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More Than Meets the Eye: Concentration of the Book of Mormon

TitleMore Than Meets the Eye: Concentration of the Book of Mormon
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1980
AuthorsWalker, Steven C.
JournalBYU Studies Quarterly
KeywordsBeatitudes; Isaiah (Book); Rhetoric; Sermon at the Temple; Sermon on the Mount
Even among those of us who are convinced of the divinity of the Book of Mormon’s source and the primacy of its message, there is a tendency to find “the most perfect book ever written” prolix. However, when compared with the King James Version of the Bible the Book of Mormon offers some very important additions.
Take, for example, the Book of Mormon Beatitudes—3 Nephi 12:3–11, which parallels Matthew 5:3–11. Though the ands and alls and yea and again of the Nephi version are clearly superfluous, at least a third of the eighteen percent additional words used by Nephi enrich the passage; they are no more redundant than the “and thirst” in “hunger and thirst after righteousness.” “Blessed are the poor in spirit who come unto me, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” while using more words than the original, makes it clear that the Sermon was directed to those who had come unto the Savior in the waters of baptism. And verse 6—”Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled”—is made specific with the addition of “with the Holy Ghost.” Verse 10’s alteration of “righteousness’ sake” to “my name’s sake” serves a similar focusing function, distinguishing between suffering for any good cause and enduring persecution specifically for devotion to Christ.