“Hey Profaned Not; Neither Did They Blaspheme”

Brant Gardner

Jarom turns from the stiffnecked people who were likely his particular audience to what appears to be the majority of Nephites. On the whole, Nephite society at this point is one founded upon and ruled by Mosaic law, augmented by the teachings of their prophets concerning the Atoning Messiah. Jarom highlights the general righteousness because he sees that, as a direct fulfillment of the prophecies, they will remain in the land in accordance with their righteousness.

In particular, Jarom mentions that they “profaned not; neither did they blaspheme.” A modern interpretation might be that they did not swear or take the Lord’s name in vain. This would be too simple a reading for an ancient people. These terms indicate the people’s relationship to their God. Blasphemy would be a denial of Yahweh, and profaning Yahweh would be a diminishing of Yahweh’s value. Seen in the context of competing religions, these are indications that the Nephites remained faithful to Yahweh as their one God and did not follow after any other God. If the seeds had been sown for what would later be labeled as the order of the Nehors (see “Excursus: Religion of the Nehors,” following Alma 1), then one of the interpretations of “not profane” would be that they did not deny Yahweh’s atoning mission. (See “Excursus: The Nephite Understanding of God,” following 1 Nephi 11.)

Chronology: Two hundred years from what I accept as Lehi’s departure date (January 586 B.C.) places this next dated event at 392 B.C.

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