Source:Echoes:Ch2:1:Exodus motif in BoM

Book of Mormon weaves Exodus motifs throughout

Book of Mormon weaves Exodus motifs throughout

As careful scholarship continues to demonstrate, and contrary to the expectations of many, the Book of Mormon is a work of impressive literary depth, subtlety, and complexity.1

Terrence L. Szink, for example, has demonstrated that Nephi's account of the journey of his father's family from Jerusalem to the land of promise is modeled, unmistakably and in some detail, on the biblical story of the exodus of Moses and Israel out of the land of Egypt.2 Obviously, both groups were led by visionary prophetic figures to leave lands that were under divine condemnation and to journey to lands of "promise," miraculously crossing major water barriers in order to reach safety from those who pursued or threatened them. In both accounts, rebellious members of the group "murmured" because of their hunger, lamented being taken from their previous home to perish in the wilderness, declared that they would rather have died than to have embarked on their present journey, and expressed a desire to return, instead, to the oppressive or dangerous lands from which God had delivered them. In both, a metallic object (the Liahona for the Lehites, the brazen serpent for the Israelites) played a major role, and we are told that to "look" upon it in a proper attitude was to "live." Both peoples were led by the Lord, who is represented by a figurative or literal "light." Both Nephi and Moses were summoned by the Lord to ascend a mountain, where Moses was given instructions on how to build a tabernacle and Nephi was given instructions on how to build a ship. In both accounts, the group's rebellious members drew divine wrath down upon themselves and their fellows when they engaged in wild and inappropriate partying, forgetting the Lord who had delivered them. The similarities appear in nuances of language as well as in broader themes.[1]—(Click here to continue)


  1. Daniel C. Peterson, "Not Joseph's, and Not Modern," in Echoes and Evidences of the Book of Mormon, edited by Donald W. Parry, Daniel C. Peterson, and John W. Welch (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 2002), Chapter 2, references silently removed—consult original for citations.