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FAIR Study Aids/Gospel Doctrine/Book of Mormon/Lesson fifteen
A FairMormon Analysis of:
Book of Mormon: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual
Lesson 15: Eternally Indebted to Your Heavenly Father
Lesson #15- Sunday School Manual: “Eternally Indebted to Your Heavenly Father”
1. King Benjamin teaches his sons and has Mosiah call the people together.(Mosiah 1)
- Missing Chapters from the Book of Mosiah: LDS scholars have observed that it is likely that part of the Book of Mosiah was lost with the 116 pages that Joseph Smith gave to Martin Harris. Based on textual and manuscript evidence scholars have suggested that the first chapter of the Book of Mosiah as we have it today was probably meant to be the third chapter of the Book of Mosiah; the first two chapters were lost with the 116 pages. This implies that Joseph had translated the Book of Lehi, and then a couple chapters of the Book of Mosiah, before giving the manuscript to Martin Harris. The reasons for this observation include (1) the fact that the Book of Mosiah doesn't begin with Mosiah, but with his son Benjamin, (2) there is no introductory summary as with all the other books that Mormon edited, and (3) the printer's manuscript of the Book of Mormon identified the first page of Mosiah as 'Chapter III' before it was changed to Chapter I.
- The Education of King Benjamin's Sons: The Book of Mosiah begins by telling us that King Benjamin caused his sons to be "taught in all the language of his fathers" so that they could read and understand the scriptures. This implies that the language on the plates was not the language which was commonly spoken among the Nephites. In ancient cultures the wealthy were more likely to receive an education in reading and writing, and even fewer had the opportunity to learn to read a second language.
- Mormon's careful planning of the text: In Mosiah 1:11-12 King Benjamin says that in his coming speech to his people he will "give unto them a name that never shall be blotted out." It isn't until five chapters later, in Mosiah 5:7-12 that he actually does this. This indicates careful planning on the part of the writer. This sort of careful planning is incompatible with the image of Joseph as a con man who was just winging it, making it up as he went along.