“And It Came to Pass”

“And It Came to Pass” in the Book of Mormon

Since space on the plates was so precious (Jacob 1:1; Jarom 1:2, 14; Omni 1:30), why was the expression “and it came to pass” used so often, taking up so much space in the record?

Mormon Gold PlatesThe Hebrew expression rendered “and it came to pass” in English is also found in the Bible. It is a necessary part of the Hebrew language, where it comprises only four letters linked together wyhy, meaning “and it happened.” The letters representing w and y are the smallest in the Hebrew alphabet. The Nephites, who used Egyptian characters to keep the record contained in the Book of Mormon (1 Nephi 1:2; Mormon 9:32-34), may have used an abbreviation for this and other common expressions, thus taking even less space on the plates. Abbreviations are known to have been used by Bible scribes.[i]

A single glyph is used to represent the same idea in the Mayan language, leading some Latter-day Saint scholars to suggest that Mayan may have borrowed the idea from the Hebrew of the Nephites.

[i] G. R. Driver, “Abbreviations in the Massoretic Text,” Textus I (1960) 112-31; “Once Again, Abbreviations,” Textus IV (1964), 76-94.