Verse by Verse: The Book of Mormon: Volume One: 1 Nephi through Alma 29

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Most scholars date this revelation to May the date given in BoC IX , though some have suggested the summer of LDS educator Max H. If Smith began at 1 Nephi, he would have dictated an average of 13 printed pages per day based on the edition between 7 April and 15 May to have arrived at the end of 3 Nephi. This would have left only slightly more than 1. The Mosian model more reasonably accounts for an average number of pages transcribed per day. Before he completed dictation, Smith secured copyright for the Book of Mormon.

Authors applying for copyright in New York state were requested to include the title of their work.

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According to Smith, the Title Page was at the end of the record not the beginning, yet both Mormon and non-Mormon sources indicate the dictation was still underway after its transcription. Although he may have produced it out of sequence, Smith more likely dictated the Title Page after he reached the end of the book proper probably Ether but prior to dictating the replacement text and possibly Moroni.

This would have occurred in late May , making the Title Page readily accessible by 11 June. Such an omission suggests that the Title Page may have been dictated before Smith fully conceived the solution of substituting the unabridged 1 Nephi—Omni narrative including Words of Mormon for the missing Book of Lehi. Holographic Evidence. When Dean C. The first leaf of O pp. Bushman , n Textual criticism is another avenue for exploring the priority [p. Regrettably at every crucial juncture in the text that would bear on the dictation sequence, the relevant portions of O are not extant—including the final verses of Ether, the first leaf of 1 Nephi, and the full text of Words of Mormon, Mosiah, and Moroni.

Still, textual anomalies in P may offer a clue as to the dictation sequence for O. Of specific interest are inconsistencies in the numbering of chapter headings for Mosiah in P. Prior to publication these chapter divisions were emended in pencil. These inconsistencies provide a clue to the missing Mosiah portion of O and the original dictation sequence.

In my view chapter one of the present Book of Mosiah was the terminus of the Book of Lehi. In support of this, I point to the fact that the portion of O being transcribed into P evidently omitted a title. Then the numbers are again off through chapter twelve. This recurring pattern of misnumbering chapters is understandable if the scribe forgot about the change and simply began transferring the chapter numbers from O into P.

When Smith resumed dictation in Mosiah he followed the same order he had previously observed, perhaps hoping that chapter one and the rest of the Book of Lehi would be recovered. Had he recommenced at 1 Nephi, with the likelihood of recovering the lost pages increasingly remote, he would have undoubtedly corrected the numerical anomaly when he reached Mosiah in a way similar to the scribe in P. In other words the anomalous shift in numerical divisions in P is most easily understandable if Smith resumed production of O in Mosiah.

Unique evidence for the priority of Mosiah comes from analysis of style, specifically from attention to lexical distributions in the Book of Mormon.

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Tanner and Tanner , A clear trend emerges, however, when one reorders the books to begin with Mosiah. Instead, what emerges is an enveloping pattern see Table 1. To illustrate the difference between this enveloping pattern and a linear one, Table 1 also includes these terms as they occur in the [p.

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His usage of the terms in these revelations demonstrates a linear pattern. The parallel between the revelations and the Mosian priority sequence leads to the conclusion that Smith returned to his dictation at Mosiah.

Because of potential complications resulting from literary dependence and textual variants, refining the parallels between the revelations and books in the Book of Mormon permits us to date the stages of dictation more precisely. The Jaredite story, dictated in late May , forms the transitional point. But this does not occur.

Aside from selections borrowed from the KJV the development is relatively [p. With this concession I am not implying that Smith was not indebted to broader cultural sources such as anti-Masonic rhetoric, autobiographical reflections, revival terminology, Amerindian etiologies, or other contemporary themes. As some of the essays in this anthology and elsewhere have posited, antebellum antecedents likely inspired similar ideas in the Book of Mormon see Charles, Thomas, and Vogel in this compilation.

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  • When assimilating these nineteenth-century views into the Nephite narrative, Smith at most would have paraphrased them peppered with his own noncontextual words. These findings establish a dictation chronology and suggest the [p. At least one Book of Mormon apologist, John A. A disjointed pattern in word usage emerges when these Mormon-authored texts are placed in the order of their supposed writing see Fig.

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    When these Mormon-authored texts are ordered according to the 1 Nephi priority sequence, the familiar enveloping pattern appears see Fig. Smith remains the most probable source for this lexical distribution.

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    Narrative Continuity and the Dictation Sequence. Occasionally the middle section of the book Mosiah and Alma displays concepts which are less well developed than in the initial section 1 Nephi-Omni. These earlier portions are more congruent with later sections. It is difficult to explain the more primitive elements in Mosiah and Alma unless one assumess that Mosiah was the first [p. We find in the narrative the same enveloping or linear pattern—depending on dictation chronology—we discovered in word usage. Enveloping is particularly evident in discussion of the advent of Jesus. For example, early in the narrative Nephi relates that Lehi 1 Ne.

    However, subsequent Book of Mormon prophets seem unaware of these extraordinary oracles.

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    This comment is surprising since the scriptures he possessed presumably told him this would not occur for over years. Thus Alma, Benjamin, and their audiences did not know what Lehi, Nephi, an angel, anonymous Old World prophets, and their sacred literature had known with certainty: that Jesus would be born years after the Lehites departed for the Americas. Absent is any indication that Samuel merely echoes the inspired utterances of his forebears, Lehi and Nephi, or other prophets, including an angel.

    But when we analyze the passages in the order they were dictated, the enveloping pattern is replaced with a linear pattern. However, with Samuel a date of five years is given. At the expiration of the allotted time, the signs appear as prophesied. Passages such as these paved the way for the next stage of thematic development. What started as an editorial remark that years had elapsed is transformed into a literal prophecy from the lips of Lehi, Nephi, an angel, and unidentified prophets.

    These prophecies were not dictated until the year date had been firmly established in 3 Nephi.

    Edwin J. With specificity unprecedented in ancient literature, Nephi tells of being enraptured in a panoramic vision of the life of Jesus. Nephi views the natural cataclysms immediately preceding the coming of the resurrected Christ to America. When Jesus eventually visits Book of Mormon people, they are surprised cf. Brown and Tvedtnes That his coming to America would be near the time of his death was incorporated into the final stage of dictation, reflected in 1 Nephi ; Penitent to Christocentric Baptism.

    The dictation sequence interferes with the observation I have previously alluded to that Joseph Smith depicted Christian awareness in [p. Ideas on baptism, for example, develop according to the Mosian dictation sequence. Mosiah 18 with 2 Ne. Sperry , ; Vogel , n37 :. Baptism in the Book of Mosiah is portrayed as a novelty. Alma introduces it to his converts Mosiah 18; cf. Peterson , ; Turner , n7 , and churches crop up as a result of his missionary activity. Turner , ff, n This notion forms the nucleus of baptismal theology until the appearance of the resurrected Christ.

    Mark ; Luke ; Acts ; Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. Subsequently they were [p. Arthur Glen Foster, Jr.


    At the invitation of King Benjamin, the populace attends the Nephite equivalent of a nineteenth-century camp meeting. Some have attempted to assert comparisons between Lehite religious awakenings and ancient Hebrew rituals see Welch b, including ancient prophets collapsing to the ground Ezek. Some maintain that the Mosiah story is a Nephite Sukkot—covenant renewal festival—or coronation rite Nibley , ; Ostler , ; Ricks a, ; Tvedtnes , ; Welch a, Certainly nineteenth-century camp meetings were modeled after the Israelite Feast of Tabernacles.

    Porter , In any event, traditionalists have not demonstrated that neophytes of any culture B. Universal baptism is urged by Jacob 2 Ne. This is a logical development only if one considers a chronology of dictation and authorship which begins with Mosiah. Denominationalism and Eschatology.