Part 13: Ether 11 – 1 Nephi 3
The introduction to this series on internal consistency in the Book of Mormon is found in part 1 here.
This part covers the rest of Ether, the Book of Moroni and some of 1 Nephi. After Joseph Smith had dictated to the end of Moroni, he went on to dictate 1 Nephi from the small plates.
98. Ether 11:6, Mosiah 8:8, Mosiah 21:26, Alma 22:30, and Omni 1:22 — “Dry Bones”
There were prophets in the days of Shiblom, found in Ether 11:4-6. We find a very subtle example of internal consistency in the fulfillment of one of their prophecies:
6 And there was great calamity in all the land, for they [the prophets] had testified that a great curse should come upon the land, and also upon the people, and that there should be a great destruction among them, such an one as never had been upon the face of the earth, and their bones should become as heaps of earth upon the face of the land except they should repent of their wickedness.
There are numerous references to the fulfillment of this prophecy, which we read about in gruesome detail in Ether 14:21-23 (a):
21 And so great and lasting had been the war, and so long had been the scene of bloodshed and carnage, that the whole face of the land was covered with the bodies of the dead.
22 And so swift and speedy was the war that there was none left to bury the dead, but they did march forth from the shedding of blood to the shedding of blood, leaving the bodies of both men, women, and children strewed upon the face of the land, to become a prey to the worms of the flesh.
23 And the scent thereof went forth upon the face of the land, even upon all the face of the land; wherefore the people became troubled by day and by night, because of the scent thereof.
Interestingly, by this point in the dictation sequence, we’ve already encountered three references to the fulfillment of this prophecy. The first came in Mosiah 8 (b), as King Limhi recounts the efforts of the search party he sent to find Zarahemla:
8 And they were lost in the wilderness for the space of many days, yet they were diligent, and found not the land of Zarahemla but returned to this land, having traveled in a land among many waters, having discovered a land which was covered with bones of men, and of beasts, and was also covered with ruins of buildings of every kind, having discovered a land which had been peopled with a people who were as numerous as the hosts of Israel.
In Mosiah 21:26 (c), we get another telling of the same story:
26 Nevertheless, they did find a land which had been peopled; yea, a land which was covered with dry bones; yea, a land which had been peopled and which had been destroyed; and they, having supposed it to be the land of Zarahemla, returned to the land of Nephi, having arrived in the borders of the land not many days before the coming of Ammon.
In Alma 22:30 (d), there is yet another reference:
30 And it bordered upon the land which they called Desolation, it being so far northward that it came into the land which had been peopled and been destroyed, of whose bones we have spoken, which was discovered by the people of Zarahemla, it being the place of their first landing.
Finally, near the very end of the dictation, in Omni 1:22 (e), we read:
22 It also spake a few words concerning his fathers. And his first parents came out from the tower, at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people; and the severity of the Lord fell upon them according to his judgments, which are just; and their bones lay scattered in the land northward.
99. Ether 12:13-17 and Alma 14:27, Helaman 5:44-45, Alma 17-27, and 3 Nephi 28:7 — “the faith of …”
In Ether 12:13-17, Moroni refers to several previous people and events in the Book of Mormon.
13 Behold, it was the faith of Alma and Amulek that caused the prison to tumble to the earth (a).
14 Behold, it was the faith of Nephi and Lehi that wrought the change upon the Lamanites, that they were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost (b).
15 Behold, it was the faith of Ammon and his brethren which wrought so great a miracle among the Lamanites (c).
17 And it was by faith that the three disciples obtained a promise that they should not taste of death (d); and they obtained not the promise until after their faith.
Verse 13 refers to Alma 14:27 (a).
Verse 14 refers to Helaman 5:44-45 (b).
Verse 15 refers to Alma 17-27 (c).
Verse 17 refers to 3 Nephi 28:7 (d).
100. Ether 15:33 and Mosiah 28:11 — finding the Jaredite records
Ether 15:33 says about Ether:
and he finished his record; (and the hundredth part I have not written) and he hid them in a manner that the people of Limhi did find them.
Limhi and his people have not been mentioned since Mosiah 28:11
…after having translated and caused to be written the records which were on the plates of gold which had been found by the people of Limhi
101. Moroni 10:23 and Moroni 7:33 — “Christ truly said…”
In Moroni 10:23, we read
And Christ truly said unto our fathers: If ye have faith ye can do all things which are expedient unto me.
This seems like a reference to something Christ had said when he visited the people in America after his resurrection. But this statement by Christ is not found in 3 Nephi (perhaps because Mormon could not write “even a hundredth part of the things which Jesus did truly teach unto the people”). Interestingly, Moroni 7:33 (which contains the words of his father, Mormon) also refers to that same statement:
And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me.
102. 1 Nephi 1:8 and Alma 36:22 — “God sitting upon his throne…”
In 1 Nephi 1:8, Lehi sees
God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels in the attitude of singing and praising their God.
Notice the exact same wording in Alma 36:22 when Alma says he saw the same as Lehi:
22 Yea, methought I saw, even as our father Lehi saw, God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels, in the attitude of singing and praising their God; yea, and my soul did long to be there.
Alma’s reference to Lehi’s words comes first in the dictation sequence.
103. 1 Nephi 4:14 and 1 Nephi 2:20 — “I remembered the words of the Lord”
In 1 Nephi 2:20, we read:
20 And inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper, and shall be led to a land of promise; yea, even a land which I have prepared for you; yea, a land which is choice above all other lands.
This experience is referenced again in 1 Nephi 4:14, when Nephi is faced with the difficult choice to kill Laban in order to obtain the plates:
14 … I remembered the words of the Lord which he spake unto me in the wilderness, saying that: Inasmuch as thy seed shall keep my commandments, they shall prosper in the land of promise.
This becomes a repeated theme throughout the Book of Mormon, referenced multiple times by many writers.
104. 1 Nephi 4:35 and Alma 54:23 — “Zoram, whom your fathers pressed and brought out of Jerusalem.”
In 1 Nephi 4:35, we are introduced to Zoram. This is not the first mention of Zoram in the dictation sequence. In Alma 54:23, Zoram is mentioned:
23 I am Ammoron, and a descendant of Zoram, whom your fathers pressed and brought out of Jerusalem.
105. 1 Nephi 5:14,17-19 and Alma 37:3-5 — The plates of brass
In 1 Nephi 5, when Nephi and his brothers return to the wilderness, Lehi starts examining the newly obtained brass plates. In verses 14, 17-19 we read:
And it came to pass that my father, Lehi, also found upon the plates of brass a genealogy of his fathers…And now when my father saw all these things, he was filled with the Spirit, and began to prophesy concerning his seed— That these plates of brass should go forth unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people who were of his seed. Wherefore, he said that these plates of brass should never perish; neither should they be dimmed any more by time.
The brass plates were passed from one generation of Nephite record keepers to the next. But the most thorough description of this transmission process is found in Alma 37, when Alma-2 hands the records to his son, Helaman. Note what Alma says about the brass plates in verses 3-5 and how it compares to what Lehi originally said:
And these plates of brass, which contain these engravings, which have the records of the holy scriptures upon them, which have the genealogy of our forefathers, even from the beginning— Behold, it has been prophesied by our fathers, that they should be kept and handed down from one generation to another, and be kept and preserved by the hand of the Lord until they should go forth unto every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, that they shall know of the mysteries contained thereon. And now behold, if they are kept they must retain their brightness; yea, and they will retain their brightness
It is obvious that Alma-2 had studied the small plates of Nephi. Perhaps this description was on the large plates as well, who knows, but in any case, Alma makes a clear reference to what Lehi said about the plates when he first obtained them. This is another one of those internally consistent references that draw no attention to themselves.
106. 1 Nephi 7:10 and 1 Nephi 3:29 — “…ye have seen an angel of the Lord”
An angel chastises Laman and Lemuel in 1 Nephi 3:29
29 And it came to pass as they smote us with a rod, behold, an angel of the Lord came and stood before them, and he spake unto them, saying: Why do ye smite your younger brother with a rod? Know ye not that the Lord hath chosen him to be a ruler over you, and this because of your iniquities? Behold ye shall go up to Jerusalem again, and the Lord will deliver Laban into your hands.
This incident is referenced by Nephi in 1 Nephi 7:10 (a)
10 How is it that ye have forgotten that ye have seen an angel of the Lord?
Laman and Lemuel may have forgotten, but the author did not forget. See also 1 Nephi 17:45 (b).
End of Part 13
As we finish up part thirteen, let’s take a look at our updated arc diagram. We now have more than 100 examples of internal consistency. In addition, several of the examples contain multiple references. The arcs are getting numerous.
Jeff Markham has been an avid student of the Book of Mormon his entire life. He recently joined the FairMormon group. He has practiced radiology in the Dallas, Texas area since 2011, having obtained his undergraduate education at Brigham Young University (B.S. in 2000), a medical degree from Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, VA (M.D. 2005), and post-graduate training in diagnostic radiology and neuroradiology at University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas, TX. He served as a full-time missionary in the Germany Hamburg Mission from 1996-1998. His favorite callings include teaching primary and early morning seminary. He lives in the Dallas area with his wife and children. He blogs at BookofMormonNotes.com.