"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, August 27, 2012

Unique Voices: Nephi

My first post detailed two examples of minor figures in the Book of Mormon demonstrating distinct voices. Here's one example of a major figure's unique voice:

The phrase "my soul delighteth" appeareth eleven times--sorry, appears eleven times--in the Book of Mormon, all in 2 Nephi. In each case, Nephi is the speaker.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Burying talents vs burying weapons of war

I have an odd proclivity for comparing seemingly disparate scripture stories that share one common, but perhaps trivial, element. Sometimes this yields rather interesting parallels and contrasts, sometimes not. This time, it did--with one rather striking parallel in particular. 

The Savior's parable of the talents (should that be capitalized? 'The Parable of the Talents?') and the story of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies, penitent Lamanites who chose death over returning to warfare, share one thing in common: objects of significance are buried "in the earth." In one story, this act was to the burier's eternal detriment (I think that's the first time in my life I've ever used the word 'burier'); in the other, it was to their everlasting salvation. Here's the comparison: 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Déjà vu: 1 Nephi 2 & 10

In a particular Sunday School lesson I vaguely remember from my early teens, our teacher, Brother Ruff (who was kindly filling in for our regular teachers), found himself defending the assertion that every verse in the Book of Mormon--every word, even--was important, there for a divinely appointed reason. The painstaking process of recording on metal plates and the limited amount of space thereon allowed for no throwaway passages. 

"So what about this verse here?" challenged one of my friends. He was referring to 1 Nephi 2:15, which reads, "And my father dwelt in a tent." "Why is that there? Why do we need to know he dwelt in a tent? So what?"

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Chiasmus: Ether 10:23

The ubiquity in the Book of Mormon of chiasmus, a literary device in which a series of expressions or ideas are presented in a particular sequence, then again in reverse sequence, has long been cited by believers as evidence supporting the book's authenticity. Found throughout the Bible and the literature of many ancient cultures, its presence in the Book of Mormon bolsters the claim that Lehi and his family brought "the learning of the Jews" with them to the New World. 

Here's one short but very clear chiasmus I noticed a few days ago in Ether 10:23

Friday, August 17, 2012

Unique Voices: Anti-Nephi-Lehi and Giddianhi

If Joseph Smith, either alone or with the aid of conspirators, fabricated the Book of Mormon, he (or they) at least deserve credit for creating a remarkably intricate narrative consisting of numerous characters, each with a distinct persona, voice, and vocabulary. Words and phrases used repeatedly by one Book of Mormon figure, for instance, aren't used at all by any others. Two brief examples (with more to follow):