"And It Came to Pass - A Remarkable Evidence the Book of Mormon Is True"
By Timothy Sedor, Sr.
We are told that The Book of Mormon was written in what was called the Reformed Egyptian language. It is likely that this language would later be called Arabic, an emerging new language at the time of Nephi. For certain we know that the plates of the Book of Mormon contain Arabic characters (Joseph Smith - History 1:64). While many readers wonder why the Book of Mormon keeps repeating the phrase "And it came to pass," several years ago I learned that throughout history Arabic authors and modern Arabic story tellers use that exact phrase "And it came to pass." Indeed each time Arabic story tellers want to end one part of a story and to start another or change a subject, they use the Arabic phrase "And it came to pass."
I recently confirmed with Arab friends what I learned years ago as I attended a fireside in Saudi Arabia hosted by a devout Muslim. He had been a linguistics professor at The University of Utah, and his native tongue is Arabic.
The LDS Church asked him if he would translate the Book of Mormon from English to Arabic. The university gave him permission to do the translation on his own time, which would be after working hours.
Since English and Arabic are from a different family of languages unlike French, Italian and Spanish, etc. that could be easily translated, the difference in the two languages became a problem. The title of the fireside was "The incompatibility of Two Languages: English and Arabic."
He started his presentation by explaining that [in his opinion] the original language of the Book of Mormon was in Arabic, not Hebrew, as Arabic is one of the purest of all known languages in that it never suffered major changes over the years as Hebrew and other languages have.
He went into explaining the difference between a Western author and an Arabic author. He said, "They are as different as night and day. The author of the Book of Mormon was definitely an Arabic author. To make a point, no self-respecting Western writer would have written, "River of water" as it is a redundant phrase. However an Arabic writer would do so, for the more redundant he would write, the more melodic his writing becomes and your Book of Mormon is the most beautiful sounding book I have ever read."
"The phrase 'and it came to pass'," the professor said, "Is a wonderful phrase, but have you noticed that nothing comes to pass in your Book? In Arabic, it means, I am changing the subject."
He went on to tell how he managed to translate the book, which he did in the evenings at home. When he would find a blockage and couldn't proceed, he would turn off the lights and go to bed, only to be woken up in the middle of the night with the answer, and he would then return and complete his translation.
We all smiled knowingly.
The translation took him a year to complete. To solve the problem of translation, since the two languages are so different, he chose to visualize what Joseph Smith actually saw so as to have him choose the words he translated.
The professor presented a treasure of information about the Book of Mormon that evening. I am sorry not to have retained it in memory.
He ended the presentation with, "I know that Joseph Smith translated the plates with divine help, for there is information in the Book of Mormon that no man in Joseph Smith's situation and time could possibly have known without that type of help."