“And it came to pass that after this manner of language did I persuade my brethren, that they might be faithful in keeping the commandments of God.”
Rhetoric utilizes three audience senses- Logos, Pathos and Ethos- in order to persuade other to action. Let’s learn about these senses and how Nephi used each to persuade his brothers to not give up trying to get the brass plates:
Logos refers to our sense of reasoning and logic. Nephi appealed to his brother’s sense of logos by explaining to them why Jerusalem would be destroyed (iniquity) and why the plates needed to be preserved (to preserve the language and make known the commandments of God).
Pathos refers to our sense of emotion and sympathy. Nephi appealed to this by saying their father, Lehi would perish if he’d stayed in Jerusalem. He also appealed to their Pathos by talking about how the plan was according to the “wisdom in God,” and how the plates contained the inspired teachings of the prophets. The physical delivery of Nephi’s argument probably added even more power to his words.
Ethos refers to our sense of authority and credibility. Nephi appealed to this by saying it wasn’t his decision to get the plates, but the Lord’s. What greater appeal than to God? (See 1 Nephi 3:14-22)
“The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.”
My Testament: On my two-year LDS mission in Argentina, I learned that though rhetoric can help others to make temporary changes in their life, true lasting conversion comes only through the Holy Spirit.