Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2011, September 21

“Book of Mormon: Nephi’s Odd Language When Speaking to His Brothers: ‘My Father’ instead of ‘Our Father’ (1 Nephi 3:18; 1 Nephi 7:14; 1 Nephi 17:44)” by grego

Book of Mormon: Nephi’s Odd Language When Speaking to His Brothers: “My Father” instead of “Our Father” (1 Nephi 3:18, 1 Nephi 7:14, 1 Nephi 17:44)


I had thought I had already written a post on this, but I can’t seem to find it, so until/ if then…

Nephi uses some language that sounds odd in English: when speaking to his brothers, he addresses their father as “my father”. In English, that would never happen; it would always be “our father” or “father”.

Here are the occasions (all dialogue directed at his brothers):
1 Nephi 3:18 For behold, they have rejected the words of the prophets. Wherefore, if my father should dwell in the land after he hath been commanded to flee out of the land, behold, he would also perish. Wherefore, it must needs be that he flee out of the land.

1 Nephi 7:14 For behold, the Spirit of the Lord ceaseth soon to strive with them; for behold, they have rejected the prophets, and Jeremiah have they cast into prison. And they have sought to take away the life of my father, insomuch that they have driven him out of the land.

1 Nephi 17:44 Wherefore, the Lord commanded my father that he should depart into the wilderness; and the Jews also sought to take away his life; yea, and ye also have sought to take away his life; wherefore, ye are murderers in your hearts and ye are like unto them.

I have heard this in Chinese a few times, and I have heard a report of a Spanish-speaker doing this, too. I believe this offers evidence of the Book of Mormon being a translation.

He doesn’t use it all the time; just a few times. Most of the occasions when he uses “our father” (most of the references):
1 Nephi 3:15 But behold I said unto them that: As the Lord liveth, and as we live, we will not go down unto OUR FATHER in the wilderness until we have accomplished the thing which the Lord hath commanded us.

1 Nephi 3:16 Wherefore, let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord; therefore let us go down to the land of OUR FATHER’s inheritance, for behold he left gold and silver, and all manner of riches. And all this he hath done because of the commandments of the Lord.

1 Nephi 4:35 And it came to pass that Zoram did take courage at the words which I spake. Now Zoram was the name of the servant; and he promised that he would go down into the wilderness unto OUR FATHER. Yea, and he also made an oath unto us that he would tarry with us from that time forth.

1 Nephi 4:38 And it came to pass that we took the plates of brass and the servant of Laban, and departed into the wilderness, and journeyed unto the tent of OUR FATHER.

1 Nephi 5:1 And it came to pass that after we had come down into the wilderness unto OUR FATHER, behold, he was filled with joy, and also my mother, Sariah, was exceedingly glad, for she truly had mourned because of us.

1 Nephi 7:5 And it came to pass that the Lord did soften the heart of Ishmael, and also his household, insomuch that they took their journey with us down into the wilderness to the tent of our father.

1 Nephi 7:21 And it came to pass that I did frankly forgive them all that they had done, and I did exhort them that they would pray unto the Lord their God for forgiveness. And it came to pass that they did so. And after they had done praying unto the Lord we did again travel on our journey towards the tent of OUR FATHER.

1 Nephi 7:22 And it came to pass that we did come down unto the tent of OUR FATHER. And after I and my brethren and all the house of Ishmael had come down unto the tent of my father, they did give thanks unto the Lord their God; and they did offer sacrifice and burnt offerings unto him.

1 Nephi 15:12 Behold, I say unto you, that the house of Israel was compared unto an olive tree, by the Spirit of the Lord which was in OUR FATHER; and behold are we not broken off from the house of Israel, and are we not a branch of the house of Israel?

1 Nephi 15:13 And now, the thing which OUR FATHER meaneth concerning the grafting in of the natural branches through the fulness of the Gentiles, is, that in the latter days, when our seed shall have dwindled in unbelief, yea, for the space of many years, and many generations after the Messiah shall be manifested in body unto the children of men, then shall the fulness of the gospel of the Messiah come unto the Gentiles, and from the Gentiles unto the remnant of our seed—

1 Nephi 15:17 And this is what OUR FATHER meaneth; and he meaneth that it will not come to pass until after they are scattered by the Gentiles; and he meaneth that it shall come by way of the Gentiles, that the Lord may show his power unto the Gentiles, for the very cause that he shall be rejected of the Jews, or of the house of Israel.

1 Nephi 15:18 Wherefore, OUR FATHER hath not spoken of our seed alone, but also of all the house of Israel, pointing to the covenant which should be fulfilled in the latter days; which covenant the Lord made to OUR FATHER Abraham, saying: In thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.

1 Nephi 15:30 And I said unto them that OUR FATHER also saw that the justice of God did also divide the wicked from the righteous; and the brightness thereof was like unto the brightness of a flaming fire, which ascendeth up unto God forever and ever, and hath no end.

2 Nephi 1:1 And now it came to pass that after I, Nephi, had made an end of teaching my brethren, OUR FATHER, Lehi, also spake many things unto them, and rehearsed unto them, how great things the Lord had done for them in bringing them out of the land of Jerusalem.

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