“And It Came to Pass”

Alan C. Miner

According to Roy Weldon, the expression "it came to pass" is used 117 times in the book of Ether, which covers 40 pages; yet it is not used once in the book of Moroni, which covers 13 pages. The reason for this is that the phrase "and it came to pass" is a device to show that something was left out of the original record in the abridgment. This is why there are so very many of them in the Book of Mormon. Franklin S. Harris, in Book of Mormon Message and Evidences notes that the biblical prophet Ezra freely used the words "it came to pass" in his abridgment, but not once in his own writing (p. 116).

In view of the above comments, it is amusing that critics have made many comments about the frequent use of this Hebraic idiom in the Book of Mormon. Mark Twain in Roughin It, 1872, declared: "If you took all the 'it came to passes' out of it [the Book of Mormon], there wouldn't be anything left to come to pass."

It is also interesting that the native Mesoamerican Maya author of the Book of Chilam Balam makes frequent use of the same term as noted on pages 46, 154, etc. (two in one sentence, p. 120). [Roy E. Weldon, Book of Mormon Deeps, Vol. III, pp. 257, 236]

Ether 1:35 And it came to pass ([Illustration]): And It Came to Pass . . . Various tenses of this phrase as found in the Maya glyphs. . . . In 1981, linguist David Stuart identified a Mayan glyph meaning "and it came to pass," showing that it was in common use among the ancient Maya. Later, other Maya glyphs were identified as variations of that phrase: e.g., "It had come to pass" or "It would come to pass." [Glenn A. Scott, Voices from the Dust, pp. 222-223]

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