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A Library Tour through the
Words of Mormon
Words of Mormon 1
1. And now I, Mormon, being about to deliver up the record which I have been making
into the hands of my son Moroni, behold I have witnessed almost all the destruction
of my people, the Nephites.
2. And it is many hundred years after the coming of Christ that I deliver these
records into the hands of my son; and it supposeth me that he will witness the entire
destruction of my people. But may God grant that he may survive them, that he may
write somewhat concerning them, and somewhat concerning Christ, that perhaps some
day it may profit them.
3. And now, I speak somewhat concerning that which I have written; for after I had
made an abridgment from the plates of Nephi, down to the reign of this king Benjamin,
of whom Amaleki spake, I searched among the records which had been delivered into
my hands, and I found these plates, which contained this small account of the prophets,
from Jacob down to the reign of this king Benjamin, and also many of the words of
4. And the things which are upon these plates pleasing me, because of the prophecies
of the coming of Christ; and my fathers knowing that many of them have been fulfilled;
yea, and I also know that as many things as have been prophesied concerning us down
to this day have been fulfilled, and as many as go beyond this day must surely come
to pass --
5. Wherefore, I chose these things, to finish my record upon them, which remainder
of my record I shall take from the plates of Nephi; and I cannot write the hundredth
part of the things of my people.
6. But behold, I shall take these plates, which contain these prophesyings and revelations,
and put them with the remainder of my record, for they are choice unto me; and I
know they will be choice unto my brethren.
7. And I do this for a wise purpose; for thus it whispereth me, according to the
workings of the Spirit of the Lord which is in me. And now, I do not know all things;
but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, he worketh in me to
do according to his will.
This book is our introduction to the compiler of the Book of Mormon, a spiritual
leader, a great warrior, and a literary genius. He uses a chiasm (verses 3-7) to
conclude his explanation of the Small Plates, before he introduces his own abridgement
of the rest of the Nephite history. This chiasm contains other inter-woven parallelisms.
We can appreciate and understand every point he makes in this section, but when
we see the lay-out of the chiasm, we can understand what he considers to be the most
important point of what he is saying.
8. And my prayer to God is concerning my brethren, that they may once again come
to the knowledge of God, yea, the redemption of Christ; that they may once again
be a delightsome people.
9. And now I, Mormon, proceed to finish out my record, which I take from the plates
of Nephi; and I make it according to the knowledge and the understanding which God
has given me.
The Literary Masterpiece Called The Book of Mormon. James T. Duke. CFI. Springville,
Chapter 25 - Summary and Conclusion
In this thorough yet very readable book, Dr. Duke discusses an astounding ninety
different literary forms, most of them of Hebrew origin.
“The literary style of the scriptures is obviously very important to God and to
the prophets whom he sends to carry his word to his people. It is obvious to me
that God speaks to us, individually and collectively, in poetic and literary language.
I make no claim that literary style is as important as the spiritual content of
the prophetic messages. In a sense, literary style is fluff, or the frosting on
the cake. Yet the scriptures are given for the purpose of helping god’s children
understand his message at a cognitive level, as well as to feel spiritual and emotional
feelings that will motivate them to take actions that will lead them to salvation
and exaltation. Literary style helps people to pay attention to the message, remember
it, and feel a sense of spirituality as well as beauty. So literary style is really
not fluff after all, but an essential ingredient in communicating God’s message to
his children. To emphasize this point again, God speaks to us in poetic and literary
Before I read this book, I considered the Book of Mormon style to be somewhat rambling
and repetitive, a good candidate for a more concise abridged version. Now I am astounded
at the density I see in the book; layer upon layer of deliberate, careful, and varied
repetition give power and emphasis to the divine message.
10. Wherefore, it came to pass that after Amaleki had delivered up these plates
into the hands of king Benjamin, he took them and put them with the other plates,
which contained records which had been handed down by the kings, from generation
to generation until the days of king Benjamin.
11. And they were handed down from king Benjamin, from generation to generation
until they have fallen into my hands. And I, Mormon, pray to God that they may be
preserved from this time henceforth. And I know that they will be preserved; for
there are great things written upon them, out of which my people and their brethren
shall be judged at the great and last day, according to the word of God which is
12. And now, concerning this king Benjamin -- he had somewhat of contentions among
his own people.
13. And it came to pass also that the armies of the Lamanites came down out of the
land of Nephi, to battle against his people.
But behold, king Benjamin gathered together his armies, and he did stand against
them; and he did fight with the strength of his own arm, with the sword of Laban.
14. And in the strength of the Lord they did contend against their enemies, until
they had slain many thousands of the Lamanites. And it came to pass that they did
contend against the Lamanites until they had driven them out of all the lands of
15. And it came to pass that after there had been false Christs, and their mouths
had been shut, and they punished according to their crimes;
16. And after there had been false prophets, and false preachers and teachers among
the people, and all these having been punished according to their crimes; and after
there having been much contention and many dissensions away unto the Lamanites, behold,
it came to pass that king Benjamin, with the assistance of the holy prophets who
were among his people --
17. For behold, king Benjamin was a holy man, and he did reign over his people in
righteousness; and there were many holy men in the land, and they did speak the word
of God with power and with authority; and they did use much sharpness because of
the stiffneckedness of the people --
18. Wherefore, with the help of these, king Benjamin, by laboring with all the might
of his body and the faculty of his whole soul, and also the prophets, did once more
establish peace in the land.