“The Things of All Nations Shall Be Made Known”

Brant Gardner

Literature: Nephi adds his own poetic reversal to that of Isaiah. The hidden is revealed. Darkness is brought to light. The sealed is loosed. In each case, Nephi juxtaposes symbolic opposites representing the reversal of the natural order of things in the last days.

Text: The revelation of hidden things also appears in Ammon’s explanation to Limhi in Mosiah 8:17: “But a seer can know of things which are past, and also of things which are to come, and by them shall all things be revealed, or, rather, shall secret things be made manifest, and hidden things shall come to light, and things which are not known shall be made known by them, and also things shall be made known by them which otherwise could not be known.”

Ammon may have constructed a completely independent explanation. It is also possible that Ammon was familiar with this concept from the small plates themselves. The small plates were transmitted through Nephi’s family until they reached Omni’s hands four generations later. After Omni made his brief notation, the plates were filled. Omni, childless, gave them to King Benjamin. It seems logical that Benjamin and his successor, Mosiah2, had probably not read this record but did so upon receiving it. It also seems logical that Ammon, Mosiah2’s son, either read the record or had it read to him and therefore knew Nephi’s exact words.

It is also possible that the similarity is due to Joseph Smith’s memory. But if that were the case, it would be Ammon’s reference influencing that of Nephi, for the evidence suggests that Nephi’s record was translated after the remainder of Mormon’s abridgment. Therefore, a range of possible explanations—from random to remembered—exists for the similarity of terms in Nephi and Ammon. But there is not enough evidence to suggest which possibility explains the parallel phrasing.

Second Witness: Analytical & Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 2