Introduction to the Book of
(1 Nephi through Alma 29)
Dr. Eric D. Huntsman
Asst. Professor of Ancient Scripture
Fall 2008 TA
Course Description: Rel 121 is a sequential study of the doctrines,
principles, and narrative of the Book of Mormon, which demands our
attention both as scripture and as an ancient text. As "the most correct book,"
particularly regarding matters of faith and the gospel of Jesus Christ, we
will study it both as another witness of the Savior and as a source for the
foundational doctrines regarding the Atonement and the Plan of Salvation.
As a text, we will work to appreciate the literary artistry of its authors and
abridgers, identifying its structures, imagery, and themes. Above all,
this paramount book of scripture will be studied as a testament of the Lord
Jesus Christ with the intent to understand his divine mission more fully and to
understand and appreciate the Atonement.
Course Objectives: This section of Rel 121 has three major objectives:
- First, to increase the student’s knowledge of the Book of Mormon—that
is, to familiarize him or her with the basic storylines, characters, and
concepts in this book of scripture.
- Second, to help the student read, discuss, and write about the Book of
Mormon as both a source of scriptural knowledge and as a sacred text
by asking basic historical, literary, and theological
questions (a process known as "exegesis").
- Third, to strengthen individual testimonies of sacred truths,
particularly of Jesus Christ and the doctrines of the Restoration.
Class discussions, quizzes, and exams will all be formatted with these three
overarching objectives in mind.
Syllabus: Fall 2008
Preparing for the Season!
With other Christians throughout the world, we commemorate the birth of the
Savior in this season. For ideas on preparing for a more spiritual and
Christ-centered season, see my Christmas and Advent materials at
Links and Bookmarks
- Book of Mormon outlines: Printable and
HTML (showing some possible
structures for the books and noting, where possible, the original source and
audience of a passage, the genre or source, and its editor)
- Instructions for writing
an exegetical paper; excerpts from
Elements of Biblical Exegesis;
suggestions for Exegetical
Papers (from some Rel 121H e-correspondence) [for Rel 121H section 208 only]
- Lecture outlines and
- Elder David A. Bednar, "In
the Strength of the Lord."
Lecture outlines and
presentations Handouts of each in-class presentation (2
slides per page) are available at each link below.
- 1. Course Introduction. Title Page of the Book of Mormon:
- Course Description and Objectives. Genre Questions: What is the Book
of Mormon? First and Second Witnesses: The Bible and The Book of Mormon.
The "Title" Page Revisited: the Stated Purposes of the Book of Mormon.
Book of Mormon Peoples. Covenants in the Book of Mormon. Book of Mormon
Christology—the Person and Work of Jesus Christ. Course Requirements and
Grading (read syllabus carefully!). Suggestions for Class Preparation.
- After class review: Title Page; Testimonies of the
Three Witnesses, Eight Witnesses, and Joseph Smith; A Brief
Explanation about the Book of Mormon
- For further reference: Stathearn, Nyman, and
Easton (packet, 8–12, 14–16, 38); "Genre Questions: What Kind of
Writing Is this Passage?" (Packet, 33).
- 2. Studying and Interpreting the Book of
Mormon. Reading Strategies: Approaches to Scriptural Texts. Read in
Sections and Outline. "Interpreting" the Book of Mormon: Hermeneutics,
Exegesis, and Exposition. The Exegetical Process: Asking historical,
literary, and theological questions of a text. Book of Mormon Sources.
Literary Aspects of the Book of Mormon. Structure and Genre. Theological
Questions. Supplement: Principles and Doctrine in Gospel
Teaching.: Strathearn, "Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus
Christ," "Genre Questions," and Rust, "Book of Mormon as Literature"
(packet, 23–25, 33, 35–38); Welch and Welch, charts 13, 16–18; Huntsman,
"Teaching through Exegesis: Helping Students Ask Questions of the Text"
(handout and online; Religious Educator 6.1 , 107–126),
- For Further Background: selection from the introductory chapter
of Rust, 1–16 (fair-use excerpt posted on the web page and/or Blackboard).
Feasting Upon the Word, 1–16 . Huntsman, "Teaching
through Exegesis: Helping Students Ask Questions of the Text" (handout;
Religious Educator 6.1 , 107–126), and "Outlining"
(handout). For Further Background: selection from
the introductory chapter of Rust, 1–16 (fair-use excerpt posted on the web
page and/ Rust, 1–16 or
Unit 1 (1 Nephi)
- 3. Nephi’s Records. 1 Nephi,
Introduction. Lehi in Jerusalem. Nature, types,
and purposes of Nephi’s records: 1 Ne 1:1–4, 16–17; 6:1–6; 9:1–6;
19:1–7a; 2 Ne 5:28–34. Historical context, Josiah, Zedekiah, and the
Lord’s covenant with Israel; Lehi’s call and ministry: 1 Ne 1:4–20;
2 Kings 22:1–23:3; Deut. 6:1–19, 28:1–68, and 30:1–10; 2 Kings
23:21–24:20. See also: 1 Nephi Overview; Brown, "Nephi,
First Book of"; Parker quotes; Book of Mormon Plates and Records (packet,
51–54; Welch and Welch, chart 13).
- 4. Into the Wilderness.
The Exodus of the family of Lehi; mission for the Brass Plates and the
problem of the slaying of Laban; Ishmael’s family joins the expedition: 1
Ne 2:1–7:22. See also: Parker quotes; Brown, "The Exodus
Pattern"; Contents of the Brass Plates; 1 Nephi and the Exodus; When Is It
Better for One Man to Perish? (packet, 69–76; Welch and Welch, charts 14,
94, and 115).
Bednar, "The Strength of the Lord"5. The Tree of Life.
Lehi’s dream; Lehi prophesies of the Messiah and the House of Israel; the
beginning of Nephi’s Apocalypse; the Condescension: 1 Ne 8–11.
See also: Parker quotes; Jackson, "The Tree of Life and the Ministry
of Christ"; The Ways of Life and Death: Lehi and Nephi; A Comparison of
Lehi’s Dream and Nephi’s Vision (packet, 83–87, 99; Welch and Welch, charts
67 and 92).
- 6. Visions of the Future.
Nephi’s Apocalypse continued; Jesus Christ’s first coming in the New World;
"the Great and Abominable"; the Lehi Covenant; Gentiles and the Promised
Land; sacred records and "plain and precious" parts; final visions:
12–14. See also: Parker quotes; Parsons, "The Great and
Abominable Church"; Robinson, "Warring Against the Saints of God"; Millet,
"Plain and Precious Truths Taken"; Contents of the Plates of Brass (packet,
89–96, 99–106; Welch and Welch, chart 14). Take-home quiz #1 distributed.
Quiz 1 Materials
- Review 1a
- Review also Notable Passage Lists in Packet, section 13
- 7. The Journey Resumed.
Visions of the Future Continued: Nephi teaches his brothers. 8 years traveling
in the wilderness; the Land Bountiful; building a ship; rebellion on the sea;
in the Promised Land: 1 Ne 15:2–18:25. See also: Parker
quotes. Take-home quiz #1 due. Revised
since much of class will be spent viewing segments of the DVD documentary "Journey
of Faith," be certain to review this presentation carefully on your own.
- 8. Nephi’s First Quotation and
Interpretation of Isaiah. Prophecies of Christ: Setting the Stage
for Isaiah. Isaiah the Man and Isaiah the Book. The Formula Quotation Pattern.
Isaiah 48: God and Israel. Isaiah 49: God and "The Suffering Servant," the
Redemption of Israel. Scattering and Gathering, Spiritual and Temporal. The
Wrath of God. Conclusion of 1 Nephi: Lehi, Nephi, and the Brass Plates. 1
Ne 19:1–22:28. See also: Parker quotes; Millet, "The
Gathering of Israel in the Book of Mormon"; Packer, "Things of My Soul";
Isaiah in the Book of Mormon; Ball, "Isaiah, Life and Ministry";
Interpreting Isaiah in 1 Nephi 20–21; Four Stages of the Nephite Prophetic View
(packet, 107–114; 321, 333; Welch and Welch, chart 99).
Exam 1 Materials
- 9. 2 Nephi, Introduction. Lehi’s Final
Teachings I. Lehi’s prophecy; exhortation and blessings to
his sons; words to Jacob on opposition; the Creation, the Fall, and the
Atonement; choosing liberty and eternal life: 2 Ne 1–2; 2 Kings
25:1–12. See also: 2 Nephi Overview; Nyman, "Nephi, Second
Book of"; Parker quotes; McConkie, "The Three Pillars of Eternity"; Garrard,
"Creation, Fall, and Atonement (packet, 123–24, 145–150, 155–164).
- 10. Lehi's final Teachings II.
Complete Creation, Fall, and Atonement. Words to Joseph on the promises made
to Joseph in Egypt; final blessings; death of Lehi; the Psalm of Nephi: 2
Ne 3–4. See also: Parker quotes; Prophetic Lineages
Prophesied by Joseph in Egypt (packet, 167).
- 11. Jacob’s Discourse I.
Division of Lehi’s descendants. Jacob’s Quotation of Isaiah 50:1–52:2. Jacob’s
introduction: Scattering and gathering of Israel dependant upon the acceptance
or rejection of her Redeemer. An Impenitent Nation and a Willing Servant;
God Is Able to Save Those Who Come to Him; Let Zion Rejoice. 2 Ne
5–8. See also: Parker quotes; Robinson, "Believing Christ: A
Practical Approach to the Atonement"; Millet, "Redemption through the Holy
Messiah"; Ludlow, "Isaiah, Purposes for Quoting" and "Isaiah in the Book of
Mormon"; Interpretive Keys 2 Nephi 7–8; Jacob’s Ten Woes and the Ten
Commandments (packet, 169–186, 321–23, 334; Welch and Welch, chart 120),
- 12a. Jacob’s Discourse I.
End of the First Day—Gathering and Scattering, Corporate and Individual; the
Second Day Sermon—The Plan Applied to Jacob’s People; Jacob’s Explanation on
Gathering and the Plan of Salvation; Reconcile Yourself to God—only in and
Through Grace Are We Saved. 2 Ne 9–10.
- 12b. Nephi's Discourse I.
Nephi’s Formula Quote Introduction: Witnesses of Christ, including Isaiah; a
few Isaiah Quotations: Contrasts between Future and Present Israel—The
Mountain of the Lord’s House and the Day of the Lord; Judgments against Judah;
The Remnant and Jerusalem Will Be Restored; Judgment and Exile—the Song of the
Unfruitful Vineyard. 2 Ne 11–15. See also: Parker quotes;
McConkie, "Ten Keys to Understanding Isaiah"; maps, Working through the Isaiah
Chapters, and Interpretive Keys 2 Nephi 12–24 (packet, 325–332, 338–340).
- 13. Nephi's Discourse II.
Isaiah quotations continued: Isaiah’s First Vision; Prophecies Occasioned by
Geopolitical Threats against Judah (and their application to the
Nephite-Lamanite conflicts); Signs of Deliverance; Coming Destructions,
Including the Sign of Maher-shalal-hashbaz; The Choice—The Prince of Peace or
Promises of Destruction; Assyria and Israel; The Rod of the Stem of Jesse;
Conditions during the Millennium under Messiah’s Rule; The Gathering of All
Israel; God Is Israel’s Salvation; Judgments against the Nations. 2 Ne
16–24. See also: Parker quotes. Isaiah analysis first
- 14. Nephi's Discourse III.
Nephi’s Explanations, Interpretations, and Prophecies: Message to the Jews;
Name-title "Jesus Christ, the Song of God" Revealed; Message to Lehi’s
Descendants; Christ and the Book of Mormon; Saved by Grace . . .; Christ and
the Law of Moses; Christ and the Nephites; Message to the Gentiles and the
Latter-days; Midrash of Isaiah 29 and the Sealed Book; Wickedness in the Last
Days; the Book of Mormon and Other Scripture; the Final Gathering. 2 Ne 25–30.
Grant Hardy, "2 Nephi
26 and 27 as Midrash."
See also: Parker quotes; Five Keys to Understanding Isaiah
(Welch and Welch, chart 84).
- 15. Nephi's Final Teachings.
The Doctrine of Christ; Following Christ through Baptism; the Gift and Gifts
of the Holy Ghost; the Baptism by Fire and Sanctification; Pressing Forward in
Christ; Feasting on the Words of Christ and Speaking with the Tongues of
Angels; Guidance of the Spirit; Nephi’s Concluding Testimony: 2 Ne 31–33.
See also: Parker quotes. Take-home quiz #2 distributed.
Quiz 2 Materials
- Review 2a (lectures 9–15)
- Review also Notable Passages Lists in packet, section 13
- Hard-copy of Quiz 2
- 16. Jacob, Introduction. Jacob’s Sermon
at the Temple. The Book of Jacob—Authorship, Audience(s), and
Structure. Jacob’s Mission and Responsibility. Jacob’s Sermon at the Temple:
Pride and the Danger of Riches; The Growing Problem of Sexual Immorality among
the Nephites; The Law of Chastity; Conclusion—Consolation and Condemnation.
Jacob 1–3. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Jeffrey R. Holland, "Personal
Purity," Ensign, Nov. 1998, 75ff (online). See also:
Jacob Overview; Tanner, "Jacob, Book of"; Parker quotes (packet, 191–92)
Take-home quiz #2 due.
- 17. Discourse on God’s
Relationship with Israel. Encounter with Sherem. Jacob’s Farewell.
Prophets and Prophecy. Zenos’ Allegory of the Olive Tree Time Periods and
Peoples Suggested; Jacob’s Application of the Allegory. Characteristics of One
Type of Antichrist. Jacob’s Melancholy Reflections; His Final Salutation.
Jacob 4–7. See also: Parker quotes; The Allegory of
the Olive Tree (packet,199; Welch and Welch, chart 81). Isaiah analysis
final draft due.
- 18. Enos–Words of Mormon.
Enos’ Conversion and the Fruits of Repentance: Enos. The Lesson
of Jarom verification of prophetic promises: Jarom. Amaleki’s
Message: realization of prophetic warning: Omni. The End of the
Small Plates—purpose of the record, Mormon’s bridge, Mosiah1
and Benjamin: Words of Mormon. See also: Overviews;
Largey, "Enos, Book of"; "‘Applying’ the Book of Enos"; Tate, "Jarom, Book
of"; Thomas, "Omni, Book of" and "Words of Mormon"; Parker quotes; Book of
Mormon Plates and Records; Nephite Books (packet, 205, 215–17; Welch and
Welch, charts 13 and 25).
Exam 2 Materials
- 19. Mosiah, Introduction.
King Benjamin’s Speech. Book of Mosiah—Historical and
Literary Questions. End of King Benjamin’s Reign. Benjamin’s Farewell
Address—His Stewardship; the Birth, Ministry, Suffering, and Crucifixion of
Christ. The Fall and the Atonement—the Natural Man. Mosiah 1–3.
See also: Mosiah Overview; Brown, "Mosiah, Book of"; Parker quotes;
Turner, "The Great Conversion"; The Process of Repentance; The Ways of Life
and Death: Benjamin; Overviews of Benjamin’s Speech and Benjamin’s Themes;
Chiasmus in Mosiah 3 and 5 (packet, 231–32, 253–266; Welch and Welch, charts
69, 87–91, 130–131).
- 20a. Benjamin’s Sermon continued.
Obtaining and Retaining a Remission of Sins; Becoming Children of Christ
Through the Covenant. Mosiah 4–6.
- 20b. The People of Zeniff and Noah in
the Land of Nephi. Expedition of Ammon1 (the
scout); the Record of Zeniff; the wicked reign of King Noah; Prophets, Seers,
and Revelators. Abinadi’s first mission: Mosiah 7–11. See also:
Parker quotes; Lands of Nephi and Zarahemla; Flashbacks in the Book of Mosiah
(Welch and Welch, chart 29).
- 21. The Trial and Discourse of Abinadi.
Abinadi’s Second Mission, Arrest, and Trial; Abinadi Teaches of Christ: How He
Is the Father and the Son; Abinadi Executed; Alma1 Converted:
Mosiah 12–17. See also: Parker quotes; Order of
Resurrection; Christ as the Father and the Son, etc.; Lands of Nephi, Helam,
and Zarahemla; The Ways of Life and Death: Abinadi (packet, 270–74; Welch and
Welch, chart 70).
- 22. Contrasting Affairs in the Lands
of Nephi and Helam. The Waters of Mormon: Alma1 Forms a Church
in the Wilderness; Baptism and Baptismal Covenants; the Church Flees to Helam;
the Lamanite Invasion and the Revolt Against Noah; Unequal Peace with the
Lamanites; Ammon1 Leads Limhi’s People to Zarahemla; Alma1
and the Church in Helam, Their Miraculous Delivery: Mosiah 18–24.
See also: Parker quotes, Timelines of Events and Lands of Nephi,
Helam, and Zarahemla II (packet, 276–77). Exegetical Paper first draft
- 23. Mosiah’s Reign in Zarahemla.
The Gathering of the Peoples of Zarahemla, Limhi, and Alma1 with
the Nephites under Mosiah2; the Church Established Throughout
Zarahemla; Persecution Within and Apostasy Without; Conversion of Alma2
and the Sons of Mosiah; Being Born of the Spirit; Abolition of Kingship:
Mosiah 25–29. See also: Parker quotes.
- 24. Alma, Introduction. Early
Challenges to the Reign of the Judges. The rule of law among the Nephites;
religious and philosophical challenges, Nehor, an antichrist; political
challenges, Amlici and the monarchists: Alma 1–3. See also:
Alma Overview; Arnold, "Alma, Book of"; Parker quotes; Alma as Chief Judge
(packet, 287–88; Welch and Welch, chart 34).
- 25. Alma2 and the
Nephite Reformation I. Alma2 resigns the judgeship; missions to
Zarahemla, Gideon, and Melek; being born of God, prophecies of Christ;
beginning of the mission to Ammonihah: Alma 4–8. See also:
Parker quotes; Skinner, "Alma’s ‘Pure Testimony’"; Bearing Pure Testimony;
Alma as High Priest (packet, 305–313; Welch and Welch, chart 35).
Quiz 3 Materials
- 26. Alma2 and the
Nephite Reformation II. Sermons at Ammonihah; accountability; the
conversion of Amulek; dispute with Zeezrom; resurrection, judgement, and the
plan of redemption; priesthood and foreordination; the delivery of Alma and
Amulek; mission to Sidom and renewed Lamanite war: Alma 9–16. See
also: Parker quotes; The Ways of Life and Death: Composite (Welch and
Welch, chart 76). Exegetical Paper final draft due. Take-home quiz
- 27. Lamanite Missions of the Sons
of Mosiah2. Ammon2 and the conversion of King
Lamoni; Aaron and the conversion of Lamoni’s father, "I will give away all my
sins to know thee . . ."; the Anti-Nephi-Lehies: Alma 17–23. See
also: Parker quotes; Flashbacks in the Book of Alma (Welch and Welch,
chart 30). Take-home quiz #3 due.
- 28. Results of the Lamanite Conversions.
Persecution of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies; Ammon2 "glories in
the Lord"; another Lamanite-Nephite War; the Song of Alma: Alma 24–29.
See also: Parker quotes.
29. A Book
of Mormon Christmas
Was Guided By the Hand of God (1 Nephi 13)
in the Book of Mormon (including this class' interpretative approach)***
Interpreting Isaiah: Helpful charts illustrating the patterns of scatterings and gathering and how
they are dependent upon Israel's keeping or breaking of covenants and rejection
or acceptance of the Messiah new
to Understanding Isaiah (1973)