There are 14 thoughts on “Labor Diligently to Write: The Ancient Making of a Modern Scripture”.

  1. Dear Brother Gardner,

    I love this book! Let me start there!

    In chapter 3 you have this line: “In the original manuscript, the only remaining synoptic header comes at the beginning of the book of Helaman.” (About page 24 using the pagination online at Interpreter.) It took me honestly 4 readings to understand what you meant. So I’m hoping you might be able to clarify it for me. By “original manuscript”, I am sure you mean the original sheets of paper on which Joseph’s scribes wrote? And then, that is to say the only synoptic header left on the EXTANT (the approx 28% that we still have)”original manuscript” is the book of Helaman’s? Because surely the “original manuscript” should have had all of the synoptic headers that Mormon put there, else wherewith would the Book of Mormon get them.

    It might seem like a dumb question or a very simple thing but it’s cost me quite a few re-reads of that paragraph to capture the meaning. Not anything to do with you I imagine, but more to do with my hard head!
    Thank you very much for this labouriously diligent work.

    • Stuart, it should have been clarified that the reference is to the extant original. Of course there were more in the actual original, as witnessed in the printer’s manuscript. I confess that since I know what I mean, sometimes I leave things out that would be important for readers.

      And, by the way, thank you for letting me know that you enjoyed the book–other than this particular error (I’m sure there are others).

      • Thanks for your quick response to my question! And thank you for taking the time to clarify.

        You’re right, sometimes when we write it’s not always easy to realise that a reader may not have a bit of information that can help clarify a concept. But that’s not to say you are at fault. Only that I was slow to realise. Thank you again!

  2. Page 34, errata perhaps? “The header is unusual in its content, which and may be due to the compositor’s decision to create a book header similar to other books.”

  3. Brant,

    The sequence and gaps of year counts through the Book of Mormon are indeed interesting. The pattern seems to follow the Maya practice of intervals in their divinitory texts equating to Maya sacred numbers or functions thereof. A complete analysis of this is found in pages 102 to 123 of the Translation of the Caractors Document, updated if any have interest in this esoteric feature of the Book of Mormon.'Caractors'%20Document%20-%20Revised%20and%20Updated.pdf

  4. Brant,
    I am currently working on refining a paper involving the small plates being in reformed Egyptian. One of the issues involves the third person of the small plates prefaces. As you indicated there was not a line separating the prefaces and the text in 1 Nephi. Do you see any arguments against the premise that the sentence “This is according to the account of Nephi; or in other words, I, Nephi, wrote this record.” could actually be the first line of text as opposed to the last sentence of the preface?

  5. Fine article, Brant. Enjoyed the many insights.

    Re note 13, however, the praise of Randall Spackman’s Nephite lunar year comes at the price of declaring the heading to III Nephi in error (first year of King Zedekiah), not necessarily the best approach to interpreting a text.

    • Brant and Robert,

      Note 13 is not applicable to Mormon’s time period per Spackman as in the article cited Spackman’s only asserts that the 600 year count up to Christ’s birth is the uncorrected lunar calendar. In a separate article Spackman indicates that the years following the birth of Christ, (back corrected nine years afterwards) are 365 day solar years, which includes Mormon’s time. (
      When utilizing Spackman’s approach, (uncorrected lunar prior to Christ’s birth and solar afterwards) all of the BOM prophecies all actually work precisely and correctly, which I showed in Chapter 14 of the recent Caractors translation book'Caractors'%20Document%20-%20Revised%20and%20Updated.pdf
      With regards to the supposed 3 Nephi preface error, although Spackman thinks it might be an error, the other possibility that works exactly from a chronological standpoint is that it indicates that the first year of King Zedekiah is the year that Lehi “came out of Jerusalem” which is the year Lehi left Jerusalem and had his vision (1 Nephi 1:5-7), not the year of the final Lehite departure. Spackman considers this possibility but discounts it because he doesn’t think it is textually consistent. However, he overlooks the fact that the small plates would not be expected to necessarily be textually consistent in all regards with Mormon’s abridgment (including the 3 Nephi preface) in this regard. The text actually consistently refers to the Lehites finally leaving Jerusalem when referring to chronology as “left Jerusalem” (3 Nephi 1:1, 2:6; Mosiah 29:46, 6:4; Jacob 1:1; 2 Nephi 5:28 ) or merely that years had “passed away” (Jarom 1:5; Omni 1:3; 2 Nephi 5:34), but never uses the term “came out,” which would make all of the chronology consistent with no errors on Mormon’s part or any other BOM author.

  6. Thanks, fascinating work! Particularly intrigued by the concept of Mormon’s outline and future promises. A reason for the book of Helaman structure varying from the original source is also that Mormon added in the Samuel the Lamanite prophecy, which wasn’t originally part of their record but added after Christ’s encouragement in 3 Nephi 23. Another idea on the longevity of 4 Nephi recordkeepers could be that Nephi was translated as one of the Three Nephites, and could thus keep the records more than a century? I shared some related thoughts on the provenance of the plates and their custodial lineage in this article:

    • Thank you, Anita. While it is true that Samuel the Lamanite’s record was added to the large plates, that doesn’t necessarily affect Mormon, since it was already there when Mormon read the record. Also, it is not clear what had not been written. It wouldn’t be surprising if nothing that Samuel said had been written, but the text is only specific about those who arose from the dead (3 Nephi 23:9=10). Thus, it is also possible that it was only that particular testimony rather than the entirety of what Samuel said.

    • In reference to the identity of the Fourth Nephi record keeper read 4 Nephi 1:14-21. Although the text never gives the identity of the three disciples who were to tarry, verse 19 states that Nephi died. Doing some math with the data from verses 20 and 21 puts the death of Nephi at 110 years from the coming of Christ. Verse 14 says that by year 100 all of the disciples of Christ had died except for those who should tarry.

      If Nephi died then he could not have been one of the three disciples who were to tarry. If all of the other disciples were dead by year 100, then that would have included the disciple Nephi. The Nephi from 4th Nephi gave the records to his son in year 110. Therefore the Nephi from 4th Nephi could not be the same Nephi as the one from 3rd Nephi. 4th Nephi must be the son of 3rd Nephi.

      Unless, as stated above, “It appears that Mormon is working more symbolically than literally in 4 Nephi”. If 4th Nephi is from the same Nephi as 3rd Nephi, then there must have been another unnamed record keeper who had the records from when Nephi the disciple died, year 100 or earlier, and when Amos received the record in the year 110. And if there is one unnamed record keeper in the time covered by 4th Nephi, then there could have been many, and the father and son Amoses might have had normal life spans.

    • Levi,

      The serialized segments will be gathered together as a single volume in the regular Interpreter Journal series. Those who would like to have it as a book will be able to do the same as with all other volumes, and purchase it from Amazon. I don’t know if their price has changed, but the last time I purchased a volume it was $5.00.

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