THE SACRAMENT PRAYERS STUDIED: FROM BENJAMIN TO MORONI
Latter-day Saints most commonly turn to D&C 20:76-79 to find the texts of the sacrament prayers they regularly use on Sundays. In fact, however, the words for these prayers came from the Nephites. In a new report listed on the attached order form, the textual history of the sacrament prayers is studied, from Benjamin's words in Mosiah 5, to Jesus' words in 3 Nephi 18, to the final texts in Moroni 4-5. "I find it impressive," comments John Sorenson. "What we have in these texts is exactly what one would expect from an orderly, true-to-life cultural history." Certain precise terms and ideas persist in these texts, despite being separated from each other by many years and pages of Nephite history. Furthermore, the logical development from one text to the next can be appreciated, especially as the old Nephite covenant text became "new" in light of the words of Jesus to the people gathered at the temple in Bountiful. Jewish antecedents for the Nephite sacrament, as well as parallels with early Christian eucharistic texts, are also pointed out. "What we have here," reflects Jack Welch, "is perhaps the greatest legacy we have received from the Book of Mormon—sacred prayers from the Nephite experience in the presence of the resurrected Jesus—which we use each week. After working with this material, I shall never think of the sacrament prayers quite the same again."