"A Lesses Part Taught to the People"

Brant Gardner

Text: These verses begin a new chapter in the 1830 edition. To this point, Mormon has been working with Nephi3’s text (3 Ne. 5:10). Here, he notes that he has abbreviated that text, omitting many of the Savior’s words. Verse 7 contrasts the source he used with the one he might have used. Nephi3’s record is different from the plates of Nephi, which contained a more official, and apparently more complete, record. I see this chapter break as indicating a shift in sources. Mormon is leaving Nephi’s smaller account and returning to the plates of Nephi as the source of his abridgment.

Verse 8, therefore, is an unusual explanation for his selection of the smaller record over the more complete one. However, his explanation that he wants them to “be brought again unto this people,” explains their intrinsic value, but not the relative value that governed Mormon’s decision. There was something about Nephi’s smaller record that Mormon found perhaps more personal, perhaps more dedicated to the Savior’s words. Mormon does not clarify, but we understand that Nephi was an apostle and the large plates were kept as a more political record. It may be that Nephi’s apostolic record better described the power of the occasion.

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