The "Perfect Pattern": The Book of Mormon as a Model for the Writing of Sacred History

The "Perfect Pattern": The Book of Mormon as a Model for the Writing of Sacred History
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The "Perfect Pattern": The Book of Mormon as a Model for the Writing of Sacred History

Author Eric C. Olson

In his article "How Should Our Story Be Told?" Robert L. Millet argued that Latter-day Saint history as a 'sacred saga" should be presented in a manner that expressly bears witness of God' s hand and does not dilute that witness by emphasizing mortal weaknesses. While Millet's principal support for this proposition consisted of various quotes from modern Church leaders, he did cite the Book of Mormon prophets Nephi and Jacob to the effect that their records included those things "most precious" to them "the things that are pleasing unto God" (1 Ne. 6:5; Jacob 1:3). Without offering either support or explanation, Millet declared, "It may well be that the perfect pattern for the writing of our story" a sacred history is contained in the Book of Mormon.

As a believer in the Book of Mormon, I was attracted by this assertion. Like so many statements born of deep belief and devotion, it sounds so good that it must be true. Yet, on examination, the assertion is more easily made than explained, defended, or applied. The purpose of this article is to consider what pattern for historical writing, if any, the Book of Mormon contains and whether it is a "perfect pattern" for recording the history of the Restoration.