The Book of Ether Chapter 10 Critique

Setting: One king succeeds another—Some of the kings are righteous; others are wicked—When righteousness prevails, the people are blessed and prospered by the Lord.

Verses 1-4: And it came to pass that Shez, who was a descendant of Heth—for Heth had perished by the famine, and all his household save it were Shez—wherefore, Shez began to build up again a broken people. And it came to pass that Shez did remember the destruction of his fathers, and he did build up a righteous kingdom; for he remembered what the Lord had done in bringing Jared and his brother across the deep; and he did walk in the ways of the Lord; and he begat sons and daughters. And his eldest son, whose name was Shez, did rebel against him; nevertheless, Shez was smitten by the hand of a robber, because of his exceeding riches, which brought peace again unto his father. And it came to pass that his father did build up many cities upon the face of the land, and the people began again to spread over all the face of the land. And Shez did live to an exceedingly old age; and he begat Riplakish. And he died, and Riplakish reigned in his stead.
Note: Pre-Columbian natives were polytheistic pagans.
Specifics concerning Olmec religion are a matter of some conjecture. Early researchers found religious beliefs to be centered upon a jaguar god. This view was challenged in the 1970s by Peter David Joralemon, whose Ph. D. paper and subsequent article posited what are now considered to be 8 different supernaturals. Over time Joralemon's viewpoint has become the predominant exposition of the Olmec pantheon. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.

Verses 5-8: And it came to pass that Riplakish did not do that which was right in the sight of the Lord, for he did have many wives and concubines, and did lay that upon men’s shoulders which was grievous to be borne; yea, he did tax them with heavy taxes; and with the taxes he did build many spacious buildings. And he did erect him an exceedingly beautiful throne; and he did build many prisons, and whoso would not be subject unto taxes he did cast into prison; and whoso was not able to pay taxes he did cast into prison; and he did cause that they should labor continually for their support; and whoso refused to labor he did cause to be put to death. Wherefore he did obtain all his fine work, yea, even his fine gold he did cause to be refined in prison; and all manner of fine workmanship he did cause to be wrought in prison. And it came to pass that he did afflict the people with his whoredoms and abominations. And when he had reigned for the space of forty and two years the people did rise up in rebellion against him; and there began to be war again in the land, insomuch that Riplakish was killed, and his descendants were driven out of the land.
Note: Fine gold did not occur during this time in America.
The emergence of metallurgy in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica occurred relatively late in the region's history, with distinctive works of metal apparent in West Mexico by roughly AD 800, and perhaps as early as AD 600. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.

Verses 9-11: And it came to pass after the space of many years, Morianton, (he being a descendant of Riplakish) gathered together an army of outcasts, and went forth and gave battle unto the people; and he gained power over many cities; and the war became exceedingly sore, and did last for the space of many years; and he did gain power over all the land, and did establish himself king over all the land. And after that he had established himself king he did ease the burden of the people, by which he did gain favor in the eyes of the people, and they did anoint him to be their king. And he did do justice unto the people, but not unto himself because of his many whoredoms; wherefore he was cut off from the presence of the Lord.
Note: Pre-Columbian natives were polytheistic pagans.
Olmec Dragon (God I) also known as the Earth Monster, the Olmec Dragon has flame eyebrows, a bulbous nose, and bifurcated tongue. When viewed from the front, the Olmec Dragon has trough-shaped eyes; when viewed in profile, the eyes are L-shaped. Fangs are prominent, often rendered as an upside-down U-shaped bracket. With the Bird Monster, the Olmec Dragon is one of the most commonly depicted supernaturals. Wikipedia Encyclopedia

Verse 12: And it came to pass that Morianton built up many cities, and the people became exceedingly rich under his reign, both in buildings, and in gold and silver, and in raising grain, and in flocks, and herds, and such things which had been restored unto them.
Note: Pre-Columbian natives did not domesticate animals.
Mesoamerica is the region extending from central Mexico south to the northwestern border of Costa Rica that gave rise to a group of stratified, culturally related agrarian civilizations spanning an approximately 3,000-year period before the visits to the New World by Christopher Columbus. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.

Verses 13-17: And Morianton did live to an exceedingly great age, and then he begat Kim; and Kim did reign in the stead of his father; and he did reign eight years, and his father died. And it came to pass that Kim did not reign in righteousness, wherefore he was not favored of the Lord. And his brother did rise up in rebellion against him, by which he did bring him into captivity; and he did remain in captivity all his days; and he begat sons and daughters in captivity, and in his old age he begat Levi; and he died. And it came to pass that Levi did serve in captivity after the death of his father, for the space of forty and two years. And he did make war against the king of the land, by which he did obtain unto himself the kingdom. And after he had obtained unto himself the kingdom he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord; and the people did prosper in the land; and he did live to a good old age, and begat sons and daughters; and he also begat Corom, whom he anointed king in his stead. And it came to pass that Corom did that which was good in the sight of the Lord all his days; and he begat many sons and daughters; and after he had seen many days he did pass away, even like unto the rest of the earth; and Kish reigned in his stead.
Note: Pre-Columbian natives were polytheistic pagans.
Maize deity (God II) another probable supernatural is identified by the plants sprouting from its cleft head. A carved celt from Veracruz shows a representation of God II, or the Maize God, growing corn from his cleft, and also shows this god with the snarling face associated with the jaguar. This deity is rarely shown with a full body. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.

Verses 18-21: And it came to pass that Kish passed away also, and Lib reigned in his stead. And it came to pass that Lib also did that which was good in the sight of the Lord. And in the days of Lib the poisonous serpents were destroyed. Wherefore they did go into the land southward, to hunt food for the people of the land, for the land was covered with animals of the forest. And Lib also himself became a great hunter. And they built a great city by the narrow neck of land, by the place where the sea divides the land. And they did preserve the land southward for a wilderness, to get game. And the whole face of the land northward was covered with inhabitants.
Note: Panama has always been populated but with no great city.
Prior to the arrival of Europeans, Panama was widely settled by Chibchan, Chocoan, and Cueva peoples, among whom the largest group were the Cueva (whose specific language affiliation is poorly documented). There is no accurate knowledge of size of the Pre-Columbian indigenous population of the isthmus at the time of the European conquest. Estimates range as high as two million people, but more recent studies place that number closer to 200,000. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.

Verses 22-23: And they were exceedingly industrious, and they did buy and sell and traffic one with another, that they might get gain. And they did work in all manner of ore, and they did make gold, and silver, and iron, and brass, and all manner of metals; and they did dig it out of the earth; wherefore, they did cast up mighty heaps of earth to get ore, of gold, and of silver, and of iron, and of copper. And they did work all manner of fine work.
Note: Fine gold did not occur during this time in America.
Phase 1: AD 600 - 1200/1300. West Mexican smiths worked primarily in copper during the initial period, with some low-arsenic alloys, as well as occasional employment of silver and gold. Lost-wax cast bells were introduced from lower Central America and Colombia during this phase, along with several classes of cold-worked ornaments and hand tools, such as needles and tweezers. The prototypes for these small, often utilitarian items appear rooted in southern Ecuador and northern Peru. Small copper rings, generally found in burial contexts, are also common to Ecuador and Western Mexico and are abundant during this phase. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.

Verse 24: And they did have silks, and fine-twined linen; and they did work all manner of cloth, that they might clothe themselves from their nakedness.
Note: Linen was unknown in Pre-Columbia America.
The Aztecs wore different clothing depending on their age. Children younger than three wore no clothes. From age three and up, girls wore blouses and boys wore capes. From age four and up, girls additionally wore short skirts. From age five and up, the girls' short skirts was replaced with a longer skirts. At age 13, boys finally started wearing loin cloths. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.

Verse 25: And they did make all manner of tools to till the earth, both to plow and to sow, to reap and to hoe, and also to thrash.
Note: Plows did not exist in Pre-Columbian America.
The basic plough, with coulter, ploughshare and mouldboard remained in use for a millennium. Major changes in design did not become common until the Age of Enlightenment, when there was rapid progress in design. Joseph Foljambe in Rotherham, England, in 1730 used new shapes as the basis for the Rotherham plough, which also covered the mouldboard with iron. Unlike the heavy plough, the Rotherham (or Rotherham swing) plough consisted entirely of the coulter, mouldboard and handles. It was much lighter than conventional designs and became very popular in England. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.

Verse 26: And they did make all manner of tools with which they did work their beasts.
Note: Cattle did not exist in Pre-Columbian America.
Highland cattle were first imported into Canada in the 1880s. Both the Honourable Donald A. Smith, Lord Strathcona of Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Robert Campbell of Strathclair, Manitoba, imported one bull each. There were also Highland cattle in Nova Scotia, Canada, in the 1880s. However, their numbers were small until the 1920s when large-scale breeding and importing began. In the 1950s cattle were imported and exported from North America. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.

Verse 27: And they did make all manner of weapons of war. And they did work all manner of work of exceedingly curious workmanship.
Note: Swords did not exist in Pre-Columbian America.
Cutting weapons were used by the Native Americans for combat as well as hunting. They preferred shorter blades, and did not use long cutting weapons, like the swords that the Europeans used at the time. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.

Verse 28: And never could be a people more blessed than were they, and more prospered by the hand of the Lord. And they were in a land that was choice above all lands, for the Lord had spoken it.
Note: Solomon Spalding did not know about American deserts.
The Sonoran Desert is a North American desert which covers large parts of the Southwestern United States in Arizona and California, and of Northwestern Mexico in Sonora, Baja California and Baja California Sur. It is the hottest desert in North America, with an area of 260,000 square kilometers (100,000 sq mi). The western portion of the United States–Mexico border passes through the Sonoran Desert. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.

Verses 29-32: And it came to pass that Lib did live many years, and begat sons and daughters; and he also begat Hearthom. And it came to pass that Hearthom reigned in the stead of his father. And when Hearthom had reigned twenty and four years, behold, the kingdom was taken away from him. And he served many years in captivity, yea, even all the remainder of his days. And he begat Heth, and Heth lived in captivity all his days. And Heth begat Aaron, and Aaron dwelt in captivity all his days; and he begat Amnigaddah, and Amnigaddah also dwelt in captivity all his days; and he begat Coriantum, and Coriantum dwelt in captivity all his days; and he begat Com. And it came to pass that Com drew away the half of the kingdom. And he reigned over the half of the kingdom forty and two years; and he went to battle against the king, Amgid, and they fought for the space of many years, during which time Com gained power over Amgid, and obtained power over the remainder of the kingdom.
Note: Olmec decline came from environmental change not war.
Scholars have not determined the cause of the eventual extinction of the Olmec culture. Between 400 and 350 BCE, the population in the eastern half of the Olmec heartland dropped precipitously, and the area was sparsely inhabited until the 19th century. According to archaeologists, this depopulation was probably the result of "very serious environmental changes that rendered the region unsuited for large groups of farmers", in particular changes to the riverine environment that the Olmec depended upon for agriculture, hunting and gathering, and transportation. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.

Verses 33-34: And in the days of Com there began to be robbers in the land; and they adopted the old plans, and administered oaths after the manner of the ancients, and sought again to destroy the kingdom. Now Com did fight against them much; nevertheless, he did not prevail against them.
Note: Mormons began oaths soon after the publication of the BOM.
In Mormonism, the oath of vengeance (or law of vengeance) was an oath that was made by participants in the endowment ritual of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) between about 1845 and the early 1930s, in which participants vowed to pray that God would avenge the blood of the prophets Joseph Smith and Hyrum Smith, who were assassinated in 1844 by a mob. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.