The first of these four words is the word marvelous, which, of course, Mormon uses to describe the great change. The second of these words is the word marveling, which is one of the two words Mormon uses to describe the impassioned nature of the multitude at the temple. Like the word marvelous, the word marveling is derived from the verb to marvel. The third and fourth related words are wondering and astonishment. The word wondering is the other word Mormon uses to describe the multitude’s fervor. Mormon uses the fourth related word, astonishment, just one chapter earlier to describe similarly fervent feelings that were present on a previous occasion (see 3 Nephi 10:2). These final two words, wondering and astonishment, are so closely related to the first two, marveling and marvelous, that the dictionary definition of the verb to marvel is, “to be filled with wonder or astonishment.”
This combination of four words with similar meanings plays a significant role in two interesting connections between the term the great and marvelous change and the Lord’s earlier message about the Atonement. The first connection suggests that Mormon intended to link the “astonishment” of the people who heard the Lord’s “sayings” about his redeeming sacrifice and the “marveling” of the multitude at the temple about the “great and marvelous change.” The second connection suggests that the words marveling and wondering may have been chosen specifically to describe reverent contemplation of the Lord’s sacred sayings.
The reader should realize that some passages of the book seem lengthier than needed. Jones often pursues tangential issues and illustrates some points with a multitude of examples after the reader should already be convinced and ready to move on. Clear chapter headings may help the reader to simply jump to the next section in those cases where further discussion may seem unnecessary. However, the tangential issues often bring out further insights into the Book of Mormon and the Atonement, and should not be skimmed too quickly. But I could readily imagine that tighter editorial constraints might have made this book shorter yet just as valuable.
Author: Clifford P. Jones
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