Why the Translation Process is the Best Evidence in Favor of the Book of Mormon

Many critics argue that the translation of the Book of Mormon as described by many witnesses is evidence that Joseph Smith was a fraud. A good summary of eye-witness testimony of the translation process can be found here. It is generally accepted by critics and apologists that Joseph Smith placed his own seer stone or the Nephite interpreters into a hat, looked inside, and dictated to his scribes what was revealed to him. It is my argument, however, that if it can be proved that Joseph Smith did in fact dictate the entire Book of Mormon in the way described by witnesses, that this is in fact the best evidence of Joseph Smith’s prophetic calling. Below is a list of some of the reasons why I believe this:

  1. The Number of Biblical References

There are hundreds of references to the Bible found in the Book of Mormon (I have counted well over 800 so far). These references include direct quotes, modified quotes, themes, doctrines, symbols, and names. Many of these references are seamlessly interwoven into the narrative with such subtlety as to go unnoticed by most. Joseph Smith would have needed to be familiar with the entire Bible and have memorized a lexicon of hundreds of Biblical phrases to repeat off the top of his head, and possibly review chapters of the Bible the night before translating so that he could memorize a few more to be used the next day. Some examples of Biblical references in the Book of Mormon can be found in my examination of 2 Nephi 9, Jacob 5, and Alma 5. Consistently using such a large number of Biblical references would make the dictation process extremely difficult and it is remarkable that the use of so many references was maintained for over 500 pages.

  1. The Genealogy of Ether

Moroni provides the genealogy of the prophet Ether, which is comprised of 30 names (Ether 1:6-32). This genealogy includes names from the Bible (i.e., Seth, Levi, Ether, Omer) and names modified from the Bible (i.e., Riplakish, Lib, Hearthom). Joseph Smith would have needed to memorize this list of 30 names or at least list them off the top of his head and then be committed to use them for the rest of his narrative in the Book of Ether. He then repeats this genealogy in reverse order over the 30+ pages of the Book of Ether, including the names and storylines of characters not found in the original genealogy. This would have been an arduous process for Joseph to have to repeatedly review the genealogy and dictate the stories of each of these individuals over the course of several days. Click here for a more in-depth analysis of the genealogy of Ether.

  1. Chiasmus

While I do not believe that the existence of chiasmus in the Book of Mormon is definitive proof of its authenticity (critics point out that other contemporary sources have used chiasmus), I do believe that within the context of the translation process it does provide strong evidence for Joseph Smith’s prophetic calling. Alma 36 is the prime example of chiasmus in the Book of Mormon, and a break-down of its structure can be found here. If Joseph had been dictating with his head buried in an empty hat while only stopping every 30 or so words for the scribe to repeat back what he had written, he would have had to memorize at least 15 themes to be repeated in reverse order over 30 verses when Alma is describing his conversion. It is unlikely that the chiasmus in Alma 36 appeared accidentally, and dictating it intentionally without notes would be an incredible feat.

  1. Unique Language of the Book of Mormon Authors

I do not know much about the science behind identifying an author’s written works based on analyzing the frequency of phrases unique to that author. Regardless, there are many phrases that are found exclusively in the writings of specific Book of Mormon authors that are not found in other authors’ writings. For example, the prophet Zenos uses phrases like “turn their hearts aside” and “in the midst of thy congregations,” which are phrases found in the Old Testament but not anywhere else in the Book of Mormon (click here for more examples). Not only are some of these phrases unique to certain prophets, but they are also found across several books (i.e., Jacob using unique phrases in 2 Nephi 9, and then using these phrases again in the Book of Jacob) suggesting Joseph Smith would have been cognizant that people would analyze whether his Book of Mormon characters had unique writing styles and would have intentionally varied their writing style to make sure it would stand up to scrutiny. This is a level of attention to detail that seems unlikely.

  1. The Structure of Jacob 5

Jacob 5 is a chapter in the Book of Mormon that is layered with complexity that suggests it was meticulously planned and not the product of a man who had a general idea of what he wanted to say and then dictated using his natural ability to speak off the top of his head. First, the length of the allegory of the olive tree is an impressive 77 verses. Second, it uses a variety of references to other Biblical doctrines and phrases and some are modified to fit specifically with the imagery of olive trees. Third, the phrasing of the chapter is structured so that over 20 phrases are repeated over the course of the 77 verses, suggesting Joseph would have needed to memorize these phrases to be repeated systematically and then incorporate them to reflect Biblical doctrines using the unique symbol of an olive tree.

  1. Names in the Book of Mormon

There are a few hundred names of people and places in the Book of Mormon. Many of these names are not found in the Bible. Many of these names, however, seem to be modified from certain root words in the Bible. Click here for a list of many of the names found in the Book of Mormon and their Biblical correlates. Joseph would have needed to identify names scattered across the Bible and then come up with creative ways of modifying and combining them (i.e., “Zarahemla” is a composite of “Zarah” and “Imla”). This would have been a complicated process which he would have needed to do while steeped in the translation. In addition, he would have to be familiar with the meaning of some Hebrew names such as “Ram” and “Zif” in order to use them correctly in the Book of Mormon (see references to “Ziff” and “Rameumptom” in the previously mentioned list of Book of Mormon names).

  1. Consistency in Geography

Whoever wrote the Book of Mormon had a clear picture of the locations where the events of the Book of Mormon took place. For instance, Nephi always describes traveling to Jerusalem as “going up to” Jerusalem, suggesting the author knew Jerusalem was on a hill (this is also consistent with the Bible). Another example is that the Nephites live in the land northward, but they always say they “go up” to the land southward, suggesting that author knew visually that the land southward was a higher physical elevation than the land northward. Click here for a closer look at some of the geographical consistencies in the Book of Mormon. Joseph would have needed to memorize the names and locations of Book of Mormon cities as well as the events that occurred in the narrative or at least be able to regularly reference a map while dictating in order to produce the consistency found in the Book of Mormon.

  1. Translating beginning with Mosiah

After Joseph and Martin Harris lost the first 116 pages of the Book of Mormon, there is strong evidence that they picked up the translation process from where they left off in the Book of Mosiah. They continued through the end of the Book of Moroni, and then returned and translated 1 Nephi through Words of Mormon. This would have been difficult because Joseph makes many references to events that happened to characters in the lost portion of the Book of Mormon that are referenced after the Book of Mosiah. The most cited example is Alma quoting Lehi in Alma 36:22 before Lehi’s quote had been written. Joseph would have needed to remember that he had quoted Lehi and then remember to review the manuscript when he dictated 1 Nephi 1:8 so he could create the exact original quote that Alma was citing. Again, this would have been a remarkable example of Joseph’s attention to detail.

Comparing Names in the Book of Mormon and the Bible

Much has been said about the origin of the unique names found in the Book of Mormon (BOM). Mormon apologists identify ancient correlates to these names that are not found in the Bible and suggest it is evidence of the BOM’s authenticity (see https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/Book_of_Mormon/Names), while critics argue that Joseph Smith simply stole names from the Bible and made a few minor changes to make them sound unique. For me, either argument isn’t particularly important. It could be argued that Joseph simply borrowed names from the Bible and changed them, but the fact that the names in the BOM are similar to other Semitic names is exactly what you would expect from an ancient record written by a people whose entire civilization is built upon the words contained in the brass plates. It would be easier to prove Joseph’s fraud if the names found in the BOM had no Semitic roots whatsoever.

I argue that it would have been easier for Joseph to either copy all names from the Bible or to make them up off the top of his head than to create some of the very creative names in the BOM which utilize various roots of other Biblical names. The following are some examples of BOM names and their Biblical correlates, based on my perusal of the Old and New Testaments. This is not intended to be a thorough review of all names found in the scriptures:

  1. Aaron (Mosiah 27:34)/(1 Chronicles 20:1)
  2. Abish (Alma 19:16)
    • Abishai (2 Samuel 19:21)
    • Achish (1 Samuel 29:2)
  3. Abinadi (Mosiah 12:1)
    • Abinadab (2 Samuel 6:3)
  4. Abinadom (Omni 1:10)
    • Abinadab (2 Samuel 6:3)
  5. Agosh (Ether 14:15)
    • Abishai (2 Samuel 19:21)
    • Goshen (Joshua 10:41)
  6. Ahah (Ether 1:9)
    • Ahi (1 Chronicles 7:34)
    • Aharah (1 Chronicles 8:1)
    • Ahava (Ezra 8:21)
    • Ahiah (1 Samuel 14:3)
  7. Akish (Ether 8:17)
    • Achish (1 Samuel 29:2)
    • Kish (1 Samuel 14:51)
  8. Alma (Alma 1:2)
    • Almon (Joshua 21:18)
  9. Amaleki (Omni 1:12)
    • Amalek (Exodus 17:8)
  10. Amalickiah (Alma 46:3)
    • Amalek (Exodus 17:8)
    • Zedekiah (Jeremiah 21:1)
  11. Amaron (Omni 1:3) / Ammaron (4 Nephi 1:49)
    • Amariah (Nehemiah 10:3)
    • Ammah (2 Samuel 2:24)
    • Beth-horon (Joshua 16:3)
  12. Amgid (Ether 10:32)
    • Amnon (2 Samuel 3:2)
    • Giddalti (1 Chronicles 25:29)
    • Gideon (Judges 7:1)
  13. Aminadab (Helaman 5:39)/(Numbers 7:12)
  14. Ammon (Mosiah 7:6)/(Joshua 13:25)
  15. Ammonihah (Alma 8:7)
    • Ammon (Joshua 13:25)
    • Ahiah (1 Samuel 14:3)
  16. Ammoron (Alma 52:3)
    • Ammon (Joshua 13:25)
    • Beth-horon (Joshua 16:3)
  17. Amnigaddah (Ether 1:15)
    • Amnon (2 Samuel 3:2)
    • Gad (2 Samuel 24:5)
    • Ammihud (1 Chronicles 7:26)
  18. Amnihu (Alma 2:15)
    • Ammihud (1 Chronicles 7:26)
    • Abihu (Exodus 24:1)
    • Amnon (2 Samuel 3:2)
  19. Amnor (Alma 11:6)
    • Amnon (2 Samuel 3:2)
    • Amorites (Exodus 3:17)
  20. Amos (4 Nephi 1:19)/(Amos 1:1)
  21. Amulek (Alma 10:2)
    • Amalek (Exodus 17:8)
  22. Amulon (Mosiah 23:31)
    • Ammon (Joshua 13:25)
    • Helon (Numbers 7:24)
  23. Antiparah (Alma 56:14)
    • Antioch (Acts 6:5)
    • Paran (Numbers 10:12)
  24. Archeantus (Moroni 9:2)
    • Archite (2 Samuel 17:14)
    • Leviticus (Leviticus 1:1)
  25. Boaz (Mormon 4:20)/(Ruth 4:13)
  26. Cezoram (Helaman 5:1)
    • Jehoram (2 Chroinicles 21:4)
    • Zorah (Judges 18:11)
  27. Chemish (Omni 1:9)
    • Carchemish (2 Chronicles 35:20)
  28. Cohor (Ether 7:20)
    • Kohath (1 Chronicles 23:6)
    • Hor (Numbers 20:22)
    • Nahor (Genesis 11:22)
  29. Com (Ether 1:13)
    • Milcom (2 Kings 23:13)
    • Coz (1 Chronicles 4:8)
  30. Corihor (Ether 7:3)
    1. Korah (Genesis 36:5)
    2. Hor (Numbers 20:22)
    3. Sihor (Jeremiah 2:18)
  31. Corom (Ether 1:20)
    • Horam (Joshua 10:33)
    • Beth-horon (Joshua 16:3)
  32. Cumeni (Alma 56:14)
    • Cuth (2 Kings 17:30)
    • Temeni (1 Chronicles 4:6)
  33. Cumorah (Mormon 6:2)
    • Gomorrah (Zephaniah 2:9)
    • Cuth (2 Kings 17:30)
    • Cushi (Zephaniah 1:1)
    • Cushan (Habukkuk 3:7)
    • Moriah (2 Chronicles 3:1)
  34. Emron (Moroni 9:2)
    • Shimron (Joshua 11:1)
  35. Etham (Ether 1:8)
    • Ethem (Numbers 33:6)
  36. Ezias (Helaman 8:20)
    • Ezion-Geber (1 Kings 22:48)
    • Esaias (Romans 10:16)
  37. Ezrom (Alma 11:6)
    • Ezra (Ezra 7:1)
    • Hezron (Genesis 46:9)
  38. Gad (3 Nephi 9:10)/(Joshua 13:24)
  39. Gadiandi (3 Nephi 9:8)
    • Gad (Joshua 22:9)
    • Gideon (Judges 7:1)
    • Giddalti (1 Chronicles 25:29)
  40. Gadianton (4 Nephi 1:42)
    • Gad (Joshua 22:9)
    • Gideon (Judges 7:1)
    • Eshton (1 Chronicles 4:12)
  41. Gadiomnah (3 Nephi 9:8)
    • Gad (Joshua 22:9)
    • Gideon (Judges 7:1)
    • Dimnah (Joshua 21:35)
  42. Gazelem (Alma 37:23)
    • Gazez (1 Chronicles 2:46)
    • Jerusalem (Matthew 2:1)
    • Gerizim (Judges 9:7)
  43. Gidgiddoni (3 Nephi 3:20) / Gidgiddonah (Mormon 6:13)
    • Iddo (2 Chronicles 13:22)
    • Hachmoni (1 Chronicles 27:32)
    • Megiddo (1 Kings 9:15)
    • Gideon (Judges 7:1)
    • Gudgodah (Deuteronomy 10:7)
  44. Giddianhi (3 Nephi 3:12)
    • Giddalti (1 Chronicles 25:29)
    • Gideon (Judges 7:1)
  45. Gilgah (Ether 6:14)
    • Bilgah (1 Chronicles 24:14)
    • Gilgal (1 Samuel 13:4)
  46. Gilgal (3 Nephi 9:7)/(Deuteronomy 11:30)
  47. Hagoth (Alma 63:5)
    • Havoth (Numbers 32:41)
    • Haggith (1 Kings 1:11)
  48. Hearthom (Ether 10:30)
    • Hotham (1 Chronicles 7:32)
  49. Helam (Mosiah 18:12)/(2 Samuel 10:16)
  50. Helaman (Alma 36:3)
    • Heman (1 Chronicles 2:6)
    • Helam (2 Samuel 10:16)
  51. Hermounts (Alma 2:37)
    • Mount Hermon (Psalm 133:3)/(Deuteronomy 3:8)
  52. Heshlon (Ether 13:28)
    • Heshbon (Deuteronomy 3:6)
    • Helon (Numbers 7:24)
  53. Himni (Alma 23:1)
    • Hinnom (Joshua 17:2)
    • Temeni (1 Chronicles 4:6)
    • Timnah (Joshua 15:57)
  54. Jacobugath (3 Nephi 9:9) (I find this one funny because some critics point to city names in the region where Joseph grew up such as “Jacobsburg” as evidence that the Book of Mormon was made up based on his personal experience. Jacobugath’s connection to the Bible, however, is much more compelling than believing Joseph based the name “Jacobugath” on the name “Jacobsburg”)
    • Jacob (Genesis 25:26)
    • Gath (2 Chronicles 11:8)
    • Jotbath (Deuteronomy 10:7)
  55. Jacom (Ether 6:14)
    • Jacob (Genesis 25:26)
    • Milcom (2 Kings 23:13)
  56. Jared (Ether 1:32)/(Genesis 5:15)
  57. Jashon (Mormon 2:16)
    • Jashen (2 Samuel 23:32)
    • Jasher (Joshua 10:13)
  58. Jershon (Alma 27:22) (My Speculation: It is interesting to me that Gershom is the name given to Moses’ son because he said “I have been a stranger in a strange land.” The Anti-Nephi-Lehis were also strangers when they were forced out of their own lands and came as refugees to inherit the land given to them by the Nephites, which was called Jershon)
    • Gershom (Exodus 2:22)
    • Gershon (1 Chronicles 6:1)
  59. Jordan (1 Nephi 10:9)/(Joshua 4:16)
  60. Judah (1 Nephi 1:4)/(2 Chronicles 25:10)
  61. Kib (Ether 7:3)
    • Kibzaim (Joshua 21:22)
    • Kibroth-hataavah (Numbers 3:16)
  62. Kishkumen (Helaman 2:3)
    • Kish (1 Samuel 14:51)
    • Temeni (1 Chronicles 4:6) (See “Cumeni”)
  63. Korihor (Alma 30:12)
    • Korah (Genesis 36:5)
    • Shihor (1 Chronicles 13:5)
    • Nahor (Genesis 11:22)
  64. Laban (1 Nephi 3:3)/(Genesis 24:29)
  65. Lachoneus (3 Nephi 6:6)
    • Lachish (Joshua 10:3)
  66. Lamoni (Alma 19:33)
    • Lamech (Genesis 5:28)
    • Hachmoni (1 Chronicles 27:32)
  67. Leah (Alma 11:17)/(Genesis 29:24)
  68. Levi (Ether 1:20)/(Genesis 46:11)
  69. Lib (Ether 1:18)
    • Libni (1 Chronicles 6:17)
    • Libnah (Joshua 15:42)
  70. Limhi (Mosiah 7:9)
    • Libni (1 Chronicles 6:17)
  71. Limnah (Alma 11:10)
    • Libnah (Joshua 15:42)
    • Dimnah (Joshua 21:35)
  72. Luram (Moroni 9:2)
    • Ludim (Genesis 10:13)
  73. Mahah (Ether 6:14)
    • Mahath (1 Chronicles 6:35)
    • Mahazioth (1 Chronicles 25:4)
    • Mahalaleel (Genesis 5:12)
  74. Mathonihah (3 Nephi 19:4)
    • Mattaniah (1 Chronicles 9:15)
    • Matthias (Acts 1:23)
  75. Melek (Alma 8:3)
    • Melech (1 Chronicles 8:35)
    • Helek (Joshua 17:2)
  76. Middoni (Alma 22:1)
    • Middin (Joshua 15:61)
    • Iddo (2 Chronicles 13:22)
    • Hachmoni (1 Chronicles 27:32)
  77. Minon (Alma 2:24)
    • Pinon (Genesis 36:41)
  78. Mocum (3 Nephi 9:7)
    • Milcom (2 Kings 23:13)
    • Memucan (Esther 1:16)
  79. Morianton (Alma 59:5) / Moriancumer (Ether 2:13) (Morianton is another name critics like to point to, claiming it sounds similar to a place in the region where Joseph lived called Moravian Town. Once again, the Biblical connection seems much more plausible
    • Moriah (2 Chronicles 3:1)
    • Eshton (1 Chronicles 4:12)
  80. Moron (Ether 11:14)
    • Beth-horon (Joshua 16:3)
    • Merom (Joshua 11:5)
    • Shimron-meron (Joshua 12:20)
  81. Moroni (3 Nephi 8:9)
    • Moriah (2 Chronicles 3:1)
    • Hachmoni (1 Chronicles 27:32)
    • Beth-horon (Joshua 16:3)
    • Shiloni (Nehemiah 11:5)
    • Gideoni (Numbers 10:24)
  82. Mosiah (Omni 1:18)
    • Josiah (2 Chronicles 34:1)
  83. Neas (Mosiah 9:9)
    • Neah (Joshua 19:13)
  84. Nehor (Alma 1:15) / Nahom (1 Nephi 16:34)
    • Nahor (Genesis 11:22)
  85. Nimrah (Ether 9:8)/(Numbers 32:3)
  86. Nimrod (Ether 2:1)/(Genesis 10:8)
  87. Ogath (Ether 15:10)
    • Oboth (Numbers 33:43)
    • Gath (1 Chronicles 7:21)
  88. Omer (Ether 1:30)/(Exodus 16:36)
  89. Omner (Mosiah 27:34)
    • Omer (Exodus 16:32)
  90. Omni (Omni 1:1)
    • Omri (2 Chronicles 22:2)
  91. Paanchi (Helaman 1:3)
    • Maachah (1 Chronicles 9:35)
    • Malchi-shua (1 Chronicles 9:39)
    • Paran (Numbers 10:12)
  92. Pacumeni (Helaman 1:3)
    • Paran (Numbers 10:12)
    • Temeni (1 Chronicles 4:6)
  93. Pagag (Ether 6:25)
    • Agag (1 Samuel 15:32)
    • Magog (1 Chronicles 1:5)
    • Paran (Numbers 10:12)
  94. Pahoran (Alma 60:1)
    • Paran (Numbers 10:12)
    • Nahor (Genesis 11:22)
  95. Rabbanah (Alma 18:13) (This word means “great king,” while Rabboni means “Master.” If these words are linguistically similar, it would have been impressive for Joseph to include such an intricate detail of including a Biblical word which refers to someone of authority and modify it to be unique to the BOM. This connection is identified in the footnotes of Alma 18:13) 
    • Rabboni (John 20:16)
    • Rabbah (1 Chronicles 20:1)
  96. Rameumptom (Alma 31:21) [abarim-publications.com states the following about the name “Ram:” “The name Ram comes from the verb רום (rum), meaning to be high.” The name Rameumptom is the name given to a stand which is described as “high above the head” (Alma 31:13). See also https://onoma.lib.byu.edu/index.php/RAMEUMPTOM for a deeper analysis)
    • Ram (1 Chronicles 2:9)
  97. Riplah (Alma 43:35)
    • Riblah (Numbers 34:11)
  98. Riplakish (Ether 1:23) (Once again, critics point to Riplakish and Ripliancum (Ether 15:8) as being similar to a place near Joseph called Ripple Lake. The Biblical basis of the name is much more plausible
    • Riblah (Numbers 34:11)
    • Kish (1 Samuel 14:51)
  99. Sam (1 Nephi 2:5)
    1. Samson (Judges 15:16)
    2. Samuel (1 Samuel 4:1)
    3. Samlah (1 Chronicles 1:47)
  100. Sariah (1 Nephi 5:1)
    • Seraiah (Nehemiah 10:2)
  101. Senum (Alma 11:3)
    • Senuah (Nehemiah 11:9)
    • Shunem (Joshua 19:18)
  102. Seth (Ether 1:10)/(Genesis 4:25)
  103. Shazer (1 Nephi 16:13)
    • Jazer (Numbers 32:1)
    • Shamer (1 Chronicles 6:46)
  104. Shelem (Ether 3:1)
    • Helem (1 Chronicles 7:35)
    • Shelah (Genesis 46:12)
    • Shechem (Judges 21:19)
  105. Shem (Mormon 2:20)/(Genesis 9:18)
  106. Shemlon (Mosiah 10:7)
    • Shem (Genesis 9:18)
    • Helon (Numbers 7:24)
  107. Shemnon (3 Nephi 19:4)
    • Shem (Genesis 9:18)
    • Amnon (1 Chronicles 3:1)
  108. Sherem (Jacob 7:1)
    • Sherebiah (Nehemiah 10:12)
    • Sheresh (1 Chronicles 7:16)
    • Shechem (Judges 21:19)
  109. Sherrizah (Moroni 9:7)
    • Sheresh (1 Chronicles 7:16)
    • Mizzah (Genesis 36:13)
  110. Sheum (Mosiah 9:9)
    • Shunem (Joshua 19:18)
  111. Shez (Ether 1:25)
    • Shem (1 Chronicles 1:4)
  112. Shilom (Mosiah 9:6)
    • Shiloh (Judges 21:12)
    • Shillem (Genesis 46:24)
  113. Shim (Mormon 1:3)
    • Shimeath (2 Chronicles 24:26)
    • Shimi (Exodus 6:17)
    • Shimrith (2 Chronicles 24:26)
  114. Shiz (Ether 14:17)
    • Shiza (1 Chronicles 11:42)
  115. Sidom (Alma 15:1)
    • Sodom (Genesis 19:24)
    • Sidon (Genesis 10:15)
  116. Sidon (Alma 2:15)/(Genesis 10:15)
  117. Siron (Alma 39:3)
    • Sihon (Joshua 9:10)
    • Sirah (2 Samuel 3:26)
    • Sirion (Deuteronomy 3:9)
  118. Teomner (Alma 58:16)
    • Temeni (1 Chronicles 4:6)
    • Omer (Exodus 16:32)
  119. Tubaloth (Helaman 1:16)
    • Tubal (1 Chronicles 1:5)
    • Geliloth (Joshua 18:17)
    • Mikloth (1 Chronicles 9:37)
  120. Zarahemla (Omni 1:14)
    • Zerah (1 Chronicles 4:24)
    • Imla (2 Chronicles 18:8)
  121. Zeezrom (Alma 10:31)
    • Zeeb (Judges 7:25)
    • Hezron (Genesis 46:9)
    • See “Ezrom”
  122. Zemnarihah (3 Nephi 4:17)
    • Zemaraim (Joshua 18:22)
    • Ahiah (1 Samuel 14:3)
  123. Zenock (Alma 33:15)
    • Zadok (Ezekiel 44:15)
    • Enoch (Genesis 5:19)
  124. Zenos (Jacob 5:1)
    • Enos (Genesis 5:7)
  125. Zenephi (Moroni 9:16)
    • Zepheniah (Zepheniah 1:1)
  126. Zerahemnah (Alma 43:5)
    • Zerah (1 Chronicles 1:44)
    • Imnah (1 Chronicles 7:30)
  127. Zeram (Alma 2:22)
    • Zerah (1 Chronicles 1:44)
  128. Zerin (Ether 12:30)
    • Zeri (1 Chronicles 23:10)
  129. Ziff (Mosiah 11:3) = (What is interesting about this word is that it is an unknown substance that is part of a list of valuable metals such as gold, silver, and copper, that were taxed by King Noah. Alma says that metal plates upon which historical records were written must “retain their brightness” (Alma 37:5). The Biblical correlate “Zif” means “brightness” (biblehub.com). This connection is mentioned int the Topical Guide of the Book of Mormon)
    • Ziph (Joshua 15:24)
    • Zif (1 Kings 6:1)
  130. Zoram (1 Nephi 4:35)
    • Zorah (Judges 13:25)
    • Joram (1 Chronicles 26:25)
    • Horam (Joshua 10:33)

Consistência Interna no Livro de Mórmon: A Árvore de Vida e a Fonte de Águas Vivas

No Livro de Mórmon, o profeta Leí é mostrado uma visão onde ele vê pessoas segurando a uma barra de ferro ao tentar chegar à árvore de vida (1 Néfi 8). O filho de Leí, Néfi, deseja ver a visão de seu pai, e ao ponderar o que ouviu ele é mostrado a mesma visão e uma interpretaҫão de seu simbolismo (1 Néfi 11-14)

Néfi é mostrado a árvore de vida e descreve o seguinte:

  • “E eu olhei e vi uma árvore; e era semelhante à árvore que meu pai tinha visto; e sua beleza era tão grande, sim, que excedia toda beleza” (1 Néfi 11:8)

Néfi vê uma visão de Maria dando a luz ao Jesus Cristo, e depois o anjo que serve como guia para Néfi na visão pergunta-lo se ele soubesse o significado da árvore:

  • “Sabes tu o significado da árvore que teu pai viu?” (1 Néfi 11:21)
  • “E respondi-lhe, dizendo: Sim, é o amor de Deus, que se derrama no coração dos filhos dos homens” (1 Néfi 11:22)

Por alguma razão, porém, algúns versículos depois, ele refere à árvore de vida como “a fonte de águas vivas:”

  • “E aconteceu que vi que a barra de ferro que meu pai tinha visto era a palavra de Deus, que conduzia à fonte de águas vivas, ou seja, à árvore da vida; águas essas que eram um símbolo do amor de Deus; e também vi que a árvore da vida era um símbolo do amor de Deus” (1 Néfi 11:25)

Esta referência à “fonte de águas vivas” de repente aparece sem ser mencionado explícito na descriҫão da visão. Enquanto não sei o significado de usar os símbolos da fonte de águas vivas e a árvore de vida indiferentemenete, o que é mais interessante para mim é que talvez este relacionamento seja aludido centenas de páginas depois em Alma 32.

Alma explica aos Zoramitas que se eles exercerem fé e experimentarem em suas palavras, sua fé no evangelho podiam crescer a conhecimento perfeito que vai tornar-se uma árvore de video de qual fruto pode comer.

Alma diz:

  • “E assim, se não cultivardes a palavra, esperando com os olhos da fé o seu fruto, nunca podereis colher o fruto da árvore da vida. Se, porém, cultivardes a palavra, sim, cultivardes a árvore quando ela começar a crescer, com vossa fé, com grande esforço e com paciência, esperando o fruto, ela criará raiz; e eis que será uma árvore que brotará para a vida eterna.” (Alma 32:40-41)

Aqui não há menҫão à fonte de águas vivas. Porém, a frase “uma árvore que brotará para a vida eternal” é muito semelhante à frase usada por Jesus Cristo ao falar com a mulher de Samaria no fonte de Jacó e ele diz que pode dar-lhe águas vivas, de qual se ela bebesse jamais ter sede:

  • “Mas aquele que beber da água que eu lhe der nunca terá sede, porque a água que eu lhe der se fará nele uma fonte de água que salte para a vida eternal” (João 4:14)

Alma, não fazendo nenhuma menҫão comparando a árvore de vida à fonte de águas vivas, se usa a mesma frase para descrever a árvore de vida como foi usado pelo Salvador para descrever águas vivas. Enquanto esta conexão entre Néfi, Alma, e Jesus Cristo podia ocorrer por chance, creio que é uma chance peqeuninha que Joseph Smith usou as palavras do Salvador arbitrariamente pelo discurso feito por Alma sobre a fé para apoiar a comparaҫão feito por Néfi da árvore de vida e a fonte de águas vivas.

Para mim, é incrível que este relactionamento sinônimo entre a árvore de vida e a fonte de águas vivas, descrito casualmente em 1 Néfi 11, é também encontrado centenas de páginas depois em Alma 32. Para mim, esta conexão é mais um pedaҫo de uma grande colecҫão de evidência confirmando o Livro de Mórmon é a palavra de Deus.

Internal Consistency in the Book of Mormon: The Tree of Life and the Fountain of Living Waters

In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Lehi is shown a vision where he sees people holding to a rod of iron while trying to reach the tree of life (1 Nephi 8). Lehi’s son, Nephi, desires to see his father’s vision, and while pondering what he heard he is shown the same vision and an interpretation of its symbolism (1 Nephi 11-14).

Nephi is shown the tree of life and describes the following:

  • And I looked and beheld a tree; and it was like unto the tree which my father had seen; and the beauty thereof was far beyond, yea, exceeding of all beauty” (1 Nephi 11:8)

Nephi sees a vision of Mary giving birth to Jesus Christ, and then the angel who is guiding Nephi in the vision asks if he knows the meaning of the tree:

  • Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw?” (1 Nephi 11:21)
  • And I answered him, saying: Yea, it is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men” (1 Nephi 11:22)

For some reason, however, a few verses later he refers to the tree of life as “the fountain of living waters”:

  • I beheld that the rod of iron, which my father had seen, was the word of God, which led to the fountain of living waters, or to the tree of life; which waters are a representation of the love of God; and I also beheld that the tree of life was a representation of the love of God” (1 Nephi 11:25)

This reference to the “fountain of living waters” seems to come out of nowhere since it is not mentioned explicitly in the description of the vision. While I do not know the significance of using the symbols of the fountain of living waters and the tree of life interchangeably, what is most interesting to me is that this casually alluded to relationship may also be found hundreds of pages later in Alma 32.

Alma explains to the Zoramites that if they exercise faith and experiment upon his words, their faith in the gospel can grow into knowledge which will become a tree of life from which fruit they will be able to partake.

Alma states:

  • And thus, if ye will not nourish the word, looking forward with an eye of faith to the fruit thereof, ye can never pluck of the fruit of the tree of life. But if ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life” (Alma 32:40-41)

Here, there is no mention of the fountain of living waters. However, the phrase “a tree springing up unto everlasting life” is strikingly similar to a phrase used by Jesus Christ when talking with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well and he tells her that he can give her living waters, from which if she drinks she will never thirst again:

  • But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14)

Alma, making no overt reference comparing the tree of life to the fountain of living waters, uses the same phrase to describe the “tree of life” as the Savior does in describing “living waters.” While this connection between Nephi, Alma, and Jesus Christ may have occurred by chance, I believe it is nonetheless an extremely small chance that Joseph Smith arbitrarily used the Savior’s words for Alma’s discourse on faith to support Nephi’s comparison of the fountain of living waters and the tree of life.

To me, it is rather incredible that this synonymous relationship between the tree of life and the fountain of living waters, described almost in passing in 1 Nephi 11, is also found hundreds of pages away in Alma 32. For me, this is one more piece of a larger body of evidence confirming the Book of Mormon is the word of God.

Autoria do Livro de Mórmon: Frases únicas de vários profetas

Há muito escrito sobre quem é o verdadeiro autor do Livro de Mormon (LDM), tentando responder a perguntas como “Foi Joseph Smith que o escreveu?” “Joseph recebeu ajuda dos outros?” “Alguém além de Joseph o escreveu?” Algumas destas perguntas foram examinadas usando análises de “wordprint” para identificar quem escreveu o LDM (ver fairmormon). Enquanto não sou especialista nem tenho abilidade fazer análises de wordprints, há muitas frases idiomáticas que são encontradas nas palavras dos profetas do LDM que podem contribuir à crenҫa que seria muito difícil para Joseph prestar tanta atenҫão as detalhas dos escritos individuos de cada profeta achado no LDM. Os seguintes são algúns exemplos de frases que são únicas a profetas específicos no LDM:

  1. Em meio a tuas congregacões = Único ao profeta Zenos

O profeta Zenos é citado pelo menos três vezes no LDM e o estilo de cada citaҫão parece muito diferente que os escritos de qualquer outro profeta no LDM. Em esta situaҫão, o profeta Zenos se usa a frase seguinte:

  • “ Sim, ó Deus, foste misericordioso para comigo e ouviste os meus clamores em meio a tuas congregaҫões” (Alma 33:9)

A palavra “congregaҫão” está usado em somente uma outra instância no LDM nos capítulos de Isaías (2 Néfi 24:13/Isaías 14) e é achado apenas uma vez no Novo Testamento (Atos 13:43). A palavra aparece 333 vezes no Velho Testamento, e a mesma frase “em meio a tuas congregaҫões” é achado várias vezes (Números 16:47/Salmos 22:22/Provérbios 5:14). É interessante que esta frase seja achado apenas uma vez no LDM enteiro nos escritos do profeta Zenos, quem viveu muitos anos antes que Leí e sua família escapou Jerusalém, que linguagem é consistente com a linguagem do Velho Testamento.

  1. Desviado o coraҫão = Único ao profeta Zenos

Esta é uma frase interessante porque tem versões semelhantes que são achados algumas vezes no Velho Testamento (se ver 1 Samuel 12:20-21) mas ningumas são achadas no Novo Testamento nem nos escritos de outros profetas no LDM. Contribuindo a esta frase única é que é consistente com a contenҫão que Zenos existiu antes que 500 A.C. e possivelmente antes de Isaías. Os profetas do LDM tipicamente usam a frase “duro de coraҫão.”

  • “crucificam o Deus de Israel e desviam o coraҫão, rejeitando sinais e maravilhas” (1 Néfi 19:13)
  • “E por terem desviado o coraҫão, diz o profeta, e desprezado o Santo de Israel” (1 Néfi 19:14)
  • “não mais voltarem o coraҫão contra o Santo de Israel” (1 Néfi 19:15)
  1. Grande Criador = Único ao profeta Jacó

A palavra “Criador” é usado dez vezes no LDM, e apenas duas vezes no Novo Testamento e três vezes no Velho Testamento. Somente o profeta Jacó adiciona o adjetivo “grande” antes de dizer “criador.” Mesmo que não seja por si mesmo uma coisa maravilhosa, é muito interessante que aparece nos escritos de Jacó em 2 Néfi 9 e trinta páginas depois em Jacó 2. Não é somente único a Jacó, mas é único com a passagem do tempo no processo da traduҫão por Joseph Smith.

  • “porque é requerido do grande Criador que sujeite ao homem na carne” (2 Néfi 9:5)
  • “para que seja cumprido o plano misericordioso do grande Criador” (2 Néfi 9:6)
  • “portanto, em que sois vós melhores do que eles aos olhos de vosso grande Criador?” (Jacó 3:7)
  1. O Senhor Onipotente = Único ao rei Benjamim

Quando o rei Benjamim se convida seu povo fazer convênio tomar sobre si o nome de Cristo, ele e seu povo ambos se referem a Cristo como “o Senhor Onipotente.” A palavra “onipotente” aparece seis vezes no LDM, e todos são achados no discurso do rei Benjamim, e apenas uma vez em todas as outras escrituras (Apocalipse 19:6, “pois já o Senhor Deus Todo-Poderoso reina (a traduҫão em inglês diz “onipotente” em vez de “todo-poderoso”)).

  • “com poder, o Senhor Onipotente que reina, que era e é de toda a eternidade para toda a eternidade” (Mosias 3:5)
  • “a não ser em nome e pelo nome de Cristo, o Senhor Onipotente” (Mosias 3:17)
  • “pelo sangue expiatório de Cristo, o Senhor Onipotente” (Mosias 3:18)
  • “a não ser por meio de arrependimento e fé no nome do Senhor Deus Onipotente” (Mosias 3:21)
  • “por causa do Espírito do Senhor Onipotente que efetuou em nós” (Mosias 5:2)
  • “para que Cristo, o Senhor Deus Onipotente, possa selar-vos como seus” (Mosias 5:15)
  1. O Grande Deus = Único ao rei Ânti-Néfi-Leí

Há muitas vezes em que o Velho e Novo Testamentos tem a frase “grande Deus” (Salmo 95:3/Tito 2:13), mas é usado somente por uma pessoa no LDM; pelo rei Ânti-Néfi-Leí, um Lamanita, em seu discurso ao seu povo convidando-os que fazem convênio a não usar suas espadas para matar seus inimigos. Hà apenas duas outras frases semelhantes no LDM (Helamã 12:8: “nosso grande e eterno Deus”/Helamã 13:18 “nosso grande e verdadeiro Deus”), mas é interessante porque uma dessas frases foi dito por um Lamanita, e o outro por Mórmon, que esteve para escrever sobre Samuel o Lamanita um capítulo depois. É minhia opinião que o rei Ânti-Néfi-Leí se refere ao “grande Deus” por causa da crenҫa Lamanita que existe um “grande Espírito,” que aprendem que é o “grande Deus” quando Amon pregou ao rei Lamôni (Alma 18:24-29).

  • “Agradeҫo a meu Deus, meu amado povo, que o nosso grande Deus em sua bondade tenha mandado estes nossos irmãos” (Alma 24:7)
  • “E eis que agradeҫo a meu grande Deus por ter-nos dado uma porҫão de seu Espírito” (Alma 24:8)
  • “E agradeҫo também a meu Deus, sim, meu grande Deus” (Alma 24:10)
  • “E o grande Deus teve misericórdia de nós e deu-nos a conhecer estas coisas” (Alma 24:14)
  1. O Senhor dos Exércitos = O Senhor advertindo o seu povo de sua destruiҫão

A frase “Senhor dos Exércitos” nunca aparece no Novo Testamento porém é achado frequentemenete no Velho Testamento. No LDM, a frase “Senhor dos Exércitos” aparece ao citar secҫões do Velho Testamento ou nos casos seguintes de citaҫões únicas ao Senhor, achado em Helamã, Jacó, e brevemente em 2 Néfi. Não é achado nos escritos de qualquer outro profeta no LDM a não ser que estão citando Deus.

2 Néfi = Profecias da morte de Cristo

  • “serão tragados pelas profundezas da terra, diz o Senhor dos Exércitos” (2 Néfi 26:5)
  • “o dia que hé de vir os consumirá, diz o Senhor dos Exércitos” (2 Néfi 26:6)
  • “Mas eis que se os habitants da Terra se arrependerem de suas iniquidades e abominaҫões, não serão destruitods, diz o Senhor dos Exércitos” (2 Néfi 28:17)

Helamã 13: 8-21 = Samuel o Lamanita convidando os Nefitas para arrependerem-se

  • “E eis que uma maldiҫão cairá sobre a terra, diz o Senhor dos Exércitos, por causa do povo que está na terra” (Helamã 13:18)
  • “E acontecerá, diz o Senhor dos Exércitos, sim, nosso grande e verdadeiro Deus” (Helamã 13:18)
  • “então chorareis e pranteareis naquele dia, diz o Senhor dos Exércitos” (Helamã 13:32)

Jacó 2:23-33 = Jacó convida os Nefitas para arrependerem-se

  • “E as libertinagens são para mim abominaҫão; assim diz o Senhor dos Exércitos” (Jacó 2:28)
  • “Portanto este povo guardará os meus mandamentos, diz o Senhor dos Exércitos, ou a terra será amaldiҫoada por sua causa” (Jacó 2:29)
  • “Porque se eu quiser suscitar posteridade para mim, diz o Senhor dos Exércitos, ordenarei isso a meu povo” (Jacó 2:30)
  • “E nao permitirei, diz o Senhor dos Exércitos, que o lament das belas filhas deste povo que tirei da terra de Jerusalém suba a mim contra os homens de meu povo, diz o Senhor dos Exércitos” (Jacó 2:32)
  • “até mesmo destruiҫão; porque eles não cometerão libertinagens como os antigos, diz o Senhor dos Exércitos” (Jacó 2:33)