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Moroni 7:48 and 1 John 3:2


Joseph Antley

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Compare these two excerpts:

"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure." (Moroni 7:48)
"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.... Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." (1 John 3:1-3)

Moroni is writing several centuries after the author of 1 John and on the other side of the planet. I've heard the following explanations to explain apparent New Testament quotes in the Book of Mormon:

  • Moroni and John were both quoting from an ancient source, now lost, but which was on the brass plates and John also had some sort of access too.
  • Moroni and John were both inspired by the Spirit to write the same words.
  • Joseph Smith consciously or subconsciously embedded New Testament language into the Book of Mormon.

None of these are quite doing it for me. What do you think?

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* Moroni and John were both quoting from an ancient source, now lost, but which was on the brass plates and John also had some sort of access too.

* Moroni and John were both inspired by the Spirit to write the same words.

* Joseph Smith consciously or subconsciously embedded New Testament language into the Book of Mormon.

None of these are quite doing it for me. What do you think?

A variant of the first one works for me - where the book that Lehi and Nephi saw was the New Testament, and Lehi's record may have recorded some of that verbiage. Which Moroni would have had access to.

For those two passages #2 works the best for me. There is considerable overlap between things uttered by various OT and NT prophets.

Just as a writer leaves his unique imprint on his own books, God's word can echo in a similar pattern through several prophets.

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A variant of the first one works for me - where the book that Lehi and Nephi saw was the New Testament, and Lehi's record may have recorded some of that verbiage. Which Moroni would have had access to.

For those two passages #2 works the best for me. There is considerable overlap between things uttered by various OT and NT prophets.

Usually because NT authors have access to the OT, and can thus quote or allude to phrasing in the OT.

Just as a writer leaves his unique imprint on his own books, God's word can echo in a similar pattern through several prophets.

God's words "echo" through long, verbatim quotations, to different people from different time periods from different cultures? That doesn't seem reasonable to me.

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All three or any combination thereof work for me. However, another one to consider is that John is tarrying like the three Nephites. Perhaps Moroni and John knew each other personally.

Never thought of that one. I wonder how John could have arrived in the Western Hemisphere. Can beings in that state travel however they please? No answer to that, but something to think about when I'm trying to fall asleep.

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Moroni is writing several centuries after the author of 1 John and on the other side of the planet. I've heard the following explanations to explain apparent New Testament quotes in the Book of Mormon:

  • Moroni and John were both quoting from an ancient source, now lost, but which was on the brass plates and John also had some sort of access too.
  • Moroni and John were both inspired by the Spirit to write the same words.
  • Joseph Smith consciously or subconsciously embedded New Testament language into the Book of Mormon.

None of these are quite doing it for me. What do you think?

Of the three, I think the last explanation is probably the best one. As Philip Barlow points out in his book Mormons and the Bible, "biblical phrases constitute the vocabulary building blocks of much of the Book of Mormon narrative, yet that narrative maintains an independent coherence" (p. 28). He cites as an example 2 Nephi 9:16, which contains a patchwork of NT phrases from Matthew 24:35, Revelation 22:11, Matthew 25:41, Revelation 20:10, Hebrews 12:2, Matthew 25:34; and John 15:11, but which is nevertheless meaningful in its own right.

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All three or any combination thereof work for me. However, another one to consider is that John is tarrying like the three Nephites. Perhaps Moroni and John knew each other personally.
Never thought of that one. I wonder how John could have arrived in the Western Hemisphere. Can beings in that state travel however they please? No answer to that, but something to think about when I'm trying to fall asleep.

If they can't travel "as they please", then he still has hundreds of years to figure it out. There is also always the odd tale of a European being driven off course, not that any specific tale matches this, but if God wanted him there and wasn't going to instantly transport him, I think a way would've been found.

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Of the three, I think the last explanation is probably the best one. As Philip Barlow points out in his book Mormons and the Bible, "biblical phrases constitute the vocabulary building blocks of much of the Book of Mormon narrative, yet that narrative maintains an independent coherence" (p. 28). He cites as an example 2 Nephi 9:16, which contains a patchwork of NT phrases from Matthew 24:35, Revelation 22:11, Matthew 25:41, Revelation 20:10, Hebrews 12:2, Matthew 25:34; and John 15:11, but which is nevertheless meaningful in its own right.

I agree, and in fact I think it's the only realistic option. But if that's the case -- how much of Joseph's direct quote of 1 John literally reflects what Moroni actually wrote?

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