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  • Steven Smilanich

View of the Hebrews vs The Book of Mormon




Plagiarize definition -

the practice of taking someone else's work or ideas and passing them off as one's own.


The Book of Mormon was first published in Palymyra, Wayne County, New York in 1830

PDF found here: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/bofm/title-page?lang=eng


(https://smallseotools.com/plagiarism-checker/) found none in the first chapter of the first book of Nephi.


Grammarly Plagiarism checker found none in the whole first book of Nephi


An interesting thing Hugh Nibley said about the matter of Book of Mormon plagiarism was:

“If someone will show me how to draw a circle,” cries the youthful Joseph Smith, “I will make you a fine Swiss watch!” So Joachim or Anselm or Ethan Smith or Rabelais or somebody takes a stick and draws a circle in the sand, and forthwith the adroit and wily Joseph turns out a beautiful running mechanism that tells perfect time! This is not an exaggeration. The Book of Mormon in structure and design is every bit as complicated, involved, and ingenious as the works of a Swiss watch, and withal just as smoothly running. . . . The writer of that book brought together thousands of ideas and events and knit them together in a most marvelous unity. Yet the critics like to think they have explained the Book of Mormon completely if they can just discover where Joseph Smith might have got one of his ideas or expressions!”

Let’s see if Hugh Nibley is right or wrong about his assessment.


View of the Hebrews, written by Ethan Smith, was originally published in Poultney, Vermont in 1823 (7 years prior to the Book of Mormon). Second edition came in 1825.

PDF found here:

(https://rsc.byu.edu/archived/view-hebrews-1825-2nd-edition/front-matter)

B. H. Roberts did an extensive study on the Book of Mormon in which he found 33 parallels between the Book of Mormon and View of the Hebrews. Parallels found here: (https://read.cesletter.org/bom/#view-of-the-hebrews) Many claim this proves that Joseph Smith plagiarized the book of Mormon from View of the Hebrews. Let us dig deeper to see just how similar the two books really are by highlighting each parallel in each book.


Section 1: B. H. Roberts Parallels


Destruction of Jerusalem


View of the Hebrews:

Our Lord replied; "Take heed that no man deceive you; for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many." As though he had said; This shall be one signal token of the event, both as my denunciations relate to a primary accomplishment in the destruction of Jerusalem; and to a more general and dreadful fulfilment in the destruction of Antichrist in the last days. Imposters shall abound. False religionsts shall deceive and ruin many. Let us trace the fulfilment of this and several succeeding predictions.

The portentous thunders of wars and rumours of wars may be said to have occupied most of the time from the death of our Saviour, to the destruction of Jerusalem. The historick pages, which treat of these times, are stained with blood. A war between Herod and Aretas, king of Arabia, opened the bloody scene, after a short season of peace. In Selucia, the Greeks and Syrians rose against the Jews, who fled thither from the pestilence in Babylon, and slew fifty thousand of them. Five years after, the Jews in Perea and people of Philadelphia contended about the limits of a city, when many of the Jews were slain. Four years after this, an insult being offered to the Jews within the precincts of the temple, by a Roman soldier; and being violently resented; a Roman force rushed upon them, which so terrified the Jews, that they fled in vast disorder, and ten thousand of them lost their lives in the streets. After another four years, the Jews ravaged the country of the Samaritans, in consequence of their having murdered a Galilean, who was going to keep the passover. Many were slain. Soon after, a contention arose between the Jews in Caesarea and the Syrians, relative to the government of Caesarea. In the first encounter more than twenty thousand Jews were slain. This contention raged in many cities where the Jews and Syrians dwelt; and mutual slaughter prevailed. And in five other cities the carnage among the Jews was dreadful. At Damascus ten thousand Jews were slain in one hour. And at Scythopolis thirteen thousand were slain in one night. In Alexandria the Jews rose upon the Romans; and had fifty thousand of their people slain, without any regard to infancy or age. Soon after, in a contention at Totapata, forty thousand Jews perished. These contentions rose and increased till the whole Jewish nation took up arms against the Romans, and brought on themselves their final destruction. Thus the prediction of our Saviour quoted, received in those days a striking primary fulfilment.


Book of Mormon:

13 And he read, saying: Wo, wo, unto Jerusalem, for I have seen thine abominations! Yea, and many things did my father read concerning Jerusalem—that it should be destroyed, and the inhabitants thereof; many should perish by the sword, and many should be carried away captive into Babylon.

18 Therefore, I would that ye should know, that after the Lord had shown so many marvelous things unto my father, Lehi, yea, concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, behold he went forth among the people, and began to prophesy and to declare unto them concerning the things which he had both seen and heard.

19 And it came to pass that the Jews did mock him because of the things which he testified of them; for he truly testified of their wickedness and their abominations; and he testified that the things which he saw and heard, and also the things which he read in the book, manifested plainly of the coming of a Messiah, and also the redemption of the world.



Scattering of Israel


View of the Hebrews:

The ten tribes thus went off to idolatry. A line of kings succeeded Jeroboam; but none of them, to the time of the expulsion, were true worshippers of the God of Israel. By their apostacy, folly, and idolatry, the ten tribes were preparing themselves for a long and doleful rejection, an outcast state for thousands of years. This Moses had denounced; Deut. xxviii. And this God fulfilled.

Tiglah Pilnezer, king of Assyria, captured the tribes of Reuben and Gad, and the half tribe of Manessah, who lay east of Jordan, and placed them in Halah, Harah, and Habor, by the river Gozen.---1 Chro. v. 26. About twenty years after (134 years before the Babylonish captivity of the Jews, and 725 years before Christ.) the rest of the ten tribes continuing impenitent, Shalmanezer, the succeeding king of Assyria, attacked Samaria, took the remainder of the ten tribes, in the reign of Hoshea, king of Israel, carried them to Assyria, and placed them with their brethren in Halah and Habor, by the river Gozen in Media---2 Kings xvii. This final expulsion of Israel from the promised land, was about 943 years after they came out of Egypt. The king of Assyria placed in their stead, in Samaria, people from Babylon, Cutha, Ava, Hama, and Sapharvaim. Here was the origin of the mongrel Samaritans.

From this captivity the ten tribes were never recovered. And they have long seemed to have been lost from the earth. They seem to have been indeed "outcast ," from the social world, and the knowledge of civilized man. The Jews, long after, were dispersed among the nations; but have ever been known as Jews. But not so with Israel. They have seemed strangely to disappear from the world; and for 2500 years to have been utterly lost.


Book of Mormon:

Wherefore, the things of which I have read are things pertaining to things both temporal and spiritual; for it appears that the house of Israel, sooner or later, will be scattered upon all the face of the earth, and also among all nations.

And behold, there are many who are already lost from the knowledge of those who are at Jerusalem. Yea, the more part of all the tribes have been led away; and they are scattered to and fro upon the isles of the sea; and whither they are none of us knoweth, save that we know that they have been led away.

And since they have been led away, these things have been prophesied concerning them, and also concerning all those who shall hereafter be scattered and be confounded, because of the Holy One of Israel; for against him will they harden their hearts; wherefore, they shall be scattered among all nations and shall be hated of all men.

Nevertheless, after they shall be nursed by the Gentiles, and the Lord has lifted up his hand upon the Gentiles and set them up for a standard, and their children have been carried in their arms, and their daughters have been carried upon their shoulders, behold these things of which are spoken are temporal; for thus are the covenants of the Lord with our fathers; and it meaneth us in the days to come, and also all our brethren who are of the house of Israel.

And it meaneth that the time cometh that after all the house of Israel have been scattered and confounded, that the Lord God will raise up a mighty nation among the Gentiles, yea, even upon the face of this land; and by them shall our seed be scattered.

And after our seed is scattered the Lord God will proceed to do a marvelous work among the Gentiles, which shall be of great worth unto our seed; wherefore, it is likened unto their being nourished by the Gentiles and being carried in their arms and upon their shoulders.



Restoration of Israel


View of the Hebrews:

5. That the Hebrews are to have a literal restoration, appears from the fact, that the threatenings that God would cast them off, had their fulfillment in a literal rejection of them from the promised land. The promises of their restoration appear to be an exact counterpart of this; and hence must have their effect in restoring them again to Palestine. If such promises did not design to restore them again to the land of their fathers; why should the threatenings of their rejection of God, be designed to have their effect in expelling them literally from the land of promise? Why should one of them receive a literal, and the other a mystical construction? No account can be given of this. If there is no benefit in restoring them to Palestine; why was there any calamity in expelling them from Palestine? Why did not God let them continue there, though he withdrew his spirit and grace from them? But if, over and above this they must be expelled from the land of promise; then surely their promised restoration must (over and above giving them the heart of flesh) bring them back to the Canaan, which was given to them for an everlasting possesion.


Book of Mormon:

12 Behold, I say unto you, that the house of Israel was compared unto an olive tree, by the Spirit of the Lord which was in our father; and behold are we not broken off from the house of Israel, and are we not a branch of the house of Israel?

13 And now, the thing which our father meaneth concerning the grafting in of the natural branches through the fulness of the Gentiles, is, that in the latter days, when our seed shall have dwindled in unbelief, yea, for the space of many years, and many generations after the Messiah shall be manifested in body unto the children of men, then shall the fulness of the gospel of the Messiah come unto the Gentiles, and from the Gentiles unto the remnant of our seed—

14 And at that day shall the remnant of our seed know that they are of the house of Israel, and that they are the covenant people of the Lord; and then shall they know and come to the knowledge of their forefathers, and also to the knowledge of the gospel of their Redeemer, which was ministered unto their fathers by him; wherefore, they shall come to the knowledge of their Redeemer and the very points of his doctrine, that they may know how to come unto him and be saved.

15 And then at that day will they not rejoice and give praise unto their everlasting God, their rock and their salvation? Yea, at that day, will they not receive the strength and nourishment from the true vine? Yea, will they not come unto the true fold of God?

16 Behold, I say unto you, Yea; they shall be remembered again among the house of Israel; they shall be grafted in, being a natural branch of the olive tree, into the true olive tree.

16 Yea, then will he remember the isles of the sea; yea, and all the people who are of the house of Israel, will I gather in, saith the Lord, according to the words of the prophet Zenos, from the four quarters of the earth.

And then will I gather them in from the four quarters of the earth; and then will I fulfill the covenant which the Father hath made unto all the people of the house of Israel.



Hebrews Coming to America


View of the Hebrews:

Manasses Ben Israel, in a work entitled “The Hope of Israel,” has written to show that the American Indians are the ten tribes of Israel. But as we have access to his authors, we may consult them for ourselves. The main pillar of his evidence is James Adair, Esq. Mr. Adair was a man of established character, as appears from good authority. He lived a trader among the Indians, in the south of North America, for forty years. He left them and returned to England in 1774, and there published his “History of the American Indians,” and his reasons for being persuaded that they are the ten tribes of Israel. Remarking on their descent and origin, he concludes thus; “From the most accurate observations I could make, in the long time I traded among the Indian Americans, I was forced to believe them lineally descended from the Israelites. Had the nine tribes and a half of Israel, that were carried off by Shalmanezer, and settled in Media, continued there long, it is very probable by intermarrying with the natives, and from their natural fickleness and proneness to idolatry, and also from the force of example, that they would have adopted and bowed before the gods of Media and Assyria; and would have carried them along with them. But there is not a trace of this idolatry among the Indians.” Mr. Adair gives his opinion, that the ten tribes, soon after their banishment from the land of Israel, left Media, and reached this continent from the north-west, probably before the carrying away of the Jews to Babylon.


Book of Mormon:

And it came to pass that the angel said unto me: Look, and behold thy seed, and also the seed of thy brethren. And I looked and beheld the land of promise; and I beheld multitudes of people, yea, even as it were in number as many as the sand of the sea.

And it came to pass that after I, Nephi, had been in the land of Bountiful for the space of many days, the voice of the Lord came unto me, saying: Arise, and get thee into the mountain. And it came to pass that I arose and went up into the mountain, and cried unto the Lord.

And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto me, saying: Thou shalt construct a ship, after the manner which I shall show thee, that I may carry thy people across these waters.

And I said: Lord, whither shall I go that I may find ore to molten, that I may make tools to construct the ship after the manner which thou hast shown unto me?

10 And it came to pass that the Lord told me whither I should go to find ore, that I might make tools.

And it came to pass that after I had finished the ship, according to the word of the Lord, my brethren beheld that it was good, and that the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine; wherefore, they did humble themselves again before the Lord.

And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came unto my father, that we should arise and go down into the ship.

And it came to pass that on the morrow, after we had prepared all things, much fruits and meat from the wilderness, and honey in abundance, and provisions according to that which the Lord had commanded us, we did go down into the ship, with all our loading and our seeds, and whatsoever thing we had brought with us, every one according to his age; wherefore, we did all go down into the ship, with our wives and our children.

And now, my father had begat two sons in the wilderness; the elder was called Jacob and the younger Joseph.

And it came to pass after we had all gone down into the ship, and had taken with us our provisions and things which had been commanded us, we did put forth into the sea and were driven forth before the wind towards the promised land.



Religion is a Motivating Factor


View of the Hebrews:

Suppose the most intelligent of them to be elated with the idea that this God has ever been the head of their community; that their fathers were once in covenant with him; and the rest of the world were “the accursed people,” as out of covenant with God. Suppose you find them, on certain occasions, singing in religious dance, “Hallelujah,” or praise to Jah; also singing Yohewah, Shilu Yohewah, and making use of many names and phrases evidently Hebrew. You find them counting their time as did ancient Israel, and in a manner different from all other nations. They keep a variety of religious feasts which much resemble those kept in ancient Israel. You find an evening feast among them, in which a bone of the animal must not be broken; if the provision be more than one family can eat, a neighbour must be called in to help eat it, and if any of it be still left, it must be burned before the next rising sun. You find them eating bitter vegetables, to cleanse themselves from sin. You find they never eat the hollow of the thigh of any animal. They inform that their fathers practised circumcision. Some of them have been in the habit of keeping a jubilee. They have their places answering to the cities of refuge, in ancient Israel. In these no blood is ever shed by any avenger. You find them with their temples, (such as they be,) their holy of holies in their temple, into which it is utterly prohibited for a common person to enter. They have their high priests, who officiate in their temples, and make their yearly atonement there in a singular pontifical dress, which they fancy to be in the likeness of one worn by their predecessors in ancient times; with their breastplate, and various holy ornaments. The high priest, when addressing to his people what they call “the old divine speech,” calls them “the beloved and holy people,” and urges them to imitate their virtuous ancestors; and tells them of their “beloved land flowing with milk and honey.”


Book of Mormon:

10 Yea, we see that Amalickiah, because he was a man of cunning device and a man of many flattering words, that he led away the hearts of many people to do wickedly; yea, and to seek to destroy the church of God, and to destroy the foundation of liberty which God had granted unto them, or which blessing God had sent upon the face of the land for the righteous’ sake.

11 And now it came to pass that when Moroni, who was the chief commander of the armies of the Nephites, had heard of these dissensions, he was angry with Amalickiah.

12 And it came to pass that he rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it—In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children—and he fastened it upon the end of a pole.

13 And he fastened on his head-plate, and his breastplate, and his shields, and girded on his armor about his loins; and he took the pole, which had on the end thereof his rent coat, (and he called it the title of liberty) and he bowed himself to the earth, and he prayed mightily unto his God for the blessings of liberty to rest upon his brethren, so long as there should a band of Christians remain to possess the land—

14 For thus were all the true believers of Christ, who belonged to the church of God, called by those who did not belong to the church.

15 And those who did belong to the church were faithful; yea, all those who were true believers in Christ took upon them, gladly, the name of Christ, or Christians as they were called, because of their belief in Christ who should come.



Migrations on a Long Journey


View of the Hebrews:

Mr. Adair gives his opinion, that the ten tribes, soon after their banishment from the land of Israel, left Media, and reached this continent from the north-west, probably before the carrying away of the Jews to Babylon.


Book of Mormon:

15 And it came to pass that we did travel for the space of many days, slaying food by the way, with our bows and our arrows and our stones and our slings.

16 And we did follow the directions of the ball, which led us in the more fertile parts of the wilderness.

17 And after we had traveled for the space of many days, we did pitch our tents for the space of a time, that we might again rest ourselves and obtain food for our families.



“Seas” of “Many Waters”


View of the Hebrews:

This writer says, “They entered into the Euphrates by the narrow passages of the river.” He must mean, they repassed this river in its upper regions, or small streams, away toward Georgia; and hence must have taken their course between the Black and Caspian seas.

We have a prediction relative to the ten tribes, which fully accords with the things exhibited of them, and of the natives of our land… They shall run to and fro, over all the vast regions, the dreary wilds, which lie between those extreme seas.

Such texts have a special allusion to the lost tribes of the house of Israel. And their being called over mountains, and over seas, from the west, and from afar, receives an emphasis from the consideration of their being gathered from the vast wilds of America.

( there is no mention of “Many Waters” in View of the Hebrews)


Book of Mormon:

10 And it came to pass that I looked and beheld many waters; and they divided the Gentiles from the seed of my brethren.

11 And it came to pass that the angel said unto me: Behold the wrath of God is upon the seed of thy brethren.

12 And I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land.

13 And it came to pass that I beheld the Spirit of God, that it wrought upon other Gentiles; and they went forth out of captivity, upon the many waters.

And we did come to the land which we called Bountiful, because of its much fruit and also wild honey; and all these things were prepared of the Lord that we might not perish. And we beheld the sea, which we called Irreantum, which, being interpreted, is many waters.



Americas being Uninhabited


View of the Hebrews:

4. Let several suppositions now be made. Suppose an extensive continent had lately been discovered, away north east from Media, and at the distance of “a year and a half’s journey;” a place probably destitute of inhabitants, since the flood, till the time of the “casting out” of Israel.


Book of Mormon:

Error: File not found.

I was unable to pin point anything that suggests the Americas were uninhabited when Nephi and company arrived in America. Many factors suggest that the Americas were very much occupied when Nephi got there. Coriantumr Came to challenge Jacob (younger brother of Nephi) on the basis of religion, did he just pop up out of nowhere?

The Book of Mormon speaks of the Jaredites being there when Nephi arrived. The Jaredites could have arrived to an uninhabited land however here to there is no direct confirmation.



Journey North


View of the Hebrews:

Thence northward, on the shore of the said sea, as far as the point due west of Mount Lebanon.

The North American Reviewers, in reviewing a sermon of Doct. Jarvis. on this subject, delivered before the New York Historical Society, (in which he attempts to adduce much evidence to show that the natives of this continent are the tribes of Israel,) remark thus; “The history and character of the Indian tribes of North America, which have for some time been a subject of no inconsiderable curiosity and interest with the learned in Europe, have not till lately attracted much notice among ourselves. But as the Indian nations are now fast vanishing, and the individuals of them come less frequently under our observation, we also, as well as our European brethren, are beginning to take a more lively interest than ever, in the study of their character and history.”


Book of Mormon:

And when they had wandered forty days they came to a hill, which is north of the land of Shilom, and there they pitched their tents.

And it came to pass in the forty and sixth, yea, there was much contention and many dissensions; in the which there were an exceedingly great many who departed out of the land of Zarahemla, and went forth unto the land northward to inherit the land.

And there began to be much peace again in the land; and the people began to be very numerous, and began to scatter abroad upon the face of the earth, yea, on the north and on the south, on the east and on the west, building large cities and villages in all quarters of the land.



Valley of a Great River


View of the Hebrews:

Other tribes assure us that their remote fathers, on their way to this country, ‘came to a great river which they could not pass; when God dried up the river that they might pass over.’


Book of Mormon:

And it came to pass that when he had traveled three days in the wilderness, he pitched his tent in a valley by the side of a river of water.

And it came to pass that he built an altar of stones, and made an offering unto the Lord, and gave thanks unto the Lord our God.

And it came to pass that he called the name of the river, Laman, and it emptied into the Red Sea; and the valley was in the borders near the mouth thereof.

And when my father saw that the waters of the river emptied into the fountain of the Red Sea, he spake unto Laman, saying: O that thou mightest be like unto this river, continually running into the fountain of all righteousness!



Hebrews Evolved into the American Indians


View of the Hebrews:

Manasses Ben Israel, in a work entitled “The Hope of Israel,” has written to show that the American Indians are the ten tribes of Israel. But as we have access to his authors, we may consult them for ourselves. The main pillar of his evidence is James Adair, Esq. Mr. Adair was a man of established character, as appears from good authority. He lived a trader among the Indians, in the south of North America, for forty years. He left them and returned to England in 1774, and there published his “History of the American Indians,” and his reasons for being persuaded that they are the ten tribes of Israel. Remarking on their descent and origin, he concludes thus; “From the most accurate observations I could make, in the long time I traded among the Indian Americans, I was forced to believe them lineally descended from the Israelites.


Book of Mormon:

(from the introduction)

After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are among the ancestors of the American Indians.



Hebrew, origin of American Indian languages


View of the Hebrews:

2. Their language appears clearly to have been Hebrew. In this, Doctor Edwards, Mr. Adair, and others were agreed. Doctor Edwards, after having a good acquaintance with their language, gave his reasons for believing it to have been originally Hebrew. Both, he remarks, are found without prepositions, and are formed with prefixes and suffixes; a thing probably known to no other language. And he shows that not only the words, but the construction of phrases, in both, have been the same. Their pronouns, as well as their nouns, Doctor Edwards remarks, are manifestly from the Hebrew. Mr. Adair is confident of the fact, that their language is Hebrew. And their laconic, bold and commanding figures of speech, he notes as exactly agreeing with the genius of the Hebrew language. He says, that after living forty years among them, he obtained such knowledge of the Hebrew idiom of their language, that he viewed the event of their having for more than two millenaries, and without the aid of literature, preserved their Hebrew language so pure, to be but little short of a miracle.

Relative to the Hebraism of their figures, Mr. Adair gives the following instance, from an address of a captain to his warriors, going to battle, “I know that your guns are burning in your hands; your tomahawks are thirsting to drink the blood of your enemies; your trusty arrows are impatient to be upon the wing; and lest delay should burn your hearts any longer, I give you the cool refreshing word; join the holy ark; and away to cut off the devoted enemy!”

A table of words and phrases is furnished by Doct. Boudinot, Adair, and others, with several added from good authority, to show how clearly the Indian language is from the Hebrew. Some of these Indian words are taken from one tribe, and some from another. In a long savage state, destitute of all aid from letters, a language must roll and change. It is strange that after a lapse of 2500 years, a single word should, among such a people, be preserved the same. But the hand of Providence is strikingly seen in this, perhaps to bring that people to light.


Book of Mormon:

Error: file not found

There are no quotes in the Book of Mormon which directly correlate to Hebrew being the origin of the American Indian Languages. Jaredites didn’t know Hebrew, the Mulekites had forgotten Hebrew, Nephi and company did know Hebrew and kept careful records (albeit in mostly Reformed Egyptian). Hebrew being the origin of the American Indian languages is just a given in the Book of Mormon.



Egyptian Hieroglyphics


View of the Hebrews:

I ask, can such pyramids be ascribed to ancient barbarous Scythians? Israel knew the pyramids of Egypt. It is with great probability supposed, that during their servitude there, they aided in building those stupendous monuments. They thus served a long apprenticeship to the art of making brick, and pyramids. Did the ancient Scythians ever serve such an apprenticeship? If the advocates for a Scythian descent of the Indians could present the fact, that the whole Scythian nation had, in former times, served an apprenticeship of a number of centuries in making just such brick pyramids as are found in America; how much would they make of this solitary argument to show, that the authors of those American pyramids must surely have been of Scythian descent? And I confess there would be, in my opinion, ten times as much argument in it, in favour of their position, as I have ever perceived in any other arguments adduced. Various authors unite, as will appear, in stating the great similarity; between those Mexican pyramids, and those of Egypt.


Book of Mormon:

2 Yea, I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians.

3 And I know that the record which I make is true; and I make it with mine own hand; and I make it according to my knowledge.

...

32 And now, behold, we have written this record according to our knowledge, in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech.



Lost Indian Records


View of the Hebrews:

The late venerable Dr. Boudinot stated to Dr. Griffin that the Rev. S. Larned (who died in New Orleans) informed him that while he was living in Pittsfield, Mass.—his native place— after he left college, there was dug up in Pittsfield by one of his neighbors, probably from an Indian grave, some written parchments enclosed in a cover of skins. These parchments he obtained, took them to Boston, had them read, and found them to be the same with the parchments used in Jewish phylacteries, and well written in Hebrew.

He succeeded in cutting it open, and found it was formed of pieces of thick raw hide, sewed and made water tight with the sinews of some animal; and in the fold it contained four folded leaves of old parchment. These leaves were of a dark yellow, and contained some kind of writing. Some of the neighbours saw and examined them. One of these parchments they tore in pieces; the other three he saved, and delivered them to Mr. Sylvester Larned, a graduate then in town, who took them to Cambridge, and had them examined. They were written in Hebrew with a pen, in plain and intelligible writing. The following is an extract of a letter sent to Mr. Merrick by Mr. Larned, upon this subject.

“Sir; I have examined the parchment manuscripts, which you had the goodness to give me. After some time and with much difficulty and assistance I have ascertained their meaning, which is as follows; (I have numbered the manuscripts.)

No. 1 is translated by Deut. vi. A—9 verses inclusive.

No. 2, by Deut. xi. 13—21 verses inclusive.

No. 3, Exod. xiii. 11—16 verses inclusive.

I am, &c.


Book of Mormon:

Behold I, Moroni, do finish the record of my father, Mormon. Behold, I have but few things to write, which things I have been commanded by my father.

And now it came to pass that after the great and tremendous battle at Cumorah, behold, the Nephites who had escaped into the country southward were hunted by the Lamanites, until they were all destroyed.

And my father also was killed by them, and I even remain alone to write the sad tale of the destruction of my people. But behold, they are gone, and I fulfil the commandment of my father. And whether they will slay me, I know not.

Therefore I will write and hide up the records in the earth; and whither I go it mattereth not.

Behold, my father hath made this record, and he hath written the intent thereof. And behold, I would write it also if I had room upon the plates, but I have not; and ore I have none, for I am alone. My father hath been slain in battle, and all my kinsfolk, and I have not friends nor whither to go; and how long the Lord will suffer that I may live I know not.



Breast Plates and Urim and Tummim


View of the Hebrews:

Before the Indian Archimagus officiates in making the supposed holy fire for the yearly atonement for sin, the sagan (waiter of the high priest) clothes him with a white ephod, which is a waist coat without sleeves. In resemblance of the Urim and Thum-inim, the American Archimagus wears a breast plate made of a white conch-shell with two holes bored in the middle of it, through which he puts the ends of an otter skin strap, and fastens a buck horn white button to the outside of each, as if in imitation of the precious stones of the Urim.


Book of Mormon:

(from Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith)

“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. …

“Again, he told me, that when I got those 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.



Man on a Wall


View of the Hebrews:

This strange thing, when it commenced, soon excited great attention; and this Jesus was brought before Albinus, the Roman governor, who interrogated him, but could obtain no answer except the continuation of his woes. He commanded him to be scourged, but to no effect. During times of festivals, this cry of his was peculiarly loud and urgent. After the commencement of the siege, he ascended the walls, and in a voice still more tremendous than ever, he exclaimed, "Wo, wo to this city, this temple, and this people!" And he then added, (for the first time for the seven years,) "Wo, wo to myself!" The words were no sooner uttered, than a stone from a Roman machine without the walls, struck him dead on the spot!


Book of Mormon:

But behold, the voice of the Lord came unto him, that he should return again, and prophesy unto the people whatsoever things should come into his heart.

And it came to pass that they would not suffer that he should enter into the city; therefore he went and got upon the wall thereof, and stretched forth his hand and cried with a loud voice, and prophesied unto the people whatsoever things the Lord put into his heart.

And he said unto them: Behold, I, Samuel, a Lamanite, do speak the words of the Lord which he doth put into my heart; and behold he hath put it into my heart to say unto this people that the sword of justice hangeth over this people; and four hundred years pass not away save the sword of justice falleth upon this people.

12 Yea, wo unto this great city of Zarahemla; for behold, it is because of those who are righteous that it is saved; yea, wo unto this great city, for I perceive, saith the Lord, that there are many, yea, even the more part of this great city, that will harden their hearts against me, saith the Lord.

13 But blessed are they who will repent, for them will I spare. But behold, if it were not for the righteous who are in this great city, behold, I would cause that fire should come down out of heaven and destroy it.

14 But behold, it is for the righteous’ sake that it is spared. But behold, the time cometh, saith the Lord, that when ye shall cast out the righteous from among you, then shall ye be ripe for destruction; yea, wo be unto this great city, because of the wickedness and abominations which are in her.

(continues through to chapter 16)

And now, it came to pass that there were many who heard the words of Samuel, the Lamanite, which he spake upon the walls of the city. And as many as believed on his word went forth and sought for Nephi; and when they had come forth and found him they confessed unto him their sins and denied not, desiring that they might be baptized unto the Lord.

But as many as there were who did not believe in the words of Samuel were angry with him; and they cast stones at him upon the wall, and also many shot arrows at him as he stood upon the wall; but the Spirit of the Lord was with him, insomuch that they could not hit him with their stones neither with their arrows.

Now when they saw that they could not hit him, there were many more who did believe on his words, insomuch that they went away unto Nephi to be baptized.



Prophets and Spiritually Gifted Men


View of the Hebrews:

Many things may be fancied concerning the kind and degrees of evidence, which shall bring to light the ten tribes. But Providence may adopt a different method. The methods adopted by the Most High, relative to the affairs of men, have usually been such as to baffle human wisdom, and to stain the pride of all glory.

We are to expect no new revelation from heaven. And the days of miracles are thought to be past. We probably must look for just such evidence, to exhibit to the world that people so long lost, as is in fact exhibited by the natives of America. And can we expect to find more evidence of this kind among any other people who have been for more than two millenaries lost from the world, and without records or letters? Could we well have expected to find so much? Consider, our aborigines have remained essentially distinguished from all the heathen on earth, in the uniform belief of most of them at least, of one God; and their freedom from false gods and gross idolatry.


Book of Mormon:

And again I speak unto you who deny the revelations of God, and say that they are done away, that there are no revelations, nor prophecies, nor gifts, nor healing, nor speaking with tongues, and the interpretation of tongues;

Behold I say unto you, he that denieth these things knoweth not the gospel of Christ; yea, he has not read the scriptures; if so, he does not understand them.

For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing?

10 And now, if ye have imagined up unto yourselves a god who doth vary, and in whom there is shadow of changing, then have ye imagined up unto yourselves a god who is not a God of miracles.

11 But behold, I will show unto you a God of miracles, even the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and it is that same God who created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are.



Gospel Preached in America


View of the Hebrews:

It seems the Spanish missionaries found such traces of resemblance between some of the rites of the religion of the natives of Mexico, and the religion which they wished to introduce, that our author says, “They persuaded them that the gospel had in very remote times, been already preached in America. And they investigated its traces in the Aztec ritual, with the same ardour which the learned who in our days engage in the study of Sanscrit , display in discussing the analogy between the Greek mythology and that of the Ganges and the Burrampooter.” It is a noted fact that there is a far greater analogy between much of the religion of the Indians, and Christianity, than between that of any other heathen nation on earth and Christianity.


Book of Mormon:

33 And king Lamoni said: I believe all these things which thou hast spoken. Art thou sent from God?

34 Ammon said unto him: I am a man; and man in the beginning was created after the image of God, and I am called by his Holy Spirit to teach these things unto this people, that they may be brought to a knowledge of that which is just and true;

35 And a portion of that Spirit dwelleth in me, which giveth me knowledge, and also power according to my faith and desires which are in God.

36 Now when Ammon had said these words, he began at the creation of the world, and also the creation of Adam, and told him all the things concerning the fall of man, and rehearsedand laid before him the records and the holy scriptures of the people, which had been spoken by the prophets, even down to the time that their father, Lehi, left Jerusalem.

39 But this is not all; for he expounded unto them the plan of redemption, which was prepared from the foundation of the world; and he also made known unto them concerning the coming of Christ, and all the works of the Lord did he make known unto them.

40 And it came to pass that after he had said all these things, and expounded them to the king, that the king believed all his words.

41 And he began to cry unto the Lord, saying: O Lord, have mercy; according to thy abundant mercy which thou hast had upon the people of Nephi, have upon me, and my people.



Quoting Isaiah


View of the Hebrews:

Most of the remaining places now, through sullen despair, gave up all opposition, and submitted to the conquerors. Thus Judea became as a desolate wilderness; and the following passage in Isaiah had at least a primary accomplishment; “Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant; and the houses without man; and the land be utterly desolate; and the Lord have removed man far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land” [Isa 6:11-12].

In Isaiah xi. the stem from the root of Jesse is promised. The Millennium follows, when the cow and the bear shall feed together, and the wolf and the lamb unite in love; and nothing more shall hurt or offend. “And it shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall set his hand again, the second time, to gather the remnant of his people, who shall be left, from Assyria and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Humah, and from the isles of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah, from the four corners of the earth” [Isa 11:11-12]

In Isaiah xviii. a land shadowing with wings at the last days, is by the Most High addressed, and called to aid this restoration of that people of God. “Go, ye swift messengers, to a nation scattered and peeled, to a people terrible from the beginning hitherto; a nation meted out, and trodden down; whose land the rivers have spoiled. In that day shall the present be brought unto the Lord of hosts, of a people scattered and peeled, and from a people terrible from the beginning hitherto; a nation meted out and trodden under foot; whose land the rivers have spoiled, to the place of the Lord of hosts, the Mount Zion” [Isa 18:2, 7].

The same thing is noted in Isaiah lx. The Jewish church is called upon; “Arise, shine, for thy light is come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. The gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. Who are these that fly as clouds, and as doves to their windows? Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the Lord thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee” [Isa 60:1, 3, 8-9]

In Isaiah lxv. we find the sin, the dispersion, and the gathering again, at the Millennium, of the ancient tribes of the Lord. In relation to their gathering after their banishment, and “their works are measured into their bosom” [Isa 65:7], it follows; “Thus saith the Lord; As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, destroy it not; for a blessing is in it; so will I do for my servants’ sakes that I may not destroy them all. And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains; and mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there” [Isa 65:8-9]. Here, after the long rejected state of Jacob and Judah, a blessed remnant at last shall be recovered;—a seed from Jacob, (the ten tribes) and from Judah (the Jews) an inheritor of Canaan shall come and dwell in that land. This has never yet been fulfilled. But it will be accomplished when God will (as in the following verses) “create new heavens, and a new earth” [Isa 65:17], in the millennial glory of the church.

Isaiah, writing about the time of the expulsion of Israel from Canaan, and about to predict their restoration, says; Isai. xxviii. 1—”Wo to the crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim; (Ephraim was a noted name of the ten tribes of Israel.) The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet. For all tables shall be full of vomit and filthiness; so that there is no place clean” [Isa 28:1,3,8].

Under this impression Mr. Edwards apprehended this passage of Isaiah might allude to America; “So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west” [Isa 59:19]

Isaiah is supposed to have begun his ministry about the year 760 before Christ; and 35 years before the expulsion. He lived then, it appears, to see the expulsion of the ten tribes. And his pious heart must have been deeply affected with the event. His prophecy was “in the days Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah” [Isa 1:1].

In Isai. xxxvi. 19, where Rabshakah is insulting the officers of Hezekiah, he says, “Where are the gods of Hamah, and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand?” Here it seems Samaria, or Israel, had already fallen. Accordingly Isaiah laments, chap. v. 13; “Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge.”

Isai. vii. 8, where Jerusalem was invaded by a coalition of the king of Syria and the king of Israel;—Isaiah, to show that this joint effort against the Jews should not prevail, predicted “within threescore and five years shall Ephraim be broken that it be not a people.”

Isaiah xviii. verse 1; “Ho, land shadowing with wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia.” Our translators render this address, “Wo to the land.”

Of the children of God it is said; “They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” [Isa 40:31].

“All the inhabitants of the earth, see ye when he lifteth up the ensign on the mountains; and when he bloweth the trumpet, hear ye” [Isa 18:3].

[Isa 18] Verse 6, “They shall be left together unto the fowls of the mountains, and the beasts of the earth; and the fowls shall summer upon them, and the beasts of the earth shall winter upon them.’”


Book of Mormon:

(the following are Isaiah quotes which appear in both View of the Hebrews and the Book of Mormon)

In the year that king Uzziah died, I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.

11 Then said I: Lord, how long? And he said: Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate;

12 And the Lord have removed men far away, for there shall be a great forsaking in the midst of the land.

For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus, Rezin; and within threescore and five years shall Ephraim be broken that it be not a people.

(Isaiah in the Book of Mormon is featured as entire chapters, primarily in 2 Nephi chapters 7 - 8, 12-24, 27)



Good and Bad: Opposition in All Things


View of the Hebrews:

Of the writings of this author, he says; “These embrace a great number of curious subjects; viz. the union of the civil and ecclesiastical power in the same persons of the princes—the struggle between Quaulz and Matlax, the good and bad principle by which the world is governed;—the origin of the human species at the time when stags were without horns, birds without wings, &c;—the Eve of the Nootkians, who lived solitary in a flowery grove of Yucuatl—” Here is a traditional peculiarity of Israel;—the origin in the same person of civil and ecclesiastical government. The struggles of the good and bad principle seems very congenial to ancient revelation.


Book of Mormon:

11 For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.

12 Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God.

13 And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away.



Beware of Pride


View of the Hebrews:

… pride shall have budded in anti-christian realms. The sour grapes of their tyranny, violence, and licentiousness, will be found to be arriving at their growth; indicating that the time for the casting of the vine of the earth into the wine press of the wrath of God, is just at hand.


Book of Mormon:

18 And the large and spacious building, which thy father saw, is vain imaginations and the pride of the children of men. And a great and a terrible gulf divideth them; yea, even the word of the justice of the Eternal God, and the Messiah who is the Lamb of God, of whom the Holy Ghost beareth record, from the beginning of the world until this time, and from this time henceforth and forever.

19 And while the angel spake these words, I beheld and saw that the seed of my brethren did contend against my seed, according to the word of the angel; and because of the pride of my seed, and the temptations of the devil, I beheld that the seed of my brethren did overpower the people of my seed.

12 Because of pride, and because of false teachers, and false doctrine, their churches have become corrupted, and their churches are lifted up; because of pride they are puffed up.

13 They rob the poor because of their fine sanctuaries; they rob the poor because of their fine clothing; and they persecute the meek and the poor in heart, because in their pride they are puffed up.

14 They wear stiff necks and high heads; yea, and because of pride, and wickedness, and abominations, and whoredoms, they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men.

15 O the wise, and the learned, and the rich, that are puffed up in the pride of their hearts, and all those who preach false doctrines, and all those who commit whoredoms, and pervert the right way of the Lord, wo, wo, wo be unto them, saith the Lord God Almighty, for they shall be thrust down to hell!

28 Behold, are ye stripped of pride? I say unto you, if ye are not ye are not prepared to meet God. Behold ye must prepare quickly; for the kingdom of heaven is soon at hand, and such an one hath not eternal life.



Polygamy Denounced


View of the Hebrews:

“Long time ago, (he added) it was a good custom among his people to take but one wife, and that for life. But now they had become so foolish, and so wicked, that they would take a number of wives at a time; and turn them away at pleasure!”


Book of Mormon:

27 Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none;

28 For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts.

29 Wherefore, this people shall keep my commandments, saith the Lord of Hosts, or cursed be the land for their sakes.

30 For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.

31 For behold, I, the Lord, have seen the sorrow, and heard the mourning of the daughters of my people in the land of Jerusalem, yea, and in all the lands of my people, because of the wickedness and abominations of their husbands.



Sacred Towers and High Places


View of the Hebrews:

Most of this city was surrounded with three walls. In some places, where it was deemed inaccessible, it had only one. The wall first built was adorned and strengthened with sixty towers. Fourteen towers rested on the middle wall. The outside one, (most remarkable for its workmanship) was secured with ninety towers.

The tower Psephinos was most celebrated. It was seventy cubits high; had eight angles; and commanded a most beautiful prospect. Here the visitor might (in a clear atmosphere) delight himself with a view of the Mediterranean, forty miles to the west; and of most of the Jewish dominions. Some of these towers were nearly ninety cubits in height; and famous for their beauty, elegance and curiosities. They were built of white marble; and had the appearance of vast marble blocks. These huge piles gave to the city, in the view of the adjacent country, a most majestick appearance.

Near the highest of these towers stood the royal palace, of the most commanding elegance. Incredible cost had furnished its pillars, porticoes, galleries, and apartments. Its gardens, groves, fountains, aqueducts, and walks, presented the richest and most delightful scenery. This was the beauty and elegance of the north side of Jerusalem.

The prophet Micah had predicted; “Therefore shall Zion for your sakes be ploughed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the Lord’s house as the high places of the forest” [Micah 3:12]. A captain of the army of Titus, did in fact plough where some part of the foundation of the temple had stood, as the Talmud records, and thus fulfilled this prediction.

The high places and great tumuli of the natives on the Mississippi, no doubt were for the same purposes with those of South America. The writer of the Archaeology remarks, that had temples been built on any of their high places, probably no vestige of them would now be visible.

These ancient works of the native Americans may well remind us of what was said in the Old Testament writings of the ancient “high places” of Israel. Psalm Ixxviii. 58; “For they provoked him to anger with their high places.”

How abundantly are these noted through their sacred writings. In scores of texts we read of them. Such a king built their high places. Such a reformer destroyed them. Such a vile king rebuilt them. Such a good king again destroyed them, and so on. Here was a train of the most common events. The hearts of Israel were long and most perfectly inured to the religious use of their high places, though it was forbidden. Scott remarks that these high places were “both for idolatry; and for the irregular worship of Jehovah.”


Book of Mormon:

And it came to pass that after I, Nephi, had been in the land of Bountiful for the space of many days, the voice of the Lord came unto me, saying: Arise, and get thee into the mountain. And it came to pass that I arose and went up into the mountain, and cried unto the Lord.

For the multitude being so great that king Benjamin could not teach them all within the walls of the temple, therefore he caused a tower to be erected, that thereby his people might hear the words which he should speak unto them.

And it came to pass that he began to speak to his people from the tower; and they could not all hear his words because of the greatness of the multitude; therefore he caused that the words which he spake should be written and sent forth among those that were not under the sound of his voice, that they might also receive his words.

10 And behold, now it came to pass that it was upon a tower, which was in the garden of Nephi, which was by the highway which led to the chief market, which was in the city of Zarahemla; therefore, Nephi had bowed himself upon the tower which was in his garden, which tower was also near unto the garden gate by which led the highway.

11 And it came to pass that there were certain men passing by and saw Nephi as he was pouring out his soul unto God upon the tower; and they ran and told the people what they had seen, and the people came together in multitudes that they might know the cause of so great mourning for the wickedness of the people.

And it came to pass that the brother of Jared, (now the number of the vessels which had been prepared was eight) went forth unto the amount, which they called the mount Shelem, because of its exceeding height, and did molten out of a rock sixteen small stones; and they were white and clear, even as transparent glass; and he did carry them in his hands upon the top of the mount, and cried again unto the Lord, saying:

O Lord, thou hast said that we must be encompassed about by the floods. Now behold, O Lord, and do not be angry with thy servant because of his weakness before thee; for we know that thou art holy and dwellest in the heavens, and that we are unworthy before thee; because of the fall our natures have become evil continually; nevertheless, O Lord, thou hast given us a commandment that we must call upon thee, that from thee we may receive according to our desires.

Behold, O Lord, thou hast smitten us because of our iniquity, and hast driven us forth, and for these many years we have been in the wilderness; nevertheless, thou hast been mercifulunto us. O Lord, look upon me in pity, and turn away thine anger from this thy people, and suffer not that they shall go forth across this raging deep in darkness; but behold these things which I have molten out of the rock.

And I know, O Lord, that thou hast all power, and can do whatsoever thou wilt for the benefit of man; therefore touch these stones, O Lord, with thy finger, and prepare them that they may shine forth in darkness; and they shall shine forth unto us in the vessels which we have prepared, that we may have light while we shall cross the sea.

Behold, O Lord, thou canst do this. We know that thou art able to show forth great power, which looks small unto the understanding of men.

And it came to pass that when the brother of Jared had said these words, behold, the Lord stretched forth his hand and touched the stones one by one with his finger. And the veil was taken from off the eyes of the brother of Jared, and he saw the finger of the Lord; and it was as the finger of a man, like unto flesh and blood; and the brother of Jared fell down before the Lord, for he was struck with fear.



Messiah in America


View of the Hebrews:

On the pyramid of Cholula was an altar dedicated to Quetzalcoatl, or the serpent of green feathers; as the name imports. Of their tradition relative to this Quetzalcoatl, the writer says; “this is the most mysterious being of the whole Mexican mythology.” An account is then given of this person, sufficiently indeed intermixed with fables; as is usual in the pagan mythologies of events, even founded on revelation. Passing over various of the immaterial fictions, I will sketch the leading points of the picture.

The character to whom their most noted altar was dedicated, whose name imported a serpent of green feathers; was at the same time (in their own description) “a white and bearded man.” “He was high priest of Tula, legislator, chief of a religious sect who inflicted on themselves the most cruel penance.”

“The reign of Quetzalcotl was a golden age of the people of Anahuac. The earth brought forth without culture the most fruitful harvests. But this reign was not of long duration.”

“He preached peace to men, and would permit no other offerings to the Divinity than the first fruits of the harvests.”

“He disappeared, after he had declared to the Cholulans that he would return and govern them again, and renew their happiness.”

Though their ancient “legislator” is called by a name importing the serpent of green feathers; yet he was an ancient mana white man and bearded; called by Montezuma, a saint who led them to this country, and taught them many things. Who could this be but Moses, the ancient legislator in Israel? The Indians in other regions have brought down a tradition, that their former ancestors, away in a distant region from which they came, were white. And the Cholulans, it seems, teach that they wore their beards; which was the fact; in opposition to the Indians, who pluck them out with their tweezers. How exactly does Moses answer to this their ancient legislator, and chief of their religious community, as may appear.


Book of Mormon:

6 And behold, the third time they did understand the voice which they heard; and it said unto them:

Behold my Beloved Sonin 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:

10 Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world.

11 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.



Idolatry and Human Sacrifice


View of the Hebrews:

This may account for the degeneracy of some Indians far to the west, reported in the journals of Mr. Giddings, in his exploring tour. He informs, “They differ greatly in their ideas of the Great Spirit; one supposes that he dwells in a buffalo, another in a wolf, another in a bear. another in a bird, another in a rattlesnake. On great occasions, such as when they go to war, and when they return, (he adds) they sacrifice a dog, and have a dance. On these occasions they formerly sacrificed a prisoner taken in the war; but through the benevolent exertions of a trader among them, they have abandoned the practice of human sacrifice.


Book of Mormon:

And now I write somewhat concerning the sufferings of this people. For according to the knowledge which I have received from Amoron, behold, the Lamanites have many prisoners, which they took from the tower of Sherrizah; and there were men, women, and children.

And the husbands and fathers of those women and children they have slain; and they feed the women upon the flesh of their husbands, and the children upon the flesh of their fathers; and no water, save a little, do they give unto them.

And notwithstanding this great abomination of the Lamanites, it doth not exceed that of our people in Moriantum. For behold, many of the daughters of the Lamanites have they taken prisoners; and after depriving them of that which was most dear and precious above all things, which is chastity and virtue

10 And after they had done this thing, they did murder them in a most cruel manner, torturing their bodies even unto death; and after they have done this, they devour their flesh like unto wild beasts, because of the hardness of their hearts; and they do it for a token of bravery.



Division into Two Classes: the Civilized and the Barbarians, The Civilized Thrive, Long Wars,

The Barbarians exterminate the Civilized


View of the Hebrews:

De Las Casas, who spent much time in New Spain, says of the natives; “Did they not receive the Spaniards, who first came among them, with gentleness and humanity? Did they not show more joy in proportion, in lavishing treasures upon them, than the Spaniards did greediness in receiving them? But our avarice was not yet satisfied. Though they gave up to us their lands, and their riches; we would take from them also their wives, their children, and their liberties. To blacken the characters of these people, their enemies assert that they are scarce human. But it is we (adds the author) who ought to blush for having been less men, and more barbarous than they.” The natives are said to be free from the European vices of blasphemy, swearing, treachery in peace, and similar vices.

How perfectly consentaneous are these facts stated, with the scheme presented in the preceding pages, that Israel brought into this new continent a considerable degree of civilization; and the better part of them long laboured to maintain it. But others fell into the hunting and consequent savage state; whose barbarous hordes invaded their more civilized brethren, and eventually annihilated most of them, and all in these northern regions! Their hieroglyphical records, paintings and knowledge of the solar year, (let it be repeated and remembered) agree to nothing that could have descended from the barbarous hordes of the north-east of Europe, and north of Asia; but they well agree with the ancient improvements and state of Israel.


Book of Mormon:

16 And I had faith, and I did cry unto God that he would preserve the records; and he covenanted with me that he would bring them forth unto the Lamanites in his own due time.

17 And I, Enos, knew it would be according to the covenant which he had made; wherefore my soul did rest.

18 And the Lord said unto me: Thy fathers have also required of me this thing; and it shall be done unto them according to their faith; for their faith was like unto thine.

19 And now it came to pass that I, Enos, went about among the people of Nephi, prophesying of things to come, and testifying of the things which I had heard and seen.

20 And I bear record that the people of Nephi did seek diligently to restore the Lamanites unto the true faith in God. But our labors were vain; their hatred was fixed, and they were led by their evil nature that they became wild, and ferocious, and a blood-thirsty people, full of idolatry and filthiness; feeding upon beasts of prey; dwelling in tents, and wandering about in the wilderness with a short skin girdle about their loins and their heads shaven; and their skill was in the bow, and in the cimeter, and the ax. And many of them did eat nothing save it was raw meat; and they were continually seeking to destroy us.

21 And it came to pass that the people of Nephi did till the land, and raise all manner of grain, and of fruit, and flocks of herds, and flocks of all manner of cattle of every kind, and goats, and wild goats, and also many horses.

22 And there were exceedingly many prophets among us. And the people were a stiffnecked people, hard to understand.

And now I return to an account of the wars between the Nephites and the Lamanites, in the eighteenth year of the reign of the judges.

For behold, it came to pass that the Zoramites became Lamanites; therefore, in the commencement of the eighteenth year the people of the Nephites saw that the Lamanites were coming upon them; therefore they made preparations for war; yea, they gathered together their armies in the land of Jershon.

And it came to pass that the Lamanites came with their thousands; and they came into the land of Antionum, which is the land of the Zoramites; and a man by the name of Zerahemnah was their leader.

And now, as the Amalekites were of a more wicked and murderous disposition than the Lamanites were, in and of themselves, therefore, Zerahemnah appointed chief captainsover the Lamanites, and they were all Amalekites and Zoramites.

Now this he did that he might preserve their hatred towards the Nephites, that he might bring them into subjection to the accomplishment of his designs.

For behold, his designs were to stir up the Lamanites to anger against the Nephites; this he did that he might usurp great power over them, and also that he might gain power over the Nephites by bringing them into bondage.

And now the design of the Nephites was to support their lands, and their houses, and their wives, and their children, that they might preserve them from the hands of their enemies; and also that they might preserve their rights and their privileges, yea, and also their liberty, that they might worship God according to their desires.

10 For they knew that if they should fall into the hands of the Lamanites, that whosoever should worship God in spirit and in truth, the true and the living God, the Lamanites would destroy.

19 And when the armies of the Lamanites saw that the people of Nephi, or that Moroni, had prepared his people with breastplates and with arm-shields, yea, and also shields to defend their heads, and also they were dressed with thick clothing—

20 Now the army of Zerahemnah was not prepared with any such thing; they had only their swords and their cimeters, their bows and their arrows, their stones and their slings; and they were naked, save it were a skin which was girded about their loins; yea, all were naked, save it were the Zoramites and the Amalekites;

21 But they were not armed with breastplates, nor shields—therefore, they were exceedingly afraid of the armies of the Nephites because of their armor, notwithstanding their number being so much greater than the Nephites.

22 Behold, now it came to pass that they durst not come against the Nephites in the borders of Jershon; therefore they departed out of the land of Antionum into the wilderness, and took their journey round about in the wilderness, away by the head of the river Sidon, that they might come into the land of Manti and take possession of the land; for they did not suppose that the armies of Moroni would know whither they had gone.

11 O my beloved son, how can a people like this, that are without civilization—

12 (And only a few years have passed away, and they were a civil and a delightsome people)

13 But O my son, how can a people like this, whose delight is in so much abomination—

14 How can we expect that God will stay his hand in judgment against us?

15 Behold, my heart cries: Wo unto this people. Come out in judgment, O God, and hide their sins, and wickedness, and abominations from before thy face!

16 And again, my son, there are many widows and their daughters who remain in Sherrizah; and that part of the provisions which the Lamanites did not carry away, behold, the army of Zenephi has carried away, and left them to wander whithersoever they can for food; and many old women do faint by the way and die.

For behold, their wars are exceedingly fierce among themselves; and because of their hatred they put to death every Nephite that will not deny the Christ.

And I, Moroni, will not deny the Christ; wherefore, I wander whithersoever I can for the safety of mine own life.

( In the Book of Mormon’s case, the barbarous people did not slay the civilized for the traditionally civilized Nephites had become just as barbarous as their Lamanite brethren at the time of their extermination.)



Monarchy to Republic: Civil and Ecclesiastical Power United in One Person


View of the Hebrews:

Our author proceeds; “But the Mexican small colonies, wearied of tyranny, gave themselves republican constitutions.” Now it is only after long popular struggles that these free constitutions can be formed. The existence of republics does not indicate a very recent civilization. Here, like a wise politician, he was showing that the Mexicans from ancient date, were a civilized people, at least, in good degree.

M. Humbolt informs us from Mozino (of whom he speaks with great respect,) relative to Indians at Nootka, on the north-west coasts. Of the writings of this author, he says; “These embrace a great number of curious subjects; viz. the union of the civil and ecclesiastical power in the same persons of the princes


Book of Mormon:

11 Therefore I will be your king the remainder of my days; nevertheless, let us appoint judges, to judge this people according to our law; and we will newly arrange the affairs of this people, for we will appoint wise men to be judges, that will judge this people according to the commandments of God.

12 Now it is better that a man should be judged of God than of man, for the judgments of God are always just, but the judgments of man are not always just.

13 Therefore, 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, yea, if ye could have men for your kings who would do even as my father Benjamin did for this people—I say unto you, if this could always be the case then it would be expedient that ye should always have kings to rule over you.



Military Fortifications, Observations and Watch Towers


View of the Hebrews:

Titus being a merciful general, was touched to the heart at the miseries of the Jews; and in person he tenderly entreated the besieged to surrender. But all the answer he obtained for his tenderness was base revilings. He now resolved to make thorough work with this obstinate people; and hence surrounded the city with a circumvallation of thirty nine furlongs in length, strengthened with thirteen towers. This, by the astonishing activity of the soldiers, was effected in three days. Then was fulfilled this prediction of our blessed Lord; “Thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and keep thee in on every side” [Luke 19:43].

As the city was now cut off from all possible supplies, famine became more dreadful. Whole families fell a sacrifice to it; and the dead bodies of women, children, and the aged, were seen covering roofs of houses, and various recesses. Youth and the middle aged appeared like spectres; and fell many of them dead in public places. The dead became too numerous to be interred. Many died while attempting to perform this office. So great and awful became the calamities, that lamentation ceased; and an awful silence of despair overwhelmed the city. But all this failed of restraining the more abandoned from most horrid deeds. They took this opportunity to rob the tombs; and with loud infernal laughter, to strip the dead of their habiliments of death; and would try the edge of their swords on dead bodies, and on some while yet breathing. Simon Georas now vented his rage against Matthias, the high priest, and his three sons. He caused them to be condemned, as though favouring the Romans. The father asked the favour to be first executed, and not see the death of his sons; but the malicious Simon reserved him for the last execution. And as he was expiring he put the insulting question, whether the Romans could now relieve him?

The Indian ark is deemed so sacred and dangerous to touch, either by their own sanctified warriors, or the spoiling enemy, that neither of them dare meddle with it on any account. It is not to be handled by any except the chieftian and his waiter, under penalty of incurring great evil; nor would the most inveterate enemy dare to touch it. The leader virtually acts the part of a priest of war, pro tempore, in imitation of the Israelites fighting under the divine military banner.”

Relative to the ancient forts and tumuli, the writer of the Archaeology says; “These military works,—these walls and ditches cost so much labour in their structure; those numerous and sometimes tasty mounds, which owe their origin to a people far more civilized than our Indians, but far less so than Europeans;—are interesting on many accounts to the antiquarian, to the philosopher, and the divine. Especially when we consider the immense extent of country which they cover; the great labour which they cost their authors; the acquaintance with the useful arts which that people had, when compared with our present race of Indians; the grandeur of many of the works themselves; and the total absence of all historical records, or even traditionary accounts, respecting them. They were once forts, cemeteries, temples, altars, camps, towns, villages, race grounds, and other places of amusement, habitations of chieftains, videttes, watch towers, and monuments.”

On the waters of the Scioto, at Circleville, Ohio, is a notable instance of these military works. Here are two forts adjoining; one an exact circle; the other a square. The former has two walls, with a ditch between them. These walls were twenty feet in height. The inner wall was of clay; the outer of earth taken from the ditch between the walls. The walls of the square fort are ten feet in height; with eight gateways, besides the one leading into the adjoining circular fort. Each of these gateways is defended on the inside with a mound of earth four feet high, and forty feet diameter at the base. Each mound is two rods within the gateway, and direct in front of it, no doubt for defence. The square and the circle of these forts are said to be most exact; and are thought to indicate much mathematical skill; as not the least error can be detected in their device.


Book of Mormon:

Behold, I said that the city of Ammonihah had been rebuilt. I say unto you, yea, that it was in part rebuilt; and because the Lamanites had destroyed it once because of the iniquity of the people, they supposed that it would again become an easy prey for them.

But behold, how great was their disappointment; for behold, the Nephites had dug up a ridge of earth round about them, which was so high that the Lamanites could not cast their stones and their arrows at them that they might take effect, neither could they come upon them save it was by their place of entrance.

Now at this time the chief captains of the Lamanites were astonished exceedingly, because of the wisdom of the Nephites in preparing their places of security.

Now the leaders of the Lamanites had supposed, because of the greatness of their numbers, yea, they supposed that they should be privileged to come upon them as they had hitherto done; yea, and they had also prepared themselves with shields, and with breastplates; and they had also prepared themselves with garments of skins, yea, very thick garments to cover their nakedness.

And being thus prepared they supposed that they should easily overpower and subject their brethren to the yoke of bondage, or slay and massacre them according to their pleasure.

But behold, to their uttermost astonishment, they were prepared for them, in a manner which never had been known among the children of Lehi. Now they were prepared for the Lamanites, to battle after the manner of the instructions of Moroni.

And it came to pass that the Lamanites, or the Amalickiahites, were exceedingly astonished at their manner of preparation for war.

10 Now, if king Amalickiah had come down out of the land of Nephi, at the head of his army, perhaps he would have caused the Lamanites to have attacked the Nephites at the city of Ammonihah; for behold, he did care not for the blood of his people.