Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Revised: Humanizing Tone and Wilderness Experience in the Book of Mormon

As I have spent time reading the BOM as a I would any literary work, I've come to realize that each separate writer in the book has a noticeably distinct voice and style. I've focused my study on a few examples of BOM prophets who's tone and voice are the product of their own specific life experiences and their separate but specific purposes. These distinct voices also bleed into a theme of surviving the difficulties that life presents. 

One young BOM author displays a unique and touching voice as he writes after some influential moments in his life. When his father passes away in the wilderness, Nephi feels the pain that we all have felt upon the loss of a loved one. In what is known as the psalm of Nephi, we see his raw feelings of pain caused by the loss of his father, the reality of his imperfect state as a human being, and joy that comes from the knowledge of a divine purpose to life. Nephi exlaims, "My God hath been my support; he hast led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness." Nephi's purpose is to help his readers be loyal to God so that we too can find strength in difficult times as we pass through our own afflictions in "the wildernesses" of our own lives. Coping with loss is a part of life, and Nephi's voice not only speaks to his distinct style, but provides readers with an example to follow in times of loss. 

Moroni is the last writer in the BOM. His people were slaughtered by his enemies and he is left alone to make the journey to bury the record (that would one day become the BOM) so it could be recovered in the latter days by Joseph Smith. Finding himself in complete solitude and knowing that there would be many different audiences reading his work, he writes that people will one day "mock at these things, because of our weakness in writing." Moroni is aware of his human weaknesses and acknowledges that he is not "mighty in writing." Anyone who writes can relate to this fear, but Moroni pushes through this human feeling of inadequacy to write what he considers to be important for future generations to read. 

These human feelings of inadequacy, pain, and rejoicing are central to the purpose and relatable elements of the BOM that bind each of the writers' entries together. As readers focus on each prophet's distinct tone and style of writing, I think it adds to the authentic human qualities of the book. 

1 comment:

  1. I really liked that you talked about Moroni. Those of us who are used to the Book of Mormon sometimes forget how dire his ending is.