Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2008, September 3

Colors in the Book of Mormon

Colors in the Book of Mormon

by grego

Wow! This hit me today: there are very few colors in the Book of Mormon, especially for descriptional purposes. For those who hold the belief that Joseph Smith, an American, wrote this book of fiction, this is incredible to me.

Here’s the number of times each color is mentioned:

Yellow: NONE
Blue: NONE
Green: NONE
Orange: NONE
Purple: NONE
Violet: NONE
Brown: NONE

Red: References to “Red Sea” (name), and this:
Alma 3:4 And the Amlicites were distinguished from the Nephites, for they had marked themselves with *red* in their foreheads after the manner of the Lamanites; nevertheless they had not shorn their heads like unto the Lamanites.
Alma 3:13 Now we will return again to the Amlicites, for they also had a mark set upon them; yea, they set the mark upon themselves, yea, even a mark of *red* upon their foreheads.

Grey:
1 Nephi 18:18
Because of their grief and much sorrow, and the iniquity of my brethren, they were brought near even to be carried out of this time to meet their God; yea, their *grey* hairs were about to be brought down to lie low in the dust; yea, even they were near to be cast with sorrow into a watery grave.

**Black: skin and hair color; Isaiah:
2 Nephi 26:33 For none of these iniquities come of the Lord; for he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, *black* and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.

3 Nephi 12:36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair *black* or white;

2 Nephi 5:21 And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of *blackness* to come upon them.

2 Nephi 7:3 I clothe the heavens with *blackness*, and I make sackcloth their covering.

**White: Most every reference to white is a symbol of purity/ godliness, including the fruit and the skin of the Lamanites (which is also a symbol); other is skin color:

1 Nephi 8:5 And it came to pass that I saw a man, and he was dressed in a *white* robe; and he came and stood before me.

1 Nephi 8:11 And it came to pass that I did go forth and partake of the fruit thereof; and I beheld that it was most sweet, above all that I ever before tasted. Yea, and I beheld that the fruit thereof was *white*, to exceed all the *whiteness* that I had ever seen.

1 Nephi 11:8 And it came to pass that the Spirit said unto me: Look! And I looked and beheld a tree; and it was like unto the tree which my father had seen; and the beauty thereof was far beyond, yea, exceeding of all beauty; and the *whiteness* thereof did exceed the *whiteness* of the driven snow.

1 Nephi 11:13 And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the great city of Jerusalem, and also other cities. And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and *white*.

1 Nephi 12:10 And these twelve ministers whom thou beholdest shall judge thy seed. And, behold, they are righteous forever; for because of their faith in the Lamb of God their garments are made *white* in his blood.

1 Nephi 12:11 And the angel said unto me: Look! And I looked, and beheld three generations pass away in righteousness; and their garments were *white* even like unto the Lamb of God. And the angel said unto me: These are made *white* in the blood of the Lamb, because of their faith in him.

1 Nephi 13:15 And I beheld the Spirit of the Lord, that it was upon the Gentiles, and they did prosper and obtain the land for their inheritance; and I beheld that they were *white*, and exceedingly fair and beautiful, like unto my people before they were slain.

1 Nephi 14:19 And I looked and beheld a man, and he was dressed in a *white* robe.

2 Nephi 5:21 And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were *white*, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.

2 Nephi 26:33 For none of these iniquities come of the Lord; for he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and *white*, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.

Jacob 3:8 O my brethren, I fear that unless ye shall repent of your sins that their skins will be *whiter* than yours, when ye shall be brought with them before the throne of God.

Alma 5:21 I say unto you, ye will know at that day that ye cannot be saved; for there can no man be saved except his garments are washed *white*; yea, his garments must be purified until they are cleansed from all stain, through the blood of him of whom it has been spoken by our fathers, who should come to redeem his people from their sins.

Alma 5:24 Behold, my brethren, do ye suppose that such an one can have a place to sit down in the kingdom of God, with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob, and also all the holy prophets, whose garments are cleansed and are spotless, pure and *white*?

Alma 5:27 Have ye walked, keeping yourselves blameless before God? Could ye say, if ye were called to die at this time, within yourselves, that ye have been sufficiently humble? That your garments have been cleansed and made *white* through the blood of Christ, who will come to redeem his people from their sins?

Alma 13:11 Therefore they were called after this holy order, and were sanctified, and their garments were washed *white* through the blood of the Lamb.

Alma 13:12 Now they, after being sanctified by the Holy Ghost, having their garments made *white*, being pure and spotless before God, could not look upon sin save it were with abhorrence; and there were many, exceedingly great many, who were made pure and entered into the rest of the Lord their God.

Alma 32:42 And because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is *white* above all that is *white*, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst.

Alma 34:36 And this I know, because the Lord hath said he dwelleth not in unholy temples, but in the hearts of the righteous doth he dwell; yea, and he has also said that the righteous shall sit down in his kingdom, to go no more out; but their garments should be made *white* through the blood of the Lamb.

3 Nephi 2:15 And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became *white* like unto the Nephites;

3 Nephi 11:8 And it came to pass, as they understood they cast their eyes up again towards heaven; and behold, they saw a Man descending out of heaven; and he was clothed in a *white* robe; and he came down and stood in the midst of them; and the eyes of the whole multitude were turned upon him, and they durst not open their mouths, even one to another, and wist not what it meant, for they thought it was an angel that had appeared unto them.

3 Nephi 12:36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair black or *white*;

3 Nephi 19:25 And it came to pass that Jesus blessed them as they did pray unto him; and his countenance did smile upon them, and the light of his countenance did shine upon them, and behold they were as *white* as the countenance and also the garments of Jesus; and behold the *whiteness* thereof did exceed all the *whiteness*, yea, even there could be nothing upon earth so *white* as the *whiteness* thereof.

3 Nephi 19:30 And when Jesus had spoken these words he came again unto his disciples; and behold they did pray steadfastly, without ceasing, unto him; and he did smile upon them again; and behold they were *white*, even as Jesus.

Mormon 9:6 O then ye unbelieving, turn ye unto the Lord; cry mightily unto the Father in the name of Jesus, that perhaps ye may be found spotless, pure, fair, and *white*, having been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, at that great and last day.

Ether 3:1 AND it came to pass that the brother of Jared, (now the number of the vessels which had been prepared was eight) went forth unto the mount, which they called the mount Shelem, because of its exceeding height, and did molten out of a rock sixteen small stones; and they were *white* and clear, even as transparent glass; and he did carry them in his hands upon the top of the mount, and cried again unto the Lord, saying:

Ether 13:10 And then cometh the New Jerusalem; and blessed are they who dwell therein, for it is they whose garments are *white* through the blood of the Lamb; and they are they who are numbered among the remnant of the seed of Joseph, who were of the house of Israel.

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4 Comments »

  1. The same thing happened to me. I was just driving along one day and thought about the colors in the Book of Mormon. My family has read it over and over and I just came to the strong sense that there were very few colors in the Book of Mormon. This realization came partly because I have been studying Polish by using a Polish translation of the Book of Mormon while listening to it in English. I pick up words that are repeated. I know many of the colors in Polish and could not recall any other than white, red, and black. Today I found the grey hairs you mentioned. I also believe that this is a testament that Joseph Smith did not make up the Book of Mormon. In school we learn to use as many adjectives as possible to describe. I find this study of the use of color or lack of it as a very amazing situation in the scriptures.

    Comment by Anonymous — 2013, December 23 @ 4:34 am

  2. Thank you, Someone.

    Reading in another language is also a nice way to get perspectives and insights.

    I like your last two sentences–they sum up a point I wanted to bring to the front! :) Not only are there few colors, but, in general, few irrelevant adjectives.

    grego

    Comment by grego — 2014, January 20 @ 12:41 pm

  3. I woke up this morning and for some reason the idea came to me of doing research on the symbolism of colors in the Book of Mormon. Then I thought to check and see if anyone else had written about this. I was excited to see that you have already done it, and more importantly, I discovered your site with all the other fascinating posts. I have read the Book of Mormon many, many times, and you have given me new ways to ponder it. Thank you!
    Janet Wright

    Comment by Janet Wright — 2016, December 1 @ 12:55 pm

  4. You’re welcome, and thank you!

    Comment by grego — 2016, December 5 @ 2:50 pm


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