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Out of Bondage through Covenants

      Jarom -- Mosiah









Book of Mosiah Title The Book of Mosiah:


     Is the book of Mosiah named after Mosiah1 or Mosiah2? Opinions vary. Some have favored Mosiah2 (see Book of Mormon Student Manual Religion 121 and 122, p. 59); however others tend to favor Mosiah1. One of the reasons behind the idea of Mosiah1 is that he was associated with dramatic changes in the social structure of the people he governed--the end of kingship in the land of Nephi and the beginning of kingship in the land of Zarahemla. And thus a comparable change might be seen in the records of Mosiah1 (a new book). There seems to be nothing that would make the reign of Benjamin or Mosiah2 warrant the beginning of a new record unless it involved the events recorded at the beginning of the book of Mosiah. There it is recorded that at the end of King Benjamin's reign, he brought his people together and put them under a new covenant (Mosiah 5:1-5), recorded their names (Mosiah 6:1-2), gave them a new king--Mosiah2 (Mosiah 1:15-16; 6:3-4), and gave them a new name--the children of Christ (Mosiah 1:11, 5:7-8). [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]


Book of Mosiah Title The Book of Mosiah:


     In the Printer's Manuscript immediately following the insertion of the title "Book of Mosiah," the word "Chapter" appears, followed by a roman numeral (II or III) that has been partially crossed out (see illustration). Concerning this situation, Brent Metcalfe believes that it is a II that is crossed out and replaced by a I. He also questions why no subscript summary exists for the title of the book of Mosiah as is written in the book of Alma and the book of Helaman. Assuming that Melcalfe's approach is correct, some writers have theorized that after the loss of the 116 pages of manuscript, Joseph just took up where he had left off--Book of Mosiah, chapter II--and renamed it Mosiah chapter I. [Brent Metcalfe, New Approaches to the Book of Mormon: Explorations in Critical Methodology, pp. 395-444]

        Royal Skousen, in a rebuttal to Metcalfe’s theory, wrote, "Metcalfe is undoubtedly correct in his interpretation of the inserted title ('the Book of Mosiah') and the missing summary in the printer's manuscript (jp. 405). Based on the misnumbering of the chapters near the beginning of Mosiah, I would argue for the following relationship between the Large and Small plates:

Large Plates            Small Plates


                 Nephi (I)

                 Nephi (II)





                 Amaron, Chemish, Abinadom

Mosiah "Chapter I"      (Amaleki)

     [the reign of king Mosiah]

     [ascension of king Benjamin]

Mosiah "Chapter II"      The Words of Mormon

     [the reign of king Benjamin]

Mosiah "Chapter III" [beginning of our present Mosiah]

     Thus the beginning of our current book of Mosiah corresponds originally with the beginning of the third chapter of Mosiah. This explains not only the inserted title and missing summary, but also the abrupt beginning of our present book of Mosiah ('And now there was no more contention in all the land of Zarahemla')." [Royal Skousen, "Critical Methodology and the Text of the Book of Mormon," in Review of Books on the Book of Mormon 6/1, F.A.R.M.S., pp. 135-139]


Book of Mosiah Title The Book of Mosiah (Illustration): A photocopy of the Printer's Manuscript showing the changes to the title of the Book of Mosiah. ["Printer's Manuscript," Library-Archives, Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, The Auditorium, Independence]


Mosiah-Title The Book of Mosiah:


     According to Gary Sturgess, although at first glance the book of Mosiah seems to be a history of the reign of Mosiah2 who ruled over the people of Nephi from about 124 to 91 B.C., very few of the twenty-one chapters in the book actually deal with the life of Mosiah, and more than half of them describe events that took place outside his kingdom. As for the original compiler, it is possible, of course, that it was substantially written in the final years of Mosiah's life and only completed after his death, but reasons also exist for associating this book with Alma the Younger (as well as the royal family and the high priest Alma the elder). The book of Mosiah concludes with King Mosiah's death and the appointment of Alma the younger as the first chief judge of the united Nephite nation. Because kingship was abolished by Mosiah2, such a change would necessitate a book reinforcing such changes. Sturgess suggests that the book of Mosiah was built around three main themes: the nature of kingship, Jehovah's deliverance of his people, and the revelation of Jesus Christ. [Gary L. Sturgess, "The Book of Mosiah: Thoughts about Its Structure, Purposes, Themes, and Authorship," in Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, Fall 1995, pp. 107-111, 135]