“As Many as Believed on His Word”

Brant Gardner

Some heard Samuel’s message, repented, and went to Nephi for baptism. This detail indicates that Nephi was well known as the logical person to approach about entrance to the church. Nephi’s prominence further highlights the desperation of the Gadianton leaders who tried to find Nephi guilty of a capital offense. Despite dealing with a well-known man, they risked conniving at his judicial murder; but the tables were turned on them when he became even better known through his miraculous disclosure of the chief judge’s murderer.

Text: There is no chapter break at this point on the plates. Our Chapter 15 concludes the record of Samuel the Lamanite. Mormon now returns to his own concluding narrative. At similar points, Mormon has made a new chapter at the end of quoted material; but here, he also stresses the aftermath of Samuel’s speech. While Samuel’s declaration of the Atoning Messiah is important, Mormon has ample prophets and witnesses for that point. What Mormon highlights is the contradiction between the unbelieving Nephites and the believing Lamanites. That inversion of expectations leads to the dramatic aftermath of Samuel’s preaching, just as much a part of the point of the story as his sermon itself.

Second Witness: Analytical & Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 5