Journal of Book of Mormon Studies


Marilyn Arnold


Criticism, Language, Book of Mormon as Literature, Modern Church, Culture, Joseph Smith


Literary analysis provides useful tools in the study of sacred texts, including the Book of Mormon. For the author, three transforming events that enhanced her study of the Book of Mormon included reading the book in earnest as a complex and masterful literary text, the entrance of the Spirit into her study of the book, and a prayerful desire to experience the great change of heart described by King Benjamin and Alma. Nephi begins his record with sincerity and honesty and serves notice that he intends to prepare a true record. The opposition between Nephi and his brothers Laman and Lemuel illustrates well Lehi’s teachings on the necessity of opposition in all things. More subtly, the reader notes a contrast between the characters and personalities of Nephi and Jacob. Jacob is portrayed as an empathetic and compassionate person who was tutored by exile and isolation.