Book of Mormon, Scribes, Nephi, Mormon, Moroni, plates, Egyptian


This paper leverages the insights of modern scholars on the scribal schools of the ancient near east to identify and track the Nephite scribal school across the ten centuries of the Nephite dispensation. Mormon tells us his abridgment only includes a hundredth part of the Nephite history available to him on the Large Plates of Nephi. That being the case, it is especially impressive that his abridgment tracks the responsibility for maintaining and preserving the Nephite record and other sacred objects—the responsibility of the scribes—across that millennium without gaps. Mormon and his son Moroni were themselves trained scribes who could create not only a highly literate text, but also the physical materials necessary to inscribe their writings on metal plates that would endure to modern times. Like their predecessors, they were also military and religious leaders—a combination of roles that characterized the chief scribes from the beginning with Nephi down to the end. Because their “holy scriptures,” the Brass Plates, were written in Egyptian and Hebrew, the Nephite scribal tradition had maintained fluency in those languages and scripts throughout their dispensation. And perhaps most impressively, they were still guided and motivated by the same prophecies and gospel teachings that had been given to their original prophets—Lehi and Nephi.

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Working Paper

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Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Political Science

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor