Summary Tests of a Method

By Roger R. Keller

Roger R. Keller, “Summary Tests of a Method,” in Book of Mormon Authors: Their Words and Messages (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1996), 151–197.

Summary Tests of a Method

My research began in 1987. It sprang from my personal belief that the Book of Mormon is precisely what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says it is: an ancient book written by various ancient authors over approximately a one-thousand-year period and delivered to Joseph Smith by the angel Moroni in 1827. But for many, both outside and inside the Latter-day Saint community, merely to assert this belief is insufficient. Hence, theories have been developed by some to demonstrate that the Book of Mormon is in reality a nineteenth-century writing.

It seemed to me that there ought to be a way of responding to these alternative views in a reasoned manner, for I do not believe that faith and reason are antithetical. One may not be able to create faith through reason, but certainly faith can utilize and be supported by it, for the mind and the spirit are both integral elements of what it is to be human. Therefore, I wondered if it would be possible to provide some empirical data that would support the position that the Book of Mormon is an ancient book.

As noted earlier, I began with the hypothesis that if the Book of Mormon were written by a variety of authors, then it might be possible, on the basis of the vocabulary used by the various authors, to distinguish between them. I had no idea whether one could demonstrate any differences in content word usage between the authors, but I knew that “wordprints” had made such discriminations using the small words. Thus, it seemed that one could do something similar with the content words in their literary context. The methodology has developed over time, but the end result of all the various approaches articulated in the preceding chapters is that there are indeed identifiable differences between the various authors on a variety of subjects, differences that I do not believe could have been created by a nineteenth-century author or editor.

In this concluding chapter, I will not try to summarize all that has been shown in the previous chapters. For details, one can turn to the preceding chapters and to the summaries at the end of each. However, the hypothesis that different authors contributed to the Book of Mormon can be emphasized by reviewing how pairs of authors, each of whom has texts in the Book of Mormon in excess of ten thousand words in length, deal with the words that have been considered. We will begin by contrasting Nephi 1 and Alma 2, authors whose wordprints show them to be totally different persons and in whom we have already seen clear differences in chapter 1 when their use of the various word clusters was considered. We will determine whether this difference is maintained for each of the words we have considered after chapter 1. Following this analysis of Nephi 1 and Alma 2, we will follow the same comparative procedure in examining Alma 2 and Mormon, Alma 2 and Moroni 2, and Nephi 1 and Moroni 2. We will conclude with an examination of Nephi 1 and Mormon, a pair that John Hilton has found hard to differentiate fully by using wordprints. Perhaps we can shed some light on the question of whether they are different through comparing Nephi l’s and Mormon’s word usages considered in this study.

Nephi 1 and Alma 2

When the null-hypothesis rejections which compare Nephi 1:S and Alma2:S are examined, it is seen that there are four rejections. The number of rejections suggests a significant difference between the two authors. When we then examine the two authors’ use of the word clusters discussed in chapter 1, we find that Nephi 1 :S and Alma 2 are once again shown to be quite different. In fact, as figure 1 demonstrates, their interests are almost reversed.

Nephi 1:S

Alma 2

2.9

Ancient Near East

2.5

Eschatology

2.2

Gathering

1.8

Spiritual

1.8

Prophecy

1.7

Slavery

1.6

Editing

1.7

Ethics

1.5

Xology

1.6

Xology

1.4

God

1.6

Trouble

1.4

Creation

1.5

Evil

1.2

Spiritual

1.4

God

1.1

Eschatology

0.8

Prophecy

1.1

Evil

0.6

Creation

0.9

Ethics

0.4

Gathering

0.8

Slavery

0.4

Ancient Near East

0.7

Trouble

0.3

Editing

Figure 1

When we compared Alma 2’s and Nephi 1 ‘s use of the Near East word cluster, a similar difference was observable. Alma 2 had little concern for the cluster, while Nephi 1 had great concern for it, as the normalized numbers in figure 2 clearly show.

Author

Length

Number

Per 1000, author text

Per 1000, BofM text

Normalized

Alma 2

20,277

37

1.83

4.38

0.42

Nephi 1:N1

10,238

51

4.98

4.38

1.14

Nephi 1:S

17,982

195

10.8

4.38

2.47

Figure 2

Law/Command Complex

When we turn to the content words, the picture is less clear if one simply looks at the numbers and categories in the various tables. However, the issue, as we have seen in all the above chapters, is not whether authors use the same words or phrases, but rather what the authors mean by those words and phrases. Thus, while there are similarities, as seen in figure 3, in the words of the Law/Command complex used by Nephi 1 and Alma 2, the real issue is how they used the words. Even so, figure 3 shows that there are differences in the emphases each author puts on various expressions.

 

Alma 2

Nephi 1

Command

11

2

Commanded

7

33

Commandest

-

-

Commandeth

2

5

Commanding

-

-

Commandment

-

7

Commandments

29

26

Commands

-

-

 

 

 

Law

13

23

Law of Moses

-

4

Laws

-

-

 

 

 

Come unto

9

7

Figure 3: Law/Command

One observable difference between Nephi 1 and Alma 2 (see figure 3) is that Alma 2 uses the present tense Command, while Nephi 1 uses the past tense Commanded. Only Nephi 1 speaks of the singular Commandment or mentions the Law of Moses.

When we examine the way the complex is used in Alma 2, we see an integration of a strong ethical consciousness with the realization of the necessity of Christ’s atonement. By contrast, in Nephi 1 we find the complex referring to the Lord’s daily commandments, perhaps best understood as “instructions.” They both use Law to refer to the Law of Moses, but for Alma 2 Law may also mean secular law. For both authors, Christ is the culmination of the law or commandments. Even so, it is difficult not to affirm that there are clear differences between the two authors in the Law/Command complex.

Church/Churches

Nephi 1 and Alma 2 could hardly be more different in their use of the words Church and Churches. As figure 4 indicates, they focus on quite different things: Nephi 1 is concerned primarily about the great and abominable church, while Alma 2 sees the church as both a localized group of people and as an entity which exists in the Old and New Worlds and cuts across all boundaries. In addition, only Nephi 1 uses the word Churches in an entirely negative sense, thus supporting the emphasis he has laid on the great and abominable church. Hence, the differences between the two authors are clear when Church and Churches are considered.

 

Alma 2

Nephi 1

Christ’s church in New World

5

-

Local church

3

-

God’s church outside New World

2

-

Great and abominable

-

6

Of the Lamb

-

3

Of the devil

-

-

Universal

4

1

Not true church

-

-

New World/universal

1

-

Jews

-

1

Figure 4: Church

Earth

When we consider the word Earth, differences between the two authors continue to be evident. In figure 5 it is clear that Nephi 1 places a greater emphasis on God’s activities in relation to the earth than does Alma 2.

The only instance in which Alma 2 appears to speak of God being actively involved with the earth is under the heading “God shakes.” However, when the passages are examined, one discovers that it is really the voice of the angel, who appears to Alma 2 and the sons of Mosiah, that shakes the earth. In contrast, Nephi 1 demonstrates an awareness of God’s lordship over the earth.

 

Alma 2

Nephi 1

God comes to/in

-

-

God Father of

-

1

God creates

-

1

God’s mercy over

-

-

God over

-

-

God smites

-

1

God of

-

-

God commands

-

-

God has power over

-

-

God’s footstool

-

1

God’s will done in

-

-

God lord of

-

-

God’s purposes on

-

-

God rules

-

-

 

 

 

God shakes

-

1

Figure 5: Earth—God’s Acts

When the earth as the “globe” is considered, figure 6 seems to show greater congruence between the two authors.

 

Alma 2

Nephi 1

Face of (positive)

3

4

Face of (negative)

6

5

Ends of

1

2

Planet

1

8

Witnesses to God

1

-

Four corners of

-

-

Four corners of

-

-

At rest

-

-

Treasures of

-

-

Be joyful

-

-

Four parts of

-

-

Swear by

-

-

New

-

-

Four quarters of

-

1

World

-

3

Figure 6: Earth—Globe

However, when one looks at the way “face o f is used, it is clear that there are real differences. Alma 2’s use of the phrase is generally negative, indicating that people may be cut off from the face of the earth for transgression. Nephi 1 is concerned with Israel being scattered across the face of the earth. Nephi 1 clearly has an emphasis on the earth as “planet” that Alma 2 does not. For Nephi 1 the earth will pass away, its end will be revealed, and Joseph’s seed will continue as long as the earth remains. Alma 2 indicates once that the earth will pass away. Thus, once again significant differences are seen between the two authors, differences that are clearly maintained in figure 7.

 

Alma 2

Nephi

Will see salvation

-

-

Abr’s seed blesses

-

-

People of

-

-

Midst of

-

-

Trouble

-

-

Meek of

-

-

Chief ones of

-

-

Peoples of tremble

-

-

Nation(s) of/on

-

-

Salt of

-

-

Remnant of

-

-

Gathered people of

-

-

Inhabitants of

-

1

Family of

-

-

Kindreds of

-

2

Smite the

-

-

Seal on

-

-

Loose on

-

-

Wickedness of

-

-

Land(s) of

-

1

(Die) like other people

-

-

Multitudes of

-

3

Figure 7: Earth—Inhabitants of

The differences continue when Earth is used to mean “ground.”

 

Alma 2

Nephi 1

Fall to

3

3

Smite to

-

-

As dust of

-

-

Return to

-

-

Face to

-

-

Till

-

-

Man from

-

-

Prostrate on

-

-

Raise from

-

-

Bowed to

-

-

Level to (kill)

-

-

Cut down to (kill)

-

-

Kneel upon

-

-

Sit on

-

-

Figure 8: Earth—As Related to Humans

 

 

Alma 2

Nephi 1

In ground

-

1

Caves of

-

-

Fruit of

-

-

Surface of

-

-

Seeds of

-

-

Dirt

-

3

Face of

-

-

Is smitten

-

-

Ground

-

1

Smite

-

-

God shakes

3

1

 

Figure 9: Earth—Ground as Ground

In figure 8 it appears that Alma 2 and Nephi 1 use the same language. However, Alma 2 indicates that following the appearance of the angel, he fell to the earth, while Nephi 1 talks of other persons or things falling to the earth: Laban, cities, and the great whore. As shown in figure 9, Alma 2 does not even mention the ground as ground, except to note that the angel’s voice shook it. In contrast, Nephi 1 mentions that those who persecute the prophets will be swallowed in the earth, and that his family began to cultivate the earth; these examples underscore the differences between the two authors.

Israel

Little needs to be said about the authors and their views on Israel, for Israel is immensely important to Nephi 1, as figures 10 and 11 show, but the word is not even mentioned by Alma 2.

 

Nephi 1

House of

20

Tribes, house of

-

People, house of

1

Children of

3

12 tribes of

-

People of

-

Both houses of

-

Nation of

-

Escaped of

-

Preserved of

-

King of

-

Remnant of

-

Outcasts of

-

Lost tribes of

2

Remnant, house of

-

Scattered tribes of

-

God of

2

Holy One of

10

Redeemer of

-

Mighty One of

1

My people

-

My called of

-

My servant

-

Figure 10: Israel

 

 

Nephi 1

Nation

8

Spiritual Entity

-

Covenant with

2

Scattered

6

Nephites and Lamanites part of

7

People of God

-

Olivetree

2

A king of

-

Judged/destroyed

-

 

 

God redeems

2

God judges

1

God is

1

Jesus is God

2

God opposed

3

Praise/rejoice in

3

Fear God

-

God will reign

2

 

Figure 11: Israel

Land

Figure 12 indicates some commonalities between Nephi 1 and Alma 2 when the geographical uses of Land are considered, but just as the apparent similarities above show, the numbers are deceptive.

 

Nephi 1

Alma 2

Land of

18

7

Region

7

10

Borders of

-

-

Round about

-

-

Part(s) of

-

-

Quarter of

-

-

Territory

-

-

Strange

-

1

 

 

 

Canaan

3

-

Judea

-

-

 

 

 

New World

10

11

 

 

 

Directions

-

-

 

Figure 12: Land—Geographical

Nephi l’s orientation is very much toward the Old World, with Jerusalem being of principal concern to him, for it is from Jerusalem that his family fled, to Jerusalem that they returned for the plates of brass and for wives, and to Jerusalem that the Jews will one day return. The mentioning of Egypt and Canaan seems to provide examples of the way in which God can lead people to a promised land. When Nephi 1 does refer to the New World, it is to a land in which the righteous will prosper, a land where his people will finally be destroyed, and a land where the Gentiles will prosper.

Alma 2, however, speaks primarily of New World localities, e.g., Zarahemla, Mormon, and Manti, while recognizing that his fathers were delivered from Jerusalem. He also uses Melchizedek, king of Salem, as a sermon example. There is less consciousness of the Old World as opposed to the New World in Alma 2 than in Nephi 1.

In the special categories related to land, figure 13 shows differences between Alma 2 and Nephi 1.

 

Nephi 1

Alma 2

Promised

18

4

Covenant

-

-

Choice

-

-

Holy

-

-

Prepared

-

-

Chosen

-

-

Liberty

-

-

Inheritance

6

-

Our possession

-

-

Our

-

1

Own

-

-

Our fathers’

-

-

Whatsoever

-

-

Better

-

-

A

-

-

Their

-

-

Thy

-

-

My

-

-

His

-

-

Ground

1

-

Earth

-

-

As verb

-

-

 

Figure 13: Land—Special

Obviously, Nephi 1 is much more concerned for the promised land and the land of inheritance than is Alma 2. The promised land for Nephi 1 is the New World, to which his family travels and about which he had visions. As we have seen, his references to “land of inheritance” have an Old World orientation. Alma 2’s references to “promised land” refer to Canaan, to the New World toward which the Liahona guided Lehi’s family, and to heaven. Finally, when the two authors’ uses of Lands in figure 14 are examined, one sees further differences between Nephi 1 and Alma 2.

Nephi 1 has an Old World orientation and reads Isaiah to his brothers so they will know how God has dealt with his children in other lands. Alma 2 ends a sermon in Gideon by blessing the people and their lands.

 

Nephi 1

Alma 2

Regions

1

-

Other

2

-

Lamanites’

-

-

Zarahemla

-

-

Roundabout

-

-

Foreign

-

-

Precious

1

-

Inheritance

2

-

Choice

-

-

Of possession

-

-

Promised

-

-

Of my people

-

-

Your

-

1

Our

-

-

Your own

-

-

Their

-

-

Own

-

-

Their Own

-

-

Whatsoever

-

-

Figure 14: Lands

Summary

We began this section on Nephi 1 and Alma 2 by noting that wordpnnts had clearly differentiated between the two authors, and we wanted to determine whether that difference was consistently present with the content words we have been examining. In every instance, differences are clear in word usage and meaning between these two authors, thus strongly supporting the wordprint delineations.

Alma 2 and Mormon

We turn now to a comparison of Alma 2 and Mormon, two writers who have texts of significant length. Alma 2 has 20,227 words and Mormon writes 97,515 words. We will follow the same format in comparing Alma 2 and Mormon that we followed above with Nephi 1 and Alma 2.

Word Clusters

In the case of Mormon:S and Alma2:S, the number of null-hypothesis rejections was 0, meaning that a clear statistical delineation between the two authors could not be made on the basis of the word clusters. However, figure 15 compares the word clusters that are of importance in Alma 2 and Mormon. Since Mormon’s work can be divided into sermonic, first-person narrative, and third-person narrative, these divisions have been retained and may prove to be instructive.

Alma 2

Mormon:S

Mormon:N1

Mormon:N3

2.5

Eschatology

3.2

Xology

3.5

Numbers

1.8

Money

1.8

Spiritual

2.8

Gathering

2.3

Editing

1.8

Directions

1.7

Slavery

2.4

Spiritual

2.2

Directions

1.8

Contention

1.7

Ethics

2.1

Eschatology

2.0

Military

1.6

Military

1.6

Xology

2.0

Sacramental

1.5

Neg. emotions

1.6

Government

1.6

Trouble

 

 

 

 

1.5

Numbers

1.5

Evil

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 15

Initially, there appear to be some similarities between Alma 2 and MormomS in their use of clusters. Eschatology is important in both, as is the Spiritual cluster. The Christology cluster also appears in both but is of significantly less importance in Alma 2 than it is in Mormon:S. Beyond these similarities, however, the commonalities cease. The word clusters Slavery, Ethics, Trouble, and Evil do not appear in Mormon’s writings at a significant level. Similarly, the majority of Mormon’s clusters do not appear at a significant level in Alma 2. Thus, based on the various clusters and their importance to the two authors, it can be said that there are greater differences than there are similarities.

Law/Command

Turning to the Law/Command complex, we see in figure 16 the following distribution.

 

Alma 2

Mormon

Command

11

20

Commanded

7

78

Commandest

-

-

Commandeth

2

1

Commanding

-

1

Commandment

-

7

Commandments

29

53

Commands

-

5

 

 

 

Law

13

64

Law of Moses

-

16

Laws

-

17

 

 

 

Come unto

9

16

Figure 16: Law/Command

An examination of the above numbers indicates both similarities and differences between Alma 2 and Mormon. There is common stress on Command, Commanded, Commandments, Law, and Come unto. But even with these commonalities, we must also note that the ratio between Command and Commanded is reversed and that there is proportionately greater stress on Law by Mormon. Perhaps even more important are the words which Mormon uses and Alma 2 does not: Commanding, Commandment, Commands, Law of Moses, and Laws.

When we turn to the meanings attached to the word group, we see, as already noted above, that Alma 2 integrates a strong sense of ethics with roots in spirituality, while Law is primarily secular law.

Mormon, on the other hand, has some unique usages in this complex. First, he uses Command to mean “leadership” and is completely unique in this usage. Second, most of his uses are secular in nature, i.e., secular leaders give various commands. The exception to this is when Mormon is not editing and speaks for himself—in that case the Lord commands. In his edited material, Law and Laws refer to secular law, while in his sermonic material, Mormon uses Law either to mean the Law of Moses or what Latter-day Saints call “the plan of salvation.” Commandments can be understood as a way of talking about the Christian life. In speaking of the Law of Moses, Mormon always points it forward to Christ. Thus Mormon’s understanding of the Law/Command complex is quite different from that of Alma 2.

Church/Churches

Figure 16 shows how Alma 2 and Mormon use the word Church. Alma 2 never uses the word Churches, while Mormon uses it primarily to indicate local or denominational entities. Since Alma 2 does not use the word, no chart is included for Churches.

 

Alma 2

Mormon

Christ’s church in New World

5

80

Local church

3

20

God’s church outsides New World

2

-

Great and abominable

-

-

Of the Lamb

-

-

Of the devil

-

-

Universal

4

44

Not true church

-

3

New World/universal

1

-

Jews

-

-

Figure 17: Church

As seen in figure 17, Alma 2 uses Church to refer to Christ’s universal church in the New World, which manifests itself in local congregations. Mormon’s uses of Church are very similar, with a very clear emphasis on the New World church. Thus there is not a clear difference between Alma 2 and Mormon in relationship to Church, except that Mormon stresses the New World church and uses Churches while Alma 2 does not.

Earth

When we consider Alma 2’s and Mormon’s uses of the word Earth, there are some similarities between them, but we will see also that there are some distinct differences. Figure 18 demonstrates both the similarities and the differences between the two.

Clearly, neither of the authors speaks of God’s acts in relation to the earth. However, the similarity that God shakes the earth is only apparent, because in Alma 2 it is the voice of the Angel which shakes the earth, while in Mormon it is God’s power that shakes it.

 

Alma 2

Mormon

God comes to/in

-

-

God Father of

-

-

God creates

-

-

God’s mercy over

-

-

God over

-

-

God smites

-

-

God of

-

-

God commands

-

-

God has power over

-

-

God’s footstool

-

-

God’s will done in

-

-

God lord of

-

-

God’s purposes on

-

-

God rules

-

-

 

 

 

God shakes

3

10

 

Figure 18: Earth—God’s Acts

 

Alma 2

Mormon

Face of (positive)

3

2

Face of (negative)

6

2

Ends of

1

2

Planet

1

10

Witnesses to God

1

-

Four corners of

-

-

At rest

-

-

Treasures of

-

-

Be joyful

-

-

Four parts of

-

-

Swear by

-

-

New

-

-

Four quarters of

-

2

World

-

-

Figure 19: Earth—Globe

Figure 19 shows additional similarities in phraseology but not necessarily in meaning. Alma 2 uses “face o f primarily in a negative vein, i.e., people will be cut off from the face of the earth. However, Mormon’s uses are more concerned with people being scattered across the earth and the ministry to those peoples. He also uses Earth several times to mean planet, an emphasis not found in Alma 2.

 

Alma 2

Mormon

Will see salvation

-

-

Abr’s seed blesses

-

-

People of

-

-

Midst of

-

-

Trouble

-

-

Meek of

-

-

Chief ones of

-

-

Peoples of tremble

-

-

Nation(s) of/on

-

-

Salt of

-

-

Remnant of

-

-

Gathered people of

-

-

Inhabitants of

-

-

Family of

-

-

Kindreds of

-

-

Smite the

-

-

Seal on

-

-

Loose on

-

-

Wickedness of

-

-

Land(s) of

-

-

(Die) like other people

-

4

Multitudes of

-

-

 

Figure 20: Earth—Inhabitants of

Figure 20 shows that neither author is concerned with speaking of the inhabitants of the earth. Mormon, however, does say that people “go the way of all the earth” in reference to death.

Any similarities between Alma 2 and Mormon break down quickly when we consider the use of Earth to mean “ground.” Mormon is virtually unique in this usage, as figures 21 and 22 demonstrate.

Thus, while there are some similarities between Alma 2 and Mormon, those similarities diminish in importance when viewed in light of Mormon’s uniqueness in using Earth to mean “ground.”

 

Alma 2

Mormon

Fall to

3

23

Smite to

-

3

As dust of

-

3

Return to

-

-

Face to

-

-

Till

-

2

Man from

-

-

Prostrate on

-

4

Raise from

-

2

Bowed to

-

4

Level to (kill)

-

2

Cut down to (kill)

-

1

Kneel upon

-

4

Sit

-

1

 

Figure 21: Earth—As Related to Humans

 

Alma 2

Mormon

In ground

-

7

Caves of

-

-

Fruit of

-

-

Surface of

-

1

Seeds of

-

-

Dirt

-

9

Face of

-

3

Is smitten

-

2

Ground

-

5

Smite

-

1

God Shakes

3

10

Figure 22: Earth—Ground as Ground

Israel

As with Alma 2 and Nephi 1, little needs to be said here, for as noted before, Alma 2 does not use the word Israel. While it is not a very important word in Mormon’s text, he does use it, as figures 23 and 24 show.

Land/Lands

As one examines figures 25, 26, and 27, it is hard to see any particular similarities between Alma 2 and Mormon. With only minor exceptions in every category, they are different. For a detailed analysis, the chapter on Land/Lands can be consulted.

Summary

As with Nephi 1 and Alma 2, clear differences between Alma 2 and Mormon are apparent. Only with Earth were there some small similarities, but those quickly evaporated in light of Mormon’s unique use of Earth to mean “ground.”

 

Mormon

House of

8

Tribes, house of

-

People, house of

1

Children of

2

12 tribes of

-

People of

-

Both houses of

-

Nation of

-

Escaped of

-

Preserved of

-

King of

-

Remnant of

2

Outcasts of

-

Lost tribes of

-

Remnant, house of

-

Scattered tribes of

1

God of

-

Holy One of

-

Redeemer of

-

Mighty One of

-

My people

-

My called of

-

My servant

-

 

Figure 23: Israel

 

Mormon

Nation

6

Spiritual Entity

-

Covenant with

4

Scattered

5

Nephites and Lamanites part of

-

People of God

-

Olive tree

-

A king of

-

Judged/destroyed

-

 

 

God redeems

-

God judges

-

God is

-

Jesus is God

-

God opposed

-

Praise/rejoice in

-

Fear God

-

God will reign

-

 

Figure 24: Israel

 

Alma 2

Mormon

Land of

7

293

Region

10

255

Borders of

-

13

Round about

-

12

Part(s) of

-

17

Quarter of

-

4

Territory

-

2

Strange

1

-

 

 

 

Canaan

-

-

Judea

-

-

 

 

 

New World

11

7

 

 

 

Directions

-

56

 

Figure 25: Land—Geographical

 

Alma 2

Mormon

Promised

4

-

Covenant

-

-

Choice

-

-

Holy

-

-

Prepared

-

-

Chosen

-

1

Liberty

-

1

Inheritance

-

3

Our possession

-

-

Our

1

1

Own

-

4

Our fathers’

-

-

Whatsoever

-

-

Better

-

-

A

-

5

Their

-

10

Thy

-

-

My

-

-

His

-

3

Ground

-

-

Earth

-

-

As verb

-

1

 

Figure 26: Land—Special

 

Alma 2

Alma 2

Regions

-

8

Other

-

-

Lamanites’

-

1

Zarahemla

-

1

Roundabout

-

-

Foreign

-

-

Precious

-

-

Inheritance

-

7

Choice

-

-

Of possession

-

4

Promised

-

-

Of my people

-

-

Your

1

-

Our

-

1

Your own

-

-

Their

-

24

Own

-

1

Their Own

-

9

Whatsoever

-

1

Figure 27: Lands

Alma 2 and Moroni 2

The null-hypothesis rejections found between Alma 2:S and Moroni2:N3 showed a huge difference with seven rejections. However, no clear statistical difference could be shown between Alma2:S and Moroni2:S. In figure 28, however, we see the more important word clusters in Alma 2 and Moroni 2. As with Mormon, we are able to divide Moroni 2 into sermonic and narrative materials. However, there is not as much difference between these materials in Moroni 2 as there is in Mormon.

Alma 2

Moroni 2: S

Moroni 2: N3

2.5

Eschatology

3.2

Xology

3.2

Animals

1.8

Spiritual

2.0

Sacramental

2.0

Sacramental

1.7

Slavery

1.8

Spirituality

1.8

Spirituality

1.7

Ethics

1.8

God

1.8

Exhatology

1.6

Xology

1.8

Eschatology

 

 

1.6

Trouble

 

 

 

 

1.5

Evil

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 28

When the word clusters are considered, both similarities and differences are apparent between Alma 2 and Moroni 2. There are common emphases on Eschatology, Spirituality, and Christology. In Alma 2, however, the clusters concerning Slavery, Ethics, Trouble, and Evil are unique, while the clusters dealing with God, Animals, and the Sacramental found in Moroni 2 are not present at all in Alma 2.

 

Alma 2

Moroni 2

Command

11

-

Commanded

7

16

Commandest

-

-

Commandeth

2

2

Commanding

-

-

Commandment

-

4

Commandments

29

1

Commands

-

-

 

 

 

Law

13

4

Law of Moses

-

1

Laws

-

1

 

 

 

Come unto

9

11

Figure 29: Law/Command

Law/Command

Figure 29 shows that Alma 2 and Moroni 2 apparently have different tastes in language when the Law/Command group is considered.

Alma 2 seems to prefer Command and Commandments, neither of which is used much by Moroni 2. In contrast, Moroni 2 uses Commanded and Commandment, along with Law of Moses and Laws, neither of which Alma 2 uses. From the standpoint of meaning, Alma 2, once again, is concerned with ethics in a spiritual context, while law is primarily a secular notion or may possibly mean the Law of Moses. Moroni 2’s concern is predominantly with the commands of the Lord, with little concern for the words related to law. Hence, there is a difference between the two writers.

Church/Churches

This complex is not of great importance to either Alma 2 or Moroni 2, as figure 30 shows.

 

Alma 2

Moroni 2

Christ’s church in New World

5

-

Local church

3

7

God’s church outside New World

2

-

Great and abominable

-

-

Of the Lamb

-

-

Of the devil

-

-

Universal

4

2

Not true church

-

-

New World/universal

1

-

Jews

-

-

Figure 30: Church

As we noted earlier when we studied Church, Moroni 2’s main concern is with the local church, though he recognizes that there is a universal church which transcends all boundaries. Alma 2’s concerns are very similar, but with a stronger emphasis on the church in the New World. Moroni 2 uses Churches seven times, also with a local emphasis, compared to Alma 2, who never uses the word. However, little definite can be said about similarities or differences between the two authors on the basis of their use of these words.

 

Alma 2

Moroni 2

God comes to/in

-

-

God Father of

-

-

God creates

-

2

God’s mercy over

-

-

God over

-

-

God smites

-

-

God of

-

-

God commands

-

-

God has power over

-

-

God’s footstool

-

-

God’s will done in

-

-

God lord of

-

-

God’s purposes on

-

-

God rules

-

-

 

 

 

God shakes

3

2

 

Figure 31: Earth—God’s Acts

 

Alma 2

Moroni 2

Face of (positive)

3

1

Face of (negative)

6

7

Ends of

1

3

Planet

1

2

Witnesses to God

1

-

Four corners of

-

-

At rest

-

-

Treasures of

-

-

Be joyful

-

-

Four parts of

-

-

Swear by

-

1

New

-

1

Four quarters of

-

1

World

-

-

Figure 32: Earth—Globe

Earth

A bit more information is available for the word Earth, but not in great abundance. Again, neither Moroni 2 nor Alma 2 is particularly concerned with the word.

Figure 31 shows that Moroni 2 mentions God’s creative activity and the fact that persons can shake the earth. Clearly, Alma 2 differs, since it is the Angel’s voice, or wishfully his own, that shakes the earth—not others’ voices. However, there are so few usages in this category that it is difficult to draw firm conclusions. 

Figure 32 shows the authors’ uses of Earth to mean the “globe.”

As noted before, Alma 2 uses the phrase “face o f primarily in a negative way, but Moroni 2’s use is even more negative. People are scattered on the “face of the earth” at the time of the great tower. No rain falls, and thus great destruction is present on the earth. No one repents, and the Book of Mormon will appear when great pollutions cover the earth. In addition, Moroni 2 has a few other uses that are not found in Alma 2. No absolutely clear distinction can be made between Alma 2 and Moroni 2 in this instance.

Figure 33, once again, shows that neither author has a particular interest in the grouping of earth’s inhabitants, and they are therefore quite similar.

The two instances of Moroni 2’s use are insufficient to draw any conclusions.

 

Alma 2

Moroni 2

Will see salvation

-

-

Abr’s seed blesses

-

-

People of

-

-

Midst of

-

-

Trouble

-

-

Meek of

-

-

Chief ones of

-

-

Peoples of tremble

-

-

Nation(s) of/on

-

-

Salt of

-

-

Remnant of

-

-

Gathered people of

-

-

Inhabitants of

-

1

Family of

-

-

Kindreds of

-

-

Smite the

-

-

Seal on

-

-

Loose on

-

-

Wickedness of

-

-

Land(s) of

-

-

(Die) like other people

-

1

Multitudes of

-

-

 

Figure 33: Earth—Inhabitants of

In figures 34 and 35, differences appear a bit more clearly.

 

Alma 2

Moroni 2

Fall to

3

2

Smite to

-

-

As dust of

-

-

Return to

-

-

Face to

-

-

Till

-

3

Man from

-

1

Prostrate on

-

-

Raise from

-

-

Bowed to

-

-

Level to (kill)

-

-

Cut down to (kill)

-

-

Kneel upon

-

-

Sit

-

-

 

Figure 34: Earth—As Related to Humans

 

Alma 2

Moroni 2

In ground

-

5

Caves of

-

-

Fruit of

-

-

Surface of

-

-

Seeds of

-

-

Dirt

-

2

Face of

-

-

Is smitten

-

-

Ground

-

-

Smite

-

-

God Shakes

3

2

 

Figure 35: Earth—Ground as Ground

As noted previously, Alma 2 falls to the ground when the angel appears to him, for the angel is shaking the earth with his voice. Moroni 2, by contrast, speaks of others falling to the earth, of others tilling the earth, of humans being created from the dust of the earth, of the record he is writing being drawn from the earth, and of ore being mined from the earth. He also states that persons who have faith can cause the earth to shake.

In summary, there are both similarities and differences between Alma 2 and Moroni 2 concerning the word Earth. Moroni 2 speaks briefly about God as creator, while Alma 2 does not mention anything about God’s activity in relation to the earth. Neither author speaks in any significant way about categories under “inhabitants of the earth.” Both speak of the earth as a “globe.” There is a stronger and broader emphasis in Moroni 2 on negative aspects of scattering. As with the comparison between Alma 2 and Mormon, however, deeper differences appear when the earth means “ground.” The points of contact between Moroni 2 and Alma 2 lie in the falling to the earth and in the shaking of the earth. Even so, the meanings are different, for Alma 2 himself falls to the earth while Moroni 2 speaks of others falling to the earth. Similarly, the angel’s voice shakes the earth in Alma 2’s writing, while persons of faith may shake it in Moroni 2’s. In addition, Moroni 2 speaks of the ground in other ways that are simply not represented in Alma 2. In conclusion, despite some similarities in the use of Earth, the differences still outweigh them, and it must be said that the authors display differences that one would expect to find between the writings of two different people.

Israel

Since Alma 2 never uses the word Israel and Moroni 2 uses it several times, it is clear that Alma 2 and Moroni 2 are different with respect to this word.

Land

When the geographical use of Land is considered, we find the differences in usage as indicated in figure 36.

Clearly, the word Land is of much greater importance to Moroni 2 than it is to Alma 2, for Moroni 2’s use per thousand words of text is almost four times as great as that of Alma. There are similarities in the major categories used, but Moroni 2 has a much greater use of “region,” a much clearer focus on the New World, and a greater concern for directions than does Alma 2. For Moroni 2, the New World, as opposed to the Old World, is very special as a promised land. When Lands is considered, the differences between Moroni 2 and Alma 2 are only heightened, as figure 37 illustrates.

 

Alma 2

Moroni 2

Land of

7

9

Region

10

44

Borders of

-

-

Round about

-

-

Part(s) of

-

1

Quarter of

-

1

Territory

-

-

Strange

1

-

 

 

 

Canaan

-

-

Judea

-

-

 

 

 

New World

11

24

 

 

 

Directions

-

5

 

Figure 36: Land—Geographical

 

Alma 2

Moroni 2

Regions

-

2

Other

-

-

Lamanites

-

-

Zarahemla

-

-

Roundabout

-

-

Foreign

-

1

Precious

-

-

Inheritance

-

-

Choice

-

5

Of possession

-

-

Promised

-

-

Of my people

-

-

Your

1

-

Our

-

-

Your own

-

-

Their

-

-

Own

-

-

Their own

-

-

Whatsoever

-

-

 

Figure 37: Lands

Summary

The examination of the similarities and differences in word usage between Alma 2 and Moroni 2 shows more differences than similarities. Significant differences are found in the authors’ use of Law/Command, Earth, Israel, and Land/Lands. Their use of Church shows the greatest similarities, but there are few times that the word is used by either.

Nephi 1 and Moroni 2

Word Clusters

Nephi 1:S

Moroni2:S

Moroni2:N3

2.9

Ancient New East

3.2

Xology

3.2

Animals

2.2

Gathering

2.0

Sacramental

2.0

Sacramental

1.8

Prophecy

1.8

Spiritual

1.8

Spiritual

1.6

Editing

1.8

God

1.8

Eschatology

1.5

Xology

1.8

Eschatology

 

 

Figure 38

The differences between Nephi 1 and Moroni 2 in the word clusters most important to each are clear. The only common one is Christology, which is more important to Moroni 2 than to Nephi 1. All other clusters are unique to the individual authors. Thus, on the basis of word clusters, a clear difference is seen between the two. The null-hypothesis rejections are not as clear, however. Nephi 1:N3 and Moroni2:S show two rejections. Nephil:S and Moroni2:S show no rejections, and Nephi 1 :N1 and Moroni2:S show two rejections. While these figures suggest differences, they are only marginal for delineation.

Law/Command

As figure 39 shows, there is considerably more congruence between Nephi 1 and Moroni 2 in the Law/Command group than was seen in the other word clusters.

Clearly, the language of Nephi 1 and Moroni 2 is very similar in this group. The weighting given to the various words is certainly different, but they use virtually the same vocabulary with only one word unique to Nephi 1 and one unique to Moroni 2. Hence, if there is a difference between the two, it must lie in the way the words are used, and this is the case. For Nephi 1, commands are daily “instructions,” while for Moroni 2 they are the commands of the Lord in a broader sense. Nephi 1 uses Law predominantly to refer to the Law of Moses which culminates in Christ. Moroni 2 has little concern for law, but where he does use it, it refers either to “father-in-law,” to secular law, or to the Law of Moses.

 

Nephi 1

Moroni 2

Command

2

-

Commanded

33

16

Commandest

-

-

Commandeth

5

2

Commanding

-

-

Commandment

7

4

Commandments

26

1

Commands

-

-

 

 

 

Law

23

4

Law of Moses

4

1

Laws

-

1

 

 

 

Come unto

7

11

Figure 39: Law/Command

Church/Churches

When Church/Churches is considered, we see the distributions as shown in figures 40 and 41.

As far as the word Church is concerned, there is a clear difference between Nephi 1 and Moroni 2. Nephi l’s concern is primarily with the great and abominable church, while Moroni 2’s is with the local congregation. Their concerns coincide, however, when Churches is considered. For both, Churches refers to local entities in conflict with one another and the true church. They are characterized by pride, wealth, and false doctrine. Thus, there is a balance between similarities and dissimilarities when the Church/Churches material is examined.

 

Nephi 1

Moroni 2

Christ’s church in New World

-

-

Local church

-

7

God’s church outside New World

-

-

Great and abominable

6

-

Of the Lamb

3

-

Of the devil

-

-

Universal

1

2

Not true church

-

-

New World/universal

-

-

Jews

1

-

 

Figure 40: Church

 

Nephi 1

Moroni 2

Other churches

-

-

Two churches

-

-

Local

-

-

Local/denominational

6

7

Figure 41: Churches

Earth

A similar pattern of similarities and differences arises between Nephi 1 and Moroni 2 when Earth is considered. For example, Nephi 1 appears a bit more concerned with God’s acts in relation to the earth than does Moroni 2, as figure 42 shows.

The only significant difference is that Nephi 1 says that God shook the earth, while Moroni 2 holds that people of faith may cause it to shake.

When the earth is considered as the globe, distribution is as shown in figure 43.

While the phrases are essentially the same, there are differences in what Nephi 1 and Moroni 2 stress. For Nephi 1, Israel is scattered on the earth and the church of the Lamb covers the earth. In addition, “planet” is stressed, i.e., it may end. For Moroni 2, it is not Israel that is scattered, but people at the time of the great tower. Further, there is destruction and lack of repentance, and there are great pollutions at the time the Book of Mormon appears. Thus the ideas attached to the earth as a globe are different between the two authors.

 

Nephi 1

Moroni 2

God comes to/in

-

-

God Father of

1

-

God creates

1

2

God’s mercy over

-

-

God over

-

-

God smites

1

-

God of

-

-

God commands

-

-

God has power over

-

-

God’s footstool

1

-

God’s will done in

-

-

God lord of

-

-

God’s purposes on

-

-

God rules

-

-

 

 

 

God shakes

1

2

 

Figure 42: Earth—God’s Act

 

Nephi 1

Moroni 2

Face of (positive)

4

1

Face of (negative)

5

7

Ends of

2

3

Planet

8

2

Witnesses to God

-

-

Four corners of

-

-

At rest

-

-

Treasures of

-

-

Be joyful

-

-

Four parts of

-

-

Swear by

-

1

New

-

1

Four quarters of

1

1

World

3

-

 

Figure 43: Earth—Globe

Figure 44 shows the distribution of Earth when related to its inhabitants.

 

Nephi 1

Moroni 2

Will see salvation

-

-

Abr’s seed blesses

-

-

People of

-

-

Midst of

-

-

Trouble

-

-

Meek of

-

-

Chief ones of

-

-

Peoples of tremble

-

-

Nation(s) of/on

-

-

Salt of

-

-

Remnant of

-

-

Gathered people of

-

-

Inhabitants of

1

1

Kindreds of

-

-

Smite the

2

-

Seal on

-

-

Loose on

-

-

Wickedness of

-

-

Land(s) of

1

-

(Die) like other people

-

1

Multitudes of

3

-

 

Figure 44: Earth—Inhabitants of

In this category, Nephi 1 seems to use a richer vocabulary. There is only one commonality between the two: both use “inhabitants of,” Nephi 1 referring to judgments upon the inhabitants of the earth, and Moroni 2 referring to the brother of Jared being shown the inhabitants of the earth. Nephi 1 has concerns that go beyond this one concept. Moroni 2, like his father, uses “dust of the earth” as a poetic way of speaking about death.

Figures 45 and 46 show the distribution of word use when earth means “ground.”

 

Nephi 1

Moroni 2

Fall to

3

2

Smite to

-

-

As dust of

-

-

Return to

-

-

Face to

-

-

Till

-

3

Man from

-

1

Prostrate on

-

-

Raise from

-

-

Bowed to

-

-

Level to (kill)

-

-

Cut down to (kill)

-

-

Kneel upon

-

-

Sit on

-

-

 

Figure 45: Earth—As Related to Humans

 

Nephi 1

Moroni 2

In ground

1

5

Caves of

-

-

Fruit of

-

-

Surface of

-

-

Seeds of

-

-

Dirt

3

2

Face of

-

-

Is smitten

-

-

Ground

1

-

Smite

-

-

God shakes

1

2

 

Figure 46: Earth—Ground as Ground

When the earth is related to its inhabitants, Moroni 2 has a few more references than does Nephi 1. However, the language is very similar when figure 46 is considered, with a somewhat higher emphasis by Moroni 2 on things buried in the earth, especially the record upon which he is working. Hence, there are some commonalities and some differences when Earth meaning “ground” is under consideration.

In summary, there are not sharp distinctions between Nephi 1 and Moroni 2 with regard to Earth. Yet the differences are probably greater than the similarities.

Israel

As already seen, Israel is a very important word for Nephi 1. It is significantly less important to Moroni 2, as figures 47 and 48 indicate.

Clearly, the differences in relation to Israel are immense. For further details, chapter 5 concerning Israel can be consulted.

 

 

Nephi 1

Moroni 2

House of

20

5

Tribes, house of

-

-

People, house of

1

-

Children of

3

-

12 tribes of

-

-

People of

-

-

Both houses of

-

-

Nation of

-

-

Escaped of

-

-

Preserved of

-

-

King of

-

-

Remnant of

-

-

Outcasts of

-

-

Lost tribes of

2

-

Remnant, house of

-

-

Scattered tribes of

-

-

God of

2

-

Holy One of

10

-

Redeemer of

-

-

Mighty One of

1

-

My people

-

-

My called of

-

-

My servant

-

-

 

Figure 47: Israel

 

Nephi 1

Moroni 2

Nation

8

2

Spiritual Entity

-

-

Covenant with

2

2

Scattered

6

-

Nephites and Lamanites part of

7

1

People of God

-

-

Olive tree

2

-

A king of

-

-

Judged/destroyed

-

-

 

 

 

God redeems

2

-

God judges

1

-

God is

1

-

Jesus is God

2

-

God opposed

3

-

Praise/rejoice in

3

-

Fear God

-

-

God will reign

2

-

 

Figure 48: Israel

 

Nephi 1

Moroni 2

Land of

18

9

Region

7

44

Borders of

-

-

Round about

-

-

Part(s) of

-

1

Quarter of

-

1

Territory

-

-

Strange

-

-

 

 

 

Canaan

3

-

Judea

-

-

 

 

 

New World

10

24

 

 

 

Directions

-

5

 

Figure 49: Land—Geographical

 

Nephi 1

Moroni 2

Promised

18

10

Covenant

-

-

Choice

-

3

Holy

-

-

Prepared

-

-

Chosen

-

1

Liberty

-

-

Inheritance

6

4

Our possession

-

-

Our

-

-

Own

-

-

Our fathers’

-

-

Whatsoever

-

-

Better

-

-

A

-

-

Their

-

-

Thy

-

-

My

-

-

His

-

-

Ground

1

-

Earth

-

2

As verb

-

1

Figure 50: Land—Special

Land/Lands

 Figures 49–51 show the distributions for Land and Lands. Differences are evident between Nephi 1 and Moroni 2 in figures 49–51, especially when the meanings of words are emphasized. As seen previously, Nephi 1 strongly emphasizes Old World lands, underlined by relating “land of inheritance” and Lands to the Old World. While the New World is the promised land for him, there is no comparison to the emphasis that Moroni 2 places on the New World. Moroni 2, like his father, also adds directional notes that are not found in Nephi 1. Differences are, therefore, greater than similarities when Land/Lands is examined.

 

 

Nephi 1

Moroni 2

Regions

1

-

Other

2

-

Lamanites

-

-

Zarahemla

-

-

Roundabout

-

-

Foreign

-

1

Precious

1

-

Inheritance

2

-

Choice

-

5

Of possession

-

-

Promised

-

-

Of my people

-

-

Your

-

-

Our

-

-

Your own

-

-

Their

-

-

Own

-

-

Their own

-

-

Whatsoever

-

-

Figure 51: Lands

Summary

The differences between Nephi 1 and Moroni 2 are not as sharp as those between Nephi 1 and Alma 2 or Alma 2 and Mormon. However, they are quite different on the word clusters Israel and Land/Lands and somewhat different on Law/Command and Earth. They are closest to one another with regards to Church/Churches. On balance, the differences between the two outweigh their similarities.

Nephi 1 and Mormon

When we consider Nephi 1 and Mormon, we begin a comparison of the two authors with the longest texts in the Book of Mormon. Mormon writes 97,515 words or 36 percent of the total book. Nephi 1 writes 28,637 words or 11 percent of the book. Hence it will be interesting to see how these two authors compare to one another. We begin with the word clusters from chapter 1.

Some differences are visible in figure 52. Neither the Ancient Near East cluster nor the Prophecy cluster, found in Nephi 1, is part of Mormon’s five or six top clusters. Similarly, Christology is significantly less important in Nephi 1 than it is in MormonrS. In terms of similarities, the Gathering cluster is of greater importance in Mormon than in Nephi 1, but for each it is important. The Editing cluster is also important. The contrasts, however, far outweigh the similarities, since the majority of Mormon’s concerns are quite different from those of Nephi 1.

Nephi1:S

Mormon:S

Mormon:N1

Mormon: N3

2.9

Ancient Near East

3.2

Xology

3.5

Numbers

1.8

Money

2.2

Gathering

2.8

Gathering

2.3

Editing

1.8

Directions

1.8

Prophecy

2.4

Spiritual

2.2

Directions

1.8

Contention

1.6

Editing

2.1

Exchatology

2.0

Military

1.6

Military

1.5

Xology

2.0

Sacramental

1.5

Neg. emotions

1.6

Government

1.4

God

 

 

 

 

1.5

Numbers

1.4

Creation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 52

The null-hypothesis rejections between the two are not conclusive. Nephil:Nl versus Mormon:S gives one rejection, while Nephil:S versus Mormon:S gives no rejections.

 

Mormon

Nephi 1

Command

20

2

Commanded

78

33

Commandest

-

-

Commandeth

1

5

Commanding

1

-

Commandment

7

7

Commandments

53

26

Commands

5

-

 

 

 

Law

64

23

Law of Moses

16

4

Laws

17

-

 

 

 

Come unto

16

7

Figure 53: Law/Command

Law/Command

In figure 53 we see the numerical comparison between Nephi 1 and Mormon regarding the Law/Command complex.

The most obvious items of note are that Mormon uses the word Command significantly more than does Nephi 1, and with the unique meaning of “leadership.” Second, Mormon uses the word Laws seventeen times, while Nephi 1 does not use the word at all. Third, Nephi 1 uses Commandeth proportionately more than does Mormon, who uses it only once. The greater difference, however, lies in what these words signify. For Nephi 1 there is an emphasis upon God’s commandments in daily life, and Law refers to the Law of Moses. Mormon’s emphasis in his editorial writings, by contrast, is primarily secular. The commands of which he speaks are principally royal and secular in nature, and the laws are either Mosiah’s laws or tribal laws. His use of Commandments seems to refer to the Christian life, and his references to Law generally mean the Law of Moses. In this he is similar to Nephi 1. Similarly, in his sermonic material, Mormon speaks of God commanding, but his sermonic material does not have the orientation toward day-by-day items, as Nephi l’s does. Thus, Mormon and Nephi 1 are quite different in the Law/Command complex.

 

Mormon

Nephi 1

Christ’s church in New World

80

-

Local church

20

-

God’s church outsides New World

-

-

Great and abominable

-

6

Of the Lamb

-

3

Of the devil

-

-

Universal

44

1

Not true church

3

-

New World/universal

-

-

Jews

-

1

 

Figure 54: Church

Church/Churches

Figures 54 and 55 show the word distribution for the words Church and Churches.

Clearly, there are great differences between Mormon and Nephi 1 in the use of Church and Churches. They are concerned with totally different uses of the word, with only one similarity. Nephi 1 refers once to the universal church. Otherwise, Nephi 1 is concerned about the conflict between the great and abominable church and the church of the Lamb. Mormon, on the other hand, is concerned about the church in the New World, local churches, and the universal church. The sense of local churches continues for Mormon in his use of Churches. In the book of Mosiah he speaks of churches being established throughout the land, and all are positive references. In 4 Nephi, however, his references to churches are negative, for churches are now being built in opposition to Christ’s true church. Nephi 1 uses Churches in much the same way. Overall, however, there are major differences between Mormon and Nephi 1 in the uses of these words.

 

Mormon

Nephi 1

God comes to/in

-

-

God Father of

-

1

God creates

-

1

God’s mercy over

-

-

God over

-

-

God smites

-

1

God of

-

-

God commands

-

-

God has power over

-

-

God’s footstool

-

1

God’s will done in

-

-

God lord of

-

-

God’s purposes on

-

-

God rules

-

-

 

 

 

God shakes

10

1

 

Figure 56: Earth—God’s Acts

 

 

Mormon

Nephi 1

Face of (positive)

2

4

Face of (negative)

2

5

Ends of

2

2

Planet

10

8

Witnesses to God

-

-

Four corners of

-

-

At rest

-

-

Treasures of

-

-

Be joyful

-

-

Four parts of

-

-

Swear by

-

-

New

-

-

Four quarters of

2

1

World

-

3

 

Figure 57: Earth—Globe

Earth

While a few similarities are apparent between Mormon and Nephi 1 when Earth is considered, we will see that once again the differences overshadow the similarities. Figure 56 shows their use of words related to God’s acts.

Apart from affirming that God has power to shake the earth, Mormon uses none of the concepts associated with this category. While Nephi 1 does not express very many of the ideas in the group, he makes it clear that God is in control of the earth.

Figure 57 shows the two authors’ uses of earth as “globe.” Clearly, there are significant similarities in word use. Yet, Mormon and Nephi 1 are quite different in what they understand these categories to signify. Considering “face of,” Mormon speaks once of Israel’s scattering and once of the scattering that occurred at the time of the great tower. He also mentions Jesus explaining the earth’s history to its end and mentions the Three Nephites ministering on the face of the earth. Nephi 1 is primarily concerned with the scattering of Israel and with the great and abominable church and the church of the Lamb being spread upon the earth.

With regards to the earth meaning “planet,” Nephi 1 tends to stress theology: God’s power can cause the earth to pass away, what is sealed on earth is sealed in heaven, Joseph’ s seed will not pass away as long as the earth continues, etc. In contrast, Mormon is more event-oriented: the earth can be commanded to stand still, Nehor is killed between heaven and earth, Jesus’ garments are whiter than anything found on earth, etc. Thus, differences in meaning are greater than shown in the numerical accounting of figure 57.

Figure 58 examines the earth with reference to its inhabitants.

 

 

Mormon

Nephi 1

Will see salvation

-

-

Abr’s seed blesses

-

-

People of

-

-

Midst of

-

-

Trouble

-

-

Meek of

-

-

Chief ones of

-

-

Peoples of tremble

-

-

Nation(s) of/on

-

-

Salt of

-

-

Remnant of

-

-

Gathered people of

-

-

Inhabitants of

-

1

Family of

-

-

Kindreds of

-

-

Family of

-

-

Smite the

-

-

Seal on

-

-

Loose on

-

-

Wickedness of

-

-

Land(s) of

-

1

(Die) like other people

4

-

Multitudes of

-

3

 

Figure 58: Earth—Inhabitants of

Neither writer makes much use of this category, but what little they use is distinct to each.

Finally, the dominant difference between Mormon and Nephi 1 appears in figures 59 and 60.

 

Mormon

Nephi 1

Fall to

26

3

Smite to

3

-

As dust of

3

-

Return to

-

-

Face to

-

-

Till

2

-

Man from

-

-

Prostrate on

4

-

Raise from

2

-

Bowed to

4

-

Level to (kill)

2

-

Cut down to (kill)

1

-

Kneel upon

4

-

Sit on

1

-

 

Figure 59: Earth—As Related to Humans

 

Mormon

Nephi 1

In ground

7

1

Caves of

-

-

Fruite of

-

-

Surface of

1

-

Seeds of

-

-

Dirt

9

3

Face of

3

-

Is smitten

2

-

Ground

5

1

Smite

1

-

God shakes

10

1

 

Figure 60: Earth—Ground as Ground

The differences here are so evident that it is only necessary to show the two tables. In conclusion, there are no significant similarities between Nephi 1 and Mormon in any of the categories related to the word Earth.

Israel

With regards to the word Earth, particularly when “ground” is meant, Mormon is dominant in his use. Concerning the word Israel, the reverse is seen. For Nephi 1, Israel is highly important, as figures 61 and 62 show.

Figure 61 shows some common language between Mormon and Nephi 1 concerning “house of,” “people of the house of,” and “children of.” However, their uses of the rest of the phrases are clearly different. The two authors differ in what they stress as they write about Israel. Mormon understands himself to be writing to scattered Israel. Nephi 1, while sharing this view to a degree, has a much stronger sense of historical Israel which God brought out of bondage in Egypt and which was later scattered.

 

Mormon

Nephi 1

House of

8

20

Tribes, house of

-

-

People, house of

1

1

Children of

2

3

12 tribes of

-

-

People of

-

-

Both houses of

-

-

Nation of

-

-

Escaped of

-

-

Preserved of

-

-

King of

-

-

Remnant of

2

-

Outcasts of

-

-

Lost tribes of

-

2

Remnant, house of

-

-

Scattered tribes of

1

-

God of

-

2

Holy One of

-

10

Redeemer of

-

-

Mighty One of

-

1

My people

-

-

My called of

-

-

My servant

-

-

 

Figure 61: Israel

Figure 62 shows that Mormon uses absolutely no language referring to God in relation to Israel. Thus, Mormon and Nephi 1 are again significantly different in their language and usage.

 

Mormon

Nephi 1

Nation

6

8

Spiritual Entity

-

-

Covenant with

4

2

Scattere

5

6

Nephites and Lamanites part of

-

7

People of God

-

-

Olivetree

-

2

A king of

-

-

Judged/destroyed

-

-

 

 

 

God redeems

-

2

God judges

-

1

God is

-

1

Jesus is God

-

2

God opposed

-

3

Praise/rejoice in

-

3

Fear God

-

-

God will reign

-

2

 

Figure 62: Israel

 

Mormon

Nephi 1

Land of

293

18

Region

255

7

Borders of

13

-

Round about

12

-

Part(s) of

17

-

Quarter of

4

-

Territory

2

-

Strange

-

-

 

 

 

Canaan

-

3

Judea

-

-

 

 

 

New World

7

10

 

 

 

Directions

56

-

Figure 63: Land—Geographical

Land/Lands

We turn finally to the use of Land and Lands, as found in Mormon and Nephi 1. Figure 63 shows the word distribution with reference to geography.

Mormon’s language is clearly much broader than that of Nephi 1, and there are no directions mentioned by Nephi 1, an area clearly stressed by Mormon. Thus, the differences are very clear. Figure 64 compares the Special category

Significant differences are once again evident. The only common ground surrounds the concept of “land of inheritance,” but Nephi 1 speaks predominantly about the lands from which his father came, while Mormon indicates that Israel will be gathered to her lands of inheritance, i.e., the Old World.

 

 

Mormon

Nephi 1

Promised

-

18

Covenant

-

-

Choice

-

-

Holy

-

-

Prepared

-

-

Chosen

1

-

Liberty

1

-

Inheritance

3

6

Our possession

-

-

Our

1

-

Own

4

-

Our fathers’

-

-

Whatsoever

-

-

Better

-

-

A

5

-

Their

10

-

Thy

-

-

My

-

-

His

3

-

Ground

-

1

Earth

-

-

As verb

1

-

 

Figure 64: Land—Special

 

Mormon

Nephi 1

Regions

8

1

Other

-

2

Lamanites

1

-

Zarahemla

1

-

Roundabout

-

-

Foreign

-

-

Precious

-

1

Ingeritance

7

2

Choice

-

-

Of possession

4

-

Promised

-

-

Of my people

-

-

Your

-

-

Our

1

-

Your own

24

-

Their

1

-

Own

9

-

Whatsoever

1

-

Figure 65: Lands

Figure 65 displays Mormon’s and Nephi l’s uses of the word Lands.

As in previous instances, the differences are clear. To see the specific differences or similarities, consult chapter 6.

Summary

Interestingly, the clearest differences among all the pairs of authors considered probably lie between Mormon and Nephi 1. Differences between the two are marked on the word clusters and on each word considered. Thus, where wordprint may not be as clear as we could wish, the above comparisons affirm the individuality of Mormon and Nephi 1. It would appear that Mormon did not inject himself in any significant way into Nephi’s work.

Conclusion

The basic question to be answered by this study was whether one could ascertain clear differences between the authors within the Book of Mormon on the basis of content words. The answer is a resounding “yes.” Everything that has been done in this study has an empirical foundation, and any other researcher can reproduce what has been done here. Subjectivity has been kept to a minimum. Certainly, persons may disagree with the way words were categorized or with my interpretation of how a word was used in a particular instance. Overall, however, the cumulative evidence is virtually overwhelming in indicating that many authors are the source for the Book of Mormon. There are simply too many cumulative differences between authors, and these differences have been checked in too many ways to conclude otherwise.

We have seen, in all chapters, precisely what we would expect if the Book of Mormon were in fact an ancient book written by a number of authors. We have observed similarities between them because they speak of the same God, many of the same events, and from a common faith. At the same time, we see distinct differences, no matter what word clusters or individual words we examined. Homogeneity is not a characteristic of the Book of Mormon. Perhaps the most impressive finding is just how different Mormon is from all other writers, even when he inserts himself in the midst of someone else’s writings. Examples of this include his use of Command to mean “leadership,” his use of Earth to mean “ground,” his almost exclusive use of directional notations, and his expansive language associated with Land and Lands. No single nineteenth-century author could have produced the linguistic and thematic consistency found in Mormon, a consistency that runs through his work whether he is offering editorial comment within the body of another’s narrative, or writing his own personal account.

Since the appearance of the Book of Mormon, some persons have contended that Joseph Smith wrote it and that it is thus a nineteenth-century writing. For many outside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this may be a position that they will always take, and it is understandable. More recently, however, there are some Latter-day Saints who claim that the Book of Mormon, either wholly or in part, was written by Joseph Smith and reflects not ancient times but rather the religious climate of the early nineteenth century. Clearly, this position says more about such persons’ individual beliefs than it does about their serious investigation of the Book of Mormon.

When I was a graduate student at Duke University, I assisted in teaching an Old Testament course in the Divinity School. On the front of the course syllabus was a cartoon which showed a student lying on the floor thumbing through his Bible. His wife was standing over him, and the caption read, “Go away. Leave me alone. I’m looking for a biblical text to support my preconceived notion.” Those Latter-day Saints who are claiming that the Book of Mormon is a nineteenthcentury work begin from the presupposition, as do so many contemporary Bible scholars, that God cannot reveal or show the future to his prophets. Thus they assert that writings which address modern concerns must have been written in the modern times. Since the Book of Mormon speaks in part to problems found in the nineteenth century, some say by the above logic that Joseph Smith or some other author, whom Joseph Smith copied, must have written the Book of Mormon.

On the basis of this research, I have no reluctance whatsoever in asserting that no one person could possibly have written the Book of Mormon. Either it is the product of massive collusion among numerous nineteenth-century persons, or it is precisely what it claims to be—an ancient book written by ancient people. There is simply no viable middle ground.

The above chapters stress another element that is critical to scriptural interpretation: any interpreter must deal with the text of scripture. I simply had no idea what I would find when I began this work. I let the text say what it would. I have reported only that which I have found and can support from computer studies of the text. I could not have made these findings without the aid of the computer, for it would have been virtually impossible to separate the authors or gather the texts in which the words under examination occurred. With the computer, however, I was able to collect all the passages, by author, in which the words under examination appeared, thereby enabling me to compare word usage relatively easily. Having done so, I am convinced that this research relates what the Book of Mormon authors have to say on their own behalf, when select words or word clusters are examined. I have simply had the privilege of being the facilitator in that process. I stand amazed before the clarity with which the individuality of the authors has come through the pages of the Book of Mormon.

My testimony of the Book of Mormon was not and is not based on this study. Even if I had not been able to distinguish between the authors as clearly as has been done here, I would still know that the Book of Mormon is an ancient book. But faith can lead one to seek a deeper understanding of those things in which one believes through the application of reason, and in this case through the application of sophisticated twentieth-century technology used in conjunction with reason. Thus, my faith invited me to apply my intellect to an exploration of the authors of the Book of Mormon. That search has been rewarded far beyond my expectations, and my faith has been deepened as I have immersed myself for the last six years in the book which is the keystone of our religion. I hope others will take up the search and expand what has only been initiated in this work.