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The Ancient Doctrine of the Two Ways and the Book of Mormon

TitleThe Ancient Doctrine of the Two Ways and the Book of Mormon
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsReynolds, Noel B.
JournalBYU Studies Quarterly
KeywordsAncient Near East; Church of the Devil; Commandment; Doctrine; Jacob (Son of Lehi); Jesus Christ; King Benjamin; Lehi (Prophet); Mormon (Prophet); Nephi (Son of Helaman); Nephi (Son of Lehi); Opposition: Church of the Lamb of God; Righteousness; Two Ways; Wickedness
The Bible describes a bifurcated world in which God bids, commands, and teaches the people he has created to follow him in the way of righteousness, and in which the devil leads people into wickedness. This way of seeing things surfaces explicitly in various texts and is known among scholars as the Doctrine of the Two Ways. While the same teaching has been noticed in the Book of Mormon, there is as yet no study that examines the Book of Mormon presentations systematically to identify the ways in which they might follow any of the ancient versions of the Two Ways doctrine, or the ways in which these might feature original formulations.
In this article, Noel Reynolds shows that the Book of Mormon writers did retain most elements of the earliest biblical teaching, but with enriched understandings and original formulations of the Doctrine of the Two Ways in their prophetic teachings. He documents twelve exemplary passages in the Book of Mormon that explicitly refer to two paths or ways and assesses the extent to which these follow or vary from each other or from Jewish and Christian models.

Scripture Reference

1 Nephi 8:20-32
1 Nephi 10:18-21
1 Nephi 11:1-15:36
2 Nephi 1:1-4:35
2 Nephi 9:1-10:25
Mosiah 3:1-4:30
Helaman 6:30-34
3 Nephi 14:13-14
Moroni 7:15-16