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Recurrence in Book of Mormon Narratives
TitleRecurrence in Book of Mormon Narratives
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1994
AuthorsRust, Richard Dilworth
JournalJournal of Book of Mormon Studies
KeywordsBrass Plates; Missionary Work; Narrative; Nephi; Promised Land; Repentance; Repetition; Secret Combinations; Witnesses

Repetition appears purposefully within Book of Mormon narratives as a principle of reinforcement and confirmation. It seems that every important action, event, or character is repeated in the Book of Mormon. These repetitions emphasize the law of witnesses at work within the book (e.g., “in the mouth of three witnesses shall these things be established”; Ether 5:4). Further, they underscore the relevance of one character or action to people living in a different time, and they link narratives together with what Robert Alter calls “type-scenes.” Analyzed in detail as particularly striking are threefold repetitions in Nephi’s task to retrieve the brass plates and repetition of the word “power” in the missionary endeavor of the sons of Mosiah. Larger repeated narratives treat escape and travel to a promised land; repentance; and the nature, rise, and effect of secret combinations.