Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Step by Step Through the Book of Mormon – Part II

Continuing from the previous post regarding Alan C. Miner’s book we have been asked to comment upon. In the previous post, we discussed some of Miner’s comments in the first couple of pages of his work. Following we are still on page 2: 
   All this time, following the battle at Cumorah, Moroni expected to be killed at any moment. He had no guarantee on any longevity of life beyond Cumorah, but the Lord granted him a longer life to fulfill his assignment to hide the plates so the Lamanites could not destroy them.
Sometime between 401 A.D. and 421 A.D., Moroni finishes the record he “had supposed not to have written more” (Moroni 1:1). How long it took him to write what is now known as the Book of Moroni is not known; however, we can conclude he finished his writing in 420 or 421 A.D., for his final remarks, which are addressed to the Lamanites, he begins with: “I would that they should know that more than four hundred and twenty years have passed away since the sign was given of the coming of Christ” (Moroni 10:1).
    From this we cannot conclude as Ainsworth and Miner have, that Nephites survived this battle and track down period. In fact, Moroni’s own writing tells us no one did but himself. Thus, it should be noted that Morolni twice makes mention of the fact that he is "alone."  In Mormon 8:3 he says, "And my father also was killed by them, and I even remain alone to write the sad tale of destruction of my people.  But behold, they are gone, and I fulfil the commandment of my father."  In Mormon 8:5 he says, "Behold, my father hath made this record, and he hath written the intent thereof.  And behold, I would write it also if I had room upon the plates, but I have not; and ore I have none, for I am alone.  My father hath been slain in battle, and all my kinsfolk, and I have not friends nor whither to go."
    However, the precise and clear language of Moroni is not sufficient for Miner, who goes on to state: “In respect to Moroni's writing assignment, the phrase "I even remain alone to write the sad tale" apparently means that Moroni was the only official Nephite scribe left…However, the idea that Moroni was the only Nephite left is a little bit questionable.  Moroni 1:2 lets us know that at a later date Moroni says, "they (the Lamanites) put to death every Nephite that will not deny the Christ."  Therefore, the meaning of the phrase "I am alone" probably means that all the other major Nephite leaders had been put to death by the Lamanites. The words in Mormon 8:5, "my father hath been slain in battle, and all my kinfolk" implies further that Mormon and Moroni were probably part of a great family unit that shouldered much spiritual and secular responsibility in the Nephite society.  The phrase, "I have not friends nor whither to go" might imply the lack of righteous covenant people to whom Moroni could go for help.”
On the other hand, “I even remain alone,” might mean exactly what it implies—Moroni was the last Nephite alive. It is always amazing to us that so many theorists simply will not take the scriptural record to mean what it says—they are constantly trying to tell us something else than what is being said is meant.
    Miner quotes John L. Sorenson (p2), who also weighs in on this matter, stating: “the record came to an end because the lineage did, not because an entire civilization ceased…Naturally, large numbers of people of Nephite descent had never consented to flee their lands in the first place (Mormon 2:7-8), but had switched allegiance and renounced their old beliefs and allegiance rather than move out (Moroni 1:2).”
    However, what Miner and Sorenson seem to forget is that the Nephites had no choice—they either fled with the Nephite army or they were killed by the approaching Lamanite hordes. As Mormon tells us: “And it came to pass that we did again take to flight, and those whose flight was swifter than the Lamanites' did escape, and those whose flight did not exceed the Lamanites' were swept down and destroyed” (Mormon 5:7). Of all those Nephites who remained alive, Mormon tells us that in 384 A.D., “we had gathered in all the remainder of our people unto the land of Cumorah” (Mormon 6:5).
    All the remainder of our people!
    That doesn’t leave any room for others to not have participated in this final battle as Miner and Sorenson and other Mesoamerican theorists want to claim.
It can also be said, that on another occasion, Miner states (p6): “After writing an epilogue to his father's abridgment (see Mormon 8:1-13), the amount of time that elapsed before Moroni returned to the sacred depository to once again take the stylus in hand is unclear.  However, when Moroni returned to the sacred site and removed the plates of Mormon from their place of concealment, he engraved a brief affirmation that he was the same person who had previously buried the sacred records.  He wrote: "And I am the same who hideth up this record unto the Lord" (Mormon 8:14).  Without that transitional sentence the reader would be lost as to who was writing on the plates following the previous benedictory conclusion.”
    The problem with such writing is that Miner assumes things and writes them into his narrative as though they are fact, when in reality they are his opinion. Take, for example the statement “…he was the same person who had previously buried the sacred records,” when in reality, there is no mention of the records being buried. Where else they might have been is not the point—the problem is that the reader is left to accept the comment as fact when, in reality, Miner does not know the records had been buried, nor does he even know that Moroni had not carried the records with him in his travels or hiding during that elapsed time. In fact, the term “bury” and “buried” are not found at all in either the writings of Mormon (Book of Mormon) or of Moroni (Book of Moroni). At one point, Moroni says he is going to “write and hide up the records in the earth” (Mormon 8:4), but does not tell us in what sequence, or in what time. Did he write, hide them up and then get them again, and write more and hide them up? We simply do not know.
    In addition, Miner providers us once again with his own view and not what the scriptural record tells us or even suggests. He states (pp15-16): “Apparently by using the phrase, "this north country" (Ether 1:1), Moroni seems to imply that he was writing from a location somewhere in the north country, or in other words, from the land northward (the place where both the Nephites and the Jaredites were destroyed)…we are told elsewhere in the Book of Mormon that the final battle site of the Jaredites (the hill Ramah) and the final battle site of the Nephites (the hill Cumorah) were the same (Mormon 8:1-4).  We are also told that Mormon "hid up in the hill Cumorah all the records" which had been entrusted to him except apparently the abridgement (Mormon 6:6).  Therefore, the fact that Moroni is making this record of the Jaredites seems to imply that he has returned to the hill Cumorah, located in "this north country." 
There is no suggestion that Moroni returned to the hill Cumorah at any time. There is no suggestion that Moroni hid the records he possessed in the hill Cumorah at that or any time in antiquity. That he did deposit the records in a hill in western New York prior to the time he instructed Joseph Smith to obtain them from the ground is obvious, but it is not as obvious that the hill in New York was the same hill as the one mentioned in the scriptural record. In fact, as we have stated here numerous times, there are little, if any, comparisons that can be drawn at all between the hill mentioned in the record and the one in New York.
(See the next post, “Step by Step Through the Book of Mormon – Part III,” for more information on our view of Alan C. Miner’s book that we have been asked to evaluate by a Reader of our blog)


  1. Del- I appreciate how you faithfully stick to the scriptural record.

    Nephi saw in vision that his people would be destroyed.
    1 Nephi 15:5
    And it came to pass that I was overcome because of my afflictions, for I considered that mine afflictions were great above all, because of the destruction of my people, for I had beheld their fall.
    Nephi's nephew Enos prayed for the record to be preserved if the Nephites would be destroyed. And he prayed it would be restored to the Lamanites. Why not pray for it to be restored to a remnant of the Nephites if it was only going to be a partial destruction.

    Enos 1:13

    And now behold, this was the desire which I desired of him—that if it should so be, that my people, the Nephites, should fall into transgression, and by any means be ​​​destroyed​, and the Lamanites should not be ​​​destroyed​, that the Lord God would ​​​preserve​ a record of my people, the Nephites; even if it so be by the power of his holy arm, that it might be ​​​brought forth​ at some future day unto the Lamanites, that, perhaps, they might be ​​​brought​ unto salvation—

    Alma prophesied the Nephites would become extinct

    Alma 45:11
    Yea, and then shall they see wars and pestilences, yea, famines and bloodshed, even until the people of Nephi shall become extinct--

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. To me, Mormon 6:6 makes me think the Hill Cumorah referenced in the Book of Mormon is not the same hill in upstate NY now referred to as the Hill Cumorah.
    Mormon stated:
    I made this record out of the plates of Nephi, and hid up in the hill Cumorah all the records which had been entrusted to me by the hand of the Lord, save it were these few plates which I gave unto my son Moroni.

    All the plates were hid in the Hill Cumorah referenced in the Book of Mormon except the plates Moroni took with him. So the Hill Joseph was directed to in upstate NY likely was not the same as the Hill Cumorah referenced in the Book of Mormon-else where are the rest of the plates that Mormon hidin tthe Hill Cumorah referenced in the Book of Mormon.

  4. David: Well pointed out. Thank you.

  5. According to the 1828 Webster's Dictionary: EXTINCT', adjective [Latin extinctus. See Extinguish.

    1. Extinguished; put out; quenched; as, fire, light or a lamp is extinct

    2. Being at an end; having no survivor; as, a family or race is extinct

    3. Being at an end; having ceased. The enmity between the families is extinct

    My days are extinct Job 17:1.

    4. Being at an end, by abolition or disuse; having no force; as, the law is extinct

    So.. I guess in 1828 extinct meant extinct.. as in NO SURVIVORS. And the Spirit testified it was correct. I guess Sorenson, Miner and Ainsworth are using a dictionary that has a different definition of extinct.