Mark Twain Reviews the Book of Mormon

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All is well

A review of the Book of Mormon by Mark Twain from Roughing It.  If any of my Mormon readers take offense, I would note that Twain was a religious sceptic and said various uncomplimentary things about other denominations, including the Catholic Church.  Twain’s review is not set forth here because of its veracity, but rather for its style and as a representative sample of the controversies surrounding Mormonism in the 19th century as it began its trek from being regarded as a fringe cult to a mainstream American religion.  The review is also hilarious, and I have often stolen borrowed the phrase chloroform in print:

All men have heard of the Mormon Bible, but few except the “elect” have seen it, or, at least, taken the trouble to read it. I brought away a copy from Salt Lake. The book is a curiosity to me, it is such a pretentious affair, and yet so “slow,” so sleepy; such an insipid mess of inspiration. It is chloroform in print. If Joseph Smith composed this book, the act was a miracle—keeping awake while he did it was, at any rate. If he, accourding to tradition, merely translated it from certain ancient and mysteriously-engraved plates of copper, which he declares he found under a stone, in an out-of-the-way locality, the work of translating was equally a miracle, for the same reason. The book seems to be merely a prosy detail of imaginary history, with the Old Testament for a model; followed by a tedious plagiarism of the New Testament. The author labored to give his words and phrases the quaint, old-fashioned sound and structure of our King James’s translation of the Scriptures; and the result is a mongrel—half modern glibness, and half ancient simplicity and gravity. The latter is awkward and constrained; the former natural, but grotesque by the contrast. Whenever he found his speech growing too modern—which was about every sentence or two—he ladled in a few such Scriptural phrases as “exceeding sore,” “and it came to pass,” etc., and made things satisfactory again. “And it came to pass” was his pet. If he had left that out, his Bible would have been only a pamphlet. The title-page reads as follows:

THE BOOK OF MORMON: AN ACCOUNT WRITTEN BY THE HAND OF MORMON, UPON PLATES TAKEN FROM THE PLATES OF NEPHI. Wherefore it is an abridgment of the record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites; written to the Lamanites, who are a remnant of the house of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile; written by way of commandment, and also by the spirit of prophecy and of revelation. Written and sealed up, and hid up unto the Lord, that they might not be destroyed; to come forth by the gift and power of God unto the interpretation thereof; sealed by the hand of Moroni, and hid up unto the Lord, to come forth in due time by way of the Gentile; the interpretation thereof by the gift of God. An abridgment taken from the Book of Ether also; which is a record of the people of Jared; who were scattered at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people when they were building a tower to get to Heaven.

“Hid up” is good. And so is “wherefore”—though why “wherefore”? Any other word would have answered as well—though in truth it would not have sounded so Scriptural. Next comes:

THE TESTIMONY OF THREE WITNESSES. Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people unto whom this work shall come, that we, through the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record, which is a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, their brethren, and also of the people of Jared, who came from the tower of which hath been spoken; and we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for His voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety that the work is true. And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates; and they have been shown unto us by the power of God, and not of man. And we declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bear record that these things are true; and it is marvelous in our eyes; nevertheless the voice of the Lord commanded us that we should bear record of it; wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, we bear testimony of these things. And we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgment-seat of Christ, and shall dwell with Him eternally in the heavens. And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen. OLIVER COWDERY, DAVID WHITMER, MARTIN HARRIS.

Some people have to have a world of evidence before they can come anywhere in the neighborhood of believing anything; but for me, when a man tells me that he has “seen the engravings which are upon the plates,” and not only that, but an angel was there at the time, and saw him see them, and probably took his receipt for it, I am very far on the road to conviction, no matter whether I ever heard of that man before or not, and even if I do not know the name of the angel, or his nationality either. Next is this:

AND ALSO THE TESTIMONY OF EIGHT WITNESSES. Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people unto whom this work shall come, that Joseph Smith, Jr., the translator of this work, has shown unto us the plates of which hath been spoken, which have the appearance of gold; and as many of the leaves as the said Smith has translated, we did handle with our hands; and we also saw the engravings thereon, all of which has the appearance of ancient work, and of curious workmanship. And this we bear record with words of soberness, that the said Smith has shown unto us, for we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken. And we give our names unto the world, to witness unto the world that which we have seen; and we lie not, God bearing witness of it. CHRISTIAN WHITMER, JACOB WHITMER, PETER WHITMER, JR., JOHN WHITMER, HIRAM PAGE, JOSEPH SMITH, SR., HYRUM SMITH, SAMUEL H. SMITH.

And when I am far on the road to conviction, and eight men, be they grammatical or otherwise, come forward and tell me that they have seen the plates too; and not only seen those plates but “hefted” them, I am convinced. I could not feel more satisfied and at rest if the entire Whitmer family had testified. The Mormon Bible consists of fifteen “books”—being the books of Jacob, Enos, Jarom, Omni, Mosiah, Zeniff, Alma, Helaman, Ether, Moroni, two “books” of Mormon, and three of Nephi. In the first book of Nephi is a plagiarism of the Old Testament, which gives an account of the exodus from Jerusalem of the “children of Lehi”; and it goes on to tell of their wanderings in the wilderness, during eight years, and their supernatural protection by one of their number, a party by the name of Nephi. They finally reached the land of “Bountiful,” and camped by the sea. After they had remained there “for the space of many days”—which is more Scriptural than definite—Nephi was commanded from on high to build a ship wherein to “carry the people across the waters.” He travestied Noah’s ark—but he obeyed orders in the matter of the plan. He finished the ship in a single day, while his brethren stood by and made fun of it—and of him, too—“saying, our brother is a fool, for he thinketh that he can build a ship” They did not wait for the timbers to dry, but the whole tribe or nation sailed the next day. Then a bit of genuine nature cropped out, and is revealed by outspoken Nephi with Scriptural frankness—they all got on a spree! They, “and also their wives, began to make themselves merry, insomuch that they began to dance, and to sing, and to speak with much rudeness; yea, they were lifted up unto exceeding rudeness.” Nephi tried to stop these scandalous proceedings; but they tied him neck and heels, and went on with their lark. But observe how Nephi the prophet circumvented them by the aid of the invisible powers:

And it came to pass that after they had bound me, insomuch that I could not move, the compass, which had been prepared of the Lord, did cease to work; wherefore, they knew not whither they should steer the ship, insomuch that there arose a great storm, yea, a great and terrible tempest, and we were driven back upon the waters for the space of three days; and they began to be frightened exceedingly, lest they should be drowned in the sea; nevertheless they did not loose me. And on the fourth day, which we had been driven back, the tempest began to be exceeding sore. And it came to pass that we were about to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea.

Then they untied him.

And it came to pass after they had loosed me, behold, I took the compass, and it did work whither I desired it. And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord; and after I had prayed, the winds did cease, and the storm did cease, and there was a great calm.

Equipped with their compass, these ancients appear to have had the advantage of Noah. Their voyage was toward a “promised land”—the only name they give it. They reached it in safety. Polygamy is a recent feature in the Mormon religion, and was added by Brigham Young after Joseph Smith’s death. Before that, it was regarded as an “abomination.” This verse from the Mormon Bible occurs in Chapter II. of the book of Jacob:

For behold, thus saith the Lord, this people begin to wax in iniquity; they understand not the Scriptures; for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms, because of the things which were written concerning David, and Solomon his son. Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord; wherefore, thus saith the Lord, I have led this people forth out of the land of Jerusalem, by the power of mine arm, that I might raise up unto me a righteous branch from the fruit of the loins of Joseph. Wherefore, I the Lord God, will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old.

However, the project failed—or at least the modern Mormon end of it—for Brigham “suffers” it. This verse is from the same chapter:

Behold, the Lamanites your brethren, whom ye hate, because of their filthiness and the cursings which hath come upon their skins, are more righteous than you; for they have not forgotten the commandment of the Lord, which was given unto our fathers, that they should have, save it were one wife; and concubines they should have none.

The following verse (from Chapter IX. of the Book of Nephi) appears to contain information not familiar to everybody:

And now it came to pass that when Jesus had ascended into heaven, the multitude did disperse, and every man did take his wife and his children, and did return to his own home. And it came to pass that on the morrow, when the multitude was gathered together, behold, Nephi and his brother whom he had raised from the dead, whose name was Timothy, and also his son, whose name was Jonas, and also Mathoni, and Mathonihah, his brother, and Kumen, and Kumenenhi, and Jeremiah, and Shemnon, and Jonas, and Zedekiah, and Isaiah; now these were the names of the disciples whom Jesus had chosen.

In order that the reader may observe how much more grandeur and picturesqueness (as seen by these Mormon twelve) accompanied on of the tenderest episodes in the life of our Saviour than other eyes seem to have been aware of, I quote the following from the same “book”—Nephi:

And it came to pass that Jesus spake unto them, and bade them arise. And they arose from the earth, and He said unto them, Blessed are ye because of your faith. And now behold, My joy is full. And when He had said these words, He wept, and the multitude bear record of it, and He took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them. And when He had done this He wept again, and He spake unto the multitude, and saith unto them, Behold your little ones. And as they looked to behold, they cast their eyes toward heaven, and they saw the heavens open, and they saw angels descending out of heaven as it were, in the midst of fire; and they came down and encircled those little ones about, and they were encircled about with fire; and the angels did minister unto them, and the multitude did see and hear and bear record; and they know that their record is true, for they all of them did see and hear, every man for himself; and they were in number about two thousand and five hundred souls; and they did consist of men, women, and children.

And what else would they be likely to consist of? The Book of Ether is an incomprehensible medley of if “history,” much of it relating to battles and sieges among peoples whom the reader has possibly never heard of; and who inhabited a country which is not set down in the geography. There was a King with the remarkable name of Coriantumr, and he warred with Shared, and Lib, and Shiz, and others, in the “plains of Heshlon”; and the “valley of Gilgal”; and the “wilderness of Akish”; and the “land of Moran”; and the “plains of Agosh”; and “Ogath,” and “Ramah,” and the “land of Corihor,” and the “hill Comnor,” by “the waters of Ripliancum,” etc., etc., etc. “And it came to pass,” after a deal of fighting, that Coriantumr, upon making calculation of his losses, found that “there had been slain two millions of mighty men, and also their wives and their children”—say 5,000,000 or 6,000,000 in all—“and he began to sorrow in his heart.” Unquestionably it was time. So he wrote to Shiz, asking a cessation of hostilities, and offering to give up his kingdom to save his people. Shiz declined, except upon condition that Coriantumr would come and let him cut his head off first—a thing which Coriantumr would not do. Then there was more fighting for a season; then four years were devoted to gathering the forces for a final struggle—after which ensued a battle, which, I take it, is the most remarkable set forth in history,—except, perhaps, that of the Kilkenny cats, which it resembles in some respects. This is the account of the gathering and the battle:

And it came to pass that they did gather together all the people, upon all the face of the land, who had not been slain, save it was Ether. And it came to pass that Ether did behold all the doings of the people; and he beheld that the people who were for Coriantumr, were gathered together to the army of Coriantumr; and the people who were for Shiz, were gathered together to the army of Shiz; wherefore they were for the space of four years gathering together the people, that they might get all who were upon the face of the land, and that they might receive all the strength which it was possible that they could receive. And it came to pass that when they were all gathered together, every one to the army which he would, with their wives and their children; both men, women, and children being armed with weapons of war, having shields, and breast-plates, and head-plates, and being clothed after the manner of war, they did march forth one against another, to battle; and they fought all that day, and conquered not. And it came to pass that when it was night they were weary, and retired to their camps; and after they had retired to their camps, they took up a howling and a lamentation for the loss of the slain of their people; and so great were their cries, their howlings and lamentations, that it did rend the air exceedingly. And it came to pass that on the morrow they did go again to battle, and great and terrible was that day; nevertheless they conquered not, and when the night came again, they did rend the air with their cries, and their howlings, and their mournings, for the loss of the slain of their people. And it came to pass that Coriantumr wrote again an epistle unto Shiz, desiring that he would not come again to battle, but that he would take the kingdom, and spare the lives of the people. But behold, the Spirit of the Lord had ceased striving with them, and Satan had full power over the hearts of the people, for they were given up unto the hardness of their hearts, and the blindness of their minds that they might be destroyed; wherefore they went again to battle. And it came to pass that they fought all that day, and when the night came they slept upon their swords; and on the morrow they fought even until the night came; and when the night came they were drunken with anger, even as a man who is drunken with wine; and they slept again upon their swords; and on the morrow they fought again; and when the night came they had all fallen by the sword save it were fifty and two of the people of Coriantumr, and sixty and nine of the people of Shiz. And it came to pass that they slept upon their swords that night, and on the morrow they fought again, and they contended in their mights with their swords, and with their shields, all that day; and when the night came there were thirty and two of the people of Shiz, and twenty and seven of the people of Coriantumr. And it came to pass that they ate and slept, and prepared for death on the morrow. And they were large and mighty men, as to the strength of men. And it came to pass that they fought for the space of three hours, and they fainted with the loss of blood. And it came to pass that when the men of Coriantumr had received sufficient strength, that they could walk, they were about to flee for their lives, but behold, Shiz arose, and also his men, and he swore in his wrath that he would slay Coriantumr, or he would perish by the sword: wherefore he did pursue them, and on the morrow he did overtake them; and they fought again with the sword. And it came to pass that when they had all fallen by the sword, save it were Coriantumr and Shiz, behold Shiz had fainted with loss of blood. And it came to pass that when Coriantumr had leaned upon his sword, that he rested a little, he smote off the head of Shiz. And it came to pass that after he had smote off the head of Shiz, that Shiz raised upon his hands and fell; and after that he had struggled for breath, he died. And it came to pass that Coriantumr fell to the earth, and became as if he had no life. And the Lord spake unto Ether, and said unto him, go forth. And he went forth, and beheld that the words of the Lord had all been fulfilled; and he finished his record; and the hundredth part I have not written.

It seems a pity he did not finish, for after all his dreary former chapters of commonplace, he stopped just as he was in danger of becoming interesting. The Mormon Bible is rather stupid and tiresome to read, but there is nothing vicious in its teachings. Its code of morals is unobjectionable—it is “smouched” from the New Testament and no credit given.

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17 Comments

  1. It’s a quirky religion in all its theology and practice, but I have to say I do like all the Mormons I know. It’s a bit of a stereotype that Mormons are just great folks, but that’s what I’ve observed. I’d rather ask my Mormon neighbors to watch my kids than some of the Catholics I know. Of course, we are called to evangelize everyone, but there are just so many worse cases in our culture than the Mormons. If the Church is a field hospital as Francis says, I think Mormons would be in the minor wounds area with ICU reserved for the most hateful atheists and Nancy Pelosi.

  2. There must be a connection here between the BOM and all the drivelly Mormon-written sci-fi of late (including the kind with pouting teenage vampires). Joseph Smith was not so much a fabulist as he was simply a hack.

    Obviously, millions of 14-year old girls will disagree vehemently, but I’m of the opinion that Mormons (and also Scientologists) should be cautioned to step away from any fiction involving other planets and the like.

  3. My husband recently picked up a bunch of old (published in the late 60s through the 70s) Western paperbacks at a used bookstore. Several of them feature a hero who tangles with renegade Mormons occasionally. One of the best known and earliest Western novels, Zane Grey’s “Riders of the Purple Sage,” portrays Mormons as villians. It’s interesting to see how Mormons, who today are considered the epitome of square and conservative, were in the era of the Old West regarded as a subversive and potentially dangerous counterculture comparable to, say, the “hippies” of the 1960s!

  4. Harry Reid exists to give Mormons something to talk about when Catholics complain about Pelosi and the late Kennedy.

    HA– good thing you added that “of late” or I’d have to get snarly with you, and I don’t even LIKE Ender’s Game……

  5. Thank you for posting this, it was a fun read. If he did read it on his way back from Utah, I would imagine he would have few good things to say about it. Especially seeing that Brigham Young openly mocked him, at one point referring to him as an ugly girl. So, I doubt there was any love loss after writing this.

  6. I have read this a number of years ago, but reading it again just reminded me of how superficial was Twain’s reading and understanding the Book of Mormon. Twain thought of himself as a humorist and since Mormons were not popular, he was sure he could get away with the satire without any repercussions.

  7. Twain’s review of the Book of Mormon is rather like chloroform itself. (Brigham Young is said to have remarked, “He must have been reading the Book of Ether.”) Twains remarks on Salt Lake City, plural wives and his meeting Brigham Young are much funnier. According to Twain, after he was an obnoxious participant in an meeting between his brother Orion, Secretary of Nevada Territory, and Brigham Young, Young remarked to Orion, “Your child I presume. Boy or girl?”

  8. Twain’s main complaint is that the Book of Mormon is boring. Well, how many of us would agree the Bible is boring, too? Or mass? Or…?

    Boring-ness has as much to do with the reader as the book. I’ve actually read the Book of Mormon and I found it difficult at first, but under that layer it is exciting and miraculous.

  9. Mark Twain criticized the Book of Mormon for the frequent use of the phrase “And it came to pass.” He once joked that if you took “it came to pass” out of the Book of Mormon it would be just a pamphlet. I think that does make a good joke. However, as a valid criticism of the Book of Mormon it does not hold up. Like so many other criticisms, this criticism, after careful scrutiny, turns into another evidence in favor of Book of Mormon’s authenticity and antiquity. Too bad Mark Twain was not knowledgeable about the ancient use of the phrase “and it came to pass” as we are now.

    The phrase “it came to pass” is now known to have been used in ancient texts; including, Mayan script, in just the same way it is used in the Book of Mormon. It is highly doubtful that Joseph Smith could have known of this usage in ancient literature and that he could have used it correctly according to ancient usage. Yet the Book of Mormon gets the ancient usage correct. The phrase “it came to pass” shows up in the Hebrew text of the Bible frequently but not nearly so often in the English translation. I wonder if Mark Twain would also criticize the Bible for using that phrase.

    Bruce Warren examined time indicator studies of Maya glyphs done by leading Maya hieroglyph scholars Linda Schele (1982) and david Stuart (1984). He found an amazing correspondence to the Book of Mormon. The Mayan words “uth” and “Chontal ut” mean “it came to pass” and are frequently used in Mayan writing. Deciphering advances in the three decades since then confirm this meaning.

    Is this just a coincidence or does it indicate a cultural and language connection between the Maya and the Book of Mormon? One or a few isolated parallels can happen but they are rare. The more parallels discovered the more likely they are not coincidence, but rather, that there is, in fact, a linguistic connection. For instance, the Mayan document known as the Popol Vuh has been shown to contain striking correspondence to the Book of Mormon in at least ten structure types. (See independent studies by Crowell 1992: 12-26 and Christenson 2003: 42 ff.)

    This level of correspondence tip the scales towards the likelihood that the Book of Mormon is a true ancient Mesoamerican document which shares culture and language with the Mayan Popol Vuh.

    Additionally this phrase “it came to pass” is considered to be a distinct Hebrew literary style. Of this phrase Archeologist V. Garth Norman says “In other words, we can say, as with chiasmic structure, that wherever it is found as a literary convention, there is the imprint of Hebrew influence.” How did it wind up in Maya writing and in the Book of Mormon? Joseph Smith did not know Mayan nor even Hebrew when the Book of Mormon was published. Angela M. Crowell (1992: 12) states that, “Knowledge of the poetic structure of the Book of Mormon calls attention to the great beauty of its verse and aids our understanding of its message,” in addition to recognizing its ancient Hebrew origin.

    Donald W. Parry, an instructor in biblical Hebrew at BYU, wrote in the Ensign:

    The English translation of the Hebrew word wayehi (often used to connect two ideas or events), “and it came to pass,” appears some 727 times in the King James Version of the Old Testament. Wayehi is found about 1,204 times in the Hebrew Bible, but it was translated only 727 times as “and it came to pass.” The expression is rarely found in Hebrew poetic, literary, or prophetic writings. Most often, it appears in the Old Testament narratives, such as the books by Moses recounting the history of the children of Israel. In other words, it occurs in Hebrew literature which is narrative in nature – that is, telling a story, or telling history.

    As in the Old Testament, the expression in the Book of Mormon (where it appears some 1,404 times) occurs in the narrative selections and is clearly missing in the more literary parts, such as the psalm of Nephi (see 2 Ne. 4:20–25); the direct speeches of King Benjamin, Abinadi, Alma, and Jesus Christ; and the several epistles.

    But why does the phrase “and it came to pass” appear in the Book of Mormon so much more often, page for page, than it does in the Old Testament? The answer is twofold. First, the Book of Mormon contains much more narrative, chapter for chapter, than the Bible. Second, but equally important, the translators of the King James Version did not always render wayehi as “and it came to pass.” Instead, they were at liberty to draw from a multitude of similar expressions like “and it happened,” “and … became,” or “and … was.”

    Wayehi is found about 1,204 times in the Hebrew Bible, but it was translated only 727 times as “and it came to pass” in the King James Version. Joseph Smith did not introduce such variety into the translation of the Book of Mormon. He retained the precision of “and it came to pass,” which better performs the transitional function of the Hebrew word.

    It is almost certain that Joseph Smith would not have used the phrase at all if he created the Book of Mormon. Discriminating use of the Hebraic phrase in the Book of Mormon is further evidence that the record is what it says it is—a translation from a language (reformed Egyptian) with ties to the Hebrew language. (See Morm. 9:32–33.) (Robert F. Smith, ” ‘It Came to Pass’ in the Bible and the Book of Mormon” (Provo: F.A.R.M.S., 1980).

    Mayan experts tell us that that a Mayan word for “and it came to pass” functioned in at least four ways in Mayan texts: (1) As a posterior date indicator in a text that meant “to count forward to the next date,” and (2) as an anterior date indicator that signified “to count backward to the given date.” Additionally it could function (3) as a posterior or (4) anterior event indicator, meaning “counting forward or backward to a certain event. “5 Warren finds instances of all four functions of and it came to pass in the Book of Mormon, as well as combined date and event indications in both posterior and anterior expressions. For example, “And it came to pass that the people began . . . ” is a posterior event indicator (3 Nephi 2:3), whereas “And it had come to pass . . . ” is an anterior event indicator (3 Nephi 1:20). (Robert F. Smith, ” ‘It Came to Pass’ in the Bible and the Book of Mormon” (Provo: F.A.R.M.S., 1980).)

    Brant Gardiner explained it in a simpler way. He says “’And now’ serves as a ligature in event lists or simply a tool to move the narrative from topic to topic. The companion phrase ‘and it came to pass’ is related to movement in time rather than concept. Where ‘and now’ marks movement of ideas, ‘and it came to pass’ describes sequences.” Furthermore, Gardiner notes that sometimes the Book of Mormon combines both phrases into “and now it came to pass” (1 Ne. 16:1; 17:19, 48; 22:1; 2 Ne. 1:1) to mark the combination of a major change in topic as well as a different time. (Brant Gardiner, FAIR Conference 2008; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pARkp4WFPqA&feature=em-uploademail)

    The March/April 1987 Biblical Archaeology Review reported on excavations at Arad, an ancient Israelite fortress located in the Negev Desert about 40 miles south of Jerusalem. The last settlement strata, from the ninth to sixth century B.C. is contemporary with the Book of Mormon’s Lehi and his departure from Israel. Writing on ostraca uncovered at the Arad site demonstrate the repeated use of the standard phrase “and now” as the beginning of a sentence. These writings, dating to about the time of the opening of the Book of Mormon demonstrate that the use of “and now” was common. This was not known in Joseph Smith’s time. Joseph Smith could not have fabricated the Book of Mormon.

    It is highly doubtful that Joseph Smith could have known these usages of the two phrases in ancient literature and that he could have used them correctly according to the ancient usage. Yet the Book of Mormon gets the ancient usage correct. Furthermore, the Mayan language was not cracked until about 150 years after the Book of Mormon was in print. Yet we find “It came to pass” used repeatedly in Mayan and in just the area of the world where most of the archeological and cultural data indicates the Book of Mormon events took place. So, there is a convergence of data from various fields of study indicating the antiquity and historicity of the Book of Mormon. “And it came to pass” is just one of the many evidences none of which was known in Joseph Smith’s day.

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