Source:Unusual olive culture found in the Book of Mormon

Unusual olive culture found in the Book of Mormon

Parent page: Olive culture

Unusual olive culture information found in the Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon provides a remarkably accurate portrait of olive horticulture. [1] There are two points at which the allegory/parable deviates from the known principles of growing olives; in both cases, the allegory's characters draw the reader's attention to these deviations with some amazement. Thus, these 'mistakes' play a dramatic role in demonstrating the allegory/parable's meaning. [2]

  • Grafted branches do not "take on" the genetic and fruit-bearing characteristics of the trunk to which they are grafted, despite the claim in Jacob 5.
    This does not happen with "real" olive trees, but Christ and His Gospel can transform one's very nature when a believer becomes "grafted in.” The parable author knows that he's stretching the truth here — the servant (who knows something about olive growing) is amazed, and calls the Lord: "Behold, look here; behold the tree." (verse 16). This is astonishing, and it is meant to be — it is a miracle, just as every transformation of sinner to saint is a miracle that cannot be explained, yet cannot be denied when one "tastes the fruits." Likewise, tame fruit does not "become wild" in a genetic sense, though it may well take on the "wild" fruit aspects of being smaller, more bitter, and having less oil content because of poor farming, disease, nutritional or environmental problems, etc.
  • Trees grown in poor ground will not, as claimed, do as well as trees in good ground if given the same care and attention.
    The servant, once again, clearly knows his olive culture. He asks the Lord just what he's thinking of: "How comest thou hither to plant this tree, or this branch of the tree? For behold, it was the poorest spot in all the land of thy vineyard." (verse 21) The Lord's reply is "Counsel me not" — I know what I'm doing here. He's the Lord of the vineyard, and producing fruit (purified souls) is His business. Mankind's trials, sufferings, disadvantages, and tribulations are key in that process — see Ether 12, 2 Corinthians 12. The believer ought not to seek to "counsel" the Lord on these issues: He knows them already. The believer ought, rather, to trust His skill in the vineyard of souls.


  1. See the exhaustive Multiple Authors, "All," in Stephen D. Ricks & John W. Welch (editors), Allegory of the Olive Tree: The Olive, the Bible, and Jacob 5 (Salt Lake City, Utah : Deseret Book Co. ; Provo, Utah : Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1994), 1. ISBN 0875797679. GL direct link
  2. Dennis L. Largey (editor), Book of Mormon Reference Companion (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, 2003),618–621. ISBN 1573452319.