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Giving Away the Plot in the Book of Mormon


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As Book of Mormon writers compiled their history, they (especially Mormon) began a narrative, but then they often included a statement that gives away the plot. I don't know, but others may have noticed and written about this, but I just ran across another one so I thought I would comment. In my opinion, such foreshadowing indicates that the author knew the outcome of the story he is telling in advance. I wonder how Joseph Smith would have accomplished this as he translated each day.  

Here are five examples.

1. The best is found in the story of Gadianton in Helaman 2.  The evil traitor Gadianton is introduced, but before we know much about him, Mormon foretells his significance and where it will be written.

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12 And more of this Gadianton shall be spoken hereafter. And thus ended the forty and second year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi. 

13 And behold, in the end of this book ye shall see that this Gadianton did prove the overthrow, yea, almost the entire destruction of the people of Nephi. 

14 Behold I do not mean the end of the book of Helaman, but I mean the end of the book of Nephi, from which I have taken all the account which I have written.

 

2. Describing  Lehi’s persecution at the hands of the Jews because of his predictions of their destruction, Nephi writes:

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1 Nephi 1:20 And when the Jews heard these things they were angry with him; yea, even as with the prophets of old, whom they had cast out, and stoned, and slain; and they also sought his life, that they might take it away. But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.

3.  In Mosiah 23, the people of Alma prosper in their new land of Helam, but calamity awaits them. Mormon can't resist. 

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20 And it came to pass that they did multiply and prosper exceedingly in the land of Helam; and they built a city, which they called the city of Helam.

21 Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith.

22 Nevertheless—whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last day. Yea, and thus it was with this people.

23 For behold, I will show unto you that they were brought into bondage, and none could deliver them but the Lord their God, yea, even the God of Abraham and Isaac and of Jacob.

24 And it came to pass that he did deliver them, and he did show forth his mighty power unto them, and great were their rejoicings.

 

 

4. Mormon predicts the importance and future inclusion of the Jaredite record in Mosiah 28.  

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18 Now this account did cause the people of Mosiah to mourn exceedingly, yea, they were filled with sorrow; nevertheless it gave them much knowledge, in the which they did rejoice.

19 And this account shall be written hereafter; for behold, it is expedient that all people should know the things which are written in this account.

 

 5. In Alma 8, Mormon documents Alma and Amulek’s, but before he gets into the story, he tells us what is going to happen to them. 

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30 And Alma went forth, and also Amulek, among the people, to declare the words of God unto them; and they were filled with the Holy Ghost.

31 And they had power given unto them, insomuch that they could not be confined in dungeons; neither was it possible that any man could slay them; nevertheless they did not exercise their power until they were bound in bands and cast into prison. Now, this was done that the Lord might show forth his power in them.

 

 

Here are some more examples. I’m sure there are others I have not found.

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Alma 51:9-10 But behold, this was a critical time for such contentions to be among the people of Nephi; for behold, Amalickiah had again stirred up the hearts of the people of the Lamanites against the people of the Nephites, and he was gathering together soldiers from all parts of his land, and arming them, and preparing for war with all diligence; for he had sworn to drink the blood of Moroni. But behold, we shall see that his promise which he made was rash; nevertheless, he did prepare himself and his armies to come to battle against the Nephites.

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Alma 57:7-8 {Helaman writing] And it came to pass that it was our desire to wage a battle with the army which was placed to protect the city Cumeni. And now behold, I will show unto you that we soon accomplished our desire; yea, with our strong force, or with a part of our strong force, we did surround, by night, the city Cumeni, a little before they were to receive a supply of provisions.

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 3 Nephi 6:30 - 7:1 And they did set at defiance the law and the rights of their country; and they did covenant one with another to destroy the governor, and to establish a king over the land, that the land should no more be at liberty but should be subject unto kings. Now behold, I will show unto you that they did not establish a king over the land; but in this same year, yea, the thirtieth year, they did destroy upon the judgment-seat, yea, did murder the chief judge of the land.

 

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3 Nephi 10: 18 And it came to pass that in the ending of the thirty and fourth year, behold, I will show unto you that the people of Nephi who were spared, and also those who had been called Lamanites, who had been spared, did have great favors shown unto them, and great blessings poured out upon their heads, insomuch that soon after the ascension of Christ into heaven he did truly manifest himself unto them.

 

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3 Nephi 18: 37 And the multitude heard not the words which he spake, therefore they did not bear record; but the disciples bare record that he gave them power to give the Holy Ghost. And I will show unto you hereafter that this record is true.

 

Your comments are welcomed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Bernard Gui
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I think you should put together something more comprehensive along these lines for Dan Peterson's (et al, of course) Interpreter. :):D

P.S.: I peeked at the end.  The Devil did it. :diablo:

Sorry! :(:unknw:

Edited by Kenngo1969
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4 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:


As Book of Mormon writers compiled their history, they (especially Moroni) began a narrative, but then they included a statement that gives away the plot.............

Here are five examples.

1. The best is found in the story of Gadianton in Helaman 2.  The evil traitor Gadianton is introduced, but before we know much about him, Moroni foretells his significance and where it will be written.

2. Describing  Lehi’s persecution at the hands of the Jews because of his predictions of their destruction, Nephi writes:

3.  In Mosiah 23, the people of Alma prosper in their new land of Helam, but calamity awaits them. Moroni can't resist. 

4. Moroni predicts the importance and future inclusion of the Jaredite record in Mosiah 28.  

 5. In Alma 8, Moroni documents Alma and Amulek’s, but before he gets into the story, he tells us what is going to happen to them. ......................

I think you mean Mormon as editor instead of Moroni (who only edits the very end of the BofM).

Brant Gardner recently dealt with this issue in Interpreter as a "preview outline" header, https://journal.interpreterfoundation.org/oral-creation-and-the-dictation-of-the-book-of-mormon/   .   

Several others have commented on this BofM feature:

Book of Mormon Central, “Why Should Readers Pay Attention to the Book of Mormon’s Editorial Promises? (3 Nephi 18:37),” KnoWhy #510, April 11, 2019, online at https://knowhy.bookofmormoncentral.org/knowhy/why-should-readers-pay-attention-to-the-book-of-mormons-editorial-promises ,

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. . . authors and editors of the Book of Mormon offered commentary to help readers anticipate what will come next in its pages. Its writers informed readers about the content and structure of what would follow, testified to the truthfulness of impending narratives, and occasionally explained that further information would be provided about topics that had only been briefly discussed. These types of editorial promises—or, in other words, commitments to discuss or revisit certain topics—are plentifully scattered throughout the Book of Mormon.

Thomas Mackay, “Mormon as Editor: A Study in Colophons, Headers, and Source Indicators," JBMS, 2/2 (1993):90-109, online at  https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1048&context=jbms   .

Headers are also known in ancient Egyptian literature, as in the Autobiography of Ahmose, son of Abana (New Kingdom), M. Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature, II:12.

Edited by Robert F. Smith
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2 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

I think you mean Mormon as editor instead of Moroni (who only edits the very end of the BofM).

Brant Gardner recently dealt with this issue in Interpreter as a "preview outline" header, https://journal.interpreterfoundation.org/oral-creation-and-the-dictation-of-the-book-of-mormon/   .   

Several others have commented on this BofM feature:

Book of Mormon Central, “Why Should Readers Pay Attention to the Book of Mormon’s Editorial Promises? (3 Nephi 18:37),” KnoWhy #510, April 11, 2019, online at https://knowhy.bookofmormoncentral.org/knowhy/why-should-readers-pay-attention-to-the-book-of-mormons-editorial-promises ,

Thomas Mackay, “Mormon as Editor: A Study in Colophons, Headers, and Source Indicators," JBMS, 2/2 (1993):90-109, online at  https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1048&context=jbms   .

Headers are also known in ancient Egyptian literature, as in the Autobiography of Ahmose, son of Abana (New Kingdom), M. Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature, II:12.

Well, yes, Mormon, of course. Crivens! Brain spasm. How embarrassing! I was listening to music while I wrote that. Gotta quit trying to multitask  

Thank you for the sources. It’s encouraging to realize one can still spot interesting patterns even while advancing in age and spacing out on Beethoven!

Brandt Gardner addresses a broader use of mechanisms such as the introductory headers in the structure of several BoM texts.

Thomas Mackay also writes of broader structures...that “colophons, headers, text markers, and source indicators in the Book of Mormon are the result of its being an ancient text, and the ‘chapters’ or segments of the ancient books generally reflect natural divisions of the text. This was an ancient Nephite literary tradition, as may be seen on the small plates, one that Mormon follows and greatly develops.”

Looks like what I have identified as foretelling or “giving away the plot” is what John Tvednes calls “editorial promises.” Three or four of my examples are included in his discussion. He lists a few that I missed. I am sure there are even more. He gives detailed comments about the Gadianton example. I also noted that it was the best example. 

“An author may promise in the course of writing to return to a subject later to supply further details. Actually keeping such a promise can prove difficult. Even with modern writing aids, memory can betray a person into failing to tuck in the corners of plot or information. Mormon, the editor of much of the Book of Mormon as we have it, made these types of promises at least seven times. In each case, he or his son Moroni followed through perfectly...

“If  following  through  on  editorial  promises  to  return  to  a subject is difficult in writing, it is even harder done in haste with no written record to serve as a reminder of the promises made. In  1829  Joseph  Smith  dictated  to  Oliver  Cowdery  most  of  the scripture attributed to Mormon within the period of a few weeks, and without proofreading or revising.  Under these circumstan­ces, if Joseph were the original author,  then leaving no  gaps in the promised materials would have been a remarkable achieve­ment. This makes it much more likely that Joseph was translating rather  than  creating,  and  that  the  editorial consistency  is  Mor­mon's  work.”  https://archive.bookofmormoncentral.org/content/mormons-editorial-promises

There are many more than seven examples. I agree with his conclusions.

Edited by Bernard Gui
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Looking more carefully, I think most of my examples differ from those described by Tvednes in that they really do “give away the story.” They are  not just postponing the story until later in order to talk about something else. Instead, they present a situation and then the author says something like “Look! I will show you what is going to happen,” and then he gives a terse summary of what happened at the end before telling the story.

I’m surprised by the lack of comments. Seems like an interesting thing.

Edited by Bernard Gui
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The biggest one is in Words of Mormon where Mormon spoils the ending. Oh, and Nephi's prophecies end up spoiling it as well. If the Book of Mormon were published as a piece of entertaining fiction it would be a disastrously bad book. Deus ex machinas, spoilers, no closure for many of the people in the narrative, pointless tangents of no relevance to the story, and long speeches and words of counsel with relatively little time spent on the narrative. Also Ether really should have been published later as a prequel.

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2 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

Looking more carefully, I think most of my examples differ from those described by Tvednes in that they really do “give away the story.” They are  not just postponing the story until later in order to talk about something else. Instead, they present a situation and then the author says something like “Look! I will show you what is going to happen,” and then he gives a terse summary of what happened at the end before telling the story.

I’m surprised by the lack of comments. Seems like an interesting thing.

See the Appendix in the BMC KnoWhy. Lots of examples there. 

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2 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

See the Appendix in the BMC KnoWhy. Lots of examples there.

Yes. A discussion here would be interesting. 

Edited by Bernard Gui
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6 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

I’m surprised by the lack of comments. Seems like an interesting thing.

It is, but I don’t have anything worthwhile to respond with. I’m probably not alone.

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15 hours ago, Judd said:

It is, but I don’t have anything worthwhile to respond with. I’m probably not alone.

I find it endearing as well as interesting. To me it reveals something about the writer. My son Abogadissimo called yesterday. He and I have been talking about this for some time. He said that now he is aware of it, he sees it all over the place as he reads the BoM.

Whoever wrote the Book of Mormon did this intentionally. If Joseph wrote it, do you think there might be evidence of it in his speeches and writings?

Edited by Bernard Gui
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10 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

Whoever wrote the Book of Mormon did this intentionally.

I think what this shows is that Mormon had read all his material and prepared some sort of outline or plan before he started what we have now.  It also shows that he's more interested in teaching than telling a story, otherwise he wouldn't be giving away so much.  He wants the reader to be expecting things and notice them when they appear. 

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39 minutes ago, ksfisher said:

I think what this shows is that Mormon had read all his material and prepared some sort of outline or plan before he started what we have now.  It also shows that he's more interested in teaching than telling a story, otherwise he wouldn't be giving away so much.  He wants the reader to be expecting things and notice them when they appear. 

I agree. Spoilers are no fun in movies, plays, and books, but effective tools in instruction. 

Edited by Bernard Gui
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Even though he's not specifically talking about "spoilers," this quote from Grant Hardy's Understanding the Book of Mormon seems to relate to this topic:

Quote

It appears that Mormon writes on two levels. On a first reading, his work is
quite didactic. He is an active narrator who makes judgments, inserts comments,
and proclaims moral principles. He provides the first round of interpretation so
that the basic message of the text is unmistakable. Yet at the same time, through his
editing and phrasing, Mormon subtly suggests to his audience that certain figures
and events should be read in light of each other. Without specifying exactly what we
should find, he nevertheless directs our attention toward avenues that will reward
deeper reflection and more nuanced approaches.

I agree, this is a fascinating facet of what Hardy would call an "editorial strategy."

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On 9/12/2020 at 12:50 PM, Bernard Gui said:

As Book of Mormon writers compiled their history, they (especially Mormon) began a narrative, but then they often included a statement that gives away the plot. I don't know, but others may have noticed and written about this, but I just ran across another one so I thought I would comment. In my opinion, such foreshadowing indicates that the author knew the outcome of the story he is telling in advance. I wonder how Joseph Smith would have accomplished this as he translated each day.  

You wonder how Joseph Smith knew the outcome of the story he is telling in advance of translating each day?

I bet Moroni told him what happened before Joseph had even gotten the plates.  His family talked about how Joseph would often tell them some stories before Moroni would let him look at the plates and Joseph said they talked a lot when he came to visit.

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2 hours ago, Ahab said:

You wonder how Joseph Smith knew the outcome of the story he is telling in advance of translating each day?

I bet Moroni told him what happened before Joseph had even gotten the plates.  His family talked about how Joseph would often tell them some stories before Moroni would let him look at the plates and Joseph said they talked a lot when he came to visit.

To be able to do that time after time, Joseph would have had a phenomenal memory. 

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3 hours ago, caspianrex said:

Even though he's not specifically talking about "spoilers," this quote from Grant Hardy's Understanding the Book of Mormon seems to relate to this topic:

I agree, this is a fascinating facet of what Hardy would call an "editorial strategy."

What do think is the purpose of using such a strategy as spoilers?

Edited by Bernard Gui
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12 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

What do think is the purpose of using such a strategy as spoilers?

Many people never finish the whole thing so the spoilers make sure they know that it is all going to end badly.

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13 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

What do think is the purpose of using such a strategy as spoilers?

Well, Mormon is pretty forthright at various places that he's editing the plates that contain the record of his people. So, if I had to guess, I would say that it's a conscious technique to link various passages together, to provide the reader with a "big picture" point of view. In other words, it seems to me that he interjects commentary that says something to the effect of, "This may seem like an isolated event, but keep reading, because there is a point that is coming up." I guess it's not completely unlike those "coming attractions" that come at the end of TV drama episodes. "Next week on LOST...Jack finds out the truth behind the black smoke monster!" (Just kidding...Jack never found out the truth behind the black smoke monster.)

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20 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

To be able to do that time after time, Joseph would have had a phenomenal memory. 

Eh, not necessarily.  Mormon didn't give a lot of detail about what he knew the story would be at the time he became another part of the story.  Or maybe I'm not understanding how much you think Joseph would have needed to know about them before he began to translate their history?

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20 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

What do think is the purpose of using such a strategy as spoilers?

Venting. A need or desire to share his thoughts rather than hold them all in and instead just focus on what other people did and wrote.  Apparently God didn't tell Mormon to just stick to the script, so he felt free to share what he thought.

Personally, I would rather not hear any spoilers and instead just follow the story as it comes, but some people don't seem to have any problem at all with talking about a story, especially when they are somehow a part of that story.

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15 minutes ago, Ahab said:

Eh, not necessarily.  Mormon didn't give a lot of detail about what he knew the story would be at the time he became another part of the story.  Or maybe I'm not understanding how much you think Joseph would have needed to know about them before he began to translate their history?

Did he know enough to write this? I don’t think so, unless he had a phenomenal memory  

12 And more of this Gadianton shall be spoken hereafter. And thus ended the forty and second year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi. 

13 And behold, in the end of this book ye shall see that this Gadianton did prove the overthrow, yea, almost the entire destruction of the people of Nephi. 

14 Behold I do not mean the end of the book of Helaman, but I mean the end of the book of Nephi, from which I have taken all the account which I have written.

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23 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

Did he know enough to write this? I don’t think so, unless he had a phenomenal memory  

12 And more of this Gadianton shall be spoken hereafter. And thus ended the forty and second year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi. 

13 And behold, in the end of this book ye shall see that this Gadianton did prove the overthrow, yea, almost the entire destruction of the people of Nephi. 

14 Behold I do not mean the end of the book of Helaman, but I mean the end of the book of Nephi, from which I have taken all the account which I have written.

Not sure what you're asking.  Joseph wrote that as he came to that part of what he was translating.  How much do you think he needed to know before he wrote that?

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2 hours ago, Ahab said:

Not sure what you're asking.  Joseph wrote that as he came to that part of what he was translating.  How much do you think he needed to know before he wrote that?

I'm not sure you understand what the OP was about.

Mormon introduces Gadianton as a bad guy who, by the way, will eventually bring the people to ruin....but saves the evidence for the end of the book of Nephi.  If seen just a few times, this manner of editorializing would not be remarkable. The presence of these "editorial promises" (as John Tvednes calls them), spoilers, "giving away the story," or foretelling in so many places throughout the Book of Mormon suggests to me Joseph was reading a pre-written and edited text. The only things he had before him were the plates, not a sheave of papers written in English. So, either he was winging it, reciting it from memory, or translating as he said he was and which the witnesses verified. If he was recalling the things he had learned from Moroni and repeated to his family, the memories would have had to be detailed. If he was just reciting these while translating, he must have had a phenomenal memory to start a story by telling the ending that would come sometimes pages, chapters, and books later.

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23 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

I'm not sure you understand what the OP was about.

Mormon introduces Gadianton as a bad guy who, by the way, will eventually bring the people to ruin....but saves the evidence for the end of the book of Nephi.  If seen just a few times, this manner of editorializing would not be remarkable. The presence of these "editorial promises" (as John Tvednes calls them), spoilers, "giving away the story," or foretelling in so many places throughout the Book of Mormon suggests to me Joseph was reading a pre-written and edited text. The only things he had before him were the plates, not a sheave of papers written in English. So, either he was winging it, reciting it from memory, or translating as he said he was and which the witnesses verified. If he was recalling the things he had learned from Moroni and repeated to his family, the memories would have had to be detailed. If he was just reciting these while translating, he must have had a phenomenal memory to start a story by telling the ending that would come sometimes pages, chapters, and books later.

I guess I'm just not seeing how Joseph could not have experienced all of those different things, if you are suggesting he didn't.  I believe Joseph and Moroni talked with each other quite a bit before Joseph began translating those plates, and I believe he knew pretty much their whole history based on what Moroni had already told him.  At least a summary version. Then as he was translating he came across the words of Mormon, since what he was translating was Mormon's abridgement of the records that had come down to him from Mormon.  I don't know if Joseph added any of his, Joseph's, own comments as he was translating from Mormon.  I think maybe he did, like when he used the word Adieu, which Mormon probably would not have used.  And I don't think there would have been any problem with Joseph making his own comments as he translated the records from Mormon, or from Nephi, or from whoever.  Joseph was just as much a prophet as any of those other prophets.  And I don't think Joseph necessarily had a phenomenal memory.  I think the Holy Spirit could have helped him to think of anything he needed to think about whether or not Joseph could remember on his own anything he had ever read or heard.

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9 hours ago, Ahab said:

I guess I'm just not seeing how Joseph could not have experienced all of those different things, if you are suggesting he didn't.  I believe Joseph and Moroni talked with each other quite a bit before Joseph began translating those plates, and I believe he knew pretty much their whole history based on what Moroni had already told him.  At least a summary version. Then as he was translating he came across the words of Mormon, since what he was translating was Mormon's abridgement of the records that had come down to him from Mormon.  I don't know if Joseph added any of his, Joseph's, own comments as he was translating from Mormon.  I think maybe he did, like when he used the word Adieu, which Mormon probably would not have used.  And I don't think there would have been any problem with Joseph making his own comments as he translated the records from Mormon, or from Nephi, or from whoever.  Joseph was just as much a prophet as any of those other prophets.  And I don't think Joseph necessarily had a phenomenal memory.  I think the Holy Spirit could have helped him to think of anything he needed to think about whether or not Joseph could remember on his own anything he had ever read or heard.

Thanks. Interesting comments. I’m not sure we’re communicating.

While Mormon or Moroni would never have said adieu, Americans at the time of Joseph Smith used it frequently. Adieu is an English word borrowed, like many others, from French. From Webster’s 1828 Dictionary...

Quote

ADIEU', Adu'.

Farewell; an expression of kind wishes at the parting of friends.

ADIEU', noun A farewell, or commendation to the care of God; as an everlasting adieu

Here’s an example from George Washington’s 1783 Farewell Address to the Army. It conveys the same message as Jacob’s parting words.

Quote

And being now to conclude these his last public Orders, to take his ultimate leave, in a short time, of the Military Character, and to bid a final adieu to the Armies he has so long had the honor to Command—he can only again offer in their behalf his recommendations to their grateful Country, and his prayers to the God of Armies. 

 

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      https://www.academia.edu/36428246/The_Principles_of_Book_of_Abraham_and_Kirtland_Egyptian_Papers_Symbolism
      Remember to criticize this from an Egyptological perspective is irrelevant.  Ed's argument is about aesthetics, and not about language or translation.  It is about how we interpret art and without that understanding critics are barking up the wrong tree.
      Unfortunately the other thread got closed because of squabbling.  Let's try to avoid that and keep this thread in an aesthetic and phenomenological context.
      If you don't know what that means, perhaps you need not comment.
    • By volgadon
      It would be a pity to miss a great discussion just because Savedwheat's gotcha was clumsy and inept. The question raised was why does the risen Christ quote a paraphrase from Peter in the KJV New Testament in 3 Nephi. Of course, we don't have to stick to just this scripture passage and can discuss the presence of the KJV in the BoM more generally, but I would like it if we started with this one to keep discussion more focused. What does such a passage tell us about the translation process or of Josephas translator? How would a pre-Jacksonian and Jacksonian-era American respond to quotes and phrases that he or she would have readily recognised as originating in the NT? Given the probable dates and composition process of the gospels, what does inclusion of some of their passages tell us about the historical reliability of the BoM? If this is an example of expansion, what might the original have looked like? How could this linking of scriptures inform our theology? These are just some of the possible questions to be discussed, so feel free to raise whatever question you would like.
    • By Bernard Gui
      Once again I bring up the appearance of the parallel poetic form "climax," "gradation parallelism," or "anadiplosis" in the Book of Mormon.
      I bring it up once more because I have come to believe it is evidence that Joseph Smith did not author the Book of Mormon. 
       
       
      Many examples of gradation parallelism exist in the Book of Mormon. Bro Parry discusses two in his introduction: Moroni 8:25-26 and Mormon 9:12-13.
       
       
       
      This passage takes us from the Fall of Adam through Exaltation, with all the necessary steps set plainly in order.
       
      Other excellent examples include 2 Nephi 9:25-26; Alma 32:12-14, 41:13-14, and 42:23; Mosiah 2:17-19; Mormon 9:11-13; Moroni 10:20-22 and 32-34.
      These examples follow this pattern.....the process of taking man from the Fall, through the Atonement, and on to Exaltation.
       
      Here are my questions:
       
      How did Joseph Smith learn about this form?
      If Joseph Smith were the author of the Book of Mormon, would we expect to see this form in his other writings?
      If we should not expect it, why not?
      Is anyone aware of this form in the D&C or any other Joseph Smith writings?
      If this is unique to the Book of Mormon, is it solid evidence that Joseph was not the author?
    • By mfbukowski
      Edit:  I am adding something which I wrote in post 44 which should have probably been the opening line of the OP:
      What I refer to as the "history game" is the belief that if we could only find the right historical information, we could "prove Mormonism".
       
      Critics use this against us all the time to show that Mormonism is "false" because their personal understanding of "history" does not live up to their perceptions of the "truth claims" of the church.
       
      I want to attack those types of claims against us, head on.  But the real problem is that we buy into their argument and we end up playing the "It's not historical" - "Yes it is"- "No it's not" game which never ends.- End of edit.
       
      As someone of a philosophical bent, there is something I have not really understood about Mormonism.  Sorry, this is gonna be kinda long, so if you don't want to get into it, don't bother.
       
      I brought this up at the Fair Conference to a few who would know the answers, who will remain unnamed, but their answers still bother me and did not convince me that they were right, although they were good answers.
       
      I look at philosophical arguments by first examining the main thesis of the argument- the assumptions, if you will, and then from that, what supports the rest of the argument.
       
      The main thesis of Mormonism as I understand it, is that God exists in a bodily form like a Man, that his Son, Jesus Christ, came to earth to atone for our sins, that we accept the revelations of Joseph Smith as restoring the true church of Jesus Christ on the earth.
       
      We accept other details about the Plan of Salvation as well, as defined in the Articles of Faith and in other places, about pre-earth life, some things about the nature of intelligences, the nature of matter, and the nature of the afterlife, including the amazing assertion that we can become like God himself if indeed we follow the true path.
       
      We accept that the Bible represents one Testimony (Testament, Witness) of the divinity of Jesus Christ, and the Book of Mormon as another.  We have other "Standard Works" which are canonized and are accepted as divine revelations.
       
      We accept the Proclamation on the Family as a statement about gender and family values and how they are grounded in the Gospel of Jesus Christ as we know it and accept it to be "true".
       
      We accept all this completely on faith because there is no possible way any of this can be "proven" by logic, or any other means.
       
      On a personal level, knowing fully through my training, the implications of saying that "I know that "x" is true"  I feel I can say with full assurance that "I know the church is true".
       
      Some have problems with saying those words without hedging, but my spiritual experiences have convinced me that I can say that with some boldness.
       
      Here's my problem:
       
      The existence of God cannot be proven in any way.  There is no historical evidence for the existence of God.
       
      There is no possible evidence that this invisible, ephemeral being we call "God" IF indeed "He" exists, is capable of having, or in fact did have a "son" who came to earth in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.  In fact most people in the world find the assertion, well, let's just say unbelievable.
       
      Just as unbelievable are all the details about this alleged divine-human person, including the odd notion that his death could somehow take away all the bad things we have done in this world and make it all as if they had never happened if we only believe in him and do our best to not do them again.
       
      The layers of what can be seen as nonsense keep getting deeper.
       
      Not only do we not have evidence for God, or his Son, or the Atonement, we now add to it the idea that ANYONE can have a "true knowledge" of any of this, much less humans called "prophets".
       
      Then we have the problem of how these alleged "prophets" received their knowledge of this unbelievable God and his unbelievable Son and their mission.  There is no possible historical evidence which can show any of this to be true.
       
      Even if we jumped into a time machine and took a video of the alleged crucifixion of the alleged person Jesus of Nazareth and his alleged agony in Gethsemane, it would still not prove that these alleged activities could in any way remove the alleged "spiritual" effects of our doing "bad things" called alleged "sins" now 2000 years later.
       
      Hopefully by this point you get the idea.  Again, I want to say that I am a TBM in every way and have answered all these questions to my satisfaction.
       
      Why are we not concerned about the rationality of believing all these apparently irrational beliefs?
       
      What are we concerned about really?  Whether or not the names of some gods were correctly translated on an obscure Egyptian papyrus?
       
      Are you serious?
       
      We are concerned about historical evidence that some Ugaritic inscription somehow "parallels" our beliefs and therefore the beliefs are "true"?
       
      That if Joseph "mistranslated" Egyptian, that therefore God does not exist?
       
      That because we have no plates for the Book of Mormon and that we have not found a sign saying "Welcome to Zarahemla" then all the incredible insights on the human condition in the Book of Mormon should be thrown out?
       
      Why in heaven's name do we gloss over the big picture and concentrate on meaningless and irrelevant minutia?
       
      Just askin'.
    • By canard78
      I have long been interested by the presence of so much of the 17thC KJV of the Old and New Testament in the Bible. In addition to obvious Isaiah quotes we also have extensive verbatim quotes from the New Testament. I wrote a long post about the problems of Mormon 9 borrowing from Mark 16 given the latter is considered a 2ndC tag-on by a scribe: (you also have Nephi quoting Peter and the entire Sermon on the Mount, including identical 'narrators' words).
      I was reading one of the sources from why me in the 'hidden history' thread and read this from an Ensign article:
      https://www.lds.org/ensign/1977/09/by-the-gift-and-power-of-god?lang=eng
      Given how 'loose' the translation of the rest of the BoM seems to have been I would agree that the best explanation for large chunks of the KJV in the BoM is that they were read straight out of it during the translation/dictation process.
      If this is what happened, I wonder if Oliver was aware of him doing this and Joseph explained that he was testing the wording by the spirit (as suggested above) or whether he did it out of sight/memorised in advance.
      It also presents the issue of him first quoting from the KJV but later correcting it with the JST, but not updating the same wording in the BoM.
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