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Literature / The Book of Mormon

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And so it came to pass...

... That we have a trope entry on The Book of Mormon, a book of scripture used by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its splinter groups alongside The Bible and the canonized revelations of their founder Joseph Smith and a few other past leaders of the LDS Church. The Book of Mormon is the main piece of holy/'god-given' writ that distinguishes Mormonism from Catholicism and the various Protestant sects, and the unofficial name of the religion, Mormonism, derives its name from the book. The Mormons regard the book as divine scripture equal to the Bible in importance. In the 1980s the church added the subtitle "Another Testament of Jesus Christ" to help clarify that the primary subject of the book is the gospel of Jesus Christ.



The book claims to be an accumulation of the writings of a people descended from Israelites who immigrated to the Americas around 600 BC. The eponymous Mormon and his son Moroni, the last prophet/scholars of their people, edited and compiled the majority of the book from numerous existing texts, inscribing the final record on sheets of gold-colored metal or 'Golden Plates' in a script based on Egyptian Hieroglyphs.note  Moroni, one of the last survivors of his civilization, buried the plates around AD 420 with the promise from God that they would one day be brought forth again.

Joseph Smith, a young farmer in upstate New York, claimed that in 1820 Moroni appeared to him as an Angel and led him to where the plates were buried. Joseph Smith, with the aid of an artifact also delivered with the plates called the "Urim and Thummim," was blessed with the power to translate the text into English and dictated the contents to a scribe. The Book of Mormon was published in 1830 and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was formed shortly thereafter under Joseph Smith's leadership. The claim of divine aid in bringing forth the book has made it a controversial subject ever since.


The book's actual contents don't get discussed much outside of Mormon circles—most non-Mormons find its origin story so outlandish that they dismiss the book as an obvious fabrication without the need to read its text.

There have been some changes to the text since the first edition. The earliest and most extensive changes were made by Smith himself in later editions.note  Modern editions after Joseph Smith's death have made minor changes in the text itself but have been mostly restricted to chapter headings, footnotes, and other study helps. Critics of the book have claimed that major revisions have been made to make the text more appealing to modern audiences.



In structure, the Book of Mormon resembles the 'historical books' of The Bible, being divided into a number of books which largely form a narrative, which is punctuated by accounts of sermons and editorial commentary. It begins with a few families in Jerusalem, follows their journey across the ocean to a new "promised land" in the Americas, and then tells the history of the nations founded by their descendants, with emphasis on the preaching of the prophets, the spiritual condition of the cultures, and various events like several major wars.

Also included is the visit of Jesus Christ, who appears to the people after his resurrection, teaches them, and founds his church and a Utopia. Unfortunately, this doesn't last; after several centuries, the people become wicked and divided again, and eventually a whole nation is destroyed. At this point, the last few prophets (Mormon and Moroni, as already discussed) add their last comments and bury the book.

The narrative switches between firsthand transcribed accounts of the events and summations as done by Mormon to get to the heart of the story. Books are mostly named after their primary historical author, but due to the vast number of individuals involved and the need to simplify, this doesn't always hold true. As such the Book of Omni, only a few pages long, is actually minor contributions from a half dozen writers, and Alma, the namesake of the longest book, is absent through the last third (it continues until all of Alma's sons have died, a pattern continued in the book of Helaman).

There are several dominant and recurring themes in the book. Some are theological, like the divinity of Christ, or that those blessed by God can sin and lose those blessings, while those who sin can repent and be blessed. Other themes involve the idea of liberty and choice, secret societies, and perhaps most prominently individual and national pride, which leads to the destruction of multiple nations.

Be aware that, the subject of this page being a religious text for Mormons, it's best to be cautious in editing. This page is about the tropes used in the The Book of Mormon itself, not about determining whether the book is a fabrication or authentic. This is simply tropes that were recognized and whether or not these existed at the time of translation/writing or not is not any Troper's problem.

For more information on the church itself and other historical details see Useful Notes: Mormonism.

Should not be mistaken with the musical The Book of Mormon.

The Book of Mormon provides examples of...

  • Aerith and Bob: The Jaredites are said to have domesticated horses, donkeys, elephants, cureloms, and cumoms. The only thing said about either cureloms or cumoms is that they were as useful as elephants.
  • An Aesop: There are many points where the author drops an anvil, and some of them fall hard!
    • Baptism of babies (whoever says that babies need to be baptized before the age of accountability "hath neither faith, hope, nor charity; wherefore, should he be cut off while in the thought, he must go down to hell.")
    • Secret Combinations, aka secret societies (any nation that supports them is in danger of God's wrath).
    • People saying that they don't need more scriptures, or that there aren't any ("O fools", don't think that God hasn't spoken to other nations, or that He won't speak again).
    • People who don't believe in Christ ("when the Lord shall come, yea, even that great day when the earth shall be rolled together as a scroll, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, yea, in that great day when ye shall be brought to stand before the Lamb of God—then will ye say that there is no God?").
  • All There in the Manual: The Book of Mormon has a pronunciation guide, and the "Quad" (The Bible, The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price) has a Bible dictionary, maps, the Joseph Smith Translation, footnotes and references to similar verses and chapters. Some non-LDS scholars use the footnotes and index published by the LDS church because of their completeness and quality. Of note is that the pronunciation guide was only developed in the 1970s, as beforehand different regions had different ways of reading the many different names. This isn't considered to be their definitive original Nephite pronunciation, only a way to unify the way the church pronounces it.
  • Anachronic Order: The first two books were written by Nephi in a history of his people long towards the end of his life, from there to Words Of Mormon were written by record keepers as mostly a contemporary history. The Book of Mosiah was largely split into three timeframes among different cultures, their stories merging together at the end. Then the Book of Ether was a recounting of a story that happened long before the beginning of the book.
  • Anachronism Stew: There are animals and plants mentioned in the book for which there is little, if any, archaeological evidence that they were present in the Americas before contact with Europeans. Critics of the book see these as obvious errors on Joseph Smith's part. Believers have various theories to account for them, including possible name-loaning (calling a tapir or deer a horse), or just believe the evidence hasn't been found yet.note 
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The Gadianton Robbers, whose organization was based on what the Book of Mormon calls "Secret Combinations" that have existed a lot longer than the name of the society. This led to the downfall of two great civilizations, and the record-keepers preach against it.
  • Angst Coma: Alma the Younger's Heel–Face Turn. After getting up to a lot of anti-church mischief, he is rebuked by an angel, goes into a "deep sleep" and has visions of God. When he wakes up, he has had a change of heart.
  • Antiquated Linguistics: The book's language resembles the Jacobean English found in the King James Bible, which was written almost 200 years prior.
  • Armor Is Useless: Averted. Several times during the wars of Captain Moroni's time it's mentioned that the Nephites tend to wear some sort of armor while the Lamanites usually don't, and this is usually mentioned right behind divine assistance as being instrumental in their victories.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The Liahona and the Urim and Thummim are holy relics that God gave to his prophets to aid in their tasks. The Golden Plates were made by man but contain all of God's revelations to His people. The Sword of Laban, on the other hand, was once used to kill a man who was blackout drunk. Doing so was necessary to obtain the Brass Plates, the precursor to the Golden Plates, but the preservation of the Sword of Laban as a holy relic along with the Liahona, Urim and Thummim, and Golden Plates is never explained. The only other mentioned usage of the sword is that Nephi used it as a template for making more swords to arm his people after parting ways with his brothers.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Several prophets are taken up by God in some fashion.
    • Alma the Younger, long after repenting of his earlier actions against the church.
    • Same with Nephi the son of Helaman. He disappears right before the sign of Jesus's birth.
    • The Three Nephites definitely count too. In their case, it's explicit that their bodies were altered to never age or weaken, and that they would have power like angels.
  • Asshole Victim: Many men, Korihor, Nehor, King Noah, and an entire city of Ammonihah are this. Also borders Too Dumb to Live.
  • The Atoner: Alma the Younger most famously, but the Sons of Mosiah also.
  • Author Filibuster: While Mormon typically stays on-topic in his abridgment, there are a couple of spots where he puts in his own thoughts. The last book, written by Moroni, is essentially one long example of this trope. In his defense, the abridgment of the history was done, he had seen his entire country slaughtered around him and spent the last twenty years of his life on the run, so he had a lot to get off his chest.
  • Avenging the Villain: King Ammoron, brother and successor to Amalickiah, seeks to avenge his death. Likewise Shiz, although in that case whether any side can be termed good is hard to tell.
  • Badass Creed: Captain Moroni's oath that he emblazoned on his flag; "In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children."
  • Badass Normal: A number of people carry out righteous smiting aided by the power of God. Teancum, the Nephite special forces captain, doesn't seem to have any divine assistance, but still manages to infiltrate the enemy camp and assassinate the enemy leader. Twice. Sadly, he doesn't get out the second time.
  • Badass Pacifist: The entire people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi make an oath to never use weapons or fight their enemies (due largely to having a very bloody past before conversion), and every man, woman and child keeps it while an army bears down on them. Their lack of resistance is so complete that most of a Lamanite army attacking them actually converts after seeing they won't fight back. It's later stated that they couldn't be broken even by torture. (The next generation learns that same absolute commitment, without having sworn an oath of pacifism. The first time they fight, they hit a much larger army from behind so hard that they turn the tide of the battle and scare the Lamanites into surrendering.)
  • Badass Preacher: Prophets often had other professions. Sometimes these professions were in the army.
    • Alma the Younger fights Amlici in personal combat during his rebellion and defeats him.
    • Ammon the son of Mosiah goes as a missionary into Lamanite lands and serves their king as a shepherd. He kills six robbers with a sling and then uses his sword to cut the arms off any of the robbers that try to kill him "and they were not few."
    • Mormon, the primary editor of the book and a prophet, was also chosen as the supreme leader of the Nephite armies at the age of sixteen.
  • Balance Between Good and Evil: Lehi tells his son Jacob that there has to be opposition in all things, because righteousness can't exist without the possibility of wickedness, neither can there be a good choice without a bad one existing.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • Moroni uses one to rescue Nephite prisoners of war from the city of Gid: he sends a small group of converted Lamanites, who tell the guards that they've escaped from the Nephites, bringing plenty of alcohol with them. The guards wake up with hangovers to find that they're surrounded by Nephite armies and all their prisoners are armed.
    • This was a favorite tactic of Nephite armies during the latter war chapters in Alma: March past an occupied city with a small army, draw the enemy out into what they think is an easy victory, have the larger army re-take the city while it's virtually unguarded. In fairness, the Lamanites did eventually catch on to this tactic, but sometimes they couldn't afford to just ignore it lest the Nephites lay siege to the city and cut off their supplies.
  • Blood Knight: The Lamanites were this after Nephi left his brothers. At the end of the book nearly the entire Nephite population seem to be this. The same with the Jaredites at the end of the book of Ether.
  • Breather Episode: After about a century of nearly nonstop warfare between the Nephites and Lamanites, culminating in natural disasters that wipe out multiple cities, Jesus visits briefly and everyone gets along fine for the next 200 years or so.
  • Bullet Dodges You: As Samuel the Lamanite preaches of Christ's birth, Nephites shoot arrows and throw rocks at him without managing to hit him once because he is protected by the power of God.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Laman has serious issues with his father. Then we have King Limhi who kinda did this to King Noah.
  • Canon Welding: There are some references made to events that happened in Jerusalem/Israel at the same time, made evident through the prophets. It also explicitly says that the line in John 10:16 "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd." is at least partly in reference to the Nephites and Lamanites.
  • Capital Offensive: Near the start of the book of Helaman, the Lamanites start attacking again, but instead of hitting the outlying regions where the army is stationed, they head straight to Zarahemla, which, due to upheaval in the government, is left unguarded and vulnerable and falls rather easily. It backfires, though, since the Lamanite armies are then completely surrounded by the much better defended border cities.
  • Cain and Abel: In the first Book of Nephi, Laman (the eldest brother) and Lemuel (the second oldest) antagonize their younger brother Nephi, to the point that they try to kill him or leave him to die in the desert. When they do reach the Americas and their father Lehi dies, Laman gets fed up with Nephi thinking he has authority over him and tries to murder him. The Lord warns Nephi, so he takes his family and they separate themselves from the families of Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael who accept Laman's leadership. The two groups and their descendants are named the Nephites and Lamanites through the rest of the narrative.
  • Catchphrase: "It came to pass" is used 1,404 times, roughly 1 out of every 5 verses start with this phrase.
  • The Chosen Many: Several books will have more than one prophet, a few even collaborating with each other, even if said book is named after that particular prophet. Nephi and his father Lehi for example.
  • Les Collaborateurs: The Kingmen, who stage a coup and cooperate with the invading Lamanites.
  • Colony Ship: At least three cases:
    • The first are the barges built by the Jaredites centuries before Lehi's time.
    • The ship that Nephi built to bring his family across the sea to the Promised Land.
    • Not seen, but there was one to bring the Mulekites over to Zarahemla from Jerusalem.
  • Comforting the Widow: Amalickiah arranges the murder of the king of the Lamanites then goes to console the Queen. Shortly thereafter they are married. Presumably she never finds out what really happened. A more cynical interpretation is that the Queen realized Amalickiah had control of the Army, and that therefore marrying him was the best option left to her.
  • The Coup: Several.
    • In the Book of Alma, Amalickiah attempts one in Zarahemla but is rebuffed and goes over to the Lamanites. There he engineers a string of coups that puts him, first, in charge of all the Lamanite armies, and then over the Lamanite kingdom.
    • Later in that book, the chief judge Pahoran is briefly driven out of Zarahemla by the king-men (who want to restore the monarchy). He calls Captain Moroni to put down the usurpers.
    • In the Book of Helaman a coup is attempted against the newly elected Chief Judge by one of his opponents, but he is quickly caught and executed. Then his followers assassinate the new judge anyway.
    • Later Nephi, son of Helaman, prophetically identifies the murderer of another chief judge, who killed him in an attempt to claim the position for himself.
    • Another one occurs in 3 Nephi when a conspiracy overthrows the government but any attempt to take over quickly devolves into chaos. The nation fragments into tribes that don't agree on much except that they all want the conspirators dead.
  • Cycle of Revenge: The final wars of both the Jaredites and the Nephites reached this stage.
  • Daddy's Little Villain: Jared's attempt to overthrow his father the king has just failed. Jared's daughter suggests a plan for a successful overthrow: Jared's friend Akish would kill the king in exchange for her hand in marriage. The plan gets Jared the throne and Akish married to Jared's daughter. Later, Akish murders Jared and takes the kingdom for himself. (The account doesn't reveal how Jared's daughter feels about the events that made her queen.)
  • Death Seeker: Moroni in the end. He's a bit more moderate than most examples as he doesn't really angst about it, but it's pretty clear that with his entire people annihilated he doesn't have anything to live for after he finishes his father's work.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: The people of Limhi, when they decide to stop running from the pursuing Lamanite army and surrender, send their daughters forward to plead their case. The Lamanites are charmed enough to stop attacking and listen.
  • Doomed Moral Victor: Abinadi gets burned to death by wicked King Noah, but not before his teaching convinces Alma (Senior) to repent, while Noah later suffers the same fate.
  • Downer Ending: Everybody dies. Twice.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: By the end of the Jaredites' final war, all the participants are caught in a Hopeless War that neither side can win, but they go on because they are "drunken with anger, as with wine." In other words, they've gotten so used to fighting and killing, that they can't do anything else by this point.
  • Endless Daytime: As a sign of Jesus Christ's birth, the Sun sets but it doesn't become dark.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: No matter how big of a jerk they are, nobody in the Book of Mormon breaks an oath. Nobody. Sometimes to the point of Honor Before Reason.
    • At least, not deliberately. Giddianhi the robber threatens the Nephites with destruction unless they join his robber band, and swears to spare or destroy them according to the decision they make. Neither happens because the Nephites end up destroying the robber band instead.
    • Well, almost nobody. King Laman broke an oath when he made war on King Limhi's people, but he was justified, because he thought Limhi's people had kidnapped the daughters of his people.
    • The Lamanites promised Alma Sr's people their freedom in exchange for directions to home, but then didn't keep their promise.
  • Everybody Calls Him "Barkeep":
    • The Brother of Jared's real name is never revealed in the text. Joseph Smith later said his name was "Mahonri Moriancumer" which is quite a mouthful, and may explain why he is just called "the Brother of Jared" in the text.
    • The name of King Lamoni's father is also not revealed.
  • The Evil Prince: Frequently in Jaredite history, the king is overthrown and locked up by one of his sons. This might be to prevent the king from passing the kingdom to the son of his old age, as Jaredite kings tend to do.
  • A Father to His Men: Helaman refers to his 'stripling' warriors as his sons, while they call him father.
  • Film of the Book:
    • The Book of Mormon Movie (Volume 1) was a film of the first part, at least, though many would rather pretend it doesn't exist. There hasn't been a Volume 2.
    • There were animated adaptations of much of the book produced in the '90s as well, called Living Scriptures, of varying quality.
    • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is now (as of 2019) releasing what can be regarded as official video adaptations.
  • Flashback: Large parts of the book of Mosiah are a flashback, making the chronology quite confusing. About ten chapters of the book of Alma do the same. Also Ether.
  • Fling a Light into the Future: Happens a few times, and is referenced a few more times.
    • The reason the records of the Nephites were compiled and hidden until Moroni led Joseph Smith to them.
    • The records of the Jaredites, which the Nephites found, were a similar attempt.
    • Nearly happened to the people of Limhi; the prophet Abinadi warned them that they were already subject to serious punishment, but if they still didn't repent, they'd be completely wiped out and just leave a record for others to find.
  • Forced to Watch: After preaching and having a handful of conversions in the city of Ammonihah, Alma the Younger and Amulek are bound by the unconverted wicked leaders of the city, who kick out all the men who had converted and burn their wives and children (and scriptures) in a bonfire, forcing Alma and Amulek to watch. Amulek wants to stop the scene of carnage, but Alma stops him, saying that the Lord will judge the wicked and the righteous people being burned are now martyrs and in heaven. (The city is slaughtered, to a man, a short time later.)
  • Foregone Conclusion: The destruction of the Nephites and its timing is predicted in the first book, and that prediction is repeated throughout. There's even a brief insertion from Mormon partway through, where he states that he is writing centuries later and the destruction is almost complete.
  • Foreshadowing: The Book of Ether begins with a genealogy of the kings from reverse order (A is the son of B, B is the son of C...) and then proceeded to tell the story of those people in chronological order. Granted most of them were talked about very briefly as the book condenses about 25 generations into about 12 chapters.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Several characters, especially military leaders.
    • Teancum definitely qualifies. Once he decided that Amalickiah was responsible for the war and had to go, he took matters into his own hands and assassinated Amalickiah in his tent. He later did the same, albeit less cleanly, with Amalickiah's brother, who took over the war effort.
    • Captain Moroni talked big, but often proved to be a softie at heart, preferring guile to battle and taking surrenders when possible. Still, when the situation called for it, he was quite capable of ordering, "Kill them until they give up."
  • Healing Hands: Given that Christ himself shows up, one of the first things he does is invite the people forward so he could heal them of their injuries.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • Alma the Younger and the sons of Mosiah went about trying to destroy the church of God. Then an angel appeared and rebuked them all, putting Alma in an Angst Coma until he repented.
    • Zeezrom, formerly an evil lawyer trying to catch Alma and Amulek in their words, has his conscience pricked by the word of God. He repents and eventually joins Alma and Amulek in preaching the gospel.
    • Lamoni, his father, and all the Lamanites who were converted and became the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: The Nephites and Lamanites repeatedly. However...
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Nephi has a brief one when he learns that his descendants will form a great nation that will end up being destroyed due to their wickedness.
    • Mormon also has one as he mourns the utter destruction of the Nephites when it need not have happened.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners:
    • Alma and Amulek. It helps that all Amulek's family and friends were killed, while Amulek himself escaped because he believed and followed Alma.
    • Alma the Younger and the Sons of Mosiah. Partners in crime, rebuked by an angel together, then partners in preaching.
  • History Repeats: The book of Ether, in which the destruction of the Jaredites recapitulates the destruction of the Nephites. Though the Jaredites were actually destroyed first, their account appears in the narrative after the destruction of the Nephites.
  • Honor Among Thieves: The "secret combinations" were theoretically supposed to be this, with members protecting each other from outside influences such as law and order, and it worked well enough to create serious obstacles to law enforcement, even multiple civil wars. However, any member who achieved high political office could still expect to be targeted by a hopeful successor.
  • Hopeless War: As mentioned above, the Nephite and Jaredite nations both end this way.
  • Hypocrite: The Zoramites were this: Have a synagogue, preach about God (over 100 times with the same prayer), and never talk about him an entire week. They don't bother helping their poor and gorge themselves in their wealth. Bonus points because their weekly prayer is all about thanking God for saving them and condemning everyone else.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Anti-Christ preachers have some of this.
    • Korihor preaches that there is no God. How does he know there is no God? Why, an angel of God visited him with a message from God, telling him to preach that there is no God!
    • Sherem, declares that prophesying about the future is blasphemous, that he knows there will never be a Christ, and that he believes the scriptures - each of which statements contradicts the other two.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Teancum sneaks into Amalickiah's army at night while everyone is asleep and kills him this way. He tries to do this again to Amalickiah's brother and successor Ammoron, but doesn't make as clean of a kill, causing Ammoron to scream before he died. Ammoron's screams woke up his guards, who hunted down and killed Teancum.
  • Kill 'Em All: Happens for each major protagonist civilisation.
    • The Nephites eventually lose their hopeless war and are wiped out by the Lamanites; even the prophet who recorded the final battle is eventually hunted down and killed afterward.
    • The Jaredites killed each other until there was just one man left (plus the prophet in hiding whose ultimate fate is unknown).
  • Kissing Cousins: Inevitable considering Lehi and Ishmael's children married one another and their children were born in the wilderness. The only possible aversion is Zoram, who married Ishmael's eldest daughter. But even then, Zoram's children have a possibility of marrying into Nephi's family after the split between brothers, and his own descendants become Zoramites.
  • Last of His Kind: Moroni from the Nephites, Coriantumr from the Jaredites.
  • Literal Genie: Two people demanded signs that Jesus existed. One ended up dying shortly thereafter, the other got turned dumb and had to go from house to house, begging. Then he got run over.
  • Magic Compass: The Liahona.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Righteous Jaredite king Shez is threatened by the rebellion of his eldest son - and then the son is killed by a robber, restoring peace. The text makes no attempt to speculate on whether this was Divine Intervention.
  • Moral Myopia: Ammoron is very angry at the Nephites for "murdering" his brother Amalickiah. Never mind that at the time, Amalickiah was leading an invading army to conquer the Nephites and drink the blood of their leader. Or that Amalickiah was in that position because he murdered his way to the throne and then used a propaganda campaign to start a war that even the Lamanites initially didn't want.
  • The Needs of the Many: The reasoning given to justify the murder of Laban: "It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief." (1 Nephi 4:2) Note that Laban was also guilty of robbery and attempted murder through false accusations against Lehi's family, so killing him was possibly justified according to the law at the time.
  • No Pronunciation Guide: The pronunciation and sometimes even the spelling is largely up to the interpretation of the translators. Modern editions offer a guide, but this is mostly for church unity and doesn't claim to be the original pronunication. For instance, beforehand some called Amulek "A-Mew-lek" rather than "Amu-lek" (like amulet).
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: Ammon cripples the king of the Lamanites in single combat, then demands the release of his missionary companions from prison, or he'll finish the job. To be fair, the king started it.
  • Poetry: Several passages, most notably Alma chapter 36, use the poetic form known as chiasmus, where a series of ideas is presented first in order and then in reverse. Alma was stated to be a skilled orator, and chapter 36 records some of his final words to the son who would inherit the sacred records handed down from Nephi, so it does make sense that this little speech would be carefully planned.
  • Pride: One of the most troubling conflicts in the entire book is because of this. In the first book of Nephi, Laman and Lemuel were full of this in near Cain and Abel levels. Just because Laman is the oldest brother and doesn't want to follow Nephi. In later books, this is what caused the downfall of several major cities to come. Before and after Christ returns to Earth after his continued ministry on Earth after his resurrection. Eventually, the Nephites are destroyed, save those who sided with the Lamanites, which brings another Apostasy for centuries to come.
  • Properly Paranoid: Gadianton escaped arrest and execution by evacuating promptly after his hitman didn't return fast enough - and he apparently didn't wait very long.
  • Religious Russian Roulette: Korihor says he'll believe in God if He shows him a sign. Alma tries to convince him that God has given them enough signs with the scriptures and the creation, but Korihor still insists he needs a sign, which he gets by being struck dumb.
  • Rousing Speech: Captain Moroni rallying his people to defend themselves from the Lamanite army [1]
  • Selective Obliviousness: Laman and Lemuel don't seem to understand that they should stop messing with Nephi even after an angel appears in front of them and tells them to knock it off.
  • Sibling Rivalry: After the chief judge Pahoran died, three of his sons competed to inherit the position. The eldest won the popular vote, but then the youngest rebelled, and was arrested and executed for treason. His supporters then assassinated the eldest brother in revenge, leaving the middle brother in the judgement seat. But with all the internal struggle, they hadn't maintained their defences properly, and the Lamanites came along, captured the city, and killed the judge.
  • Silver Tongue: Amulon, leader of King Noah's corrupt priests. Not only did he make a successful career out of flattering both the king and nation, but when it all went south, with the king executed and the priests banished, the Lamanites caught them living with a bunch of Lamanite girls they'd abducted and married - and Amulon not only talked his way out of trouble, but impressed the Lamanite king so much that he was appointed a ruler over the captured Nephites. Bear in mind that at this point, the Lamanites had already fought a war with the Nephites over the kidnapping, since they assumed that the Nephites were responsible. And yet, when they found the actual perpetrators, Amulon's skill with words somehow kept him on top.
  • Soiled City on a Hill:
    • The city of Ammonihah, after killing all the members of the church there.
    • More broadly, the Jaredite and Nephite nations.
  • The Starscream: Amalickiah did this to the King of the Lamanites by gaining his trust. After receiving it, he kills him to gain the armies of the Lamanites and take the deceased king's wife.
  • Stun Gun: At God's direction, Nephi delivers some kind of incapacitating shock to his rebellious brothers by touching them. Apparently, if they had attacked him, they would have received a much stronger jolt and died on the spot.
  • The Unnamed:
    • Mormon states that God told him not to write the names of the Three Nephites.
    • Nephi never names his sisters or any of the daughters of Ishmael, including his wife. In fact the only wife of a prophet named in the book is Sarah, the wife of Lehi and mother of Nephi. This despite the fact that most of the prophets have sons.
    • The prophet Helaman, while serving as the chief judge, had a servant who went undercover to infiltrate the first secret society, coming to a head when he foiled an assassination attempt by escorting the assassin toward the judgement seat and stabbing him on the way. We never learn the servant's name.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: The Anti-Nephi-Lehites, repentant Lamanites, took up an oath to never go to war or kill again, burying their weapons in the ground. They held to this so strongly that when assaulted by other Lamanites they were willingly cut down; that dedication impressed the Lamanite army so much that they stopped attacking and many even joined with them. Eventually the Lamanites came back for round 2, and it's implied that they went so far as to torture some of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies to death, without being able to provoke them into striking back.
  • Turn the Other Cheek / Honor Before Reason: The Anti-Nephi-Lehites prefer to be killed rather than defend themselves. Also counts as an entire people of Badass Pacifist.
  • Understatement: In just a few sentences, Nephi states that his family travelled for eight years and "did wade through much affliction in the wilderness". He's not kidding. Plotting out their course from Jerusalem reveals that they were cutting across Arabia, through one of the worst deserts in the world. Eight years in that terrain is no joke.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Amalickiah loses it after his initial attacks against the city of Ammonihah and Noah utterly fail thanks to Moroni's spending the past four years building up the cities' defenses.
  • Villainous Vow:
    • There are stories of "secret combinations" (ie conspiracies) and the book warns against them. Often overlapping with Deal with the Devil. Cain is said to have started them. It warns that they are found among every civilization, even in the modern era. Probably a reference that includes government and business corruption, and organized crime.
    • Also, after an embarrassing defeat, Amalickiah vowed to drink Captain Moroni's blood.
  • Violence Is the Only Option: After repeated attempts to obtain the Brass Plates by other means, Nephi kills Laban because he was specifically told by God to do it. As in, God had to go out of His way specifically to persuade Nephi that killing Laban is the only reasonable option left. Made even more notable by the fact that is the one time Nephi flat-out argued with God over a course of action. He REALLY didn't want to kill Laban. May also be a rather sad bit of Foreshadowing. Only a few years later, Nephi was leading his people in wars against his brothers. He had to get used to killing people.
  • War Is Hell: And there's the results of them.
    • After the major battle between the Nephites and Lamanites in the Book of Alma, some men grew bitter due to the result of it.
    • It gets worse in the final wars of the Nephites and Jaredites. From battlefields full of corpses that no-one takes the time to bury because they're too busy fighting the next one, to the rape, torture, murder and cannibalism of young female captives. Mormon, in lamenting the situation to his son, declared that he couldn't pray for his own people anymore, and was instead praying for God to wipe them out.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Nine of the Nephite disciples decide their highest wish is to die once their service is over and go to heaven. The Three Nephites receive the promise that they will live until Christ's second coming, in order for them to be perpetual missionaries. Their story includes a Shout-Out to John the Revelator.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: The book of Ether, occurring thousands of years prior to 'current' events.
  • Work Info Title
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Several people attempt to avoid their demise once their death is told to them by a prophet. Of interest is the fact that all those who tried to fight fate were clearly told what to do to avoid their destruction, but were unable to follow those instructions, mostly because of their own pride and desire to live their lives their own way. A few, once they saw the wrongness of their ways, tried to turn back, but by then, it was too late. So, in a real sense, they brought their own destruction upon them. The lesson here is Listen to God's advice before it's too late.
    • King Noah attempted to escape with his life with a few others and told them to abandon their families. They become angry and burn him as foretold by Abinadi.
    • Coriantumr, last king of the Jaredites, was warned by the prophet to repent or else Coriantumr would be the last survivor of his people, but he initially didn't listen. Eventually, as the war progressed, he started to come to his senses and tried to stop the conflict - but his opponent had heard about the prophecy and wanted to prove it wrong by killing him, so the fight continued, with Coriantumr's supporters and enemies killing each other until only Coriantumr was left.


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