Alma Chapter 50 Critique
Moroni fortifies the lands of the Nephites—They build many new
cities—Wars and destructions befell the Nephites in the days of their
wickedness and abominations—Morianton and his dissenters are defeated
by Teancum—Nephihah dies, and his son Pahoran fills the judgment seat.
About 72–67 B.C.
And now it came to pass that Moroni did not stop making preparations
for war, or to defend his people against the Lamanites; for he caused
that his armies should commence in the commencement of the twentieth
year of the reign of the judges, that they should commence in digging
up heaps of earth round about all the cities, throughout all the land
which was possessed by the Nephites. And upon the top of these ridges
of earth he caused that there should be timbers, yea, works of timbers
built up to the height of a man, round about the cities. And he caused
that upon those works of timbers there should be a frame of pickets
built upon the timbers round about; and they were strong and high. And
he caused towers to be erected that overlooked those works of pickets,
and he caused places of security to be built upon those towers, that
the stones and the arrows of the Lamanites could not hurt them. And
they were prepared that they could cast stones from the top thereof,
according to their pleasure and their strength, and slay him who should
attempt to approach near the walls of the city. Thus Moroni did prepare
strongholds against the coming of their enemies, round about every city
in all the land.
Note: Solomon Spalding didn’t know that mound builders did not exist in South America.
The Archaic period was followed by the Woodland
period (c. 1000 BCE). Some well-understood examples are the Adena
culture of Ohio and nearby states. The subsequent Hopewell culture
built monuments from present-day Illinois to Ohio; it is renowned for
its geometric earthworks. The Adena and Hopewell were not the only
mound-building peoples during this time period. There were
contemporaneous mound-building cultures throughout the Eastern United
States, stretching as far south as Crystal River in Western Florida.
During this time period, in parts of present-day Mississippi, Arkansas,
and Louisiana, the Hopewellian Marksville culture declined and gave way
to the Baytown culture. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
And it came to pass that Moroni caused that his armies should go forth
into the east wilderness; yea, and they went forth and drove all the
Lamanites who were in the east wilderness into their own lands, which
were south of the land of Zarahemla. And the land of Nephi did run in a
straight course from the east sea to the west. And it came to pass that
when Moroni had driven all the Lamanites out of the east wilderness,
which was north of the lands of their own possessions, he caused that
the inhabitants who were in the land of Zarahemla and in the land round
about should go forth into the east wilderness, even to the borders by
the seashore, and possess the land. And he also placed armies on the
south, in the borders of their possessions, and caused them to erect
fortifications that they might secure their armies and their people
from the hands of their enemies.
Note: Solomon Spalding didn’t know anything about the Amazon River.
The Amazon River (US /ˈæməzɒn/ or UK /ˈæməzən/;
Spanish and Portuguese: Amazonas) in South America is the largest river
by discharge of water in the world, averaging a discharge of about
209,000 cubic meters per second (7,381,000 cu ft/s), (209,000,000
liters or 55,211,960 gallons/sec) greater than the next seven largest
independent rivers combined. The Amazon basin is the largest drainage
basin in the world, about 7,050,000 square kilometres (2,720,000 sq
mi), and accounts for approximately one-fifth of the world's total
river flow. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
And thus he cut off all the strongholds of the Lamanites in the east
wilderness, yea, and also on the west, fortifying the line between the
Nephites and the Lamanites, between the land of Zarahemla and the land
of Nephi, from the west sea, running by the head of the river Sidon—the
Nephites possessing all the land northward, yea, even all the land
which was northward of the land Bountiful, according to their pleasure.
Thus Moroni, with his armies, which did increase daily because of the
assurance of protection which his works did bring forth unto them, did
seek to cut off the strength and the power of the Lamanites from off
the lands of their possessions, that they should have no power upon the
lands of their possession.
Note: Solomon Spalding didn’t know anything about Teotihuacan.
The city is thought to have been established
around 100 BC, with major monuments continuously under construction
until about AD 250. The city may have lasted until sometime between the
7th and 8th centuries AD, but its major monuments were sacked and
systematically burned around 550 AD. At its zenith, perhaps in the
first half of the 1st millennium AD, Teotihuacan was the largest city
in the pre-Columbian Americas, with a population estimated at 125,000
or more, making it at minimum the sixth largest city in the world
during its epoch. Teotihuacan began as a new religious center in the
Mexican Highland around the first century AD. This city came to be the
largest and most populated center in the New World. Teotihuacan was
even home to multi-floor apartment compounds built to accommodate this
large population. The term Teotihuacan (or Teotihuacano) is also used
for the whole civilization and cultural complex associated with the
site. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verses 13-16: And
it came to pass that the Nephites began the foundation of a city, and
they called the name of the city Moroni; and it was by the east sea;
and it was on the south by the line of the possessions of the
Lamanites. And they also began a foundation for a city between the city
of Moroni and the city of Aaron, joining the borders of Aaron and
Moroni; and they called the name of the city, or the land, Nephihah.
And they also began in that same year to build many cities on the
north, one in a particular manner which they called Lehi, which was in
the north by the borders of the seashore. And thus ended the twentieth
Note: Solomon Spalding didn’t know anything about the Amazon jungle.
The rainforest contains several species that can
pose a hazard. Among the largest predatory creatures are the black
caiman, jaguar, cougar, and anaconda. In the river, electric eels can
produce an electric shock that can stun or kill, while piranha are
known to bite and injure humans. Various species of poison dart frogs
secrete lipophilic alkaloid toxins through their flesh. There are also
numerous parasites and disease vectors. Vampire bats dwell in the
rainforest and can spread the rabies virus. Malaria, yellow fever and
Dengue fever can also be contracted in the Amazon region. Wikipedia
And in these prosperous circumstances were the people of Nephi in the
commencement of the twenty and first year of the reign of the judges
over the people of Nephi. And they did prosper exceedingly, and they
became exceedingly rich; yea, and they did multiply and wax strong in
the land. And thus we see how merciful and just are all the dealings of
the Lord, to the fulfilling of all his words unto the children of men;
yea, we can behold that his words are verified, even at this time,
which he spake unto Lehi, saying: Blessed art thou and thy children;
and they shall be blessed, inasmuch as they shall keep my commandments
they shall prosper in the land. But remember, inasmuch as they will not
keep my commandments they shall be cut off from the presence of the
Note: Sidney Rigdon inserts his un-Christian prosperity teaching.
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we
have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we
have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in
hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in
tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and
perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:1-4.
And we see that these promises have been verified to the people of
Nephi; for it has been their quarrelings and their contentions, yea,
their murderings, and their plunderings, their idolatry, their
whoredoms, and their abominations, which were among themselves, which
brought upon them their wars and their destructions. And those who were
faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord were delivered at all
times, whilst thousands of their wicked brethren have been consigned to
bondage, or to perish by the sword, or to dwindle in unbelief, and
mingle with the Lamanites.
Note: Sidney Rigdon inserts his un-Christian prosperity teaching.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or
nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are
killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
But behold there never was a happier time among the people of Nephi,
since the days of Nephi, than in the days of Moroni, yea, even at this
time, in the twenty and first year of the reign of the judges. And it
came to pass that the twenty and second year of the reign of the judges
also ended in peace; yea, and also the twenty and third year. And it
came to pass that in the commencement of the twenty and fourth year of
the reign of the judges, there would also have been peace among the
people of Nephi had it not been for a contention which took place among
them concerning the land of Lehi, and the land of Morianton, which
joined upon the borders of Lehi; both of which were on the borders by
Note: Solomon Spalding didn’t know that Amazon Indians were only a step up from hunters-gatherers.
Around the time of the Portuguese arrival, the
territory of current day Brazil had an estimated indigenous population
of 7 million people, mostly semi-nomadic who subsisted on hunting,
fishing, gathering, and migrant agriculture. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
For behold, the people who possessed the land of Morianton did claim a
part of the land of Lehi; therefore there began to be a warm contention
between them, insomuch that the people of Morianton took up arms
against their brethren, and they were determined by the sword to slay
them. But behold, the people who possessed the land of Lehi fled to the
camp of Moroni, and appealed unto him for assistance; for behold they
were not in the wrong. And it came to pass that when the people of
Morianton, who were led by a man whose name was Morianton, found that
the people of Lehi had fled to the camp of Moroni, they were
exceedingly fearful lest the army of Moroni should come upon them and
destroy them. Therefore, Morianton put it into their hearts that they
should flee to the land which was northward, which was covered with
large bodies of water, and take possession of the land which was
northward. And behold, they would have carried this plan into effect,
(which would have been a cause to have been lamented) but behold,
Morianton being a man of much passion, therefore he was angry with one
of his maid servants, and he fell upon her and beat her much. And it
came to pass that she fled, and came over to the camp of Moroni, and
told Moroni all things concerning the matter, and also concerning their
intentions to flee into the land northward.
Note: Solomon Spalding didn’t know South American geography.
It is over 3,000 nautical miles from Natal,
Brazil to Costa Rica as traveling through the Amazon jungle would be
Now behold, the people who were in the land Bountiful, or rather
Moroni, feared that they would hearken to the words of Morianton and
unite with his people, and thus he would obtain possession of those
parts of the land, which would lay a foundation for serious
consequences among the people of Nephi, yea, which consequences would
lead to the overthrow of their liberty. Therefore Moroni sent an army,
with their camp, to head the people of Morianton, to stop their flight
into the land northward. And it came to pass that they did not head
them until they had come to the borders of the land Desolation; and
there they did head them, by the narrow pass which led by the sea into
the land northward, yea, by the sea, on the west and on the east.
Note: Solomon Spalding didn’t know Central America geography.
The Darién Gap (Spanish: Región del Darién or
Tapón del Darién) is a break in the Pan-American Highway consisting of
a large swath of undeveloped swampland and forest within Panama's
Darién Province in Central America and the northern portion of
Colombia's Chocó Department in South America. It measures just over 160
km (99 mi) long and about 50 km (31 mi) wide. Roadbuilding through this
area is expensive, and the environmental cost is high. Political
consensus in favor of road construction has not emerged. Consequently
there is no road connection through the Darién Gap connecting North
America with South America and it is the missing link of the
Pan-American Highway. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
And it came to pass that the army which was sent by Moroni, which was
led by a man whose name was Teancum, did meet the people of Morianton;
and so stubborn were the people of Morianton, (being inspired by his
wickedness and his flattering words) that a battle commenced between
them, in the which Teancum did slay Morianton and defeat his army, and
took them prisoners, and returned to the camp of Moroni. And thus ended
the twenty and fourth year of the reign of the judges over the people
of Nephi. And thus were the people of Morianton brought back. And upon
their covenanting to keep the peace they were restored to the land of
Morianton, and a union took place between them and the people of Lehi;
and they were also restored to their lands.
Note: Solomon Spalding didn’t know South American geography.
There is no drivable road from Brasilia, Brazil to Panama City, Panama due to the Amazon jungle. Mapquest.com
And it came to pass that in the same year that the people of Nephi had
peace restored unto them, that Nephihah, the second chief judge, died,
having filled the judgment-seat with perfect uprightness before God.
Nevertheless, he had refused Alma to take possession of those records
and those things which were esteemed by Alma and his fathers to be most
sacred; therefore Alma had conferred them upon his son, Helaman.
Behold, it came to pass that the son of Nephihah was appointed to fill
the judgment-seat, in the stead of his father; yea, he was appointed
chief judge and governor over the people, with an oath and sacred
ordinance to judge righteously, and to keep the peace and the freedom
of the people, and to grant unto them their sacred privileges to
worship the Lord their God, yea, to support and maintain the cause of
God all his days, and to bring the wicked to justice according to their
crime. Now behold, his name was Pahoran. And Pahoran did fill the seat
of his father, and did commence his reign in the end of the twenty and
fourth year, over the people of Nephi.
Note: Solomon Spalding didn’t know about Western Hemisphere writing systems.
The Olmec may have been the first civilization
in the Western Hemisphere to develop a writing system. Symbols found in
2002 and 2006 date from 650 BCE and 900 BCE respectively, preceding the
oldest Zapotec writing, which dates from about 500 BCE. Wikipedia
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