"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

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Unique Voices: King Benjamin, Anti-Nephi-Lehi, and the Zoramites

As Anti-Nephi-Lehi used language unique among Book of Mormon figures when referring to Deity, so did King Benjamin. Five times in the Book of Mormon is Christ identified as either the 'Lord Omnipotent' or the 'Lord God Omnipotent.' In four of those instances--all in Mosiah 3--King Benjamin is the speaker. The fifth instance comes from the unified voice of those who had just heard his sermon. (Recall my earlier post about how the vocabulary of one servant of God can influence those of his associates.) 

The 'Lord Omnipotent' doesn't appear at all in the Bible, while the 'Lord God Omnipotent' is referenced once: 
And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. (Revelation 19:6)

Speaking of Anti-Nephi-Lehi, his unique vocabulary is also evinced by his proclivity for using the word 'stain.' Used as a noun or verb, plural or singular, past or present tense, 'stain' appears a total of nine times in the Book of Mormon; all but two instances (Alma 5:21 & 22) are attributed to Anti-Nephi-Lehi 
(Alma 24:7-16)

One more today: the Zoramite prayer in Alma 31:15-18 is the only place in the Book of Mormon where the word 'elected' is found, where it appears four times. It is unclear whether this reflects the unique vocabulary of one person charged with writing the prayer or that of an entire dissident city. 

Interestingly, as prominent as the word 'elect' (adjective or plural noun) is in the Latter-Day Saint vernacular, it isn't found in the Book of Mormon at all (though it appears several times each in the Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price). On the other hand, 'chosen,' often synonymous with 'elect', appears in the Book of Mormon quite frequently (including once also in the Zoramite prayer). It is 'chosen,' not 'elected,' that both Alma the Younger and Mormon use when reviewing this apostate prayer (see Alma 31:22 & 28), further suggesting the latter word was not part of "mainstream" Nephite lexicon.  

No comments:

Post a Comment