Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2008, November 24

“Book of Mormon: Alma Uses NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) Such as AVK (Audio-Visual-Kinesthetic) to Talk to His Sons” by grego

Book of Mormon: Alma Uses NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) Such as AVK (Audio-Visual-Kinesthetic) to Talk to His Sons

(c) 2008

I wrote a little about this before, but I got requests to flesh it out, so I have done so. I hardly claim to be a pro, but the more I got into it Alma’s discussions and NLP (neuro-linguistic programming), the more I discovered–there really is a lot. In fact, there was so much that grew, both in method and in learning, that I have kept waiting to put this up, and it’s still far from done. But here’s where I am now; though, it’s hardly a finished topic.

— —
In another post, I wrote the following (but I’ve added short comments in parentheses after):

“In Alma’s counsel to Helaman, it is interesting to note that Alma touches on a few things that might let us understand a little about Helaman and his personality; in addition, his letter tells us a little more about him…

I understand that:
1. Helaman must hear things over and over for them to take effect.
(Notice how many times the similar thing or similar things are repeated.)

2. He is “lazy”/ “asleep” in the gospel (and likely other areas of life).
(Alma is pretty forceful and direct with him, and the topics are very central and important, but it seems not to him. Note the topics of scriptures, reading, praying–it seems he has problems with the basics.)

3. Helaman doesn’t really believe in miracles.
(From the counsel about the plates, the counsel about God fulfilling his word, the list of miracles Helaman is aware of.)

4. He doesn’t really have a relationship with God.
(Lack of trust, lack of reading, lack of counseling, lack of faith.)

5. Helaman has a hard time either keeping the commandments or believing that one will prosper by keeping the commandments (maybe linked to his laziness or lack of faith in miracles).
(Specific counsel in these matters.)

6. He doesn’t take his commitments seriously.
(Why does a church leader need to continually hear “keep the commandments” and counsel on basic gospel living?)

7. He has a hard time seeing how anything he does really matters or makes a real difference in the lives of others.

8. Helaman was likely scared for himself and the sons of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies.
(His strong unwillingness to enter into battle.)

9. He isn’t very diligent in listening to his father.
(His father doesn’t really trust him.)

— —

And earlier, this:

“Alma has three sons: Helaman, Shiblon, and Corianton. They are different…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… “AVK” learning styles? Auditory, visual, kinesthetic (feeling)?

Helaman is a visual learner. Alma speaks of records, images, directions, stories. He also learns by “repetition”, and is somewhat “low-key” person. 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.)…

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


Ok now, here’s some of the “more” part. I’m just going to present all this in “notes” form, and allow readers to see things. There is no particular order, and I won’t necessarily draw conclusions from every part. Note that these chapters are not about covert persuasion or propaganda; they are about NLP, mainly meta-programs/ submodalities/ filters (of which AVK is a part). This is also incomplete because it is a written record and not spoken; this disallows us the possibility of considering many parts of NLP.

Once more, these few chapters alone should make every person consider (or reconsider) Book of Mormon complexity, richness, and deepness. Each conversation is unique on multiple facets; just planning these few chapters would have taken considerable time, even for an intelligent guy, to ensure consistency. Those who maintain that Joseph Smith “invented” the Book of Mormon must realize that if so, he was over 140 years before Grinder and Bandler even started NLP. Not only that, Alma uses these techniques in very ethical/ moral ways to teach and persuade his children to obey the commandments and do good. In these few chapters, Alma’s communication is so unique that Joseph Smith, once more, had to have been not just an excellent communicator, but a true genius. But was this greatness in communication and speaking found in Joseph Smith—outside of the Book of Mormon—during the same time period? The Joseph Smith papers should be very helpful here, as all will be able to see.

NOTE: If anyone can find any other source Joseph Smith could have copied, used, or studied in this particular way, or even any example of unique NLP communication—used by one character in different conversations in a “fiction” book by any author (especially a literary genius)—please, let me know!!

Alma’s counsel to his sons looks like this (all references are in the book of Alma, so just chapter and verse are given):

Length of speech (total lines, including partials, in columned book): 543
Tempo: slow and drawn out, repetitive
“Follow my example”: 3 times (37:1, 2 x2)
“I command you”: 4 times (37:1, 2, 20, 27)
“Keep the commandments”: 5 times (37:15 (warn not to transgress), 16 x2, 20, 35)
“Keep the commandments and prosper”: 3 times (36:1, 30, 37:13)
Number of questions asked: 2 times
Way questions are used: to summarize and nail Alma’s conclusion
How much Alma relates the content to Helaman’s personal experiences and testimony: 0 times
Main topics: “mysteries” of God, “wisdom” of God: 17 times (37:2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 14, 18, 19, 21, 35, 38, 39, 40, 41)
Alma needs to paint the big picture, in great detail, for Helaman; philosophical/ intellectual in many aspects
Learning style: visual. Alma speaks of records, images, directions, stories.
Other: Helaman also learns by “repetition”—he needs to hear something over and over, and is somewhat a “low-key” person. Fascinated with thinking, he is a very non-action person. He is, however, a believer.


Length of speech (total lines, including partials, in columned book): 102
Tempo: fast and hard, one-time
“Follow my example”: 0 times
“I command you”: 0 times
“Keep the commandments”: 0 times Instead, Alma “offers suggestions”, basically: 12 times (1. “I hope that”: 38:2 2. “I trust that”: 38:2 3. “I would that”: 38:6, 10 x2 4. “See that”: 38:11 x2, 12 x2 5. “Balance”: 38:11, 12 6. “May the Lord”: 38:15)
“Keep the commandments and prosper”: 1 time (38:1)
Number of questions: 0
How much Alma relates the content to Shiblon’s personal experiences and testimony: the majority of the time: 38:2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 13, 14; then, Alma’s experience in 38:6, 7, 8, 9
Main topics: continue your course, “do”: 38:2.
Learning style: kinesthetic–it’s mainly about bodily feelings and action.
Other: Shiblon is a “high-intensity” person. He hears it hard and fast, strong and powerful; once is enough; very little is repeated in any form. Yet, Alma is very suggestful, no confrontation, doesn’t discuss Shiblon’s current weaknesses; he feels no need to prove anything or convince Shiblon of anything; doesn’t need to come out and clearly say things; no need to paint the “big picture” or detail it.


Length of speech (total lines, including partials, in columned book): 641
Tempo: normal
“Follow my example”: 0 times (But, in 39:1, Shiblon’s example)
“I command you”: 3 times (39:10, 12 x2)
“Keep the commandments”: 0 times (Alma speaks of not following his brother’s good example in keeping the commandments at the very start; after that, of some of his sins; obeying Alma first, then God; etc.—everything *but* “keep the commandments”)
“Keep the commandments and prosper”: 0 times
Number of questions: 14 (39:1 x2, 5, 17, 18, 19; 40:7; 41:12; 42:17 x3, 19, 21, 25)
Way questions are used: to initiate and support a conversational topic.
How much Alma relates the content to Corianton’s personal experiences and testimony: Alma relates the majority of the topics to Corianton’s worries and problems, but most of the content is theological and from the outside.
Main topics: doctrinal, that have to do with Corianton’s sins (the majority).
Learning style: auditory. Alma speaks of words, sounds, hearing, speaking, saying, etc.
“I say…”: 12-15 times (39:1, 15, 17; 40:1, 2×2, 18, (19 x2), (20), 21 x2; 41:1, 2; 42:25)
Other: Corianton is a “hesitator”.
Topics are more about “doing”, not “being”.


Other things to think about:
*Alma uses Shiblon, not Helaman, as the example that Corianton should follow (39:1, 2).
*Alma gives the plates to Helaman only after Nephihah refuses to accept them (Alma 50:38).
*Even though the stripling warriors testify they are protected, Helaman refuses to lead them into battle until they convince him that it really would be better to fight (57:39, 40, 43-49); earlier, Helaman feels that without extra help from the Lord, they would have perished, notwithstanding the promise (56:19).
*When talking about the missionaries to the Zoramites, we read:
Alma 31:6 Therefore [Alma] took Ammon, and Aaron, and Omner; and Himni he did leave in the church in Zarahemla; but the former three he took with him, and also Amulek and Zeezrom, who were at Melek; and he also took two of his sons.
Alma 31:7 Now the eldest of his sons he took not with him, and his name was Helaman; but the names of those whom he took with him were Shiblon and Corianton; and these are the names of those who went with him among the Zoramites, to preach unto them the word.
Notice how Himni is “left in the church”, but Helaman is just left—while his brothers go to preach.

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