1. Robert F. Smith, "It Came to Pass' in the Bible and Book of Mormon." Manuscript, 1980. Pointing out that computer analysis will be necessary to make his observations conclusive, the author shows that the Book of Mormon, though less than a third the length of the King James Bible, contains more than twice as many recurrences of "came/come to pass," Furthermore, extensive cataloguing shows that all but three of the twenty books containing that phrase in the Bible are in the Old Testament. Another interesting characteristic: the phrase usually occurs in prose narrative, in both volumes of scripture. He explains that the phrase derives from Hebrew wayehi, which the King James Version translated variously as "and it happened," "came," "had come," "became," "arose," "was," "now," etc. He speCUlates that Joseph Smith's "too literal" reproduction of the language of the plates could account for the same phrase being translated in only one way in the English version. Tables of occurrences are included. This study will be further refined as our computerized textual analysis projects are more fully developed. (Robert Smith is a "sixteen-hour-a-day" scholar who has the remarkable distinction of never having been encumbered by a professional position; he is referred to admiringly by colleagues as a "freelancer's freelance" and a great example to those who dream of a life of scholarship without a professorial title. He has studied at Hebrew University, Claremont College and BYU and is fluent in Hebrew, Akkadian, Egyptian, Greek and Latin among other languages.)
2. John W. Welch and Joann Carlton, "Preliminary Report: Possible Linguistic Roots of Book of Mormon Proper Names." Manuscript, 1981. A FARMS research grant to Professor Carlton of Occidental College in Los Angeles got this study started. The first ten names she has worked over are included in this paper. Possible derivations in Hebrew and related languages are offered and each is rated on a scale of five as to its likelihood. To her analysis, Jack has added biographical and historical information about the individuals and has also provided commentary on the possible meaning of each name in light of that context. Paul Hoskisson has reviewed and supplemented these analyses. The names treated here begin with Abinadi and go alphabetically through Aminadi. The name Abinadi, for example, seems to be formed from the roots abi and nadi and means "My (divine) father is present." That meaning would relate remarkably to "the most significant and controversial aspect of his message, namely that God himself, whom Abinadi calls Father, shall come down and be present among men (Mos. 15:1-4; 17:8)." Proper names in the ancient Near East often tied together a person and his dominant role or characteristic.
Joann Carlton received her Ph.D. from Harvard where she studied with Frank Moore Cross. She spent part of 1981 on a dig in Jordan, is involved in a current project at Harvard on women in the Bible, and has a solid reputation as a specialist on early Semitic inscriptions. She is not LDS but is intrigued by what she has learned about the Hebrew elements in the Book of Mormon.
3. John L. Sorenson, "The Wheel in Precolumbian Mesoamerica." The intent of this study is to draw together the scattered strands of research which now show that wheels were widely known in the area between western Mexico and El Salvador and as early as the time of Christ. At one time scholars could say that wheels were unknown in America before the arrival of the Europeans. Over the years, though, "wheeled toys" have shown up in increasing numbers. Moreover it is now clear that the mechanical principles of wheel use were well known enough that practical vehicles could have been present, although their physical remains have not yet been found. The "toys" turn out to be cult objects connected, probably, with death, burial and the sun, as shown by references in the paper to Mesoamerican beliefs and practices. At the same time similar cult objects are shown to occur in the Near East from the third millennium B.C. to classical times and carry generally similar meanings. The relationship of this material to the Book of Mormon is discussed also. A number of subtopics deserving further research are suggested.