Part Three: Mosiah 11-24
The introduction to this series on internal consistency in the Book of Mormon is found in part 1 here.
In this part, we continue with examples from the Book of Mosiah.
11. Mosiah 11:12 and Mosiah 19:5-6 — a “tower” overlooking “the land of Shemlon”
We learn from Mosiah 11:12
And it came to pass that he built a tower near the temple; yea, a very high tower, even so high that he could stand upon the top thereof and overlook the land of Shilom, and also the land of Shemlon
This tower is not mentioned again until Mosiah 19:5-6
5 And it came to pass that he fought with the king; and when the king saw that he was about to overpower him, he fled and ran and got upon the tower which was near the temple.
6 And Gideon pursued after him and was about to get upon the tower to slay the king, and the king cast his eyes round about towards the land of Shemlon, and behold, the army of the Lamanites were within the borders of the land.
12. Mosiah 11:13 and Mosiah 7:4-5 — “the hill north of Shilom”
In Mosiah 11, we are given a detail about the “hill north of Shilom”:
13 And it came to pass that he caused many buildings to be built in the land Shilom; and he caused a great tower to be built on the hill north of the land Shilom, which had been a resort for the children of Nephi at the time they fled out of the land;
This detail is internally consistent with another mention of that same area:
4 And now, they knew not the course they should travel in the wilderness to go up to the land of Lehi-Nephi; therefore they wandered many days in the wilderness, even forty days did they wander.
5 And when they had wandered forty days they came to a hill, which is north of the land of Shilom, and there they pitched their tents. (Mosiah 7)
The “hill north of Shilom” is an internally geographical feature — the Nephites who were “fleeing out of the land” came to it, as did the Nephites who were returning to the land from Zarahemla.
13. Mosiah 12:5 and Mosiah 21:3-4 — Fulfillment of Abinadi’s prophecy
Abinadi prophecies about the Zeniff-ite band of Nephites coming into bondage in Mosiah 12:
5 Yea, and I will cause that they shall have burdens lashed upon their backs; and they shall be driven before like a dumb ass.
This prophecy is fulfilled in Mosiah 21:3-4
3 Now they durst not slay them, because of the oath which their king had made unto Limhi; but they would smite them on their cheeks, and exercise authority over them; and began to put heavy burdens upon their backs, and drive them as they would a dumb ass—
4 Yea, all this was done that the word of the Lord might be fulfilled.
It would perhaps not be so difficult to remember the gist of Abinadi’s prophecy, that they would be brought into bondage. But the specific wording (“heavy burdens,” “drive/driven” and “dumb ass”) linking the passages, suggests that the author is working from notes.
14. Mosiah 7:7-14;8:6-14 and Mosiah 21:22-28 — Ammon meets King Limhi, a story told twice
Because the Book of Mormon sometimes jumps back in time to follow different groups of people, there is sometimes overlap and the same story gets told twice. Another example is the story of Ammon and King Limhi (not to be confused with the other Ammon and King Lamoni).
In Mosiah 7, Ammon and his group leave Zarahemla to look for the Nephites who left a few decades earlier, led by Zeniff (another story told twice found in item #9 in part 2). Ammon meets the current king in the land of Nephi, whose name is Limhi, the grandson of Zeniff. In Mosiah 8, Limhi tells Ammon about a group that went looking for Zarahemla, but got lost in the wilderness and found a land with “dry bones” and old records that they brought back with them. When this conversation ends, we are brought back in time. Mosiah 9-21 tells us about Zeniff and everything that happened up to the point when Ammon got there.
Intriguingly, in Mosiah 21, after Mormon brings us back to the conversation between Ammon and Limhi and repeats some of the elements that led to this meeting. In the table below we see how the detailed version is given in Mosiah 7 and 8 and how Mormon repeats the main elements of the story in Mosiah 21, but also adds a few details. For instance, he says that Limhi first thought that Ammon and his brethren were the priests of Noah, which explains why he treated them the way he did in Mosiah 7. This detail would not have made sense in chapter 7, because Noah and his priests had not yet been introduced.
The nine repeated elements are highlighted in the table below. In pink you see an example of an old literary device called inclusio, a repeated element which frames this entire side story about the Nephite group who inherited the land of their fathers far away from the main body in Zarahemla.
7 … were taken, and were bound, and were committed to prison(a).
10 … near the walls of the city, when I, myself, was with my guards without the gate? (b)
11 … I should have caused that my guards should have put you to death(c). …
14 And now, it came to pass that after Limhi had heard the words of Ammon, he was exceedingly glad, and said: Now, I know of a surety that my brethren who were in the land of Zarahemla are yet alive. And now, I will rejoice(d); and on the morrow I will cause that my people shall rejoice also…
7 And the king said unto him: … I caused that forty and three of my people should take a journey into the wilderness, that thereby they might find the land of Zarahemla(e), …
8 And they were lost in the wilderness(f) for the space of many days, …having discovered a land which was covered with bones of men, and … having discovered a land which had been peopled(g) with a people who were as numerous as the hosts of Israel.
9 And for a testimony that the things that they had said are true they have brought twenty-four plates which are filled with engravings, and they are of pure gold(h)…
13 Now Ammon said unto him: I can assuredly tell thee, O king, of a man that can translate the records; for he has wherewith that he can look, and translate all records that are of ancient date; and it is a gift from God. …
14 And behold, the king of the people who are in the land of Zarahemla is the man that is commanded to do these things, and who has this high gift from God(i)…
22 And it came to pass that there was no more disturbance between the Lamanites and the people of Limhi, even until the time that Ammon and his brethren came into the land.
23 And the king having been without the gates of the city with his guard(b) discovered Ammon and his brethren; and supposing them to be priests of Noah therefore he caused that they should be taken, and bound, and cast into prison(a). And had they been the priests of Noah he would have caused that they should be put to death(c).
24 But when he found that they were not, but that they were his brethren, and had come from the land of Zarahemla, he was filled with exceedingly great joy(d).
25 Now king Limhi had sent, previous to the coming of Ammon, a small number of men to search for the land of Zarahemla(e); but they could not find it, and they were lost in the wilderness(f).
26 Nevertheless, they did find a land which had been peopled; yea, a land which was covered with dry bones(g); yea, a land which had been peopled and which had been destroyed; and they, having supposed it to be the land of Zarahemla, returned to the land of Nephi, having arrived in the borders of the land not many days before the coming of Ammon.
27 And they brought a record with them, even a record of the people whose bones they had found; and it was engraven on plates of ore(h).
28 And now Limhi was again filled with joy on learning from the mouth of Ammon that king Mosiah had a gift from God, whereby he could interpret such engravings(i); yea, and Ammon also did rejoice.
15. Mosiah 21:35 and Mosiah 25:17-18 — “An account of their baptism”
In Mosiah 21:35 we get an editorial promise by Mormon.
an account of their baptism shall be given hereafter.
“Their baptism” refers to the people of Limhi. In Mosiah 25:17-18, Mormon gives us this account as promised.
17 And it came to pass that after Alma had taught the people many things, and had made an end of speaking to them, that king Limhi was desirous that he might be baptized; and all his people were desirous that they might be baptized also.
18 Therefore, Alma did go forth into the water and did baptize them; yea, he did baptize them after the manner he did his brethren in the waters of Mormon; yea, and as many as he did baptize did belong to the church of God; and this because of their belief on the words of Alma.
We will see several more examples of these. They are always fulfilled.
16. Mosiah 23:19 and Alma 24:1 — “The land of Helam”
In Mosiah 23:19, we read:
And it came to pass that they began to prosper exceedingly in the land; and they called the land Helam.
The land Helam was probably named after the first of the converts from Mosiah 18:12-14. This land is only mentioned once more (in Mosiah 27:16) before Alma 24. That is, 26 chapters later, it is mentioned in passing In Alma 24:1
And it came to pass that the Amalekites and the Amulonites and the Lamanites who were in the land of Amulon, and also in the land of Helam…
Apparently, the Lamanites possess this land. This is consistent with the story in Mosiah. The Lamanites occupy this land where Alma’s people reside and bring them into bondage before they manage to escape.
17. Mosiah 24:2 and Alma 20:8 — “King over all the land”
Mormon subtly hints at a Lamanite system with a main king and ‘sub-kings’ in Mosiah 24:2
2 For the Lamanites had taken possession of all these lands; therefore, the king of the Lamanites had appointed kings over all these lands.
There is no other mention of this until we get to the mission of the sons of Mosiah from Alma 17 and on. Here we are introduced to kings (like e.g. Lamoni) who, despite being called kings, are subject to Lamoni’s father. (Alma 20:8).
And it came to pass that as Ammon and Lamoni were journeying thither, they met the father of Lamoni, who was king over all the land.
End of Part 3
That concludes the third part of this series. Below is an updated version of the arc diagram which includes each of the internally consistent details we’ve described so far. Reminder, the numbers on the left indicate the order that chapter came in the dictation sequence.
Jeff Markham has been an avid student of the Book of Mormon his entire life. He recently joined the FairMormon group. He has practiced radiology in the Dallas, Texas area since 2011, having obtained his undergraduate education at Brigham Young University (B.S. in 2000), a medical degree from Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, VA (M.D. 2005), and post-graduate training in diagnostic radiology and neuroradiology at University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas, TX. He served as a full-time missionary in the Germany Hamburg Mission from 1996-1998. His favorite callings include teaching primary and early morning seminary. He lives in the Dallas area with his wife and children. He blogs at BookofMormonNotes.com.