The Book of Mormon’s summary of itself


I thought it would be fun to copy and paste all of the times that a Book of Mormon author writes a preface or introduction. This could be expanded to every time an author explains themselves, but right now I’m looking for the times in the text where it’s clear Mormon or another author wrote a stand-alone sentence or short introduction before proceeding with their records. (In other words, here are all the headings that aren’t italicized, so we know they were in the original and not added later.)

  • The First Book of Nephi
  • An account of Lehi and his wife Sariah, and his four sons, being called, (beginning at the eldest) Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi. The Lord warns Lehi to depart out of the land of Jerusalem, because he prophesieth unto the people concerning their iniquity and they seek to destroy his life. He taketh three days’ journey into the wilderness with his family. Nephi taketh his brethren and returneth to the land of Jerusalem after the record of the Jews. The account of their sufferings. They take the daughters of Ishmael to wife. They take their families and depart into the wilderness. Their sufferings and afflictions in the wilderness. The course of their travels. They come to the large waters. Nephi’s brethren rebel against him. He confoundeth them, and buildeth a ship. They call the name of the place Bountiful. They cross the large waters into the promised land, and so forth. This is according to the account of Nephi; or in other words, I, Nephi, wrote this record.
  • The Second Book of Nephi
  • An account of the death of Lehi. Nephi’s brethren rebel against him. The Lord warns Nephi to depart into the wilderness. His journeyings in the wilderness, and so forth.
  • The Book of Jacob the Brother of Nephi
  • The words of his preaching unto his brethren. He confoundeth a man who seeketh to overthrow the doctrine of Christ. A few words concerning the history of the people of Nephi.
  • The Book of Enos
  • The Book of Jarom
  • The Book of Omni
  • The Words of Mormon
  • The Book of Mosiah
  • The Record of Zeniff—An account of his people, from the time they left the land of Zarahemla until the time that they were delivered out of the hands of the Lamanites.
  • An account of Alma and the people of the Lord, who were driven into the wilderness by the people of King Noah.
  • The Book of Alma the Son of Alma
  • The account of Alma, who was the son of Alma, the first and chief judge over the people of Nephi, and also the high priest over the Church. An account of the reign of the judges, and the wars and contentions among the people. And also an account of a war between the Nephites and the Lamanites, according to the record of Alma, the first and chief judge.
  • The words which Alma, the High Priest according to the holy order of God, delivered to the people in their cities and villages throughout the land.
  • The words of Alma which he delivered to the people in Gideon, according to his own record.
  • The words of Alma, and also the words of Amulek, which were declared unto the people who were in the land of Ammonihah. And also they are cast into prison, and delivered by the miraculous power of God which was in them, according to the record of Alma.
  • An account of the sons of Mosiah, who rejected their rights to the kingdom for the word of God, and went up to the land of Nephi to preach to the Lamanites; their sufferings and deliverance—according to the record of Alma.
  • An account of the preaching of Aaron, and Muloki, and their brethren, to the Lamanites.
  • The commandments of Alma to his son Helaman.
  • The commandments of Alma to his son Shiblon.
  • The commandments of Alma to his son Corianton.
  • The account of the people of Nephi, and their wars and dissensions, in the days of Helaman, according to the record of Helaman, which he kept in his days.
  • The Book of Helaman
  • An account of the Nephites. Their wars and contentions, and their dissensions. And also the prophecies of many holy prophets, before the coming of Christ, according to the records of Helaman, who was the son of Helaman, and also according to the records of his sons, even down to the coming of Christ. And also many of the Lamanites are converted. An account of their conversion. An account of the righteousness of the Lamanites, and the wickedness and abominations of the Nephites, according to the record of Helaman and his sons, even down to the coming of Christ, which is called the book of Helaman, and so forth.
  • The Prophecy of Nephi, the Son of Helaman—God threatens the people of Nephi that he will visit them in his anger, to their utter destruction except they repent of their wickedness. God smiteth the people of Nephi with pestilence; they repent and turn unto him. Samuel, a Lamanite, prophesies unto the Nephites.
  • The prophecy of Samuel, the Lamanite, to the Nephites.
  • Third Nephi The Book of Nephi the Son of Nephi, Who Was the Son of Helaman
  • And Helaman was the son of Helaman, who was the son of Alma, who was the son of Alma, being a descendant of Nephi who was the son of Lehi, who came out of Jerusalem in the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, the king of Judah.
  • Jesus Christ did show himself unto the people of Nephi, as the multitude were gathered together in the land Bountiful, and did minister unto them; and on this wise did he show himself unto them.
  • Fourth Nephi The Book of Nephi Who Is the Son of Nephi—One of the Disciples of Jesus Christ
  • An account of the people of Nephi, according to his record.
  •  The Book of Mormon
  • The Book of Ether
  • The Book of Moroni
  • The second epistle of Mormon to his son Moroni.

This opens up all sorts of questions for me – fun questions. For example, why did Mormon feel that the title of Third Nephi needed to include Nephi’s lineage all the way back to the first Nephi? Why at that moment? Or, was it just the way that it was in the record he was copying from? If so, why did that Nephi feel a need to explain his lineage? Mormon doesn’t do that in the title of his book, for example. Kinda fun question to ask.

Also, why all the introductions to the stories in Alma, but none in Mosiah?

Other questions you would ask?

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