You are here

WATCH: Evidence of the Book of Mormon: Internal Complexity
BMC Team's picture
Post contributed by BMC Team
March 30, 2018

Synopsis

Some early critics of the Book of Mormon ridiculed its literary qualities. Over time, however, it’s become clear that the Book of Mormon is actually a remarkably complex and sophisticated text. This can be demonstrated on dozens of different levels, and when looked at together, its impressive literary features offer excellent evidence that Joseph Smith truly translated it by the gift and power of God.

References

Stylometry

  1. Book of Mormon Central, “Is It Possible That a Single Author Wrote the Book of Mormon? (2 Nephi 27:13),” KnoWhy 399 (January 16, 2018)
  2. Matthew Roper, Paul J. Fields, and G. Bruce Schaalje, “Stylometric Analyses of the Book of Mormon: A Short History,” Journal of the Book of Mormon and Other Restoration Scripture 21, no. 1 (2012): 28–45.
  3. Paul J. Fields, G. Bruce Schaalje, and Matthew Roper, “Examining a Misapplication of Nearest Shrunken Centroid Classification to Investigate Book of Mormon Authorship,” Mormon Studies Review 23, no. 1 (2011): 87–111.
  4. G. Bruce Schaalje, Paul J. Fields, Matthew Roper, Gregory L. Snow, “Extended Nearest Shrunken Centroid Classification: A New Method for Open-set Authorship Attribution of Texts of Varying Sizes,” Literary and Linguistic Computing 26, no. 1 (2011): 71–88.
  5. Bruce Schaalje, John L. Hilton, and John B. Archer, “Comparative Power of Three Author-Attribution Techniques for Differentiating Authors,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 6, no. 1 (1997): 47–63.
  6. John L. Hilton, “On Verifying Wordprint Studies: Book of Mormon Authorship,” BYU Studies Quarterly, 30, no. 3 (1990): 89–108; reprinted in Book of Mormon Authorship Revisited: The Evidence for Ancient Origins, ed. Noel B. Reynolds (Provo, UT: FARMS, 1997), 225–253.
  7. Wayne A. Larsen, Alvin C. Rencher, and Tim Layton, “Who Wrote the Book of Mormon? An Analysis of Wordprints,” BYU Studies 20, no. 3 (1980): 225–251; reprinted in Book of Mormon Authorship: New Light on Ancient Origins, ed. Noel B. Reynolds (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1982), 157–188.

Complex Source Texts

  1. John L. Sorenson, “Mormon’s Miraculous Book,” Ensign, February 2016, 38–41, online at lds.org.
  2. Gerald E. Smith, “Improvisation and Extemporaneous Change in the Book of Mormon (Part 2: Structural Evidences of Earlier Ancient versus Later Modern Constructions),” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 23 (2017): 53–90.
  3. Gerald E. Smith, “Improvisation and Extemporaneous Change in the Book of Mormon (Part 1: Evidence of an Imperfect, Authentic, Ancient Work of Scripture),” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 23 (2017): 1–44.
  4. John L. Sorenson, “Mormon's Sources,” Journal of Book of Mormon and Other Restoration Scripture 20, no. 2 (2011): 2–15.
  5. Brant A. Gardner, “Mormon’s Editorial Method and Meta-Message,” FARMS Review 21, no. 1 (2009): 83–105.
  6. Steven L. Olsen, “Prophecy and History: Structuring the Abridgment of the Nephite Records,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 15, no. 1 (2006): 18–29, 70–71.
  7. Thomas W. Mackay, “Mormon as Editor: A Study in Colophons, Headers, and Source Indicators,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 2, no. 2 (1993): 90–109.
  8. John W. Welch, “Preliminary Comments on the Sources Behind the Book of Ether” FARMS Preliminary Reports (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 1986).
  9. S. Kent Brown, “Lehi’s Personal Record: Quest for a Missing Source,” BYU Studies Quarterly 24, no. 1 (1984): 19–42.

Realistic Battles

  1. Book of Mormon Central, “How Realistic are Nephite Battle Strategies? (Alma 56:30),” KnoWhy 164 (August 12, 2016)
  2. David E. Spencer, Captain Moroni’s Command: Dynamics of Warfare in the Book of Mormon (Springville, UT: Cedar Fort, 2015).
  3. Morgan Deane, Bleached Bones and Wicked Serpents: Ancient Warfare in the Book of Mormon (self-published, 2014).
  4. John E. Kammeyer, The Nephite Art of War (Far West Publications, 2012).
  5. Daniel C. Peterson, “The Gadianton Robbers as Guerrilla Warriors,” in Warfare in the Book of Mormon, ed. Stephen D. Ricks and William J. Hamblin (Salt Lake City and Provo, UT: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1990), 146–173.
  6. Stephen D. Ricks and William J. Hamblin, eds., Warfare in the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City and Provo, UT: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1990).
  7. Hugh Nibley, Since Cumorah, The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley: Volume 7 (Salt Lake City and Provo, UT: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1988), 291–333.
  8. Ray C. Hillam, “The Gadianton Robbers and Protracted War,” BYU Studies Quarterly 15, no. 2 (1975): 215–224.

Rich Symbolism

  1. Parrish Brady and Shon Hopkin, “The Zoramites and Costly Apparel: Symbolism and Irony,” Journal of the Book of Mormon and Other Restoration Scripture 22, no. 1 (2013): 40–53.
  2. Steven L. Olsen, “The Covenant of the Promised Land: Territorial Symbolism in the Book of Mormon,” FARMS Review 22, no. 2 (2010): 137–154.
  3. Richard Dilworth Rust, Feasting on the Word: The Literary Testimony of the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City and Provo, UT: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1997), 150–154.
  4. Gordon C. Thomasson, “Mosiah: The Complex Symbolism and Symbolic Complex of Kingship in the Book of Mormon,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 2, no. 1 (1993): 32–36
  5. Neal E. Lambert, “The Symbolic Unity of Christ's Ministry in 3 Nephi,” in 3 Nephi 9-30, This is My Gospel, Book of Mormon Symposium Series, Volume 8, ed. Monte S. Nyman and Charles D. Tate, Jr. (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1993), 195–209.

Epic Literature

  1. David B. Honey, “Ecological Nomadism versus Epic Heroism in Ether: Nibley's Works on the Jaredites,” Review of Books on the Book of Mormon 2, no. 1 (1990): 143–163.
  2. Hugh Nibley, Lehi in the Desert/The World of the Jaredites/There Were Jaredites, The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley: Volume 5 (Salt Lake City/Provo, UT: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1988), 285–423.

Genealogies

  1. Book of Mormon Central, “Why Does the Book of Ether Begin with Such a Long Genealogy? (Ether 1:18),” KnoWhy 235 (November 21, 2016).
  2. John L. Sorenson, Mormon’s Codex: An Ancient American Book (Salt Lake City and Provo, UT: Deseret Book and Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, 2013), 198–218.

Distinct Cultures

  1. Kerry M. Hull, “War Banners: A Mesoamerican Context for the Title of Liberty,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 24 (2015): 108–109.
  2. Mark Alan Wright, “Nephite Daykeepers: Ritual Specialists in Mesoamerica and the Book of Mormon,” in Ancient Temple Worship: Proceedings of the Expound Symposium, 14 May 2011, ed. Matthew B. Brown, Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, Stephen D. Ricks, and John S. Thompson (Salt Lake City and Orem, UT: Eborn Books and Interpreter Foundation, 2014), 243–257.
  3. Mark Alan Wright, “The Cultural Tapestry of Mesoamerica,” Journal of the Book of Mormon and Other Restoration Scripture 22, no. 2 (2013): 4–21.
  4. Brant A. Gardner and Mark Alan Wright, “The Cultural Context of Nephite Apostasy,” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 1 (2012): 25–55.
  5. Mark Alan Wright, “‘According to Their Language, unto Their Understanding’: The Cultural Context of Hierophanies and Theophanies in Latter-day Saint Canon,” Studies in the Bible and Antiquity 3 (2011): 51–65.
  6. Brant A. Gardner, “The Other Stuff: Reading the Book of Mormon for Cultural Information,” FARMS Review of Books 13, no. 2 (2001): 21–52
  7. Paul R. Cheesman, “Cultural Parallels Between the Old World and the New World,” in The Keystone Scripture, Book of Mormon Symposium Series, Volume 1, ed. Paul R. Cheesman, S. Kent Brown, and Charles D. Tate, Jr. (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1988), 206–217.

Fulfilled Prophecies

  1. Kimberly M. Berkey, “Temporality and Fulfillment in 3 Nephi 1,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 24 (2015): 53–83.
  2. Randall P. Spackman, “Introduction to Book of Mormon Chronology: The Principal Prophecies, Calendars, and Dates,” (FARMS Preliminary Reports, 1993).

Typological Narratives

  1. Joseph M. Spencer, An Other Testament: On Typology (Provo, UT: Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, 2016).
  2. Richard Dilworth Rust, “‘All Things Which Have Been Given of God . . . Are the Typifying of Him’: Typology in the Book of Mormon,” in Literature of Belief: Sacred Scripture and Religious Experience, ed. Neal E. Lambert (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1981), 233–244.
  3. Noel B. Reynolds, “The Israelite Background of Moses Typology in the Book of Mormon,” BYU Studies 44, no. 2 (2005): 5–23.
  4. Noel B. Reynolds, “Lehi as Moses,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 9, no. 2 (2000): 26–35.
  5. S. Kent Brown, “The Exodus Pattern in the Book of Mormon,” in From Jerusalem to Zarahemla: Literary and Historical Studies of the Book of Mormon (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1998), 75–98.
  6. Robert E. Clark, “The Type at the Border: An Inquiry into Book of Mormon Typology,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 2, no. 2 (1993): 63–77.
  7. George S. Tate, “The Typology of the Exodus Pattern in the Book of Mormon,” in Literature of Belief: Sacred Scripture and Religious Experience, ed. Neal E. Lambert (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1981), 245–262.

Geography

  1. John L. Sorenson, Mormon’s Codex: An Ancient American Book (Salt Lake City and Provo, UT: Deseret Book and Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, 2013), 17, 119.
  2. John E. Clark, “A Key for Evaluating Nephite Geography,” Review of Books on the Book of Mormon 1 (1989): 20–70; updated as John E. Clark, “Revisiting ‘A Key for Evaluating Book of Mormon Geographies’,” Mormon Studies Review 23, no. 1 (2011): 13–43.
  3. Randall P. Spackman, “Interpreting Book of Mormon Geography,” FARMS Review 15, no. 1 (2003): 19–46.
  4. Dennis L. Largey, et al., “Geography,” in Book of Mormon Reference Companion, ed. Dennis L. Largey (Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 2003), 288–291.
  5. John E. Clark, “Book of Mormon Geography,” in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 4 vols., ed. Daniel H. Ludlow (New York, NY: Macmillan Publishing, 1992), 176–179.
  6. John L. Sorenson, Mormon’s Map (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2000).

Competing Religious Ideologies

  1. Parrish Brady and Shon Hopkin, “The Zoramites and Costly Apparel: Symbolism and Irony,” Journal of the Book of Mormon and Other Restoration Scripture 22, no. 1 (2013): 40–53.
  2. Brant A. Gardner and Mark Alan Wright, “The Cultural Context of Nephite Apostasy,” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 1 (2012): 25–55.

Embedded Flashbacks

  1. Book of Mormon Central, “Why Did Mormon Include Flashbacks in His Narrative? (Alma 21:13),” KnoWhy 129 (June 24, 2016).
  2. Grant Hardy, Understanding the Book of Mormon: A Reader’s Guide (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2010), 104–105.

Political Histories

  1. John L. Sorenson, “Mormon's Sources,” Journal of Book of Mormon and Other Restoration Scripture 20, no. 2 (2011): 2–15.
  2. John L. Sorenson, Mormon’s Codex: An Ancient American Book (Salt Lake City and Provo, UT: Deseret Book and Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, 2013), 189.

Editorial Prefaces and Conclusions

  1. Thomas W. Mackay, “Mormon as Editor: A Study in Colophons, Headers, and Source Indicators,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 2, no. 2 (1993): 90–109.
  2. John A. Tvedtnes, “Colophons in the Book of Mormon,” in Reexploring the Book of Mormon: A Decade of New Research, ed. John W. Welch (Salt Lake City and Provo UT: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1992), 13–17.
  3. John A. Tvedtnes, “Colophons in the Book of Mormon,” in Rediscovering the Book of Mormon: Insights You May Have Missed Before, ed. John L. Sorenson and Melvin J. Thorne (Salt Lake City and Provo, UT: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1991), 32–37.

Intertextuality

  1. Book of Mormon Central, “Why Did Lehi Quote from a Psalm of Repentance in His Dream? (1 Nephi 8:8),” KnoWhy 325 (July 12, 2017).
  2. Book of Mormon Central, “Where did Moroni Get the Sacramental Prayers from? (Moroni 4:1),” KnoWhy 250 (December 12, 2016).
  3. Book of Mormon Central, “Why Do So Many of Mormon’s Teachings Appear in Ether 4 and 5? (Ether 4:19),” KnoWhy 239 (November 25, 2016).
  4. Book of Mormon Central, “Why Did Ammon Borrow So Much from Tradition in Alma 26? (Alma 26:8),” KnoWhy 133 (June 30, 2016).
  5. Book of Mormon Central, “Why Does Jacob Quote So Much from the Psalms? (Jacob 1:7),” KnoWhy 62 (March 25, 2016).
  6. Book of Mormon Central, “Why Does Nephi Quote a Temple Psalm While Commenting on Isaiah? (2 Nephi 25:16),” KnoWhy 51 (March 10, 2016).
  7. Book of Mormon Central, “Whom Did Nephi Quote in 1 Nephi 22? (1 Nephi 22:1),” KnoWhy 25 (February 3, 2016).
  8. Nicholas J. Frederick, “Evaluating the Interaction between the New Testament and the Book of Mormon: A Proposed Methodology,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 24, no. 1 (2015).
  9. Quinten Barney, “Samuel the Lamanite, Christ, and Zenos: A Study of Intertextuality,” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 18 (2016): 159–170.

Weights and Measures

  1. John W. Welch, “Weighing and Measuring in the Worlds of the Book of Mormon,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 8, no. 2 (1999): 36–45.
  2. John W. Welch, “The Laws of Eshnunna and Nephite Economics,” in Pressing Forward with the Book of Mormon: The FARMS Updates of the 1990s, ed. John W. Welch and Melvin J. Thorne (Provo, UT: FARMS, 1999), 147–149.
  3. John W. Welch, “The Law of Mosiah,” in Reexploring the Book of Mormon: A Decade of New Research, ed. John W. Welch (Salt Lake City and Provo, UT: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1992), 158–161.

Lineage Histories

  1. Book of Mormon Central, “Why Do the Authors on the Small Plates Follow a Pattern? (Jacob 7:27),” KnoWhy 74 (April 8, 2016).
  2. John L. Sorenson, Mormon’s Codex: An Ancient American Book (Salt Lake City and Provo, UT: Deseret Book and Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, 2013), 189–203.
  3. John S. Tanner, “Jacob and his Descendants as Authors,” in Rediscovering the Book of Mormon: Insights You May Have Missed Before, ed. John L. Sorenson and Melvin J. Thorne (Salt Lake City and Provo, UT: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1991), 52–66.
  4. John W. Welch, “The Father’s Command to Keep Records in the Small Plates of Nephi,” FARMS Preliminary Report (September 1984).

Hebraisms

  1. Carl J. Cranney, “The Deliberate Use of Hebrew Parallelisms in the Book of Mormon,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 23 (2014): 140–165.
  2. John A. Tvedtnes, “Hebraisms in the Book of Mormon,” in Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics, 4 vols., ed. Geoffrey Khan (Leiden: Brill, 2013), 2:195–196.
  3. Donald W. Parry, Poetic Parallelisms in the Book of Mormon: The Complete Text Reformatted (Provo, UT: Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, 2007).
  4. Hugh W. Pinnock, Finding Biblical Hebrew and Other Ancient Literary Forms in the Book of Mormon (Provo, UT: FARMS, 1999).
  5. William J. Adams Jr., “Nephi's Written Language and the Standard Biblical Hebrew of 600 BC,” in Glimpses of Lehi’s Jerusalem, ed. John W. Welch, David Rolph Seely, and Jo Ann H. Seely (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2004), 81–130.  
  6. Donald W. Parry, “Hebraisms and Other Ancient Peculiarities in the Book of Mormon,” in Echoes and Evidences of the Book of Mormon, ed. Donald W. Parry, Daniel C. Peterson, and John W. Welch (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2002), 156–189.
  7. John A. Tvedtnes, “The Hebrew Background of the Book of Mormon,” in Rediscovering the Book of Mormon: Insights You May Have Missed Before, ed. John L. Sorenson and Melvin J. Thorne (Provo, UT: FARMS, 1991), 77–91.

Analogies

  1. Book of Mormon Central, “Why Did Jacob Share the Allegory of the Olive Tree? (Jacob 4:17),” KnoWhy 66 (March 30, 2016).
  2. Stephen D. Ricks and John W. Welch, eds., The Allegory of the Olive Tree: The Olive, the Bible, and Jacob 5 (Salt Lake City and Provo, UT: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1994).

Realistic Naming Conventions

  1. Book of Mormon Onomasticon at onoma.lib.byu.edu.
  2. Sharon Black, Brad Wilcox, Wendy Baker Smemoe, and Bruce L. Brown, “Absence of ‘Joseph Smith’ in the Book of Mormon: Lack of the Name Letter Effect in Nephite, Lamanite, and Jaredite Names,” Religious Educator 17, no. 2 (2016): 36–55.
  3. Stephen D. Ricks, “Some Notes on Book of Mormon Names,” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 4 (2013): 155–160.
  4. Sharon Black and Brad Wilcox, “188 Unexplainable Names: Book of Mormon Names No Fiction Writer Would Choose,” Religious Educator 12, no. 2 (2011): 118–133.

Pervasive Early Modern English

  1. Stanford Carmack, “Is the Book of Mormon a Pseudo-Archaic Text?Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 28 (2018): 177–232.

Interweaving Narratives

  1. Book of Mormon Central, “Why Did Mormon Include Flashbacks in His Narrative? (Alma 21:13),” KnoWhy 129 June 24, 2016).
  2. Grant Hardy, Understanding the Book of Mormon: A Reader’s Guide (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2010), xvii.

Consistent Usage of Words and Phrases

  1. Royal Skousen, “The Original Text of the Book of Mormon and its Publication by Yale University Press,” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 7 (2013): 93–95.
  2. Royal Skousen, “The Systematic Text of the Book of Mormon,” in Uncovering the Original Text of the Book of Mormon: History and Findings of the Critical Text Project, ed. M. Gerald Bradford and Alison V. P. Coutts, 45–66 (published in lieu of Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 11, no. 2 [2002]).

Calendar Systems

  1. Mark Alan Wright, “Nephite Daykeepers: Ritual Specialists in Mesoamerica and the Book of Mormon,” in Ancient Temple Worship: Proceedings of the Expound Symposium, 14 May 2011, ed. Matthew B. Brown, Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, Stephen D. Ricks, and John S. Thompson (Salt Lake City and Orem, UT: Eborn Books and Interpreter Foundation, 2014), 243–257.
  2. John L. Sorenson, Mormon’s Codex: An Ancient American Book (Salt Lake City and Provo, UT: Deseret Book and Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, 2013), 192–195, 434–442.
  3. Randall P. Spackman, A Source Book for Book of Mormon Chronology, online at bookofmormonchronology.net.

Multiple Literary Genres

  1. James T. Duke, The Literary Masterpiece Called the Book of Mormon (Springville, UT: Cedar Fort, Inc., 2004).
  2. David E. Bokovoy and John A. Tvedtnes, Testaments: Links between the Book of Mormon and the Hebrew Bible (Toelle, UT: Heritage Press, 2003).
  3. Richard Dilworth Rust, Feasting on the Word: The Literary Testimony of the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City and Provo, UT: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1997).
  4. Stephen D. Ricks, ed., Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 4, no. 1 (1995).

Realistic Demographic Data

  1. John E. Clark, “Archaeology, Relics, and Book of Mormon Belief,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 14, no. 2 (2005): 38–49, 71–74.
  2. James E. Smith, “Nephi’s Descendants? Historical Demography and the Book of Mormon,” Review of Books on the Book of Mormon 6, no. 1 (1994): 255–296.
  3. John L. Sorenson, “When Lehi's Party Arrived in the Land Did They Find Others There?,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 1, no. 1 (1992): 1–34.

Authentic Legal Cases

  1. John W. Welch, The Legal Cases in the Book of Mormon (Provo, UT: BYU Press and the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, 2008).

 

DONATE