The Book of Mormon Chapter 2 Critique
Setting: Mormon leads the
Nephite armies—Blood and carnage sweep the land—The Nephites lament and
mourn with the sorrowing of the damned—Their day of grace is
passed—Mormon obtains the plates of Nephi—Wars continue. About A.D.
Verses 1-3: And it came to pass
in that same year there began to be a war again between the Nephites
and the Lamanites. And notwithstanding I being young, was large in
stature; therefore the people of Nephi appointed me that I should be
their leader, or the leader of their armies. Therefore it came to pass
that in my sixteenth year I did go forth at the head of an army of the
Nephites, against the Lamanites; therefore three hundred and twenty and
six years had passed away. And it came to pass that in the three
hundred and twenty and seventh year the Lamanites did come upon us with
exceedingly great power, insomuch that they did frighten my armies;
therefore they would not fight, and they began to retreat towards the
Note: Solomon Spalding did not know about the Darien Gap.
The Darién Gap 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. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verses 4-6: And it came to pass
that we did come to the city of Angola, and we did take possession of
the city, and make preparations to defend ourselves against the
Lamanites. And it came to pass that we did fortify the city with our
might; but notwithstanding all our fortifications the Lamanites did
come upon us and did drive us out of the city. And they did also drive
us forth out of the land of David. And we marched forth and came to the
land of Joshua, which was in the borders west by the seashore.
Note: Solomon Spalding did not know about the Izapan civilization.
Izapa, type site of the Izapan civilization, is a huge temple centre
near modern Tapachula, Chiapas, on the hot Pacific coast plain. Its
approximately 80 pyramidal mounds were built from earth and clay faced
with river boulders. A large number of carved stone stelae have been
found at Izapa, almost all of which date to the Late Formative and
Proto-Classic. Typically, in front of each stela is a round altar,
often crudely shaped like a toad. Encyclopedia Britannica.
Verses 7-8: And it came to pass
that we did gather in our people as fast as it were possible, that we
might get them together in one body. But behold, the land was filled
with robbers and with Lamanites; and notwithstanding the great
destruction which hung over my people, they did not repent of their
evil doings; therefore there was blood and carnage spread throughout
all the face of the land, both on the part of the Nephites and also on
the part of the Lamanites; and it was one complete revolution
throughout all the face of the land.
Note: Solomon Spalding did not know about the Mayan Civilization.
In the study of the Classic stage, there has been a strong bias in
favour of the Maya; this is not surprising in view of the fact that the
Maya have been studied far longer than any other people in
Meso-America. But the concept of a “Classic” period is a case of the
Maya tail wagging the Meso-American dog, since the usual span given to
that stage—ad 250–900—is the period during which the Maya were erecting
dated stone monuments. This brackets the Maya apogee, but for most
areas of non-Maya Meso-America only the first half of the period may be
accurately called a “golden age.” Encyclopedia Britannica.
Verse 9: And now, the Lamanites
had a king, and his name was Aaron; and he came against us with an army
of forty and four thousand. And behold, I withstood him with forty and
two thousand. And it came to pass that I beat him with my army that he
fled before me. And behold, all this was done, and three hundred and
thirty years had passed away.
Note: The only major war in this era was in 378 AD.
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.
Verse 10-13: And it came to
pass that the Nephites began to repent of their iniquity, and began to
cry even as had been prophesied by Samuel the prophet; for behold no
man could keep that which was his own, for the thieves, and the
robbers, and the murderers, and the magic art, and the witchcraft which
was in the land. Thus there began to be a mourning and a lamentation in
all the land because of these things, and more especially among the
people of Nephi. And it came to pass that when I, Mormon, saw their
lamentation and their mourning and their sorrow before the Lord, my
heart did begin to rejoice within me, knowing the mercies and the
long-suffering of the Lord, therefore supposing that he would be
merciful unto them that they would again become a righteous people. But
behold this my joy was vain, for their sorrowing was not unto
repentance, because of the goodness of God; but it was rather the
sorrowing of the damned, because the Lord would not always suffer them
to take happiness in sin.
Note: Jesus Christ was unknown in pagan Pre-Columbian America.
A number of human sacrifice methods were employed by the Maya, the most
common being decapitation and heart extraction. Additional forms of
sacrifice included ritually shooting the victim with arrows, hurling
sacrifices into a deep sinkhole, entombing alive to accompany a noble
burial, tying the sacrifice into a ball for a ritual reenactment of the
Mesoamerican ballgame and disembowelment. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verse 14: And they did not come
unto Jesus with broken hearts and contrite spirits, but they did curse
God, and wish to die. Nevertheless they would struggle with the sword
for their lives.
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
Verses 15-16: And it came to
pass that my sorrow did return unto me again, and I saw that the day of
grace was passed with them, both temporally and spiritually; for I saw
thousands of them hewn down in open rebellion against their God, and
heaped up as dung upon the face of the land. And thus three hundred and
forty and four years had passed away. And it came to pass that in the
three hundred and forty and fifth year the Nephites did begin to flee
before the Lamanites; and they were pursued until they came even to the
land of Jashon, before it was possible to stop them in their retreat.
Note: A mass migration did not occur until about 900 AD.
The classic Maya collapse is one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in
archaeology. Urban centers of the southern lowlands, among them
Palenque, Copán, Tikal, Calakmul, went into decline during the 8th and
9th centuries and were abandoned shortly thereafter. Archaeologically,
this decline is indicated by the cessation of monumental inscriptions
and the reduction of large-scale architectural construction at the
primary urban centers of the classic period. Although termed a
'collapse', it did not mark the end of the Maya civilization; Northern
Yucatán in particular prospered afterwards, although with very
different artistic and architectural styles, and with much less use of
monumental hieroglyphic writing. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verses 17-18: And now, the city
of Jashon was near the land where Ammaron had deposited the records
unto the Lord, that they might not be destroyed. And behold I had gone
according to the word of Ammaron, and taken the plates of Nephi, and
did make a record according to the words of Ammaron. And upon the
plates of Nephi I did make a full account of all the wickedness and
abominations; but upon these plates I did forbear to make a full
account of their wickedness and abominations, for behold, a continual
scene of wickedness and abominations has been before mine eyes ever
since I have been sufficient to behold the ways of man.
Note: The Mayans did not write on plates.
The Mayan script, also known as Mayan glyphs or Mayan hieroglyphs, is
the writing system of the Maya civilization of Mesoamerica, currently
the only Mesoamerican writing system that has been substantially
deciphered. The earliest inscriptions found, which are identifiably
Maya, date to the 3rd century BCE in San Bartolo, Guatemala. Maya
writing was in continuous use throughout Mesoamerica until the Spanish
conquest of the Maya in the 16th and 17th centuries. Wikipedia
Verses 19-22: And wo is me
because of their wickedness; for my heart has been filled with sorrow
because of their wickedness, all my days; nevertheless, I know that I
shall be lifted up at the last day. And it came to pass that in this
year the people of Nephi again were hunted and driven. And it came to
pass that we were driven forth until we had come northward to the land
which was called Shem. And it came to pass that we did fortify the city
of Shem, and we did gather in our people as much as it were possible,
that perhaps we might save them from destruction. And it came to pass
in the three hundred and forty and sixth year they began to come upon
Note: Massive change due to warfare did not happen until 900 AD.
The onset of the Postclassic era in western Mexico, as elsewhere in
Mesoamerica, was marked by abrupt changes. In roughly 900 CE, the
circular pyramids, plazas, and concentric groupings began to be
replaced by the more prosaic rectangular architecture – the Teuchitlán
tradition had suffered a "total and definitive collapse", a change so
abrupt that it has been assumed that it was driven from outside,
perhaps by the ascending Tarascan state. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verses 23-26: And it came to
pass that I did speak unto my people, and did urge them with great
energy, that they would stand boldly before the Lamanites and fight for
their wives, and their children, and their houses, and their homes. And
my words did arouse them somewhat to vigor, insomuch that they did not
flee from before the Lamanites, but did stand with boldness against
them. And it came to pass that we did contend with an army of thirty
thousand against an army of fifty thousand. And it came to pass that we
did stand before them with such firmness that they did flee from before
us. And it came to pass that when they had fled we did pursue them with
our armies, and did meet them again, and did beat them; nevertheless
the strength of the Lord was not with us; yea, we were left to
ourselves, that the Spirit of the Lord did not abide in us; therefore
we had become weak like unto our brethren.
Note: Jesus Christ was unknown in pagan Pre-Columbian America.
There are also skulls suggestive of child sacrifice dating to the Maya
periods. Mayanists believe that, like the Aztecs, the Maya performed
child sacrifice in specific circumstances. For example, infant
sacrifice would occur to satisfy supernatural beings who would have
eaten the souls of more powerful people. In the Classic period some
Maya art that depict the extraction of children's hearts during the
ascension to the throne of the new kings, or at the beginnings of the
Maya calendar have been studied. In one of these cases, Stela 11 in
Piedras Negras, Guatemala, a sacrificed boy can be seen. Other scenes
of sacrificed boys are visible on painted jars. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verses 27-29: And my heart did
sorrow because of this the great calamity of my people, because of
their wickedness and their abominations. But behold, we did go forth
against the Lamanites and the robbers of Gadianton, until we had again
taken possession of the lands of our inheritance. And the three hundred
and forty and ninth year had passed away. And in the three hundred and
fiftieth year we made a treaty with the Lamanites and the robbers of
Gadianton, in which we did get the lands of our inheritance divided.
And the Lamanites did give unto us the land northward, yea, even to the
narrow passage which led into the land southward. And we did give unto
the Lamanites all the land southward.
Note: Solomon Spalding failed to mention the practice of human sacrifice.
Both iconography and the finds of human skeletons in ritual contexts
seem to indicate that human sacrifice played a significant part in
Moche religious practices. These rites appear to have involved the
elite as key actors in a spectacle of costumed participants, monumental
settings and possibly the ritual consumption of blood. The tumi was a
crescent-shaped metal knife used in sacrifices. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
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