—it has been made manifest unto me, for I have heard and seen; and it also has been made manifest unto me by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, I know if there should be no atonement made all mankind must be lost. (Jacob 7:8–12)
Jacob strikes right at the heart of Sherem's position, challenging him to defend his denial of Christ. Sherem's response is one of intellectual pride, saying he knows there will never be a Christ. In opposing this position, Jacob not only exposes the limitations of Sherem's understanding of the scriptures but also affirms his own knowledge, which has come through divine means. Then with sarcastic scornfulness, Sherem challenges Jacob to produce a sign: "Show me a sign by this power of the Holy Ghost, in the which ye know so much" (Jacob 7:13).
Here the arrogant Sherem goes one step too far in a conflict of knowing and knowledge. Jacob's response defines the issue and leaves the outcome to God:
What am I that I should tempt God to show unto thee a sign in the thing which thou knowest to be true? Yet thou wilt deny it, because thou art of the devil. Nevertheless, not my will be done; but if God shall smite thee, let that be a sign unto thee that he has power, both in heaven and in earth; and also, that Christ shall come. And thy will, O Lord, be done, and not mine. (Jacob 7:14)
The humble preacher ("what am I") accepts revelation ("if God shall smite thee") and prophecy ("that Christ shall come"). In response to Jacob's words, Sherem is struck down. Some days later he says to the people:
Gather together on the morrow, for I shall die; wherefore, I desire to speak unto the people before I shall die. And it came to pass that on the morrow the multitude were gathered together; and he spake plainly unto them and denied the things which he had taught them, and confessed the Christ, and the power of the Holy Ghost, and the ministering of angels. And he spake plainly unto them, that he had been deceived by the power of the devil. And he spake of hell, and of eternity, and of eternal punishment. And he said: I fear lest I have committed the unpardonable sin, for I have lied unto God; for I denied the Christ, and said that I believed the scriptures; and they truly testify of him. And because I have thus lied unto God I greatly fear lest my case shall be awful; but I confess unto God. And it came to pass that when he had said these words he could say no more, and he gave up the ghost. (Jacob 7:16–20)
When Sherem is struck down, he abandons his sophisticated subtlety and assumes, at his death, the position Jacob had taken: He "spake plainly" unto the multitude (the humble preacher, not using much flattery and power of language), he confessed the Christ (prophecy), and he acknowledged the means of acquiring spiritual knowledge, the power of the Holy Ghost (revelation). Both as summarized and then quoted, the converted Sherem's speech now is plain, not clever, made up of simple sentences and direct declarations. His death seals his confession. This remarkable occurrence initiates a restoration of "peace and the love of God" among the people, and they "hearkened no more to the words of this wicked man" (Jacob 7:6–23).
The conflict between Alma and Korihor echoes the earlier one between Jacob and Sherem. The antichrist Korihor, however, does not seek out Alma, but rather is brought before him after other efforts fail to counter Korihor. Analysis of the encounter reveals two opposing manners of communication and two conflicting world views.
Korihor appears on the scene when, in the aftermath of war, the people enjoy "continual peace" and strictly keep the commandments. He violates that peace and harmony by scornfully persuading the people that they are "bound down under a foolish and a vain hope" and asking why they yoke themselves "with such foolish things." His teachings that "every man fared in this life, according to the management of the creature; . . . and whatsoever a man did was no crime" are "pleasing unto the carnal mind" (Alma 30:2–3, 13, 17, 53).
This philosophy of Korihor, says Hugh Nibley,
with its naturalism, materialism, and moral relativism, is the prevailing philosophy of our own day, as was foreseen in the Book of Mormon: "Yea . . . there shall be great pollutions upon the face of the earth . . . when there shall be many who will say, Do this, or do that, and it mattereth not, for the Lord will uphold such at the last day. But wo unto such for they are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity" (Mormon 8:31).11
Chauncey Riddle, in his masterful analysis of Korihor, explores three of Korihor's arguments that continue to seduce people today. The first is that "it is possible to know all truth through the senses—by experience and observation." The second is a humanist position that "the solutions to our problems lie in sharp thinking and realistic approaches to life," and success is defined "in terms of wealth, social status, political power, and the glutting of the senses." A third argument is relativist: since so-called commandments and laws "are but social conveniences to give power to priests, the only important thing in life is to do what you want to do—if you can get away with it."12
With "great swelling words" (Alma 30:31), Korihor depends on the power of rhetoric and word choice (diction) to cow the church leaders and win over the people. When Giddonah, the high priest of Gideon, asks him why he speaks "against all the prophecies of the holy prophets" (Alma 30:22), Korihor says first it is because of what he does not do: "Because I do not teach the foolish traditions of your fathers, and because I do not teach this people to bind themselves down under the foolish ordinances and performances which are laid down by ancient priests, to usurp power and authority over them, to keep them in ignorance, that they may not lift up their heads, but be brought down according to thy words" (Alma 30:23).
Then he sets up the argument that it is the priest's word against his word. Sarcastically, he uses loaded language that puts down the position of the priests and makes them seem to be the oppressors of the people. If Korihor is allowed to define the terms of the argument and slickly slant his words, his smooth tongue is bound to win:
Ye say that this people is a free people.
Behold, I say they are in bondage.
Ye say that those ancient prophecies are true.
Behold, I say that ye do not know that they are true.
Ye say that this people is a guilty and a fallen people, because of
the transgression of a parent.
Behold, I say that a child is not guilty because of its parents.
And ye also say that Christ shall come.
But behold, I say that ye do not know that there shall be a
And ye say also that he shall be slain for the sins of the world—
And thus ye lead away this people after the foolish traditions of your fathers, and according to your own desires; and ye keep them down, even as it were in bondage, that ye may glut yourselves with the labors of their hands, that they durst not look up with boldness, and that they durst not enjoy their rights and privileges. Yea, they durst not make use of that which is their own lest they should offend their priests, who do yoke them according to their desires, and have brought them to believe, by their traditions and their dreams and their whims and their visions and their pretended mysteries, that they should, if they did not do according to their words, offend some unknown being, who they say is God—a being who never has been seen or known, who never was nor ever will be. (Alma 30:24–28)
Upon hearing Korihor "revile even against God" (Alma 30:29), Giddonah delivers the antichrist to Alma, who counters Korihor by affirming the truth in clear tones of authority: "Thou knowest that we do not glut ourselves upon the labors of this people" (Alma 30:32). Further, he pointedly challenges Korihor's lies: "Why sayest thou that we preach unto this people to get gain, when thou, of thyself, knowest that we receive no gain?" (Alma 30:35). At almost every point, Alma either anticipates Korihor's position or gives him a question that calls for a definitive yes or no answer: "Believest thou that there is a God? And he answered, Nay" (Alma 30:37–38) To counter Korihor's agnosticism, Alma testifies of God and Christ and then asks, "Believest thou that these things are true? Behold, I know that thou believest, but thou art possessed with a lying spirit, and ye have put off the Spirit of God that it may have no place in you; but the devil has power over you, and he doth carry you about, working devices that he may destroy the children of God" (Alma 30:41–42).
When Korihor persists in demanding a sign, Alma responds, "If thou shalt deny again, behold God shall smite thee, that thou shalt become dumb, that thou shalt never open thy mouth any more, that thou shalt not deceive this people any more" (Alma 30:47). But Korihor's arrogance carries him too far: "I do not deny the existence of a God, but I do not believe that there is a God; and I say also, that ye do not know that there is a God; and except ye show me a sign, I will not believe" (Alma 30:48). In response to that, Alma invokes the power of God to testify of God's existence: "This will I give unto thee for a sign, that thou shalt be struck dumb, according to my words; and I say, that in the name of God, ye shall be struck dumb, that ye shall no more have utterance" (Alma 30:49). The sign takes immediate effect.
There is poetic justice in this consequence: a man whose unrighteous influence depended on his skillful use of words is struck dumb at his own proud insistence. The power of Korihor's language is overcome by the power of God through Alma. To the chief judge's query, "Art thou convinced of the power of God?" (Alma 30:51), Korihor in his extremity writes the truth. In its simplicity and in its emphasis on knowing, Korihor's subdued statement contrasts sharply with his earlier taunting disbelief: "I know that I am dumb, for I cannot speak; and I know that nothing save it were the power of God could bring this upon me; yea, and I always knew that there was a God" (Alma 30:52).
At this point he acknowledges the attractions and yet limitations of the devil's words he has taught:
But behold, the devil hath deceived me; for he appeared unto me in the form of an angel, and said unto me: Go and reclaim this people, for they have all gone astray after an unknown God. And he said unto me: There is no God; yea, and he taught me that which I should say. And I have taught his words; and I taught them because they were pleasing unto the carnal mind; and I taught them, even until I had much success, insomuch that I verily believed that they were true; and for this cause I withstood the truth, even until I have brought this great curse upon me. (Alma 30:53)
In the aftermath of this conflict, the dumb Korihor is trampled to death by apostate Zoramites. "And thus we see," Mormon says in summation, "the end of him who perverteth the ways of the Lord; and thus we see that the devil will not support his children at the last day, but doth speedily drag them down to hell" (Alma 30:60). Seen from a latter-day perspective, Korihor's appeal to the unwary is highly attractive. On the other hand, by revealing Korihor's character and the aftermath of his fall, Mormon provides a wise warning to those who would follow such appeals.
Both Sherem and Korihor could be called antichrists in their opposition to Christ and his servants (Jacob 7:2, Alma 30:6). With anti- meaning "against" (as a person's reflection in a mirror is against the real person), an antichrist might also be a counterfeit. That is, the antichrist might act and speak in clever imitation of Christ, as in showing feigned compassion for the multitude. The difference, as in William Blake's etchings of Jesus and Satan, is in the eyes. From this perspective, the men of Christ—Jacob and Alma—are counterfeited by Sherem and Korihor, who make claims to supplant them in the religious leadership of the people. The accounts of these conflicts show the remnant of Israel both the spiritual strength of two of their "fathers," Jacob and Alma, and the personality of the deceiver and how to detect him. Other deceivers in the Book of Mormon are Nehor (Alma 1:2–15), Alma the Younger before his conversion (Mosiah 27), Amlici (Alma 2), Zeezrom (Alma 10 and following), and those belonging to the order of the Nehors (Alma 14).
The main characteristics of the deceiver are that he is learned in all the arts and cunning of the people and has a perfect knowledge of the language; he can use much flattery and much power of speech; he is popular and prominent—a "beautiful person"; he seeks riches and honor and loves the vain things of the world; he is inspired by the devil and deceived by him; and he pretends to believe what he teaches—indeed, he may come to believe that what he teaches is true.
Though he claims to preach truth, the deceiver uses lying and flattering words to lead away the hearts of many. He calls the bad good and the good bad. He makes people think it is all right to do wickedness, appeals to the carnal mind, and attacks the structure and leadership of the church. A clever debater, he challenges leaders boldly and sarcastically denigrates their characters and teachings. He insinuates doubt and makes people feel foolish for believing their leaders. He attributes motives to church leaders that actually he holds himself and, as a last strategy, asks for a sign. His purposes are to overthrow the doctrine of Christ, to lead away the hearts of the people, to gain riches and honor and satisfy pride, and to teach what is pleasing to the carnal mind, with the implication being that what he teaches is appealing to his own carnal mind.
Jacob and Alma show us how to deal with antichrists. Firm in their faith and knowledge, these prophets respond successfully because they are spiritually prepared and open to direction from God. They clarify and expose the nature of the argument the deceiver is using, refer to the established scriptures, and challenge boldly but not contentiously. Essentially, each church leader states the truth and exposes the deceit and then admonishes with the words of God and bears a strong testimony. As directed by the Spirit, he also reveals the thoughts and motives of the deceiver and affirms the power of the devil over the antichrist. Then he assists those who have been deceived to be convinced of the wickedness of the deceiver and to be converted again unto the Lord.
Near the end of his record, Mormon emphasizes the enormous tensions and conflicts under which he is living and writing. Mormon's natural feelings of faith and love (see his sermon on the topic in Moroni 7) are countered by scenes of gross wickedness and destruction. Tragically, he fully recognizes the spiritual disease of which his people are dying but knows that "the day of grace was passed with them" (Mormon 2:15). Prohibited by the Lord from preaching to his own people, Mormon nevertheless finds an outlet for his strong drive to preach by directing the whole of his book to the descendants of those currently trying to destroy him. He looks down through time to his three-part audience: Lamanite, Gentile, and Jew. His purpose is the same as Moroni's, as stated on the title page—to open the eyes of the Lamanites to their origin and destiny and to declare a testimony of Jesus Christ as the Son of the living God (Mormon 5:9–14; 7:1–10). Prevented by their wickedness from helping his own people, Mormon wishes that he "could persuade all ye ends of the earth to repent and prepare to stand before the judgment-seat of Christ" (Mormon 3:22).
Given Mormon's conflicting feelings as he sees his people descend into wickedness, it is understandable that he might wish to take as his own an earlier prophet's desire to "speak with the trump of God . . . and cry repentance unto every people" (Alma 29:1). Throughout the book of Alma, Mormon is generally clear in signaling narrative transitions and personal comments. In abridging Alma's record, he refers to Alma in the third person and marks direct quotations from him in ways like this: "Alma . . . cried, saying: O Lord, have mercy and spare my life" (Alma 2:30). "Alma began to deliver the word of God. . . . And these are the words which he spake" (Alma 5:1–2). In chapter 16, Alma temporarily disappears from the narrative, however, and the last reference to a first-person "I" is to Ammon in chapter 27. In chapter 28, Mormon abridges Alma's record concerning the faithfulness of the people converted through the ministrations of Ammon and his brethren and tells of a subsequent battle that brought great slaughter.
Although the narrator is probably quoting Alma when he employs present tense regarding some events ("many thousands of others truly mourn for the loss of their kindred" [Alma 28:12]), the subsequent attention paid to the lessons of the experience is more typical of Mormon. The narrator says, "And thus we see how great the inequality of man is because of sin and transgression. . . . And thus we see the great call of diligence of men to labor in the vineyards of the Lord" (Alma 28:13–14). In the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon, these comments are followed immediately in the same paragraph by Alma's well-known words, "O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart" (Alma 29:1).13 There is, however, no indication from Mormon that he is here quoting Alma. Someone reading the first edition with no prior knowledge of the speaker might well think it is Mormon. At the least, the presentation of the utterance suggests the extent to which Mormon identifies with Alma's feelings and desires. For his part, Mormon sorrows "because of death and destruction among men" and rejoices "because of the light of Christ unto life" (Alma 28:14). It is only late into the cry of the heart that follows, when Alma refers to his brethren "who have been up to the land of Nephi" (Alma 29:14), that we are certain the speaker is Alma. A parallel instance is Nephi's prophecy that incorporates Isaiah's prophecy (2 Nephi 26–27). In the 1830 edition, one long paragraph contains both Nephi's sayings and his quotations from Isaiah—without any indication as to what has come from Isaiah. The effect is not just that of Nephi's likening Isaiah to himself but more of Nephi's speaking with the voice of Isaiah.
The concerns Alma expresses are fully appropriate to Mormon. Alma desires that people would repent and come unto God so that "there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth." He recognizes nevertheless that men have free agency to choose spiritual death or life. He joys in being "an instrument in the hands of God," and he remembers the captivity of the fathers (Alma 29:2–12). These concerns are repeated in Mormon's lament at the end of his record: "O ye fair ones, how could ye have rejected that Jesus, who stood with open arms to receive you! . . . But behold, ye are gone, and my sorrows cannot bring your return" (Mormon 6:17, 20). To the remnant who are spared, he exhorts them down through time to know of their fathers, repent, and come unto Christ.
The larger narratives of the Book of Mormon have many similarities and thus reflect on each other. This repetition serves to emphasize and define the book's major motifs or concerns. The quest theme is introduced with the commission to Lehi to escape from Jerusalem, obtain the scriptural record found on the brass plates, and eventually take his family to the promised land. This pattern of escaping, obtaining spiritual truth, and going to a safe or sanctified land continues in the stories of Nephi, the elder Alma, and Limhi—all of which sustain the Exodus theme of Israel's escape from captivity in Egypt.14 The story of the Jaredite migration—occurring earlier than the Nephite migration but recounted later as an epitome of the Nephite experience—repeats the Lehite journey to the promised land. The journey is also a spiritual one. As Alma the Younger explains to his son Helaman, just as the "fathers" were directed by the heaven-sent compass to reach the promised land, so "shall the words of Christ, if we follow their course, carry us beyond this vale of sorrow into a far better land of promise" (Alma 37:45). In this respect, the whole Book of Mormon is a Liahona, a guide for escaping from Babylon to the promised land.
Connected to the theme of travel to the promised land (metaphorically, Christ's kingdom) is the pattern of peoples who make a spiritual journey: either they repent and are converted to Christ or they allow themselves to be led by Satan down to destruction. The book has an intensifying pattern of persons choosing good or pridefully turning from it. For example, the people of King Benjamin and the Lamanites taught by Ammon and his brothers accept the gospel and commit themselves to Christ, while Laman and Lemuel, Sherem, Korihor, and the Zoramites willfully reject what they know to be the word of God. Frequently, the people move through what has been called a cycle of humility-prosperity-pride-collapse but which might be more vividly seen as a wave that intensifies as the book progresses. The preservation at Christ's coming of the "more righteous part of the people" (3 Nephi 10:12) and at the same time the calamitous destruction of many cities confirms the oft-repeated Book of Mormon motto. Through every major prophet the Lord declares: "Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land; but inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from my presence" (2 Nephi 1:20).15 The reality of the second half of the promise is confirmed vividly by Mormon and Moroni, who recount the descent of the Nephites into total destruction.
The nature, rise, and effect of secret combinations is a third significant type of narrative that is reinforced and confirmed by repetition. Jacob anticipates the problem of Gadiantonism when he warns the Nephites about the devil's stirring up secret combinations (2 Nephi 9:9). Likewise, Nephi's prophecies of secret combinations among the Gentiles and Alma's testimony that the Jaredites were destroyed because of their secret works (2 Nephi 26:22; Alma 37:30) prefigure the effect such works of darkness will have on the Nephite nation. The character of secret combinations is presented dramatically and frighteningly in the detailed accounts of Kishkumen and Gadianton and their band (Helaman 2–16) and of Akish's machinations (Ether 8). One account confirms the other. Together they help reinforce Moroni's warning to the latter-day Gentile inhabitants of the promised land:
And they have caused the destruction of this people of whom I am now speaking [the Jaredites], and also the destruction of the people of Nephi. And whatsoever nation shall uphold such secret combinations, to get power and gain, until they shall spread over the nation, behold, they shall be destroyed. (Ether 8:21–22)
Countervailing that dismal picture are prophetic challenges to a future audience. "I speak unto you, ye remnant of the house of Israel," Mormon says. "Know ye that ye must come unto repentance, or ye cannot be saved" (Mormon 7:1, 3). Moroni counsels, "Be wise in the days of your probation; . . . and if ye do this, and endure to the end, ye will in nowise be cast out" (Mormon 9:28–29).
Vivid experiences of such "fathers" as Nephi, Ammon, and Alma, do indeed show the great things done by the Lord through them—as Mormon and Moroni pointedly emphasize to the "children" of those fathers, the "remnant of the house of Israel" who accept the spiritual fatherhood and leadership of the Nephite prophets. "Another Testament of Jesus Christ" depends especially on recurrence for its witness. Repetition brings conviction, as they say. Repetition also brings conversion, understanding, and commitment. Like Joseph Smith, visited and revisited by Moroni, readers find "the same things as before" (JS–H 1:46) repeated for them so they cannot misunderstand but rather must remember clearly. Most dramatically, repetition in the book purposes to bring an epiphany—a startling awareness of the divine. In a way, readers of the Book of Mormon are put in a position similar to that of the Nephites to whom the resurrected Savior spoke. At first they heard a voice but did not understand it. Again, they heard without understanding. Finally, "they did hear the voice, and did open their ears to hear it. . . . And behold, the third time they did understand the voice which they heard" (3 Nephi 11:5–6).
1. For a fruitful lead for further exploration of Book of Mormon narratives, see Edgar C. Snow Jr., "Narrative Criticism and the Book of Mormon," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 4, no. 2 (1995): 93–106.
2. Grant R. Hardy, "Mormon as Editor," in Rediscovering the Book of Mormon, ed. John L. Sorenson and Melvin J. Thorne (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1991), 22.
3. Repetition is also an important characteristic of certain biblical narratives. For example, James S. Ackerman comments on "the unusual amount of doubling in the Joseph story: three sets of dreams occur in pairs—by Joseph, by his fellow prisoners, and by Pharaoh. Joseph is twice confined—in the pit and in prison. The brothers make two trips to Egypt for grain, have two audiences with Joseph on each occasion, twice find money in their grain bags, make two attempts to gain Jacob's permission to send Benjamin to Egypt, and finally receive two invitations to settle in Egypt." And so on. "Joseph, Judah, and Jacob," in Literary Interpretations of Biblical Narratives, ed. Kenneth R. R. Gros Louis (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1982), 2:85.
4. The apostle John taught this law in the Old World when he said: "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and "(1 John 5:7–8).
5. Robert Alter, The Art of Biblical Narrative (New York: Basic Books, 1981), 181.
6. Ibid., 180–81.
7. Ibid., 181.
8. Ibid., 47–62, 181.
9. Susan Taber analyzes this comparison in her essay, "Mormon's Literary Technique," finding that the "structure of the book of Mosiah, and to some extent the first half of Alma, is parallelism, contrasting and reinforcing" (Mormon Letters Annual [Salt Lake City: Association for Mormon Letters, 1983], 118). In "Mosiah: The Complex Symbolism and the Symbolic Complex of Kingship in the Book of Mormon" (Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 2, no. 1 ), Gordon C. Thomasson also makes the point that the Book of Mosiah is a study in contrasts between good and bad kings.
10. Leland Ryken, How to Read the Bible as Literature (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Academie Books, 1984), 14.
11. Hugh Nibley, Since Cumorah (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1988), 380.
12. Chauncey C. Riddle, "Korihor," in The Book of Mormon: It Begins with a Family (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1983), 135–37.
13. These connections are noted in the Book of Mormon Critical Text: A Tool for Scholarly Reference, vol. 2 (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 1986).
14. For perceptive and thorough treatments of the Exodus pattern in the Book of Mormon, see George S. Tate, "The Typology of the Exodus Pattern in the Book of Mormon," in Literature of Belief: Sacred Scripture and Religious Experience, ed. Neal E. Lambert (Provo, Utah: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1981), 245–62, and S. Kent Brown, "The Exodus Pattern in the Book of Mormon," Brigham Young University Studies 30, no. 3 (1990): 111–42.
15. See also 1 Nephi 2:20–21; 2 Nephi 1:9; 4:4; Enos 1:10; Jarom 1:9–10; Omni 1:6; Alma 9:13; 36:1; 37:13; 48:25; 50:20; 3 Nephi 5:22; 4 Nephi 1:18; and Ether 2:7–10.