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Dear Gramps,

I joined the LDS Church almost 27 years ago. Since then I have read the Book of Mormon almost continuously for my spiritual nourishment. But it has gotten to the point now to where I’m now going through the same old stories time and again have started to become tedious. Do you have any suggestions on how to keep this from becoming worse? I never grow tired of reading the doctrinal sections, but I’m beginning to grow very weary of reading the same old narrative accounts time and again. I need some help before it becomes a real chore.

Robert

 

Answer

 

Dear Robert,

You might try searching the Book of Mormon for topics of interest. This can be a fascinating activity. Let me tell you of a couple of searches that Gramps has done. They may be very tedious for some, but on the other hand—

For instance, I have underlined every instance where the word, or, is used in the Book of Mormon, and this is what I found. The four applications of the conjunction “or” are all used extensively in the Book of Mormon. The exclusive form is used in two applications—to individualize opposite items or equivalent items of a set. The appositive form is used in both the paraphrase and the corrective mode. Examples of the exclusive form in signalizing opposites are—

2 Ne. 2:27 And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death according to the captivity and power of the devil;

 

Alma 29:5 Yea, and I know that good and evil have come before all men; he that knoweth not good from evil is blameless; but he that knoweth good and evil, to him it is given according to his desires, whether he desireth good or evil, life or death, joy or remorse of conscience.

Examples of the exclusive form in signalizing equivalents are—

Alma 1:30 And thus, in their prosperous circumstances, they did not send away any who were naked or that were hungry or that were a thirst or that were sick, or that had not been nourished;

Examples of the appositive form in paraphrasing are—

1 Ne. 8:2 Behold, I have dreamed a dream or, in other words, I have seen a vision.

 

1 Ne. 20:1 Hearken and hear this, 0 house of Jacob, who are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, or out of the waters of baptism,

 

2 Ne. 5:12 and also the ball, or compass

Perhaps the most obvious of all examples of the corrective mode are found in Alma 24:19 and 43:38. In Alma 24:19 Mormon comments,

And thus we see that, when these Lamanites were brought to believe and to know the truth, they were firm, and would suffer even unto death rather than commit sin, and thus we see that they buried their weapons of peace, or they buried the weapons of war, for peace.

Undoubtedly, Mormon wished to say that they had buried their weapons of war, but as he thought ahead to ensuing statements concerning peace, he inadvertently wrote the word ‘peace’ instead of ‘war’. He quickly recovered by adding the correct phrase introduced by the corrective conjunction “or”.

As Mormon abridges the account of General Moroni’s first battle with the Lamanite army under Zerahemnah, explaining the effectiveness of the armament Moroni had developed for his soldiers, he recounts in Alma 43:38,

While on the other hand, there was now and then a man fell among the Nephites, by their swords and the loss of blood, they being shielded from the more vital parts of the body, or the more vital parts of the body being shielded from the strokes of the Lamanites, by their breastplates, and their arm-shields, and their head-plates.

It is obvious that Mormon did not mean to say, as was stated, that the soldiers were protected by their armor from the more vital parts of their bodies. So he quickly corrects himself by adding, or the more vital parts of the body being shielded from the strokes of the Lamanites.

The corrective ‘or’ is used in the Book of Mormon 72 times, and the term ‘or rather’ eleven times.

You might examine the Book of Mormon for uses of the term “power of the word of God,” which yields some fascinating insights on the nature of the power of God.

Another search that Gramps has done is a search for all the chiastic terms in the Book of Mormon. We surprisingly found that there are over 960 chiasma in the Book of Mormon, which represents more than 50% of the text. The chiasmus is a rather subliminal form of repetition which is found rather frequently in the Bible.

So, pick a topic and read the Book of Mormon with that in mind, and you might be surprised, as was I, in the things that you might discover.

 

Gramps

 

 

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