Chiasmus in the Writing of Modern-day Prophets

by H. Clay Gorton

The Chiasmus is a prominent literary form in all scripture. It is perhaps the dominant literary form in both the Old and New Testaments. Of over 550 literature references to the chiasmus, more than 60% relate directly to the Bible. Over 600 chiastic structures in the New Testament alone have been reported in the published literature. LDS scriptures are also rich in the chiastic literary form. While there are undoubtedly more, we have identified 961 chiasma in the Book of Mormon and 33 in the Pearl of Great Price. These are all ancient scriptures, and there appears to be a general consensus that the chiasmus is a part of the thought and speech patterns of Semitic culture, and that its use in the New Testament, as well as in the Book of Mormon and the Pearl of Great Price, stems from the Hebrew cultural heritage of the authors of those texts. Paul Cracroft, writing in The Ensign, reflects the general consensus, wherein he states that the Book of Ether contains no chiasma since it predates the Hebrew language; and that the Doctrine and Covenants, although it catches the prose style of the Old Testament prophets, nevertheless, "even when they become poetic, as some do..., they emerge as poetry because of their imagery—not because of parallelism or chiasmus." These views stem from the prevailing notion that chiasmus is a consciously-generated literary form attributable to the genius of the writer. Indeed, Ronald Man has written, "Those who hold to the inerrancy of the Scriptures are in a position to appreciate best the artistry displayed by the New Testament authors in their use of chiasm. For while creating a complex literary structure is indeed an accomplishment even in a fictional or semi-fictional work, it is all the more amazing when such a structure is forged out of factual material which must be accurately, indeed infallibly and inerringly, transmitted." [1] Charles Talbert reflects the same opinion in stating that the chiastic structure is the intention of the author who penned the text.

The fact that we have identified 90 chiasma in the Book of Ether, and have found more than 220 chiasma in the Doctrine and Covenants puts the Hebrew origin of the chiasmus in question, and presents a strong argument for the premise that the chiastic form in sacred literature may have been subliminal to all the writers of Scripture and would rather have been a part of the inspiration with which they wrote. Thus, the style as well as the content bear the stamp of Divinity, and may give added meaning to Peter's declaration that "prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." (2 Pet. 1:21); and to the Lord’s own words in D&C 18:34, revealed in chiastic form, that

"These words are not of men

3] nor of man,

2] but of me;

1] wherefore, you shall testify

2] they are of me

3] and not of man;"

The Divine authorship of the chiastic form is powerfully demonstrated in Section 76 of the Doctrine and Covenants. This revelation was received as a vision seen jointly by Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon in the presence of about a dozen persons in the home of ‘Father Johnson’ in Hyram, Ohio, on the evening of 16 February 1832. Philo Dibble, who was one of those present, described in the following words how the vision was received:

"Joseph would, at intervals, say: ‘What do I see?’ as one might say while looking out the window and beholding what all in the room could not see. Then he would relate what he had seen or what he was looking at. Then Sidney replied, ‘I see the same.’ Presently Sidney would say ‘what do I see?’ and would repeat what he had seen or was seeing, and Joseph would reply, ‘I see the same.’

"This manner of conversation was repeated at short intervals to the end of the vision, and during the whole time not a word was spoken by any other person. Not a sound nor motion made by anyone but Joseph and Sidney, and it seemed to me that they never moved a joint or limb during the time I was there, which I think was over an hour, and to the end of the vision."

It is most significant to note that Joseph Smith did not write Section 76; he instructed Sidney Rigdon to do so, and he stayed up the entire night following the vision to put it in written form. The significance of this action lies in the fact that Section 76 is the most highly chiastic structure in the Doctrine and Covenants! The different topics in Section 76 are chiastically bounded, there exist chiasma within chiasma, chiasma chained one to another through common elements, and the four series of parallel "these are they" elements outlining the conditions of the three degrees of glory are chiastically related! Apart from a non-chiastic introduction, vs 1-4, and a non-chiastic conclusion, vs 108-119, the section is comprised of 11 chiasma, as mentioned before, each bounding a given topic, as outlined below:

vs 1-4 Non-chiastic introduction, declaring the attributes of the Savior.

vs 5-10 Three-element chiasmus with two-element parallelism in the first (internal) chiastic elements, declaring the Lord’s mercy and grace toward those who fear and serve him.

vs 11-27 Four-element chiasmus with a three-element chiastic structure comprising part of the initial fourth element, and a two-element chiastic structure comprising part of the final fourth element, testifying of the vision of the Father and the Son, and of Lucifer, experienced by Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon.

vs 13 Three-element chiasmus which forms a part of the initial fourth element of Chiasmus 76B, declaring that the things of God given to the understanding of Joseph and Sidney were from the beginning.

vs 27 Two-element chiasmus which forms a part of the final fourth element of chiasm 76B describing the fall of Lucifer.

vs 28-30 Three-element chiasmus, including the commandment to write the vision and declaring that they had beheld Satan.

vs 32-38 Three-element chiasmus with two-element parallelisms in the third chiastic elements, describing the sons of perdition.

vs 36-44 Five-element chiasmus, the initial elements 5] and 4] being the same as the final elements 2], 3A] and 3B] of the preceding chiasmus, describing the fate of the sons of perdition, and the power of the Lamb to redeem all else.

vs 45-48 Three-element chiasmus declaring that the fate of the sons of perdition is not revealed to those not ordained to this condemnation.

vs 50-65 Four-element chiasmus with triple parallelisms in the first (internal) chiastic elements, describing the characteristics of those who come forth in the resurrection of the just.

vs 63-107 Complex four-element chiasmus in which the initial and final fourth elements are composed of 8- and 7-element parallelisms, respectively; and the initial and final second elements are comprised of 6- and 5-element parallelisms, respectively. The initial fourth element lists eight "these are they" describing the characteristics of those who inherit the celestial glory, and the final fourth element lists seven "these are they" describing the characteristics of those who inherit the telestial glory. The initial third element introduces the subject of the terrestrial world, and the final third element, comprising verses 89-98, is a three-element chiasmus summarizing the vision of the three degrees of glory. The initial second element lists six "these are they" describing the characteristics of those who inherit the terrestrial kingdom, and the final second element lists five "these are they" describing the characteristics of those who inherit the telestial kingdom. The two internal first elements summarize the visions of the terrestrial and telestial glories, respectively.

vs 108-112 Non chiastic segment

vs 113-119 Conclusion.

To demonstrate how precisely and neatly each topic in Section 76 is bounded by chiastic structures, the chiastic content of Section 76 is displayed below, with parallel chiastic elements appropriately italicized, numbered and indented for easy comparison.

D&C 76:5-10, THE LORD’S PREFACE

3] 5 For thus saith the Lord—I, the Lord, am merciful and gracious unto those who fear me, and delight to honor those who serve me in righteousness and in truth unto the end.

2] 6 Great shall be their reward and eternal shall be their glory.

1A] 7 And to them will I reveal all mysteries,

1B] yea, all the hidden mysteries of my kingdom from days of old, and for ages to come, will I make known unto them the good pleasure of my will concerning all things pertaining to my kingdom.

1A] 8 Yea, even the wonders of eternity shall they know,

1B] 9 And things to come will I show them, even the things of many generations.

2] And their wisdom shall be great, and their understanding reach to heaven; and before them the wisdom of the wise shall perish, and the understanding of the prudent shall come to naught.

3] 10 For by my Spirit will I enlighten them, and by my power will I make known unto them the secrets of my will—yea, even those things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor yet entered into the heart of man.

D&C 76:11-27, THE VISION OF THE FATHER AND THE SON

4] 11 We, Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon, being in the Spirit on the sixteenth day of February, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-two—

12 By the power of the Spirit our eyes were opened and our understandings were enlightened, so as to see and understand the things of God

13 Even those things

a3] which were from the beginning before the world was,

a2] which were ordained of the Father,

a1] through his Only Begotten Son,

a2] who was in the bosom of the Father,

a3] even from the beginning;

3] 14 Of whom we bear record; and the record which we bear is the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, who is the Son,

2] whom we saw and with whom we conversed in the heavenly vision.

1] 15 For while we were doing the work of translation, which the Lord had appointed unto us, we came to the twenty-ninth verse of the fifth chapter of John, which was given unto us as follows:

16 Speaking of the resurrection of the dead, concerning those who shall hear the voice of the Son of Man, and shall come forth—

17 They who have done good in the resurrection of the just, and they who have done evil in the resurrection of the unjust—

18 Now this caused us to marvel, for it was given unto us of the Spirit.

19 And while we meditated upon these things, the Lord touched the eyes of our understandings and they were opened, and the glory of the Lord shone round about.

20 And we beheld the glory of the Son, on the right hand of the Father, and received of his fullness;

21 And saw the holy angels, and them who are sanctified before his throne, worshiping God, and the Lamb, who worship him forever and ever.

22 And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!

2] For we saw him, even on the right hand of God;

3] 23 and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father

24 That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.

4] 25 And this we saw also, and bear record, that an angel of God who was in authority in the presence of God, who rebelled against the Only Begotten Son whom the Father loved and who was in the bosom of the Father, was thrust down from the presence of God and the Son,

26 And was called Perdition, for the heavens wept over him—he was Lucifer,

D&C 76:26-27, THE FALL OF SATAN

a2] a son of the morning.

27 And we beheld, and lo,

a1] he is fallen!

a1] is fallen,

a2] even a son of the morning!

D&C 76:28-30, THE VISION OF SATAN

3] 28 And while we were yet in the Spirit, the Lord commanded us that we should write the vision;

2] for we beheld Satan, that old serpent, even the devil, who rebelled against God,

1] and sought to take the kingdom of our God and his Christ—

1] 29 Wherefore, he maketh war with the saints of God, and encompasseth them round about.

2] 30 And we saw a vision of the sufferings of those with whom he made war and overcame,

3] for thus came the voice of the Lord unto us:

D&C 76:31-38, THE SONS OF PERDITION

31 Thus saith the Lord concerning all those who know my power, and have been made partakers thereof, and suffered themselves through the power of the devil to be overcome, and to deny the truth and defy my power—

3A] 32 They are they who are the sons of perdition,

3B] of whom I say that it had been better for them never to have been born;

2] 33 For they are vessels of wrath, doomed to suffer the wrath of God, with the devil and his angels in eternity;

1] 34 Concerning whom I have said there is no forgiveness in this world nor in the world to come

1] 35 Having denied the Holy Spirit after having received it, and having denied the Only Begotten Son of the Father, having crucified him unto themselves and put him to an open shame.

2] 36 These are they who shall go away into the lake of fire and brimstone, with the devil and his angels

3A] 37 And the only ones on whom the second death shall have any power;

3B] 38 Yea, verily, the only ones who shall not be redeemed in the due time of the Lord, after the sufferings of his wrath.

D& C 76:36-44, THE SAVIOR REDEEMS ALL BUT THE SONS OF PERDITION

6] 36 These are they who shall go away into the lake of fire and brimstone, with the devil and his angels

5] 37 And the only ones on whom the second death shall have any power;

38 Yea, verily, the only ones who shall not be redeemed in the due time of the Lord, after the sufferings of his wrath.

4] 39 For all the rest shall be brought forth by the resurrection of the dead,

3] through the triumph and the glory of the Lamb,

2] who was slain, who was in the bosom of the Father before the worlds were made.

1] 40 And this is the gospel, the glad tidings, which the voice out of the heavens bore record unto us—

2] 41 That he came into the world, even Jesus, to be crucified for the world,

3] and to bear the sins of the world, and to sanctify the world, and to cleanse it from all unrighteousness;

4] 42 That through him all might be saved whom the Father had put into his power and made by him;

5] 43 Who glorifies the Father, and saves all the works of his hands, except those sons of perdition who deny the Son after the Father has revealed him.

6] 44 Wherefore, he saves all except them—they shall go away into everlasting punishment, which is endless punishment, which is eternal punishment, to reign with the devil and his angels in eternity, where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched, which is their torment—

D&C 76:45-48, THE FATE OF THE SONS OF PERDITION

3] 45 And the end thereof, neither the place thereof, nor their torment, no man knows;

2] 46 Neither was it revealed, neither is, neither will be revealed unto man,

1] except to them who are made partakers thereof;

1] 47 Nevertheless, I, the Lord, show it by vision unto many,

2] but straightway shut it up again;

3] 48 Wherefore, the end, the width, the height, the depth, and the misery thereof, they understand not, neither any man except those who are ordained unto this condemnation.

49 And we heard the voice, saying: Write the vision, for lo, this is the end of the vision of the sufferings of the ungodly.

D& C 76:50-65, THE RESURRECTION OF THE JUST

4] 50 And again we bear record—for we saw and heard, and this is the testimony of the gospel of Christ concerning them who shall come forth in the resurrection of the just

3] 51 They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given--

52 That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power;

2] 53 And who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true.

1A] 54 They are they who are the church of the Firstborn

1B] 55 They are they into whose hands the Father has given all things

1C] 56 They are they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fullness, and of his glory;

57 And are priests of the Most High, after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the Only Begotten Son.

1A] 58 Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God

1B] 59 Wherefore, all things are theirs, whether life or death, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs

1C] and they are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.

2] 60 And they shall overcome all things.

3] 61 Wherefore, let no man glory in man, but rather let him glory in God, who shall subdue all enemies under his feet.

62 These shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever and ever.

63 These are they whom he shall bring with him, when he shall come in the clouds of heaven to reign on the earth over his people.

64 These are they who shall have part in the first resurrection.

4] 65 These are they who shall come forth in the resurrection of the just.

D&C 76:63-107 THE THREE DEGREES OF GLORY

4] PARALLELISM D&C 76:63-70

1) 63 These are they whom he shall bring with him, when he shall come in the clouds of heaven to reign on the earth over his people.

2) 64 These are they who shall have part in the first resurrection.

3) 65 These are they who shall come forth in the resurrection of the just.

4) 66 These are they who are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly place, the holiest of all.

5) 67 These are they who have come to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of Enoch, and of the Firstborn.

6) 68 These are they whose names are written in heaven, where God and Christ are the judge of all.

7) 69 These are they who are just men made perfect through Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, who wrought out this perfect atonement through the shedding of his own blood.

8) 70 These are they whose bodies are celestial, whose glory is that of the sun, even the glory of God, the highest of all, whose glory the sun of the firmament is written of as being typical.

3] 71 And again, we saw the terrestrial world, and behold and lo, these are they who are of the terrestrial, whose glory differs from that of the church of the Firstborn who have received the fullness of the Father, even as that of the moon differs from the sun in the firmament.

2] PARALLELISM D&C 76:72-79

1) 72 Behold, these are they who died without law;

2) 73 And also they who are the spirits of men kept in prison, whom the Son visited, and preached the gospel unto them, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh;

74 Who received not the testimony of Jesus in the flesh, but afterwards received it.

3) 75 These are they who are honorable men of the earth, who were blinded by the craftiness of men.

4) 76 These are they who receive of his glory, but not of his fullness.

5) 77 These are they who receive of the presence of the Son, but not of the fullness of the Father.

78 Wherefore, they are bodies terrestrial, and not bodies celestial, and differ in glory as the moon differs from the sun.

6) 79 These are they who are not valiant in the testimony of Jesus; wherefore, they obtain not the crown over the kingdom of our God.

1] 80 And now this is the end of the vision which we saw of the terrestrial, that the Lord commanded us to write while we were yet in the Spirit.

1] 81 And again, we saw the glory of the telestial, which glory is that of the lesser, even as the glory of the stars differs from that of the glory of the moon in the firmament.

2] PARALLELISM D&C 76:82-88

1) 82 These are they who received not the gospel of Christ, neither the testimony of Jesus.

2) 83 These are they who deny not the Holy Spirit.

3) 84 These are they who are thrust down to hell.

4) 85 These are they who shall not be redeemed from the devil until the last resurrection, until the Lord, even Christ the Lamb, shall have finished his work.

5) 86 These are they who receive not of his fullness in the eternal world, but of the Holy Spirit through the ministration of the terrestrial;

87 And the terrestrial through the ministration of the celestial.

88 And also the telestial receive it of the administering of angels who are appointed to minister for them, or who are appointed to be ministering spirits for them; for they shall be heirs of salvation.

3] D&C 76:89-98

3) 89 And thus we saw, in the heavenly vision, the glory of the telestial, which surpasses all understanding;

90 And no man knows it except him to whom God has revealed it.

2) 91 And thus we saw the glory of the terrestrial which excels in all things the glory of the telestial, even in glory, and in power, and in might, and in dominion.

1) 92 And thus we saw the glory of the celestial, which excels in all things—where God, even the Father, reigns upon his throne forever and ever;

93 Before whose throne all things bow in humble reverence, and give him glory forever and ever.

94 They who dwell in his presence are the church of the Firstborn; and they see as they are seen, and know as they are known, having received of his fullness and of his grace;

95 And he makes them equal in power, and in might, and in dominion.

1) 96 And the glory of the celestial is one, even as the glory of the sun is one.

2) 97 And the glory of the terrestrial is one, even as the glory of the moon is one.

3) 98 And the glory of the telestial is one, even as the glory of the stars is one; for as one star differs from another star in glory, even so differs one from another in glory in the telestial world;

4] PARALLELISM D&C 76:99-107

1) 99 For these are they who are of Paul, and of Apollos, and of Cephas.

2) 100 These are they who say they are some of one and some of another—some of Christ and some of John, and some of Moses, and some of Elias, and some of Esaias, and some of Isaiah, and some of Enoch;

101 But received not the gospel, neither the testimony of Jesus, neither the prophets, neither the everlasting covenant.

3) 102 Last of all, these all are they who will not be gathered with the saints, to be caught up unto the church of the Firstborn, and received into the cloud.

4) 103 These are they who are liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie.

5) 104 These are they who suffer the wrath of God on earth.

6) 105 These are they who suffer the vengeance of eternal fire.

7) 106 These are they who are cast down to hell and suffer the wrath of Almighty God, until the fullness of times, when Christ shall have subdued all enemies under his feet, and shall have perfected his work;

107 When he shall deliver up the kingdom, and present it unto the Father, spotless, saying: I have overcome and have trodden the wine-press alone, even the wine-press of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God.

A case is made in Ref. 2, [2] that Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon could not have been chiastically literate in the sense that they were conscious of the chiastic form as a literary artifact and thus used it to add sophistication to the revelations that they transcribed, with which we agree. It is interesting to note that others among the General Authorities have written chiastically. Although we have made no study of chiasticity in the writings of the prophets subsequent to Joseph Smith, we have noticed two recent general conference addresses by President Howard W. Hunter and Elder Richard Scott with chiastic content. The entire address of President Hunter comprises a single chiasmus. The chiastic elements are conceptual in nature; thus, rather than being comprised of identical or similar words or phrases, the matching elements convey similar concepts. The address is reproduced herein in its entirety, so that the chiastic content may be appreciated.

STANDING AS A WITNESS OF GOD

President Howard W. Hunter

Ensign, May 1990

As I think of the blessings God has given us and the many beauties of the gospel of Jesus Christ, I am aware that along the way we are asked to make certain contributions in return, contributions of time or of money or of other resources. These are all valued and all necessary, but they do not constitute our full offering to God.

13a] Ultimately, what our Father in heaven will require of us is more than a contribution; it is a total commitment, a complete devotion, all that we are and all that we can be.

12a] Please understand that I do not speak only of a commitment to the Church and its activities, although that always needs to be strengthened. No, I speak more specifically of a commitment that is shown in our individual behavior, in our personal integrity, in our loyalty to home and family and community, as well as to the Church.

11a] Of course, all of these loyalties are interrelated and closely linked because it is the teaching and example of the Lord Jesus Christ that shapes our behavior and forms our character in all areas of our life—personally, within the home,

10a] in our professions

9a] and community life

8a] as well as in our devotion to the Church that bears his name.

7a] If we can pattern our life after the Master, and take his teaching and example as the supreme pattern for our own, we will not find it difficult to be consistent and loyal in every walk of life, for we will be committed to a single, sacred standard of conduct and belief. Whether at home or in the marketplace, whether at school or long after school is behind us, whether we are acting totally alone or in concert with a host of other people, our course will be clear and our standards will be obvious. We will have determined, as the prophet Alma said, "to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that [we] may be in, even until death." (Mosiah 18:9)

6a] This loyalty obviously includes support of the institutional church, but one of the purposes of that church is to alter and improve the way we live every other aspect of our lives as well, wherever we are and in whatever circumstance we find ourselves,

5a] "even until death."

4a] (Daniel 3:13-28)

3a] The ability to stand by one's principles, to live with integrity and faith according to one's belief—that is what matters, that is the difference between a contribution and a commitment. That devotion to true principle—in our individual lives, in our homes and families,

2a] and in all places that we meet and influence other people—that devotion is what God is ultimately requesting of us.

1a] (Stephen L. Richards, Where is Wisdom? Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1955, pp. 80-81.)

1b] (Spencer W. Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1972, p. 247.)

2b] These are some of the routine but crucial tests of our day in which we must be willing to stand true and with integrity and honor. Indeed, even in polite social situations we must be willing "to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that [we] may be in, even until death." (Mosiah 18:9.)

3b] Please permit me to close by stressing one place in society where that strength and commitment must be shown if we are to survive as a nation, as a people, or even as a fully successful church. We simply must have love and integrity and strong principles in our homes. We must have an abiding commitment to marriage and children and morality. We must succeed where success counts most for the next generation.

Surely that home is strongest and most beautiful in which we find each person sensitive to the feelings of others, striving to serve others, striving to live at home the principles we demonstrate in more public settings. We need to try harder to live the gospel in our family circles. Our homes deserve our most faithful commitments. A child has the right to feel that in his home he is safe, that there he has a place of protection from the dangers and evils of the outside world. Family unity and integrity are necessary to supply this need. A child needs parents who are happy in their relationship to each other, who are working happily toward the fulfillment of ideal family living, who love their children with a sincere and unselfish love, and who are committed to the family's success.

4b] (N. Eldon Tanner, Ensign May 1977 p.16)

5b] A successful life, the good life, the righteous Christian life requires something more than a contribution,

6b] though every contribution is valuable.

7b] Ultimately it requires commitment—whole-souled, deeply held, eternally cherished commitment to the principles we know to be true in the commandments God has given.

8b] We need such loyalty to the Church, but that must immediately be interpreted as a loyalty in our personal habits and behavior,

9b] integrity in the wider community

10b] and market place, and— for the future’s sake—

11b] devotion and character in our marriages and homes and families.

12b] If we will be true and faithful to our principles, committed to a life of honesty and integrity, then no king or contest or fiery furnace will be able to compromise us.

13b] For the success of the kingdom of God on earth, may we stand as witnesses for him "at all times and in all things, and in all places that [we] may be in, even until death." (Mosiah 18:9.)

The chiasmus in the address by Elder Scott is contained in two brief paragraphs and is comprised of words or phrases with parallel meanings. Elder Scott's chiasmus is similarly reproduced below:

CHIASTIC STRUCTURE IN OCT. 1990 CONFERENCE TALK

By Elder Richard G. Scott, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

The ENSIGN, Nov. 1990, Paragraphs two and three

8] Vicarious

7] baptism

6] also mercifully provides this ordinance

5] for all worthy deceased who have not received it through proper priesthood authority.

4] This glorious doctrine is another witness of the all-encompassing nature

3] of the atonement of

2] Jesus Christ.

1] He has made salvation available to every repentant soul.

2] His

3] was a vicarious atonement

4] that conquered death.

5] He permits the worthy deceased

6] to receive

7] all ordinances of salvation

8] vicariously.

The intriguing questions remain—Do the conference addresses of the general authorities subsequent to the Prophet Joseph Smith also commonly contain chiasma, and are they in proportion to those found in the canonical scriptures? If there are found chiasma in the conference addresses, are the ex-tabernacula writings of the general authorities also chiastic? If it were found, as we would expect, that conference addresses have a significant chiastic content and non-conference writings do not, it would represent a conclusive proof of the divine source of chiasmus as a literary structure in sacred literature.


[1] Man, Ronald E., "Chiasm in the New Testament" Dallas: Th. M. Thesis, Dallas Theological Seminary, 1982

[2] Talbert, Charles H., "Artistry and Theology: An Analysis of the Architecture of John 1:19--5:47." Catholic Biblical Quarterly, 32, p. 3341-66, 1970

[3] Gorton, H. Clay, LANGUAGE OF THE LORD, NEW DISCOVERIES OF CHIASMA IN THE DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS, Horizon Publishers, Bountiful, Utah 1993

[4] The Juvenile Instructor, May 15, 1892, pp 303-304

[5] Barrett, Ivan J., JOSEPH SMITH AND THE RESTORATION, BYU Press, p204, 1967 (Rev. Ed. 1973)