Religion has long since been a part of our culture, but having specifically spoken of Christianity I think it is important to acknowledge the source of Christianity. Christ was himself a person that went against the social norms of the times. People didn't like that. Thus when his followers continued to teach the things he had taught, many rejected them. Since they didn't have the resources that we do in our day, Paul, John, and other disciples of Christ wrote letters--compiled in the Bible--to different groups to tell them what they need to improve on.
These disciples were rejected, and it wasn't until 325 AD when Constantine accompanied the bishops of the time and formed the Creed of Nicea. Following that, in the 4th century AD Augustine started to create these understandings of Christianity and the Bible. He found that there was a need to understand some rhetoric to understand scripture, and that if scripture is not agreed upon you just make it figurative rather than literal. Ultimately though, Augustine believed that any interpretation was incorrect if it didn't lead to a love of God or fellow man.
This way of thinking lead to many different views of religion, and specifically Christianity, which we see in our day. I worked at the referral center in the MTC, where individuals would come onto different forms of social media and say horrifying things about our beliefs. They would present things in such a way that I don't believe anyone would have the guts to do in person. This new medium that is available in our day creates a new method of presenting ones rhetorical texts, which wasn't available ten years ago, and frankly I don't think we have enough practice yet to know how to properly use this medium, and in that way it hurts people rather than coming to some conclusion as Socrates would have hoped. As we practice we can use this medium more to help and uplift each other for our beliefs, and move away from ridicule and harshness.
Short Rhetorical Analysis
Can you imagine speaking to your people just after your brother and leader died (Kairos). The calling given to Jacob at the time Nephi died was I'm sure something he was unable to fully prepare for the death of his brother, but he quickly uses that as an opportunity to build his ethos. He does this by referring to the calling, which has been given to him by God (supernatural).
With the establishment of his ethos, Jacob presents his purpose--exordium/introduction--which is the beginning step in the arrangement of a speech. Then you would expect him to begin his narratio/statement of facts to give understanding of the subject. He calls the men out in verse five by telling them that they are laboring in sin. Obviously he wishes he could speak more of the word of God "which healeth a wounded soul" (metaphor), but since the people are living in sin it must needs be corrected. Even those who are not wounded, Jacob explains that they "instead of feasting upon the pleasing word of God have daggers placed to pierce their souls and wound their delicate minds" (metaphor). This is when he returns to the subject of why he is speaking to the people. He tells them that they are getting caught up too much in their gold, silver, and fine things (statement of facts).
As Jacob continues he starts to employ many different rhetorical methods. Just to point out a few, in verse 16 he uses anaphora/symploce by saying "O that" at the beginning of his sentences. Then in verse 18 he applies anaphora again, but this time in a more cause and effect as he leads into verse 19. He goes on but leads into a deeper argument, which seems to be a sort of judicial defense of women, in which he implores the progymanasmata of defending a law of God. This is a very difficult law, that people misunderstand often, and Jacob is very brave for talking about it, but he must have felt it was necessary enough to address.
What is nice about the way Jacob gives his speech is that he addressed his audience at the beginning of chapter two, and then he does the same in chapter three, only this time he is addressing the righteous. So he is essentially talking to two sets of people within the same speech. The decorum for each chapter is very different. His delivery that is seems more gentle in chapter three, because he is speaking to the more righteous. Even within that chapter he can't help but defend the righteous by informing the wicked of their abominations. Lets all hope we can be the ones that are the righteous, although sometimes I'm sure we need to hear hard things.