Helaman 16:1 Textual Variants

Royal Skousen
and as many as believed on his [words 1APS|word BCDEFGHIJKLMNOQRT] went forth and sought for Nephi

The 1837 edition changed the plural words to word. Yet elsewhere at the beginning of this chapter, we always get the plural words when referring to belief in Samuel’s word(s):

In general, when referring to belief in someone’s word(s), but not referring to the Lord’s word(s), the plural words thoroughly dominates (47 to 2):



If that person is the Lord, the examples of singular word and plural words are about equally divided, with six instances of word and four of words:



For each of these cases, the critical text will follow the earliest textual sources in determining whether we have the singular word or the plural words. Thus here in Helaman 16:1, the critical text will restore the plural words (“as many as believed on his words”). The RLDS 1908 edition restored the plural to the RLDS text, in accord with the reading in 𝓟. The LDS text has retained the singular word.

There have been other cases of change in the grammatical number for word(s) when referring to belief:

See under each of these passages for discussion.

Summary: Restore the plural words in Helaman 16:1 (“as many as believed on his words”), which is consistent with four nearby references to belief in the words of Samuel the Lamanite.

Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon, Part. 5