Evidence #84 | September 19, 2020

Editorial Promises

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Scripture Central

Abstract

The Book of Mormon’s numerous editorial promises (commitments made by its authors to discuss or revisit certain topics) are consistently and accurately fulfilled.

Evidence Summary

On many occasions, Book of Mormon authors and editors informed readers that they would later discuss or revisit certain topics. For example, after recording that King Mosiah would give his sons permission to preach to the Lamanites, Mormon promised to “give an account of their proceedings hereafter” (Mosiah 28:9). Mormon fulfills this promise 18 chapters later in Alma 17–27. Such commitments, sometimes referred to as “editorial promises,” are plentifully scattered throughout the Book of Mormon.

Many of these promises are fulfilled immediately in the text. Others undergo sustained or intermittent discussion before being fulfilled. And a good number of them (more than 60) are separated from their fulfillments by at least a chapter or more of text (see Appendix). These delayed fulfillments are especially notable. As explained by John A. Tvedtnes, “An author may promise in the course of writing to return to a subject later to supply further details. Actually keeping such a promise can prove difficult. Even with modern writing aids, memory can betray a person into failing to tuck in the corners of plot or information.”1

In addition, varying types of fulfillments sometimes overlap in complex ways. As demonstrated in the appendix, 1 Nephi 1 contains at least 20 editorial promises. Some of them are quickly fulfilled in the same chapter, but most are intermittently fulfilled throughout the rest of 1 Nephi. Keeping track of so many overlapping commitments and fulfillments would be a difficult task for any author, especially throughout a lengthy text like the Book of Mormon. Yet, the book’s editorial promises are consistently and accurately fulfilled, even when they are separated from their fulfillments by large amounts of text.


Further Reading

Book of Mormon Central, “Why Should Readers Pay Attention to the Book of Mormon’s Editorial Promises? (3 Nephi 18:37),” KnoWhy 510 (April 11, 2019).

Thomas W. Mackay, “Mormon as Editor: A Study in Colophons, Headers, and Source Indicators,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 2, no. 2 (1993): 90–109.

John A. Tvedtnes, “Mormon’s Editorial Promises,” in Rediscovering the Book of Mormon: Insights You May Have Missed Before, ed. John L. Sorenson and Melvin J. Thorne (Salt Lake City and Provo, UT: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1991), 29–31.


Appendix

 

Editorial Promises

* Promises separated from their fulfillment by more than five verses

** Promises separated from their fulfillment by large amounts of text (typically a chapter or more)

TopicPromiseFulfillment

An Account of Lehi and His Family Will Be Given

1 Nephi 1 Introduction

1 Nephi 122

**The Lord Will Warn Lehi to Leave Jerusalem

1 Nephi 1 Introduction

1 Nephi 2:2

*Lehi Will Prophesy unto the People Concerning Their Iniquity

1 Nephi 1 Introduction

1 Nephi 1:18

*The People Will Seek to Kill Lehi

1 Nephi 1 Introduction

1 Nephi 1:20

**A Three Day Journey Will Be Discussed

1 Nephi 1 Introduction

1 Nephi 2:6

**Lehi’s Sons Will Return to Jerusalem for the Brass Plates

1 Nephi 1 Introduction

1 Nephi 3–4

**An Account of Suffering Will Be Given

1 Nephi 1 Introduction

1 Nephi 3:13–14, 26–29

**Lehi’s Sons Will Take Wives

1 Nephi 1 Introduction

1 Nephi 7:1

1 Nephi 16:7

**Lehi’s Family Will Depart into the Wilderness

1 Nephi 1 Introduction

1 Nephi 16:12

**An Account of Suffering and Afflictions in the Wilderness Will Be Given

1 Nephi 1 Introduction

1 Nephi 16:19–20, 35

1 Nephi 17:6, 20–21

**The Course of Lehi’s Travels Will Be Given

1 Nephi 1 Introduction

1 Nephi 16–17

**Lehi’s Group Will Come to Large Waters

1 Nephi 1 Introduction

1 Nephi 17:5

**Nephi’s Brothers Will Rebel against Him

1 Nephi 1 Introduction

1 Nephi 17:17–22, 48

2 Nephi 1:2

**Nephi Will Confound His Brothers

1 Nephi 1 Introduction

1 Nephi 17:52

**Nephi Will Build a Ship

1 Nephi 1 Introduction

1 Nephi 18:4

**A Location Will Be Called Bountiful

1 Nephi 1 Introduction

1 Nephi 17:5–6

**Lehi’s Group Will Cross Large Waters and Arrive in a Promised Land

1 Nephi 1 Introduction

1 Nephi 18:23

**Nephi Will Give an Abbreviated Account of His Father’s record

1 Nephi 1:16

1 Nephi 6:3

1 Nephi 8:29

1 Nephi 9:1

**Nephi Will First Abridge Lehi’s Record, Then Make His Own

1 Nephi 1:17

1 Nephi 10:1

*Nephi Will Show That the Lord Chooses (Favors) the Righteous and Faithful

1 Nephi 1:20

1 Nephi 2:16–24

1 Nephi 3:6

1 Nephi 3:29

1 Nephi 4:13

1 Nephi 15:8–11

1 Nephi 17:33–35

**Nephi Will Show the Lord’s Power of Deliverance

1 Nephi 1:20

1 Nephi 3:29

1 Nephi 4:3, 11–12, 17

1 Nephi 5:8

1 Nephi 7:17

1 Nephi 16:30–33

1 Nephi 16:39

1 Nephi 17:1–3

1 Nephi 17:48–55

1 Nephi 18:20–22

2 Nephi 5:1–7

No Genealogy Will Be Given

1 Nephi 6:1

1 Nephi 6:22 Nephi 33:15

**Nephi Commands Posterity to Not Occupy Plates with Things of No Worth

1 Nephi 6:6

Jacob 1:1–4

 

JacobOmni

**Nephi’s Plates Will Be Handed Down from One Prophet to Another

1 Nephi 19:4

Jacob 1:3

Jarom 1:1, 15

Omni 1:1, 3, 9

**An Account of Making Plates Will Be Given Hereafter

1 Nephi 19:5

2 Nephi 5:30–32

**Nephi Will Proceed to Give a Spiritual Account after He Gives an Account of Making His Small Plates

1 Nephi 19:5

2 Nephi 633

Nephi Will Read the Words of Isaiah

1 Nephi 19:23

1 Nephi 2021

**Nephi Will Liken the Scriptures unto His People

1 Nephi 19:23

1 Nephi 22

**An Account of Lehi’s Death Will Be Given

2 Nephi 1 Introduction

2 Nephi 4:12

**Nephi’s Brothers Will Rebel

2 Nephi 1 Introduction

2 Nephi 5:1–3

**The Lord Will Warn Nephi to Depart into the Wilderness

2 Nephi 1 Introduction

2 Nephi 5:5

**Nephi’s Journey in the Wilderness Will Be Given

2 Nephi 1 Introduction

2 Nephi 5:6–7

Lehi Will Speak to the People

2 Nephi 1:1

2 Nephi 12 Nephi 4:12

Lehi Will Speak to Jacob

2 Nephi 2:1

2 Nephi 2

Lehi Will Speak to Joseph

2 Nephi 3:1

2 Nephi 3

Nephi Will Speak of the Prophecies of Joseph Who Was Carried into Egypt

2 Nephi 4:1

2 Nephi 4:2

Lehi Will Speak to Laman’s Posterity

2 Nephi 4:3

2 Nephi 4:3–7

Lehi Will Speak to Lemuel’s Posterity

2 Nephi 4:8

2 Nephi 4:9

Jacob’s Words Will Be Given

2 Nephi 6:1

Jacob 610

Jacob Will Read Words from Isaiah

2 Nephi 6:4

Jacob 68

Jacob Will Declare the Rest of His Words on the Morrow

2 Nephi 9:54

2 Nephi 10

Jacob Will Speak of a Righteous Branch

2 Nephi 10:1

2 Nephi 10:2–22

*Nephi Will Write More of Isaiah’s Words

2 Nephi 11:2

2 Nephi 11:8

2 Nephi 1224

**Nephi Will Liken Isaiah’s Words to His People

2 Nephi 11:2

2 Nephi 2530

 

Nephi Will Comment upon Isaiah’s Words Which He Had Written

2 Nephi 25:1

2 Nephi 2530

*Nephi Will Show His People That the Judgements of God Come upon All Nations

2 Nephi 25:3

2 Nephi 25:22

2 Nephi 27:1–3

2 Nephi 27:9–14

Nephi Will Proceed with His Own Prophecy According to His Plainness

2 Nephi 25:4

2 Nephi 2530

2 Nephi 25:10

2 Nephi 26:14

2 Nephi 30:3

*Nephi Will Particularly Speak to Those Who Doubt the Worth of His Words

2 Nephi 25:8

2 Nephi 25:28

2 Nephi 2829

*Nephi Will Confine His Words to His Own People

2 Nephi 25:8

2 Nephi 25:20

2 Nephi 26:1, 23

2 Nephi 28:1

2 Nephi 30:1, 18

Nephi Will Show His Posterity That They Aren’t More Righteous Than the Gentiles

2 Nephi 30:1

2 Nephi 30:1–8

Nephi Will Prophesy More Concerning the Jews and Gentiles

2 Nephi 30:3

2 Nephi 30:3–7

Nephi Will Make an End of His Prophesying

2 Nephi 31:1

2 Nephi 3133

Nephi Will Speak Plainly Concerning the Doctrine of Christ

2 Nephi 31:2

2 Nephi 31:2–21

Jacob’s Preaching Will Be Recorded

Jacob 1 Introduction

Jacob 16

**Jacob Will Confound A Man Who Contends against the Doctrine of Christ

Jacob 1 Introduction

Jacob 7:8

*Jacob Will Give Some Words Concerning the History of His People

Jacob 1 Introduction

Jacob 1:9–19

**Jacob Will Group Lehi’s Seven Tribes as Either Nephites or Lamanites

Jacob 1:14

Jacob 2:35

Jacob 3:3, 5

Jacob 7:24

*Jacob Will Tell the People Concerning the Wickedness of Their Thoughts and Actions

Jacob 2:5–6

Jacob 2:13, 16, 20

Jacob 2:22–23

Jacob Will Show How the Jews Will Be Redeemed after Rejecting Their Redeemer

Jacob 4:18

Jacob 56

Jacob 6:8

Jacob Will Confound Sherem

Jacob 7:8

Jacob 7:9–14

Enos Will Tell about His Wrestle with the Lord

Enos 1:2

Enos 1:4

Enos Will Tell about His Remission of Sins

Enos 1:2

Enos 1:5–6

Jarom Won’t Write about His Prophecies or Revelations

Jarom 1:2

Jarom 1:3–15

**Mormon Will Deliver Plates to Moroni

Words of Mormon 1:1

Mormon 6:6

**Moroni May Write Concerning the Destruction of His People

Words of Mormon 1:2

Mormon 8:1–8

**Moroni May Write Concerning Christ

Words of Mormon 1:2

Mormon 9:37

Ether 12:41

Moroni 10

**Mormon Will Include Nephi’s Small Plates at the End of His Record2

Words of Mormon 1:5–6

1 NephiWords of Mormon

**King Benjamin Will Declare That Mosiah Will Be King

Mosiah 1:10

Mosiah 2:30

**King Benjamin Will Give His People a Name

Mosiah 1:11–12

Mosiah 5:7–12

King Limhi Will Cause His People to Rejoice on the Morrow

Mosiah 7:14

Mosiah 7:17

The Record of Zeniff’s People Will Be Given

Mosiah 9 Introduction

Mosiah 922

Abinadi Will Read the Remainder of the Commandments

Mosiah 13:11

Mosiah 13:12–24

An Account of Alma and His People Will Be Given

Mosiah 23 Introduction

Mosiah 2324

**An Account of Baptism Will Be Given

Mosiah 21:35

Mosiah 25:17–18

Mormon Will Show Readers That the Nephites Were Put into Bondage

Mosiah 23:23

Mosiah 23:37

*Mormon Will Show Readers That Only the Lord Could Deliver the Nephites

Mosiah 23:23

Mosiah 24:17–25

Mosiah 25:10, 16

**An Account of the Sons of Mosiah Will Be Given

Mosiah 28:9

Alma 1727

**An Account of the Jaredites Will Be Given

Mosiah 28:17–19

Ether 1:1–2

Mosiah’s Written Words Will Be Given

Mosiah 29:4

Mosiah 29:5–36

An Account of Alma, the Son of Alma Will Be Given

Alma 1:1 Introduction

Alma 14

Alma Is the Chief Judge3

Alma 1:1 Introduction

Alma 14

An Account of the Reign of the Judges Will Be Given

Alma 1:1 Introduction

Alma 163

**An Account of Contention and Wars among the People (Nephites) Will Be Given

Alma 1:1 Introduction

Alma 2

**An Account of War between the Nephites and Lamanites Will Be Given

Alma 1:1 Introduction

Alma 2:24–38

Alma 3:20–23

Return to Account of Amlicites

Alma 3:13

Alma 3:13–23

An Account Will Be Given of Alma’s Words Delivered in Cities and Villages

Alma 5 Introduction

Alma 58

Alma’s Words to the People in Gideon Will Be Given

Alma 7 Introduction

Alma 6:8

Alma 8:1

**Alma and Amulek Will Be Given Special Divine Power

Alma 8:31

Alma 14:10

Alma 14:28

**Alma and Amulek Will Not Be Confined in Dungeons

Alma 8:31

Alma 14:28

**It Won’t Be Possible for Men to Slay Alma and Amulek

Alma 8:31

Alma 14:13

Alma 14:28

**Alma and Amulek Won’t Exercise Power until Bound and Cast into Prison

Alma 8:31

Alma 14:26

The Words of Alma Will Be Given

Alma 9 Introduction

Alma 9:1–33

Alma 1213

*The Words of Amulek Will Also Be Given

Alma 9 Introduction

Alma 9:34

Alma 10:1–27

Alma 11:22–46

**Alma and Amulek Will Be Cast into Prison

Alma 9 Introduction

Alma 14:18

**Alma and Amulek Will Be Delivered by Divine Power

Alma 9 Introduction

Alma 14:28

**Lawyers Plan to Remember Alma and Amulek’s Words Against Them

Alma 10:30

Alma 12:3–4, 7

Alma Will Explain the Fall

Alma 12:22

Alma 12:22–37

An Account of the Sons of Mosiah Will Be Given

Alma 17 Introduction

Alma 1727

*An Account of the Sufferings of the Sons of Mosiah Will Be Given

Alma 17 Introduction

Alma 20:29–30

Alma 21:13–14

Alma 26:28–30

**An Account of the Deliverance of the Sons of Mosiah Will Be Given

Alma 17 Introduction

Alma 21:14

Alma 26:29

Ammon Will Show His Power So Others Will Believe His Words

Alma 17:29

Alma 17:29Alma 19

An Account Will Be Given of the Preaching of Aaron, Muloki, and Their Brethren

Alma 21 Introduction

Alma 2125

Return to Account of Aaron and His brethren

Alma 22:1

Alma 2125

Return to the Account of the Sons of Mosiah

Alma 22:35

Alma 2328

Alma Will Inquire of the Lord

Alma 27:7

Alma 27:11

*The Nephites Will Give the Land of Jershon to the People of Ammon

Alma 27:22–24

Alma 28:1, 8

Alma 30:1, 19

Alma 35:8, 13

**An Account of War in the 18th Year Will Be Given

Alma 35:13

Alma 43:3

The Commandments of Alma to His Son Helaman

Alma 36 Introduction

Alma 3637

Alma Will Speak of the Jaredite Record

Alma 37:21

Alma 37:21–32

The Commandments of Alma to His Son Shiblon

Alma 38 Introduction

Alma 38

The Commandments of Alma to His Son Corianton

Alma 39 Introduction

Alma 3942

Alma Will Discuss the Coming of Christ

Alma 39:15

Alma 39:15–19

Alma Will Explain the Meaning of Restoration

Alma 41:1

Alma 41:1–15

Alma Will Explain the Justice of God

Alma 42:1

Alma 42:2–31

No More Will Be Said about the Ministry of Alma and His Sons

Alma 43:2

Alma 4363

Return to War Account

Alma 43:3

Alma 4363

An Account Will Be given of Wars and Dissensions in the Days of Helaman

Alma 45 Introduction

Alma 4562

Return to the Account of Amalickiah and Those Who Fled with Him

Alma 47:1

Alma 47:1Alma 48:7

*Readers Will See That Amalickiah’s Promise Was Rash

Alma 51:10

Alma 51:34

Helaman Will Show That They Accomplished Their Desire to Obtain the City Cumeni

Alma 57:8

Alma 57:9–23

An Account of Wars and Contentions Will Be Given

Helaman 1 Introduction

Helaman 1

Helaman 4

*The Account Is According to the Record of Helaman and His Sons

Helaman 1 Introduction

Helaman 2:2

Helaman 3:37

 

**An Account Will Be Given of the Conversion of Many Lamanites

Helaman 1 Introduction

Helaman 5:18–52

**An Account of the Righteousness of the Lamanites Will Be Given

Helaman 1 Introduction

Helaman 6:1–4

 

**An Account and Abominations of the Nephites Will Be Given

Helaman 1 Introduction

Helaman 6:2–3

Helaman 6:17–41

**Gadianton Will Be Spoken of Hereafter

Helaman 2:12

Helaman 3:23

Helaman 6:18, 24, 26, 29, 37

Helaman 7:4, 25

Helaman 8:1, 28

Helaman 11:10, 26

3 Nephi 1:27, 29

3 Nephi 2:11–12, 18

3 Nephi 3:9, 15

4 Nephi 1:42, 46

Mormon 1:18

Mormon 2:27–28

**In the End of Nephi’s Book, Readers Will See How Gadianton Caused the Destruction of Nearly the Entire Nephite Nation

Helaman 2:13–14

Mormon 1:18–19

Nephi Will Give Prophecies

Helaman 7 Introduction

Helaman 712

*God Will Threaten the People with Utter Destruction

Helaman 7 Introduction

Helaman 7:24

**God Will Smite the People with Pestilence

Helaman 7 Introduction

Helaman 10:6

Helaman 11:14–15

**The People Will Repent and Turn to God

Helaman 7 Introduction

Helaman 11:7–15

**Samuel the Lamanite Will Prophesy unto the Nephites

Helaman 7 Introduction

Helaman 1316

The Prophecy of Samuel the Lamanite Will Be Given

Helaman 13 Introduction

Helaman 1316

**Mormon’s Writings Will Record Events up until His Day

3 Nephi 5:14–16

4 Nephi 1:49

**Mormon Will Make a Record of Things He Personally Witnessed

3 Nephi 5:17

Mormon 1:1

Mormon Will Show That the People Didn’t Establish a King4

3 Nephi 7:1

3 Nephi 7:1–8

**Mormon Will Show Readers That the Spared Nephites and Lamanites Will Have Great Favors Shown unto Them

3 Nephi 10:18–19

4 Nephi 1:2

*The Lamanites Will No Longer Be Called Lamanites

3 Nephi 10:18–19

4 Nephi 1:17

*Soon after His Ascension, Christ Will Manifest Himself to the People

3 Nephi 10:18–19

3 Nephi 11:8–10

*An Account of Christ’s Ministry Will Be Given

3 Nephi 10:19

3 Nephi 11:103 Nephi 28

*Jesus Will Show Himself to Those Gathered at Bountiful

3 Nephi 11 Introduction

3 Nephi 11:8–10

**Mormon Will Show That Disciples Were Given Power to Give the Holy Ghost

3 Nephi 18:37

4 Nephi 1:1

Moroni 2

Christ Will Give a Sign

3 Nephi 21:1

3 Nephi 21:1–7

Christ Will Give the Words of Malachi

3 Nephi 24:1

3 Nephi 2425

**After Giving the Words of Malachi, Christ Will Expound upon Them

3 Nephi 24:1

3 Nephi 26:1–3

Mormon Will Make a Record of Things He Has Seen and Heard

Mormon 1:1

Mormon 16

**Mormon Will Remember the Things Ammaron Commanded

Mormon 1:5

Mormon 4:23

**Mormon Won’t Make a Full Account of His People’s Wickedness

Mormon 2:18

Mormon 5:9

Lamanites Won’t Attack for Ten Years

Mormon 3:1

Mormon 3:4

The Nephites Will Lose Battles from This Time Forward

Mormon 4:18

Mormon 4:18Mormon 6:22

Mormon Will Speak to a Remnant

Mormon 7:1

Mormon 7:2–10

Moroni Will Finish Mormon’s Record

Mormon 8:1

Mormon 89

Moroni Will Write Before Hiding up Records

Mormon 8:4

Mormon 8:49:37

Moroni 1:1, 4

Moroni Will Make an End of Speaking of His People

Mormon 8:13

Mormon 8:14Mormon 9

Moroni Will Speak As If Future Readers Are Present5

Mormon 8:35

Mormon 8:35Mormon 9

Moroni Will Speak to Those Who Don’t Believe in Christ

Mormon 9:1

Mormon 9:2–31

Moroni Will Show unto Readers a God of Miracles

Mormon 9:11

Mormon 9:12–26

The Record of the Jaredites Will be Given

Ether 1 Introduction

Ether 115

Moroni Will Give the Account of the Jaredites

Ether 1:1

Ether 115

*Moroni Will Give a Shortened Account from the Tower to the Jaredite Destruction

Ether 1:5

Ether 1:33Ether 15

Ether 3:17

Moroni Will Return to Jaredite Record

Ether 2:13

Ether 2:13Ether 3:16

Moroni Will Give an Account of Jared and His Brother

Ether 6:1

Ether 6:2–29

Moroni Will Not Write about Wicked Oaths and Combinations

Ether 8:20

Ether 8:20Ether 15

Moroni Will Proceed with the Jaredite Record

Ether 9:1

Ether 9:1Ether 12:6

Moroni Will Discuss Faith

Ether 12:6

Ether 12:7–31

Moroni Will Finish the Jaredite Record

Ether 13:1

Ether 13:2Ether 15

Moroni Won’t Write More of Ether’s Prophecies about the Last Days

Ether 13:13

Ether 13:13Ether 15

Moroni Will Write a Few More Things

Moroni 1:4

Moroni 210

The Words of Christ to His 12 Disciples Will Be Given

Moroni 2:1

Moroni 2:2–3

The Manner of Priesthood Ordinations Will Be Given

Moroni 3:1

Moroni 3:2–4

The Manner of Administering the Sacrament Bread Will Be Given

Moroni 4:1

Moroni 4:2–3

The Manner of Administering the Sacrament Wine Will Be Given

Moroni 5:1

Moroni 5:2

Moroni Will Speak of Baptism

Moroni 6:1

Moroni 6:1–4

Mormon’s Sermon on Faith, Hope, and Charity Will Be Given

Moroni 7:1

Mormon 7:2–48

An Epistle from Mormon to Moroni Will Be Given

Moroni 8:1

Moroni 8:2–30

A Second Epistle from Mormon to Moroni Will Be Given

Moroni 9 Introduction

Moroni 9

Moroni Will Speak to His Brethren the Lamanites

Moroni 10:1

Moroni 10:2–23

Moroni Will Speak Some Words of Exhortation Before He Seals Up the Record

Moroni 10:2

Moroni 10:3–33

Moroni Will Speak to All the Ends of the Earth

Moroni 10:24

Moroni 10:25–34


 End Notes

Complexity
Editing
Editorial Promises
Book of Mormon

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