Book of Mormon

Week 20: Alma₂’s counsel to Helaman₂, Shiblon₂, and Corianton

Alma 36–42

24 March 2016


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Lesson 20 handout: Chiasmus in Alma 36

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Lesson 20 slideshow (on‑screen version)

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Lesson 20 slideshow (printable version)

Additional reading and links

  • Alma₂’s testimony in Alma 36 is one of the longest and most complex examples of chiasmus in the Book of Mormon; it is a poetical and literary masterpiece. See John W. Welch, “Chiasmus in the Book of Mormon,” in Book of Mormon Authorship: New Light on Ancient Origins, ed. Noel B. Reynolds (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1982), 33–52.
  • Michael R. Ash, “The Sin ‘Next to Murder’: An Alternative Interpretation,” Sunstone 143 (November 2006): 34–43. Mike Ash argues that the serious offense for which Alma₂ chastised his son Corianton was not sexual sin (although that, in itself, is serious), but rather destroying their testimonies of the Zoramites through his bad example. In effect, Corianton committed “spiritual murder.” See also “KnoWhy #147: Why Was Corianton’s Sin So Serious?," Book of Mormon Central, last modified 20 July 2016. For the doctrinal reasons behind the seriousness of sexual sin, see Jeffrey R. Holland’s 12 January 1988 BYU address, “Of Souls, Symbols, and Sacraments.”
  • In 1856 Brigham Young delivered an address in Salt Lake City in which he discussed, at length, the location of the post-mortal spirit world. See Journal of Discourses 3:367–73.
Chiasmus in Alma 36

This chart shows the major chiastic elements in Alma 36.