The Book of Mormon

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Home > The Book of Mormon

Historical setting[edit]

  • Authorship and audience. All but a few pages of the Book of Mormon were written or at least edited by four people: Nephi, Jacob, Mormon, and Moroni. Nephi and Jacob clearly wrote for the benefit of their descendants. By the end of his writing, Nephi appears to have also been writing to latter day Jews and Gentiles. Mormon and Moroni were clearly writing for the benefit of latter day Jews and Gentiles. This topic is developed in the discussion of the Book of Mormon Title Page.
  • Time. The Book of Mormon tells the history of two peoples who lived in America, the Jaredites and the Nephites.
  • Jaredites. Near the end of the Book of Mormon, the narrative account skips back in time to relate a history of the Jaredites. This people, led by Jared and his brother, left the Tower Babel about 2,500 BC and traveled to America. The Book of Mormon briefly recounts the history of this people for about two thousand years until their final destruction through civil war about 550 BC. A chronology of Jaredite history is found at Historical Overview of the Jaredites.
  • Nephites. The Book of Mormon begins about 600 BC with a small group who fled Jerusalem, landed in America, and quickly split into two antagonistic nations, the Nephites and the Lamanites. The Book of Mormon relates the religious history of the Nephite nation for a thousand years until widespread apostasy about 400 AD. A chronology of Nephite history is found at Historical Overview of the Nephites.
  • Place. The location in America occupied by the Jaredites and Nephites cannot be settled reference to the text alone, but depends on finding correlations between geographical descriptions in the text and features on the ground. The leading theory is that both peoples lived near the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico, but other theories also have limited support. Resources on this subject are listed lower on this page.

Discussion[edit]

Introduction. Brief introductions to the Book of Mormon can be read at:

Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points.

  • The portion of this page discussing themes that run throughout the entire Book of Mormon, and ways in which the various parts of the book work together as a single whole, has been moved to Book of Mormon: Unities.

Book of Mormon source materials.

  • The portion of this page discussing the various plates and other records upon which the Book of Mormon authors drew has been moved to Book of Mormon: Sources.

Resources[edit]

Text.

  • The Book of Mormon: The Earliest Text. Royal Skousen, ed. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009. (ISBN 9780300142181). Royal Skousen is a professor of Linguistics and English Language at BYU, is the leading authority on the critical text of the Book of Mormon, and is a volume editor in the Joseph Smith Papers Project. This volume presents the closest possible approximation to the Book of Mormon text as dictated by Joseph Smith to his scribes. This volume also ignores the standard chapter and verse divisions to present the text in "sense-lines" and new paragraphing, with the goal of making it easier to recognize the logic of the Book of Mormon text.
  • The Book of Mormon: A Reader's Edition. Grant Hardy, ed. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2003. (ISBN 9780252073410). This presentation of the Book of Mormon text ignores the standard chapter and verse divisions to present the text with new paragraphing and new chapter divisions and headings, all with the goal of making it easier to follow the narrative structure of the Book of Mormon.
Historical setting.
  • Welch, John W., David Rolph Seely, and Jo Ann Seely, eds. Glimpses of Lehi's Jerusalem. Provo: Neil A. Maxwell Institute, 2004. (ISBN 9780934893749). A collection of articles on Jerusalem at the time of Lehi's departure, providing insights into the culture out of which Lehi and Nephi came.
  • Sorenson, John L. Mormon's Codex: An Ancient American Book. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2013. (ISBN 9781609073992).

Commentary: LDS Journals and online libraries.

  • Book of Mormon Central seeks to be your one-stop destination for peer-reviewed Book of Mormon study materials including articles, video presentations, and verse by verse commentary.

Church Manuals.

Other resources.

  • Nibley, Hugh. "Literary Style Used in Book of Mormon Insured Accurate Translation." In Journal of the Book of Mormon and Other Restoration Scripture, 20/1 (2011): p. 69-72. Provo, Utah: BYU University: Neil A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship. Abstract: Responding to an inquiry from a member of a different faith about why the Book of Mormon was translated into the English of the King James Version of the Bible, Nibley discusses the use of biblical language in contemporary society, citing in particular the language of prayer and the use of King James English in the translation of the Dead Sea Scrolls. This article also serves as a platform for Nibley to discuss other issues raised about the Book of Mormon, especially in reference to the King James version of the Bible
  • Skousen, Royal. "Worthy of Another Look: John Gilbert’s 1892 Account of the 1830 Printing of the Book of Mormon." In Journal of the Book of Mormon and Other Restoration Scripture, 21/2 (2012): p. 58-72. Provo, Utah: BYU University: Neil A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship. John Gilbert was the compositor (or typesetter) for the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon. In 1892, when he was 90 years old, he made a statement about the process of setting the type for the 1830 edition in which he discussed, among other things, proofreading the title page, the decision not to correct grammatical errors, paragraphing and punctuation, capitalization in the manuscript, and Gilbert’s taking work home to punctuate, and details about the signatures.
  • Smith, Andrew C. "Deflected Agreement in the Book of Mormon." In Journal of the Book of Mormon and Other Restoration Scripture, 21/2 (2012): p. 40-57. Provo, Utah: BYU University: Neil A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship. Deflected agreement is a grammatical phenomenon found in Semitic languages. It is a plausible explanation for certain grammatical incongruities present, in translation, within the original and printer’s manuscripts and printed editions of the Book of Mormon in the grammatical areas of verbal, pronominal, and demonstrative agreement.




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