Mosiah 6:3 Textual Variants

Royal Skousen
when king Benjamin had made an end of all these [sayings > things 1|things ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRST] ...

Oliver Cowdery initially wrote sayings here in Mosiah 6:3; then almost immediately he corrected sayings to things (there is no change in the level of ink flow). The original manuscript probably read “all these things”. David Calabro points out (personal communication) that the use of things is more appropriate here than sayings since the preceding text refers not only to king Benjamin finishing his speaking to the people (verse 1) but also to his writing down the names of all who had covenanted to keep God’s commandments and taken upon themselves the name of Christ (verses 1–2).

Usually the Book of Mormon text uses a gerundive verb form in the expression “make an end of X” (30 times), where X refers to some means of communicating (prophesying, speaking, teaching, reading, praying, or abridging). When the X is a plural count noun, the plural noun is almost always sayings ( 7 times):

In Mosiah 13:25, Oliver Cowdery initially wrote things in 𝓟, but then he virtually immediately corrected things to sayings. Thus there is additional evidence that Oliver tended to mix up things and sayings in the expression “make an end of X”, although here in Mosiah 6:3 the error was in the opposite direction.

Besides the plural count nouns things and sayings, we also have the possibility of words in the expression “make an end of X”; there is only one example in the text:

As discussed under 2 Nephi 33:4, both words and things are used to refer to one’s speech. For examples of mix-ups between words and things, see under 1 Nephi 3:28.

Summary: Maintain in Mosiah 6:3 Oliver Cowdery’s corrected reading in 𝓟: “when king Benjamin had made an end of all these things” (which makes sense given the preceding text); the plural count nouns sayings, words, and things are occasionally mixed up in the textual history, if only momentarily.

Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon, Part. 2