Book Of Mormon Articles

Articles about the Book of Mormon

This section lists all the articles about the Book of Mormon written by John A. Tvedtnes that are avilable on this website. [Click here for a list of off-site articles on the Book of Mormon by Tvedtnes.]

Book of MormonThe Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ

One of the most popular books in the world, after the Bible, is the Book of Mormon.  Since it was first published in 1830, 78 million copies have been published in 94 languages. (Read more)

The Book of Mormon Helps Us Understand the Bible

One of the purposes of the Book of Mormon is to lend support to the Bible.  About four centuries after the coming of Jesus Christ to visit the Nephites in the New World, Mormon wrote, “this [the Book of Mormon] is written for the intent that ye may believe that [the Bible]. (Read more)

The Book of Mormon and Other Ancient Documents

When the Book of Mormon was first published in English in 1830, it seemed rather an anomaly, despite its biblical tone.  No one had ever heard of ancient books being written on metallic plates and hidden in stone boxes.  Moreover, it claimed to have been originally written in a “reformed Egyptian” script by ancient Israelites.  Critics were quick to ridicule these ideas.  But all that changed in the mid-twentieth century. (Read more)

The Language of the Book of Mormon

Moroni, the last of the prophets who kept the record known as the Book of Mormon, wrote, “we have written this record according to our knowledge, in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech.  (Read more)

The Book of Mormon and Ancient Israel

According to the Book of Mormon, its authors were prophets descended from Israelites who came to the New World about six hundred years before Christ.  When Lehi, their first prophet, left Jerusalem, Solomon’s temple was still in use. (Read more)

Who Wrote 4 Nephi?

I received an inquiry from a gospel doctrine teacher who wanted to know who wrote 4 Nephi, i.e., was it Jesus’ disciple Nephi or his son, also named Nephi?  (Read more)

Idolatry in the Book of Mormon

Describing the wickedness of his time, Mormon wrote that the Lamanites marched “against the city Teancum, and did drive the inhabitants forth out of her, and did take many prisoners both women and children, and did offer them up as sacrifices unto their idol gods. (Read more)

Fulness of the Gospel

Has the fact that we have had the Book of Mormon with us for over a century and a half made it seem less significant to us today? Do we remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon? (Read more)

The Sermon on the Mount

One of the most beautiful sections of the gospels is the sermon delivered by Jesus on a mountain beside the city of Capernaum. (Read more)

Directions in the Book of Mormon

A correct understanding of compass directions is essential to an understanding of geography as depicted in the Book of Mormon. (Read More)

Child of the Devil

The Book of Mormon prophet Alma2 occasionally described the wicked as “children of the devil” (Alma 5:25; cf. Alma 30:60) and designated the sinful individual as “a child of the devil” (Alma 5:39-41). (Read More)

“My Servant Gazelam”

In earlier editions of the Doctrine and Covenants (before 1981), the code-word Gazelam was used to denote the prophet Joseph Smith (D&C 78:9; 82:11; 104:26, 43). He is apparently the “servant Gazelem” to whom Alma 37:23-25 refers. (Read More)

Likening the Scriptures

The Book of Mormon prophet Nephi1 drew upon Old Testament books to “liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning” and exhorted his followers to read the scriptures and to “liken them unto yourselves” (1 Nephi 19:23-24). His brother Jacob followed his example (2 Nephi 6:5; 11:2, 8). Modern prophets and apostles have repeatedly asked us to liken the scriptures to ourselves. This is why our Gospel Doctrine curriculum is based on the scriptures, the standard works of the Church. (Read More)

More on the Name ALMA

Studies published in the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies have noted that the personal name Alma is attested from one of the Bar Kochba documents as well as in documents from ancient Ebla.  We should now note that the name is also known as that of a place in ancient Palestine. (Read More)

Signs of Christ’s Death and Resurrection

Speaking to the Nephites in the land of Zarahemla, the Lamanite prophet Samuel detailed the signs that would accompany the death of Christ:

“in that day that he shall suffer death the sun shall be darkened and refuse to give his light unto you; and also the moon and the stars; and there shall be no light upon the face of this land . . . for the space of three days . . . Yea, at the time that he shall yield up the ghost there shall be thunderings and lightnings for the space of many hours, and the earth shall shake and tremble; and the rocks which are upon the face of this earth . . . shall be broken up . . . And behold, there shall be great tempests, and there shall be many mountains laid low, like unto a valley, and there shall be many places which are now called valleys which shall become mountains, whose height is great. And many highways shall be broken up, and many cities shall become desolate. And many graves shall be opened, and shall yield up many of their dead; and many saints shall appear unto many . . . there should be thunderings and lightnings for the space of many hours . . . while the thunder and the lightning lasted, and the tempest, that these things should be, and that darkness should cover the face of the whole earth for the space of three days” (Helaman 14:20-27). (Read More)

Priests and Princes

Though the term “priest” usually denotes a religious office, there are instances where it refers to a political office. Even after Alma1 became high priest in the city of Zarahemla and had ordained other priests (Mosiah 25:19-21; 26:7-8), King Mosiah still kept at court a cadre of “priests” to counsel him. “And Mosiah consulted with his priests” (Mosiah 27:1). In the city of Lehi-Nephi, wicked King Noah deposed the “priests” who had been appointed by his father Zeniff and replaced them with his own “priests,” of whom Alma was one (Mosiah 11:4-8). Though they were charged with teaching religious principles from the law of Moses (Mosiah 12:25-3), these priests were supported from the taxes the king imposed on his people (Mosiah 11:1-14; 21:30). (Read More)

Large in Stature

“I, Nephi, being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature, and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father; wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers” (1 Nephi 2:16).

Nephi’s description of himself includes the fact that, though yet in his youth, he was “large in stature,” which seems unrelated to his “great desires to know of the mysteries of God.” On a subsequent occasion, his physical endowments did play a role, for he wrote, “I, Nephi, being a man large in stature, and also having received much strength of the Lord, therefore I did seize upon the servant of Laban, and held him, that he should not flee” (1 Nephi 4:31). From passages like these, one gets the impression that large stature and physical strength were qualities admired in Nephite society, even when the strong man was an enemy of the people. (Read More)

The Holy Order

The Book of Mormon frequently refers to the “holy order” in the same sense in which we use “priesthood” in the restored Church. For example, Nephi’s younger brother declared, “I, Jacob, having been called of God, and ordained after the manner of his holy order, and having been consecrated by my brother Nephi” (2 Nephi 6:2). Similarly, Alma2 declared, “I am called to speak after this manner, according to the holy order of God, which is in Christ Jesus” (Alma 5:44). “[T]his is the order after which I am called, yea, to preach unto my beloved brethren” (Alma 5:49). He had “delivered up the judgment-seat to Nephihah, and confined himself wholly to the high priesthood of the holy order of God, to the testimony of the word, according to the spirit of revelation and prophecy” (Alma 4:20). He taught “the holy order by which he was called” (Alma 6:8; 8:4). (Read More)

Mary and the Tree of Life

When Nephi asked his angelic guide to explain the meaning of the tree of life that he and his father had seen in vision, the angel showed him a vision of the virgin Mary in the town of Nazareth and the mission and life of her son Jesus (1 Nephi 11:9-22). Daniel C. Peterson has suggested that Nephi, knowing that the tree represented the Canaanite goddess Asherah, who was the “mother of the gods” and whose symbol was a tree or a grove of trees, readily made the tie with Mary, the mother of Jesus. In the account of his vision, Nephi called her “the mother of God” (verse 18). (Read More)

Three Days Journey for Sacrifice

“And it came to pass that when he had traveled three days in the wilderness, he pitched his tent in a valley by the side of a river of water. And it came to pass that he built an altar of stones, and made an offering unto the Lord, and gave thanks unto the Lord our God.” (1 Nephi 2:6-7) (Read More)

Reformed Egyptian

The Book of Mormon, according to one of its writers, Moroni, was written using “reformed Egyptian” characters, though the Nephites also knew Hebrew (Mormon 9:32-34). Another of its writers, Nephi, said he employed the “language of the Egyptians” to make his record (1 Nephi 1:2). It may seem strange that the ancient Israelites who wrote the Book of Mormon should use an Egyptian writing system. But there are precedents for this practice and we now know that several writing systems of the ancient Near East were borrowed from Egyptian. (Read More)

Coming Forth of the Book of Mormon

The Title Page of the Book of Mormon informs us that Mormon’s abridgment of the Nephite records was “To come forth by the gift and power of God unto the interpretation thereof . . . The interpretation thereof by the gift of God.” The idea is also found in the Testimony of Three Witnesses (published at the beginning of the Book of Mormon since 1830), in D&C 135:3, and in Joseph Smith’s declaration, “Through the medium of the Urim and Thummim I translated the record by the gift and power of God” (History of the Church 4:537). (Read More)

Ancient Israelite Synagogues

It was long thought by historians that no synagogues existed prior to the final destruction of the Jerusalem temple in AD 70. This would mean that references to synagogues in the New Testament (65 times) would be anachronistic and mention of synagogues in the Book of Mormon (26 times) would be even more so, since Lehi left Jerusalem about 600 BC. Only one passage in the King James version (KJV) of the Old Testament (Psalm 74:8) employs the word “synagogues.” Though it denotes meeting places in this passage, the Hebrew word appears in many other passages and is more often translated “set time” in KJV. (Read More)

Signs of Christ’s Death and Resurrection

Some signs of Christ’s death and resurrection mentioned in the Book of Mormon but not in the Bible are supported by nonscriptural ancient texts.

(Read More)

Near East Expert Adds Support for Book of Mormon

“There does appear to be evidence that Joseph Smith had studied some Egyptian. For one thing, he undoubtedly spent a great deal of money and effort in trying to master Egyptian, but, as you know, when the Book of Mormon was written, Egyptian had just begun to be deciphered and it is all the more surprising that there are two Egyptian names, Paanch and Pahor(an) which appear together in the Book of Mormon in close connection with a reference to the original language as being ‘Reformed Egyptian’.” (Read More)

Another Parallel to King Benjamin’s Tower

For the two-volume Festschrift published in honor of Hugh Nibley for his 80th birthday, I noted that the “tower” upon which the Nephite king Benjamin stood while addressing his people assembled around the temple was actually the platform (from the Hebrew term usually rendered “tower”) from which Israelite kings addressed the people during the feast of Tabernacles. I also noted other parallels between Benjamin’s assembly and the annual celebration in ancient Israel. Since then, I have noted an Arabic text that attributes similar actions to Adam, first king of mankind. (Read More)

Kings and Judges in the Bible and the Book of Mormon

Both the Bible and the Book of Mormon mention rule by kings and judges. The office of judge existed in the time of Moses, who had commanded “the judges of Israel” to slay a group of sinners (Numbers 25:5). The mosaic law provided for judges to “hear the causes between your brethren,” making “diligent inquisition” of witnesses, and settling every “controversy between men” (Deuteronomy 1:5; 16:18; 19:17-19; 21:1-2; 25:1-2). Judges in the time of Joshua are listed with the elders and officers (Joshua 8:33; 23:2; 24:1). (Read More)

Steel Older Than Previously Thought

The Book of Mormon says that Nephi (ca. 600 BC) had a bow of “fine steel” (1 Nephi 16:28). Critics have long taken this to be anachronistic, claiming that steel is a modern invention.(Read More)

The Spirit and the Body

The Book of Mormon teaches a number of things about the spirit and body of human beings that are not known from elsewhere in the scriptures. These ideas are, however, known from Judaism, and are reflected in various ancient and medieval texts. (Read More)

Some Peculiarities of Jaredite Kingship

In the Mesopotamian region of the ancient Near East, whence the Jaredites came to the New World, kingship was considered (at least by the Sumerians) to have descended from heaven. I.e., it was established by the gods. This gave rise to the concept of divine kingship that later influenced many other countries, including those of Europe. (Read More)

Hebrew Words Reflected in the Book of Mormon

The most impressive “Hebraisms” in the Book of Mormon are words that reflect word-plays understandable only in Hebrew and words that are better understood in Hebrew terms than in English due to the range of meaning of the corresponding Hebrew words. (Read More)

Reflections on Nephi’s Vision in His Closing Chapters

Near the end of his life (2 Nephi chapters 31-33), as Nephi was winding down his writing on the “small plates” (Jacob 1:1), he bore testimony of Christ and reflected back on that same vision. (Read More)

The Timing of Christ’s Appearance to the Nephites

Most casual readers of the Book of Mormon probably conclude that Jesus Christ appeared to the Nephites immediately after the great cataclysm accompanying the crucifixion, when the thick vapor had dissipated. (Read More)

Human Sacrifice in the Book of Mormon

Human sacrifice is noted several times in the Book of Mormon. It was still being practiced when the Spanish arrived in the early 16th century AD. (Read More)