Readers of the Book of Mormon may be surprised to learn just how much of the text contains words attributed to deity.
In many cases the Book of Mormon writers took special care to state when they were quoting the Lord's words. For example, in Jacob 2 the prophet Jacob introduces the Lord's words by saying, "Hearken to the word of the Lord." Then, in the lengthy quotation that follows, he is careful to insert several attribution markers, such as "thus saith the Lord of Hosts," before closing the direct quotation with the phrase "saith the Lord of Hosts" (see vv. 27-33).
In other cases it is less clear whether the Lord is being quoted or whether his words appear in paraphrased form-in language based on knowledge obtained from God but stated more or less in a prophet's own words. In this study both direct and indirect speech attributed to deity are considered to be divine speech texts.
A helpful resource for delineating the less obvious speakers and boundaries of these passages is the Book of Mormon Critical Text: A Tool for Scholarly Reference (FARMS, 1986). For instance, it distinguishes the many shifts between Isaiah's words and the Lord's words in 2 Nephi.
The following preliminary list of divine speech texts in the Book of Mormon has been constructed manually by searching the text for clear indications of the words of deity. Every verse on the list was checked and then further verified by consulting the Book of Mormon Critical Text. A statistical analysis of the resulting data (condensed in the chart below) indicates that 751 verses in the Book of Mormon contain distinct instances of divine speech texts. That amounts to 12.6 percent of the Book of Mormon, or, taken as a whole, one verse in every eight. As might be expected, these passages often record commands, covenants, instruction, or direction given by the Lord to his children.
Because the Book of Mormon contains a significant density of words attributed to the Lord, readers will want to be alert to that authoritative voice. From the directive on Lehi's departure from Jerusalem to Mormon's revelation from Christ rejecting infant baptism, taking special notice of these passages is a springboard to fruitful scripture study.
Based on research by Wm. Lyle Stamps