How could Joseph Smith compose the sacrament prayers using the wording Christ used 80 pages previously?
In Moroni 4-5 we read the sacramental prayers which are introduced as follows:
The manner of their elders and priests administering the flesh and blood of Christ unto the church; and they administered it according to the commandments of Christ; wherefore we know the manner to be true; and the elder or priest did minister it
It is impressive that the sacramental prayers are indeed according to the commandments of Christ which were spoken 80 pages previously.
Evidence Central compares the phrases in the prayers with the similar passages from 3 Nephi (shown in brackets):
- O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son Jesus Christ (3 Nephi 18:20)
- to bless and sanctify this bread (3 Nephi 18:3)
- to bless and sanctify this wine (3 Nephi 18:8)
- to the souls (3 Nephi 18:29)
- of all those who (3 Nephi 18:15)
- partake of it (3 Nephi 18:28)
- drink of it (3 Nephi 18:18)
- that they may eat (3 Nephi 18:3)
- that they may do it (3 Nephi 18:11)
- in remembrance of the body of thy Son (3 Nephi 18:7)
- in remembrance of the blood of thy Son, which was shed for them (3 Nephi 18:11)
- that they may witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father (3 Nephi 18:10-11)
- that they are willing to (3 Nephi 18:10)
- take upon them the name of thy Son (3 Nephi 18:5)
- and always remember him (3 Nephi 18:7)
- and keep his commandments which he hath given them, (3 Nephi 18:14)
- that they may always have his Spirit to be with them, Amen. (3 Nephi 18:7)
John W. Welch comments:
The close relationship between the words of Jesus in 3 Nephi 18 and the basic terms of the sacrament prayers found in Moroni 4–5 is readily apparent. Virtually every component in the two sacrament prayers has a precise counterpart in the express words of Jesus himself.”
– John Welch, “From Presence to Practice,” 124.
How did Joseph Smith manage to do this? How did he also manage to make the sacrament prayers so consistent with King Benjamin’s speech?
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