Wednesday, September 11, 2019

All Those Records—Where Are They? Part I

For some reason, many members think that Moroni had with him all the records from his father, which would have included all the records that Ammaron told Mormon about (Mormon 1:2-4).
    The first we learn of there being more than the Large and Small plates that Nephi tells us about as well as the Brass Plates (1 Nephi 3:3) is in Nephi’s writing:
I shall make an account of my proceedings in my days. Behold, I make an abridgment of the record of my father, upon plates which I have made with mine own hands; wherefore, after I have abridged the record of my father then will I make an account of mine own life” (1 Nephi 1:17), which Large Plates Nephi made of ore (1 Nephi 19:1) and called them the First Plates (1 Nephi 19:2), which we refer to today as the Large Plates. These were made long before he knew he was to make a second set of plates (1 Nephi 19:2), which became known as the Small Plates. Evidently there were plates called the Book of Lehi, or they were dedicated in part to Lehi, for Nephi writes: “And now I, Nephi, do not give the genealogy of my fathers in this part of my record; neither at any time shall I give it after upon these plates which I am writing; for it is given in the record which has been kept by my father; wherefore, I do not write it in this work” (1 Nephi 6:1), which Nephi intended to hand down through his seed for a record to be kept (1 Nephi 6:6). Nor did he occupy his plates with the sermons of his father to his brothers, Laman and Lemuel (1 Nephi 9:1), and that he actually had two sets of plates, one containing a full account of the history of his people, and the other evidently a smaller, abridged version (1 Nephi 9:2) that contained also the ministry of the Nephites (1 Nephi 9:3), while on the other, larger plates would be kept an account of the reign of the kings, wars and contentions of the Nephites (1 Nephi 9:4).
Nephi not only wrote his entire history but abridge that of his father, Lehi

Obviously, these smaller plates, which Nephi said, “the Lord hath commanded me to make these plates for a wise purpose in him, which purpose I know not” (1 Nephi 9:5), would be the ones from which Joseph Smith would translate the Book of Mormon after Martin Harris lost the first 116 pages of the large plates, Joseph called the Book of Lehi. However, so we would have some record of Lehi, Nephi was commanded to “make an abridgement of the record of my father, upon plates which I have made with mine own hands; wherefore, after I have abridged the record of my father then will I make an account of mine own life” (1 Nephi 1:17). Evidently, from what Nephi says, he did not make the plates upon which his father’s record was kept since he makes a point of stating he made the records with his own hands on which he abridged his father’s record. Either he did not make the Large Plates upon which the 116 pages of the Book of Lehi, which Harris lost, or there were three sets of plates, the Large Plates of Nephi, the Small Plates of Nephi, and the Plates of Lehi—either way, Lehi kept a record of his life or a portion of it (1 Nephi 6:1).
    This seems to be borne out by the fact that on the plates Nephi made, “it mattereth not to me that I am particular to give a full account of all the things of my father, for they cannot be written upon these plates, for I desire the room that I may write of the things of God” (1 Nephi 6:3) Consequently, at this point we have either three or four sets of plates: 1) Small Plates, Large Plates, Plates of Brass, and possibly the Plates of Lehi. To that list may be added other records, mentioned in Helaman and elsewhere.
    First, though, it might be of interest to know that for those who complain that the scriptural record does not contain enough history of the Nephites, it might be noted that Nephi acknowledges that “for a more history part are written upon mine other plates” (2 Nephi 4:14; 5:33; Jacob 1:3), meaning the Large Plates, which was where Nephi recorded the Nephite history for the first 30 years (2 Nephi 5:28) until commanded to make the Small Plates (2 Nephi 5:30) around 570 B.C.
Jacob recorded his own record upon the plates and called it the Book of Jacob

Just before Nephi’s death, he gave the Small Plates to Jacob (Jacob 1:1). These plates, made by Nephi, were now called the Plates of Jacob (Jacob 3:14). The other, Large Plates, evidently ended up in the hands of the next king of the Nephites, for Jacob records that that record was being kept (Jacob 7:26). These small plates were handed down through Jacob’s lineage, beginning with Enos and eventually ending up in the hands of Amaleki, who evidently had no children and his brother had gone with Zeniff back to claim the City of Nephi (Omni 1:30), handed the records over to King Benjamin (Omni 1:25).
    In Helaman, we find that in 46 B.C., 554 years after Lehi left Jerusalem and about 470 years after Amaleki delivered the records to King Benjamin, that the Nephite had and kept “many books and many records of every kind” (Helaman 3:15). Obviously, these are part of those record Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery saw stacked under the table and around the room in what is called the Cumorah Cave.
    Around 321 A.D., a prophet named Amos, who had been keeping the record died, and Ammaron kept in his stead (4 Nephi 1:47) for the next 15 years, when he was constrained by the Holy Ghost to hide up the records which were sacred and had been handed down from generation to generation from Nephi down through the year 321 A.D. (4 Nephi 1:48).
Ammaron instructs a young Mormon on when and where to obtain the plates

At this time, Mormon was ten years of age (Mormon 1:2), and Ammaron came to him and told him that when he became twenty and four years of age, that he was to secure from the hill called Shim where Ammaron deposited the sacred records concerning the Nephites (Mormon 1:3), and take the Plates of Nephi but leave the remainder where they were (Mormon 1:4). When the time came, Mormon as head of the Nephite army, was being driven northward out of the Land Southward into the Land of David and finally to the Land of Jashon and the city by that name, which was near the hill Shim where Ammaron hid up the records (Mormon 2:17).
    At this time or shortly thereafter, Mormon did as Ammaron had bid him and wrote down a full account of the Nephites and their evil ways on the plates of Nephi (Mormon 2:18). Over the next nearly 40 years the wars waged on and the Lamanites continued to drive the Nephites northward. During all this time, Mormon abridged the entire record and wrote his own works. Finally, after several correspondents with his son, Moroni, Mormon was about ready to hide up the bulk of the records he held in the hill Cumorah, which he had determined would be the site of their last battle with the Lamanites.
    “And now I, Mormon, being about to deliver up the record which I have been making into the hands of my son Moroni, behold I have witnessed almost all the destruction of my people, the Nephites. And it is many hundred years after the coming of Christ that I deliver these records into the hands of my son; and it supposeth me that he will witness the entire destruction of my people. But may God grant that he may survive them, that he may write somewhat concerning them, and somewhat concerning Christ, that perhaps some day it may profit them. And now, I speak somewhat concerning that which I have written; for after I had made an abridgment from the plates of Nephi, down to the reign of this king Benjamin, of whom Amaleki spake, I searched among the records which had been delivered into my hands, and I found these plates, which contained this small account of the prophets, from Jacob down to the reign of this king Benjamin, and also many of the words of Nephi. And the things which are upon these plates pleasing me, because of the prophecies of the coming of Christ; and my fathers knowing that many of them have been fulfilled; 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—wherefore, I chose these things, to finish my record upon them, which remainder of my record I shall take from the plates of Nephi; and I cannot write the hundredth part of the things of my people” (Words of Mormon 1:1-5).
Mormon wrote of the last, great battle between the Nephites and the Lamanites

As Mormon now recorded his final moments: “And it came to pass that when we had gathered in all our people in one to the land of Cumorah, behold I, Mormon, began to be old; and knowing it to be the last struggle of my people, and having been commanded of the Lord that I should not suffer the records which had been handed down by our fathers, which were sacred, to fall into the hands of the Lamanites, (for the Lamanites would destroy them) therefore 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” (Mormon 6:6).
(See the net post, “All Those Records—Where Are They? Part II,” for the final information regarding all the records of the Nephites and where they ended up)


  1. Where is part 2? Also can you point me to a blog where you say how the plates got to NY or a map showing your version of events geographically. Your view points make sense from what I have read this far but have questions that may be answered by reading more....

  2. Unfortunately, part 2 of this article was never printed and has been lost in the sequencing. As for other information, we have been writing this blog for 10 years with thousands of posted articles. The information you seek is scattered throughout the information and we do not have the staff to look things up for readers.
    You might write this request of our readers on today's current blog site...someone will probably show you how to find what you are looking for.

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