Annotated Book of Mormon
Evaluated According To My Current Knowledge

Mormon Chapter 1

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Book of Mormon Annotations

Chapter 1

 

1 And now I, Mormon, make a record of the things which I have both seen and heard, and call it the Book of Mormon.

 

2 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;

Mormon 1:2-4

Consider the remarkable inspiration this seems to indicate. Ammaron is confident enough in wherever he’s getting his inspiration that he instructs 10-yr-old Mormon to reclaim plates that will be hidden in a different land 14 years in the future, trusting that the then seemingly sober and quick to observe child will be responsible enough to take on that task nearly a decade and a half later.

When my boys were deacon-aged (12-14 years old) they were each responsible kids, but I would not assume that they’d be responsible enough to take this on. This is an amazingly bold act of seership. Compare this to the “revelations” we get currently.

3 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.

Annotation for Mormon 1:2-4 above

4 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.

Annotation for Mormon 1:2-4 above

5 And I, Mormon, being a descendant of Nephi, (and my father’s name was Mormon) I remembered the things which Ammaron commanded me.

More than 900 years after Nephi leaves Jerusalem, Mormon claims to be a descendant of Nephi.

6 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.

 

7 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.

It would seem that this kind of population size and construction would leave ample evidence, yet we have no evidence for Book of Mormon peoples. By way of contrast, consider the Viking settlement discovered in 1960 at L’Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland, Canada, dated to about 1000 CE. There were eight buildings of wood and sod found (it may have supported 30-160 people), plenty of iron and smelting artifacts, and evidence suggesting the site may have been used only a few years (L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site).

8 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.

 

9 Now the Lamanites and the Lemuelites and the Ishmaelites were called Lamanites, and the two parties were Nephites and Lamanites.

 

10 And it came to pass that the war began to be among them in the borders of Zarahemla, by the waters of Sidon.

 

11 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.

 

12 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.

 

13 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.

 

14 And there were no gifts from the Lord, and the Holy Ghost did not come upon any, because of their wickedness and unbelief.

 

15 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.

 

16 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.

It’s interesting to me that in the Book of Mormon people are often willingly rebelling against God, and, as a result, becoming extremely wicked and ferocious. My observations in this day in age are that the ones who actually believe but fail to live the gospel are the Jack Mormons. But the Church seems to coddle them and have no fear of them. On the other hand, there are folks like me who have found, through rigorous research, what we think is overwhelming justification to conclude the Church is not what it claims. It cannot accurately be called willful rebellion because to be willful would require a knowledge or at least a belief that it was the will of God we were working against. To the contrary, for most of us, the things we rebel against are antithetical to what we consider to be the truth and what we consider to be virtuous.

But who does the Church fear more? The Jack Mormons or the exMormon who disbelieve because they think there is overwhelming evidence justifying their conclusions about the Church?

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.

 

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.

Mormon 1:18-19

 

According to documents apparently from a court hearing about Joseph Smith’s treasure seeking with a seer stone, Jonathan Thompson testified that in one treasure digging led by Joseph, “on account of an enchantment, the trunk kept settling away from under them while digging; that, notwithstanding they continued constantly removing the dirt, yet the trunk kept about the same distance from them” (Fair Mormon, The 1826 Trial of Joseph Smith).

 

There seems to be some controversy regarding the authenticity of this documented testimony, but it is uncontested that Joseph was hired on more than one occasion to seek treasure with his seer stone, and it was common folk lore of the time that buried treasure could slip away through the earth. “Getting the treasure was always difficult and harrowing. If not recovered quickly the trove sank into the earth’s depths” (Ronald W. Walker, The Persisting Idea of American Treasure Hunting, BYU Studies Quarterly Volume 24 | Issue 4 Article 4, 1 Oct 1984, p. 432).

 

Which is more likely—that there were ancient Native Americans that were descendants of Hebrews that really experienced such a curse, or that this reflects a 19th century superstition of the author of the book?

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 Lamanite.

Annotation for Mormon 1:18-19 above

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