Randal Wright’s ’20 Reasons the Book of Mormon is a Miracle’ lecture series opened with a simple story.
Wright said he encountered a 30-year-old man who had misgivings about the origins of the Book of Mormon. The man reportedly claimed that Joseph Smith fabricated the religious text rather than translating it, which led Wright to offer the man $200 if he could successfully fabricate a religious text of equal length to the Book’s first chapter.
The young man declined Wright’s offer.
Wright then went on to outline why the task he had offered was not only daunting, but nearly impossible. One of the miracles of the Book of Mormon, Wright explained, is the number and complexity of the characters.
“I took a missionary copy of the Book of Mormon,” Wright said, “and I wrote the names of who was speaking in the margins.”
Wright said his personal study led him to discover over 153 unique speakers in the Book of Mormon, each with original dialogue.
“Mormon always quotes when he can,” Wright said, “if there’s a letter, he’ll put the exact quotes in the text.”
In addition to original speakers, Wright noted the high number of original phrases and texts in the Book of Mormon, often times quoted again later in the text.
For example, Wright cited the original phrase “God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels in the attitude of singing and praising their God,” from 1 Nephi 1:8. This dialogue from Lehi is quote exactly by Alma in Alma 36:22. The phrase is not only unique to the Book of Mormon, but also, according to Wright, demonstrates the impossibility that the section could be fabricated due to the massive attention needed to add such a detail.
Wright also pointed out that the Book of Mormon is highly consistent in both phrasing and measurement of time. Wright made note that the title “Christ” is never used in 1 Nephi, and is not used until an angel introduces the name in 2 Nephi.
Additionally, Lamanites consistently use the term “Great Spirit” in reference to God. The title is used exclusively by Lamanites, and the people never use other terms unless they are directly taught the term for God by the Nephites.
Wright references the unique and consistent use of time in the Book of Mormon. Time is measured in three ways in the Book, Wright said. These times include years since Lehi left Jerusalem, years since judges ruled over the Nephite people, and years since the signs of Jesus Christ’s birth were given.
The times in the Book of Mormon remain consistent throughout the entire 531 page volume. This detail is one of many Wright cited as a miracle solidifying the divine nature of the Book of Mormon.