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Where would Joseph Smith have learned the Book of Mormon should include simile curses like in the ancient Near East?

Simile curses are a certain type of curse in which the person makes an accompanying ritual or conceptual comparison in order to emphasize the nature of the curse. In some instances a physical action is taken whereas other times the ritual is purely symbolic.

Simile curses appear throughout ancient Near Eastern texts, including the Old Testament, in contexts such as treaties, religious covenants, and prophecies. The Book of Mormon also contains similar curses in the correct context, for example by Moroni’s soldier to Zerahemnah (Alma 44:14):

Even as this scalp has fallen to the earth, which is the scalp of your chief, so shall ye fall to the earth except ye will deliver up your weapons of war and depart with a covenant of peace”

And in Alma 46:22

We covenant with our God, that we shall be destroyed, even as our brethren in the land northward, if we shall fall into transgression; yea, he may cast us at the feet of our enemies, even as we have cast our garments at thy feet to be trodden under foot, if we shall fall into transgression.

What are the odds that we would find simile curses in the Book of Mormon? Where would Joseph have learned about these? Would we expect him to be able to compose simile curses in the correct contexts?


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