Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2008, April 21

Book of Mormon: Alma Matches His Sons’ Learning and Communication Styles

Ok, a little deep here, folks. Not in bad stuff, but in good stuff.

I’ve only given this a day of quick thought, so I’m going to go out on a limb here; but, it seems pretty firm.

Alma has three sons: Helaman, Shiblon, and Corianton. They are different: one didn’t go on a mission, one went and served honorably, one went and didn’t serve honorably; they all have different situations and need different counsel. He speaks to them directly. He wants to make sure his message gets across to them, so he personalizes the message and communicates it according to their communication style.

You’ve heard of NLP (neuro-lingustic programming)? Or perhaps you’re a teacher, and you’ve heard of “AVK” learning styles? Auditory, visual, kinesthetic (feeling)?

Well, guess what, folks? Basically…

Helaman is a visual learner. Alma speaks of records, images, directions, stories. He also is a somewhat “low-key” person who learns by “repetition”; he needs to hear something a few times for it to mean something to him (count how many times “keep the commandments” is in his counsel…).

Shiblon is a kinesthetic learner, and a “high-intensity” person. He needs to hear it hard and fast, strong and powerful. Once is enough, though. Alma speaks of bodily feelings. (See how many you can pick out… ;) )

Corianton is an auditory learner. He is a “hesitator”. Alma speaks of things auditory: words, sounds, hearing, speaking, saying, etc. (Note how many times Alma says, “I say…” to Corianton and compare it to the others.)

No, it’s not blatant and perfect. But I guess we need to credit Alma or Joseph Smith with the different learning styles and communication styles. ;)

(There’s more. Look for the two motivation types–does Alma persuade his sons to move away from something, or to go towards something…?)

What learning and communication styles do the people you care most about use? Have you learned, as Alma, to tailor your messages for them?


  1. This is interesting. Have you done more analysis on this?

    Comment by Danna — 2008, July 11 @ 4:17 am

  2. Nope–I have much more fun just finding things and leaving them for others sometimes. Fleshing it out is for anyone else who wants to have fun!

    AVK learning styles and NLP came out in the latter 1900’s (1970’s for NLP, can’t find a date for AVK mainstreaming in education/ general knowledge, but I guess it would be in the 1990’s). To see it so clearly and consistently in a text from the 1820’s, a translation of a text from over a millenium earlier, from one father to three sons, is pretty wow to me: either Joseph Smith understood them, or at least a few highly educated members of an ancient society understood them.

    Comment by grego — 2008, July 11 @ 10:10 am

  3. UPDATE: Yes, I have done a little more in-depth analysis here: .

    Comment by grego — 2011, March 1 @ 12:35 am

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