Journal of Book of Mormon Studies


Book of Mormon, Language, Book of Mormon as Literature, Nephi, Modern Church, Scripture Study


Study of the varied metaphorical levels of the Book of Mormon continues to yield new insights into the message and meaning of that book. Several prominent typological readings of aspects of the Book of Mormon have been published, but despite calls for such an effort, little inquiry into its possible archetypal levels, or what has been called “the mythic dimension” of the book, has yet been undertaken. As an initial attempt at such an endeavor, I compare certain events described in 1 Nephi with the elements of one prominent mythic archetype, the hero’s journey, as elucidated by Joseph Campbell in his famous The Hero with a Thousand Faces. A strong correlation between the hero’s journey archetype and the events from 1 Nephi is intriguing and seems to demonstrate at least the presence of mythic patterns in the Book of Mormon. This leads to some preliminary conclusions about what the apparent presence of such patterns might signify.