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An Analysis of Mormon’s Narrative Strategies Employed on the Zeniffite Narrative and Their Effect on Limhi
|An Analysis of Mormon’s Narrative Strategies Employed on the Zeniffite Narrative and Their Effect on Limhi
|Year of Publication
|Arp, Nathan J.
|Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship
|Abinadi (Prophet); Alma the Elder; Editorial Technique; Gideon (Zeniffite/Nephite); King Limhi; King Noah; Mormon (Prophet); Zeniff; Zeniffites
The prophet Mormon’s editorial skill brings the narrative of the Zeniffites alive with a complex tumble of viewpoints, commentary, and timelines. Mormon seems to apply similar narrative strategies as those used in the Bible in his approach to abridging the history of his people. A comparative reading of the various accounts in the Zeniffite story provides the close reader with a deep picture of Limhi, the tragic grandson of the founding king, Zeniff, and the son of the iniquitous King Noah. Noah’s wicked rule brought his people into bondage. His conflicted son Limhi’s efforts to free the people, although well meaning, often imperiled his people. Fortunately, Limhi’s proclivity for making poor judgments did not extend to his acceptance of the gospel. In fact, coexistent with the repeated errors Limhi makes in the narrative lies one of his greatest strengths, his willingness to accept correction. This is a vital characteristic necessary for the repentance required by the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is what redeemed Limhi from his comedy of errors. It is this quality that can also redeem us all. Limhi’s love for his father, in the end, did not doom him to make the same mistakes Noah did. When the messengers from God came, Limhi listened and accepted their message. Mormon’s characterization strategies described here are a credit to his art and support the hypothesis that he is an inheritor of the poetics of biblical narrative. His narrative strategies not only characterize the cast in his narrative, but also characterize him. The care Mormon took in crafting his abridgment reveal his observational prowess. He saw God’s hand in his people’s history, and he went to great lengths to teach his readers how to see it too. His characterization of Limhi is a personal message about how wickedness and tyranny affect individuals.
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