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TitleBook of Mormon References to Deity
Publication TypeMagazine Article
Year of Publication1992
AuthorsTate, Charles D.
Issue Number4
Date PublishedApril 1992
KeywordsNames of Jesus Christ

“In keeping with its declared purpose as a witness of Jesus Christ, the Book of Mormon contains 476 references to Him by name in its 531 pages,” almost one reference per page. Only 30 pages contain no specific name reference to deity, excluding pronouns.


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Book of Mormon References to Deity

In a day when many claim that the “Mormon Church” is a cult and certainly not a Christian church, it is interesting to note that the Book of Mormon has 476 references to the Lord Jesus Christ by name. With 531 pages in the text of the 1981 LDS edition, that averages nearly one reference per page. Of all the other Christian scriptures, only the Gospels, which abundantly use the name Jesus because they present synopses of his life, have more references to him by name.

Lee Crandall and Susan Easton Black did studies on the frequency of all references to Deity in both the Book of Mormon and the New Testament. They found that even with 1,349 fewer verses than the New Testament, the Book of Mormon makes 108 more references to the Lord. (Because Jehovah was actually the premortal Christ, and because the Savior directs the affairs of the world, most of the references to Deity in the Book of Mormon refer to Jesus Christ.)

I, too, had long known that almost every page of the Book of Mormon refers to Deity. In my Book of Mormon classes I would have the students let their copies of that scripture fall open randomly to any page. We would see how many times the books would fall open before we found one of the few pages that did not contain a specific name of God. Pronoun references did not count.

We learned a great lesson—the Book of Mormon is a Christ-oriented book. I had heard estimates that there are fewer than 50 of the 531 pages in the Book of Mormon on which a name of God does not appear. Not satisfied with guesswork, I set out to count the pages that did not contain a name of Deity.

To my delight, I found that only 30 of the 531 pages contain no specific name reference to Deity. Furthermore, many of those 30 pages make references to God without using names.

For instance, two pages record catastrophes and “a voice heard among all the inhabitants of the earth” (3 Ne. 9:1), but the source, Jesus Christ, is not identified by name until the third page.

Two more pages describe Lehi’s vision of the tree of life. (1 Ne. 8:1–35.) Nephi later tells us that the tree and the rod of iron in the vision are the love of God and the word of God. (1 Ne. 11:21–22; 1 Ne. 15:23–24.)

To those who say Latter-day Saints don’t respect Christ or don’t worship him, we need simply point to the Book of Mormon. If they read only the book of Moroni, they will encounter 215 references to him in its thirteen and one-half pages. Page 519 alone has 26 references to Deity. The Book of Mormon is a volume of scripture that centers on God the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. It records the Lord’s dealings with the Nephites and witnesses to the world that the Bible is true, that Jesus is the Christ, and that God still speaks from the heavens.

• Charles D. Tate, professor of English, Brigham Young University, a counselor in the Orem Utah Sharon Stake mission presidency, and ward mission leader, Orem Thirteenth Ward.