Consider the rather unique expression found in 1 Nephi 1:15. Nephi is reporting an early spiritual experience of his father. Lehi had a vision in which he saw Christ and the Twelve Apostles who gave him a book to read which told of the coming destruction of Jerusalem and the wickedness of the people which brought it about. He knew about the Babylonian captivity, but he also came to know of the Lord’s “power and goodness, and mercy ... over all the inhabitants of the earth.” [1:14] Then Nephi summarizes, “And after this manner was the language of my father in the praising of his God....” [Emphasis added.]
Nephi uses a similar expression six more times in his first book. Here they are:
- 3:21: “...after this manner of language did I persuade my brethren...”
- 5:3: “And after this manner of language had my mother complained against my father.”
- 5:6: “And after this manner of language did my father, Lehi, comfort my mother....”
- 5:8: “... And after this manner of language did she speak.”
- 10:15: “And after this manner of language did my father prophesy....”
- 17:22: “ ... And after this manner of language did my brethren murmur and complain against us.”
A very important fact accompanies this unique expression.It is used only seven times in the entire Book of Mormon, all in 1 Nephi. It is not in other personal accounts like this one, or in abridgments of other sources, which abridgment becomes a second or third person account. Nor does this expression show up anywhere else in the other Standard Works. It is a totally unique expression in Mormon scripture.
So what? Well, that is the issue isn’t it? When the implications are considered, it speaks not only to the internal consistency of Nephi’s own “manner of language,” but it must also be factored into the argument that many of the books were written by different authors, each with his unique manner of expression. Here is a clear example of linguistic phraseology absolutely unique to Nephi. How can one explain that if Joseph Smith was the author of the book? He was pretty sly to include such little “zingers” for one author only, never to be used beyond 1 Nephi. And even more remarkable, that he did it in one unedited draft.
Of course, Joseph Smith was not the author of the Book of Mormon. He translated an ancient text by the gift and power of God. And the more we examine it for its complexity, simplicity, and consistency in just about any way imaginable and appropriate to textual studies, the Book of Mormon always surfaces bright and shiney. All the evidence--virtually all the evidence--points in one direction–God was behind the translation and production of the book which was to become the “keystone” of the restored Gospel in its fullness in this the last dispensation–the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times.