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“Yea, and I also know that as many things as have been prophesied concerning us down to this day have been fulfilled, and as many as go beyond this day must surely come to pass.” Words of Mormon 1:4

The Know

John W. Welch has described the Book of Mormon as

prophetic in every sense of the word. It is written by prophets and about prophets. It was foreseen by prophets and foresees our day. It is a book brought forth by prophetic gifts for prophetic purposes. It speaks forth in a clarion voice of warning with words of counsel to those who would survive the last days.1

On some level or another, most readers notice these recurring prophetic themes throughout the text. What may not be so apparent is that some of the Book of Mormon’s major narratives seem to have been designed specifically to emphasize the fulfillment of its prophetic declarations. When this pattern is recognized, it becomes clear that prophecy plays a fundamental rather than incidental role in shaping the structure and content of the Book of Mormon. The following summaries offer only a brief sampling of important prophetic fulfillments in the text. Many additional examples are highlighted in a chart provided in the appendix.

Nephi’s Prophecies

The prophet Nephi shaped much of his first book based on a prophecy given to him by the Lord when his family first left Jerusalem. The Lord declared that “inasmuch as thy brethren shall rebel against thee, they shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord, And inasmuch as thou shalt keep my commandments, thou shalt be made a ruler and a teacher over thy brethren” (1 Nephi 2:22). Over and over again, Nephi recorded the rebellion of his brothers, and his own efforts to teach and instruct them.2 After Lehi’s group reached the promised land, Nephi made sure to report that the Lord’s prophecy had been fulfilled (see 2 Nephi 5:19).

Nephi also recorded visions about his future descendants, including their wars, the Savior’s ministry among them, their generations of peace, and their ultimate destruction (see 1 Nephi 12). In addition, Nephi summarized Zenos’s prophecies about the physical catastrophes that would occur at the time of Christ’s death (1 Nephi 19:10–16). When Mormon was searching among the Nephite records, he discovered these prophecies in Nephi’s set of small plates. Because they contained “the prophecies of the coming of Christ,” Mormon found them to be valuable and included them in his own record (see Words of Mormon 1:4).

What readers may not realize is how important Nephi’s writings were in shaping the rest of Mormon’s abridgment. According to Steven L. Olsen, “Nephi’s prophecies became so crucial to [Mormon’s] literary purpose that he consciously structured a major portion of his narrative in order to document their literal and complete fulfillment.”3 Olsen suggested that Mormon did this “in order to draw attention to the close correspondence between prophecy and scriptural history.”4

"Abinadi Appearing Before King Noah" by Arnold Friberg

“Abinadi Appearing Before King Noah” by Arnold Friberg

Abinadi’s Prophecies

During Abinadi’s trial before King Noah and his priests, Abinadi made a number of prophetic declarations that Mormon made sure to record in detail.5 For instance, Abinadi predicted that the Nephites “shall be brought into bondage, and shall be smitten on the cheek” (Mosiah 12:2). Mormon then recorded two exodus stories, the first involving the people of Limhi (Mosiah 19–22) and the second following the converts who followed Alma (Mosiah 23–24). It’s notable that the major obstacle in each story is that the people came into bondage, just as Abinadi prophesied.

Samuel’s Prophecies

The prophecies given by Samuel the Lamanite, which themselves relied heavily upon the words of past prophets,6 played an important role during the years immediately preceding Christ’s second coming. Not only did Samuel’s prophecies provide very specific signs of Christ’s death, but they also gave a specific time and sign of His birth.7 A disputation about the timing of Samuel’s prophecy provides the major narrative in 3 Nephi 1. Then, in 3 Nephi 8–10, Mormon repeatedly highlighted the fulfillment of the signs of Christ’s death. Samuel’s prophecies were so important to the Nephite historical record that Jesus Himself made sure that their fulfillment was accurately recorded (see 3 Nephi 23:9).

The Why

These and many other fulfilled prophecies provide subtle yet intriguing evidence of the Book of Mormon’s impressive complexity and consistency.8 Most people don’t notice how integral prophecies are to the Book of Mormon’s structure and content. It’s something that typically must be discerned through careful study. It should also be recognized that the book’s precise prophetic fulfillments are scattered throughout its pages and are often separated from the prophecies themselves by large amounts of text.

"Ancient Records" by James Fullmer

“Ancient Records” by James Fullmer

This suggests that whoever produced the text of the Book of Mormon either knew the Nephite history very intimately or worked from some sort of outline or notes to keep track of its numerous prophecies and their fulfillments.9 Yet, according to eyewitnesses, Joseph Smith dictated the text in a remarkably short amount time without relying on any outlines, notes, or reference materials.10 With this in mind, the Book of Mormon’s fulfilled prophecies provide good evidence that its words were intentionally crafted by Mormon and Moroni and were then miraculously revealed to the prophet Joseph Smith.

Indeed, Mormon’s statements repeatedly show that he was conscious of these prophecies and their fulfillment. On one occasion he remarked, “And the power of the evil one was wrought upon all the face of the land, even unto the fulfilling of all the words of Abinadi, and also Samuel the Lamanite” (Mormon 1:19). On another occasion he noted that when the people were on the brink of destruction they “began to remember the prophecies of Alma, and also the words of Mosiah” (Helaman 4:21). Likewise, Moroni reported that the Jaredite destruction transpired according to “the words which had been spoken by the mouth of all the prophets” and that they had been “fulfilled thus far, every whit” (Ether 15:3).

As readers pay careful attention to the details in each Book of Mormon story, they will see how over and over again the words of the prophets came to pass. Recognizing this pattern can build trust that its prophecies about our own day will likewise be fulfilled. Mormon declared, “I … know that as many things as have been prophesied concerning us down to this day have been fulfilled, and as many as go beyond this day must surely come to pass.” (Words of Mormon 1:4; emphasis added)

We can also learn much from the way that different groups in the Book of Mormon treated the sacred prophecies given to them by the Lord. Those who refused to heed prophetic warnings often suffered sorrow and destruction.11 In contrast, others experienced peace and joy as they looked towards the fulfillment of prophecy “with great earnestness” (3 Nephi 8:3). In one period of especially harsh persecution, the Lord comforted His people by declaring, “Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for … on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets” (3 Nephi 1:13; emphasis added).

"Christ Visits the Americas" by John Scott

“Christ Visits the Americas” by John Scott

Faithful people today can likewise look forward to Christ’s second coming with great earnestness, fully expecting that He will fulfill all of the prophecies about our own day, “yea, all things, every whit, according to the words of the prophets” (3 Nephi 1:20). After recounting the Savior’s ministry among the Nephites in the October session of general conference in 2004, Elder Robert D. Hales taught,

Brothers and sisters, the prophecies of Christ’s first coming were fulfilled, “every whit.” As a result, many throughout the world believe that the Savior did come and did live in the meridian of time. But there are still many prophecies yet to be fulfilled! In this and other conferences, we hear living prophets prophesy and testify of Christ’s Second Coming. They also witness of the signs and wonders all about us, telling us that Christ will surely come again. Are we choosing to believe their words?12

The Book of Mormon invites us to not only believe its prophecies about our day, but to also trust the prophets in our own day.13 If we do, we will have both peace and protection in what will surely be turbulent times. And we can look forward with faith and hope for the millennial era of peace that will follow the return of the Savior.

Further Reading

Steven L. Olsen, “Prophecy and History: Structuring the Abridgment of the Nephite Records,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 15, no. 1 (2006): 18–29, 70–71.

Melvin J. Thorne, “Complexity, Consistency, Ignorance, and Probabilities,” in Book of Mormon Authorship Revisited: The Evidence for Ancient Origins, ed. Noel B. Reynolds (Provo, UT: FARMS, 1997), 179–193.

John W. Welch, “Textual Consistency,” in Reexploring the Book of Mormon: A Decade of New Research, ed. John W. Welch (Salt Lake City and Provo, UT: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1992), 21–23.


Fulfilled Book of Mormon Prophecies
Jerusalem Will Be Destroyed1 Nephi 1:4, 131 Nephi 2:131 Nephi 3:171 Nephi 7:13Ether 13:52 Nephi 1:42 Nephi 25:10Helaman 8:20–21
Lehi’s Family Will Be Led to a Land of Promise1 Nephi 2:201 Nephi 5:51 Nephi 7:131 Nephi 10:131 Nephi 18:232 Nephi 10:20Jacob 2:32 
Lehi’s Posterity Will Prosper or Be Cursed1 Nephi 2:201 Nephi 4:142 Nephi 1:9, 202 Nephi 4:4Jarom 1:9Mosiah 1:7Mosiah 2:22, 31Alma 9:13Alma 36:1, 30Alma 37:13Alma 38:1Alma 45:8Alma 48:15,25  2 Nephi 5:13Omni 1:6Mosiah 9:9Mosiah 10:5Mosiah 21:16Mosiah 23:19–20Mosiah 25:24Alma 50:18–22Alma 59:3Alma 62:48, 51Helaman 3:20Helaman 4:13Helaman 11:203 Nephi 6:4-54 Nephi 1:7Ether 7:26Ether 10:16, 28
Nephi’s Brothers Will Be Cut Off1 Nephi 2:212 Nephi 5:20
Nephi Will Be a Ruler and Teacher1 Nephi 2:222 Nephi 5:19
Laman and Lemuel Will Be Cursed1 Nephi 2:232 Nephi 5:21–24
Lamanites Will Be a Scourge141 Nephi 2:242 Nephi 5:25Jacob 3:3Jacob 1:10, 14Enos–OmniOmni 1:24WofM 1:13–14Mosiah 9–10Alma 2–3Alma 16:1–11Alma 24:1–25:14Alma 28Alma 43–44Alma 46:1–50:11Alma 51–62Helaman 1:1–13Helaman 1:14–34Helaman 4Helaman 6:15–11:203 Nephi 2:11–4:283 Nephi 6:14–7:14Mormon 1:6–2:9Mormon 2:16–3:1Mormon 3:4–6:15
Lord Will Deliver Lehi’s Sons and Destroy Laban1 Nephi 4:31 Nephi 4:121 Nephi 4:17
Zoram Will Have a Place among Lehi’s People1 Nephi 4:32–332 Nephi 1:302 Nephi 5:6Jacob 1:134 Nephi 1:37Mormon 1:8
Brass Plates Will Be Preserved1 Nephi 5:18–19 Mosiah 1:3, 16Mosiah 28:11, 20Alma 37:1–123 Nephi 1:23 Nephi 10:17
Christ Will Come 600 Years after Lehi Left Jerusalem1 Nephi 10:41 Nephi 19:82 Nephi 25:193 Nephi 1:1
Nephites Will Become a  Civilization with Many Cities1 Nephi 12:33 Nephi 6:7–8Mormon 1:7
Mists of Darkness Will Be on the Land1 Nephi 12:43 Nephi 8:20–23
Lightnings Will Be on the Land1 Nephi 12:41 Nephi 19:112 Nephi 26:6Helaman 14:213 Nephi 8:7121719
Thunder Will Be on the Land1 Nephi 12:41 Nephi 19:112 Nephi 26:6Helaman 14:21Helaman 14:26–273 Nephi 8:6121719
Earthquakes Will Be on the Land1 Nephi 12:42 Nephi 26:6Helaman 14:21Helaman 14:26–273 Nephi 8:121719
Tumultuous Noises Will Be Heard1 Nephi 12:43 Nephi 8:233 Nephi 10:9
Rocks and Earth Will Be Rent1 Nephi 12:41 Nephi 19:123 Nephi 8:6, 18
Mountains Will Tumble and Be Laid Low1 Nephi 12:4Helaman 14:233 Nephi 8:10
Plains and Earth Will Be Broken Up1 Nephi 12:4Helaman 14:213 Nephi 8:13, 18
Cities Will Be Sunken1 Nephi 12:43 Nephi 8:9, 143 Nephi 9:4–83 Nephi 10:13
Cities Will Be Burned1 Nephi 12:43 Nephi 8:8, 143 Nephi 9:3, 9–113 Nephi 10:13–14
Cities Will Be Shaken and Tumble1 Nephi 12:43 Nephi 8:14
Vapor of Darkness Will Be Removed1 Nephi 12:53 Nephi 10:9
Righteous Will Be Preserved from Destruction1 Nephi 12:52 Nephi 26:83 Nephi 9:133 Nephi 10:12–13
Heavens Will Open1 Nephi 12:63 Nephi 11:8
Lamb of God Will Descend1 Nephi 12:63 Nephi 11:8
Lamb of God Will Show Himself1 Nephi 12:61 Nephi 13:352 Nephi 26:12 Nephi 26:9Alma 16:203 Nephi 10:18–193 Nephi 11:8–14
Holy Ghost Will Fall on Twelve Disciples1 Nephi 12:73 Nephi 19:9–13
Twelve Disciples Will Be Chosen and Ordained1 Nephi 12:73 Nephi 12:13 Nephi 13:253 Nephi 19:4
Twelve Disciples Will Judge the Nephites1 Nephi 12:10Mormon 3:18–19 
Righteous Generations Will Precede Final Destruction1 Nephi 12:11–122 Nephi 26:93 Nephi 27:30–313 Nephi 28:234 Nephi 1:14–22
Destruction Will Follow Fourth Generation1 Nephi 12:122 Nephi 26:9Alma 45:12Helaman 13:103 Nephi 27:324 Nephi 1:14–22Mormon 8:6 
Lamanites will Overcome Nephites1 Nephi 12:19Mormon 6:8–20
Nephite/Lamanite Mixture Won’t Be Utterly Destroyed1 Nephi 13:302 Nephi 3:32 Nephi 9:53Helaman 3:16Moroni 1:2Moroni 9:24
Lamanites Won’t Be Utterly Destroyed1 Nephi 13:312 Nephi 4:9Alma 9:16, 24Alma 46:24–27Helaman 7:24Helaman 15:12,16Mormon 8:7–9
Nephites Will Record Christ’s Words1 Nephi 13:353 Nephi 23:43 Nephi 27:23
Lord Will Visit the Righteous with His Voice1 Nephi 19:113 Nephi 11:1–113 Nephi 9:133 Nephi 10:12–13
Lord Will Visit the Wicked with Tempests1 Nephi 19:11Helaman 14:233 Nephi 6, 12, 17, 19
Earth Will Open1 Nephi 19:113 Nephi 10:14
Mountains Will Be Carried Up1 Nephi 19:11Helaman 14:233 Nephi 8:10
Earth Will Groan1 Nephi 19:123 Nephi 10:9
Travelers to the Promised Land Must Be Led by the Lord2 Nephi 1:6Omni 1:16Helaman 6:10Ether 11:21
Curse upon Lamanites Will Be Removed2 Nephi 4:62 Nephi 5:22Alma 3:14Alma 23:183 Nephi 2:15
God Will Mark Lamanites to Make Them Unenticing2 Nephi 5:21–22Alma 3:14
Nephites Who Mix with Lamanites Will Be Cursed2 Nephi 5:22Alma 3:15
Mosaic Law Will Be Fulfilled and Its Ordinances Will End2 Nephi 25:242 Nephi 25:30Alma 25:15Alma 30:3Alma 34:133 Nephi 1:253 Nephi 9:173 Nephi 12:17–19, 463 Nephi 15:4–6 
Signs Will Be Given of Christ’s Birth2 Nephi 26:3Helaman 14:2–6
Signs Will Be Given of Christ’s Death2 Nephi 26:3Helaman 14:14–28
Wicked Will Perish for Stoning, Slaying, and Casting out Prophets2 Nephi 26:33 Nephi 9:10–11
Blood of Saints Will Cry from the Ground2 Nephi 26:33 Nephi 9:7, 11
Depths of the Earth Will Swallow the Wicked2 Nephi 26:53 Nephi 9:6, 8
Mountains Will Cover the Wicked2 Nephi 26:53 Nephi 9:5
Whirlwinds Will Carry Away the Wicked2 Nephi 26:53 Nephi 8:12, 163 Nephi 10:13–14 
Buildings Will Fall and Crush the Wicked2 Nephi 26:53 Nephi 8:14 
Despite Persecution, Righteous Saints Will Steadfastly Look for the Signs of Christ’s Coming2 Nephi 26:83 Nephi 1:8–9
Christ Will Heal the People2 Nephi 26:93 Nephi 9:133 Nephi 17:7–103 Nephi 26:15
Christ’s Ministry Will Be Followed by Generations of Peace2 Nephi 26:94 Nephi 1:1, 22
Spirit Will Cease to Strive with the Nephites2 Nephi 26:11Mormon 5:16
Nephites Will Be Speedily Destroyed2 Nephi 26:10Mormon 4:18Mormon 8:7
Lord Will Lead Away the RighteousJacob 3:4Omni 1:12–13
Wicked Nephites Will Become Weak Like unto Their BrethrenMosiah 1:13Helaman 4:24Mormon 2:26
Repentance Will Bring Deliverance from BondageMosiah 7:33Mosiah 22–24
Nephites Will Be Put into BondageMosiah 11:21, 23Mosiah 12:2Mosiah 7:15, 20, 22, 28Mosiah 9:10–12Mosiah 20:21
Only the Lord Will Deliver the Nephites from BondageMosiah 11:23Mosiah 21:5Mosiah 23:13, 23–24, 27Mosiah 24:17, 21Mosiah 25:16Mosiah 27:16Mosiah 29:20Alma 5:5Alma 29:11–12Alma 36:2
Lord Will Be Slow to Hear CriesMosiah 11:24Mosiah 21:15
Nephites Will Be SmittenMosiah 11:24Mosiah 12:2Mosiah 17:17Mosiah 21:3,13 
Nephites Will Be DrivenMosiah 12:2Mosiah 17:17Mosiah 21:3Mormon 2:20
Beasts Will Devour FleshMosiah 12:2Mosiah 17:17Alma 2:38Alma 16:10
King Noah Will Suffer Death by FireMosiah 12:3Mosiah 12:10Mosiah 13:10Mosiah 17:18Mosiah 19:20
Nephites Will Be Smitten with Famine and PestilenceMosiah 12:4, 7Alma 10:22-23Alma 45:11Helaman 10:6Helaman 13:9Alma 62:35, 39Helaman 11:5Helaman 12:3  
Burdens Will Be Placed on BacksMosiah 12:5Mosiah 21:3–4Mosiah 24:9, 14Mosiah 24:14
Nephites Will Be Driven As a “Dumb Ass”Mosiah 12:5Mosiah 21:3–4
Nephites Will Be Utterly DestroyedMosiah 12:8Alma 9:12Alma 9:24Alma 46:24–27Helaman 7:24Helaman 13:10Helaman 15:17Mormon 6:8–20
Descendants of Noah’s Priests Will Kill Believers with FireMosiah 17:15Alma 25:5–12
Descendants of Noah’s Priests Will Be Smitten, Driven, and ScatteredMosiah 17:17Alma 25:12
Descendants of Noah’s Priests Will Be HuntedMosiah 17:18Alma 25:8, 12
Many Will Repent and Believe the Sons of MosiahMosiah 28:7Alma 17:4Alma 23:4Alma 25:17Alma 26:3, 13, 31, 35Alma 29:14–17
Lord Will Deliver the Sons of MosiahMosiah 28:7Alma 17:35Alma 18:3Alma 19:23Alma 20:30Alma 21:14–15Alma 22:2Alma 26:29
People Will Be Destroyed when the Majority Become WickedMosiah 29:27Helaman 4:21–22
Lord Will Utterly Destroy AmmonihahAlma 8:16Alma 9:12Alma 10:18Alma 16:9–11Alma 25:2
Ammonihah Will Be Destroyed in One DayAlma 9:4–5Alma 16:10
Sons of Mosiah Will Need to Be Patient in AfflictionsAlma 17:11Alma 26:27 
Sons of Mosiah Will Be Instruments in God’s HandsAlma 17:11Alma 26:3, 15  
Lord Will Preserve the People of AmmonAlma 27:12Alma 56:56Alma 57:26 
Nephites Will Be Destroyed 400 Years after Christ’s MinistryAlma 45:10Helaman 13:5, 9 Mormon 8:6–7 
Nephites Will Be Trodden Down If They Become WickedAlma 46:18, 22Helaman 4:20Mormon 5:6 
Helaman’s Army Will Be DeliveredAlma 58:11Alma 62:50
Cities Will Be Taken AwayHelaman 7:22Helaman 7:28Helaman 8:5–6 3 Nephi 2:113 Nephi 4:13 Nephi 8:14–153 Nephi 10:4Mormon 2:28–29Mormon 4:18Mormon 5:5
Chief Judge Will Be MurderedHelaman 8:27–28Helaman 9:6
Judge Will Be Lying in His Own BloodHelaman 8:27–28Helaman 9:3
Nephi Will Smite Earth with Famine, Pestilence, and DestructionHelaman 10:6Helaman 10:11Helaman 10:14Helaman 11:4–5Helaman 11:15 
Zarahelma Will Be Destroyed with FireHelaman 13:12–133 Nephi 8:83 Nephi 8:243 Nephi 9:3
Lord Will Curse RichesHelaman 13:17–23, 30, 33–36Mormon 1:18
People Will Attempt to Hide Riches When Fleeing from EnemiesHelaman 13:18–20Mormon 1:18
People Will Persecute, Stone, and Cast Out ProphetsHelaman 13:24–263 Nephi 7:143 Nephi 8:25
Treasures Will Become “Slippery”Helaman 13:31, 33, 36Mormon 1:18
People Will Cry unto the Lord Because of Their Lost RichesHelaman 13:32, 34–36Mormon 2:10
Destruction Will Be Made Sure when the Day of Probation Is PastHelaman 13:32, 37–38 Mormon 2:13–15
People Will Weep and Howl and LamentHelaman 13:323 Nephi 8:23, 253 Nephi 10:23 Nephi 10:8Mormon 2:11–12
People Will Cry, Wishing They Had Repented Before DestructionHelaman 13:333 Nephi 8:24–25Mormon 6:22
Demons Will Afflict the PeopleHelaman 13:373 Nephi 7:19
Christ Will Be Born in Five Years15Helaman 14:23 Nephi 1:15
Night without Darkness Will Be a Sign of Christ’s BirthHelaman 14:3–43 Nephi 1:15
New Star Will Be a Sign of Christ’s birthHelaman 14:53 Nephi 1:21
Many Signs and Wonders Will Be in HeavenHelaman 14:6Helaman 16:13–143 Nephi 1:4, 22, 263 Nephi 2:1
People Will Be AmazedHelaman 14:73 Nephi 1:17
People Will Fall to the EarthHelaman 14:73 Nephi 1:17
Calamities Will Be a Sign of Christ’s DeathHelaman 14:14, 203 Nephi 11:2 
There Will Be Three Days of DarknessHelaman 14:20, 273 Nephi 8:33 Nephi 8:23
No Light Will Shine from Moon or StarsHelaman 14:203 Nephi 8:22
Calamities Will Last for HoursHelaman 14:21, 263 Nephi 8:19
Rocks Will Be Rent in TwainHelaman 14:22 3 Nephi 8:18 
Earth Will Be Broken in Fragments, Seams, and CracksHelaman 14:22 3 Nephi 8:18 
Highways Will Be Broken UpHelaman 14:243 Nephi 8:13
Cities and Houses Will Be Left DesolateHelaman 14:24Helaman 15:1 3 Nephi 4:1, 33 Nephi 8:143 Nephi 10:7 
Graves Will Be Opened and Saints Will Arise from the DeadHelaman 14:253 Nephi 23:9–11
Saints Will Appear to ManyHelaman 14:253 Nephi 23:9–11
Signs and Wonders Will Be in the “Whole Earth” and upon “All the Face of the Land”Helaman 14:27, 283 Nephi 8:6,12,17–18, 203 Nephi 9:1
Women Who Can’t Flee Will PerishHelaman 15:2Mormon 4:14–15, 21Moroni 9:7–8, 19
Curse Will Be on the LandEther 7:23Ether 9:16Ether 15:3
Jaredites Will Be DestroyedEther 11:1, 5–7, 12, 20Ether 14:25Ether 15:33
Bones Will be Left after DestructionEther 11:6Omni 1:22Mosiah 8:8Mosiah 21:26-27
Coriantumr Will Survive the Destruction of His PeopleEther 13:21Omni 1:21Ether 15:1–2Ether 15:33