“Mosiah Went and Did as His Father Had Commanded Him”

Brant Gardner

Text: The break between our current Mosiah 1 and 2 is not part of the 1830 text. When Mormon edited this section, he did not consider it finished until the end of our chapter 3, where Benjamin concludes one of his formal discourses. However, though not a chapter break, it is still clearly a textual break. The next verse is Mosiah 2:1: “And it came to pass that after Mosiah had done as his father had commanded him, and had made a proclamation throughout all the land, that the people gathered themselves together throughout all the land, that they might go up to the temple to hear the words which king Benjamin should speak unto them.” Note the repetition between verse 1:18 and verse 2:1. In 1:18 Mosiah “went and did as his father had commanded him” and in 2:1 “… after Mosiah had done as his father had commanded him.” Additionally, both verses first record Benjamin’s intent to have the people gather, and their gathering. These dual themes, both repeated, suggest that it is not Mormon’s transition, but rather one from the plates. The entire section concerns Benjamin, not Mosiah2, and the original preserves Mosiah2’s actions primarily as his faithful fulfillment of Benjamin’s order. Even though there is no first person, the structure of these two verses strongly suggests a formulaic expression that is not necessarily a hallmark of Mormon’s editorial interjections. These verses are likely part of the original, just as the embedded speech is. (From this point on I will discontinue the subscript indication of Mosiah unless it is required to differentiate him from his grandfather.)

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