The Book of Mormon contains a lot of unique sounding Protestant doctrine, language, and phraseology coming from Joseph Smith’s day of the 19th century.

Richard Bushman on this topic said:

I think right now the Book of Mormon is a puzzle for us. Even [for] people who believe it in every detail, it’s a puzzle. To begin with, we’ve got the puzzle of translation. Translating the book without the plates even in sight, wrapped up in a cloth on the table. It’s not something that comes right off the pages, [that is] the characters on the plates. So we don’t know how that works. And then there’s the fact that there’s phrasing everywhere, long phrases that if you Google them, you’ll find them in 19th century writings. The theology of the Book of Mormon is very much 19th century theology, and it reads like a 19th century understanding of the Hebrew bible, as an Old Testament: that is, it has Christ in it, the way Protestants saw Christ everywhere in the Old Testament.


This blog post is for the purpose of listing possible 19th century Protestant phrases in Book of Mormon, not meant to treat this subject in depth.   Here are a couple places for more info on the subject:


I spent quite a bit of time last year analyzing data in the Book of Mormon to formulate the Three Voice Hypothesis I’ve written about, which I’m still trying to finish.  A couple important pieces I wanted to throw out on my blog at some point were 1) this about the Protestant 19th century language and 2) KJV in the Book of Mormon.  Both pieces are critically important in understanding how the Book of Mormon came together.

I created an algorithm to predict 19th century Protestant language in the Book of Mormon.  The components were:

  1. Does not appear in the KJV Bible.  Every phrase you see listed below does not appear in the KJV Bible.  For 1-grams, it means that word does not appear in the Bible–at least with that spelling.  For 2,3,4-grams, it might include vocabulary in the KJV, but that exact sequence does not appear.
  2. More likely to appear as a full n-gram in the S Voice than the N Voice. (I split the BOM. S Voice = first person quoting of Abinadi, Alma, King Benjamin, etc.  N Voice = the third person narrative–mostly Mormon)
  3. Uses unique vocabulary or subset n-grams more likely to appear in the S Voice than the N Voice.  For example ‘wickedness never was happiness’ appears in S Voice, but because it only appears once, that’s not statistically relevant.  But it includes the word ‘happiness’ which is in the BOM 30 times, 26 S Voice, 4 N Voice, so that pushes the score for ‘wickedness never was happiness’ higher.
  4. Rarity

I used a little Secret Sauce to weight each component and provide a total score.  The list at bottom is the 1-grams, 2-grams, 3-grams, and 4-grams in descending order of that score, arbitrarily cut off at a certain point so as to not go on forever.  There are likely some important 3-grams and 4-grams that were missed.

First, here are a couple experiments to try.  Let’s use ‘demands of justice’ the 3-gram with the fourth highest score.  Choose a random n-gram from the list and try this at home.

Exercise 1: Google Advanced Book Search

Go to Google Advanced Book Search.

Put in your search phrase, then put in before 1830 as the publication date.

We get some interesting results.  Some from Christian publications.  Some not.

First, to get the Book of Mormon flavor of how this phrase is used. Go here to search for your phrase in the BOM.  If you come up with your own phrase and want to check if it appears in the KJV first, you can check here.

‘demands of justice’ appears four times total in the BOM in three verses:

Mosiah 15:9 (Abinadi speaking)

Having ascended into heaven, having the bowels of mercy; being filled with compassion towards the children of men; standing betwixt them and justice; having broken the bands of death, taken upon himself their iniquity and their transgressions, having redeemed them, and satisfied the demands of justice.

Alma 34:16 (Amulek speaking)

And thus mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles them in the arms of safety, while he that exercises no faith unto repentance is exposed to the whole law of the demands of justice; therefore only unto him that has faith unto repentance is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption.

Alma 42:15 (Alma speaking)

And now, the plan of mercy could not be brought about except an atonement should be made; therefore God himself atoneth for the sins of the world, to bring about the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice, that God might be a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also.

These three verses sound a lot alike.  This is back to the Three Voice Hypothesis.  Though this is quoting three different BOM prophets, all these voices should be considered as produced by the same creator.  They are in the S portion of S (Sermon) vs N (Narrative) and the E portion of E (Early) vs L (Late).

OK, back to Google Advanced Book Search.  Here are a couple interesting hits.

From Pilgrim’s Progress (with explanatory notes by W. Mason and Others), John Bunyan, 1815, p. 243 

Wonderful indeed is the plan of redemption by our Lord Jesus Christ. For when sin had entered into the world and man was become guilty before the Lord his just desert was everlasting banishment from the presence and glory of his Maker and all that is meant by the word DEATH. Had the Almighty according to strict justice cut him off as a guilty rebel where had been the glory of his MERCY. And if he had of his clemency forgiven the offence and restored him to a state of favour where had been the evidence of his justice truth and holiness. Had he required of Adam an atonement for his sin commensurate to the demands of justice that had been impossible for him to have offered. But in the gift of Christ justice and mercy met together righteousness and peace embraced each other.

Another one from The Methodist Magazine 1798, (I had to re-search Google with the terms from the snippet to find the full text elsewhere)

For if sinners are justified it is because Christ has died who entering into the holy place his blood speaketh better things than the blood of Abel. Then he turneth aside the demands of justice for violated laws and answereth by the plea of his sacrifice for he died the just for the unjust to bring us to God.

It’s interesting to click on the links and look for language similar to the Book of Mormon.  I don’t imply plagiarism.  I imply this was the world Joseph lived in.  These were ideas and the language floating around in his head, as he approached God to bless him with the translation of the Book of Mormon.

Note of clarification:  I am not asserting that the entire list of 1,000+ n-grams below all will show up in Google searches like this.  Especially the 4-gram phrases, many of them are very unique and do not show up.  Many do show up.  The results of taking random n-grams and searching often produces interesting and surprising results.  Sometimes the surprise is that matches are found.  Sometimes the surprise is that matches are not found.


Exercise 2: Google N-Gram Historical Trend Viewer

Put in your n-gram here.  I put in ‘demands of justice’.


19th century protestant phrases in the book of mormon


It’s interesting to see that this was a phrase that maxed out in terms of popularity in Joseph’s day.  That’s not incredibly insightful other than to see that we as a modern audience of the Book of Mormon, may not appreciate how familiar this phrase might have been to those in Joseph’s day.  It sounds kind of old to us, and we might naturally equate ‘old’ to ‘ancient’, but this is a phrase that was Twitter trending, as we’d say today, in the 1810-1840 time period.

Royal Skousen and Stanford Carmack are doing great research into the Book of Mormon and how it was translated/dictated, and providing some really good insight into the Early Modern English (EModE) in the Book of Mormon.  One theory coming from their research, is that the Book of Mormon contains so much EModE grammar and vocabulary, that it’s translation or creation date is more likely to be in the 1600’s than the 1800’s.  Joseph simply could not or would not have used so much EModE.  I’m obviously a hack, amateur research hobbyist compared to them, but this is what I see.  When I copy/paste these 19th century phrases (from the list below) into this historical trender, over and over it produces results like the above.  I understand there are a handful of phrases and grammar clauses that are real head scratchers, in terms of being popular in EModE and dead in Joseph’s day (especially ‘save it be’ and ‘save it were’–very puzzling!).  But on the flip side, you have to account for literally hundreds of phrases in the Book of Mormon that were popular in the early 1800’s that don’t seem to be used in the EModE period.


More Research

I think a lot of good research could be done with the list at the bottom.  I think a potentially fruitful exercise would be to cross reference these lists in various ways against 19th century publications to see if there were any high number of hits with certain sources.  Essentially, a more focused approach to what Chris and Duane Johnson did to identify The Late War and The First Book of Napoleon.  This could potentially lead to separately identifying sources for S Voice (the first person ‘sermons’ of Alma, Abinadi, King Benjamin, etc.) and N Voice (the third person narrative).

Another interesting idea would be to include all the non-KJV phrases and run the historical trender against them, aggregating them all together, to see what time period correlates to the average peak popularity for BOM phrases and vocabulary.  After doing a little bit of this, I have pretty high confidence the average would come out spot on to when the BOM was published.  I’m not sure it proves anything, but it would be interesting to me to see those results.

My Testimony

My testimony for those that are thoroughly confused by what I’m trying to do or think I’m an anti-Mormon.  I accept the Book of Mormon as scripture.  I believe it has great power to change lives and bring people to Jesus Christ.  I’ve written several devotional type blog posts on the spiritual power of the BOM.  I think the presence of 19th century Protestant phraseology does not prove the BOM to be ‘false’.  I think there is compelling logic that can allow it to fit into any one of three faithful BOM theories:

  1. traditional view, ancient record translated with no substantial expansion by Joseph
  2. the Expansion Theory: it’s an ancient record with significant expansion by Joseph, and
  3. not historical at all, and purely came through revelation to Joseph Smith, similar to other revelations like the Doctrine and Covenants.

I do not personally believe it’s historical.  I view scripture, including the BOM, in the same vein as the Progressive Christian tradition.  Marcus Borg:

The Bible is seen as a human product. It’s man’s description of its relationship with God. It is not God’s witness to man, but man’s witness to God. This is not to deny the reality and power of God. But to acknowledge that scripture, even though we declare it to be sacred and treat it as such, is human in its origin and full of the possibility of human weakness and error.

I agree with LDS Scholar Blake Ostler’s definition of scripture: “a synthesis of human creativity responding to divine persuasion.”

There may not be any one piece of doctrine in the Book of Mormon that’s unique.  It might all come from existing 19th century Protestant thought.  But in total, it is unique and brilliant and inspiring.  Scroll through the list below, and you’ll find some Google hits and some that are unique.  But in all (including what didn’t make the final cut), these are thousands of phrases that don’t appear in the KJV that have been masterfully woven into a complex, consistent narrative, which in whole illustrate a fullness of the gospel in a very unique way.  Amazing.  I wrote this about the Book of Mormon previously.

I view the Book of Mormon as the culmination of the Christian debates, which started with Paul moved through Augustine and Pelagianism, honed through the Catholic period, picking back up with the Reformation with contributions from Luther, Calvin, Arminius, Wesley, and finally Alexander Campbell’s restorationism.  By Joseph Smith’s time, nearly all the great questions related to Christianity had been dissected thoroughly and it was appropriate to put a final stamp, so to speak, on all the debates.  The BOM contains a unique set of doctrine choosing the best from the theologians through time.  The BOM packages this up and presents it as the sacred story of an ancient people written in pseudepigraphic style.  When we read the BOM, we watch the doctrine unfold to ancient prophets.  We see anti-Christs or other bad guys like King Noah’s court take on the foil role to allow this debate to occur, or to emphasize aspects of it, like in the King Noah-Abinadi case the Law of Moses vs doctrine of Christ.  We see an embedded narrative of God interacting with a people going through ups and downs, with the point of it all to convince us of the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the goodness of God.

Setting this doctrine in stone formally as scripture as the Book of Mormon was important to anchor the church in the pure doctrine of Christ.  This grounding allowed Joseph to reveal expansive doctrines such as eternal families, temple ordinances, the three degrees of glory, preexistence, eternal progression, and allows the church today to reveal new doctrine and policy and react to modern issues while being rooted in this core gospel of Jesus Christ defined in the Book of Mormon.


The List

Reminder: this list is of n-grams that don’t appear in the KJV Bible, that weight heaviest in the S Voice, that according to my algorithm are the ones most likely to be pulled from Joseph Smith’s world of 19th century Protestantism.




natural fruit
temporal death
spiritual death
fallen state
learn wisdom
marvelous works
high priesthood
endless torment
abominable church
secret works
eternal purposes
foolish traditions
marvelous work
unholy temples
last sacrifice
nowise inherit
became expedient
secret abominations
forbidden fruit
saved except
probationary state
mercy claimeth
preparatory state
sore afflictions
awful hell
awful wickedness
atoning blood
endless misery
infinite goodness
unavoidably perish
proper order
awful state
everlasting death
perish except
infinite atonement
seed forever
redeeming love
carnal state
humble followers
paid tithes
garments spotless
sing redeeming
darkest abyss
fellow beings
work righteousness
flesh becoming
eternal torment
evil works
eternal round
endless wo
found spotless
final state
righteousness forever
eternal plan
availeth nothing
endless happiness
narrow path
eternal world
resist evil
immortal state
natural frame
temporal body
clear conscience
choose iniquity
ending happiness
always retain
punishment affixed
between death
becoming subject
ending torment
unworthy creatures
exerciseth faith
preparatory redemption
thoughtless state
justice exerciseth
direct course
righteous covenant
eternal sacrifice
enemy listeth
bright testimony
becoming spiritual
mortal tabernacle
Supreme Creator
redeem mankind
becoming humble
published salvation
immortal body
suffer temptations
natural state
deny justice
state opposite
atonement bringeth
endless damnation
bright recollection
mortal frame
eternal despair
garments stained
carnal nature
everlasting darkness
tongue confess
blood atoneth
becoming carnal
immortal soul
spiritually begotten
justice claimeth
perisheth forever
righteous works
foolish ordinances
endless state
awful situation
found guiltless
chose evil
subjecting themselves
without baptism
awful chains
blood unworthily
miserable forever
awful guilt
ancient covenant
pleasing bar
choose eternal
everlasting misery
everlasting hell
repentance bringeth
merciful plan
becometh expedient
judgment bar
righteous purposes
endureth forever
baptism availeth
everlasting damnation
souls spotless
charity bringeth
damned souls
baptism denieth
eternal punishment
becoming wicked
righteous forever
endless hell
Eternal Judge
matchless bounty
become carnal
Supreme Being
awful dilemma
become subjected
became subjects
thoughtless stupor
remain guiltless
gross wickedness
receive eternal
humble servant
walk blameless
eternal bliss
granted salvation
human sacrifice
sufficiently humble
unavoidably remain
walk guiltless
whole frame
happy state
mankind became
awful death
eternal extinction
sincere repentance
unnatural state
souls filled
unconquerable spirit
eternal hatred
endure endless
evil nature
immortal souls
eternal happiness
infinite mercy
eternal misery
justice falleth
sober mind
eternal kingdom
suffered afflictions
justice cannot
hold guiltless
grave deliver
perfect brightness
eternal gulf
eternal destruction
unshaken faith
justice hangeth
eternal band
unpardonable sin
remained forever
awful misery
choose darkness
eternal welfare
carnal security
endless duration
soul hungered
unworthy servant
soul mourned
narrow course
naked soul


plan of redemption
chains of hell
the mortal body
demands of justice
reason to rejoice
listeth to obey
in unholy temples
plain and precious
in nowise inherit
nowise inherit the
temporally and spiritually
is endless torment
retained in remembrance
bowels of mercy
this mortal body
workers of darkness
may learn wisdom
diligent in keeping
Lord seeth fit
must unavoidably perish
retain in remembrance
an infinite atonement
misery and endless
temporal and spiritual
tongue of angels
Holy Ghost beareth
the foolish traditions
not far distant
the humble followers
names were blotted
visiting the iniquities
plan of happiness
the flesh becoming
shepherd doth call
God placed cherubim
and eternal purposes
remaineth and dieth
their proper order
infinite and eternal
deny the existence
happiness or misery
mercy were extended
remorse of conscience
consignation to happiness
sing redeeming love
zealous to inherit
an everlasting punishment
limb and joint
covet thy neighbor’s
Abraham paid tithes
this probationary state
flesh becoming subject
doth rightly belong
nothing so exquisite
good shepherd doth
the darkest abyss
retain their brightness
racked with eternal
thou wast merciful
your garments spotless
kindred and friends
set at defiance
doth work righteousness
work righteousness forever
repentance mercy claimeth
mankind becoming carnal
availeth nothing except
be found spotless
most abominable above
abominable above all
of endless misery
Ghost beareth record
points of doctrine
heed and diligence
sin and transgression
equity and justice
judge righteous judgments
an immortal state
gulf of misery
vapor of darkness
children need baptism
mortality to immortality
mercy is extended
his eternal purposes
the temporal body
reason to suppose
full of patience
call your attention
state to act
a punishment affixed
clear conscience before
means of saving
judgments are just
whereby salvation cometh
stain our swords
imagine to yourselves
transgress the laws
counsel in wisdom
be kept bright
a clear conscience
mine Only Begotten
this high priesthood
and always retain
be found blameless
means whereby salvation
baptism availeth nothing
Christ redeemeth mankind
claim on mercy
every tongue confess
of endless damnation
a probationary state
unworthy to glory
no preparatory state
state of nature
have published salvation
offend some unknown
God executeth vengeance
should shed innocent
sin to happiness
forgive my unworthiness
to endless happiness
corruption does not
suffering pains and
an immortal body
mortal does not
plan of restoration
swelleth and sprouteth
will shed innocent
father Abraham paid
Melchizedek having exercised
souls did expand
should learn wisdom
exercised mighty faith
withdraw your purposes
dieth an enemy
justice claimeth the
your garments stained
probationary state became
everlasting chains of
its proper frame
penitent are saved
claimeth the penitent
pain of body
devilish for devilish
paid tithes of
stripped of pride
state of immortality
its natural frame
preparatory redemption for
the everlasting chains
transgression and deny
and shrink beneath
justice do awaken
racked with torment
child doth submit
creature and executeth
redeem mankind from
men drink damnation
to eternal despair
endless happiness to
sprouteth and beginneth
a Supreme Creator
reap the damnation
and endless torment
and mercy claimeth
mankind must unavoidably
mercy claimeth all
subjected the flesh
enemy listeth to
causeth thy marvelings
changed through faith
doth choose iniquity
misery to inherit
everlasting punishment is
spiritual and temporal
learn wisdom in
to redeem mankind
extinct both soul
immortal state that
foolish ordinances and
a direct course
bringeth back men
this preparatory state
to endless misery
this mortal frame
punishments are just
his neighbor’s trespasses
diligent and temperate
becoming spiritual and
breast with guilt
born of Mary
restoration is requisite
wast in bonds
wast merciful unto
Lord redeemeth none
his fellow beings
kingdom doth rightly
answer their prayers
cannot deny justice
carnal for carnal
state of thoughtless
die a spiritual
pains and afflictions
the foolish ordinances
spiritually been born
guilt and remorse
God ordained priests
work righteousness rather
thou wast entrusted
becometh an enemy
grant to exchange
dwelleth in flesh
reap the chaff
to sing redeeming
all mankind becoming
endless misery to
Creator a liar
dead bringeth back
repenteth and exerciseth
awaken his immortal
high priesthood forever
punishment is just
atonement bringeth to
infirmities in body
joy doth carry
satisfied the demands
mayest bring souls
corruption to incorruption
own carnal nature
spiritually and temporally
nature of happiness
garments are cleansed
patience these afflictions
trust there remaineth
your thoughtless state
did sing redeeming
frame doth tremble
a carnal state
a bright recollection
this corruption does
claimeth the creature
spiritually begotten you
mortal body is
carnal and devilish
state of dilemma
a preparatory redemption
state opposite to
garments are spotless
does not grant
whole frame doth
didst forsake the
deny the beggar
evil works rather
availeth you nothing
mercy claimeth the
sendeth an invitation
beginneth to enlarge
guilt and abominations
justice exerciseth all
remnant of garment
the enemy listeth
expedient that mankind
fellow beings ye
wicked spirit rooted
saving some soul
patience thine afflictions
mercy are extended
bright testimony against
exquisite and sweet
whole becoming spiritual
a bright testimony
cleansed our inward
also mercy claimeth
your fellow beings
garments spotless even
government doth rightly
mankind a spiritual
reap a reward
bright recollection of
chose evil works
state of ignorance
afflictions and temptations
a preparatory state
spiritual and immortal
hath spiritually begotten
Moses availeth nothing
die to atone
infinite atonement which
and learn wisdom
righteous judgment restored
mercy and endureth
wast merciful when
requisite and just
thou mayest rejoice
mortal body raised
shrink beneath the
endless misery and
thou didst forsake
a state opposite
neighbor’s trespasses when
tongue confess before
the atonement bringeth
happiness to inherit
mortal frame to
garments stained with
redeem all mankind
answer my prayers
this mortal does
retain a remission
guilty of priestcraft
his mortal tabernacle
justice doth hang
trump shall sound
misery and woe
flames are unquenchable
tabernacle of clay
appointed chief judge
justice and equity
perform their labors
the truly penitent
grasp of justice
breaketh the bands
singing and praising
diligence and heed
retaining a remission
that everlasting gulf
endure endless torment
reap eternal happiness
become miserable forever
needs have charity
the pleasing bar
mine ancient covenant
profiteth him nothing
deny the revelations
bowels are filled
tomorrow we die
given under heaven
his infinite goodness
to everlasting misery
and becometh expedient
and charity bringeth
such baptism availeth
sacrifice for sin
an endless happiness
atonement this corruption
damned souls in
becometh expedient that
endless happiness than
corruption nor incorruption
sins bringeth meekness
his everlasting chains
Holy Ghost carrieth
commandments bringeth remission
holiness nor misery
eternal purposes of
redeemeth all mankind
choose eternal death
some great mystery
need baptism denieth
have everlasting damnation
bringeth remission of
baptism denieth the
endure the pains
cleansed from mortality
tree whose natural
wast born in
nothing doth corrupt
everlasting misery and
wickedness doth exceed
saved without baptism
punishment nor misery
happiness nor misery
the merciful plan
youth his glory
great infinite goodness
where nothing doth
sendeth more witnesses
infinite atonement this
soul abhorreth sin
infinite goodness doth
temporal body in
an endless hell
truth and holiness
the eternal purposes
souls are racked
suffereth the pains
brimstone is endless
And charity suffereth
suffer pain nor
shall learn wisdom
the damned souls
righteousness nor happiness
eternal purposes in
faith becometh unshaken
denieth the mercies
charity bringeth unto
merciful plan of
an endless torment
ye remain guiltless
bitterness and bonds
becometh a saint
any conditions whereby
found blameless before
awful situation of
desires of happiness
a human sacrifice
condemnation is just
and cross yourself
garments were washed
are eternally indebted
becoming subject even
bodies are reunited
a perfect remembrance
may walk blameless
salvation draweth nigh
pure and spotless
transgression of Adam
becoming subject to
became a probationary
awful dilemma that
mercy can rob
burdens lashed upon
bringeth immediate destruction
can rob justice
becometh a child
can never die
space between death
apply the atoning
an everlasting hatred
always returning thanks
same drinketh damnation
withstand every temptation
whereby salvation can
but cross yourself
shedding of innocent
awful death cometh
be washed bright
amazement lest perhaps
appease the demands
raised to immortality
such foolish traditions
matchless and marvelous
which overpowereth justice
submissive and gentle
comes upon mankind
arms of safety
affixed opposite to
satisfy the demands
been sufficiently humble
may walk guiltless
receive eternal life
washed bright through
the awful dilemma
following its course
provided a means
filled with guilt
abhor such wickedness
racked with hatred
such marvelous works
truly penitent are
follow their course
a state contrary
becoming as Gods
space betwixt the
such gross wickedness
abundant mercy which
yourselves blameless before
become new creatures
worthless and fallen
bear with patience
always retain a
baptized without stubbornness
raised to endless
acknowledge your unworthiness
truly humble themselves
filthy shall remain
spirits which dwell
walk blameless before
the awful situation
mercy can satisfy
song of redeeming
garments are washed
garments made white
became lost forever
condemned to die
experienced this mighty
afraid to sin
became subjects to
walk guiltless before
an everlasting burning
be unprofitable servants
mercies and blessings
bringeth about means
arouse your faculties
experienced a change
became a preparatory
denying the justice
raised in immortality
raised to happiness
foolish and vain
foolish imaginations of
his natural frame
suffering great loss
answer our prayers
its proper order
committed to prison
who committed sin
their carnal state
wish to die
his infinite mercy
humble and penitent
great feast appointed
own carnal state
suffer whatsoever tree
endless torment did
penitent and humble
happiness in sin
infinite mercy to
mortal or immortal
adversary quickly while
redemption for mankind
carnal state and
consigned to bondage
should endure endless



can in nowise inherit
nowise inherit the kingdom
both temporally and spiritually
wicked and perverse generation
white through the blood
execute judgment in righteousness
racked with eternal torment
both temporal and spiritual
state of endless misery
sufficiently retained in remembrance
I close mine epistle
the flesh becoming subject
becoming spiritual and immortal
repenteth and exerciseth faith
everlasting salvation and eternal
infinite and eternal sacrifice
mercy claimeth the penitent
eternal plan of redemption
mankind must unavoidably perish
all mankind becoming carnal
endless happiness to inherit
garments stained with blood
endless misery to inherit
everlasting chains of death
misery and endless torment
awaken his immortal soul
everlasting punishment is just
carnal and fallen state
through the atoning blood
lost and fallen state
lost tribes of Israel
strait and narrow path
mercy is extended towards
deliver up its dead
restored to its body
children need baptism denieth
trust in dead works
work some great mystery
everlasting gulf of death
unavoidably remain in bondage
state of thoughtless stupor
soul can never die
whose garments are cleansed
corruption raised in incorruption
bands of death broken
opposite to its nature
mercy he doth visit
state of endless wo
mortal body is raised
blessed and happy state
became a preparatory state
mercy can rob justice
soul could never die
apply the atoning blood
death comes upon mankind
shedding of innocent blood
demands of divine justice
this probationary state became
preparatory redemption for such
raised to endless happiness
flesh becoming subject to
resurrection of endless life
to its natural frame
both spiritual and temporal
mortality raised to immortality
to sing redeeming love
endless misery and woe
endless life and happiness
plan of redemption laid
wages an everlasting punishment
the whole becoming spiritual
to its proper frame
both limb and joint
every tongue confess before
proper and perfect frame
wickedness never was happiness
brought to sing redeeming
whole frame doth tremble
this mortal body raised
view this mortal body
natural state and place
every limb and joint
became a probationary state
devils and unclean spirits
state of the souls
sacrifice and burnt offerings
famine and sore afflictions
eternal gulf of misery
happiness in doing iniquity
comprehend the marvelous works
awful state of wickedness
ways are righteousness forever
choose works of darkness
committed the unpardonable sin
fulfil the merciful plan
deny the pure mercies
infinite goodness and grace
order and without mercy
scattered tribes of Israel
except he doth visit
infinite goodness doth bless
eternal plan of deliverance
preach repentance and remission
resurrection of everlasting life
man became lost forever
becometh a saint through
become high priests forever
nor means whereby salvation
making his paths straight
one flesh above another
lay aside every sin
rather than to perish
mankind became a lost
life became a probationary
like an unquenchable fire
bear one another’s burdens
saint through the atonement
being pure and spotless
remember his merciful arm
bear with mine infirmities
mankind must have perished
thus mercy can satisfy
song of redeeming love
restored to its proper
can satisfy the demands
none other salvation save
receiveth the lesser portion
putteth off the natural
less than the dust
plain and precious parts
everlasting gulf of misery
most abominable and wicked
state of awful wickedness
never would shed blood
endless torment did cause
shed tears of joy
light of everlasting life
how merciful and just
truly penitent and humble
overcome his natural frame
infinite mercy to spare
human soul should perish
to its proper order
through his infinite goodness
turn away mine anger
flame of unquenchable fire
mine arm of mercy
plans of awful wickedness
for charity never faileth
of hell stand open
gift of eternal life
can comprehend the marvelous
ordained priests and teachers
shalt be accursed forever
off the awful chains
God receiveth none such
in corruption must soon
broken bread and blessed
hope through the atonement
done greater iniquities than
tongue of angels save
hell are ready open
committing a little sin
fear lest my case
having a perfect brightness
him through grace divine
no variableness neither shadow
neither sense nor insensibility
mother Gentiles were gathered
moldering in corruption must
the very trees obey
receive any unto baptism
awful state of blindness
doth abound most plentifully
fully believe his gospel
heart delighteth in righteousness
needs destroy the wisdom
may work mighty miracles
bold in mighty prayer
shall obtain eternal life
neither shadow of changing
mighty works been shown
remember your awful guilt
vain and foolish doctrines
have seen thine abominations
strait path which leads
consecrate thine afflictions for
minded is life eternal
neither need ye suppose
narrow path which leads
everlasting hatred towards you
hell stand open to
Spirit ceaseth to strive
means of bringing salvation
considered that mine afflictions
consider themselves fools before
awful guilt in perfectness
precious gift of eternal
sword of justice falleth
corruption must soon become
sword of justice hangeth
first fruits of repentance
evil giveth a gift
Judge of both quick
given under heaven whereby
hell be shut continually
angels and ministering spirits
healeth the wounded soul
spirits must become subject
can in nowise deny
have died without baptism
continual scene of wickedness
forbidden fruit in opposition
soul shall never hunger
doth bless and prosper
have become free forever
fully ripe in iniquity
needs remain as dead
misery which never dies
awful monster the devil
mean the final state
my heart doth magnify
offer your whole souls
Ghost will bear record
marvelous work wrought by
most plain and precious
iniquity shall abound cursed
make my path straight
shrink with awful fear
under heaven whereby man
justice cannot be denied
moth doth corrupt and
thereof profit me nothing
created our first parents
pains of every living
praise him through grace
and whosoever doeth iniquity
offereth himself a sacrifice
only through the atoning
anything save he knows
natures have become evil
had become miserable forever
never perish as long
to work mighty wonders
escape before mine enemies
shame and awful guilt
of darkness rather than
perfect brightness of hope
soul delight in fatness
strait and narrow course
lucre which doth corrupt
death rather than commit
their state becomes worse
by some means fall
infused such joy into
bent their course towards
joy which none receiveth
eternal hatred towards the
small degree of knowledge
no lawyer nor judge
declared to every creature
oath and sacred ordinance
across that everlasting gulf
appointed priests and teachers
death and carnage throughout
light had infused such
ordained priests and elders
sinful and polluted state
much success in bringing
filled with exceeding joy
get gain and glory
fallen under the sword
discover to every creature
state of such awful
devise a plan whereby
none were consecrated except
did publish good tidings
and narrow course across
frame of pickets built
nearly the same course
but doth speedily drag
and marvelous works wrought
another both temporally and
doth speedily drag them
garments are white through
look steadfastly towards heaven
narrow course across that
an eternal hatred towards
cut off the course
everlasting life was lit
some means fall into
considering himself an unworthy
cleansed every whit from
for other wise purposes
darkness dispersed from off


  1. This is terrific work! I am fascinated with the Book of Mormon even though I also don’t believe it’s historical. But I do find it a work of 19th century genius, and it’s impressive to me that it still converts people today. I’m a software engineer, and I’ve been thinking about diving in to do some word analysis on the BoM. I’m curious, how did you come up with the list of 19th century n-grams?

    • I described the process in the article. It’s mostly the following: 1) doesn’t match KJV 2) more likely to be (or to contain vocabulary) in what I define as S Voice rather than N Voice. S Voice is the first person sermon style preaching of Abinadi, Alma, King Benjamin, Samuel the Lamanite, etc. N Voice is the third person narrative, mostly Mormon.

      • I read that, I guess I’m asking your methodology for figuring it out. Did you write some software, did you brute force it, or some other way?

        • I have it all set up in a database. The logic is all query/table based logic. I’m more of a business analyst type and do a lot in MS Access and Excel, so that’s what I’ve used here. I used Excel for some of the db creation steps. And Access for db storage and query analysis.

          • Very cool. I will definitely use your list as a starting point to do some more investigation. You’ve given me some great ideas to think about. I made this site a while ago to show KJV verses/phrases found in the BoM: In my opinion, Joseph Smith had read the Bible so much that the KJV verses and phrases permeate his dictation of the BoM. And I’m not referring to the Isaiah/NT chapters which could be termed as citations.

            The idea to look at non-KJV n-grams and how they correspond to works of the early 1800’s is an interesting idea to pursue.

          • In additional to looking at words and phrases, in my opinion there’d also be value in looking at the theological controversies of Joseph Smith’s day, such as the propriety of infant baptism and the Arminian/Calvinism debate.

  2. Just a note — Pilgrim’s Progress is a 17th century work, not a 19th century work. Google seems to have pulled up a later 19th-C edition for you. Similar issues with other texts might partially explain the early modern English vs. 19th century English puzzle you mention.

    • Good catch. The phrase ‘demands of justice’ was from the 1815 commentary not the original 1678 Pilgrim’s Progress. At least from what I can tell. I’ll clarify that. That’s a good point on the EModE. I think I have heard theories that Pilgrim’s Progress in addition to KJV could have been source for some of the pseudo-biblical, ‘ancient style’ works of the 19th century. Though from what I understand, nothing really has explained adequately the Skousen-Carmack findings. Anyway, the phrase ’19th century Protestant’ is primarily meant to capture generally the idea that it is the language and perspective of early 19th century Protestantism, not so much pinpointing exactly which century various phrases came into popularity.

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