strtoupper('“U')ntil the Days of King Benjamin”

Mormon refers to "records handed down by the kings, from generation to generation until the days of King Benjamin" (Words of Mormon 1:10). Does this statement mean that Mosiah1 was part of a royal line? Although Jacob 1:9 says that Nephi "anointed a man to be king and a ruler over his people," it also says that he did it "according to the reigns of the kings." The passage of kingship from Benjamin to Mosiah2 and the attempt of Mosiah2 to pass the kingship on to his sons apparently indicates that among the Nephites, kingship was passed from father to son, from one generation to another, (or "according to the reigns of the kings"). Thus, the double wording here of "king to king" and from "generation to generation" would tend to convey the idea that Mosiah1 was part of the royal family.

Interestingly, in verse 11, Mormon says that King Benjamin handed the records down "from generation to generation until they have fallen into my hands." It should be noted that Mormon not only says the he was a "pure descendant of Lehi" (Mormon 1:5), which can be interpreted to mean that he was royalty, but that he was a "descendant of Nephi" (Mormon 8:13). To me this means that Mormon and Moroni would have been in line to be Nephite kings and that the large plates were probably passed down from one royal hand to another. [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes] [See the commentary on Mosiah 9:1]

Absence of Colophons

In his commentary on the Book of Mormon, Brant Gardner notes the absence of colophons starting with the book of Mosiah. He says that Hugh Nibley first identified 1 Nephi 1:1-3 as a colophon, a structured and typical identifactory passage used at the beginning or end of many ancient documents (Nibley Since Cumorah 1967, pp. 170-171). The essential elements are the identification of the writer, the writer's lineage, and at times a statement of the veracity or trustworthiness of the written text. . . . While Nephi's introduction is clearly the most formal, the introduction to the written text by the writer continues for most of the material from the book of Nephi to the end of the book of Omni (Jacob's personal introduction is perhaps the least formal, and the furthest from the structures of a colophon). Once the Book of Mormon picks up with the book of Mosiah, however, the personal introductions cease, and are replaced by a typically chronological introduction (Alma 1:1 "Now it came to pass that in the first year of the reign of the judges . . ."; Helaman 1:1 "And now behold, it came to pass in the commencement of the fortieth year of the reign of the judges . . ."; 4 Nephi 1:1, "And it came to pass that the thirty and fourth year passed away, . . ."). None of these qualifies as an example of a colophon, and even the personal introductions lack the formulaic precision of Nephi's introduction.

The first clear division can be made between the personalized introductions of the 1 Nephi through Omni material, and all books which follow. This division is precisely that between the small plates material and the large plates material. The small plates were written in the first person, and the large plates were abridged. . . . The introductory material for the books in each section is clearly different, and follows a different literary imperative. [Brant Gardner, "Commentary on the Book of Mormon," 1 Nephi, 1 Nephi 1, pp. 1-2]

Alan C. Miner -

Alan C. Miner

Step by Step Through the Book of Mormon: A Cultural Commentary

References