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How are even Nephite and Jaredite courtships in the Book of Mormon so far removed from 19th century American notions of romantic love?

The Book of Mormon mentions courtship and marriage such as in 1 Nephi 7:4-5:

And it came to pass that we went up unto the house of Ishmael, and we did gain favor in the sight of Ishmael, insomuch that we did speak unto him the words of the Lord.

And it came to pass that the Lord did soften the heart of Ishmael, and also his household, insomuch that they took their journey with us down into the wilderness to the tent of our father.

As well as in 1 Nephi 16:7:

And it came to pass that I, Nephi, took one of the daughters of Ishmael to wife; and also, my brethren took of the daughters of Ishmael to wife; and also Zoram took the eldest daughter of Ishmael to wife.

John Gee comments:

Courtship, of a sort, does show up in the Book of Mormon, but not in a recognizable form for the nineteen or even the twentieth century.

Nineteen-century-American notions of romantic love are far removed from the patterns of Nephite and Jaredite courtships mentioned in the Book of Mormon, clearly separating the book in that regard from the cultural milieu of Joseph Smith’s day.

The Wrong Type Of Book – John Gee

Why are Book of Mormon descriptions of courtship and romance so matter-of-fact? Why are they nothing like what we would expect from Joseph Smith if he was influenced by 19th century frontier America?


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