The Book of Mormon Chapter 1 Critique
Setting: Ammaron instructs
Mormon concerning the sacred records—War commences between the Nephites
and the Lamanites—The Three Nephites are taken away—Wickedness,
unbelief, sorceries, and witchcraft prevail. About A.D. 321–326.
Verses 1-3: And now I, Mormon,
make a record of the things which I have both seen and heard, and call
it the Book of Mormon. And about the time that Ammaron hid up the
records unto the Lord, he came unto me, (I being about ten years of
age, and I began to be learned somewhat after the manner of the
learning of my people) and Ammaron said unto me: I perceive that thou
art a sober child, and art quick to observe; Therefore, when ye are
about twenty and four years old I would that ye should remember the
things that ye have observed concerning this people; and when ye are of
that age go to the land Antum, unto a hill which shall be called Shim;
and there have I deposited unto the Lord all the sacred engravings
concerning this people. And behold, ye shall take the plates of Nephi
unto yourself, and the remainder shall ye leave in the place where they
are; and ye shall engrave on the plates of Nephi all the things that ye
have observed concerning this people.
Note: Page Pre-Columbian natives did not write on plates.
Among one of the common cultural traits found in many Mesoamerican
groups is writing. In fact, Mesoamerica is the only place in the
Americas where indigenous writing systems were invented and used before
European colonization. While the types of writing systems in
Mesoamerica range from minimalist "picture-writing" to complex
logophonetic systems capable to recording speech and literature, they
all share some core features that make them visually and functionally
distinct from other writing systems of the world. ancientscripts.com
Verses 5-7: And I, Mormon,
being a descendant of Nephi, (and my father’s name was Mormon) I
remembered the things which Ammaron commanded me. And it came to pass
that I, being eleven years old, was carried by my father into the land
southward, even to the land of Zarahemla. The whole face of the land
had become covered with buildings, and the people were as numerous
almost, as it were the sand of the sea.
Note: Solomon Spalding did not know about Teotihuacan.
The holy city of Teotihuacan ('the place where the gods were created')
is situated some 50 km north-east of Mexico City. Built between the 1st
and 7th centuries A.D., it is characterized by the vast size of its
monuments – in particular, the Temple of Quetzalcoatl and the Pyramids
of the Sun and the Moon, laid out on geometric and symbolic principles.
As one of the most powerful cultural centres in Mesoamerica,
Teotihuacan extended its cultural and artistic influence throughout the
region, and even beyond. unesco.org
Verses 8-10: And it came to
pass in this year there began to be a war between the Nephites, who
consisted of the Nephites and the Jacobites and the Josephites and the
Zoramites; and this war was between the Nephites, and the Lamanites and
the Lemuelites and the Ishmaelites. Now the Lamanites and the
Lemuelites and the Ishmaelites were called Lamanites, and the two
parties were Nephites and Lamanites. And it came to pass that the war
began to be among them in the borders of Zarahemla, by the waters of
Note: Solomon Spalding did not know about the Mayas.
Contemporary with Teotihuacan's greatness was that of the Maya
civilization. The period between 250 CE and 650 CE was a time of
intense flourishing of Maya civilized accomplishments. While the many
Maya city-states never achieved political unity on the order of the
central Mexican civilizations, they exerted a tremendous intellectual
influence upon Mexico and Central America. The Maya built some of the
most elaborate cities on the continent, and made innovations in
mathematics, astronomy, and calendrics. The Mayans also evolved the
only true writing system native to the Americas using pictographs and
syllabic elements in the form of texts and codices inscribed on stone,
pottery, wood, or highly perishable books made from bark paper.
Verses 11-13: And it came to
pass that the Nephites had gathered together a great number of men,
even to exceed the number of thirty thousand. And it came to pass that
they did have in this same year a number of battles, in which the
Nephites did beat the Lamanites and did slay many of them. And it came
to pass that the Lamanites withdrew their design, and there was peace
settled in the land; and peace did remain for the space of about four
years, that there was no bloodshed. But wickedness did prevail upon the
face of the whole land, insomuch that the Lord did take away his
beloved disciples, and the work of miracles and of healing did cease
because of the iniquity of the people.
Note: No major battles occurred until 378 AD in Central America.
During the Early Classic, cities throughout the Maya region were
influenced by the great metropolis of Teotihuacan in the distant Valley
of Mexico. In AD 378, Teotihuacan decisively intervened at Tikal and
other nearby cities, deposed their rulers, and installed a new
Teotihuacan-backed dynasty. This intervention was led by Siyaj K'ak'
("Born of Fire"), who arrived at Tikal in early 378. The king of Tikal,
Chak Tok Ich'aak I, died on the same day, suggesting a violent
takeover. A year later, Siyaj K'ak' oversaw the installation of a new
king, Yax Nuun Ahiin I. The installation of the new dynasty led to a
period of political dominance when Tikal became the most powerful city
in the central lowlands. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verses 14-16: And there were no
gifts from the Lord, and the Holy Ghost did not come upon any, because
of their wickedness and unbelief. And I, being fifteen years of age and
being somewhat of a sober mind, therefore I was visited of the Lord,
and tasted and knew of the goodness of Jesus. And I did endeavor to
preach unto this people, but my mouth was shut, and I was forbidden
that I should preach unto them; for behold they had wilfully rebelled
against their God; and the beloved disciples were taken away out of the
land, because of their iniquity.
Note: Jesus Christ was unknown in pagan Pre-Columbian America.
During the pre-Columbian era, human sacrifice in Maya culture was the
ritual offering of nourishment to the gods. Blood was viewed as a
potent source of nourishment for the Maya deities, and the sacrifice of
a living creature was a powerful blood offering. By extension, the
sacrifice of a human life was the ultimate offering of blood to the
gods, and the most important Maya rituals culminated in human
sacrifice. Generally only high status prisoners of war were sacrificed,
with lower status captives being used for labour. Wikipedia
Verse 17: But I did remain
among them, but I was forbidden to preach unto them, because of the
hardness of their hearts; and because of the hardness of their hearts
the land was cursed for their sake.
Note: Book of Mormon contradicts the Holy Bible.
Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal
and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And
the Lord smelled a soothing aroma. Then the Lord said in His heart, “I
will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the
imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again
destroy every living thing as I have done. Genesis 8:20-21.
Verse 18: And these Gadianton
robbers, who were among the Lamanites, did infest the land, insomuch
that the inhabitants thereof began to hide up their treasures in the
earth; and they became slippery, because the Lord had cursed the land,
that they could not hold them, nor retain them again.
Note: Sidney Rigdon drew on his experience from money digging with Joseph Smith.
It was during this state of public feeling in which the money diggers
of Ontario County, by the suggestions of the Ex-preacher from Ohio,
thought of turning their digging concern into a religious plot, and
thereby have a better chance of working upon the credulity and
ignorance of their associates and the neighborhood. Money and a good
living might be got in this way. It was given out that visions had
appeared to Joe Smith that a set of golden plates on which was engraved
the Book of Mormon, enclosed in an iron chest, was deposited somewhere
in the hill I have mentioned. Morning Courier and Enquirer, September
1, 1831; Who Really Wrote The Book of Mormon?, pages 201-202.
Verse 19: And it came to pass
that there were sorceries, and witchcrafts, and magics; and the power
of the evil one was wrought upon all the face of the land, even unto
the fulfilling of all the words of Abinadi, and also Samuel the
Note: Solomon Spalding did not know about human sacrifice.
Human sacrifice among the Maya is evident from at least the Classic
period (c. AD 250–900) right through to the final stages of the Spanish
conquest in the 17th century. Human sacrifice is depicted in Classic
Maya art, is mentioned in Classic period hieroglyphic texts and has
been verified archaeologically by analysis of skeletal remains from the
Classic and Postclassic (c. AD 900-1524) periods. Wikipedia
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