I started reading the Book of Mormon in order to get a better grasp of its believability, but after only a few pages, I quickly grew tired of the writing. It seemed that the phrase "it came to pass" was in almost every verse. I decided to use my software copy of the Book of Mormon to count exactly how many times that phrase was used. The results and analysis are below.
|Book of Mormon||Verses||Came to Pass Used||Old Testament||Verses||Came to Pass Used||New Testament||Verses||Came to Pass Used|
|Words of Mormon||18||5||Ruth||85||3||Mark||678||4|
|2 Nephi (779*)||433||16||Judges||618||26|
|1 Nephi||628||200||2 Kings||719||36|
|3 Nephi||785||130||1 Samuel||787||34|
are 779 total verses
in 2 Nephi, 14 of
the 33 chapters
are copied directly
from Isaiah, so
the verse count
is based on only
the remaining chapters.
I've sorted the books in each of the Book of Mormon, Old Testament, and New Testament in order of size by verse count. One can easily see from the chart the dramatic difference between Book of Mormon "authors" and the contemporary authors of the Bible. The extensive use of the phrase "it came to pass" in the Book of Mormon across all of the books, I believe, suggest a single author. The author, of course, in an attempt to make his work appear biblical in nature would use such words and phrases. It is not only that the phrase is used excessively, but also that the phrase is used inappropriately. Here are a few examples:
"And it came to pass that I, Nephi, returned from speaking with the Lord, to the tent of my father. And it came to pass that he spake unto me, saying: Behold I have dreamed a dream, in the which the Lord hath commanded me that thou and thy brethren shall return to Jerusalem." - 1 Nephi 3:1-2
"And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them. And it came to pass that when my father had heard these words he was exceedingly glad, for he knew that I had been blessed of the Lord." - 1 Nephi 3:7-8
"And it came to pass that a long time passed away, and the Lord of the vineyard said unto his servant: Come, let us go down into the vineyard, that we may labor in the vineyard. And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard, and also the servant, went down into the vineyard to labor. And it came to pass that the servant said unto his master: Behold, look here; behold the tree. And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard looked and beheld the tree in the which the wild olive branches had been grafted" - Jacob 5:15-17
One can see in that in each of these quotes, that the phrase "it came to pass" is used not to denote that a great deal of time has passed, as one would expect, but only minutes or even seconds. In the third quote, especially, the author writes, "it came to pass that a long time passed away." Is anyone else thinking HEH?!? and scratching their head? This pattern of poor writing is consistent throughout the Book of Mormon, as the graph depicts.
I tested my budding theory on the word "exceedingly," which also occurs frequently in the Book of Mormon. The chart and table are below.
|Old Testament||Verses||Exceedingly used||New Testament||Verses||Exceedingly used||Book of Mormon||Verses||Exceedingly used|
|Haggai||38||0||3 John||14||0||Words of Mormon||18||0|
|Ruth||85||0||1 Thessalonians||89||1||2 Nephi (779 total)||433||7|
|Song of Solomon||117||0||Philippians||104||0||Helaman||497||31|
|Amos||146||0||1 Peter||105||0||1 Nephi||628||36|
One can see the similarities between this chart and the "came to pass" chart. In both cases, the phrases are used exponentially more in the Book of Mormon. Of the books which had the phrase "it came to pass" used at least once, it is used in only 2.26% of the Old Testament verses, 1.65% of the New Testament verses, but in over 26.6% of the Book of Mormon verses. The word "exceedingly" is only used in 0.12% of the Old Testament verses, and only 0.14% of the New Testament verses, while it is used in over 5.06% of the Book of Mormon verses. Remember also, that the Book of Mormon, unlike the Bible, was supposedly written on golden plates. I wonder if Nephi ever got tired of etching "it came to pass" onto those golden plates . . . he only had to write it 200 times. Of course, he didn't have it half as bad as poor Alma, who wrote that fun phrase 415 times. I wonder if he just made some sort of stamp with "it came to pass" on it, so that he could just hammer the phrase or symbols in when necessary . . .
Finally, one other phrase caught my attention while reading the Book of Mormon. The phrase "in other words" struck me as a relatively contemporary phrase, not biblical in nature, but something that Joseph Smith may have used often. That phrase is used 12 times in the Book of Mormon across four different books (1 Nephi, Mosiah, Alma, and 3 Nephi). It is not used even once in the entire Bible, but it is used 23 times in Doctrine & Covenants and once in the Pearl of Great Price. Below are a few examples of its use, which raise doubts about the alleged authors of the books in the Book of Mormon.
"Behold, I have dreamed a dream; or, in other words, I have seen a vision." -1 Nephi 8:2
"even a Messiah, or, in other words, a Savior of the World." -1 Nephi 10:4
The first verse points out that a vision is the same as a dream and the second verse points out the meaning of Messiah, explanations that strike me as unnecessary, especially when Nephi was allegedly making these statements on golden plates (1 Nephi 10:1).
A Mormon apologist recently informed me that the phrase "in other words" was used by the Egyptians, in an attempt to dismiss the basis for my argument. In relooking at this argument, it occurred to me that it was not the perceived contemporary nature of the phrase that bothered me, but that the phrase is more commonly used in verbal statements, while the speaker is still figuring out the best way to say something. If Nephi were the actual author of these words, I believe he would have been more succinct while etching them on golden plates.
Some additional examples of this phrase, which are attributed directly to Joseph Smith, suggest that Joseph Smith is more likely the author of those words attributed to Nephi:
"And again, I say unto you, I give unto you a new commandment, that you may understand my will concerning you; Or, in other words, I give unto you directions how you may act before me, that it may turn to you for your salvation." - Doctrine & Covenants, 82:8-9
"Verily, I say unto my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., or in other words, I will call you friends, for you are my friends, and ye shall have an inheritance with me— " - Doctrine & Covenants, 93:45
"And let the higher part of the inner court be dedicated unto me for the school of mine apostles, saith Son Ahman; or, in other words, Alphus; or, in other words, Omegus; even Jesus Christ your Lord. Amen" - Doctrine & Covenants, 95:17
You can find many other examples at lds.org. I'm not even sure what Joseph Smith was trying to say in the second quote, but this poor writing is common throughout the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith's other writings.
I believe that all of this evidence, though it is admittedly speculative, suggests that Joseph Smith was the single author of the Book of Mormon, that it was not translated, but produced from his very creative imagination.