The alternate reading of these verses that I am proposing today is one focused on covenants and promises.
In D&C 10, alongside the words about translation and wisdom are promises about covenants that God made to the Nephites thousands of years earlier.
In D&C 10:
45 Behold, there are many things engraven upon the plates of Nephi which do throw greater views upon my gospel; therefore, it is wisdom in me that you should translate this first part of the engravings of Nephi, and send forth in this work.
46 And, behold, all the remainder of this work does contain all those parts of my gospel which my holy prophets, yea, and also my disciples, desired in their prayers should come forth unto this people.
47 And I said unto them, that it should be granted unto them according to their faith in their prayers;
48 Yea, and this was their faith—that my gospel, which I gave unto them that they might preach in their days, might come unto their brethren the Lamanites, and also all that had become Lamanites because of their dissensions.
God not only wants to use the small plates because their content fills in a certain time frame, he wants to use them because their content supports everything he promised he’d bring to light. That is, the abridgment fulfilled certain promises that God made with the Nephite prophets. He promised that he would bring the gospel to the Lamanites in some future time. Mormon wrote the gospel in his abrigment, and God is fulfilling his promises by having Joseph Smith translate the abridgment. Even with the 116 pages missing, “all the remainder of this work does contain all those parts of my gospel” that those prophets prayed about. The small plates aren’t even necessary for that fulfillment, but, they do “throw greater views” on the gospel, and therefore it is wise to include them in this Book.
NOte the word wisdom here
Another place in D&C 10 that talks about wisdom of the content of the small plates is
39 Yea, and you remember it was said in those writings that a more particular account was given of these things upon the plates of Nephi.
40 And now, because the account which is engraven upon the plates of Nephi is more particular concerning the things which, in my wisdom, I would bring to the knowledge of the people in this account—
Once again, while the small plates do cover the same time period as the missing pages, it isn’t the history of the time period that God is focused on.
in my wisdom
Now, let’s look at the Book of Mormon passages again and see where they talk about covenant…
First, I want to jump ahead of the small plates and reading something that Mormon says in 3 ne 5:
14 And it hath become expedient that I, according to the will of God, that the prayers of those who have gone hence, who were the holy ones, should be fulfilled according to their faith, should make a record of these things which have been done—
15 Yea, a small record of that which hath taken place from the time that Lehi left Jerusalem, even down until the present time.
As Mormon is writing his abrdigment, he is very aware of the purpose, and of hte fact that he is helping God fulfilll his promises.
The clearest place where we see a promise being made to a faher is Enos …… here…… context…..
12 And it came to pass that after I had prayed and labored with all diligence, the Lord said unto me: I will grant unto thee according to thy desires, because of thy faith.
13 And now behold, this was the desire which I desired of him—that if it should so be, that my people, the Nephites, should fall into transgression, and by any means be destroyed, and the Lamanites should not be destroyed, that the Lord God would preserve a record of my people, the Nephites; even if it so be by the power of his holy arm, that it might be brought forth at some future day unto the Lamanites, that, perhaps, they might be brought unto salvation—
…17 And I, Enos, knew it would be according to the covenant which he had made; wherefore my soul did rest.
18 And the Lord said unto me: Thy fathers have also required of me this thing; and it shall be done unto them according to their faith; for their faith was like unto thine.
Commentary on what he prayed for, who else prayed, what was promised.
Now return to 1 Ne and Words of Mormon
First reading focused just on the “wise purpose” but this reading will also focus on the purpose of instructing his people….. Also “write of Christ that…”
Words of Mormon — yes there’s a wise purpose he’s unsure about, but note that immediately after he says,
8 And my prayer to God is concerning my brethren, that they may once again come to the knowledge of God, yea, the redemption of Christ; that they may once again be a delightsome people.
IT’s as if he’s saying I don’t know the wise purpose, but I pray it has something to do with restoring my brethren.
While the most immediate, common reading of the wise purpose is to fill in for the missing 116 pages, this alternate reading focuses on the fulfilling of the covenants. By using the small plates alongside what was left of the abridgment, God provided “greater views” and provided greater posssiblity for the latter-day Lamanties and nephites to accept the kwnoledge of God, and the redeption of Christ, and become a delightsome people unto the Lord.