Part 15: Jacob – Words of Mormon and conclusion
The introduction to this series on internal consistency in the Book of Mormon is found in part 1 here.
This is the last part of the series. We hope it has helped the reader to appreciate the complexity and consistency of the Book of Mormon. We will consider some more examples from the short books on the small plates of Nephi and then wrap it all up with some final remarks.
116. Jacob 1:18 and 2 Nephi 5:26 — “priests and teachers”
In Jacob 1:18, Jacob mentions that he and his brother Joseph have been consecrated priests:
18 For I, Jacob, and my brother Joseph had been consecrated priests and teachers of this people, by the hand of Nephi.
This is a reference to 2 Nephi 5:26
26 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did consecrate Jacob and Joseph, that they should be priests and teachers over the land of my people.
117. Jacob 2:25 and 2 Nephi 3:5 — “a righteous branch”
In 2 Nephi 3:5, Lehi explains a somewhat complex prophecy of Joseph in Egypt.
Wherefore, Joseph truly saw our day. And he obtained a promise of the Lord, that out of the fruit of his loins the Lord God would raise up a righteous branch unto the house of Israel
Compare with Jacob 2:25, in which Jacob preaches about how the Nephites are a fulfillment of this prophecy:
Wherefore, thus saith the Lord, I have led this people forth out of the land of Jerusalem, by the power of mine arm, that I might raise up unto me a righteous branch from the fruit of the loins of Joseph.
118. Jacob 3:4 and Omni 1:12-13, Mosiah 9:1 — a prophecy about the land of inheritance
There is an obscure prophecy in the writings of Jacob, found in Jacob 3:4
4 And the time speedily cometh, that except ye repent they shall possess the land of your inheritance, and the Lord God will lead away the righteous out from among you.
This prophecy is fulfilled centuries later, as recorded in Omni 1:12-13 (a).
12 Behold, I am Amaleki, the son of Abinadom. Behold, I will speak unto you somewhat concerning Mosiah, who was made king over the land of Zarahemla; for behold, he being warned of the Lord that he should flee out of the land of Nephi, and as many as would hearken unto the voice of the Lord should also depart out of the land with him, into the wilderness—
13 And it came to pass that he did according as the Lord had commanded him. And they departed out of the land into the wilderness, as many as would hearken unto the voice of the Lord; and they were led by many preachings and prophesyings. And they were admonished continually by the word of God; and they were led by the power of his arm, through the wilderness until they came down into the land which is called the land of Zarahemla. …
Mosiah 9:1 (b) makes it clear that the Lamanites ended up possessing the land of their first inheritance:
1 I, Zeniff, having been taught in all the language of the Nephites, and having had a knowledge of the land of Nephi, or of the land of our fathers’ first inheritance, and having been sent as a spy among the Lamanites that I might spy out their forces, that our army might come upon them and destroy them—but when I saw that which was good among them I was desirous that they should not be destroyed.
119. Omni 1:21 and Ether 15:32 — Coriantumr
Amaleki gives several details about the people of Zarahemla which connect with the end of the Book of Ether. In Omni 1:21, for example, we learn that a man named Coriantumr had lived with the people of Zarahemla for some time.
21 And they gave an account of one Coriantumr, and the slain of his people. And Coriantumr was discovered by the people of Zarahemla; and he dwelt with them for the space of nine moons.
This detail solves a mystery about one of the last survivors of the Jaredites from Ether 15:32
32 And it came to pass that Coriantumr fell to the earth, and became as if he had no life.
Did he die? No, according to an obscure verse more than 60 modern chapters later in the dictation sequence.
120. Words of Mormon 1:12-13,18 and Mosiah 1:1 — Peace in King Benjamin’s days
Mormon talks about a period of contentions and wars in King Benjamin’s days, after which he manages to establish peace.
13 And it came to pass also that the armies of the Lamanites came down out of the land of Nephi, to battle against his people. But behold, king Benjamin gathered together his armies, and he did stand against them; and he did fight with the strength of his own arm, with the sword of Laban.
14 And in the strength of the Lord they did contend against their enemies, until they had slain many thousands of the Lamanites. And it came to pass that they did contend against the Lamanites until they had driven them out of all the lands of their inheritance.
18 Wherefore, with the help of these, king Benjamin, by laboring with all the might of his body and the faculty of his whole soul, and also the prophets, did once more establish peace in the land.
This ties in neatly with Mosiah 1:1, a verse which Joseph Smith had dictated at the very beginning of the dictation sequence
1 And now there was no more contention in all the land of Zarahemla, among all the people who belonged to king Benjamin, so that king Benjamin had continual peace all the remainder of his days.
End of Part 15
This is what the final version of the arc diagram looks like. Each arc represents a reference to words, names, a detail of geography, timeline or similar that had to match to keep the Book of Mormon internally consistent. These references are often quite subtle as this series has aimed to focus on the details that often go unnoticed rather than the main plots.
Perhaps you are commenting to yourself that this final diagram is large to the point of being unwieldy. We agree. In some ways, that is the underlying point of this entire series. Each detail might seem insignificant, but when viewed together as a whole, a remarkable intricacy is revealed!
Whoever authored the book had a lot of details to keep track of — hundreds of names, events, timelines, visions, sermons, physical items, geography, etc. The fact that this information is presented in such a complex yet consistent manner should inform our decision-making on who authored the book and how.
Above all, we hope this study highlights how carefully written the Book of Mormon is. For us, the careful attention that went into producing it is obvious, and inspires us to give the book our careful attention as we learn from its pages.
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.