According to the Book of Mormon itself, it was written by many ancient prophets. The authors of this study made the assumption

that the writers of each verse, or partial verse, could be identified according to information given in the text.

The authors of the study found their assumption accurate.

Through the process of assigning each quoted segment a source, we identified over one hundred authors or originators.

Unfortunately the study was conducted in the infancy of the internet and I haven't been able to locate the database of verse-author assignments.

What available resource provides the author of each verse according to internal authorship statements?

  • It's interesting that these author s ascribe the book of Isaiah as having two authors, but when Jesus quoted from the first and second halves of the book, He attributed the quotes to the same author. – Steve Feb 28 '16 at 15:06
  • @Steve - The authors of this study actually came up with a result that supports your (implied) thesis. They open "Many present-day Bible scholars accept the theory that there were at least two authors of the Book of Isaiah." The authors conclude "we were unable to detect any statistical difference which would support the theory that Isaiah has more than one author." Intriguing. – Calvin Feb 29 '16 at 5:05

The study you cite is an early attempt at wordprint analysis of the Book of Mormon. If you are interested in looking at attempts to identify authorship of portions of the Book of Mormon using this technique, you could look through the sources cited in this Wikipedia section. There have been a number of attempts at this type of analysis, and some of the authors of these studies may provide replication data that would allow you to look at authorship at the verse level. However, even if replication data is available, it may still not provide you with the verse-by-verse breakdown you want. Depending on the statistical model used, a verse-level classification may not be produced by the model. And even if a verse-level classification is produced by the model, it would be a probabilistic estimate. Because of this, a chart showing the model's "best guess" for each verse without taking into account the margin of error for that guess would be misleading.

If, instead, you are interested in a resource breaking down Book of Mormon authorship using authorship statements within the Book of Mormon itself, there is this chart available through BYU Studies. It does not identify authorship at the verse level, but it does provide a diagram showing which authors were quoted in which books, according to the text itself. There are also a couple of other authorship charts available in section 2 of this page.

  • Thanks drom. I am aware of five stylometric studies on the Book of Mormon. Your second point is what I'm interested in here, who wrote each verse according to statements within the Book of Mormon. – Calvin Feb 29 '16 at 4:45
  • @Calvin okay I see - I wish I knew of a better resource - I'd imagine someone has done this already, it would be time-consuming but not difficult to do with the BYU studies chart, but I don't know of a resource! – lish Feb 29 '16 at 5:00

I have a similar need for authorship broken down by internal evidence in the Book of Mormon. Something that gets problematic is deciding what authorship means, anyways. Is Nephi the author when he is quoting Isaiah wholesale, or is Nephi? When Mormon summarizes a bunch of things Mosiah said, who is the author? What if there is an introductory phrase from an editor, which then quotes Ammon, and all in the same verse (very common)?

I somewhat solved this by separating authorship from the speakers in a verse, and then another column for content origin. For example, when Mormon summarizes the events of Mosiah, he is the author, and Mosiah is the content origin, but when Mosiah is being directly quoted, he is also the speaker. When Nephi quotes Isaiah, he is the author, Isaiah is the speaker (determining if it is Isaiah or The Lord speaking could be a whole study on it's own), and Isaiah is the content origin too.

I've been working through the book, I just finished Mosiah. I'm hoping to have my listing finished in a few weeks, and then I will post in on Github for collaboration.

  • Welcome to Christianity.SE. For a quick overview, please take the Site Tour. Though your answer does address the question to some extent, it won't be a real answer until you can actually post a link to materials on the verse-by-verse authorship. See: What makes a good supported answer? – Lee Woofenden Mar 21 '16 at 0:48
  • I did this with one of my copies years ago, but I made all of my notes in the margins. My solution was to simply note in as much detail as seemed appropriate, who was being quoted and who was narrating. Narration is a bit trickier after the Words of Mormon as some is clearly the origional author (possibly edited) while much of it is Mormon and Moroni, and they don't always identify when they are providing the narration. – Tavrock Oct 31 '16 at 15:02

Some work on this has been done and is available on github.

This seems to be the most relevant.


The file of interest (which is a json and contains verse level author information): https://raw.githubusercontent.com/philngo/book-of-mormon/master/json/derived_output.json

Note: These are not official by any means and I cannot vouch for its accuracy. I merely provide it as a potentially useful starting point.

Now if someone could point me to similar projects that annotate every reference of Christ that would make my life a bit easier at this point.

  • 1
    Could you provide any more information about this resource? Who has prepared it, and how official/accepted it is? – Nathaniel is protesting Oct 30 '16 at 0:03
  • Link only answers often get deleted (and in time, links break with some frequency). Can you please elaborate a bit on what is at the link to flesh out your answer? – KorvinStarmast Oct 30 '16 at 13:02
  • "every reference to Christ" can be difficult to define. There are direct references, a large list of accepted laternate name (e.g., "Lamb of God"),and symbolic references (e.g., Tree of Life/Fruit of the Tree of Life in Lehi's dream—and if the symbol only applies to one or the other or both may vary depending on your reading of the symbols). – Tavrock Oct 31 '16 at 15:09

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