2018 Book of Mormon Central Conference: Notes

My wife and I drove up to Provo Friday with our 12-year old and 13-year-old to attend this awesome conference. Thanks to our friends who watched our three youngest kids while we went, and thanks to Book of Mormon Central for organization such an amazing, enjoyable, educational event. Not only did we hear from several great teachers, but we got to take a tour of Herod’s temple with virtual reality headsets, see some museum displays about metal plates from Roman times and a Bedouin tent, the kids got to meet John Bytheway, and they even gave us lunch! :)

Here are my notes:

 

Matt Roper & Paul Fields: Abinadi to Zenos: 28 Speakers in the Book of Mormon

  • Multivariate Tukey-Kramer multiple comparison procedure shows 28 distinct speakers in the Book of Mormon.
  • Book of Mormon style cluster is completely distinct from other major 19th century works.
  • Diversity of speech in the Book of Mormon is easily far greater than any of the great novelists of the 19th century.
  • Style of each character is consistent throughout the text.
  • Mormon has 96,000 words, 36% of BoM
  • BoM narrator only = 15% of text, vs. 66% of 19th century novels
  • BoM voice diversity = 300, vs. 200 in 19th cent. Novels
  • BoM uses 28 styles consistently and congruently

 

Mark Wright: “In the Fields and in the Forests”: Mesoamerican Ecology and Cosmology in the Book of Mormon

  • Title from Mosiah 20:8.
  • To ancient Mesoamerica, fields are safe, forests (wilderness) is dangerous
  • Social spaces are modeled after cosmic spaces.
  • Preclassic period starts restricting temple space to high priests. Poor people couldn’t wear jade–reserved for upper class (priests, royalty).
  • Mayan temple rituals included a culmination in becoming god.
  • Mayans would integrate and adapt foreign influences: reflected in Ammon correlating “great Spirit” with God. After conversion, Lamoni’s father refers to “Great God,” not Great Spirit.
  • Jun Ajaw in a Mayan god, “one Lord,” lots of similarities to Jesus Christ.
  • Argemone mexicana–poisonous thistle. Mosiah 12:12, 7:30.
  • Mosiah 12:6–hail, east wind, pestilence, perhaps like destroyed maize and aftermath.
  • Helaman 5 on whirlwind and hail = Ritual of the Bacabs, colonial Yucatan document.
  • Alma quote Zenos to poor Zoramites: wilderness -> field -> house -> closet very much like inner / outer courts of temples
  • Mayan word saq means white/pure, tzuc means germinate/sprout/light breaking through. Compare Alma 32:42. Corn was considered a fruit, like the colors of corn above.

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Recommended: BookofMormonCentral.Org

To mark today’s 186th birthday of the Book of Mormon, I wanted to share this amazing resource about it.

Book of Mormon Central has been online for about three months now, and I keep liking it more and more.

At first, I worried that it would only be a collection of apologetic materials, which would be redundant, as FairMormon has that abundantly covered.

As the weeks have gone on, though, I’ve seen much more breadth to it: yes, there is plenty of timely and appropriate “defending the faith” stuff, but they also feature plenty of material about simply understanding the text, as well as analyzing how it works as a written text, and even how to use it to improve our faith and discipleship. (Most all of these take the form of short pieces presented as answers to common questions, called “KnoWhys.”)

In short, it has already become the most comprehensive Book of Mormon web site.

This site announces its mission as “to increase and diffuse knowledge of the Book of Mormon,” but it really is more than that: this whole site is a giant love letter to the Book of Mormon. They love it. They celebrate it. This isn’t missionary work as much as it is a big romantic gesture. Consider their beautiful #BoMday hashtag on social media!

They sponsored a “Book of Mormon Temples” fireside recently and it’s already on their fledgling but impressive YouTube channel. It’s worth your time, and it’s not the work of casual fans, but devoted fanatics who love the Book of Mormon with a passion.

This great web site could help all of us have a bit more of that passion.