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Visions in a Seer StoneJoseph Smith and the Making of the Book of Mormon$
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William L. Davis

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781469655666

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469655666.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021

Sermon Culture in the Book of Mormon

Sermon Culture in the Book of Mormon

(p.89) Chapter Five Sermon Culture in the Book of Mormon
Visions in a Seer Stone

William L. Davis

University of North Carolina Press

Chapter Five demonstrates how the Book of Mormon prophets delivered their sermons using the same patterns and techniques as nineteenth-century evangelical preachers. Two of the prophets, Nephi and Jacob, explicitly refer to the modern technique of "laying down heads" when Jacob relates that his brother, Nephi, admonished him to record the "heads" of sermons and prophecies on the gold plates and to "touch upon them" as much as possible (Jacob 1:4). Jacob further delivers his sermons using the "doctrine and use" sermon pattern that specifically arose from the sermo modernus of medieval scholasticism. The chapter further addresses the topics, techniques, and language styles in Book of Mormon sermons, including nineteenth-century gospel controversies, common subject matter for new preachers, the use of biblical language, and the presence of nineteenth-century revival language. A detailed analysis of the Book of Mormon reveals that over forty percent of the entire text, or approximately 108,099 words, consists of sermons, orations, scriptural commentaries, and exhortations. Such semi-extemporaneous oral productions would require little or no advanced preparation.

Keywords:   Concealed Heads, Doctrine and Use Pattern, Extemporaneous Preaching, Gospel controversies, Laying Down Heads, Preacher Training, Progressive Heads, Resumptive Repetition, Revival Language, Sermo Modernus

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