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Title: New Witnesses for God (Volume 2 of 3)
Author: Roberts, B. H. (Brigham Henry)
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "New Witnesses for God (Volume 2 of 3)" ***

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* * * *

By B. H. Roberts,

Author of "The Gospel," "Outlines of Ecclesiastical History," "Mormon
Doctrine of Deity," "Defense of the Faith and the Saints," "The
Prophet-Teacher," etc., etc.

* * * *



* * * *


Salt Lake City



The following work was begun twenty-two years ago, in England, when
the author was in that land on a Mission, as assistant Editor of the
_Latter-day Saints' Millennial Star_. It was the author's design then
to make the treatise on the Book of Mormon the first volume under
the general title "New Witnesses for God"; but after some progress
in collecting and arranging the materials had been made, the thought
occurred to him that the Prophet Joseph Smith in chronological order,
if not in importance, preceded the Book of Mormon in the introduction
of God's Witnesses in this last and great dispensation. The materials
of this work, therefore, so far as they had been collected, were laid
aside and work was begun on the treatise of Joseph Smith as a Witness
for God; which, however, because of many other demands upon the
author's time, was not published until 1895.

Meantime work was continued from time to time upon the treatise of the
Book of Mormon; and in 1903-4-5, the materials were used, substantially
as in their present form, as Manuals for the Senior Classes of the
Young Men's Mutual Improvement Associations. The work has undergone a
thorough revision at the hands of the author, and is now to take the
place in his writings designed for it so long ago.

While the coming forth of the Book of Mormon is but an incident in
God's great work of the last days, and the book itself subordinate to
some other facts in that work, still the incident of its coming forth
and the book are facts of such importance that the whole work of God
may be said, in a manner, to stand or fall with them. That is to say,
if the origin of the Book of Mormon could be proved to be other than
that set forth by Joseph Smith; if the book itself could be proved to
be other than it claims to be, _viz_., and chiefly, an abridged history
of the ancient inhabitants of America, a volume of scripture containing
a message from God to the people to whom it was written--"to the
Lamanites [American Indians], who are a remnant of the house of Israel;
and also to Jew and Gentile; written by way of commandment, and also by
the spirit of prophecy and revelation"--if, I say, the Book of Mormon
could be proved to be other than this, then the Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints, and its message and doctrines, which, in some
respects, may be said to have arisen out of the Book of Mormon, must
fall; for if that book is other than it claims to be; if its origin is
other than that ascribed to it by Joseph Smith, then Joseph Smith says
that which is untrue; he is a false prophet of false prophets; and all
he taught, and all his claims to inspiration and divine authority, are
not only vain but wicked; and all that he did as a religious teacher is
not only useless, but mischievous beyond human comprehending.

Nor does this statement of the case set forth sufficiently strong the
situation. Those who accept the Book of Mormon for what it claims to
be, may not so state their case that its security chiefly rests on the
inability of its opponents to prove a negative. The affirmative side
of the question belongs to us who hold out the Book of Mormon to the
world as a revelation from God. The burden of proof rests upon us in
every discussion. It is not enough for us to say that if the origin of
the Book of Mormon is proved to be other than that set forth by Joseph
Smith; if the book itself be proved to be other than it claims to be,
then the institution known as "Mormonism" must fall. We must do more
than rest our case on the inability of opponents to prove a negative.
The security of "Mormonism" rests on quite other grounds; and, from a
forensic standpoint, upon much more precarious ground; for not only
must the Book of Mormon not be proved to have other origin than that
which we set forth, or be other than what we say it is, _but we must
prove its origin to be what we say it is, and the book itself to be
what we proclaim it to be--a revelation from God_.

From these remarks the reader will observe, I trust, that while I refer
to the coming forth of the Book of Mormon as an incident, and the book
itself as a fact subordinate to some other facts connected with the
great work of God in the last days, I have by no means underrated the
importance of the Book of Mormon in its relation to God's work of the
last days as a whole. It is to meet the requirements of this situation
that I have been anxious to add my contribution to the gradually
accumulating literature on this subject, both within and without the
Church, both upon the affirmative and the negative side of the question.

My treatise is divided into four parts:

I.--The Value of the Book of Mormon as a Witness for the Authenticity
and Integrity of the Bible; and the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

II.--The Discovery of the Book of Mormon and its Translation,
Migrations, Lands, Intercontinental Movements, Civilizations,
Governments, and the Religions of its Peoples.

III.--Evidences of the Truth of the Book of Mormon.

IV.--Objections to the Book of Mormon Considered.

It will be seen from the titles of these divisions that Parts I and II
are really only preparatory in their nature. The more interesting field
of evidence and argument is not entered until Part III is reached.
But Parts I and II, if not so intensely interesting as the divisions
devoted to argument, they are, nevertheless, every whit as important.
It goes without saying that the success of an argument greatly, and I
may say fundamentally, depends upon the clearness and completeness of
the statement of the matter involved; and it is frequently the case
that a proper setting forth of a subject makes its truth self-evident;
and all other evidence becomes merely collateral, and all argument
becomes of secondary importance. Especially is this the case when
setting forth the Book of Mormon for the world's acceptance; in which
matter we have the right to expect, and the assurance in the book
itself that we shall receive, the co-operation of divine agencies to
confirm to the souls of men the truth of the Nephite record; that as
that record was written in the first instance by divine commandment,
by the spirit of prophecy and of revelation; and as it was preserved
by angelic guardianship, and at last brought forth by revelation, and
translated by what men regard as miraculous means, so it is provided
in God's providences, respecting this volume of scripture, that its
truth shall be attested to individuals by the operations of the Holy
Spirit upon the human mind. "When ye shall receive these things,"
says the prophet Moroni, referring to the writings of the Nephites,
"I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the
name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with
a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will
manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And
by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things."

This must ever be the chief source of evidence for the truth of the
Book of Mormon. All other evidence is secondary to this, the primary
and infallible. No arrangement of evidence, however skilfully ordered;
no argument, however adroitly made, can ever take its place; for this
witness of the Holy Spirit to the souls of men for the truth of the
Nephite volume of scripture, is God's evidence to the truth; and will
ever be the chief reliance of those who accept the Book of Mormon, and
expect to see its acceptance extended throughout the world; for, as the
heavens are higher than the earth, so must the testimony of God forever
stand above and before the testimony of men, and of things.

I confess that these reflections have a saddening effect upon one who
undertakes to set forth what he must confess are but the secondary
evidences to the truth of the Book of Mormon, and make an argument
that he can never regard as of primary importance in the matter of
convincing the world of the truth of the work in the interest of which
he labors. But I trust these reflections will help my readers to a
right apprehension of the importance of Parts I and II, the importance
of a clear and, so far as may be, a complete statement of the incidents
connected with the coming forth of the book, and also of its contents.
To be known, the truth must be stated, and the clearer and more
complete the statement is, the better opportunity will the Holy Spirit
have for testifying to the souls of men that the work is true. While
desiring to make it clear that our chief reliance for evidence to
the truth of the Book of Mormon must ever be the witness of the Holy
Spirit, promised by the prophet Moroni to those who will seek to know
the truth from that source; and desiring, also, as I think is becoming
in man, to acknowledge the superiority of God's witness to the truth
as compared with any evidence that man may set forth--I would not
have it thought that the evidence and argument presented in Parts III
and IV are unimportant. Secondary evidences in support of truth, like
secondary causes in natural phenomena, may be of firstrate importance,
and mighty factors in the achievement of God's purposes. I only desire
by these remarks to place the matters to be considered in their right


Salt Lake City, March, 1909.





  The Bible in the Nineteenth Century.


  The Witness of the Western Hemisphere.


  The Purposes for Which the Book of Mormon was Written.




  How Joseph Smith Obtained the Book of Mormon.


  The Translation of the Record--Martin Harris Amanuensis.


  Translation of the Record (Continued)--Oliver Cowdery, Amanuensis.


  The Manner of Translating the Book of Mormon.


  Publication of the Record.


  An Analysis of the Book of Mormon.


  Migrations to the Western Hemisphere and the Nations that Arose from

  I. Jaredites--
     Migration and Place of Landing.
     Capital and Centers of Civilization.
     Extent and Nature of Civilization.

  II. The Nephites.
     Lehi's Colony.
     Mulek's Colony.


  Book of Mormon Lands.


  Inter-Continental Movements of Book of Mormon People.
     Nephite Movements Southward.
     Nephite Movement Northward.


  Government and Religion Among the Nephites.
     Nephite Government.
     The People of Mulek.
     Government and Religion.
     The Lamanites.
     Civilization, Government, Religion.




  Classification of Evidences.


  Direct External Evidences.
     The Testimony of the Three Witnesses.
     The Testimony of the Eight Witnesses.


  Direct External Evidences--The Three Witnesses--Subsequent
  Life and Testimonies.
     Oliver Cowdery.


  Direct External Evidences--the Testimony of the Three
  Witnesses--Subsequent Life and Testimonies (Continued).
     David Whitmer.


  Direct External Evidences--Testimony of the Three
  Witnesses--Subsequent Life and Testimonies (Continued).
     Martin Harris.


  Direct External Evidences--Reflections Upon the Testimonies
  of the Three Witnesses.


  Direct External Evidences--Testimony of the Eight Witnesses.
     Christian Whitmer.
     Jacob Whitmer.
     Peter Whitmer, Jr.
     John Whitmer.
     Hiram Page.
     Joseph Smith, Sen.
     Hyrum Smith.
     Samuel Harrison Smith.


  Direct External Evidence--Reflections on the Testimony of the
  Eleven Witnesses.


  The Testimony of Incidental Witnesses.


  The Probability of Joseph Smith's Story of the Origin, Translation and
  Final Disposition of the Plates of the Book of Mormon.
     I. The Ministration of Angels is Neither Unscriptural nor
     II. To Believe in Media for Ascertaining Divine Knowledge is Neither
     Unscriptural nor Unreasonable.
     III. Of Returning the Plates of the Book of Mormon to Moroni.
     IV. On the Loss of One Hundred and Sixteen Pages of Manuscript, Being
     the Translation of the First Part of Mormon's Abridgment of the
     Nephite Records.


  Indirect External Evidences--American Antiquities. Preliminary
     I. What the Book of Mormon Requires as to the Location and Character
     of the Jaredite Civilization.
     II. What the Book of Mormon Requires as to the Location, Extent and
     Nature of the Nephite Civilization.


  Indirect External Evidences--American Antiquities. Preliminary
  Considerations (Continued).
     III. Of the Probability of Intercourse Between the Eastern and
     Western Hemispheres During Jaredite and Nephite Times.
     IV. The Western World Since the Close of the Nephite Period--The
     Lamanite Civilization.
     V. Of the Writers on American Antiquities.


  Indirect External Evidences--American Antiquities.
     I. The Evidence of the Existence of Ancient Civilizations in America.
     II. Chief Centers of Ancient American Civilization.


  Indirect External Evidences--American Antiquities (Continued).
     I. Antiquity of American Ruins.
     II. Successive Civilizations.
     III. Peruvian Antiquities.
     IV. The Mound Builders.


  External Evidences--American Traditions and Mythologies.
     I. The Creation.
     II. The Flood.


  Indirect External Evidences--American Traditions and Mythologies
     III. Tradition of the Tower of Babel.
     IV. Migrations.


To aid the reader in pronouncing accurately Book of Mormon names
and also the difficult Spanish and Mexican proper names found in
the body of this work, where it treats of American antiquities, we
append, first, the rules of pronounciation of the Book of Mormon names
formulated at the Book of Mormon Convention held at the Brigham Young
University, Provo, May, 1903; and, second, a list of the Spanish
and Mexican words--chiefly proper names--and their pronounciation
in English. For the pronunciation of the Spanish and Mexican names
I am indebted to Professor John M. Mills of the Latter-day Saints'
University, Salt Lake City, Utah.


"Words of two syllables to be accented on the first syllable.

"Words of three syllables to be accented on the second syllable with
these exceptions, which are to be accented on the first syllable;
namely: Amlici (c, soft); Amnion; Antipas; Antipus; Corihor; Cumeni;
Curelom; Deseret; Gazelam; Helaman; Joneam; Korihor; Tubaloth.

"Words of four syllables to be accented on the third syllable with the
following exceptions, which are to be accented on the second syllable;
namely: Abinadi; Abinidora; Amalickiah; Aminadi; Aminadab.

"Ch is always to be pronounced as K.

"G at the beginning of a name to be always pronounced 'hard.'

"I final, always to take the long sound of the vowel.



  Acolhuas (ah col'wahs)
  Acosta (ah cos'tah)
  Acxiquat (ak he'quat)
  Acxopil (ak ho'peel)
  Ahahuetl (ah ha way'tl)
  Ahpop (ah'pope)
  Allabahamah (ah yah bah hah'mah)
  Amautas (ah mah oo'tas)
  Amoxoaque (ah mo wha'ky)
  Antisuyu (an tee su'yu)
  Atitan (ah tee tan')
  Atonatiuh (ah to nah'tee oo)
  Anahuac (ah nah wak')
  Aymara (i mah'rah)
  Aztlan (as tlan')


  Balam Agab (bah lam'ah gab)
  Balam Quiche (bah lam kee chay')
  Boachia (bwa chee'ah)
  Bochica (bo chee'kah)
  Boturini (bo too ree'nee)
  Brasseur de Bourbourg (brah sieur doo boor boor)


  Caha Paluma (kah'hah pah loo'mah)
  Cakixaha (kah kee hah'hah)
  Calel Ahus (kah lail'ous)
  Camalotz (kah mah lo'tz)
  Capichoch (ka peech'och)
  Carli (kar'lee)
  Carreri (kah ray'ree)
  Camanco kah pac')
  Ce Calli (say ca'ye)
  Cecumbalam (say cum bah'lam)
  Chap ul tepee (cha pool'tay peck)
  Chialman (chee ahl'man)
  Chiapas (ehee ah'pass)
  Chichen Itza (chi chen eat'sah)
  Chicomoztoc (chi comb os'tok)
  Cholula (cho lu'la)
  Cholultecs (cho lool'tecks)
  Chomeha (cho may'hah)
  Cioacoatl (see wa kwa'tl
  Clavigero (cla vee hay'ro)
  Colhuacan (coal wab can')
  Colla (ko'ya)
  Cantisuyu (cone tee su'yu)
  Cortez (car teth--Mexican cortes')
  Coxcox (cos'cos)
  Cozas (co sas')
  Cukulcan (koo kool can')
  Cundunamarco (koon doona mar'ka)
  Cuzco (koos'co)
  Coatzacoalcos (kwats ah kwal'cos)


  De las Casas (day las ca'sas)
  Dupaix (du pay')


  Fuentes y Guzman (fwen tes e goose man')


  Gomara (go mah'ra)
  Gregorio Garcia (grey go'rio gar see'ah)
  Guanacauri (gwa'na cow'ree)
  Guarani (gwa rah'nee)
  Guatemala (gwa teh mah'la)
  Gucumatz (goo koo matz')


  Herrera (a ray'rah)
  Hogates (o gah'tes)
  Honduras (own doo'ras)
  Huamantaco Amauto (hwa man ta'co ama oo'ta)
  Huaves (hwah'ves)
  Huehue Talapalan (way way tah la pah Ian')
  Huemac (way mack')
  Huitzitzilin (weet seet see leen')
  Huitziton (weet see tone')
  Hurakan (oo rah kan)


  Ilocab (e lo cab')
  Iqui Balam (e kee bah'lam)
  Istli (east'lee)
  Ixtlilxochitle (east leel ho-che'etl)
  Izcalli (eas ca yee)


  Jiutemal (hugh tay mal')
  Juitemal (whee tay mal)


  Kabah (kah'bah)


  Loak Ishtohooloo Aba (lo akish to hoo'loo ah'ba)


  Mahucutah (mah hoo cooth)
  Malinalli (mah lee naw ye)
  Mama Oello (ma ma way'yo)
  Manco capac (man co capac')
  Mar Barrnejo (mar bar nay'ho)
  Mendieta (men dee a tah
  Michoacan (me choa can')
  Mictlanteuctli (meek tlan tenk tli)
  Mijes (me'hays)
  Mitla (me'tla)
  Mizes (me says)
  Miztees (meas'tecks)
  Montesinos (mon tay see'nos)
  Munez de la Vega (moon yes'day la vay'ga)


  Nadaillac (nah day lac')
  Nata (nah ta)
  Naliuatl (na watl)
  Nahuatlacs (na wat lacs)
  Nimaquiche (nee ma kee chay')


  Oajaca (oali ha'ca)
  Ozaca (o sah'ca)


  Palenque (pah len'kay)
  Pamutla (pah moot'la)
  Panoaia (pa no ah'ya)
  Pantlan (pan tlan')
  Panuco (pa noo co)
  Paye Tome (pah ye to'me)
  Puhua Manco (poo wha man co)


  Quetzalcohua (kate sal'qua)
  Quequetzalcohua (kay kate sal'qua tl)
  Quetzalcohuatl (kate sal qua'tl)
  Quilaztli (kee las'tlee)
  Quirigua (kee ree'gua)
  Quito (kee to)


  Rosales (ro sah'les)


  Sahagun (sah hah'gun)
  Sierra de Cocotl (see a'ra day co co'tl)
  Suchiquecal (soo chee kay'cal)


  Tahuantin-Suya Capac (tah whan teen'-soo-ya-ca pac)
  Talma (tal'ma)
  Tamoauchan (ta mwa chan)
  Tamub (tah moob')
  Tapallan (tah pah yan)
  Tecpatzin (teck pat seen')
  Tehuantepec (tay wan'tay peck)
  Temazcalli (tay mas cah'ye)
  Teocallis (tayo cah'yees)
  Teocysactli (tayo see sac'tlee)
  Teotes (tayo tes)
  Tezcatlipoca (tes cat tee po' ca)
  Tezpa (tes'pee)
  Titicaca (tee tee ka'ka)
  Tlacapan (tla ca pan')
  Tlaloc (tla lock')
  Tlaloques (tla lo kes)
  Tlamanalco (tla ma nal'co)
  Tlapallan (tla pa yan')
  Talascatec (tlas cal tes)
  Tlatelolco (tla tay lol'co)
  Teatl (tay otl)
  Toltan (tol tan')
  Tonacatecutli (to nali cah tay coo'tlee)
  Tonacatecutle (to nah cah tay coo'tlay)
  Topolitzin (to po lit seen')
  Torquemada (tor kay mah'dah)
  Tschudi (tchew dee)
  Tuccabatches (tuc cah bah'ches)
  Tulan-Zaiva (too lan-si va)
  Tzontemoc (tson tay moak')
  Tzununiha (tsoo noo ne'a)


  Usumacinta (oo soo ma seen'ta)
  Utatlan (oo ta tlan')
  Uxmal (oox mal')


  Vemac (vay mack')
  Veytia (vay tee'a)
  Viracocha (vee ra co cha)
  Votan (vo tan')


  Wixipecocha (week see pa co' cha)


  Xecoicovach (hay coat co vach')
  Xelhua (hay loo'ah)
  Xibalba (he bai'bah)
  Ximinez (he me nais')
  Xochiquetzal (ho chee kate sal)


  Yaqui (ya'kee)
  Ytztlacoliuhqui (eats tla co lee oo'kee)
  Yucatec (yu ca tec')


  Zaculi (sa coo'lee)
  Zamna (Sam'na)
  Zocheqnetzal (so chay kate'sal)
  Zopotec (sa'po tec)
  Zumarra (su mar ra)




It is a happy omen, that, while so much of the literature of our times
is marked by a tone of infidelity, and especially by a disparagement of
the evidences of the authenticity and inspiration of the Scriptures,
there is in other quarters an increasing readiness to make the choicest
gifts of modern science and learning tributary to the word of God.
The eclipse of faith is not total. And it is an additional cause for
gratitude to the God of Providence and of Revelation, that, even at
this remote distance of time from the date of the Sacred Oracles, new
evidences of their credibility and accuracy are continually coming
to light. How much may yet remain, buried under barren mounds, or
entombed in pyramids and catacombs, or hidden in the yet unexplored
pages of some ancient literature, it were vain to conjecture; but of
this we may be sure, that if any new forms of evidence should hereafter
be needed, to meet any new forms of unbelief, and authenticate afresh
the word of truth, they will be found deposited somewhere, waiting
for the fulness of time; and God will bring them forth in their
season, from the dark hieroglyphics, or the desert sands, or the dusty
manuscripts, to confound the adversaries of his word, and to "magnify
it above all his name."--"Historical Evidences of the Truth of the
Scripture Records," by George Rawlinson, M. A. American Edition, 1885.



"Were a parchment discovered in an Egyptian mound, six inches square,
containing fifty words which were certainly spoken by Jesus, this
utterance would count more than all the books which have been published
since the first century. If a veritable picture of the Lord could be
unearthed from a catacomb, and the world could see with its own eyes
what like he was, it would not matter that its colors were faded, and
that it was roughly drawn, that picture would have at once a solitary
place amid the treasures of art."--Rev. John Watson, D. D. (Ian
Maclaren) "Life of the Master," Prologue.



"And I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles that had gone out of captivity,
were delivered by the power of God out of the hands of all other
nations. And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld that they did
prosper in the land; and I beheld a Book, and it was carried forth
among them. And the angel said unto me, Knowest thou the meaning of
the Book? And I said unto him, I know not. And he said. Behold it
proceedeth out of the mouth of a Jew; * * * * and he said unto me, The
Book that thou beholdest is a record of the Jews, which contains the
covenants of the Lord which he hath made with the House of Israel; and
it also containeth many of the prophecies of the holy Prophets. * *
* * And it came to pass that I beheld the remnant of the seed of my
brethren, and also the Book of the Lamb of God, which had proceeded
forth from the mouth of the Jew, that it came forth from the Gentiles,
unto the remnant of the seed of my brethren. And after it had come
forth unto them, I beheld other Books, which came forth by the power
of the Lamb, from the Gentiles, unto them, unto the convincing of
the Gentiles, and the remnant of the seed of my brethren, and also
the Jews, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth, that
the records of the Prophets and of the Twelve Apostles of the Lamb
[the Bible] are true. And the angel spake unto me, saying. These last
records which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall establish the
truth of the first, which are of the Twelve Apostles of the Lamb, and
shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken
away from them; and shall make known unto all kindreds, tongues and
people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and
the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they
cannot be saved."--I. Nephi xiii.


The Value of the Book of Mormon as a witness for the authenticity and
integrity of the Bible, and the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.






"The Bible in the Nineteenth Century" will yet form an interesting
subject for a volume. The writer of it will recount the attacks
made upon the sacred volume by unbelievers, and the defense of it
by faithful Christian and Jewish scholars. He will also be under
the necessity of writing the history of the betrayals of the Holy
Scriptures by pretended friends; and he will say such betrayals were
more mischievous than the attacks of avowed enemies. He will balance
the harm done by the attacks and the betrayals, against the good
accomplished by the defenses, and give the net result of gain or loss.
Which will preponderate? The nineteenth century was prolific in both
assaults and defenses; and much valuable material was collected from
unexpected quarters for the defense of the Scriptures; but for all that
it is doubtful if in what is recognized as the Christian world the
faith of the Christians in the Bible, as the veritable word of God, was
as sound and absolute at the close of the nineteenth century as it was
at the commencement of it. This is not saying that what is regarded
as old fashioned faith in the Bible has been entirely banished, or
totally eclipsed. There are those, and many of them, thank God, who
still revere the Bible as the word of God, and therefore hold it
true, and take it as a lamp to their feet, as a guide to their path.
But there has arisen within Christendom itself--and chiefly within
the nineteenth century--a class of Bible scholars who have done much
mischief to faith in the Bible; who make it part of their boast that
in their study of the Bible they have dropped the theological attitude
towards it, viz., the preconception that the Bible is the word of God,
on which conception men were wont to reason: God is a God of absolute
truth; the Bible is the word of God; therefore the Bible is absolutely
true. This position they now abandon and take up what they are pleased
to call the "literary attitude or method." That is, they approach the
Bible without any preconception whatsoever. They take up the collection
of books forming the Bible as they would take up any other body of
literature; as they would English, French, or German literature. "This
method," says one high in authority in the new school of critics,
"assumes nothing. It leaves the conclusion of the questions whether the
Bible came from God, in what sense it came from God, how far and to
what extent it came from God, all to be determined by examination of
the book itself. This I call the literary method." [1] "This method,"
says another, "leads to the investigation of the origin, authorship,
and meaning of the several books of the Bible, and the credibility of
the history which it contains." [2] Concerning in what those of the
Literary school are agreed, and in what their method results, as to the
Old Testament, I quote the following:

    They are generally agreed in thinking that the book of Genesis is
    composed of three or four or more documents woven together by some
    ancient editor in one continuous narrative. They are generally
    agreed in thinking that the book of the Covenant, [3] with the Ten
    Commandments at its forefront, is the oldest book in the Bible;
    that the history in which that book of the Covenant is embedded was
    written long subsequent to the time of Moses. They are generally
    agreed in thinking that the Book of Deuteronomy, embodying a later
    prophet's conception of Mosaic principles, was not written or
    uttered by Moses himself in its present form, but some centuries
    after the death of Moses. They are generally agreed in thinking
    that the book of Leviticus was written long subsequent to the time
    of Moses, and so far from embodying the principles of the Mosaic
    code embodies much that is in spirit adverse if not antagonistic
    to the simple principles of Mosaism. They are generally agreed
    in considering that we have in the books of Kings and Chronicles
    history and belles lettres so woven together that it is not always
    possible to tell what is to be regarded as belles lettres and what
    is to be regarded as history. They are generally agreed in the
    opinion that Job, while it treats of history about the days of
    Moses, or even anterior thereto, was written later than the time
    of Solomon; that very little of the Hebrew Psalter was composed by
    David; that most of it was composed in the time of the exile or
    subsequent thereto; that Solomon's song was not written by Solomon,
    and is the drama of a pure woman's love, not a spiritual allegory;
    that the book of Isaiah was written certainly by two authors and
    perhaps more, the later book being written one hundred years at
    least after the earlier and by a prophet now unknown; that the
    book of Jonah belongs to the series of moral instruction through
    fiction, and that the book of Daniel conveys moral instruction by
    means of, to use Dean Farrar's phraseology, one of these "splendid
    specimens of the lofty moral fiction which was always common among
    the Jews after the exile." [4]

Another recognized authority in the same field of learning in summing
up the results of the so-called "higher criticism," says:

    It has thus far done an inestimable service in the removal of the
    traditional theories from the sacred books, so that they may be
    studied in their real structure and character. . . . . The higher
    criticism shows us the process by which the sacred books were
    produced, that the most of them were composed by unknown authors,
    that they have passed through the hands of a considerable number
    of unknown editors who have brought together the older material
    without removing discrepancies, inconsistencies and errors.
    In this process of editing, arranging, addition, subtraction,
    reconstruction and consolidation, extending through many centuries,
    what evidence have we that these unknown editors were kept from
    error in all their work? [5]

Such dissecting as this can have but one general result--death of
reverence for the Bible; death of faith in it, as the revealed word
of God. The authenticity of the Bible by it is left doubtful; for
while this method of criticism succeeds, with those who affect it, in
proving that Moses is not the author of the five books for so many
centuries accredited to him, it fails to tell us who is the author
of those books. This Higher Criticism tells us that there are two
and perhaps more, authors of the book of Isaiah's prophecies; that
the last twenty-seven chapters were not written by the great Hebrew
prophet whose name the book bears; but it fails to tell us who is the
author of them. Nor can it be determined even when the unknown author
lived. The same is true as to the other books of the Old Testament upon
whose authenticity this system casts its shadow. The system is wholly
destructive in its tendencies; it unsettles everything, it determines
nothing, except that everything with reference to the authenticity,
time of composition, inspiration, and credibility of the Old Testament
is indeterminable. "It leaves everything hanging in the air," says one
able critic of Higher Criticism. "It begins in guesses and ends in fog.
At all events the result leaves us in a hopeless muddle, and, when that
is the only thing settled, the proposed solution is self-condemned."
[6] And yet the Doctor of Divinity who wrote that sentence, Rev. A. J.
F. Behrends, when he comes in his treatise to remark upon the extent
to which the destructive criticism obtains, has to confess that in
eight of the most famous German Universities [7] possessing theological
faculties, and numbering seventy-three professors in all, thirty of
those professors upheld and taught the destructive criticism; while
forty-three were counted conservatives. [8]

A more significant admission, as showing the rapid increase of the
radicals, or liberals, as the upholders of the destructive criticism
are called, will be found in the following statement concerning the
same theological faculties. "The so-called liberal wing has increased
from ten to thirty during the last twenty-five years; and the
conservatives have been reduced from fifty to forty-three."

Of the American universities where the destructive criticism obtains,
Dr. Behrends names eight; [9] and eighteen where "conservative
criticism holds its ground." [10] It should be remembered that these
are admissions of one upholding the conservative criticism as against
radical criticism. The claims of the radical school for the success of
their methods are much more sweeping than the admissions allow. But
taking the extent to which the destructive criticism obtains, even at
the estimate of those who are opposed to it, and who for that reason
reduce its triumphs to a minimum, yet it must be admitted that it has
succeeded in making very marked progress. It permeates all Protestant
Christian countries; and all Protestant Christian sects. It is more
in evidence in the churches than in the schools; and tinctures all
Protestant religious literature. There is scarcely any necessity for
unbelievers in the Bible assailing it from without; the destruction
of faith in it as an authentic, credible, authoritative revelation
from God, whose truths when rightly understood are to be accepted and
held as binding upon the consciences of men, is being carried on from
within the churches who profess to hold the Bible in reverence, more
effectually than it could be by profane infidels. Doctors of Divinity
are more rapidly undermining the faith of the masses in the Bible than
ever a Voltaire, a Paine, a Bradlaugh or an Ingersoll could do; and
that may account for the singular circumstances of absolute silence at
present on the part of popular infidel writers and lecturers. [11]

It is not my purpose here to enter into a discussion of the merits or
demerits of Higher Criticism; to point out what is true in it, and
what false. I am merely calling attention to a condition that has been
created by that method of Bible treatment, viz., a condition of rapidly
increasing unbelief among the masses in the Bible as the undoubted
word of God. The learned who are leaders in the new method of Bible
criticism, after destroying confidence in the authenticity of almost
every book of the Old Testament; after questioning the credibility of
the greater part of all those same books; after retiring some of the
books from the dignified realm of reliable history to the questionable
station of belles-lettres; after saying, "We are obliged to admit
that there are scientific errors in the Bible, errors of astronomy,
of geology, of zoology, of botany, and anthropology;" after saying,
"There are historical mistakes in the Christian scriptures, mistakes
of chronology and geography, errors of historical events and persons,
discrepancies and inconsistencies in the historians, which cannot be
removed by any proper method of interpretation;" after reducing the
inspired writers to the level of just ordinary historical, poetical,
and fiction-writing authors, by saying that the foregoing enumerated
errors in the sacred books "are just where you would expect to find
them in accurate, truthful writers of history in ancient times," and
that the sacred writers merely "used with fidelity the best sources
of information accessible to them--ancient poems, popular traditions,
legends and ballads, regal and family archives, codes of law and
ancient narratives," and "there is no evidence that they received any
of this history by revelation from God, there is no evidence that the
divine Spirit corrected their narratives either when they were being
composed in their minds, or written in manuscript;" after saying, "we
cannot defend the morals of the Old Testament at all points, * * *
the Patriarchs were not truthful, their age seems to have had little
apprehension of the principles of truth;" after saying that "God spake
in much the greater part of the Old Testament through the voices and
pens of the human authors of the scriptures," and then ask--"Did the
human voice and pen in all the numerous writers and editors of the
Holy Scriptures prior to the completion of the Canon always deliver
an inerrant word?" and, "Even if all the writers were possessed of
the Holy Spirit as to be merely passive in his hands, the question
arises, can the finite voice and the finite pen deliver and express
the inerrant truth of God?" After all this, then these Higher Critics
propound the question: Can we, in the face of all the results of our
literary and historical [12] method of treating the scriptures, still
maintain the truthfulness of the Bible? And while they are speculating
how they can make it appear that "the substantial truthfulness of the
Bible" need not be inconsistent with the existence of "circumstantial
errors;" and are indulging in subtle refinements to show that "none
of the mistakes, discrepancies and errors which have been discovered
disturb the religious lessons of Biblical history" [13]--masses who come
to hear of these doubts cast upon what they have hitherto been taught
to regard as the infallible oracles of God, answer off-hand:--If so
much doubt exists as to the authenticity, credibility, inspiration,
and authoritativeness of so great a part of the Bible, how are we
to determine that the few remaining things you urge upon us are of
divine appointment, or reach to any higher level than human conception
and human authority? This their question; and, ever glad to meet
with any excuse that will lend the lightest shadow of justification
for casting aside the restraints which religion imposes upon the
indulgence of human passion, and human inclination to worldliness in
general, they rid themselves of their faith in the word of God, and
in the religion it teaches, and walk abroad in the earth unchecked in
their selfish pursuit of whatsoever may attract the fancy, please the
taste or gratify the passions. For whatever may be the effect of what
is left of the Bible, on minds of peculiar structure, after Higher
Criticism is done with it, it must be conceded that a Bible of doubtful
authenticity, of questionable credibility as to the greater part of it;
with its divine inspiration and its divine authenticity remaining open
questions--neither such a Bible nor any religion formulated from it in
harmony with such conceptions, can have much influence over the masses
of humanity.

Again I find it necessary to say that it is foreign to my purpose
to enter into a consideration of the merits or demerits of Higher
Criticism, or even to point out how much of that criticism merely
attacks an apostate Christianity's misconceptions and false
interpretations of the Bible, and not the Bible itself. It is
sufficient for my purpose, if I have made clear the results that must
inevitably follow this attack upon the Scriptures under the guise of
Higher Criticism.

I must notice briefly the other side of the question; that is, give
some account of the materials which have been brought to light in the
nineteenth century for the defense of the Bible; materials which tend
to prove its authenticity, its credibility, its inspiration and its
divine authority. And here I am but a compiler of a very few of the
principal results of researches that have been made in Egypt, in the
valley of the Euphrates and in Palestine. I make no pretentions to
original investigations of these researches, but accept the statements
of what I consider to be reliable authorities in relation to them.

In the year 1799 a French officer named Boussard discovered a large,
black basalt stone at Fort St. Julian near Rosetta, in the delta of
the Nile. From the circumstances of the discovery being near Rosetta
it has always been known as the Rosetta Stone. It was inscribed in
Greek, in Egyptian hieroglyphics, and a third class of writing which
is called Demotic. The last is the common writing of the people of
Egypt as opposed to the hieroglyphic which was written by the priests.
The Greek upon the stone was readily made out, and it was found to
consist of a decree drawn up by the priests of Memphis in honor of
Ptolemy Epiphanes, who ruled about 198 B. C. It was at once evident
that the Greek inscription on this stone was the translation of the
hieroglyphics upon it, and hence afforded a key to the interpretation
of the Egyptian hieroglyphics. By the fortunes of war the Rosetta Stone
was surrendered by the French to General Hutchinson and subsequently
presented to the British Museum where it is now preserved. Accurate
copies of the three-fold text were made forthwith and distributed among
the scholars of Europe with the result that through the combined,
patient labors of Silvestre de Sacy, Akebald the Swede, Thomas Young,
Champollion, Lepsius in Germany, Birch in England, and others, the
hieroglyphics were deciphered and a system of translation constructed
which enabled European scholars to read many of the inscriptions upon
the monuments of Egypt, and bring to light much of the history of
that country which hitherto had been a mystery. This gave an impetus
to research. The political representatives of the great countries of
Europe made collections of antiquities in Egypt, and travelers spent
much time and money in opening tombs and digging out ruins. The tombs
have given up not only their dead, but with them the books which
the Egyptians read, the furniture which they used in their houses,
the ornaments and articles of the toilet of the Egyptian lady, the
weapons of the warrior, the tools of the handicraftsman and laborer,
the dice of the gambler, the toys of the children, and the portraits,
statutes and figures of the men and women for whom they were made.
The many-lined inscriptions upon the tombs give us their ideas about
the future world, the judgment of the dead, the paradise of the happy
souls, the transmigration of souls, and they enable us to place a
juster estimate upon the statements of those Greek writers who profess
to understand and to describe with accuracy the difficult religion
of the educated Egyptians. And the result of all this, as affecting
the authenticity of the Bible? Simply this: the manners, customs,
governments, arts, sciences, occupations and state of civilization of
the Egyptians in general, are demonstrated by these monuments to be
substantially what they are described to be in the book of Genesis.
Also there is supposed to be the confirmation of special events in
the scripture narrative. Professor A. H. Sayce, for instance, has
the following upon the existence of such a line of kings ruling at
Jerusalem as Melchizedek is described to be in Genesis:

    "Among the cuneiform tablets found at Tel el-Amarna in Upper Egypt,
    are letters to the Pharaoh from Ebed-tob, king of Jerusalem,
    written a century before the time of Moses. In them he describes
    himself as appointed to the throne, not by inheritance from his
    father or mother (compare Heb. 7:3), but by the arm of 'the Mighty
    King,' i. e. of the god of whose temple stood on Mount Moriah. He
    must therefore have been a priest-king like Melchizedek. The name
    of Jerusalem is written Ura-Salim, 'the city of the god of peace,'
    and it was the capital of a territory which extended southward to
    Kellah. In the inscriptions of Rameses II and Rameses III, Salem is
    mentioned among the conquests of the Egyptian kings."

The same writer sees confirmation of the history of Joseph, son of
Jacob, in the following circumstance:

    The "Story of the Two Brothers," an Egyptian romance written for
    the son of the Pharaoh of the oppression, contains an episode very
    similar to the Biblical account of Joseph's treatment by Potiphar's
    wife. Potiphar and Potipherah are the Egyptian Pa-tu-pa-Ra, "the
    gift of the Sun-god." The name given to Joseph, Zaphnath-paaneah,
    (Gen. 41:45), is probably the Egyptian Zaf-nti-pa-ankh, "nourisher
    of the living one," i. e. of the Pharaoh. There are many instances
    in the inscriptions of foreigners in Egypt receiving Egyptian
    names, and rising to the highest offices of state.

The story of the Exodus as related in the Bible is supposed to find
confirmation in the following:

    "The cuneiform tablets found at Tel el-Amarna, in Upper Egypt, have
    shown that in the latter days of the eighteenth Egyptian dynasty,
    when the Pharaoh had become a convert to an Asiatic form of faith,
    the highest offices of state were absorbed by foreigners, most of
    whom were Canaanites. In the national reaction which followed, the
    foreigners were expelled, exterminated, or reduced to serfdom;
    while a new dynasty, the nineteenth, was founded by Rameses I. He,
    therefore, must be the new king, the builder of Pa-Tum or Pithom
    (now Tel el-Maskhuteh, near Ismailia), as has been proved by Dr.
    Naville's researches, and consequently, as Egyptian students had
    long maintained he must have been the Pharaoh of the oppression."

The occupancy of the land of Goshen by the Israelites who, it will be
remembered, were shepherds, is supposed to receive confirmation in the

    Further excavations of Dr. Neville have shown that Goshen, the
    Egyptian Goshen (now Saft el-Henneh), is the modern Wadi Tumilat,
    between Zagazig and Ismailia. A dispatch dated in the eighth year
    of the reign of Meneptah, the son and successor of Rameses II,
    state that Bedouin from Edom has been allowed to pass the Khetam or
    "fortress" in the district of Succoth (Thukot), in order to feed
    themselves and their herds on the possessions of Pharaoh. Khetam
    is the Etham of Exodus 13:20. The geography of the Exodus agrees
    remarkably with that of the Egyptian papyri of the time of Rameses
    II and his son. [14]

The search for evidence of the truth of the Bible has not been confined
to Egypt. Equal interest has been awakened in those ancient empires
that occupied the valley of the Euphrates; in Palestine, and the
Sinaitic Peninsula. European scholars with keen interest followed the
study of the cuneiform characters found on Babylonian tablets and
monuments. Progress made in deciphering this ancient method of writing
led M. Botta, in 1842, to begin excavations upon the ancient site of
Nineveh, but he met with little success. Later, however,--1845--Mr.
Henry Layard (subsequently Sir Henry Layard) undertook excavations at
the same place for the Trustees of the British Museum, and succeeded in
uncovering the palaces of Sennacherib, Esarhaddon, and Assur-banipal,
and in bringing to light the terra cotta tablets which formed the great
library founded by these kings at Nineveh, and of which some twenty-two
thousand are now preserved in the British Museum. An examination
of these tablets soon showed that they consisted of historical
inscriptions, astronomical reports and calculations, grammatical lists,
etc., and scholars began to apply Sir Henry Rawlinson's system of
decipherment of the Babylonian version of the Behistun inscription to
the texts inscribed upon these tablets. A large portion of the history
of Babylonia and Assyria through the translation of these tablets
is now revealed to us, and the knowledge of the language of these
countries has thrown much light upon the language, literature, history,
and learning of the Jews. The excavations which have been carried on
in Mesopotamia for the last fifty years have yielded the most valuable
results; and the inscribed slabs, monolithic stelae, boundary stones,
gate-sockets, bricks, seal-cylinders and tablets, now preserved in
the British Museum, afford an abundant supply of material from which
Bible customs and language may be freely explained and illustrated. The
cuneiform writing is, at least, as old as B. C. 3,800, and there is
evidence to show that it was in use as late as B. C. 80. [15]

In 1865 the Palestine Exploration fund was opened, and excavations were
begun in Jerusalem, and have continued, with some interruptions, until
now. Since then researches have followed in the south, east and north
of Palestine. Geological investigations have been made, natural history
collections have been formed, enquiries into nationalities and customs
carried on, towns, villages, hills, valleys, water courses, wells,
cisterns, notable trees and other land marks have been located. In
1868 a party of engineering experts left England to make a scientific
survey of the Sinaitic Peninsula. This they effected, making plans and
models, taking three thousand copies of inscriptions with collections
of specimens bearing on the zoology, botany and geology of the country.

The results of these explorations and discoveries, in the valley of
the Euphrates, in Palestine and the Sinaitic Peninsula, have been
even more fruitful, in the production of materials which tend to
confirm the truth of the Bible narrative and general credibility, than
the discoveries so far made in Egypt. The confirmation of the Bible
narrative of ancient events is remarkable. So, too, the confirmation
of its location of cities, mountains, rivers, plains and, indeed,
the whole geography of the scriptures. The confirmation given of the
Bible's incidental allusions to the manners and customs of neighboring
and contemporary nations is no less remarkable; together with what is
said of reigning kings and dynasties, and the incidental allusions
that the Bible makes to their invasions of each other's territories,
their alliances, their victories, and their defeats. The following are
a few of the special Bible incidents which receive confirmation from
the results of these researches condensed from the article of Professor

    CREATION: One of the accounts of creation in cuneiform characters
    found on the tablets very nearly resembles the first chapter of
    Genesis. It commences with the statement that "in the beginning"
    all was a chaos of waters, called the deep (Tiamat, the Hebrew
    tehom). Then the Upper and Lower Firmaments were created, and the
    Gods came into existence. After that comes a long account of the
    struggle between Bel-Merodach and the "Dragon" of chaos, "Timaat,"
    "the serpent of evil," with her allies, the forces of anarchy
    and darkness. It ended in the victory of the god of light, who
    thereupon created the present world by the power of his "word." The
    fifth tablet or book of the poem describes the appointment of the
    heavenly bodies for signs and seasons, and the sixth (or perhaps
    the seventh) the creation of animals and reptiles. The latter part
    of the poem, in which the creation of man was doubtless described,
    has not yet been recovered. But we learn from other texts that man
    was regarded as having been formed out of the "dust" of the ground.

    THE SABBATH: From the tablets it is also learned that the
    Babylonians observed a day of rest, which is called Sabbattu and
    described as "a day of rest for the heart." On it, it was forbidden
    to eat cooked meat, to put on fresh clothes, to offer sacrifices,
    to ride in a chariot, etc. The Sabbattu fell on the 7th, 14th,
    19th, 21st, and 28th days of the month.

    THE GARDEN OF EDEN: The "plain" of Babylonia was called Edin in
    the ancient Sumerian language of the country, and the word was
    adopted by the Semitic Babylonians, in the form of Edinu. Eridu,
    the early seaport of Babylonia, was the chief center of primitive
    Babylonian religion and culture, and in its neighborhood was a
    garden, wherein, "in a holy place," according to an ancient poem,
    was a mysterious tree whose roots were planted in the "deep,"
    while its branches reached to heaven. The tree of life is often
    represented in Assyria sculptures between two winged cherubim who
    have sometimes the heads of eagles, sometimes of men, and sometimes
    stand, sometimes kneel. Eri-Aku or Arioch (Gen. 14:1) calls
    himself "the executor of the oracle of the holy tree of Eridu." In
    Sumerian, wine was called ges-din, "the draught of life." A second
    tree is mentioned in Babylonian hymns on whose heart the name of
    the god of wisdom is said to be inscribed.

    THE FLOOD: In 1872 George Smith discovered the Babylonian account
    of the deluge, which strikingly resembles that of Genesis. It is
    contained in a long poem which was composed in the age of Abraham,
    but the Chaldean tradition of the deluge, of which the account
    in the poem is but one out of many, must go back to a very much
    earlier date. Xisuthros, the Chaldean Noah was rescued along with
    his family, servants, and goods, on account of his righteousness.
    The god Ea warned him in a dream of the coming flood, and ordered
    him to build a ship, into which he should take every kind of animal
    so that "the seed of life" might be preserved.

    UR OF THE CHALDEES: "Ur" is now identified as Mugheir. This was
    the early home of Abraham and his forefathers spoken of in Genesis
    (12:27-32). It was situated on the west side of the Euphrates. The
    name means "the city" in Babylonia. It is proven now that there was
    such a city, and that it is identical with Mugheir, the ruins of
    which have been thoroughly explored. It was the seat of a dynasty
    of kings who reigned before the age of Abraham, and was famous for
    its temple of the moon-god, whose other famous temple was at Haran
    in Mesopotamia.

    ABRAHAM: Contract-tablets show that in the age of Abraham,
    Canaanites--or "Amorites," as the Babylonians called them--were
    settled in Babylonia, and that a district outside the walls of
    Sippara had been assigned to them. Several of the names are
    distinctly Hebrew, and, in a tablet dated in the reign of the
    grandfather of Amraphel (Gen. 14:1), one of the witnesses is called
    "the Amorite, the son of Abi-ramu," or Abram.

    CAMPAIGN OF CHEDORLAOMER: The records on the tablets that this
    event (described in Genesis 14) is in accordance with the national
    movements of that age.

    SHISHAK'S INVASION OF JUDAH: On the southern wall of the temple
    of Karnak, Shishak (Shashang in Egypt) the founder of the
    twenty-second Egyptian dynasty, has given a list of the places he
    captured in Palestine. Most of them were in Judea, but there are
    few (e. g. Megiddo and Taanach) which belonged to the northern

    THE MOABITE STONE: The Moabite stone was discovered by Rev.
    F. Klein, at Dhiban in the land of Moab, on August 19, 1868.
    It measures three feet ten inches, by two feet, by one foot
    two inches; and is inscribed with thirty-four lines of text.
    The language of the inscription hardly differs from Hebrew in
    vocabulary, grammar, or expression. The stone gives the Moabite
    account of the war of Mesha, king of Moab, about 860 B. C., against
    Omri, Ahab, and other kings of Israel, and confirms to quite an
    extent the history of the same war as given in II Kings, chapter 3.

Very naturally those believers in the Bible who regard it as the
very word of God, those believers who regard the Bible's historical
statements as substantially true, allowing only for such errors as
may have crept in through the carelessness of copyists, or perchance
here and there an error through additions or omissions on the
part of copyists or designing custodians--such believers rejoice
at the confirmation the scriptures receive from the inscriptions
upon monuments and tablets brought to light by the researches and
scholarship of the nineteenth century. It is a pious sentiment, this
rejoicing over the confirmation of the word of God; and one can only
regret that the evidences supplied by these modern discoveries are not
sufficiently voluminous or explicit to silence altogether the unbelief
of modern times in the Bible. But they are not sufficient; for in spite
of them unbelievers not only exist in Christian lands, but increase


1. _The Bible as Literature_. A course of lectures by Dr. Lyman
Abbot, in Plymouth Church, Brooklyn, 1896-7. What is here called the
"Literary Method," is identical with what is called "Higher Criticism;"
the terms are used interchangeably. Higher Criticism may be said
to stand in contradistinction to what is called Lower Criticism in
this, that it concerns itself with writings as a whole, whereas Lower
Criticism concerns itself with the integrity or character of particular
passages or parts; and is sometimes called "Textual Criticism." "The
term 'Literary' or 'Higher Criticism' designates that type of Biblical
criticism which proposes to investigate the separate books of the Bible
in their internal peculiarities, and to estimate them historically.
It discusses the questions concerning their origin, the time and
place, the occasion and object of their composition, and concerning
their position and value in the entire body of revelation. . . . . The
'Higher Criticism' has been so often employed for the overthrow of
long-cherished beliefs that the epithet 'destructive' has frequently
been applied to it; and hence it has become an offense to some orthodox
ears." (_The Mosaic Authorship of the Pentateuch_, Charles Elliott, D.
D., pp. 12, 13.)

2. _Beginning of Christianity_ (Fisher) p. 392.

3. 21, 22, 23 Exodus--The Ten Commandments and amplifications.

4. _The Bible as Literature_, Dr. Lyman Abbot.

5. "Truthfulness of Scripture," a paper submitted to The World's
Parliament of Religion by Professor Chas. A. Briggs, D. D. See _World's
Parliament of Religions_ (Barrows) vol. I, p. 563.

6. Rev. A. J. F. Behrends, D. D., _Bible Criticism and its Methods_,
course of lectures, 1897.

7. These are the Universities of Berlin, Bonn, Breslau, Griefswald,
Halle, Konigsberg, Leipzig and Tubingen.

8. This was the condition in 1897.

9. These Universities are Boston, Yale, Harvard, Cornell, Johns
Hopkins, Union, Chicago and Andover.

10. Dr. Behrend's, _Bible Criticism_, Second Lecture, Feb. 28, 1897.

11. This is written in 1903, and since the death of Bradlaugh in
England in 1891, and the death of Ingersoll in America in 1899, there
have appeared no infidel lectures against the Bible of any prominence.
The mantle of those noted unbelievers and revilers of the Scriptures
seems not to have fallen upon the shoulders of any of their followers.

12. Historical criticism and its results were also considered in volume
I of _New Witnesses_, see ch. I.

13. The quoted passages in the foregoing are all from the paper of Dr.
Chas. A. Briggs, one of the foremost scholars among the Higher Critics,
and was read before the World's Parliament of Religions. See Barrows'
_History of the Parliament of Religions_, vol. I, pp. 650-661.

14. Professor Sayce's article from which the foregoing quotations are
made, is to be found in the _Bible Treasury_, published in Nelson &
Son's addition of the authorized version, p. 43.

15. The Witness of Modern Discoveries to the Old Testament Narrative,
_Oxford Bible Helps_.

16. Ibid.

17. The foregoing statements of monumental testimony to the truth of
the Old Testament are condensed from an article of Professor A. H.
Sayce, LL. D. The whole article--too long to be inserted here--will
be found in the _Nelson Illustrated Bible Treasury_, pp. 39-44. Those
desiring more specific knowledge of the interesting subject will find
it in the magnificent work of Herman V. Hilprecht, _Explorations in
Bible Lands, During the 19th Century_ (1903). Mr. Hilprecht holds the
Professorship of the "Clark Research Professorship of Assyriology" in
the University of Pennsylvania; and in his great work of 800 pages is
assisted by other specialists.



One thing with reference to modern discoveries of confirmatory
evidences of the Bible is singular. That one thing is the fact that all
these modern discoveries of evidences are confined to the eastern half
of the world, to Asia and Africa. Can it be that God left no witnesses
for himself in the western half of the world? Did he ignore and leave
to perish without spiritual enlightenment, or knowledge of any means
of salvation, all those tribes of men, those nations and empires, that
inhabited the western hemisphere through so many ages? It should be
remembered while considering these questions that the scriptures teach

    God hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on
    all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before
    appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should
    seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him,
    though he be not far from every one of us: for in him we live, and
    move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have
    said, For we are also his offspring. [1]

From this it appears that all races of men have a common origin.
They are all made "of one blood," and have one common Father--God.
Yet if one judge the spirit of orthodox believers in the Bible, he
would conclude that this Father's anxiety had all been expended in
the enlightenment of those races and nations inhabiting the eastern
hemisphere. That he had made ample provision for their instruction
in the ways of God, and revealed to them, through his Son, the means
of their salvation; but left the untold millions of his children in
the western hemisphere to perish in ignorance. No prophets instructed
them; no Son of God came to announce to them the means of salvation,
or proclaim by his own resurrection the reality of the future life and
immortality of man. And hence no one has unearthed the half-buried
cities, or examined the ruined temples, or the fallen palaces--the
extent and greatness of which proclaim the grandeur of ancient
America's civilization--for confirmatory evidence of the Bible.
The inscriptions upon their temple walls and monuments have not
been deciphered for that purpose, nor their history and traditions
investigated with that end in view, except in a few instances where
men have been imbued with the idea that the aborigines of America
might be the descendants of the Lost Tribes of Israel. These, with
a few others prompted by a desire to solve the mystery of America's
ancient civilization, have explored the ruined cities, described the
crumbling pyramids and temples, and remains of splendid aqueducts.
They have collected and detailed their mythologies, traditions, and
history; some circumstances of which bear strong evidence to the
fact that the ancient inhabitants of the western hemisphere, in some
way, had been made acquainted with some of the chief events of Bible
history, including some knowledge of the atonement and other doctrines
of Messiah. But such evidences of these facts as have been collected
are not received into the collection of modern evidences for the truth
of the Bible. I do not know of a single book in which they are so
received. From the profound silence enforced upon American monuments
and inscriptions, one would be left to suppose that they are as silent
in testimony for the revealed truth of God as the birds of the South
continent, however resplendent in gaudy plumage, are silent as to song.
It is just here, however, where the importance of the Book of Mormon is
best exhibited. It is here where it can be proclaimed as the voice of
the western hemisphere proclaiming the sublime truth that God did not
leave himself without witness among the races and nations of men that
inhabited the western world. It is here that its importance is felt as
the voice of sleeping nations speaking as out of the dust to the whole
world, not only vindicating the quality of justice in God, in that
he did not leave the inhabitants of the western hemisphere to perish
in ignorance of himself and the plan of life and salvation which had
been ordained for the redemption of mankind; but also in that it bears
witness to the world that the collection of books known as the Bible is
the word of God, authentic, credible, and binding upon the consciences
of men. It is a Witness for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and of the truth
of the Bible, which in value far surpasses all the evidences discovered
in Egypt, the valley of the Euphrates, the Sinaitic Peninsula, and
the land of Palestine throughout the nineteenth century. Let us here
consider it.

First in chronological order, if not in importance, is the book of
Ether, within the Book of Mormon. This book of Ether is an abridgment
of a very ancient American record that was engraven upon twenty-four
gold plates, by a prophet named Ether, hence the name of the book. He
wrote his record most likely in the early part of the sixth century B.
C. The plates were discovered by a branch of the Nephite nation about
120 years B. C., and were preserved by the Nephites with other sacred
records, which finally were placed in the keeping of a prophet named
Moroni, about the close of the fourth century A. D. This Moroni is
the one who translated the record engraven upon the plates of Ether,
an abridgment of which he placed with the Book of Mormon. The book
of Ether contained an account of the most ancient events from the
creation of Adam to the confusion of languages; but as Moroni supposed
the information of this part of the book of Ether would be in the
possession of the Jews, he did not transcribe that part of it, but
began his abridgment from the confounding of the languages at Babel.
The book of Ether speaks of one Jared and his brother, the latter a
most remarkable prophet, living at Babel previous to the confusion of
languages, and to whom the Lord revealed his intention of confounding
the language of the people. At the solicitation of Jared, to whom
he had imparted the knowledge of the coming calamity, this prophet
besought the Lord that the language of Jared, himself, and their
families might not be confounded, and the Lord had respect unto his
prayer and confounded not their language; but directed the formation
of a colony consisting of Jared, his brother, and their families and
friends which the Lord led forth from Babylon and finally brought to
the north continent of the western hemisphere. The colony grew into a
great nation, occupying at least the greater part of North America, and
were known to the Nephites as the people of Jared.

The book of Ether confirms the special particulars of the Bible
concerning there being in existence a record of the creation; the
existence of Adam; the erection of the tower of Babel; the confounding
of languages; and the scattering of the people into all the lands of
the earth.

Second: Six hundred years before Christ, a prophet of the Lord named
Lehi, being warned of the destruction of Jerusalem, departed with his
family into the wilderness, traveling southward from the Holy City
until he reached the borders of the Red Sea; and while camped on its
shores he received direction from the Lord that his sons should return
to Jerusalem and obtain a certain record in the hands of one Laban,
containing a record of the Jews and also the genealogy of Lehi's
forefathers engraven upon plates of brass. Agreeable to the heavenly
commandment the sons returned, and after overcoming some difficulties
finally succeeded in securing the records and returning with them
to the encampment of Lehi. Finally, when Lehi's colony embarked for
America, they brought those records with them. These records are thus
described by Nephi, son of Lehi, who engraved the description in his
record, at least as early as the first quarter of the sixth century B.

    And after they [Lehi's colony] had given thanks unto the God of
    Israel, my father, Lehi, took the records which were engraven upon
    the plates of brass, and he did search them from beginning. And
    he beheld that they did contain the five books of Moses, which
    gave an account of the creation of the world, and also of Adam and
    Eve, who were our first parents; and also a record of the Jews
    from the beginning, even down to the commencement of the reign
    of Zedekiah, king of Judah; and also the prophecies of the holy
    prophets, from the beginning even down to the commencement of the
    reign of Zedekiah, and also many prophecies which have been spoken
    by the mouth of Jeremiah. And it came to pass that my father, Lehi,
    also found upon the plates of brass, a genealogy of his fathers;
    wherefore he knew that he was a descendant of Joseph; yea, even
    that Joseph who was the son of Jacob, who was sold into Egypt, and
    who was preserved by the hand of the Lord, that he might preserve
    his father, Jacob, and all his household from perishing with
    famine. And they were also led out of captivity and out of the land
    of Egypt, by that same God who had preserved them. And thus my
    father, Lehi, did discover the genealogy of his fathers. (I Nephi

What a testimony we have here for the truth of the Bible! What a number
of its incidents are here confirmed! The Higher Criticism questions
the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, but here is an entry made in
an ancient record in America at least 575 years B. C., attributing the
authorship of five books to Moses, specifying that they gave an account
of the creation of the world and also of Adam and Eve, "who were our
first parents;" so that there can be no question as to this record
brought by Lehi's colony from Jerusalem to America being identical
with the Pentateuch of our Bible. In addition to the incident of the
creation, and Adam and Eve, this entry upon the Nephite records also
confirms the Bible narrative concerning Jacob and also of Joseph, his
son, who was sold into captivity and taken to Egypt. Reference is made
also to the subsequent exodus of Israel from the land of Egypt. Mention
also is made of the prophets and their prophecies in this record,
making special mention of the name of Jeremiah. Some of the writings
of Jeremiah were also included in this record. The first Nephi also
makes special mention of Isaiah by name, and describes in what manner
he read from his writings upon the plates of brass, to his brethren.
[2] And what is better yet, he quotes, in his record, many passages
from the prophet Isaiah. At this point it is well to call attention to
the fact that the Higher Criticism holds that the book of Isaiah in
our Old Testament is composite; that is, it claims that it is composed
by at least two, and perhaps by seven different authors; that the
last twenty-seven chapters certainly were not written by Isaiah. The
best answer that can be made to these claims, on the part of those
disposed to defend the Isaiah authorship of the book of prophecies
which bears that prophet's name, is to say that from two hundred years
B. C. the authorship of the prophecies, as they now stand in the
Bible, have been attributed to Isaiah. But here is testimony, in this
first book of Nephi, which shows that as early as 550 years B. C., a
certain collection of prophecies in a record taken from Jerusalem,
are attributed to Isaiah; and what is best of all a transcription is
made from these prophecies into the Nephite record, which corresponds
to chapters 48, 49, 50, 51 and 59, and also fragments of chapter 29;
[3] being a very large amount of the very part of Isaiah's prophecies
of which the authenticity is questioned. Here are at least five of
the twenty-seven chapters in dispute accounted for and fragments of
another, while of the first part of the prophecies of Isaiah there is
a transcription into the Nephite record corresponding to chapters from
two to fourteen; [4] so that so far as the authenticity of the book of
Isaiah's prophecies is concerned, and the five books of Moses, the Book
of Mormon is the most important of all witnesses.

Third: Since the Nephites, then, in this collection of brass plates,
had the five books of Moses and the writings of the prophets down to
the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah, it is to be expected that in
their own record-making frequent reference would be made to the brass
plates and their contents, and this is the case. The first Nephi speaks
of Israel's passage of the red sea, under the leadership of Moses; and
the destruction of the Egyptian army. [5] Subsequently the same writer
refers to the captivity of the children of Israel in Egypt, and the
grievousness of their bondage; of their escape from their slavery;
their being fed with manna in the wilderness; their being miraculously
provided with water from the smitten rock; the visible presence of God
in the cloud by day and the pillar of light by night; the blind and
rebellious spirit of the people; the judgment of God upon them in the
fiery-flying serpents, and the healing provided for them by looking
upon the brazen serpent erected by Moses. [6]

The prophet Lehi, near the close of his life, when blessing his
son Joseph, refers to Joseph, the son of Jacob, of Egyptian fame,
and speaks of a prophecy uttered by that patriarch concerning the
deliverance of the people under the leadership of Moses; and also of
a future seer of the same lineage as himself, (i. e. Joseph) who would
be mighty in bringing forth the word of God unto the remnant of Lehi's
seed. [7] In the book of Helaman will be found further reference to
many of the same things. [8] Special reference is made also to the
prophecy of Moses concerning the future coming of the Messiah, saying,
"A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you, like unto me; him
shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it
shall come to pass that all those who will not hear that prophet shall
be cut off from among the people." Nephi follows this passage with the
declaration that this prophet of whom Moses spake is the Holy One of
Israel, the Messiah. [9] The ten commandments are quoted in the book
of Mosiah, substantially as they are found in the book of Exodus. [10]
And thus throughout the Nephite record frequent references are made to
these ancient things of the scriptures, all of which, found as they are
in an ancient record, though revealed to the world through the prophet
Joseph Smith in modern times, confirm the authenticity and credibility
of the Bible.

Fourth: It is the Book of Mormon as a whole, however, in which its
greatest value as a witness for the truth of the Bible, and the truth
of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, most appears. I mean the Book of Mormon
considered apart from any reference to an abridgment of the ancient
records of the Jaredites; and the transcriptions from the ancient
Hebrew scriptures carried by Lehi's colony to the western world. In the
Book of Mormon, so considered, we have the record of the hand-dealings
of God with the peoples that inhabited the western hemisphere. We have
in it the record of those things which occurred in a branch of the
house of Israel that God was preparing for the same great event for
which he was training the house of Israel in the eastern world; _viz._,
the advent of the Messiah, and the acceptance of the gospel through
which all mankind are to be saved. This branch of the house of Israel,
broken from the parent tree and planted in the western hemisphere,
brought with them the traditions and hopes of Israel; they brought with
them, as we have already seen, the Hebrew scriptures, the writings of
Moses and of the prophets down to the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah;
but what is more important than all this, they came to the western
world with the favor and blessing of Israel's God upon them, and
Israel's peculiar privilege of direct communication with God, through
inspired dreams, the visitation of angels, and the voice of God. Lehi's
colony was led to the western world by prophets, inspired of the Lord,
their journey being marked by many and peculiar manifestations of his
presence with them. After their arrival in the western world, to them
a land of promise, the Lord from time to time raised up prophets among
them, who instructed them in the ways of the Lord; who reproved them
when overtaken in transgression; who pronounced judgments against
them when persuasion was of no avail for their correction; who warned
them by the spirit of prophecy of approaching disasters; and who held
continually before them the hope of Israel, the advent of the Messiah,
who, by his suffering and death on the cross, would redeem mankind.

It was much in this manner and for the same purpose that God dealt with
his people in the eastern world; and the fact that his course with the
people on the western hemisphere was substantially the same as that
followed with those of the east, establishes at once his justice and
mercy towards his children, and bears testimony to the great truths
that God indeed is no respecter of persons, and that in every land he
raises up for himself witnesses of his power and goodness. [11]

Fifth: It is not alone as a witness for the authenticity and
credibility of the Bible that the Book of Mormon is valuable. Great
as is its value in that particular, it is still more valuable as a
witness for the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Previous to the
coming of Messiah to the Nephites, [12] prophets testified of his
coming; predicted the time thereof and the signs that would accompany
his advent. The signs of his birth were, first, that on the night of
his nativity there would be no darkness upon the lands inhabited by
the Nephites; that is, in the western hemisphere. "There shall be
one day and a night and a day," said one of the prophets, "as if it
were one day and there were no night; and this shall be unto you for
a sign; for ye shall know of the rising of the sun and also of its
setting; therefore they shall know of a surety that there shall be two
days and a night; nevertheless the night shall not be darkened; and it
shall be the night before he is born." [13] Second: A new star was to
rise, "such an one as ye never have beheld," said the prophet to the
Nephites, "and this also shall be a sign unto you." [14] Third: Many
signs and wonders were to be seen in heaven, but the nature of which is
not stated by the prophet. [15].

Signs of Messiah's death were predicted. First, on the day he suffered
death, the sun would be darkened and refuse to give his light, and
also the moon and the stars; and darkness would cover the whole face
of the Nephite lands, from the time that he suffered death until his
resurrection from the dead. Second, at the time of his dying there
would be thundering and lightnings; earthquakes would rend the rocks,
lay mountains low, and cast up valleys into mountains; the highways
would be broken up, and many cities be made desolate. Third, many
graves would be opened and yield up their dead, and many Saints would
be raised from the dead and appear unto the living, who had not been
destroyed in these judgments. These were the signs that were to give
evidence to the people of the western world of the birth of the
promised Christ, and of his death, and his resurrection; all of which
things, in due time, came to pass, even as they had been predicted.
But what is better still, after the Christ's resurrection from the
dead, and after these terrible judgments had swept over the western
land, destroying the more wicked part of the inhabitants, Jesus himself
appeared unto the Nephite people, and this in fulfilment of his own
declaration to his disciples at Jerusalem, when he said:

    Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must
    bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold,
    and one shepherd. [16]

The Christ's appearance to the Nephites was first made to a multitude
gathered about the temple in what was called the land Bountiful. He
descended out of heaven and stood in their midst, announcing himself
to be Jesus Christ, whom the prophets had testified would come into
the world. "I am the light and the life of the world," said he, "and I
have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and
have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in
which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the
beginning. And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words,
the whole multitude fell to the earth, for they remembered that it had
been prophesied among them that Christ would show himself unto them
after his ascension into heaven." At the commandment of Jesus, the
multitude arose and came to him, and beheld the wounds in his side and
in his hands. When they had all gone forth and witnessed for themselves
that he was indeed the Christ, they cried out with one accord,
"Hosanna, hosanna, blessed be the name of the most high God. And they
did fall down at the feet of Jesus and worshiped him."

Thus Jesus continued ministering among them for some time. Just how
long he remained or how many times he appeared to them cannot be
determined from the Book of Mormon. Neither is that a matter of any
great importance, but it is important that he chose twelve disciples
and conferred upon them divine authority to administer the ordinances
of the gospel. He proclaimed himself to be, as will be seen from
what has been said, the Son of God. He also taught that his Father,
Himself, and the Holy Ghost constituted one God-head; that men to be
saved must believe in God, repent of their sins, receive baptism for
the remission of sins, and the baptism of the Holy Ghost in order to
establish complete fellowship and oneness between themselves and God
and his Christ. The twelve were authorized to call to their assistance
subordinate officers and organize those who accepted the gospel into
the holy Church of Christ. In addition to these doctrinal instructions
Jesus delivered also the highly moral and spiritual precepts of the
gospel, delivered them, as might be expected, much in the same form as
they are to be found in our New Testament scriptures. What is found in
the Book of Mormon of his teaching so nearly conforms to the doctrines
and moral precepts of the New Testament, that it becomes a mighty
witness for the substantial correctness of what is recorded in the New
Testament, so that the Book of Mormon is a witness of the truth not
only of the Old Testament but very largely also of the New.

Among other things of importance which Jesus declared to the Nephites
was the fact that it was his intention to visit "the lost tribes" of
the house of Israel, reveal himself to them, and proclaim the same
gospel he had delivered to the Nephites, and spoke of the time when the
testimonies of the Nephites and the lost tribes of the house of Israel,
with the testimonies of those among whom he had labored in Judea,
should be brought together in one.

Jesus also administered to the sick, the maimed and the blind among the
Nephites, and showed forth the great power of God in his ministrations,
falling behind in nothing, in these respects, to the miraculous powers
that were displayed in his ministry in Judea; but on the contrary,
in consequence of the greater faith of the Nephite people, and their
righteousness, the display of almighty power went beyond the marvelous
works wrought in Judea; for the greater part of the wicked among the
Nephites had been destroyed by the judgments of God which preceded
Messiah's coming, leaving only the more righteous part of the people to
meet with him, at this his glorious advent among them; and hence they
were prepared to receive greater blessings at the hands of God than
were the people in Judea.

The Church of Christ, thus founded by the Messiah and the twelve
disciples he had chosen, reaped a rich harvest in the salvation of
souls in the western world. For nearly two centuries the truth of God
was almost universally accepted. A reign of righteousness was enjoyed.
Peace, prosperity, fraternity and happiness prevailed, and God was
worshiped in spirit and in truth:

  "But man is frail, and can but ill sustain
  A long immunity from grief and pain;
  And after all the Joys which Plenty leads,
  With tip-toe step, Vice silently succeeds."

And so it was in the experience of the Nephites. Wickedness reared
its head among them; pride, born of self-love, took possession of
the souls of some, and inroads were made in the unity and peace of
the Church. These evils continued to spread until at last the spirit
of apostasy was rampant, in the western world, as in the eastern;
men departed from God and his ways until rebellion, disunion, and
anarchy everywhere prevailed; civilization was overwhelmed; and people
descended to barbarism, and, at last, for the most part, to savagery.
In this condition they were discovered by the Europeans, near the close
of the fifteenth century. But notwithstanding this decline from the
religion of Jesus Christ and a high state of civilization, what had
been accomplished through the revelation of the gospel of Jesus Christ
to the western world was of great importance. As already stared, the
harvest of souls in the periods when righteousness prevailed, was very
great; and the records which had been written by prophets and holy men,
and preserved with great care by the commandment of God, were destined
to be of immense importance in future ages. They would proclaim with
trumpet tongue the justice and the mercy of God; they would demonstrate
that the Lord has in mind the salvation of all races and nations of
men; they would stand forth as the most important witness for the
authenticity and general truth of the Jewish scriptures, both of the
Old and the New testaments; they would be the voice of sleeping nations
testifying that Moses did write the Pentateuch; they would bear witness
that Isaiah is the author of the prophecies ascribed to him; that
Jesus is the Christ, "the very eternal God," [17] that he suffered for
the sins of the sins of the world, therein glorifying the Father, and
accomplishing the purposes of God with reference to the salvation of
men; they would bear witness that there is no name given under heaven
whereby men can be saved but the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of
God; and finally, those Nephite records, in the Book of Mormon, would
establish the great and supreme truths that God is a reality--that
he lives; that man is the child of God; that he is immortal, and
accountable to God for his actions; that he may be saved through
acceptance of and continued obedience to the gospel.

A writer held much in esteem by the orthodox Christian world--and
deservedly so--in a noble work but recently issued from the press, said:

    Were a parchment discovered in an Egyptian mound, six inches
    square, containing fifty words which were certainly spoken by
    Jesus, this utterance would count more than all the books which
    have been published since the first century. If a veritable picture
    of the Lord could be unearthed from a catacomb, and the world could
    see with its own eyes what like he was, it would not matter that
    its colors were faded, and that it was roughly drawn, that picture
    would have at once a solitary place amid the treasures of art. [18]

If this be true, and I think no one will question it, then how
valuable indeed must be this whole volume of scripture, the Book of
Mormon! Containing not fifty, but many hundred words spoken by Jesus!
Containing also an account of the hand dealings of God with the people
inhabiting the western hemisphere, from earliest times to the fourth
century after Christ. Wherein also are found his revelations to those
peoples; his messages by angels sent directly from his presence to
declare his word to them; his instructions, admonitions, reproofs,
and warnings to them through men inspired by his Holy Spirit; and
last of all, the account of Messiah's appearance and ministry among
the people, his very words repeated, and rightly divided for us (as
we shall see later), that we may the better understand what of his
teaching is general, and what special; what universal and permanent,
and what local and transcient. How insignificant all the discoveries in
Egypt, in ancient Babylon, Palestine, and the Sinaitic Peninsula are
in comparison with this New Witness of the western world? How paltry,
valuable though they are in themselves, seem the Rosetta stone, the
Moabite stone, and the library of brick tablets from old Nineveh, in
comparison with this Nephite record--this volume of scripture! How
feeble the voice of the testimony of those monuments of the east to the
authenticity and credibility of the Bible and the truth of the gospel,
in comparison with the testimony found in the Book of Mormon--the
voice of departed nations and empires of people speaking through their
records for the truth of God--for the verity of the gospel of Jesus
Christ--a voice sufficient to overwhelm unbelief and forever make sure
the foundations of faith! It was mainly for this purpose that the
Nephite records were written, preserved, and finally brought forth to
the world, as we shall see in the following chapter.


1. Acts 17:26-28.

2. I Nephi 19:22-24.

3. II Nephi, chapters 6, 7, 8. Mosiah 14. III Nephi 22.

4. II Nephi, chapters 12-24 inclusive.

5. I Nephi, chapter 4:2.

6. I Nephi 17:23-42.

7. II Nephi 3.

8. Helaman 8.

9. I Nephi 22:20, 21.

10. Mosiah 12, 13.

11. See reflections on the course of the Lord with reference to giving
revelations to all nations and races of men, chapter 41, this work.

12. The Nephites were the followers of the first Nephi, the righteous
son of Lehi, who led the colony from Jerusalem six hundred years B. C.;
and the Lamanites were the followers of Laman, the oldest and wicked
son of the same Lehi.

13. Helaman, chapter 14.

14. Helaman, chapter 14.

15. This was Samuel, a prophet whom God raised up from among the
Lamanites. The above prophecies were uttered about five or six years B.

16. John 10:16. For a somewhat extended discussion of this prophecy and
its fulfilment see Part III this work, chapter 35.

17. See preface in title page of the Book of Mormon.

18. _Life of the Master_, Prologue, Rev. John Watson, (Ian Maclaren).



The several purposes for which the Book of Mormon was written are to be
learned from the writers of the book itself, and from the revelations
of God to Joseph Smith.

First I introduce the statement of Moroni, into whose hands Mormon's
abridgment of the larger records of the Nephites, called the _Book of
Mormon_, was given. On the last plate of the collection given to Moroni
by his father, on the left hand side of the collection, the language
of the whole book running as in the Hebrew, from right to left, Moroni
engraved the following explanatory title to the record he sealed up,
and therein also stated the reasons why the record was written. This
Joseph Smith translated and made the title page of his translation of
the Book of Mormon:


    An Account Written by the Hand of Mormon, Upon Plates Taken From
    the Plates of Nephi.

    Wherefore, it is an abridgment of the record of the people of
    Nephi, and also of the Lamanites--Written to the Lamanites
    who are a remnant of the house of Israel; and also to Jew and
    Gentile--Written by way of commandment, and also by the spirit of
    prophecy and of revelation--Written and sealed up, and hid up unto
    the Lord, that they might not be destroyed--To come forth by the
    gift and power of God unto the interpretation thereof--Sealed by
    the hand of Moroni, and hid up unto the Lord, to come forth in due
    time by way of Gentile--The interpretation thereof by the gift of

    An abridgment taken from the Book of Ether also, which is a record
    of the people of Jared, who were scattered at the time the Lord
    confounded the language of the people, when they were building a
    tower to get to heaven--which is to show unto the remnant of the
    house of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their
    fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that
    they are not cast off forever--and also to the convincing of
    the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God,
    manifesting, himself unto all nations--And now if there are faults
    they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of
    God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ.

In the above, three reasons are given why the Book of Mormon was
written and preserved to come forth among men in the last days:

First, to show unto the remnant of the House of Israel what great
things the Lord has done for their fathers.

Second, to teach them the covenants of the Lord made with their
fathers, that the remnants may know that they are not cast off forever.

Third, that this record may convince both Jew and gentile that Jesus
is the Christ, the Eternal God, and that he manifests himself to all

In a revelation given to Joseph Smith in July, 1828, on the occasion of
the Urim and Thummim being restored to him after it had been taken from
him in consequence of allowing Martin Harris to have a portion of the
manuscript of the Book of Mormon, contrary to the will of God, the Lord
said to him:

    My work shall go forth, for inasmuch as the knowledge of a Savior
    has come unto the world, through the testimony of the Jews, even
    so shall the knowledge of a Savior come unto my people--and to the
    Nephites, and the Jacobites, and the Josephites, and the Zoramites,
    through the testimony of their fathers--And this testimony shall
    come to the knowledge of the Lamanites, and the Lemuelites, and
    Ishmaelites who dwindled in unbelief because of the iniquity of
    their fathers, whom the Lord has suffered to destroy their brethren
    the Nephites, because of their iniquities and their abominations.
    And for this very purpose are these plates preserved, which contain
    these records--that the promise of the Lord might be fulfilled,
    which he made to his people; and that the Lamanites might come
    to the knowledge of their fathers, and that they might know the
    promises of the Lord, and that they may believe the gospel and rely
    upon the merits of Jesus Christ, and be glorified through faith in
    his name, and that through their repentance they might be saved. [1]

In this passage we have substantially the same reasons given why the
Book of Mormon was written, though not stated in the same order, but as

First, that a knowledge of a Savior might come unto the remnants of the
house of Israel in the western hemisphere, who are called Nephites,
Jacobites, Josephites, Lamanites, etc.

Second, that the Lamanites might come to a knowledge of their fathers.

Third, that the Lamanites might know the promises of the Lord, both to
their fathers and to themselves.

Mormon also left upon record his testimony as to why the book which
bears his name was written, and why it would be preserved and come
forth in the last days. In his own book, by which I mean that book in
which he wrote the things which he saw in his own day, Mormon says:

    Now these things are written unto the remnant of the house of
    Jacob; * * * and behold, they shall come forth according to the
    commandment of the Lord, when he shall see fit, in his wisdom. And
    behold, they shall go unto the unbelieving of the Jews; and for
    this intent shall they go--that they may be persuaded that Jesus is
    the Christ, the Son of the living God; that the Father may bring
    about, through his most Beloved, his great and eternal purpose,
    in restoring the Jews, or all the house of Israel, to the land of
    their inheritance, which the Lord their God hath given them, unto
    the fulfilling of his covenant; and also that the seed of this
    people [2] may more fully believe his gospel, which shall go forth
    unto them from the Gentiles. [3]

Again, this same writer, Mormon, addressing himself to the remnants of
the Lamanites to whom, in the future, his record would come, says:

    "Know ye that ye must come to a knowledge of your fathers, and
    repent of all your sins and iniquities, and believe in Jesus
    Christ, that he is the Son of God, and that he was slain by
    the Jews, and by the power of the Father he hath risen again,
    whereby he hath gained the victory over the grave; and also in
    him is the sting of death swallowed up. And he bringeth to pass
    the resurrection of the dead, whereby man must be raised to
    stand before his judgment-seat. And he hath brought to pass the
    redemption of the world, whereby he that is found guiltless before
    him at the judgment day hath it given unto him to dwell in the
    presence of God in his Kingdom, to sing ceaseless praises with the
    choirs above, unto the Father, and unto the Son, and unto the Holy
    Ghost, which are one God, in a state of happiness which hath no
    end. Therefore repent, and be baptized in the name of Jesus, and
    lay hold upon the gospel of Christ, which shall be set before you,
    not only in this record but also in the record which shall come
    unto the Gentiles from the Jews, [4] which record shall come from
    the Gentiles unto you. For behold, this [5] is written for the
    intent that ye may believe that; [6] and if ye believe that ye will
    believe this also; and if ye believe this, ye will know concerning
    your fathers, and also the marvelous works which were wrought by
    the power of God among them. And ye will also know that ye are a
    remnant of the seed of Jacob; therefore ye are numbered among the
    people of the first covenant." (Mormon 7:5-10.)

This passage is important because that in addition to assigning
substantially the same reasons for the writing and coming forth of the
Book of Mormon, as those before enumerated, it brings out the fact that
the Book of Mormon was written also to be a witness for the Bible,
to prove it true, for the language in the above passage makes plain
reference to the Bible, the "record" which comes from the Jews to the
Gentiles, and from the Gentiles to the remnant of the Lamanites to whom
Mormon makes reference.

This is also the testimony of the first Nephi. In vision he saw the
advent of the Gentile races upon the western hemisphere. He saw their
victories over the remnant of the seed of his brethren, the Lamanites.
He then proceeds:

    And I beheld the Spirit of the Lord, that it was upon the Gentiles,
    and they did prosper and obtain the land for their inheritance; and
    I beheld that they were white, and exceeding fair and beautiful,
    like unto my people before they were slain. And it came to pass
    that I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles who had gone forth out of
    captivity did humble themselves before the Lord; and the power of
    the Lord was with them. And I beheld that their mother Gentiles
    were gathered together upon the waters, and upon the land also, to
    battle against them. And I beheld that the power of God was with
    them, and also that the wrath of God was upon all those that were
    gathered together against them to battle. And I, Nephi, beheld that
    the Gentiles that had gone out of captivity were delivered by the
    power of God out of the hands of all other nations. And it came to
    pass that I, Nephi, beheld that they did prosper in the land; and I
    beheld a book, and it was carried forth among them. And the angel
    said unto me: Knowest thou the meaning of the book? And I said unto
    him: I know not. And he said: Behold it proceedeth out of the mouth
    of a Jew. And I, Nephi, beheld it; and he said unto me: The book
    that thou beholdest, is a record of the Jews, which contains the
    covenants of the Lord, which he hath made unto the house of Israel
    and it also containeth many of the prophecies of the holy prophets;
    and it is a record like unto the engravings which are upon the
    plates of brass, [7] save there are not so many; nevertheless,
    they contain the covenants of the Lord, which he hath made unto
    the house of Israel; wherefore, they are of great worth unto the

    And the angel of the Lord said unto me: Thou hast beheld that the
    book proceeded forth from the mouth of a Jew; and when it proceeded
    forth from the mouth of a Jew it contained the plainness of the
    gospel of the Lord, of whom the twelve apostles bear record; and
    they bear record according to the truth which is in the Lamb of
    God. Wherefore, these things go forth from the Jews in purity unto
    the Gentiles, according to the truth which is in God. And after
    they go forth by the hand of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, from
    the Jews unto the Gentiles, thou seest the foundation of a great
    and abominable church, which is most abominable above all other
    churches; for behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the
    Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many
    covenants of the Lord have they taken away. And all this have they
    done that they might pervert the right ways of the Lord, that
    they might blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children
    of men. Wherefore, thou seest that after the book had gone forth
    through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there
    are many plain and precious things taken away from the book, which
    is the book of the Lamb of God. And after these plain and precious
    things were taken away it goeth forth unto all the nations of the
    Gentiles; and after it goeth forth unto all the nations of the
    Gentiles, yea, even across the many waters which thou hast seen
    with the Gentiles which have gone forth out of captivity, thou
    seest--because of the many plain and precious things which have
    been taken out of the book, which were plain unto the understanding
    of the children of men, according to the plainness which is in the
    Lamb of God--because of these things which are taken away out of
    the gospel of the Lamb, an exceeding great many do stumble, yea,
    insomuch that Satan hath great power over them. * * * And it came
    to pass that the angel of the Lord spoke unto me, saying: Behold,
    saith the Lamb of God, after I have visited the remnant of the
    house of Israel--and this remnant of whom I speak is the seed of
    thy father [8]mm after I have visited them in judgment, and smitten
    them by the hand of the Gentiles, and after the Gentiles do stumble
    exceedingly, because of the most plain and precious parts of the
    gospel of the Lamb which have been kept back by that abominable
    church, which is the mother of harlots, saith the Lamb--I will be
    merciful unto the Gentiles in that day, insomuch that I will bring
    forth unto them, in mine own power, much of my gospel, which shall
    be plain and precious saith the Lamb.

    For, behold, saith the Lamb: I will manifest myself unto thy seed,
    [9] that they shall write many things which I shall minister unto
    them, which shall be plain and precious; and after thy seed shall
    be destroyed, and dwindle in unbelief, and also the seed of thy
    brethren, behold, these things shall be hid up, to come forth unto
    the Gentiles, by the gift and power of the Lamb.

    And in them shall be written my gospel, saith the Lamb, and my
    rock and my salvation. * * * And it came to pass that I beheld the
    remnant of the seed of my brethren, and also the book of the Lamb
    of God, which had proceeded forth from the mouth of the Jew, that
    it came forth from the Gentiles unto the remnant of the seed of
    my brethren. And after it had come forth unto them I beheld other
    books, which came forth by the power of the Lamb, from the Gentiles
    unto them, unto the convincing of the Gentiles and the remnant of
    the seed of my brethren, and also the Jews who were scattered upon
    all the face of the earth, that the records of the prophets and
    of the twelve apostles of the Lamb are true. And the angel spake
    unto me, saying: These last records which thou hast seen among the
    Gentiles, shall establish the truth of the first, which are of
    the twelve apostles of Lamb, and shall make known the plain and
    precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall
    make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of
    God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world;
    and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved. And
    they must come according to the words which shall be established
    by the mouth of the Lamb; and the words of the Lamb shall be made
    known in the records of thy seed, as well as in the records of
    the twelve apostles of the Lamb; wherefore they both shall be
    established in one; for there is one God and one Shepherd over all
    the earth. [10]

The reference here made to "the book of the Lamb of God, which had
proceeded forth from the mouth of a Jew," is beyond all question the
Bible; while the "other books," which came forth by the power of the
Lamb, from the Gentiles unto the remnant of Lehi's descendants, and
which records are to establish the truth of the first records, or the
Bible, is in plain allusion to the Book of Mormon and other scriptures
to be brought forth by the power of God in the last days.

From all this, then, it is very evident that the purposes for which
the Book of Mormon were written, counting in this summary both those
reasons already enumerated and those stated in the passages last
quoted, are:

First, to show unto the remnant of the house of Israel what great
things the Lord has done for their fathers.

Second, to teach them the covenants of the Lord made with their
fathers, that the remnants may know that they are not cast off forever.

Third, to convince both Jews and Gentiles that Jesus is the Christ, the
Eternal God, and that he manifests himself to all nations.

Fourth, to bring the knowledge of a Savior to the remnants of the house
of Israel on the western hemisphere, through the testimony of the
Nephites and Lamanites as well as through the testimony of the Jews,
that they might more fully believe the gospel.

Fifth, to bring to the Jews the testimony of the Nephites that Jesus
is the Christ, the Son of the living God; that they might have the
testimony of the Nephites as well as that of their fathers that Jesus
is their Messiah.

Sixth, to be a witness for the truth of the Bible, to establish its
authenticity, and its credibility by bringing other witnesses than
those of the Eastern world to testify to the same great truths that are
contained in the sacred pages of the Bible.

Seventh, to restore to the knowledge of mankind many plain and precious
truths concerning the gospel which men have taken out of the Jewish
Scriptures, or obscured by their interpretations; by the absence of
which passages, or misleading interpretations, many have stumbled and
fallen into unbelief. In a word, it is the mission of the Book of
Mormon to be a witness for Jesus, the Christ; for the truth of the
gospel as the power of God unto salvation; for that purpose it was
written, preserved from destruction, and has now come forth to the
children of men through the goodness and mercy and power of God.


1. Doc. & Cov. 3: 16-20.

2. Mormon here refers to the Lamanites, that is, that the seed of the
Lamanites, the present "Indians" of the western hemisphere, might more
fully believe the gospel, etc.

3. Book of Mormon 5:12-15.

4. The Bible.

5. The Book of Mormon.

6. The Bible.

7. The "record" upon the plates of brass is the record containing
the Jewish Scripture which the colony of Lehi brought with them from
Jerusalem, to which reference is here made.

8. The descendants of Lehi.

9. The Nephites.

10. I Nephi 13.


The Discovery of the Book of Mormon and its Translation. The
Migrations, Lands, Inter-Continental Movements, Civilizations,
Governments, and Religions of its Peoples.



The Book of Mormon was published in the town of Palmyra, Wayne County,
State of New York. It issued from the press of Mr. Egbert B. Grandin;
and was published for Joseph Smith, the Prophet. The exact date on
which the book issued from the press cannot be ascertained. Most
likely, however, it was some time in the month of March or of April,
1830; for in the Prophet's history we have him saying that, "During
this month of April, I went on a visit to the residence of Mr. Joseph
Knight, of Colesville, Broome county, New York." This Mr. Knight had
been acquainted with the Smith family for some time. He had visited
them at their home near Manchester, New York, on several occasions; [1]
and during the period occupied in translating the Book of Mormon, had
rendered some material assistance to the Prophet by supplying him and
Oliver Cowdery with provisions. [2] Soon after this visit the Prophet
informs us that he returned to Fayette, Seneca county,--evidently in
the same month of April--and then adds:

"The Book of Mormon * * * had now been published for some time, and
as the ancient prophets predicted of it, 'it was accounted a strange
thing.'" [3] In the _Evening and Morning Star_ for April, 1833,
published at Independence, Missouri--the first periodical published by
the Church--occurs the following: "Soon after the Book of Mormon came
forth, containing the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Church
was organized, on the 6th of April, 1830." [4] This fixes approximately
the date for the publication of the book. It issued from the press
either very early in April or in the month of March, 1830; most likely
some time in March. The first edition was five thousand copies.

Naturally enough the book was "accounted a strange thing." Joseph
Smith, for whom it was published, was an unlettered young man, who
from the time he was ten years of age until the Book of Mormon was
published--when he was twenty-four--had lived in the vicinity of
Palmyra and Manchester townships. His father having met with a series
of misfortunes in business ventures and land purchases, the family was
in straitened circumstances through all these years, and Joseph had
been under the necessity of working among the farmers in and around
Manchester to aid his parents in the support of their large family.
About the last thing to be expected of a young man reared under such
circumstances would be that he become the publisher of a book. The
fact that he had published one was of itself sufficient cause for
astonishment; but it was not the fact that an unlettered youth, who
had spent his life in toil among them, had published a book that was
regarded as so strange a thing by the people. It was the account he
gave of the book's origin, and the nature of the book itself that
constituted it such a "marvel and a wonder." Joseph Smith disclaimed
being its author [5] in any other sense than that he was the translator
of it by miraculous means. The original Book of Mormon, the translation
of which he had published, was written, or rather engraven, upon gold
plates, according to his representations; which plates had come into
his possession in the following manner:

Early in the spring of 1820 Joseph Smith received a revelation from God
in which the apostate condition of Christendom was made known to him,
coupled with a promise that at some future time the gospel of Jesus
Christ would be restored to the earth; and that he, if faithful, would
be an instrument in the hands of God in accomplishing some of his great
purposes in the last days. [6]

After this first revelation, Joseph Smith was left for three years
without any further direct manifestation from God. At the expiration
of that time, however, being oppressed with a sense of loneliness and
longing for further communication with the heavens, and burdened with
an anxious desire to know of his standing before the Lord, on the
evening of the 21st of September, 1823, after having retired for the
night, he betook himself to prayer that he might receive once more a
manifestation from God. The rest of the narrative is best told in his
own words:

    While I was thus in the act of calling upon God, I discovered a
    light appearing in my room, which continued to increase until the
    room was lighter than at noon day, when immediately a personage
    appeared at my bedside, standing in the air, for his feet did
    not touch the floor. He had on a loose robe of most exquisite
    whiteness. It was a whiteness beyond anything earthly I had ever
    seen; nor do I believe that any earthly thing could be made to
    appear so exceedingly white and brilliant. His hands were naked
    and his arms also, a little above the wrist; so, also, were his
    feet naked, as were his legs, a little above the ankles. His neck
    and head were also bare. I could discover that he had no other
    clothing on but this robe, as it was open, so that I could see
    into his bosom. Not only was his robe exceedingly white, but his
    whole person was glorious beyond description, and his countenance
    truly like lightning. The room was exceedingly light, but not so
    very bright as immediately around his person. When I first looked
    upon him, I was afraid; but the fear soon left me. He called me
    by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the
    presence of God to me, and that his name was Moroni; that God had
    a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and
    evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should
    be both good and evil spoken of among all people. He said there
    was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account
    of the former inhabitants of this continent, [7] and the source
    from whence they sprang. He also said that the fulness of the
    everlasting gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior
    to the ancient inhabitants [of America]; also that there were two
    stones in silver bows--and these stones, fastened to a breastplate,
    constituted what is called the Urim and Thummim--deposited with
    the plates; and the possession and use of these stones were what
    constituted seers in ancient or former times; and that God had
    prepared them for the purpose of translating the book.

    After telling me these things, he commenced quoting the prophecies
    of the Old Testament. He first quoted part of the third chapter
    of Malachi, [8] and he quoted also the fourth or last chapter of
    the same prophecy, though with a little variation from the way it
    reads in our Bible [the English authorized version of the Jewish
    Scriptures]. Instead of quoting the first verse as it reads in our
    books he quoted it thus: "For behold, the day cometh that shall
    burn as an oven, and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly
    shall burn as stubble; for they that come shall burn them saith the
    Lord of hosts; that it shall leave them neither root nor branch."
    And again, he quoted the fifth verse thus: "Behold, I will reveal
    unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah, the prophet,
    before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord." He
    also quoted the next verse differently: "And he shall plant in the
    hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the
    hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not
    so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming."

    In addition to these, he quoted the eleventh chapter of Isaiah,
    saying that it was about to be fulfilled.

    He quoted also the third chapter of Acts, twenty-second and
    twenty-third verses, precisely as they stand in our New Testament.
    [9] He said that that prophet was Christ; but the day had not yet
    come when "they who would not hear his voice should be cut off from
    among the people," but soon would come.

    He also quoted the second chapter of Joel, from the twenty-eighth
    verse to the last. He also said that this was not yet fulfilled,
    but was soon to be. And he further stated, the fulness of the
    Gentiles was soon to come in. He quoted many other passages of
    scripture, and offered many explanations which cannot be mentioned
    here. Again, he told me, that when I got the plates of which he
    had spoken--for the time that they should be obtained was not
    yet fulfilled--I should not show them to any person; neither the
    breastplate with the Urim and Thummim; only to those to whom I
    should be commanded to show them; if I did I should be destroyed.
    While he was conversing with me about the plates, the vision was
    opened to my mind that I could see the place where the plates were
    deposited, and that so clearly and distinctly that I knew the place
    again when I visited it.

    After this communication, I saw the light in the room begin to
    gather immediately around the person of him who had been speaking
    to me, and it continued to do so, until the room was again left
    dark, except just around him, when instantly I saw, as it were,
    a conduit open right up into heaven, and he ascended until he
    entirely disappeared, and the room was left as it had been before
    this heavenly light had made its appearance.

    I lay musing on the singularity of the scene, and marveling
    greatly at what had been told me by this extraordinary messenger;
    when, in the midst of my meditation, I suddenly discovered that
    my room was again beginning to get lighted, and in an instant, as
    it were, the same heavenly messenger was again by my bedside. He
    commenced, and again related the very same things which he had
    done at his first visit, without the least variation; which having
    done, he informed me of great judgments which were coming upon the
    earth, with great desolations by famine, sword, and pestilence;
    and that these grievous judgments would come on the earth in this
    generation. Having related these things, he again ascended as he
    had done before.

    By this time, so deep were the impressions made on my mind, that
    sleep had fled from my eyes, and I lay overwhelmed in astonishment
    at what I had both seen and heard. But what was my surprise when
    again I beheld the same messenger at my bedside, and heard him
    rehearse or repeat over again to me the same things as before; and
    added a caution to me, telling me that Satan would try to tempt
    me, (in consequence of the indigent circumstances of my father's
    family) to get the plates for the purpose of getting rich. This
    he forbade me, saying that I must have no other object in view in
    getting the plates but to glorify God, and must not be influenced
    by any other motive than that of building his kingdom; otherwise I
    could not get them. After this third visit, he again ascended into
    heaven as before, and I was again left to ponder on the strangeness
    of what I had just experienced; when almost immediately after
    the heavenly messenger had ascended from me the third time, the
    cock crowed, and I found that day was approaching, so that our
    interviews must have occupied the whole of that night.

    I shortly after arose from my bed, and, as usual, went to the
    necessary labors of the day; but in attempting to work as at other
    times, I found my strength so exhausted as to render me entirely
    unable. My father, who was laboring along with me, discovered
    something to be wrong with me, and told me to go home. I started
    with the intention of going to the house; but in attempting to
    cross the fence out of the field where we were, my strength
    entirely failed me, and I fell helpless on the ground, and for a
    time was quite unconscious of anything. The first thing that I
    can recollect was a voice speaking unto me, calling me by name:
    I looked up and beheld the same messenger standing over my head,
    surrounded by light as before. He then again related unto me all
    that he had related to me the previous night, and commanded me to
    go to my father and tell him of the vision and commandments which I
    had received.

    I obeyed; I returned to my father in the field, and rehearsed
    the whole matter to him. He replied to me that it was of God, and
    told me to go and do as commanded by the messenger. [10] I left
    the field and went to the place where the messenger had told me
    the plates were deposited; and owing to the distinctness of the
    vision which I had had concerning it, I knew the place the instant
    that I arrived there. Convenient to the village of Manchester,
    Ontario county, New York, stands a hill of considerable size, and
    the most elevated of any in the neighborhood. On the west side of
    this hill, not far from the top, under a stone of considerable size
    lay the plates, deposited in a stone box. This stone was thick and
    rounding in the middle on the upper side, and thinner towards the
    edges, so that the middle part of it was visible above the ground,
    but the edge all round was covered with earth. Having removed the
    earth I obtained a lever, which I got fixed under the edge of the
    stone, and with a little exertion raised it up. I looked in, and
    there indeed did I behold the plates, the Urim and Thummim, and the
    breastplate as stated by the messenger. The box in which they lay
    was formed by laying stones together in some kind of cement. In the
    bottom of the box were laid two stones crossways of the box, and on
    these stones lay the plates and the other things with them. I made
    an attempt to take them out, but was forbidden by the messenger,
    and was again informed that the time for bringing them forth had
    not yet arrived, neither would it, until four years from that time;
    but he told me that I should come to that place precisely in one
    year from that time, and that he would there meet with me, and that
    I should continue to do so until the time should come for obtaining
    the plates. [11]

    Accordingly, as I had been commanded, I went at the end of each
    year, and at each time I found the same messenger there, and
    received instruction and intelligence from him at each of our
    interviews, respecting what the Lord was going to do, and how and
    in what manner his kingdom was to be conducted in the last days. *
    * * At length the time arrived for obtaining the plates, the Urim
    and Thummim and the breast-plate. On the 22nd day of September,
    1827, having gone as usual at the end of another year to the place
    where they were deposited, the same heavenly messenger delivered
    them up to me with this charge; that I should be responsible for
    them; that if I should let them go carelessly, or through any
    neglect of mine, I should be cut off; but that if I would use all
    my endeavors to preserve them, until he, the messenger, should call
    for them, they would be protected. [12]

    I soon found out the reason why I had received such strict
    charges to keep them safe, and why it was that the messenger had
    said that when I had done what was required at my hands, he would
    call for them. For no sooner was it known that I had them, than
    the most strenuous exertions were used to get them from me; every
    stratagem that could be invented, was resorted to for that purpose.
    The persecution became more bitter and severe than before, and
    multitudes were on the alert continually to get them from me if
    possible. But by the wisdom of God they remained safe in my hands,
    until I accomplished by them what was required at my hands; when,
    according to arrangements, the messenger called for them, [and] I
    delivered them up to him; and he has them in his charge until this
    day, being the 2nd of May, 1838. [13]

Such in Joseph Smith's account of the origin of the Book of Mormon.
This is the account of its origin accepted by those who believe it to
be a divine record, a volume of scripture, containing the word of God,
and a history--though a brief one--of the hand-dealings of God with the
people of the western hemisphere. This is the account of its origin to
be maintained by those who speak or write in the defense of the Book of
Mormon. This the account to be maintained as true in these pages.

It will readily be observed that the history given by Joseph Smith
concerning his finding the Nephite record is very concise; that details
are omitted. This is especially noticeable in regard to the efforts
of his enemies to get the plates from him; he merely makes general
reference to that subject; as also in the matter as to what passed
between himself and the angel Moroni at the annual meetings between
1823 and 1827. Of these visits, so interesting and instructive to
Joseph Smith, he only says:

    "I went at the end of each year, and at each time I found the same
    messenger there, and received instructions and intelligence from
    him at each of our interviews, respecting what the Lord was going
    to do, and how and in what manner his kingdom was to be conducted
    in the last days."

Doubtless, however, the instructions then received but only so casually
mentioned by the prophet, bore fruit in the progress of the work, in
the things which the prophet said and did. The fact that much more
happened than is stated in the narrative here quoted is evident; and
not only is it evident from what the prophet himself says, but from
what has been written by others who were associated with him in the
work, and who must have received their information from the Prophet
Joseph himself. Among these is Oliver Cowdery, who was the second
Elder of the Church, and the first to give to the world any account in
detail of these early events connected with the coming forth of the
great work of God. This he did in 1834-5, in a series of nine letters
to the _Saints Messenger and Advocate_, published at Kirtland, Ohio,
under the caption, "Early Scenes and Incidents in the Church." And as
these letters were published in the lifetime of the prophet, with his
sanction and in a periodical published by the Church, it cannot be
doubted that the statements contained in them are reliable. In these
letters Oliver Cowdery gives an account of the young Prophet's first
visit to Cumorah that is much more circumstantial than the description
of that event by the Prophet, and which Oliver Cowdery could only have
learned from Joseph himself. It will be remembered that in the account
already quoted from the personal history of the Prophet Joseph that he
said the angel Moroni had warned him that Satan would tempt him, on
account of his father's indigent circumstances, to obtain the plates
for the purpose of getting rich; but this he must not do, nor have
any other object in view than that of glorifying God; and he must be
influenced by no other consideration than that of building up God's
kingdom. Otherwise, he could not get possession of the plates. And now
Cowdery's account of the young Prophet's first visit to Cumorah. After
quoting the instructions of the angel, directing Joseph to go to the
hill Cumorah, Cowdery says:

    Accordingly he repaired to the place which had thus been described.
    But it is necessary to give you more fully the express instructions
    of the angel with regard to the object of this work in which our
    brother [meaning, of course, Joseph Smith] had now engaged. He was
    to remember that it was the work of the Lord, to fulfill certain
    promises previously made to a branch of the house of Israel of the
    tribe of Joseph, and when it was brought forth it must be done
    expressly with an eye, as I have said before, single to the glory
    of God, and the welfare and restoration of the house of Israel. You
    will understand, then, that no motive of a pecuniary or earthly
    nature, was to be suffered to take the lead in the heart of the man
    thus favored. The allurements of vice, the contaminating influences
    of wealth, without the direct guidance of the Holy Spirit, must
    have no place in his heart nor be suffered to take from it that
    warm desire for the glory and kingdom of the Lord, or, instead of
    obtaining, disappointment and reproof would most assuredly follow.
    Such was the instruction and the caution. Alternately, as we would
    naturally expect, the thought of the previous vision was ruminating
    in his mind, with a reflection of the brightness and glory of the
    heavenly messenger; but again a thought would start across the mind
    on the prospects of obtaining so desirable a treasure--one in all
    human probability sufficient to raise him above the level of the
    common earthly fortunes of his fellow men, and relieve his family
    from want, in which by misfortune and sickness they were placed.
    * * * Here was a struggle indeed; for when he calmly reflected
    upon his errand, he knew that if God did not give, he could not
    obtain; and again, with the thought or hope of obtaining, his
    mind would be carried back to its former reflections of poverty,
    abuse, wealth, grandeur and ease, until before arriving at the
    place described, this wholly occupied his desire; and when he
    thought upon the fact of what was previously shown him, it was
    only with an assurance that he should obtain, and accomplish his
    desire in relieving himself and friends from want. * * * You will
    have wondered, perhaps, that the mind of our brother should be so
    occupied with the thoughts of the goods of this world, at the time
    of arriving at Cumorah, on the morning of the 22nd of September,
    1823, after having been wrapt in the visions of heaven, during the
    night, and also seeing and hearing in open day; but the mind of man
    is easily turned if it is not held by the power of God through the
    prayer of faith, and you will remember that I have said that two
    invisible powers were operating upon his mind during his walk from
    his residence to Cumorah, and that the one urging the certainty of
    wealth and ease in this life, had so powerfully wrought upon him
    that the great object so carefully and impressively named by the
    angel, had entirely gone from his recollection that only a fixed
    determination to obtain now urged him forward. In this, which
    occasioned a failure to obtain, at that time, the record, do not
    understand me to attach blame to our brother; he was young, and
    his mind easily turned from correct principles, unless he could be
    favored with a certain round of experience. And yet, while young,
    untraditioned and untaught in the systems of the world, he was in a
    situation to be led into the great work of God, and be qualified to
    perform it in due time.

    After arriving at the repository, a little exertion in removing
    the soil from the edges of the top of the box, and a light pry,
    brought to his natural vision its contents. No sooner did he behold
    this sacred treasure than his hopes were renewed, and he supposed
    his success certain and, without first attempting to take it from
    its place of long deposit, he thought, perhaps, there might be
    something more, equally as valuable, and to take only the plates
    might give others an opportunity of obtaining the remainder, which
    could he secure, would still add to his store of wealth. These, in
    short, were his reflections, without once thinking of the solemn
    instruction of the heavenly messenger, and that all must be done
    with an express view of glorifying God.

    On attempting to take possession of the record a shock was produced
    upon his system, by an invisible power, which deprived him, in a
    measure, of his natural strength. He desisted, for an instant,
    and then made another attempt, but was more sensibly shocked than
    before. What was the occasion of this he knew not--there was the
    pure unsullied record, as has been described--he had heard of the
    powers of enchantment, and a thousand like stories, which held
    the hidden treasures of the earth, and supposed that physical
    exertion and personal strength was only necessary to enable him
    to yet obtain the object of his wish. He therefore made the third
    attempt with an increased exertion, when his strength failed him
    more than at either of the former times, and without premeditating
    he exclaimed, "Why can I not obtain this book?" "Because you
    have not kept the commandments of the Lord," answered a voice,
    within a seeming short distance. He looked and to his astonishment
    there stood the angel who had previously given him the directions
    concerning this matter. In an instant, all the former instructions,
    the great intelligence concerning Israel and the last days were
    brought to his mind; he thought of the time when his heart was
    fervently engaged in prayer to the Lord, when his spirit was
    contrite, and when this holy messenger from the skies unfolded
    the wonderful things connected with this record. He had come to
    be sure, and found the word of the angel fulfilled concerning the
    reality of the records, but he had failed to remember the great end
    for which they had been kept, and in consequence could not have
    power to take them into his possession and bear them away.

    At that instant he looked to the Lord in prayer, and as he prayed,
    darkness began to disperse from his mind and his soul was lit up as
    it was the evening before, and he was filled with the Holy Spirit;
    and again did the Lord manifest his condescension and mercy; the
    heavens were opened and the glory of the Lord shone around about
    and rested upon him. While thus he stood gazing and admiring, the
    angel said, "Look!" and as he thus spake he beheld the prince of
    darkness, surrounded by his innumerable train of associates. All
    this passed before him, and the heavenly messenger said, "All this
    is shown, the good and the evil, the holy and impure, the glory
    of God and the power of darkness, that you may know hereafter the
    two powers and never be influenced or overcome by that wicked
    one. Behold, whatever entices and leads to good and to do good,
    is of God, and whatever does not is of that wicked one: it is he
    that fills the hearts of men with evil, to walk in darkness and
    blaspheme God; and you may learn from henceforth, that his ways
    are to destruction, but the way of holiness is peace and rest. You
    now see why you could not obtain this record; that the commandment
    was strict, and that if ever these sacred things are obtained they
    must be by prayer and faithfulness in obeying the Lord. They are
    not deposited here for the sake of accumulating gain and wealth
    for the glory of this world: they were sealed by the prayer of
    faith, and because of the knowledge which they contain they are of
    no worth among the children of men, only for their knowledge. On
    them is contained the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, as it
    was given to his people on this land, and when it shall be brought
    forth by the power of God it shall be carried to the Gentiles, of
    whom many will receive it, and after will the seed of Israel be
    brought into the fold of their Redeemer by obeying it also. Those
    who kept the commandments of the Lord on this land, through the
    prayer of faith obtained the promise, that if their descendants
    should transgress and fall away, a record should be kept and in
    the last days come to their children. These things are sacred,
    and must be kept so, for the promise of the Lord concerning them
    must be fulfilled. No man can obtain them if his heart is impure,
    because they contain that which is sacred; and besides, should they
    be entrusted in unholy hands the knowledge could not come to the
    world, because they cannot be interpreted by the learning of this
    generation: consequently they would be considered of no worth,
    only as precious metal. Therefore, remember, that they are to be
    translated by the gift and power of God. By them will the Lord work
    a great and a marvelous work: the wisdom of the wise shall become
    as naught, and the understanding of the prudent shall be hid, and
    because the power of God shall be displayed those who profess to
    know the truth but walk in deceit, shall tremble with anger; but
    with signs and with wonders, with gifts and with healings, with
    the manifestations of the power of God, and with the Holy Ghost,
    shall the hearts of the faithful be comforted. You have now beheld
    the power of God manifested and the power of satan: you see that
    there is nothing that is desirable in works of darkness; that they
    cannot bring happiness: that those who are overcome therewith are
    miserable, while on the other hand the righteous are blessed with a
    peace in the kingdom of God where joy unspeakable surrounds them.
    There they rest beyond the power of the enemy of truth, where no
    evil can disturb them. The glory of God crowns them, and they
    continually feast upon his goodness and enjoy his smiles. Behold,
    notwithstanding you have seen this great display of power, by which
    you may ever be able to detect the evil one, yet I give unto you
    another sign, and when it comes to pass then know that the Lord is
    God and that he will fulfill his purposes, and that the knowledge
    which this record contains will go to every nation, and kindred,
    and tongue, and people under the whole heaven. This is the sign:
    When these things begin to be known, that is, when it is known
    that the Lord has shown you these things, the workers of iniquity
    will seek your overthrow; they will circulate falsehoods to
    destroy your reputation, and also will seek to take your life; but
    remember this, if you are faithful, and shall hereafter continue
    to keep the commandments of the Lord, you shall be preserved to
    bring these things forth; for in due time he will again give you a
    commandment to come and take them. When they are interpreted the
    Lord will give the Holy Priesthood to some, and they shall begin
    to proclaim this gospel and baptize by water, and after they shall
    have power to give the Holy Ghost by the laying on of their hands.
    Then will persecution rage more and more; for the iniquities of
    men shall be revealed, and those who are not built upon the rock
    will seek to overthrow this Church; but it will increase the more
    opposed, and spread farther and farther, increasing in knowledge
    till the Saints shall be sanctified and receive an inheritance
    where the glory of God shall rest upon them; and when this takes
    place, and all things are prepared, the Ten Tribes of Israel will
    be revealed in the north country, whither they have been for a
    long season; and when this is fulfilled will be brought to pass
    that saying of the prophet--"And the Redeemer shall come to Zion,
    and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the
    Lord." But, notwithstanding the workers of iniquity shall seek your
    destruction, the arm of the Lord will be extended and you will be
    borne off conqueror, if you keep all his commandments. Your name
    shall be known among the nations, for the work which the Lord will
    perform by your hands shall cause the righteous to rejoice and the
    wicked to rage; with one it shall be had in honor, and the other
    in reproach; yet, with these it shall be a terror because of the
    great and marvelous work which shall follow the coming forth of
    this fulness of the gospel. Now, go thy way, remember what the Lord
    has done for thee, and be diligent in keeping his commandments, and
    he will deliver thee from temptations, and all the arts and devices
    of the wicked one. Forget not to pray, that thy mind may become
    strong, that when he shall manifest unto thee, thou mayest have
    power to escape the evil, and obtain these precious things. [14]

Such the events which took place on the occasion of the Prophet's
first visit to Cumorah. It is unfortunate that we do not have a more
circumstantial account of the subsequent annual interviews from 1823
to 1827; and likewise a more detailed account of the Prophet's early
movements connected with his obtaining the plates, and caring for them.

The place where the Nephite record was deposited must ever be of
interest to those who believe that record to be true, and therefore a
description of the hill Cumorah will not be out of place in concluding
this chapter. Joseph Smith's brief description of it has already been
given. [15]

The writer visited the hill Cumorah on the 22nd of February, 1897,
and the same day wrote out the following description of it: The hill
Cumorah is on the road between Manchester and the town of Palmyra,
in Wayne county, New York, about four miles directly south of the
latter place. Approaching it from the north, you are confronted by
the bold face of the hill, which rises quite abruptly from the common
level of the surrounding country; and as the east and west slopes of
the hill, as viewed from the north, are about equal and regular, it
looks from a distance as if it might be a huge conical-shaped mound.
Ascending its steep north side to the summit dispels the illusion, for
one finds that he has but climbed the abrupt north end of a ridge of
hill having its greatest extent from north to south, and which from its
very narrow summit broadens and slopes gently to the southward until
it sinks to the level of the common country. The east side of the hill
is now ploughed, but the west side is untouched by the husbandman; and
about two or three hundred yards from the north end there is on the
west side a small grove of young trees, with here and there a decaying
stump of a large tree to bear witness that the hill was once covered
with a heavy growth of timber. In fact it was so covered by timber when
the Prophet Joseph Smith first visited the place in 1823, as indeed
much of the surrounding country was at that time.

Unquestionably Cumorah is the most distinct land mark in all that
section of country, the highest hill, and the most commanding in what
I should describe as an extensive plain sloping northward filled with
numerous irregular hills, but which in the main have their greatest
extent, like Cumorah, from north to south; and which, also like
Cumorah, are generally highest at the north end. I observed this to be
the case all the way from Syracuse to Palmyra. It is worthy of note,
too, that the lakes of central and western New York, also have their
greatest extent from north to south. Indeed, for the most part, they
are but long strips of water left in their narrow beds when the great
body of water, which in ages long gone by once covered this whole
region, receded northward and gave the same general form both to the
lakes and to the hills on this northern slope of the water shed which
runs from east to west through New York, north Pennsylvania, Ohio and
Indiana; and which separates the basin of the great lakes and the
valley of the St. Lawrence from the valley of the Ohio and Mississippi.

West of Cumorah the country is more open than on the south or east. The
hills common to the country are fewer and the plain more expansive.
Though the country south and east is broken, and the numerous hills
higher than on the west, yet such is the commanding height of Cumorah
that the view is unobstructed for many miles. Northward some miles the
hills are most thickly clustered; between them and Cumorah is located
the town of Palmyra, and beyond that, at the foot of the thickly
clustered hills referred to, runs what is now called Canagrie creek,
really one of the tributaries of the Clyde river, into which it empties
at no great distance.

Such is the hill "Cumorah" and its surroundings; the hill "Ramah" of
the Jaredites; "Mormon Hill," or "Mormon Bible Hill," as it is called
by the people about Palmyra. "On the west side of this hill, not far
from the top, under a stone of considerable size, lay the plates of the
Book of Mormon, deposited in a stone box." [16]


1. _History of the Prophet Joseph_, by Lucy Smith, chapters 21, 23.

2. History of the Church, vol. I, p. 47.

3. History of the Church, vol. I, p. 84.

4. _Evening and Morning Star_ for April, 1833, p. 167.

5. The fact that on the title page of the first edition, Joseph Smith
is called the "Author and Proprietor," is considered in Part IV of this

6. See _New Witnesses for God_, vol. I, chapters 10 and 11, for a full
account of this revelation. See also Wentworth letter, _History of the
Church_, vol. IV, ch. 31.

7. America.

8. This undoubtedly would be the first part of the third chapter of
Malachi, as that part of the chapter has undoubtedly a direct bearing
on the coming forth of God's work in the last days. It reads as
follows: "Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the
way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his
temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold,
he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. But who may abide the day of
his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth. For he is like a
refiner's fire, and like fuller's soap: and he shall sit as a refiner
and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge
them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering
in righteousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be
pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old and as in former years."

9. For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your
God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye
hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come
to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be
destroyed from among the people.--Acts 3: 22, 23.

10. Relative to the circumstances of the young Prophet's vision on
the 22nd of September, when he was on his way from the field to his
father's house, before his first visit to Cumorah, his mother in her
_History of the Prophet Joseph_ gives the following interesting details
which the prophet does not record. It would seem, according to Lucy
Smith's statement, that during the interviews with the angel Moroni the
night before--September 21, 1823--the young Prophet had been instructed
to inform his father of what he had seen and heard; but this Joseph
failed to do. "The next day," says Lucy Smith's account, "my husband,
Alvin, and Joseph, were reaping together in the field, and as they
were reaping Joseph stopped quite suddenly, and seemed to be in a deep
study. Alvin [this was an elder brother--died a little more than a year
later], observing it, hurried him, saying, 'We must not slacken our
hands, or we will not be able to complete our task.' Upon this Joseph
went to work again, and after laboring a short time, he stopped just as
he had done before. This being quite unusual and strange, it attracted
the attention of his father, upon which he discovered that Joseph was
very pale. My husband, supposing that he was sick, told him to go to
the house, and have his mother doctor him. He accordingly ceased his
work, and started; but on coming to a beautiful green, under an apple
tree, he stopped and laid down, for he was so weak he could proceed no
further. He was there but a short time, when the messenger whom he saw
the previous night, visited him again, and the first thing he said was,
'Why did you not tell your father that which I commanded you to tell
him?" Joseph replied, 'I was afraid my father would not believe me.'
The angel rejoined, 'He will believe every word you say to him.'

Joseph then promised the angel that he would do as he had been
commanded. Upon this the messenger departed, and Joseph returned to the
field where he had left my husband and Alvin; but when he got there his
father had just gone to the house, as he was somewhat unwell. Joseph
then desired Alvin to go straightway and see his father, and inform
him that he had something of great importance to communicate to him,
and that he wanted him to come out into the field where they were at
work. Alvin did as he was requested, and when my husband got there,
Joseph related to him all that had passed between him and the angel the
previous night and that morning. Having heard this account, his father
charged him not to fail in attending strictly to the instructions which
he had received from this heavenly messenger." (_History of the Prophet
Joseph_, by his mother, chap. 19.)

11. Lucy Smith has a very interesting account in her _History of the
Prophet_ concerning his report of this interview at Cumorah with
Moroni, she says:

"The ensuing evening, when the family were all together, Joseph made
known to them all that he had communicated to his father in the field,
and also of his finding the record, as well as what passed between
him and the angel while he was at the place where the plates were
deposited. Sitting up late that evening in order to converse upon these
things, together with overexertion of mind, had much fatigued Joseph;
and when Alvin observed it, he said, 'Now, brother, let us go to bed,
and rise early in the morning in order to finish our day's work at an
hour before sunset, then if mother will get our supper early, we will
have a fine long evening, and we will all sit down for the purpose
of listening to you while you tell us the great things which God has
revealed to you.' Accordingly, by sunset the next day (Sept. 23rd), we
were all seated, and Joseph commenced telling us the great and glorious
things which God had manifested unto him; but before proceeding he
charged us not to mention out of the family that which he was about
to say unto us, as the world was so wicked that when they came to a
knowledge of these things they would try to take our lives; and that
when he should obtain the plates, our names would be cast out as evil
by all people. Hence the necessity of suppressing these things as much
as possible, until the time should come for them to go forth to the
world. After giving us this charge, he proceeded to relate further
particulars concerning the work which he was appointed to do, and we
received them joyfully, never mentioning them except among ourselves,
agreeable to the instructions which we had received from him."
(_History of the Prophet Joseph_, by his mother, chap. 19.)

12. In relation to the matter of the Prophet Joseph obtaining the
Nephite record on the morning of the 22nd of September, 1827, his
mother gives a number of interesting details in her _History of the
Prophet_. It appears that both Joseph Knight of Broome county, New
York, and also a Mr. Josiah Stoal were present at the Smith homestead
on the night of September the 21st, 1827. And now Lucy Smith:

"On the night of the 21st, I sat up very late as my work rather pressed
upon my hands. I did not retire until 12 o'clock at night. About 12
o'clock, Joseph came to me, and asked me if I had a chest with a lock
and key. I knew in an instant what he wanted it for, and not having
one, I was greatly alarmed, as I thought it might be a matter of
considerable moment. But Joseph discovering my anxiety, said, 'Never
mind, mother, I can do very well for the present without it--be
calm--all is right.' Shortly after this Joseph's wife passed through
the room with her bonnet and riding dress and in a few minutes they
left together taking Mr. Knight's horse and wagon. I spent the night in
prayer and supplication to God, for the anxiety of my mind would not
permit me to sleep. At the usual hour, I commenced preparing breakfast,
my heart fluttered at every footstep, as I now expected Joseph and
Emma momentarily, and feared lest Joseph might meet with another

"When the male portion of the family were seated at breakfast table,
Mr. Smith inquired for Joseph, for he was not aware that he had left
home. I requested my husband not to call him, for I would like to
have him take breakfast with his wife that morning. 'No, no,' said my
husband, 'I must have Joseph eat with me.' 'Well now, Mr. Smith,' I
continued, 'do let him eat with his wife this morning; he almost always
takes breakfast with you.' His father finally consented and ate without
him, and no further inquiries were made concerning his absence, but in
a few minutes Mr. Knight came in quite disturbed. 'Why, Mr. Smith,' he
exclaimed, 'my horse is gone, and I can't find him on the premises, and
I wish to start for home in half an hour.' 'Never mind the horse,' said
I, 'Mr. Knight does not know all the nooks and corners in the pastures;
I will call William, he will bring the horse immediately.'

"This satisfied him for the time being; but he soon made another
discovery. His wagon also was gone. He then concluded that a rogue
had stolen them both. 'Mr. Knight,' said I, 'do be quiet; I would
be ashamed to have you go about waiting upon yourself--just go out
and talk to Mr. Smith until William comes, and if you really must
go home your horse shall be brought and you shall be waited upon
like a gentleman.' He accordingly went out and while he was absent
Joseph returned. I trembled so with fear, lest all might be lost in
consequence of some failure in keeping the commandments of God, that
I was under the necessity of leaving the room in order to conceal my
feelings. Joseph saw this, and said, 'Do not be uneasy, mother, all is
right, see here, I have got a key.' I knew not what he meant but took
the article of which he spoke into my hands, and examined it. He took
it again and left me, but said nothing respecting the record. * * *
That of which I spoke, which Joseph termed a key, was indeed nothing
more nor less than the Urim and Thummim." (_History of the Prophet
Joseph_, by Lucy Smith, chap. 23.)

13. History of the Church, vol. I, p. 11-19; also _Pearl of Great
Price_ (1902 edition) pp. 88-96.

14. It will be observed by the reader that in the reported interview
between Joseph Smith and Moroni, as given by Oliver Cowdery above,
there are a number of very remarkable predictions both concerning
Joseph Smith and the work he is bringing forth, all of which are
considered in vol. I of this work, chapter 20.

15. P. 56.

16. Joseph Smith, see _ante_.



Following the account of how Joseph Smith obtained the Book of Mormon
it should be known how he translated it, and what difficulties attended
that work. I would remind the reader, in passing, that I am to deal
with a remarkable narrative, one in which strange things occur, and one
in which many who deny or doubt the power of God will be inclined to
have little faith. To such I would say, judge nothing hastily, dismiss
nothing petulantly, patient investigation, and sometimes suspension of
judgment in relation to matters difficult of belief are necessary to
the ascertainment of truth, and in such manner wise men, anxious to
know the truth, proceed.

The Prophet, in his narrative, quoted in the preceding chapter, tells
us that he soon found out the reason why he had received such a strict
injunction to carefully guard the Nephite record and the Urim and
Thummim; and why it was that Moroni has said that after he (Joseph)
had done what was required at his hands, he (Moroni) would call for
them. "For no sooner was it known," says Joseph, "that I had them, [the
Nephite plates] than the most strenuous exertions were used to get
them from me; every stratagem that could be invented was resorted to
for that purpose; the persecution became more bitter and severe than
before, and multitudes were on the alert continually to get them from
me if possible." [1]

Rumor, with her thousand tongues, he informs us, was all the time
employed circulating tales about his father's family, and about
himself; and doubtless much of that misrepresentation which followed
the prophet and his father's family throughout his life had its origin
about this time.

So intolerable at last became the persecution about Manchester that
Joseph decided to move with his wife to the home of her parents in
Harmony, Susquehannah county, Pennsylvania. Susquehannah county is one
of the northern counties of Pennsylvania, and joins Broome county, in
the state of New York; and Harmony is a distance of from one hundred
to one hundred and fifty miles from Manchester, New York. The young
Prophet was in very straitened circumstances when he resolved upon
removing to Pennsylvania; but about that time a Mr. Martin Harris, a
respectable and well-to-do farmer of Palmyra, New York, called upon
the Smith family and gave Joseph fifty dollars to enable him to make
the proposed journey. A team and wagon was fitted out, and in company
with his wife the Prophet started for Pennsylvania. Enroute he was
twice stopped by officers of the law, who, under the power of a search
warrant, ransacked his wagon in search of the plates, but in each case
they were disappointed, as they did not find them, though the prophet
had them concealed among his effects.

Arriving in Pennsylvania in the month of December, the Prophet began
an examination of the characters engraven upon the plates and copied
a considerable number of them. Some of them he translated by means of
the Urim and Thummim. In this desultory work he spent the time until
the month of February, 1828, when Martin Harris, the gentleman who had
befriended him on the eve of his departure from Manchester, arrived at
his home in Harmony. This man had become interested in the Prophet and
his work and believed him to be in possession of the plates.

Some of the characters which Joseph had copied from the plates, Martin
Harris determined to submit to Professor Charles Anthon, "a gentleman
of the highest reputation, both in America and Europe, and well known
for his valuable and correct edition of the classics." [2] For this
purpose Harris made the journey from Harmony, Pennsylvania, to the city
of New York. Some of the Nephite characters given into the custody
of Mr. Harris were translated while others were not. Following is a
facsimile of some of the characters handed to Professor Anthon in
fulfilment of the words of Isaiah:

    "The vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that
    is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read
    this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed: and
    the book is delivered to one that is not learned, saying, Read
    this, I pray thee: and he saith I am not learned." (Isaiah 29:11,

[Facsimile of characters shown to Prof. Anton.] [3]

Whether or not these are the characters to which a translation was
appended by the Prophet, cannot now be determined.

With the printer's copy of the manuscript of the Book of Mormon, now in
the hands of the descendants of Joseph Smith, is also a transcript of
characters consisting of seven lines, the first three of which are very
similar to those copied from _The Prophet_. They were also handed, it
is claimed, to Doctor Mitchell and Professor Anthon by Martin Harris.
Whether this seven-line transcript was the translated or untranslated
part of the characters handed to these learned men for their inspection
may not now be determined; but I present them herewith in order that as
many of the Nephite characters as have been transcribed from the plates
may be before the reader:

["Caractors" facsimile.]

The latter transcript is taken from a pamphlet by the late Elder Edward
Stevenson, of the First Council of Seventy, entitled _Reminiscences of
Joseph the Prophet, and the Coming Forth of the Book of Mormon_. Of
this transcript Elder Stevenson says:

    "I will vouch for the correctness of the characters, as I have
    compared them with the original copy, which is still in existence,
    intact, just as it was when Martin Harris, as a messenger, took it
    with the translation Joseph Smith had made, to Professor Anthon
    of New York. The copy here presented was traced from the original
    copy, and is an exact reproduction of it." [4]

Of both these transcripts it should be said that doubtless inaccuracies
exist in them, for the reason that the Prophet who made the _fac
simile_ was unskillful in such work, but for all that the _fac simile_
of the characters will be of interest and may be of very great
importance yet as evidence for the truth of the claims of the Book of

On the return of Martin Harris to Harmony, he made the following
statement to Joseph Smith as to what took place between himself and
Professor Anthon:

    "I went to the city of New York, and presented the characters
    which had been translated, with the translation thereof, to
    Professor Charles Anthon, a gentleman celebrated for his literary
    attainments. Professor Anthon stated that the translation was
    correct, more so than any he had before seen translated from the
    Egyptian. [5] I then showed him those which were not translated,
    and he said that they were Egyptian, Chaldaic, Assyriac, and
    Arabic, and he said that they were the true characters. He gave me
    a certificate, certifying to the people of Palmyra that they were
    true characters, and that the translation of such of them as had
    been translated was also correct. I took the certificate and put
    it into my pocket, and was just leaving the house, when Mr. Anthon
    called me back, and asked me how the young man found out that there
    were gold plates in the place where he found them. I answered that
    an angel of God had revealed it unto him.

    "He then said to me, 'Let me see that certificate.' I accordingly
    took it out of my pocket and gave it to him, when he took it and
    tore it to pieces, saying, that there was no such thing now as
    ministering angels, and that if I would bring the plates to him,
    he would translate them. I informed him that part of the plates
    were sealed, and that I was forbidden to bring them. He replied, 'I
    cannot read a sealed book.' I left him and went to Dr. Mitchell,
    who sanctioned what Professor Anthon had said respecting both the
    characters and the translation." [6]

Some years after this, _viz._, in 1834, Professor Anthon, in a letter
to Mr. E. D. Howe, of Painesville, Ohio, made a statement as to what
took place on the occasion of Martin Harris' visit to him, and I
give that statement below. By way of introduction it should be said,
however, that Mr. E. D. Howe at the time (1834) was connected with a
Dr. Hurlburt in the production of an anti-"Mormon" book, and the report
of Harris' interview with the learned professor having become known,
Mr. Howe wrote to Professor Anthon making inquiries about it, hoping,
perhaps, that the fact of the interview might be denied. This is the
letter he received in reply to his inquiries:

    New York, February 17, 1834.

    _Dear Sir_: I received your letter of the 9th, and lose no time in
    making a reply. The whole story about my pronouncing the Mormon
    inscription to be reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics is perfectly
    false. Some years ago, a plain, apparently simple-hearted farmer
    called on me with a note from Dr. Mitchell, of our city, now dead,
    requesting me to decipher, if possible, the paper which the farmer
    would hand me. Upon examining the paper in question, I soon came
    to the conclusion that it was all a trick--perhaps a hoax. When I
    asked the person who brought it how he obtained the writing, he
    gave me the following account: A gold book consisting of a number
    of plates, fastened together by wires of the same material, had
    been dug up in the northern part of the state of New York, and
    along with it an enormous pair of spectacles. These spectacles
    were so large that if a person attempted to look through them,
    his two eyes would look through one glass only the spectacles in
    question being altogether too large for the human face. "Whoever,"
    he said, "examined the plates through the glasses was enabled not
    only to read them, but fully to understand their meaning." All this
    knowledge, however, was confined to a young man, who had the trunk
    containing the book and spectacles in his sole possession. This
    young man was placed behind a curtain in a garret in a farmhouse,
    and being thus concealed from view, he put on the spectacles
    occasionally, or rather looked through one of the glasses,
    deciphered the characters in the book, and having committed some of
    them to paper, handed copies from behind the curtain to those who
    stood outside. Not a word was said about their being deciphered by
    the gift of God. Everything in this way was effected by the large
    pair of spectacles. The farmer added that he had been requested
    to contribute a sum of money toward the publication of the golden
    book, the contents of which would, as he was told, produce an
    entire change in the world, and save it from ruin. So urgent had
    been these solicitations, that he intended selling his farm and
    giving the amount to those who wished to publish the plates. As a
    last precautionary step, he had resolved to come to New York, and
    obtain the opinion of the _learned_ about the meaning of the paper
    which he brought with him, and which had been given him as a part
    of the contents of the book, although no translation had at that
    time been made by the young man with spectacles. On hearing this
    odd story, I changed my opinion about the paper, and instead of
    viewing it any longer as a hoax, I began to regard it as part of
    a scheme to cheat the farmer of his money, and I communicated my
    suspicions to him to beware of rogues. He requested an opinion from
    me in writing, which, of course, I declined to give, and he then
    took his leave, taking his paper with him. This paper in question
    was, in fact, a singular scroll. It consisted of all kinds of
    singular characters disposed in columns, and had evidently been
    prepared by some person who had before him at the time a book
    containing various alphabets, Greek and Hebrew letters, crosses and
    flourishes; Roman letters inverted or placed sideways were arranged
    and placed in perpendicular columns, and the whole ended in a rude
    delineation of a circle, divided into various compartments, arched
    with various strange marks, and evidently copied after the Mexican
    calendar by Humboldt, but copied in such a way as not to betray
    the source whence it was derived. I am thus particular as to the
    contents of the paper, inasmuch as I have frequently conversed
    with friends on the subject since the Mormon excitement began, and
    well remember that the paper contained anything else but Egyptian
    hieroglyphics. Some time after, the farmer paid me a second visit.
    He brought with him the gold book in print, and offered it to
    me for sale. I declined purchasing. He then asked permission to
    leave the book with me for examination. I declined receiving it,
    although his manner was strangely urgent. I adverted once more to
    the roguery which, in my opinion, had been practiced upon him,
    and asked him what had become of the gold plates. He informed me
    they were in a trunk with the spectacles. I advised him to go to a
    magistrate and have the trunk examined. He said the curse of God
    would come upon him if he did. On my pressing him, however, to go
    to a magistrate, he told me he would open the trunk if I would take
    the curse of God upon myself. I replied that I would do so with the
    greatest willingness, and would incur every risk of that nature,
    provided I could only extricate him from the grasp of the rogues.
    He then left me. I have given you a full statement of all that I
    know respecting the origin of Mormonism and must beg of you as a
    personal favor, to publish this letter immediately, should you find
    my name mentioned again by these wretched fanatics.

    Yours respectfully,


In addition to this acknowledgement of the visit of Martin Harris to
him with the transcript of the Nephite characters, Professor Anthon
subsequently made another acknowledgement of Martin Harris' visit in
a letter written to Rev. T. W. Coit, in answer to a note of inquiry
from that gentleman concerning the professor's connection with the
Book of Mormon. The letter was published in _The Church Record_, vol.
I, no. 22; and is frequently quoted, in parts, at least, in various
anti--"Mormon" works. _The Church Record_ was published in New York, I
think; but not having access to that volume I am under the necessity
of copying the parts of Anthon's second letter from anti--"Mormon"
books. None of these anti--"Mormon" works publish the letter in full,
and doubtless for the reason that in this second letter Mr. Anthon
contradicts several statements that he makes in his letter to E. D.
Howe. Following is his letter to Rev. Coit:

    New York, April 3, 1841.

    _Rev. and Dear Sir_: I have often heard that the "Mormons" claimed
    me for an auxiliary, but as no one until the present time has
    even requested from me a statement in writing, I have not deemed
    it worth while to say anything publicly on the subject. What I do
    know of the sect relates to some of the early movements; and as the
    facts may amuse you, while they will furnish a satisfactory answer
    to the charge of my being a "Mormon" proselyte, I proceed to lay
    them before you in detail.

    Many years ago,--the precise date I do not now recollect,--a
    plain-looking countryman called upon me with a letter from Dr.
    Samuel L. Mitchell, requesting me to examine, and give my opinion
    upon a certain paper, marked with various characters, which the
    doctor confessed he could not decipher, and which the bearer of the
    note was very anxious to have explained. A very brief examination
    of the paper, convinced me that it was a mere hoax, and a very
    clumsy one too. The characters were arranged in columns, like the
    Chinese mode of writing, and presented the most singular medley
    that I ever beheld. Greek, Hebrew and all sorts of letters, more
    or less distorted, either through unskilfulness or from actual
    design, were intermingled with sundry delineations of half
    moons, stars, and other natural objects, and the whole ended in
    a rude representation of the Mexican zodiac. The conclusion was
    irresistible, that some cunning fellow had prepared the paper
    in question for the purpose of imposing upon the countryman who
    brought it, and I told the man so without any hesitation. He
    then proceeded to give me the history of the whole affair, which
    convinced me that he had fallen into the hands of some sharper,
    while it left me in great astonishment at his simplicity. On my
    telling the bearer of the paper that an attempt had been made to
    impose on him and defraud him of his property, he requested me
    to give him my opinion in writing about the paper which he had
    shown to me. I did so without hesitation, partly for the man's
    sake, and partly to let the individual "behind the curtain" see
    that his trick was discovered. The import of what I wrote was, as
    far as I can now recollect, simply this, that the marks in the
    paper appeared to be merely an imitation of various alphabetical
    characters, and had, in my opinion, no meaning at all connected
    with them. The countryman then took his leave, with many thanks,
    and with the express declaration that he would in no shape part
    with his farm, or embark in the speculation of printing the golden
    book. [7]

    The matter rested here for a considerable time, until one day, when
    I had ceased entirely to think of the countryman and his paper, he
    paid me a second visit. He now brought with him a duodecimo volume,
    which he said was a translation into English of the "Golden Bible."
    He also stated, that notwithstanding his original determination,
    he had been induced evidently to sell his farm, and apply the
    money to the publication of the book, and received the golden
    plates as a security for payment. He begged my acceptance of the
    volume, assuring me that it would be found extremely interesting,
    and that it was already "making great noise" in the upper part of
    the state. Suspecting now, that some serious trick was on foot,
    and that my plain-looking visitor might be in fact a very cunning
    fellow, I declined his present, and merely contended myself with
    a slight examination of the volume while he stood by. The more I
    declined receiving it, however, the more urgent the man became in
    offering the book, until at last I told him plainly that if he left
    the volume, as he said he intended to do, I should most assuredly
    throw it after him as he departed. I then asked him how he could
    be so foolish as to sell his farm and engage in this affair; and
    requested him to tell me if the plates were really of gold. In
    answer to this latter inquiry, he said, that he had not seen the
    plates himself, which were carefully locked up in a trunk, but that
    he had the trunk in his possession. I advised him by all means
    to open the trunk and examine its contents, and if the plates
    proved to be of gold, which I did not believe at all, to sell them
    immediately. His reply was, that if he opened the trunk, the "curse
    of Heaven would descend upon him and his children. However," added
    he, "I will agree to open it, provided you take the 'curse of
    Heaven' upon yourself, for having advised me to the step." I told
    him I was perfectly willing to do so, and begged him to hasten home
    and examine the trunk, for he would find that he had been cheated.
    He promised to do as I recommended, and left me, taking his book
    with him. I have never seen him since.

    Such is a plain statement of all I know respecting the "Mormons."
    My impression now is, that the plain-looking countryman was none
    other than the Prophet Smith himself, who assumed an appearance
    of great simplicity in order to entrap me, if possible, into some
    recommendation of his book. That the Prophet aided me, by his
    inspiration, in interpreting the volume, is only one of the many
    amusing falsehoods which the "Mormonites" utter, relative to my
    participation in their doctrines. Of these doctrines I know nothing
    whatever, nor have I ever heard a single discourse from any of
    their preachers, although I have often felt a strong curiosity to
    become an auditor, since my friends tell me that they frequently
    name me in their sermons, and even go so far as to say that I am
    alluded to in the prophecies of scripture!

    If what I have here written shall prove of any service in opening
    the eyes of some of their deluded followers to the real designs of
    those who profess to be the apostles of "Mormonism," it will afford
    me satisfaction equalled, I have no doubt, only by that which
    yourself will feel on this subject.

    I remain, very respectfully and truly,

    Your friend,


    Rev. Dr. T. W. Coit, New Rochelle, N. Y. [8]

It will be observed that there is a discrepancy between the letter
written by Professor Anthon to the Rev. Mr. Coit and the one he sent to
E. D. Howe. In the latter he states that he refused to give his opinion
in writing on the characters submitted to him; but in his letter to
Rev. Coit he says that he gave a written opinion to Harris without
hesitation, and to the effect that the marks on the paper appeared to
be merely an imitation of various alphabetical characters that had
no meaning at all connected with them. According to Martin Harris'
statement he gave him a certificate to the effect that the characters
submitted were genuine, and that the translation accompanying them was
correct; but upon hearing that the existence of the Nephite plates
was made known to Joseph Smith by a heavenly messenger, he requested
the return of the paper he had given Martin Harris, and he destroyed
it, saying that the visitation of angels had ceased, etc., I shall
leave it for the anti--"Mormon" friends of Mr. Anthon to reconcile the
contradiction that occurs in his statements, merely remarking that
since the doctor in one letter declares that he refused to give Martin
Harris a written opinion on the characters; and in the other that he
gave him a written opinion, increases very much one's faith in Martin
Harris' statement as against that of Professor Anthon's upon this
point; namely, that the Professor gave Harris a written statement, but
afterwards recalled and destroyed it. The reader should observe also
that in his letter to Rev. Coit, written in 1841, the Professor says
that no one until that time had ever requested from him a statement
in writing on the subject of his connection with the Book of Mormon.
Yet as a matter of fact E. D. Howe had addressed him a letter on the
subject, asking him for a statement, in 1834, to which request the
professor responded, telling substantially the same story as in this
letter to Rev. Coit, excepting as to the written opinion furnished
to Harris. The contradictions in Anthon's letters leave him in a
most unenviable situation; and doubtless accounts for anti-"Mormons"
publishing extracts only from his letters.

The statements of Professor Anthon and Martin Harris are very
contradictory, but the sequence will show that there is much that
supports the statement of Martin Harris in the main as true; while
the anxiety of the professor to disconnect himself as far as possible
from any association with "these wretched fanatics," will account for
his version of the incident. The object of Mr. Harris in presenting
these transcribed characters to the learned professor was, undoubtedly,
to learn if they were true characters, or only the idle invention of
Joseph Smith. That the answer of Professor Anthon and Dr. Mitchell was
in favor of their being true characters is evidenced by the fact that
Martin Harris returned immediately to Joseph Smith, in Harmony, made
his report, and thence went to Palmyra, in New York, to arrange his
business affairs that he might hasten back to Pennsylvania to become
the amanuensis of the young Prophet in the work of translation. This
Martin Harris would not likely have done if Professor Anthon's answer
had been what that gentleman represents it to have been in his letters
to Mr. Howe and Rev. Coit; nor would Martin Harris have ventured,
subsequently, to have furnished the money to pay for the publication
of the first edition of the book, had he been assured by the professor
that the whole thing was a "hoax" or a "scheme" to cheat him out of his

As stated above, Martin Harris returned to Palmyra after this interview
with Professor Anthon, arranged his affairs, and joined the Prophet
in Harmony, about the 12th of April, 1828, when he commenced writing
as Joseph translated. This work he continued until the 14th of June
following--two months, by which time they had translated enough to make
one hundred and sixteen pages of manuscript, of large sheets--usually
called fool's cap paper.

Soon after Mr. Harris commenced to write for the Prophet he began to
importune him for the privilege of showing so much of the translation
as they had made to a number of his friends. This request the Prophet
refused to grant. Nothing daunted by this refusal, Harris asked the
Prophet to inquire of the Lord through the Urim and Thummim if he
might not have that privilege. This Joseph did, and Harris' request
was denied. He importuned him to ask again, with the like result, and
yet again did he implore that the Prophet would ask the Lord for his

"After much solicitation," says the Prophet, in his account of this
affair, "I again inquired of the Lord, and permission was granted
him to have the writings on certain conditions; which were, that he
should show them only to his brother, Preserved Harris, his own wife,
his father and his mother, and a Mrs. Cobb, a sister of his wife. In
accordance with this last answer, I required of him that he should bind
himself in a covenant to me in the most solemn manner that he would not
do otherwise than had been directed. He did so. He bound himself as
I required of him, took the writings, and went his way;" [9] and the
Prophet took advantage of the absence of Harris, who had acted as his
scribe, to visit his parents at Manchester.

The solemn engagement which Martin Harris made with the Prophet he
broke. He showed the writings to other persons than those named in his
agreement with the Prophet, and these stole the precious manuscript
from him, and he was never able to recover it. This circumstance also
went hard with Joseph as to his standing with the Lord. He had allowed
himself to be over-persuaded by the importunities of Martin Harris,
and that after he had twice learned that it was not the will of the
Lord that Harris should have the manuscript. He learned that Harris
had lost the one hundred and sixteen pages of manuscript while he was
yet in Manchester visiting with his parents; and immediately returned
to Harmony, where he humbled himself in prayer before God that he
might obtain forgiveness for his error; but apparently to no immediate
purpose, for Moroni appeared to him and demanded the plates and also
the Urim and Thummim. These were surrendered, with what anguish of
soul one may readily understand. Exactly what length of time they were
withheld from him cannot be determined, but evidently not long; for
in July of the same year the angel guardian of the record, Moroni,
appeared to him again and presented the plates and Urim and Thummim to
him. The Prophet, through the medium of the holy instrument, obtained
the following revelation which bears the date of July, 1828: [10]

    "The works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be
    frustrated, neither can they come to naught. For God doth not walk
    in crooked paths, neither doth he turn to the right hand, nor
    to the left, neither doth he vary from that which he hath said,
    therefore his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal

    "Remember, remember, that it is not the work of God that is
    frustrated, but the work of men; for although a man may have many
    revelations, and have power to do many mighty works, yet if he
    boasts in his own strength, and sets at naught the counsels of God,
    and follows after the dictates of his own will and carnal desires,
    he must fall and incur the vengeance of a just God upon him.

    "Behold, you have been entrusted with these things, but how strict
    were your commandments; and remember also the promises which were
    made to you, if you did not transgress them. And behold, how oft
    you have transgressed the commandments and the laws of God, and
    have gone on in the persuasions of men. For, behold, you should
    not have feared man more than God. Although men set at naught the
    counsels of God, and despise his words--yet you should have been
    faithful; and he would have extended his arm and supported you
    against all the fiery darts of the adversary; and he would have
    been with you in every time of trouble.

    "Behold, thou art Joseph, and thou wast chosen to do the work of
    the Lord, but because of transgression, if thou art not aware thou
    wilt fall. But remember, God is merciful; therefore, repent of that
    which thou hast done, which is contrary to the commandment which I
    gave you, and thou art still chosen, and art again called to the
    work; except thou do this, thou shalt be delivered up and become as
    other men, and have no more gift.

    "And when thou deliveredst up that which God had given thee sight
    and power to translate, thou deliveredst up that which was sacred
    into the hands of a wicked man, who has set at naught the counsels
    of God, and has broken the most sacred promises which were made
    before God, and has depended upon his own judgment and boasted in
    his own wisdom. And this is the reason that thou hast lost thy
    privileges for a season--for thou hast suffered the counsel of thy
    director to be trampled upon from the beginning. Nevertheless, my
    work shall go forth, for inasmuch as the knowledge of a Savior has
    come unto the world, through the testimony of the Jews, even so
    shall the knowledge of a Savior come unto my people--and to the
    Nephites, and the Jacobites, and the Josephites, and the Zoramites,
    [11] through the testimony of their fathers--and this testimony
    shall come to the knowledge of the Lamanites, and the Lemuelites,
    and the Ishmaelites, who dwindled in unbelief because of the
    iniquity of their fathers, whom the Lord has suffered to destroy
    their brethren, the Nephites, because of their iniquities and their
    abominations. And for this very purpose are these plates preserved,
    which contain these records--that the promises of the Lord might
    be fulfilled, which he made to his people; and that the Lamanites
    might come to the knowledge of their fathers, and that they might
    know the promises of the Lord, and that they may believe the
    gospel, and rely upon the merits of Jesus Christ, and be glorified
    through faith in his name, and that through their repentance they
    might be saved. Amen."

The Prophet informs us that after receiving this revelation, the Urim
and Thummim and also the plates were taken from him, but in a few days
they were returned to him, whereupon he again inquired of the Lord and
received the following very important revelation: [12]

    Now, behold, I say unto you, that because you delivered up those
    writings, which you had power given unto you to translate by the
    means of the Urim and Thummim, into the hands of a wicked man, you
    have lost them. And you also lost your gift at the same time, and
    your mind became darkened. Nevertheless, it is now restored unto
    you again; therefore see that you are faithful and continue on unto
    the finishing of the remainder of the work of translation as you
    have begun. Do not run faster or labor more than you have strength
    and means provided to enable you to translate; but be diligent
    unto the end. Pray always, that you may come off conqueror; yea,
    that you may conquer Satan, and that you may escape the hands of
    the servants of Satan that do uphold his work. Behold, they have
    sought to destroy you; yea, even the man in whom you have trusted
    has sought to destroy you. And for this cause I said that he is a
    wicked man, for, he has sought to take away the things wherewith
    you have been entrusted; and he has also sought to destroy your
    gift. And because you have delivered the writings into his hands,
    behold, wicked men have taken them from you. Therefore, you have
    delivered them up, yea, that which was sacred, unto wickedness.
    And, behold, Satan hath put into their hearts to alter the words
    which you have caused to be written, or which you have translated,
    which have gone out of your hands. And behold, I say unto you, that
    because they have altered the words, they read contrary from that
    which you translated and caused to be written; and, on this wise,
    the devil has sought to lay a cunning plan, that he may destroy
    this work; for he hath put it into their hearts to do this, that by
    lying they may say they have caught you in the words which you have
    pretended to translate.

    Verily, I say unto you, that I will not suffer that Satan shall
    accomplish his evil design in this thing. For behold, he has put it
    into their hearts to get thee to tempt the Lord they God, in asking
    to translate it over again. And then, behold, they say and think in
    their hearts--We will see if God has given him power to translate;
    if so, he will also give him power again; and if God giveth him
    power again, or if he translates again, or, in other words, if he
    bringeth forth the same words, behold, we have the same with us,
    and we have altered them; therefore they will not agree, and we
    will say that he has lied in his words, and that he has no gift,
    and that he has no power; therefore we will destroy him, and also
    the work; and we will do this that we may not be ashamed in the
    end, and that we may get glory of the world.

    Verily, verily, I say unto you, that Satan has great hold upon
    their hearts, he stirreth them up to iniquity against that which
    is good; and their hearts are corrupt, and full of wickedness and
    abominations; and they love darkness rather than light, because
    their deeds are evil; therefore they will not ask of me. Satan
    stirreth them up, that he may lead their souls to destruction.
    And thus he has laid a cunning plan, thinking to destroy the work
    of God; but I will require this at their hands, and it shall turn
    to their shame and condemnation in the day of judgment. Yea, he
    stirreth up their hearts to anger against this work. Yea, he saith
    unto them: Deceive, and lie in wait to catch, that ye may destroy;
    behold, this is no harm; and thus he flattereth them, and telleth
    them that it is no sin to lie that they may catch a man in a lie,
    that they may destroy him. And thus he flattereth them, and leadeth
    them along until he draggeth their souls down to hell; and thus he
    causeth them to catch themselves in their own snare. And thus he
    goeth up and down, to and fro in the earth, seeking to destroy the
    souls of men.

    Verily, verily, I say unto you, woe be unto him that lieth to
    deceive because he supposeth that another lieth to deceive, for
    such are not exempt from the justice of God.

    Now, behold, they have altered these words, because Satan saith
    unto them: He hath deceived you--and thus he flattereth them away
    to do iniquity, to get thee to tempt the Lord thy God.

    Behold, I say unto you, that you shall not translate again those
    words which have gone forth out of your hands; for, behold, they
    shall not accomplish their evil designs in lying against those
    words. For, behold, if you should bring forth the same words they
    will say that you have lied that you have pretended to translate,
    but that you have contradicted yourself. And, behold, they will
    publish this, and Satan will harden the hearts of the people to
    stir them up to anger against you, that they will not believe my
    words. Thus Satan thinketh to overpower your testimony in this
    generation, that the work may not come forth in this generation.
    But behold, here is wisdom, and because I show unto you wisdom, and
    give you commandments concerning these things, what you shall do,
    show it not unto the world until you have accomplished the work of

    Marvel not that I said unto you: here is wisdom, show it not unto
    the world--for I said, show it not unto the world, that you may be
    preserved. Behold, I do not say that you shall not show it unto the
    righteous; but as you cannot always judge the righteous, or as you
    cannot always tell the wicked from the righteous, therefore I say
    unto you, hold your peace until I shall see fit to make all things
    known unto the world concerning the matter.

    And now, verily I say unto you, that an account of those things
    that you have written, which have gone out of your hands, is
    engraven upon the plates of Nephi; yea, and you remember it was
    said in those writings that a more particular account was given of
    these things upon the plates of Nephi.

    And now, because the account which is engraven upon the plates
    of Nephi is more particular concerning the things which, in my
    wisdom, I would bring to the knowledge of the people in this
    account therefore, you shall translate the engravings which are on
    the plates of Nephi, down even till you come to the reign of King
    Benjamin, or until you come to that which you have translated,
    which you have retained; and behold, you shall publish it as the
    record of Nephi; and thus I will confound those who have altered my
    words. I will not suffer that they shall destroy my work; yea, I
    will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of
    the devil.

    Behold, they have only got a part, or an abridgment of the account
    of Nephi. Behold, there are many things engraven upon the plates
    of Nephi which do throw greater views upon my gospel; therefore,
    it is wisdom in me that you should translate this first part of
    the engravings of Nephi, and send forth in this work. And, behold,
    all the remainder of this work does contain all those parts of my
    gospel which my holy prophets, yea, and also my disciples, desired
    in their prayers should come forth unto this people. And I said
    unto them, that it should be granted unto them according to their
    faith in their prayers; yea, and this was their faith--that my
    gospel, which I gave unto them that they might preach in their
    days, might come unto their brethren the Lamanites, and also all
    that had become Lamanites because of their dissensions.

    Now, this is not all--their faith in their prayers was that this
    gospel should be made known also, if it were possible that other
    nations should possess this land; and thus they did leave a
    blessing upon this land in their prayers, that whosoever should
    believe in this gospel in this land might have eternal life; yea,
    that it might be free unto all of whatsoever nation, kindred,
    tongue, or people they may be.

    And now, behold, according to their faith in their prayers will I
    bring this part of my gospel to the knowledge of my people Behold,
    I do not bring it to destroy that which they have received, but to
    build it up.

    And for this cause have I said: if this generation harden not their
    hearts, I will establish my church among them. Now I do not say
    this to destroy my church, but I say this to build up my church;
    therefore, whosoever belongeth to my church need not fear, for such
    shall inherit the kingdom of heaven. But it is they who do not
    fear me, neither keep my commandments but build up churches unto
    themselves to get gain, yea, and all those that do wickedly and
    build up the kingdom of the devil--yea, verily, verily, I say unto
    you, that it is they that I will disturb, and cause to tremble and
    shake to the center.

    Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I came unto my own and
    my own received me not. I am the light which shineth in darkness,
    and the darkness comprehendeth it not. I am he who said--Other
    sheep have I which are not of this fold, unto my disciples, and
    many there were that understood me not.

    And I will show unto this people that I had other sheep, and that
    they were a branch of the house of Jacob; and I will bring to light
    their marvelous works, which they did in my name; yea, and I will
    also bring to light my gospel which was ministered unto them, and,
    behold, they shall not deny that which you have received, but they
    shall build it up, and shall bring to light the true points of my
    doctrine, yea, and the only doctrine which is in me; and this I
    do that I may establish my gospel, that there may not be so much
    contention; yea, Satan doth stir up the hearts of the people to
    contention concerning the points of my doctrine; and in these
    things they do err, for they do wrest the scriptures and do not
    understand them. Therefore, I will unfold unto them this great
    mystery; for, behold, I will gather them as a hen gathereth her
    chickens under her wings, if they will not harden their hearts;
    yea, if they will come, they may, and partake of the waters of life

    Behold, this is my doctrine--whosoever repenteth and cometh unto
    me, the same is my church. Whosoever declareth more or less than
    this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not
    of my church.

    And now, behold, whosoever is of my church, and endureth of my
    church to the end, him will I establish upon my rock, and the gates
    of hell shall not prevail against them.

    And now, remember the words of him who is the life and the light of
    the world, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Amen." [13]

Encouraged to be moderate in his exertions at translating by the
admonition in the foregoing revelation not to run faster, or labor more
than he had strength and means provided to enable him to proceed, the
Prophet did not immediately attempt to resume the work of translation,
but worked upon a small farm which he had purchased of his wife's

As this episode of losing the one hundred and sixteen pages of
manuscript, together with the loss for a season of the gift to
translate, and being required to surrender all the sacred things which
had been entrusted to his keeping, was unquestionably a cause of deep
sorrow to the young Prophet, so the restoration of the plates and Urim
and Thummim to him must have been a joy unspeakable. How Martin Harris
felt--what anguish of heart--what sense of chagrin, or how deeply he
repented his folly is not recorded; but as he was not a man of keen
sensibilities, it may be that his sufferings were not intense. At any
rate we next hear of him in March, 1829, and he is still clamoring for
a witness from the Lord that Joseph Smith had the plates, of which the
Prophet had testified. The Prophet inquired of the Lord and obtained
a revelation of which the following is the part that has reference to
Martin Harris' request:

    Behold, I say unto you, that as my servant Martin Harris has
    desired a witness at my hand, that you, my servant Joseph Smith,
    Jun., have got the plates of which you have testified and borne
    record that you have received of me; and now, behold, this shall
    you say unto him--he who spake unto you, said unto you: I, the
    Lord, am God, and have given these things unto you, my servant
    Joseph Smith, Jun., and have commanded you that you should stand as
    a witness of these things; and I have caused you that you should
    enter into a covenant with me, that you should not show them except
    to those persons to whom I commanded you; and you have no power
    over them except I grant it unto you. * * * Behold, verily I say
    unto you, I have reserved those things which I have entrusted unto
    you, my servant Joseph, for a wise purpose in me, and it shall
    be made known unto future generations; but this generation shall
    have my word through you; and in addition to your testimony, the
    testimony of three of my servants, whom I shall call and ordain,
    unto whom I will show these things, and they shall go forth with
    my words that are given through you. Yea, they shall know of a
    surety that these things are true, for from heaven will I declare
    it unto them. I will give them power that they may behold and view
    these things as they are; and to none else will I grant this power,
    to receive this same testimony among this generation, in this the
    beginning of the rising up and the coming forth of my church out
    of the wilderness. * * * And the testimony of three witnesses
    will I send forth of my word. And behold, whosoever believeth on
    my words, them will I visit with the manifestation of my Spirit;
    and they shall be born of me, even of water and of the spirit. *
    * * And their testimony shall also go forth unto the condemnation
    of this generation if they harden their hearts against them; for
    a desolating scourge shall go forth among the inhabitants of the
    earth, and shall continue to be poured out from time to time, if
    they repent not, until the earth is empty, and the inhabitants
    thereof are consumed away and utterly destroyed by the brightness
    of my coming. Behold, I tell you these things, even as I also told
    the people of the destruction of Jerusalem; and my word shall be
    verified at this time as it hath hitherto been verified. * * *

    * * * And now, again I speak unto you, my servant Joseph,
    concerning the man that desires the witness--behold, I say unto
    him, he exalts himself, and does not humble himself sufficiently
    before me; but if he will bow down before me, and humble himself in
    mighty prayer and faith, in the sincerity of his heart, then will
    I grant unto him a view of the things which he desires to see. And
    then he shall say unto the people of this generation: Behold, I
    have seen the things which the Lord has shown unto Joseph Smith,
    Jun., and I know of a surety that they are true, for I have seen
    them, for they have been shown unto me by the power of God and not
    of man. And I the Lord command him, my servant Martin Harris, that
    he shall say no more unto them concerning these things, except he
    shall say: I have seen them, and they have been shown unto me by
    the power of God; and these are the words which he shall say. But
    if he deny this he will break the covenant which he has before
    covenanted with me, and behold, he is condemned. And now, except he
    humble himself and acknowledge unto me the things that he has done
    which are wrong, [14] and covenant with me that he will keep my
    commandments, and exercise faith in me, behold, I say unto him, he
    shall have no such views, for I will grant unto him no views of the
    things of which I have spoken. And if this be the case, I command
    you, my servant Joseph, that you shall say unto him, that he shall
    do no more, nor trouble me any more concerning this matter. And if
    this be the case, behold, I say unto thee Joseph, when thou hast
    translated a few more pages [15] thou shalt stop for a season,
    even until I command thee again; then thou mayest translate again.
    And except thou do this, behold, thou shalt have no more gift,
    and I will take away the things which I have entrusted with thee.
    And now, because I foresee the lying in wait to destroy thee,
    yea, I foresee that if my servant Martin Harris humbleth not
    himself and receive a witness from my hand, that he will fall into
    transgression; and there are many that lie in wait to destroy thee
    from off the face of the earth; and for this cause, that thy days
    may be prolonged, I have given unto thee these commandments. Yea,
    for this cause I have said: Stop, and stand still until I command
    thee, and I will provide means whereby thou mayest accomplish the
    thing which I have commanded thee. And if thou art faithful in
    keeping my commandments, thou shalt be lifted up at the last day.
    Amen. [16]

    It will be observed here that the language of this revelation takes
    on a sternness of tone and an independence in respect to Martin
    Harris and his future connection with the work that is suitable
    to the conduct of that vacillating man; and in effect gives him
    sharply to understand that there must be repentance deep and
    sincere, and humiliation before God, or he may go his way and have
    no further lot nor part in the great work of the Lord then coming


1. History of the Church, vol. I, p. 18.

2. This upon the authority of Samuel M. Smucker, author of a "History
of the Mormons," p. 37.--Hurst & Co., N. Y.

3. This fac simile of Nephite characters is copied from "The Prophet"
of December 21, 1844 (vol. I, no. 31).

4. _Stevenson's Reminiscences_, p. 33.

5. The writer is of the opinion that there is in this statement too
wide a scope given to what Professor Anthon said of the translation
of the Egyptian-Nephite characters. Of course, in the transcripts the
professor would doubtless recognize some Egyptian characters of the
hieratic Egyptian, and in the translation would also find a right
interpretation of those characters, as it will be seen by his letters,
quoted later in the body of the work. He may have acknowledged that
the characters submitted to him were true characters, but beyond this
I do not think he could give confirmation as to the _correctness of
the translation_; for, according to the writers of the Book of Mormon,
they had changed somewhat the characters in both languages in which
they made records, both in the Egyptian, and also in the Hebrew (See
Mormon 9:32, 43); and Moroni adds: "The Lord knoweth the things which
we have written, and also that none other people knoweth our language,
therefore he hath prepared means for the interpretation thereof"
(Mormon 9:34), referring to the Urim and Thummim or "Interpreters," as
the Nephites call that instrument. It follows from this that neither
Professor Anthon nor any one else could have confirmed the translation
beyond perhaps saying that some one or more of the Egyptian characters,
which he recognized in the transcript, had been assigned their true

6. History of the Church, vol. I, p. 20

7. To this point the Letter of Professor Anthon is copied from _Early
Days of Mormonism_, by J. H. Kennedy, Scribners & Sons, 1888, p.
268. The remainder of the letter is copied from Gregg's _Prophet of
Palmyra_, pp. 60-62.

8. "Prophet of Palmyra", (Gregg) pp. 60-62.

9. History of the Church, vol. I, p. 21.

10. History of the Church, vol. I, pp. 21, 22; also Doc. and Cov.,
sec. 3.

11. The reader will of course understand that reference is here made to
the descendants of these ancient American peoples.

12. The revelation, here quoted in the _History of Joseph
Smith--Millennial Star_, vol. 14 (Supplement) p. 8; and also in some
of the earlier editions of the Doctrine and Covenants (sec. 10), bears
the date of "May, 1829." This date, however, must be wrong, because
contradictory of the language of the prophet who in speaking of this
revelation says that after the plates and Urim and Thummim were taken
from him, after he had received the revelation dated July, 1828, (just
quoted)--"In a few days they were returned to me, when I inquired of
the Lord, and the Lord said thus to me." Then follows the revelation,
the date of which is under consideration. If the date of the revelation
given July, 1828, in which the Prophet is reproved for importuning the
Lord to allow Martin Harris to have one hundred and sixteen pages of
translation from the Book of Mormon, is correct--then it could scarcely
be said, "in a few days" the Urim and Thummim was returned to the
Prophet; that he inquired and then received the revelation in question
if that revelation was received in May, 1829. That would make nine
or ten months' time between these two revelations instead of "a few
days." Moreover, the matter of the revelation is more in keeping with
the events of a few days after July, 1828, than with May, 1829. Oliver
Cowdery came to Joseph Smith on the 5th of April, 1829; and on the 7th
began to assist him in the translation. This was before May, 1829,
the alleged date of the revelation in question, and it is scarcely
likely that the work of translation was resumed after the loss of the
manuscript by Harris, before the revelation given informing the prophet
of the intention of those who had stolen it. My conclusion is that the
revelation erroneously dated May, 1829, was given "a few days after"
the one bearing date of "July, 1828."

13. Doc. and Cov., sec. 10.

14. Doubtless an allusion to his breaking the covenant with Joseph
respecting the manuscript which was lost.

15. Most likely Emma Smith, the Prophet's wife, wrote for him during
these days when he was evidently translating occasionally.

16. History of the Church, vol. I, p. 28; also Doc. and Cov., sec. 5.



On the 5th day of April, [1] as if in fulfilment of the promise made to
Joseph Smith in the revelation concerning Martin Harris, just quoted,
namely, that the Lord would provide means whereby the prophet might
accomplish the thing which the Lord had commanded him to do--Oliver
Cowdery came to the young Prophet's house, at Harmony, Pennsylvania.
This was the first meeting of these two men. Oliver Cowdery, a native
of Vermont, and now twenty-four years of age, had moved into the state
of New York about four years previous to this, and for a time had
been employed as a clerk in a store. In the winter of 1828-9 he left
the store and taught the district school in the town of Manchester,
which was only some nine miles from his father's home. At Manchester
he became acquainted with the Smith family, Joseph Smith, Sen.,
being a patron of the school he taught. According to the American
custom of those days, the school teacher "boarded round" in turn with
the families of the neighborhood. This brought Oliver Cowdery into
immediate contact with the Smith family, and while he was boarding at
their home the parents of the Prophet related to him the circumstances
of their son obtaining the Nephite record.

Young Cowdery became intensely interested in the story related to him.
Meantime he met David Whitmer in Palmyra, a young man about his own
age, who lived with his father's family some twenty-five miles from
Palmyra, near the town of Waterloo, in the township called Fayette,
Seneca county, at the north end of Seneca Lake. In his conversation
with young Whitmer, Oliver told him of his acquaintance with the Smith
family and expressed himself to the effect that there must be something
in the story of finding the plates, and he announced his intention to
investigate the matter. [2] Later, when Oliver started for Harmony,
where the Prophet was living, he passed the Whitmer home at Fayette,
and promised David that he would report his findings to him concerning
Joseph having the plates.

Oliver became convinced that Joseph's story was true, and being
informed by the Prophet that it was the will of God that he should
remain and act as his scribe in the work of translation, he did so, and
on the 7th of April, 1829, commenced to write as the prophet indited
the translation obtained by means of the Urim and Thummim.

Oliver, in a few days, became anxious to learn more largely the will
of the Lord concerning himself and his connection with the work then
coming forth, and the Prophet, through the Urim and Thummim obtained a
revelation for him in which occur the passages:

    A great and marvelous work is about to come forth unto the
    children of men. Behold, I am God; give heed unto my word, which
    is quick and powerful. * * * Behold, the field is white already to
    harvest; therefore, whoso desireth to reap, let him thrust in his
    sickle with his might, and reap while the day lasts, that he may
    treasure up for his soul everlasting salvation in the kingdom of
    God. * * * Now as you have asked, behold, I say unto you, keep my
    commandments, and seek to bring forth and establish the cause of
    Zion; seek not for riches but for wisdom, and behold, the mysteries
    of God shall be unfolded unto you, and then shall you be made rich.
    Behold, he that hath eternal life is rich. * * * Verily, verily, I
    say unto thee, blessed art thou for what thou hast done; for thou
    hast inquired of me, and behold, as often as thou hast inquired
    thou hast received instruction of my Spirit. If it had not been
    so, thou wouldst not have come to the place where thou art at this
    time. Behold, thou knowest that thou hast inquired of me and I did
    enlighten thy mind; and now I tell thee these things that thou
    mayest know that thou hast been enlightened by the Spirit of truth;
    yea, I tell thee, that thou mayest know that there is none else
    save God that knowest thy thoughts and the intents of thy heart.
    I tell thee these things as a witness unto thee--that the words
    of the work which thou hast been writing are true. Therefore be
    diligent; stand by my servant Joseph, faithfully, in whatsoever
    difficult circumstances he may be for the word's sake. Admonish
    him in his faults, and also receive admonition of him. Be patient;
    be sober; be temperate; have patience, faith, hope and charity.
    Behold, thou art Oliver, and I have spoken unto thee because of
    thy desires; therefore treasure up these words in thy heart. Be
    faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God, and I
    will encircle thee in the arms of my love.

    * * * Verily, verily, I say unto you, if you desire a further
    witness, cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in
    your heart, that you might know concerning the truth of these
    things. Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter?
    * * * And now, behold, you have received a witness; for if I
    have told you things which no man knoweth have ye not received a
    witness? [3]

These revelations, it should be observed, contain sharp reproofs for
the transgressor. They do not flatter Joseph Smith any more than they
do Martin Harris, though Joseph is the one through whom they were
given. Each is reproved and evidently without respect of person. They
represent the Lord as holding out no promise either to the Prophet
or his associates of immunity from difficulty, from trial. They are
redolent rather of warning. The Prophet is plainly told of the many
that were lying in wait to destroy him. Deep humility and repentance
is required when a wrong is committed; and if that is not forthcoming
then behold the self-willed, the proud, are told to go their way, and
trouble the Lord no further concerning their future connection with
this work.

Look, in passing, at this revelation to Oliver Cowdery. There is
no flattering promise of a worldly character in it. A great and a
marvelous work is about to come forth; thrust in your sickle and
reap; keep my commandments, is almost sternly said; seek to bring
forth and establish the cause of Zion; seek not for riches, but
for wisdom; be diligent; stand by my servant Joseph in whatsoever
difficult circumstances he may be for the word's sake. Then there are
to be difficult circumstances? "Admonish him in his faults." What,
the Prophet! Yes, the Prophet--he is not to be above admonition. What
humility in the Prophet is here! This smacks of the Spirit of Christ.
Receive admonition of him. Be patient. Be sober. Be temperate. Have
patience, faith, hope and charity. This is admirable. False prophets
have no such basic principles as these. They build not with such
stones. And Oliver's reward? Not riches of this world. Not greatness
in the eyes of men. Not the honors and applause of the world. "If thou
wilt do good, yea and hold out faithful to the end, thou shalt be saved
in the kingdom of God." That is to be his reward. There is nothing
worldly in all this. This spirit is worthy the great work these young
men are, under God, bringing forth. This is the kind of atmosphere one
would expect to find surrounding men engaged in such a work. But it is
time to return to the narrative.

When Oliver found that the secret meditations of his heart were thus
revealed through Joseph Smith; when his secret prayers were revealed
and the answer of God's Spirit to those prayers made known, he could no
longer doubt that his new-found friend was a prophet of God. It must
have been with renewed zeal that he took up again his work as a scribe.
It was of these days that he afterwards wrote:

    These were days never to be forgotten--to sit under the sound of a
    voice dictated by the inspiration of heaven, awakened the utmost
    gratitude of this bosom. Day after day I continued uninterrupted to
    write from his mouth, as he translated with the Urim and Thummim,
    or, as the Nephites would have said, "Interpreters," the history or
    record called the Book of Mormon. [4]

Soon after this, namely, on the 15th day of May, 1829, Oliver Cowdery
himself became a witness to the ministration of an angel, for it was
upon that date that John the Baptist appeared to him and Joseph Smith
while they were engaged in prayer in the woods, near Harmony. John
ordained them to the Aaronic priesthood and instructed them upon the
subject of baptism, a full account of which is given in _New Witnesses
for God_, vol. I. [5] Subsequently he, with Joseph, received another
visitation of angels some time in the month of June following, when
Peter, James and John conferred upon them the Melchizedek priesthood
on the banks of the Susquehanna river, a full account of which is also
given in vol. I, of _New Witnesses for God_. [6]

Meantime Oliver was writing his friend, David Whitmer, his findings as
to the truth of the Prophet Joseph having the plates. He wrote soon
after his arrival in Harmony that he was convinced that Joseph Smith
had the records. [7] Shortly after this, doubtless immediately after
Joseph received the revelation in which the secret meditations and
prayers of Oliver respecting the work before he saw the Prophet were
made known, Oliver wrote a second letter to David, in which he enclosed
a few lines of what had been translated, and assured him that he knew
of a surety that Joseph Smith had a record of a people that inhabited
the American continents in the ancient times: and that the plates they
were translating gave a history of these people; he moreover assured
David that he had "revealed knowledge" concerning the truth of what he
affirmed. These letters young Whitmer showed to his parents, and to his
brothers and sisters.

Mr. Joseph Knight, Sen., of Colesville, Broome county, New York,
several times brought the young men provisions--food--which enabled
them to continue the work of translation without interruption. But
for this timely assistance the work of translation must have been
relinquished from time to time in order to secure supplies. Mr. Knight
knew the Smith family and had called upon them a number of times at
their home in Manchester. He evidently had considerable faith in the
claims of Joseph concerning the Book of Mormon; for on the occasion of
his visit to him in May, 1829, he desired to know what his duty was
with reference to the work that the Lord was about to bring forth. The
prophet inquired of the Lord and, as in the case of Oliver Cowdery,
after declaring that a great and marvelous work was about to come
forth, the revelation said:

    Keep my commandments, and seek to bring forth and establish the
    cause of Zion. Behold, I speak unto you, and also to all those who
    have desires to bring forth and establish this work; and no one
    can assist in this work, except he shall be humble and full of
    love, having faith, hope and charity, being temperate in all things
    whatsoever shall be entrusted in his care. [8]

For a time the Prophet had been permitted to pursue the work of
translation at Harmony without interference. But now there began to
be mutterings of an approaching storm of persecution. Threats were
frequent, and the young men were only preserved from actual violence by
the blessing of the Lord and the influence of Mr. Isaac Hale, father
of the Prophet's wife; who, though he had no faith in the Prophet's
work, and in the past had manifested some hostility towards him, still
believed in law and order; was opposed to mob violence; and was willing
that Joseph and his associates should be permitted to complete their
work without interference. [9]

On account of the manifestation of this unfriendly spirit in the
community, however, Joseph and Oliver kept secret for a time the
circumstance of their ordination to the priesthood and their baptism.
They could not, however, long continue silent on such a subject, and
in a few days, under a sense of duty, they commenced to reason out of
the scriptures with their friends and acquaintances concerning the
work of God. But Joseph was evidently uneasy concerning their safety
at Harmony, and under his direction Oliver wrote to David Whitmer at
Fayette, asking him to come down to Harmony and take them to the elder
Whitmer's home, giving as a reason for their rather strange request
that they had received a commandment from God to that effect. [10]
This request found David Whitmer in the midst of his spring work. He
had some twenty acres of land to plow and concluded to do that and
then go. "I got up one morning to go to work as usual," he says, "and
on going to the field, found that between five and seven acres of my
land had been plowed under during the night. I don't know who did it;
but it was done just as I would have done it myself, and the plow was
left standing in the furrow. This enabled me to start sooner." [11]
Nor was this the only assistance of like character given to him. While
harrowing in a field of wheat before starting on his journey he found
to his surprise that he had accomplished more in a few hours than was
usual to do in two or three days. The day following this circumstance
he went out to spread plaster over a field, according to the custom of
the farmers in that locality, when, to his surprise, he found the work
had been done, and well done. David Whitmer's sister, who lived near
the field, told him that three strangers had appeared in the field the
day before and spread the plaster with remarkable skill. She at the
time presumed that they were men whom David had hired to do the work.

This assistance, provided through some divine agency--it can be
accounted for in no other way, enabled David Whitmer to respond
sooner than he otherwise could have done to the call to go and bring
the Prophet and his associate from Harmony, where mob violence was
impending, to the home of his father, Peter Whitmer, where the work of
translation could be finished in peace and security.

When David Whitmer was approaching the little village of Harmony with
his two-horse team and wagon, he was met some distance from it by the
Prophet and Oliver. "Oliver told me," says David Whitmer, in relating
the circumstance, "that Joseph had informed him when I started from
home, where I had stopped the first night, how I read the sign at the
tavern; where I stopped the next night, etc.; and that I would be there
that day before dinner, and this was why they had come out to meet me;
all of which was exactly as Joseph had told Oliver, at which I was
greatly astonished." [13]

The day following David Whitmer's arrival at Harmony the plates were
packed up and delivered into the care of the Angel Moroni, that they
might be safely conveyed to Fayette. "When I was returning to Fayette,"
says David Whitmer, "with Joseph and Oliver, all of us riding in the
wagon, Oliver and I on an old fashioned, wooden spring-seat, and
Joseph behind us, when traveling along in a clear, open place, a very
pleasant, nice looking old man suddenly appeared by the side of our
wagon and saluted us with, 'Good morning; it is very warm;' at the
same time wiping his face or forehead with his hand. We returned the
salutation, and by a sign from Joseph, I invited him to ride if he
was going our way. But he said very pleasantly, 'No, I am going to
Cumorah.' This name was somewhat new to me, and I did not know what
'Cumorah' meant. We all gazed at him and at each other, and as I looked
round inquiringly of Joseph, the old man instantly disappeared, so that
I did not see him again."

Replying to the question, "Did you notice his appearance?" David
Whitmer replied: "I should think I did. He was, I should think, about
five feet eight or nine inches tall and heavy set, about such a man
as James Cleve there (a gentleman present at the Whitmer, Pratt and
Smith interview), but heavier. His face was as large; he was dressed
in a suit of brown woolen clothes, his hair and beard were white, like
Brother Pratt's, but his beard was not so heavy. I also remember that
he had on his back a sort of knapsack with something in it shaped like
a book. It was the messenger who had the plates, who had taken them
from Joseph just prior to our starting from Harmony." [14]

Soon after the arrival at the Whitmer residence, in the garden near by,
Moroni once more delivered the sacred record to Joseph, and the work of
translation was renewed with even greater vigor than at Harmony; for
when Oliver would tire of writing, one of the Whitmers or Emma Smith
would relieve him.

David Whitmer says that soon after the installment of Joseph, his wife,
and Oliver Cowdery in the Whitmer household, he saw something which
led him to believe that the plates were concealed in his father's
barn, and frankly asked the prophet if it were so. Joseph replied that
it was. "Some time after this," David adds, "my mother was going to
milk the cows, when she was met out near the yard by the same old man
[meaning the one who had saluted his party on the way from Harmony; at
least, David judged him to be the same, doubtless from his mother's
description of him,] who said to her: 'You have been very faithful and
diligent in your labors, but you are tired because of the increase
of your toil; it is proper, therefore, that you should receive a
witness, that your faith may be strengthened.' Thereupon he showed
her the plates. My father and mother had a large family of their own,
the addition to it, therefore, of Joseph, his wife Emma, and Oliver,
very greatly increased the toil and anxiety of my mother. And although
she had never complained she had sometimes felt that her labor was
too much, or, at least, she was perhaps beginning to feel so. This
circumstance, however, completely removed all such feelings, and nerved
her up for her increased responsibilities." [15]


1. This date in the prophet's history, published in the _Millennial
Star_ (Supplement), vol. 14, p. 12, is set down as the 15th of April,
and the day Oliver began writing as Joseph translated is said to be the
17th of April. The 15th and 17th, however, are typographical errors.
In the original manuscript of the History of the Church, in the
Historian's Office, the dates are written the 5th and 7th; see also
_Times and Seasons_, vol. I, p. 201, where Oliver Cowdery gives the
dates 5th and 7th of April, 1829.

2. Statement of David Whitmer, in _Kansas City Journal_, June 5, 1881.

3. Doc. and Cov., sec. 6. The reader may think I am quoting over
copiously from these revelations given while the translation of the
Book of Mormon was in progress; and he may think that these incidents
have little or nothing to do with the story of the translation, and
the story of the translation itself but little to do with the object
of this work. I would suggest, however, that this history of the
translation is necessary to future arguments to be made when I come to
the considerations of the objections to the Book of Mormon, in part
IV, where I shall examine other theories for the origin of the Book
of Mormon. Besides, I want the reader to know the atmosphere in which
this work of translation was done; and for that purpose call especial
attention to the spirit of the several revelations that have been

4. _Times and Seasons_, vol. II, p. 201.

5. Chapter 14.

6. Chapter 14.

7. Whitmer's statement, _Kansas City Journal_, June 5, 1881.

8. History of the Church, vol. I, p. 47.

9. History of the Church, vol. I, p. 44.

10. Whitmer's statement, _Kansas City Journal_, June 5, 1881. Also
report of visit to David Whitmer, by Orson Pratt and Joseph F. Smith,
_Millennial Star_, vol. 40, pp. 769-774.

11. Statement of David Whitmer, _Pratt and Smith Report, Millennial
Star_, vol. 40, pp. 769-774.

Let it be observed that this reported conversation was published during
the life time of David Whitmer. It took place on the 7th of Sept.,
1878; and Whitmer did not die until 25th Jan., 1888.

12. Cannon's _Life of Joseph Smith_, pp. 67, 68.

13. Statement of David Whitmer, _Pratt and Smith Report, Millennial
Star_, vol. 40, pp. 769-774. Another instance that in like manner
illustrates the seership of the prophet Joseph is related in the church
history, and which occurred while making a journey from Independence,
Missouri, to Ohio, in company with Bishop Newel K. Whitney. Near
New Albany their horses took fright and while they were running at
full speed Bishop Whitney attempted to jump out of the conveyance,
but caught his foot in the wheel and had his leg and foot broken in
several places. This occasioned delay of several weeks among a not very
friendly people; for besides their manifest coldness an attempt was
made to poison the Prophet. And now the Prophet's statement: "Brother
Whitney had not had his foot moved from the bed for nearly four weeks,
when I went into his room, after a walk in the grove, and told him
if he would agree to start for home in the morning, we would take a
wagon to the river, about four miles, and there would be a ferry boat
in waiting which would take us quickly across, where we would find
a hack which would take us directly to the landing, where we should
find a boat, in waiting, and we would be going up the river before 10
o'clock, and have a prosperous journey home. He took courage and told
me he would go. We started next morning, and found everything as I had
told him, for we were passing rapidly up the river before 10 o'clock,
and landing at Wellsville, took stage coach to Chardon, from thence in
a wagon to Kirtland, where we arrived some time in June." (_History of
the Church_, vol. I, p. 272.)

14. Whitmer's statement, _Pratt and Smith Report, Millennial Star_,
vol. 40, pp. 769-774.

15. _Pratt and Smith Report, Millennial Star_, vol. 40, p. 772.



Relative to the manner of translating the Book of Mormon the Prophet
himself has said but little. "Through the medium of the Urim and
Thummim I translated the record by the gift and power of God," [1] is
the most extended published statement made by him upon the subject.
Of the Urim and Thummim he says: "With the record was found a curious
instrument which the ancients called a Urim and Thummim, which
consisted of two transparent stones set in a rim of a bow fastened to a
breastplate." [2]

Oliver Cowdery, one of the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon,
and the Prophet's chief amanuensis, says of the work of translation
in which he assisted: "I wrote with my own pen the entire Book of
Mormon (save a few pages), as it fell from the lips of the Prophet
Joseph Smith, as he translated by the gift and power of God, by the
means of the Urim and Thummim, or, as it is called by that book, 'Holy
Interpreters."' [3] This is all he has left on record on the manner of
translating the book. [4]

David Whitmer, another of the Three Witnesses, is more specific on this
subject. After describing the means the Prophet employed to exclude the
light from the "Seer Stone," he says: "In the darkness the spiritual
light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would
appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph
would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal
scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to Brother Joseph to
see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character
with the interpretation would appear. Thus the Book of Mormon was
translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man."

There will appear between this statement of David Whitmer's and what is
said both by Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery a seeming contradiction.
Joseph and Oliver both say the translation was done by means of the
Urim and Thummim, which is described by Joseph as being two transparent
stones "set in a rim of a bow fastened to a breastplate;" while David
Whitmer says that the translation was made by means of a "Seer Stone."
The apparent contradiction is cleared up, however, by a statement made
by Martin Harris, another of the Three Witnesses. He said that the
Prophet possessed a "Seer Stone," by which he was enabled to translate
as well as from the Urim and Thummim, and for convenience he then (i.
e., at the time Harris was acting as his scribe) used the Seer Stone.
* * * Martin said further that the Seer Stone differed in appearance
entirely from the Urim and Thummim that was obtained with the plates,
which were two clear stones set in two rims, very much resembling
spectacles, only they were larger. [6]

The "Seer Stone" referred to here was a chocolate-colored, somewhat
egg-shaped stone which the Prophet found while digging a well in
company with his brother Hyrum. [7] It possessed the qualities of Urim
and Thummim, since by means of it--as described above--as well as by
means of the "Interpreters" found with the Nephite record, Joseph was
able to translate the characters engraven on the plates. [8]

Another account of the manner of translating the record purporting to
have been given by David Whitmer, and published in the _Kansas City
Journal_ of June 5, 1881, says:

    He [meaning Joseph Smith] had two small stones of a chocolate
    color, nearly egg-shape, and perfectly smooth, but not transparent,
    called interpreters, which were given him with the plates. He did
    not see the plates in translation, but would hold the interpreters
    to his eyes and cover his face with a hat, excluding all light,
    and before his eyes would appear what seemed to be parchment on
    which would appear the characters of the plates in a line at the
    top, and immediately below would appear the translation in English,
    which Smith would read to his scribe, who wrote it down exactly
    as it fell from his lips. The scribe would then read the sentence
    written, and if any mistakes had been made, the characters would
    remain visible to Smith until corrected, when they would fade from
    sight to be replaced by another line.

It is evident that there are inaccuracies in the above statement,
due, doubtless, to the carelessness of the reporter of the _Journal_,
who has confused what Mr. Whitmer said of the Seer Stone and Urim and
Thummim. If he meant to describe the Urim and Thummim or "Interpreters"
given to Joseph Smith with the plates--as seems to be the case--then
the reporter is wrong in saying that they were chocolate color and not
transparent; for the "Interpreters," given to the Prophet with the
plates, as we have seen by his own description, were "two transparent
stones." If the reporter meant to describe the "Seer Stone"--which is
not likely--he would be right in saying it was of a chocolate color,
and egg-shaped, but wrong in saying there were two of them.

Martin Harris' description of the manner of translating while he was
the amanuensis of the Prophet is as follows:

    By aid of the Seer Stone, sentences would appear and were read by
    the Prophet and written by Martin, and when finished he would say
    "written," and if correctly written, that sentence would disappear
    and another appear in its place, but if not written correctly it
    remained until corrected, so that the translation was just as it
    was engraven on the plates, precisely in the language then used. [9]

On one occasion Harris sought to test the genuineness of the Prophet's
procedure in the matter of translation, as follows:

    Martin said that after continued translation they would become
    weary and would go down to the river and exercise in throwing
    stones out on the river, etc. While so doing on one occasion,
    Martin found a stone very much resembling the one used for
    translating, and on resuming their labors of translation Martin
    put in place [of the Seer Stone] the stone that he had found. He
    said that the Prophet remained silent unusually long and intently
    gazing in darkness, no trace of the usual sentence appearing. Much
    surprised Joseph exclaimed: "Martin! what is the matter? all is as
    dark as Egypt." Martin's countenance betrayed him, and the Prophet
    asked Martin why he had done so. Martin said, to stop the mouths
    of fools, who had told him that the Prophet had learned those
    sentences and was merely repeating them. [10]

The sum of the whole matter, then, concerning the manner of translating
the sacred record of the Nephites, according to the testimony of
the only witnesses competent to testify in the matter is: With the
Nephite record was deposited a curious instrument, consisting of two
transparent stones, set in the rim of a bow, somewhat resembling
spectacles, but larger, called by the ancient Hebrews "Urim and
Thummim," but by the Nephites "Interpreters." In addition to these
"Interpreters" the Prophet Joseph had a "Seer Stone," which to him was
a Urim and Thummim; that the Prophet sometimes used one and sometimes
the other of these sacred instruments in the work of translation; that
whether the "Interpreters" or the "Seer Stone" was used, the Nephite
characters with the English interpretation appeared in the sacred
instrument; that the Prophet would pronounce the English translation
to his scribe, which, when correctly written, would disappear and the
other characters with their interpretation take their place, and so on
until the work was completed.

It should not be supposed, however, that this translation, though
accomplished by means of the "Interpreters" and "Seer Stone," as stated
above, was merely a mechanical procedure; that no faith, or mental
or spiritual effort was required on the Prophet's part; that the
instruments did all, while he who used them did nothing but look and
repeat mechanically what he saw there reflected. Much has been written
upon this manner of translating the Nephite record, by those who have
opposed the Book of Mormon, and chiefly in a sneering way. On the
manner of translation they have bottomed much, not of their argument
but their ridicule--against the record; and as in another part of this
volume I am to meet what they consider their argument, and what I know
to be their ridicule, I consider here a few other facts connected with
the manner of translating the Book of Mormon, which are extremely
important, as they furnish a basis upon which can be successfully
answered all the objections that are urged, based on the manner in
which the translation was accomplished, and also as to errors in
grammar, the use of modern words, western New York phrases, and other
defects of language which it is admitted are to be found in the Book of
Mormon, especially in the first edition.

I repeat, then, that the translation of the Book of Mormon by means
of the "Interpreters" and "Seer Stone," was not merely a mechanical
process, but required the utmost concentration of mental and spiritual
force possessed by the Prophet, in order to exercise the gift of
translation through the means of the sacred instruments provided for
that work. Fortunately we have the most perfect evidence of the fact,
though it could be inferred from the general truth that God sets no
premium upon mental or spiritual laziness; for whatever means God may
have provided to assist man to arrive at the truth, he has always made
it necessary for man to couple with those means his utmost endeavor of
mind and heart. So much in the way of reflection; now as to the facts
referred to.

In his _Address to All Believers in Christ_, David Whitmer says:

    At times when Brother Joseph would attempt to translate he would
    look into the hat in which the stone was placed, he found he was
    spiritually blind and could not translate. He told us that his mind
    dwelt too much on earthly things, and various causes would make
    him incapable of proceeding with the translation. When in this
    condition he would go out and pray, and when he became sufficiently
    humble before God, he could then proceed with the translation.
    Now we see how very strict the Lord is, and how he requires the
    heart of man to be just right in his sight before he can receive
    revelation from him. [11]

In a statement to Wm. H. Kelley, G. A. Blakeslee, of Gallen, Michigan,
under date of September 15, 1882, David Whitmer said of Joseph Smith
and the necessity of his humility and faithfulness while translating
the Book of Mormon:

    He was a religious and straight-forward man. He had to be; for he
    was illiterate and he could do nothing himself. He had to trust
    in God. He could not translate unless he was humble and possessed
    the right feelings towards everyone. To illustrate so you can see:
    One morning when he was getting ready to continue the translation,
    something went wrong about the house and he was put out about it.
    Something that Emma, his wife, had done. Oliver and I went up
    stairs and Joseph came up soon after to continue the translation,
    but he could not do anything. He could not translate a single
    syllable. He went down stairs, out into the orchard, and made
    supplication to the Lord; was gone about an hour--came back to the
    house, and asked Emma's forgiveness and then came up stairs where
    we were, and then the translation went on all right. He could do
    nothing save he was humble and faithful. [12]

The manner of translation is so far described by David Whitmer and
Martin Harris, who received their information necessarily from Joseph
Smith, and doubtless it is substantially correct, except in so far as
their statements may have created the impression that the translation
was a mere mechanical process; and this is certainly corrected in part
at least by what David Whitmer has said relative to the frame of mind
Joseph must be in before he could translate. But we have more important
evidence to consider on this subject of translation than these
statements of David Whitmer. In the course of the work of translation
Oliver Cowdery desired the gift of translation to be conferred upon
him, and God promised to grant it to him in the following terms:

    Oliver Cowdery, verily, verily, I say unto you, that assuredly as
    the Lord liveth, who is your God and your Redeemer, even so surely
    shall you receive a knowledge of whatsoever things you shall ask
    in faith, with an honest heart, believing that you shall receive
    a knowledge concerning the engravings of old records, which are
    ancient, which contain those parts of my scripture of which has
    been spoken by the manifestation of my Spirit. Yea, behold, I
    will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost,
    which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.
    Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation; behold this is the
    spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the
    Red Sea on dry ground. * * * Ask that you may know the mysteries
    of God, and that you may translate and receive knowledge from all
    those ancient records which have been hid up, that are sacred; and
    according to your faith shall it be done unto you. [13]

In attempting to exercise this gift of translation, however, Oliver
Cowdery failed; and in a revelation upon the subject the Lord explained
the cause of his failure to translate:

    Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would
    give it [_i. e._ the gift of translation] unto you, when you took
    no thought save it was to ask me. But, behold, I say unto you, that
    you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be
    right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn
    within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right. But if it
    be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a
    stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is
    wrong; therefore you cannot write that which is sacred save it be
    given you from me. [14]

While this is not a description of the manner in which Joseph Smith
translated the Book of Mormon, it is, nevertheless, the Lord's
description of how another man was to exercise the gift of translation;
and doubtless it is substantially the manner in which Joseph Smith did
exercise it, and the manner in which he translated the Book of Mormon.
That is, the Prophet Joseph Smith looked into the "Interpreters" or
"Seer Stone," saw there by the power of God and the gift of God to him,
the ancient Nephite characters, and by bending every power of his mind
to know the meaning thereof, the interpretation wrought out in his mind
by this effort--"by studying it out in his mind," to use the Lord's
phrase--was reflected in the sacred instrument, there to remain until
correctly written by the scribe.

We see something akin to this also in the manner in which the Nephites
used Liahona, their Urim and Thummim--the instrument through means of
which they were directed of the Lord upon their journey to the promised
land of America--it worked "according to the faith and diligence and
heed" they gave unto it. (I Nephi 16:28.)

In further proof that translation was not a merely mechanical process
with the Prophet Joseph, I call attention to the evident thought and
study he later bestowed upon the work of translating the rolls of
papyrus found with the Egyptian mummies, purchased by the Saints in
Kirtland, of Michael H. Chandler, about the 6th of July, 1835. "Soon
after this," says the Prophet, "with W. W. Phelps and Oliver Cowdery
as scribes, I commenced the translation of some of the characters
or hieroglyphics, and much to our joy found that one of the rolls
contained the writings of Abraham, another the writings of Joseph
of Egypt," etc. Speaking in his history of the latter part of July,
he says: "The remainder of this month I was continually engaged in
translating an alphabet to the Book of Abraham and arranging a grammar
of the Egyptian language." In his journal entry for November 26, 1835,
is the following: "Spent the day in translating the Egyptian characters
from the papyrus, though suffering with a severe cold." Under date of
December 15, this: "I exhibited and explained the Egyptian characters
to them (Elders M'Lellin and Young), and explained many things
concerning the dealings of God with the ancients, and the formation of
the planetary system." Thus he continued from time to time to work upon
this translation, which was not published until 1842, in the _Times
and Seasons_, beginning in number nine of volume three. It should
be remembered in connection with this "preparing an alphabet" and
"arranging a grammar of the Egyptian language" that the Prophet still
had in his possession the "Seer Stone" (or at least Oliver Cowdery had
it, for on completing the translation of the Book of Mormon the Prophet
gave the Seer Stone into Oliver Cowdery's keeping.--David Whitmer's
_Address to All Believers_, p. 32),--which he had used sometimes in the
translation of the Book of Mormon, yet it seems from the circumstances
named that he had to bend all the energies of his intellectual powers
to obtain a translation of the Egyptian characters.

There can be no doubt, either, that the interpretation thus obtained
was expressed in such language as the Prophet could command, in such
phraseology as he was master of, and common to the time and locality
where he lived; modified, of course, by the application of that
phraseology to facts and ideas new to him in many respects, and above
the ordinary level of the Prophet's thoughts and language, because of
the inspiration of God that was upon him. This view of the translation
of the Nephite record accounts for the fact that the Book of Mormon,
though a translation of an ancient record, is, nevertheless, given
in English idiom of the period and locality in which the Prophet
lived; and in the faulty English, moreover, both as to composition,
phraseology, and grammar, of a person of Joseph Smith's limited
education; and also accounts for the sameness of phraseology and
literary style which runs through the whole volume.

Nor are we without authority of high value in these views for the
verbal style of inspired writers. In _The Annotated Bible_, published
by the "Religious Tract Society," London, 1859, the following occurs in
relation to the explanation of the words "prophet" and "prophecy:"

    That the prophets were more than foretellers of things future is
    apparent from their history as well as from their writings. It
    must also be remembered that, although prophecy contains many very
    circumstantial allusions to particular facts and individuals, yet
    these are referred to chiefly on account of their revelation of
    those great, general principles with which it has to do. Prophecy
    is God's voice, speaking to us respecting that great struggle which
    has been and is going on in this world between good and evil.

    The divine communications were made to the prophets in divers
    manners; God seems sometimes to have spoken to them in audible
    voice; occasionally appearing in human form. At other times he
    employed the ministry of angels, or made known his purposes
    by dreams. But he most frequently revealed his truth to the
    prophets by producing that supernatural state of the sentiment,
    intellectual, and moral faculties which the scriptures call
    "vision." Hence prophetic announcements are often called "visions,"
    _i. e._ things seen; and the prophets themselves are called "seers."

    Although the visions which the prophet beheld and the predictions
    of the future which he announced were wholly announced by the
    divine Spirit, yet the form of the communication, the imagery in
    which it is clothed, the illustration by which it is cleared up and
    impressed, the symbols employed to bring it more graphically before
    the mind--in short, all that may be considered as its garb and
    dress, depends upon the education, habits, association, feelings
    and the whole mental intellectual and spiritual character of the
    prophet. Hence the style of some is purer, more sententious, more
    ornate, or more sublime than others.

The author of _Moral and Metaphysical Philosophy_, Frederick Denison
Maurice, sometime Professor of Casuistry and Modern Philosophy in the
University of Cambridge, in discussing the philosophers of the last
half of the seventeenth century, has an excellent passage on the views
of Spinoza respecting the Hebrew prophets, and in what manner they and
their work are to be regarded. The passage is so _apropos_ the matter
here discussed that I quote the essential parts of it:

    "What do the sacred books impart when they affirm the Spirit of God
    to have been infused into the prophets--that the prophets spoke by
    the Spirit of God?" (Spinoza.)

    The result at which our author arrives upon a long examination into
    the different uses of the word "Spirit" is, that these expressions
    respecting the infusion of the Spirit "signify nothing more than
    that the prophets had a singular and extraordinary virtue and
    cultivated piety, with very great constancy of mind, and thereby
    they had a perception of the mind or judgment of God; for we shall
    find that the Spirit of God denotes in Hebrew as well the mind as
    the judgment or sentence of God, and therefore that the law of God,
    because it unfolded the mind of God, is called the mind or Spirit
    of God; therefore the imagination of the prophets might, with equal
    justice, be said to be the mind of God, and the prophets be said
    to have had the mind of God, inasmuch as through their imagination
    the decrees of God were revealed. * * * The question how the
    prophets acquired a sense of certainty respecting their revelations
    gives rise to a long discussion. Their imagination being the
    main instrument of their discoveries, they cannot have the same
    security as we have for those truths which are discovered by
    scientific insight or "natural light." "It is," says Spinoza, very
    characteristically, "a moral, not a mathematical security. It is
    derived (1) from the great strength of their phantasy, which brings
    objects before them as clearly as we see them when we are awake.
    (2) From some divine sign. (3) From their minds being disposed to
    the right and just," Spinoza affirms the last to be the principal
    secret of their certainty. * * * Nevertheless, he affirms that the
    revelations to the prophet depended upon his temperament and upon
    his own opinions. These he brought with him--these varied not only
    his style of writing, but his understanding of any communication
    that was made to him. His joy, his sorrow, all the different moods
    of his mind and body, were continually affecting his judgments and
    his teachings. * * * Every thoughtful reader will perceive that
    in these statements Spinoza has an evident advantage over those
    who treat the personal feelings, experiences, struggles of the
    prophets, as if they were nothing--who forget that they were human
    beings--who look upon them merely as utterers of certain divine
    dogmas, or as foretelling certain future events. He has a right
    to say that such persons overlook the letter of the books, while
    they profess to honor the letter; that they change their substance,
    while they think that they are taking them just as they are. But no
    real devout reader of the prophets ever forgets that they are men.
    Their human feelings, sufferings, rejoicings, are parts to him of
    the divine revelation. The struggles of the prophet with his own
    evil--the consciousness and confession that the vile is mixed with
    the precious--help more than all formal teaching to show him and us
    how the higher mind is distinct from the lower, as well as how the
    one is related to the other. We see how the prophet arrived at a
    certainty about the divine will and purpose through the very doubts
    and contradictions in himself. [15]

Also the Reverend Joseph Armitage Robinson, D. D., dean of Westminster
and chaplain of King Edward VII of England, respecting the manner in
which the message of the Old Testament was received and communicated to
man, as late as 1905, said:

    The message of the Old Testament was not written by the divine
    hand, nor dictated by an outward compulsion; it was planted in the
    hearts of men, and made to grow in a fruitful soil. And then they
    were required to express it _in their own language, after their
    natural methods, and in accordance with the stage of knowledge
    which their time had reached_. Their human faculties were purified
    and quickened by the divine Spirit; but they spoke to their time
    in the language of their time, they spoke a spiritual message,
    accommodated to the experience of their age, a message of faith in
    God, and of righteousness as demanded by a righteous God. [16]

I take occasion at this point to observe that because a writer or
speaker claims to be under the inspiration of God it does not follow
that in giving expression to what the Lord puts into his heart he will
always do so in grammatical terms, any more than the orthography of an
inspired writer will always be accurate. We have many illustrations
of this fact among the inspired men that we have known in the Church
of Jesus Christ in these last days. Those of us who have listened
to the utterances of prophets and apostles cannot doubt of their
inspiration, and at the same time some of those who have been most
inspired have been inaccurate in the use of our English language.
The same seems true of the ancient apostles, also. The writer of the
Acts, at the conclusion of a synopsis of a discourse which he ascribes
to Peter, says, "Now, when they [the Jews] saw the boldness of Peter
and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men,
they marvelled." [17] The commentators upon this passage say that the
listening Jews perceived that Peter and John were uninstructed in the
learning of the Jewish schools, and were of the common sort of men,
untrained in teaching. [18] And again, "Their language and arguments
prove that they were untaught in the Rabbinical learning of the Jewish
schools." [19] But in what way could the Jews have discerned the
ignorance and absence of learning in Peter and John except through
the imperfections of their language? And yet those imperfections in
language may not be urged in evidence of the absence of inspiration
in the two apostles. Surely with God it must be that the matter is of
more consequence than the form in which it is expressed; the thought of
more moment than the word; it is the Spirit that giveth life, not the
letter. "He that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What
is the chaff to the wheat? saith the Lord." [20]

The view of the manner of translating the Book of Mormon here set forth
furnishes the basis of justification for those verbal changes and
grammatical corrections which have been made since the first edition
issued from the press; and would furnish justification for making many
more verbal and grammatical corrections in the book; for if, as here
set forth, the meaning of the Nephite characters was given to Joseph
Smith in such faulty English as he, an uneducated man, could command,
while every detail and shade of thought should be strictly preserved,
there can be no reasonable ground for objection to the correction
of mere verbal errors and grammatical construction. There can be no
reasonable doubt that had Joseph Smith been a finished English scholar
and the facts and ideas represented by the Nephite characters upon the
plates had been given him by the inspiration of God through the Urim
and Thummim, those ideas would have been expressed in correct English;
but as he was not a finished English scholar, he had to give expression
to those facts and ideas in such language as he could command, and
that was faulty English, which the Prophet himself and those who have
succeeded him as custodians of the word of God have had, and now have,
a perfect right to correct. [21]


1. Wentworth letter, _Millennial Star_, vol. 19, p. 118.

2. Wentworth letter, History of the Church, vol. IV, ch. 31.

3. Book of Mosiah 8:13.

4. The above statement was made by Oliver Cowdery, at a special
conference held at Kanesville, Iowa, Oct. 21, 1848. It was first
published in the _Deseret News_ of April 13, 1859: Bishop Reuben
Miller, who was present at the meeting, reported Cowdery's remarks.

5. From _An Address to all Believers in Christ_, by David Whitmer, A
Witness to the Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon, published at
Richmond, Missouri, 1887, p. 12.

6. Harris' Statement to Edward Stevenson, _Millennial Star_, vol. 44,
p. 87.

7. Cannon's _Life of Joseph Smith_, p. 56.

8. Nearly all the anti-"Mormon" works dealing with the coming forth
of the Book of Mormon speak of the "Seer Stone" and reiterate the
falsehood that the Prophet stole it from the children of Willard Chase,
for whom Joseph and Hyrum were digging a well.

9. Statement of Martin Harris, to Edward Stevenson, _Millennial Star_,
vol. 44, pp. 86, 87.

10. Harris' Statement to Edward Stevenson, _Millennial Star_, vol. 44,
pp. 78, 79; 86, 87.

11. _Address to All Believers in Christ_, p. 30.

12. Braden and Kelley, _Debate on Divine Origin of Book of Mormon_,
p. 186. The above debate took place in 1884, several years before the
death of David Whitmer, and the statement from which the above is taken
was quoted in full.

13. D. & C., sec. 8:1-3, 11.

14. D. & C., sec. 9:7-9.

15. _Moral and Metaphysical Philosophy_, vol. II, pp. 397-399.

16. _St. Louis Globe-Democrat_, Sunday, March 19, 1905--The discourse
is published at length.

17. Acts 4:13.

18. Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, _Commentary_, Acts 4:13.

19. _International Commentary of the New Testament_, Acts 4.

20. Jeremiah 23:28.

21. The manner of translating the Book of Mormon above set forth,
gave rise to considerable discussion within the Church, and led to
the publication of a number of papers in the _Improvement Era_, a
monthly magazine published in Utah, in defense of the views here
advocated. These papers were finally collected and published in the
author's _Defense of the Faith and the Saints_, vol. I, pp. 255-311,
to which the reader is referred for a more exhaustive consideration
of the question above discussed. Moreover, this whole question was
subsequently reviewed at a meeting of the First Presidency and the
Twelve Apostles, and accepted as the most reasonable explanation that
had been offered on the subject of the translation of the Book of
Mormon, and its publication approved.--_Roberts_.



The exact time when the translation of the Book of Mormon was completed
cannot be ascertained. According to the history of the Prophet it was
early in June, 1829, when David Whitmer, took Joseph and his wife and
Oliver Cowdery to his father's home near Waterloo, at the north end
of Seneca Lake, to the neighborhood called Fayette. [1] There the
Prophet remained until the translation was completed and the copyright
secured. Since David Whitmer arrived at Harmony "in the beginning of
June," to take the Prophet and his wife and Oliver Cowdery to his
father's home, and as Mr. John H. Gilbert (the chief compositor on the
Book of Mormon), says in a signed statement [2] that he commenced the
work of setting the type for the Book of Mormon in August, 1829, the
translation was completed between those dates, that is, between the
early part of June, 1829, and August of the same year, as the work of
translation was completed before the work of printing began.

The contract for printing was made with Mr. Egbert B. Grandin, of
Palmyra, the edition to be five thousand copies, and the price $3,000,
Martin Harris guaranteeing the payment of that sum to the publisher.

As soon as arrangements were completed for publishing the Book of
Mormon, the Prophet Joseph started for Harmony, Pennsylvania, but
before his departure he left the following directions to be followed
respecting the work of printing:

    First, that Oliver Cowdery should transcribe the whole manuscript.

    Second, that he should take but one copy at a time to the office,
    so that if one copy should get destroyed there would still be a
    copy remaining.

    Third, that in going to and from the [printing] office, he should
    always have a guard to attend him, for the purpose of protecting
    the manuscript.

    Fourth, that a guard should be kept constantly on the watch, both
    night and day, about the house, to protect the manuscript from
    malicious persons, who would infest the house for the purpose of
    destroying the manuscript. All these things were strictly attended
    to as the Lord commanded Joseph. [3]

These precautions, at first glance, may seem excessive, and under
ordinary circumstances would be totally unnecessary; yet the following
communication to the _Signs of the Times_, by J. N. T. Tucker, who was
employed in the printing establishment of the _Wayne Sentinel_, in the
establishment at which the Book of Mormon was printed, in Palmyra,
will demonstrate that the precaution in this case was necessary; and
incidentally tends to prove true the statement of the revelation in
which the Prophet Joseph is warned that the 116 pages of manuscript
stolen from Martin Harris were changed by those into whose hands
they had fallen, with the intention to make them conflict with the
reproduction of them, should the Prophet again translate that part of
the work. With these preliminary remarks the following letter will be


    _Messrs. Editors_:--Having noticed in a late number of the _Signs
    of the Times_, a notice of a work, entitled, _Mormon Delusions
    and Monstrosities_, it occurred to me that it might, perhaps, be
    a service to the cause of truth, to state one circumstance in
    relation to the authenticity of the Book of Mormon, which occurred
    during its publication, at which time I was a practical printer and
    engaged in the office where it was printed, and became familiar
    with the men and their principles, through whose agency it was "got

    The circumstance alluded to was as follows: We had heard much said
    by Martin Harris, the man who paid for the printing, and the only
    one in the concern worth any property, about the wonderful wisdom
    of the translators of the mysterious plates, and resolved to test
    their wisdom. Accordingly, after putting one sheet in type, we laid
    it aside, and told Martin Harris it was lost, and there would be
    serious defection in the book in consequence, unless another sheet
    like the original could be produced. The announcement threw the
    old gentleman into quite an excitement. But after a few moments'
    reflection, he said he would try to obtain another. After two or
    three weeks, another sheet was produced, but no more like the
    original than any other sheet of paper would have been, written
    over by a common schoolboy, after having read, as they did, the
    manuscript preceding and succeeding the lost sheet.

    As might be expected, the disclosure of the plan greatly annoyed
    the authors, and caused no little merriment among those who
    were acquainted with the circumstances. As we were none of us
    Christians, and only labored for the "gold that perisheth," we did
    not care for the delusion, only so far as to be careful to avoid it
    ourselves, and enjoy the hoax. Not one of the hands in the office
    where the wonderful book was printed ever became a convert to the
    system, although the writer of this was often assured by Martin
    Harris, if he did not he would be destroyed in 1832.

    Yours in the gospel of Christ,

    J. N. TUCKER.

    "Gorton, May 23, 1842."

    "_Signs of the Times_, June 8, 1842."

The description in this letter of Martin Harris' excitement from
the loss of the sheet mentioned, and the claim that the reproduced
manuscript did not fill the blank created through their hiding that one
sheet of type-set matter, will appear at once as a fabrication when
it is remembered that Martin Harris must have known that the original
manuscript of the Book of Mormon had never left the hands of those
having the work in charge, and they were by that precaution prepared
against just such emergencies as this whether practiced playfully or in
dead earnest to bring the work into disrepute. [4]

These several precautions relative to the manuscript of the Book of
Mormon stated by Lucy Smith in the work quoted, account for several
circumstances regarded as peculiar in connection with the publication
of the Book of Mormon: The almost entire absence of Joseph Smith the
prophet from the printing establishment of Mr. Grandin while the book
was being set up and printed; the presence of two persons always when
a portion of manuscript was carried to the printers, one of whom was
always Hyrum Smith; the guard constantly upon the watch at the Smith
homestead; and the existence of two manuscript copies of the Book
of Mormon. Oliver Cowdery during the time that the type setting and
printing was going on made a copy from the original manuscript for
the use of the printer; carefully keeping the original (which, too,
in the main, he had written as the prophet Joseph translated from the
Nephite plates) in his possession at the home of the Smiths, that if
peradventure the copy sent to the printer should be destroyed or stolen
it could be copied again from the original.

It is said by Mr. Gilbert that the manuscript as sent to him was
neither capitalized nor punctuated, and that the capitalization and
punctuation in the first edition was done by him. This statement,
however, can only be true in part, as an examination of the printer's
manuscript will prove; for that manuscript is very well capitalized
and in the main in the handwriting of Oliver Cowdery. Mr. Gilbert may
have capitalized and punctuated to some extent, but it is clear that he
did not do all of it, or even the main part of it. [5] The printer's
manuscript, after it had served its purpose, was evidently taken
possession of by Oliver Cowdery, while the original manuscript remained
in the possession of the Prophet Joseph.

In 1850 Oliver Cowdery, a little before his death, which occurred at
Richmond, Ray county, Missouri, on the 3rd of March of that year--gave
into the possession of David Whitmer, his brother-in-law and fellow
witness of the truth of the Book of Mormon, his printer's manuscript
of that book, and the descendants of David Whitmer have it in their
possession to this day (1903); regarding it--though in that they are
mistaken--as the original manuscript. [6] The original manuscript
having been preserved by the Prophet Joseph, it was, on the 2nd of
October, 1841, in the presence of a number of elders, deposited by
him in the northwest cornerstone of the Nauvoo House, with a number
of coins, papers and books, in a cavity made in the corner stone for
that purpose. Among those who were present at the time the original
manuscript of the Book of Mormon was thus deposited in the corner stone
of the Nauvoo House, was Elder Warren Foote, of Glendale, Kane county,
Utah, who quotes from his journal as follows:

    October 2, 1841. The semi-annual conference commenced today.
    After meeting was dismissed a deposit was made in the southeast
    corner of the Nauvoo house. A square hole had been chisseled in
    the large corner stone like a box. An invitation was given for any
    who wished to put in any little memento they desired to. I was
    standing very near the corner stone, when Joseph Smith came up with
    the manuscript of the Book of Mormon, and said he wanted to put
    that in there, as he had had trouble enough with it. It appeared
    to be written on fools' cap paper, and was about three inches
    in thickness. There was also deposited a Book of Doctrine and
    Covenants, five cents, ten cents, twenty-five cents, fifty cents,
    and one dollar pieces of American coin, besides other articles. A
    close-fitting stone cover was laid in cement, and the wall built
    over it. I was standing within three feet of the Prophet when he
    handed in the manuscript, and saw it very plainly. He intimated in
    his remarks, that in after generations the walls might be thrown
    down, and these things discovered, from which the people could
    learn the doctrines and principles and faith of the Latter-day
    Saints. [7]

In a rather curious manner a portion of this original manuscript came
into the possession of Joseph F. Smith, President of the Church, and
nephew of the Prophet Joseph. The Nauvoo House, begun in the Prophet,
was never completed. Mr. Lewis C. Bidamon, who married Emma Smith,
widow of the Prophet, came into possession of the unfinished Nauvoo
House, and tore down the walls and took up the extensive foundations of
the house in order to sell the building stone in them. In the course of
tearing out the foundations the southeast corner stone was taken out
and the treasures it contained discovered and taken in charge by Mr.
Bidamon. Some years later, namely, in the Summer of 1884, Mrs. Sarah M.
Kimball visited Nauvoo, and among other landmarks went to the site of
the Nauvoo House, the walls and foundation of which were not yet all
taken away. She called upon Mr. Bidamon, then living in a temporary
four-roomed building erected on the southwest corner of the foundation
laid for the Nauvoo House. And now Mrs. Kimball's story, as related in
her letter to Elder George Reynolds, dated 19th July, 1884:

    I asked why the heavy and extensive foundations around him were
    being torn up; he [Mr. Bidamon] replied that he had bought the
    premises, and the rock was torn up to sell, as he was poor
    and otherwise would not have been able to build. I said, I am
    interested in this foundation, because I remember there were
    treasures deposited under the chief corner stone. He said, yes,
    I took up the stone box and sold it to Mr. -- (I do not remember
    the name.) It had been so long exposed to the wet and weather that
    its contents were nearly ruined, I gave the coin to Joe [Joseph]
    [8] and told him he could have the pile of paper. He said it was
    the manuscript of the Book of Mormon; but it was so much injured
    that he did not care for it. While we were talking, Mr. Bidamon's
    wife brought a large pasteboard box and placed it on my lap. It
    contained a stack of faded and fast decaying paper, the bottom
    layers for several inches were uniform in size, they seemed to me
    larger than common fools' cap, the paper was coarse in texture and
    had the appearance of having lain a long time in water, as the ink
    seemed almost entirely soaked into the paper. When I handled it,
    it would fall to pieces. I could only read a few words here and
    there, just enough to learn that it was the language of the Book
    of Mormon. Above this were some sheets of finer texture folded and
    sewed together, this was better preserved and more easily read. I
    held it up, and said: "Mr. B., how much for this relic?" He said:
    "Nothing from you, you are welcome to anything you like from the
    box." I appreciated the kindness, took the leaves that were folded
    and sewed together, also took two fragments of the _Times and
    Seasons_, published by Don Carlos Smith. [9] I send with this a
    fragment dated January, 1840, for your acceptance, containing the
    prophetic lamentation of P. P. Pratt, while chained in prison.

    Very respectfully,

    (Signed) SARAH M. KIMBALL. [10]

This fragment of the manuscript, now in the possession of President
Joseph F. Smith, is thus described by Elder George Reynolds, in his
_History of the Book of Mormon_:

    It consists of twenty-two pages of somewhat rough, unruled writing
    paper, more resembling narrow bill-cap than any other size of
    paper now made, being a little less than fifteen and a half inches
    long and full six and a half inches wide. The paper is now tinged
    brown or yellow by time and damp, and the writing in some places
    is undecipherable. The pages are numbered 3 to 22, pages 1 and 2
    having been lost. The manuscript commences at the second verse of
    the second chapter of the First Book of Nephi, and continues to the
    thirty-fifth verse of the thirteenth chapter of the same book. * *
    * The manuscript is in two, if not three, handwritings. Pages 7 to
    18, inclusive, appear to have been written by Oliver Cowdery. Pages
    3 to 6 are written in what looks like a woman's hand, possibly that
    of Emma Smith; while the handwriting on pages 19 to 22, if not the
    same, very much resembles that of pages 3 to 6. The only division
    made in the manuscript is into chapters; the sentences are not
    divided by punctuation marks and are seldom commenced with capital

It may be thought that the care of the manuscript during the process of
printing was not only extraordinary but unnecessary. The experiences of
the prophet, however, in the matter of keeping possession of the plates
of the Book of Mormon, and the efforts that were made to take them
from him, together with the loss of the one hundred and sixteen pages
of manuscript he had for a short time entrusted to the care of Martin
Harris, taught him caution. It is well it did, for having failed in
their efforts to wrest the plates from him, several conspiracies were
formed by his enemies to obtain the manuscript of the book and prevent
its publication. [11] And notwithstanding all the precautions taken
an enemy nearly succeeded in publishing the Book of Mormon in garbled
form before the printing of the book was completed. An ex-justice of
the peace by the name of Cole started to publish a weekly periodical
which he called _Dogberry Paper on Winter Hill_. In his prospectus
he promised his subscribers to publish one form of "Joe Smith's Gold
Bible" each week, and thus furnish them with the principal part of the
book without their being obliged to purchase it from the Smiths. The
_Dogberry Paper_ was printed at Mr. Grandin's establishment, where the
Book of Mormon was being printed, and as the press was employed all
the time except at night and on Sundays, Mr. Cole printed his paper
at those times. The arrangement also enabled him to keep what he was
doing from the knowledge of the Prophet and his associates; and it
is said that several numbers of his paper containing portions from
the Book of Mormon which he had pilfered, were published before his
rascality was found out. Joseph, who was at Harmony, in Pennsylvania,
was sent for, and on arriving at Palmyra quietly but firmly asserted
his copyrights which he had been careful to secure, and Mr. Cole
gave up his attempt to publish the book or any portion of it. After
settling this difficulty Joseph again returned to Pennsylvania, only
to be again summoned to Palmyra to quiet the fears of his publisher,
Mr. Grandin, who had been made fearful that the Prophet would not be
able to meet his obligations for printing the book. The people in the
vicinity of Palmyra had held public meetings and passed resolutions not
to purchase the Book of Mormon, if it ever issued from the press. They
appointed a committee to wait upon Mr. Grandin and explain to him the
evil consequences which would result to him because of the resolutions
they had passed not to buy the books when published, which would render
it impossible for "the Smiths" to meet their obligations to him. They
persuaded him to stop printing, and Joseph was again sent for. On the
Prophet's arrival he called upon Mr. Grandin in company with Martin
Harris, and together they gave the frightened publisher such assurance
of their ability to meet their obligation to him that printing was
resumed; [12] and finally, in the spring of 1830, the book issued from
the press.

Thus, from start to finish, difficulty and danger beset the coming
forth of the Book of Mormon. But at last every obstacle was surmounted;
every difficulty overcome; every device of the enemy thwarted; every
danger to the record of the Nephites past. It was published--a
five thousand edition of it. Henceforth, thanks to "the great art
preservative"--printing--it would be indestructible. To the world was
given the testimony of sleeping nations that the Lord is God; that
Jesus is the Christ, the Redeemer of the world; that the gospel is
the power of God unto salvation. The fervent prayers of the prophets
and other righteous men among the ancient inhabitants of America were
answered. The Gentile nations which, by the spirit of prophecy, they
knew would at some time occupy their land, would become informed as to
them; of their origin; of the promises of God to the remnant of their
seed, which the Gentiles would find upon the land. So, too, would the
Jews know of the ancient inhabitants of the land; and would know of
the decrees of God respecting the land and the inhabitants thereof;
and would have the testimony of these ancient nations of Israelites in
America that Jesus of Nazareth, whom the Jews had crucified, was indeed
the Messiah, the hope of Israel, and the world's Savior. But what was
of more immediate interest to these ancient worthies of the western
hemisphere, their descendants remaining in the land would, through
their record, be brought to a knowledge of their forefathers, and of
the goodness and favor and severity of God towards them. They would be
brought to a knowledge of how their fathers had departed from the ways
of the Lord; why the disfavor of God was upon them; and how they might
return into his favor through obedience to that gospel which their
fathers had rejected. For these several things righteous men among the
Nephites earnestly prayed; and obtained a promise from the Lord that he
would preserve their records and at the last bring them to the remnant
of their seed, to the Jews and to the Gentiles that their testimonies
to the truth of God might not be lost to the world. [13] And now the
hopes and promises were fulfilled. Their record was published and was
destined to be read in all the languages spoken by the children of men,
and stand as a Witness for God to all the world.


1. History of the Church, vol. I, pp. 48, 49.

2. The Statement referred to was given to Elder Francis M. Lyman, of
the Council of the Twelve Apostles, who called upon Mr. Gilbert at
Palmyra on October 23, 1897. Mr. Gilbert wrote with his own hand in
Elder Lyman's Journal, and signed the following:

Palmyra, N. Y., Oct. 23, 1897.

At the request of Elder F. M. Lyman of Utah, I make the following
certificate: I was born in the town of Richmond, Ontario county,
April 13, 1802. I assisted E. B. Grandin in estimating the expense
of printing 5,000 copies of the "Mormon" Bible, and the price agreed
upon--$3,000. I was the principal compositor of said Bible, commencing
on the same in August, 1829, and finishing the same in March, 1830.

(Signed) _John H. Gilbert_.

I am indebted to Elder Lyman for access to his Journal for the above

3. _History of the Prophet Joseph_, by his mother, chap. 31.

4. Tucker's letter is produced in Bennett's _Mormonism Exposed_,
(1842), pages 112, 123.

5. The writer saw and examined the printer's manuscript in the
possession of David Whitmer in 1884, and speaks from personal knowledge
on this point in the text.

6. It has since been deposited with the President of the Reorganized
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, son of the Prophet Joseph,
by the grandson of David Whitmer, George Schwiech.

7. The above excerpt from Elder Foote's Journal is published by George
Reynolds in a series of articles under the title "History of the Book
of Mormon," in the _Contributor_, for 1884.

8. _i. e._ Joseph Smith, son of the Prophet.

9. The Prophet's brother, and for a time editor of the _Times and

10. Mrs. Kimball's letter is published by Elder Geo. Reynolds in his
articles on the _History of the Book of Mormon, Contributor_, vol. V,
No. 10.

11. _History of the Prophet Joseph_, by Lucy Smith, chaps. 32 and 33.

12. _History of the Prophet Joseph_, by Lucy Smith, chap. 33.

13. See Book of Mormon, Book of Enos, chap. 1:12-18; Mormon 8:24-26;
and 9:36, 37; and 5:9-24; I Nephi 13:30-42.



With reference to its construction the Book of Mormon separates into
three divisions:

1. The small plates of Nephi, a record kept upon gold plates made by
the first Nephi upon which he purposed to record and have recorded
more especially the work of the holy ministry among the Nephites,
the prophecies of the coming of the Messiah in the flesh, and the
exhortations to righteousness by the prophets who should arise among
his people. As compared with his plates on which he designed to have
recorded the secular history of his people, they were small, and
doubtless comparatively few in number, hence their name--"The Smaller
Plates of Nephi." The historical data contained in these small plates
of Nephi extends over a period of about four hundred years, or from the
departure of Lehi from Jerusalem to the reign of King Benjamin, the
second king of the Nephite-Zarahemla nation. But chiefly these plates
were filled with prophecies and exhortations to righteousness, and
many transcriptions from the writings of Isaiah, and other prophets,
while historical data--though sufficient to give a general idea of the
movement of Lehi's colony, and the subsequent march of events among the
peoples that sprang from that colony--are meager.

The translation of these small plates, in current editions, occupies
the first one hundred and fifty-seven [1] pages of the Book of Mormon,
fractional pages aside; and with two pages of explanatory matter by
Mormon, under the title "Words of Mormon," make 133 pages of the
book. The books of this first division of the Book of Mormon are six
in number, _viz_: I. Nephi, II. Nephi, Book of Jacob, Book of Enos,
Book of Jarom, Book of Omni. Though there are but six books in this
division, there are nine writers, as follows:

The first Nephi, who writes one hundred and twenty-seven and a half
pages [2] of the one hundred and fifty seven in this division.

Jacob, brother of Nephi, twenty-one and a half pages.

Zenos, son of the above Jacob, two and one-half pages.

Jarom, son of the above Zenos, two pages.

In the Book of Omni there are but three and one half pages, but there
are five writers, each of whom records merely a few lines:

Omni, son of the above Jarom;

Amaron, son of the above Omni;

Chemish, brother of the above Amaron;

Abinadom, son of Chemish;

Amaleki, son of the above Abinadom.

Amaleki writes about two pages out of the three pages and a half
comprising the Book of Omni, and gives the important information
concerning the second hegira of the righteous Nephites, their union
with the people of Zarahemla and the formation of the Nephite-Zarahemla

Although there are nine writers in this division of the Book of Mormon,
the writing is chiefly done by the first two, Nephi and Jacob, of which
the first writes 127 1/2 pages; and the second 21 1/2 pages, leaving but
eight pages to be written by the other seven writers.

2. Mormon's abridgment of the Large Plates of Nephi comprises the
second division of the Book of Mormon. This is a condensed record made
from the various books written or engraved upon the Large Plates of
Nephi, which plates, it will be remembered, were made by the first
Nephi, as well as the Smaller Plates of Nephi, that upon them might be
recorded the secular history of the people, their wars and contentions,
their affairs of government and the migrations of their people. This
part of the Book of Mormon--the abridgment--is the work of one man,
Mormon, from whom this whole record of the Nephites takes its name, and
yet the abridgment of Mormon occupies but 390 1/2 out of the 632 pages;
his own book, bearing his own name, makes 15 1/2 pages making in all
406 out of the 623 pages which comprise the whole book.

The style of Mormon's abridgment is very complicated. It consists
mainly of his condensation of the various books which he found engraven
upon the Larger Plates of Nephi--the Book of Mosiah, Book of Alma,
Helaman, III. Nephi, IV. Nephi, etc. Because Mormon retained the names
of these respective books in his condensation or abridgment of them,
many readers of the Book of Mormon have been led to suppose that there
was a separate writer for each book, overlooking the fact that these
books, so-called, in the Book of Mormon, are but brief abridgments of
the original books bearing those names. Occasionally, however, Mormon
came upon passages in the original annals that pleased him so well that
he transcribed them verbatim in the record he was writing. An example
of this is to be found beginning at page 163 (current edition), in the
second line of the ninth paragraph, and ending with page 169--the words
of King Benjamin to his people.

The modern method of writing would be, of course, to make the
abridgment of Mormon the regular text of the book, put the verbatim
quotations from the old Nephite books that were being abridged within
quotation marks, and throw the occasional remarks or comments of the
abridger into foot notes. But these devices in literary work were not
known, apparently, among the Nephites.

After completing his abridgment of the books written upon the Larger
Plates of Nephi, down to this own day, Mormon made a record of the
things which came under his own observation, and engraved them upon
the Larger Plates of Nephi, and called that the Book of Mormon; but
upon the plates on which he had engraven his abridgment of all the
books found in the Larger Plates of Nephi, and which he had made with
his own hands, he recorded but a brief account of the things which he
had witnessed among his people, and that, too, he called the Book of
Mormon. [3] it occupies fourteen and a half pages; which, with the
other three hundred and ninety and one half pages, as above stated,
makes four hundred and five pages of the Book of Mormon written by the
hand of Mormon.

3. The third division of the Book of Mormon is made up of writings
of Moroni, the son of Mormon. He finishes the record of his father,
Mormon, in which he occupies seven and a half pages. After that he
abridges the history of the people of Jared, who were led from the
Tower of Babel to the north continent of the western hemisphere, and
whose record was found by a branch of the Nephite people. [4] This
abridged history of the Jaredites occupies thirty-eight pages; and in
character of composition is much like the complex style of Mormon's
abridgment of the Nephite records. It was modeled doubtless after that

Then follows his own book, the Book of Moroni, which occupies fifteen
and a half pages, making in all sixty-one pages written by Moroni.

The following is a summary of the three divisions:

    I. Direct translation from the Small Plates of Nephi, nine writers
    (of whom two write 149 of the 157 pages)...157 pages

    II. Mormon's abridgment of the various books written upon the Large
    Plates of Nephi...390 1/2 pages

    III. Mormon's personal account of events that occurred in this own
    day...14 1/2 pages

    IV. Moroni's writings--completion of this father's record,
    abridgment of the Jaredite History, his own book, called the Book
    of Moroni...61 pages

    Total...623 pages

The total number of writers in the Book of Mormon is eleven, of whom
four do the principal part of the writing, these are the First Nephi,
Jacob, Mormon and Moroni.

Of these four, Mormon does the major part. For purposes of reference I
make the following summary:

    Mormon writes...405 pages

    Moroni...61 pages

    Nephi...127 1/2 pages

    Jacob...21 1/2 pages

    The other seven writers...8 pages

    Total...623 pages

Such is the Book of Mormon as to its construction--the number of its
writers, and the style employed in the parts that are abridgments from
the larger records of the Nephites and Jaredites. All this may now
seem unimportant to the reader, but he will find when I come to the
argument for the truth of the Book of Mormon, and the consideration of
the objections urged against it, this analysis will become an important
factor in that work.


1. One hundred and fifty-one in the first edition.

2. That is of the current editions of the book. The references in the
analysis throughout are to current editions.

3. Mormon was born about the year 311 A. D., and was killed by the
Lamanites after delivering his writings to his son Moroni, about 385 A.

4. See p. 142 [Chapter X--Transcriber].


THEM. [1]

According to the Book of Mormon there have been three migrations from
the old world to the new. These, in their chronological order, are,
first, the colony of Jared; second, the colony of Lehi; and third, the
colony of Mulek. It is necessary to the completeness of this work to
give a brief account of each of these colonies, together with their
development into great nations in the western world, a summary of their
history, and a brief description of their civilization.


_Migration and Place of Landing_.

The colony of Jared, according to the Book of Mormon, departed from the
Tower of Babel about the time of the confusion of languages; which, if
the Hebrew chronology of the Bible be accepted, was an event that took
place 2,247 B. C. Through a special favor to the family of Jared and
his brother, Moriancumr, [2] the language of these families, and that
of a few of their friends was not confounded. Under divine direction
they departed from Babel northward into a valley called Nimrod, and
thence were led by the Lord across the continent of Asia [3] eastward
until they came to the shore of the great sea--Pacific Ocean--which
divided the lands. Here they remained four years; and then by divine
appointment constructed eight barges in which to cross the mighty
ocean to a land of promise, to which God had covenanted to bring
them; to a land "which was choice above all other lands, which the
Lord God had reserved for a righteous people." After a severely stormy
passage--continuing for 344 days, the colony landed on the western
coast of North America, "probably south of the Gulf of California." [4]

Soon after their arrival the people of the colony began to scatter out
upon the face of the land, and multiply, and till the earth; "and they
did wax strong in the land." [5] Previous to the demise of Moriancumr
and Jared, the people were called together and a kingly government
founded, Orihah, the youngest son of Jared, being anointed king.

_Capital and Centres of Civilization_.

The capital of the kingdom was doubtless the city of Moron, in a
province or "land" of the same name, the location of which is unknown
except that it was near the land called by the Nephites "Desolation."
"Now," says Moroni, "the land of Moron, where the king dwelt, was
near the land which is called 'Desolation' by the Nephites;" [6] and
later he informs us that this "land of Moron" was the land of the
"first inheritance" of the Jaredites. [7] This locates the land of
Moron near the land called by the Nephites "Desolation," and the land
Desolation, according to the Nephite records, bordered on the north
of the land Bountiful, at that point where it was but a day and a
half's journey for a Nephite from the sea east to the sea west. [8]
This would bring the southern borders of the land Desolation well down
towards the continent of South America, perhaps to some point on that
narrow neck of land known to us as the Isthmus of Panama. The northern
limits of what the Nephites called the land Desolation may not be so
easily ascertained. Whether it extended north and westward beyond the
peninsula of Yucatan or ended south and east of that peninsula may not
be definitely determined; but from the general tenor of the references
to it in the Book of Mormon, it was, when compared with the whole
country, occupied by the Nephites, a small division of the country, a
local province, and bounded on the north by what the Jaredites called
the land of Moron, the land of the Jaredites' first inheritance. [9]

According to the late Elder Orson Pratt the place of the Jaredites'
"first inheritance," or landing, was "on the western coast, and
probably south of the Gulf of California," [10] though he gives no
reason for his statement. Elder George Reynolds, speaking of the
land of Moron, "where the Jaredites made their first settlement,"
says: "It was north of the land called Desolation by the Nephites,
and consequently in some part of the region which we know as Central
America." [11] This conclusion, of course, is based upon the idea that
the land Desolation was comparatively but a small Nephite province,
an idea that, as already remarked, is forced upon the mind from the
general tenor of the Book of Mormon references to it.

This land Desolation, so named by the Nephites because of the evidence
of ruin and destruction that everywhere abounded in it, when first
discovered by them, not because its lands were not fertile, was
evidently a great centre of population in Jaredite times. About 123
B. C. a company of Nephites--forty-three in number--sent out by one
Limhi, came into the land afterwards called Desolation and described
it as "a land which was covered with dry bones, yea, a land which had
been peopled, and which had been destroyed." [12] Another description
of the land found by Limhi's expedition is that they "discovered a
land which was covered with bones of men, and of beasts, and was also
covered with the ruins of buildings of every kind; * * * a land which
had been peopled with a people who were as numerous as the hosts of
Israel." [13] "And for a testimony that the things they said were true,
they brought from the land twenty-four plates which were filled with
engravings, and the plates were of pure gold. And behold, also, they
brought breast plates, which were large, and they were of brass and of
copper, and perfectly sound. And again, they brought swords, the hilts
of which had perished, and the blades were cankered with rust; but no
one in the land could interpret the language or the engravings that
were on the plates." [14]

It is evident that the land of Moron, north of Desolation, was the
chief centre of Jaredite civilization, and the principal seat of
government from the time of their first landing in America--some
twenty-two centuries B. C.--to the last civil war which ended in the
destruction of the nation, in the sixth century B. C. The evidence of
the foregoing statement is seen in the fact that Moron is the land of
their first inheritance; and also that nearly all their great civil
wars throughout their national existence, down to and including the
last, raged in and about the land of Moron [15]--except the last
great battles of the last war which were fought about the Hill Ramah,
the Hill Cumorah of the Nephites. This fixes the center of Jaredite
civilization for a period of some sixteen centuries in Central America.
True, there is evidence that the Jaredites occupied at one time very
much of the north continent; [16] but the land Moron, in Central
America, was the seat of government and the center of civilization of
the great empire. In the reign of the fourth king of the Jaredites,
Omer, a conspiracy overthrew his authority; and would doubtless have
ended in his assassination; but, warned of God in a dream, he departed
out of the land with his family, and "traveled many days," and "came
over by the place where the Nephites were destroyed"--that is, by the
Hill Cumorah, south of Lake Ontario, in the state of New York--"and
from thence eastward, and came to a place that was called Ablom, by
the sea shore, and there he pitched his tent." [17] Here he was joined
later by others who fled from the tyranny of those who had usurped the
kingdom. [18] This land of "Ablom", the late Elder Orson Pratt suggested,
was "probably on the shore of the New England states." [19] So far as
known this marks the northern limits of Jaredite occupancy of the north

In the reign of the sixteenth king--in whose days "the whole face of
the land northward was covered with inhabitants," [20] a "great city
was founded at the narrow neck of land," that is, at some point on
the Isthmus of Panama. That city marked the southern limits of the
Jaredite empire. They never entered South America for the purpose of
colonization, but preserved it "for a wilderness," in which "to get
game." [21]

The width of the empire east and west, north of the Gulf of Mexico,
may not be determined. Whether it extended from ocean to ocean, or was
confined to the Missouri-Mississippi valleys, and thence eastward south
of the great lakes to the Atlantic, may not be positively asserted;
but personally I incline to the latter opinion, notwithstanding the
statement of the Book of Mormon to the effect that "the whole face
of the land northward was covered with inhabitants." This I believe
to be merely a general expression meant to convey the idea of a very
extensive occupancy of the north continent by the Jaredites; but as it
does not compel us to believe that the writer had in mind Labrador,
the regions of Hudson's Bay and Alaska, so I do not think it requires
us to believe that the Jaredites occupied the Rocky mountains, and
regions westward of them. My principal reason for thinking that the
Jaredite empire was limited northward to the great lakes, eastward from
the Rocky mountain slopes--northward of the Gulf of Mexico--to the
Atlantic, and southward to the Isthmus of Panama, is because--as will
appear later--to that territory, magnificent in its extent, are more
strictly confined what I regard as the evidences of Jaredite occupancy.

_Extent and Nature of Civilization_.

The extent of Jaredite civilization would be coextensive with the
territory they occupied, the limits of which have already been
considered. Of its nature one may judge somewhat when it is remembered
that they were colonists from the Euphrates valley, shortly after the
flood; and very likely the nature of their buildings, especially of
their public buildings, temples and other places of worship, would take
on the general features of the buildings in ancient Babel modified in
time, of course, by their own advancement in architecture.

That they were a prosperous and civilized race in their new home in the
western hemisphere is quite clear. In the reign of the fifth monarch,
Emer, the people had become strong and prosperous, "insomuch that they
became exceeding rich, having all manner of fruit, and of grain, and of
silks, and of fine linen, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious
things; and also all manner of cattle, of oxen, and cows, and of sheep
and of swine, and of goats, and also many other kinds of animals which
were useful for the food of man. They also had horses, and asses, and
there were elephants and cureloms and cumoms; all of which were useful
unto man; * * * and thus the Lord did pour out his blessings upon this
land [North America], which was choice above all other lands." [22]

In the reigns of Riplakish and Morianton, their tenth and eleventh
monarch respectively--there were twenty-eight legitimate kings in all,
besides a number of usurpers who held authority for a season in the
Jaredite nation--many spacious buildings were erected and many cities
were built; and the people "became exceeding rich" under those reigns;
while in the reign of the sixteenth monarch, Lib, they seemed to have
reached a very high state of civilization, which extended over the
"whole face of the land northward:--"

    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. 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. And they did make
    all manner of tools to till the earth. * * * And they did make all
    manner of tools with which they did work their beasts. And they did
    make all manner of weapons of war. And they did work all manner
    of work of exceedingly curious workmanship. And never could be a
    people more blessed than were they, and more prospered by the hand
    of the Lord. [23]

This represents a people far advanced in civilization, in agriculture,
in mining, in manufactures, and in the arts. This blessed condition was
in fulfilment of the promise of the Lord; for when he called out of
Babel Jared and his brother, Moriancumr, the Lord promised the latter
that he would lead them "into a land which is choice above all the
lands of the earth." "And there will I bless thee and thy seed," said
the Lord, "and raise up unto me of thy seed, and of the seed of thy
brother, and they who shall go with thee, a great nation. And there
shall be none greater than the nation which I will raise up unto me of
thy seed, upon all the face of the earth." [24]

If we take this brief glimpse of the civilization of the Jaredite
nation quoted above, and couple it with the promise of God to
Moriancumr, we have every reason to believe that the Jaredites became
a very great, prosperous, and powerful people. Their occupancy of the
western world, however, was confined to the northern continent. Here
their civilization rose, and here it fell, after enduring between
fifteen and sixteen hundred years, if we accept the Hebrew chronology
for the date of the confounding of language at Babel.


The number of Jaredites, of course, varied at different periods of
their long national existence. In the reign of the fourth king, Omer,
a grievous civil war broke out among them which "lasted for the space
of many years," and led to "the destruction of nearly all the people of
the kingdom." [25] From time to time they were subject to these civil
wars which very naturally checked the increase in their population.
Still they became very numerous, sufficiently so, as already shown,
to occupy an immense empire of country, extending from the Isthmus of
Panama northward, including Central America, Mexico, thence northward
to the great lakes, and from the eastern slopes of the Rocky mountains
to the Atlantic Ocean. In their last great civil war, after it had
raged many years, we are informed by the sacred historian that there
had been slain by the sword "two millions of mighty men, and also
their wives and their children." [26] Upon which the late Orson Pratt
remarks, in a foot note on the passage, that including the wives and
children of the two millions of men who were slain, "the numbers would
probably have been from ten to fifteen millions." Their numbers may
have been even greater than this at other periods of their history.


The Jaredites also had a literature. When the Nephite king Mosiah
translated some of their records--the twenty-four plates of Ether,
brought by Limhi's expedition from the land Desolation--it is stated
that they gave an account not only of the people who were destroyed
(the Jaredites) from the time they were destroyed back to the building
of the great Tower at the time the Lord confounded the language of
the people and scattered them abroad upon the face of the earth, but
they also gave an account of events beyond that time "even up to the
creation of Adam." It is only reasonable to conclude that the record
engraven on gold plates by the last Jaredite historian, the prophet
Ether, was but one of many such records among the Jaredites; for since
they came from the Euphrates valley with a knowledge of letters, there
is nothing in their history which would lead us to suppose they lost
that knowledge; but on the contrary everything to establish the fact
that they continued in possession thereof; for not only was Ether, the
last of their prophets, able to keep a record, but the last of their
kings, Coriantumer, was able to write; for in the days of the Nephite
king, Mosiah I, a large stone was brought to him with engravings on it
which he interpreted by means of Urim and Thummim; and the record on
the stone gave an account of Coriantumer, written by himself, and the
slain of his people; and it also recorded a few words concerning his
fathers and how his first parents came out from the Tower at the time
the Lord confounded the language of the people. So that, from first to
last, the Jaredites had a literature.


Before the demise of the two brothers, Moriancumr and Jared, who led
the Jaredite colony to the western hemisphere, the people were called
together and a kingly government founded. Monarchial government was
not established without remonstrance from Moriancumr, who declared
that such government would lead to the destruction of liberty. [27]
But Jared pleaded that the people might have the kind of government
they desired, and proposed that they choose from among his own or his
brother's sons the man they would have for king. The first choice of
the people was Pagag, the eldest son of Moriancumr; but influenced,
doubtless by the desire of his father that some other form of
government should be established, Pagag declined the kingly honor. So
also several of the sons of Jared declined to serve in that office,
perhaps for the same reason. Finally, however, one of the sons of
Jared, Orihah, accepted and was anointed king. The choice seems to have
been a fortunate one, for it is said that Orihah walked humbly before
the Lord and he remembered the great things the Lord had done for his
fathers, as also did his people; and he executed judgment upon the land
in righteousness all his days, and his days were many. [28] Orihah
was succeeded by his son Kib, in whose reign the first rebellion took
place; for the son of Kib rebelled against him, and even imprisoned
the king until another son born in the old age of the captive monarch
gathered sufficient strength to reinstate his father upon his throne.
This was the commencement of a long series of such rebellions in the
Jaredite dynasty.

Of the nature of Jaredite government little can be learned beyond the
fact that after the election of the first king, Orihah, the hereditary
principle was recognized; and although there were frequent contestants
for the throne, and occasional usurpations of the kingly authority, the
legitimate line of hereditary monarchs seems to have been reasonably
well maintained. It appears not to have been part of the constitution
of the government, however, that the rights of heredity in the royal
house should descend to the eldest son. It frequently happened that the
son born in the old age of the reigning monarch succeeded to the kingly
power, a course which perhaps accounts for the occasional rebellions of
their brothers, though the rights of the first born are never urged as
the cause of the quarrels.

Of the subordinate officers of the kingdom nothing is said; by what
means judicial powers were exercised we are not informed; what the
nature of the military organization was, or what system of taxation was
adopted, we do not know. On all these matters Moroni's abridgment of
the record of Ether is silent.


Relative to the religion that obtained among the Jaredites, we are left
in well-nigh as much ignorance as we are concerning the nature of the
subordinate feature of their government. The two brothers, Moriancumr
and Jared, seem to have been among the righteous people of Babel; so
much so in fact that Moriancumr was a very great prophet of God, and
had direct access to the source of revelation; for by revelation he
learned of God's intention to confound the language of the people, and
thus stop the impious work in which they were engaged, when building
the city of Babel and its tower. It is in consequence of their high
favor with God that the language of these brothers and that of their
friends was preserved; and they with their families and friends, led
away to "a land which was choice above all other lands," where God
fulfilled his promise to make of them a great nation. It is doubtful if
a prophet ever lived in ancient times who held more direct communion
with God than did this prophet Moriancumr. It will be remembered that
he took into the mountain sixteen transparent stones, which he had
prepared, and asked God to make them luminous; that in the journey of
the colony across the great deep in the eight barges that had been
prepared, they might not be in darkness. As the Lord stretched forth
his hand to touch the stones, in compliance with the prophet's request,
the veil was taken from the eyes of Moriancumr, and he saw the finger
of God, and fell prostrate before him in fear. But even his fear could
not crush his faith. He so far prevailed with God through faith that he
beheld him face to face, and talked with him as a man speaks with his
friend. That is, he saw and talked with the pre-existent spirit of the
Lord Jesus, for the Lord said to him: "This body which ye now behold
is the body of my spirit, * * * and even as I appear unto thee to be
in the spirit will I appear unto my people in the flesh." A greater
revelation of God than this, previous to the coming of the Lord Jesus
in the flesh, no other prophet ever received. Moreover Jesus said
to him: "Because of thy faith thou hast seen that I shall take upon
me flesh and blood. * * * Behold, I am he who was prepared from the
foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am Jesus Christ.
* * * In me shall all mankind have light, and that eternally, even
those who shall believe on my name; and they shall become my sons and
my daughters. * * * Seest thou that ye are created after mine image?
Yea, even all men were created in the beginning after mine own image."

Moriancumr was commanded not to suffer the things he had seen and heard
to be revealed to the world until the Lord Jesus should have lived in
the flesh. He was commanded, however, to write what he had both seen
and heard, and seal it up that it might be preserved to come forth
in due time to the children of men. In addition to the revelation of
his own person to him, the Lord revealed to the prophet Moriancumr
"all the inhabitants of the earth which had been, and also all that
would be; and he withheld them not from his sight, even unto the ends
of the earth." While Moriancumr was prohibited from making known to
his people the great things thus revealed to him, his knowledge of
the things of God must have given him wonderful power and influence
in teaching his people the righteous truths which are fundamental and
universal. This confidence and strength must also have been imparted
to others, for certain it is that the Jaredites had prophets of great
power sent to them from time to time to teach and reprove them; and
even some of their monarchs were shining examples of spiritual power
and righteousness. The fifth monarch, Emer, possessed such faith that
he, like Moriancumr, had the blessed privilege of seeing "the Son of
Righteousness, and did rejoice and glory in his day." [30] And of
the whole people it is said, "never could [there] be a people more
blessed than were they, and more prospered by the hand of the Lord."
[31] All of which is good evidence that the Jaredites at this time
(in the reign of Lib, the sixteenth monarch) were a righteous people;
and this righteousness was doubtless brought about by the preaching
of faith in God and his laws as only Moriancumr and other prophets
whom God raised up to the Jaredite nation could preach it. But it was
with the Jaredites as with other nations. Their righteousness was not
continuous, and it is more than likely that their faith ebbed and
flowed as the faith of all people seems to ebb and flow. There were
times when the prophets of God were rejected; when their severest
warnings of coming calamities seemed to produce no effect. In the reign
of Com and Shiblom, [32] the twenty-first and twenty-second monarchs
of the Jaredites, respectively, a great calamity befell the people,
and the prophets seized upon this circumstance to declare that even
greater destruction should befall them, and predicted that "the bones
of the Jaredites should become a heap of earth upon the face of the
land except they should repent of their wickedness." This declaration,
so far from bringing the people to repentance, filled them with rage
against the prophets, and they sought to destroy them. Even the
priesthood itself seems at times to have become corrupted; for in the
closing years of the monarchy, in the reign of Coriantumr, the high
priest is charged with murdering one Gilead as the latter sat upon his

Beyond these few facts nothing can be learned from the abridged record
of the Jaredites concerning the religion of that people, except that
unto some of their prophets, just previous to the destruction of both
the nation and the people, was revealed the fact that, unless the
Jaredites repented, the Lord God would execute judgment against them
to their utter destruction, and that he would bring forth another
people to possess the land, after the manner in which he had brought
forth their fathers from Babel. Unto Ether, the last of the Jaredite
prophets, the son of Coriantor, the last king but one of the Jaredites,
the same truth was revealed. To him, also, was shown the days of
Christ; and it was revealed to him that upon this blessed land of the
western hemisphere would be built up to the remnant of the house of
Joseph, a Holy City, to be called New Jerusalem, [33] or Zion; a city
of refuge for the righteous in the last days. These prophecies, I am
aware, throw no light upon the nature of the Jaredite religion, but
they do establish the fact that God sent forth inspired men among them,
to warn them of the calamities that were decreed against them because
of their decline from righteousness; and that fact is an important
religious truth.


We have in the Book of Mormon but the merest outline of the history of
the Jaredites; and this outline is learned from the abridgment made
by Moroni, of the Book of Ether. Ether was the last of the Jaredite
prophets, and witnessed the destruction of the race. His record, the
Book of Ether, was engraven upon twenty-four plates of gold, found
by the Nephites in the second century B. C., and finally abridged
by Moroni, and made a part of the Book of Mormon, which abridgment
Joseph Smith translated into the English language. It stands to
reason that the record of Ether, even if we had it in full, since it
consisted of but twenty-four plates, could be but a very incomplete
and imperfect history of so great a people and of so long a period of
time--extending through sixteen centuries. Yet in the Book of Mormon
there is but an abridgment of Ether's record; and that abridgment so
brief that Moroni, in speaking of it, says that he had not written an
hundredth part of it. [34] So it is not to be wondered at that the
description of the Jaredite government and civilization is so very
unsatisfactory. But while all this is admitted, the fact is revealed,
in Moroni's abridgment of Ether's record, that from something like
twenty-two hundred years before Christ, to some six hundred years
before Christ, the North continent of the western world was occupied by
a civilized race of people, and that a mighty nation dwelt upon that
land through all these centuries; a nation at times highly favored
of God, and this because of their righteousness; and then again
reduced well nigh to anarchy, with their civilization bordering upon
dissolution in consequence of great wickedness and misrule; emphasizing
the great truth, to which the history of all nations bears witness,
that "righteousness exalteth a nation, while sin is a reproach to any
people." And this is much, and perhaps the sum-total to be learned from
the history of nations.

Naturally one is tempted to draw a parallel between this old American
nation and various other nations in the old world which paralleled
its existence. Surely it is interesting to think that while empires
were founding in Assyria and Egypt and Babylon; that while Greece
was passing through her heroic ages, in the western world also an
enlightened race was building up a national existence and struggling
with those problems which through all times and among all people engage
the intelligent attention of mankind. Also it would be interesting to
note that about the time of the capture of Nineveh, which marked the
fall of the Assyrian empire, and but a little before the destruction
of the kingdom of Judah, here in our western world an empire which
had endured the storms of ages was passing away. Still the main fact
to be kept in mind in this work is that such a nation, coeval with
the old empires of the eastern world, and with a civilization no less
magnificent, existed according to the Book of Mormon in our great
northern continent, with its center of civilization in that part of
the continent we call Central America. Proof of the existence of such
an empire, of such a civilization, and having such a location, will be
strong collateral evidence for the truth of the Book of Mormon.


_Lehi's Colony_.

Lehi was one of the many prophets at Jerusalem who predicted the
calamities which befell the Jewish nation on the second invasion of
Judea by King Nebuchadnezzar, early in the sixth century B. C. [35]
Lehi incurred the wrath of that ungodly people and was warned of God
in a vision to depart from Jerusalem with his family, and was also
promised that inasmuch as he would keep the commandments of God he
should be led to a land of promise. [36] From the wilderness where
Lehi temporarily dwelt, two expeditions to the fated city were made
by his sons: one to obtain a genealogy of his fathers, and the Jewish
scriptures (which resulted also in adding one more to the colony in the
person of Zoram, a servant of Laban, a keeper of the Jewish records);
the second, to induce one Ishmael and his family to join Lehi's colony
in their exodus from Jerusalem and journey to the promised land. In
both of these expeditions they were successful in achieving their
object. The colony now consisted of some eighteen adult persons and a
number of children. [37]

From the Book of Mormon and the word of the Lord to the Prophet Joseph
Smith it is learned that Lehi's colony traversed from Jerusalem, nearly
a southeast direction, until they came to the nineteenth degree north
latitude; thence nearly east to the sea of Arabia. [38] Here the colony
built a ship in which to cross the great waters, which separated them
from the land of promise. They sailed in a southeasterly direction, and
landed on the continent of South America, in about thirty degrees south
latitude. [39]

From Jerusalem their journey to the promised land is supposed to
have occupied about twelve years. [40] On their arrival at the land
of promise, the colony went forth upon it, and began to till the
earth. The seeds brought from the land of Jerusalem were planted and
thrived exceedingly well. The colony also found the land of promise
well furnished with beasts of every kind; with the cow, the ass, the
horse, the goat, and all manner of wild animals which were for the use
of man. They also found all manner of ore, especially gold, silver,
and copper. Here they dwelt for some time in prosperity, but scarcely
in peace; for there were dissensions in the colony. The elder sons
of Lehi, Laman and Lemuel, were of a jealous and skeptical turn of
mind; and from the beginning had little faith in the visions of their
father, and the prophecies concerning the destruction of Jerusalem.
Nephi, the younger brother, on the other hand, was a man of profound
faith in his father's revelations, and in the things of God, and
sought for a personal knowledge of the things revealed. This knowledge
he received through the revelations of God, which, coupled with the
native qualities that go to the making of a leader of men, he became,
even before the death of his father, the real head of the community.
This aroused the displeasure and even hatred of the elder brothers,
who, on various occasions sought his overthrow and even his life. This
division between the sons of Lehi extended also to the community, and
made a division of the colony ultimately inevitable. Accordingly, after
some years spent upon the promised land, Nephi was warned by the Lord
to depart from his elder brothers into the wilderness, with all those
whom he could persuade to go with him. Neither the distance nor the
direction of this first remove of the righteous part of the colony from
the more wicked part, can be definitely determined from the Book of
Mormon, except from the location of the people of Nephi in subsequent
times; and as this location was far northward from their first place of
landing, it is generally supposed that this first remove was northward.
Perhaps at the first the partisans of the elder brothers were well
contented to be relieved of the presence of the younger brother and his
following; but for no great length of time; for they followed in their
wake, and before forty years had passed away (supposedly from the time
that Lehi's colony left Jerusalem; and if so then twenty-eight years
from their landing in the western hemisphere) the two divisions of the
colony had wars and contentions with each other. [41]

Nephi, as would reasonably be expected, took with him the Jewish
scriptures which had been brought from Jerusalem, the genealogy of his
fathers, together with all the records kept upon the journey to the
promised land. Nephi's policy tended to civilization; for he taught
his people to erect buildings, "and to work all manner of wood and
of iron and of copper and of brass and of steel and of gold and of
silver and of precious ores, which were in great abundance." He also
built a temple, somewhat after the pattern of the temple of Solomon,
and ordained as priests his two younger brothers, Jacob and Joseph,
born to Lehi in the wilderness, after the departure of the colony from

Notwithstanding the protests of Nephi against such a proceeding
his people insisted upon his becoming their king, an office he
discharged all his days purely in the interest of his people. His
policy inculcated industry and encouragement of arts and civilization.
Knowing, however, the implacable hatred of his elder brothers, Nephi
did not fail to make preparations for vigorous defense in the event of
war, and accordingly manufactured both arms and armor for his people.
In consequence of the high esteem in which Nephi was held, the kings of
the Nephites thereafter took the name of Nephi, as their official or
regal name, and were distinguished by being called II Nephi, III Nephi,
IV Nephi, and so following.

While the course of Nephi and his people tended to the establishment
of civilization, the course of the elder brothers and their following
tended to barbarism. They delighted in idleness; and as they did
not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a
reprobate mind; and a curse fell upon them, even the curse of a dark
skin, so that they became loathsome in appearance as in habits. As the
followers of Nephi took upon them the name of their leader and were
called Nephites, so, in course of time, the followers of the elder
brothers took the name of their leader and were called Lamanites, after
Laman, the eldest son of Lehi; hence two people from Lehi's colony,
Nephites and Lamanites. The Lamanites lived upon the fruits of the
chase, hence were nomadic and predatory in their habits. They were full
of envy, strife, malice; they were fierce, warlike, murderous. Between
these two peoples there was almost constant warfare. The Lamanites the
more fierce and numerous; the Nephites fewer in number, but better
armed, and protected by armor; the former were the aggressors, the
latter acted on the defensive, and usually were conscious of the
better cause. At times, however, the Nephites lapsed into wickedness
and on such occasion the Lamanites truly were a scourge unto them, in
fulfilment of God's word to that effect. [42] A particularly severe
judgment is said to have overtaken the Nephites in the first quarter
of the fourth century from the time Lehi left Jerusalem, in which the
more wicked part of the people were destroyed. [43] Some time in the
fourth century from the time Lehi left Jerusalem occurred also a second
great removal of righteous Nephites from the midst of their brethren
and the Lamanites. The first separation in Lehi's colony, it will be
remembered, was made under the I Nephi. The second was made under the
prophet-king known as I Mosiah, and resulted in the Nephites finding
the people of Zarahemla, of which more hereafter.

It is supposed that the first remove of the Nephites from their
brethren covered no great distance; as only a few years passed before
they were in contact with one another again, at least in warfare.
Indeed Elder George Reynolds, in his _Dictionary of the Book of
Mormon_, holds to the theory that there may have been several removals
of the Nephites between their first separation from the Lamanites
under the First Nephi, and the very noted hegira under Mosiah I,
about the fourth century of the Nephite annals. [44] The author of
the _Dictionary_ urges as the reasons for his theory that it would be
inconsistent with the story of the record (Book of Mormon), and with
good judgment, to believe that in their first journey the Nephites
traveled as far north as they were found four hundred years later,
[45] when the very noted remove was made under Mosiah I. I believe the
reasons of Elder Reynolds are quite sufficient for his theory. The
movements of the Nephites were most probably as follows: Whatever of
conquest was made by the Lamanites upon Nephite possessions, during the
first four centuries of their occupancy of the promised land, was made
upon their southern borders. On the other hand the Nephite settlements
were extended on that side of their possessions least likely to be
assailed by their enemies, where there was least danger, that is, on
the north. These two circumstances combined to give their colonization
movement a northerly direction; until about the close of the fourth
Nephite century they are supposed to have been in possession of that
part of the continent of South America corresponding to the country
now called Ecuador. [46] This country that the Nephites occupied at
the close of the fourth century of their annals, as also that which
they had slowly colonized, and from time to time abandoned to their
enemies--the whole distance from the place selected by the First Nephi
after separating from his brothers to the place they occupied at the
close of the fourth century of their annals--this whole country--the
Nephites called the Land of Nephi, or the Land of their father's first
inheritance. [47]

The story of the second great hegira of righteous Nephites from their
less righteous brethren is a very brief one. It was undertaken in
response to a warning and commandment of God to one Mosiah, who is
celebrated in Nephite history as the first king of what I shall call
the Nephite-Zarahemla nation--Mosiah I. How great the distance covered
in this second great hegira of the Nephites may not be definitely
determined; but later a colony under conditions somewhat similar, that
is, encumbered with women and children, flocks, herds, and quantities
of grain, etc., covered practically the same journey in about
twenty-two days, in two separate stages; one of eight and the other of
fourteen days. [48]

Mosiah's people, when they reached the great and beautiful valley
drained by what was subsequently called among the Nephites the river
Sidon, [49] found it inhabited by a numerous people, whose chief city
was named (at least from that time forth) Zarahemla. At this point it
becomes necessary to suspend the account of Mosiah's people in order to
say a word of the people inhabiting the valley of the Sidon, for they
are the descendants of the third colony which, according to the Book of
Mormon, came to the land of promise.

_Mulek's Colony_.

According to the Bible narrative of King Zedekiah's reign, when
Jerusalem fell into the hands of the king of Babylon (588 B. C.), King
Zedekiah himself well-nigh made his escape. For when the city was
broken up, and all the men of war fled by night, by the way of the gate
between two walls, which is by the king's garden, the king went the
way toward the plain. But his flight being betrayed by an enemy among
his own people, [50] the army of the Chaldeans pursued Zedekiah early
in the morning and overtook him in the plain near Jericho. The king's
army was scattered from him at the time he was captured; for "those
friends and captains of Zedekiah who had fled out of the city with him,
when they saw their enemies near them, they left him, and dispersed
themselves, some one way and some another, and every one resolved to
save himself; so the enemy took Zedekiah alive, when he was deserted by
all but a few, with his children and his wives." [51] The unfortunate
king was taken before the king of Babylon, whose headquarters were then
at Riblah, in Syria, where "they gave judgment upon him." The sons of
Zedekiah were slain in his presence; after which his eyes were put out;
he was bound in fetters and carried to Babylon, where subsequently
he died. But among the king's friends who escaped were a number who
carried with them one of Zedekiah's sons, named Mulek; and according to
the Book of Mormon, this company "journeyed in the wilderness and were
brought by the hand of the Lord across the great waters," [52] into
the western hemisphere. It is learned by an incidental remark in the
Book of Mormon that the colony of Mulek landed somewhere in the north
continent of the western hemisphere; and for that reason the north
continent was called Mulek, by the Nephites; and the south continent,
Lehi; and this for the reason that the Lord brought the colonies
bearing these names to the north and south land [53] respectively. How
many years the colony of Mulek traveled, and in what direction, cannot
be learned from the Book of Mormon. But it is quite evident that they
landed in the north continent of the western world, most likely in the
southern part of that continent, say in the region of what is known in
modern times as Central America. [54] Thence they drifted southward to
the valley of the Sidon, where they were found by the migrating hosts
of Nephites under Mosiah.

It was a Nephite custom to call their cities and even their villages
after the name of him who founded them. [55] Thus the first city
founded by the first Nephi, was called "Nephi," or "the City of
Nephi;" the city founded by Melek was called "the City of Melek;" and
so following. From this custom arose another, that of naming large
districts of country after the chief city therein: thus the country in
which the city of Nephi was located was called "the land of Nephi;" the
country surrounding the city of Melek was called the land of Melek; see
also "the land of Gideon;" "the land of Ammonihah," etc. Following this
custom, when the migrating Nephites under Mosiah came into the valley
of Sidon, and found the chief man of its principal city to be named
Zarahemla, they straightway called the city "The City of Zarahemla;"
and ever afterwards among them the surrounding country was called "the
land of Zarahemla."

Mulek's colony--the name is derived from that of the young prince it
carried with it, not because he was really the leader of the colony,
but doubtless out of a sense of loyalty and national pride on the part
of those who would regard themselves as being entrusted by Providence
with the fortunes of a prince of Israel--Mulek's colony, I repeat,
in their hurried flight from Judea brought no records with them, no
scriptures, no genealogies. The circumstances under which they made
their escape from the Babylonians considered, it is not difficult
to understand that records, scriptures, concerned them not at all.
Flight, escape alone occupied their thoughts. In consequence of having
no records, no written language of any kind, their language was much
changed in the course of the centuries that had elapsed since their
departure from Judea. So much so, in fact, that the Nephites could
not understand them; neither could the people of Zarahemla understand
the Nephites, until instructed by the latter in the Nephite tongue.
Moreover, having been without both written scriptures and a living
priesthood for centuries, Zarahemla's people not only no longer
believed in God, but denied even the existence of a Creator. In a
word, through ignorance and the demoralizing influence of contentions
and internecine wars, they had deteriorated to semi-civilized and
irreligious conditions. All this, however, in the course of time was
changed. The people of Zarahemla soon learned the Nephite language,
it being a language akin, of course, to their own. They were also
taught in the Nephite faith; and instructed in the scriptures which
Lehi's colony had brought with them from Jerusalem, and which Mosiah
had brought with him in his northward journey. The happiest results
followed this union of the two peoples. The people of Mosiah were so
augmented in numbers by the addition of their new found friends that
they could feel secure from aggressions of the Lamanites, who, in time,
might follow them; and, on the other hand, to the people of Zarahemla,
the Nephites brought the knowledge of God; a true priesthood; the
scriptures of their forefathers; government; civilization. These two
peoples, really of the same race, be it remembered, readily united
under the Nephite form of government, a limited, and at times elective,
monarchy; Mosiah, the Nephite leader, notwithstanding the people of
Zarahemla were the more numerous, being chosen king.

The colony of Mulek previous to their removal southward from the
place of their first landing, were visited by the sole survivor of
the Jaredite race, Coriantumr, who resided some nine months with them
before his demise.

Shortly after the arrival of the Nephites under Mosiah in Zarahemla, a
large stone with engravings upon it was brought to the king; and Mosiah
I, being a Seer, translated the engravings upon the stone and learned
that they gave an account of Coriantumr, whom Mulek's colony found; and
of his forefathers who came from the tower of Babel, at the confusion
of languages; and of the goodness and severity of God upon them; and
of the destruction that befell them because of their wickedness. [56]
Afterwards a more perfect knowledge of the Jaredites was obtained
through the twenty-four plates of Ether, found by Limhi's expedition
into the north land (noted before); [57] and which were translated by
King Mosiah II, who was also a seer.

The colony of Mulek was touched by the other two peoples who had been
brought by the providences of God to the western hemisphere; the
Jaredite race, through its sole survivor, Coriantumr; and the Nephite
race, through the people of Mosiah I. It should be remarked of these
three peoples that they were really of a common race. The two brothers
who had led the colony from the Tower of Babel, Jared and Moriancumr,
were doubtless descendants of Shem, the son of Noah. [58] The colony of
Mulek was unquestionably made up of Jews, hence descendants of Shem;
Lehi's colony was made up of descendants of Manasseh and Ephraim, [59]
sons of Joseph, the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham,
who was a direct descendant of Shem. [60]

Thus eventually the races which, according to the Book of Mormon,
have been brought to the western hemisphere under the providences of
God, are traceable to one source, to one race; and may be expected to
possess certain qualities which will be in harmony with the fact of
racial unity.


1. It is to be understood that in this chapter I deal merely with the
migrations spoken of in the Book of Mormon; and by no means enter upon
consideration of the migrations to the western hemisphere during the
last two thousand years.

2. See sixth letter of Oliver Cowdery on "Early Scenes and Incidents in
the Church," _Messenger and Advocate_, vol. I, p. 112, 1835, where the
above name is given as the name of the "Brother of Jared."

3. Such is the theory of the late Orson Pratt. See foot note "h"
Book of Ether, chap. 2. There is nothing in the Book of Ether which
positively determines the course of their travels, but as there is some
reason for believing that the Jaredite colony landed on the western
shores of North America, there seems to be some grounds for the belief
that they were led eastward across the continent of Asia to the shores
of what is to us the Pacific Ocean.

4. According to Orson Pratt. See foot note "h," Book of Ether, chap.
6:12. Also Book of Ether, chap. 7:6.

5. Ether 6:18.

6. Ether 7:6.

7. Ether 7:16.

8. Alma 22:32.

9. Ether 7:6, 16, 17.

10. Note "h" on Ether 6:12.

11. _Dictionary of the Book of Mormon_, Art. Mormon, p. 245.

12. Mosiah 21:25, 26.

13. Mosiah 8:8-11, also Helaman 3:6.

14. Mosiah 7:8-11. These plates were afterwards translated by the
Nephite King, Mosiah, who was a seer; that is, one who could use Urim
and Thummim. The record which he translated gave an account of the
people who were destroyed, "from the time they were destroyed back
to the building of the great Tower, at the time the Lord confounded
the language of the people. * * * Yea, and even from that time until
the creation of Adam." (Mosiah 28:11, 17). Subsequently Moroni gave
an abridged translation of the same record which he called the "Book
of Ether," Ether being the name of the prophet who wrote the book so

15. See the whole Book of Ether.

16. Ether 10:21.

17. Ether 9:1-3.

18. Ether 9:9.

19. See foot note to Ether 9:3.

20. Ether 10:21.

21. Ether 10:21.

22. Ether 9:16-20.

23. Ether 10:22-28.

24. Ether 1:42, 43.

25. Ether 9.

26. Ether 15 and foot note "b" p. 606.

27. Ether 6:23.

28. Ether 6 and 7.

29. Ether 3:9-16.

30. Ether 9:22.

31. Ibid. 10:28.

32. The orthography of the word cannot be determined, it is spelled
"Shiblom" in the passage above, and Shiblon in another.

33. Ether 13.

34. Ether 15:33.

35. The story of Zedekiah's reign in Jerusalem, the conditions that
obtained among the people, and the warnings which God sent by many
prophets (Lehi among the rest) is thus told in II Chronicles, chapter
36: "Zedekiah was one and twenty years old when he began to reign, and
reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And he did that which was evil in
the sight of the Lord his God, and humbled not himself before Jeremiah
the prophet speaking from the mouth of the Lord. And he also rebelled
against king Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by God: but he
stiffened his neck, and hardened his heart from turning unto the Lord
God of Israel. Moreover all the chief of the priests, and the people,
transgressed very much after all the abominations of the heathen; and
polluted the house of the Lord which he had hallowed in Jerusalem. And
the Lord God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up
betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on
his dwelling place: but they mocked the messengers of God, and despised
his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose
against his people, till there was no remedy."

36. Nephi 2:20.

37. See synopsis First Book Nephi, heading chapter 1.

38. Richards' and Little's _Compendium_, p. 273; I Nephi 16:13, 14, 43.
Also chapter 17:1.

39. Richards' and Little's _Compendium_, p. 272-273. The accuracy of
this is questioned.

40. Reynolds, _B. M. Chronology_, Richards' and Little's _Compendium_,
p. 273.

41. II Nephi 5.

42. II Nephi 5:22-25.

43. Book of Omni 4:7.

44. That is, four hundred years from the time Lehi left Jerusalem the
latter event being 600 B. C.

45. _Dict. of B. of M_., Art. Nephi, Land of p. 295.

46. Such is the theory of Orson Pratt--see note "g," Book of Omni, old
edition Book of Mormon.

47. II Nephi 5:8, Omni 1:12, 27. Mos. 7. Mos. 9:1. See collection of ref.
under "b." II Nephi 5.

48. See Mosiah 23:1-5, 19. Also Mos. 24:20, 24. Also foot note "t" in
ch. 24, by Orson Pratt; and _Dict. of B. of M_., pp. 198,

49. It is supposed by some that this River Sidon is identical with the
River Magdalena in the northern part of South America. (See _Dictionary
of Book of Mormon_, p. 339, and Orson Pratt's note "g," Alma 2:15 old

50. Josephus, _Antiq_., bk. 10:8.

51. Josephus, _Antiq_., bk. 10, ch. 8. See also II Kings, ch. 25.

52. Omni 1:14-17.

53. Helaman 6:10.

54. This is upon the supposition that what is known among the Nephites
especially as the land "Desolation," in contradistinction to the
Nephite land "Bountiful," is identical with the region known to moderns
as Central America; and the consideration of Alma 22:29-33. See also
_Dict. B. of M_., p. 110.

55. Alma 8:7.

56. Omni 1:20-22.

57. Mosiah 28:7-14 and Mosiah 28.

58. Sec _Dictionary of B. of M._ (Reynolds), p. 165 _et seq_.

59. Lehi is plainly declared to be of the stock of Manasseh, (Alma
10:3); and it is supposed that Ishmael and his family, who joined Lehi
and his family in the journey to the promised land, were of the tribe
of Ephraim (See _Dict. Book of Mormon_, p. 155, Art. Ishmael). There
are promises respecting Ephraim which cannot be realized except through
the seed of Ephraim dwelling upon the land of America. See Orson
Pratt's _Prophetic Evidences of the Book of Mormon_.

60. See Gen. 11.



The location of many cities mentioned in the Book of Mormon, and the
districts of Nephite lands that would correspond to departments and
provinces in the political nomenclature of modern times, may not now
be definitely fixed upon. This circumstance arises largely out of the
fact that the Nephite historians have said nothing explicitly as to the
extent of those mighty changes which were wrought in the form of Book
of Mormon countries by the awful convulsions of nature at the time of
Messiah's crucifixion. That the changes were considerable no one can
question; for while certain allowances must always be made for language
used in describing such events as then took place, the very definite
statements of the Book of Mormon with reference to these events leave
no room for doubt as to the great transformations wrought in the
physical aspects of the land by those great cataclysms. Three different
writers make mention of the physical changes wrought at Messiah's
crucifixion, two prophetically, and one gives two descriptions of the
physical changes that took place through the convulsions of nature.
I remark, in passing, that it must be remembered that the prophetic
descriptions must be accounted as real as the historical descriptions;
for as the prophets saw it, so indeed it came to pass. The first Nephi,
in his description of the great catacylsms, says:

    I saw a mist of darkness on the face of the land of promise; and I
    saw lightnings, and I heard thunderings, and earthquakes, and all
    manner of tumultuous noises; and I saw the earth and the rocks,
    that they rent; and I saw mountains tumbling into pieces; and I saw
    the plains of the earth, that they were broken up; and I saw many
    cities that they were sunk; and I saw many that they were burned
    with fire; and I saw many that did tumble to the earth, because of
    the quaking thereof. [2]

The following is the prophet Samuel's description of the physical
changes in the western hemisphere at the crucifixion of Christ:

    Behold, in that day that he shall suffer death, the sun shall be
    darkened and refuse to give his light unto you; and also the moon
    and the stars; and there shall be no light upon the face of this
    land, even from the time that he shall suffer death, for the space
    of three days, to the time that he shall rise again from the dead.
    Yea, at the time that he shall yield up the ghost there shall be
    thunderings and lightnings for the space of many hours, and the
    earth shall shake and tremble; and the rocks which are upon the
    face of this earth, which are both above the earth [surface] and
    beneath, which ye know at this time are solid, or the more part of
    it is one solid mass, shall be broken up; yea, they shall be rent
    in twain, and shall ever after be found in seams and in cracks,
    and in broken fragments upon the face of the whole earth, yea,
    both above the earth and beneath. And behold, there shall be great
    tempests, and there shall be many mountains laid low, like unto a
    valley, and there shall be many places which are now called valleys
    which shall become mountains, whose height is great. And many
    highways shall be broken up, and many cities shall become desolate.
    * * * And behold, thus hath the angel spoken unto me; for he said
    unto me that there should be thunderings and lightnings for the
    space of many hours. And he said unto me that while the thunder and
    the lightning lasted, and the tempests, that these things should
    be, and that darkness should cover the face of the whole earth for
    the space of three days. [3]

Mormon's abridged description of the great cataclysms, after they had
occurred, taken from the book of III Nephi, is as follows:

    And it came to pass in the thirty and fourth year, in the first
    month, on the fourth day of the month, there arose a great storm,
    such an one as never had been known in all the land. And there was
    also a great and terrible tempest; and there was terrible thunder,
    insomuch that it did shake the whole earth as if it was about to
    divide asunder. * * * And the city of Zarahemla did take fire. And
    the city of Moroni did sink into the depths of the sea, and the
    inhabitants thereof were drowned. And the earth was carried up upon
    the city of Moronihah that in the place of the city there became a
    great mountain. And there was a great and terrible destruction in
    the land southward. But behold, there was a more great and terrible
    destruction in the land northward; for behold, the whole face of
    the land was changed, because of the tempest and the whirlwinds,
    and the thunderings and the lightnings, and the exceeding great
    quaking of the whole earth; and the highways were broken up, and
    the level roads were spoiled, and many smooth places became rough.
    And many great and notable cities were sunk, and many were burned,
    and many were shaken till the buildings thereof had fallen to the
    earth, and the inhabitants thereof were slain, and the places were
    left desolate. And there were some cities which remained; but the
    damage thereof was exceeding great, and there were many in them
    who were slain. * * * And thus the face of the whole earth became
    deformed, because of the tempests, and the thunderings, and the
    lightnings, and the quaking of the earth. And behold, the rocks
    were rent in twain; they were broken up upon the face of the whole
    earth, insomuch that they were found in broken fragments, and in
    seams and in cracks, upon all the face of the land. [4]

The second description of these truly awful occurrences in III Nephi is
one that is attributed to the voice of God heard throughout the land by
the survivors of that dreadful time:

    And it came to pass that there was a voice heard among all the
    inhabitants of the earth, upon all the face of this land, crying:
    Wo, wo, wo unto this people; wo unto the inhabitants of the whole
    earth except they shall repent; for the devil laugheth, and his
    angels rejoice, because of the slain of the fair sons and daughters
    of my people; and it is because of their iniquity and abominations
    that they are fallen! Behold, that great city of Zarahemla have I
    burned with fire, and the inhabitants thereof. And behold, that
    great city of Moroni have I caused to be sunk in the depths of the
    sea, and the inhabitants thereof to be drowned. And behold, that
    great city Moronihah have I covered with earth, and the inhabitants
    thereof, to hide their iniquities and their abominations from
    before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints
    shall not come any more unto me against them. And behold, the city
    of Gilgal have I caused to be sunk, and the inhabitants thereof
    to be buried up in the depths of the earth; yea, and the city of
    Onihah and the inhabitants thereof, and the city of Mocum and the
    inhabitants thereof, and the city of Jerusalem and the inhabitants
    thereof, and waters have I caused to come up in the stead thereof,
    to hide their wickedness and abominations from before my face, that
    the blood of the prophets and the saints shall not come up any more
    unto me against them. And behold, the city of Gadiandi, and the
    city of Gadiomnah, and the city of Jacob, and the city of Gimgimno,
    all these have I caused to be sunk, and made hills and valleys in
    the places thereof; and the inhabitants thereof have I buried up in
    the depths of the earth, to hide their wickedness and abominations
    from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints
    should not come up any more unto me against them. * * * And many
    great destructions have I caused to come upon this land, and upon
    this people, because of their wickedness and their abominations. [5]

But notwithstanding all that is said in these passages about the mighty
changes which took place in the land, nothing is set down that helps us
to determine definitely the nature of the physical changes as affecting
Nephite lands. I believe, however, those changes were considerable;
enough at least to render worthless, except in a very general way, the
conjectures sometimes made respecting Nephite lands and cities.

I am aware that the science of geology, while clearly granting the
instability of our earth's crust, quite generally insists that the
uplifting of continents and mountain ranges from the ocean's bed, and
the subsidence of islands and continents into the ocean bottom is
accomplished so slowly that long geological periods are required for
the changes effected; and that the periods of time are so great that
it is useless to measure them in time of which years shall be regarded
as units. [6] But notwithstanding the very sound reasons, in the main,
which are advanced for the slowness of this work, there is evidence of
the fact, and also respectable authority for it, that sometimes very
great changes of wide extent are made quite suddenly.

Sir Charles Lyell says:

    While these proofs of continental elevation and subsidence, by slow
    and insensible movements, have been recently brought to light, the
    evidence has been daily strengthened of continued changes of level
    effected by violent convulsions in countries where earthquakes are
    frequent. There the rocks are rent from time to time, and heaved
    up or thrown down several feet at once, and disturbed in such a
    manner, that the original position of strata may, in the course of
    centuries, be modified to any amount. [7]

Our modern world is fast coming to recognize Plato's story of the
subsidence of the island-continent of Atlantis as something more than
a fable. The story of that so-called island which by the Egyptian
priest who related the tradition to Solon was represented as larger
than "Lybia and Asia put together," is told in Plato's Timaeus, [8] as

    In those days the Atlantic was navigable; and there was an island
    situated in front of the straits which you call the columns of
    Heracles; the island was larger than Lybia and Asia put together,
    and was the way to other islands, and from the islands you might
    pass through the whole of the opposite continent which surrounded
    the true ocean; for this sea which is within the straits of
    Heracles is only a harbor, having a narrow entrance, but the other
    is a real sea, and the surrounding land may be most truly called a
    continent. [9]

Plato represents that in this land there was a great and wonderful
empire which had dominion over the whole island and its armies
attempted to subjugate Egypt and Europe to its authority. In this
conflict the very ancient Greeks won the applause of Europe and Egypt
by withstanding well nigh alone the aggressions of the Atlantic empire.
The Greeks are represented as having defeated and triumphed over the
invaders, and now Plato:

    But afterwards there occurred violent earthquakes and floods; and
    in a single day and night of rain all your warlike men in a body
    sank into the earth, and the island of Atlantis in like manner
    disappeared, and was sunk beneath the sea. And that is the reason
    why the sea in those parts is impassable and impenetrable, because
    there is such a quantity of shallow mud in the way; and this was
    caused by the subsidence of the island. [10]

On the acceptance of Plato's story of Atlantis, both by ancient and
modern writers, P. De Roo, in his _History of America Before Columbus_,
has an interesting chapter, from which I quote the following:

    Not to speak of other ancient authors to whom we shall refer in the
    sequel, we may remark that the Jewish writer Philo (20 B. C.--54 A.
    D.), and the Platonist Crantor, were inclined to admit the literal
    interpretation of Plato's Atlantidic description. Tertullian
    (second century A. D.) and Arnobius (fourth century A. D.) agreed
    with the pagan savant Ammianus of Plato's island, Atlantis; and
    we have noticed that Cosmas Indicopleustes believed our continent
    [America] to be the cradle of the human race. It would not be
    difficult to find several authors of the first Christian centuries
    and of the middle ages who relied on Plato's narrative in their
    prophecies of discoveries in the mysterious west, and Christopher
    Columbus himself was undoubtedly encouraged by his belief in the
    objective truth of Plato's _Timaeus_ and _Critias_; but after our
    continent was again discovered at the end of the fifteenth century,
    almost every European scientist accepted the literal interpretation
    of the Athenian philosopher's description of countries in and
    beyond the Atlantic Ocean. [11]

This passage is followed by a number of pages on the same subject,
and many authorities are quoted in the margin, to which I commend the

Elisee Reclus, author of _The Earth, a Descriptive History of the
Phenomena of the Life of the Globe_, and one of the highest authorities
on physical geography, in speaking of an isthmus which once connected
"the few clumps of mountains which formed, as it were, the rudiments of
our Europe," with the American coast, also says:

    This isthmus was the Atlantis, and the traditions which Plato
    speaks of about this vanished land were perhaps based upon
    authentic testimony. It is possible that man may have witnessed
    the submergence of this ancient continent, and that the Gunches
    of the Canary Islands were the direct descendants of the earliest
    inhabitants of this primeval land. [12]

I also commend to the reader a recent volume on the subject by Ignatius
Donnelly, published by Harpers, 1898, under the title _Atlantis_, and
while I do not accept all the theories advanced by the author with
reference to Atlantis, I recognize the fact that he has collected a
great amount of evidence tending to establish the existence and the
subsidence of Plato's island-continent. Of course, for many ages
Plato's story has been regarded as a fable, but, as Donnelly remarks,
"there is an unbelief which grows out of ignorance, as well as a
skepticism which is born of intelligence," and then he adds:

    For a thousand years it was believed that the legends of the buried
    cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum were myths: they were spoken of
    as "the fabulous cities." For a thousand years the educated world
    did not credit the accounts given by Herodotus of the wonders
    of the ancient civilizations of the Nile and the Chaldae. He
    was called "the father of liars." Even Plutarch sneered at him.
    Now, in the language of Frederick Schlegal, "the deeper and more
    comprehensive the researches of the moderns have been, the more
    their regard and esteem for Herodotus has increased." Buckle says,
    "His minute information about Egypt and Asia Minor is admitted by
    all geographers." There was a time when the expedition sent out by
    Pharaoh Necho to circumnavigate Africa was doubted, because the sun
    was north of them; this circumstance, which then aroused suspicion,
    now proves to us that the Egyptian navigators had really passed
    the equator, and anticipated by 2,100 years Vasquez de Gama in his
    discovery of the Cape of Good Hope. [13]

It is not, however, upon the probability of the elevation and
subsidence of this island-continent that I depend for support of my
views with reference to the changes being considerable that have taken
place in the western continents in comparatively modern times. There
is enough evidence that is matter of record within recent years to
establish the possibility of such changes having taken place. Le Conte,
in his _Compendium of Geology_, says:

    But great earthquakes are oftener associated with bodily movements
    of extensive areas of earth-crust. Thus, for example, in 1835,
    after a severe earthquake on the western coast of South America,
    it was found that the whole coast-line of Chili and Patagonia
    were raised from two to ten feet above sea-level. Again, in 1822,
    the same phenomenon was observed in the same region after a great
    earthquake. Again, in 1819, after a severe earthquake which shook
    the delta of the Indus, a tract of land fifty miles long and
    sixteen miles wide was raised ten feet, and an adjacent area of
    2,000 square miles was sunk, and became a lagoon. In commemoration
    of the wonderful event the elevated tract was called "Ullah Bund,"
    or "mound of God." Again, in 1811, a severe earthquake--perhaps
    the severest ever felt in the United States--shook the valley of
    the Mississippi. Coincidently with the shock, large areas of the
    river-swamp sank bodily, and have ever since been covered with
    water. In commemoration of the event, this area is still called
    the sunken country. In all these cases, probably, and in the last
    two certainly, there was a great fissure of the earth-crust, and a
    slipping of one side on the other. [14]

Passing a number of descriptions of land elevations and subsidences
which Sir Charles Lyell relates as occurring in Chili, in the
nineteenth century, in order that I may give more attention to the
lands supposed to have been occupied by the Nephites, I quote the
following statement of this eminent geologist concerning the earthquake
at Bogota, in 1827:

    On the 16th of November, 1827, the plain of Bogota, in New Granada,
    or Colombia, was convulsed by an earthquake, and a great number of
    towns were thrown down. Torrents of rain swelled the Magdalena,
    sweeping along vast quantities of mud and other substances, which
    emitted a sulphurous vapor and destroyed the fish. Popayan,
    which is distant two hundred geographical miles south-southwest
    of Bogota, suffered greatly. Wide crevices appeared in the road
    of Guanacas, leaving no doubt that the whole of the cordilleras
    sustained a powerful shock. Other fissures opened near Costa in the
    plains of Bogota, into which the river Tunza immediately began to
    flow. It is worthy of remark, that in all such cases the ancient
    gravel bed of a river is deserted and a new one formed at a lower
    level; so that a want of relation in the position of alluvial beds
    of the existing water-courses may be no test of the high antiquity
    of such deposits, at least in countries habitually convulsed by
    earthquakes. Extraordinary rain accompanied the shocks before
    mentioned; and two volcanoes are said to have been in eruption in
    the mountain chain nearest to Bogota. [15]

The _Encyclopedia Britannica_, referring to the geographical formation
of Colombia, also says:

    The fundamental formations throughout Colombia are igneous
    and metamorphic, the great mass of the cordilleras consisting
    of gneiss, granite, porphyry and basalt. In many places the
    carboniferous strata have attained considerable development, though
    they have been thrown into strange confusion by some unknown
    disturbance. [16]

The writer in _Chamber's Encyclopedia_, in speaking of Colombia, also

    The geology of the country is very extraordinary. "Everywhere,"
    we are told, "are found traces of stupendous cataclysms and a
    disarrangement and intermixture of primitive and sedimentary rocks,
    which assume to put all classification at defiance." [17]

Professor Winchell says:

    We are in the midst of great changes, and are scarcely conscious
    of it. We have seen worlds in flames, and have felt a comet strike
    the earth. We have seen the whole coast of South America lifted
    up bodily ten or fifteen feet and let down again in an hour. We
    have seen the Andes sink 220 feet in seventy years. * * * Vast
    transpositions have taken place in the coastline of China. The
    ancient capital, located, in all probability, in an accessible
    position near the centre of the empire, has now become nearly
    surrounded by water, and its site is on the peninsula of Corea.
    * * * There was a time when the rocky barriers of the Thracian
    Bosphorus gave way and the Black Sea subsided. It had covered a
    vast area in the north and east. Now this area became drained and
    was known as the ancient Lectonia: it is now the prairie region of
    Russia, and the granary of Europe. [18]

Referring to Donnelly again:

    The earthquake of 1783 in Iceland destroyed 9,000 people out of
    a population of 50,000; twenty villages were consumed by fire or
    inundated by water, and a mass of lava thrown out "greater than the
    bulk of Mont Blanc." [19]

Professor Lyell, referring to the great earthquake which occurred on
the island of Java, near the mountain of Galung Gung, on the 8th of
October, 1822, says:

    A loud explosion was heard, the earth shook, and immense columns of
    hot water and boiling mud, mixed with burning brimstone, ashes, and
    lapilli, of the size of nuts, were projected from the mountain like
    a water-spout, with such prodigious violence that large quantities
    fell beyond the river Tandoi, which is forty miles distant. * * *
    The first eruption lasted nearly five hours; and on the following
    days the rain fell in torrents, and the rivers densely charged with
    mud, deluged the country far and wide. At the end of four days
    (October 12), a second eruption occurred, more violent than the
    first, in which hot water and mud were again vomited, and great
    blocks of basalt were thrown to the distance of seven miles from
    the volcano. There was at the same time a violent earthquake, the
    face of the mountain was utterly changed, its summits broken down,
    and one side, which had been covered with trees, became an enormous
    gulf in the form of a semicircle. Over 4,000 persons were killed
    and 114 villages destroyed. [20]

The following account of seismic disturbances is taken from Donnelley's
work _Atlantis_.

    The Gulf of Santorin, in the Grecian Archipelago, has been for two
    thousand years a scene of active volcanic operations. Pliny informs
    us that in the year 186 B. C. the island of "Old Kaimeni," or the
    Sacred Isle, was lifted up from the sea; and in A. D. 19 the island
    of "Thia" (the Divine) made its appearance. In A. D. 1573 another
    island was created, called "the small sunburnt island." * * * A
    recent examination of these islands shows that the whole mass of
    Santorin has sunk, since its projection from the sea, over 1,200
    feet. [21]

    The fort and villages of Sindree, on the eastern arm of the Indus,
    above Luckput, was submerged in 1819 by an earthquake, together
    with a tract of country 2,000 square miles in extent. [22]

    In April, 1815, one of the most frightful eruptions recorded in
    history occurred in the province of Tomboro, in the island of
    Sumbawa, about two hundred miles from the eastern extremity of
    Java. It lasted from April 5 to July of that year; but was most
    violent on the 11th and 12th of July. The sound of the explosion
    was heard nearly one thousand miles. Out of a population of 12,000
    in the province of Tomboro, only twenty-six individuals escaped.
    "Violent whirlwinds carried up men, horses, and cattle into the
    air, tore up the largest trees by the roots, and covered the
    whole sea with floating timber." (Raffles' _History_ of Java,
    vol. I, 38.) The ashes darkened the air; "the floating cinders to
    the westward of Sumatra formed, on the 12th of April, a mass two
    feet thick and several miles in extent, through which ships with
    difficulty forced their way." The darkness in daytime was more
    profound than the blackest night. "The town called Tomboro, on the
    west side of Sumbawa, was overflowed by the sea, which encroached
    upon the shore, so that the water remained permanently eighteen
    feet deep in places where there was land before. The area covered
    by the convulsion was 1,000 English miles in circumference. "In the
    island of Amboyna, in the same month and year, the ground opened,
    threw out water, and then closed again." (Raffles' _History of
    Java_, vol. I, p. 52.)

    But it is at the point of the European coast nearest to the site
    of Atlantis at Lisbon that the most tremendous earhquake of modern
    times has occurred. On the 1st of November, 1775, a sound was
    heard underground, and immediately afterward a violent shock threw
    down the greater part of the city. In six minutes 60,000 persons
    perished. A great concourse of people had collected for safety upon
    a new quay, built entirely of marble; but suddenly it sank down
    with all the people on it, and not one of the dead bodies ever
    floated to the surface. * * * The water where the quay went down
    is now 600 feet deep. The area covered by this earthquake was very
    great. Humboldt says that a portion of the earth's surface, four
    times as great as the size of Europe, was simultaneously shaken.
    It extended from the Baltic to the West Indies, and from Canada
    to Algiers. At eighty leagues from Morocco the ground opened and
    swallowed a village of 10,000 inhabitants, and closed again over
    them. [23]

Although Mr. Charles Darwin, one of the most conservative of
scientists, usually insists that the elevation and subsidence of the
earth's crust is accomplished by slow degrees and continues through
long geological periods of time, yet in the report of his _Geological
Observations_, he records some very important evidences of recent
elevations and subsidences as having taken place quite suddenly. One
instance is in connection with an elevation on the Island of San
Lorenzo, off the coast of Peru near Lima, in which he reaches the
conclusion that the beach on that island has been raised 85 feet since
Indian men inhabited Peru. [24] He gives another instance of a recent
elevation of land on the Island of Chiloe; [25] and still another on
the Island of Lemus. [26] In speaking in a general way of the elevation
on the western side of the South American continent, Mr. Darwin also

    On the shores of the Pacific, upraised shells of recent species,
    generally, though not always, in the same proportional numbers as
    in the adjoining sea, have actually been found over a north and
    south space of 2,075 miles, and there is reason to believe that
    they occur over a space of 2,480 miles. The elevation on this
    western side of the continent has not been equable; at Valparaiso,
    within the period during which upraised shells have remained
    undecayed on the surface, it has been 1,300 feet, whilst at
    Coquimbo, 200 miles northward, it has been within this same period
    only 252 feet. At Lima, the land has been uplifted at least eighty
    feet since Indian man inhabited that district; but the level within
    historical times apparently has subsided. [27]

Coming to more recent seismic disturbances I call attention to the one
which occurred in 1883, on an island in the straits of Sunda:

    A great cloud was seen to rise above the island, and spreading out
    obscured the sun, while ash fell from the air. Upon the neighboring
    land the ground was shaken, while upon the low coasts, a great
    water wave rushed, destroying thousands of lives. Krakatoa, which
    had not been in eruption in this century, had again broken forth,
    with the most terrific explosion that man had recorded. Ash rose
    miles in the air, and spreading out, fell on the surrounding land
    and water, and for a while it was so thick upon the surface of the
    sea, in the Straits of Sunda, that the progress of vessels was
    impeded. So high did it rise that the light ash, floating about by
    the upper winds, staid suspended in the air for months, some of it
    falling in America and Europe. A great water wave, generated by
    the explosion, crossed the Pacific to the California coast, and
    it was observed on the shores of Africa and Australia. When the
    eruption had ceased it was found that Krakatoa had been split into
    two parts, one of which had disappeared into the air, leaving ocean
    water where there had been dry land. The part of the island that
    remained was covered with a deep coating of ash, and not a living
    thing was left, neither plant nor animal. [28]

Speaking of the same event W. J. McGee, vice-president of the National
Geographical Society, and ethnologist in charge of the Bureau of
American Ethnology, says:

    This stupendous outburst cast up a cloud of gas and dust to a
    height of seventeen miles or more which darkened the sun for 150
    miles in every direction, raised a sea wave reaching 135 feet in
    height on adjacent coasts, resounded in every direction for a
    thousand miles, and in one direction for 2,968 miles (if not indeed
    to the Antipodes), and sent out a series of great atmospheric waves
    rolling in both directions three times around the globe. [29]

The authority last quoted also says that the New Madrid earthquake of
1811-12 shook an area of a million and a quarter square miles; and that
the Charleston earthquake of 1886 was felt over nearly one-half million
square miles of land, and far out at sea. He gives at length also a
description of the recent earthquake in the island of St. Vincent,
West Indies, which shook all Martinique by the force of its explosion.
The magnetic disturbances swept in swift undulations for thousands
of miles, passed Maryland and Kansas in a few seconds, and reached
Honolulu a minute or two later; while the ensuing rain of rock-dust
stretched eastward a hundred miles beyond Barbadoes, westward to
Jamaica, northward to Texas, and to the South American continent. [30]

The conclusions to be reached from the facts here presented are, first,
that while elevations and subsidences of the earth's crust are usually
accomplished by slow degrees and through long periods of time, it is
also true that very extensive changes are effected by internal forces
of the earth in a very short period of time; and second, that there is
reason for the belief that the seismic disturbances described in the
Book of Mormon as taking place at the crucifixion of Messiah, effected
very great changes in the physical character of the land occupied
by the Nephites. If it should be contended that while the cases of
earthquake disturbances cited in this chapter tell of widespread areas
of country being suddenly and greatly effected, yet nowhere (except in
the case of Atlantis) do those changes approach the magnitude of the
physical changes called for in the views here set forth, the answer
would be that nowhere else in the records kept by men is there an
account of such terrible, such long-continued, and such widespread
cataclysms in the earth as those described in the Book of Mormon.
The terrible seismic disturbances which at the time of Messiah's
crucifixion took place in the western hemisphere continued through
three hours of time (instead of a few minutes, as in the case of some
of the most noted earthquake instances cited above); and affected the
western continents from end to end, and were followed by three days
of total darkness. [31] And as the forces then operative surpass in
their magnitude and time of continuance all other known instances of
the kind, so too, may it be reasonably argued that the changes would
be correspondingly greater than those effected by similar instances of
less magnitude and continued through briefer periods of time.

In concluding this chapter--even though I have not yet arrived at the
argumentative stage of my treatise--I would suggest that the cases of
seismic disturbances here cited are sufficient both in their character
and extent to warrant belief in the possibility of the terrible
catacylsms described in the Book of Mormon, and that they effected
great physical changes in the continents of America.


1. My treatment of the subject here has simply to do with the physical
character of the great divisions of the western hemisphere in Book of
Mormon times. I make no attempt to definitely locate particular lands
mentioned in the Book of Mormon, for the reason that the plan of my
treatise does not require the consideration of that subject, except
in a very general way: and however interesting it might be to know
definitely the location of particular Jaredite and Nephite lands--the
extent of their kingdoms, empires and republics; the location of
special provinces and other political districts or divisions therein,
together with a knowledge of the exact location of their capitals, and
metropolises, I do not believe those things can be learned with any
degree of certainty, for reasons set forth in the text of this chapter.

2. I Nephi 12:4.

3. Helaman 14:20-27.

4. III Nephi 8:5-18.

5. III Nephi 9:1-8, 12.

6. "With regard to the ages necessary for the accomplishment of the
immense geological processes, the history of which is disclosed to us
in the earth's strata, they certainly must have been of prodigious
duration; for all the annals of humanity are but as a passing moment
compared with the cycles of the globe. * * * Professor Haughton, a
mathematician, has endeavored to establish, according to the formula
of Dulong and Petit, that the mere fall in the temperature of 25,
occurring previously to the present epoch of our planet, would require
about 18 million of years. In the same way, the formation of each of
the strata, which constitutes the sum-total of the geological records
of the earth's surface must have taken up a long series of centuries
before which the mind recoils in perplexity. _The Earth_, Reclus, vol.
I, p. 32.

7. _Manual of Elementary Geology_, p. 46, 1852 edition.

8. Reference is also made to Atlantis in his _Critias_. (Jowett's
Trans, vol. II.)

9. _Dialogues of Plato_ (Jowett's translation), vol. II, p. 520.

10. Ibid., p. 521.

11. _History of America before Columbus_, p. 127, (Lippincott Co.,
pubs., 1900).

12. _The Earth_, vol. I, p. 36.

13. _Atlantis_, Donnelly, p. 3.

14. _Compend. of Geology_, Joseph Le Conte, pp. 145 and 146. See also
p. 153. The disturbance in the Mississippi valley is also mentioned by
Lyell (_Principles of Geology_, 1856 edition p. 446). He adds, that the
ground on which New Madrid stood, and the river bank for fifteen miles
above, sank eight feet below their former level.

15. _Principles of Geology_, Lyell, p. 457, 1856 edition.

16. Art. Colombia.

17. _Chamber's Ency_., Art. Colombia.

18. _The pre-Adamites_, p. 437.

19. _Atlantis_, p. 35.

20. _Principles of Geology_, p. 430.

21. _Atlantis_, p. 37.

22. p. 38.

23. _Atlantis_, p. 40.

24. _Geological Observations_, third edition, pp. 268, 269.

25. _Geological Observations_, p. 233.

26. Ibid., pp. 232, 233.

27. Ibid., p. 599. Also _The Earth_, vol. II, pp. 646, 647.

28. _First Book of Physical Geography_, R. S. Tarr, pp. 347, 348.

29. _The World Today_, (Magazine), vol. II, no. 1, July, 1902.

30. For full description see the magazine entitled "The World To
Today," Vol III., No, 1, July 1902.

31. It should be noted that the darkness accompanied some of the
seismic disturbances cited in the foregoing accounts of earthquakes,
notably in that of April, 1815, in the island of Sumbawa, see page
211, where "the darkness in the day time" is described as being more
profound than the blackest night.



The inter-continental movements of the Book of Mormon peoples must next
be considered.

Of the movements of the Jaredites and the people of Mulek but little
can be learned. The center of Jaredite civilization and national power
was in that part of the north continent known to the Nephites as the
land Desolation, a country which corresponds, as we have seen, to
modern Central America, [1] and of which Moron was the capital. From
this point the Jaredites evidently colonized in great part the north
continent; for it is said in the reign of King Lib that "the whole face
of the land northward was covered with inhabitants." [2] But this is
the widest extent of their colonization, as they confined themselves
to occupancy of the north continent, and nothing more than hunting
excursions ever carried them into the south continent.

Of the movements of Mulek's colony we have nothing more definite than
that having landed first at some point in the south part of the north
continent, they afterwards removed into the north part of the south
continent--to the valley of the Sidon, and were permanently settled
there when they were found by the migrating Nephites under Mosiah I.

As for the movements of the Nephites we have already traced them from
Lehi's landing place to the valley of the Sidon, where they joined the
people of Zarahemla, the descendants of Mulek's colony, and formed the
Nephite-Zarahemla monarchy under Mosiah I.

Hereafter we shall find their movements tending chiefly in two
directions: to the southward, and into the north.


The movements of the Nephites southward were prompted by two chief
incentives: first, by a desire on the part of some restless,
over-zealous spirits, who came with Mosiah to the valley of the
Sidon, to regain possession of the Land of Nephi--the land of their
forefathers; a choice land in itself, and made dear to some of them,
doubtless, by many tender and sacred recollections; second, by a pious
desire on the part of zealous missionaries to convert their brethren,
the Lamanites, to the truth of their fathers' faith in God, and the
truth of their fathers' traditions concerning the future coming of the
Christ to bring to pass the redemption of the world.

The first, and perhaps the largest of these movements, having in
contemplation the re-occupancy of the land of Nephi, was made under
Zeniff, a man who describes himself as "overzealous" to inherit the
land of his fathers. [3] This expedition was most likely undertaken
during the reign of the second king of the Nephite-Zarahemla nation,
viz., King Benjamin, who succeeded Mosiah I. In King Benjamin's reign
there was a serious war between the Lamanites and the newly formed
Nephite-Zarahemla nation. The Lamanites invaded the land of Zarahemla
bent on ravaging the country, and the subjugation of the people. They
were repulsed and driven back to their own lands, but not without much
bloodshed. [4] During the war, but likely after the repulse of the
Lamanites, Zeniff, with others, was sent among the Lamanites to locate
their forces and ascertain their strength, that the Nephite-Zarahemla
army might destroy them. But Zeniff, impressed with the many virtues
of the Lamanites, desired that they might not be destroyed, and urged
upon the leader of the Nephite expedition to enter into a friendly
treaty with them. This, however, was so far from the mind of the
Nephite leader that he ordered Zeniff to be slain, doubtless upon the
charge of treason, or insubordination; whereupon there was a revolt in
the expedition. The leader himself was killed; and Zeniff was rescued
after much bloodshed. Fifty of the expedition--all that survived the
unhappy conflict--returned to Zarahemla to relate the sad event that
had befallen them. Zeniff now gathered a company about him who were
desirous of repossessing the land of their forefathers, and with them
he departed from Zarahemla. On the journey they suffered from famine,
which much reduced their numbers; but finally they reached the land of
Lehi-Nephi, and of Shilom, which was the place from which the Nephites
under Mosiah departed northward in their second great hegira. [5]

The Lamanites received the expedition of Zeniff with favor, entered
into treaty relations with them, and vacated the land of Lehi-Nephi
and Shilom, that Zeniff and his people might possess it. It must not
be thought, however, that the action of the king of the Lamanites
was altogether disinterested; his ulterior motive was plunder of the
Nephites as soon as their well-known industry should bear fruit. He
allowed them to take possession of the cities and lands of their
fathers only that he might bring them into bondage, and make their
industry a source of revenue to himself and people.

The people of Zeniff rebuilt the walls of the ancient Nephite cities
in the land of Nephi, as also the cities themselves, and brought the
fruitful lands of their fathers again under cultivation; for under
Lamanite occupancy they had been neglected. The cities also had fallen
into decay, and the walls thereof had partly crumbled into ruins. As
soon, however, as Nephite industry began to redeem the waste places
and produce prosperity in the land, the Lamanites attempted their
subjugation; but though they suffered some from their conflicts with
the Lamanites, the Nephites, so long as Zeniff lived, maintained their
independence. So also they did during part of the reign of their second
king, Noah, son of Zeniff. During the reign of this second king, though
he himself was a dissolute, unrighteous man, he greatly beautified the
city of Lehi-Nephi, embellished the temple, and also built for himself
a magnificent palace. He also erected many and magnificent buildings
in the land of Shilom. [6] To carry out these improvements King Noah
taxed his people to the extent of one-fifth of all their possessions,
and of their income. He surrounded his dissolute court with a corrupt
priesthood, and in every way demoralized his people and made his
reign infamous. Still he successfully expelled the predatory bands of
Lamanites which invaded his territory from the south, and who had for a
time preyed upon his people.

About this time God sent a prophet among King Noah's people to warn
them of impending calamity. Him they burned, not heeding his warning.
But the mission of Abinadi, for such was the prophet's name, was not
wholly in vain, for the heart of one priest, Alma, was touched; and
he, repenting of his own wickedness, brought others to repentance. As
might be expected, this course displeased King Noah, and he sought to
destroy young Alma and his people. But Alma being warned of God of the
king's intentions, fled with his people (numbering about four hundred
and fifty souls) into the wilderness, some eight days' journey, where
they founded a city which they called Helam. [7] Here they dwelt in
security for a number of years. Finally, however, they were discovered
by the Lamanites, who placed them under bondage, and appointed task
masters over them. From this thraldom they were finally released by the
interposition of the Lord, who directed Alma to take his flight in the
direction of Zarahemla, which is reached in twelve days from Helam,
where he was most heartily received by King Mosiah II, who made him
High Priest over the Church throughout Zarahemla.

Meantime a large army of Lamanites invaded the land of Lehi-Nephi,
before whom King Noah and his people fled; but being encumbered with
their wives and children they were soon overtaken. Noah ordered an
abandonment of the women and children; but this order part of the men
of his army refused to obey, choosing rather to die with their wives
and children. The remainder followed the king. When the Lamanites saw
the helplessness of the Nephites, and being moved with compassion by
the pleading of their women, they abandoned the slaughter of them,
and permitted them to return to their cities, under covenant that
they would deliver up one-half of their property, and thereafter
pay annually one-half of the products of their labors. These hard
conditions were accepted; and the people returned to their possessions;
one Limhi, son of Noah, was chosen to be their ruler--their king, if
such a title, under the circumstances, be not mockery.

The Nephite men who obeyed the orders of King Noah in the matter of
abandoning their wives and children soon repented of their cowardice,
and resolved to return and share their fate or avenge their death; and
when King Noah opposed their manly resolutions they burned him at the
stake. On returning to Lehi-Nephi it was to find, of course, that their
people had gone into bondage to the Lamanites, under the circumstances
already detailed--a bondage these returning fugitives readily shared.

Hard, indeed, was the fate of the Nephites under Lamanite bondage. The
treaty stipulation prevented the Lamanites from making open war upon
them; but the one-half of the products of their labor due their masters
under the treaty they had formed was collected under every circumstance
of cruelty, and the Lamanites themselves directed the labors of the
unfortunate Nephites, placing task masters over them, who in every
way insulted and oppressed them, even to the binding of heavy burdens
upon their backs, and the application of the lash on the slightest

Under these circumstances it can be easily understood that the Nephites
were restive and anxious for deliverance. Naturally their eyes and
hearts turned to Zarahemla, where the great body of their brethren
dwelt in security. Once King Limhi fitted out a small expedition
of forty-three men and sent them to find Zarahemla, and bring
deliverance. The expedition was a failure as far as its immediate
object was concerned. It was lost in the wilderness, passed by the
land of Zarahemla--evidently on the west of it, and went into the land
northward, where it found the ruins of the Jaredite race--destroyed
cities, ruined temples, fallen walls, a land covered with the bones
of men and beasts. They also found breast-plates of brass and copper;
swords, the hilts of which had perished; and the blades of which were
cankered with rust. But what was of more importance they found what
afterwards proved to be the record of Ether, consisting of twenty-four
plates of gold, on which the last prophet of the Jaredite race had
engraved an outline history of his people, and which subsequently King
Mosiah, by use of the Urim and Thummim, translated into the Nephite
language; so that the Nephites at Zarahemla were acquainted with the
history of the people who had preceded them in the occupancy of the
western hemisphere. [8]

It would naturally be expected that the people of Zarahemla would feel
an interest in their brethren who went up to re-occupy the land of
Nephi; and when, year after year passed away and no word came of their
fate or fortunes, there were those who petitioned the king of Zarahemla
to send an expedition in search of them. The repeated petitions
at last met with favorable action, and one Ammon, a descendant of
Zarahemla, with fifteen others started for the land of Nephi. After
forty days' journey they reached Shilom, at which place King Limhi
was sojourning at the time of their arrival. The joy of the meeting
was mutual. Ammon and his associates rejoiced that their mission had
such a happy termination; Limhi and his people, that they could now
hope for deliverance from Lamanite bondage; and also they had joy in
the proof which Ammon brought them that the Nephites of Zarahemla were
not destroyed; for when Limhi's expedition returned from the land
northward, where they found the ruins and bones of an extinct people,
they supposed they had found Zarahemla, but that the Lamanites had
destroyed that people.

Soon after the arrival of Ammon in the land of Nephi the people of
Limhi devised plans for their escape from their Lamanite oppressors.
The plans were successfully carried into effect, and Limhi and his
people were welcomed to Zarahemla by King Mosiah II. Thus ended the
most notable effort of the Nephites to repossess the land of their
fathers' first inheritance, the land of Nephi. The occupancy of that
land by Zeniff's people extended over a period of about eighty years.

Of the missionary expeditions that ventured into the land of Nephi
for the conversion of the Lamanites, one of the most notable, as also
one of the most successful, was begun and carried to its successful
termination under the leadership of the four sons of King Mosiah II,
named respectively, Ammon, Aaron, Omner, and Himni. These young men,
and Alma, son of the High Priest of the same name, in their youthful
days were unbelievers in the traditions of their fathers; and they
sought to destroy the Church of God which the elder Alma with so
much toil had established through a faithful ministry. No parental
authority, no persuasion of preaching, prevailed against the pride and
skepticism of these young princes and the younger Alma. Gifted with
eloquence, politic, large-minded, generous in word and deed, gracious
and condescending to the people, Absalomlike he was rapidly stealing
the hearts of the Nephites, threatening the very existence of the
Church of God. At this juncture, out of respect for the prayers of the
elder Alma, God visited these young men by sending an angel to reprove
them, and warn them of impending calamities. The manifestation of God's
power in this visitation was such that the young men were over-whelmed.
Their conviction of sin was such that they repented thoroughly; and,
Paul-like, from being persecutors of those who served God, they became
zealous teachers of the truth, and sought with all their power to undo
the wretched mischief they had done in seeking the destruction of the
Church. This accomplished, so far as was possible, in the land of
Zarahemla, their thoughts turned to the hosts of unbelieving Lamanites
in the land of Nephi, more numerous than the Nephites and the people
of Zarahemla combined. A holy desire took possession of them to preach
salvation through the gospel to those hosts of Lamanites. Renouncing,
therefore, all their claims as princes, and abdicating all rights of
succession to the throne of their father, Mosiah II, these' princes
headed the aforesaid missionary expedition to the Lamanites. In the
midst of many afflictions, attended with much persecution, the sons of
Mosiah and their companions preached the gospel extensively throughout
Lamanite lands, and had a rich harvest of souls for their hire. They
established a Church among the Lamanites; but such was the oppression
practiced by the unconverted Lamanites upon those who accepted the
teachings of the Nephites, that, under divine direction and to preserve
their people from destruction, the young princes conducted an exodus of
the Church from the land of Nephi, then in possession of the Lamanites,
to Zarahemla, where they were welcomed by the Nephites, especially
by Alma the High Priest; and a land--the land of Jershon, north of
Zarahemla--was set apart for the home [9] of this body of Lamanite


The Nephites in the land of Zarahemla early appreciated the strategic
importance of holding possession of the narrow neck of land--the
isthmus which connected the southland with the northland. They
perceived that if hard-pressed by their Lamanite enemies, who
out-numbered them to the extent of two for one, [10] the narrow neck
of land afforded them a means of escape into the great land northward,
while by fortifying the narrow passage their enemies, however numerous,
could be held in check, while they themselves would have a whole
continent behind them in which to expand. The Lamanites also saw the
strategic importance of this isthmus, and in some of the great wars in
the last half of the century immediately preceding the coming of the
Messiah, they sought to possess it, and the Nephites as strenuously
sought to prevent them from taking possession of it. [11]

The first extensive migration of Nephites into the north continent
occurred in the thirty-seventh and thirty-eighth year of the reign of
the Nephite judges, a period which corresponds to fifty-five B. C. That
year five thousand four hundred men, together with their wives and
children, left the land of Zarahemla for the northland. That same year
one Hagoth, spoken of in Nephite annals as a "curious man," established
ship-building yards on the borders of the land Bountiful, on the west
side of the isthmus connecting the two continents. Here he constructed
a number of large vessels, in which great bodies of immigrants were
carried northward, to found new homes. Two of Hagoth's vessels that
started northward never returned, nor was anything ever afterwards
heard of them. The Nephites believed them to have been wrecked at sea.
It is supposed by some that these Nephite vessels may have drifted
westward and that their occupants may have peopled some of the islands
of the Pacific.

About ten years after this first great migration northward the
movement of population in that direction received a fresh impetus;
for great numbers went from Zarahemla and extended their journey
farther northward than heretofore. Contentions in the land of
Zarahemla--contentions born of pride, seem to have been responsible in
some way for this movement. Doubtless in the old centers of Nephite
civilization the possession of large wealth led to class distinctions,
and inequalities, most distasteful to a people who from the first
arrival of their fathers on the promised land had been taught to look
upon each other as equals. Migration from the land where distinctions
based upon the possession of wealth, and the pride it fosters,
presented itself perhaps as the easiest solution of the difficulty, and
hence the impetus to the northward movement in this year 46 B. C. [12]

The Nephite historian, Mormon, in speaking of conditions that
obtained about this time, gives one of those rare glimpses of Nephite
civilization that I consider of sufficient importance to quote at

    And it came to pass in the forty and sixth year, * * * there was
    much contention and many dissensions; in the which there were an
    exceeding great many who departed out of the land of Zarahemla, and
    went forth unto the land northward to inherit the land. And they
    did travel to an exceeding great distance, insomuch that they came
    to large bodies of water and many rivers. Yea, and even they did
    spread forth into all parts of the land, into whatever parts it had
    not been rendered desolate, and without timber, because of the many
    inhabitants who had before inherited the land. And now no part of
    the land was desolate, save it were for timber; but because of the
    greatness of the destruction of the people who had before inhabited
    the land it was called desolate. And there being but little timber
    upon the face of the land, nevertheless the people who went forth,
    became exceeding expert in the working of cement; therefore they
    did build houses of cement, in the which they did dwell. * * *
    And it came to pass that they did multiply and spread, and did go
    forth from the land southward to the land northward, and did spread
    insomuch that they began to cover the face of the whole earth,
    from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea
    east. And the people who were in the land northward did dwell in
    tents, and in houses of cement, and they did suffer whatsoever tree
    should spring up upon the face of the land that it should grow up,
    that in time they might have timber to build their houses, yea,
    their cities, and their temples, and their synagogues, and their
    sanctuaries, and all manner of their buildings. And it came to pass
    as timber was exceeding scarce in the land northward, they did send
    forth much by the way of shipping. And thus they did enable the
    people in the land northward, that they might build many cities,
    both of wood and of cement. And it came to pass that there were
    many of the people of Ammon who were Lamanites by birth, did also
    go forth into this land. And now there are many records kept of
    the proceedings of this people, by many of this people, which are
    particular and very large, concerning them. But behold, a hundredth
    part of the proceedings of this people, yea, the account of the
    Lamanites and of the Nephites, and their wars, and contentions, and
    dissensions, and their preaching, and their prophecies, and their
    shipping and their building of ships, and the building of temples,
    and of synagogues and their sanctuaries, and their righteousness,
    and their wickedness, and their murders, and their robbings, and
    their plundering, and all manner of abominations and whoredoms,
    cannot be contained in this work. [13]

Here it will be proper to dispel what I regard as a misapprehension of
the extent of Nephite occupancy of the north continent, at this period
of Nephite history. From the fact that in the foregoing quotation it
is said that the Nephites removing from Zarahemla traveled "to an
exceeding great distance, insomuch that they came to large bodies
of water, and many rivers," some have supposed that the Nephites at
this time extended their colonization movements as far north as the
great lakes in the eastern part of North America; [14] and from the
fact that it is also said that "they began to cover the face of the
whole earth, from the sea south, to the sea north, from the sea west,
to the sea east," it has been supposed that these expressions meant
to convey the idea that the Nephites at this time had extended their
settlements over both continents; and that "from the sea south to
the sea north" meant from the sea at the southern extremity of South
America (south of Cape Horn), to the Arctic Ocean, north of North
America. [15] There is no evidence, however, in the Book of Mormon that
warrants such a conclusion as to the extent of Nephite occupancy of the
western hemisphere in 46 B. C. Allowance for hyperbole must be made
in the expression, "They began to cover the face of the whole earth,"
since the facts set forth in the whole history of the Nephites in the
Book of Mormon are against the reasonableness of such an expression
if taken literally. From the landing of Lehi's colony early in the
sixth century B. C., to the date corresponding to the year 55 B. C.,
when the first considerable migration into the north land took place,
Nephite occupancy of the promised land was confined to portions of the
west and the extreme north part of what is now the south continent of
America; and as compared with the rest of South America, as now known
to us, the extent of country occupied was but a very small part of the
continent. The migrations from Zarahemla, from the year 55 B. C., to 46
B. C., though considerable, are not sufficient to warrant the belief
that the Nephites spread over and occupied the whole face of the north
continent. By reference to the map the reader, if he will consider the
parts of the country now known as the south part of Mexico and Central
America, will there find all the conditions that answer to the terms
of the description in the passage quoted complied with as to "the
sea south, and the sea north; the sea east and the sea west;" while
the physical character of the same land, even now, will answer the
requirements of the description of its being a land of "large bodies
of water and many rivers;" [16] and more abundantly may have been so
before the convulsions of nature which took place in Nephite lands at
Messiah's crucifixion.

I conclude, therefore, that this migration of Nephites at this time
extended no further northward than southern parts of Mexico, say about
the twenty-second degree north latitude; in other words, the Nephites
were occupying the old seat of Jaredite empire and civilization, and
the land of Moron which the Nephites called "desolate," not because of
its barrenness--save for the absence of forests of timber--"but because
of the greatness of the destruction of the people who had before
inhabited the land;" that is, the Jaredites.

The next important event affecting the movement of population and the
possession of the land north and south was a war between the Nephites
and Lamanites, that began with the invasion of Nephite lands by the
Lamanites in 35 B. C. Owing to dissensions among the Nephites, many
of that people had deserted to the Lamanites. It is quite possible
that this was owing to the resentment felt by the dissenting Nephites
because of the class distinctions which arose on account of wealth
and pride; and instead of the dissatisfied joining in the movement
northward, as many did, some of them went southward, joined their
fortunes with the barbarous Lamanites, and fomented the spirit of war
against their brethren. In this war the Nephites were destined to meet
with a new experience. Hitherto in their wars with the Lamanites, since
uniting with the people of Zarahemla, at least, the Nephites had been
able to hold their lands against the Lamanite invasion; and though
they had lost here and there a battle, they were uniformly successful
in their wars. In the war of 35-32 B. C., however, the Lamanites
drove the Nephites from all their lands in the south continent. Even
Zarahemla was taken, and the cities in the land Bountiful, extending,
be it remembered, northward from the land of Zarahemla to the isthmus
connecting the two continents. The Nephites were thrown wholly on the
defensive. They concentrated their forces at the narrow neck of land;
hastily fortified it, and by that means prevented the invasion of the
north continent. [17]

In the year 32-31 B. C. the fortunes of war changed somewhat, and
the invading hosts of Lamanites were forced out of the most northern
cities of the Nephites in the land Bountiful and Zarahemla; but the
city Zarahemla, so long the capital of the Nephite-Zarahemla nation,
remained in possession of the Lamanites; nor could the Nephites further
prevail by force of arms than to win back and hold about one-half of
their possessions in the south. At this point still another event,
important in Nephite history, occurred. The Chief Judge of the land,
whose name was Nephi, resigned his office in order to join his younger
brother, Lehi, in the work of preaching the gospel. Unrighteousness
is assigned as the cause of Nephite failure in the war of 35-32 B.
C.; wealth, love of luxury, pride, injustice to the poor, internal
dissensions, manifold treasons, and civil strife are enumerated as
among Nephite sins and afflictions. If unrighteousness was the cause
of Nephite weakness and failure--and it was--then clearly the logical
thing to do was to bring the people to repentance, re-establish them
in righteousness, and by these steps restore them to the favor of God.
Evidently so reasoned these two priests and prophets of God, Nephi and
Lehi; and to the achievement of this end they bent their energies. They
were successful; but successful in a direction least to be expected,
viz, successful in converting the Lamanites. Partially successful in
converting the Nephites, in the northern cities of the southland,
they went into the land of Zarahemla, still held by the Lamanites,
and so far convinced the Lamanites of the error and wickedness of the
traditions of their fathers that eight thousand were baptized in the
land of Zarahemla and the regions round about. Thence the two prophets
went further southward into the land of Nephi; and though they met
with some persecutions, such was the marvelous display of God's power
in their deliverance, that the greater part of the Lamanites were
converted; and restored to the Nephites the cities and lands they had
taken in the recent war. Many of the Lamanites themselves engaged
in the work of the ministry, and preached to the Nephites both in
Zarahemla and in the north continent. Nephi and Lehi also preached
in the northland, but with no great success. Still peace prevailed;
and for the first time since the separation of the Nephites from the
Lamanites, in the first half of the sixth century B. C., there was
unrestricted intercourse between the two peoples:

    And behold, there was peace in all the land, insomuch that the
    Nephites did go into whatsoever part of the land they would,
    whether among the Nephites or the Lamanites. And it came to pass
    that the Lamanites did also go whithersoever they would, whether
    it were among the Lamanites or among the Nephites; and thus they
    did have free intercourse one with another, to buy and to sell, and
    to get gain, according to their desire. And it came to pass that
    they became exceeding rich, both the Lamanites and the Nephites;
    and they did have an exceeding plenty of gold, and of silver, and
    of all manner of precious metals, both in the land south and in
    the land north. Now the land south was called Lehi, and the land
    north was called Mulek, which was after the son of Zedekiah; for
    the Lord did bring Mulek into the land north, and Lehi into the
    land south. And behold, there was all manner of gold in both these
    lands, and of silver, and of precious ore of every kind; and there
    were also curious workmen, who did work all kinds of ore and did
    refine it; and thus they did become rich. They did raise grain
    in abundance, both in the north and in the south; and they did
    flourish exceedingly, both in the north and in the south. And they
    did multiply and wax exceedingly strong in the land. And they did
    raise many flocks and herds, yea, many fatlings. Behold their women
    did toil and spin, and did make all manner of cloth, of fine-twined
    linen and cloth of every kind, to clothe their nakedness.

The next event which affected Nephite occupancy of the land north and
south was one of their many robber wars. By the sixteenth year from the
time the sign [18] of the birth of Christ [19] had been given (therefore
16 A.D.) wickedness had so far increased among the people of the western
world, and there had been so many dissensions from those who once had
favored law and order, that the robber bands which infested the country
considered themselves so powerful that they called upon the Chief Judge
of the land to abdicate government and accept the order of things that
obtained in their societies. This demand led to a serious war between
the supporters of the government on the one hand, and the outlaws
on the other. The Nephite leaders gathered their people both from
the north and the south into the central part of their country--into
the land Bountiful, and the land Zarahemla; and the cities of these
lands the Nephites and the Lamanites standing for law, order, and the
maintenance of government, fortified and stocked with an abundance of
provisions against the opening of the impending war. The war began in
the year 18 A. D., and lasted for more than two years. In it the robber
bands were not only defeated, but annihilated, by being destroyed in
battle, executed under the provisions of the law, or by being compelled
to enter into covenant to abandon their robberies and murders. This
war, in some respects the most terrible in Nephite history, was
followed by an era of prosperity. In the course of a few years the
Nephites had moved back upon their lands whence they had been called by
the exigencies of the recent war. "And it came to pass that there were
many cities built anew, and there were many old cities repaired. And
there were many highways cast up, and many roads made, which led from
city to city, and from land to land." [20]

No sooner were the terrors of war removed, however, than the people who
had been so marvelously delivered from their enemies lapsed again into

    For there were many merchants in the land, and also many lawyers,
    and many officers. And the people began to be distinguished by
    ranks, according to their riches and their chances for learning;
    yea, some were ignorant because of their poverty, and others did
    receive great learning because of their riches. Some were lifted
    up in pride, and others were exceedingly humble; some did return
    railing for railing, while others would receive railing and
    persecution, and all manner of afflictions, and would not turn and
    revile again, but were humble and penitent before God. And thus
    there became a great inequality in all the land, insomuch that the
    church began to be broken up; yea, insomuch that in the thirtieth
    year the church was broken up in all the land save it were among a
    few of the Lamanites who were converted unto the true faith; and
    they would not depart from it, for they were firm, and steadfast,
    and immovable, willing with all diligence to keep the commandments
    of the Lord. Now the cause of this iniquity of the people was this,
    Satan had great power, unto the stirring up of the people to do all
    manner of iniquity, and to the puffing them up with pride, tempting
    them to seek for power, and authority, and riches, and the vain
    things of the world. * * * * Now they did not sin ignorantly, for
    they knew the will of God concerning them, for it had been taught
    unto them; therefore they did wilfully rebel against God. [21]

The people of the western world, in brief, had entered upon that
final stage of their wickedness which was to terminate in those
awful convulsions of nature that should make their lands desolate,
and well-nigh destroy the inhabitants thereof. The government itself
had become corrupt; so, too, had the priesthood, save a few faithful
ones--men of God, who testified that the Messiah had come, and that the
time of his passion and resurrection approached. These were secretly
haled before the judges, and both priests and lawyers leagued against
them for their destruction. When it was feared that the Chief Judge
would not sign their death warrants--a thing needful under the Nephite
law to make executions legal--they privily put them to death, and
thus were guilty of judicial murders. An attempt to overthrow the
commonwealth, now perpetuated through more than a hundred and twenty
years, ended in anarchy; and thence to the establishment of a sort of
tribal government, which maintained an uncertain peace by means of
mutual fears rather than by any inherent strength in the system--if
system, indeed, it could be called. Such were the conditions that
obtained among the people of the western world when those mighty
cataclysms occurred which destroyed so many Nephite cities, effaced so
much of Nephite civilization, and so greatly changed in some places
the physical character of the continents of the western hemisphere, of
which the Book of Mormon account has been already given.

Shortly after these great cataclysms the Savior made his appearance
among the Nephites and established his Church, which event was followed
by a long period of righteousness and the loss of all race and party
distinctions, such as "Nephite" and "Lamanite," etc.; and the people
occupied the lands north and south without restraint according to
their good pleasure. True, in the year 350, A. D., when wickedness
had again made its appearance among the people, and old distinctions
were received, a treaty was made in which it was stipulated that those
calling themselves Lamanites and Gadianton robbers would possess
the south land. The treaty, however, was not long respected by the
Lamanities, for at the end of ten years they violated it by attempting
to invade the north and war was renewed. Back and forth surged the
tide of armed conflict, but raged chiefly in what was known to the
Nephites as the land of Desolation, the old seat of Jaredite empire
and civilization. The Nephites at last having been driven from their
southern strongholds in the north continent, proposed through their
leader, Mormon, Mormon, [22] that they be permitted to gather their
people at Cumorah--the Ramah of the Jaredites--that they might trust
their fate to the dreadful arbitrament of one great conflict. The
request was granted; the hosts were gathered, the armies which fought
under the Nephite name were destroyed, save such as were mingled with
the Lamanites. Anarchy followed, and then savagery for ages claimed the
western hemisphere as its own.


1. See Ether 7:6 and _Dict. B. of M_., Art. Desolation.

2. Ether 10:21.

3. Mosiah 9:1-4.

4. Omni 1:24.

5. For the authority of the foregoing narrative compare Omni 1:26-30,
Mosiah 9:1-6, and "Words of Mormon" between the Books of Omni and
Mosiah. Also Mosiah 11:13.

6. Mosiah 11.

7. The city of Helam and the surrounding country which was called "the
land of Helam," was doubtless named from Helam, who was the first to
receive baptism at the hands of Alma. Mos. 18.

8. Compare Mosiah 8, with Mosiah 21, and Mosiah 28.

9. Elder Reynolds suggests that this land north of Zarahemla was set
apart to them because it would place Zarahemla between them and the
Lamanites who might attempt pursuit.--_Dict. Book of Mormon_, p. 172.

10. Mosiah 25:2, 3.

11. Alma 51, 52. Helaman 1.

12. Forty and sixth year of the reign of the judges; corresponding to
the year forty-six B. C. (Reynolds' B. of M. Chronology, Richards'
_Compendium_, p. 195.)

13. Book of Helaman, 3:3-15.

14. To Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, Ontario.

15. See Orson Pratt's notes "i" and "j" Helaman III.

16. The land visited by Limhi's expeditions in search of Zarahemla, and
who went to the land desolation, on their return described that as a
land "among many waters," Mosiah 8:8.

17. Helaman 4.

18. A Lamanite prophet five years B. C., declared that a sign of
Messiah's birth would be given to the people of the western hemisphere,
which he described as follows: "This will I give unto you for a sign at
the time of his (Messiah's) coming; for behold, there shall be great
lights in heaven, insomuch that in the night before he cometh there
shall be no darkness, insomuch that it shall appear unto man as if it
was day. Therefore, there shall be one day and a night and a day, as
if it were one day and there were no night, and this shall be unto you
for a sign. * * And behold, there shall a new star arise, such an one
as ye never have beheld; and this also shall be a sign unto you" (of
Messiah's birth). All of which came to pass as predicted. (See Helaman
14:3-6; also III Nephi 1:15-21.)

19. The Nephites began to reckon their time from the sign of Messiah's
birth in the ninth year from that event. See III Nephi 2. Compare
verses 3-7 with verses 8-10.

20. III Nephi 6.

21. III Nephi 6:11-15, 18.

22. Mormon was born in the north land about 311 A. D. To him was
entrusted the Nephite records by one Ammaron; and while they were
in his possession he made the abridgment which bears his name, "The
Book of Mormon." All the sacred Nephite records he did away except his
abridgment of those records; and that he delivered to his son Moroni.



_Nephite Government_.

Some twelve or fifteen years after Lehi's colony arrived in the new
world, Nephi with that part of the colony which he could influence--the
more righteous part, by the way--separated from the elder sons of Lehi
and their following, and established a separate community. Such was
the esteem in which Nephi was held by his following that his people
besought him to be their king. Nephi appears not to have favored the
establishment of this kind of government, but yielded to the desire
of his people. Perhaps he had inherited the prejudices of the Hebrew
prophets against the kingly form of government, [1] and would gladly
have seen his people live under an administration of government by
judges, as in ancient Israel. This, however, is but an inference drawn
from the fact of Nephi's expressed desire that his people would have no

Succession to the kingly dignity was made hereditary in Nephi's family,
[2] and the kings on their accession to the kingly power took the title
of Nephi I, Nephi II, Nephi III, Nephi IV, etc. [3] What the nature of
this kingly government was, what secondary officers existed in it, and
what means were employed for the administration of its laws cannot be
learned from the Nephite record. For some time the community over which
the established government held sway was but a small one, hence the
kingly office had no such dignity as attaches to it in more extensive
governments; but was most likely akin to the petty kingdoms which
existed in Judea [4] at various times and with which Nephi and some
few of those who had accompanied him from Jerusalem were acquainted.
The Nephites had the scriptures containing the law of Moses, and were
taught to some extent in some of the customs of the Jews, but not in
all of them. [5] And these customs, and the law of Moses administered
with no very great amount of machinery, I apprehend, constituted the
character of the Nephite government. Under it the Nephites lived for a
period of more than four hundred and fifty years.

The transition from a kingly form of government to what may be called
a democracy was made at the death of Mosiah II, 509 years from the
time Lehi left Jerusalem, or 91 years B. C. The Israelitish genius
in matters of government inclines them to the acceptance of what men
commonly call a theocracy, which is defined as meaning literally "a
state governed in the name of God." The election of this form of
government by Israelities as most desirable, grows out of the fact of
the Mosaic legislation; for Moses received the law by which Israel
was governed direct from Jehovah; its regulations were carried out in
Jehovah's name, by the administration of judges, both during the life
time of Israel's great prophet and also after his demise. Living thus
under the divine law, administered in the name of Jehovah by judges
divinely appointed, was to be governed of God. And so completely was
this form of government recognized as the government of God, that to
reject it was held to be rejecting God as the ruler of the state, as
witness the words of the Lord himself in the closing years of the
prophet Samuel's life when Israel clamored for a king. The Lord said
unto Samuel: "Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say
unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me,
that I should not reign over them." [6]

No one, it appears to me, could have a clearer conception of the evils
that grow out of kingly government than the Nephite king, Mosiah II.
Nor a clearer conception of the strength and advantages of that form
of government. I give a summary of his reasoning upon two sides of
this question: "It is better that a man be judged of God than of man;
for the judgments of God are always just, but the judgments of men
are not always just." This is said in support of the old Israelitish
idea of government--a theocracy: "If it were possible that you could
have just men to be your kings, who would establish the laws of God
and judge this people according to his commandments, * * * * then it
would be expedient that you always have kings to rule over you;" but
"because all men are not just, it is not expedient that you should have
a king or kings to rule over you. * * * * Behold, how much iniquity
doth one wicked king cause to be committed, yea and what destruction!"
Moreover Mosiah understood the strength of those forces behind which
an ungodly king could intrench himself. "Behold, * * * * ye cannot
dethrone an iniquitous king, save it be through much contention, and
the shedding of much blood; for behold, he has his friends in iniquity,
and keepeth his guards about him, * * * * and he enacteth laws, and
sendeth them forth among his people; yea, laws after the manner of his
own wickedness; and whosoever does not obey his laws, he causeth to
be destroyed; and whosoever doth rebel against him, he will send his
armies against them to war, and if he can, he will destroy them: and
thus an unrighteous king doth pervert the ways of all righteousness."
"Behold, I say unto you the sins of many people have been caused by the
iniquities of their kings."

These were the considerations which led him to recommend the
abandonment of kingly government and establish a reign of judges chosen
by the voice of the people. By this arrangement Mosiah held that the
people would bear the responsibility of the government. "It is not
common," he reasons, "that the voice of the people desireth anything
contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the smaller part
of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall
ye observe, and make it your law, to do your business by the voice
of the people; and if the time comes that the voice of the people
doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgment of God will
come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great
destruction, even as he has hitherto visited this land." All of which
is a clear setting forth of the responsibilities of self-governing

It should be pointed out, however, that there were some other events
which led to the consideration of the propriety of changing the form
of the Nephite government, at this time. The sons of Mosiah, who
were heirs to the Nephite throne, were miraculously converted to the
gospel, and so thoroughly imbued had they become with the importance
of the work of the ministry of the Church that they abandoned their
rights of succession to the kingly dignity, and departed from the land
of Zarahemla to perform missions among the Lamanites. In consequence
of the action of these young princes, Mosiah II was confronted with
the problem of succession to the Nephite throne, since those to whom
belonged the right refused to accept the honor. He feared that if
another were appointed instead of one who had constitutional claims
to the throne, there might arise contentions over the question of
succession. "And who knoweth," said he, "but what my son to whom
the kingdom doth belong, shall turn to be angry, and draw part of
this people after him, which would cause wars and contentions among
you, which would be the cause of shedding much blood?" He therefore
recommended the election of a chief judge or president of the
theocratic-democracy, who would be possessed of both administrative
and judicial powers, in the hope that such action, taken by the
people themselves, would obviate all difficulty or question about the
legitimacy of the government about to be established.

It is difficult to determine with precision the entire character of the
constitution of the Nephite democracy. But from what is written in the
Book of Mormon this much may be learned: The chief judge, elected by
the people, was the supreme governor of the land, the chief executive.
[7] His oath of office bound him "to judge righteously, and to keep the
peace and the freedom of the people, and grant unto them the sacred
privileges to worship the Lord their God; to support and maintain
the laws of God all his days, and to bring the wicked to justice,
according to their crimes." A similar oath was doubtless administered
to the inferior judges. To a limited extent also legislative powers
were granted to the chief judge, but these powers appear to have been
limited to framing laws, which were not of force until ratified by the
voice of the people. No limit seems to have been set to the term of
office of the chief judge, but as the voice of the people placed him in
office, the same power could also dismiss him from it; and it may be
that the power of impeachment, vested in a certain number of inferior
judges--as explained later--extended to deposing even the chief judge.
In any event it may be concluded that he held his position only during
good behavior.

Just how the inferior judges were graded cannot be ascertained, but
that they were graded is evident, since Mosiah II, in explaining the
character of the constitution of the democracy he proposed to his
people, said: "And now if ye have judges, and they do not judge you
according to the law which has been given, ye can cause that they
may be judged of a higher judge. If your higher judges do not judge
righteous judgments, ye shall cause that a small number of your lower
judges should be gathered together, and they shall judge your higher
judges, according to the voice of the people." [8] A salutary provision
this, for it made all amenable to the law, but the manner in which
the judges were graded is unknown, as well as what number of inferior
judges were designated to try the superior judges.

These administrators of the law were paid for their services "according
to the time which they labored to judge those who were brought before
them to be judged, * * * a senine of gold for a day," or its equivalent
in silver--a senum of silver. [9] It is, of course, impossible to
determine the value of these denominations of Nephite coins, and
therefore impossible to determine the value of the _per diem_ of the
judges. The nearest approach that can be made to an estimate is that a
senine of gold or a senum of silver was equal in value to "a measure of
barley and also for a measure of any kind of grain." [10] This is again
indefinite, as neither the bulk nor the weight of "a measure of grain"
is known; but it does convey the idea that it was no very great amount;
and, indeed, in all that is said upon the subject of compensation for
public service in the state, it is manifest that the Nephite government
was administered on the strictest lines of economy. [11].

The organization of the military forces among the Nephites would be a
subject of great interest, since, by reason of the constant aggressions
of the Lamanites, they were often forced into war, and would be classed
as a defensively warlike state. Of their military organization,
however, but little can be definitely known. Two items, however,
connected with the commander-in-chief of the armies, are quite clear:
First, that he was nominated for his position by the Chief Judge of
the land, [12] which nomination had to be ratified by the voice of the
people; second, that on occasions the people delegated to him absolute
power, created him military "dictator" in fact. This has ever been the
means by which republics have sought to remedy one of the chief defects
of their system, viz., ineffectiveness of administration--a tardiness
in executing the law, or meeting an emergency not technically provided
for in the constitution or law. In order to obviate this difficulty
democracies have not infrequently adopted the plan of creating trusted
leaders dictators; clothing them with all the authority of an absolute
monarch during periods of special peril to the government. Thus did
the Romans a number of times during the existence of their republic,
when occasions arose that required prompt executive action, and by an
authority that would be unquestioned. And such, I believe, was the
power conferred upon the commander-in-chief of the Nephite armies, when
occasion arose for it.

Relative to the body of the laws that obtained among the Nephites,
whether under the monarchy or the republic, I apprehend that it was
made up of the Mosaic legislation, [13] with some slight modification,
and some especial enactments of their kings. As for instance it
was enacted in the law of Mosiah (most likely Mosiah II) that the
judges should receive wages according to the time they devoted
to their office. [14] So doubtless other special acts obtained,
which, with the general laws of the Mosaic legislation formed the
Nephite jurisprudence. [15] And in the transition from the monarchy
to the republic, Mosiah was careful to stipulate for this body of
jurisprudence: "Let us appoint judges to judge this people according to
our law." [16]--i. e., the law which had obtained under the monarchy,
the law of God. "We will appoint wise men to be judges, that will judge
this people according to the commandments of God." [17] So the body of
the law that obtained under the reign of the kings went over into the
jurisprudence of the republic.

From the Nephite record it appears that murder was punished with
death; robbery, theft, and adultery were also punished, but with what
penalties is not stated. But the law provided that men should be
judged--and therefore punished--according to their crimes. [18] One
thing stood out unique in the Nephite policy: that was the recognition
of the right of the subject to the enjoyment of religious liberty. The
scripture--"choose ye this day whom ye will serve" [19]--seems to have
impressed the Nephites with the idea that the right of choice in the
matter of worship was left with the individual; and hence "if a man
desired to serve God, it was his privilege;" "but if he did not believe
in him [God], there was no law to punish him" [20]--hence religious

The history of the Nephite republic was a stormy one, especially
during the first quarter century of its existence. It was assailed by
traitors from within, who sought to re-establish a monarchy; and by
the Lamanites from without, who often joined with the royalists to
overthrow the republic. But if traitors assailed, patriots defended;
and the republic was preserved for about one hundred and twenty
years, from 91 B. C. to 30 A. D. An attempt then made to displace
the republic by a monarchy, ended in anarchy for a time, followed by
the establishment of a sort of tribal government, which conditions
prevailed at the time the land was visited with that terrible
destruction which took place at the crucifixion of Messiah, and well
nigh swept out of existence the entire population.

What form of government obtained among the people of the western
hemisphere after the appearance of the risen Messiah among them must
be left largely to conjecture, since the Nephite records now in our
hands are silent upon that subject. Neither monarchy nor republic is
referred to; and the most reasonable conclusion is that the people,
after the establishment of the Church of Christ among them, found
its institutions and authority sufficient as well in secular as in
ecclesiastical affairs; for the entire people were converted to the
gospel, and were members of the Church. A righteous people have small
need of government. The necessity for government is born of men's vices
and wickedness, that lead to the disorders of society, which government
must needs be called upon to regulate, and, if possible, suppress. For
two centuries the people of the western world were most righteous,
prosperous and happy. "There were no envyings," says their chronicler,
"nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor
any manner of lasciviousness; and surely there could not be a happier
people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God."

In consequence of these conditions nothing is said of government, and
nothing may be learned of its nature beyond what has been suggested in
the foregoing. As to what was done in the matter of government when
this period of general righteousness drew to its close, and pride
and wickedness hastened the disintegration of the Church; and pushed
society headlong into disorders, may not be known, as our present
Nephite records on this subject are again silent. We only know that
secret organizations sapped the foundations of society; that security
of person and property vanished; that anarchy and tribal relations
usurped the place of orderly government; and that darkness spread over
the land and gross darkness over the minds of the people.


Religion among the Nephites consisted in the worship of the true and
living God, the Jehovah of the Jews, whose revelations to the children
of Israel through Moses and all the prophets to Jeremiah were brought
with them into the new world. They therefore accepted into their faith
all the Bible truths, and in its historical parts they had before them
the valuable lessons which Bible history teaches. It furnished also a
foundation for literature among them. For not only by the Bible were
their prophets instructed in the law of God, but copies of some parts
of it were multiplied and read by the people. [22] What is more they
were possessed of some other books not now in our so-called canon of
the Old Testament, such as the books of the Prophets Zenock, Neum and
Zenos; all referred to by the first Nephi, who quotes some of their
prophecies concerning the coming of Messiah in the flesh, and of three
days of darkness to be given unto some of the inhabitants of the isles
of the sea as a sign of the Christ's death. [23] The Nephites also had
the writings of Ezias referred to by one of the Nephite prophets in the
Book of Helaman. [24] Elder Orson Pratt, in a foot note on the passage,
suggests that Ezias "may have been identical with Esaias, who lived
contemporary with Abraham." [25] These books contained very precious
truths concerning the coming and mission of the Messiah; and when
information on this subject was lacking in the books which the Nephites
brought with them from Jerusalem, it was abundantly made up to them by
the things which the Lord revealed directly to their own prophets; for
in the clearest manner possible the Lord made known to this branch of
the house of Israel in the western world, the future coming and mission
of the Messiah, together with the effectiveness of the atonement which
he was appointed to make for mankind. While the Nephites kept the law
of Moses previous to the advent of Messiah, as to its sacrifices and
ordinances, yet they understood that these things but shadowed forth
the real sacrifice to be made for them by the Savior of the world; and
that these ordinances in which they administered were only of virtue by
reason of the things which were to be done by Messiah afterwards.

In order to offer sacrifices and administer in the other ordinances of
the law of Moses (which the Nephites were commanded to observe), [26]
it was necessary, of course, that they have a priesthood, and this they
had; but not the priesthood after the order of Aaron; for that was a
priesthood that could only properly be held by Aaron's family and the
tribe of Levi; while Lehi was of the tribe of Manasseh. [27] Lehi held
the priesthood, however, the higher priesthood, which was after the
order of Melchizedek, and was a prophet and minister of righteousness.
This Lehi conferred upon his son Nephi; and Nephi, shortly after his
separation from his elder brothers on the land of promise, consecrated
his two younger brothers, Jacob and Joseph, to be priests and teachers
unto his people. [28] Jacob, when explaining his calling to his
brethren, states that he had been called of God, "and ordained after
the manner of his holy order." [29] What the significance of the phrase
"His holy order" means, is learned very distinctly from other parts
of the Book of Mormon. Alma, for instance, before giving up the chief
judgeship of the land, is represented as confining himself "wholly to
the priesthood of the holy order of God, to the testimony of the word,
according to the Spirit of revelation and prophecy." [30] Again Alma
explains, "I am called * * * according to the holy order of God, which
is in Christ Jesus; yea, I am commanded to stand and testify unto this
people." [31] All of which is made still clearer by what Alma says
later. Having given an explanation of the plan of redemption which
was laid for man's salvation, and which he represents as having been
understood from earliest times, Alma adds: "I would that ye should
remember that the Lord God ordained priests after his holy order,
_which was after the order of his Son_ [meaning Jesus Christ], to teach
these things unto the people. * * * This holy priesthood, being after
the order of his Son, which order was from the foundation of the world,
or in other words, being without beginning of days or end of years,
being prepared from eternity to all eternity. * * * Thus they become
the high priests forever after the order of the Son, the only begotten
of the Father, who is full of grace, equity and truth." Alma then
admonishes his people to be humble, "even as the people in the days of
Melchisedek, who was also a high priest after the same order [of which
he had spoken]. * * * And he was the same Melchisedek to whom Abraham
paid tithes." The Nephite priesthood, then, was not a priesthood
after Aaron's order, but of a higher order, even the priesthood after
the order of the Son of God; the same kind of priesthood held by
Melchizedek, by Moses, by Lehi, and many other prophets in Israel.

That this higher priesthood was competent to act in administering the
ordinances under what is known as the law of Moses, is evident from the
fact that it so administered before the Aaronic or Levitical priesthood
proper was given; and the fact that there was given to the household of
Aaron and the tribe of Levi a special priesthood, by no means detracts
from the right and power of the higher or Melchizedek priesthood to
officiate in the ordinances of the law of Moses; for certainly the
higher order of priesthood may officiate in the functions of the lower,
when necessity requires it. All the sacrifices and ordinances under the
law of Moses, administered by the Nephite priesthood, I say again, were
observed with due appreciation of the fact that they were of virtue
only as they shadowed forth the things to be done by Messiah when he
should come to earth, in the flesh, on his great mission of atonement.
And in order that the reader may see how full Nephite knowledge was of
the Messiah and of his life on earth, through the prophecies uttered
concerning him--and prophecies, of course, are but history reversed--I
present herewith a statement of the items known to them, collected by
the patient labors of Elder George Reynolds, to whom I am indebted for
the following passage:

    One of the most remarkable things connected with the history of the
    Nephites is the great plainness and detail with which the coming of
    the Redeemer and the events of his life in Judea were revealed to
    their prophets, who lived before the time of his advent.

    Among other things connected with his mortal existence it was
    declared of him that:

    God himself should come down from heaven among the children of men
    and should redeem his people.

    He should take upon him flesh and blood.

    He should be born in the land of Jerusalem, the name given by the
    Nephites to the land of their forefathers, whence they came.

    His mother's name should be Mary.

    She should be a virgin of the city of Nazareth; very fair and
    beautiful, a precious and chosen vessel.

    She should be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy

    He should be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

    At his birth a new star should appear in the heavens.

    He should be baptized by John at Bethabara, beyond Jordan.

    John should testify that he had baptized the Lamb of God, who
    should take away the sins of the world.

    After his baptism, the Holy Ghost should come down upon him out of
    heaven, * * * * and abide upon him.

    He should call twelve men as his special witnesses, to minister in
    his name.

    He should go forth among the people, ministering in power and great
    glory, casting out devils, healing the sick, raising the dead, and
    performing many mighty miracles.

    He should take upon him the infirmities of his people.

    He should suffer temptation, pain of body, hunger, thirst and
    fatigue; blood should come from every pore of his body by reason of
    his anguish because of the abominations of his people.

    He should be cast out and rejected by the Jews; be taken and
    scourged, and be judged of the world.

    He should be lifted upon the cross and slain for the sins of the

    He should be buried in a sepulchre, where he should remain three

    After he was slain he should rise from the dead and should make
    himself manifest by the Holy Ghost, unto the Gentiles.

    He should lay down his life according to the flesh and take it up
    again by the power of the Spirit, that he might bring to pass the
    resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise.

    At his resurrection many graves should be opened and should yield
    up their dead; and many of the saints, who had beforetime passed
    away, should appear unto the living.

    He should redeem all mankind who would believe on his name.

    In the above we have not mentioned the sayings of Isaiah and other
    Jewish prophets, which are inserted in the Book of Mormon, but
    which also appear in the Bible. [32]

After the resurrection, in fulfilment of many predictions of Nephite
prophets that he would appear among the people of the western world,
[33] Jesus Christ made his advent among the Nephites. The great event
occurred some time after those awful cataclysms, which so changed the
face of the western world, had ceased. It appears that a number of
Nephites had gathered together near a temple in the land Bountiful, and
were contemplating the changes that had been wrought in the land by the
aforesaid cataclysms, and conversing about the Messiah, the signs of
whose death had been so marvelously given--I quote the account of the
appearing of Jesus unto this multitude, as it is found in the Nephite

    And it came to pass that while they were thus conversing one with
    another, they heard a voice as if it came out of heaven; and they
    cast their eyes round about, for they understood not the voice
    which they heard; and it was not a harsh voice, neither was it a
    loud voice; nevertheless, and notwithstanding it being a small
    voice it did pierce them that did hear to the center, insomuch
    that there was no part of their frame that it did not cause to
    quake; yea, it did pierce them to the very soul, and did cause
    their hearts to burn. And it came to pass that again they heard the
    voice, and they understood it not. And again the third time they
    did hear the voice, and did open their ears to hear it; and their
    eyes were towards the sound thereof; and they did look steadfastly
    towards heaven, from whence the sound came. And behold, the third
    time they did understand the voice which they heard; and it said
    unto them: Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in
    whom I have glorified my name--hear ye him. And it came to pass, as
    they understood they cast their eyes up again towards heaven; and
    behold, they saw a Man descending out of heaven; and he was clothed
    in a white robe; and he came down and stood in the midst of them;
    and the eyes of the whole multitude were turned upon him, and they
    durst not open their mouths, even one to another, and wist not
    what it meant, for they thought it was an angel that had appeared
    unto them. And it came to pass that he stretched forth his hand
    and spake unto the people, saying: Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom
    the prophets testified shall come into the world. And behold, I am
    the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that
    bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the
    Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have
    suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning.
    And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words, the
    whole multitude fell to the earth; for they remembered that it had
    been prophesied among them that Christ should shew himself unto
    them after his ascension into heaven. [34]

After thus manifesting himself to the Nephites in this most palpable
manner, Messiah continued his ministry by teaching them the gospel,
and instituting baptism for the remission of sins, and the sacrament
of the Lord's Supper, as symbolizing the sacrifice and atonement
he had made. He also authorized the organization of a Church among
them--himself conferring divine authority to do all these things upon
twelve disciples, who held power similar to that of the twelve whom
he had chosen at Jerusalem. He also taught them the moral law of the
gospel; informed them of his work among their brethren, the Jews;
declared to them also his intention of visiting and ministering to
those who are called the "Lost Tribes of Israel," declaring that in
this personal appearing to them (the Nephites), and to the Lost Tribes
of the house of Israel, he was but fulfilling his own words to the
twelve at Jerusalem as found in the testimony of John, wherein he said:
"And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: [35] them also I
must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold
and one shepherd." [36]

Thus the gospel was proclaimed among the Nephites, by Jesus Christ, in
person, and by divinely inspired men, directly called and appointed
by Jesus to the holy office of the ministry. The Church of Christ was
established among the Nephites, to teach the truth, and perfect the
lives of those who accepted it--for such is the mission of the Church
of Christ in all ages of the world. How successful it was through the
first two Christian centuries, and how, after the expiration of that
time, the Nephite race began to decline in righteousness, deny the
faith once delivered to them, until they lost favor with God and were
left to degenerate into anarchy and barbarism, has already been stated.


_Government and Religion_.

Of the government and religion of the people of Mulek in the western
hemisphere we know even less than of the Jaredites or the Nephites.
Mulek himself was of royal lineage, being the son of King Zedekiah of
Jerusalem; but whether the prerogatives of prince and king were enjoyed
and exercised by him in the new world we cannot learn, nor is there any
glimpse afforded us in the Nephite records of the nature of government
among their people. Still, government of some sort must have subsisted
among them, for when found by the Nephites in the valley of the Sidon
they lived in association--chiefly in the great city of Zarahemla--a
thing inconceivable apart from government of some sort. The gregarious
instincts of man impel him to live in society, but the experience
of the race is warrant for the truth of the fact that government is
necessary to the perpetuity of that society. Hence when society of
any permanent character is found, there, it may be taken for granted,
government of some sort also exists. Hence the people of Mulek, since
it is evident that they lived in a permanent society, had a government,
but the nature of it is unknown.

The people of Mulek came from the old world without scriptures or
records of any kind. That is no matter of surprise, however, since
they were fugitives escaping from the wrath of the king of Babylon.
Their anxiety looked not to the future, but to the present. To them was
committed the protection of one of the princes of Judah. To reach a
place of safety for him would be their one, absorbing thought. But the
experience of this colony illustrates the value of the written word of
God. By reason of having no records or books, and no opportunity, or
inclination, perhaps, to teach letters, the language they spoke--the
language prevalent in Judea in the sixth century B. C.--in course
of time very much deteriorated. [37] But that was not the worst
consequence of their being without the written word. By the time the
descendants of Mulek's colony were discovered by the migrating hosts
of Nephites under Mosiah I--four hundred years from the time they left
Judea--they were so far sunk in unbelief as to deny "the being of their
Creator." Their condition of unbelief sustains the views on the value
of the written word expressed by King Benjamin--son of Mosiah I--when
teaching his people the importance of the records brought by Lehi's
colony from Jerusalem. He held that had it not been for these sacred
writings, the Nephites themselves would have been in ignorance of the
mysteries of God; that it would have been impossible for Lehi to have
taught all the things of God, but for the help he received from the
written word; that but for this, their fathers would have dwindled in
unbelief. [38] It may be taken for granted also that with a people
who had no religion--who "denied the being of their Creator"--their
morality was of a very low order; for it is a truth, attested over and
over again in the history of nations, that national morality cannot
prevail in exclusion of religion, which teaches the recognition of
moral duties as commandments of God. But these observations are based
upon the universal experience of man, rather than upon anything in the
Nephite record; for that is silent upon the matters of government,
religion, and morality of the people of Mulek, except in so far as
stated in the foregoing.


_Civilization, Government, Religion_.

Civilization, government and religion among the Lamanites should not
be overlooked. It is true that they were idle; that they loved the
wilderness and, for the most part, dwelt in tents; that they depended
upon the fruits of the chase and such products of the earth as the
rich lands they occupied produced without the labor of man, as the
principal means of their sustenance; still they came in contact now
and then with Nephite civilization, which must have modified somewhat
their inclination to utter barbarism. It must be remembered that
the Lamanites frequently invaded Nephite lands and prospered by the
fruits of war. Moreover, as the Nephites repeatedly removed from their
possession to escape Lamanite aggression, the latter took possession of
their deserted cities and country, and dwelt in their habitations. When
the righteous Nephites under Mosiah I departed northward from the "Land
of Nephi," in which land was located the great cities of Lehi-Nephi,
Shilom, and doubtless many other cities of less importance, these fell
into the hands of the Lamanites. When a colony from Zarahemla returned
under Zeniff to re-occupy these lands of their fathers, they were
tricked into bondage to the Lamanites, who laid heavy tribute upon
their labor, and flourished for a period of well nigh eighty years upon
the industry of the practically enslaved Nephites. This occasional
contact with Nephite civilization must have had a modifying effect upon
Lamanite life and Lamanite character.

That there was some system and regularity in Lamanite government must
be apparent from the degree of efficiency with which that people
conducted the protracted wars with the Nephites. The largeness of their
armies, the length of the wars, and the extensive scale on which they
were projected and prosecuted, would indicate the existence of some
strong, central government capable of making its authority respected.
That such a government existed among the Lamanites is disclosed through
the facts that are brought to light by the mission of the young Nephite
princes, the sons of Mosiah II, in the century preceding the birth
of Messiah. It appears that at that time what I shall venture to
call the Lamanite empire was divided into a number of petty kingdoms
whose kings, as is always the case among semi-civilized peoples, were
possessed of great and arbitrary power; but these in turn seem to have
been subject to a central ruler whose dominion extended over all, and
whose power in his large sphere was as absolute as that of the petty
kings in the smaller states.

The religion of the Lamanites is more difficult to determine than their
government. It is chiefly the absence of religion and of its influence
that must be spoken of. Taught to believe that the traditions of their
fathers respecting God, the promised Messiah, and the belief in a
future life were untrue; persuaded to believe that their fathers had
been induced to leave fatherland, and their rich possessions therein
because of the dreams of the visionary Lehi; firm in their conviction
that the elder sons of Lehi had been defrauded of their right to govern
the colony by the younger son, Nephi; and that through the force of
the religious influence he learned to wield by following the spiritual
example (to them, perhaps, the trickery) of his father--it was in the
spirit of hatred of religion that the Lamanites waged war upon the
Nephites, to subvert religion and free men from its restraints. But the
Lamanites were true to human instincts. [39] They freed themselves, as
they supposed, from one superstition, only to plunge into others that
were really contemptible--the superstition of idolatry; for they were
an idolatrous people. [40] This remark, however, must be understood in
a general sense, and as applying to the Lamanites proper, previous to
the coming of Messiah--of the followers, and the descendants of the
followers, of the elder brothers of the first Nephi, Laman and Lemuel.
After the coming of Messiah, when in the third century A. D., the old
distinctions of Nephite and Lamanite were revived, after the long
period of peace and righteousness following the advent of Christ, said
distinctions could have no reference to race or family, as they had
when first employed; but were strictly party distinctions; used, when
adopted again in the period named, to indicate the Church or religious
party, and the anti-religious party, respectively. But even this
significance passed away in time, in the latter phase of the history
of the people of the western hemisphere; for the Nephites went into
transgression as well as the Lamanite party, and no longer stood as the
champions of religion and the Church: and hence the names then stood
for the respective parties, strangely bent on each other's destruction.
It must also be understood that the term "idolatrous people" does not
apply to all the Lamanites previous to the coming of Messiah, through
the whole period of their history; for at times there were very
widespread conversions among them to faith in the true God, as at the
time of the mission of King Mosiah's sons among them, three-quarters of
a century B. C.; and again as the result of the labors of Nephi, the
son of Helaman, and his brother Lehi (31 B. C. to 2 B. C.). In this
last named successful ministry, the Lamanites reversed for a time the
historic relations of the two parties, the Lamanites more universally
accepting the faith taught by the prophets of God than the Nephites,
exceeding them in righteousness of life and in zeal as champions of
the cause of God and truth. But, speaking broadly, after noting the
foregoing limitations and exceptions, from the first separation of
the Nephites from the Lamanites, down to the coming of Messiah, the
Lamanites were an idolatrous people. And again from the time of the
destruction of the Nephite party, about 400 A. D., to the coming of the
Europeans, near the close of the fifteenth century, superstition and
the darkness of idolatry (enlightened here and there, perhaps, with a
fragment of truth cherished in the traditions of the people) held the
inhabitants of the western world under its dominion.

By way of recapitulation, allow me here to say, in closing this
second division of my treatise, that I have now considered the value
of the Book of Mormon as a witness for God; the purposes for which
it was written; the manner of its coming forth through the agency of
Joseph Smith; the manner of its translation, and the account of its
publication; the migrations of its people to the western world; the
lands they occupied; the intercontinental movements of its peoples;
their government, literature and religion. All this, it is hoped,
sets forth what the Book of Mormon is, and its value as a volume of
history and scripture; and naturally leads up to the great questions
to be considered in this treatise, viz.: Is the Book of Mormon what
it purports to be? Is it an abridged history of the ancient people
who inhabited the western hemisphere? Does it really give an account
of God's hand-dealing with them? Is it the voice of sleeping nations
testifying to the truth of God's existence, to the verity of Messiah's
mission, to the power of salvation in the gospel of Jesus Christ? Is it
verily a volume of scripture? Is it true?

These are the solemn questions to be considered in the next division;
and it is believed by the writer that in the presentation of the
evidence then to be considered, and the argument there to be made, that
the importance of this merely preliminary part of the work will become
more apparent.


1. I Samuel 8:1-9 and 19-22; II Nephi 5:17, 18.

2. Mosiah 25:13.

3. Book of Jacob 1:9-11.

4. Gen. 14. In many cases these Judean "kings" ruled but a single city.

5. II Nephi 25:2.

6. I Samuel 8:7.

7. Mosiah 29. Alma 4:16. Alma 30:29.

8. Mosiah 29:28, 29

9. Alma 11:1-4.

10. Ibid. 11:7.

11. This is true not only with reference to the republic, but also with
reference to the monarchy. Mosiah 29:40. Mosiah 2:12-14. Compare Alma
30:32, 33.

12. Alma 46:34, 35. Also Alma 51:15-21.

13. Alma 30:3.

14. Ibid. 11:1.

15. Ibid. 30:3; II Nephi 5:10; II Nephi 25:4, 25; Jacob 4:4, 5; Jarom
1:5; Mos. 2:3; Mos. 13:27, 35; 16:14, 15; Alma 25:14, 16_et seq_.

16. Mos. 29:11.

17. Mos. 29:11.

18. Alma 30:10, 11.

19. Joshua 24:15.

20. Alma 30:7-9.

21. IV Nephi 1:16.

22. Alma 13:12. Helaman 3:13-15. Commenting on this passage Elder Orson
Pratt says: "These numerous copies of the sacred books were undoubtedly
transcribed directly from, or compared with, the records on the
original metallic plates."

23. I Nephi 9:10-17. Reference is made to these same prophets in Alma
33:15, Alma 34:7, Helaman 8:20, III Nephi 10:16.

24. Helaman 8:20.

25. Elder Pratt quotes Doc. and Cov., 84:11-13 in evidence.

26. Alma 30:3.

27. Ibid. 10:3.

28. II Nephi 5:26.

29. II Nephi 6:2.

30. Alma 4:20.

31. Ibid. 5:44.

32. _Dict. B. of M_., Reynolds, Art. Jesus Christ, pp. 168-169.

33. I Nephi 12:6; II Nephi 26:1, 9; Alma 16:20.

34. III Nephi 11:3-12.

35. That is, not of this fold in Palestine.

36. John 10:16.

37. Omni 1:17.

38. Mosiah 1.

39. "We know, and it is our pride to know, that man by his constitution
is a religious animal; that atheism is against not only our reason,
but our instincts; and that it cannot prevail long. But if, in the
moment of riot, and in a drunken delirium from the hot spirit drawn
out of the alemic of hell, * * * * we should uncover our nakedness by
throwing off that Christian religion which has hitherto been our boast
and comfort, and one great source of civilization amongst us, and among
many other nations, we are apprehensive (being well aware that the mind
will not endure a void) that some uncouth, pernicious, and degrading
superstition might take the place of it." (Edmund Burke, _Works_, vol.
III, p. 351.)

40. Enos 1:20.


The Evidences of the Truth of the Book of Mormon.



The evidences to be presented for the truth of the Book of Mormon
naturally separate into two great divisions, each of which will admit
of a number of subdivisions. The two great divisions of the evidence

1. External Evidences.

2. Internal Evidences.

Of course, by evidences in general I mean those facts or things which
either directly or indirectly, considered separately or collectively,
constitute proof of the truth to be contended for in these pages--the
truth of the Book of Mormon.

By external evidences I mean those facts outside the book itself, which
tend to establish its truth; such as the testimony of the Special
Witnesses whom God raised up and qualified by direct revelation to
testify of the truth of the book. Also the testimony of those who by
reason of seeing and handling the Nephite plates, were made competent
to testify of their existence and appearance. This evidence will
include the agreement between the Book of Mormon location of ancient
American centers of civilization and the existence of the ruins of
temples, pyramids, mounds, works of old fortifications, roadways and
cities--in a word, the evidence of American archaeology. The evidences
of the traditions and customs of the inhabitants of America found in
possession of the land at the advent of the Europeans, and who are in
large part the descendants of the enlightened people of whom the Book
of Mormon is an abridged history. The evidences to be found in the
revelations, prophecies, and promises of the Hebrew scriptures--the
evidence of the Bible, in other words, to the truth of the book. The
institutions to which the book may be said to have given birth--the
testimony which the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints bears
to its truth.

By Internal Evidence I mean those facts which may be gathered from the
book itself, from its structure, and its consistency with the theory
of its construction; from its doctrines and their agreement with the
revelations of God in the Jewish scriptures; from its moral tone and
spiritual influence; from the manner in which it interlocks with the
history of the past, and is entwined with the future purposes of God as
made known in the revelations of God to man; from the fulfilment of its
prophecies and promises; from the general character of its contents,
the truths it emphasizes, and the importance of its message to mankind.

I shall have occasion to speak of direct and indirect evidences; of
positive and presumptive evidences; but all this will be developed as
the statement of the evidences and the argument proceed. I would say,
however, before closing these preliminary remarks, that it is not my
intention to rely upon any one branch of the evidence to establish the
truth of the Book of Mormon; it is intended that the evidence shall be
cumulative; and I certainly hope, by a careful consideration of all
the evidence, external and internal, direct and indirect, under each
division, to so establish the truth of the Book of Mormon that all
fair-minded people will see reasonable grounds for faith in it as an
additional volume of Holy Scripture, another Witness for the Truth as
it is in Christ Jesus our Lord.




_In the mouth of two or three Witnesses shall every word be

Of the external evidences to the truth of the Book of Mormon, the
testimony of the Three Witnesses is of first importance. Speaking in
the way of prophecy the first Nephi says:

    At that day when the book shall be delivered unto the man of whom
    I have spoken, [1] the book shall be hid from the eyes of the
    world, that the eyes of none shall behold it save it be that Three
    Witnesses shall behold it, by the power of God, besides him to whom
    the book shall be delivered; [2] and they shall testify to the
    truth of the book and the things therein. And there is none other
    which shall view it, save it be a few according to the will of God,
    to bear testimony of his word unto the children of men; for the
    Lord God hath said, that the words of the faithful should speak
    as if it were from the dead. Wherefore, the Lord God will proceed
    to bring forth the words of the book; and in the mouth of as many
    witnesses as seemeth him good will he establish his word; and wo be
    unto him that rejecteth the word of God! [3]

Moroni, who had in his care the Book of Mormon, who was God's messenger
to Joseph Smith, and gave into his possession the gold plates from
which the book was translated, says, in his abridgment of the book of
Ether, addressing the one who should be commissioned to translate the
Nephite Record:

    And behold, ye may be privileged that ye may show the plates unto
    those who shall assist to bring forth this work; and unto three
    shall they be shown by the power of God; wherefore they shall know
    of a surety that these things are true. And in the mouth of three
    witnesses shall these things be established; and the testimony of
    three, and this work, in the which shall be shown forth the power
    of God and also his word, of which the Father, and the Son, and the
    Holy Ghost bear record--and all this shall stand as a testimony
    against the world at the last day. [4]

From these passages in the Book of Mormon itself, it appears that there
are to be two classes of special Witnesses to its truth, besides the
one who shall bring forth the book:

I. Three Witnesses who shall behold the plates of the record "by the
power of God."

II. A "Few" others, according to the will of God, shall behold them,
that they may bear testimony to the word of God unto the children of

There seems to be indicated this distinction between the first and
second class of these Witnesses--between the "Three" and the other
"Few:" the first are to see the plates under some circumstance attended
by a demonstration of the power of God; while no promise of such a
demonstration is given to the second class.

As these special Witnesses, according to the prophecy, were to be
chosen from among those who would assist in bringing forth the work,
meaning the Book of Mormon, it is not surprising that Oliver Cowdery,
David Whitmer and Martin Harris desired to be the Three Special
Witnesses, as they were most prominent in assisting to bring forth the
work. They besought the Prophet Joseph Smith, therefore, to inquire of
the Lord if they might attain unto this honor, and for an answer the
following revelation was received for them:

    Behold, I say unto you, that you must rely upon my word, which
    if you do with full purpose of heart, you shall have a view of
    the plates, and also of the breast plate, the sword of Laban, the
    Urim and Thummim, which were given to the brother of Jared [5]
    upon the mount, when he talked with the Lord face to face, and the
    miraculous directors [6] which were given to Lehi while in the
    wilderness, on the borders of the Red Sea. And it is by your faith
    that you shall obtain a view of them, even by that faith which was
    had by the prophets of old.

    And after that you have obtained faith, and have seen them with
    your eyes, you shall testify of them, by the power of God; and
    this you shall do that my servant Joseph Smith, Jr., may not be
    destroyed, that I may bring about my righteous purposes unto the
    children of men in this work. And ye shall testify that you have
    seen them, even as my servant Joseph Smith, Jr., has seen them; for
    it is by my power that he has seen them, and it is because he had
    faith. And he has translated the book, even that part which I have
    commanded him, and as your Lord and your God liveth it is true.

    Wherefore, you have received the same power, and the same faith,
    and the same gift like unto him; and if you do these last
    commandments of mine, which I have given you, the gates of hell
    shall not prevail against you; for my grace is sufficient for you,
    and you shall be lifted up at the last day. And I, Jesus Christ,
    your Lord and your God, have spoken it unto you, that I might bring
    about my righteous purposes unto the children of men. [7]

As soon as the translation of the book was completed the Prophet Joseph
dispatched a messenger from the home of the Whitmers, at Fayette,
near Waterloo, in Seneca country, to his parents, still living at
Manchester, with the pleasing intelligence that the work of translation
was completed, and asked them to come to him. This information they
conveyed to Martin Harris, who determined to accompany the Prophet's
parents to the home of the Whitmers. Accordingly the little party
started the next morning, and before sunset met with the Prophet and
Oliver at the residence of Peter Whitmer, the father of David. [8]
According to the statement of Lucy Smith, mother of the Prophet, it was
the day following the arrival of the above party from Manchester that
the Three Witnesses obtained their view of the plates, but neither in
her work nor in any of our annals is the date of the occurrence given.
[9] Lucy Smith, however, relates the following circumstance connected
with Martin Harris becoming one of the Three Witnesses:

    The next morning (i. e. following the arrival of the party from
    Manchester township), after attending to the usual services,
    namely, reading, singing, and praying, Joseph arose from his knees,
    and approaching Martin Harris with a solemnity that thrills through
    my veins to this day, when it occurs to my recollection, said:
    "Martin Harris, you have got to humble yourself before your God
    this day, that you may obtain a forgiveness of your sins. If you
    do, it is the will of God that you should look upon the plates, in
    company with Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer." [10]

When the pride, egotism, and stubbornness of Martin Harris is taken
into account, this preliminary admonition of the Prophet to him
is eminently fitting and necessary and in harmony with all the
circumstances of Martin's character and the subsequent facts to be

Lucy Smith, continuing her narrative, says:

    In a few minutes after this, Joseph, Martin, Oliver, and David,
    repaired to a grove, a short distance from the house, where
    they commenced calling upon the Lord, and continued in earnest
    supplication, until he permitted an angel to come down from his
    presence, and declare to them, that all which Joseph had testified
    of concerning the plates was true. When they returned to the house,
    it was between three and four o'clock p. m. Mrs. Whitmer, Mr.
    Smith and myself, were sitting in a bedroom at the time. On coming
    in Joseph threw himself down beside me, and exclaimed: "Father,
    mother, you do not know how happy I am; the Lord has now caused
    the plates to be shown to three more besides myself. They have
    seen an angel, who has testified to them, and they will have to
    bear witness to the truth of what I have said, for now they know
    for themselves that I do not go about to deceive the people, and I
    feel as if I was relieved of a burden which was almost too heavy
    for me to bear, and it rejoices my soul, that I am no longer to be
    entirely alone in the work. Upon this, Martin Harris came in: he
    seemed almost overcome with joy, and testified boldly to what he
    had both seen and heard. And so did David and Oliver, adding, that
    no tongue could express the joy of their hearts, and the greatness
    of the things which they had both seen and heard. [11]

From this statement it will be seen that the Prophet and the Three
Witnesses were from some time in the morning until three or four
o'clock in the afternoon in obtaining the testimonies.

The Prophet's own account of the circumstances attendant upon the
revelation to the Three Witnesses, is both interesting and important.
After making reference to the revelation already quoted, which promised
the three men named, Cowdery, Whitmer and Harris, that they should view
the plates of the Book of Mormon, and the other sacred things named the
Prophet in his history says:

    Not many days after the above commandment was given, we four,
    viz., Martin Harris, David Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery and myself,
    agreed to retire into the woods, and try to obtain by fervent
    and humble prayer, the fulfilment of the promises given in the
    revelation--that they should have a view of the plates. We
    accordingly made choice of a piece of woods convenient to Mr.
    Whitmer's house, to which we retired, and having knelt down we
    began to pray in much faith to Almighty God to bestow upon us a
    realization of these promises. According to previous arrangements,
    I commenced by vocal prayer to our heavenly Father, and was
    followed by each of the others in succession. We did not, at the
    first trial, however, obtain any answer or manifestation of divine
    favor in our behalf. We again observed the same order of prayer,
    each calling on and praying fervently to God in rotation, but with
    the same result as before. Upon this our second failure, Martin
    Harris proposed that he should withdraw himself from us, believing,
    as he expressed himself, that his presence was the cause of our
    not obtaining what we wished for. He accordingly withdrew from us,
    and we knelt down again, and had not been many minutes engaged in
    prayer, when presently we beheld a light above us in the air, of
    exceeding brightness; and behold, an angel stood before us. In his
    hands he held the plates which we had been praying for these to
    have a view of, he turned over the leaves one by one, so that we
    could see them, and discover the engravings thereon distinctly. He
    then addressed himself to David Whitmer, and said, "David, blessed
    is the Lord, and he that keeps his commandments." When, immediately
    afterwards, we heard a voice from out of the bright light above
    us, saying: "These plates have been revealed by the power of God,
    and they have been translated by the power of God. The translation
    of them which you have seen is correct, and I command you to bear
    record of what you now see and hear."

    I now left David and Oliver, and went in pursuit of Martin Harris,
    whom I found at a considerable distance fervently engaged in
    prayer. He soon told me, however, that he had not yet prevailed
    with the Lord, and earnestly requested me to join him in prayer,
    that he also might realize the same blessings which we had just
    received. We accordingly joined in prayer, and ultimately obtained
    our desires, for before we had yet finished, the same vision was
    opened to our view, at least it was again opened to me, and I once
    more beheld and heard the same things, whilst at the same moment
    Martin Harris cried out, apparently in an ecstasy of joy, "'Tis
    enough; 'tis enough; mine eyes have beheld; mine eyes have beheld;
    and jumping up, he shouted, Hosannah, blessing God and otherwise
    rejoiced exceedingly. [12]

Concerning the manner in which the plates and other sacred things were
shown to him, beyond what is stated in the testimony of the Three
Witnesses published in the first and every subsequent edition of the
Book of Mormon, Oliver Cowdery, so far as I know, has left nothing on
record further than to say:

    I beheld with my eyes and handled with my hands the gold plates
    from which it (the Book of Mormon) was transcribed. I also saw with
    my eyes and handled with my hands the holy interpreters (the Urim
    and Thummim). [13]

Martin Harris, so far as any direct personal statement is concerned,
is silent as to the manner in which the plates were shown to him; but
Elder Edward Stevenson, of the First Council of the Seventy of the
Church, who was much interested in Mr. Harris during the closing years
of that gentleman's life, states that at a gathering of friends at his
(Stevenson's) house, in Salt Lake City, Harris was asked to explain the
manner in which the plates containing the characters of the Book of
Mormon were exhibited. The response he made is thus described:

    Brother Harris, said that the angel stood on the opposite side of
    the table on which were the plates, the interpreters, etc., and
    took the plates in his hand and turned them over. To more fully
    illustrate this to them, Brother Martin took up a book and turned
    the leaves over one by one. The angel declared that the Book of
    Mormon, was correctly translated by the power of God, and not of
    man, and that it contained the fullness of the gospel of Jesus
    Christ to the Nephites, who were a branch of the House of Israel
    and had come from the land of Jerusalem to America. The Witnesses
    were required to bear their testimony of these things, and of this
    open vision, to all people, and he [Harris] testified not only to
    those present, but to all the world, that these things were true,
    and before God, whom he expected to meet in the day of judgment, he
    lied not. [14]

David Whitmer made a statement to Elders Orson Pratt and Joseph F.
Smith in the course of an interview at Richmond, Missouri, on the 7th
of September, 1878, in which he gives quite a minute description of
the manner in which the plates and the other sacred things were shown
to himself and Oliver Cowdery in the presence of Joseph Smith. Mr.
Whitmer's account of the event as related by Elders Pratt and Smith is
as follows:

    Elder Orson Pratt: Do you remember what time you saw the plates?

    David Whitmer: It was in June, 1829--the latter part of the month,
    and the Eight Witnesses saw them, I think, the next day or the day
    after (i. e. one or two days after). Joseph showed them the plates
    himself, but the angel showed us (the Three Witnesses) the plates,
    as I suppose to fulfill the words of the book itself. Martin Harris
    was not with us at this time; he obtained a view of them afterwards
    (the same day). Joseph, Oliver and myself were together when I
    saw them. We not only saw the plates of the Book of Mormon, but
    also the brass plates, the plates of the Book of Ether, the plates
    containing the records of the wickedness and secret combinations of
    the people of the world down to the time of their being engraved,
    and many other plates. The fact is, it was just as though Joseph,
    Oliver and I were sitting just here on a log, when we were
    overshadowed by a light. It was not like the light of the sun nor
    like that of a fire, but more glorious and beautiful. It extended
    away round us, I cannot tell how far, but in the midst of this
    light about as far off as he sits (pointing to John C. Whitmer,
    sitting a few feet from him), there appeared, as it were, a table
    with many records or plates upon it, besides the plates of the Book
    of Mormon, also the sword of Laban, the directors--i. e., the ball
    which Lehi had, and the interpreters. I saw them just as plain as
    I see this bed (striking the bed beside him with his hand), and I
    heard the voice of the Lord, as distinctly as I ever heard anything
    in my life, declaring that the records of the plates of the Book of
    Mormon were translated by the gift and power of God.

    Elder Orson Pratt: Did you see the angel at this time?

    David Whitmer: Yes, he stood before us. Our testimony as recorded
    in the Book of Mormon is strictly and absolutely true just as it is
    there written. [15]

As a result of this revelation, given under such remarkable
circumstances and demonstrations of the power of God, the Three
Witnesses who had viewed the plates and the engravings thereon,
and who had heard the voice of God from the midst of the glorious
light surrounding them at the time, declare that the plates had been
translated by the gift and power of God--published the following
statement to the world:


    BE IT KNOWN unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto
    whom this work shall come: That we, through the grace of God the
    Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which
    contain this record, which is a record of the people of Nephi, and
    also of the Lamanites, their brethren, and also of the people of
    Jared, who came from the tower of which hath been spoken. And we
    also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of
    God, for his voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a
    surety that the work is true. And we also testify that we have seen
    the engravings which are upon the plates; and they have been shown
    unto us by the power of God, and not of man. And we declare with
    words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and
    he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the
    plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the
    grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld
    and bear record that these things are true. And it is marvelous in
    our eyes. Nevertheless, the voice of the Lord commanded us that
    we should bear record of it; wherefore, to be obedient unto the
    commandments of God, we bear testimony of these things. And we know
    that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the
    blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgment-seat
    of Christ, and shall dwell with him eternally in the heavens. And
    the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost,
    which is one God. Amen.




This testimony was published in the first and in every subsequent
edition of the Book of Mormon. It has never been refuted; and, of
course, from the very nature of the testimony it cannot be refuted.
No one can rise up and say these men did not receive this revelation;
that they did not see an angel from heaven; that he did not show to
them the plates; that they did not see the glorious light in which
the angel stood; that they did not hear the voice of God saying that
the translation of the record was true, and was accomplished through
the gift and power of God. No one can say any one of these things.
An argument may be formulated against the probability of such an
occurrence. It may be alleged that they were ignorant, uncritical,
incompetent and therefore unworthy of belief. All this may be done,
nay, it has been done; but no one can stand up and say that he knows
what they say is not true, that what they say they saw, they did not


1. Having reference to the man who should bring forth the Nephite
Record to the world, that is, to Joseph Smith.

2. That is to Joseph Smith.

3. II Nephi 27:12-14.

4. Ether 5:2-4.

5. The great prophet who led a colony from the Tower of Babel to the
western hemisphere.

6. This was a curious instrument called by the Nephites _Liahona_. It
was found by the prophet Lehi at the door of his tent one morning,
in the wilderness, not long after the departure of his colony from
Jerusalem. It was a round ball of fine brass with two spindles in it,
one of which indicated the course to be traveled by the colony. But the
instrument worked according to the faith and diligence with which the
colony gave heed to it. From time to time also there appeared upon it
written instructions or reproofs according as the colony required the
one or the other.

7. _History of the Church,_ vol. I, p. 53, and also Doc. and Cov. Sec.

8. _Joseph Smith the Prophet_, by Lucy Smith, ch. 31.

9. Ibid.

10. _Joseph Smith the Prophet_, by Lucy Smith, ch. 31.

11. _Joseph Smith the Prophet_, by Lucy Smith, ch. 31.

12. _History of the Church,_ vol. I, pp. 54, 55.

13. Statement by Oliver Cowdery, _Deseret News_ of 13th April, 1859.

14. Letters of Edward Stevenson to _Millennial Star_, vol. 48, pp.

15. _Millennial Star_, vol. 40, nos. 49, 50, report of Pratt and Smith,
is signed by them and bears date of Sept. 17, 1878.




The Witnesses themselves always adhered to the truth of their
testimony. They never denied what they in their now celebrated
testimony so solemnly affirmed. It was reported at different times
during their life time that they had denied their testimony, and
such statements are to be found in the earlier editions of such
standard works as the _American Encyclopedia_ and in the _Encyclopedia
Britannica_. It is evident that the reports about Oliver Cowdery
denying his testimony obtained some credence even among the Saints at
Nauvoo; for in the _Times and Seasons_, published by the Church at
Nauvoo, one J. H. Johnson, in some verses written by him maintaining
the fact that the truth stands fast though men may be untrue to it,

  --Or prove that Christ was not the Lord
  Because that Peter cursed and swore,
  Or Book of Mormon not his word,
  Because denied by Oliver. [1]

But notwithstanding all this, the fact remains that Oliver Cowdery
never denied his testimony to the truth of the Book of Mormon. Whatever
his delinquencies in other respects; whatever his grievances, real or
imagined; in the Church, and even while out of it, he was true, to his
honor be it said, to his testimony to the Book of Mormon. Living he
affirmed it, and when dying he renewed the affirmation. It must be said
of him that notwithstanding the high favors which God granted him--the
favor of being one of these Three Special Witnesses, blessed to see the
Nephite plates and the sacred things connected with them under such a
remarkable display of God's presence and power; favored to receive with
the Prophet the ministration of angels who ordained them both to the
Aaronic and to the Melchizedek priesthood; [2] and favored afterwards
to behold in open vision in the Kirtland Temple the Savior himself,
and a number of angels who came on that occasion to restore to earth
through these men the keys of authority and power which they held; [3]
favored to be the Second Elder of the Church of Christ, and the first
to make public proclamation of the restored gospel--notwithstanding
all this, I repeat, it must be said of him that he possessed defects
of character [4] which enabled the adversary of men's souls to so far
prevail against him that he transgressed some of the laws of God and
lost his high station. He was excommunicated from the Church for his
sins, [5] and for a time stood as a stranger to the Saints, an outcast
from Israel; but in those dark days he still remained true to his

In October, 1848, after an absence of about eleven years, Oliver
Cowdery returned to the Church. At that time the movement of the Church
to the Rocky Mountains was under way. A large number of the Saints
were temporarily located at Kanesville (now Council Bluffs), Iowa, and
on the 21st of October of the year above given, a special conference
was called, presided over by Elder Orson Hyde, of the Council of the
Apostles, in which the case of Oliver Cowdery was considered. Before
that conference, at which some two thousand Saints were present, [6]
Oliver Cowdery said:

    Friends and Brethren--My name is Cowdery, Oliver Cowdery. In the
    early history of this Church I stood identified with her, and one
    in her councils. True it is that the gifts and callings of God
    are without repentance; not because I was better than the rest of
    mankind was I called; but, to fulfil the purposes of God, he called
    me to a high and holy calling.

    I wrote, with my own pen, the entire Book of Mormon (save a
    few pages) as it fell from the lips of the Prophet Joseph, as
    he translated it by the gift and power of God, by the means of
    the Urim and Thummim, or, as it is called by the book, "Holy
    Interpreters." I beheld with my eyes, and handled with my hands,
    the gold plates from which it was transcribed. I also saw with
    my eyes and handled with my hands the "holy interpreters." That
    book is true. Sidney Rigdon did not write it. Mr. Spaulding did
    not write it. I wrote it myself as it fell from the lips of the
    Prophet. It contains the everlasting gospel, and came forth to the
    children of men in fulfilment of the revelations of John, where he
    says he saw an angel come with the everlasting gospel to preach to
    every nation, kindred, tongue and people. It contains principles of
    salvation; and if you, my hearers, will walk by its light and obey
    its precepts, you will be saved with an everlasting salvation in
    the kingdom of God on high. Brother Hyde has just said that it is
    very important that we keep and walk in the true channel, in order
    to avoid the sand-bars. This is true. The channel is here. The holy
    priesthood is here.

    I was present with Joseph when an holy angel from God came down
    from heaven and conferred on us, or restored the Lesser or Aaronic
    priesthood, and said to us, at the same time, that it should remain
    upon the earth while the earth stands.

    I was also present with Joseph when the higher or Melchizedek
    priesthood was conferred by holy angels from on high. This
    priesthood we conferred on each other, by the will and commandment
    of God. This priesthood, as was then declared, is also to
    remain upon the earth until the last remnant of time. This holy
    priesthood, or authority, we then conferred upon many, and is just
    as good and valid as though God had done it in person.

    I laid my hands upon that man--yes, I laid my right hand upon his
    head (pointing to Brother Hyde), and I conferred upon him the
    priesthood, and he holds that priesthood now. He was also called
    through me, by the prayer of faith, an Apostle of the Lord Jesus

This speech was reported by Bishop Reuben Miller, who was present at
the meeting where Cowdery spoke, and noted down in his journal at the
time what was said, though his notes, it must be remarked, were not
published until several years later. [7] The circumstance of Cowdery's
return and the spirit of his speech is also supported by other
testimony. In a letter dated at Cambridge Port, U. S. A., December 26,
1848, Wilford Woodruff--at the time one of the Twelve Apostles, and
subsequently President of the Church--writing to Orson Pratt, then
president of the British Mission, said:

    Dear Brother Pratt--I received a letter from Elder Hyde saying that
    Oliver Cowdery had come to the Bluffs with his family; and made
    satisfaction to the Church who had voted to receive him into the
    Church by baptism; and Elder Hyde expected to baptize him the next
    day. He was assisting Elder Hyde to put the press in operation for
    printing, expected to send forth the "Frontier Guardian" soon. I
    was truly glad to hear this, as Oliver Cowdery was the first person
    baptized into this Church under the hands of Joseph, and is capable
    of doing good in the kingdom of God; I was truly glad to hear he
    had returned to the fold. [8]

The Star which published this letter was issued February 1, 1849.

George A. Smith, writing from Council Bluffs, under date of October
31st, 1848, ten days after Cowdery's speech before the conference,
writes to Orson Pratt of this meeting:

    Oliver Cowdery, who had just arrived from Wisconsin with his
    family, on being invited, addressed the meeting. He bore testimony
    in the most positive terms of the truth of the Book of Mormon--the
    restoration of the priesthood to the earth, and the mission
    of Joseph Smith as the Prophet of the last days; and told the
    people if they wanted to follow the right path, to keep the main
    channel of the stream--where the body of the Church goes, there
    is the authority; and all these lo here's and lo there's have no
    authority; but this people have the true and holy priesthood; "for
    the angel said unto Joseph Smith, Jr., in my hearing, that this
    priesthood shall remain on the earth unto the end." His testimony
    produced quite a sensation among the gentlemen present, who did
    not belong to the Church, and it was gratefully received, by all
    the Saints. Last evening (Oct. 30th), President Hyde and myself
    spent the evening with Brother Cowdery. He had been cut off from
    the Church by a council; had withdrawn himself from it; stayed away
    eleven years; and now came back, not expecting to be a leader, but
    wished to be a member and have part among us. He considered that he
    ought to be baptized; and did not expect to return without it. He
    said that Joseph Smith had fulfilled his mission faithfully before
    God until death; he was determined to rise with the Church, and if
    it went down he was willing to go down with it. I saw him today,
    told him I was going to write to you. He sends his respects to you;
    he says, "tell Brother Orson I am advised by the brethren to remain
    here this winter, and assist Brother Hyde in the printing office,
    and as soon as I get settled I will write him a letter." I remain,
    as ever, your brother in the kingdom of patience.

    (Signed) GEORGE A. SMITH. [9]

The "Star" in which this letter was published was issued January 1st,
1849, a little more than two months after Cowdery's speech already

Oliver Cowdery had been excommunicated by the action of a High Council
of the Church some ten years before, and it was held by some that he
could only be restored by the action of a High Council. [10]

Such a council was therefore called. In the course of its proceedings
Oliver said:

    Brethren, for a number of years I have been separated from you. I
    now desire to come back. I wish to come humbly and to be one in
    your midst. I seek no station. I only wish to be identified with
    you. I am out of the Church. I am not a member of the Church, but
    I wish to become a member of it. I wish to come in at the door.
    I know the door. I have not come here to seek precedence, I come
    humbly, and throw myself upon the decisions of this body, knowing,
    as I do, that its decisions are right, and should be obeyed. [11]

On motion of Elder Orson Hyde, Oliver Cowdery was received into the
Church by baptism. It was the intention of this Witness of the Book of
Mormon to go with the body of the Church to the Salt Lake Valley, but
while visiting with his fellow witness, David Whitmer, at Richmond,
Missouri, he was taken ill and died, March 3, 1850. Previous to going
to Richmond, for the purpose of meeting David Whitmer, his wife's
brother, Oliver was detained by snow storms some two weeks at the
temporary home of Samuel W. Richards--just then returned from his first
mission to the British Isles.

Of his interesting association with Oliver, during this time, Elder
Richards says:

    To hear him describe in his pleasant but earnest manner the
    personality of those heavenly messengers, with whom he and the
    Prophet had so freely had converse, was enchanting to my soul.
    Their heavenly appearance, clothed in robes of purity, the
    influence of their presence so lovely and serene; their eyes that
    seemed to penetrate to the very depths of the soul, together with
    the color of the eyes that gazed upon them, were all so beautifully
    related as to almost make one feel that they were then present: and
    as I placed my hands upon his head where these angels had placed
    theirs, a divine influence filled the soul to that degree that
    one could truly feel to be in the presence of something that was
    more than earthly; and from that day to this--almost fifty years
    ago--the interest of those glorious truths upon the mind has never
    been lost, but as a beacon light ever guiding to the home of their
    glory for a like inheritance.

    But before taking his departure he wrote and left with the
    writer of this the following statement, which we believe to be
    his last living testimony, though oft repeated, of the wonderful
    manifestations which brought the authority of God to men on earth:


    While darkness covered the earth and gross darkness the people;
    long after the authority to administer in holy things had been
    taken away, the Lord opened the heavens and sent forth his word for
    the salvation of Israel. In fulfilment of the sacred scriptures,
    the everlasting gospel was proclaimed by the mighty angel (Moroni)
    who, clothed with the authority of his mission, gave glory to God
    in the highest. This gospel is the "stone taken from the mountain
    without hands." John the Baptist, holding the keys of the Aaronic
    priesthood; Peter, James, and John, holding the keys of the
    Melchizedek priesthood, have also ministered for those who shall be
    heirs of salvation, and with these administrations ordained men to
    the same priesthood. These priesthoods, with their authority, are
    now, and must continue to be, in the body of the Church of Jesus
    Christ of Latter-day Saints. Blessed is the elder who has received
    the same, and thrice blessed and holy is he who shall endure to the

    Accept assurances, dear brother, of the unfeigned prayer of him
    who, in connection with Joseph the Seer, was blessed with the above
    ministration and who earnestly and devoutly hopes to meet you in
    the celestial glory.

    (Signed) OLIVER COWDERY.

    To Elder Samuel W. Richards, January 13th, 1849.

Phineas H. Young, a brother of President Brigham Young, was present at
Oliver's death, at Richmond, Missouri, and of that event said:

    His last moments were spent in bearing testimony of the truth of
    the gospel revealed through Joseph Smith, and the power of the holy
    priesthood which he had received through his administrations.

David Whitmer, speaking to Orson Pratt and Joseph F. Smith, of Oliver
Cowdery's death, said:

    Oliver Cowdery died the happiest man I ever saw. After shaking
    hands with the family and kissing his wife and daughter, he said,
    "Now I lay me down for the last time; I am going to my Savior;" and
    he died immediately, with a smile on his face. [12]

This statement also agrees with the one David Whitmer published in his
"Address to all Believers in Christ:"

    Neither Oliver Cowdery nor Martin Harris ever at any time denied
    his testimony. They both died reaffirming the truth of the divine
    authenticity of the Book of Mormon. I was present at the death bed
    of Oliver Cowdery, and his last words were, "Brother David, be true
    to your testimony to the Book of Mormon." He died here in Richmond,
    Missouri, on the 3rd of March, 1850. Many witnesses yet live [13]
    in Richmond, who will testify to the truth of these facts, as well
    as to the good character of Oliver Cowdery. [14]


1. _Times and Seasons_, vol. II, p. 482.

2. See _New Witnesses for God_, vol. I, ch. 11.

3. See _New Witnesses for God_, vol. I, ch. 11; also Doc. and Cov.,
sec. 110.

4. That the Prophet Joseph understood the defects in the character of
Oliver Cowdery is evident from some remarks he records in his journal
concerning him, under date of December 18, 1833. They are as follows:
"Blessed of the Lord is brother Oliver, nevertheless there are two
evils in him that he must needs forsake or he cannot altogether escape
the buffetings of the adversary. If he forsake these evils he shall
be forgiven, and shall be made like unto the bow which the Lord hath
set in the heavens; he shall be a sign and an ensign unto the nations.
Behold he is blessed of the Lord for his constancy and steadfastness in
the work of the Lord; wherefore, he shall be blessed in his generation,
and they shall never be cut off, and he shall be helped out of many
troubles; and if he keep the commandments, and hearken unto the counsel
of the Lord, his rest shall be glorious." (History of the Church,
vol. I, p. 465). It will be observed that the promises herein made to
Oliver Cowdery are based upon the conditions specified in the above
passage. That the conditions were not at least altogether complied with
is well known, and is further witnessed by the fact that Oliver did not
escape the buffetings to which the Prophet alludes. Still from out of
this mist of human frailty, stands clear and strong the virtue which
constituted him so dauntless a witness for the truth of God. "Behold he
is blessed of the Lord for his constancy and steadfastness in the work
of the Lord." Still he lost his station in the Church, and that which
had been conferred upon him was finally given to Hyrum Smith, brother
of the Prophet. See Doc. and Cov. 124:95.

5. _Millennial Star_, vol. 16, p. 133.

6. _Millennial Star_, vol. 11, p. 14.

7. Namely, 13th of April, 1859. See _Deseret News_ of that date.

8. _Millennial Star_, vol. 11, p. 43.

9. _Millennial Star_, vol. 11, p. 14.

10. Fearing that silence as to the specific offenses of Oliver Cowdery
might leave the reader to fancy that his wrong doing was more serious
than it really was, I here state the charges against him sustained
before the High Council at Far West, in 1838: 1st. "Persecuting the
brethren by urging on vexatious law suits against them, and thus
distressing the innocent. 2nd. Seeking to destroy the character of
Joseph Smith, Jr., by falsely insinuating that he was guilty of
adultery. 3rd. Treating the Church with contempt by not attending
meetings. 4th. Leaving his calling, to which God had appointed him by
revelation, for the sake of filthy lucre, and turning to the practice
of law. 5th. Disgracing the Church by being connected in the 'bogus'
business, as common report says." (See _Millennial Star_, vol. 16, p.
133; also _Missouri Persecutions_, p. 179.) It should be observed that
upper Missouri in 1838 was infested with a gang of sharpers engaged
in counterfeiting the United States currency, and rumor, for a time,
connected Oliver Cowdery with them: but whether he was, or was not,
guilty of such connection was not proven before the council, it was
merely proven that "rumors" connected him with those criminals. It
should also be said that Oliver Cowdery was not present at the council
which acted on his case; though of course an opportunity was given him
to be present. How many of the charges brought against him would have
failed had he been there to oppose them, one may not conjecture. It
was a general time of turbulence in the affairs of the Church. A wave
of wild land speculation swept through the country, and the Saints and
some leading elders became entangled in it. Charges and counter charges
were made; brethren misunderstood one another and became estranged in
their feelings, and pride and bitterness prevented reconciliations. It
was under such circumstances that Oliver Cowdery for a time was lost in
the mists.

11. _Deseret News_ of April 13, 1859.

12. _Millennial Star_, vol. 40, p. 774, Pratt and Smith statement.

13. This was said in 1887.

14. Address _To All Believers in Christ_, p. 8.




David Whitmer continued to repeat his testimony to the truth of the
Book of Mormon up to and including the very day of his death. Living
for many years at Richmond, Missouri--from 1838 to 1888, half a
century--he was frequently visited by all sorts of people, and in the
latter years of his life by newspaper representatives especially, who
came to inquire concerning the testimony he had given to the world
to the truth of the Book of Mormon. For all these parties he had but
one answer: "My testimony written in the Book of Mormon is true."
It was sometimes elaborated by the addition of a description of the
circumstances under which the great revelation was given, but there
was never any deviation from the main facts published in his testimony
which accompanies the Book of Mormon. He was not always fairly treated
by those whose questions he answered; his statements were sometimes
misrepresented, much to his annoyance; and having been taught the
necessity for it by sad experience, in the later years of his life, he
always took the precaution to have one or more of his personal friends
present at interviews he granted to strangers.

Referring to these acts of misrepresentation concerning his testimony,
in his pamphlet, "Address to all Believers in Christ", he makes the
following refutation of the charges of denial:

    It is recorded in the American Cyclopaedia and the Encyclopaedia
    Britannica, that I, David Whitmer, have denied my testimony as one
    of the Three Witnesses to the divinity of the Book of Mormon; and
    that the other two Witnesses, Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris,
    denied their testimony to that book. I will say once more to all
    mankind, that I have never at any time denied that testimony or
    any part thereof. I also testify to the world, that neither Oliver
    Cowdery nor Martin Harris ever at any time denied their testimony.
    They both died reaffirming the truth of the divine authenticity
    of the Book of Mormon. I was present at the death bed of Oliver
    Cowdery, and his last words were, "Brother David, be true to
    your testimony to the Book of Mormon." He died here in Richmond,
    Missouri, on March 3, 1850. Many witnesses yet live in Richmond,
    who will testify to the truth of these facts, as well as to the
    good character of Oliver Cowdery. The very powers of darkness
    have combined against the Book of Mormon, to prove that it is not
    the word of God, and this should go to prove to men of spiritual
    understanding, that the Book is true. To show the reader what I
    have had to contend with, I give you below a copy of a leaflet
    which I had printed and distributed in March, 1881:


    Unto all nations, kindred, tongues, and people, unto whom these
    presents shall come:

    It having been represented by one John Murphy, of Polo, Caldwell
    county, Missouri, that I, in a conversation with him last Summer,
    denied my testimony as one of the Three Witnesses to the Book of

    To the end, therefore, that he may understand me now, if he did not
    then; and that the world may know the truth, I wish now, standing
    as it were, in the very sunset of life, and in the fear of God,
    once for all to make this public statement:

    That I never have at any time denied that testimony or any part
    thereof which has so long since been published with that book, as
    one of the Three Witnesses. Those who know me best well know that
    I have always adhered to that testimony. And that no man may be
    misled or doubt my present views in regard to the same, I do again
    affirm the truth of all my statements, as then made and published.

    "He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear;" it was no delusion.
    What is written is written, and he that readeth let him understand.
    * * * I do not indorse any of the teachings of the so-called
    "Mormons," or Latter-day Saints, which are in conflict with the
    gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, as taught in the Bible
    and Book of Mormon; for the same gospel is plainly taught in both
    these books as I understand the word of God.

    And if any man doubt, should he not carefully and honestly read
    and understand the same, before presuming to sit in judgment and
    condemn the light, which shineth in darkness, and showeth the way
    of eternal life as pointed out by the unerring hand of God?

    In the Spirit of Christ who hath said: "Follow thou me, for I am
    the life, the light and the way," I submit this statement to the
    world. God in whom I trust, being my judge as to the sincerity of
    my motives and the faith and hope that is in me of eternal life.

    My sincere desire is that the world may be benefited by this plain
    and simple statement of the truth.

    And all the honor be to the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost,
    which is one God. Amen.

    (Signed) DAVID WHITMER.

    Richmond, Missouri, March 19, 1881.

    We the undersigned citizens of Richmond, Ray county, Missouri,
    where David Whitmer has resided since the year A. D. 1838, certify
    that we have been long and intimately acquainted with him and know
    him to be a man of the highest integrity, and of undoubted truth
    and veracity.

    Given at Richmond, Missouri, this March 19, A. D. 1881:

    Gen. Alexander W. Doniphan.

    Hon. George W. Dunn, Judge of the Fifth Judicial Circuit.

    Thomas D. Woodson, President of Ray Co. Savings Bank.

    J. T. Child, editor of "Conservator".

    H. C. Garner, Cashier of Ray Co. Savings Bank.

    W. A. Holman, County Treasurer.

    J. S. Hughes, Banker, Richmond.

    James Hughes, Banker, Richmond.

    D. P. Whitmer, Attorney-at-Law.

    Hon. Jas. W. Black, Attorney-at-Law.

    L. C. Cantwell, Postmaster, Richmond.

    George I. Wasson, Mayor.

    Jas. A. Davis, County Collector.

    C. J. Hughes, Probate Judge and Presiding Justice of Ray County

    Geo. W. Trigg, County Clerk.

    W. W. Mosby, M. D.

    Thos. McGinnis, ex-Sheriff Ray County.

    J. P. Quesenberry, Merchant.

    W. R. Holman, Furniture Merchant.

    Lewis Slaughter, Recorder of Deeds.

    Geo. W. Buchanan, M. D.

    A. K. Reyburn.

At the same time the "Richmond Conservator" of March 24, 1881, said,


    Elsewhere we publish a letter from David Whitmer, an old and well
    known citizen of Ray, [county] as well as an indorsement of his
    standing as a man, signed by a number of the leading citizens of
    this community, in reply to some unwarranted aspersions made upon
    him. There is no doubt that Mr. Whitmer, who was one of the Three
    Witnesses of the authenticity of the gold plates, from which he
    asserts that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon (a fac
    simile of the characters he now has in his possession with the
    original records), is firmly convinced of its divine origin, and
    while he makes no effort to obtrude his views or beliefs, he simply
    wants the world to know that so far as he is concerned there is
    no "variableness or shadow of turning." Having resided here for
    near a half a century, it is with no little pride that he points
    to his past record with the consciousness that he has done nothing
    derogatory to his character as a citizen and a believer in the Son
    of Mary, to warrant such an attack on him, come from what source it
    may, and now with the lillies of seventy-five winters crowning him
    like an aureole, and his pilgrimage on earth well nigh ended, he
    reiterates his former statements, and will leave futurity to solve
    the problem that he was but a passing witness to its fulfilment.

David Whitmer died at his home in Richmond, on the 25th of January,
1888, in the eighty-fourth year of his life. His final testimony was
given under the following circumstances:

    On the evening of Sunday, January 22, at half past five o'clock,
    Mr. Whitmer called his family and a number of his friends to his
    bedside, and to them delivered his dying testimony. Addressing
    his attendant physician he said: "Dr. Buchanan, I want you to
    say whether or not I am in my right mind before I give my last
    testimony." The doctor answered: "Yes, you are in your right mind,
    for I have just had a conversation with you." He then directed his
    words to all who surrounded him, saying:

    Now, you must all be faithful in Christ. I want to say to you all
    that the Bible and the record of the Nephites (Book of Mormon),
    are true, so you can say that you have heard me bear my testimony
    on my death bed. All be faithful in Christ and your reward will be
    according to your works. God bless you all. My trust is in Christ
    for ever, worlds without end. Amen.

    * * * *

    On Monday last (Jan. 23rd), at 10 o'clock a. m., after awaking from
    a short slumber he said he had seen beyond the veil and had seen
    Christ on the other side. His friends who were constantly at his
    bedside claim that he had many manifestations of the truths of the
    great beyond, which confirmed their faith beyond all shadow of
    doubt. He bore his long illness with great patience and fortitude,
    his faith, never for a moment wavering, and when the summons came,
    he sank peacefully to rest with a smile on his countenance, just as
    if he was being lulled to sleep by secret music. Just before his
    breath left his body, he opened his eyes, which glistened with the
    brightness of early manhood. He then turned them toward heaven, and
    a wonderful light came over his countenance, which remained several
    moments, when the eyes gradually closed and David Whitmer had gone
    to his rest. [1]

In the same issue of the paper from which this account of his death is
taken, occurs the following description of Whitmer's connection with
the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, and his being a Witness of its
truth. Some inaccuracies as to details must be allowed for here, such
as the omission of Martin Harris' name as one of the Three Witnesses,
and the time of day that Oliver Cowdery and Joseph Smith called upon
him in the field to go with them to become a witness to the Book of
Mormon. Other accounts state that they came to him in the morning
instead of the afternoon. [2] And it should be remembered that what
follows is not given in the language of David Whitmer:

    When he was twenty-four years of age and worked on his father's
    farm near Palmyra, New York, all that section of the country was
    more or less excited over the reported discovery by Joseph Smith
    of the gold plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated.
    Oliver Cowdery, the village school teacher, mentioned the matter to
    him and announced his determination to visit Smith and investigate
    the matter for himself, promising Mr. Whitmer, at the latter's
    request, to advise him of the result. A few days later he [Whitmer]
    received a letter from Cowdery, urging him to join him, which
    he did, being received by the "Prophet" with open arms. After
    remaining long enough to satisfy himself of the divine inspiration
    of Smith, the three returned to Whitmer's home, where it was agreed
    that the work of translation should be prosecuted.

    Shortly after his return, and while he was plowing in the field
    one afternoon, he was visited by Smith and Cowdery, who requested
    that he should accompany them into the woods on the hill across
    the road for the purpose of witnessing a manifestation that should
    qualify him and Cowdery to bear witness to the divine authenticity
    of the Book of Mormon. Smith explaining that such procedure was in
    accordance with explicit instructions he had received from an angel
    of the Lord.

    Repairing to the woods they engaged in prayer for a short time,
    when suddenly a great light shone around about them, far brighter
    and more dazzling than the brilliancy of the noon day sun,
    seemingly enveloping the wood for a considerable distance. A spirit
    of elevation seized him as of joy indescribable and a strange
    influence stole over him, which so entranced him that he felt that
    he was chained to the spot. A moment later and a divine personage,
    clothed in white raiment, appeared unto them, and immediately in
    front of the personage stood a table on which lay a number of gold
    plates, some brass plates, the "Urim and Thummim" and the "sword of
    Laban." All of these they were directed to examine carefully, and
    after their examination they were told that the Lord would demand
    that they bear witness thereof to all the world. * * * * * * * *

    While describing this vision to us, all traces of a severe cold
    from which he was suffering disappeared for the time being, his
    form straightened, his countenance assumed almost a beautiful
    expression, and his tones became strangely eloquent. Although
    evidently no studied effort, the description was a magnificent
    piece of word painting, and he carried his hearers with him to that
    lonely hill by the old farm, and they stood there with him awed in
    the divine presence. Skeptics may laugh and scoff if they will, but
    no man could listen to Mr. Whitmer as he talks of his interview
    with the angel of the Lord, without being most forcibly convinced
    that he has heard an honest man tell what he honestly believes to
    be true. [3].

David Whitmer, like Oliver Cowdery, was excommunicated from the Church,
and at about the same time. [4] But unlike Oliver Cowdery, he never
returned, but remained estranged from the Church to the last day of
his life. Still he always manifested a friendly disposition towards
all believers in the Book of Mormon, however mistaken he may have
considered them to be in the matter of Church affiliation. But while
out of the Church as when in it, and certainly having no worldly
purpose to serve by continuing in such a course, he steadfastly, as we
have seen, adhered to his testimony to the truth of the Book of Mormon.


1. This account of David Whitmer's death is from the _Richmond
Democrat_, of the 26th of January, 1888, a paper published in the town
where his death occurred. It is copied into the _Deseret News_ of the
8th of February, 1888; and in the _Millennial Star_, vol. 50, p. 139.

2. See statement of David Whitmer to William H. Kelley, G. A.
Blakeslee, Sept. 15, 1882. _Braden and Kelley Debate,_ p. 187.

3. _Richmond Democrat_, issue of Jan. 26, 1888.

4. For the same reasons that were given in the foot note explaining the
case of Oliver Cowdery, I here give the charges brought against David
Whitmer and sustained before the High Council: 1st. Not observing the
Word of Wisdom, (See Doc. and Cov., sec. 89). 2nd. Unchristianlike
conduct in neglecting to attend meetings, and uniting with and
possessing the same spirit as the dissenters. 3rd. Writing letters to
the dissenters in Kirtland, unfavorable to the cause and character
of Joseph Smith, Jr. 4th. Neglecting the duties of his calling, and
separating himself from the Church. 5th. Signing himself president of
the Church of Christ in an insulting letter to the High Council, after
he had been cut off from the presidency. The presidency of the Church
alluded to was a local presidency over the Church in Missouri, in which
position the Saints, some time before his arraignment before the High
Council, refused to sustain him. (See Mill. Star, vol. 16, pp. 133,
134, also Missouri Persecutions, pp. 180-1.)




The experience of Martin Harris, with reference to his relations
with the Church was somewhat different from that of Oliver Cowdery
and David Whitmer. He was never excommunicated from the Church as
they were, but when there was a general movement of the Church from
Kirtland to Missouri, early in the summer of 1838--at which time the
Saints may be said to have abandoned Kirtland--Martin Harris remained
behind to live in Ohio, separated from the Church. It is evident, too,
that his mind became somewhat darkened; for after the martyrdom of
the Prophet Joseph, in 1844, when various persons arose claiming the
right of leadership in the Church, Martin Harris for a time supported
the claims of James J. Strang, and under the auspices of the latter's
pseudo-church organization, went to England on a mission, in 1846;
but he did not become very active in his missionary efforts, and soon
returned to Kirtland, where he resided for many years, up to 1870, in
fact. During all these years that he was separated from the Church,
years of much spiritual darkness for him respecting many things
pertaining to the great work of God, he nevertheless steadfastly
held to the truth of his testimony to the Book of Mormon. However
vascillating in other matters, in this he was firm and immovable. He
did see the angel; he did see the plates, and the attendant sacred
things; he was overshadowed by a glorious light, from the midst of
which he heard the voice of God saying that the record had been
translated by the gift and power of God. This testimony he never
denied, but reaffirmed it over and over again. Finally, like Oliver
Cowdery, he joined the Church and died in the faith. The circumstances
surrounding this last event of his life, briefly told, are as follows:
Elder Edward Stevenson, for many years a prominent traveling Elder of
the Church, and who a few years before his death was made a member
of the First Council of the Seventy--the third general quorum of the
Church--became especially interested in Martin Harris. Elder Stevenson,
when a boy in Michigan, in 1833, heard Martin Harris, who was on a
mission at that time, testify to the appearance of the angel and
his having seen the plates of the Book of Mormon. The testimony had
great effect on young Stevenson's mind; and when, in 1869--thirty-six
years later--he found Martin Harris living at Kirtland, naturally
his interest in the Witness revived. After Elder Stevenson returned
to Utah, from his eastern mission, he kept up a correspondence with
Martin Harris, and the latter finally expressed a wish to visit Utah
and rejoin his former associates. Elder Stevenson raised the means by
subscription, went east and brought back with him Mr. Harris, arriving
in Salt Lake on the 30th of August, 1870. [1] Mr. Harris addressed a
large gathering of Saints in Salt Lake City on the Sunday following,
September the 4th, reaffirming his testimony to the truth of the Book
of Mormon, a thing he did repeatedly, both before public assemblies and
in private conversation. He was received into the Church on renewing
his covenants in baptism and reconfirmation. After spending some time
in Salt Lake City, Mr. Harris moved to Smithfield, in Cache county,
Utah; and subsequently he moved to Clarkston, where he continued to
live at the home of his son, Martin Harris, Jr., until his death,
which occurred on the 10th of July, 1875. In these later years of his
life he continued to reaffirm his testimony to the truth of the Book
of Mormon. It was the one theme above all others which occupied his
mind and of which he loved to speak. A few hours before his death the
bishop of Clarkston, Simon Smith, called upon him, and as the bishop
drew near his bed the now aged Witness (he was in his ninety-third
year), stretched out his hand with the remark: "Bishop, I am going."
The Bishop, in answer, said he had something of importance to tell
him about the Book of Mormon, viz., that at the request of Indians in
Central America the Book of Mormon was about to be published in the
Spanish language. "Upon hearing this," says his son, Martin Harris,
Jr., in his letter describing the incident to George A. Smith, the
Church historian--"Upon hearing this, father brightened up, his
pulsation improved, and, although very weak, he began to talk as he
formerly had done previous to his sickness. He conversed for about two
hours, and it seemed that the mere mention of the Book of Mormon put
new life into him."

Speaking of his condition a little later--the day before his death, in
fact--his son says:

    He has continued to talk about and testify to the truth of the Book
    of Mormon, and was in his happiest mood when he could get somebody
    to listen to his testimony; if he felt dull and weary at times,
    and some one would come in and open up a conversation and give him
    an opportunity of talking, he would immediately revive and feel
    like a young man, for a little while. We begin to think he has
    borne his last testimony. The last audible words he has spoken were
    something about the Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, but we could
    not understand what it was. [2]

The next day, July 10th, 1875, he died.


1. See Stevenson's account of Harris' return to the Church, _Millennial
Star_, vol. 44, pp. 78, 86, 87.

2. _Deseret News_ (weekly) for July 28, 1875.



The direct evidence of the truth of the Book of Mormon found in the
testimony of the Three Witnesses is now before the reader. The trying
circumstances under which the Witnesses persisted in maintaining the
truth of that testimony is also known. Neither separation from Joseph
Smith as a companion and associate, nor excommunication from the body
religious, brought into existence as a sequence, one may say, of the
coming forth of the Nephite Record, affected them as Witnesses. In
the Church and while out of it they steadfastly maintained what they
first published to the world respecting the Book of Mormon. The plates
existed, they saw them, and the engravings upon them. An angel of God
appeared before them, and laid the records before their eyes. The
record was translated by the gift and power of God; for his voice had
declared it unto them, hence they knew it. No evidence exists that
they ever denied that testimony. They never attempted to resolve the
appearance of the angel, the exhibition of the plates, or hearing the
voice of God into hallucination of the mind; nor did they ever attempt
to refer this really great event to some jugglery on the part of Joseph
Smith. They never allowed even the possibility of their being mistaken
in the matter. They saw; they heard; the splendor of God shone about
them; they felt his presence. Joseph Smith could never have produced
such a scene as that which they beheld. They were not deluded. The
several incidents making up this great revelation were too palpable
to the strongest senses of the mind to admit of any doubt as to their
reality. The great revelation was not given in a dream or vision of the
night. There was no mysticism about it. Nothing unseemly or occult.
It was a simple, straightforward fact that had taken place before
their eyes. The visitation of the angel was in the broad light of day.
Moreover it occurred after such religious exercises as were worthy to
attend upon such an event, viz.: after morning devotional exercises
common to all really Christian families of that period--the reading
of a scripture lesson, singing a hymn, and prayer; and after arriving
at the scene of the revelation, devout prayer again by the Prophet
and each of the then-to-be Witnesses. The revelation then followed
under the circumstances already detailed, which circumstances were of
such a nature that the Witnesses could not be mistaken. There exists
no possibility of resolving their testimony into delusion or mistake.
Either they spoke the truth in their published Testimony to the world,
or they were wilful, conscious liars, bent upon a wicked scheme of
deception relative to a subject--religion--which, as it is the most
sacred, so should it also be the furthest removed from the practice of

Since, then, the possibility of mistake or delusion, is eliminated from
the revelation to the Three Witnesses, let us consider the likelihood
of conscious, intentional fraud; a deliberately planned deception,
through the collusion of Joseph Smith and the Three Witnesses, by which
the Book of Mormon was to be palmed off upon mankind as a volume of
ancient scripture, and a new Church organization brought into existence.

_First_. It must occur to every unbiased reflector upon the subject
that every circumstance is against the likelihood of collusion. The
very youthfulness of the men, the Prophet and the Three Witnesses, is
against such a hypothesis. Joseph Smith, at the time of the publication
of the Book of Mormon, was about twenty-five years old; Oliver Cowdery
and David Whitmer were also of that age, all having been born in
the year 1805-6. Martin Harris was older, it is true, having been
born in the year 1783; but he, as an exception to the youthfulness
of the group, will not affect the argument based on this score of
youthfulness, as his influence with the rest held no proportion to
the difference of age between himself with the other members of the
group. Indeed, though the oldest, he was the least influential of the
number; and withal so simple-minded in his honesty, that the world,
if it knew him, would acquit him of guile, and regard him as a wholly
impossible factor in practicing such a monumental delusion upon mankind
as foisting the Book of Mormon upon the world as a revelation from God
would have been had not the book been true.

I would not argue that young men are incapable of practicing deception,
or formulating delusions. My argument is, merely, that they are less
likely to be guilty of it than older men. Youth is essentially the
period of honesty in men's lives. Youth is not hardened in sin; is
not so capable of the grosser wickedness, especially such wickedness
as would be involved in the deliberate deception of their fellows.
Neither has unholy ambitions fired the soul in youth. The hopes, the
aspirations, the ambitions of youth are generally pure and noble.
Unholy ambitions as a rule come later. The practice of religious
deception is one of the grossest forms of wickedness, and requires
the deepest depravity of the human heart to make one capable of it:
and since youth is the period of men's lives in which they are least
desperately wicked, it follows that the very youthfulness of this
group of men we are considering stands against the likelihood of their
combining to deceive mankind in this matter of the revelations of God
to them about the Book of Mormon.

_Second_. The persistence of these Witnesses in adhering to their
testimony after their connection with Joseph Smith and the Church
was severed is strong evidence against the presumption of collusion
among these young men to deceive the world. Suppose, for a moment,
however, that such a collusion did exist. In that event, if the Three
Witnesses fell into transgression--as they evidently did--and violated
Church discipline ever so flagrantly, would Joseph Smith dare to break
friendship with them by excommunicating them? Would he not, on the
contrary, say in his heart: It matters not what these men may do, I
dare not raise my hand against them; for if I do they will divulge our
secret compact, and I shall be execrated as a vile imposter by the
whole world, I shall be repudiated by my own people, and driven out
from all society a vagabond. At whatever cost I must cover up their
iniquity, lest I myself by them be exposed to shame. Such, doubtless,
would have been his course of reasoning; and had he with them conspired
to deceive mankind, such, doubtless, is what would have taken place;
for I maintain that men who would be base enough to concoct such a
deception would also be base enough to expose it and become traitors
when they became disaffected towards each other. But nothing of the
kind took place. When these men violated the law of God and would not
repent and forsake the evil they did, neither Joseph Smith nor the
Church would any longer fellowship them, but boldly excommunicated them.

By the act of excommunication, Joseph Smith virtually said to the Three
Witnesses: Gentlemen, God has made you witnesses for himself in this
age of spiritual darkness and unbelief, but you refuse to keep his
laws, therefore we must withdraw the hand of fellowship from you. This
may fill you with anger and malice; you may raise your hand against
me and the work of God to destroy it; Satan may put it into your
hearts to deny the testimony you have borne; but I know you received
that witness from God, I was with you when you received it, I saw the
glorious messenger from heaven show you the plates; I, myself heard
the voice of God bear record to you that the translation was correct
and the work true--now deny that testimony if you dare--this work is
of God, and he can sustain it even if you should turn against it;
therefore we will not fellowship you in your wickedness--you are cut
off from our association--do your worst! That is what, in effect, that
action said; but though Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer became the
pronounced enemies of Joseph Smith, and sought his overthrow, yet they
never denied the testimony they bore to the truthfulness of the Book of
Mormon. Through all the vicissitudes of life they remained true to that
trust committed to them of God. In my opinion they dared not deny that
which God had revealed; it drew with it consequences too weighty for
them to meet.

Nor should it be matter for wonderment that the Three Witnesses, after
receiving such a marvelous revelation from God, and beholding the
demonstration of such almighty power, turned away from the Church,
and lost their places. Their case does not stand alone. They are
not the first servants and witnesses for God that wandered from the
path direct, and fell into error and perhaps sin. Seeing a heavenly
messenger or hearing the voice of God, by no means places men beyond
the power to do evil, nor does it give them immunity from the
temptations of the adversary. Noah received revelations from God, and
yet after being preserved from the flood, and enjoying other special
favors, he so far forgot himself as to get drunk. David, a man after
God's own heart, after enjoying sweet communion with God, and receiving
many revelations from him, was at last guilty of the heinous sin of
defiling another man's wife, and deliberately planning the injured
man's murder! Peter, after going into the mountain and witnessing the
glorious ministrations of Moses and Elias to the Messiah, and hearing
the voice of God declare that Jesus was his beloved Son, was so weak,
under the influence of fear, that he denied having any knowledge of
him, and emphasized his denial by cursing and swearing. I do not refer
to these incidents in the lives of these characters to weaken the
esteem any one may have for them, but to show that neither a revelation
from God nor the visitation of angels takes from man the power of
doing wrong. It was so in the case of Oliver Cowdery, and his fellow
witnesses. They transgressed the laws of God, and the Church was in
duty bound to withdraw fellowship from them, and did so, confident
that God was able to preserve his work though these men should turn
traitors, and deny the truth. I repeat that this circumstance--the
fact that the Three Witnesses persisted in their testimony, though
excommunicated from the Church, and their relations with Joseph Smith
disrupted, is strong presumptive evidence that there was no collusion
among these men to deceive the world by their solemn testimony to the
Book of Mormon.

_Third_. The fact that two of the Witnesses, Oliver Cowdery and Martin
Harris, returned to the Church after long years of separation from
it--the former eleven, the latter thirty-three years--is another
evidence against the theory of collusion among the witnesses. Surely
had they been parties to a wicked scheme of deception in their
youth, after separating themselves from it for years, they would not
return to it in old age. This suggestion is strengthened when it is
remembered that the religious organization which may be said to have
come into existence as a consequence of the coming forth of the Book
of Mormon--the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints--neither
did nor could hold out to them any worldly advantage as a reward for
their returning to the body religious. When Oliver Cowdery returned
to the Church, in 1848, the great body of the Latter-day Saints were
enroute for the west. They were a people scattered and peeled. They
were but recently expatriated from their country. They were exiled
for conscience sake from a country that boasts of its guarantees of
religious freedom. They were wandering in the wilderness, in a solitary
way--hungry and thirsty, their souls fainting in them, and they had as
yet no certain abiding place. Surely a people thus situated was not a
people to come to for worldly advantage. Yet such was the condition of
the Church when Oliver Cowdery once more cast his fortune with theirs,
humbly confessing all his errors that he might have fellowship with

When Martin Harris returned to the Church in 1870, the condition of the
Saints had improved somewhat when compared with what the conditions
were when Oliver Cowdery returned, but even then the Saints were
under the ban of the world's displeasure; as of old, they were the
people everywhere spoken against; while throughout the United States,
of which the lands the Saints had redeemed from desert wastes was
now an integral part, there was arising that storm of vexation which
subsequently crystalized into congressional enactments which not only
menaced but disturbed the peace of the Saints. To become once more
connected with such a people surely promised no worldly advantage; and
besides, when Martin Harris returned to the Church the sands of his
life had so well nigh run their course--he was then eighty-seven years
of age--that worldly considerations could have but little or no effect
upon his actions. Thus the return of these men to the Church, the
circumstances considered under which they returned, is certainly strong
evidence against the theory of collusion or deception among these

_Fourth_. There is a harmony in things bad as well as in things that
are good. As men do not work righteousness that evil may come; so they
do not plan evil that good may come. Now, these young men who bear
witness to the truth of the Book of Mormon spent the greater part of
their lives--especially when actively promulgating the Book of Mormon
and the principles it teaches--in bringing to pass righteousness.
They were exhorting men to keep the commandments of God; to cease
doing evil and to learn to do well. It is admitted on all sides of the
controversy that the Book of Mormon is not a bad book in the sense that
it approves evil deeds, canonizes the vicious, lauds immorality, or in
any way gives countenance or sanction to sin. No; its bitterest enemies
are forced to admit that it stands for righteousness absolutely,
that everywhere, and in all men it condemns sin. What motive, then,
prompted these Witnesses to enter into a wicked collusion to deceive
mankind in a matter so grave? Did they become villains that they might
preach righteousness? Did they wickedly conspire to deceive mankind in
order that they might spend their lives in toil, and suffering; and
invite the opposition of the world as expressed in ridicule, scorn,
vituperation, to say nothing of actual violence through malicious
prosecutions before courts, illegal imprisonment, repeated acts of mob
violence, ending in house-burning, in drivings, in cruel whippings,
in other brutal assaults, and often in outright murder--if not of the
Witnesses themselves, then of their dearest friends and neighbors;
and, of course, with reference to the Prophet Joseph and his brother
Hyrum (who must have been necessarily members of the conspiracy, if one
existed), their persecutions ended in their martyrdom. [1] I refer to
the well-known history of these men and to the history of the Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for proof that the results just
enumerated followed the testimony of the Three Witnesses; that they
endured all these things in consequence of their testimony. I refer to
the whole body of doctrine held by the Church, brought into existence,
under God, by Joseph Smith and these Witnesses; to the Book of Mormon
in particular; to the periodicals published by the Church, and to
the letters and other writings of these men, in proof of the facts
that their motives were pure, their purposes honest, their efforts
praiseworthy, and having for their sole object the attainment of
righteousness by themselves and by their fellowmen. Why, I ask again,
should they become rogues and villains only to pursue a course that
makes for righteousness, for a more exalted morality, for a higher
spiritual life than at the time was known among men? It is incumbent
upon those who insist that there was a collusion among these Witnesses
to deceive mankind, to prove that the subsequent career of these men
was in harmony with that theory; for men do not become rogues that they
may establish virtue; nor do wicked men become candidates for martyrdom
that righteousness might be established: the harmony existing in things
evil, as in things good, forbids us believing such a theory. [2]

It will be no valid answer to this contention to say that if the Three
Witnesses cannot be proven to be conscious frauds and deceivers they
may yet be relegated to that very large class known as the mistaken. We
have already seen that such was the nature of the revelation vouchsafed
to these Witnesses in attestation of the truth of the Book of Mormon
that it cannot possibly be resolved into delusion or mistake, and it
is not necessary to further discuss that proposition here. There is no
middle ground on which one may place these Witnesses; inexcusable liars
or true witnesses they must be; they never can be classed among the

The possibility of their being mistaken set aside, every circumstance
connected with their relationship to the Book of Mormon favors the
theory of their being true witnesses, their testimony standing not
only unimpeached but unimpeachable; it must follow that they are God's
solemn Witnesses of a great truth--the verity of the Book of Mormon.


1. The argument in this paragraph is suggested by a similar one in
_Paley's Evidences for Christianity_; and indeed it may be said to be
for the most part, a paraphrase of it.

2. For a fuller treatise of the ideas and the force of the argument
here presented the reader is referred to vol. I of _New Witnesses_, ch.



The exact time when the Eight Witnesses obtained their view of the
Nephite plates is not known, but it was evidently a few days after the
Three Witnesses received their testimony. All the Prophet has seen
proper to say upon the subject in his own history is--alluding to the
testimony that had been received by the Three Witnesses--"soon after
these things had transpired, the following additional testimony was
obtained." [1] Then follows the testimony of the Eight Witnesses.

According to the _History of the Prophet Joseph_ by Lucy Smith, [2]
the event happened a few days after the Three Witnesses obtained their
testimony. The latter, be it remembered, received their view of the
plates near the Whitmer residence, in Fayette township, New York; while
the Eight Witnesses obtained their view of the plates near the Smith
residence in Manchester. On the completion of the translation of the
Book of Mormon, Joseph sent word to his parents of the joyful event,
as we have already seen, and they, in company with Martin Harris,
immediately set out for Fayette, and during their brief stay at the
place the vision of the Three Witnesses was given. The day following
Father and Mother Smith returned to Manchester, and now the latter's

    In a few days we were followed by Joseph, Oliver and the Whitmers,
    who came to make us a visit, and make some arrangements about
    getting the book printed. Soon after they came, all the male part
    of the company, with my husband, Samuel and Hyrum, retired to a
    place where the family were in the habit of offering up their
    secret devotions to God. They went to this place because it had
    been revealed to Joseph that the plates would be carried thither
    by one of the ancient Nephites. [3] Here it was that those Eight
    Witnesses, whose names are recorded in the Book of Mormon, looked
    upon them and handled them. * * * After these Witnesses returned to
    the house, the angel again made his appearance to Joseph; at which
    time Joseph delivered up the plates into the angel's hands. [4]

This narrative is confirmed by the statement of Joseph himself with
respect to delivering up the record to the angel. At the time the
plates were first given into the Prophet's keeping he was informed
that the heavenly messenger would call for them. He then recounts the
efforts made to wrest the plates from him by his enemies, and adds:

    But by the wisdom of God, they remained safe in my hands, until
    I had accomplished by them what was required at my hands. When,
    according to arrangements, the messenger (the angel Moroni) called
    for them, I delivered them up to him; and he has them in his charge
    until this day, being the 2nd day of May, 1838. [5]

In the evening of the day that the Eight Witnesses saw and examined the
Nephite plates, according to Lucy Smith, the Witnesses held meeting
at the Smith residence, "in which all the Witnesses bore testimony to
the facts as stated above;" [6] that is, to the facts stated in their
testimony as here given and which appeared in the first and in all
subsequent editions of the Book of Mormon:


    BE IT KNOWN unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto
    whom this work shall come: That Joseph Smith, Jr., the translator
    of this work, has shown unto us the plates of which hath been
    spoken, which have the appearance of gold; and as many of the
    leaves as the said Smith has translated we did handle with our
    hands; and we also saw the engravings thereon, all of which has the
    appearance of ancient work, and of curious workmanship. And this we
    bear record with words of soberness, that the said Smith has shown
    unto us, for we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety that the
    said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken. And we give
    our names unto the world, to witness unto the world that which we
    have seen. And we lie not, God bearing witness of it.









The testimony of the Eight Witnesses differs from that of the Three
Witnesses in that the view of the plates by the latter was attended by
a remarkable display of the glory and power of God and the ministration
of an angel. The glory of God shone about them; the angel turned the
gold leaves of the ancient record; he spoke to them, or at least to
David Whitmer, saying: "David, blessed is the Lord, and he that keeps
his commandments;" and the very voice of God was heard out of the
bright light shining about them, saying:

    These plates have been revealed by the power of God, and they have
    been translated by the power of God. The translation of them which
    you have seen is correct, and I command you to bear record of what
    you now see and hear. [7]

No such remarkable display of God's splendor and power was attendant
upon the exhibition of the plates to the Eight Witnesses. On the
contrary it was just a plain, matter-of-fact exhibition of the plates
by the Prophet himself to his friends. They saw the plates; they
handled them; they turned the leaves of the old Nephite record, and saw
and marveled at its curious workmanship. No brilliant light illuminated
the forest or dazzled their vision; no angel was there to awe them by
the splendor of his presence; no piercing voice of God from a glory to
make them tremble by its power. All these supernatural circumstances
present at the view of the plates by the Three Witnesses were absent
at the time when the Eight Witnesses saw them. Here all was natural,
matter-of-fact, plain. Nothing to inspire awe, or fear, or dread;
nothing uncanny or overwhelming, but just a plain, straightforward
proceeding that leaves men in possession of all their faculties, and
self-consciousness; all of which renders such a thing as deception, or
imposition entirely out of the question. They could pass the plates
from hand to hand, guess at their weight--doubtless considerable, that
idea being conveyed, "we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety,
that the said Smith has got the plates." They could look upon the
engravings, and observe calmly how different they were from everything
modern in the way of record-making known to them, and hence the
conclusion that the workmanship was not only curious but ancient.

I now proceed to consider the course pursued by these Eight Witnesses
with reference to their testimony. I shall take them in the order they
seemed to have signed the testimony. [8]


This Witness was thirty-one years old when he beheld the plates, having
been born on the 18th of January, 1798. The young man was among the
first to embrace the gospel, being baptized on the 11th of April, 1830.
He removed with the Church from New York to Ohio in 1831, thence to
Jackson county, Missouri. He witnessed the storms of persecution rise
against the Saints in the land of Zion; and shared the hardship and
despoliation of the Saints incident to their expulsion from Jackson
county. He died while in exile for conscience sake, in Clay county,
Missouri, on the 27th of November, 1835. He held first the office of
Teacher in the Church; and then successively rose to the office of
Elder, High Priest, and member of the High Council of the Church in

Few and troubled were the years of Christian Whitmer's life after he
became a Witness for the existence of the plates from which the Book
of Mormon was translated; but few and troubled as the years were,
they were glorious for the steadfastness of Christian's faith. He had
seen his crops wasted by the wanton destructiveness of a mob, while
he himself was seized and threatened with instant death if he did not
make known the hiding place of brethren who were escaping from the mob.
Christian Whitmer, however, did not betray his friends, notwithstanding
the guns of the mob were leveled at him when their threats were made.

He remained true to his testimony and died a consistent member of the
Church of Christ.


Jacob Whitmer was thirty years of age when he saw the plates, having
been born on the 27th of January, 1800. He, too, passed through the
trying scenes incident to the expulsion of the Latter-day Saints
from Jackson county. But after enduring well for a season he left
the Church, in 1838, making his home near Richmond, in Ray county,
Missouri. Here he lived a quiet, retired life, and reared his family
in respectability; his eldest son, David P. Whitmer, rising to some
local prominence as a lawyer, and serving one or two terms as mayor of
Richmond. To the day of his death--which occurred April 21, 1856--Jacob
Whitmer was true to his testimony of the truth of the Book of Mormon.
Though he severed his relations with the Church, because he did not
agree with the policy of the leading elders, he continued true to the
special trust God had committed to him--an actual knowledge of the
existence of the Nephite record--as long as he lived.


This Witness for the existence of the Nephite Record was in his
twentieth year at the time he examined the plates and held them in
his hands. On meeting with the Prophet Joseph, on the occasion of the
latter coming to reside at the home of his father, Peter Whitmer,
Sen., in Fayette township, 1829, a firm friendship immediately sprang
up between them. Peter Whitmer, Jr., seems to have been one of those
gentle, loving natures that finds its greatest enjoyment and usefulness
in giving its allegiance to some more rugged character on whose
strength it can lean, in whose courage it can find strength. He entered
with enthusiasm into the work of God coming forth under the inspired
words and movements of his friend Joseph, the Prophet. He was among the
first to join the Church, and when, in September, 1830, a mission was
appointed to the Lamanites (American Indians), under the leadership of
Oliver Cowdery, young Whitmer was especially appointed to accompany
him, and commanded to be afflicted in all his (Oliver's) afflictions,
"ever lifting up your heart unto me in prayer, and faith for his and
your deliverance." [9] The missionaries to the Lamanites traveled
on foot from central New York to the western borders of Missouri, a
distance of more than one thousand miles, and that chiefly in winter
time, when storms and mud and cold had to be encountered. Peter
Whitmer, Jr., remained in western Missouri, and assisted the Saints
in settling Jackson county (1831-1833), where, in common with the
Saints who gathered from the east, he saw the rise of that persecution
which culminated in the expulsion of the Saints from that country.
With many of his exiled co-religionists he found a temporary home near
Liberty, Clay county, Missouri, where he died on the 22nd of September,
1836; and was buried by the side of his brother Christian, who had
died in the same neighborhood less than a year before. Consumption
was the immediate cause of his death, which was doubtless hastened by
exposure, in the course of his missionary labors and the hardships he
was forced to endure by reason of his expulsion from Jackson county.
This young man--he was but twenty-seven when he died--remained true to
his testimony through the seven years of toil and suffering that he
lived after God called him to be a Witness for the truth of the Book
of Mormon; and his fidelity to his trust under all circumstances, adds
weight to the solemn words of testimony to which he signed his name in
June, 1829.


The fourth of the Eight Witnesses, John Whitmer, was twenty-seven
years of age when he beheld the plates of the Nephite record. He was
a young man of considerable promise, and upon the coming of Joseph
Smith to his father's house, became not only his enthusiastic friend,
but rendered him considerable assistance in writing as the Prophet
dictated the translation of the Book of Mormon. John Whitmer was Church
Historian for a number of years; for a time editor of the _Messenger
and Advocate_, the second periodical published by the Church (Kirtland,
Ohio, 1834-1837). He was also prominent in the affairs of the Church
in Missouri, being one of the assistant presidents of the Church, his
brother David and William W. Phelps being the president and other
assistant respectively. He endured the hardships incident to the
persecutions of the Saints in that land. When settlements were being
formed in the new county of Caldwell, John Whitmer was prominently
connected with the land purchases made. Indeed it was largely
owing to some irregularities connected with the business, and some
misunderstanding with the Prophet and other leading brethren in the
Church, that finally resulted in his excommunication, in March, 1838.

After the expulsion of the Church from Missouri, in the winter of
1838-9, John Whitmer purchased the greater part of the townsite of
Far West, which soon reverted to farming lands; and here John Whitmer
continued to live, making farming his principal occupation, until his
death in July, 1878. Though his relations with the Church were severed
John Whitmer, up to the very close of his life, continued to bear
witness that his testimony published in connection with the Book of
Mormon was true. From it he never deviated. It was his testimony when
living; it remains his testimony now that he is dead, unimpaired in its
force by any word of his, though he was much offended at the Prophet
Joseph, and for forty years had no standing in the Church. One can but
regret the events which resulted in his severance from the Church, but
one is compelled to admire his fidelity to the trust imposed in him by
the Prophet when he made him a Witness for the existence of the Nephite
record, in the presence of temptation to take a different course in the
hour of his great darkness.


This is the only Witness of the Eight not either a Whitmer or a Smith.
He was a son-in-law, however, to Peter Whitmer, Sen., having married
Catherine Whitmer, in 1825. He was but a young man when he became a
Witness to the existence of the Nephite plates, having been born in
the year 1800, in the state of Vermont. He was living at Fayette, with
the Whitmers when the Prophet and Oliver Cowdery arrived there in the
spring of 1829. He entered into the work with enthusiasm, and for some
years was a faithful member of the Church. He followed the westward
movement of the Saints from New York to Ohio and thence to Missouri. He
shared in the persecutions of the Church in Jackson county; in common
with his co-religionists he fled to Clay county; and subsequently
settled in Caldwell county. When the trouble arose in the Church at Far
West, in 1838, Hiram Page followed the fortune of the Whitmers, severed
his relations with the Church and finally made his home near Excelsior
Springs, some fourteen miles north and a little west of Richmond,
Missouri, where he died in August, 1852. Like his fellow Witnesses he
remained true to his testimony. His oldest son, Philander Page, in
1888, said to Elder Andrew Jenson:

    "I knew my father to be true and faithful to his testimony of the
    divinity of the Book of Mormon until the very last. Whenever he
    had an opportunity to bear his testimony to this effect, he would
    always do so, and seemed to rejoice exceedingly in having been
    privileged to see the plates and thus become one of the Eight
    Witnesses. I can also testify that Jacob, John and David Whitmer
    and Oliver Cowdery died in full faith in the divinity of the Book
    of Mormon. I was with all these Witnesses on their death-beds and
    heard each of them bear his testimony." John C. Whitmer, a nephew
    of Hiram Page by marriage, also testified in the presence of Elder
    Jenson: "I was closely connected with Hiram Page in business
    transactions and other matters, he being married to my aunt. I knew
    him at all times and under all circumstances to be true to his
    testimony concerning the divinity of the Book of Mormon." [10]


The sixth of the Eight Witnesses is Joseph Smith, Sen., the Prophet's
father. He was the first to whom the Prophet confided the fact of
Moroni's visit, and the existence of the Nephite record; and this by
direct commandment of the angel Moroni himself. The Prophet hesitated
to make known the vision he had received and the existence of the
record, even to his father; but doubtless the integrity of the heart of
Joseph Smith, Sen., was known in the heavens, and the Prophet was taken
sharply to task for hesitating to trust him with the knowledge that
God had imparted through Moroni. When asked why he had not confided
the knowledge of his vision to his father, the Prophet expressed a
fear that he would not be believed, whereupon Moroni said: "He will
believe every word you say to him." [11] Upon this the Prophet went to
his father, who was working in a field near their home, and related
the whole revelation to him. The father assured his son that the great
revelation was of God, and told him to go "and do as commanded by
the messenger." [12] From that time on the youthful Prophet of the
Dispensation of the Fulness of Times had no truer, or more constant or
faithful friend than his father.

Joseph Smith, Sen., was 59 years of age when he handled and examined
the Nephite plates, and gave his testimony of their existence to the
world. He became thoroughly identified with the work which the Lord
brought forth through his gifted son. He was ordained a Priest of
the Most High God, and became the first Presiding Patriarch in the
Church, traveling in that capacity among the branches of the Church,
especially in the Eastern States, administering comfort to the widow
and fatherless, bestowing benedictions wherever he went.

In 1838, under the pressure of that severe persecution which arose
against adherents of the Prophet in Ohio, the Patriarch moved to
Caldwell county, Missouri, where he saw his sons Joseph and Hyrum taken
by ruthless hands, dragged from their families and cast into prison
for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus, while he himself, with
the remainder of the faithful Saints, was banished from the state of
Missouri under the exterminating order of Governor Boggs. In midwinter
of 1838-9, "Father Smith," as the Saints loved to call him, arrived
in Quincy, Illinois, and thence removed to Nauvoo and assisted in
founding that city. The toils and exposure of his life (he had been a
pioneer all his days), and the hardships attendant upon his flight from
Missouri proved too much even for his sturdy frame, and on the 14th
of September, 1840, Joseph Smith, Sen., in the seventieth year of his
life, died at Nauvoo.

His was one of those simple, guileless natures who know naught
but truth and honor and fidelity. Amidst all circumstances of
discouragement and trials he kept the faith, never wavering one moment
in his adherence to the truth which God had made known to him. Having
seen and handled and examined the plates from which the Book of Mormon
was written, he remained true and steadfast to that testimony, and if
an unbelieving generation shall undertake to condemn the testimony of
some of these Witnesses because they turned from the Church, they must
not forget that they will have to meet the force of this righteous
man's testimony, and as in prayer so in testimony, the words of a
righteous man availeth much.


The seventh of the Eight Witnesses was Hyrum Smith, an elder brother to
the Prophet Joseph, born February 9, 1800, and hence was thirty years
of age at the time the plates were shown to him. From the beginning of
the great work of the last days he was a consistent believer in it, and
assisted his brother in the preservation of the plates from the hands
of those who sought to wrest them from him. He early sought to know the
will of the Lord concerning his relations to the great work then coming
forth, and was given to understand (May, 1829) that he was to have
part and lot in it; and that he was called of God to be a preacher of
righteousness to this generation. [13] From that time forth he labored
continuously and faithfully by the side of his prophet-brother in the
work of God. In 1837 he was made a counselor in the First Presidency of
the Church, then assembling in Caldwell county, Missouri, a position he
held until January, 1841, when he was called by revelation to take the
office of Presiding Patriarch in the Church, an office left vacant by
the death of his father, Joseph Smith, Sen.; and which office he held
at the time he met a martyr's fate.

Hyrum Smith was a brother in very deed to the Prophet; for he shared
in all the trials throughout the latter's troubled career; and indeed
throughout his life he was never separated from Joseph longer than six
months at a time. The Prophet held him in most tender regard. Speaking
of him in his journal (December, 1835), he said:

    I could pray in my heart that all men were like my brother Hyrum,
    who possesses the mildness of a lamb, and the integrity of a Job;
    and, in short, the meekness and humility of Christ; and I love
    him with that love that is stronger than death, for I never had
    occasion to rebuke him, nor he me. [14]

Of Hyrum Smith the late President John Taylor also said, speaking of
him as he saw him stretched a martyr upon the floor of Carthage prison:

    There he lay as I had left him. He had not moved a limb; he lay
    placid and calm, a monument of greatness even in death; but his
    noble spirit had left his tenement and had gone to dwell in regions
    more congenial to its exalted nature. Poor Hyrum! He was a great
    and good man, and my soul was cemented to his. If ever there was an
    exemplary, honest and virtuous man, an embodiment of all that is
    noble in the human form, Hyrum Smith was its representative.

Such was the character of this witness to the existence of the Nephite
record. He not only never denied the testimony that he received
through seeing and handling the plates of the Nephite record, but he
consecrated his life to the great work of God which in a way may be
said to have had its origin in the coming forth of the Book of Mormon;
and finally sealed his testimony with his blood, and it is in force
upon all succeeding generations of men. He loved the Book of Mormon,
and from it more frequently than others took the texts which formed
the central thought of the discourses he delivered to the Saints. In
it also he doubtless saw foreshadowed, near the close of his career,
his own impending martyrdom, and the justification also of his life. On
the morning of his departure from Nauvoo to Carthage, where he met his
martyrdom, he read the following passage in the presence of his family,
and turned down the leaf upon it:

    And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord that he would give
    unto the Gentiles grace, that they might have charity. And it
    came to pass that the Lord said unto me: If they have not charity
    it mattereth not unto thee, thou hast been faithful; wherefore,
    thy garments shall be made clean. And because thou hast seen thy
    weakness thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in
    the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father.

    And now I, Moroni, bid farewell unto the Gentiles, yea, and also
    unto my brethren whom I love, until we shall meet before the
    judgment-seat of Christ, where all men shall know that my garments
    are not spotted with your blood. [15]


The last of the Eight Witnesses was a younger brother of the Prophet's.
He was born in the year 1808, hence was twenty-two years of age when he
beheld and handled the Nephite plates. He was of a serious, religious
nature, even in his youth; and with three others of his father's family
joined the Presbyterian church. While Joseph the Prophet was engaged
with Oliver Cowdery in translating the Nephite record, in Harmony,
Pennsylvania, Samuel paid him a visit in the month of May, 1829, about
the time that the Aaronic Priesthood was conferred upon the Prophet
and Oliver by the ministration of John the Baptist. Samuel had come
to inquire about the work and Joseph bore testimony of its truth and
showed him some of the translation of the Book of Mormon. Samuel seems
not to have been easily converted, but after much inquiry he retired
to the woods and sought, by secret and fervent prayer, for wisdom to
enable him to judge for himself concerning the things of which his
brother had testified. The result was that he obtained a revelation
for himself sufficient to convince him of the truth, and on the 25th
day of May, 1829, he was baptized by Oliver Cowdery and returned to
his father's house, in Manchester, New York, greatly glorifying and
praising God. He was the third person baptized by divine authority in
the new dispensation, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery being the first
two. He was also one of the six members by whom the organization of the
Church was effected on the 6th day of April, 1830.

As soon as the Book of Mormon was published Samuel was among the most
zealous of the brethren in proclaiming it to the world, and seeking
to dispose of it for the enlightenment of mankind. He shared in all
the fortunes of the Church from the commencement of its existence to
the time of his death, which occurred on the 30th of July, 1844, when
he was but thirty-six years of age. He endured many hardships for the
gospel's sake, in his extensive travels, meeting with insult and harsh
treatment at the hands of scoffers and unbelievers. He witnessed also
many demonstrations of the power of God and judgments which befell
those who rejected his testimony.

Samuel passed through many trying ordeals of persecution. In the
expulsion of the Saints from Missouri, in 1838-9, a special effort was
made to capture him and some others for participating in what is known
as "Crooked River Battle," for particulars of which see the Church
History. He was ordained a High Priest in the Church, made a member
of the High Council in Kirtland, Ohio, and was noted for the mingled
qualities of justice and mercy he exercised in his office. He was among
the founders of Nauvoo, and though rising to no great prominence, was
known for his steadfastness in adhering to the truth. At the time of
the martyrdom of his brothers, Joseph and Hyrum, he was living at
Plymouth, in the eastern part of Hancock county, but frequently visited
Nauvoo. Hearing of the arrest of his brothers and their imprisonment
at Carthage, he immediately went to the latter place, but only to find
that the martyr's fate had already overtaken them, and in sadness he
accompanied their bodies to Nauvoo. He survived them but a few weeks,
his death being produced by a severe billious fever, doubtless brought
on by physical and mental strain produced by the sudden death of his

Samuel Smith, like his father, Joseph Smith, Sen., and his brother
Hyrum, not only remained true to the testimony to which he subscribed
in the first edition of the Book of Mormon, but consecrated his life to
the work which its coming forth may be said to have commenced; and like
them he lived and died a martyr to that holy cause; and his testimony,
as theirs, is in force in all the world.

It will be observed from the foregoing account of the lives of the
Eight Witnesses, with reference to their testimony to the existence of
the Nephite plates, that five of them, viz.: Christian Whitmer, Peter
Whitmer, Jun., Joseph Smith, Sen., Hyrum Smith, and Samuel H. Smith,
all remained true throughout their lives, not only to their testimony,
but faithful to the Church also, and were honorable, righteous men.
While the three of the Eight Witnesses who left the Church, or were
excommunicated from it, not one of them ever denied the truth of his
testimony: a circumstance of some weight in helping one to determine
the value of the testimony to which, with those who remained faithful
to the Church, they subscribed their names when the Book of Mormon was
first given to the world.


1. History of the Church, vol. I, p. 57.

2. Chapter 31.

3. This was doubtless Moroni, as he was the custodian of the plates.

4. _History of the Prophet Joseph_, by Lucy Smith, ch. 31.

5. History of the Church, vol. I, pp. 18, 19.

6. _History of the Prophet Joseph_, by Lucy Smith, ch. 31.

7. History of the Church, vol. I, pp. 54, 55.

8. In the first edition of the Book of Mormon where the Testimony
appears at the close of the volume instead of at the beginning of the
work, as in the current editions, the names stand thus; (second edition
the same):--

  Christian Whitmer,
  Jacob Whitmer,
  Peter Whitmer, Jr.,
  John Whitmer,
  Hiram Page,
  Joseph Smith, Sr.,
  Hyrum Smith,
  Samuel H. Smith;

instead of in a double column as in our current editions. By the
way, in passing, it may not be amiss to state that some importance
is attached to the arrangement of the names in our current edition,
for the reason that if read across the page instead of down the
columns, then Page and the members of the Smith family alternate with
the Witnesses, supposedly to divert attention from the fact that the
witnesses, excepting Hiram Page, were of but two families! Such is the
conclusion at least of one profound (!) critic of the Book of Mormon.

9. Doc. and Cov., sec. 30.

10. _Latter-day Saints Biographical Encyclopaedia_, p. 278.

11. _History of the Prophet Joseph_, by Lucy Smith, ch. 19.

12. History of the Church, vol. I, p. 15.

13. See Doc. and Cov., sec. 11.

14. _Rise and Fall of Nauvoo_, p. 146; also History of the Church,
vol. II, p. 338.

15. Book of Mormon, Ether 12:36-38. Also Doc. and Cov. 135:5.



Doubtless the Lord had his own purpose to subserve in giving different
kinds of testimony--divine and human--to the same truth. The testimony
of the Three Witnesses, attended as it was by such remarkable
displays of supernatural power, he knew would be opposed from the
very circumstance of its being supernatural. It cannot be but that
God fore-knew of the rise of that so-called "Rational Criticism" of
divine things which would resolve inspired dreams, visions, revelations
and the administration of angels into hallucinations, brought
about first by an inclination to believe in the miraculous, (and
"ordinarily," argue the "Rational Critics," "expectation is the father
of its object.") [1] supplemented by the theory of self-deception,
self-hypnosis or hypnotic influence of others. This particular school
of philosophers took its rise in the last century, and in the twentieth
is much in vogue.

It will be remembered that the starting point with "Rational Criticism"
(and in that term is included the so-called "Higher Criticism")
is unbelief in what is commonly called the miraculous, and if the
followers of that school do not deny the possibility of the miraculous,
they at least say that it has never been proven; and further, they
hold that "a supernatural relation"--such as the testimony of the
Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon, for instance--"cannot be
accepted as such, that it always implies credulity or imposture." [2]
What chance, then, would the testimony of the Three Witnesses have
with those who regard it as "an absolute rule of criticism to deny a
place in history to narratives of miraculous circumstances?" This,
they hold, "is simply the dictation of observation. Such facts have
never been really proved. All the pretended miracles near enough to be
examined are referable to illusion or imposture!" [3] Nor is this the
climax of their absurdity, but they hold that the very "honesty and
sincerity" of those who testify to the miraculous make them all the
more untrustworthy as witnesses! I know this seems incredible; but what
will be thought when I set down my authority for the statement, and it
is learned that I quote no mere blatant declaimer against religion, nor
any one of the many careless, or ill-informed writers of the so-called
"Rational School of Critics," but the sober-minded, and earnest man of
science, the late Professor Huxley? The statement quoted is from his
paper on "The Value of Witnesses to the Miraculous." [4] In the course
of treating upon some statements made by one Eginhard (eighth century
A.D.), concerning miraculous events connected with SS. Marcellinus and
Petrus, the professor takes occasion to bear testimony to the high
character, acute intelligence, large instruction and sincerity of
Eginhard; then speaking of him as a witness to the miraculous, makes
this astonishing statement:

    It is hard upon Eginhard to say, but it is exactly the honesty
    and sincerity of the man which are his undoing as a witness to
    the miraculous. He himself makes it quite obvious that when his
    profound piety comes on the stage, his goodness and even his
    perception of right and wrong make their exit.

In another paper to the same magazine, three months later, the
professor, writing practically on the same subject, says:

    Where the miraculous is concerned, neither undoubted honesty,
    nor knowledge of the world, nor proved faithfulness as civil
    historians, nor profound piety, on the part of eye witnesses and
    contemporaries affords any guarantee of the objective truth of
    their statements, when we know that a firm belief in the miraculous
    was ingrained in their minds, and was the presupposition of their
    observations and reasonings. [5]

This school of critics--and its following is much larger than is
generally admitted--in this arbitrary way gets rid of the miracles
of both the Old and the New Testament. The resurrection of Jesus, to
them, is but a figment of the over-wrought minds of his disciples; and
has no better foundation than the dreams and light visions of women,
foremost among whom is Mary of Magdala, [6] the once possessed. The
glorious departure of Jesus from the midst of his disciples, on Mount
Olivet--after the resurrection--is merely a collective hallucination,
an illusion--"the air on these mountain tops is full of strange
mirages!" [7] The display of God's power on the day of Pentecost as
revealed in the Acts of the Apostles, is a thunderstorm. [8] The
speaking in tongues by the apostles on the same occasion and thereafter
in the Church, is but the ecstatic utterance of incoherent sounds
mistaken for a foreign language; while prophecy is but the fruit of
mental excitement, a sort of ecstatic frenzy. [9]

With views such as these quite prevalent in Christendom, relative to
miraculous events, it is but to be expected that the testimony of the
Three Witnesses would be accounted for on some similar hypothesis. The
early anti-Mormon writers generally assumed a conspiracy between Joseph
Smith and the Witnesses to the Book of Mormon, and hence accorded no
importance [10] to the testimony of either group--the Three or the
Eight. Later, however, the force of the testimony of the Witnesses
persisting, and pressing for an explanation which the theory of
conspiracy and collusion did not satisfy, there began to be advanced
the theory that probably Joseph Smith had in some way deceived the
Witnesses and thus brought them to give their testimony to the world.
"Either these Witnesses were grossly deceived by a lying prophet,"
says Daniel P. Kidder, who wrote an unfriendly book against the Church
in 1843, "or else they wickedly and wilfully perjured themselves,
by swearing to what they knew to be false." "The former," he adds,
"although not very creditable to their good sense, is yet the more
charitable opinion, and is rendered probable by the fact, that hundreds
have been deceived in the same way. It is confirmed, moreover, by
the well-known mental phenomenon, that to individuals accustomed to
disregard the laws of veracity, truth and falsehood are alike. They can
as easily persuade themselves of the one as of the other." [11]

Also the Rev. Henry Caswell, professor of divinity in Kemper College,
Missouri, writing in 1843, said:

    He [Joseph Smith] then persuaded [Martin] Harris to believe, that
    in some sense he actually beheld the wonderful plates. There
    was a worthless fellow named Oliver Cowdery, residing in the
    neighborhood, a school teacher by profession, and also a Baptist
    preacher, who, together with one David Whitmer, was similarly
    persuaded by our ingenious Prophet. [12]

Professor J. B. Turner, of Illinois College, Jacksonville, Illinois,
in his "Mormonism in All Ages" (1842), takes practically the same
position, but goes a step further and undertakes to explain how the
Prophet "deceived" the Witnesses, or how he "persuaded" them to
believe, "in some sense," that they had actually beheld "the wonderful
plates." In doing this the professor quotes the revelation given
through the Prophet, in June, 1829, to Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer,
and Martin Harris, previous to their viewing the Nephite plates. [13]
Also the revelation to Martin Harris in which he is promised that he
shall be a witness to the truth of the Book of Mormon. [14] In the
revelations cited the Lord promises these men that they shall view the
Nephite record; and directs what they shall say after they have seen
and heard the things promised. Because some of the phraseology of these
revelations is found also in the testimony of the Three Witnesses, the
professor rushes to the conclusion that the Witnesses never really saw
the vision, nor heard the voice of God as promised, but were persuaded
to accept these revelations through Joseph Smith as their witness to
the truth of the Book of Mormon. In other words Professor Turner's
theory is that the Witnesses had no other evidence than the word of
Joseph Smith for the existence of the plates and other sacred things
connected with them! And he triumphantly exclaims:

    Here, then, is the mighty power of God, the angel, and voice of the
    Lord, which revealed such marvels in 1830, all concentrated in the
    person, and pouring from the mouth of the Lord's Prophet in 1829. *
    * * * The whole, then, of this mighty array of bombast, nonsense,
    and blasphemy, resolves itself into this: "Joe Smith is not only
    'author and proprietor' of the Book of Mormon, as both he and his
    Witnesses declare, but he is also 'power of god,' 'angel,' 'voice,'
    'faith,' 'eyes,' 'ears,' and 'hands' for the Witnesses themselves;
    that is, all the evidence the world has for the Book of Mormon,
    after all this bluster, is 'Joe Smith's say so.' He says that
    God instructs him, he instructs the Witnesses and the Witnesses
    instruct the world. _Quod erat demonstradum_!" (p. 179.)

Undoubtedly the "Illinois College" of the great State of Illinois was
to be congratulated upon having as its chief professor, in 1842, a man
of such acuteness of intelligence and profoundness of wisdom! Nor was
Governor Thomas Ford, when, some years later, he wrote the history of
Illinois, to be out-done by a mere professor of "Illinois College;" and
therefore advanced what he had heard concerning the manner in which
the testimony of the Witnesses was obtained. The Governor's peculiar
relation to "Mormonism," no less than his exalted political station in
Illinois, as also the fact that he is one of the principal historians
of that very great state of the American Union, justifies me in setting
down what he has said upon the subject in hand:

    It is related that the Prophet's early followers were anxious to
    see the plates; the Prophet had always given out that they could
    not be seen by the carnal eye, but must be spiritually discerned;
    that the power to see them depended upon faith, and was the gift
    of God to be obtained by fasting, prayer, mortification of the
    flesh, and exercise of the spirit; that so soon as he could see
    the evidence of a strong and lively faith in any of his followers,
    they should be gratified in their holy curiosity. He set them to
    continual prayer, and other spiritual exercises, to acquire this
    lively faith by means of which the hidden things of God could be
    spiritually discerned; and at last, when he could delay them no
    longer, he assembled them in a room, and produced a box, which
    he said contained the precious treasure. The lid was opened; the
    Witnesses peeped into it, but making no discovery, for the box was
    empty, they said, "Brother Joseph, we do not see the plates." The
    Prophet answered them, "O ye of little faith! How long will God
    bear with this wicked and perverse generation? Down on your knees,
    brethren, every one of you, and pray God for the forgiveness of
    your sins; and for a holy and living faith which cometh down from
    heaven." The disciples dropped to their knees, and began to pray
    in the fervency of their spirit, supplicating God for more than
    two hours with fanatical earnestness; at the end of which time,
    looking again into the box, they were now persuaded that they saw
    the plates.

The governor then very sagely remarks, with a modesty so worthy to keep
company with the exalted intelligence that could stoop to detail such
mere drivel as above:

    I leave it to philosophers to determine whether the fumes of an
    enthusiastic and fanatical imagination are thus capable of binding
    the mind and deceiving the senses by so absurd a delusion. [15]

Inadequate as these theories are to account for the testimony of the
Three Witnesses, and contemptible as they are for their childishness,
they do not fail of more modern advocates. In 1899 a work published by
the Appletons, which, while it was a work of fiction, was nevertheless
an earnest effort to account for Joseph Smith on some other basis
than that of his being a conscious fraud, wickedly bent on deceiving
mankind, adopted the theory that "Smith was genuinely deluded by the
automatic freaks of a vigorous but undisciplined brain, and that
yielding to these he became confirmed in the hysterical temperament,
which always adds to delusion, self-deception, and to self-deception
half-conscious fraud. In his day it was necessary to reject a marvel or
admit its spiritual significance; granting an honest delusion as to his
visions and his book, his only choice lay between counting himself the
sport of devils or the agent of heaven; an optimistic temperament cast
the die." [16]

It remained, however, for the year of grace 1902 to witness the setting
forth of these theories under the learned formulas of a scientific
treatise, in which the testimony of the Witnesses received special
consideration. Mr. I. Woodbridge Riley, the author of the work referred
to, after quoting the account of the exhibition of the plates by the
angel to the Three Witnesses, as related in the History of Joseph
Smith, [17] regards the duty before him to be to find to what degree
the manifestations are explicable on the grounds "of subjective
hallucination, induced by hypnotic suggestion." [18]

Mr. Riley proceeds to show that the Prophet possessed "magnetic power,"
and that the Witnesses were "sensitive subjects," and then says:

    Given, then, such an influence, and sensitive subjects, and mental
    suggestion could produce anything in the way of illusion. Thus the
    explanation is subjective, not objective; it was captivation but
    not fascination; there was leader and led, and the former succeeded
    in inducing in the latter all the phantasmagoria of religious
    ardor. * * * * Again, the vision of the plates may be related in
    a larger way with what has gone before. Of the three classes of
    hallucinations, two have already been explicated. Joseph's father
    had the ordinary hallucination of dream; his grandfather that which
    persists into the waking state. The vision of the Three Witnesses
    is that form of hallucination which may occur either in the normal
    state, or be induced in the state of light hypnosis. The former is
    exemplified in day dreams; it is largely self-induced and implies
    some capacity or visualizing. The latter may also occur with the
    eyes open, but it is induced by the positive suggestion of another.
    * * * * * As the hypnotized soldier will hear the voice of his old
    commander, or the devout French peasant see his patron Saint, so
    was it in these manifestations. The ideas and interest which were
    uppermost in the mind were projected outwards. Harris had received
    the first "transcription of the gold plates;" Whitmer had been
    saturated with notions of ancient engravings; Cowdery, for weeks at
    a time, had listened to the sound of a voice translating the record
    of the Nephites. When the voice was again heard in the grove, when
    the four sought "by fervent and humble prayer to have a view of the
    plates," there is little wonder that there arose a psychic mirage,
    complete in every detail. Furthermore, the rotation in prayer,
    the failure of the first two attempts, the repeated workings of
    the Prophet over the doubting Harris, but served to bring out the
    additional incentives to the hypnotic hallucination. [19]

Thus "Rational Criticism" would explain away the testimony given by
the Three Witnesses. The vision of the plates, of the angel, the glory
of God that shone about the Witnesses, the voice of God from the midst
of the glory--all was illusion, hallucination produced by mental
suggestion, on the part of the Prophet. All was chimerical, a mental

But what of the testimony of the Eight Witnesses--all so plain,
matter-of-fact, straight-forward and real? How shall that be accounted
for? Here all the miraculous is absent. It is a man to man transaction.
Neither superstition, nor expectation of the supernatural can play any
part in working up an illusion or mental mirage respecting what the
Eight Witnesses saw and handled. Their testimony must be accounted for
on some other hypothesis than that of hallucination. And indeed it
is. Some regard it as a mere fabrication of interested parties to the
general scheme of deception. This, however, is an arbitrary proceeding,
not warranted by a just treatment of the facts involved. Others,
impressed with the evident honesty of the Witnesses, or not being able
to account for the matter in any other way, admit that Joseph Smith
must have had plates which he exhibited to the Eight Witnesses, but
deceived them as to the manner in which he came in possession of them.
Of the latter class is Pomeroy Tucker, whose home during the coming
forth of the Book of Mormon was at Palmyra, where the book was printed,
and who claims a personal acquaintance with the Prophet and all his
associates in the work at Palmyra. He refers to the fact of metallic
plates covered with hieroglyphics having been discovered in various
parts of the country, making special mention of some found in Mexico by
Professor Rafinesque, and mentioned by the Professor in his _Asiatic
Journal_ for 1832; and some others found in Pike County, Illinois,
a cleansing of which by sulphuric acid brought out the characters
engraven upon them very distinctly. Mr. Tucker then says:

    Smith may have obtained through Rigdon (the literary genius
    behind the screen) one of these glyphs, which resemble so nearly
    his description of the book he pretended to find on Mormon Hill
    [Cumorah]. For the credit of human character, it is better at any
    rate to presume this, and that the eleven ignorant Witnesses were
    deceived, by appearances, than to conclude that they wilfully
    committed such gross moral perjury before high heaven as their
    solemn averments imply. [20]

Rev. William Harris, writing in 1841, while not admitting the honesty
of the Witnesses himself, suggests, nevertheless, the possibility of
Joseph Smith deceiving the Eight Witnesses by presenting to them plates
of his own manufacture:

    Now, even admitting, for the sake of argument, that these Witnesses
    are all honest and credible men, yet what would be easier than for
    Smith to deceive them? Could he not easily procure plates to be
    made, and inscribe thereon a set of characters, no matter what, and
    then exhibit them to his intended Witnesses as genuine? What would
    be easier than thus to impose on their credulity and weakness? And
    if it were necessary to give them the appearance of antiquity, a
    chemical process could easily effect the matter. [21]

So Daniel P. Kidder, writing in 1842, says, in commenting on the
testimony of the Witnesses:

    That these men may have seen plates is very possible. * * * *
    * That Smith showed them plates, which to ignorant men had the
    appearance of gold, is easy enough to be believed; and if he had
    manufactured the same, it would have been no great stretch of
    ingenuity. [22]

Professor J.B. Turner, writing in 1842, adopts the same theory with
reference to the testimony of the Eight Witnesses:

    We are not only willing, but anxious to admit that Smith did show
    some plates of some sort; and that they [the Eight Witnesses]
    actually testify to the truth, so far as they are capable of
    knowing it. [23]

So John Hyde, [24] 1857:

    Every careful reader must be compelled to admit that Smith did have
    some plates of some kind. Smith's antecedents and subsequents,
    show that he did not have genius sufficient to originate the whole
    conception, without some palpable suggestion. The having chanced to
    have found some plates in a mound, as Wiley found his, or as Chase
    discovered Smith's "Peepstone," would be just such an event as
    would suggest every peculiar statement Smith made about his plates,
    at the same time account for what is known; and, therefore, it is
    more than reasonable to conclude that Smith found his plates while
    digging gold. This entirely destroys all the shadow of argument
    so laboriously compiled by the "Mormon" apologists, which, even
    without this, although their strongest argument, only proves that
    he had some plates, but at the same time has no force of proof as
    to Smith's obtaining them from an angel. [25]

Professor Riley, with some other anti-"Mormon" writers, suggests the
possibility of collective hypnotization in the case of the Eight as
well as in that of the Three Witnesses: and hypnotization produced
both visual and sense illusion; but it is only a suggestion. While
maintaining, with the utmost confidence the mental mirage theory,
induced by hypnotic suggestion, as an adequate accounting for the
testimony of the Three Witnesses, he can only suggest it as a possible
solution of the testimony of the Eight Witnesses, and inclines rather
to the theory of "pure fabrication." "It is a document," he remarks,
"due to the affidavit habit." [26]

As for the rest of the anti-"Mormon" critics on this point, they adopt
the pure fabrication theory, or admit that the Prophet Joseph had in
his possession some kind of plates which he either manufactured or
accidentally discovered in his alleged searching after hidden treasures
for some of his employers, and which he really exhibited to the Eight
Witnesses. But why have the "pure fabrication" theory to account for
the testimony of the Eight Witnesses, and the "mental hallucination"
theory to account for the testimony of the Three? If the testimony of
the Eight is pure fabrication is not the testimony of the Three pure
fabrication also? Or, at least, is it not most likely to be so? For if
conscious fraud, and pure fabrication lurks anywhere in Joseph Smith's
and the Eleven Witnesses' account of the coming forth of the Book of
Mormon, would it not exist throughout the whole proceeding? Professor
Turner, already twice quoted, in admitting that the Prophet had in his
possession some sort of plates, which he showed the Eight Witnesses,
says that he is anxious to make the admission "in order to keep up
the just and charitable equilibrium between the knaves and fools in
'Mormonism' and the world at large. Three to Eight is at once a happy
and reasonable proportion. We will not disturb it. It is gratifying
to human philanthropy to be able to account for all the facts in the
case by this charitable solution." This sarcasm, however, is not a
"solution;" nor is it refutation of the testimony of the Witnesses;
nor is it argument; nor anything but the fuming of a small mind; yet
it is the only "reason" I have ever heard advanced for adopting the
hallucination theory in the case of the Three Witnesses, and either the
pure fabrication or deception theory in the case of the Eight Witnesses.

The testimony of the Three and the Eight Witnesses, respectively,
stands or falls together. If the pure fabrication theory is adopted
to explain away the testimony of the Eight Witnesses, there is no
reason why it should not be adopted to explain away the testimony of
the Three. But every circumstance connected with the testimony of all
these Witnesses, as we have seen, cries out against the theory of
"pure fabrication." It is in recognition of the evident honesty of the
Three Witnesses that the theory of mental hallucination is invented
to account for their testimony; as it is also the evident honesty of
the Eight Witnesses that leads to the admission by many anti-"Mormon"
writers that Joseph Smith must have had some kind of plates which he
exhibited to the Eight Witnesses, though he may not have obtained them
through supernatural means.

The theory of pure fabrication of the testimony of the Witnesses is
absolutely overwhelmed by the evidence of their honesty.

The hallucination theory breaks down under the force of the
matter-of-fact testimony of the Eight Witnesses, from which all
possible elements of hallucination are absent.

The manifestation of the divine power, through which the Three
Witnesses received their testimony, destroys the theory of deception
alleged to have been practiced by the Prophet on the credulity of the
Eight Witnesses by exhibiting plates either manufactured by himself or
accidentally discovered.

Such, then, is the force of this direct testimony of the Eleven
Witnesses to the truth of the Book of Mormon--the testimony of the
Three and the Eight when considered together. It is so palpably true
that it cannot be resolved into illusion or mistake. It is so evidently
honest that it cannot be resolved into pure fabrication. It is of such
a nature that it could not possibly have been the result of deception
wrought by the cunning of Joseph Smith. There remains after these but
one other theory: "The Witnesses were honest." They saw and heard and
handled what they say they saw, and heard, and handled. Their testimony
stands not only unimpeached, but unimpeachable.


1. Renan, _The Apostles_, p. 67 and note 46.

2. Renan, _Life of Jesus_, introduction, p. 14; also New Witnesses,
vol. I, chapter 1.

3. Renan, _The Apostles_, p. 37.

4. _The Nineteenth Century_, March, 1889.

5. _The Nineteenth Century_, June, 1889. Professor Huxley's papers
quoted here will also be found in _Agnosticism and Christianity_, pp.
84, _et seq._ and 96 _et seq._

6. Renan closes his treatise upon this subject as follows: "The glory
of the resurrection, then, belongs to Mary of Magdala. After Jesus it
is Mary who had done most of the foundation of Christianity. The shadow
created by the delicate sensibility of Magdalene wanders still on the
earth. Queen and patroness of idealists, Magdalene knew better than any
one how to assert her dream, and impose on every one the vision of her
passionate soul. Her great womanly vision: 'He has risen,' has been the
basis of the faith of humanity. Away, impotent reason! Apply no cold
analysis to this _chef d'oeuvre_ of idealism and of love. If wisdom
refuses to console this poor human race, betrayed by fate, let folly
attempt the enterprise. Where is the sage who has given to the world as
much joy as the possessed Mary of Magdala?"--_The Apostles_, p. 61.

7. Renan. He thus tells the story of the appearing of Jesus to the five
hundred brethren at once: "More than five hundred persons were already
devoted to the memory of Jesus. In the absence of the lost Master, they
obeyed the chief of the disciples, and above all, Peter. One day when
following their spiritual chiefs, the Galileans had climbed one of the
mountains to which Jesus had often led them, they fancied they saw
him again. The air on these mountain tops is full of strange mirages.
The same illusion which had previously taken place in behalf of the
more intimate of the apostles [he refers to the transfiguration, Matt.
17] was produced again. The whole assembly imagined that they saw the
divine spectre displayed in the clouds; they fell upon their faces and
worshiped." _The Apostles_, p. 76.

8. Renan. This is his "rational" (!) conception of the event: "One day
when they were assembled together a thunder storm arose. A violent wind
burst the windows open--the sky seemed on fire. Thunder storms in those
countries are accompanied by wonderful illuminations; the atmosphere is
furrowed, as it were, on every side with garbs of flame. Whether the
electric fluid had penetrated into the very chamber itself or whether a
dazzling flash of lightning had suddenly illuminated all their faces,
they were convinced that the spirit had entered, and that he was poured
out upon the head of each one of them under the form of tongues of
fire." _The Apostles_, p. 95.

9. Renan, _The Apostles_, p. 98 _et seq._

10. Thus Alexander Campbell in _Millennial Harbinger_, vol. II, (1831)
pp. 86-96. Also _Howe's Mormonism_ (1834). He thinks the Witnesses
incompetent, "Nor will any one disagree with us, when we shall have
proven that the Book of Mormon was a joint speculation between
the 'Author and Proprietor.' [Joseph Smith is alluded to] and the
Witnesses," ch. 7.

11. _Mormonism and the Mormons_, by Daniel P. Kidder, pp. 54, 55.

12. _Prophet of the Nineteenth Century_, p. 46.

13. Doc. and Cov. sec. 17.

14. Doc. and Cov. 5:24-26.

15. _Hist. Illinois_, (Ford) pp. 257-8.

16. _The Mormon Prophet_, by Lily Dougall, preface, p. 7.

17. History of the Church, vol. I, pp. 54, 55.

18. "_The Founder of Mormonism_. A Psychological Study of Joseph
Smith, Jr., by I. Woodbridge Riley, one time instructor in English,
New York University," (Dodd, Mead & Company, New York, 1902). It
cannot be denied that Mr. Riley's book is an ingenious work, and
bears evidence of wide erudition, and an intimate knowledge of the
subject. Mr. Riley's treatise, a book of 426 pages, was offered to the
Philosophical Faculty of Yale University as a thesis for the degree
of Doctor of Philosophy. His materials were also used in 1898 for a
"Master of Art" thesis on the "Metaphysics of Mormonism." The book has
an introductory, preface, by Professor George Trumbull Ladd, of Yale
University, commending the work by laudatory praise of it. The author
himself explains that his aim is "to examine Joseph Smith's character
and achievements from the standpoint of recent psychology." He makes a
careful pathological study of the ancestors of the Prophet, and reaches
the conclusion that Joseph Smith's "abnormal experiences" (meaning
his visions, revelations and visitations of angels) are the result
of epilepsy. This is his working hypothesis in accounting for Joseph
Smith, supplemented by what he considers is the Prophet's unconscious
liability to self-hypnosis, and his hypnotic power over others
sufficient to make them partakers in his own vivid hallucinations. The
hypothesis is an adroitly conceived one, and worked out on lines of
sophistry that by many will be mistaken for sound reasoning. The whole
theory is overthrown, however, by the work the Prophet achieved, the
institution he founded, the Church, the religion he established, the
philosophy he planted; all of which to madness would be impossible;
besides, as remarked by M. Renan, "Hitherto it has never been given to
aberration of mind to produce a serious effect upon the progress of
humanity." _Life of Jesus_, p. 105.

An extended review of Mr. Riley's book will be found in the author's
work, _Defense of the Faith and the Saints_, pp. 39-61.

19. _The Founder of Mormonism_, by I. Woodbridge Riley, pp. 226, 227,

20. _Origin, Rise, and Progress of Mormonism_, by Pomeroy Tucker, p. 75.

21. _Mormonism Portrayed_, by Rev. William Harris, pp. 410.

22. _Mormonism_, Kidder, pp. 52, 53.

23. _Mormonism in all Ages_, Turner, p. 178.

24. _Mormonism, Its Leaders and Designs_, by John Hyde, Jr., pp. 269,

25. _Mormonism, Its Leaders and Designs_, by John Hyde, Jr., pp. 269,

26. _The Founder of Mormonism_, pp. 228-231.



In addition to the testimony of the Three Witnesses and the testimony
of the Eight Witnesses to the fact that Joseph Smith was in possession
of the Nephite plates, the Urim and Thummim and the breast plate, I
present also the testimony of persons who may be said to have become
acquainted with these facts in an incidental way.

When the strong sympathy and mutual confidence subsisting between the
Prophet and his mother, Lucy Smith, is taken into account, it would
be more than passing strange if she did not in some substantial way
have personal knowledge of her son being in possession of the Nephite
plates, and the things found with them. That she had this knowledge
appears in the sequel. In 1845, while residing at Nauvoo "Mother
Smith," as she was affectionately called by the Saints, dictated her
memoirs to Mrs. Martha Jane Knowlton Coray, which are now published
under the title _History of the Prophet Joseph, by his Mother, Lucy
Smith_. [1] In her account of her son's movements on the night of the
21st, and the morning of the 22nd of September, 1827--the day Joseph
Smith obtained possession of the Nephite record--Lucy Smith states that
in consequence of having visitors at their home--these visitors were
Mr. Joseph Knight and Mr. Josiah Stoal--she was detained until past
midnight of the 21st, in her domestic duties; that while so engaged
Joseph came to her and asked if she had a chest with a lock and key.
She surmised instantly for what use he wanted it, for evidently the
family knew the appointed time had come to secure the plates. A few
minutes after this Emma Smith, the Prophet's wife, passed through
the room, dressed for riding, and a few minutes later she and Joseph
departed with the horse and wagon of one of their guests, Mr. Joseph
Knight. The family was astir early in the morning and Mr. Knight was
somewhat exercised on finding his horse gone, and Mother Smith did
not feel at liberty to say who had taken him. Meantime the Prophet
Joseph returned with the horse and wagon. And now the statement of the
Prophet's mother:

    I trembled so with fear, lest all might be lost in consequence of
    some failure in keeping the commandments of God, that I was under
    the necessity of leaving the room in order to conceal my feelings.
    Joseph saw this, and said, "Do not be uneasy, mother, all is
    right--see here I have got a key." I knew not what he meant, but
    took the article of which he spoke into my hands, and examined
    it. He took it again and left me, but said nothing respecting the
    record. * * * * That of which I spoke, which Joseph termed a key,
    was indeed, nothing more nor less than the Urim and Thummim, and it
    was by this that the angel showed him many things which he saw in
    vision; by which also he could ascertain, at any time, the approach
    of danger, either to himself or the record, and on account of which
    he always kept the Urim and Thummim about his person. [2]

After relating the particulars about the Prophet bringing home the
plates and securing them, she makes the following statement:

    Soon after this, he came in from work, one afternoon, and after
    remaining a short time, he put on his great coat, and left the
    house. I was engaged at the time, in an upper room, in preparing
    some oilcloths for painting. [3] When he returned, he requested
    me to come down stairs. I told him that I could not leave my work
    just then; yet, upon his urgent request, I finally concluded to go
    down and see what he wanted, upon which he handed me the breast
    plate spoken of in his history. It was wrapped in a thin muslin
    handkerchief, so thin that I could feel its proportions without any
    difficulty. It was concave on one side and convex on the other,
    and extended from the neck downwards, so far as the center of the
    stomach of a man of extraordinary size. It had four straps of the
    same material, for the purpose of fastening it to the breast, two
    of which ran back to go over the shoulders, and the other two were
    designed to fasten to the hips. They were just the width of two of
    my fingers, (for I measured them), and they had holes in the end
    of them, to be convenient in fastening. After I had examined it,
    Joseph placed it in the chest with the Urim and Thummim. [4]

I next call attention to a statement made by Parley P. Pratt concerning
an item of experience when performing a brief mission among some
branches of the Church in western New York, in company with the Prophet
Joseph. He says:

    Arriving in Geneseo, we met with the other elders who had started
    from Kirtland on the same mission, and with others who were local,
    and held a general conference. Among those whose hospitality we
    shared in that vicinity (Geneseo) was old Father Beaman and his
    amiable, interesting family. He was a good singer, and so were
    his three daughters; we were much edified and comforted in their
    society, and were deeply interested in hearing the old gentleman
    and Brother Joseph converse on their early acquaintance and
    history. He [Beaman] had been intimate with Joseph before the first
    organization of the Church; and assisted him in preserving the
    plates of the Book of Mormon from the enemy, and had at one time
    had them concealed under his own hearth. [5]

In consequence of the worldly circumstances of his father, the Prophet
was under the necessity, at times, of finding employment away from
home. In the month of October, 1825, he hired with an old gentleman by
the name of Josiah Stoal, who lived in Chenango county, in the state of
New York, and was put to work, with other hands, by the old gentleman,
to search for a silver mine which the traditions of the neighborhood
said had been opened by the Spaniards near Harmony, Susquehanna
county, state of Pennsylvania. It was here that the Prophet made the
acquaintance of the Knights, who were well-to-do-farmers and millers
in that neighborhood. It appears from all the circumstances that the
Prophet took Josiah Stoal and Joseph Knight into his confidence, [6] as
to the time when he was to receive the plates of the Book of Mormon,
and hence their presence at the Smith residence on the morning of the
22nd of September, 1827. Messrs. Knight and Stoal had business at
Rochester, New York, and in leaving their home in Chenango county, so
timed their journey that they arrived at the Smith residence on the
20th of September and remained there for a number of days; [7] and
were not only present when Joseph Smith obtained the records, but were
there when he brought them to the house a day or two later. And now the
testimony of Mr. Stoal. Under date of December 19, 1843, a Mrs. Martha
L. Campbell, writing to the Prophet Joseph Smith, at the request of Mr.
Stoal, and for him, says:

    Brother Smith:--

    By request of Brother Stoal I now sit down to write you. He is
    quite unwell, and is sometimes fearful that he cannot stand it
    through the winter, and wishes me to say to you that he wants your
    prayers and the prayers of all the Saints for the recovery of his
    health to enable him to gather among the Saints; and he also wishes
    to know if you could receive him as a brother. He says he shall
    come out [to Nauvoo] next spring if he lives and has health to
    endure the journey. He says if he remains as well as [at] present
    he shall venture to start. He says he has never staggered at the
    foundation of the work, for he knew too much concerning it. If I
    understood him right he was the first person that took the plates
    out of your hands the morning you brought them in, and he observed,
    Blessed is he that sees and believeth, and more blessed is he that
    believeth without seeing, and he says he has seen and believeth. He
    seems anxious to get there [to Nauvoo] to renew his covenants with
    the Lord. [8]

The whole letter is of interest, but this is the only part bearing upon
the Book of Mormon, and is referred to as testimony for this reason: It
is a wholly undesigned incident in connection with the coming forth of
the work, and is one which occurs under circumstances that render it
of first rate importance as testimony. It is a fact directly stated in
the history of Mother Lucy Smith that Josiah Stoal and Joseph Knight
were guests at the homestead of the Smiths from the 20th to the 24th,
or 25th of September, 1827; and now a letter written on December 19,
1843, sixteen years later, without any design whatever of corroborating
the fact of Lucy Smith's statement, also says that Josiah Stoal was at
the Smith residence, and that he received the plates from the hands of
the Prophet, on the occasion of his bringing them home, remarking at
the time, "Blessed is he that seeth and believeth, and more blessed is
he that believeth without seeing." So there can be no question but what
Josiah Stoal had the most palpable evidence that Joseph Smith had the
Nephite record; and sixteen years afterwards, though he had neglected
his privileges as a member of the Church, and had not followed her
fortunes, yet he reaffirms his faith in the work which the Book of
Mormon may be said to have inaugurated, and declares that he has
"never staggered at the foundation of the work, for he knew too much
concerning it." That is, he had too strong evidence of the reality of
those facts in which the work had its origin to doubt their truth.

I have laid much stress, but not without good reason, upon the direct
testimony of the Three Witnesses and the Eight Witnesses to the truth
of the Book of Mormon; and, of course, their testimony must forever
stand as of first importance in the direct external evidences of
the book, but I confess also that this incidental testimony appeals
strongly to me, and when I think how in harmony it all is with the
circumstances surrounding the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, to
my mind it wonderfully strengthens the direct statements of the other


1. See _Improvement Era_, vol. V. Mother Smith's Memoirs were first
published by Orson Pratt in Liverpool, England, in 1853, under the
title _Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith, the Prophet, and His
Progenitors for Many Generations_. As "Mother Smith" dictated chiefly
from memory, there were some inaccuracies in her work, as first
published by Elder Orson Pratt. Afterwards the work was corrected by
a committee of which the late George A. Smith, Church Historian, was
chairman. It is this revised copy from which the _Era_ edition was
published in 1902, and which is cited in these notes.

2. _History of the Prophet Joseph_, by Lucy Smith, ch. 23.

3. Lucy Smith followed the business of hand painting oilcloth covers
for tables, stands, etc., see her _History of the Prophet Joseph_, ch.

4. _History of the Prophet Joseph_, by Lucy Smith, ch. 24.

5. _Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt_, p. 117.

6. The fact that the Prophet took these two men into his confidence
is supported by the testimony of Mr. John Reid, Esq., in a speech
before the state convention held in Nauvoo, at which Joseph Smith was
nominated to be president of the United States. Mr. Reid had known the
Prophet in an early day when he was working for Mr. Stoal in Chenango
county, and thus speaks of him: "After living in that neighborhood
about three years, enjoying the good feelings of his acquaintances,
as a worthy youth, he told his particular friends that he had had
a revelation from God to go to the west about eighty miles, to his
father's, in which neighborhood he would find hid in the earth an old
history written on golden plates, which would give great light and
knowledge concerning the destiny of all nations, kindreds, and tongues;
he said that he distinctly heard the voice of him that spoke. Joseph
Knight, one of the fathers of your church, a worthy man and my intimate
friend, went with him. * * * In a few days his friends returned with
the glad news that Joseph had found the plates and had gone down to his
father-in-law's for the purpose of translating them." _History of the
Church_, vol. I, p. 94.

7. _History of the Prophet Joseph_, by Lucy Smith, ch. 23.

8. The original of Mrs. Campbell's letter is on file at the Church
Historian's Office, package 4.




_The Ministration of Angels is Neither Unscriptural nor

By the probability of Joseph Smith's story, I mean, of course, the
probability of Moroni revealing the existence of the Book of Mormon to
him; of Moroni's delivering to him the plates and the Urim and Thummim;
of the Prophet's translating the record by the gift and power of God,
by means of the Urim and Thummim; of his returning the plates to
Moroni, who to this day, doubtless, has them under his guardianship.

I am aware of the fact that the miraculous is usually regarded with
suspicion; that such a thing as the ministration of angels in what
are called these "hard and scientific times" is generally scouted by
most of those who make any pretensions to science; that a school of
writers has arisen whose main slogan in the search of truth is that the
miraculous is the impossible, and that all narratives which include
the miraculous are to be rigidly rejected, as implying credulity or
imposture; [1] that even professed believers in the Bible, who accept
as historically true the Bible account of the ministration of angels,
insists that the age in which such things occurred has long since
passed away, and that such ministrations are not to be expected now.
But on this subject the word of God stands sure. According to that
word there have been ministrations of angels in times past; and there
will be such ministrations to the last day of recorded time. As to the
ministration of angels in the past, according to holy scripture, the
reader will remember the circumstance of angels, together with the
Lord, visiting Abraham at his tent-home in the plains of Mamre, and
partaking of his hospitality; of the appearance of angels to direct
the flight of Lot from one of the doomed cities of the plain; of
Jacob's physical contact with the angel with whom he wrestled until the
breaking of the day; of the angel who went before the camp of Israel in
their march from bondage; and scores of other instances recorded in the
Old Testament where heavenly personages co-operated with men on earth
to bring to pass the holy purposes of God.

Of instances in the New Testament, the reader will recall the
ministration of the angel Gabriel to Zacharias, announcing the future
birth of John the Baptist; of the angel who appeared to Mary to make
known the high honor bestowed upon her in becoming the mother of our
Lord Jesus; of the appearance of Moses and Elias to the Savior and
three of his disciples, to whom they ministered; of the angel who
rolled away the stone from the mouth of the sepulchre, and announced
the resurrection of the Savior; of the men in white (angels), who were
present at the ascension of Jesus from the midst of his disciples, and
announced the fact that the time would come when that same Jesus should
come again to the earth in like manner as they had seen him go into
heaven; of the angel who delivered Peter from prison, and a dozen other
instances where angels co-operated with men in bringing to pass the
purposes of God in the dispensation of the meridian of time.

With reference to the angels who in ages future from that in which
the apostles lived ministering to men and co-operating to bring to
pass future purposes of God, the reader will recall the saying of the
Savior concerning the gathering together of the elect in the hour of
God's judgment: "And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a
trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds,
from one end of heaven to the other." [2] He will recall, also, the
promise in Malachi concerning the same times: "Behold, I will send you
Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of
the Lord: and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children,
and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite
the earth with a curse." [3] He will recollect the promised coming
of the angel to restore the gospel in the hour of God's judgment,
concerning whom John says: "And I saw another angel fly in the midst of
heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on
the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,
saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him: for the hour
of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth,
and the sea, and the fountains of water." [4] Also the angel who will
declare the fall of Babylon: "And there followed another angel, saying,
Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all
nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. And the
third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, if any man worship
the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in
his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God." [5]
"And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven,
having great power; and the earth was lighted with his glory. And
he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is
fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold
of every foul spirit." [6] The reader of the scriptures, I say, will
readily recall all these ministrations of angels, future from the time
in which the sacred writer recorded them, as also the promise of the
ministration of many other angels, in bringing to pass the great things
of God in the last days, even to the gathering together in one all
things in Christ. [7]

It cannot be held to be unscriptural, then, when Joseph Smith claimed
that by the ministration of angels he received a revelation from God--a
dispensation of the gospel.

But what shall we say to that very large number of people who do not
believe the Bible? How shall we so appeal to them as to secure their
attention in these matters? Addressing himself to those who questioned
at least the likelihood of the resurrection, Paul asked: "Why should
it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the
dead?" So say I respecting those who do not believe in the Bible,
but pride themselves on accepting and believing all those things
established by the researches of men--by science.--Why should it be
thought a thing incredible by them that angels should visit our earth
in order to communicate knowledge not otherwise, perhaps, obtainable?
Our scientists live in the midst of ascertained facts respecting the
universe, so that interplanetary communication ought to be looked upon
as a thing so rational that to doubt its probability would be esteemed
as folly?

A word as to this proposition: Of the change of view respecting our
own earth and its relations in the universe, I have already spoken [8]
in some detail. I have considered the transition from the conception
of the earth as the center of the universe, with the sun, the moon
and all the stars brought into existence for its convenience, or
beauty, or glory, to the conception of the earth as one of the smaller
planets of a group moving regularly about the sun as their center,
and the probability of each fixed star being the center of such a
group of planets. The ascertained existence of millions of other suns
than ours, evidently the centers of planetary systems, being granted,
the view that these planets are the habitation of sentient beings
seems a concomitant fact so probable that one is astonished, if not
a little provoked, at that conservatism which hesitates to accept
a hypothesis so reasonable in itself, and so well sustained by the
analogy of the existence of sentient beings on our own planet. The
astronomers tell us some of these fixed stars--these suns that are
probably the centers of planetary systems--have existed for hundreds
of thousands of years, for so distant are they from us in space that
it would require that period of time for their light to reach our
earth, hence they must have existed all that time. It is evident, then,
that some of them may be many times older than our sun; so, too, are
the planets that encircle them. From this conclusion to the one that
the sentient beings that doubtless dwell upon these planets are far
in advance of the inhabitants of our earth, intellectually, morally,
spiritually and in everything that makes for higher development, and
more perfect civilization, is but a little step, and rests on strong
probability. From these conclusions, again, to the conceived likelihood
of the presiding Intelligences on some of these worlds to which our
earth may sustain peculiar relations of order or affinity--having
both the power and the inclination to communicate from time to time
by personal messengers, or other means, to chosen men of our own
race--is another step, not so large as the others, by which we have
been led to this point, and one that rests also upon a basis of strong
probability. And this is the phenomena of the visitation of angels
and revelation testified of in the scriptures. Such phenomena are
mistakenly considered supernatural. They are not so really. They are
very matter of fact realities; perfectly natural, and in harmony with
the intellectual order or economy of a universe where intelligence and
goodness govern, and love unites the brotherhood of the universe in
bonds of sympathetic interest and kinship.

In view of these reflections, why, I ask, should it be thought a thing
incredible with scientific men that there should be such phenomena
as the visitation of angels, or other means of interplanetary
communication among the many planets and planetary systems which make
up the universe? Surely it will not be argued that it is impossible for
sentient beings to pass from world to world, because man in his present
state is bound to earth by the force of gravitation, and that the same
force would doubtless operate upon the inhabitants of other worlds, and
bind them to their local habitation as we are bound to ours. The beings
whom we call angels, though of the same race and nature with ourselves,
may have passed through such physical changes as to render them quite
independent of the clogging force called gravitation. We may not,
therefore, place the same limitations upon their powers in this kind as
upon man's in his present physical state.

As for other means of communication from intelligences of other worlds
to our own, they will not be regarded as impossible in the presence of
the achievements of men in such matters. By means of magnetic telegraph
systems, man has established instant communication with all parts of
the world. Not the highest mountain ranges, not deserts, not even
ocean's wide expanse, have been sufficient to bar his way. He has made
the earth a net-work of his cables and telegraph lines, until nearly
every part of the earth is within the radius of instant communication.
In 1896, the National Electric Light association celebrated the
triumphs of electricity by holding a national electrical exposition in
New York City. The occasion was the completion of the electric works
at Niagara Falls. For ages, that great cataract had thundered out the
evidence of its mighty power to heedless savages and frontiersmen;
but modern man looked upon it, and by the expenditure of five million
dollars, harnessed it, applied its forces to his contrivances, made
it generate electric force which lights the cities, drives the street
cars, and turns the wheels of industry for many miles around; and even
transmitted its force to New York City, four hundred and sixty miles
distant! It was on that occasion that Governor Levi P. Morton, upon
the declaration being made that the exposition was open, turned a
golden key by which four cannons were instantaneously fired in the four
quarters of the republic, one in Augusta, Maine, one in San Francisco,
one in front of the public building at St. Paul, another in the public
Park in New Orleans. This discharge of cannon was accomplished by a
current of electricity generated at Niagara, and transmitted over the
lines of the Postal Telegraph Cable Company. Later, in the course of
the exposition, a message was sent all over the world, and returned to
New York within fifty minutes. The message read:

    God created nature's treasuries; science utilizes electric power
    for the grandeur of the nations and peace of the world.

The reply, also sent over the world, was:

    Mighty Niagara, nature's wonder, serving men through the world's
    electric circuit, proclaims to all people science triumphant and
    the beneficent Creator.

The distance traversed by each of these messages was about twenty-seven
thousand five hundred miles, touching nearly all the great centers of
population in the world, and that within the almost incredible time of
fifty minutes!

Again, in 1898, on the occasion of California's Golden Jubilee, that
is, her semi-centennial celebration of the discovery of gold in the
state, William McKinley, then president of the United States, seated
in his office at the White House, in Washington, D. C., pressed an
electric button which rang a bell in the Mechanic's Pavilion in San
Francisco, and formally opened the mining exposition, though the
president was distant about three thousand miles! The press dispatches,
at the time of the advent, gave the following graphic description of
the event just related:

    By an electric sensation, as indescribable as the thrill of the
    discoverer's cry of "gold," the president of the nation sent from
    Washington the signal which announced the opening of the fair.
    As the bell clanged its clear note, and the Great West was for
    an instant connected with the distant East, a hush fell on the
    gathered thousands; then, moved by a common impulse, the vast
    throng burst into cheers. Close following on the touch which
    sounded the sweet-toned bell came the greeting of President
    McKinley, announcing "the marking of a mighty epoch in the history
    of California." About him, over three thousand miles away, stood
    the representatives of the state in Congress, their thoughts flying
    quicker even than telegraphic message to the people gathered in the
    great pavilion. And so, united by the material ties of the electric
    wire, and the subtle powers of thought, the East and the West were
    held for a few brief moments by a community of good wishes.

Wonderful as all this is, it is now eclipsed by wireless
telegraphy--now passed beyond its experimental stages, and rapidly
coming into the practical commerce of the nations. Man is no
longer dependent upon a network of wires and cables for means of
communication. The atmosphere enveloping the world affords sufficient
means for conducting vibrations made intelligible by the instrument
of man's invention; and today, even across the surface of the broad
Atlantic, messages are transmitted by this means as easily as by
means of the cable lines. So delicate and perfect are the receiving
instruments, that from the roar of our great cities' traffic, the
message is picked out of the confusion and faithfully registered.

The argument based on all these facts, is this: If man with his limited
intelligence, and his limited experience, has contrived means by which
he stands in instant communication with all parts of the world, why
should it be thought a thing incredible that God, from the midst of
his glory, from the heart of the universe, is within instant means
of communication, with all parts of his creations? Especially since
it is quite generally conceded, by scientists, that all the fixed
stars and all the planetary systems encircling them, float in and
are connected by the ether, a substance more subtle and sensitive to
vibrations than the atmosphere which surrounds our planet, and suggests
the media of communication. To all this, however, I fancy that I hear
the reply of the men of science: "We do not deny the possibility or
even the probability of communication from superior Intelligences of
other planets, we simply say that up to the present time there is no
convincing testimony that such communications have been received."
This, however, is a miserable begging of the whole question; and an
unwarranted repudiation of the testimony of those who have borne
witness to the verity of such communications. The testimony of Moses
and the prophets, of Jesus and the apostles, of Joseph Smith and his
associates, may not thus be put out of the reckoning. The character
of these witnesses, their service to mankind, what they suffered and
sacrificed for their testimonies, make them worthy of belief; and,
since in the nature of things there is nothing which makes their
testimony improbable, but, on the contrary, much that makes it very
probable, is it not beneath the dignity of scientists to refuse to
accord to their statements a patient investigation and belief?


_To Believe in Media for Ascertaining Divine Knowledge is Neither
Unscriptural nor Unreasonable._

Whatever the position of unbelievers in the Bible may be with reference
to Joseph Smith translating the Book of Mormon by means of Urim and
Thummim, or "Interpreters," as they were called by the Nephites,
surely believers in the Bible cannot regard such a claim as impossible
or improbable, since it is matter of common knowledge that the High
Priest in ancient Israel possessed Urim and Thummim, and by means of
them received divine communications. I am not unmindful of the fact
that a diversity of opinion obtains respecting Urim and Thummim of the
scriptures, of what they consisted, and the exact use of them, but this
I think may be set down as ascertained fact; they were precious and
doubtless transparent stones placed in the breast plate of the High
Priest, and were a means through which God communicated to him divine
knowledge--the divine will. [9]

Josephus' description of Urim and Thummim is as follows:

    I will now treat of what I before omitted, the garment of the
    high priest: for he [Moses] left no room for the evil practices
    of [false] prophets; but if some of that sort should attempt to
    abuse the divine authority, he left it to God to be present at his
    sacrifices when he pleased, and when he pleased to be absent. And
    he was willing this should be known, not to the Hebrews only, but
    to those foreigners also who were there. For as to these stones,
    which we told you before, the high priest bore on his shoulders,
    which were sardonyxes, (and I think it needless to describe their
    nature, they being known to everybody) the one of them shined out
    when God was present at their sacrifices; I mean that which was in
    the nature of a button on his right shoulder, bright rays darting
    out thence, and being seen even by those that were most remote;
    which splendor yet was not before natural to the stone. This has
    appeared a wonderful thing to such as have not so far indulged
    themselves in philosophy, as to despise divine revelation. Yet will
    I mention what is still more wonderful than this: for God declared
    beforehand, by those twelve stones which the high priest bore on
    his breast, and which were inserted into his breastplate, when they
    should be victorious in battle; for so great a splendor shone forth
    from them before the army began to march, that all the people were
    sensible of God's being present for their assistance. Whence it
    came to pass that those Greeks who had a veneration for our laws,
    because they could not possibly contradict this, called that breast
    plate the Oracle. Now this breast plate, and this sardonyx, left
    off shining two hundred years before I composed this book, God
    having been displeased at the transgressions of his laws. [10]

Since this kind of _media_, then, was used by prophets in ancient
Israel, through which to obtain divine knowledge, it should not
be matter of astonishment, much less of ridicule, or regarded as
improbable that when a colony of Israelites were led away from the
main body of the people, a similar _media_ for obtaining the will of
the Lord, and for translating records not otherwise translatable,
should be found with them. So also respecting Joseph Smith's claim to
having found what he called a "Seer Stone," by means of which he could
translate. That cannot be regarded as an impossibility or even an
improbability by those who believe the Bible; for, in addition to the
Hebrew literature giving an account of Urim and Thummim in the breast
plate of the high priest, it is well known that other means were used
by inspired men of Israel for obtaining the word of the Lord. That
most excellent of Bible characters, Joseph, the son of Jacob, blessed
in his boyhood with prophetic dreams, and possessed of the divine gift
of interpreting dreams, the savior of Israel in a time of famine,
and a wise ruler for a time of Egypt's destinies, used such _media_.
When Joseph's cup was found in the mouth of Benjamin's sack, Joseph's
steward said to him: "Is not this it in which my lord drinketh, and
whereby, indeed, he divineth?" Joseph himself said, when his perplexed
brethren stood before him, "What deed is this that ye have done? Wot
ye not that such a man as I can certainly divine." [11] The fact of
ascertaining the word of the Lord by means of this "divining cup"
cannot be explained away by suggesting that Joseph merely referred to
an Egyptian custom of divining; or that the steward repeated the words
which Joseph had spoken to him merely in jest. [12] As remarked by a
learned writer on this subject: "We need not think of Joseph, the pure,
the heaven-taught, the blameless one, as adopting, still less as basely
pretending to adopt, the dark arts of a system of imposture." [13] I
agree with the view. It is a reality sustained by Bible authority that
there exists _media_ through which divine revelation may be obtained,
and hence to the Bible believers the claim of Joseph Smith concerning
"Urim and Thummim," and the "Seer Stone," by means of which, through
the inspiration of God, he translated the record of the Nephites, is
not impossible nor even improbable.

As in the matter of the visitation of angels, so also in relation to
Urim and Thummim and also the Seer Stone, I may say that our scientific
skeptics in such things live in the midst of such achievements of man's
ingenuity, and in the daily use of such marvelous instruments invented
by men for the ascertainment of truth, that men of science ought not
to stumble at accepting, at least as possible, and even as probable,
the existence of such _media_. Take for instance the telescope. For
ages, men believed that the whole of the universe consisted of sun,
moon, earth, and the few fixed stars within the radius of man's unaided
vision. Finally, however, a genius converted a handful of sand into
a lens, adjusted it in a tube, and turned it to the heavens when,
lo! the frontiers of the universe were pushed back to an infinite
distance, and millions of suns heretofore never seen by human eyes were
brought within the range of man's vision and consciousness. This first
telescope has been improved upon from time to time, until now we have
instruments of that kind so large and so perfect that our own planets
are brought comparatively near for our inspection, while the number
of fixed stars now within the range of our vision, by means of these
instruments, is quite generally conceded to be from forty to fifty

While viewing the starry heavens by the aid of the telescope, in search
of new facts, astronomers beheld at enormous distances from us hazy
patches of light, concerning the nature of which they could form no
definite idea. An improved telescope, however, at last resolved some
of these mists into groups of separate stars; then it was supposed
that all such mists were star groups, and that it only required
stronger telescopes to demonstrate the truth of that theory. Meantime,
however, another wonderful instrument was invented, the spectroscope,
an instrument which forms and analyzes the spectra of the rays emitted
by bodies or substances. Meantime Fraunhofer made the discovery
that the spectrum of an ignited gaseous body is non-continuous,
and has interrupting lines. Later, Professor John William Draper
discovered that the spectrum of an ignited solid is continuous with no
interrupting lines. With these facts established, the spectroscope was
turned upon the distant patches of nebulae and it was discovered that
some of them were positively of a gaseous nature and not congeries of
stars. Thus was another great truth concerning the universe discovered
by means of an instrument invented by man.

Nor is the end yet. The eye of man, perhaps, is the most wonderful
organ known; wonderful in its powers when unaided by instruments of
man's invention, but rendered infinitely more powerful and wonderful
when aided by telescope and microscope. Indeed, by these instruments
new and unthought of worlds are brought to the consciousness of man,
and his knowledge infinitely extended. Yet wonderful as is this organ
of man, and great as are its achievements when aided by the instruments
of man's invention, man's ingenuity has produced a more powerful eye
than man's! One that can look longer and see farther than the human
eye, even when aided by the most powerful telescope; and registers
upon its retina truths otherwise unattainable by man. This instrument
Camille Flammarion, the French astronomer and writer, calls "The
Wonderful New Eye of Science." It is merely a lens connected with a
photographic apparatus, and of it the writer just named says:

    This giant eye is endowed with four considerable advantages over
    ours; it sees more quickly, farther, longer; and, wonderful
    faculty, it receives and retains the impress of what it sees.
    It sees more quickly: in the half-thousandth of a second, it
    photographs the sun, its spots, its vortexes, its fires, its
    flaming mountains, and on an imperishable document. It sees
    farther: Directed towards any point of the heavens on the darkest
    night, it discerns stars in the depths of infinite space--worlds,
    universes, creations, that our eye could never see by the aid of
    any telescope. It sees longer: That which we cannot succeed in
    seeing in a few seconds of observation we shall never see. The
    photographic eyes has but to look long enough in order to see; at
    the end of half an hour it distinguishes what was before invisible
    to it; at the end of an hour it will see better still, and the
    longer it remains directed towards the unknown object, the better
    and more distinctly it will see it--and this without fatigue. And
    it retains on the retinal plate all that it has seen. [14]

This photographic eye, used in what is called the kinetograph,
photographs the spokes of the sulky driven at full speed--which cannot
be discerned at all by the human eye--as if standing still. The bullet
discharged from the most powerful gun of modern invention, which
the human eye cannot follow in its flight, this instrument seems to
arrest in mid-air. The ripple waves on the surface of mercury, which
no human eye has ever seen--even when assisted by the most powerful
microscopes--it faithfully registers, and by its testimony alone we
know of the existence of mercury waves. This instrument registers on
sensitized tin foil, birds in their flight, express trains at full
speed, moving throngs on crowded streets, athletes at their sports,
the restless waves of ocean, the tempest's progress, the lightning's
flash--all of which, by means of another instrument called the
kinetoscope are reproduced to the life, though the actors in the
scenes represented may be dead, and rotting in their graves. As these
named instruments photograph and reproduce actions, so the phonograph
registers the intonations, inflections, and all the peculiarities of
voice entrusted to it, and as faithfully reproduces them, once, twice,
or a thousand times, so that friends may recognize the intonations
and all the peculiarities of inflection and voice, though he who thus
speaks has long since been dead or removed to other lands. What more
shall I say? Is not enough here presented concerning the instruments of
man's invention to justify a reasonable belief in the probability of
the existence of _media_ that can accomplish all that is ascribed to
Urim and Thummim and Seer Stone by Joseph Smith; especially when it is
remembered how far the knowledge, skill and wisdom of God surpass the
skill and ingenuity of man?


_Of Returning the Plates of the Book of Mormon to Moroni_

The question is often asked--and it bears upon the probability of
Joseph Smith's statements respecting the Book of Mormon, because
the answer that has to be made gives rise to doubts, and sometimes
to sneers on the part of those receiving it--the question is often
asked, I repeat, "What became of the gold plates from which Joseph
Smith claims to have translated the Book of Mormon--can they be seen
now? Is the Church in possession of them?" The answer is, "No; the
Prophet returned them to the angel Moroni, and he, doubtless, now
has possession of them, and is their guardian." [15] This answer is
declared to be unsatisfactory, and often ridiculed; for worldly wisdom
fancies that the Prophet had a most direct means of establishing the
truth as to the existence and character of the plates, if only he had
retained them in his possession, or deposited them in some state or
national institution of learning or archaeology. Joseph Smith acted
under the direction of Moroni in the matter of the plates of the Book
of Mormon; why he was not permitted to keep the book of plates is
not, perhaps, positively known. Part of the record was sealed, as the
Prophet himself informs us; [16] and as the time had not come for that
part of it to be translated, it may be that that was one reason why it
should be still kept in the custody of the angel. Moreover, in this
life we are required by divine wisdom to walk by faith, not by sight.
It is part of our education that we learn to act with reference to
sacred things on probabilities. A veil of oblivion is stretched over
our past spirit-existence. The future is hidden largely from our view,
and we are required to perform this life's journey from the cradle to
the grave in the midst of uncertainties, except as we increase our
faith and establish assurance by the development of spiritual strength
from within. Why this should be so may not always seem clear to us;
but of the fact of it there can be no doubt. Nor can there be any
doubt as to the wisdom of it, and the benefit of it to mankind, since
our Father-God has so ordered it. Nor is it in "Mormonism" alone that
certain direct material evidences are denied to men concerning divine
things. Infidels refer to the opportunities which they think the
impudent challenges of the persecutors of the Son of God afforded him
to demonstrate his divine power, and prove the truth of his mission,
when they said, "If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross."
* * ** "If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the
cross, and we will believe him." [17] What an opportunity was afforded
him here to respond to their challenges and cover them with confusion
and fear! But the Son of God heeded them not, and infidels everywhere
entertain the opinion that he here missed the opportunity of his career
if, indeed, he was the Son of God--the Lord of Life--the Master of

Moses gave out the statement that the Law of Israel, the Ten
Commandments, were written by the finger of God on tables of stone.
[18] These, in his anger, Moses broke to pieces in their presence, when
he found that during his brief absence in the Mount, obtaining the law,
Israel had turned to the folly of idolatry. But a second set of tables
was prepared, and again on these God carved with his own hands the Ten
Commandments. Moses placed them in the ark of shittim wood, which, by
divine appointment, he provided, and this constituted the "Ark of the
Covenant." [19]

Again, when the children of Israel were disposed to rebel against the
priesthood of God's appointing, under divine direction, Moses called
upon each of the twelve princes of the house of Israel to present
before the Lord a rod with the name of his tribe upon it. Among these
was Aaron's rod, representing the tribe of Levi. All were placed in the
"Tabernacle of Witness" before the Lord. On the morrow, when Moses went
into the "Tabernacle of Witness" behold the rod of Aaron, of the house
of Levi, had brought forth buds, and yielded almonds, all in a single
night! Thus the Lord gave a palpable evidence to Israel of his choosing
the house of Aaron and the tribe of Levi to stand before him in the
priest's office; and the Lord said unto Moses, "Bring Aaron's rod again
before the testimony, to be kept for a token against the rebels." [20]

The unbelieving world to whom Israel's message was afterwards sent,
might demand that the tables of stone and Aaron's rod that budded and
bore fruit should be displayed for their inspection, that faith might
take hold of the unbelieving; but there is no record that these sacred
things were ever exhibited for such a purpose. [21]

The infidels of our own day frequently remark that the prayer of Dives
to Abraham ought to have been graciously granted, and Lazarus sent to
bear witness to the relatives of the tortured nobleman that they might
escape his sad fate; but Abraham's answer was, "They have Moses and
the prophets; let them hear them!" "Nay, Father Abraham," answered
Dives, "but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent." But
Abraham said: "If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will
they be persuaded though one rose from the dead." [22]

Referring again to the Savior: unbelievers marvel that Jesus confined
his visitations after his resurrection to a few of his faithful
followers only--to those who already believed on him. Why did he not
appear in all the majesty of his immortal life, after his resurrection,
before the high priests and the Sanhedrim of the Jews? Before the
court of Pilate? Before the rabble who had impiously clamored in the
streets for his blood to be upon them and upon their children--Why?
The only answer to this question exists in the fact apparent from the
whole course of God's dealings with the world in relation to sacred
things: viz., God has chosen certain witnesses for himself in relation
to sacred matters, and demands that his children shall walk by faith on
the words which his chosen servants declare unto them. Thus Peter, on
the matter of Christ showing himself to the world, says:

    Him God raised up the third day, and showed him openly; not to all
    the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us
    who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. And he
    commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is
    he which was ordained of God to be the judge of quick and dead. [23]

Judas (one of the twelve, not Iscariot, but the brother of James) on
one occasion asked the same question that infidels have been asking
for many generations, "How is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto
us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a
man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and
we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me
not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine,
but the Father's which sent me. These things have I spoken unto you,
being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost,
whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things. *
* * * When the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the
Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he
shall testify of me: and ye also shall bear witness because ye have
been with me from the beginning." [24] Such the statement of Peter;
such the doctrine of Jesus; and when coupled together one sees that
in addition to the special witnesses, the prophets, God has ordained
that the Holy Spirit shall be his universal witness for things divine.
God, in his wisdom, and for the accomplishment of his own wise purposes
with reference to us, has ordained that his children in this world's
probation shall walk by faith, not by sight. To produce the faith, he
sends forth special chosen servants, prophets, apostles, his own Son,
and through them announces the divine will. Then when drawn to God by
faith, when love-inspired towards God, the Lord gives the witness of
the Holy Spirit, by and through which man may know the truth, for he
becomes possessed by the very Spirit of divine intelligence and of
truth, by which power he is made to know the truth.

These principles obtain in this last dispensation of the gospel.
Joseph Smith comes as did Noah, Enoch, Moses, the Prophets, Christ
and the Apostles--he comes with a message from God--with a new volume
of scripture, whose express purpose is to enlarge the foundations of
faith. He and his associates bear witness of its truth, and those who
will give heed to that testimony, and will seek to God for further
knowledge, are expressly promised in the Book of Mormon itself, that
they shall receive a manifestation of its truth by the power of the
Holy Ghost; "And by the power of the Holy Ghost," says this Nephite
record, "ye may know the truth of all things." [25] Throughout, it will
be seen that in this matter of the Book of Mormon, the divine power is
acting in harmony with those great principles which have been operating
in the spiritual economy of this world from the beginning; which fact,
in reality, is at least an incidental testimony of the truth of the

In the light of all these reflections, then, together with the fact
that part of the Book of Mormon was sealed, the time not then having
arrived for its translation, there is nothing remarkable in the
circumstance of the Nephite plates being returned to the care of the
angel-guardian of them. Certainly there is nothing unreasonable in
such a procedure, and surely nothing in the circumstance that warrants
the ridicule with which that statement has sometimes been received.
Moreover, human guardianship of such things is by no means as secure as
some may conceive it to be. Take, for example, the fate which befell
the Egyptian papyrus from which the Prophet translated the Book of
Abraham. It is an item of Church history that in 1835 the Saints in
Kirtland purchased, of one Michael H. Chandler, some Egyptian mummies;
in the sarcophagus they occupied certain rolls of papyrus were found,
beautifully engraved with Egyptian characters. Upon examination, Joseph
Smith found the papyrus to be the writings of Abraham and of Joseph,
the son of Jacob, who was sold into Egypt. Portions of these records
the Prophet translated into the English language, and the translation
was published in the _Times and Seasons_, vol. III, and subsequently
made part of the _Pearl of Great Price_. After the death of the Prophet
the mummies, together with the records on papyrus, were left in charge
of his mother, Lucy Smith. She afterwards parted with them, under what
circumstances is not positively known. Finally, the records and mummies
found their way into Wood's Museum, in Chicago, where, according to
the statement of the editors of the Plano edition of _Biographical
Sketches of Joseph Smith and his Progenitors_, by Lucy Smith, they
were destroyed in the Chicago fire of 1871. [26] Thus the writings
of Abraham, after being preserved for many generations in the linen
wrappings of Egyptian mummies, were consumed by fire in a modern city,
a circumstance which illustrates the uncertainty of human means to
preserve important documents, and justifies the angel-guardianship of
a record as sacred as are the plates from which the Book of Mormon was


_On the Loss of one Hundred and Sixteen Pages of Manuscript, Being
the Translation of the First Part of Mormon's Abridgment of the Nephite

Another incident connected with the probability of Joseph Smith's story
concerning the Book of Mormon, and which, like the circumstance of the
Prophet's returning the plates to the angel, meets with ridicule--is
the loss of the 116 pages of manuscript, through the unfaithfulness of
Martin Harris, a subject detailed at length in chapter v.

This incident lost to Joseph Smith, for a time, the gift of
translation, and also possession of the plates and Urim and Thummim;
but through sincere repentance, he was received again into the favor of
the Lord, and resumed his work.

On being permitted to resume the translation, however, the Prophet was
informed through divine communication that those who had stolen the
manuscript from Harris designed to hold it until he should translate
again that part which had fallen into their hands. If the Prophet's
second translation should be like the first, then it was the intention
of the conspirators to change the manuscript in their possession,
and claim that the translation was not obtained by divine aid, else
the second would be like the first; but since it would by this trick
be proved to be different, the claim of divine inspiration in the
translation of the book must fall to the ground, and Joseph Smith's
pretension to being a Seer and Prophet of God would fall with it;
and thus the work God designed to accomplish through him would be
destroyed. The Lord revealed this plot to Joseph Smith, and warned him
not to translate again Moroni's abridgment of the Book of Lehi--which
comprised so much of the manuscript as had been entrusted to Harris.
[27] On the contrary, he was commanded to translate what are called in
the Book of Mormon the "Smaller Plates of Nephi," and let that stand in
the place of the translation of the Book of Lehi which Harris had lost.

A word of explanation here: Two sets of plates were kept for a time
by the first Nephi and his successors. One set might be called the
secular, the other the sacred record of the Nephite people. They,
however, called them the "Smaller" and "Larger" Plates of Nephi. On
the former was recorded the ministry of the prophets, the word of the
Lord to them, and much of their teaching and preaching; on the latter,
the reigns of the kings, their wars and contentions, and the secular
affairs of the people generally. Still, even on the "Smaller Plates
of Nephi" there was a reasonably succinct account of the principal
events of Nephite history, from the time Lehi left Jerusalem until four
hundred years had passed away.

When Mormon found among the records delivered into his keeping the
"Smaller Plates of Nephi," he was so well pleased with their contents
that he placed the whole of them with the abridgment he had made from
the larger Nephite records. "And I do this," he informs us, "for a wise
purpose; for thus it whispereth me according to the workings of the
Spirit of the Lord which is in me. And now, I do not know all things;
but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, he
worketh in me to do according to his will." [28] By the addition of the
Smaller Plates of Nephi to Mormon's abridgment of the Larger Plates, it
will be observed that there was a double line of history for a period
of about 400 years. Therefore, when, through carelessness and breaking
his agreement with the Prophet, Martin Harris lost the translation of
the first part of Mormon's abridgment, and those into whose hands the
manuscript had fallen designed to change it and destroy the claims of
the Prophet to inspiration in translating it--under divine direction
he translated the Smaller Plates of Nephi, and let that translation
take the place of the one which had been stolen, and thus the plan of
the conspirators against the work was thwarted. This statement of the
Prophet, however, comes in for its share of ridicule, and is generally
spoken of as a very clever escape for the Prophet out of what is called
a rather perplexing dilemma. The Prophet's statement of the incident
was published at the time the first edition of the Book of Mormon
issued from the press, and, in fact, stands as the preface to the book,
which I reproduce here:


    To the Reader--

    As many false reports have been circulated respecting the following
    work, and also many unlawful measures taken by evil designing
    persons to destroy me, and also the work, I would inform you that I
    translated, by gift and power of God, and caused to be written, one
    hundred and sixteen pages, the which I took from the Book of Lehi,
    which was an account abridged from the plates of Lehi, by the hand
    of Mormon; which said account, some person or persons have stolen
    and kept from me, notwithstanding my utmost exertions to recover it
    again--and being commanded of the Lord that I should not translate
    the same over again, for Satan had put it into their hearts to
    tempt the Lord their God, by altering the words, that they did read
    contrary from that which I translated and caused to be written;
    and if I should bring forth the same words again, or, in other
    words, if I should translate the same over again, they would
    publish that which they had stolen, and Satan would stir up the
    hearts of this generation, that they might not receive this work;
    but behold, the Lord saith unto me, I will not suffer that Satan
    shall accomplish his evil design in this thing: therefore thou
    shalt translate from the plates of Nephi, until ye come to that
    which ye have translated, which ye have retained; and behold ye
    shall publish it as the record of Nephi; and thus I will confound
    those who have altered my words. I will not suffer that they shall
    destroy my work; yea, I will show unto them that my wisdom is
    greater than the cunning of the Devil. Wherefore, to be obedient
    unto the commandments of God, I have, through his grace and mercy,
    accomplished that which he hath commanded me respecting this thing.
    I would also inform you that the plates of which hath been spoken,
    were found in the township of Manchester, Ontario country, New York.


Thus from the beginning the Prophet boldly declared that which the
Lord had revealed to him concerning this effort on the part of the
conspirators to destroy the work; and there was not one who rose to
contradict his statement, at the time, although some anti-"Mormon"
writers of later years assert--but without any warrant of proof--that,
enraged at the part her husband was taking in bringing forth the Book
of Mormon, Mrs. Martin Harris burned the manuscript. This, however,
she always denied. The first publication referring to this subject,
aside from what the Prophet published in the above preface, is Howe's
_History of Mormonism_, published at Painsville, Ohio, 1834. This is an
anti-"Mormon" book, and of the manuscript incident it says: "The facts
respecting the lost manuscripts we have not been able to ascertain.
They sometimes charged the wife of Harris with having burnt it, but
this is denied by her." [29]

Meantime, attention is called to the fact that there is nothing
improbable in the statement of Joseph Smith; but on the contrary all
the conditions obtaining in the neighborhood where he resided while
bringing forth the work favor the probability of such a conspiracy as
he charges: the unwarranted but repeated efforts made by his enemies
to wrest the plates from his possession; the home of his parents
repeatedly beset by mobs; the issue of warrants by justices of the
peace for searching his wagon for the plates; and subsequently the
actions of Mr. Grandin, his printer, who, after entering into contract
to print the book was certainly in honor bound to render him all the
assistance in his power in getting out the work in the best order
possible, and protecting him in his copyrights--the actions, I say, of
Mr. Grandin, in permitting Squire Cole [30] the use of his press on
nights and Sundays in order to secretly publish his _Dogberry Papers_,
in which was to appear a garbled edition of the Book of Mormon in
weekly installments; the mass meetings held in Palmyra and vicinity
in which resolutions were passed not to purchase the book should it
ever issue from the press (which action caused Mr. Grandin to suspend
the work of printing until the Prophet could be brought from Harmony,
in Pennsylvania, to give renewed assurance of his ability to meet the
price of printing); the confession of J. N. Tucker, one of the employees
of Grandin's printing establishment, that after setting up a sheet in
type, it was secreted and the story given out that it was lost, and
that manuscript for another sheet would have to be produced, which when
done is alleged to have been unlike the first [31]--these well-attested
circumstances establish the fact of a wide-spread and bitter opposition
to the coming forth of the Book of Mormon; and, failing in that, then
a determination to prevent its acceptance as revelation from God. All
these things make it very easy to believe that such a conspiracy as the
Prophet describes existed against the work.


1. See _Life of Jesus_, Renan. (E.T.) Introduction; also _New
Witnesses_, vol. I, ch. 1.

2. Matt. 24:31.

3. Malachi 4:5, 6.

4. Revelation 14:6, 7.

5. Rev. 14:8, 9, 10.

6. Rev. 18:1-3.

7. Ephesians 1:9, 10.

8. New Witnesses, Vol. I., chs. xxviii, xxix, xxx.

9. The reader will find the data for the foregoing view concerning Urim
and Thummim in the following passages: Exodus 28: 29, 30; Leviticus
8:8; Numbers 27:21; Deuteronomy 33:8; I Samuel 28:6; Ezra 2:63;
Nehemiah 7:65. He will also find an excellent article on the subject
in Smith's _Dictionary of the Bible_, (Hackett edition), vol. IV, pp.
3,356-3,363; also in Kitto's _Encyclopaedia of Biblical Literature_,
vol. II, pp. 900-903.

10. _Antiquities of the Jews_, bk. III, ch. 8.

11. Genesis 44:5-15.

12. Such is the Roman Catholic explanation of the matter; see note on
passage, Gen. 44:5-15 in Douay Bible.

13. Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, Art. Urim and Thummim.

14. The Cosmopolitan Magazine for September, 1896.

15. I soon found out the reason why I had received such strict charges
to keep them safe, and why it was that the messenger had said that when
I had done what was required at my hand, he would call for them. For no
sooner was it known that I had them, than the most strenuous exertions
were used to get them from me. Every stratagem that could be invented
was resorted to for that purpose. The persecution became more bitter
and severe than before, and multitudes were on the alert continually to
get them from me if possible. But by the wisdom of God they remained
safe in my hands, until I had accomplished by them what was required
at my hand. When, according to arrangements, the messenger called for
them, I delivered them up to him; and he has them in his charge until
this day, being the second day of May, one thousand eight hundred and
thirty-eight. (Church History, vol. I, pp. 18, 19.)

16. These records were engraven on plates which had the appearance of
gold, each plate was six inches wide and eight inches long, and not
quite so thick as common tin. They were filled with engravings, in
Egyptian characters, and bound together in a volume as the leaves of
a book, with three rings running through the whole. The volume was
something near six inches in thickness, a part of which was sealed. The
characters on the unsealed part were small, and beautifully engraved.
The whole book exhibited many marks of antiquity in its construction,
and much skill in the art of engraving. Wentworth Letter, History of
the Church, vol. IV, p. 537.

17. Matt. 27:40, 42.

18. Deut. 9:8-11.

19. Deut. 10:1-5.

20. Numbers 17.

21. The late Robert G. Ingersoll, for instance, asks where now the
sword is with which the angel guarded "the tree of life" in Paradise;
and then sarcastically answers his own question as follows: "Some angel
has it in heaven!" Works, vol. 5, 372.

22. Luke 16:13, 31.

23. Acts 10:40-42.

24. John 15:26, 27.

25. Behold I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if
it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember
how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the
creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these
things, and ponder it in your hearts. And when ye shall receive these
things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the eternal Father,
in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall
ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he
will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
(Moroni 10:3-5.)

26. See Plano edition of the above named work, 1880, note on page 91.

27. See preface to first edition of the Book of Mormon.

28. Words of Mormon, p. 158.

29. I quote from the first (1834) edition of Howe's work, page 22.

30. See pp. 77, 78 of part I, Y. M. M. I. A. Manual for 1903-4. It
is unthinkable that this effort to publish a garbled edition of the
Book of Mormon was unknown to Grandin and those employed in his

31. See chapter VIII, where this incident is treated and the fact
pointed out that the Prophet's precautions had protected the work from
the effects of such tricks as this described by Tucker.



In dealing with the indirect external evidences to the truth of the
Book of Mormon supplied by American antiquities, embracing in that term
archaeology, mythology, traditions, ethnology, languages, etc., it
should be observed that the Book of Mormon is not a specific work upon
any of these subjects. Nor is it a work on physical geography; nor even
a history, in the modern sense of that term. Furthermore, while the
purpose of the book is mainly religious, it is not a formal treatise
even upon religion. But while the Book of Mormon has limitations in
all the directions noted, it is a fact that American antiquities,
mythologies, traditions, etc., may be of great importance in sustaining
its truth. I therefore begin the consideration of this branch of
evidence by inquiring what conditions respecting the location and
nature of American monuments of civilization the Book of Mormon demands.


_What the Book of Mormon Requires as to the Location and Character
of the Jaredite Civilization._

It has been shown in a preceding chapter [1] that the first people who
inhabited North America after the flood were a colony that came from
the Euphrates Valley, about the time of the confusion of languages at
Babel, under the leadership of a prophet of the name of Moriancumr,
and his brother Jared; that this colony made their first settlement
somewhere in the region of country known in modern times as Central
America; that they called their first city Moron, which from the time
of its establishment, with brief, intermittent periods, remained the
seat of government and the chief center of the civilization of the
great Jaredite nation, up to the time of the latter's destruction, in
the early part of the sixth century B. C.--a period of sixteen hundred

From the City of Moron the Jaredites extended their colonization
schemes southward along the isthmus to South America, and northward to
the great lakes. Their greatest activities, however, and the centers
of their civilization were in Central America; and it is there we must
look for the most extensive and enduring monuments of civilization
in the western world; and expect the monuments to have some of the
characteristics of the monuments of the ancient civilization of the
Euphrates Valley. [2]


_What the Book of Mormon Requires as to the Location, Extent and
Nature of the Nephite Civilization._

In considering this subject I shall take no account of the colony
of Mulek beyond noting the fact that previous to the union of their
descendants, with the Nephites under Mosiah I, about two hundred years
B. C., they did not affect to any considerable extent the civilization
of the country, and hence I shall consider them under the same head as
the Nephites.

Concerning the Nephites and their civilization, the Book of Mormon
requires the proof that a colony of Israelites left Jerusalem about six
hundred years B. C., carrying with them the Hebrew Scriptures; that
they made a voyage from thence to the west coast of America; that there
were four brothers in the colony, among whom there was a contention
about leadership; that the younger brother had the greater weight of
influence with the colony, and became practically its leader; that
they were directed in their journey by miraculous means--an instrument
consisting of a ball of brass with spindles in it which indicated
the direction of their travels, receiving upon its burnished surface
from time to time instructions for their guidance--called by them
Liahona; that because of jealousies among the four brothers the colony
was divided, [3] the younger brother leading away northward the more
righteous part of the colony from which separation arose two people,
one civilized, the other, in comparison with the first, barbarous; that
the civilized people, those following the younger brother, removed
gradually northward because of the repeated depredations of their
relentless enemies, the Lamanites; that during the period of some four
hundred years they removed from the place of their first landing to a
region of country northward; that in this land about two hundred B. C.
the more righteous part of the people again separated from the rest
and made their way still further northward to the great valley of what
they called the Sidon river, and there united with the descendants of
Mulek's colony and formed the Nephite-Zarahemla nation, but they were
called Nephites; that this people extended their cities and provinces
throughout the northern part of the north continent, colonizing even a
portion of the narrow neck of land connecting the two continents; that
they were in frequent conflict, and waged great wars with the barbarous
people who still pressed upon them from the south; that in the year 55
B. C. they began migrating northward from Central America; that ship
building was inaugurated by one Hagoth on the west side of Central
America; that the people moved northward in great numbers by means of
these vessels as well as by land; that two of these vessels going far
northward, drifted out into the great ocean and were lost--at least
to the Nephites; that there were frequent wars between the civilized
people and the barbarians; that the birth of Messiah was evidenced
by the appearance of a new star in the heavens, and by a night which
continued brilliant as day from the setting of the sun to the rising
thereof; that at the crucifixion of Messiah, during the three hours
that he hung upon the cross at Jerusalem, the western world was visited
by an unparalleled series of cataclysms which convulsed the whole land,
destroying many cities, some being buried by mountains that were thrown
up by convulsions of the earth, and others being sunk in the depths of
the sea; that these dreadful convulsions of the earth were followed
by three days of total darkness; that some time after these awful
cataclysms the risen Messiah appeared in person to a multitude in the
region of country in South America east and south of the Isthmus of
Panama and including part of that Isthmus, [4] that he proclaimed his
relationship to God, held himself forth as the Son of God, taught the
doctrine of the Atonement, instituted the Christian sacraments of baptism
and the Lord's supper, chose twelve disciples and authorized the
organization of a church to teach the doctrine of Christ and perfect, by
its watchful care, those who accepted it; that this introduction of the
gospel of Christ was followed by a period of universal peace and
prosperity--a veritable golden age--through nearly three centuries;
that after this the people declined in moral and spiritual excellence
until they were in complete apostasy; that a series of civil wars and
the rise of robber bands undermined government, and that about the
close of the fourth century, A. D., the government was destroyed, the
people divided into small bands or tribes and anarchy prevailed.

Only two other remarks are necessary to complete the consideration of
what the Book of Mormon Nephite period requires of American antiquities
in order to derive from them evidence in support of its truth. The
first of these is the fact that Nephite occupancy of the western world
is confined for the most part, at least, to the north continent; that
while it is true that their settlements in the north became somewhat
extensive, the progress of them was checked by frequent wars between
Nephites and Lamanites, and also by the depredations of robber bands
which infested the land up to the time of the crucifixion of Messiah;
that at the crucifixion of Messiah occurred these tremendous cataclysms
which convulsed the whole land resulted in the destruction of so many
of the people that during this period of some eighty-eight years--from
55 B. C. to 33 A. D.--the period of time the Nephites spread out over
the north continent, previous to the advent of Messiah, they could not
have erected many monuments of civilization that would survive the
ravages of ages. After the destruction which swept over both western
continents during the crucifixion of Messiah, the people were so
reduced in numbers that it would be some time before they could begin
to occupy the land to any great extent, still, during the more than
two hundred years of righteousness and peace which followed Messiah's
advent among them, the Nephites doubtless became very numerous and the
arts of peace would very greatly develop. At the close of this period,
however, civil wars again checked their progress, and they entered upon
that period of rapid decline in all that makes for the stability of
government and permanency of civilization, until at the close of the
fourth century A. D., anarchy prevailed only to be followed by Lamanite
barbarism, which exerted its every effort to destroy government,
overthrow civilization, and destroy every monument and vestige of that
religion against which chiefly the Lamanites had waged war. [5]

In the second remark referred to a moment since, I would call attention
to the fact that there exists evidence which leads one to believe
that the Nephites constructed their buildings of perishable material;
chiefly, I think, of wood, a circumstance which will go far towards
accounting for the fact that there is but little evidence of the
existence of a great civilized nation possessing temples, synagogues,
palaces, etc., in the northern part of North America. The Nephite
civilization rose to its highest development previous to the coming
of the Messiah in the south part of the north continent. The reasons
for this conclusion are to be found in several passages of the Book
of Mormon, where the specific statement is made that the people were
taught to work in all manner of wood, iron, copper, etc.; but no
mention is made of their being skilled in the working of stone. For
example, the first Nephi says: "And I did teach my people to build
buildings; and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of
copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of
precious ores, which were in great abundance." [6] Again, in the book
of Jarom, it is written: "And we multiplied exceedingly, and spread
upon the face of the land, and became exceeding rich in gold, and in
silver, and in precious things, and in fine workmanship of wood, in
buildings, and in machinery, and also in iron and copper, and brass and
steel, making all manner of tools of every kind to till the ground, and
weapons of war." [7] After migrations into the north continent began,
one of the things which seemed to be a cause of regret on the part of
the Nephites was the lack of timber in that land. Referring to this,
Mormon, in his abridgment of Helaman's reference to it, says: "And now
no part of the land was desolate, save it were for timber. * * * And
there being but little timber upon the face of the land [northward],
nevertheless the people who went forth became exceedingly expert in
the working of cement; therefore they _did build houses of cement in
the which they did dwell_;" but this period brings them into the south
part of the north continent. "And the people who were in the land
northward did dwell in tents, and in houses of cement, and they did
suffer whatsoever tree should spring up upon the face of the land that
it should grow up, that in time they might have timber to build their
houses, yea, their cities, and their temples, and their synagogues, and
their sanctuaries, and all manner of their buildings. And it came to
pass as timber was exceeding scare in the land northward, they did send
forth much by the way of shipping; and thus they did enable the people
in the land northward that they might build many cities, both of wood
and of cement." [8] These statements, I believe, justify the conclusion
that the Nephites, in the main, used timber--perishable material--for
building purposes, and hence the monuments of their civilization so
far as architectural remains are concerned in the most northern parts
occupied by them have very largely perished, as well in the north as in
the south, except perhaps to the extent that they may have rebuilt and
reoccupied some of the old Jaredite cities in the north continent.

An Israelitish origin, then, is what is required for the second race
inhabiting America; a landing in South America; a gradual movement
northward until they took possession of the north as well as the south
continent; their civilization of a lighter order so far as expressed
in solidity of buildings or the number of cities, and spread over a
more extensive area than that of the Jaredites; an intermixture of
the monuments of the one, with the ruins of the other; knowledge of
the Mosaic institutions and history of the ancient world, through the
Hebrew scriptures; special signs at Messiah's birth, and appalling
cataclysms throughout the land at his crucifixion; the appearing of
Messiah to them and the establishment of a Christian church; the
overthrow of the Nephite government and civilization about the opening
of the fifth century A. D. These are the main facts for which we seek
proofs in American antiquities, so far as the Nephite period of the
Book of Mormon is concerned.

Of course it may be possible that in the present state of knowledge
of American antiquities evidences for all these facts may not now be
obtainable; but if evidences tending to prove them can be pointed out
at all, it will be so much in favor of the Book of Mormon. Meantime the
reader should be cautioned not to expect too much from the character
of the evidence now to be considered, nor should he be discouraged if
in quantity and clearness it falls below his expectations. It must be
remembered that examination of our American antiquities, especially
in Central America, has not yet been made as thoroughly as it will
be; there are many buried cities and other monuments yet to be heard
from, [9] as also, a better understanding of those monuments of ancient
American civilization already brought to light. Moreover, it should be
remembered that for many ages the Bible stood practically without the
advantages of monumental testimony in its support. Not until modern
times have learned men penetrated the eastern countries to return
ladened with exact knowledge of monumental testimony to the truth of
the Bible. Not until the discovery and translation of the Rosetta
Stone, early in the last century, was an impetus given to explorations
in Egypt, the Sinaitic Peninsula, Palestine and the Euphrates
valley--Bible lands--resulting in that collection of collateral
evidence for the truth of the Bible noted in a former chapter. One
should not be impatient, then, if the Book of Mormon has to wait some
time yet for the development of that fulness of monumental testimony
to its truth which I am sure lies hidden in the, as yet, imperfectly
known, and still less perfectly understood, antiquities of the western


1. See chapter X.

2. See chapter X.

3. II Nephi 5:1-13.

4. The Nephite land of Bountiful.

5. Mormon 8:1-10.

6. II Nephi 5:15.

7. Jarom 1:8.

8. Helaman 3:6-11.

9. On this point Mr. Baldwin says: "To understand the situation of most
of the old ruins in Central America, one must know something of the
wild condition of the country. Mr. Squier says: 'By far the greater
proportion of the country is in its primeval state, and covered with
dense, tangled, and almost impenetrable tropical forests, rendering
fruitless all attempts at systematic investigation. There are vast
tracts untrodden by human feet, or traversed only by Indians who have a
superstitious reverence for the moss-covered, and crumbling monuments
hidden in the depths of the wilderness. * * * For these and other
reasons, it will be long before the treasures of the past, in Central
America, can become fully known.' A great forest of this character
covers the southern half of Yucatan, and extends far into Guatemala,
which is half covered by it. It extends also into Chiapa and Tabasco,
and reaches into Honduras. The ruins known as Copan and Palenque are in
this forest, not far from its southern edge. Its vast depths have never
been much explored. There are ruins in it which none but wandering
natives have ever seen, and some, perhaps, which no human foot has
approached for ages. It is believed that ruins exist in nearly every
part of this vast wilderness." _Ancient America_, pp. 94, 95.




_Of the Probability of Intercourse Between the Eastern and Western
Hemispheres During Jaredite and Nephite Times._

Another remark should be made in these preliminary observations,
viz.: It cannot possibly be in conflict with the Book of Mormon to
concede that the northeastern coast of America may have been visited
by Norsemen in the tenth century; or that Celtic adventurers came to
America even at an earlier date, but subsequent to the close of the
Nephite period. It might even be possible that migrations came by way
of the Pacific Islands to the western shores of America. I think it
indisputable that there have been migrations from northeastern Asia
into the extreme north parts of North America, by way of Behring
straits, where the continents of Asia and North America are separated
by a distance of but thirty-six miles of ocean. The reasons for this
belief are first, a positive identity of race between the Esquimaux
of North America and the Esquimaux of northern Asia; and, second, a
very clear distinction of race between the Esquimaux and the American
Indians of all other parts of North America. [1]

None of these migrations are impossible or even improbable, though
it must be stated in passing that the proofs for at least some of
them rest on no historical evidence. Whether the theory that in
ancient times the Phoenicians and their colonists, the Carthagenians,
had intercourse with the shores of America is true or not I cannot
determine. The historical evidence is insufficient to justify a
positive opinion; neither does my treatise on the subject in hand
require an extended consideration of this question. It will be enough
to say that if there were such intercourse, both Nephite and Jaredite
records in the Book of Mormon are silent with reference to it. Yet it
must be conceded that the records now in hand, especially that of the
Jaredites, are but very limited histories of these people. All we can
say is that no mention of such intercourse is made in these records,
and yet it is possible that Phoenician vessels might have visited some
parts of the extended coasts of the western world, and such events
receive no mention in the Jaredite or Nephite records known to us. [2]

Equally unnecessary is it for me to inquire whether or not the ancient
inhabitants of America "discovered Europe," as some contend they did.
[3] It is not impossible that between the close of the Nephite period
and the discovery of the western world by Columbus, American craft made
their way to European shores. And even should further investigation
prove that in Nephite or even in Jaredite times such voyages were
made, it would not affect the Book of Mormon and the inquiry we are
making concerning it. As stated in respect of Phoenicians and other
people making their way to America's extended coasts, so it may be
said, with reference to this other theory that Americans "discovered
Europe," no mention is made of such an event in the Book of Mormon.
But it should be remembered that for the history of the Jaredites
we have but Moroni's abridgment of Ether's twenty-four plates. Had
we Ether's history of the Jaredites in full, it could be but a very
limited history of so great a people, and for so long a period--sixteen
centuries--barely an outline, and wholly inadequate to give one any
clear conception of their national greatness, the extent of their
migrations, or the grandeur of their civilization. And yet, even of
this brief history we have but an abridgment, of which Moroni informs
us he has not written a "hundredth part." [4] Hence our very limited
knowledge of the Jaredites and their movements. While our knowledge of
the Nephites is more extensive than our knowledge of the Jaredites,
we have to confess its narrow limits also. The Book of Mormon is, in
the main, but an abridgment of the larger Nephite records; and at the
point where Nephite civilization reached its fullest development,
Mormon informs us that "a hundredth part of the proceedings of this
people, yea, the account of the Lamanites and of the Nephites, and
their wars, and contentions, and dissensions, and their preaching, and
their prophecies, and their shipping, and their building of ships, and
their building of temples, and of synagogues and their sanctuaries, and
their righteousness, and their wickedness, and their murders, and their
robbings, and their plunderings, and all manner of abominations and
whoredoms, cannot be contained in this work." [5] I repeat, then, even
in Jaredite and Nephite times voyages could have been made from America
to the shores of Europe, and yet no mention of it be made in Nephite
and Jaredite records now known.

I know of but one utterance in the Book of Mormon that would in any
respect be against the probability of intercourse between the old world
and the new, in Nephite times; and that is found in the following

    And behold, it is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from
    the knowledge of other nations; for behold, many nations would
    overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance.
    Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, that inasmuch as those
    whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem shall
    keep his commandments, they shall prosper upon the face of this
    land; and they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may
    possess this land unto themselves. And if it so be that they shall
    keep his commandments they shall be blessed upon the face of this
    land, and there shall be none to molest them, nor to take away the
    land of their inheritance; and they shall dwell safely forever. [6]

This was uttered in the first half of the sixth century B. C. It will
be observed, however, that the covenant with Lehi was based upon the
condition that those whom the Lord led to the land of America must
keep his commandments; a condition which was complied with only in
part, even during Nephite supremacy; and at the last it was wholly
violated on the part of both Nephites and Lamanites, and therefore may
be eliminated as a substantial objection to the idea of intercourse
between the old and the new world even during Nephite times. Still,
in a general way, this land was preserved unto the descendants of
Lehi until the coming of the Spaniards in the fifteenth and sixteenth


_The Western World Since the Close of the Nephite Period--The
Lamanite Civilization._

Other considerations that may affect the evidences of American
antiquities to the Book of Mormon arise out of the conditions which
have obtained in the western world since the close of the Nephite
period. What I have called the Nephite period closes with the
commencement of the fifth century A. D., and as it was towards the
close of the fifteenth century before America was discovered by the
Spaniards and made known to Europeans, there is a thousand years
during which time many things may have happened to affect conditions
in America by the time it was discovered by Columbus; and which, at
the time of that discovery, and now, influence, not to say confuse,
our knowledge of American antiquities, by indiscriminately mingling
the modern with the ancient, confounding local movements with more
ancient and general migrations, and mixing merely tribal events with
the national affairs of more ancient times, until things are rendered
in some respects well nigh unintelligible.

When the Nephites were overthrown in those last great battles about
Cumorah, it appears that the victorious Lamanites were possessed
with the most frenzied determination to destroy the last vestige of
civilization, government, and religion; but when they had destroyed
their enemies, the Nephites, they continued the fighting among
themselves, until the whole face of the land was one continual scene of
intestine wars. [7] How long such conditions continued no one knows,
since the Book of Mormon closes with its sad story of the overthrow of
the Nephites, and there is nothing beyond this point--the early part
of the fifth century A. D.--by which we can be guided. It is probable,
however, that even anarchy at last spent its force; something like
tribal relations may have been brought into existence to take the place
of the more elaborate and complex forms of government which had been
overthrown, and from these may have arisen confederacies of tribes as
interest or fortune, good or ill, may have dictated, until at last
something like semi-civilization begun to arise out of the chaos which
followed the destruction of the Nephites.

The maddened Lamanites might succeed in destroying every vestige of
government, religion and that order of society which had prevailed in
former times, but the memory of those things, and the advantages of
them, could not be obliterated; and the memory of them would be an
incentive to strong minds to re-establish a settled order of things.

It should be remembered in this connection--as lending probability to
what is said here--that when the ancient distinctions of Nephite and
Lamanite were revived in 231 A. D. they no longer stood the former
for the descendants of Nephi and his following and the latter for the
descendants of Laman and his following, as in earlier times; nor did
the former name now stand for a civilized people, and the latter for
a barbarous one, as they had done in some parts of former ages. In
civilization the two parties stood equal, and remained so through the
one hundred and seventy troubled years which followed. For more than
two centuries following the appearance of the Messiah in the western
world, there had been but one people on the land, and these followers
of the Messiah--Christians. This was the American golden age--the
age of peace, of prosperity, of expansion, until the lands, both in
the north and in the south were inhabited by a numerous and happy
people. Then came pride which follows wealth; and corruption which
follows ease. Sects arose within the church, schism followed schism.
Then the wicked, schismatical sects persecuted the true followers of
Christ. The old distinctions of Lamanite and Nephite were revived; and
under these names an internecine war was begun. The true followers of
Christ, who had taken the name of Nephites, unhappily fell away from
righteousness--were no longer Christians, in fact, but fought on under
the name the Christians had assumed until the series of wars between
the two parties ended in anarchy. This much to remind the reader that
there was no distinction in the matter of civilization during this
period between Lamanites and Nephites. After the fall of the Nephite
party--more proper than to say Nephite people--followed the Lamanite
wars and anarchy; from which, however, I have ventured the conjecture
that there was a revolt, and an effort made to return to settled orders
of government, and to some sort of civilization.

The last battles of the great and long continued war which ended in the
destruction of the Nephite party, took place south of the great lake
region, about Cumorah; and to this part of the land had been drawn if
not the bulk, then certainly a very large proportion of the inhabitants
of the land. [8] These moved southward in time, tribe pressing upon
tribe, as ocean wave presses on ocean wave towards the shore; and
doubtless this movement of population southward after the disaster
at Cumorah, accounts for those universal traditions found among the
natives of Mexico and Central America of successive migrations from the
north of powerful tribes or races who so much affected the political
history of those countries. [9] As these tribes from the north reached
the old centers of population and civilization they revived settled
orders of government, fastened themselves upon the weaker inhabitants
as their rulers, compelled industry among the lower orders, gave
encouragement to the arts that ministered to their ease and vanity,
encouraged learning at least among the sacerdotal orders, and received
the credit of founding a new order of civilization, when in reality
it was but a partial reviving of a former civilization, upon which
they fastened the dark and loathsome Lamanite superstitiuous idolatry,
with its horrors of human sacrifice and cannibalism. I believe these
conjectures to be warranted by the fact that in several parts of the
American continents, viz.: in Mexico, Central America, and Peru, a
civilization of no mean degree of advancement was found to exist at
the time of the arrival of the Spaniards; and, indeed, there are not
wanting authorities who assert that the civilization found in America
by the Spaniards, both in Mexico and Peru, was equal to their own. Such
is the assertion of Dr. John W. Draper who says, in speaking of the
crimes of Spain:

    From Mexico and Peru a civilization that might have instructed
    Europe was crushed out. * * * * It has been her [Spain's] evil
    destiny to ruin two civilizations, Oriental and Occidental. * * *
    In America she destroyed races more civilized than herself. [10]

Nadaillac remarks:

    To sum up, every thing goes to prove that the ancient races of
    Central America possessed an advanced culture, exact ideas on
    certain arts and sciences, and remarkable technical knowledge.
    As pointed out in 1869, by Morgan, in the North American Review,
    the Spanish succeeded in destroying in a few years a civilization
    undoubtedly superior in many respects to that which they endeavored
    to substitute for it. [11]

Prescott places scarcely less value upon it. He says:

    Enough has been said, however, to show that the Aztec and Tezcucan
    races were advanced in civilization very far beyond the wandering
    tribes of North America. The degree of civilization which they
    reached, as inferred by their political institutions, may be
    considered, perhaps, not much short of that enjoyed by our Saxon
    ancestors, under Alfred [849-901 A. D.]. In respect to the nature
    of it, they may be better compared with the Egyptians; and the
    examination of their social relations and culture may suggest still
    stronger points of resemblance to that ancient people. [12]

H. H. Bancroft says:

    This, however, I may safely claim; if the preceding pages inform us
    aright, then were the Nahuas, the Mayas, and the subordinate and
    lesser civilization surrounding these, but little lower than the
    contemporaneous civilization of Europe and Asia, and not nearly so
    low as we have hitherto been led to suppose. [13]

John D. Baldwin, writing in 1871, says:

    We are told repeatedly that the Spaniards employed "Mexican
    masons" and found them "very expert" in the arts of building and
    plastering. There is no good reason to doubt that the civilized
    condition of the country when the Spaniards found it was superior
    to what it has been at any time since the conquest. [14]

Tezcuco and Mexico are both known to be comparatively modern cities,
Mexico itself being founded no earlier than 1325 A. D., and Prescott,
in speaking of an era of prosperity which followed the triple alliance
of the states of Mexico, Tezcuco, and Tlacopan says:

    The Aztec capital, [Mexico] gave evidence of public prosperity. Its
    frail tenements were supplanted by solid structures of stone and
    lime. * * * * The dimensions of which, covering the same ground,
    were much larger than those of the modern capital of Mexico. [15]

His description of the valley of Mexico, and its cities, fields and
orchards, when first beheld by the invading Spaniards under Cortez, is
as follows:

    Stretching far away at their feet, were seen noble forests of
    oak, sycamore, and cedar, and beyond, yellow fields of maize and
    the towering maguey, intermingled with orchards and blooming
    gardens; for flowers, in such demand for their religious festivals,
    were even more abundant in this populous valley than in other
    parts of Anahuac. In the center of the great basin were beheld
    the lakes, occupying then a much larger portion of its surface
    than at present; their borders thickly studded with towns and
    hamlets, and, in the midst--like some Indian empress with her
    coronal of pearls--the fair City of Mexico, with her white towers
    and pyramidal temples, reposing, as it were, on the bosom of
    the waters--the far-famed "Venice of the Aztecs." High over all
    rose the royal hill of Chapoltepec, the residence of the Mexican
    monarchs, crowned with the same grove of gigantic cypresses,
    which at this day fling their broad shadows over the land. In the
    distance beyond the blue waters of the lake, and nearly screened by
    intervening foliage, was seen a shining speck, the rival capital of
    Tezcuco, and, still further on, the dark belt of porphyry, girdling
    the valley around, like a rich setting which nature had devised for
    the fairest of her jewels. [16]

From the statements of Bernal Diaz we are also justified in believing
that a somewhat similar state of civilization obtained in Yucatan and
other parts of Central America. While the well-known works of Squier,
[17] Baldwin, Rivero and Tschudi, [18] and the very excellent and
popular volumes of Prescott on Peru, justify us in the belief that
while differing somewhat in its character, the civilization of Peru was
equal and even superior in some respects--to that of Mexico at the time
of the conquest; and the empire of the Incas was even more extensive
than that of the Montezumas.

The civilization in America upon the advent of the Spaniards--since
there is no substantial historical evidence of foreign migrations
in which it could have had its origin--must have arisen, as already
suggested, from among the Lamanites after the fall of the Nephites at
Cumorah--it was Lamanite civilization. I would not have the reader form
too exalted an opinion of that civilization, however. It found its
chief expression, where it attained its highest development, in the
existence of numerous cities, palaces, and temples; in the existence
of regular pursuits of industry, of agriculture, and manufactures;
in a settled order of society, a regular order of government, and a
fixed establishment of religion. So far as these conditions make for
civilization, Mexico, some parts of Central America, and Peru, can
be said to be civilized. But after this is said it must be claimed
that much was lacking in the conditions existing in those parts of
America in order to make them conform to the generally accepted idea
of civilization. The governments were cruel despotisms; the industrial
system reduced the masses to conditions scarcely removed from abject
slavery; the religion of Mexico and Central America, at least, was
the darkest, the most sanguinary, and repulsive described in the
annals of human history; while the revolting practice of refined
cannibalism was more widespread and horrible than among any other
people whatsoever. These and many other considerations, too numerous to
mention in detail, must forbid our entertaining exalted notions of this
Lamanite civilization. We shall see as we proceed with the unfoldment
of our evidences, that these horrible conditions were but the natural
outgrowth of Lamanite tendencies through all the course of their


_Of the Writers on American Antiquities._

Still another remark is necessary in these preliminary observations.
The authorities upon which we have to depend for our knowledge of
American antiquities are widely conflicting. There is not one that may
be followed unreservedly, and it is impossible to say with any degree
of exactness what is even the concensus of opinion of authorities upon
very many subjects, so widely divergent and conflicting are their
views. This conflict of opinion extends to such important subjects as
the following: Who were the first inhabitants of America? Were they
indigenous races, or is their presence in America due to migration?
If due to migration, from what lands did they come? Was there one or
several migrations? What was the course of their migration? Are they of
one or a number of distinct races? Are the monuments of civilization
found in America ancient or comparatively modern? Do they represent the
civilization of vanished races, or are they the work of the not very
remote ancestors of the Indians? Is the civilization represented by
these monuments really of a very high order, or was it but a step or
two removed from savagery? In support of any one of these conflicting
opinions about America's ancient inhabitants and their civilization
one need not be at a loss to find respectable authorities. One may
support with honored names in this field of research the Lost Tribes of
Israel theory of the origin of the American Indians; the Malay theory
of origin; the Phoenician theory; the Egyptian, the Atlantic, and a
number of other minor theories. [19] One can array a formidable list
of authors in favor of the indigenous theory of origin for ancient
American civilization; and perhaps a still longer and equally learned
list of authorities in favor of an exotic origin. All of which makes
it evident that writers upon the subject are to be weighed as well as
counted; and also warns us that in the presence of such a diversity of
opinions many things pertaining to American antiquities must remain
open questions. It must be remembered that as yet, so far as man's
researches are concerned, but little is really known about ancient
America. "That," as a Frenchman remarks, "has yet to be discovered."
True, many of her ancient monuments have been located, but they seem
to tell a different story to each explorer who looks upon them.
There are not wanting stone tablets of hieroglyphics, and ancient
documents written on skins and paper; [20] but up to the present time
they are sealed books even to the learned. Meantime no Rosetta Stone
is discovered [21] to furnish the key to their decipherment, and no
learned American Champollion as yet [22] comes forward to reveal their

In considering authorities upon American antiquities, one thing should
be especially observed: one should be upon his guard against the
credulity and bias of the early writers; and equally upon his guard
against the skepticism and bias of the more modern ones. The former,
living in an age of superstition and credulity, and having special
interests to serve, would have us believe too much; the latter, living
in an age super-critical and doubting, would have us believe too
little. There is no doubt but what the Spanish writers connected with
the conquest of America colored their narratives to give importance
in the eyes of their countrymen in Europe to the events with which
they were associated; and they likely exaggerated whatever had such
a tendency. Hence greater empires, more formidable armies, and more
imposing civilizations than really existed in America at the time of
the conquest, were described. So with the missionaries who accompanied
the first European expeditions and those who immediately followed them.
They sometimes very likely saw analogies between the Christian faith
and some of the traditions and superstitions of the natives where none
existed. So closely did some of the native traditions and ceremonies
resemble Catholic Christian dogma and rites that the over-zealous
priests came to the conclusion that the "devil" had in America
counterfeited some parts of the Christian religion and intermixed it
with the native paganism, the better to encompass the damnation of the
natives and hinder the progress of the Christian religion. This led
to the destruction of many Aztec manuscripts which were regarded by
some of the priests as works on magic, and in other ways were supposed
to uphold the idolatry of the natives. This idea strongly impressed
the first archbishop of Mexico, Don Juan de Zumarraga, [23] who from
a number of cities caused large quantities of the native manuscripts
to be collected and destroyed. The collection from Tezcuco was
especially large, since--as Prescott describes it--Tezcuco was "the
great depository of the national archives." The archbishop caused these
collected manuscripts "to be piled up in a 'mountainlike heap,'--as it
is called by the Spanish writers themselves--in the market place at
Tlateloco and reduced them all to ashes. * * * The unlettered soldiery
were not slow in imitating the example of their prelate. Every chart
and volume which fell into their hands was wantonly destroyed: so that
when the scholars of a later and more enlightened age anxiously sought
to recover some of these memorials of civilization, nearly all had
perished, and the few surviving were jealously hidden by the natives."
[24] And thus was destroyed materials which might have gone far towards
solving the mystery that enshrouds the people and civilization of
ancient America.

These native records were more numerous than they are generally
thought to be. Baldwin, in speaking of the people of Central America
and Mexico, says: "The ruins show that they had the art of writing,
and that at the south this art was more developed, more like a
phonetic system of writing, than we find in use among the Aztecs.
The inscriptions of Palenque, and the characters used in some of the
manuscript books that have been preserved, are not the same as the
Mexican picture writing. It is known that books of manuscript writings
were abundant among them in the ages previous to the Aztec period. * *
* Las Casas wrote on this point as follows: 'It should be known that
in all the commonwealths of these countries, in the kingdoms of New
Spain and elsewhere, among other professions duly filled by suitable
persons, was that of chronicler and historian. These chroniclers had
knowledge of the origin of the kingdoms, and of whatever relates to
religion and the gods, as well as to the founders of towns and cities.
They recorded the history of kings, and of the modes of their election
and succession; of their labors, actions, wars, and memorable deeds,
good and bad; of the virtuous men or heroes of former days, their
great deeds, the wars they had waged, and how they had distinguished
themselves; who had been the earliest settlers, what had been their
ancient customs, their triumphs and defeats. They knew, in fact
whatever pertained to history, and were able to give an account of all
past events. * * * Our priests have seen those books, and I myself have
seen them likewise, though many were burned at the instigation of the
monks, who were afraid they might impede the work of conversion.' Books
such as those here described by Las Casas must have contained important
historical information. The older books, belonging to the ages of Copan
and Palenque, went to decay doubtless long previous to his time, in the
wars and revolutions of the Toltec period, or by the wear of time. The
later books, not otherwise lost, were destroyed by Aztec and Spanish
vandalism." [25]

Respecting native writers following the conquest, they were men who
acquired the Spanish language and wrote on the history of their people
either in Spanish, or, if in their own language they employed the
Spanish alphabet--of them it is said, and one may readily admit the
reasonableness of the statement--"most of them were thoroughly imbued
with the spirit of their converters, and their writings as a class are
subject to the same criticism." [26]

Naturally these native writers would emphasize that which would
glorify their own country and exalt the character of its civilization;
belonging to a conquered race--the soreness of the conflict past--they
would be but too prone to please, in order to stand in favor with,
their conquerors; while their religious zeal would prompt them to find
as many analogies as possible between their old faith and the one to
which they were converted. All of which would tend to exaggeration
in the same general direction as that followed by the early Spanish
writers. But because of these tendencies to exaggeration it does not
follow that all the works of early Spanish or native writers on America
are to be described as of no value or even as of little value.

As justly remarked by H. H. Bancroft, "Do we reject all the events of
Greek and Roman history, because the historians believed that the sun
revolved about the earth, and attributed the ordinary phenomena of
nature to the actions of the imaginary gods? * * * And finally, can
we reject the statements of able and conscientious men--many of whom
devoted their lives to the study of aboriginal character and history,
from an honest desire to do the natives good--because they deem
themselves bound by their priestly vows and the fear of the inquisition
to draw scriptural conclusions from each native tradition? The same
remarks apply to the writings of converted and educated natives,
influenced, to a great degree, by their teachers; more prone, perhaps,
to exaggeration through national pride, but at the same time better
acquainted with the native hieroglyphics. To pronounce all these works
deliberately executed forgeries, as a few modern writers have done,
is too absurd to require refutation." [27] And to this I would add a
protest against that spirit of skepticism which in these same modern
writers, when they do not pronounce the works referred to by Bancroft
as forgeries, insist upon so far discrediting them by their sophistries
of criticism that they might as well pronounce them outright forgeries.
Undoubtedly the trend of modern writers is in support of the theory
both of an indigenous people and civilization for America, and the
latter of no very high order. In support of this theory they do not
hesitate to discredit most of the native traditions recorded by the
earlier writers, which tell of migrations of their ancestors from
distant countries; of golden ages of prosperity and peace, and of an
ancient, splendid civilization. It is difficult to determine always
which is most to be discounted, the writers through whom the traditions
of the glorious past are transmitted to us, or those who would
dismantle that part of its glory and present us with an ancient America
undeveloped beyond the point of middle savagery. Perhaps in this, as
in so many other things where man's prejudices are involved, the truth
will be found at about an equal distance between the two extremes; and
even under this adjustment of the conflicting claims of authorities, I
am sure we shall find much that will in an incidental way support the
claims of the Book of Mormon.


1. Vivier de Saint Martin, in the new _Dictionary of Universal
Geography_, article "American Ethnology," states that the tribes all
along the Arctic Ocean known as the Esquimaux are a race absolutely
distinct from all other American natives, (De Roo, _History of America
Before Columbus_, vol. I, pp. 305, 309.)

2. All these theories are considered at length in H. H. Bancrofts'
_Native Races_, vol. V, ch. 1, and also in the _History of America
Before Columbus_, by P. De Roo, vol. I, chs. 6 and 8.

3. The question is considered at length by De Roo in his _History of
America Before Columbus_, vol. I, ch. 7, in support of which theory he
quotes many authorities.

4. Ether 15:33.

5. Helaman 3:14.

6. II Nephi 1:8-9.

7. See Mormon. ch. 8: 1-11.

8. See Mormon 6.

9. Very naturally there is much confusion on the subject of migratory
movements among the ancient native inhabitants of America, and this
owing to the confounding of migrations from the old world with later
intercontinental movements. Also there is a great division of opinion
among authorities upon the subject, some alleging, for instance,
that the tribes who established the civilization, found in Mexico by
the Spaniards, came from the north--some from the northeast, others
from the northwest while others insist that the movement was from
Central America northward. The controversy waged on this subject is
too extensive to be introduced into this note or even into this work.
But I may here say that the disagreement among so many writers worthy
of our respect grows out of the fact that there were movements both
north and south which leads to their confusion. We know from the Book
of Mormon that the general migratory movement of the Nephites at
an early date--55 B. C.--was from the south northward; while during
the period of peace which followed Messiah's advent, there was
unrestricted movements of population north and south. Then came the
period of gathering in the north, south of the great lakes, ending in
the disaster about Cumorah; then the movement of the people from the
north southward to the old centers of population, and the reviving of
partially civilized conditions. One class of writers seized upon the
fragmentary tradition concerning this northward movement for their
conclusions, while another class seizes upon the tradition of the
southward movement for their authority, and hence the conflict. Of the
traditions of the northern origin of the Aztecs, Prescott remarks:
"Traditions of the western, or northwestern, origin were found among
the more barbarous tribes, and by the Mexicans were preserved both
orally and in their hieroglyphical maps, where the different stages
of their migrations are carefully noted. But who, at this day, shall
read them? They are admitted to agree, however, in representing the
populous north as the prolific hive of the American races. In this
quarter were placed their Aztlan, and their Huehuetapallan, the bright
abode of their ancestors, whose warlike exploits rivalled those which
the Teutonic nations have recorded of Odin and the mythic heroes of
Scandanavia. From this quarter the Toltecs, the Chichemecs, and the
kindred races of the Nahuatlacs, came successively up the great plateau
of the Andes, spreading over its hills and valleys, down to the Gulf
of Mexico." (_Conquest of Mexico_, vol. II, pp. 397, 398, Burt & Co.,
N. Y.) Also Nadaillac speaking of the invaders of the valley of Mexico
says: "All these men, whether Toltecs, Chichimecs, or Aztecs, believed
that their people came from the north, and migrated southward, seeking
more fertile lands, more genial climates, or perhaps driven before a
more warlike race; one wave of emigration succeeding another. We must,
according to this tradition, seek in more northern regions the cradle
of the Nahuatl race." (_Pre-Historic America_, p. 13.) Baldwin, quoting
Brasseus de Bourbourg and Sahagun allows a northeast migration for the
Toltecs (_Ancient America_, pp. 200, 202), but insists that the Aztecs
who succeeded these races in the occupation of the valley of Mexico
came from the south (pp. 217, 218). This view of the southern origin
for the Aztecs is also maintained at some length and by an extensive
citation of authorities by Bancroft. (_Native Races_, vol. V, ch. 3.)

10. _Intellectual Development of Europe_, vol. II. pp. 166-167.

11. _Pre-Historic America_, p. 386.

12. _Conquest of Mexico_, vol. I, pp. 57, 58.

13. _Native Races_, vol. II, pp. 804, 805.

14. _Ancient America_, (Baldwin) p. 215.

15. _Conquest of Mexico_, (Prescott) vol. I, p. 39.

16. _Conquest of Mexico_, (Prescott) vol. I, p. 354.

17. Peru, _Incidents of Travel and Exploration of the Land of the
Incas_, E. George Squier, M. A. F. S. A.

18. _Peruvian Antiquities_, by Rivero and Tschudi; the former director
of the National Museum at Lima, the latter a doctor of philosophy and

19. "Under the broad range allowed by a descent from the sons of
Noah," says Mr. John L. Stephens, to whom we are indebted for most
excellent works on American antiquities, "the Jews, the Canaanites, the
Phoenicians, the Carthaginians, the Greeks, the Scythians in ancient
times; the Chinese, the Swedes, the Norwegians, the Welsh, and the
Spaniards in modern times, have had ascribed to them the honor of
peopling America." _Central America_, vol. I, pp. 96, 97.

20. There are eight or ten such collections. Their contents for the
most part, are published in Lord Kingsborough's monumental work. A list
of them and a description will also be found in Bancroft's _Native
Races_, vol. II, ch. 17.

21. See chapter 1, p. 33.

22. It was the French linguist and archaeologist, Jean Francois
Champollion, who discovered from the Rosetta Stone the key to the
Egyptian hieroglyphics.

23. Born 1486, died 1549.

24. _Conquest of Mexico_, vol. I, pp. 89, 90.

25. _Ancient America_, pp. 187, 188, J. D. Baldwin.

26. _Native Races_, Bancroft, vol. V, p. 147.

27. _Native Races_, vol. V, pp. 145, 146. The whole chapter from which
the above passage is quoted deals with the subject of the early writers
on ancient America, and could with profit be considered by the reader.
W. H. Prescott also has a very choice set of notes on the subject of
the same class of writers in his first book on the conquest of Mexico,
especially those notes following each chapter on some special authority
on whom he mainly relies for the statements in his text.



The Book of Mormon, as already stated, requires the evidence of the
existence of a very ancient civilization in the north continent of
America, with its central and most enduring monuments in our Central
American states. Also the evidences of a later civilization somewhat
overlaying and intermixed with the former; the monuments of these
two civilizations, however, may be somewhat confused by the rise of
another, though inferior civilization, during the thousand years
immediately preceding the advent of the Spaniards in America, which had
begun to raise itself out of that chaos of confusion into which things
were thrown by the destruction of the Nephites and their government.
Under these circumstances it may be extremely difficult to separate
these antiquities and assign each group to its proper division. But
this much we feel confident can be done; evidence can be adduced that
such ancient civilizations did exist; that the monuments of one has
overlaid and intermixed with the others; that the central location of
the first was in our Central States of America, and so far as such
evidence is adduced, to that extent the claims of the Book of Mormon
will be sustained. In the presentation of such evidence I can only
take the humble part of compiler of it from the writings of others,
since I lay no claim to original investigation of the matter; and even
in the work of presenting the utterances of conceded authorities upon
the subject, one stands momentarily confused, not because of the lack
of matter to present to the reader, but in the matter of selecting
from the great mass those passages suitable for our limited space,
and which shall be most direct and convincing. With so much by way of
introduction, then, I present first of all:--


_The Evidence of the Existence of Ancient Civilizations in America._

    Considering the vast extent of these remains, [i. e. of ancient
    cities, pyramids and temples] spreading over more than half the
    continent, and that in Mexico, and South America, after the lapse
    of an unknown series of ages, they still retain much of ancient
    grandeur which "Time's effacing fingers" have failed to obliterate.
    It is certainly no wild flight of the imagination to conjecture
    that in ancient times, even coeval with the spread of science in
    the east, empires may have flourished here that would vie in power
    and extent with the Babylonian, the Median, or the Persian; and
    cities that might have rivaled Nineveh, and Tyre, and Sidon; for
    of these empires and these cities, the plains of Asia now exhibit
    fewer, and even less imposing relics, than are found of the former
    inhabitants of this country. [1]

    We venture to say that the aboriginal inhabitants of our hemisphere
    have not till this day received their meed for ancient bravery,
    nautical skill, and wonderful attainments in geography and in every
    branch of material advancement and of civilization generally.
    Ancient prehistoric America was, indeed, a civilized world. * * * *
    * Proceeding from north to south, we find from distance to distance
    unmistakable traces of mighty, skilful, and learned nations that
    had either wholly disappeared from the face of the earth, or
    had become degenerated and degraded to such an extent as to be
    irrecognizable at the time of not only the Spanish, but even of the
    Northman [tenth century] discoveries. * * * * * The Mayas [Central
    America] were intellectual giants, indeed. The ruins of their vast
    public works, of their costly edifices, of their sculptures and
    paintings, and of their finely carved symbolic writings attest the
    height of a civilization of which we might well be proud today.
    And yet all these evidences of a glorious past lay buried for long
    centuries before Columbus' discovery in the virgin forests of
    Yucatan. Palenque, Uxmal, Copan, and several other ruined cities
    of Central America are as grand and beautiful monuments on the
    cemeteries of the New World as are Troy, Babylon, and Thebes on
    those of the Old; and their antiquity does not seem to be less
    venerable. They certainly pertain to America's remotest period.
    They were ruins more than they are now, in the sixteenth century;
    the native of the neighboring region knew nothing of their origin,
    and no notice whatever of the existence of such cities appears in
    the annals of the surrounding civilized nations during the eight
    or nine centuries preceding the Spanish conquest. Bancroft is even
    of the opinion that the Maya grandeur was already at its height
    several centuries before Christ. [2]

After speaking of various evidences of civilization in America,
Nadaillac remarks:

    But we need not give any further account of these great
    discoveries. We must return to the companions of Cortez to tell
    of the new wonders which awaited them. Even in the most remote
    districts in the primeval forests covering Chiapas, Guatemala,
    Honduras, and Yucatan, where, through the dense undergrowth a
    passage had often to be forced, axe in hand, statues, columns,
    hieroglyphics, unoccupied villages, abandoned palaces, and stately
    ruins, rose on every side, mute witnesses of past ages and of
    vanished races. Everywhere the conquerors were met by tokens, not
    only of a civilization even more ancient and probably more advanced
    than that of the races they subjugated, but also of struggles and
    wars, those scourges of humanity in every race and every clime. [3]

Continuing further on in his admirable work, the same writer says:

    Undoubtedly America bears witness to a venerable past; and without
    admitting the claims of some recent authors who are of opinion
    that when Europe was inhabited by wandering savages, whose only
    weapons were roughly hewn of stone, America was already peopled
    by men who built cities, raised monuments, and had attained to a
    high degree of culture, we must admit that their civilization and
    social organization can only have become what it was by degrees.
    * * * To erect the monuments of Mexico and Peru, the yet more
    ancient ones of Central America--the singular resemblance of
    which, in some particulars, to the temples and palaces of Egypt,
    strike the archaeologist--must have required skilled labor, a
    numerous population, and an established priesthood, such as could
    have developed only during the lapse of centuries. * * * To sum
    up: multitudes of races and nations have arisen upon the American
    continent and have disappeared, leaving no trace, but ruins,
    mounds, a few wrought stones, or fragments of pottery. [4]

    In the New World, mysterious mounds and gigantic earth-works arrest
    our attention. Here we find deserted mines, and there we can trace
    the sites of ancient camps and fortifications. The Indians of the
    prairies seem to be intruders on a fairer civilization. We find
    here evidences of a teeming population. In the presence of their
    imposing ruins, we can not think that nomadic savages built them.
    They give evidences rather of a people having fixed habitations,
    and seem to imply the possession of a higher civilization than that
    of the Indians. These questions demand solution; but how shall
    we solve the problem? Save here and there a deserted camp, or a
    burial mound, containing perhaps articles of use or adornment,
    all traces have vanished. Their earth-works and mounds are being
    rapidly leveled by the plow of modern times, and the scholar of
    the future can only learn from books of their mysterious builders.
    In Mexico, and further south, we find the ruins of great cities.
    To the student of antiquity, these far surpass in interest the
    ruined cities of the Nile or Euphrates valley. Babylon of old, with
    its walls, towers, and pleasure resorts, was indeed wonderful.
    In our own land cities, if not as ancient, yet fallen in more
    picturesque ruin, reward the labors of the explorer. Uxmal, Copan,
    and Palenque, invite our attention. Here are hieroglyphics in
    abundance, but no Rosetta Stone supplies the key by whose aid a
    Champollion can unravel the mystery. [5]

    Closely enveloped in the dense forests of Chiapas, Guatemala,
    Yucatan, and Honduras, the ruins of several ancient cities have
    been discovered, which are far superior in extent and magnificence
    to any seen in Aztec territory. * * * Most of these cities were
    abandoned and more or less unknown at the time of the conquest.
    They bear hieroglyphic inscriptions apparently identical in
    character; in other respects they resemble each other more than
    they resemble the Aztec ruins--or even other and apparently later
    works in Guatemala, and Honduras. All these remains bear evident
    marks of great antiquity. Their existence and similarity, the
    occupation of the whole country at some remote period by nations
    far advanced in civilization, and closely allied in manners and
    customs, if not in blood and language. Furthermore, the traditions
    of several of the most advanced nations point to a widespread
    civilization introduced among a numerous and powerful people
    by Votan and Zamna, who, or their successors, built the cities
    referred to, and founded great allied empires in Chiapas, Yucatan,
    and Guatemala; and moreover, the tradition is confirmed by the
    universality of one family of languages or dialects spoken among
    the civilized nations, and among their descendants to this day. [6]

    That the population of Central America (and in this term I include
    Mexico) was at one time very dense, and had attained to a high
    degree of civilization, higher even than that of Europe in the time
    of Columbus, there can be no question; and it is also probable, as
    I have shown, that they originally belonged to the white race. [7]

    Finally, from all we can gather from this momentous subject, we are
    compelled from the overwhelming amount of evidence to admit that
    mighty nations, with almost unbounded empire, with various degrees
    of improvement, have occupied the continent, and that, as in the
    old world, empire has succeed empire, rising one out of the other,
    from the jarring interests of the unwieldly and the ferocious
    mass--so also in this. [8]

The foregoing is perhaps sufficient for the purpose of establishing
the mere fact of the existence of extensive and highly developed
civilization in America, especially as many of the quotations on some
of the other divisions of the subject will also bear upon this point. I
now take up the matter of the chief centers of those old civilizations.


_Chief Centers of Ancient American Civilization._

The following is from Baldwin's "Ancient America":

    It has been said, not without reason, that the civilization found
    in Mexico by Spanish conquerors consisted, to a large extent, of
    "fragments from the wreck that befell the American civilization of
    antiquity." To find the chief seats and most abundant remains of
    the most remarkable civilization of this old American race, we must
    go still farther south into Central America and some of the more
    southern states of Mexico. Here ruins of many ancient cities have
    been discovered, cities which must have been deserted and left to
    decay in ages previous to the beginning of the Aztec supremacy.
    Most of these ruins were found buried in dense forests, where, at
    the time of the Spanish conquest, they had been long hidden from
    observation. [9]

Marcus Wilson, in speaking of the central location of the ancient
American civilization and its probable "radiating points," says:

    It is believed that the western shores of this continent, and
    perhaps both Mexico and Peru--equally distant from the equator,
    and in regions the most favorable for the increase and the support
    of human life, were the radiating points of early American
    civilization; from which, as from the hearts of empire, pulsation
    after pulsation sent forth their streams of life throughout the
    whole continent. But the spread of civilization appears to have
    been restricted, as we might reasonably expect to find it, to those
    portions of the continent where the rewards of agriculture would
    support a numerous population. Hence, following the course of the
    civilization, by the remains it has left us, we find it limited
    by the barren regions of upper Mexico, and the snows of Canada on
    the north, and the frosts of Patagonia on the south; and while in
    Mexico and Peru are found its grandest and most numerous monuments,
    on the outskirts they dwindle away in numbers and in importance.

    In the Central American region of the western continent are found
    ruins of what are pronounced by all scholars to be the highest
    civilization, and the most ancient in time, of any in the New
    World. There it arose, flourished, and tottered to its fall.
    Its Glory had departed, its cities were a desolation, before
    the coming of the Spaniards. * * * * * The most important ruins
    are in the modern states of Honduras, Guatemala, Chiapas, and
    especially Yucatan, the northern portion of this peninsula being
    literally studded with them. The river Usumacinta, and its numerous
    tributaries flowing in a northern direction through Chiapas, is
    regarded as the original home of the civilization whose ruins
    we are now to describe. From whence the tribes came that first
    settled in this valley is as yet an unsettled point. We notice
    that we have here another instance of the influence that fertile
    river valleys exert upon tribes settling therein. The stories told
    us of the civilization that flourished in primitive times in the
    valley of the Euphrates and the Nile are not more wonderful--the
    ruins perhaps not more impressive--than are the traditions still
    extant, or the material remains fallen in picturesque ruins, of
    the civilization that once on a time held sway in the Usumacinta
    valley. [11]

    Wherever there was a center of civilization, that is, wherever
    the surroundings favored the development of culture, tribes of
    different stocks enjoyed it to nearly an equal degree, as in
    central Mexico and Peru. By them it was distributed, and thus
    shaded off in all directions. [12]

A brief description of some of these ruins of Central America cannot
fail at this point to be both instructive and interesting. I begin
with the description of Copan which, by mutual consent of authorities,
we may regard as one of the most famous, as also the most ancient, of
American ruins. [13]


The ruins are situated in the west part of the modern state of
Honduras, on the left bank of the Copan river, which empties into the
Montague. The name Copan is applied to the ruins because of their
vicinity to an adjoining hamlet of that name, so that Copan is not to
be regarded as the true name of the ancient city. And now I quote the
description from the works of John L. Stephens to whom the world is
chiefly indebted for its knowledge of Central American ruins. I omit,
however, the references to plans and engravings which occur in his
excellent work:

    The extent along the river, as ascertained by monuments still
    found, is more than two miles. There is one monument on the
    opposite side of the river, at the distance of a mile, on the top
    of a mountain two thousand feet high. Whether the city ever crossed
    the river, and extended to that monument, it is impossible to say.
    I believe not. At the rear is an unexplored forest, in which there
    may be ruins. There are no remains of palaces or private buildings,
    and the principal part is that which stands on the bank of the
    river, and may, perhaps, with propriety be called the Temple.

    The temple is an oblong enclosure. The front or river wall extends
    on a right line north and south six hundred and twenty-four feet,
    and it is from sixty to ninety feet in height. It is made of cut
    stones, from three to six feet in length, and a foot and a half in
    breadth. In many places the stones have been thrown down by bushes
    growing out of the crevices, and in one place there is a small
    opening, from which the ruins are sometimes called by the Indians,
    Las Ventanas, or the windows. The other three sides consist of
    ranges of steps and pyramidal structures, rising from thirty to
    one hundred and forty feet in height on the slope. The whole line
    survey is two thousand eight hundred and sixty-six feet, which,
    though gigantic and extraordinary for a ruined structure of the
    aborigines, that the reader's imagination may not mislead him, I
    consider it necessary to say, is not so large as the base of the
    great pyramid of Ghizeh. * *

    Near the southwest corner of the river wall and the south wall is
    a recess, which was probably once occupied by a colossal monument
    fronting the water, no part of which is now visible; probably it
    has fallen and been broken, and the fragments have been buried
    or washed away by the floods in the rainy season. Beyond are the
    ruins of two small pyramidal structures, to the largest of which
    is attached a wall running along the west bank of the river; this
    appears to have been one of the principal walls of the city; and
    between the two pyramids there seems to have been a gateway or
    principal entrance from the water.

    The south wall runs at right angles to the river, beginning with a
    range of steps about thirty feet high, and each step about eighteen
    inches square. At the southeast corner is a massive pyramidal
    structure one hundred and twenty feet high on the slope. On the
    right are other remains of terraces and pyramidal buildings; and
    here also was probably a gateway, by a passage about twenty feet
    wide, into a quadrangular area two hundred and fifty feet square,
    two sides of which are massive pyramids one hundred and twenty feet
    high on the slope.

    At the foot of these structures, and in different parts of the
    quadrangular area, are numerous remains of sculpture. At one point
    is a colossal monument richly sculptured, fallen, and ruined.
    Behind it fragments of sculpture, thrown from their place by trees,
    are strewn and lying loose on the side of the pyramid, from the
    base to the top; and among them our attention was forcibly arrested
    by rows of death's heads of gigantic proportions, still standing in
    their places about half way up the side of the pyramid; the effect
    was extraordinary.

Here follows the description of the gigantic stone monuments or carved
images which were doubtless the idols of the ancient inhabitants of
Copan. Resuming his general description, Mr. Stephens says:

    The whole quadrangle is overgrown with trees, and interspersed with
    fragments of fine sculpture; particularly on the east side, and
    at the northwest corner is a narrow passage, which was probably
    a third gateway. On the right is a confused range of terraces
    running off into the forest, ornamented with death's heads, some
    of which are still in position, and others lying about as they
    have fallen or been thrown down. Turning northward, the range on
    the left hand continues a high, massive pyramidal structure, with
    trees growing out of it to the very top. At a short distance is a
    detached pyramid, tolerably perfect, about fifty feet square and
    thirty feet high. The range continues for a distance of about four
    hundred feet, decreasing somewhat in height, and along this there
    are but few remains of sculpture. The range of structures turn at
    right angles to the left, and runs to the river, joining the other
    extremity of the wall, at which we began our survey. The bank was
    elevated about thirty feet above the river, and had been protected
    by a wall of stone, most of which had fallen down.

    The plan was complicated, and the whole ground, being overgrown
    with trees, difficult to make out. There was no entire pyramid,
    but at most, two or three pyramidal sides, and these joined on the
    terraces or other structures of the same kind. Beyond the wall or
    enclosure were walls, terraces, and pyramidal elevations running
    off into the forest, which sometimes confused us. Probably the
    whole was not erected at the same time, but additions were made and
    statues erected by different kings, or, perhaps in commemoration of
    important events in the history of the city. Along the whole line
    were ranges of steps with pyramidal elevations, probably crowned on
    the top with buildings or altars now ruined. All these steps of the
    pyramidal sides were painted and the reader may imagine the effect
    when the whole country was clear of forest and priest and people
    were ascending from the outside to the terraces, and thence to the
    holy places within to pay their adoration in the temple.

Then follows a description of pyramids and stone monuments and altars,
together with stone tablets of hieroglyphics which, without the
accompanying engravings of Mr. Stephens' work, would be unintelligible.
Mr. Stephens visited the stone quarries which supplied the material for
this magnificent city, ruins of whose public buildings doubtless alone
remain, and if these extensive ruins but mark the site and grandeur of
the public buildings, as is most probable, then how extensive indeed
must have been the old city whose ruins we call Copan! While at the
quarry, some two miles distant from the ruins, Mr. Stephens indulged in
the following reflections:

    The range lies about two miles north from the river, and runs east
    and west. At the foot of it we crossed a wild stream. The side
    of the mountain was overgrown with bushes and trees. The top was
    bare, and commanded a magnificent view of a dense forest broken
    only by the winding of the Copan river, and the clearings for the
    haciendas of Don Gregorio and Don Miguel. [14] The city was buried
    in forest and entirely hidden from sight. Imagination peopled the
    quarry with workmen, and laid bare the city to their view. Here, as
    the sculptor worked, he turned to the theatre of his glory, as the
    Greek did to the Acropolis of Athens, and dreamed of immortal fame.
    Little did he imagine that the time would come when his works would
    perish, his race be extinct, his city a desolation and abode for
    reptiles, for strangers to gaze at and wonder by what race it had
    once been inhabited.

Relative to the antiquity and probable cause of the desertion of Copan,
Mr. Stephens writes:

    In regard to the age of the desolate city I will not at present
    offer any conjecture. Some idea might perhaps be formed from
    the accumulations of earth, and the gigantic trees growing on
    the top of the ruined structures, but it would be uncertain and
    unsatisfactory. Nor shall I at this moment offer any conjecture in
    regard to the people who built it, or to the time when or the means
    by which it was depopulated, and became a desolation and ruin;
    whether it fell by the sword, or famine, or pestilence. The trees
    which shroud it may have sprung from the blood of its slaughtered
    inhabitants; they may have perished howling with hunger; or
    pestilence, like the cholera, may have piled its streets with dead,
    and driven forever the feeble remnants from their homes; of which
    dire calamities to other cities we have authentic accounts, in eras
    both prior and subsequent to the discovery of the country by the
    Spaniards. One thing I believe, that its history is graven on its
    monuments. No Champollion has yet brought to them the energies of
    his inquiring mind. Who shall read them?

  "'Chaos of ruins! who shall trace the void,
  O'er the dim fragments cast a lunar light,
  And say 'here was or is,' where all is doubly night?'" [15]


I next call attention to the ruins of Palenque, situated about two
hundred and sixty miles northwest from Copan in the modern state of
Chiapas in the valley of the Usumacinta river. Our space will not admit
of the elaborate and detailed description given of this ancient city
by the writers who have visited it, and whose descriptions are usually
attended with references to numerous cuts of pyramids, temples, ruined
walls, statuary, tablets, etc. I have therefore decided to abridge the
description of this city and its chief monuments from the admirable
work of Nadaillac:

    The monuments of Palenque are justly reckoned amongst the most
    remarkable in Chiapas. [16] The town stands in the region watered
    by the Usumacinta, where settled the first immigrants of whom it
    has been possible to distinguish traces. The position of Palenque,
    at the foot of the first buttresses of the mountain chain, on the
    banks of the little river Otolum, one of the tributaries of the
    Tulija, was admirably chosen. The streets extended for a length of
    from six to eight leagues, (from eighteen to twenty-four miles)
    irregularly following the course of the streams which descend from
    the mountains and furnish the inhabitants with an abundant supply
    of water necessary to them. At the present day the ruins rise in
    solitude, which adds to the effect produced by them. They were
    long altogether unknown; Cortez, in one of his expeditions, passed
    within a few miles of Palenque without suspecting its existence;
    and it was not till 1746, that chance led to its discovery by a
    cure of the neighborhood. * * * * * *

    Among the best preserved ruins may be mentioned the palace, the
    temple of the three tablets, the temple of the bas-reliefs, the
    temple of the cross, and the temple of the sun. We keep the names
    given by various explorers in the absence of better ones. There are
    others, but of less importance. Dupaix speaks of eleven buildings
    still standing, and a few years before A. Del Rio mentioned twenty;
    Waldeck says eighteen, and Maler, who visited the ruins of Palenque
    in 1877, fixes the number of the temples or palaces at twelve.
    These contradictions are more apparent than real, and are explained
    by the different impressions of each traveler, and the divisions he
    thought it necessary to adopt.

    The palace, the most important building of Palenque, rests on a
    truncated pyramid about forty feet high, the base of which measures
    from three hundred and ten feet by two hundred and sixty. The
    inside of this pyramid is of earth; the external faces are covered
    with large slabs; steps lead up to the principal building, which
    forms a quadrilateral of two hundred and twenty-eight feet by one
    hundred and eighty; the walls, which are two or three feet thick,
    are of rubble, crowned by a frieze framed between two double
    cornices. Inside as well as outside they are covered with a very
    fine and durable stucco, painted red or blue, black or white. The
    principal front faces the east; it includes fourteen entrances
    about nine feet wide, separated by pilasters ornamented with
    figures. These figures measure more than six feet high, and are
    full of movement; while above the head of each are hieroglyphics
    inlaid in the stucco. * * * * * *

    The inside of the palace corresponds with the magnificence of
    the outside; there are galleries forming a peristyle all around
    the court; and the rooms are decorated with granite bas-reliefs,
    grotesque figures, some thirteen feet high. * * * * The expression
    of the figures speaks well for the skill of the artist; but the
    execution is weak, suggesting an art in decadence rather than
    the ruggedness of one in its infancy. These rooms were united
    by corridors. * * * The architects of Palenque were ignorant of
    the arch, and their vaults were formed of oversailing courses,
    one above the other, as in the cyclopean monuments of Greece and
    Italy. The building is finished off with a tower of three stories,
    measuring thirty feet square at the base. Here, too, we find
    symbolical decorations, which are very rich and in a very good
    state of preservation.

Our author, after excusing himself from mentioning many of the
monuments of Palenque, for want of space, says:

    We must, however, mention one of them, situated on the other bank
    of the Otolum, and known under the name of the Temple of the
    Cross. It rises from a truncated pyramid and forms a quadrilateral
    with three openings in each face, separated by massive pilasters,
    some ornamented with hieroglyphics and some ornamented with human
    figures. The frieze is also covered with human figures, and amongst
    those still visible Stephens mentions a head and two torsos, which,
    in their perfection of form, recall Greek art. The openings, all at
    right angles, lead into an inside gallery communicating with three
    little rooms. The central one of these rooms contains an altar,
    which fairly represents an open chest, ornamented with a little
    frieze with a margin. From the two upper extremities of this frieze
    springs two wings, recalling the mode of ornamentation so often
    employed in the pediments of Egyptian monuments.

    Above the altar was originally placed the tablet of the cross,
    which was afterward torn from its position by the hand of a
    fanatic, who chose to see in it the sacred sign of the Christian
    faith, miraculously preserved by the ancient inhabitants of the
    palace. The tablet was taken down and then abandoned, we know not
    why, in the midst of the forest covering part of the ruins. Here
    it was that the Americans discovered part of it, took possession
    of it, and carried it to Washington, where it forms part of the
    collection of the National Museum. The center represents a cross,
    resting upon a hideous figure, and surmounted by a grotesque
    bird. On the right, a figure on foot is offering presents; on the
    left, another figure, in a stiff attitude seems to be praying
    to the divinity. The costume of these two persons is unlike any
    that is now in use; and above their heads we can make out several
    hieroglyphical characters. A slab on the right is also covered with
    them. In the present state of knowledge it is impossible to make
    out whether these inscriptions are prayers to the gods, the history
    of the country or that of the temple, the name or the dedication of
    the founders.

    At the end of the sanctuary recently discovered near Palenque by
    Maler, are three slabs of sculptured stone in low relief. On the
    right and left are hieroglyphics; in the center a cross, surmounted
    by a head of strange appearance, wearing around the neck a collar
    with a medallion; above this head is a bird, and on either side are
    figures exactly like those of the temple of the cross. Evidently
    this was a hieratic type, from which the artist was not allowed to
    depart. * * *

    We cannot leave the ruins of Palenque without mentioning a
    statue, remarkable for more than one reason. The calm and smiling
    expression of the face resembles that of some of the Egyptian
    statues; the head-dress is a little like that of the Assyrians;
    there is a necklace around the neck; the figure presses upon its
    bosom an instrument and rests its left hand upon an ornament, the
    meaning of both of which it is difficult to imagine. The plinth
    of the statue has a cartouch with a hieroglyphical inscription,
    probably giving the name of the god or hero to whom it was
    dedicated. There is a very distinct resemblance in some of these
    hieroglyphics to those of Egypt. [17]

In concluding an extended description of the ruins of Palenque,
Bancroft says:

    I close my account of Maya antiquities with the following brief
    quotations respecting Palenque, and the degree of art exhibited
    in her ruined monuments: "These sculptured figures are not
    caricatures, but display an ability on the part of the artists to
    represent the human form in every posture, and with anatomical
    fidelity. Nor are the people in human life here delineated. The
    figures are royal or priestly; some are engaged in offering up
    sacrifices, or are in an attitude of devotion; many hold a sceptre,
    or token baton of authority, their apparel is gorgeous; their
    head-dresses are elaborately arrayed, and decorated with long
    feathers." [18] "Many of the reliefs exhibit the finest and most
    beautiful outlines, and the neatest combinations which remind one
    of the best Indian works of art." "The ruins of Palenque have been
    perhaps overrated; these remains are fine, doubtless, in their
    antique rudeness; they breathe out in the midst of their solitude
    a certain imposing grandeur; but it must be affirmed, without
    disputing their architectural importance, that they do not justify
    in their details the enthusiasm of archaeologists. The lines which
    make up the ornamentation are faulty in rectitude; the designs in
    symmetry; the sculpture in finish; I except, however, the symbolic
    tablets, the sculpture of which seemed to me very correct." "I
    admire the bas-reliefs of Palenque on the facades of her old
    palaces; they interest me, move me, and fill my imagination;
    but let them be taken to the Louvre, and I see nothing but rude
    sketches which leave me cold and indifferent." "The most remarkable
    remains of an advanced ancient civilization hitherto discovered
    on our continent." "Their general characteristics are simplicity,
    gravity, and solidity." [19] "While superior in the execution of
    the details, the Palenque artist was far inferior to the Egyptian
    in the number and variety of the objects displayed by him." [20]

Mr. John L. Stephens, whose comments upon the cities he visited in
Central America, are always interesting, remarks of the ruins of

    What we had before our eyes was grand, curious, and remarkable
    enough. Here were the remains of a cultivated, polished, and
    peculiar people, who had passed through all the stages incident
    to the rise and fall of nations; reached their golden age, and
    perished, entirely unknown. The links which connected them with
    the human family were severed and lost, and these were the only
    memorials of their footsteps upon earth. We lived in the ruined
    palaces of their kings; we went up to their desolate temples and
    fallen altars; and wherever we moved we saw the evidences of their
    taste, their skill in arts, their wealth and power. In the midst
    of desolation and ruin we looked back to the past, cleared away
    the gloomy forest, and fancied every building perfect, with its
    terraces and pyramids, its sculptured, and painted ornaments,
    grand, lofty, and imposing, and overlooking an immense inhabited
    plain; we called back into life the strange people who gazed at
    us in sadness from the walls; pictured them, in fanciful costumes
    and adorned with plumes of feathers, ascending the terraces of the
    palace and the steps leading to the temples; and often we imagined
    a scene of unique and gorgeous beauty and magnificence, realizing
    the creations of Oriental poets, the very spot which fancy would
    have selected for the "Happy Valley" of Rasselas. In the romance
    of the world's history nothing ever impressed me more forcibly
    than the spectacle of this once great and lovely city, overturned,
    desolate, and lost; discovered by accident, overgrown with trees
    for miles around, and without even a name to distinguish it. Apart
    from everything else, it was a mourning witness to the world's

    * * * * * *

    "'Nations melt
    From power's high pinnacle, when they have felt
    The sunshine for a while, and downward go.'" [21]


1. _History of United States_, Marcus Wilson, Book I, _American
Antiquities_, p. 94.

2. _History of America Before Columbus_, P. De Roo, vol I, pp. 173,
176, 177, 178.

3. _Pre-Historic America_, pp. 10, 11.

4. _Pre-Historic America_, pp. 13, 14

5. _The Pre-Historic World_, or _Vanished Races_, E. A. Allen,
introduction, pp. 23, 24.

6. _Native Races_, vol. II, pp. 116, 117, Bancroft.

7. _Atlantis_, (Donnely) p. 349.

8. _American Antiquities_, Priest, p. 186.

9. _Ancient America_, (Baldwin) pp. 92, 93.

10. History of the United States, Book I, _American Antiquities_, pp.
93, 94.

11. _The Pre-Historic World, or Vanished Races_, by E. A. Allen
(1885), pp. 564, 566. I quote this passage upon the location, extent
and grandeur of the ancient ruins of Central America with the greater
pleasure because Mr. Allen is one of the authors who, as far as
possible, discount the extent, greatness and very remote antiquity of
the civilization represented by American ruins; though for all this his
work is one of the most conscientious and valuable upon the subject.

12. _The American Races_, Daniel G. Brinton, p. 44.

13. Bancroft, _Native Races_, p. 81, also pp. 82, 104.

14. Modern plantations near the ruins.

15. _Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan_,
Stephens (1841), vol. I, ch. 7. Those who would become further
acquainted with the ruins of Copan will find elaborate descriptions
in Bancroft's _Native Races_, vol. IV, ch. 3. His foot notes citing
various authorities on the subject are especially valuable.

16. And for matter of that in Central America.

17. _Pre-Historic America_, Nadaillac, ch. 7.

18. Foster's _Pre-Historic Races_, pp. 338, 339. Klemm,
_Cultur-Geschichte_, tom. 5, pp. 161-3.

19. Morelet, _Voyage_, tom. 1, pp. 273, 274. Mayer's _Mex. Aztec_,
etc., vol. II, p. 172; Brasseur de Bourbourg, _Hist. Nat. Civ_. tom. 1,
p. 85.

20. _Native Races_, vol. IV, pp. 364, 365, and notes.

21. _Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan_,
John L. Stephens, vol. II, pp. 356, 357.




_Antiquity of American Ruins_

We have now before us a subject on which the authorities on American
Antiquities are most divided, and I shall not attempt in this writing
to reconcile them or dispute the position of either class; but after
a few quotations from these authorities shall leave the question of
the antiquity of American ruins found in Central America and elsewhere
as I find it, an open question. "There is nothing in the buildings
to indicate the date of their erection--that they were or were not
standing at the commencement of the Christian era," says H. H.
Bancroft, in speaking of the cities and other monuments of Yucatan--and
it is a remark which could with equal propriety be made of nearly all
the ruined cities of America. "We may see now, abandoned and uncared
for," he continues, "they may have resisted the ravages of the elements
for three or four centuries. How many centuries they may have stood
guarded and kept in repair by the builders and their descendants, we
can only conjecture." [1] Later, in the same work, our author discusses
the question of the age of Palenque and other ruins in the following

    I confess my inability to judge from the degree of art displayed
    respectively in the peninsular ruins and those of Palenque, which
    are the older; I will go further, and while in a confessional mood,
    confess to a shade of skepticism the ability of other writers to
    form a well-founded judgment in the matter. Authors are, however,
    unanimous in the opinion that Palenque was founded before any of
    the cities of Yucatan, an opinion which is supported to a certain
    extent by traditional history, which represents Votan's empire in
    Chiapas and Tabasco as preceding chronologically the allied Maya
    empire in the peninsula. If the Yucatan cities flourished, as I
    have conjectured, between the third and tenth centuries, Palenque
    may be conjecturally referred to a period between the first and
    eighth centuries. I regard the theory that Palenque was built
    by the Toltecs after their expulsion from Anahuac in the tenth
    century as wholly without foundation; and I believe that it would
    be equally impossible to prove or disprove that the palace was
    standing at the birth of Christ. [2]

Following this passage, Mr. Bancroft gives a valuable collection
of opinions in his notes where he represents M. Violett-le-Duc as
expressing the belief that Palenque was built probably some centuries
before Christ by a people in which "yellow blood predominated,
although with some Aryan intermixture; but that the Yucatan cities
owe their foundation to the same people at a later epoch and under a
much stronger influence of the white races." Dupaix he represents as
believing that the buildings were reared by a flatheaded race that has
become extinct, and who, after writing his narrative, made up his mind
that Palenque was antediluvian or at least that a floor had covered
it. Lenoir he represents as saying that, according to all voyagers and
students, the ruins of Palenque are not less than three thousand years
old; while Catlin, a French writer, in a French periodical for March,
1867, he represents as asserting that the ruined cities of Palenque
and Uxmal have within themselves the evidence that the ocean has been
their bed for thousands of years, but the material is soft limestone
and presents no water lines. Foster, the author of _Pre-Historic
Races_ (pp. 398-9), is represented as regarding the ruins of Palenque
as the work of an extinct race, and then he proceeds with a number of
citations for a more modern origin. The valuable notes will be found in
Bancroft's _Native Races_, vol. IV, pp. 262-3.

Prescott, in his treatise on the origin of Mexican civilization, offers
the following reflections on the antiquity of American ruins:

    It is impossible to contemplate these mysterious monuments of
    a lost civilization, without a strong feeling of curiosity as
    to who were their architects, and what is their probable age.
    The data on which to rest our conjectures of their age, are not
    very substantial; although some find in them a warrant for an
    antiquity of thousands of years, coeval with the architecture of
    Egypt and Hindostan. But the interpretation of hieroglyphics, and
    the apparent duration of trees, are vague and unsatisfactory.
    And how far can we derive an argument from the discoloration and
    dilapidated condition of the ruins, when we find so many structures
    of the Middle Ages dark and mouldering with decay, while the
    marbles of the Acropolis, and the gray stone of Paestum, still
    shine in their primitive splendor? There are, however, undoubted
    proofs of considerable age to be found there. Trees have shot up
    in the midst of the buildings, which measure, it is said, more
    than nine feet in diameter. A still more striking face is the
    accumulation of vegetable mould in one of the courts, to the
    depth of nine feet above the pavement. This in our latitude would
    be decisive of a very great antiquity. But, in the rich soil of
    Yucatan, and under the ardent sun of the tropics, vegetation bursts
    forth with irrepressible exuberence, and generations of plants
    succeed each other without intermission, leaving an accumulation
    of deposits, that would have perished under the northern winter.
    Another evidence of their age is afforded by the circumstance,
    that, in one of the courts of Uxmal, the granite pavement, on
    which the figures of tortoises were raised in relief, is worn
    nearly smooth by the feet of the crowds who have passed over it; a
    curious fact, suggesting inferences both in regard to the age and
    population of the place. Lastly, we have authority for carrying
    back the date of many of these ruins to a certain period, since
    they were found in a deserted, and probably dilapidated state by
    the first Spaniards who entered the country. Their notices, indeed,
    are brief and casual, for the old conquerors had little respect for
    works of art; and it is fortunate for these structures, that they
    had ceased to be the living temples of the gods, since no merit of
    architecture, probably, would have availed to save them from the
    general doom of the monuments of Mexico. [3]

It is proper, to say, however, that Mr. Prescott declares that some
of the remarks in the above paragraph would have been omitted had he
enjoyed the benefit of Mr. Stephens' researches when it was originally
written. Mr. Stephens, it should be remembered, is among those who
grant no great antiquity to the ruins. On this subject, however, I find
the fairest treatment in the profound reflections of Mr. Baldwin:

    The Mexican and Central American ruins make it certain that in
    ancient times an important civilization existed in that part of the
    continent, which must have begun at a remote period in the past. If
    they have any significance, this must be accepted as an ascertained
    fact. A large portion of them had been forgotten in the forests,
    or became mythical and mysterious, long before the arrival of the

    In 1520, three hundred and fifty years ago, the forest which so
    largely covers Yucatan, Guatemala, and Chiapa was growing as it
    grows now. * * * * How many additional centuries it had existed no
    one can tell. If its age could be told, it would still be necessary
    to consider that the ruins hidden in it are much older than the
    forest, and that the period of civilization they represent closed
    long before it was established.

    In the ages previous to the beginning of this immense forest, the
    region it covers was the seat of civilization which grew up to a
    high degree of development, flourished a long time, and finally
    declined, until its cities were deserted, and its cultivated fields
    left to the wild influences of nature, it may be safely assumed
    that both the forest-covered ruins and the forest itself are far
    older than the Aztec period; but who can tell how much older?
    Copan, first discovered and described three hundred years ago,
    was then as strange to the natives dwelling near it as the old
    Chaldean ruins are to the Arabs who wander over the wasted plains
    of Lower Mesopotamia. Native tradition had forgotten its history
    and become silent in regard to it. How long had ruined Copan been
    in this condition? No one can tell. Manifestly it was forgotten,
    left buried in the forest without recollection of its history,
    long before Montezuma's people, the Aztecs, rose to power; and it
    is easily understood that this old city had an important history
    previous to that unknown time in the past when war, revolution or
    some other agency of destruction, put an end to its career and left
    it to become what it is now.

    Moreover, these old ruins, in all cases, show us only the cities
    last occupied in the period to which they belong. Doubtless others
    still older preceded them; and, besides, it can be seen that
    some of the ruined cities which can now be traced were several
    times renewed by reconstructions. We must consider, also, that
    building magnificent cities is not the first work of an original
    civilization. The development was necessarily gradual. Its first
    period was more or less rude. The art of building and ornamenting
    such edifices arose slowly. Many ages must have been required
    to develop such admirable skill in masonry and ornamentation.
    Therefore the period between the beginning of this mysterious
    development of civilized life and the first builders who used
    cut stone laid in mortar and cement, and covered their work with
    beautifully sculptured ornaments and inscriptions, must have been
    very long.

    We have no measure of the time, no clew to the old dates, nothing
    whatever, beyond such considerations as I have stated, to warrant
    even a vague hypothesis. It can be seen clearly that the beginning
    of this old civilization was much older than the earliest great
    cities, and, also, that these were much more ancient than the
    time when any of the later built or reconstructed cities whose
    relics still exist, were left to decay. If we suppose Palenque to
    have been deserted some six hundred years previous to the Spanish
    conquest, this date will carry us back only to the last days of its
    history as an inhabited city. Beyond it, in the distant past, is a
    vast period in which the civilization represented by Palenque was
    developed, made capable of building such cities, and then carried
    on through the many ages during which cities became numerous,
    flourished, grew old, and gave place to others, until the long
    history of Palenque itself began. * * * * * * * *

    No well considered theory of these ruins can avoid the conclusion
    that most of them are very ancient, and that, to find the origin of
    the civilization they represent, we must go far back into the "deep
    of antiquity." * * * *

    Nevertheless, some of them must be very old. The forest established
    since the ruin began, the entire disappearance of every thing
    more perishable than stone, the utter oblivion which veiled their
    history in the time of Montezuma, and probably long previous to his
    time, all these facts bear witness to their great antiquity. In
    many of them, as at Quirigua and Kabah, the stone structures have
    become masses of debris; and even at Copan, Palenque, and Mitla,
    only a few of them are sufficiently well preserved to show us what
    they were in the great days of their history. Meanwhile, keep in
    mind that the ruined cities did not begin their present condition
    until the civilization that created them had declined; and, also,
    that if we could determine exactly the date when they were deserted
    and left to decay, we should only reach that point in the past
    where their history as inhabited cities was brought to a close.

    Take Copan, for instance. This city may have become a ruin during
    the time of the Toltecs, which began long before the Christian
    era and ended some five or six centuries probably before the
    country was invaded by Cortez. It was built before their time, for
    the style of writing, and many features of the architecture and
    ornamentation, show the workmanship of their predecessors, judging
    by the historical intimation found in the old books and traditions.
    We may suppose it to have been an old city at the time of the
    Toltec invasion, although not one of the first cities built by that
    more ancient and more cultivated people by whom this old American
    civilization was originated. [4]

From the foregoing it will be apparent how unsatisfactory are the
conclusions respecting the age of America's ruined cities and monuments
of antiquity; and since, as Mr. H. H. Bancroft remarks, there is
nothing in the ruins themselves by which their age may be determined,
it is clear that all the authorities are merely dealing in conjecture
concerning them. The value of that conjecture will, of course, depend
upon the general breadth of knowledge and judgment of the individual
expressing it. This much may be safely claimed, so far as the Book
of Mormon is concerned, in the question: there is nothing as to the
age of American ruins that contradicts its statements, nor can I
conceive of the rising of any circumstance in connection with the age
of American ruined cities that would conflict with its claims. If it
should turn out eventually that all the monuments of American ruins
are of comparatively modern origin, that is, suppose they have arisen
within that thousand years preceding the advent of the Spaniards, who
came early in the sixteenth century, it could then be claimed that
they were the monuments of Lamanite civilization merely; and that the
monuments of the Jaredite and Nephite civilization had passed away, or
that the monuments of Lamanite civilization were built in the midst
of the monuments of the earlier civilizations, and so intermingled
as to confuse everything and render classification impossible. If
investigation, however, should finally establish the fact that the
ruined cities of America are the monuments of very ancient and
perhaps of successive civilizations, it would tend in a positive way
to establish the truth of the Book of Mormon more clearly, and I now
proceed to the consideration of that branch of the subject.


_Successive Civilizations._

    Scattered over the southern plateaus are heaps of architectural
    remains and monumental piles. Furthermore, native traditions,
    both orally transmitted and hieroglyphically recorded by means of
    legible picture-writings, afford us a tolerably clear view of the
    civilized nations during a period of several centuries preceding
    the Spanish conquest, together with passing glances, through
    momentary clearings in mythologic clouds, at historical epochs much
    more remote. Here we have as aids to this analysis--aids almost
    wholly wanting among the so-called savage tribes--antiquities,
    traditions, history, carrying the student far back into the
    mysterious New World past; and hence it is that from its
    simultaneous revelation and eclipse, American civilization would
    otherwise offer a more limited field for investigation than
    American savagism, yet by the introduction of this new element the
    field is widely extended.

    Nor have we even yet reached the limits of our resources for the
    investigation of this New World civilization. In these relics of
    architecture and literature, of mythology and tradition, there are
    clear indications of an older and higher type of culture than that
    brought immediately to the knowledge of the invaders; of a type
    that had temporarily deteriorated, perhaps through the influence of
    long-continued and bloody conflicts, civil and foreign, by which
    the more warlike rather than the more highly cultured nations
    had been brought into prominence and power. But this anterior
    and superior civilization, resting largely as it does on vague
    tradition, and preserved to our knowledge in general allusions
    rather than in detail, may, like the native condition since the
    conquest, be utilized to the best advantage here as illustrative of
    the later and better-known, if somewhat inferior civilization of
    the sixteenth century, described by the conqueror, the missionary,
    and the Spanish historian. [5]

In addition to the "passing glances" through "momentary clearings" in
the mythological clouds "at historical epochs much more remote" than
those "several centuries preceding the Spanish conquest," there is also
the evidence afforded by the different ages in which the cities of
America now in ruins were built; the difference being so marked in some
instances as to suggest not only different ages for their construction,
but their construction by different races. "That a long time must have
passed between the erection of Copan and Utatlan, [6] the civilization
of the builders meantime undergoing great modification, involving
probably the introduction of new elements from foreign sources, is a
theory supported by a careful study of the two classes of ruins. [7]
* * * Then we have the strong differences noticeable between Uxmal
[8] and Palenque, which lead us to conclude that these cities must
have been built either at widely different epochs, or by branches of
the Maya race which have long been separated; or by branches, which,
under the influence of foreign tribes, lived under greatly modified
institutions." [9]

Speaking of the ruins at Quiche, Mr. Stephens says:

    The point to which we directed our attention was to discover some
    resemblance to the ruins of Copan and Quirigua; but we did not
    find statues, or carved figures, or hieroglyphics, nor could we
    learn that any had ever been found there. If there had been such
    evidences we should have considered these ruins the works of the
    same race of people, but in the absence of such evidences we
    believed that Copan and Quirigua were cities of another race and of
    a much older date. [10]

On this point of distinct eras in American civilization, Baldwin says:

    It is a point of no little interest that these old constructions
    belong to different periods in the past, and represent somewhat
    different phases of civilization. Uxmal, which is supposed to have
    been partly inhabited when the Spaniards arrived in the country,
    is plainly much more modern than Copan or Palenque. This is easily
    traced in the ruins. Its edifices were finished in a different
    style, and show fewer inscriptions. Round pillars, somewhat in the
    Doric style, are found at Uxmal, but none like the square, richly
    carved pillars, bearing inscriptions, discovered in some of the
    other ruins. Copan and Palenque, and even Kabah, in Yucatan, may
    have been very old cities, if not already old ruins, when Uxmal
    was built. Accepting the reports of explorers as correct, there
    is evidence in the ruins that Quirigua is older than Copan, and
    that Copan is older than Palenque. The old monuments in Yucatan
    represent several distinct epochs in the ancient history of that
    peninsula. Some of them are kindred to those hidden in the great
    forest, and reminded us more of Palenque than of Uxmal. Among those
    described, the most modern, or most of these, are in Yucatan; they
    belong to the time when the kingdom of the Mayas flourished. Many
    of the others belong to ages previous to the rise of this kingdom;
    and in ages still earlier, ages older than the great forest, there
    were other cities, doubtless, whose remains have perished utterly,
    or were long ago removed from us in the later constructions.

    The evidence of repeated reconstructions in some of the cities
    before they were deserted has been pointed out by explorers. I
    have quoted what Charnay says of it in his description of Mitla.
    At Palenque, as at Mitla, the oldest work is the most artistic and
    admirable. Over this feature of the monuments, and the manifest
    signs of their difference in age, the attention of investigators
    lingered in speculation. They find in them a significance which is
    stated as follows by Brasseur de Bourbourg: "Among the edifices
    forgotten by time in the forests of Mexico and Central America, we
    find architectural characteristics so different from each other,
    that it is impossible to attribute them all to the same people as
    to believe they were all built at the same epoch." In his view,
    "the substruction at Mayapan, some of those at Tulha, and a great
    part of those at Palenque, are among the older remains. These are
    not the oldest cities whose remains are still visible, but they may
    have been built, in part, upon the foundation of cities much more
    ancient. No well considered theory of these ruins can avoid the
    conclusion that most of them are very ancient, and that, to find
    the origin of the civilization they represent, we must go far back
    into the 'deeps of antiquity.'" [11]

Further on, in speaking of the Aztecs and their civilization, Mr.
Baldwin says:

    They were less advanced in many things than their predecessors.
    Their skill in architecture and architectural ornamentation did not
    enable them to build such cities as Mitla and Palenque, and their
    "picture writing" was a much ruder form of the graphic art than
    the phonetic system of the Mayas and Quiches. It does not appear
    that they ever went so far in literary improvements as to adopt
    this simpler and more complete system for any purpose whatever. If
    the country had never, in the previous ages, felt the influence
    of a higher culture than that of the Aztecs, it would not have
    now, and never could have had, ruined cities like Mitla, Copan and
    Palenque. Not only was the system of writing shown by the countless
    inscriptions quite beyond the attainments of Aztec art, but also
    the abundant sculptures and the whole system of decoration found in
    the old ruins. [12]

"Two distinct classes of ruins appear to have been observed in Central
America," says Nadaillac. [13] And then later, "All the Central
American tribes do not seem to have lived in an equally degraded
condition before the period of the Mayas. Ruins of considerable extent
are met with in Guatemala. These consist of undressed stones similar
to those used in the cyclopean buildings of Greece and Syria; but no
tradition refers to their origin. They are, however, attributed with
some reason to a race driven back by conquest, and superior in culture
to the people overcome by the Maya invasion of Central America." [14]

Nor is it alone in the differences that exist between some of these
ancient ruins, proclaiming for them at least erection in different
ages, and perhaps by different races, that the idea of successive
civilizations in Ancient America is established. In the matter of
language no less than in ruins is this fact proclaimed. "Traces are
also supposed to have been met with of a more ancient language than the
Maya, Nahuac or their derivatives," remarks Nadaillac, in a footnote
to page 264 of his _Pre-Historic America_, and cites Humboldt's _Views
of the Cordilleras_ in support of his statement. This, however, is a
subject which is too extensive to be considered here.

Closely connected with the subject of successive civilizations is
also that of ancient migrations, but that is a matter I shall treat
in another chapter, and more especially for another reason than
maintaining successive civilizations, as I esteem what is here set down
as sufficient proof for the existence of successive civilizations in
ancient America.


_Peruvian Antiquities._

It will be observed that thus far, in dealing with American
antiquities, I have said nothing concerning Peru and the monuments of
its civilization. Still, as Book of Mormon peoples inhabited South
America as well as North America, some attention should be paid to the
monuments of Peruvian civilization. For the general description of
South American antiquities I find what Professor Baldwin says to be
most acceptable:

    The ruins of Ancient Peru are found chiefly on the elevated
    tablelands of the Andes, between Quito and Lake Titicaca; but
    they can be traced five hundred miles farther south, to Chili,
    and throughout the region connecting these high plateaus with the
    Pacific coast. The great district to which they belong extends
    north and south about two thousand miles. When the marauding
    Spaniards arrived in the country, this whole region was the
    seat of a populous and prosperous empire, complete in its civil
    organization, supported by an efficient system of industry, and
    presenting a very notable development of some of the more important
    arts of civilized life. These ruins differ from those in Mexico
    and Central America. No inscriptions are found in Peru; there
    is no longer a "marvelous abundance of decorations;" nothing is
    seen like the monoliths of Copan, or the bas-reliefs of Palenque.
    The method of building is different; the Peruvian ruins show us
    remains of cities, temples, palaces, other edifices of various
    kinds, fortresses, aqueducts (one of them four hundred and fifty
    miles long), great roads (extending through the whole length of
    the empire), and terraces on the sides of mountains. For all these
    constructions the builders used cut stone laid in mortar or cement,
    and their work was done admirably, but it is everywhere seen that
    the masonry, although sometimes ornamented, was generally plain in
    style and always massive. The antiquities in this region have not
    been as much explored and described as those north of the isthmus,
    but their general character is known, and particular descriptions
    of some of them have been published. [15]

The chief thing to be noted with reference to South American monuments
of ancient civilization is the fact that, if the theory of the
first landing of the Nephite colony from Jerusalem was in South
America, and within modern Chili--then they are located along the
line of supposed Nephite movement from thirty degrees south latitude
northward along the western plateau of South America, though it must
be confessed that during their movements northward the Nephites were
not sufficiently numerous nor did they stay sufficiently long in the
southern part of the region now covered with ancient ruins to erect
such permanent monuments of civilization as are now to be found there
in ruins. In their alleged occupancy of the northern section of the
region it is different. There, in the land of Nephi and the land of
Anti-Lehi-Nephi--supposed to embrace say the northern part of Peru and
Ecuador,--we have reason to believe they stayed a sufficient length of
time and were also sufficiently numerous to leave enduring monuments of
their sojourn in that country. For the existence of the more southern
monuments we must suppose one of two things, or perhaps both of them
united, viz.:

First: Lamanites who remained in the far south paid more attention
to civilized pursuits than has usually been accredited to them, and
the remarks of the Book of Mormon concerning the Lamanites being an
idle people, living upon the fruits of the chase, and their marauding
excursions into Nephite lands are to be more especially applied to
those Lamanites more immediately in contact with the Nephites, while
further southward they were pursuing the arts of peace. Or, second:
that after the fall of the Nephites at Cumorah there were strong
colonies of Lamanites that pushed their way through Central America
down into Peru, subdued the inhabitants who had remained there and
established themselves as the ruling class, constituting, in fact, the
invasion of the Incas, under whom arose the monuments of civilization
found in the land by the Spaniards when they invaded it. The difference
between the monuments found in Peru and those found in Mexico and
Central America arises, in my judgment, from the fact that there was
not present in South America the monuments of the great Jaredite
civilization to crop up through and become intermingled with the
Nephite and Lamanite monuments of civilization.

The whole subject of Book of Mormon peoples being the authors of very
ancient Peruvian civilization is full of difficulty.


_The Mound Builders._

As I have noted South American antiquities, so also I think it
necessary to note the more northern antiquities of North America--the
works of the Mound Builders of the valleys of the Mississippi and its
tributaries. It is matter of common knowledge that throughout the
region of country just named there exists in great number artificial
hillocks of earth, "nearly always constructed," says Nadaillac, "with
a good deal of precision." "They are of various forms, round, oval,
square, very rarely polygonal or triangular. Their height varies from
a few inches to more than ninety feet, and their diameter varies
from three to about a thousand feet." [16] Evidently the mounds
were erected for a variety of purposes, and the author last quoted,
following Mr. Squier [17] and Mr. Short, [18] makes the following
classification: 1, defensive works; 2, sacred enclosures; 3, temples;
4, altar mounds; 5, sepulchral mounds, and 6, mounds representing
animals. Short (_North Americans_, p. 81) gives slightly different
classifications, as follows: I., Enclosures: for defense; for religious
purposes; miscellaneous. II., Mounds of sacrifice: for temple sites; of
sepulchre; of observation." [19]

On the subject of the mounds being erected for purposes of
fortification, Nadaillac says:

    The whole of the space separating the Alleghanies from the Rocky
    Mountains affords a succession of entrenched camps, fortifications
    generally made of earth. There were used ramparts, stockade, and
    trenches near many eminences, and nearly every junction of two
    large rivers. These works bear witness to the intelligence of the
    race, which has so long been looked upon as completely barbarous
    and wild, and an actual system of defences in connection with each
    other can in some cases be made out with observatories on adjacent
    heights, and concentric ridges of earth for the protection of
    the entrances. War was evidently an important subject of thought
    with the Mound Builders. All the defensive remains occur in the
    neighborhood of water courses, and the best proof of the skill
    shown in the choice of sites is shown by the number of flourishing
    cities, such as Cincinnati, St. Louis, Newark, Portsmouth,
    Frankfort, New Madrid, and many others, which have risen in the
    same situations in modern times. [20]

Concerning the matter of the Mound Builders in general we are again
in the presence of a subject concerning which there is very great
diversity of opinions on the part of authorities. Learned opinion is
divided as to whether the mounds represent an indigenous or exotic
civilization; whether they were built by the ancestors of the near or
remote Indian tribes of North America, or by a race now extinct, or
by some mysterious process or other, "vanished." Also they differ as
to the antiquity of the mounds, some ascribing to them quite a recent
origin, and others ascribing to them an antiquity of thousands of
years. It must be obvious that I cannot enter into a consideration of
all these questions, and hence content myself with a few quotations
from those whose information and judgment I most esteem. [21]

Upon the subject of Mound Builders, as upon so many subjects in
American antiquities, I find what Mr. Baldwin has said--except wherein
his remarks are against migrations from other continents for very
ancient American peoples--most acceptable: [22]

    That appears to me the most reasonable suggestion which assumes
    that the Mound Builders came originally from Mexico and Central
    America. It explains many facts connected with their remains. In
    the Great Valley their most populous settlements were at the south.
    Coming from Mexico and Central America, they would begin their
    settlements on the gulf coast, and afterwards advance gradually up
    the river to the Ohio valley. It seems evident that they came by
    this route; and their remains show that their only connection with
    the coast was at the south. Their settlements did not reach the
    coast at any other point.

    Their constructions were similar in design and arrangement to
    those found in Mexico and Central America. Like the Mexicans and
    Central Americans, they had many of the smaller structures known as
    teocallis, and also large, high mounds, with level summits, reached
    by great flights of steps. Pyramidal platforms or foundations for
    important edifices appear in both regions, and are very much alike.
    In Central America important edifices were built of hewn stone, and
    can still be examined in their ruins. The Mound Builders, like some
    of the ancient people of Mexico and Yucatan, used wood, sun-dried
    brick, or some other material that could not resist decay. There
    is evidence that they used timber for building purposes. In one of
    the mounds opened in the Ohio valley two chambers were found with
    remains of the timber of which the walls were made, and with arched
    ceilings precisely like those in Central America, even to the
    overlapping stones. Chambers have been found in some of the Central
    American and Mexican mounds, but there hewn stones were used for
    the walls. In both regions the elevated and terraced foundations
    remain, and can be compared. I have already called attention to the
    close resemblance between them, but the fact is so important in any
    endeavor to explain the Mound Builders that I must bring it to view

    Consider, then, that elevated and terraced foundations for
    important buildings are peculiar to the ancient Mexicans and
    Central Americans; that this method of construction, which, with
    them, was the rule, is found nowhere else, save that terraced
    elevations, carefully constructed, and precisely like theirs in
    form and appearance, occupy a chief place among the remaining
    works of the Mound Builders. The use made of these foundations at
    Palenque, Uxmal and Chichen-Itza, shows the purpose for which they
    were constructed in the Mississippi valley. The resemblance is not
    due to chance. The explanation appears to me very manifest. This
    method of construction was brought to the Mississippi valley from
    Mexico and Central America, the ancient inhabitants of that region
    and the Mound Builders being the same people in race, and also in
    civilization, when it was brought here.

    A very large proportion of the old structures in Ohio and farther
    south called "mounds," namely, those which are low in proportion to
    their horizontal extent, are terraced foundations for buildings,
    and if they were situated in Yucatan, Guatemala, and Mexico, they
    would never be mistaken for anything else. The high mounds also
    in the two regions are remarkably alike. In both cases they are
    pyramidal in shape, and have level summits of considerable extent,
    which were reached by means of stairways on the outside. The great
    mound at Chichen-Itza is 75 feet high, and has on its summit a
    ruined stone edifice; that at Uxmal is 60 feet high, and has a
    similar ruin on its summit; that at Mayapan is 60 feet high; the
    edifice placed on its summit has disappeared. The great mound at
    Miamisburg, Ohio, is 68 feet high; and that at Grave Creek, West
    Virginia, is 75 feet high. Both had level summits, and stairways
    on the outside, but no trace of any structure remains on them. All
    these mounds were constructed for religious uses, and they are, in
    their way, as much alike as any five Gothic churches.

    Could these works of the Mound Builders be restored to the
    condition in which they were when the country was filled with their
    busy communities, we should doubtless see great edifices, similar
    in style to those in Yucatan, standing on the upper terraces of
    all the low and extended "mounds," and smaller structures on the
    high mounds, such as those above named. There would seem to be an
    extension of ancient Mexico and Central America through Texas into
    the Mississippi and Ohio valleys; and so, if there were no massive
    stone work in the old ruins of those countries, it might seem that
    the Mound Builders' works were anciently extended into them by way
    of Texas.

    The fact that the settlements and works of the Mound Builders
    extended through Texas and across the Rio Grande indicates very
    plainly their connection with the people of Mexico, and goes far to
    explain their origin. We have other evidence of intercourse between
    the two peoples; for the obsidian dug from the mounds, and perhaps
    the porphyry also, can be explained only by supposing commercial
    relations between them.

    We can not suppose the Mound Builders to have come from any other
    part of North America, for nowhere else north of the Isthmus was
    there any other people capable of producing such works as they
    left in the places where they dwelt. Beyond the relics of the
    Mound Builders, no traces of the former existence of such a people
    have been discovered in any part of North America save Mexico, and
    Central America, and districts immediately connected with them.
    At the same time it is not unreasonable to suppose the civilized
    people of these regions extended their settlements through Texas,
    and also migrated across the gulf into the Mississippi valley. In
    fact, the connection of settlements by way of Texas appears to have
    been unbroken from Ohio to Mexico.

    This colonizing extension of the old Mexican race must have taken
    place at a remote period in the past; for what has been said of the
    antiquity of the Mound Builders shows that a very long period, far
    more than two thousand years, it may be, must have elapsed since
    they left the valley of the Ohio. Perhaps they found the country
    mostly unoccupied, and saw there but little of any other people
    until an eruption of warlike barbarians came upon them from the
    northwest. * * * * * *

    The supposition that the Toltecs and the Mound Builders were the
    same people seems to me not improbable. The reasons for it will be
    stated when we come to a discussion of the antiquities, books, and
    traditions of Central America. I will only say here that, according
    to dates given in the Central American books, the Toltecs came
    from "Huehue-Tlapalan," a distant country in the northeast, long
    previous to the Christian era. They played a great part and had a
    long career in Mexico previous to the rise of their successors in
    power, the Aztecs, who were overthrown by the Spaniards. [23]

Bancroft, in a general way, coincides with the views of Mr. Baldwin.
Discussing several theories respecting the Mound Builders, he speaks
of this as "the most reasonable [hypothesis], and best supported
by monumental and traditional evidence. The temple-mounds strongly
resemble, in their principal features, the southern pyramids; at least
they imply a likeness of religious ideas in the builders. The use of
obsidian implements shows a connection, either through origin, war,
or commerce, with the Mexican nations, or at least with nations who
came in contact with the Nahuas. There are, moreover, several Nahua
traditions respecting the arrival on their coasts from the northeast,
of civilized strangers." [24] He further says: "I am inclined to
believe that the most plausible conjecture respecting the origin of
the Mound Builders is that which makes them a colony of the ancient
Mayas who settled in the north during the continuance of the great
Maya empire of Xibalba, in Central America, several centuries before
Christ." [25]

It will be observed that these views harmonize almost to completeness
with the requirements of the Book of Mormon for such evidences. Whether
the Jaredites built some of these mounds or not does not so much
matter, though I am inclined to think they did. If some of the earlier
monuments of Central America, such as Copan, Quirigua and Palenque,
represent Jaredite ruins, as I am inclined to believe, then it is most
likely that the truncated mounds in the north--which so much resemble
the stone-faced pyramids of the south--were also built by them.
Undoubtedly, during the two centuries following the advent of Messiah
the Nephites also extended their occupancy of the continent into the
valleys of the Mississippi and its tributaries, and then during the
next two hundred years of troubled warfare, erected the numerous
fortifications throughout that land which now are so distinctly
recognized and spoken of by the authorities which I have here quoted.
In any event it is to be seen that the Book of Mormon requires that
the civilization of the Mississippi valley should find its origin in
Central America, and the fact that such distinguished authorities
recognize Central America as its source, is a strong presumptive
evidence for the truth of the Book of Mormon.


I have now presented to the reader all the matter on that part of
American antiquities pertaining to the extent and location of the
ruined cities and other monuments of ancient American civilization that
my space will allow, and I only pause before closing this chapter to
summarize the ground covered. Beyond question we have established the
following facts:

(1) There existed in ancient times civilized races in both of the
American continents.

(2) The monuments of these civilizations are located chiefly through
Central America, and in the Mississippi valley--lands occupied by the
Jaredites and Nephites respectively; that is to say, the monuments of
these ancient civilizations are found where the Book of Mormon requires
them to be located.

(3) Successive civilizations have existed in America in ancient times;
and the older civilization was the most advanced.

(4) The chief center of this ancient American civilization, and its
oldest and most enduring monuments are in Central America, where
the Book of Mormon locates its oldest race of people, and where
civilization longest prevailed and built its most enduring monuments;
and is the center from which civilization, beyond question, extended
into the north continent.

In making these claims I am not unmindful of the fact that there are
authorities who hold somewhat different views from those whose works I
have so extensively quoted; but I do not believe that the conclusions
here summarized can be disturbed either by facts or theories of those
other authorities. And however divergent the views of authorities may
be, this much can be absolutely claimed, that there is nothing in their
works which, on the matters so far considered, directly conflicts with
the claims of the Book of Mormon; while so much as is here stated is
certainly very strong evidence in its favor.


1. Bancroft, _Native Races_, vol. IV, p. 285.

2. _Native Races_, vol. IV, pp. 361-2.

3. _Conquest of Mexico_, vol. II, pp. 405, 406.

4. _Ancient America_, J. D. Baldwin, ch. 6.

5. _Native Races_, vol. II, pp. 83, 84.

6. One of the old American cities located in Central Guatemala.

7. _Native Races_, vol. IV, p. 128.

8. One of the old cities of northern Yucatan.

9. _Native Races_, vol. IV, p. 361.

10. _Central America_, vol. II, p. 186.

11. _Ancient America_, pp. 155, 156.

12. _Ancient America_, p. 221.

13. _Pre-Historic America_, p. 156.

14. _Pre-Historic America_, p. 165.

15. _Ancient America_, pp. 222, 223.

16. _Pre-Historic America_, p. 81.

17. _Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley_.

18. _Footprints of Vanished Races_.

19. _Pre-Historic America_, pp. 87, 88.

20. _Pre-Historic America_, p. 88.

21. Those desiring to enter upon a further inquiry of this subject will
find it somewhat elaborately treated in Allen's _Pre-Historic World or
Vanished Races_, chapter 10; also Nadaillac's _Pre-Historic America_,
chapter 3; _History of America Before Columbus_, P. De Roo, chapter
3; and in _Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley_, by E. George

22. Throughout this writing I have often felt the need of some sort
of compendious work to guide me in my researches, and in all the
collection of my works upon the subject I have found Mr. Baldwin's
_Ancient America_ the most useful; and should the readers of these
chapters desire a special work upon the subject of American antiquities
I do not think they could find a single book on the subject which would
be more satisfactory than the little work (293 pages) here referred to;
and since I have quoted so extensively from it, I cite the following
to show in what esteem Mr. Baldwin is held by one who is the author of
the most elaborate work on the subject of American antiquities: "Mr.
Baldwin's most excellent little book on _Ancient America_ is the only
comprehensive work treating of this subject now before the public. As a
popular treatise, compressing within a small duodecimo volume the whole
subject of archaeology, including, besides material relics, tradition,
and speculation concerning origin and history as well, this book cannot
be too highly praised." Bancroft's _Native Races_, vol. IV, 2.

23. _Ancient America_, pp. 20-24. Rev. J. G. Fish speaking of some of
these North American mounds declares that "the summit level of some
of them contains more than twelve acres. At their base they appear
like walls stretching up to heaven and it requires but a stretch of
the imagination to fancy them mouldering bastions and ramparts of some
ancient fortress." _Bible in the Balance_, p. 237.

24. _Native Races_, vol. IV, pp. 788, 789.

25. _Native Races_, vol. V, p. 539.



Turning from that branch of American antiquities which deals with the
extent and location of ruined cities and monuments of the ancient
American civilizations to the consideration of American traditions
concerning the origin, migrations, cosmogony, and the religion of
the people of the western world, we by no means leave behind us the
difficulty of divided authorities, and varying opinions. One could not
hope, even in an extended work on the subject, to bring order out of
the chaos which obtains concerning American traditions and mythologies;
therefore, I need say nothing of the futility of attempting it in the
few brief chapters which I have resolved to devote to these traditions.
But this much must be evident respecting the relationship of the Book
of Mormon to American traditions and mythologies, viz., that several
epoch-making incidents in the Book of Mormon must have made such
indelible impressions upon the mind of the ancient peoples of America
that they would be perpetuated in various forms in their traditions.
Such incidents, for example, as the Jaredite and Nephite migrations
from the old world to the western hemisphere; and since the former
colony came directly from the Tower of Babel, it is to be expected
that they would bring with them a knowledge of the creation, the fall
of man, the flood, the escape of Noah and his family by means of the
ark, and the building of the Tower of Babel. Lehi's colony came from
Jerusalem, bringing with them the Jewish scriptures, which speak so
clearly of the creation, the flood, the escape of Noah, the building
of Babel and the confusion of tongues, hence it would be expected
that they, too, would have a knowledge of these chief events in the
history of man down to this last named event, and a knowledge also
of the chief events in the history of Israel down to the time of the
departure of Lehi's colony from Jerusalem--six hundred years B. C.
It is but a reasonable expectation, I say, that these things would
be perpetuated in American traditions and mythologies. Are traces of
them to be found there? So also as to the signs given on the American
continent of Messiah's birth; and certainly as to the signs of his
crucifixion, witnessed by the terrible cataclysms which continued in
the western hemisphere during three hours, followed by three days of
awful darkness. Also some trace in their traditions would be found of
Messiah's personal advent on the American continent to the survivors
of those events. So, too, would the recollection of the golden age
of peace and plenty which followed Messiah's advent, and the promise
of Messiah's return at some future time--some memory of all this
would most likely be perpetuated in native traditions. And while
both traditions and mythologies may be regarded as troubled pools
which, like mirrors shattered into a thousand fragments, distort into
fantastic shapes the objects on their banks, still there is a basis of
truth in them; and American traditions and mythologies may yield up
something of value in the way of evidence to the truth of the Book of
Mormon. Surely we would be greatly disappointed if this turned out not
to be the case, for the historical incidents referred to in the Book
of Mormon are so impressive that they would be found to live in the
traditions of the people, whatever became of their written records. As
remarked by H. H. Bancroft:

    Every trace of the circumstances that give rise to a tradition is
    soon lost, although the tradition itself in curiously modified
    forms is long preserved. Natural convulsions, like floods and
    earthquakes, famines, wars, tribal migrations, naturally leave an
    impression on the savage mind which is not easily effaced, but
    the fable in which the record is embodied may have assumed a form
    so changed and childish that we pass over it today as having no
    historical value, seeking information only in an apparently more
    consistent tale, which may have originated at a recent date from
    some very trivial circumstances. * * * * * But the traditions of
    savages, valueless by themselves for a time more remote than one
    or two generations, begin to assume importance when the events
    narrated have been otherwise ascertained by the records of some
    contemporary nation, throwing indirectly much light on history
    which they were powerless to reveal. [1]

Accepting as reasonable these reflections, I wish to add that having in
part the written records of the people among whom the events happened
of which the traditions treat, we are in possession of that which makes
these traditions assume the importance to which our author alludes. And
while the record referred to--the Book of Mormon--gives the necessary
importance to the traditions, the traditions bear testimony to the
truth of the record at many points.

It should be remembered, however, that such were the conditions
existing among the Lamanites after their triumph at Cumorah, that
everything is confused and distorted into most fantastic shapes and
relations by the idle speculations and vain imaginings of half,
and sometimes wholly, barbarous minds, often bent on concealing or
supplanting the truth by their fabulous inventions.

The limits of this work will not permit anything like an extended
investigation of the field proposed. I shall merely take up the most
important facts and historical events of the Book of Mormon, and seek
confirmation of them in American traditions and myths.


_The Creation._

I begin with the creation; and select upon that subject a passage from
the book of the Quiches [2] of Guatemala called _Popol Vuh_, which, I
believe, exhibits the fact that the ancient Americans held in their
traditions conceptions of creation found in the Jewish scriptures.
A word upon the Popol Vuh will be necessary. This is one of the
most important of the native American books translated into modern
languages. It was found by Dr. Scherzer, in 1854, among the manuscripts
of Francisco Ximenez, "a Dominican father of great repute for his
learning and his love of truth," who, while fulfilling the duties
of his office of curate, in a small Indian town in the highlands of
Guatemala, translated this native book into the Spanish language. It
was written by one or more Quiches in the Quiche language, but in Roman
letters, some time after the Spaniards had occupied Gautemala. The
meaning of _Popol Vuh_ is "National Book," or "Book of the People," but
the real original "National Book" had been lost, and this was written
to replace it. The title of the book, however, is that given to it by
the Abbe Brasseur de Bourbourg, who translated it into French; and by
Ximenez, who translated it into Spanish. This name, Max Muller says,
"is not claimed for it by its author. He [the native author] says that
the wrote when the _Popol Vuh_ [that is, the real original National
Book of the Quiches, and which this book in question was written to
replace] was no longer to be seen. Now, _Popol Vuh_ means the Book of
the People, and referred to the traditional literature in which all
that was known about the early history of the nation, their religion
and ceremonies, was handed down from age to age." [3] Nadaillac,
however, says that _Popol Vuh_ may be translated "Collection of
Leaves." [4] In the conclusion of a long note on the subject Bancroft
says, "We seem justified, then, in taking this document for what
Ximenez and its own evidence declare it to be, viz., a reproduction of
an older work or body of Quiche traditional history, written because
the older work had been lost and was likely to be forgotten; and
written by a Quiche not long after the Spanish conquest." [5]

As the passage I quote is from Bancroft's abridgment of the _Popol
Vuh_, I give also his brief explanation of the book:

    Of all American peoples the Quiches, of Guatemala, have left us
    the richest mythological legacy. Their description of the creation
    as given in the _Popol Vuh_, which may be called the national
    book of the Quiches, is in its rude, strange eloquence and poetic
    originality, one of the rarest relics of aboriginal thought.
    Although obliged in reproducing it to condense somewhat, I have
    endeavored to give not only the substance, but also, as far as
    possible, the peculiar style and phraseology of the original. It is
    with this primeval picture, whose simple, silent sublimity is that
    of the inscrutable past, that we begin: [6]

And now the passage on the creation:

    And the heaven was formed, and all the signs thereof set in their
    angle and alignment, and its boundaries fixed toward the four
    winds by the Creator and Former, and Mother and Father of life
    and existence--he by whom all move and breathe, the Father and
    Cherisher of the peace of nations and of the civilization of his
    people--he whose wisdom has projected the excellence of all that is
    on the earth, or in the lakes, or in the sea.

    Behold the first word and the first discourse. There was as yet
    no man, nor any animal, nor bird, nor fish, nor crawfish, nor any
    pit, nor ravine, nor green herb, nor any tree; nothing was but the
    firmament. The face of the earth had not yet appeared, only the
    peaceful sea and all the space of heaven. There was nothing yet
    joined together, nothing that clung to anything else; nothing that
    balanced itself, that made the least rustling, that made a sound
    in the heaven. There was nothing that stood up; nothing but the
    quiet water, but the sea, calm and alone in its boundaries; nothing
    existed; nothing but immobility and silence, in the darkness, in
    the night.

    Alone also the Creator, the Former, the Dominator, the Feathered
    Serpent, those that engender, those that give being, they are upon
    the water, like growing light. They are enveloped in green and
    blue; and therefore their name is Gucumatz. Lo, now how the heavens
    exist, how exists also the Heart of Heaven; such is the name of
    God; it is thus that he is called. And they speak; they consulted
    together and meditated; they mingled their words and their opinion.
    And the creation was verily after this wise: Earth, they said,
    and on the instant it was formed; like a cloud or a fog was its
    beginning. Then the mountains rose over the water like great
    lobsters; in an instant the mountains and the plains were visible,
    and the cypress and the pine appeared. Then was the Gucumatz filled
    with joy, crying out: Blessed be thy coming, O Heart of Heaven,
    Hurakan, Thunderbolt. Our work and our labor has accomplished its

    The earth and its vegetation having thus appeared, it was peopled
    with the various forms of animal life. And the Makers said to the
    animals: Speak now our name, honor us, as your mother and father;
    invoke Hurakan, the Lightning-flash, the Thunderbolt, that strikes,
    the Heart of Heaven, the Heart of the Earth, the Creator and
    Former, him who begets, and him who gives being, speak, call on us,
    salute us! So was it said to the animals. But the animals could
    not answer; they could not speak at all after the manner of men;
    they could only cluck, and croak, each murmuring after his kind in
    a different manner. This displeased the Creators, and they said to
    the animals: Inasmuch as ye can not praise us, neither call upon
    our names, your flesh shall be humiliated; it shall be broken with
    teeth; ye shall be killed and eaten.

    Again the gods took counsel together; they determined to make man.
    So they made a man of clay; and when they had made him, they saw
    that it was not good. He was without cohesion, without consistence,
    motionless, strengthless, inept, watery, he could not move his
    head, his face looked but one way; his sight was restricted, he
    could not look behind him; he had been endowed with language, but
    he had no intelligence, so he was consumed in the water.

    Again is there counsel in heaven: Let us make an intelligent being
    who shall adore and invoke us. It was decided that a man should be
    made of wood and a woman of a kind of pith. They were made; but
    the result was in no wise satisfactory. They moved about perfectly
    well, it is true; they increased and multiplied; they peopled
    the world with sons and daughters, little wooden mannikins like
    themselves; but still the heart and the intelligence were wanting;
    they held no memory of their Maker and Former; they led a useless
    existence, they lived as the beasts lived; they forgot the Heart of
    Heaven. They were but an essay, an attempt at men; they had neither
    blood, nor substance, nor moisture, nor fat; their cheeks were
    shrivelled, their feet and hands dried up; their flesh languished.

    Then was the Heart of Heaven wroth; and he sent ruin and
    destruction upon those ingrates; he rained upon them night and day
    from heaven with a thick resin; and the earth was darkened. And the
    men went mad with terror; they tried to mount upon the roofs and
    the houses fell; they tried to climb the trees and the trees shook
    them far from their branches; they tried to hide in the caves and
    the dens of the earth, but these closed their holes against them.
    The bird Xecotcovach came to tear out their eyes; and the Camalotz
    cut off their head; and the Cotzbalam devoured their flesh; and the
    Tecumbalam broke and bruised their bones to powder. Thus were they
    all devoted to chastisement and destruction, save only a few who
    were preserved as memorials of the wooden men that had been; and
    these now exist in the woods as little apes.

    Once more are the gods in council; in the darkness, in the night
    of a desolate universe do they commune together, of what shall we
    make man? And the Creator and Former made four perfect men; and
    wholly of yellow and white maize was their flesh composed. These
    were the names of the four men that were made: the name of the
    first was Balam-Quitz; of the second, Balam-Agab; of the third,
    Muhucutah; and the fourth, Iqi-Balam. They had neither father
    nor mother, neither were they made by the ordinary agents in the
    work of creation; but their coming into existence was a miracle
    extraordinary wrought by the special intervention of him who is
    preeminently the Creator. Verily, at last, were there found men
    worthy of their origin and their destiny; verily, at last, did the
    gods look on beings who could see with their eyes, and handle with
    their hands, and understand with their hearts. Grand of countenance
    and broad of limb the four sires of our race stood up under the
    white rays of the morning star. Sole light as yet of the primeval
    world--stood up and looked. Their great clear eyes swept rapidly
    over all; they saw the woods and the rocks, the lakes and the sea,
    the mountains and the valleys, and the heavens that were above all;
    and they comprehended all and admired exceeding. Then they returned
    thanks to those who had made the world and all that therein was: We
    offer up our thanks, twice--yea verily, thrice! We have received
    life; we speak, we walk, we taste; we hear and understand; we
    know, both that which is near and that which is far off; we see
    all things, great and small, in all the heaven and earth. Thanks,
    then, Maker and Former, Father and Mother of our life! we have been
    created; we are.

    But the gods were not wholly pleased with this thing; Heaven they
    thought had overshot its mark; these men were too perfect; knew,
    understood, and saw too much. Therefore there was council again in
    heaven: What shall we do with man now? It is not good, this that
    we see; these are as gods; they would make themselves equal with
    us; lo, they know all things, great and small. Let us now contract
    their sight, so that they may see only a little of the surface of
    the earth and be content. Thereupon the Heart of Heaven breathed a
    cloud over the pupil of the eyes of men, and a veil came over it as
    when one breathes on the face of a mirror, thus was the globe of
    the eye darkened; neither was that which was far off clear to it
    any more, but only that which was near.

    Then the four men slept, and there was council in heaven: and four
    women were made, to Balam-Quitze was allotted Caha-Paluma to wife;
    to Balam-Agab, Chomiha; to Muhucutah, Tzununiha; and to Iqi-Balam,
    Cakixaha. Now the women were exceedingly fair to look upon; and
    when the men awoke, their hearts were glad because of the women.

Notwithstanding some incongruities in the foregoing passage a
comparison of it with the account of creation in Genesis will not
fail to convince the thoughtful reader that the Quiche story of the
creation, and that of Genesis doubtless had the same origin, and
after reading it again and again, as suggested by Max Muller, one
must come to the conclusion that "some salient features standing out
more distinctly, make us feel that there was a ground work of noble
conceptions which has been covered and distorted by an aftergrowth of
fantastic nonsense." [7] Indeed, so "startling," as Muller further
remarks, are some of the coincidences between the Old Testament and
the Quiche manuscripts that it has been suspected by some authors
[8] that the Quiche writers followed rather the Spanish, Christian
teachings than the Quiche tradition in that part of their work; "yet
even if a Christian influence has to be admitted," remarks our author,
"much remains in these American traditions which is so different from
anything else in the national literature of other countries that we
may safely treat it as the genuine growth of the intellectual soil
of America." [9] In the light which the Book of Mormon throws upon
the subject, however, we are not under the necessity of admitting
the "Christian influence" referred to by Muller; that is, that the
natives arrived at the Biblical knowledge of the creation facts after
the advent of the Christians among them, since the Jaredites brought
with them a knowledge of creation as held by antediluvians, and the
Nephites brought with them a knowledge of that same account of creation
as crystallized in the writings of Moses, which undoubtedly became
permanently fixed both in the written records and traditions of the
native inhabitants of America; and which are reflected in this old
Quiche book, _Popol Vuh_.

There is a quotation from another authority that I wish to add to the
statement of Professor Max Muller in the foregoing, relative to the
creation ideas of the Quiches, being a "groundwork of noble conceptions
which has been covered and distorted by an aftergrowth of fantastic
nonsense." That additional authority--though the remark I quote has
reference to another people, the Aztecs, is in the same line of thought
as that which Professor Muller suggests, but applied to the whole
religion of the natives--is from Prescott:

    In contemplating the religious system of the Aztecs, one is
    struck with its apparent incongruity, as if some portion of it
    had emanated from a comparatively refined people, open to gentle
    influences, while the rest breathes a spirit of unmitigated
    ferocity. It naturally suggests the idea of two distinct sources,
    and authorities the belief that the Aztecs had inherited from their
    predecessors a milder faith, on which was afterwards engrafted
    their own mythology. The latter soon became dominant, and gave
    its dark coloring to the creeds of the conquered nations--which
    the Mexicans, like the ancient Romans, seem willingly to have
    incorporated into their own, until the same funereal superstitions
    settled over the farthest borders of Anahuac. [10]

If the noted German and American authors respectively had been writing
with full knowledge of what the Book of Mormon reveals on this subject,
they could not more exactly have stated the case than they have here
done, though enlightened only by the facts they discovered in the
religion of the natives; for surely the Book of Mormon gives us the
information that both the Jaredite and the Nephite people had knowledge
of the true God, and the latter, especially, a full knowledge of the
mild and gentle religion taught by Jesus Christ; which religion,
however, was subverted in the western world, and overlaid by the
revolting superstition and horribly ferocious idolatry, attended by
human sacrifice and cannibalism of the Lamanites or Aztecs.

    Another point of the coincidence [between native American
    traditions and the Bible] is found in the goddess Cioacoatl, "our
    lady and mother;" "the first goddess who brought forth;" "who
    bequeathed the suffering of childbirth to women, as the tribute of
    death;" "by whom sin came into the world." Such was the remarkable
    language applied by the Aztecs to this venerated deity. She was
    usually represented with a serpent near her; and her name signified
    the "serpent-woman." In all this we see much to remind us of the
    mother of the human family, the Eve of the Hebrew and Syrian
    nations. [11]

On this passage Prescott also has the following note:

    Torquemada, not content with the honest record of his predecessor,
    whose manuscripts lay before him, tells us, that the Mexican Eve
    had two sons, Cain and Abel. [12] The ancient interpreters of the
    Vatican and Tellerian Codices add the further tradition, of her
    bringing sin and sorrow into the world by plucking the forbidden
    rose; (_Antiquities of Mexico_, vol. VI, explan. of Plate. 7,
    20); and Veytia remembers to have seen a Toltec or Aztec map,
    representing a garden with a single tree in it, round which was
    coiled the serpent with a human face! (_Hist. Antiq_., lib. 1, ch.
    1). [13]

"After this," continues Prescott, sarcastically, "we may be prepared
for Lord Kingsborough's deliberate confession that the Aztecs had
a clear knowledge of the Old Testament and most probably of the
New, though somewhat corrupted by time and hieroglyphics!" I see no
occasion for the sarcasm on the part of the admirable author of the
_Conquest of Mexico_, since he himself furnishes much of the material
that would warrant a conclusion similar to that of Kingsborough.
[14] Kingsborough's conclusion comes in his note two, [15] in which
he deals with "American traditions which appear to be derived from a
Hebrew source;" and as the passage referred to by Prescott is of great
value as material in proof not only of his lordship's position that
the ancient Americans were acquainted with portions, at least, of the
Old Testament, but also sustains the truth of the Book of Mormon at a
number of points--which will be noted later--I give it _in extenso_:

    It is unnecessary to attempt in this place to trace out any further
    scriptural analogies in the traditions and mythology of the New
    World, since the coincidences which have been already mentioned are
    sufficiently strong to warrant the conclusion that the Indians,
    at a period long antecedent to the arrival of the Spaniards in
    America, were acquainted with a portion at least of the Old
    Testament, although time, superstition, and above all, such an
    imperfect mode of transmitting to posterity the memory of the past
    events as that of painting, had greatly corrupted their ancient
    traditions. We shall close these observations with the following
    curious extract from Torquemada, from which it might appear that
    even the New Testament had been known to the Indians: "Another
    ecclesiastic, named Brother Diege de Mercado, a grave father, who
    has been definer of this province of the Holy Gospel, and one of
    the most exemplary men and greatest doers of penance of his time,
    relates, and authenticates this relation with his signature, that
    some years ago conversing with an aged Indian of the Otomies, above
    seventy years old, respecting matters concerning our faith, the
    Indian told him that they in ancient times had been in possession
    of a book which was handed down successively from father to son, in
    the person of the eldest, who was dedicated to the safe custody of
    it and to instruct others in its doctrines. These doctrines were
    written in two columns, and between column and column Christ was
    painted crucified, with a countenance as of anger. They accordingly
    said that God was offended; and out of reverence did not turn over
    the leaves with their hands, but with a small bar which they had
    made for that purpose, which they kept along with the book. On
    this ecclesiastic's questioning the Indian as to the contents of
    that book and its doctrines, he was unable to give him further
    information, but simply replied that if the book had not been lost,
    he would have seen that the doctrine which he taught and preached
    to them, and those which the book contained, were the same; that
    the book had rotted in the earth, where the persons who kept it had
    buried it on the arrival of the Spaniards. He likewise informed
    him that they knew the world had been destroyed by the deluge, and
    that only seven persons had escaped in the ark, and that all the
    rest had perished, together with the animals and birds, excepting
    those which had been saved therein. They were also acquainted with
    the embassy of the angel of Our Lady, under a figure, relating
    that something very white, like the feather of a bird, fell from
    heaven, and that a virgin stooped down and took it up and put it
    in her bosom and became pregnant; but what she brought forth they
    could not tell. What they said of the deluge, is attested likewise
    in Guatemala by the Indians named Achies, who assert that they
    possessed paintings recording the event, with other matters of
    antiquity, all of which the Brothers, [Spanish Catholic priests]
    with the spirit and zeal with which they were animated for the
    destruction of idolatry, took from them and burnt, holding them to
    be suspicious. [16]


_The Flood._

I next call attention to the native American traditions concerning
the flood, consulting those passages, however, let me say, which most
nearly resemble the account of our Hebrew scriptures; and without
pretending to enter into an exhaustive consideration of native flood
myths. My purpose is accomplished in this, as in the matter of the
traditions concerning the creation, if I produce those proofs which,
in my judgment, establish the fact that the native Americans have been
made acquainted with the facts of the creation and the flood, found
in our Jewish scriptures; and I am not at all concerned here with the
variations that native traditions have given to the main truths.

The following is from Prescott:

    No tradition has been more widely spread among nations than that
    of a Deluge. Independently of tradition, indeed, it would seem to
    be naturally suggested by the interior structure of the earth,
    and by the elevated places on which marine substances are found
    to be deposited. It was the received notion under some form or
    other, of the most civilized people in the Old World, and of
    the barbarians of the new. The Aztecs combine with this some
    particular circumstances of a more arbitrary character, resembling
    the accounts of the east. They believed that two persons survived
    the deluge, a man, named Coxcox and his wife. Their heads are
    represented in ancient paintings, together with a boat floating on
    the waters, at the foot of a mountain. A dove is also depicted,
    with the hieroglyphical emblem of languages in his mouth, which he
    is distributing to the children of Coxcox, who were born dumb. The
    neighboring people of Michuacan, inhabiting the same high plains
    of the Andes, had a still further tradition, that the boat, in
    which Tezpi, their Noah, escaped, was filled with various kinds of
    animals and birds. After some time, a vulture was sent out from
    it, but remained feeding on the dead bodies of the giants, which
    had been left on the earth, as the waters subsided. The little
    humming-bird, huititzilin, was then sent forth, and returned with a
    twig in its mouth. The coincidence of both these accounts with the
    Hebrew and Chaldean narratives is obvious. [17]

This is from Bancroft:

    In Nicaragua, a country where the principal language was a Mexican
    dialect, it was believed that ages ago the world was destroyed by
    a flood in which the most part of mankind perished. Afterward the
    teotes, or gods, restocked the earth as at the beginning. [18]

    Connected with the great flood of water, there is a Mexican
    tradition presenting some analogies to the story of Noah and his
    ark. In most of the painted manuscripts supposed to relate to this
    event, a kind of boat is represented floating over the waste of
    water and containing a man and a woman. Even the Tlascaltecs, and
    Zapotecs, the Miztecs, and the people of Michoacan are said to have
    had such pictures. The man is variously called Coxcox, Teocipactli,
    Tezpi, and Nata; the woman Xochiquetzal and Nena. The following has
    been usually accepted as the ordinary Mexican version of this myth:
    In Atonatiuh, the Age of water, a great flood covered all the face
    of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof were turned into fishes.
    Only one man and one woman escaped, saving themselves in the hollow
    trunk of an ahahuete or bald cypress; the name of the man being
    Coxcox, and that of his wife Zochiquetzal. On the waters abating a
    little they grounded their ark on the Peak of Colhuacan, the Ararat
    of Mexico. Here they increased and multiplied, and children began
    to gather about them, children who were all born dumb. And a dove
    came and gave them tongues, innumerable languages. Only fifteen of
    the descendants of Coxcox, who afterward became heads of families,
    spake the same language or could at all understand each other;
    and from these fifteen are descended the Toltecs, the Aztecs, and
    the Acolhuas. * * * * * * In Michoacan a tradition was preserved,
    following which the name of the Mexican Noah was Tezpi. With
    better fortune than that ascribed to Coxcox, he was able to save,
    in a spacious vessel, not only himself and his wife, but also his
    children, several animals, and a quantity of grain for the common
    use. When the waters began to subside, he sent out a vulture that
    it might go to and fro on the earth and bring him word again when
    dry land began to appear. But the vulture fed upon the carcasses
    that were strewn in every part, and never returned. Then Tezpi sent
    out other birds, and among these was a humming-bird. And when the
    sun began to cover the earth with a new verdure, the humming-bird
    returned to its old refuge bearing green leaves. And Tezpi saw that
    his vessel was aground near the mountain of Colhuacan and he landed
    there. [19]

    The Peruvians had several flood-myths. One of them relates that the
    whole face of the earth was changed by a great deluge, attended by
    an extraordinary eclipse of the sun which lasted five days. All
    living things were destroyed except one man, a shepherd, with his
    family and flocks. * * * * According to another Peruvian legend,
    two brothers escaped from a great deluge which overwhelmed the
    world in much the same manner, by ascending a mountain which
    floated upon the flood. When the waters had retired, they found
    themselves alone in the world; and having consumed all their
    provisions, they went down into the valleys to seek for more food.

The following is from Lord Kingsborough's works:

    The Peruvians were acquainted with the deluge, and believed
    that the rainbow was the sign that the earth would not again be
    destroyed by water. This is plain from the speech which Mango
    Capac, the reported founder of the Peruvian empire, addressed to
    his companions on beholding the rainbow rising from a hill; which
    is thus recorded by Balboa in the ninth chapter of the third
    part of his _Miscellanea Antarctica_: "They traveled on until a
    mountain, at present named Guanacauri, presented itself to their
    view, when, on a certain morning, they beheld the rainbow rising
    above the mountain, with one extremity resting upon it, when Mango
    Capac exclaimed to his companions, This is a propitious sign that
    the world will not be again destroyed by water; follow me, let
    us climb to the summit of this mountain, that we may thence have
    a view of the place which is destined for our future habitation.
    Having cast lots and performed various superstitious ceremonies,
    after this manner, they directed their course towards the mountain.
    It is scarcely necessary to observe, that to draw omens or to
    determine chances by throwing lots, was an ancient Hebrew custom,
    resorted to on the most solemn, as well as the most trivial
    occasions. Proof having been afforded in the passage quoted from
    the history of Balboa, that the Peruvians were acquainted with the
    history of the rainbow, as given in the ninth chapter of Genesis,
    it may be interesting to add, that according to the account of
    an anonymous writer, they believed that the rainbow was not only
    a passive sign that the earth would not be destroyed by a second
    deluge, but an active instrument to prevent the recurrence of
    such a catastrophe: the latter curious notion proceeded upon the
    assumption that as the water of the sea (which, like the Jews, they
    believe to encircle the whole earth) would have a tendency to rise
    after excessive falls of rain, so the pressure of the extremities
    of the rainbow upon its surface would prevent its exceeding its
    proper level. [21]

Nadaillac calls attention to the fact of a general belief in a deluge
or a flood among the American races and comments upon the fact that we
are dependent upon writers for our account of the traditions who are
not always free from mental bias and who have derived their information
from individuals who had been subjected to missionary teachings and who
were more or less familiar with what he calls the myths and legends
of the Christians. "Notwithstanding these disadvantages," he remarks,
however, "it will be seen that a general belief, for instance, of a
deluge or flood is widely spread among American races, and can hardly
be attributed to Christian teachings." [22]

One might continue quoting passages of the foregoing character
indefinitely, but I consider what has been set down on these matters
sufficient. [23]


1. The reader will find preceding the table of contents in this volume
a pronunciation of the principal Spanish and Mexican proper names found
in this work.

2. _Chips from a German Workshop_, vol. I, p. 325.

3. _Pre-Historic America_, p. 144, note.

4. _Native Races_, vol. III, pp. 42, 43.

5. _Native Races_, vol. III, pp. 42, 43. [24]

6. _Chips from a German Workshop_, vol. I, pp. 328-9.

7. Nadaillac _Pre-Historic America_, p. 144, note. This writer says of
the book in question. "It contains several details strangely resembling
those of Genesis, and some have seen in them an adaptation by a pious
fraud of Indian mythology to the dogmas of Christianity."

8. _Chips from a German Workshop_, p. 128.

9. _Conquest of Mexico_, vol. I, Prescott, p. 62.

10. _Conquest of Mexico_, Prescott, vol. II, p. 387.

11. _Morarch Ind_., lib. 6, chap. 31.

12. Prescott, _Conquest of Mexico_, vol. II, pp. 387, 388, note.

13. See Appendix no. 1, vol. II, of Prescott's _Conquest of Mexico_.

14. Vol. VI, Kingsborough's _Antiquities of Mexico_, pp. 401-409.

15. _Antiquities of Mexico_, Kingsborough, vol. XI, p. 409.

16. _Conquest of Mexico_, Prescott, vol. II, appendix pp. 385, 386.

17. _Native Races_, Bancroft, vol. III, p. 75.

18. _Native Races_, vol. III, pp. 65-67.

19. _Native Races_, vol. V, pp. 14, 16.

20. Kingsborough's _Mexican Antiquities_, vol. VIII, p. 25, note.

21. _Pre-Historic America_, p. 525.

22. Whoever desires to pursue the subject further may do so by
consulting Bancroft's _Native Races_, vol. V, chapter one, and vol.
III, chapter two; as also the works of Prescott, the monumental volumes
of Kingsborough, (the latter can be accessible to but few, however),
and chapter 5 of Ignatius Donnelley's _Atlantis_. Also _Pre-Historic
America_ (Nadaillac), chapter 10, and _The History of America Before
Columbus_, (De Roo) vol. I, chapter sixteen.

23. _Native Races_, vol. V, pp. 137, 138.



Always closely allied with the native American traditions of a deluge
are those which bear close analogy to the Bible account of the
existence of giants in the earth, [1] of the Tower of Babel, [2] the
confusion of languages, [3] the dispersion of mankind throughout the
earth, [4] including migrations to this western hemisphere. The first
four items above enumerated will be recognized as Bible events; while
the last will be remembered as a very important Book of Mormon event
fulfilled in the migration of the Jaredite colony from the Tower of
Babel to the western hemisphere. [5] But as the Nephite migration, as
also that of Mulek's colony, is committed to the traditions of the
native Americans, one must not be surprised if these several migrations
are sometimes confounded, resulting in confusion that is quite


_Tradition of the Tower of Babel_

    On the way between Vera Cruz and the capital not far from the
    modern city of Puebla, stands the venerable relic, with which the
    reader has become familiar in the course of this narrative--called
    the temple of Cholulua. It is, as he will remember, a pyramidal
    mound, built, or rather cased, with unburnt brick, rising to
    the height of nearly one hundred and eighty feet. The popular
    tradition of the natives is that it was erected by a family of
    giants, who had escaped the great inundation, and designed to raise
    the building to the clouds; but the gods, offended with their
    presumption, sent fires from heaven on the pyramid, and compelled
    them to abandon the attempt. The partial coincidence of this legend
    with the Hebrew account of the Tower of Babel, received also by
    other nations of the east, cannot be denied. [6]

Prescott also has a footnote on this passage, from which I make the
following quotation:

    A tradition, very similar to the Hebrew one, existed among the
    Chaldeans and the Hindoos. (_Asiatic Researches_, vol. III, mem.
    16.) The natives of Chiapa, also, according to the bishop Nuez
    de la Vega, had a story, cited as genuine by Humboldt (_Vues des
    Cordilleres_, p. 148), which not only agrees with the scripture
    account of the manner in which Babel was built, but with that of
    the subsequent dispersion, and the confusion of tongues. [7]

    Ixtlilxochitl the Christian descendant of the ancient rulers of
    Anahuac, relates that after the dispersion of the human race which
    succeeded the attempt at building the Tower of Babel (which he had
    learned from his Catholic instructors) [8] seven Toltecs reached
    America and became the parents of a numerous race. The Quiches
    speak of white men who came from the land of the sun. The people of
    Yucatan believe that their ancestors had come from the east, across
    a great body of water that God had dried up to let them pass over.

    The Mexicans round Cholula had a special legend, connecting the
    escape of a remnant from the great deluge with the often mentioned
    story of the origin of the people of Anahuac from Chicomoztoc, or
    the Seven Caves. At the time of the cataclysm, [i. e. the flood]
    the country, according to Pedro de los Rios, was inhabited by
    giants. Some of these perished utterly; others were changed into
    fishes; while seven brothers of them found safety by closing
    themselves into certain caves in a mountain called Tlaloc. When
    the waters were assuaged, one of the giants, Xelhua, surnamed
    the architect, went to Cholula and began to build an artificial
    mountain, as a monument and a memorial of the Tlaloc that had
    sheltered him and his when the angry waters swept through all the
    land. The bricks were made in Tlamanalco, at the foot of the Sierra
    de Cocotl, and passed to Chulua from hand to hand along a file of
    men--whence these came is not said--stretching between the two
    places. Then were the jealousy and the anger of the gods aroused,
    as the huge pyramid arose slowly up, threatening to reach the
    clouds and the great heaven itself; and the gods launched their
    fire upon the builders and slew many, so that the work was stopped.
    But the half-finished structure, afterwards dedicated by the
    Cholultecs to Quetzalcoatl, still remains to show how well Xelhua,
    the giant, deserved his surname of the Architect. [10]

"The Tower of Babel is," indeed, clearly remembered by several
aboriginal nations of our continent," says P. DeRoo, "especially of
Central America," and then he adds:

    Ixtlilxochitl relates the tradition of the Toltecs, according
    to which the few men who escaped the deluge, after multiplying
    again, built a "zacuali" or tower of great height, in which to
    take refuge when the world should be destroyed a second time.
    After this their tongues became confused and, not understanding
    one another any longer, they went to different parts of the world.
    The Toltecs, seven in number, and their wives, who understood
    one another's speech, after crossing great lands and seas and
    undergoing many hardships, finally arrived in America, which they
    found to be a good land and fit for habitation. When Coxcox and
    his wife Xochiquetzal had landed on the peak of Calhuacan they
    increased and multiplied, and children began to gather about them;
    but these were all born dumb. A dove came, however, and gave them
    tongues, innumerable languages. On an ancient hieroglyphical map,
    first published by Carreri, who was vindicated from suspicion as
    to his integrity by Boturini, Clavigero, and von Humboldt, there
    is also depicted a dove with the hieroglyphic emblem of languages,
    which it is distributing to the children of Coxcox. Only fifteen
    of the descendants of Coxcox could not all understand one another,
    and these were the ancestors of the Nahua nations. Thus runs the
    Mexican tradition, which the learned Von Humboldt further relates
    when he says, "Wodan, one of the fifteen ancestors of the American
    nations, was a grandson of the venerable old man, who with his
    family escaped the fury of the flood, and was one of those who,
    according to the Chiapan legend, had helped in building the
    monument that was to reach heaven but remained unfinished through
    the anger of the gods. After each family had received a different
    language, Teotl ordered Wodan to go and settle Anahuac" [11]--(the
    Mexican table land).

    The Cholulan tradition, as told by Duran, differs somewhat from
    the foregoing version. "I inquired," he says, "about the ancient
    Mexican legends, from a native of Cholula who was a hundred years
    old, and well versed in the antiquities of his tribe. 'Take pen and
    paper,' he answered me, 'because you could not remember all that
    I am to tell you: At first, there was nothing but a dark world,
    without any creature in it; but as soon as light was made with the
    sun rising in the east, gigantic men with ugly features made their
    appearance and took possession of this earth. Desirous of knowing
    the rising and the setting of the sun, they divided themselves into
    two groups, those of one group traveling east on their search, and
    the others west, until the ocean prevented them from going any
    further. They returned, therefore, and, unable to get at the sun by
    his rising or sinking, whilst, however, they were enamoured with
    his light and beauty, they decided to build a tower tall enough to
    reach him in his course. They set out gathering materials, found
    clay and a very sticky bitumen, and they hurried on to erect the
    tower, and raised it so high that, they say, it seemed to attain to
    the sky. And the Lord above, annoyed at their work, spoke to the
    inhabitants of heaven: 'You have noticed how those of the world
    have built a high and superb tower to climb up higher, after the
    beauty and light of the sun; come and let us confound them, for it
    is not right that those of the world living in the flesh, should
    mix up with us.' The inhabitants of heaven sallied forth at once,
    like thunderbolts, by the four corners of the earth and demolished
    the monument. Terrified and trembling, the giants fled in every
    direction.'" [12]

Passages of like description to these might be multiplied, but the
foregoing are sufficient for our purpose here. [13]

I have already called attention to the fact that authorities upon the
subject of traditions and legends of the new world are as much divided
and as irreconcilable as they are upon the origin and antiquity of
American ruins. A number of writers, especially those of recent date,
seek to discount the value of the analogy which is plainly evident
between these native American accounts of the creation, the flood,
the building of the Tower of Babel, the confusion of tongues, the
dispersion of mankind, and the Bible accounts of the same events; but
I fail to find any reason advanced sufficiently strong to discredit
the obvious analogy, and the significance there is in such analogy,
viz., that the native Americans in ancient times were acquainted with
the Bible facts concerning these several things. Those who accept the
Book of Mormon know by what means and how the ancient Americans became
acquainted with these scriptural truths. Those writers who seek to
discredit the native traditions resort in the main to the theory that
these so-called creation, flood, and tower legends have not escaped
the "renovating touch of the Spanish priests and chroniclers, who,
throughout their writings, seem to think it their bounden duty to make
the ideas of the history of the new world correspond to those of the
old;" [14] while others see in them an adaptation by pious fraud of
Indian mythologies to Bible statements. [15] Such Nadaillac represents
the theories of some other writers to be; but he himself, in speaking
of a number of traditions which resemble Bible historical incidents,
disclaims the necessity of accrediting them to Christian origin:

    A general belief * * * * in a deluge or flood is widely spread
    among the American races, and can hardly be attributed to Christian
    teachings. * * * * * * It is probable that all these traditions
    have some foundations in truth. * * * * No dissemination of merely
    Christian ideas since the conquest is sufficient to account for
    these myths. [16]

With the Book of Mormon in hand, however, one does not need to
accept these strained explanations nor this wholesale repudiation
of the writings of respectable authorities on the validity of these
legends among native Americans, derived--not as some would have us
believe, from picture-paintings of the natives alone, but from these,
supplemented by the oral traditions of the natives. The source of
traditions here referred to is made clear by the Book of Mormon.



As already stated, some confusion exists in native American traditions
relative to migrations. This doubtless arises from the fact that the
native traditions confound the three great migrations of which the Book
of Mormon speaks, viz., the Jaredite, Nephite and Mulek migrations, and
also the subsequent intercontinental movements among both Nephites and
Lamanites, especially those following the disaster at Cumorah, with the
general migrations from the old world. This confusion in the native
traditions results in dividing the writers on American antiquities,
both in respect of the number of migrations and the direction whence
they came, as also the time of them. It should be stated that there
are some respectable authorities who doubt ancient migrations at all,
holding the native population of America, and also its civilization, to
be indigenous.

Migration passages already quoted in connection with the Tower of
Babel matter, are as follows: "The Toltecs reached America [from the
Tower] and became the founders of a numerous race." "The Quiches speak
of white men who came from the land of the sun. The people of Yucatan
believe that their ancestors had come from the east across a great body
of water that God had dried up to let them pass over." [17] Here it
will be observed that with these traditions of the migration from the
east has been coupled the Bible story of the Israelites crossing the
Red Sea, through which God opened a way to let them pass. [18]

It is also to be observed that in some instances the American
traditions fix the building of the notable tower to escape floods in
the western world. [19] Not a surprising variation when one considers
how oral tradition, unchecked by written annals, distorts facts. From
another passage already given, [20] after referring to the facts of
the confusion of languages, it is stated that the people went to
different parts of the world; then, "the Toltecs, seven in number,
and their wives, who understood one another's speech, after crossing
great lands and seas and undergoing great hardships, finally arrived
in America, which they found to be good land and fit for habitation. *
* * Only fifteen of the descendants of Coxcox could at all understand
one another, and these were the ancestors of the Nahuac nations."
[21] In this last quotation one perceives very clearly in outline the
story of the Jaredite migration as follows: First, the number of the
colony is small. The Book of Ether represents that the Jaredite colony
crossed the great waters between their native land and America in eight
barges; [22] and they were small. [23] The two principal families of
this colony, that of Moriancumr and Jared, some time after reaching
America, are set down as follows: The former had of sons and daughters
twenty-two; while the number of sons and daughters of the latter were
twelve, he having four sons. Some of these sons and daughters may,
of course, have been born en route to, and after the arrival in,
America--that, at least, is a very great probability--and hence the
original colony would be cut down by as many as were so born. [24] The
number of "friends" of Jared and his brother who accompanied them from
Babel to America are set down at "about twenty and two souls, and they
also begat sons and daughters before they came to the promised land.
[25] This may mean that the twenty-two friends were all adults, while
the number of children is not given; or it may mean that they numbered
twenty-two including children. In any event the Jaredite colony was not
large, and it is quite possible that the families were not more than
seven in number as held in the native tradition before us.

Second, the American traditions represent that the colony which
came from the tower and peopled America all understood each other's
language, and the number of them was fifteen; which, if this number
represents the adult members of the colony, we have again about the
seven families indicated in the foregoing passage; and it will be
remembered that when the Lord made known to the prophet Moriancumr that
he was about to confound the languages of the people, his brother Jared
suggested to him that he ask the Lord not to confound their language;
"and it came to pass that the brother of Jared did cry unto the Lord,
and the Lord had compassion upon Jared, therefore he did not confound
the language of Jared." [26] A second appeal was made in behalf of
their friends (who we have already learned numbered twenty-two) that
their language might not be confounded; "and the Lord had compassion
upon their friends, and upon their families also, that they were not
confounded." [27]

Third, this colony, of the American traditions, crossed great lands and
seas and underwent many hardships before finally arriving in America.
Now Ether's account of the Jaredite journey: "And it came to pass that
they did travel in the wilderness, and did build barges, in which they
did cross many waters, being directed continually by the hand of the
Lord. And the Lord would not suffer that they should stop beyond the
sea in the wilderness, but he would that they should come forth even
unto the land of promise"--America. [28] Arriving on the shores of the
great ocean which separated them from the land of their destination
they received a commandment to build barges for crossing this ocean.
"And it came to pass that when they had done all these things they
got aboard of their vessels or barges and set forth into the sea,
commending themselves unto the Lord their God. And it came to pass
that the Lord God caused that there should be a furious wind blow upon
the face of the waters, towards the promised land; and thus they were
tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind." [29] This journey
continued three hundred and forty-four days upon the water. This surely
was "crossing great lands and seas and undergoing many hardships."

Fourth, the American tradition says that the Toltec colony finally
arrived in America, which they found to be a good land, "and fit for
habitation." Concerning the land to which the Jaredite colony came
Ether says that it is "a land of promise, which is choice above all
other lands which the Lord had preserved for a righteous people." [30]
In other words, to use the language of the native American tradition,
it was "a land fit for habitation."

Other passages on the fact of ancient migrations to America follow;
but I caution the reader again concerning the confusion existing in
the traditions on this subject, which arises, as I believe, from the
traditions mingling indiscriminately together the three migrations of
the Book of Mormon, and later movements of native tribes since the
overthrow of the Nephites at Cumorah.

    One fact appears probable, and that is that there was a tendency
    of population extending over a long period from the north toward
    the south, one driving another before it as one wave of the sea
    follows that in advance of it. We cannot do better than compare
    these successive invasions, with those of the barbarous races that
    quarreled over the parts of the dismembered Roman empire, or with
    that of the Aryans, who from the farther end of Asia fell in hordes
    first upon India and Persia and then upon the different countries
    of Europe, giving to the vanquished as the price of their defeat a
    culture undoubtedly superior to that they had formerly possessed.

    That successive waves of migration occurred there is no reason to
    doubt, and that these successive bodies of immigrants differed to
    some extent in culture and in race is highly probable. [32] * *
    * The ancient American races preserved the tradition of distinct
    migrations, in their hieroglyphics and pictographs. [33]

    That America was peopled from Asia, the cradle of the human race,
    can no longer be doubted, but how and when they came is a problem
    that cannot be solved. [34]

The testimony "of migration to the western coast of America from the
eastern coast of Asia," Rivero and Tschudi hold to be strong and
conclusive; and further "that it explains many facts in America, which
long perplexed our archaeologists;" but "it by no means aids us in
determining the origin of our earliest population." [35] On the same
subject Gallatin remarks:

    After making every proper allowance, I can see no possible reason
    that should have prevented those who, after the dispersion of
    mankind, moved towards the east and northeast from having reached
    the extremities of Asia and passed over to America within five
    hundred years after the flood. However small may have been the
    number of those first emigrants, an equal number of years would
    have been more than sufficient to occupy in their own way every
    part of America. [36]

Bancroft, quoting the substance of a passage from Sahagun, whom he
pronounces one of the best of authorities, says:

    Countless years ago the first settlers arrived in New Spain. Coming
    in ships by sea, they approached a northern port and because
    they disembarked there it was called Panutla, or Panoaia, "place
    where they arrived who came by sea," now corruptly called Pantlan
    (Panuco); and from this port they began to follow the coast,
    beholding the snowy Sierras and the volcanoes, until they reached
    the province of Guatemala; being guided by a priest carrying their
    god, with whom he continually took counsel respecting what they
    ought to do. They came to settle in Tamoanchan [37] where they
    remained a long time, and never ceased to have their wise men, or
    prophets, called amoxoaque, which means "men learned in the ancient
    paintings," [books], who, although they came at the same time, did
    not remain with the rest in Tamoanchan; since leaving them there,
    they re-embarked and carried away with them all the paintings
    [books] which they had brought relating to religious rites and
    mechanical arts. [38]

Speaking of the traditions of the migration of the Nahuatl nations
Bancroft says:

    In its ancient center--not in Anahuac, whether it was in the north
    or south--the primitive Nahua power was overthrown, or from that
    center it was transferred to be re-established by exiled princes
    and their descendants on the Mexican plateaux. This transfer,
    whose nature we may vaguely comprehend, but of whose details we
    know nothing, is the event or series of events referred to by
    various migration-traditions. The recollections of these events
    assumed different forms in the traditions of different tribes until
    each nation claimed, or were deemed by the Spaniards to claim, a
    distinct migration from its former home. [39]

    After the creation of the first men Balam-Quitze, Balam-Agab,
    Machucutah and Iqui-Balam, wives were given to them, and these were
    the parents of the Quiche nation. * * * * All seem to have spoken
    one language and to have lived in great peace, black men and white
    men together. Here they awaited the rising of the sun and prayed
    to the Heart of Heaven. The tribes were already very numerous
    including that of the Yaqui (Nahuas). At the advice of Balam-Quitze
    and his companions they departed in search of gods to worship, and
    came to Tulan-Zuiva and seven caves where gods were given. * * * *
    * * Tohil was also the god of Tamub and Ilocab and the three tribes
    or families kept together, for their god was the same. Here arrived
    all the tribes; * * * * * and here their language was confounded.
    They could no longer understand each other and they separated,
    going to the east, and many coming hither (to Guatemala). They
    dressed in skins and were poor, but they were wonderful men, and
    when they reached Tulan-Zuiva long had been their journey, as the
    ancient histories tell us. [40]

Bancroft condenses the foregoing from _Popol Vuh_, of which work I
have already given a description, [41] and in it may be observed the
essential facts of the Jaredite migrations to the new world. That is,
some time after the creation men are represented as living together and
speaking one language. Later comes the confusion of tongues. Certain
families adhere together because they speak the same language. There is
a general dispersion and after a very long journey one of the groups
reaches Gautemala; i. e., Central America.

Concluding the primitive period of Gautemala history, Bancroft quotes
a striking passage from the Spanish writer Juarros; who, he says,
follows the manuscript writings of Fuentes y Guzman, founded, as is
claimed, on native documents, "but full of inconsistencies," he adds,
"and doubtless also of errors." There is, it is true, some confusion
in the story told in this quotation; yet, making allowance for the
imperfections of oral traditions, and confusion likely to occur in
them, one may see in it something akin to the Nephite migration
recounted in the Book of Mormon. And now the story:

    The Toltecs referred to were of the house of Israel, and the great
    prophet Moses freed them from the captivity in which they were held
    by Pharaoh; but, having passed the Red Sea, they gave themselves
    up to idolatry, and persisting in it notwithstanding the warnings
    of Moses, either to escape the chidings of his law-giver, or for
    fear of punishment, they left him and their kindred and crossed
    the sea to a place called the Seven Caves on the shores of the Mar
    Bermejo (Gulf of California) now a part of the Mexican kingdom,
    where they founded the celebrated city of Tula. The first chief
    who ruled and conducted this great band from one continent to the
    other, was Tamub, ancestor of the royal families of Tula and of
    Quiche, and first king of the Toltecs. The second was Capichoch;
    the third Calel Ahus; the fourth Ahpop; the fifth Nimaquiche, who,
    being the best beloved and most distinguished of all, at the order
    of his oracle, led those people away from Tulan, where they had
    greatly increased in numbers, guided them from the Mexican kingdom
    to this of Guatemala. In this migration they spent many years,
    suffered unspeakable hardships, and journeyed in their wanderings
    for many leagues over an immense tract of country, until, beholding
    a lake (that of Atitan), they determined to fix their habitation
    at a certain place not far from the lake, which they named Quiche,
    in memory of the king Nimaquiche (or, the "great" Quiche), who had
    died during their long wanderings. There came with Nimaquiche three
    of his brothers, and by an agreement between the four they divided
    the region. [42]

In some respects--in the matter of the seven caves and the name of the
leader of the colony, Tamub--the story touches the tradition which
doubtless refers to the advent of the Jaredites; and also, perhaps,
some of the later migrations of native tribes in Central America. But
one has, in the foregoing tradition, the Hebrew origin of the colony
plainly declared; their departure from their kindred and the journey
across the sea; their leader becomes the first king, as did Nephi;
[43] he founds a royal line--becomes, in fact, the ancestor of the
royal families of Tula and Quiche, as Nephi founded the royal line
among his people; [44] the fifth king, greatly beloved, instructed
by his oracle--God--led part of the people away from an old place of
settlement, where they had greatly increased, and led them to another
land. Both character and achievement corresponds admirably with the
first Mosiah of the Book of Mormon, and his leading the more righteous
part of the Nephites from the land of Lehi-Nephi to Zarahemla; [45] and
there is also the Nephite custom of naming lands after distinguished
leaders who first settled them; [46] while one may see in the fact that
with Nimaquiche there came three brothers in his migration, a close
resemblance to the fact of three brothers being associated with Nephi
in the Nephite colony led from Jerusalem. [47]

Let it be remembered also that this is a tradition concerning the
"Nahuatl" tribes. Is this very name "Nahuatl" but a variation of the
Hebrew root whence the word Nephi is derived, as undoubtedly the
following words are: Nepheg, [48] Nephish, [49] Nephishesim, [50]
Nephusim, [51] Naphtali; [52] and Nephtoah? [53]

This Nahuatl tradition very much resembles one among the Peruvians
concerning their migration to Peru; but which still more closely
resembles some of the facts of the Nephite migration, except as to
the matter of the time of it, which is placed at five hundred years
after the deluge. The tradition is thus related by Rivero and Tschudi,
following Montesinos:

    Peru, says Montesinos, was populated five hundred years after the
    deluge. Its first inhabitants flowed in abundantly towards the
    valley of Cuzco, conducted by four brothers. * * * The eldest of
    the brothers mounted to the summit of a ridge, and threw with
    his sling a stone to each of the four quarters of the world,
    thus taking possession of the soil for himself and his family.
    He afterward gave a name to each one of the quarters which he
    reached with his sling, calling that beyond the south, Colla;
    beyond the north, Tahua; beyond the east, Antisuyu; beyond the
    west, Contisuyu, and for that reason the Indians called their kings
    Tahuantin-Suyu-Capac, i. e., lords of the four quarters of the
    globe. The younger of the brothers, who, according to tradition,
    was at the same time the most skilful and hardy, wishing to enjoy
    alone the plenitude of power, rid himself of two of his brothers,
    by enclosing one of them in a cave, and throwing the other into a
    deep hole and thus caused the third to fly to a distant province.
    The fratricide consoled his sisters, and told them that they must
    consider him as the only child, or son of the sun, and obey him as
    such. He commanded his kinsmen to level the ground and make houses
    of stone; such was the origin of the city of Cuzco. * * * For sixty
    years did this first king govern (whom Indian tradition also called
    Puhua-Manco), leaving the throne to his eldest son. [54]

Here we have undoubted reference to historical events, but the
tradition in which they are held has assumed a form somewhat childish.
That, however, does not prevent one from seeing in the tradition
some of the main facts of the Nephite migration. The migration is
conducted by four brothers, as was the Nephite migration--for Lehi, the
patriarchal head of the Nephite colony, seems to have influenced the
migration after its departure into the wilderness of Arabia but very
little; the eldest of the brothers seeks for the leadership on arrival
in the new world, by asserting his dominion over the four quarters of
the land, in which one may see reflected the claims which the unworthy
Laman, the eldest of the four Nephite brothers, made to leadership over
the Nephite colony. In the younger brother of the Peruvian tradition
being the more worthy of leadership, and finally attaining it, one may
see the Book of Mormon historical fact of the youngest of the four
sons of Lehi, taking his leadership of the colony, though arriving
at undisputed leadership of his people not by the means described in
the Peruvian tradition, but by the blessing and favor of God, and by
separating from his brothers and their following, and removing his
people a long distance from the place of the first landing of the
colony in America.

In that part of the tradition where the youngest brother is represented
as commanding his kinsmen "to level the ground and make houses
of stone," we have the evidence that he taught them the arts of
civilization; a circumstance which corroborates the Book of Mormon fact
that the first Nephi did the same thing. It is thus recorded by him:

    And I did teach my people to build buildings, and to work in all
    manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of
    steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were
    in great abundance. * * * * And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did
    cause my people to be industrious, and to labor with their hands.

This youngest brother of the tradition--after reigning sixty years,
(the first Nephi's reign was also long, but the exact number of years
may not be ascertained, [56]) bequeathed his throne to his eldest
son; so also did Nephi. At least that he did so is a most reasonable
conclusion from the Book of Mormon data. In his old age, seeing death
approaching, Nephi "anointed a man to be a king * * * over his people,
according to the reign of kings." [57] Being anxious to revere the name
of this first ruler, the people provided that those who came to the
throne should be called First Nephi, Second Nephi, Third Nephi, [58]
etc. Of course this does not prove that Nephi chose his eldest son to
succeed him; but a later writer than Jacob, speaking of the Nephite
kingdom, makes the statement that "the kingdom had been conferred upon
none but those who were descendants of Nephi." [59] Hence it must have
been that the man whom Nephi anointed king when his own career was
closing, was his own son, and most likely his eldest son.

Thus every item of the native Peruvian tradition under consideration,
is met by the facts of the Book of Mormon; and the tradition gives
strong presumptive evidence of the truth of the Book of Mormon
statement, and hence also to the book itself.

Nadaillac has a passage which wonderfully confirms the possibility of
the Nephites being able to make the journey from the coast of Arabia to
South America. After discussing the probability of migrations from Asia
via Behring Strait, he says:

    On the other hand, a knowledge of navigation no better than that
    possessed at present by the lowest people of Melanesia would have
    enabled a migration on the line of the thirtieth parallel, south,
    to reach the coast of South America, and, in time, to give it a
    considerable population. A different distribution of land and
    water from that at present existing, is a possible factor in the
    problem, but of which it is too early in ocean exploration to avail
    ourselves. Squier, Gibbs, and numerous other American ethnologists
    believed in a migration from the west to South America. [60]

An item of interest connected with the Nephite migration, and one very
likely to fasten itself in the traditions of the natives, would be
the Nephite "Director" or "Liahona" as the Nephites called it. This
"Director" was found by Lehi, early in the Nephite migrations, at his
tent door, and is described as "a round ball of curious workmanship;
and it was of fine brass. And within the ball were two spindles; and
the one pointed the way whither we should go into the wilderness. * * *
And we did follow the directions of the ball, which led us in the more
fertile parts of the wilderness." [61] Later, when the prophet Alma
refers to it, after informing his son Helaman that it was called, by
their fathers, "Liahona," he adds:

    And behold, it was prepared to show unto our fathers the course
    which they should travel in the wilderness. And it did work for
    them according to their faith in God; therefore, if they had faith
    to believe that God could cause that those spindles should point
    the way they should go, behold, it was done. [62]

In the traditional account of how the first Inca and his sister-wife
were directed to Peru, one may see the distorted account of this Book
of Mormon fact. The tradition is thus related by Prescott:

    The celestial pair, brother and sister, husband and wife, advanced
    along the high plains in the neighborhood of Lake Titicaca to about
    the sixteenth degree south. They bore with them a golden wedge,
    and were directed to take up their residence on the spot where the
    sacred emblem should without effort sink into the ground. They
    proceeded accordingly but a short distance, as far as the valley
    of Cuzco, the spot indicated by the performance of the miracle,
    since there the wedge speedily sank into the earth and disappeared
    forever. Here the children of the Sun established their residence,
    and soon entered upon their beneficent mission among the rude
    inhabitants of the country; Manco Capac teaching the men the arts
    of agriculture, and Mama Oello initiating her own sex in the
    mysteries of weaving and spinning." [63]

Squiers relates the tradition substantially in the same manner, except
that in place of a "golden wedge," he represents the celestial pair as
being divinely guided by "a golden rod," which sinks into the earth on
reaching the divinely appointed place of their destination. [64]

The student of the Book of Mormon will at once recognize how well the
Nephite and Lamanite religious wars, at some periods of their history,
are described in the following passage:

    There appear to have been very hotly contested religious disputes;
    constant wars broke out between the sectarians following the god
    Votan and those who worshiped Quetzalcohuatl, and the vanquished on
    either side perished under horrible tortures, or were compelled to
    fly their country [65]

Much confusion exists among authorities concerning the Toltecs. Because
of their clear knowledge of the creation, flood, tower of Babel,
confusion of languages and dispersion of mankind, [66] they are thought
to have commenced their wanderings at the dispersion of mankind from
Babel. But if a people had in their possession a version of the Hebrew
scriptures, as the Nephites had, for instance, it is not difficult
to understand how these Bible facts could be incorporated in their
traditions, without insisting that they were immediately connected with
those very ancient Bible events. In whatever way the controversies
about the Toltecs may terminate, the following description of them
could well stand for a description of the Nephites, barring the items
of cruelty, revengefulness, and sanguinary nature of their religion,
and their ignorance of iron. [67]

    In spite of wars and discord the time of the Toltec domination is
    enshrined in the memory of the Nahuas as their golden age. The
    Toltecs, they tell us, were tall, well proportioned, with clear,
    yellow complexions; their eyes were black, their teeth very white;
    their hair was black and glossy; their lips were thick; their
    noses were aquiline, and their foreheads were receding. Their
    beards, were thin, and they had very little hair on their bodies;
    the expression of their mouths was sweet, but that of the upper
    part of their faces severe. They were brave, but cruel, eager for
    revenge, and the religious rites practiced by them were sanguinary.
    Intelligent and ready to learn, they were the first to make roads
    and aqueducts; they knew how to utilize certain metals; they
    could spin, weave and dye cloth, cut precious stones, build solid
    houses of stone cemented with lime mortar, found regular towns;
    and, lastly, build mounds which may justly be compared with those
    of the Mississippi valley. To them popular gratitude attributes
    the invention of medicine, and the vapor bath (temazcalli).
    Certain plants to which curative properties were attributed were
    the remedies mostly used. [68] In the towns we are told, were
    hospitals where the poor were received and cared for gratuitously.
    Our information respecting the commerce of the Toltecs is very
    vague. We know, however, that it was important. At certain periods
    of the year regular fairs were held at Toltan and Cholula; the
    products of the regions washed by both oceans were seen side by
    side with numerous objects made by the Toltecs themselves. These
    objects were of great variety, for though iron was unknown to them,
    the Toltecs worked in gold, silver, copper, tin and lead. Their
    jewelry is celebrated, and the few valuable ornaments which escaped
    the rapacity of the Conquistadores are still justly admired.
    The Toltecs cut down trees with copper hatchets, and sculptured
    bas-reliefs and hieroglyphics with stone implements. For this
    purpose flint, porphyry, basalt, and above all obsidian, the istlie
    of the Mexicans, were used. Emeralds, turquoises, amethysts, of
    which large deposits were found in various places, were sought
    after for making jewelry for both men and women. At Cholula a
    famous kind of pottery was made, including vases and the utensils
    in daily use, censers, and idols for the temples of the gods and
    common ornaments for the people. [69]

Let this description be compared with that which Helaman [70] gives of
the Nephites in the sixty-fourth year of the Nephite republic--a date
corresponding with the year 27 B. C.--and it will be seen that either
one might stand for the other.

These traditions concerning the Toltecs, reflecting as they do the
state of their civilization, which so nearly resembles that of the
Nephites in so many particulars; as also all the traditions and
mythologies dealt with in this and the preceding chapter respecting
the creation, the flood, the great tower, the confusion of language,
the dispersion of the people, the migrations to a new home, the strife
for power among the leaders of these colonies--usually brothers, and
most strikingly "four brothers," as also the status and nature of their
civilization--all these things constitute strong testimony to the truth
of the Book of Mormon.


1. Gen. 6:4.

2. Gen. 11.

3. Gen. 11:9.

4. Gen. 11:8.

5. See Book of Ether, chs. 1, 2, 3, 4.

6. _Conquest of Mexico_, vol. II, pp. 386, 387, Prescott.

7. _Conquest of Mexico_, vol. II, p. 187, note, Prescott.

8. The suggestion of Nadaillac in this clause in parenthesis to the
effect that this tradition of the Tower of Babel had its origin in
the Christian teachings imparted to Ixtlilxochitl, will receive
consideration at the conclusion of this series of quotations on the
subject of the Tower of Babel, etc.

9. _Pre-Historic America_, Nadaillac, p. 526.

10. _Native Races_, vol. III, pp. 67, 68. For this statement Bancroft
in a foot note quotes the following authorities: _Boturini, Idea de una
Hist_., pp. 113, 114; id., _Catalogo_, pp. 39, 40; _Clavigero, Storia
Ant. del Messico_, tom. 1, pp. 129, 130, tom. 2, p. 16; _Spiegazione
delle Tavole del Codice Mexicano_ (Vàcano) tav. 7, in Kingsborough's
_Mex. Ant_., vol. V, pp. 164, 165; Gemelli Carreri, in _Churchill's
Col. Voy_., vol. IV, p. 481; Humboldt, _Vues des Cordilleres_, tom.
1, pp. 114, 115, tom. 2, pp. 175-8; Tylor's _Anahuac_, pp. 276, 277;
Gondra, in Prescott, _Conquesta de Mexico_, tom. 3, pp. 1-10. The
remainder of Bancroft's note following this citation of authorities,
wherein he seeks to discredit the force of these native traditions
concerning the Tower, the confusion of tongues and the dispersion of
mankind, as in the case of Nadaillac's effort of a similar character,
remarked in a previous note, will receive consideration at the close of
this series of quotations concerning the Tower, etc., p. 273.

11. _America Before Columbus_, P. De Roo, vol. I, pp. 415, 416.

12. _America Before Columbus_, P. De Roo, vol. I, pp. 417, 418.

13. Should any one desire to make a larger collection I refer him to
the authorities already referred to in a previous note on a passage
from Bancroft; as also Nadaillac's _Pre-Historic America_, ch. 10; P.
De Roo, _America Before Columbus_, vol. I, chapters sixteen to twenty
inclusive; and Rivero & Tschudi's _Peruvian Antiquities_, chapter VII.

14. _Native Races_, vol. V, p. 12.

15. _Pre-Historic America_, p. 530. For the objections of the agnostic
Bancroft see _Native Races_, vol. III, 68, 69, note; and for the
objections urged by Prescott see _Conquest of Mexico_, vol. II,
appendix, p. 387.

16. _Pre-Historic America_, pp. 525, 531.

17. Ante., p. 436.

18. Exodus, 14.

19. Ante., pp. 435, 436.

20. Ante., p. 436.

21. Ante., p. 436. Ibid.

22. Ether 3:1.

23. Ether 2:16.

24. Ether 6:20.

25. Ether 6:16.

26. Ether 1:35.

27. Ether 1:37.

28. Ether 6:4, 5.

29. Ether 6:4, 5.

30. Ether 2:6, 7.

31. _Pre-Historic America_, Nadaillac, p. 261.

32. _Pre-Historic America_, Nadaillac, p. 523.

33. _Pre-Historic America_, Nadaillac, p. 272.

34. Dupaix, quoted by Bancroft, _Native Races_, vol. V, p. 31.

35. _Peruvian Antiquities_, Tschudi, p. 24.

36. _American Ethnology and Sociology_, vol. I, p. 179.

37. This place, according to Sahagun, is the first home of the Nahua
nation. It is definitely located, says Bancroft, (_Native Races_, vol.
V, p. 191) down the coast from Panuco, in the province of Guatemala.

38. _Native Races_, Bancroft, vol. V, p. 189.

39. _Native Races_, Bancroft, vol. V, p. 220.

40. _Native Races_, Bancroft, vol. V, pp. 546, 547.

41. Ante., p. 463, _et seq_.

42. _Native Races_, Bancroft, vol. V, pp. 564, 566. Stephens also
relates this tradition at length, see _Central America_, vol. II, pp.
172, 173.

43. II Nephi 5: 18.

44. Jacob 1:11; Mosiah 25:13.

45. Omni 1:1-23.

46. Alma 8:7.

47. I Nephi 2:5.

48. Exod. 6:21.

49. I Chronicles 5:19.

50. Nehemiah 7:52, see also margin.

51. Ezra 2:50.

52. Gen. 30:8.

53. Joshua 15:9.

54. _Peruvian Antiquities_, Tschudi, pp. 52, 53. See also Baldwin,
_Ancient America_, p. 264.

55. II Nephi 5:15, 17.

56. Jacob 1:11.

57. Jacob 1:9.

58. Jacob 1:11.

59. Mosiah 25:13.

60. _Pre-Historic America_, Nadaillac, p. 523.

61. I Nephi 16:10, 16.

62. Alma 37:39, 40.

63. _Conquest of Peru_, vol. I, p. 31.

64. Peru, _Travel and Exploration in the Lands of the Incas_, pp. 301,

65. _Pre-Historic America_, Nadaillac, p. 174.

66. See their associations with the events as given by Ixtlilxochitl,
quoted by Bancroft, _Native Races_, vol. V, pp. 19, 21, and 208-218.

67. Concerning which more later.

68. See Book of Alma 46:40.

69. _Pre-Historic America_, Nadaillac, pp. 275, 277.

70. See Helaman 6:7-13, see also p. 124.


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