Chiastic Structures in the Book of Mormon

Source: Step by Step Through the Book of Mormon

By Alan C. Miner (unpublished) and, Clay Gorton; A New Witness for Christ: Chiastic Structures in the Book of Mormon, pp. 23, 24, 29, 82

1 Nephi 1:2  I Make a Record in the Language of My Father

The very first three verses of First Nephi reveal Nephi’s knowledge of chiasmus.

     Nephi had great knowledge
          so made a record
              in the language of his father
                 which consisted of the learning of the Jews
              and the language of the Egyptians.
          He witnessed that his record is true
     And that he made it according to hisknowledge.                

Chiastic structures are words or thoughts which are put forth in a specific order and then are repeated in reverse order.

Clay Gorton writes:

The book of First Nephi is composed of layer upon layer of chiastic structures.  There are two astounding global chiasma overlying one another, one literal and one conceptual. . . . Embedded in these global chiasma are 107 additional chiastic structures! . . .

Ascribing the authorship of the complex chiastic structures in First Nephi to Nephi is akin to attributing the authorship of the Book of Mormon to Joseph Smith.  A viable alternative to the individual authorship of chiasma in the Book of Mormon would be that the chiastic structure may have been imposed by the Lord as part of and as a mark of the Divine inspiration under which it was written. . . .

The global literal chiasmus [i] [i] contains an astounding 164 elements repeated in reverse order, extending from “the Lamb of God” (1 Nephi 14:3) as the central element

The global conceptual chiasmus has been identified by Wallace B. King.  It has as its central element the phrase, “the way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the world, if it so be that they repent and come unto [Christ] (1 Nephi 10:18).             

Since 1 Nephi is composed of chiasma that image the concepts and words near the first of the book with their parallel counterparts near the end of the book, it could not have been started until after the concluding events had taken place.  Thus the book was written no sooner than some 12 to 30 years or more after the colony arrived in the promised land.

[1] [1]. This 165-element Global Chiasmus is based on research by Dayton E. Conway, Aurora, Colorado

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