Journal of Book of Mormon Studies


Benjamin Keogh


Words of Mormon, King Benjamin, prophet, verses


The little book entitled Words of Mormon has long been a puzzle, including as it does a number of ambiguous passages and two seemingly distinct parts. In this brief note, I focus primarily on just one such ambiguity-Mormon's use of "these" in verse 18-in an attempt to show that the whole of the book is much more complete and coherent than has been previously thought. It may be also that the Lord's "wise purpose[s]" (Words of Mormon 1:7) are more expansive than has generally been supposed. In verse 18, Mormon notes three causes behind the establishment of peace among King Benjamin's people: (1) "these;' (2) Benjamin's labor "with all [his] might...and... faculty," and (3) "the prophets." The most immediate question is, To what does "these" refer? One option is verse 16's "the holy prophets." However, given the specific mention of "the prophets" as the third cause, this first approach seems unlikely.