43. "How Could Ye Have Departed from the Ways of the Lord?" | BYU Studies

43. "How Could Ye Have Departed from the Ways of the Lord?"

Chart 13: "Book of Mormon Plates and Records," in Charting the Book of Mormon

Many ancient documents such as King Benjamin's speech or the plates of brass were quoted or abridged by the ancient authors who compiled the books found on the small and large plates of Nephi. The abridgments, quotations, and original writings of those Book of Mormon historians are displayed on the left-hand and middle columns of this chart and are then shown in relation to the new set of plates produced by Mormon and Moroni that was delivered to Joseph Smith by the angel Moroni. Joseph dictated the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon from the plates of Mormon. Copying that original manuscript, parts of which survive today, Oliver Cowdery prepared a printer's manuscript (owned by the RLDS Church). The first edition of the Book of Mormon was typeset from that printer's manuscript.

Chart 20: "Writings of Mormon," in Charting the Book of Mormon

Mormon, the chief abridger and editor of the full Book of Mormon, also added comments of his own to many of the books in that record, besides writing two books within the Book of Mormon that also bear his name (the Words of Mormon and the book of Mormon). As this chart demonstrates, his editorial commentaries, skillfully woven into the text of the primary authors, provide important explanations of human nature, the gathering of Israel, the Book of Mormon in the latter days, and the Savior's visit to the Americas. His own writings include, among other things (not all of which are listed on this chart), an autobiography and important sermons or letters on good works and infant baptism.

"The 'Author' and the 'Finisher' of the Book of Mormon," by John M. Butler, in Fourth Nephi, From Zion to Destruction

In the Church we speak of Jesus Christ as the author and finisher of our faith (Moroni 6:4; Heb. 12:2). This paper examines and compares Mormon as an "author" and Joseph Smith as a "finisher" of the Book of Mormon. Perhaps no other prophet personifies the preparation and achievements of Joseph Smith better than the prophet Mormon. He was a type for the Prophet Joseph--foreshadowing Joseph's life and important mission.

"Mormon, the Man and the Message," by Richard Neitzel Holzapfel, in Fourth Nephi, From Zion to Destruction

Mormon was not only the abridger of the plates, but he was a Nephite record-keeper, a general, an apostle and prophet, a father, and he may have also been a prophetic type.

"Ether and Mormon: Parallel Prophets of Warning and Witness," by E. Dale LeBaron, in The Book of Mormon: Fourth Nephi Through Moroni, From Zion to Destruction

This paper shows the similarities and differences of Ether and Mormon's ministries. Ether and Mormon were different in their backgrounds and situations, and similar in their missions and convictions.

"Mormon's Outline of the Book of Mormon," by LeGrand L. Baker, in Who Shall Ascend into the Hill of the Lord?: The Psalms in Israel's Temple Worship in the Old Testament and in the Book of Mormon

This short article structures the entire outline of the Book of Mormon, in order to see Mormon's logic in abridging the Book of Mormon. Mormon redacted and organized the Book of Mormon to emphasize the importance of covenants, ordinances, and the temple in many instances.

"Mormon, the Man and the Message," by Richard N. Holzapfel, in The Book of Mormon: Fourth Nephi Through Moroni, From Zion to Destruction

Mormon was not only the abridger of the plates, but he was a Nephite record-keeper, a general, an apostle and prophet, a father, and he may have also been a prophetic type.

"Mormon and Moroni: Father and Son," by Gary Layne Hatch, in The Book of Mormon: Fourth Nephi Through Moroni, From Zion to Destruction

This article provides commentary on Mormon's work as a general and abridger of records. He walks through the narrative of Mormon's life and comments on Moroni's relationship with his father. Through years of work and faith, Mormon and Moroni were able to compile the magnificent record of the Book of Mormon.

"Mormon's Agenda," by Grant Hardy, in Reexploring the Book of Mormon

This short piece highlights one of Mormon's main purposes in writing this sacred record. As he demonstrates in Helaman and Mosiah, Mormon wants to show that unless the Lord afflicts his people, they will not remember Him.

A Comprehensive Commentary of the Title Page of the Book of Mormon, by Paul Nolan Hyde

This volume provides extensive commentary on the Title Page of the Book of Mormon, written by the hand of Mormon. This title page serves as an introduction and preface to all that the reader encounters in the Book of Mormon, and reflects Mormon's own feelings about the work and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

"The Survivor and the Will to Bear Witness," by Gordon C. Thomasson, in Reexploring the Book of Mormon

In an interesting and unique approach, Thomasson shows that Mormon and other Book of Mormon authors demonstrate similar human reactions to those that experience horrific traumas. Survivors of Hitler's death camps seem to react in similar ways to Book of Mormon authors, who also witnessed human atrocities and genocide.

"Mormon and Moroni as Authors and Abridgers," by Roger R. Keller, in Reexploring the Book of Mormon

While many view Mormon as a passive compiler in creating the Book of Mormon, this article shows the different ways that he and Moroni actively interact with the sources. They even author entire chapters throughout the Book of Mormon in providing commentary on the narrative.

"I Make This Small Abridgment," by John A. Tvedtnes, in The Most Correct Book: Insights from a Book of Mormon Scholar

Through a comparison between the Book of Mormon and the Old Testament, Tvedtnes shows that the concept of abridging the records of former generations is a long-standing one in ancient Israel. Authors and redactors of the Old Testament abridged records similarly to how Mormon abridged the records in the Book of Mormon, and does not undermine the validity of the message.

"O Ye Fair Ones" - Revisited," by Matthew L. Bowen, in Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture

In the beginning of the Nephite record, Nephi extols his people for being "fair" and "beautiful." However, by the end of Nephite civilization, Mormon laments the fate of the now wicked Nephites by declaring "O ye fair ones." This demonstrates how the "unbelieving" descendants of the Nephites and Lamanites can again become the "good" and the "fair ones" by choosing to come unto Christ.

"Mormon as an Abridger of Ancient Records," by John A. Tvedtnes, in The Most Correct Book: Insights from a Book of Mormon Scholar

Tvedtnes seeks to show that Mormon, and not Joseph Smith, was the likely author and compiler of the Book of Mormon. He does show by noting where Mormon refers back to earlier sources, how he seamlessly implements flashbacks, and how he remains consistent through his whole text.

"Notes and Communication: The Hebrew Origin of Some Book of Mormon Place Names," by Stephen Ricks and John A. Tvedtnes, in Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 6, no. 2

The name "Cumorah" is mentioned in Mormon 6:6. Suggested etymologies range from a corruption of the biblical Gomorrah to a comparison with Qumran, the name of the site near the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. This article proposes that the most likely etymology comes from the Hebrew word for "priesthood."

"Cumorah and the Limited Mesoamerican Theory," by Andrew H. Hedges, in Religious Educator 10, no. 2

From the time the Book of Mormon was published, its readers have speculated about the hill Cumorah's geographical setting. This article contains the viewpoint of Andrew Hedges, that the hill Cumorah is not necessarily located in Mesoamerica, and that the hill does not need to be located close to where the other Book of Mormon events take place.

"Plausibility, Probability, and the Cumorah Question," by Matthew Roper, in Religious Educator: Perspectives on the Restored Gospel 10, no. 2

This paper is a response to Andrew Hedges's "Cumorah and the Limited Mesoamerican Theory". Roper argues that it is most plausible for the original hill Cumorah and the final battles to take place near the narrow neck of land described in the Book of Mormon

"Were There Two Cumorahs?" by Sidney B. Sperry, in Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 4, no. 1

No one doubts that the hill where Joseph Smith received the plates is known as Cumorah, but is the hill where the final battles between the Nephites and Lamanites took place another Cumorah? The book of Ether tells us that Omer traveled to this place of the last battles of the Nephites, and that the relatively short duration of this journey would not account for the three thousand miles from Middle America to New York. A similar journey was undertaken by Limhi's men, of equally short duration. The description of the geographical features around the final battle site is also at odds with the topography of present-day Cumorah.

"Number 24," by John W. Welch, in Reexploring the Book of Mormon

Welch discusses the significance of the number twenty-four in Biblical tradition, in light of Mormon 6:16 which laments how all were slain except for twenty-four people.

"Some Notes on Book of Mormon Names," by Stephen D. Ricks, in Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 4

Mormon 6:14 mentions a Nephite general named "Josh." This paper discusses the possible Hebrew root for this name, not as a short for "Joshua," but as a variant of "Josiah."