strtoupper('“T')he People Were a Stiffnecked People, Hard to Understand”

The modern LDS model of church organization assumes a single prophet at the head of a unified organization. This is not the model of the Old Testament nor certainly of the early Nephite society. During Nephi’s lifetime the community had both Nephi and Jacob as “prophets,” although Jacob was officially the priest while Nephi acted as ruler. Enos summarizes his post-epiphany life by saying he preaches and prophesies (v. 19). Thus, Enos is a prophet, yet speaks of “exceedingly many prophets.” This description fits the Old World model of the prophet who calls for social and religious repentance, rather than the contemporary model of a person who leads a community of religious adherents.

Although I have posited a general repentance after Jacob’s encounter with Sherem, it was not complete or long-lasting. If the proposed scenario is correct in hypothesizing that much of the social unrest resulted directly from trading with powerful non-Nephite communities, we may assume that such contact continued and that the pressures to conform to the larger Mesoamerican ideology/culture continued. Thus the people would have continued to be “stiffnecked.”

“hard to understand”: The Nephites had a hard time understanding Yahweh’s way. They did not find it difficult to comprehend what a Nephite said.

Brant Gardner -

Brant Gardner

Second Witness: Analytical & Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 3