There are 10 thoughts on “An Analysis of Mormon’s Narrative Strategies Employed on the Zeniffite Narrative and Their Effect on Limhi”.

  1. Concerning note 43, I think it is unlikely that Limhi named the city of Noah after his father for the following reasons:

    1. Beginning with “the place of Nephi,” locations were frequently named by the people after a venerable leader who settled there. “And my people would that we should call the name of the place Nephi, wherefore, we did call it Nephi.” ( 2 Nephi 5:8) As the people of King Limhi may have been mostly descendants of Mulekites, Zarahemla was also named after a living leader of the Mulekites. (Omni 1: 15-8)

    2. It is interesting that the people of Limhi apparently settled in a placed they called Gideon, after the man who almost killed King Noah and who was the one who came up with the plan to escape from the Lamanites, and who led the execution of that plan. (Mosiah 22:3-13) They didn’t name the settlement after Limhi, and he is never mentioned after their return to the land of Zarahemla. It appears that Limhi lost his leadership position after their return.

    3. The cities of Gideon and Noah were not close to each other but were on opposite sides of the river Sidon.

  2. In my opinion, the comment by Val is one of the best parts of this article by Nathan. I like the scholarly humility. I also like the perspective that a theory of the text shapes what we see.

    • Thanks Everett, I agree that Val’s comment is well crafted and you are also right about how a theory does shape what we see. That is why it is so important to stay as close to the text as possible in an attempt to identify the author’s intent.

  3. I think Limhi’s reluctance to throw his father under the bus, so to speak, may in part be driven by the 4th commandment: Honor thy father and thy mother. John Gee in “Limhi in the Library” has persuasively argued that Limhi was a scholar who read scripture closely and took it seriously. That helped him be righteous when his father was wicked. A son should be reluctant to turn against his father. I don’t fault Limhi for showing that reluctance. It didn’t fully blind him to his father’s faults, which he does not seem to share.

    I have an article soon to be published in The Interpreter which covers much of the same ground treated in this article. In it, I take a more positive view of Limhi. The article title is “Prophet or Loss.” There, I argue that Mormon shows the importance of prophets by contrasting Mosiah1/Zeniff, Benjamin/Noah, and Mosiah2/Limhi. Unlike Mosiah2, Limhi is not a prophet. That makes him less effective as a leader than his counterpoint in Mormon’s extended comparison. It is possible that I was too positive toward Limhi in that forthcoming article. He gets things right. The people wanted him to kill the Lamanite king. He wisely refused to do so, and thus saved them from certain annihilation. There are a number of other good things he says or does. But as this article demonstrates, he may also make some mistakes that I did not highlight. I think it isn’t entirely clear that he was naive or impulsive, but he may have been. Or we may just be seeing him get new information and make adjustments accordingly. The bottom line is that my article and this one may function as companion point/counterpoint readings of who Limhi was. They may, thus, demonstrate the possibilities and limitations of close literary readings of the text. They may show how a theory of the text shapes what we see in it.

    • Thank you Val, I appreciate your comment. I am especially grateful for the gentle manner in which you presented your alternate conclusions regarding Mormon’s treatment of Limhi. I look forward to reading your paper!

  4. Excellent and thorough analysis.

    As was emphasized several times, these passages specifically, and the Book of Mormon in general, were very artfully and carefully crafted. However, near the end of the book, Moroni writes that he was concerned that, “…the Gentiles will mock at these things, because of our weakness in writing… wherefore, when we write we behold our weakness, and stumble because of the placing of our words.” (Ether 12:23-25)

    Moroni’s use of the pronoun “we” obviously includes his father, Mormon. Therefore, perhaps Mormon’s literary genius should be attributed to his ability to receive detailed and direct revelation from the Lord. That could also probably be said of many Old Testament prophets.

    “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God” (Article of Faith 8), implies that God is the author of much of it.

    • Great point, Theodore! I am sure Mormon would agree with you! If we were to personally praise him for his literary achievements in the Book of Mormon (which I hope to do someday), I am sure he would give the credit to God!

  5. Great article! In addition to the poor decisions of Limhi. His grandfather Zeniff confers the kingdom “upon one of my sons” (Mosiah 10:22) This point is repeated: “Zeniff conferred the kingdom upon Noah, one of his sons” (Mosiah 11:1) How did he make the poor decision to choose Noah? Were his other sons worse or perhaps unwilling?

    • Those are some great questions, Brian! I also feel that this unceremonious passage of the Zeniffite kingship has a backstory to it. I have to confess that I hadn’t really thought about it until I read Grant Hardy’s Understanding the Book of Mormon a few years ago. He posed similar questions about this apparent gap. Anyway, thanks for commenting!

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