“Things Which Were Heard by My Brethren but I Did Not Hear Them”

Alan C. Miner

According to Hugh Nibley there's a linguistic contradiction in Alma 36:11, "And the angel spake more things unto me, which were heard by my brethren, but I did not hear them." Well, why is the angel talking to Alma and Alma didn't hear him? The others heard him. Again, this is a common thing. Alma is going to find out about it anyway. . . . Teachers and first sergeants do this often. They bawl out some "airhead" that they know will pay no attention to them whatever, but it goes for the rest of the platoon. Everybody knows it's for them, and it's the same thing here. Alma is going to get a real working over here, but the rest of them have to have their share of it, and this is what they get. This is what is given to them here, the part he doesn't hear. But he is going to get the full treatment presently. So it is for their benefit because the others were doing it along with him. [Hugh W. Nibley, Teachings of the Book of Mormon, Semester 2, p. 455]

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