From the Book: Of Faith and Reason: 80 Evidences Supporting the Prophet Joseph Smith
by Michael R. Ash
The Book of Mormon’s frequent use of the phrase “and it came to pass” has been the target of much ridicule. Mark Twain claimed this was Smith’s “pet phrase” and had Smith left it out, the Book of Mormon “would have been only a pamphlet”. Another critic asserted that the Book of Mormon, “is cursed with the clumsy, repetitious phrase ‘and it came to pass’ that appears hundreds of times in the book, on almost every page”. Neith Mark Twain nor Joseph Smith would have known in the nineteenth century just how important this phrase was to Book of Mormon authors.
The original manuscript of the Book of Mormon had no punctuation. Likewise, manuscripts prior to the tenth century typically had no punctuation. In both ancient Eqyptian and Hebrew, indicator phrases such as “it came to pass”, “and now”, “and thus”, were grammatically necessary to denote new thoughts or paragraphs. Since the Book of Mormon claims to be written in a modified Hebrew language and “reformed” or modified Egyptian characters it would be strange if it didn’t contain such phrases.
Michael R. Ash is the author of: Of Faith and Reason: 80 Evidences Supporting The Prophet Joseph Smith. He is the owner and operator of MormonFortress.com and is on the management team for FairMormon. He has been published in Sunstone, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, the Maxwell Institute’s FARMS Review, and is the author of Shaken Faith Syndrome: Strengthening One’s Testimony in the Face of Criticism and Doubt. He and his wife live in Ogden, Utah, and have three daughters.
Julianne Dehlin Hatton is a broadcast journalist living in Louisville, Kentucky. She has worked as a News Director at an NPR affiliate, Radio and Television Host, and Airborne Traffic Reporter. She graduated with an MSSc from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University in 2008. Julianne and her husband Thomas are the parents of four children.
Music for Faith and Reason is provided by Arthur Hatton.