Foundation of the Book of Mormon Series

Length of Sentences

Welcome to the first of four parts in the Grammar section of our series “Foundation of the Book of Mormon” Series.

Several years ago I was visiting another Mormon ministry website and read how one of the sentences in the Book of Mormon contained sixty plus words. Fast forward a few years and working on a project I came across a sentence that reminded me of what I’d read years earlier.

So after reading the Book of Mormon countless times I’ve decided to bring up this boring subject of the writing style of its author. Yes, author. I am of the strict opinion there was only one person who could’ve come up with the nonsense contained therein.

The contents of the Book of Mormon can lead a person on many divergent paths of study objects, thus our focus and many articles about it. One item of note is the length of some its sentences. Now I’m not an English major, nor am I a professional writer. However, it’s obvious to me as well as others I’m sure, there are many goofy things to discover in Smith’s narrative.

Today we’re looking at the length of sentences.  Have you ever been reading the Book of Mormon and thought you were reading the sentence nightmare from hell?  I used to think this was just me until I went back and realized the very long paragraph I just got done reading was actually one sentence.

Now I went to several publishing and English grammar sites to find out what the protocol is regarding the length of sentences and the bottom line is this: several lines in a paragraph should not a sentence be. Ha, how’s that for an instructive rule of thumb?

What I did learn is that a sentence shouldn’t be longer than seventy words (worst case scenario) unless it’s filled with a very interesting topic and it needs to make sense. Two strikes against Smith on those. They also said the sentence following the long sentence should be relatively short. Strike three, he’s outta there! My apologies to those who aren’t sports people.

The average sentence should only be around twenty-five words or so.  About half the sites I found said it should be as long as you need it to be as long as it makes sense.

Because of copyright laws and out of compassion for those reading this I’m only listing the location of the sentences in question. The reason I’ve provided this is for informational purposes if you’d like to share with a Mormon another proof of why Smith wasn’t inspired by God. It’s hard to believe these people were hammering out sentences like this on precious metals.

And while I am fully aware that God doesn’t have to follow any grammar guidelines for us humans I wholeheartedly believe God is not a God of confusion and He’s probably not in the business of looking stupid.

In the chart below you’ll find ninety questionable sentences containing anywhere from 80-142 words in each sentence.

1st Nephi
12:4101 wds 13:29122 wds 13:3090 wds
13:34133 wds 14:799 wds 17:2085 wds
17:48108 wds 17:5588 wds 18:680 wds
19:10128 wds 22:686 wds 22:23118 wds
2nd Nephi
1:10120 wds 3:597 wds 25:16105 wds
25:1899 wds 25:20111 wds 26:1596 wds
27:388 wds 31:13107 wds
5:6082 wds 7:26102 wds
1:1084 wds 1:1386 wds 1:2092 wds
1:25105 wds
1:588 wds 2:992 wds 3:585 wds
4:691 wds 4:11123 wds 6:395 wds
9:291 wds 18:1385 wds 19:1585 wds
28:180 wds 28:2093 wds 29:4094 wds
5:57-58110 wds 11:487 wds 11:44101 wds
19:6106 wds 19:1488 wds 19:1799 wds
20:487 wds 20:3092 wds 22:27126 wds
23:3105 wds 24:1883 wds 32:28115 wds
32:4283 wds 34:2886 wds 40:1391 wds
43:4485 wds 44:595 wds 44:8100 wds
47:185 wds 50:3990 wds 52:1085 wds
60:16136 wds 60:2487 wds 61:884 wds
62:3588 wds
3:981 wds 4:1283 wds 5:1299 wds
11:2483 wds 12:2126 wds
3rd Nephi
3:2292 wds 4:195 wds 4:490 wds
4:793 wds 4:1680 wds 9:999 wds
11:3104 wds 12:1142 wds 16:4126 wds
16:10114 wds 21:291 wds 26:1581 wds
30:292 wds
5:985 wds 6:6124 wds 6:1599 wds
10:17117 wds
4:1589 wds 8:2385 wds 8:2593 wds
4:390 wds 6:481 wds