"There is so much more in the Book of Mormon than we have yet discovered. The book's divine architecture and rich furnishings will increasingly unfold to our view, further qualifying it as 'a marvelous work and a wonder' ...The Book of Mormon is like a vast mansion with gardens, towers, courtyards, and wings. All the rooms in this mansion need to be explored..."
-Neal A Maxwell

Monday, May 13, 2013

Déjà vu: Mosiah 3 and Alma 7

I have previously submitted two examples of narrative repetition the Book of Mormon; narrative elements of one passage, and the sequence in which those elements appear, are repeated again several chapters later. I believe this to be a deliberate literary device, the purpose of which may be to frame a particular contrast. A comparison of 1 Nephi chapters 2 and 10 highlights the temporal and eternal consequences of sin, and chapters 45 and 62 of Alma chronicle the futility and success, respectively, of Helaman II's first and final evangelical journeys. In the latter case, language found nowhere else in the Book of Mormon is extant, bolstering the case that the narrative similarities are intentional.  

In both cases, the twin passages are separated only by several chapters, and share the same narrator/speaker. Perhaps a modified version of this phenomenon, however, can also be found between different books and speakers in the Book of Mormon. As an example, I submit a comparison of Mosiah 3 (part of King Benjamin's address), and Alma 7 (the discourse of Alma the Younger to the people of Gideon). This juxtaposition is both more expansive than the previous examples, as it encompasses both chapters in their entirety, and less robust, as there are many elements that don't match at all. I believe the parallels that are present, however, merit consideration. 

I'll begin my presenting both chapters side-by-side in their entirety, highlighting the similar elements of each with matching colors:   

Monday, January 21, 2013

Déjà vu: Alma 45 & 62

In an earlier post, I submitted that the latter halves of chapters 2 and 10 of 1 Nephi share nearly identical narratives. A similar pattern emerges by comparing chapters 45 and 62 of Alma, which mark the beginning and end, respectively, of Helaman II's prophetic ministry.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Chiasmus: Helaman 6:7-13

Last Sunday, when I should have been paying attention in Elder's Quorum class, I noticed for only the first time what Jack Welch calls one of "the finest examples of chiasmus in the Book of Mormon and beyond." [1] It's found it Helaman 6:7-13, and chronicles a year that marked a significant turning point in Nephite-Lamanite relations: 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Chiasmus: 2 Nephi 28:32

Briefly, here's a chiasmus I really like in 2 Nephi 28:32:

Wo be unto the Gentiles, 
A saith the Lord God of Hosts! 
B For notwithstanding I shall lengthen out mine arm unto them from day to day, 
C they will deny me; 
D nevertheless, I will be merciful unto them, saith the Lord God, 
C' if they will repent and come unto me; 
B' for mine arm is lengthened out all the day long, 
A' saith the Lord God of Hosts.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Parallels to today: "So much difficulty"

Ezra Taft Benson, thirteenth president of the Church, said of the Book of Mormon's prophetic value, "The record of the Nephite history just prior to the Savior’s visit reveals many parallels to our own day as we anticipate the Savior’s second coming” (Conference Report, Apr. 1987, 3; or Ensign, May 1987, 4).

I believe we're experiencing one such parallel right now. As many have observed, the U.S. Congress is operatingor rather, not operatingat near historic levels of dysfunction, culminating in the current "fiscal cliff" debacle. (Today, three days before the cliff, the Capitol is empty. Really?) If no deal is struck, as the Economist notes, the ensuing spending cuts and tax increases could easily push a weak economy back into recession.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Statutes, judgments, and commandments

In an earlier post, I proposed an example of how language used by both Old World Israelites and the Nephites appeared and disappeared (or evolved) within similar timeframes. Here's another example: 

The words 'statutes, judgments and commandments' (not necessarily in that order) appear together in a cluster fifteen times in the Old Testament, beginning with the book of Leviticus (keep that in mind), and seven times in the Book of Mormon. This cluster does not at appear all in the New Testament, Doctrine and Covenants (two out of three words do appear together in a few places) or Pearl of Great Price.  

Monday, November 12, 2012

Paul vs Alma the Younger

Those who find the Book of Mormon to be merely a pastiche of Biblical narratives and other literature may well cite as Exhibit A the conversion story of Alma the Younger and its similarities with Paul's experience on the road to Damascus, as well as their subsequent journeys defending the faith they had persecuted earlier. Indeed, even Mormon academic Terry Givens notes, "Alma’s account reads more like the Book of Acts than Kings or Chronicles, detailing missionary journeys, the growth of the church, and miraculous conversion stories." [1] 

While there are many similarities between the two accounts, there are also some interesting—and sometimes very precisecontrasts as well. The following comparison is by no means comprehensive (expect an update or two to this chart). Contrasting elements are highlighted in gray: