Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Writing Styles

The last week or so I've been reading through Beloved Enos (of course, another Denver Snuffer book).  He points out the writing styles of different authors in the Book of Mormon.  I never paid much attention.

Having observed the truth in his words, I wanted to point out a few.  While this provides greater testament to the divine power of which Joseph translated this record, more interestingly it points out the great differences between the men who etched into the plates.

(photo source-ish)

First is Nephi.  He recorded at great length about the whole of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  At the end of his record, we see his true character and even personality:

I glory in plainness; I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell.
I have charity for my people, and great faith in Christ that I shall meet many souls spotless at his judgment-seat.
I have charity for the Jew—I say Jew, because I mean them from whence I came.
I also have charity for the Gentiles. But behold, for none of these can I hope except they shall be reconciled unto Christ, and enter into the narrow gate, and walk in the strait path which leads to life, and continue in the path until the end of the day of probation. (2 Nephi 33: 6-9)

Following this, the rest of the chapter – another five verses – is spent as a sign-off.  He refers to the judgment bar of God, and makes the sealing of his record a very formal affair.  It even appears to me that he is following a form of ceremony, or specific direction which would let his name be cleared, if any should misunderstand or ignore his words.  The last verse reads:

For what I seal on earth, shall be brought against you at the judgment bar; for thus hath the Lord commanded me, and I must obey. Amen. (2 Nephi 33: 15)

If we take a look at the latter end of Jacob, the same pattern is observed, however it's within chapter 6.  Jacob had written what he expected to be the end of his record, as the pattern follows Nephi's.  He signs off:

O be wise; what can I say more?
Finally, I bid you farewell, until I shall meet you before the pleasing bar of God, which bar striketh the wicked with awful dread and fear. Amen. (Jacob 6: 12-13)

Note the reference to the "pleasing bar of God"?  Interesting.  The curious part is that there is another chapter following this sign off, and Snuffer suggests that it is likely dictated to and etched by Enos, Jacob's son.  The writing style continues into the book of Enos.

(photo source-ish)

This morning I sat down to study, and asked in my heart as I often do, "Where should I read?"  The answer came to my mind as "Mosiah 10".  Opening there, I noticed that Zeniff was writing, and read words very applicable to what is going on in my life, my country, my world.  By the end of the chapter, Zeniff is also signing off.

And now I, being old, did confer the kingdom upon one of my sons; therefore, I say no more. And may the Lord bless my people. Amen. (Mosiah 10: 22)

What a difference between Zeniff and Nephi and Jacob!  There is no reference by Zeniff to the judgment or pleasing bar of God.  I would wager a guess that Zeniff may have supposed but likely did not know of the specifics of what Nephi included in his sign off. Did he know his words would be available for us to study?  Either way, he signed off in a very unique manner.  Does it matter?  Maybe and maybe not, but it's interesting for me to see a clear distinction in the personality and writing style of these men.  Would it not be interesting to find out why Nephi and Jacob signed off the way that they did, or if there is more meaning to this than we recognize?

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