One area that I’ve been studying lately has to do with how different prophets in the Book of Mormon quote from each other. I think this is an important issue because, as Elder Bruce R. McConkie said, “Our understanding of the prophetic word will be greatly expanded if we know how one prophet quotes another, usually without acknowledging his source.”
For example, Abinadi quotes from Moses, Isaiah, and other prophets (including perhaps Lehi). And recently, I’ve discovered something about how Abinadi’s words are used by others. In Alma 39-42, Alma quotes several times from the prophet Abinadi. Here’s one example:
Alma says, “And behold, again it hath been spoken, that there is a first resurrection, a resurrection of all those who have been, or who are, or who shall be, down to the resurrection of Christ from the dead” (Alma 40:16).
Who spoke those words? When were they spoken? Compare them with these words from Abinadi: “And there cometh a resurrection, even a first resurrection; yea, even a resurrection of those that have been, and who are, and who shall be, even until the resurrection of Christ—for so shall he be called” (Mosiah 15:21).
So even though Alma doesn’t come out and say that he’s quoting Abinadi, he is. In fact in Alma 39-42 there are at least 13 allusions to Abinadi’s words.
Here’s why I think this is cool. Alma talks to his wayward son Corianton about three specific concerns (see Alma 40:1, 41:1, and 42:1). Nearly all of the allusions Alma makes to Abinadi cluster around those three topics. So picture Alma, a father worried about his son’s poor choices. His son has some concerns, and Alma turns to the words of a recent prophet, Abinadi, to address them.
So one principle we can apply today is that when we are trying to help others with their problems we can turn to the scriptures and the words of modern prophets.
I recently published an article that goes into much greater depth on how Alma quotes from Abinadi. I encourage you to check it out! You can download the article (for free) here: Textual Similarities in the Word of Abinadi and Alma’s Counsel to Corianton.