Book of Mormon
Book of Mormon



"Language of my Father"
Nephi's Testimony of The Book of Mormon

Joseph Smith has been charged with fabricating the Book of Mormon or copying it from other sources.  Below is evidence that Joseph Smith was not an imposter.  We challenge critics to demonstrate where Joseph copied "I make a record in the language of my father."

The following is from Sjodahl, Janne M., An Approach to a Study of The Book of Mormon, (The Deseret New Press, Salt Lake City, UT:1927) 199-200.


Chapter Nine


I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians.--
1 Nephi 1:12.

LANGUAGE of my father.  Nephi here tells us that his father was well versed in the Hebrew literature, and understood the Egyptian mode of writing, probably both the hieroglyphic and the hieratic.  The expression, "language of my father," should be noted.  Why did not Nephi say "the Hebrew language?"  Because that term was not, in his day, applied to the language spoken by the Hebrews. The Assyrians called it "The Tongue of the West Country."  In 2 Kings 18:26 it is called "The Jews' Language."  Isaiah calls it "The Language of Canaan."  The name "HEBREW" was not applied to the language until the days of the Son of Sirach, about 130, B.C., and then it did not mean the Hebrew but the Syro-Aramean.  Josephus, it is thought, was the first to apply the name Hebrew to the old language of the Jews.  In the targums it is called "The Holy Tongue." Christian writers soon adopted the name.1  The prophet Moroni, in the 4th century of our era, applied the term to the Hebrew alphabet, as Josephus had applied it to the old Hebrew writings, both language and characters.2

     It is certain that, if this verse had been penned by a modern impostor, he would have written, not "the language of my father," but "Hebrew," because that is the term now always used to denote the language spoken and recorded by the Jews at the time of Lehi.  But Nephi did not know it under that name.  The expression used is, therefore, unmistakable evidence of the genuiness of the book.


1.  Joseph Angus, Bible Handbook, p. 13.
  Mormon 9:33.

2 Kings 18:26
26 Then said Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and Shebna, and Joah, unto Rabshakeh, Speak, I pray thee, to thy servants in the Syrian language; for we understand [it]: and talk not with us in the Jews' language in the ears of the people that [are] on the wall.