Insights: The Newsletter of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship

Article Title

Preliminary Reports



Robert F. Smith, Joann Carlton, Bible Studies, Book of Mormon Studies, came to pass, John Sorenson, Precolumbian Mesoamerica, wheel, Book of Mormon names


Robert F. Smith, "It Came to Pass' in the Bible and Book of Mormon." Manuscript, 1980. Pointing out that computer analysis will be necessary to make his observations conclusive, the author shows that the Book of Mormon, though less than a third the length of the King James Bible, contains more than twice as many recurrences of "came/come to pass." Furthermore, extensive cataloguing shows that all but three of the twenty books containing that phrase in the Bible are in the Old Testament. Another interesting characteristic: the phrase usually occurs in prose narrative, in both volumes of scripture. He explains that the phrase derives from Hebrew wayehi, which the King James Version translated variously as "and it happened," "came," "had come," "became," "arose," "was," "now," etc. He speculates that Joseph Smith's "too literal" reproduction of the language of the plates could account for the same phrase being translated in only one way in the English version. Tables of occurrences are included. This study will be further refined as our computerized textual analysis projects are more fully developed. (Robert Smith is a "sixteen-hour-a-day" scholar who has the remarkable distinction of never having been encumbered by a professional position; he is referred to admiringly by colleagues as a "freelancer's freelance" and a great example to those who dream of a life of scholarship without a professorial title. He has studied at Hebrew University, Claremont College and BYU and is fluent in Hebrew, Akkadian, Egyptian, Greek and Latin among other languages.)