|King Benjamin Preaches To the Nephites -By Gary Kapp|
The occasion was his announcement of his turning over the kingdom to his son, Mosiah. There were so many who had gathered to hear him that he assigned persons to record the speech so that it could be circulated among those that were too far from the tower to hear his voice. That speech was eventually recorded in the Book of Mosiah, one of the sub-books in the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ.
Chiasmus is a form of speech that is not used very commonly in our day and not at all in the United States of America nor in many other modern nations. However, many scholars here and abroad know of its existence. Chiasms, however, are found in the Bible. Also there are nations throughout the world in our day who perhaps still use some form of chiastic writing, possibly mostly in their classic literature.
A young LDS missionary, John W. Welch who had attended Brigham Young University before serving an LDS Church mission in the South German Mission, learned about chiasmus by attending a lecture on that subject on what is now called, "preparation day," by LDS missionaries, sometime in the Fall of 1967, along with his missionary companion. The lecture was given by a Catholic minister in Regensburg, Germany where they were serving at the time.
They bought a book afterwards in which evidence was provided showing that chiasms are found in the Bible and were a part of Hebrew speech. Elder Welch began reading that book with great interest after they had returned to their missionary apartment and continued reading it over a period of time until he had read all of it.
Lying in bed one night after having finished reading the aforementioned book, and while thinking about what he had just learned, a voice spoke into his mind referring to chiasmus:
"If it is evidence of Hebrew style in the Bible, it must be evidence of Hebrew style in the Book of Mormon."He immediately got out of bed and picked up his German Book of Mormon and began searching for chiasms. After a very diligent search almost into the morning hours he found actual chiasms in the Book of Mormon.
Below I show you a diagram Elder John Welch subsequently made of one of those Book of Mormon chiasms which he found. Each chiasm follows a certain pattern which consists of repeated parallelisms which assist readers and/or listeners to better remember what they have just read or heard:
Mosiah 2: 9-27
(a) Purpose of assembly v. 9
(b) What is man? vv. 10 - 11
(c) Laws of Benjamin's kingdom vv. 12 - 13
(d) Service to
"one another" vv. 14 -17
(e) Climax - Thank your Heavenly king
(d') Service v. 21
"one with another"
(c') Laws of God's Kingdom v. 22
(b') What is man? vv. 23 -26
"no more than dust"
(a') Purpose of the assembly v. 27
Next, I give you the actual words of that scripture from the Book of Mormon: Mosiah: 2: 9-27 referred to in the chiastic outline above, I suggest that you choose one of the letters of the alphabet used in the first half of the chiastic outline in red above, read that verse and then reflect upon it's meaning and then scroll down to the same letter that has an apostrophe ( ' ) added. You will notice the parallelism between the two paragraphs, the one without the apostrophe and the one with an apostrophe. That will help you better remember and understand the meaning of that phrase!
You could then repeat the same process for each of the other letters of the alphabet used for each point made. (In the actual process of reading or listening to a chiasm you wouldn't skip from a given point down to its parallel point, instead, when you reach the parallel point it just reinforces and emphasizes and perhaps, even clarifies the point first made!)
(a)Purpose of Assembly) 9 And these are the words which he spake and caused to be written, saying: My brethren, all ye that have assembled yourselves together, you that can hear my words which I shall speak unto you this day; for I have not commanded you to come up hither to trifle with the words which I shall speak, but that you should hearken unto me, and open your ears that ye may hear, and your hearts that ye may understand, and your minds that the mysteries of God may be unfolded to your view.
(b)What is Man) 10 I have not commanded you to come up hither that ye should fear me, or that ye should think that I of myself am more than a mortal man.
11 But I am like as yourselves, subject to all manner of infirmities in body and mind; yet I have been chosen by this people, and consecrated by my father, and was suffered by the hand of the Lord that I should be a ruler and a king over this people; and have been kept and preserved by his matchless power, to serve you with all the might, mind and strength which the Lord hath granted unto me.
(c)Laws of Benjamin's Kingdom) 12 I say unto you that as I have been suffered to spend my days in your service, even up to this time, and have not sought gold nor silver nor any manner of riches of you;
13 Neither have I suffered that ye should be confined in dungeons, nor that ye should make slaves one of another, nor that ye should murder, or plunder, or steal, or commit adultery; nor even have I suffered that ye should commit any manner of wickedness, and have taught you that ye should keep the commandments of the Lord, in all things which he hath commanded you—
(d)Service, One Another) 14 And even I, myself, have labored with mine own hands that I might serve you, and that ye should not be laden with taxes, and that there should nothing come upon you which was grievous to be borne—and of all these things which I have spoken, ye yourselves are witnesses this day.
15 Yet, my brethren, I have not done these things that I might boast, neither do I tell these things that thereby I might accuse you; but I tell you these things that ye may know that I can answer a clear conscience before God this day.
16 Behold, I say unto you that because I said unto you that I had spent my days in your service, I do not desire to boast, for I have only been in the service of God.
17 And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.
(e)Climax) 18 Behold, ye have called me your king; and if I, whom ye call your king, do labor to serve you, then ought not ye to labor to serve one another?
19 And behold also, if I, whom ye call your king, who has spent his days in your service, and yet has been in the service of God, do merit any thanks from you, O how you ought to thank your heavenly King!
20 I say unto you, my brethren, that if you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with another—
(d')Service, "one with another") 21 I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.
(c')Laws of God's Kingdom) 22 And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.
(b')What is man?) 23 And now, in the first place, he hath created you, and granted unto you your lives, for which ye are indebted unto him.
24 And secondly, he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you. And ye are still indebted unto him, and are, and will be, forever and ever; therefore, of what have ye to boast?
25 And now I ask, can ye say aught of yourselves? I answer you, Nay. Ye cannot say that ye are even as much as the dust of the earth; yet ye were created of the dust of the earth; but behold, it belongeth to him who created you.
26 And I, even I, whom ye call your king, am no better than ye yourselves are; for I am also of the dust. And ye behold that I am old, and am about to yield up this mortal frame to its mother earth.
(a')Purpose of the assembly 27 Therefore, as I said unto you that I had served you, walking with a clear conscience before God, even so I at this time have caused that ye should assemble yourselves together, that I might be found blameless, and that your blood should not come upon me, when I shall stand to be judged of God of the things whereof he hath commanded me concerning you.You will notice in the diagram in red, parallelisms between the phrase marked by a given letter such as (a) and then a corresponding phrase in the second half of the chiasm where the (a) is given an apostrophe, such as (a'). That pattern is repeated with each letter and its corresponding phrase from the top half down to the bottom half of the chiasm.
These contrasting parallelisms assisted the ancients of a good number of cultures, while using their own language, to help them more easily comprehend the points being made, thus making it all easier to remember.
This may seem a strange way to assist readers to recall important things (such as the teachings of a caring king (Mosiah) who believes in Christ). However, if we didn't have access to recording devices or weren't easily able to jot (to make a brief note of) down notes easily, we would often find it difficult to remember such important things as told by a loving and caring leader like King Benjamin to the people of his kingdom. Of course he was having his speech recorded by hand and circulated among a vast throng, but chiasmus was a fixed part of their speaking pattern and surely had been for many centuries and so it naturally was a part of his important speech.
According to John W. Welch of the BYU School of law in (Provo, Utah - U.S.A.) (who was the missionary you were told about above) chiasmus was used both anciently and in today's world especially where people do not have recording devices to help them.
John W. Welch goes into much detail about "chiasmus." I'm sure reading this will clarify this subject to a degree that I am not able to reach:
That article is somewhat long (as is this post) but is very informative.
I'm sure that after reading it you will have learned that the Book of Mormon contains Hebraisms. The Book of Mormon wasn't written by Joseph Smith because he knew nothing of Hebrew. Not being very educated he wasn't even an expert on the English language let alone Hebrew. His translating of that sacred book was by inspiration from (his and our) Heavenly Father.
I now invite you to read the following article I obtained from the Thursday, February 24, 2011 Mormon Times article found in that section of the Deseret News published in Salt Lake City, Utah, to which my wife and I subscribe.
Many of the Prophet Joseph's Revelations Were Shared Experiences
I ask each of you a very important question: How could a young and not very well educated Joseph Smith know about Chiasmus? That word isn't even found in many dictionaries today, at least not in those I use. Actually, Joseph Smith didn't know what chiasmus is or even that it was used frequently in the Book of Mormon which he had translated by the power of God! that was true for even the better educated people he came across during his lifetime.
On another matter, while researching for items regarding what I've been writing in this blog post, I came across a number of highly inaccurate and blatantly false articles through Google Search about the origins of the Book of Mormon. I've read many of them before but it bothers me to see falsehoods such as I read just today. One such is the Spalding theory of how certain people during Joseph Smith's life concocted a false account of the Book of Mormon as its having come from an unpublished manuscript written by a Solomon Spalding.
That has been proven very clearly to be a wrong supposition by many qualified persons whose research is impeccable. The Lord's enemy, Satan, loves to help certain kinds of people drag out falsehoods to try to shake the faith of those who believe in the Lord's work and particularly in His Book of Mormon.
The truth about Chiasmus being a part of the Book of Mormon totally eliminates Spalding's or anyone else's writings as a source of the Book of Mormon, not only by the copius evidence found by researchers who have carefully studied the Spalding manuscript matter, but also because Chiasmus is hardly known even today and is a Hebrew form found both in the Bible and in the Book of Mormon as clearly shown in this post. Chiasms are not found in the Spalding manuscript! There are no Hebraisms in it!In this post as you must have already clearly realized, I've given you very good evidences that the Book of Mormon is exactly what Joseph Smith, its inspired translator and others closely associated with him during its translation, said it is: a record written in a Hebraic - Egyptian language that Joseph was able to translate only through the power of the Spirit of the Lord. He was given a special gift for doing that.
The Lord first sent the angel Moroni to prepare Joseph Smith for his life-time work for Him, (the Lord), which began with the translation of the Book of Mormon. I repeat this painting which you have no doubt seen a number of times in my posts.
Joseph Smith Translating the Book of Mormon -By Del Parson
The surest way for each of you to know of this book's truthfulness is to follow the counsel of Moroni found at the end of that book. He was still a mortal when he wrote this. Thousands upon thousands have followed this counsel and know of a surety that it is a true book.
Moroni 10: 3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
6 And whatsoever thing is good is just and true; wherefore, nothing that is good denieth the Christ, but acknowledgeth that he is.I invite you to experience the following video in which a young non-Mormon man followed Moroni's counsel given just above and very clearly and surely received an answer to his prayer. It is a very touching and faith promoting account which is well told. You will enjoy hearing this young man's account. Please click on the following:
7 And ye may know that he is, by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore I would exhort you that ye deny not the power of God; for he worketh by power, according to the faith of the children of men, the same today and tomorrow, and forever.
I end this post very appropriately with an article written by Richard Lloyd Anderson of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute of Religious Scholarship at BYU in Provo, Utah (U.S.A.) regarding one of the three witnesses of the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ. This witness was the only one of the three that never regained his church membership. He is David Whitmer.
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