“And It Came To Pass…”

“And It Came To Pass”

The Book of Mormon is often poked fun of by critics for its excessive use of the phrase “and it came to pass”. Humorist Mark Twain once quipped that if that phrase were removed entirely from the Book of Mormon, the book would be a mere pamphlet. Here I summarize the apologetic responses and the scholarly information related to this issue. I first describe the structural function that the phrase plays in the text, and then I describe similar uses of the phrase in ancient Hebrew, Maya, and Egyptian writing. It is good to keep in mind that the symbols and glyphs used by these ancient languages to represent “and it came to pass” would not have taken up nearly the space that it does in English. The idea could be conveyed by a very short word or symbol.

It is my opinion that the cumulative effect of these links with the ancient world, which the Book of Mormon (BoM) claims to be rooted in, points towards an ancient origin.

Function

1. Ancient writing systems had no punctuation. The policy of indenting the beginning of paragraphs became standard only in 17th century. Ancient writers devised symbols to indicate where words or ideas stopped and new ones began. (Robbins).

2. The BoM original handwritten manuscripts had no punctuation, sentences or paragraphs. Those things were all added in by the printer, Gilbert, a non-mormon (Gardner, 24).

3. The ancient writers of the BoM used the phrase “and it came to pass” as a “structural marker that tells the reader to begin a new section.” (Gardner, 25) This is in keeping with ancient writing practices.

4. Gilbert inadvertently, but correctly, recognized the ancient function of the phrase “and it came to pass” as the beginning of a new section, and subsequently used that as a guide for dividing the text into paragraphs (Gardner, 24)(IRR, note 1 Nephi 1-5).

Conclusion: Rather than being anomalous or strange, the phrase “and it came to pass” is used exactly as it should be in the BoM, as an ancient writer would have used it. It exists as a structural marker to give order to the text.

Hebrew

1. The Hebrew form of the expression “and it came to pass” (wayehi) is found in the Hebrew Bible 1204 times, but only translated as “and it came to pass” by the KJV 727 times. In other instances it is translated as a variation with the same meaning, or not translated at all (Parry).

2. The phrase appears in the BoM 999 times (Gardner, 23). Parry says 1,404.

3. In both the Bible and The BoM, the expression is rarely found in poetic, literary, or prophetic writings. Most often, it appears in narratives, histories, and chronologies. The BoM has more histories, chronologies, etc. than the OT relative to its size (Parry).

Conclusion: The frequency of the phrase is not anomalous or strange for a book with ancient Hebrew roots. Joseph translated the Semitic phrase “and it came to pass” more consistently than the KJV translators did. Had Joseph simply observed the usage of the phrase in the bible, it is doubtful (to me) that he would have used it with greater frequency than the bible does, or that he would have properly identified the appropriate genre in which to focus its use.

Mayan

1. The phrase is found in an ancient Maya glyph (pronounced u-ti, Coe)(can be seen at “Maya” below).

2. The phrase in ancient Maya is used for the same functional reason as for the BoM, to control the flow of action, or to mark a new section (Lund)( Gardner, 25).

3. The glyph was discovered at Palenque, an ancient Mesoamerican city that Joseph Smith said was a BoM city (Lund).

Conclusion: The BoM has a strong link to Mesoamerican languages, especially Maya (time and place). The reformed Egyptian of the BoM shares a structural symbol with the Maya language that means “and it came to pass”. We should expect to find this phrase often in a book rooted in a time and place near to the Maya, and fortunately we do.

Egyptian

1. Egyptian historical texts “begin in monotonous fashion” always with the same stock words; for example, at some periods every speech is introduced with the unnecessary “I opened my mouth.”

2. Dramatic texts are held together by the constant repetition of Khpr-n, “It happened that” or “It came to pass.”

3.  In Egyptian these expressions were not merely adornments, they are a grammatical necessity and may not be omitted. (Nibley)

Conclusion: The BoM is written in reformed Egyptian, and therefore it very appropriately repeats the connecting phrase “and it came to pass” in monotonous fashion at the introduction of a new section.  Such a device it is a grammatical necessity in ancient Egyptian, although it is awkward and strange in English. It need not exactly mirror known ancient Egpytian textual use, because we are dealing with reformed Egyptian.

Final Conclusion

The phrase “and it came to pass” is attested for in all of the languages most closely linked to the Book of Mormon. In these ancient writing systems, the phrase is used for a similar or for the exact same purpose as it is used in the Book of Mormon. It is also used with the same frequency as in the Book of Mormon. Instead of being a bad attempt at sounding “biblical”, the phrase “and it came to pass” in the Book of Mormon is used precisely as it should be. In fact, were the phrase not used in this way our critics would have something bigger to complain about. The Book of Mormon fits nicely into the ancient world from which it claims to be derived.

Sources

Michael D. Coe and Mark Van Stone, Reading the Maya Glyphs (London: Thames & Hudson, 2001), 33.

Brant A.Gardner, Second Witness: Analytical & Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon. (Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 2007).

IRR, scanned images of 1830 Book of Mormon http://www.irr.org/mit/bom/1830bom-1nephi.html

“Maya: Logograms”, AncientScripts.com http://www.ancientscripts.com/maya.html (accessed March 2009)

John L. Lund, Mesoamerica and the Book of Mormon, 2007. Quoted and viewed in Kerry Shirts, Book of Mormon “And It Came To Pass”, Backyard Professor Youtube Video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BsXA3ihrxVg (accessed March 2009)

Hugh Nibley, Since Cumorah. The entire section above was quoted directly from Nibley. Nibley quotes Grapow, Das Hieroglyphensystem, 23-25, 31

Sonia Jaffe, Robbins, “Punctuation,” New York University, NYU Web, http://www.nyu.edu/classes/copyXediting/Punctuation.html (accessed March 2009) Quoted in Gardner, 24.

Donald W. Parry, “I Have a Question,” Ensign, Dec. 1992, 29. http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=c2cc9209df38b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&hideNav=1 (accessed March 2009)

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17 comments on ““And It Came To Pass…”

  1. Well done and informative. The concept that a single symbol or word can evoke a long phrase in English is foreign to our way of thinking. In some cases, an idogram or symbol was used to summon to mind an entire narrative that was commonly understood ancienty. It is apparent from my research that in many cases these icons or symbols were used in place of text. Early translators were forced to use text in place of those symbols in cultures where such symbolism was unknown. In so doing, much of the original meaning or intent was lost. The most glaring example of this loss is found in prophecy, where we are given bizarre word images, such as beasts, horses, locusts, women, dragons, etc., that were originally icons. (Thus, Christ was able to fill the Pharisees with shame who were about to stone a woman by writing a simple symbol in the dirt before adding, “Let he among you who is without sin cast the first stone.”) This element in our scriptures is virtually invisible to moderns, who see nothing but the bland text rather than the rich symbolism in the originals. Further, the source of those original icons is yet another mystery to us. Such is the case with modern temple iconography and ritual, where the ubiquitous cosmological imagery of the past is on display for all to see. Sadly, it may as well be written in invisible ink where we moderns are concerned. We are that disconnected from the rich traditionalism of the past. Even what little we retain, by custom, in our culture, goes unnoticed, due to our scotoma. No wonder most of our gospel and temple ritual is a mystery to us.

  2. Andy Weller says:

    This is just simply fascinating. Thank you

  3. James says:

    Thanks Andy. I’m glad you liked it. I saw your question at FAIR just now (I’m on the team) and I’m pleased that you were referred here.

  4. Joe says:

    That’s not the only thing that people question..

    Let’s assume for one second that you’re right in saying that “it came to pass”, was indeed from the translation (and the only translation, I might add) of the plates due to linguistics of those ancient writings. I can understand how 1 character may mean a few words.. OK.. that’s fine..

    That still doesn’t explain the fact we can’t find a city anywhere that resembles the cities described in the Book of Mormon, nor can we find any evidence of the battles on the hill Cumorah, the dna evidence that Jews exsisted in the North Americas, and that there was even a language called “reformed egyptian”. Which if there was a language called that, wouldn’t it be found in other places in Southern Mexico? If the hill Cumorah was in upstate New York, wouldn’t we find evidence of linguistics up there as well? Maybe some buildings..? or perhaps writings or left overs from that area?

    I just don’t understand how an entire civilization of people can just vanish without any trace and the only proof we have of their existence is a book written among golden (or brass) plates, which we can not see for ourselves to cypher and critique. The only remnant of those plates is the Book of Mormon, which was translated by John Smith.

    Doesn’t any of the story raise raise any sort of an eyebrow?

    As much as I admire the family orientation of Mormons, how much faith they have and how far they’re willing to go for what they believe.. I have to wonder if any of this is true or not.

    I’m not coming as someone who is trying to convert you to any other religion.. I’m someone who is conducting research in my spare time on the book of Mormon as well as the Qur’an and the Bible. This is to let you know that my intentions are pure as to know what you feel and believe.

    Thanks,
    -Joe

    • Joe says:

      Sorry, I mistyped John, when I meant Joseph Smith. I was interrupted on the phone, when I was typing that part and didn’t catch the typo until then.

      No ill intentions meant..

  5. James says:

    Hello Joe. I appreciate your comments. I hope to respond to you in the same spirit of sincerity that you displayed.

    You asked why this post (“and it came to pass”) matters if we still have so many unanswered questions, questions that are probably more important. Well, I don’t hesitate to agree with you that more important issues exist. This post happened to be about one detail of the Book of Mormon, and wasn’t designed to address other issues. I think the “and it came to pass” issue is a small bit of evidence in favor of the Book of Mormon, that’s why I wrote this.

    I’m happy to briefly address some of the points you’ve raised. Because you raised so many points, and because they cover a broad spectrum, I doubt we would benefit from going in depth into all of them at once. So, I’ll just give some brief responses for now.

    (1) Cities.
    You’ve claimed that we can’t find cities anywhere that resemble Book of Mormon cities. But, before we can find a city like the ones in the Book of Mormon we have to know where to look. Most LDS researchers are confident that the events of the Book of Mormon all played out in a limited geographical setting somewhere in Mesoamerica (southern Mexico, Guatemala, etc.). We do in fact find cities there that resemble the cities described in the book of Mormon. This isn’t to say that we have identified specific Book of Mormon cities (though some LDS scholars think they have), but we are on the right track. Now we just have to figure out how a Nephite city would look different from a non-Nephite city. The Nephites and Lamanites weren’t alone in that region, and they didn’t live within a vacuum. They lived similar material lifestyles as the other people around them, being part of the same regional culture. So, one question we should be asking ourselves before we pronounce judgement is, “How do we recognize a Nephite city?”

    (2) Cumorah.
    Where is the hill Cumorah? Once again, before we decide that nothing has been found on Cumorah, we have to decide where Cumorah is. Hardly a LDS scholar today believes that the Cumorah described in the Book of Mormon is the same Cumorah that we find in New York. Early LDS members misnamed the New York Cumorah after the Cumorah in the Book of Mormon, though they had no reason to do that. The misconception has stuck all these years. The Cumorah described in the Book of Mormon, on which battles were fought, is located in Mesoamerica. The Book of Mormon evidence itself indicates this.

    (3) DNA
    There really is no DNA issue. The real issue of one of geography. The DNA issue is only a issue if one believes that every Native America in the western hemisphere is a descendant of Book of Mormon peoples. LDS scholars haven’t believed that for decades, long before the DNA controversy bubbled up. Once we realize that the Book of Mormon peoples were not alone here, there is no DNA issue at all. Even the main proponents of the DNA attack on the Book of Mormon have agreed on that. So, the issue is really one of geography. Did the Book of Mormon people live in a limited area, surrounded by and mixed into others, or were Book of Mormon people the only ones ever to dwell in the hemisphere? Most LDS today are conscious that BoM peoples were not alone.

    (4) Reformed Egyptian.
    There is commonly a misunderstanding among LDS and non-LDS about the nature of “reformed Egyptian.” The phrase “reformed Egyptian” is not a proper name (like “English”) for a language or for a writing system. Instead, the word “reformed” is an adjective that modified the noun “Egyptian.” In other words, it is like saying “reformed English.” The Nephites, over the course of several centuries, came to alter and change the Egyptian writing system they at first employed. How much did it change? We can’t really be sure, but we know that the prophet Mormon (~1000 years after Lehi left Jerusalem) said that no other “people” can understand their language (which is perfectly consistent with the nature of Mesoamerican languages at that time). It may have been “reformed” to the point that it no longer resembled Egyptian.

    (5) Entire civilization vanishing without a trace.
    LDS Mesoamericanist John Clark once stated (I paraphrase) that Nephite and Lamanite aritfacts grace the finest museums around the world, but that we just don’t recognize them for what they are. How can we distinguish a Nephite pottery shard from a non-Nephite pottery shard? Any number of known Mesoamerican cities may have been inhabited by Book of Mormon peoples, but we really have a very hard time distinguishing them from non-Book of Mormon peoples. We are still working on that.

    You may appreciate this article which covers these topics generally: http://mi.byu.edu/publications/jbms/?vol=14&num=2&id=376

    I believe with all my heart that Mormonism is what it claims to be. But, I don’t believe that it, or any other faith, can or even should be proven to an objective observer. That isn’t the nature of revealed religion. I believe in Mormonism because I have put faith in it, and the fruit has been sweet. But, like any other faith-based enterprise, we sometimes need evidence and scholarship to help bolster our faith. I believe that LDS scholarship more than supplies this. I certainly don’t expect you to agree with the conclusions of LDS scholarship, but I hope and pray that you will at least recognize that LDS faithful do not have to blindly follow their leaders. We have sound evidence and argument to bolster our faith, if not prove it.

    Thanks! I hope I’ve been courteous and respectful to you. If I sound preachy at any point, I apologize.

    James

  6. Joe says:

    First, thanks for writing back to me..

    Next, I don’t feel it’s preachy at all.. I’m here to be instructed, I came here for answers, and I appreciate the time that you take to write back to me about about it.

    I’ll start with your final paragraph and work my way up..

    1.) I believe that every religion needs to at least have certain things that helps support the hypothesis that the rules that God has given are the true laws that God has given. Also a prophet, who claims to be God’s prophet, is a real prophet. There is wisdom in each religion, just at the end of the day.. what is right? I’ll never claim that one religion is right, because who knows? I don’t hold any allegiance with any religion, although I tend to read about other religions. With that said, I will speak up though when I see something that seems a little fishy to me.

    “LDS Mesoamericanist John Clark once stated (I paraphrase) that Nephite and Lamanite aritfacts grace the finest museums around the world, but that we just don’t recognize them for what they are. How can we distinguish a Nephite pottery shard from a non-Nephite pottery shard? Any number of known Mesoamerican cities may have been inhabited by Book of Mormon peoples, but we really have a very hard time distinguishing them from non-Book of Mormon peoples. We are still working on that”

    I understand that people are working to find this conclusion as its consequences or rewards could be very high for the Mormon faith. I can understand that pottery could be something that’s indistinguishable from other tribes.. Ok, I’ll give you that. But, here’s some other insight..

    Cultures tend to bring writings with them when they move from one place to another. The language of the area that Nephi and Lamin came from could be Egyptian or maybe Aramaic. The point is that people tend to write things or leave evidence of their languages. This is evidence from even the earliest humans living in caves and writing or painting on walls. Things like the story of their travels or stories about the one true God. Whether in the Nephites or Laminates case, that could be a copy of various books in the Torah or some inscriptions in their native tongue. Maybe they could have all disappeared… But I highly doubt it.

    Most religious books of that day were recited or remembered until writing was discovered to place them into a readable form. For example, this is how the Qur’an was until it was created into a canon after Mohammad’s death. You can argue that no one knew how to write, but that doesn’t make sense because Moroni, Nephi and many of the other players in the book of Mormon had to have learned to write from somewhere.. and if they knew how to write, than others would have had to as well. I highly doubt they would just ditch their language right when they got to a new land.

    Yes, we cannot decipher a Nephite pot or ceramic piece from a non nephite peice. But most civilizations have left some sort of a trace of their culture and if the Nephites were Jewish, they would have left some trace of one of the most important things that made them Jews.. Parts of their language and inscriptions from the Torah. Unless they were non religious, polytheists, not Jews or just Pagans. Which in that case, why would Jesus Christ have an interest in them?

    2.)

    “Where is the hill Cumorah? Once again, before we decide that nothing has been found on Cumorah, we have to decide where Cumorah is. Hardly a LDS scholar today believes that the Cumorah described in the Book of Mormon is the same Cumorah that we find in New York. Early LDS members misnamed the New York Cumorah after the Cumorah in the Book of Mormon, though they had no reason to do that. The misconception has stuck all these years. The Cumorah described in the Book of Mormon, on which battles were fought, is located in Mesoamerica. The Book of Mormon evidence itself indicates this.”

    Then how come Moroni buried the plates in upstate New York if everything took place in Mesoamerica? That’s where Joseph Smith found them right? Wouldn’t we have found them in Mesoamerica instead if that’s where the hill Cumorah was? How come the Latter Day Saints own that particular hill and have a display in dedication to the events that took place if it never took place in that location in the first place?

    (3) DNA

    “There really is no DNA issue. The real issue of one of geography. The DNA issue is only a issue if one believes that every Native America in the western hemisphere is a descendant of Book of Mormon peoples. LDS scholars haven’t believed that for decades, long before the DNA controversy bubbled up. Once we realize that the Book of Mormon peoples were not alone here, there is no DNA issue at all. Even the main proponents of the DNA attack on the Book of Mormon have agreed on that. So, the issue is really one of geography. Did the Book of Mormon people live in a limited area, surrounded by and mixed into others, or were Book of Mormon people the only ones ever to dwell in the hemisphere? Most LDS today are conscious that BoM peoples were not alone.”

    It’s not just blood samples and DNA.. It’s the fact that there have been no ancient bones or actual hard evidence found in that area which have any genealogical relation to that of people from Jewish descent.

    4.)

    “Now we just have to figure out how a Nephite city would look different from a non-Nephite city. The Nephites and Lamanites weren’t alone in that region, and they didn’t live within a vacuum. They lived similar material lifestyles as the other people around them, being part of the same regional culture. So, one question we should be asking ourselves before we pronounce judgement is, “How do we recognize a Nephite city?””

    Once again, they were Jews.. I highly doubt that they totally disregarded their religion and scripture and started immediately worshipping other Gods as the Mesoamericans did. Especially if the Book of Mormon, which in the later texts of Moroni, have references to God. They would have left evidence of their worship. Even Babylon, which existed many of thousands of years ago, left evidence of it’s religions and Gods. Unless they were all Apostate Jews which in that case, once again, would mean that they were either pagans, polytheists or not Jews.

    I posted this stating a few more points than “It came to pass”, because that’s not the only reason why people question the legitimacy of the Book of Mormon. There are more reasons as to question it, than just because it states “And it came to pass” every other paragraph.

  7. James says:

    Joe,

    Thanks for your comments. I appreciate you interacting here with me on my blog. I began to write a response to your questions but I stopped because I have a better idea. William Hamblin, a LDS scholar, wrote an article that addresses the issues you have raised and so much more. His essay is absolutely required reading for anyone interested in discussing Book of Mormon historicity. I don’t want to deprive you of the chance to read such an important article by distracting you with my own comments, so I’m just going to provide you with a link to it. If after reading it you have questions please don’t hesitate to come back and ask them.

    I also ask that you ignore the aggressive title of the essay. It is aimed primarily at the “anti-Mormon” audience but I don’t consider you an “anti-Mormon.”

    http://mi.byu.edu/publications/jbms/?vol=2&num=1&id=25

  8. While I’m not a Mormon (though I have Mormon family members), this blog is interesting to me because Mormon apologetics is a rare thing. I also enjoyed reading your interactions with your readers.

    May I add something to the pot?

    As an amateur linguist and translator myself (Mandarin, Taiwanese, and English), I take exception when people refer to Joseph Smith as a “translator” regarding his reported work on the Book of Mormon. If Joseph Smith really did do the things that he is reported to have done in producing the Book of Mormon, does his work qualify as translating, since translating is the act of taking something from one language and changing it into another? If the records of his methods are true, then he did not translate at all; he merely read things aloud.

    However, there is an exception. He did claim to “translate” the papyri that were said to be the Book of Abraham. How did his translation hold up? As you yourself probably know, once the actual papyri from which he “worked” (used in quotes for a reason; see below) were rediscovered in the late ’60s (1966, I believe), it was shown conclusively that not only did he know nothing about Egyptian (a language for which he even claimed to have written a grammar for), the mutilated papyri said nothing that he claimed they said.

    Do you think that is a fair assessment of the Book of Abraham? Why or why not?

    I will not go into the details of the Kinderhook plates, yet I wonder how modern Mormons explain these things. From my perspective as a sincere Christian, Jesus informs us that:

    “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” (Luke 16:10, 11 [NIV])

    Why should anyone trust his supposed translation of a work that we can’t compare to its original if it is already shown that we can’t trust his supposed translation of work that we can compare to their originals?

    I sincerely appreciate any response.

    Joshua

    PS – The Book of Mormon and the Pearl of Great Price lay beside my computer as I type this…

  9. James says:

    Hello Joshua. Thanks for stopping by.

    (1) I think LDS Apologetics are not a “rare” thing. Anytime someone defends their views they are engaging in “apologetics”, and LDS scholars and amateurs have been defending Mormonism in various venues since the very beginning of the LDS Church.

    (2) I sympathize with your complaint that Joseph Smith did not translate the Book of Mormon in any traditional sense of the word “translate”. From the historical record, and from careful analysis of the original manuscripts of the Book of Mormon, there is still no dominant comprehensive theory for explaining how the translation was accomplished, and what exact role Joseph Smith played in the translation. Most LDS researchers agree that Joseph Smith played a central role in the translation of the text, but they also all agree that Joseph Smith was not “translating” reformed Egpytian into English in any normal sense of the word.

    (3) Regarding the Book of Abraham, I encourage you to have a look at this resource: http://en.fairmormon.org/Book_of_Abraham/Joseph_Smith_Papyri

    If you can’t find answers to your questions there feel free to contact me at lehislibrary@gmail.com.

    (4) Regarding the Kinderhook plates, see this: http://en.fairmormon.org/Kinderhook_Plates

    Thanks again for your comments.

    Regards,
    James

  10. Thanks for your kind reply, James.

    I appreciate the links and will read them and compare them with other sources. I already see an apparent contradiction with other sources, but that may be due to me reading too carelessly and quickly. Time will tell.

    By the way, I just meant that Mormon apologetics is rare — the kind of apologetics that incorporates objective evidence in its arguments (and that’s based on living with a Mormon family for 3 months in 2009 and various interactions with Mormons on missions).

    Joshua

  11. Hi, James.

    I printed and read several articles on the FAIRMormon site related to the Book of Abraham and the Kinderhook plates. I also pulled and printed articles by John Gee on those two subjects. But, as smart as John Gee and the other sources for the FAIRMormon articles may be, I think they are wrong on five aspects of the Joseph Smith Papyri and I think the “why” is evident, given that they are Mormons:

    1) the actual size of the scroll;
    2) the state of the scroll when Joseph Smith had it;
    3) the actual text on extant papyri fragments records;
    4) the first to publish full-color photographs of the papyrus;
    5) the actual meaning of the phrase “by his own hand upon papyrus”.

    1) A Book of Breathings scroll that is 10′ in length would be very, very unusual, according to non-LDS Egyptologists. (NOTE: I also wonder how a 10′ scroll is going to be rolled and buried with a body; that is a condition of the Book of Abraham scroll according to the 1856 affidavit related to them that was signed by Emma Smith. I have several Chinese character scrolls, each only about 5′ to 6′ in length. When they are rolled up, they are bulky.)

    2) The scrolls were reported — by at least 2 witnesses (to my knowledge) — mutilated due to being separated from embalming salve even back in 1837 while they were on display in the Mormon temple.

    3) What the extant portions actually record are in no way related to the text that composes the so-called “Book of Abraham”.

    4) John Gee scolded Charles Larson, author of the book By His Own Hand Upon Papyrus, for claiming that his book was the first to contain full-color photographs of the Joseph Smith papyri. John Gee claimed that the Era (January 1968) was the first to do so. However, it appears that the Era photographs were sepia-tone, not full-color. (I’m going to send this little tidbit to the publisher, if they don’t already know it. Small matter.)

    5) The meaning of the phrase “written by his own hand, upon papyrus” placed at the beginning of the Book of Abraham is obviously intended to mean “written by his own hand, upon papyrus”. Language conventions exclude it from merely being a tribute of authorship. If that were true, then the phrases “his own hand” and “upon papyrus” are meaningless. This is a major oversight. Compare the phrase “own hand” as it is used in other Mormon writings:

    1 Nephi 1:3 “And I know that the record which I make is true; and I make it with mine own hand; and I make it according to my knowledge.”

    3 Nephi 5:11 “And behold, I do make the record on plates which I have made with mine own hands.”

    etc.

    Compare the use of that English phrase in the translation in what I hold to be the truly inspired Scriptures — the Old and New Testaments. Take a look:

    2 Thessalonians 3:17 “The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write.”

    Philemon 1:19 “I Paul have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it: albeit I do not say to thee how thou owest unto me even thine own self besides.”

    etc.

    What conclusion do you draw from the use of “by his own hand”? What does it mean other than “by his own hand”?

    Now, why must John Gee and the other Mormon apologist maintain that the scroll was actually 10′ long? Why maintain that the scrolls were in good condition when Joseph Smith had them? Why debate over whether the text of the Book of Abraham is, in fact, the result of Joseph Smith’s “translation work”, as the reported in his own journals or that the papyri text was merely a catalyst for revelation? Why argue over the meaning of words in the phrase “by his own hand, upon papyrus”?

    I think the answer is obvious.

    Thoughts?

  12. Mohammad bilal says:

    ya i like it just me full bible

  13. James says:

    Joshua,
    Feel free to email me with your questions, if you are still interested, at lehislibrary@gmail.com. The comments section of this particular blog post isn’t the best place for those topics.

    Mohammad,
    Come again?

    Sincerely,
    James

  14. Thank you for every other great post. The place else may anyone get that type of info in such an ideal manner of writing? I have a presentation subsequent week, and I am on the search for such information.

  15. What a great explanation! I’ve been searching for the meaning of the phrase, “It came to pass,” and yours is the best explanation I’ve seen yet. Thanks for posting this.

  16. Quetzalcoatl Bob Henry says:

    God lives, Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, and the Book of Mormon translation done by Joseph Smith et al is a second witness to the above. Remember this! To the pure, all things are pure, and to the impure all things are impure. The Devil ‘s full time job is to deceive and confuse. The shroud of Turin is still being debated about, so is Noah’s arc, and the Arc of the Covenant.
    The truth will eventually be discovered by man, however, it is now available through the Holy Ghost to those who are humble and seek the truth diligently. My testimony is both spiritual and intellectual and one day in this life or the next every knee will bow and every tongue confess this shall come to pass.

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