Source:Rediscovering the Book of Mormon:Ch:4:3:Colophons: Mosiah (absence)

Colphons: Mosiah (absence)

Colphons: Mosiah (absence)

The lack of a preface for the book of Mosiah in the present Book of Mormon is probably because the text takes up the Mosiah account some time after its original beginning. The original manuscript of the Book of Mormon, written in Oliver Cowdery's hand, has no title for the Book of Mosiah. It was inked in later, prior to sending it to the printer for typesetting. The first part of Mormon's abridgment of Mosiah's record, including the colophon, was evidently on the 116 pages lost by Martin Harris.

After the Nephite colonies of Alma and Limhi came to the land of Zarahemla, King Mosiah II put directly into his record the writings of these two small groups (see Mosiah 25:5). He started in 9:1 with a first-person account by Zeniff. But before chapter 9, there is a preface, presumably Mormon's, beginning, "The Record of Zeniff—An account of his people. . . . " At Mosiah 10:22, Zeniff marked the end of his words with an editorial comment and the typical "Amen."

Mosiah 23 and 24 tell about Alma's colony. Mormon introduced them with this preface: "An account of Alma and the people of the Lord, who were driven into the wilderness by the people of king Noah." Finally Mormon signaled us at Mosiah 29:47 that all of what he calls the book of Mosiah had come to an end....

Considering the way Joseph dictated the book to scribes, for the most part in a matter of weeks without revising what he had dictated, we should realize that he could not himself have come up with this complicated set of prefaces and summaries. It is unlikely that he would go to the trouble to insert anything like them (they are not required to move the story along). It is also most unlikely that, while dictating, he could keep in mind what he had promised in the prefaces and then remember to close off so many sections neatly with summaries. Much more believable are the claims in the Book of Mormon itself that the record was done by ancient writers working with written materials over long periods of time.[1]


  1. John A. Tvedtnes, "Colophons in the Book of Mormon," in Rediscovering the Book of Mormon, edited by John L. Sorenson and Melvin J. Thorne (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Co.; Provo, Utah: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1991), Chapter 4.