“The Multitude Was So Great That They Did Cause That They Should Be Separated into Twelve Bodies”

Brant Gardner

The presence of twelve men representing God, and a physical division into twelve must have had religious significance for the people. The division into different divisions would also have been roughly along kin lines in any case. People tend to cluster according to existing relationships. If there is no strong kin unit, they will cluster along lines of friends. In a kin-oriented society, we would expect kin to locate with close kin, but those close kin would be close to another, and another, and the effect would naturally spread. The divisions into twelve would not represent twelve different tribes as it might in Israel, but there would have been a sufficient linkage between the natural divisions an kin lines to reinforce the symbolism of the division, even if the real reason for the division was to make it easier to for the group to be taught.

Multidimensional Commentary on the Book of Mormon