There are 11 thoughts on ““Arise from the Dust”: Insights from Dust-Related Themes in the Book of Mormon (Part 3: Dusting Off a Famous Chiasmus, Alma 36)”.

  1. It seems that Jeff Lindsey may have scored a bulls-eye with this article.

    The apparent ease with which I, a non-academician, understood the concepts as presented, attests to a strong case for an actual relationship, just as suggested.

    Also, what I really like about Brother Lindsey’s work, is that he took an apparent weakness as expressed by Wunderli, and transposed that supposed weakness into a strength. Accomplishing this exact type of achievement is part of the promise of the Book of Mormon, while, in addition, it being a promise to those who defend the church in the latter days. Taking weak things and making them strong seems to be something the Lord likes to do.

    Congratulations on a great job in doing just that!

    • That’s very kind of you, Tim. The Alma 36 issue is still a bit complex, but I’m glad you found it digestible. I also think the issues in Parts 1 and 2 present different important reasons to look more carefully at the Book of Mormon as a text highly rooted in antiquity.

      • Hi Jeff,
        Sorry I misspelled your last name. I should have known better. Also, thank you for your kind reply. I have read enough of your work to know that you are extremely busy. I wasn’t expecting a reply, but the fact you took the time to do so, is even all the more remarkable.
        Wonderful articles, by the way. I love your logical approach, in which laymen, especially like myself, can follow. Instead of being indigestible, you’ve done a remarkable job of making these “dust” articles fully-digestible (no pun intended.)
        Congrats, once again!

        • Thanks again for the kind words and thanks for being a reader of the journal. There are so many treasures that have been published here that really deserve more attention. I hope you’ll keep reading and keep sharing.

          • Most definitely planning on it. The Interpreter Foundation is one of my favorite all-time places to be! I’m glad you’re involved with it more now that you’re back from China.

  2. Lynn, thank you. I find your approach and formatting very helpful and it may indeed solve some problems others have struggled with, several of which may be due to a chiasmus within a chiasmus one one side that is not balanced by an equally extensive structure on the other side, but is still connected. Most of the connections appear reasonable. Would appreciate further review from others on this. Many thanks! I’ll mention this in some other places — an important contribution!

  3. Excellent insights!
    In 1988 I reformatted this chapter. While the general outline follows Welch fairly closely, my version includes all the verses, solves the out of order i’ element in his version, and shows complex thematic parallelism in what Jeff refers to as the more diffuse middle ground. I show the substructure throughout the chapter. See “Doctrinal Discourses in the Book of Mormon” at

  4. A Marvelous Work and a Wonder that God uses a poor ignorant plow-boy to produce the Book of Mormon. So much for the wisdom of their wise men.

  5. I should point out that rising from the dust ties in well with the concept of grace. God’s act of creating us from the dust of the earth is repeated when we allow Him to continue His creative work as we respond to His call to arise. The power to arise/rise comes from Him as we respond to His command, enabled to stand and receive His gifts through the power of the Atonement. Rising (quwm) from the dust (‘aphar) may possibly (speculating here) find resonance with the Hebrew word kaphar (Strong’s H3722) which is usually translated as “atonement” in the KJV. Would be interested in what Hebrew experts have to say about the dust/atonement connection in ‘aphar/kaphar (not mentioned in the article), along with kathar as a possible word for encirclement, one of the motifs within the body of dust-related themes in the Book of Mormon.

  6. Thanks. There’s more that could be said. Perhaps I should have said more about 3 Nephi in the scenes involving prayer, where there may be some significance to the kneeling on the ground and then arising from the ground that occurs in 3 Nephi 17 and 19-20. The people bow to the ground in prayer and are overcome by the spirit in 3 Nephi 17, such that they seem to lack power to arise when Christ finishes praying and arises before them. It is only after he bids them to arise that they then “arose from the earth,” after which Christ declares his joy is full. Then a grand theophany occurs as angels come down and surround the children, who are encircled not with chains but with divine and liberating fire.
    See also the later prayer and theophany in 3 Nephi 19 and 20, and notice the frequent use of the word “earth” and the culminating command to arise, followed by another sacred repast (the sacrament) in the presence of the Savior.
    Kneeling upon the earth/dust is perhaps a symbol of humility, of accepting the creative work and power of God, and of willingness to enter into a covenant. Following the divine command to arise then may be a symbol of keeping the covenant, and of receiving sacred ordinances and enthronement, and of entering in the presence of God.
    The role of Isaiah’s “arise from the dust” section throughout the Book of Mormon, from Lehi’s words to Christ’s words and Mormon’s closing passage, is something that should be considered several times throughout the text as we understand the words and actions that are highlighted for us.

  7. Wonderful work Jeff. Really refreshes and deepens understanding and appreciation. “Interwoven”. Difficult for Joseph Smith to have managed. Lots of temple imagery here as well, but you don’t need to spell that out.

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