Only in the Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon has numerous examples of unique words, phrases, doctrines, principles, and thoughts, not found in other scriptural texts. These add to the richness and depth of its preceptual teachings. Here are a few I have discovered...

A mighty change
Conversion to the gospel of Jesus Chris affects change in our nature, or in our hearts. In fact, it is best described as a "mighty change."

And according to his faith there was a mighty change wrought in his heart. Behold I say unto you that this is all true. And behold, he preached the word unto your fathers, and a mighty change was also wrought in their hearts, and they humbled themselves and put their trust in the true and living God. And behold, they were faithful until the end; therefore they were saved. And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this *mighty change in your hearts?*

Other

Mosiah 5:2

Atone
The word "Atonement," as a noun, is mentioned once in the New Testament and more than 20 times in the Book of Mormon. What is especially unique to the Book of Mormon is the use of "atone" or "atoning" as a verb describing the influence of the atonement of Jesus Christ on his people

And now, behold, I will testify unto you of myself that these things are true. Behold, I say unto you, that I do know that Christ shall come among the children of men, to take upon him the transgressions of his people, and that he shall *atone* for the sins of the world; for the Lord God hath spoken it. 11 Now there is not any man that can sacrifice his own blood which will atone for the sins of another. Now, if a man murdereth, behold will our law, which is just, take the life of his brother? I say unto you, Nay.

Other

Alma 36:17, Alma 22:14, Alma 33:22, Mosiah 3:18, Helaman 5:9, Mosiah 4:2

Cross yourself
This unusual reference is likely Alma's counsel to his son to examine (as in cross-examine) or contradict his evil ways

Now my son, I would that ye should repent and forsake your sins, and go no more after the lusts of your eyes, but *cross yourself* in all these things; for except ye do this ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God. Oh, remember, and take it upon you, and cross yourself in these things

Discernible
This is a wonderful teaching on the fact that faith and spiritual things are real and “discernible”

O then, is not this real? I say unto you, Yea, because it is light; and whatsoever is light, is good, because it is *discernible* therefore ye must know that it is good; and now behold, after ye have tasted this light is your knowledge perfect?

Do good continually
When a person is truly converted unto the Lord, they will have a feeling come into their heart to want to do good and to do it continually. This shows up in six places in the Book of Mormon.

Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually. But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to *do good continually;* wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.

Other

Alma 63:2, Alma 41:14, Mosiah 5:2, Ether 8:26

Fell/Fallen away
Used twice in the vision of the tree of life referring to those who heeded the ridicule of those in the great and spacious building. A person has “fallen away” from the church has become common in modern church vernacular, describing those who have lost faith and left the church

And after they had tasted of the fruit they were ashamed, because of those that were scoffing at them; and they *fell away* into forbidden paths and were lost....These are the words of my father: For as many as heeded them, had *fallen away.*

Full purpose of heart
Found six times, referring to approaching our commitment with our whole soul, not half-hearted.

But if ye will turn to the Lord with *full purpose of heart,* and put your trust in him, and serve him with all diligence of mind, if ye do this, he will, according to his own will and pleasure, deliver you out of bondage.

Other

2 Nephi 31:13, Jacob 6:5, 3 Nephi 10:6, 3 Nephi 12:24, 3 Nephi 18:32

Harrow Up
A unique phrase to the Book of Mormon, used primarily by Alma to describe how the mind is stirred up/broken/dug up as if by a harrow in a field, by our thoughts or memories of transgression, for the purpose of becoming contrite and humble.

And it came to pass that Zeezrom was astonished at the words which had been spoken; and he also knew concerning the blindness of the minds, which he had caused among the people by his lying words; and his soul began to be *harrowed up* under a consciousness of his own guilt; yea, he began to be encircled about by the pains of hell.

Other

Alma 14, 15, 26, 29, 36, 39; Mormon 5:8, 2 Nephi 9:47

If ye do this
An interesting phrase used several times to issue promised blessings that follow certain actions

And behold, I say unto you that *if ye do this* ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true.

Immovable
In several instances, the committment of the believer is described as needing to be steadfast and "immovable"

Therefore, I would that ye should be steadfast and *immovable,* always abounding in good works, that Christ, the Lord God Omnipotent, may seal you his, that you may be brought to heaven, that ye may have everlasting salvation and eternal life, through the wisdom, and power, and justice, and mercy of him who created all things, in heaven and in earth, who is God above all. Amen.

Other

1 Nephi 2:10, Alma 1:25, 3 Nephi 6:14

Infinite Mercy
A wonderfully descriptive way to convey the power of the atonement of Jesus Christ

And thus did the Spirit of the Lord work upon them, for they were the very vilest of sinners. And the Lord saw fit in his *infinite mercy* to spare them; nevertheless they suffered much anguish of soul because of their iniquities, suffering much and fearing that they should be cast off forever.

Instruments in the hands of God
The Lord uses us, if we are willing, to perform his work. This terminology has became part of standard vocabulary in Latter-day Saint culture

And thus they were *instruments in the hands of God* in bringing many to the knowledge of the truth, yea, to the knowledge of their Redeemer.

Other

2 Nephi 1:24, 2 Nephi 3:24, Alma 1:8-9, Alma 17:9-11, Alma 26:3, Alma 29:9, Alma 35:14

Merits
Our salvation hinges on the grace, mercy, and "merits" of Jesus Christ.

And after they had been received unto baptism, and were wrought upon and cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost, they were numbered among the people of the church of Christ; and their names were taken, that they might be remembered and nourished by the good word of God, to keep them in the right way, to keep them continually watchful unto prayer, relying alone upon the *merits* of Christ, who was the author and the finisher of their faith.

Other

Alma 24:10, Helaman 14:13,2 Nephi 31:19, 2 Nephi 2:8, Alma 22:14, Mosiah 2:19

Perhaps
While the word “perhaps” itself is not unique to the Book of Mormon (it is used three times in the New Testament), the way in which it is used is unique. The word “perhaps” is used 38 times in the Book of Mormon and often as a term of humility and hope. As an example, Mormon prays that his son Moroni will be protected, not just because he loves him, but because he hopes that he may continue to write the things of God, that “perhaps” they will someday be a benefit to the Lamanites. The sons of Mosiah seemed to use this type of humble hope that good things would happen as they went about their missionary labors. The didn’t want to get overly confident that something would happen. I really like the attitude that “we are not sure what the outcome will be, but we hope that the Lord will see fit to

...but I write a few more things, that *perhaps* they may be of worth unto my brethren, the Lamanites, in some future day, according to the will of the Lord.

Restoration
When we use the word “restoration,” we are typically talking about the restoration of the priesthood in relation to the restoration of the gospel through Joseph Smith. However, in the Book of Mormon, this restoration refers to one of three things: 1) the resurrection of the dead, 2) the restoration of the tribes of Israel to their lands, and 3) the restoration of a people to a knowledge of what they once had. The Book of Mormon teaches powerfully in this area that when the resurrection/restoration happens, we will get back what we made while on earth. If we were merciful, we will have mercy restored unto us

And now, my son, I have somewhat to say concerning the *restoration* of which has been spoken; for behold, some have wrested the scriptures, and have gone far astray because of this thing. And I perceive that thy mind has been worried also concerning this thing. But behold, I will explain it unto thee. I say unto thee, my son, that the plan of restoration is requisite with the justice of God; for it is requisite that all things should be restored to their proper order. Behold, it is requisite and just, according to the power and resurrection of Christ, that the soul of man should be restored to its body, and that every apart of the body should be restored to itself.

Other

Alma 41:10,12-13,15, 1 Nephi 15:19-20, 2 Nephi 3:24, Alma 40:22,24, 2 Nephi 30:8, 3 Nephi 29:1, Alma 37:19, Alma 11:44, Mosiah 15:24, Helaman 15:11, Mormon 9:36, Alma 42:28

Smile upon them
Besides indirect reference to smiling in Jacob and D/C, the two references in 3 Nephi 19 (25 & 30) are the only time smile is used in the scriptures in a personal way

And it came to pass that Jesus blessed them as they did pray unto him; and his countenance *did smile upon them,* and the light of his countenance did shine upon them...And when Jesus had spoken these words he came again unto his disciples; and behold they did pray steadfastly, without ceasing, unto him; and he did smile upon them again...

Sore Repentance
This reference, found twice in the Book of Mormon, provides a useful description of the emotional pain often associated with the process of repentance

But remember the iniquity of king Noah and his priests; and I myself was caught in a snare, and did many things which were abominable in the sight of the Lord, which caused me *sore repentance;*

Other

Alma 27:23

Stir them up
Used 11 times in the Book of Mormon to represent the process of agitating or inspiring to remember something (7 times) or to indicate how a person or Satan agitates people to anger (4 times).

And if it so be that they rebel against me, they shall be a scourge unto thy seed, to *stir them up* in the ways of remembrance.

To act and to be acted upon
Nowhere but the Book of Mormon is taught the foundational and fundamental power of agency of man and how it is essential to life itself and the very root of the plan of salvation

And now, my sons, I speak unto you these things for your profit and learning; for there is a God, and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things *to act and things to be acted upon*...And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.

Typify
Nephi, writing why he quotes from Isaiah, and how many things in the scriptures “prove” His words, he says that all things given by God from the beginning of the world are the “typifying” of Him.

Behold, my soul delighteth in proving unto my people the truth of the coming of Christ; for, for this end hath the law of Moses been given; and all things which have been given of God from the beginning of the world, unto man, are the *typifying* of him.

© 2018-19 D.L. Walker

Photo of original copy of the Book of Mormon