A Narrative Historical Summary of the Book of Mormon
This account, written by the prophet Nephi, was actually begun some thirty years after the earliest events of the narrative. It was engraved upon the small plates of Nephi.
At the commencement of the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah (about 597 BC), "many prophets" preached repentance unto the people of Jerusalem. These included the likes of Jeremiah, Zephaniah, Habakkuk, Ezekiel, and others who were all contemporaries. These prophets warned that if the people did not repent, they and the great city of Jerusalem would be destroyed. Another righteous man, a prophet named Lehi, prayed for the people of Jerusalem and was granted two great visions in which he learned of the coming of Jesus Christ to the earth many years hence and of the eventual destruction of Jerusalem and its inhabitants lest they repent. Lehi's initial vision was seen in a pillar of fire which rested upon a rock, and the second occurred while he was at home lying on his bed.
Lehi then went forth among the people and warned them of the destruction which would result from their wickedness. The people became angry with him, persecuted him, and even sought his life. The Lord eventually commanded Lehi in a dream to take his family and leave the area of Jerusalem and travel into the wilderness. Accordingly, Lehi left all his worldly possessions except for necessary provisions and departed with his wife, Sariah, and his sons (from the oldest to youngest) Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi. They journeyed in the wilderness to a place "near the shore of the Red Sea." Then, after three more days' travel, they camped in a valley, "by the side of a river of water" which emptied into the Red Sea. Lehi named the river after his son Laman and the valley after Lemuel. Here they built an altar and offered up their thanks to God. They were to remain in this valley for an unspecified amount of time, perhaps a few years.
Laman and Lemuel soon began to murmur against their father for leaving behind all the comforts of home and bringing them into the wilderness. Sam and Nephi, however, believed that Lehi had been directed by revelation to bring them out of Jerusalem. The Lord promised Nephi that if he remained faithful, he and his family would prosper and be led to a land of promise "choice above all other lands." Furthermore, Nephi was promised that as long as he kept the commandments, he would be "a ruler and a teacher" over his less righteous brothers.
Meanwhile, shortly after their arrival in the valley of Lemuel, the Lord commanded Lehi, again in a dream, to send his four sons back to Jerusalem to obtain the scriptures which were contained on a set of brass plates owned by a man named Laban. It was vital that Lehi's family not travel to the land of promise without taking with them this scriptural record. Nephi and Sam agreed readily to go, but, as might be expected, Laman and Lemuel protested and complained before finally consenting to go.
After arriving back in Jerusalem, the brothers cast lots, and Laman was designated to go to the house of Laban and ask for the plates. Laman did so, but the request so angered Laban that he threw Laman out of his house and even threatened to kill him. Laman and Lemuel became discouraged. They were about to return to their wilderness camp, when Nephi hit upon a plan, and he persuaded his brothers to stay. Under Nephi's direction, the four brothers returned to their former home near Jerusalem, gathered up all the gold, silver, and precious things which remained there, and returned to Laban. They offered him these precious possessions in exchange for the plates. Laban kept the valuables and cast the four brothers out of his house. He even sent his servants after them to kill them. Nephi and his brothers were thus forced to flee out of Jerusalem where they hid themselves in a cave. Laman and Lemuel were angry with Sam and Nephi for persisting in their desire to do the will of Lehi, and they even began to physically abuse their younger brothers. Their hands, however, were staid by an angel of the Lord who rebuked them and commanded the group to return to Jerusalem where Laban would be delivered into their hands.
They agreed to do as the angel directed, but Laman and Lemuel remained dubious about their chances of wresting the plates from the powerful Laban. They arrived back at the city wall at night, and Nephi crept into the city and made his way to Laban's house. Near the house he encountered Laban, lying on the ground in a drunken stupor. Nephi was then constrained to behead Laban with Laban's own sword. Nephi obeyed the voice of the Spirit and dressed himself in Laban's clothes. Nephi then entered Laban's house and commanded Laban's servant, Zoram, to open the treasury. Zoram, believing that Nephi was Laban, obeyed, and Nephi thus obtained the plates. He then asked Zoram to accompany him as he rejoined his brothers outside the city walls. Zoram, still thinking he was walking with his master Laban, obeyed. When Laman and Lemuel saw Nephi approaching dressed in Laban's clothing, they were frightened and fled. Nephi called to them and reassured them that he was not Laban. When Zoram discovered Nephi's true identity, he tried to flee, but Nephi restrained him and persuaded him to join Lehi's family in the wilderness.
When the boys arrived back at the family camp, Lehi and Sariah rejoiced. Particularly was Sariah joyful since she had feared that her sons had perished in the wilderness. During the long weeks of her sons' absence, Sariah had mourned for them, thinking that the worst had probably happened. She had complained against her husband, accusing him of being a "visionary man." She complained also that they had lost their home and their sons, and they were now going to lose their own lives. Lehi had been promised by the Lord that the sons would return safely, and he comforted her. When the sons did return, the family rejoiced and gave thanks by offering up burnt offerings.
Once they had the plates in their possession, Lehi and his son Nephi studied them with relish and rejoiced in what they found. The brass plates contained the five books of Moses including an account of the creation and an account of Adam and Eve, records of the Jews down to the time of the commencement of the reign of King Zedekiah, a genealogy of Lehi's ancestors (both Laban and Lehi were descendants of Joseph, the son of Israel), and prophecies of the prophets down to and including Jeremiah.
Some time after the sons returned to the valley of Lemuel with the brass plates, they were again commanded to make the 500-mile round-trip journey and return to Jerusalem to persuade a man named Ishmael and his family (wife, two married sons with their wives, and five daughters) to join them in their journey in the wilderness, that Lehi's sons might have women to wed. This assignment drew no "murmuring" or complaint from Laman and Lemuel. Ishmael and his family were persuaded, and Ishmael and his family left Jerusalem to join Lehi's family in the wilderness. On the way back into the wilderness, Laman, Lemuel, the two sons of Ishmael and their wives, and also two of Ishmael's daughters rebelled against the rest of the group and decided to return to Jerusalem. Laman and Lemuel became angry with Nephi for trying to dissuade them from leaving the group, and they bound him with cords and left him to be killed by wild beasts in the wilderness. After mighty prayer, however, Nephi was freed, and he again stood before the rebellious few and tried to convince them not to return to Jerusalem. Finally their hearts were softened, and they asked Nephi's forgiveness for the way they had treated him.
Some time after the group rejoined Lehi and Sariah in the wilderness, Lehi saw in a dream a vision of the tree of life. Following this vision, he prophesied of the destruction of Jerusalem, the scattering and gathering of Israel, the mission of John the Baptist, and the ministry of the Savior. Shortly thereafter, Nephi prayed for and was granted the privilege of seeing the same vision given to his father. Nephi was additionally given the interpretation of the vision of the tree of life. Nephi then was blessed with an extensive vision of the future.
Nephi and his brothers each took to wife one of Ishmael's daughters, and even Zoram married the eldest daughter.
Eventually, one night, the Lord commanded Lehi to take his family and leave the valley of Lemuel. The next morning they found on the ground outside their tent the "director" or Liahona, "a round ball of curious workmanship . . . of fine brass." Within the ball there were "two spindles; and the one pointed the way" they should travel in the wilderness. They gathered their belongings, crossed the river Laman, and departed into the wilderness. After four days of travel they camped at a place they called Shazer. Then, after "many days" of travel near the Red Sea had rendered them tired and hungry, they made their camp again. They badly needed food, and Nephi went hunting. He possessed the only good bow in the group, one made of "fine steel." As he hunted, his bow broke. His brothers's bows had lost their spring. This left the group without any way of obtaining food. Murmuring began again among Laman, Lemuel, and the sons of Ishmael, and even Lehi began to complain against the Lord. Eventually, after humbling themselves again, the Liahona directed Nephi to the top of a mountain. Here, armed with a new wooden bow and arrows made also of wood, he was able to obtain wild game. In many matters they took direction from writing which appeared upon the Liahona and which changed from time to time.
After many more days of travel, Ishmael died and was buried in a place called Nahom. Their father's death caused some of Ishmael's daughters to begin to "mourn exceedingly" and begin to complain again, and they, with Laman and Lemuel, even plotted to kill Nephi and Lehi and return to Jerusalem. Again, after Nephi exhorted them, they repented.
The women bore an unspecified number of children in the wilderness. Two more sons, Jacob and Joseph, and possibly some daughters were born to Sariah. After a total of eight years of journeying in the wilderness, they arrived at a land they called Bountiful on the coast of the Arabian Sea. They called the sea "Irreantum" or "many waters".
Specifications were soon given by the Lord to Nephi for a ship which he was commanded to build. Again, Nephi's brothers began to mock him for his idea of building a ship, and they refused to help in the construction. They felt that Nephi was incapable of building a ship. Again Nephi rebuked them, and as he did so the power of God was manifest in Nephi's visage to the point where his brothers were frightened and bowed down to worship him as if he were God. They thus were encouraged to repent, and they decided to help with the ship building.
Finally, the ship was finished, and all in the group boarded it and departed for the promised land. After many days on the water, the sons of Ishmael, Laman, and Lemuel began to make merry and behave in an unseemly, irreverent fashion. When Nephi warned against this type of behavior, they bound him for a period of four days. During that period, a storm arose which grew progressively more violent, and the Liahona ceased to function. Finally, when it appeared that they would be "swallowed up in the depths of the sea," the rebellious few became fearful and freed Nephi who prayed unto the Lord, and the storm was calmed. The Liahona began again to function.
After sailing for "many days" they arrived at the "promised land," likely setting ashore somewhere on the Pacific coast of Central America. Soon after the arrival in the new world, Nephi was commanded to start a set of plates which would later become known as the "large plates of Nephi." On this set of plates he was to record an account of the events since the group had left Jerusalem. The date of their arrival in the New World depends, of course, on the date of their departure from Jerusalem. Apparently about ten years were required for their journey from Jerusalem to the Promised Land. A reasonable range of possible arrival dates seems to be 587-577 BC.
A few years after arriving in the promised land, Lehi gathered his extended family group together. He reported to them that he had seen a vision in which he learned that the city of Jerusalem had been destroyed and that had they remained in Jerusalem, they would have perished. He then exhorted, counseled, and blessed his own family, Ishmael's family, and Zoram. Then he died and was buried.
A few days later, Laman's and Lemuel's resentment of Nephi again surfaced. They grew angry with Nephi because he was looked to as the ruler of the people, and they were jealous of him. They even plotted to kill him. The Lord warned Nephi of this plot on his life. Accordingly, Nephi, Zoram, Sam, Jacob, Joseph, and their families, and also Nephi's "sisters" gathered up their belongings (including the brass plates, the sword of Laban, and the Liahona) and fled into the wilderness. (Nephi's sisters are not previously mentioned and may have actually been Lehi's daughters born to Sariah in the wilderness.) The date of Nephi's departure from the land of Ishmael is not known precisely, rather it is estimated to be between 588 and 570 BC. They traveled "many days" and settled in a place they called the "land of Nephi." There, under Nephi's rule, the people built a temple patterned after Solomon's temple, and they prospered in righteousness. They made many swords patterned after the sword of Laban to protect themselves from the "Lamanites," and they learned to build buildings and to work with wood, iron, copper, brass, steel, gold, and silver. Jacob and Joseph were ordained by Nephi to be priests and teachers among the Nephites.
The people living in the land of Nephi asked Nephi to be their king. Nephi was reluctant, believing that the people should have no king. The people prevailed, however, and Nephi became their king and teacher. Those in the land of Nephi (the "Nephites") were a "fair and delightsome" people. The families of Laman, Lemuel, and the sons of Ishmael who remained in the land of "first inheritance," now called the land of Ishmael, became known as the "Lamanites." They were wicked, and consequently they lost the Spirit of God. A mark was placed upon them to separate them from those who had not lost the Spirit. This mark was a "skin of blackness." The Nephites were commanded not to intermarry with the Lamanites.
Thus far Nephi had kept his record of his people on a set of plates he had made shortly after their arrival in the New World while living in the land of Ishmael. These have subsequently been called the large plates of Nephi. About twenty years after their arrival while Nephi and his people were living in the land of Nephi, the Lord commanded him to begin another record of his people on a second set of plates hereafter referred to as the small plates of Nephi. These latter plates were to contain predominantly a religious history of the people, whereas the record he had already been keeping contained mainly the secular history covering the thirty years since the group had left Jerusalem.
Between 570 and 560 BC there were wars and contentions between the Nephites and Lamanites. Between 559 and 545 BC we are told nothing of the history of the people.
Nephi's brother, Jacob, still living in the land of Nephi, delivered a lengthy sermon on the covenants between the Lord and the house of Israel, the coming and the crucifixion of the Lord, the atonement, baptism, and the state of the promised land in the latter days. He quoted several passages from Isaiah's prophecies taken from the brass plates of Laban. Nephi reported that he himself, his brother Jacob, and the prophet Isaiah all had actually seen the Savior. Nephi then prophesied concerning the latter days and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon.
Nephi delivered the small plates of Nephi to his brother Jacob who became the spiritual leader of the Nephite people. Nephi instructed him concerning the continuation of the plates, appointed another king to reign in his stead, and then died shortly after 544 BC. The people chose to call their kings "second Nephi," "third Nephi," etc., in honor of Nephi.
Under the reign of the second king, the Nephites began to be proud, materialistic, and they engaged in wicked practices such as desiring many wives and concubines. Jacob spoke to the Nephites from the temple. He denounced their sins and warned them that if they did not repent, they would be destroyed by the Lamanites who in some respects, especially in the integrity of their families, were living more righteous lives than the Nephites. Jacob then quoted the prophet Zenos's "allegory of the tame and wild olive trees" which Jacob took from the brass plates of Laban.
Some years after the death of Nephi, a wicked man named Sherem came among the Nephites and led many away from a belief in the coming Christ. He came before Jacob and demanded of him a sign, and consequently he was struck down. Many days thereafter he died, but not before calling together the Nephites and denying his previous erroneous teachings. Those whom he had led astray then repented.
In spite of the Nephites' efforts to restore the Lamanites to the knowledge of the truth, wars and hatred between the two peoples continued. Before his death, Jacob delivered the small plates of Nephi to his son Enos.
Enos's conversion to the gospel came while he was hunting beasts in the forest. He had a desire to experienced the same joy in the gospel that his father Jacob had described to him. After he prayed fervently for an entire day and even well into the night, the Lord spoke to him.
Enos had a great concern for his brethren the Lamanites. After Enos's diligent prayer on their behalf, the Lord made a covenant to preserve the scriptural records of the Nephites so that they might come forth at some future day to testify to the Lamanites.
The Nephites again made sincere efforts to restore the Lamanites to a faith in God, but they were unsuccessful. The Lamanites became a savage and blood thirsty people living in tents. They shaved their heads, worshipped idols, ate raw meat, drank the blood of animals, and wandered about the wilderness wearing only loin cloths made of the skin of animals.
Also at this point in history, even the Nephites required frequent stern warnings from their prophets to keep them righteous.
Meanwhile, wars between the Lamanites and the Nephites continued. After writing briefly, Enos delivered the plates to his son Jarom in about 420 BC.
The Nephites, who prospered because of righteous living, were vastly outnumbered by the Lamanites, and constant wars continued. The Nephites were able to withstand the onslaught, however, because of their righteousness. Jarom delivered the plates to his son Omni in about 361 BC.
Omni admitted that he was not righteous and delivered the plates to his son Amaron in 317 BC. Amaron delivered the plates to his brother Chemish in 279 BC. Meanwhile, the wars between the Lamanites and the Nephites continued.
Chemish gave the plates to his son Abinadom who passed them on to his son Amaleki.
Amaleki tells the story of Mosiah I: In about 210 BC the Lord warned Mosiah to flee from the land of Nephi, taking as many as would follow him into the wilderness northward. The group, which presumably included Amaleki himself, was directed by the Lord until they "came down into the land which is called the land of Zarahemla." They found that land inhabited by the people of Zarahemla. The leader of these people, a man named Zarahemla, rejoiced that the people of Mosiah had brought with them the sacred scriptural record contained on the brass plates.
The people of Zarahemla originated in Jerusalem. They had left Jerusalem at the time Zedekiah, king of Judah, was carried away captive into Babylon. They had journeyed into the wilderness and had crossed the Atlantic Ocean. One member of the group was Mulek, a son of King Zedekiah. We have come to refer to these people as "Mulekites" even though the term Mulekites is never used in the text of the Book of Mormon. They arrived in the new world about 590 BC, and after a few centuries, they eventually wandered into the land of Zarahemla. At the time Mosiah discovered them, they were exceedingly numerous, but their culture and language had degenerated to the point where the people of Mosiah could not understand their speech. The people of Zarahemla brought no scriptural records with them out of Jerusalem, and consequently their faith had dwindled to the point where they even denied the existence of God (see 1 Nephi 3:19-20).
Mosiah taught them the language of the Nephites and was appointed king over the land of Zarahemla.
One day a large stone was brought to Mosiah. It contained engravings which he was able to translate by the gift and power of God. Recorded on the stone was an account of the Jaredite people as told to the early Mulekites by Coriantumr. Coriantumr was a man who had been discovered by the Mulekites soon after their arrival in the new world. He told the Mulekites that he was the last surviving ruler of the Jaredite nation, in fact Coriantumr bore wounds at the time he was discovered from the great final battle of the Jaredite nation. He lived among the Mulekites nine months before he died. The stone recounted the story of the ancestors of Coriantumr, the Jaredites. These people came to the new world at the time of the tower of Babel, when the Lord confounded the language of the people.
Amaleki was born in the days of Mosiah and lived to see Mosiah's death. Benjamin, Mosiah's son, succeed Mosiah as king. Just before making his final entry onto the plates, Amaleki mentioned an expedition which left Zarahemla to return to the land of Nephi in order to possess their native land. Amaleki's brother was a member of this expedition. More about this expedition later.
As Amaleki made his last entry onto the small plates of Nephi, he described them as being "full." Amaleki probably delivered the plates to King Benjamin about 130 BC.
Words of Mormon
The prophet Mormon told of finding, during his abridgment of the large plates of Nephi, the small plates of Nephi among the records handed down to him (AD 385). He included them with his own abridgment, the plates of Mormon, and passed both sets of plates on to his son Moroni. Mormon was prompted to do this for a "wise purpose" known only to the Lord.
After explaining his handling of the plates in an editorial comment, Mormon then added a bit of history from the time of King Benjamin: After making his final entry onto the small plates, Amaleki delivered them to King Benjamin, who placed them with the large plates of Nephi.
King Benjamin had to contend with "contentions" among his people, "false Christs," "false prophets," and "false teachers." Wars and bloodshed between the Lamanites and Nephites continued. The Lamanites even invaded the land of Zarahemla, but King Benjamin's forces drove them out, and peace was temporarily restored.
After the Lamanites were driven out of the land of Zarahemla, the remainder of King Benjamin's reign was peaceful. Benjamin had three sons: Mosiah, Helorum, and Helaman. Mosiah was chosen to succeed his father as king, and all of the records were passed on to him (124 BC).
As his final act as king, Benjamin proclaimed that all the Nephites from throughout the land gather themselves together at the temple where he counseled with them from a tower which had been built especially for the occasion. The main points of his address were: "When ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God"; the importance of keeping the commandments; prophecies concerning the advent of Jesus Christ; and the first principles of the gospel. He also consecrated his son, Mosiah (Mosiah II), to succeed him as king. After King Benjamin's address, all of his people repented and took upon themselves the name of Christ.
After he had reigned for three peaceful years, king Mosiah sent an expedition of sixteen men, led by Ammon, a strong and a mighty man and a descendant of the people of Zarahemla, to the land of Nephi. Their charge was to seek after those Nephites who had gone out from Zarahemla some seventy- nine years previously for the purpose of finding and possessing the land of Nephi. Ammon's expedition did find the Nephites and discovered that they were living in bondage to the Lamanites. They were presided over by a king from among their own ranks named Limhi. Limhi was overjoyed that someone had come from Zarahemla to lead him and his people out of bondage.
Ammon learned that Limhi had recently sent out an expedition of his people to attempt to locate the land of Zarahemla in an attempt to get help in obtaining their freedom from their Lamanite captors. This expedition had been unsuccessful in locating Zarahemla. Since they had not known the way to travel to Zarahemla, they had passed right by the city. Not realizing they had passed Zarahemla, they traveled right through the narrow neck of land, and came into the land Desolation. There they found the remains of the great Jaredite nation. They also discovered the twenty-four plates of the prophet Ether. This record contained an account of the Jaredites, the people who had inhabited the land north of the narrow neck of land. Interestingly, this expedition, commissioned by King Limhi, had returned home with these plates only a few days before the arrival of Ammon's party. Ammon suggested that these plates be delivered to king Mosiah in hopes that he might translate them.
Ammon was also shown another set of plates, the record of Zeniff, which contained the following account of the people who had followed Zeniff out of the land of Zarahemla: About 200 years BC an army left Zarahemla to look for and possess the land of Nephi. This army was led by an austere, stiffnecked and bloodthirsty man whose name we are not told. On finding the land of Nephi inhabited by Lamanites, Zeniff, a member of this expedition, was sent as a spy among the Lamanites, and he discovered that many good people lived among them. Zeniff reported back to the leader of the expedition and recommended that a treaty be made with these Lamanites. Instead, however, the leader decided to invade and kill the Lamanites that the Nephites might possess the land of Nephi. A violent disagreement broke out among the members of the Nephite company, and a battle ensued. All but fifty men in the Nephite party were killed. These fifty men returned to the land of Zarahemla.
Some time later, Zeniff led another group back to the land of Nephi (their departure is mentioned in the book of Omni by Amaleki) which agreed to a treaty with the Lamanite leader, king Laman. This treaty allowed the Nephites to possess the land of Lehi-Nephi (another name for the land of Nephi) and the neighboring land of Shilom. They appointed Zeniff to be their king.
The Lamanites, meanwhile, continued to live in the near by land of Shemlon. Actually, in signing the treaty with the Nephites, king Laman had designs to subject the Nephites to his rule. After twelve years of peace, king Laman grew uneasy about the progressive prosperity and strength of his neighbor Nephites, and he sent his army against them. The people of Zeniff prevailed, however, by calling upon the Lord for help, and another twenty-two years of peace followed.
In about 165 BC king Laman died and was succeeded by his son who again brought the Lamanite army against the Nephites in the lands of Lehi- Nephi and Shilom. Again, the Lamanites were badly defeated. Zeniff died about 160 BC after reigning about thirty-five years. Prior to his death he conferred the Nephite Kingdom on one of his sons, Noah. Noah did not keep the commandments as had his father Zeniff. Rather he had many wives and concubines, taxed his people severely, built extravagant buildings for his own use, disposed of the priests his father had ordained, and appointed his own men who flattered to get gain and who lived in idleness on the abundant taxes. Consequently the Lamanites began to prevail in small battles about the borders of the Nephite territory.
About 150 BC a prophet named Abinadi began to preach to Noah and his people, warning that unless they repaired their wicked lives, they would fall into bondage to the Lamanites. King Noah was angered by these preachings and sought to take Abinadi's life, but Abinadi escaped only to return two years later and resume his preaching-this time in disguise so that he would not be recognized. Abinadi was taken before king Noah and his learned priests. Following an unsuccessful attempt by the priests to confound Abinadi with their learning, the prophet was imprisoned. He was later brought before King Noah where he again warned the king and his people to repent. Noah was angered and ordered him to be taken out and put to death. The Lord temporarily stayed the hand of Noah's servants, however, and gave Abinadi the chance to eloquently warn of the coming and the atonement of the Savior. He also warned that Noah's subjects should repent and live the law of Moses or they would suffer much affliction because of their wickedness. After he finished preaching, he was put to death by fire.
Among those who listened to Abinadi, there was one who was touched by the truth of the prophet's warnings and was converted to the gospel. This man was one of the king's priests named Alma. Alma angered king Noah by pleading for the life of Abinadi and had to flee before the servants of Noah for his own life. He fled to a bordering land called Mormon where he began to preach, to as many as would listen, the teachings of Abinadi.
Many people came to the land of Mormon to receive Alma's teachings and he baptized many-the first being Helam-in a "fountain" of pure water called the Waters of Mormon. King Noah eventually discovered Alma's hiding place and sent his army to destroy him and his converts. Alma and his followers, now numbering some four hundred fifty souls, were forced to depart into the wilderness. Noah's army searched in vain for the people of Alma and returned empty handed. More about the people of Alma later.
Meanwhile at home, king Noah had troubles of his own. A group of his own people had arisen against him, led by a strong man named Gideon. Gideon engaged the king in hand to hand combat and Noah, seeing that he was about to be overpowered, fled to a high tower. From there he noticed the Lamanite armies marching out of Shemlon toward the land of Nephi. Consequently, Gideon spared King Noah's life, and the king commanded all of his subjects to flee into the wilderness. The Lamanites overtook them and killed some but spared most of them because they were "charmed by the beauty of the women." Noah and his high priests and a few other men escaped. The remainder of the Nephites were returned to the land of Nephi where they were placed under subjection to the Lamanites. This subjection amounted to near enslavement and included a tax of fifty percent of all their possessions and their future earnings. Also they were required to deliver up Noah to the Lamanites.
Limhi, a righteous son of King Noah, was meanwhile installed as the puppet monarch. Gideon, who had returned to the land of Nephi with the rest of the captive Nephites, sent a group of men back into the wilderness to find Noah. They encountered the group of Nephites that had escaped with Noah, but Noah and his priests were not with them.
The men who had accompanied Noah in fleeing into the wilderness reported that they had finally decided to return to the land of Nephi to see what had become of their families but King Noah had commanded them not to return. They had grown angry with the king and they put him to death by fire. Noah's priests, however, had escaped before they also could be put to death. The group then returned to the land of Nephi and reported to Gideon who in turn told the Lamanite king of Noah's demise. Consequently, the Lamanite king made an oath not to slay the Nephites as long as they would pay their tributes to the Lamanites.
Two years of peace ensued. Noah's priests in the wilderness, meanwhile, did not dare to return to their families in the land of Nephi, so they remained in the wilderness. About two years after Noah's death, they kidnapped twenty- four Lamanite girls from the land of Shemlon and carried them off into the wilderness. The Lamanites were naturally very angry and mistakenly assumed that Limhi's people had stolen their daughters. In anger the Lamanite king led his army against Limhi's people. A bitter battle ensued, and in spite of having a fewer number of men, the Nephites succeeded in driving off the Lamanites. The Lamanite king was found among the wounded and was brought before Limhi who demanded to know the reason for this Lamanite invasion. When he was told of the kidnappings, he vowed to search among his people to learn who was guilty of this deed. Gideon, Limhi's captain, told Limhi of the strong likelihood of the guilt of Noah's priests. The Lamanite king was so advised and was satisfied by this explanation. He vowed again not to harm the people of Limhi. Subsequently the Lamanite rule was severely oppressive, and the Nephites under Limhi suffered much persecution and indignity at the hands of the Lamanites, thus fulfilling the prophecies made by Abinadi.
After a time, the Lord softened the hearts of the Lamanites, and the Nephites were allowed to live with some degree of freedom, though they lived in constant fear of the Lamanites.
When Ammon and his men arrived in the land of Nephi, they were initially mistaken for the priests of Noah and were imprisoned. When Limhi learned of their true identity, he received them with great joy. According to a plan outlined by Gideon, Ammon's and Limhi's people were able to escape by supplying the Lamanite guards with plenty of wine to ensure their drunkenness. Ammon guided the group back to Zarahemla where they joined Mosiah's people and became his subjects. Mosiah received them and their records with joy (about 122 BC).
Meanwhile, backing up a few years, remember Alma and his followers had been forced to leave the land of Mormon and flee into the wilderness before Noah's armies. After traveling eight days, they came upon a beautiful land which they called Helam and they prospered under the leadership of their high priest, Alma. They wanted him to become their king, but he refused saying, "It is not expedient that we should have a king; for thus saith the Lord."
After a period of prosperity, the Lord saw fit to try the patience and faith of the followers of Alma, and a formidable Lamanite army turned up at the border of Helam. This same army had previously been looking for Noah's priests and had found them living in a land called Amulon, named after their leader, a former priest in king Noah's court named Amulon. The Lamanite army had spared their lives after the priests sent forth their Lamanite wives to plead with the Lamanites for their husbands. Amulon and his brethren then joined the Lamanite Army. After leaving the land of Amulon in search of the land of Nephi, this army had become lost in the wilderness and had happened upon the border of the land of Helam. After mighty prayer offered by Alma, the Lord softened the hearts of the Lamanites who agreed to spare the followers of Alma and set them free if the latter would show them the way out of the wilderness back to the land of Nephi. The Nephites did so, but the Lamanites broke their promise and maintained guards around the city of Helam. Even worse, they appointed Amulon to be a puppet king over the land of Helam. Amulon came to be favored by the king of the Lamanites, whose name was Laman, and the latter appointed him and his fellow priests to be teachers over all the Lamanite peoples which included those in the lands of Shemlon, Shilom, and Amulon.
Now, Amulon remembered Alma from when they were priests together under king Noah, and Amulon resented Alma and began to persecute him and his followers. After mighty prayer, the Lord finally enabled Alma to lead his followers out of bondage by causing a deep sleep to come upon the Lamanite guards. After a day's travel they camped in the valley of Alma and gave thanks to the Lord. After twelve more days of travel they arrived in Zarahemla, arriving only a short time after the people of Limhi (122 BC). Alma and his people had lived in the wilderness for nearly 30 years.
King Mosiah also received the followers of Alma with great joy. Mosiah caused that all people of Zarahemla (including Nephites, Mulekites, and Lamanites) be gathered to hear the records of Limhi's and Alma's people read to them. Mosiah granted that Alma could establish the church of Christ throughout Zarahemla and become the presiding high priest. Alma began by baptizing Limhi and his followers, and he ordained priests and teachers to preside over the separate churches.
Though the believers far outnumbered the nonbelievers, there were many nonbelievers in the land of Zarahemla. The nonbelievers included Alma, the son of the high priest Alma, and the four sons of Mosiah: Ammon, Aaron, Omner, and Himni. These sons of Mosiah and Alma the younger not only were nonbelievers but they even traveled about together persecuting the church. While thus engaged, an angel appeared to them and rebuked them in a voice like thunder. Alma was left prostrate and unable to speak and was carried before his father who rejoiced at this miracle. After two days, Alma the younger arose from his deep sleep. As a result of this miraculous experience, he was converted to the gospel as were the sons of Mosiah. The sons of Mosiah and Alma began traveling about doing missionary work trying to repair the damage they had done to the Church.
About 92 BC the sons of Mosiah approached their father for permission to take a small group and go "up" among the Lamanites in the land of Nephi to preach the gospel. Mosiah granted permission after inquiring of the Lord, and the group began their journey into the wilderness (more about this group later.)
Mosiah meanwhile, translated the twenty-four plates of Ether by means of two seer stones. He then delivered up all the records in his possession to Alma, the son of Alma, to be custodian over them. Since Mosiah was growing old, he inquired of the people whom they desired to be their new king. The people wanted Aaron, Mosiah's older son, to be their king, but neither he nor any of the other sons of Mosiah, had expressed an interest in becoming king, and anyway they had already left on a mission among the Lamanites.
Mosiah then recommended that the people elect by majority vote, a system of judges to rule over themselves. The people did so, electing Alma the younger to be their first chief judge, he being also appointed by his father to be high priest in charge of all affairs of the Church. In 91 BC the senior Alma died at the age of 82 and Mosiah died at the age of 63 after 33 years of reigning as king. Thus ended the reign of kings over the people of Nephi (92 BC).
Alma 1 through 22
In the first year of Alma's reign as chief judge, a large and strong man named Nehor was brought before him to be judged. Nehor had preached against the church of God, asserting that the priests ought not to have to labor with their hands. He felt they ought to be supported by the church. He was of the persuasion of the "kingmen" and believed that a king should rule the people and not a chief judge. He also taught that all mankind will be saved at the last day. He eventually established a church after the manner of his preaching and began to wear costly apparel. One day he encountered the now elderly Gideon, and an argument ensued. Gideon supported the church of Christ against Nehor's priestcraft. Nehor became angry and slew Gideon with his sword. He was judged by Alma and put to death upon the top of the hill Manti. Peace reigned for the next four years, though there were some who contended against the church.
In the beginning of the fifth year of the reign of judges (87 BC), another enemy of the church arose who attracted many followers. This was the Nephite dissenter Amlici, a follower of Nehor. He was a wicked and cunning man whose supporters decided that he should be king over the land. The issue before the people was whether a king or a chief judge should rule. A vote was taken in the land, and Amlici and his kingmen were defeated. Still, Amlici's own followers consecrated him to be their king. Amlici then commanded the "Amlicites" to take up arms against the Nephites in order to subject them to Amlici's rule. A battle ensued upon the hill Amnihu, east of the River Sidon, which ran by the land of Zarahemla. Alma led his own forces against the Amlicites, and in defeating them slaughtered some 12,502, in contrast to the 6,562 dead among his own army. In the latter stages of the battle, Amlici fled with his troops, and Alma's army gave chase. When Alma's people could not pursue any longer, they camped in the valley of Gideon. Alma then sent a group led by Zeram, Amnor, Manti, and Limher to keep watch on the camp of the Amlicites. The next day these men returned very frightened for they had seen that the Amlicites had joined with a massive force of Lamanites. Together this combined force had routed the Nephites out of the land Minon. The displaced Nephites were fleeing toward Zarahemla with the Lamanites and Amlicites in hot pursuit. Alma's forces hurriedly returned home and engaged the Lamanite-Amlicite army in battle near the River Sidon. Alma killed Amlici in hand-to-hand combat with his sword, and Alma's forces were strengthened by the Lord. In spite of being vastly outnumbered, they were victorious and slaughtered many of the enemy. They then chased the remnant into the wilderness called Hermounts, where many of them were killed by wild beasts which inhabited the land. The Amlicites were thereafter identified because they placed a red mark on their foreheads.
A short while later, another Lamanite army invaded the Nephites who lived in the land of Minon. Alma sent up an army which was again successful in driving out the Lamanites. The church prospered for three years, but after that, the Nephites became proud and materialistic. Alma turned the job of Chief Judge over to Nephihah, so that he himself might spend his full time in the office of high priest.
In his capacity as high priest, he traveled among his people preaching repentance (83 BC). His preaching met with success in Zarahemla, in the city of Gideon, a city built in the valley of Gideon, and in the land of Melek, located "on the west of the river Sidon by the borders of the wilderness." However, when he tried to preach in the city of Ammonihah, he was reviled, spit upon, and cast out. Discouraged, he set out for the neighboring city of Aaron. On the way he was visited by an angel of the Lord who instructed him to return again to Ammonihah and warn the people there that they would be destroyed lest they repent. On his return he was received by a righteous man named Amulek, who provided him with food and shelter. Amulek had formerly been lax in his living the gospel, but was converted when he was visited by an angel who told him of Alma's return to Ammonihah. The angel further instructed Amulek to receive Alma and offer him hospitality. Alma and Amulek then went out together to preach repentance to the people of that city. After eloquent and plain preaching by both men, some were converted, including a crafty lawyer named Zeezrom, who had tried to confound them and who was himself confounded and converted. Most of the people of Ammonihah, however, were only angered by the preaching, and they cast out Zeezrom and persecuted those who believed on the words of Alma and Amulek. In fact, many of the believers were burned to death, and Alma and Amulek were made to watch these executions. Then the two missionaries were cast into prison. After much persecution in prison by the chief judge and some of the lawyers of Ammonihah, the Lord delivered Alma and Amulek by creating an earthquake which caused the prison walls to crumble. Those who had persecuted Alma and Amulek in prison were killed, and Alma and Amulek were freed.
Alma and Amulek then traveled to the land of Sidom, where they found many of those who had been cast out from Ammonihah for believing on their words. Among them was Zeezrom, who was very ill with a high fever. Alma healed and then baptized him. After establishing the church in Sidom, Alma took Amulek to his home in Zarahemla.
Peace prevailed in the land of Zarahemla for a few years, but in 81 BC a cry of war was heard throughout the land, for the armies of the Lamanites came upon the Nephites. The Lamanites' initial invasion was directed at the city of Ammonihah. Before the Nephites could raise an army to defend their land, the Lamanites had destroyed every person in the city of Ammonihah and some of the people at the outskirts of the city of Noah. They carried off many captives into the wilderness. The chief captain over the armies of the Nephites was Zoram. He had two sons, Lehi and Aha, who assisted him in commanding the Nephite armies. Zoram and his sons were anxious to rescue those Nephites who had been carried away captive, so they asked Alma to inquire of the Lord as to where they should go in search of their brethren. At the Lord's direction, Zoram and his sons took their armies and engaged the Lamanites on the east of the River Sidon in the wilderness beyond the borders of the land of Manti. There they scattered the Lamanites and rescued every one of the Nephites held captive.
Meanwhile, the city of Ammonihah was left desolate. Many of the great number of dead bodies were mangled by dogs and wild beasts of the wilderness. Eventually, the bodies were heaped up and buried in shallow graves. So great was the stink of that devastated city that no one traveled there for many years, and it was called the "Desolation of Nehors," for many of the Ammonihahites had adhered to Nehor's teachings.
Three years of peace followed, and Alma and Amulek went out preaching and established the church throughout the land. There would be no further war until 77 BC. During this period while journeying from the land of Gideon southward toward the land of Manti, Alma encountered the four sons of Mosiah journeying toward the land of Zarahemla. Alma was delighted to see them again and was especially joyful that they had grown strong in the gospel.
The sons of Mosiah gave the following account of their travels since they had left the land of Zarahemla some fourteen years previously in 92 BC to preach the word of God to the Lamanites. After many days of travel, fasting and prayer, the sons of Mosiah and an additional small group including Muloki and Ammah arrived at the border of the land of the Lamanites. Naturally, they had considerable apprehension about going among this barbaric people, who heretofore had delighted in murdering Nephites. The Lord however, comforted them. Ammon blessed each of his brothers, and they went their separate ways, every man alone, trusting in the Lord that they should meet again after their labors.
Ammon traveled to the land of Ishmael, and as he entered the land, the Lamanites bound him and took him before the king whose name was Lamoni. Lamoni was actually a descendant of Ishmael. Ammon quickly gained favor with Lamoni, and the latter ordered him unbound and even offered Ammon one of his daughters to marry. Ammon refused the offer of a wife, but offered himself to be a servant to king Lamoni. Accordingly, he became a shepherd, and, with a group of Lamanite servants, he cared for the king's flocks. After he had been a servant of the king for three days, he and the other servants took the flocks to the watering hole called "the waters of Sebus." There they encountered a group of wicked Lamanites who had preceded them at the place of watering. These Lamanites scattered the king's flocks in all directions. This was a technique used by the Lamanites to steal flocks of others. The king's servants became frightened and began to weep, fearing that the king would have them killed for losing his flocks. Indeed, the king had ordered the executions of many servants in the past who had allowed his flocks to be scattered. Ammon was delighted, since he saw this as his chance to soften the hearts of his fellow servants, that they might believe in his teachings. At Ammon's direction, the servants were again able to gather the flocks at the place of watering, but the same group of Lamanites again began to scatter the flocks. Ammon instructed his fellow servants to encircle the flocks to prevent their being scattered, and then he went forth to contend with this troublesome group of Lamanites. Ammon began to cast stones at them with his sling, and he killed six of them. The Lamanites were astonished at his power, but were also angry with him for killing some of their number, so they set upon him with their clubs. Ammon killed their leader with a sword and smote off the arms of those who attacked him with their clubs. The Lamanites were thus driven off. After watering the king's flocks, Ammon and the servants returned to the king carrying the arms which Ammon had smitten off as a testimony to the king of what had transpired. After hearing from the other servants the astonishing story of Ammon's contending single-handedly against this large group of Lamanites, Lamoni decided that Ammon was the "Great Spirit" according to the traditions of his ancestors, and Lamoni inquired after Ammon's whereabouts. After being told that Ammon was out feeding the king's horses, the king was all the more impressed by Ammon's faithfulness, for Ammon had been asked to prepare Lamoni's horses for a journey even before he had gone with the flocks to the place of watering.
Lamoni was planning a trip to the land of Nephi where his father, who was king over all the land, was giving a feast for his sons and his people. Lamoni sent for Ammon and after Ammon's arrival, the king was silent for a period, as he did not know what to say to the Great Spirit. Ammon became filled with the Spirit of the Lord, which allowed him insight into the heart of the king. Ammon denied that he was the Great Spirit, and he perceived that the king would be receptive to the word of God. After extensive preaching of the word of God, which included the history of Lamoni's ancestors, the king declared his belief in Ammon's teachings. Then the king fell to the earth as if he were dead. For two days, he remained in this death-like state, and his family mourned over him and even made preparations to bury him. The queen did not believe that Lamoni was really dead. She had heard that Ammon was a prophet of God and could do many mighty works in God's name, so she sent for him. After the queen displayed her faith in the power of God, Ammon promised her that her husband would awaken on the morrow. Lamoni did awaken, and the king, queen, and their servants were all converted by this experience. They were all overcome to the point where they fell prostrate on the floor in worshipful prayer.
One of the Lamanite servants, a woman named Abish, who had been converted many years previously by a "remarkable vision of her father," saw in this scene, a rare opportunity to get many people to believe, so she ran from house to house inviting people to the house of the king. A multitude assembled at the king's house and looked upon the scene therein. Some were inclined to believe that Ammon was the Great Spirit, but many resented him, and the brother of one of the men whom Ammon had slain at the place of watering, drew his sword and came forth to kill Ammon. As he lifted his sword, he fell dead. This miraculous happening softened the hearts of several more of the Lamanite multitude, but there were still contentions among them. Abish, seeing this contention, took both the king and the queen by the hand and lifted them up. The king and queen bore testimony to the multitude and consequently many believed and were baptized. Still, a few did not believe. Thus was the church established in the land of the Lamanites.
After Lamoni's conversion, he desired that his father in the land of Nephi should meet Ammon and hear the gospel. However, the Lord warned Ammon not to go to the land of Nephi, for the king would seek his life. Ammon was commanded instead to go to the land of Middoni, for in that land, his brother Aaron and Muloki and Ammah had been cast into prison. Lamoni decided to accompany him, for Lamoni was a friend of Antiomno, the king of Middoni. Lamoni felt that his influence with king Antiomno might come in handy in negotiating the release of Ammon's brother and fellow missionaries. As Ammon and Lamoni were journeying there in horse drawn chariots, they met on the road the father of Lamoni, who was, you will remember, king over all the land. Lamoni's father was annoyed with Lamoni and asked him why he had not come to the great feast he had given. He further inquired of Lamoni why he was traveling with a Nephite, "one of the children of a liar." Lamoni told his father of his conversion and that the happenings surrounding his conversion had prevented him from coming to his father's feast. The father then became very angry with Lamoni and expressed his mistrust and resentment of the Nephites which mistrust had doubtless been handed down by tradition from his ancestors. He even commanded Lamoni to slay Ammon with his sword and return to the land of Ishmael with him. Lamoni, of course, refused to kill Ammon and refused to alter his plan to aid Ammon's brethren in Middoni. Lamoni's father, by now furious, drew his sword and threatened to kill Lamoni. Ammon rebuked him, and when the king turned on him, Ammon was forced to defend himself. Ammon "withstood his blows, and also smote his arm so that he could not use it." Thus having lost the advantage and finding himself at the mercy of Ammon, the king offered Ammon whatsoever he should ask, even half of his kingdom, if Ammon would spare his life. Ammon agreed to spare him if he would but release the imprisoned Nephites and grant that Lamoni should retain his kingdom, and not be punished for his newly found beliefs. The old king was astonished that Ammon only asked only for these simple things, and he was also moved for Ammon's love for his son Lamoni. The king granted these requests and even invited Ammon to visit him in the land of Nephi.
Ammon and Lamoni proceeded on to Middoni and arranged the release of Aaron, Muloki, and Ammah. Ammon was distressed to find that his brethren had received cruel treatment at the hands of the Lamanites while in prison. They were naked, and their skin was abraded as a result of being bound with strong cords, and they had suffered much hunger and thirst.
Aaron gave an account of his preaching since Ammon and his brethren had separated some months previously. Aaron had traveled toward the land of Jerusalem which was located near the land of Mormon and was named after old Jerusalem. This city was inhabited by Lamanites, Amalekites, and Amulonites. The latter two groups were especially wicked, and many of them were adherents to the order of the Nehors. Aaron preached to the people in their synagogues without success, and eventually left Jerusalem and proceeded on to Ani-Anti, where he ran into Muloki and Ammah, who were having a similar lack of success. Together they traveled to Middoni, where they were cast into prison. After their released from prison (assisted by Ammon and Lamoni), they continued preaching, and many began to believe them.
Ammon and Lamoni returned to the land of Ishmael, where Lamoni built synagogues, and Ammon preached to the people and converted many.
Meanwhile, Aaron and his brethren were led by the Spirit to the land of Nephi and to the house of the king, Lamoni's father. Since his encounter with Ammon, the king had been troubled by his sins, and he received Aaron cordially and readily accepted his teachings. He humbled himself in prayer, asking the Lord to show himself. Consequently, he also was struck as if he were dead. The queen, believing that Aaron had killed her husband, ordered Aaron and his brethren killed, but Aaron raised up the king who ministered to and converted his household.
Alma 23 through 46
The king then sent a proclamation throughout the land ordering that no one interfere with the preaching of Ammon, Aaron, Omner, or Himni or any of their brethren. Thus, the sons of Mosiah were able to travel throughout the land teaching, and they converted "thousands" of Lamanites in the lands of Ishmael, Middoni, Nephi, Shilom, Shemlon, Lemuel, and Shimnilom. Only one of the Amalekites and none of the Amulonites was converted. The converted Lamanites called themselves the "Anti-Nephi- Lehies" instead of Lamanites, and they were an industrious and friendly people who came to be deeply resented by some of their fellow Lamanites because of their newly adopted beliefs. Accordingly, the Amulonites, Amalekites, and those Lamanites who had not been converted, rose up in revolt against the king and the Anti-Nephi-Lehies. The king had, that same year, conferred his kingdom upon his son, the brother of Lamoni. This young king was given the name Anti-Nephi-Lehi. The old king died the same year that the Lamanites rose up in revolt.
Ammon and his brethren gathered in the land of Ishmael with Lamoni and his brother, Anti-Nephi-Lehi, to decide what should be done to defend the converted Lamanites. The Anti-Nephi-Lehies and their king Anti-Nephi-Lehi, refused to take up arms against their brethren the Lamanites, and they buried their weapons in the ground. When the Lamanites came upon them, the Anti-Nephi-Lehies prostrated themselves before the Lamanites on the ground and began to pray. The Lamanites slew 1,005 before they perceived their own wickedness in killing their converted brethren. As a result, more than a thousand of the Lamanites threw down their arms, and they became converted. None of those who became converted were Amalekites or Amulonites.
Those Lamanites who were not converted stopped killing the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi, but swore vengeance on the Nephite nation. In consequence of their warped sense of reason, they blamed the Nephite's preaching for the death of many of their Lamanite brethren. These Lamanites took their armies into the land of Zarahemla and fell upon the people who were in the land of Ammonihah and killed many (81 BC). (Actually, they killed every person in the city-see above.) Subsequently, this Lamanite army was driven and killed in their battles with the Nephites. Among the Lamanites who were slain were almost all of the descendants of Amulon and his brethren who were the priests of Noah. The Lamanites were pursued into the "east wilderness" where many of them began to remember the teachings of Ammon and his brethren and began to believe in the Lord. The few remaining Amulonites still ruled over the Lamanites, and these Amulonites began putting to death those who had begun to believe in the Lord. This angered the Lamanites in the group, and they began to hunt the descendants of the priests of Noah causing them to scatter and flee into the east wilderness. Those whom the Lamanites found were put to death. Thus the prophecies made by Abinadi before his martyrdom, were fulfilled: that the seed of the priests of Noah would be scattered and slain. The Lamanites eventually returned to their homeland, and many joined the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi and buried their weapons of war. The sons of Mosiah rejoiced in their success among the Lamanites and gave credit unto the Lord.
Soon thereafter, the Amalekites were stirred up to anger against their brethren, the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi, and came against them and began to destroy them. The Anti-Nephi-Lehies again refused to take up arms and defend themselves. Ammon and his brethren were deeply troubled over this destruction of those whom they dearly loved, and after inquiring of the Lord, Ammon led the Anti-Nephi-Lehies out of the land of Nephi to the borders of the land of Zarahemla. There they stopped while Ammon and his brethren traveled towards Zarahemla, where they intended to ascertain the will of the Nephites in Zarahemla, concerning the possibility of allowing the converted Lamanites into their land.
On the way to Zarahemla, they met Alma (see above), and all were joyful at meeting under these circumstances. Alma conducted them back to Zarahemla, and they visited the Chief Judge and explained to him all that had transpired in the Lamanite nation. The Chief Judge sent out a proclamation asking for a vote of the people concerning the possibility of allowing into their land the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi. The will of the Nephites was that the Anti-Nephi-Lehies be allowed to remain and they were thus given the land of Jershon, which was "on the east by the sea" and on the south of the land Bountiful. The Nephites even provided an army to protect these people, who would not take up arms to protect themselves, in case they should be attacked by the non-converted Lamanites. Thus ended the fourteen year mission of the sons of Mosiah among the Lamanites.
The Anti-Nephi-Lehies were thereafter referred to as the people of Ammon, and subsequently they remained a steadfast and faithful people. Soon after the people of Ammon were established in the land of Jershon, the Lamanite armies, which had followed their converted brethren into the wilderness, arrived, and a tremendous battle ensued between the Lamanites and the Nephite armies protecting the people of Ammon. "Tens of thousands" of the Lamanites were slain and scattered. Also many Nephites were killed, and there was much mourning among the families of the slain Nephites (76 BC).
After two years of peace, Korihor, the antichrist, came into Zarahemla and preached against the principles of the gospel and led many away from the truth. He later traveled to the land of Jershon to preach, but was bound up and carried before Ammon who was a high priest over that people. Ammon had him thrown out of the land of Jershon, and he went over to the land of Gideon. Again, his preaching did not meet with success, and again he was bound and carried before the high priest, Giddonah, and also before the chief judge of that land. They decided that he should be sent to the land of Zarahemla to be brought before Alma and the chief judge there, who was governor over all the land. Korihor brazenly refused to be influenced by Alma's testimony and asked for a sign as to the reality of God. Accordingly, he was struck deaf and dumb. Realizing his predicament, Korihor then claimed (conversing, of course, by writing) that he had been deceived by the devil who had appeared to him in the form of an angel, and he pleaded with Alma to lift the curse from him. Alma perceived that he would resume his evil proselyting should the curse be lifted, and he refused and had him cast out. Korihor was thereafter reduced to begging, and he eventually was trampled and killed while in the land of the Zoramites, a group who were led by a Nephite named Zoram, and who had separated themselves from the Nephites. The news of Korihor's fate was widely published, and those who had been led away by him repented and came back into the church (74 BC).
After the death of Korihor, Alma learned that Zoram was leading the Zoramites into unbelief, sin, and even idol worship. The Zoramites were dissenters, who had separated themselves from the Nephites and who lived in a land called Antionum, "east of Zarahemla, nearly bordering the seashore, south of the land of Jershon and bordering upon the wilderness south," which was full of Lamanites. The Nephites feared that the Zoramites might enter into a pact with the neighbor Lamanites. Alma decided to teach them the gospel, and thereby he hoped to get them to change their wicked ways. He, therefore, gathered together Amulek, Zeezrom, two of his own sons, Shiblon and Corianton (Alma did not take his eldest son Helaman), and three of the four sons of Mosiah II (Himni was left in the church in Zarahemla), and traveled to the land of the Zoramites.
To the astonishment of this group of missionaries, they found that the Zoramites were worshipping in a peculiar way. In their synagogues they had built a platform high above the floor which had room for only one man. They called this platform "Rameumptom" or the holy stand. One day a week, they would gather at the synagogue and take turns standing on this platform, stretching forth their arms and uttering a specified prayer, then return home and not worry about God until the next week, when they would return and repeat the same ritual. The missionaries also observed that the Zoramites were a very materialistic people. After fervent prayer by Alma, he "clapped his hands upon all them who were with him" and as he did so, each was filled with the Holy Ghost. They then went their separate ways, to teach the gospel to the Zoramites. They soon learned that they would not be likely to have success teaching the gospel to the rich, since the missionaries were not even allowed into the synagogues, where the rich worshipped, because of the coarseness of their apparel. The poor on the other hand were more receptive and humble.
Alma's son, Corianton, forsook his calling and went over to the land of Siron, among the Lamanites and became involved with the harlot Isabel. Thus he set a bad example before the Zoramites.
In one memorable meeting on the hill Onidah, a large multitude gathered as Alma preached a sermon on faith, and Amulek preached a sermon on the atonement and the need to repent before arriving at the death bed. The remaining missionaries also ministered to the multitude, and then the missionary group all went over to the city of Jershon. Those Zoramites who had been converted by the teaching of the missionaries were later cast out of the land of the Zoramites and also went over to the city of Jershon. The Zoramite ruler, who was exceedingly wicked, requested that the people of Ammon, who inhabited the city of Jershon, cast the converted Zoramites out of their city. The people of Ammon, of course, refused and even fed and clothed the poor Zoramites and gave them land to live on. This angered the Zoramite ruler, and he began to stir up the Zoramites and neighboring Lamanites to anger against the people of Ammon and against the Nephites. And thus the Zoramites joined the Lamanites, and together they prepared themselves for war (74 BC).
The people of Ammon moved from Jershon to the city of Melek, so as to allow the Nephite armies to establish themselves in Jershon and from there, battle the Lamanite and Zoramite armies. The converted Zoramites remained in Jershon on their newly acquired lands and readied themselves to defend their land and their families.
Meanwhile, the missionary group returned to Zarahemla, and Alma called his sons together to instruct and advise them concerning their future responsibilities. To Helaman, he delivered all the plates, including the large plates of Nephi, the small plates of Nephi, the brass plates, and the 24 plates of Ether, and he gave Helaman full charge over them. He also gave Helaman the ball, also called the Director or Liahona. Shiblon was commended for his faithfulness, but Corianton was reproved for his immoral tendencies and warned to repent. Alma and his three sons then went out among the people to declare the words of God unto them.
Preparations for war continued and the Lamanite armies, led by a man named Zerahemnah, occupied the Zoramite city of Antionum. He appointed Amalekites and Zoramites to be chief captains over his armies, so as to take advantage of their hatred for the Nephites. Now the Lamanite armies consisted of the descendants of Laman, Lemuel, and the sons of Ishmael, plus all those who were dissenters from among the Nephites, including Amalekites, Zoramites, and the descendants of the priests of Noah.
The people of Ammon gave to the Nephites a large portion of their substance to support their armies since the people of Ammon themselves had taken an oath not to bear arms. The leader of the Nephite armies was a man named Moroni, who was appointed chief captain when he was only 25 years old. Moroni's army met that of the Lamanites on the border of the city of Jershon. The Nephites were outnumbered, but much better equipped with breast plates, shields, arm plates, and helmets, while the Lamanites were naked except for loin cloths. Seeing the superior protective clothing of the Nephites, the Lamanites refused to fight, but instead fled into the wilderness to circle around the Nephite army and attack the city of Manti, which they figured to be unprotected. Moroni, however, sent spies into the wilderness to watch the Lamanite movements, and he also sent messengers to Alma asking him to inquire of the lord as to the intentions of the Lamanites. Alma did so, and informed the messengers of the Lamanite plans. Accordingly, Moroni left part of his army in the city of Manti, where he warned the people to prepare to defend their homes. Moroni then cleverly deployed his forces around the river Sidon, and near the hill Riplah, so as to trap the Lamanites as they crossed the river. The Lamanites eventually arrived in great numbers, outnumbering the Nephite army by more than two to one. However, as they crossed the river Sidon, they were sandwiched between the army led by Moroni, on the west side of the river and that led by one of his captains, Lehi, on the east side. After a bitter battle, in which the Lamanites fought with great fierceness and for a time even threatened to defeat the Nephites, the Lamanites were surrounded and struck with terror at the hopelessness of their situation. Moroni, seeing their terror, commanded his men to stop shedding their blood. Moroni then made an offer to Zerahemnah: that he would spare the lives of the remaining Lamanites if they would surrender their weapons and make a covenant never to attack the Nephites again. Zerahemnah came forward and surrendered his weapons, but refused to make the covenant of peace, so Moroni returned his weapons to him, that the battle might be fought to completion. When Moroni refused his offer of surrender, Zerahemnah became angry and rushed forward to slay Moroni. As he did so, one of Moroni's soldiers struck Zerahemnah's sword, breaking it in half, then smote Zerahemnah himself and took off his scalp. Seeing this, many of the Lamanites threw down their weapons and entered into a covenant of peace. This made Zerahemnah profoundly angry and the battle commenced. Many more Lamanites were slaughtered, and when they were all about to be destroyed, Zerahemnah cried out that he would surrender and enter into the covenant of peace. His offer was accepted and the remaining Lamanites were allowed to depart into the wilderness. The great numbers of bodies were cast into the river Sidon and were thus swept down to the sea. Thus ended the record written by Alma (73 BC).
Alma again called his sons together and blessed them. Then he departed out of the city of Zarahemla, as if to travel to the city of Melek, but he was never heard of again. It was speculated, at the time, that the Lord took Alma to Himself.
Helaman and his brethren went out to build up the church among the Nephites, but many of the Nephites would not heed the words of Helaman and became proud and lifted up. Some of these unbelieving Nephites banded together under the leadership of a large and strong and wicked man named Amalickiah. Many of his followers were the lower judges of the land who were seeking for power. Amalickiah desired to become a king, and he promised his followers that if they would establish him as king he would make them rulers over the people. This group of dissenters sought to tear down the church of God. When Moroni heard of his dissension, he became angry with Amalickiah. Moroni feared that this wickedness among his people might result in their being destroyed and their liberty being taken away. He therefore made a flag, by tearing his coat. On the flag, which he called the "title of liberty," he wrote, "in memory of our God, our religion and freedom, our peace, our wives, and our children." He fastened the flag onto a pole and went out among the Nephites, urging them to covenant with God to keep his commandments that their freedoms might be preserved. Many of the Nephites make this covenant and rent their own clothing as a token of this covenant. Moroni also urged the people to take a stand against the dissenting Amalickiah and the Amalickiahites.
When Amalickiah saw that the people of Moroni outnumbered his own followers, he took his people and departed, traveling toward the Lamanite city of Nephi. Fearing that the arrival of the Amalickiahites in the city of Nephi would only stir up the Lamanites again to war, Moroni took his army and intercepted the dissenters on their journey to the city of Nephi. Amalickiah and a small group of his men escaped, but the remainder were captured and returned to the city of Zarahemla. Moroni put to death a few of the dissenters who would not enter into a covenant to support the cause of freedom and maintain a free government. Moroni caused that the "title of liberty" should become the flag of the land, and be flew it on every tower in the land possessed by the Nephites. A period of peace followed (72 BC).
Alma 47 through 52
Meanwhile, Amalickiah and the small band who escaped with him made their way to the city of Nephi and succeeded in stirring up the anger of the Lamanite king against the Nephites to the extent that he sent out proclamation ordering his people to gather themselves together and to prepare to go to battle against the Nephites. Some of the Lamanites obeyed but the better part of the Lamanites were afraid to battle with the Nephites and refused to obey the king's order. The king was thus angry and gave Amalickiah command over that part of his army which was obedient and ordered him to go forth and compel the others to arms. Amalickiah then developed a diabolic scheme to overthrow the king and install himself as ruler. The disobedient Lamanites had gather themselves together in a place called Onidah, upon a mount called Antipas and had appointed a man named Lehonti to be their leader. Amalickiah took his army there and sought a secret rendezvous with Lehonti. Amalickiah agreed to deliver his army into the hands of Lehonti's army, if Lehonti would agree to make him second in command. After this was done, Amalickiah had Lehonti poisoned and was himself appointed to be the chief commander of the army. Amalickiah then marched his army back to the city of Nephi. On their arrival, the king came out to meet them. Amalickiah sent his servants to meet the king, with instructions to murder the king and blame it on the king's servants. The latter fled before the king was fatally stabbed. Amalickiah pretended to be angry on receiving news of the kings death and urged that whosoever in his army loved the king should pursue the king's servants. The servants managed to escape and made their way into Nephite territory, where they joined the people of Ammon. After a fruitless chase, Amalickiah entered the city of Nephi with his army and took possession of it. Thus, by his fraud, he gained the heart of the people. He even convinced the queen that the king's servants had indeed killed the king, and Amalickiah took the queen to wife. Thus he took control of the entire Lamanite kingdom and was acknowledged king throughout the land. He then began to stir up the Lamanites to go to war against the Nephites in order to accomplish his evil design to become king over all the land including the Lamanites and Nephites. He thus raised a huge army and appointed Zoramites to be his chief captains.
Meanwhile, Moroni had been building and strengthening the armies of the Nephites, by building fortification walls around the cities and around the borders of the land. Moroni was wise, strong, righteous, and a mighty man.
Late in the year 72 BC, the armies of the Lamanites approached the city of Ammonihah, which had been rebuilt. The Lamanite armies were armed with thick garments of skins, breastplates, and shields. They had anticipated that because of their great numbers they would easily overthrow the city. To their astonishment, they found the city heavily and effectively fortified with high dirt walls and an army to protect it. The Lamanites therefore retreated into the wilderness and made their way into the city of Noah and took an oath to destroy that city. They found that Noah was just as heavily fortified as was Ammonihah, and they were distressed to find that the army protecting the city of Noah was commanded by Lehi. The Zoramite captains feared Lehi from their previous experiences near the river Sidon. Because they had taken an oath to destroy the city, the Zoramite captains brought their Lamanite soldiers against the city. "An immense slaughter" of the Lamanites ensued with more than one thousand being killed, including all of their chief captains. Remarkably, not one of the Nephites were killed, and only fifty were wounded. The remaining Lamanites fled back to the city of Nephi, where they informed Amalickiah of their defeat. Amalickiah was exceedingly angry and cursed God and Moroni and swore an oath that he would drink the blood of Moroni.
There followed a period of peace during which the church prospered under the leadership of Helaman, Shiblon, Corianton, and Ammon and his brethren. Moroni continued to build fortifications around each city, consisting of an earth wall surrounding the city with a wall of timbers upon the earth wall and towers overlooking the walls. He also sent his armies to drive the Lamanites out of the "east wilderness" into their own lands south. Thus the Nephite territory extended from the sea on the east to the sea on the west. Moroni also placed armies and fortifications all along the southern border of the Nephite land to guard against a Lamanite invasion. The Nephites erected new cities, including the city of Moroni on the south border near the east sea, the city of Nephihah, between the city of Moroni and the city of Aaron, and the city of Lehi, which was in the north. The Nephites, indeed were reaping the promised blessings of righteous living (71 BC to 69 BC).
In the year 68 BC, a serious contention arose among the Nephites. It seems that the people of the city of Morianton (a city next to the city of Lehi) led by a wicked man named Morianton, wanted to take over a part of the city of Lehi, and those led by Morianton even took up arms against those in the city of Lehi. Being unable to defend themselves against these interlopers, the people of the city of Lehi fled to the camp of Moroni. Morianton thus grew frightened that Moroni's army might come to destroy him, and he made plans to flee with his people into the land northward-called the land Desolation-which was covered with large bodies of water. Moroni learned of this plan through one of Morianton's maids, who had also fled to Moroni's camp after being mistreated by Morianton. Not wanting to have an enemy bordering on the north, Moroni sent an army led by Teancum to intercept these people. Teancum's army finally reached Morianton's people of the border of the land Desolation in a narrow pass bordered on both sides by the sea. A battle ensued in which Teancum killed Morianton and defeated his army. The surviving people of Morianton were taken prisoner and returned to their city after they covenanted to keep the peace. That same year, Nephihah, the second chief judge died, having lived a righteous life and he was replaced on the judgment seat by his son Pahoran.
In 67 BC, there arose another dispute among the Nephites, involving the new chief judge Pahoran. A group of the Nephites, who became known as the king-men, desired that the law of the land be changed to provide for a king. These were men of high birth, who sought to be king and others who sought power over the people. Pahoran refused to alter the Nephites free form of government and was supported by another group of the Nephites who became known as the freemen. A dispute short of actual bloodshed arose, and the issue was finally settled by a vote of the people who decided in favor of the freemen. Thus the judgment seat of Pahoran was retained.
That same year, Amalickiah again gathered a huge Lamanite army and prepared to attack the Nephites. Amalickiah's adherents in Zarahemla, the "king-men," learned of this planned invasion, and because of their resentment of the people of liberty, the freemen, they sided in their hearts with the Lamanites and refused to take up arms to defend their country. Moroni was naturally exasperated by this refusal to bear arms and he was granted, by the majority of the Nephites, a mandate to force the king-men to help defend their country. Moroni led his army against the king-men, forcing them to fight for their lives. Moroni's army killed four thousand of the dissenters, put those of their leaders who survived in prison, and compelled many of the dissenters to yield to the standard of liberty and take up arms in defense of their country. Thus Moroni put an end to the king-men in Zarahemla.
While Moroni's army was engaged fighting the king-men, Amalickiah had led his army into the land of the Nephites and, finding many of the cities poorly defended, he took possession of them after driving out and killing many Nephites. These included many cities which were near the eastern seashore: Nephihah, Lehi, Morianton, Omner, Gid, and Mulek. Thus Amalickiah gained a strong foothold since all of these cities were well fortified against invasion. Amalickiah then continued northward by the seashore, where he planned to take control of the city of Bountiful, but he was caught and his forces engaged by those of Teancum. Teancum's army was very strong and skillful and outfought the Lamanites, killing many. The night after the first major battle, Teancum stole into the enemies' camp, located the tent of Amalickiah, and put a javelin through his heart. He accomplished this so silently, that the Lamanite king's servants were not awakened. Teancum then returned to his troops and awakened them and had them stand in readiness for the moment when the Lamanites learned that their king had been killed. When the Lamanites awakened and found their leader dead and the Nephites ready to do battle, they became frightened and retreated into the city of Mulek to the protection of that city's fortifications. Amalickiah's brother Ammoron was appointed king over the Lamanites and he commanded that they should maintain by force those cities of which they already had taken control. Teancum realized that the numbers of his army were too few to attempt to retake the cities held by the Lamanites, so he made preparations for battle while awaiting reinforcements from Moroni's army, which eventually arrived.
Moroni sent word with these reinforcements that Teancum should retain all the Lamanite prisoners that they might later be used as a ransom to obtain the freedom of those Nephites taken prisoner. Moroni also sent word that teancum should fortify the city of Bountiful and secure the narrow pass which led to the land northward, lest the Lamanites should break through and have the Nephites surrounded. He also instructed that Teancum should fortify the other cities near the eastern seashore of which the Lamanites had not yet taken control.
Moroni regretted that he could not come himself, but he was engaged in fighting Lamanites, who had come against the Nephite land at the borders by the west sea. This latter Lamanite army was actually led by Ammoron, who had left the Nephite territory and had returned to his own land where he had informed the Lamanite queen of the death of Amalickiah, her husband, and had gathered together a large army to attack the Nephites from a second direction (65 BC).
Teancum set up his command post in the city of Bountiful, and continued making preparations for war. In spite of the reinforcements he had received, he realized that he still did not have the strength to regain control of the city of Mulek, because of its efficient fortifications. Finally, Moroni himself arrived with his army, and Moroni, Teancum, and the chief captains of the Nephites held a council to decide how they might lure the Lamanites out of their fortification. (64 BC) The Lamanites in the city of Mulek were commanded by a Zoramite captain named Jacob. Finally, a plan was developed, whereby Teancum took a small army and came against the city on the east side by the seashore, while Moroni marched by night into the wilderness to the west of the city. Seeing the small numbers of Teancum's forces, the Lamanites took heart and came out to meet them in battle. Teancum then began to retreat northward by the seashore. Seeing the Nephites retreat further encouraged Jacob's forces and they pursued the Nephites with vigor. Meanwhile, Moroni sent part of his army into the city to take possession of it while the rest of his forces marched to meet Jacob's army when they returned from pursuing Teancum. Jacob's army pursued Teancum's forces all the way to the city of Bountiful, where Teancum's army was joined by that of Lehi, which had been left to protect that city. Being weary from the chase and seeing Lehi's fresh army, the Lamanites began to retreat back toward Mulek in confusion. Having thus been sandwiched between the Nephites, Jacob's forces fought with fury, and many were killed on both sides, including Jacob. Finally, the Lamanites were overpowered and Moroni, who himself was wounded, offered the remaining Lamanites their lives, if they would surrender. Thus many Lamanite prisoners were taken and led back to the city of Bountiful, after they were made to bury all the dead from both sides. Thus Moroni gained a great victory over one of the mightiest Lamanite armies ever assembled.
Alma 53 through 63
The Lamanite prisoners in Bountiful were made to build an exceedingly high wall of timbers around that city to fortify it. The Lamanite prisoners were then maintained under guard in the city of Bountiful. Lehi, a man with admirable characteristics similar to those of Moroni, was placed in charge of the city of Mulek.
Meanwhile, in the southwest part of the Nephite land, there had arisen some dissension among the Nephites. Because of this dissension, the Lamanite armies had been able to gain a foothold in that section of the land and had taken control of several of the Nephite cities. Now the people of Ammon had observed all of the dangerous afflictions borne by the Nephites in protecting them, that the Ammonites might honor their oath not to take up arms and fight. Finally, being able to content themselves with simply being onlookers, they decided to take up arms to help defend their country. Helaman interceded, however, just as they were about to take up arms, and he persuaded them to keep the solemn oath they had made lest they lose their souls. The people of Ammon, however, had two thousand sons who had not taken the oath, and these banded together and took an oath to fight to the death to protect the liberty of the Nephites. These stripling warriors were exceedingly valiant and asked Helaman to lead them as they marched to the support of the beleaguered Nephites in the southwest part of the land.
Meanwhile, the Lamanite king Ammoron sent word to Moroni advising him that he would like to exchange prisoners (63 BC). Moroni was delighted at this request since he was tired of feeding the Lamanite men held prisoner and naturally he was anxious for the captive Nephite men, women, and children to be returned to their families and to strengthen his own army. Moroni sent a letter back to Ammoron offering to give up one Lamanite man prisoner (the Nephites held no Lamanite women or children prisoners) in exchange for a Nephite man, his wife, and his children. In his letter he also reminded Ammoron that his aggressive war against the Nephites was an exceedingly wicked campaign and he warned Ammoron that unless he agreed to Moroni's terms for exchanging prisoners, Moroni would become the aggressor and lead the Nephite armies against the Lamanites in their own lands. Ammoron was furious over Moroni's threats and swore anew, in another letter, vengeance upon the Nephites for the death of his brother Amalickiah, whom he accused the Nephites of "murdering." He also accused the Nephites of unrighteous dominion over their brother Lamanites back in the days of Nephi, Laman, and Lemuel. Nevertheless, Ammoron agreed to Moroni's terms of exchanging prisoners. On reading this letter from Ammoron, it was Moroni's turn to become angry, for he knew that Ammoron had a perfect knowledge of the fraudulency of his charges against the Nephites.
Moroni then refused to exchange prisoners and laid plans to secure the freedom of the Nephite prisoners. He learned that they were held captive in the city of Gid, and he then searched among the Nephite army and found a descendant of the Lamanites, a man named Laman, who had formerly served as a servant of the Lamanite king whom Amalickiah had murdered. Moroni appointed Laman to a special rescue mission. A small number of men were assigned to go with him, and he traveled by night to the city of Gid and approached the place where the Nephite prisoners were kept. Laman told the Lamanite guards that he and his men were Lamanites who had escaped from the Nephites and they brought with them much wine, which they claimed that they had stolen from the Nephites. Predictably, the Lamanites guards were anxious to try the wine and drank until they fell into a drunken stupor. Taking advantage of this situation, Laman and his men supplied the Nephite prisoners with many weapons and Moroni led more troops to the area and surrounded the sleeping Lamanites, who awakened in the morning and found themselves in a hopeless situation. Moroni freed the Nephite prisoners, took possession of the city of Gid, and forced the Lamanite guards to build further fortifications around it. He then left a strong force to protect the city and returned he newly- acquired Lamanite prisoners to the city of Bountiful.
Many attempts were made by the Lamanites to free their prisoners held captive in the city of Bountiful, but the Lamanites succeeded only in losing more of their men captive to the Nephites.
Moroni then began to prepare to attack the city of Morianton, which the Lamanites held and had heavily fortified. During these preparations (62 BC), Moroni received a letter from Helaman, reporting the successes of his two thousand stripling warriors. In 66 BC, Helaman's army had marched to the city of Judea, to fortify the beleaguered forces of Antipus, whom Moroni had appointed to be the leader in the southwest part of the land. Helaman learned that the Lamanites had taken over many cities in that sector including Manti, Zeezrom, Cumeni, and Antiparah. The army of Antipus was greatly encouraged and buoyed-up by these reinforcements and they completed heavy fortifications around the city of Judea. Abundant supplies were provided by the parents of the two thousand young warriors. In addition, they eventually received an additional two thousand troops from Zarahemla. Thus, in the city of Judea, the army of Antipus numbered ten thousand men (65 BC). Antipus then applied a bit of strategy similar to that which we have already learned worded so well for Moroni and Teancum in luring Jacob and his army out of the city of Mulek. In an effort to lure the major Lamanite army out of their stronghold, the city of Antiparah, Antipus had Helaman and the two thousand young warriors march close to that city as if they were carrying provisions to a neighboring city. The Lamanite army left the city and began to pursue Helaman's army, who fled toward the north. Antipus's army gave chase from the Lamanite's rear. The Lamanites, not wanting to be sandwiched between two opposing forces, gave all out chase in order that they might overcome Helaman's "sons", since the Lamanites had them vastly out-numbered. Finally, the Lamanites halted in their pursuit and the two thousand young warriors returned to find that Antipus's forces had caught and engaged the Lamanites in a fearsome battle. Antipus and some of his captains had been killed and the Lamanites had the remainder on the run. Helaman's army valiantly attacked the Lamanites and because of their efforts turned the tide of battle in favor of the Nephites, and the Lamanites were forced to surrender.
After returning to the city of Judea, Helaman received a letter from Ammoron, offering to give up the city of Antiparah, in exchange for the prisoners Helaman had taken. Helaman refused the offer and made preparations to take the city of Antiparah by force. That city actually fell into Helaman's hands without his having to use force, as the Lamanites holding the city decided to flee to other cities held by the Lamanites.
Helaman then made preparations to attack the Lamanite-held city of Cumeni, after receiving provisions and reinforcements (including 60 more sons of the Ammonites) from Zarahemla, bringing his army up to a strength of six thousand men. The city of Cumeni was taken by surrounding it and for several days and nights preventing any provisions from being delivered to the Lamanites in that city.
After the Lamanites in Cumeni had surrendered, the Nephites found themselves with so many prisoners on their hands that they could not adequately feed or guard them. Some two thousand of the prisoners had been killed in trying to break away from their captors. It was decided to take the remainder of the prisoners back to Zarahemla, so a group of Nephites led by a chief captain named Gid was selected and departed with the prisoners for Zarahemla.
After their departure, the Nephites in Cumeni were invaded by Lamanites from the city of Manti. One thousand Nephites were killed in the battle, but finally the Lamanites were driven back to Manti, due to the valiant efforts of Helaman's 2,060 young warriors and also due to the timely return of the group, who just prior had departed with the Lamanite prisoners for Zarahemla. On learning that the Lamanites had attacked Cumeni, the prisoners in custody of Gid's group raised up in revolt and most of them were killed, while a few escaped. Gid's group then abandoned their assigned journey and returned to help. Astonishingly, not one of Helaman's young warriors had been killed and only two hundred had been wounded in the bitter battle.
Helaman's next objective became the obtaining of the city of Manti, but the Lamanites in that city far out-numbered the Nephite army so that a direct attack was foolhardy. Neither would the Lamanites allow themselves to be lured out of the city as they were wise to that strategy which had been previously employed by the Nephites. Helaman thus appealed to Pahoran, the chief judge and governor of Zarahemla, for additional men and provisions. Over the next several months, they received only two thousand additional men, which Helaman felt were probably not sufficient to defeat the Lamanite army, which had also been fortified and by now was "innumerable." Realizing their circumstances, the Nephites became fearful, but after mighty prayer, they received assurance and courage from the Lord. The Nephite army thus went forth against the city of Manti and pitched their tents near the city on the side near the wilderness. When the Lamanites saw that the Nephite army was not strong in numbers, they made preparations to come out against them in battle fearing that the Nephites may cut them off from their supplies and provisions. Meanwhile, Helaman had Gid and Teomner each take a small band of men and hide in the wilderness, with Gid on the right and Teomner on the left. Almost the entire Lamanite army emerged from the city to engage the Nephites. The latter, by a preconceived plan, retreated rapidly into the wilderness leading the Lamanites between the hiding places of Gid, Teomner, and their small bands of men. The latter two groups then returned to the city and destroyed the few guards, which had been left to secure the city, and thus they obtained possession of Manti. After marching far into the wilderness, Helaman turned his march toward the city of Zarahemla. The Lamanites thus became frightened that they were being led into a trap and decided to return to the city of Manti. While the Lamanites camped that night in the wilderness, Helaman's army marched around them, thus beating them back to Manti. By this strategy, the city of Manti was taken and fortified by Helaman's army. The next day as the Lamanite army neared the city, they saw that the Nephites were well-established within the city, and they fled back to the land of Nephi. Thus were the Lamanites entirely driven out of that quarter of the Nephite land. Helaman's forces, however, were too small to adequately protect those cities from future invasions. Helaman concluded his letter to Moroni by expressing his bewilderment as to why they had not been more adequately supplied with additional forces.
When Moroni received Helaman's letter (62 BC), he rejoiced over Helaman's successes and wrote a letter to Pahoran requesting that additional men be sent to strengthen the armies of Helaman, so that those cities gained from the Lamanites might be maintained. Also, he asked that other Nephite cities located near the borders of the Nephite land be fortified by additional men from Zarahemla, as it was less difficult to maintain a city than to retake it after it had been captured. The chief judge failed to respond to this request for additional men and supplies, and Moroni grew angry over the apparent indifference of the government.
Meanwhile, Ammoron led a large Lamanite army, which included many of those who had fled out of the city of Manti, against the Nephite city of Nephihah. Many Nephites were slaughtered and the survivors were forced to flee out of the city, and they fled to the camp of Moroni's army. This Lamanite victory further angered Moroni and he wrote again to Pahoran this time accusing the government of unrighteousness and neglect of their duty. He emphatically warned that unless men and provisions were sent to his army and that of Helaman, he would return to Zarahemla with his forces and purge the government by force.
Moroni received a prompt reply from Pahoran, in which the governor outlined the grave political developments in Zarahemla. A large number of king-men had come out in open rebellion against the freemen, and had succeeded in taking control of the government. They appointed a king named Pachus, and Pahoran and the freemen were forced to flee to the city of Gideon. Many Nephites, sympathetic to the cause of the freemen, joined Pahoran in Gideon, and a formidable army began to take shape. So much so, that the king-men did not dare to attack them. Pachus meanwhile entered into an alliance with the Lamanites in which he agreed to deprive the Nephites of men and provisions from Zarahemla, thus allowing the Lamanites to conquer the remaining Nephite cities; provided, of course, that he would become king over all the Nephite land after it was conquered. Pahoran closed his letter by appealing to Moroni to leave Lehi and Teancum in charge of the war in that part of the land and come to Gideon, with a few men, to help him retake control of the city of Zarahemla.
Accordingly, Moroni and a small group of men began a march toward the city of Gideon. In each city along the way, he raised his "title of liberty" and recruited additional men for the cause of freedom. On arriving in Gideon, he joined forces with Pahoran's army, and together they marched against Pachus's army in Zarahemla. Pachus was slain, his men were defeated and taken captive, and Pahoran was restored to his judgment seat. The king-men who would not agree to take up arms in defense of their country were tried and put to death. Moroni then sent 6,000 men and provisions to Helaman and another 6,000 men and provisions to fortify the armies of Lehi and Teancum (61 BC). Then he and Pahoran marched an army to Nephihah to retake that city from the Lamanites. On the way, they engaged many Lamanites in battle and killed many and bound an additional 4,000 of them with a covenant that they would never again take up arms against the Nephites. These 4,000 were sent to dwell among the people of Ammon. On arriving at the wall surrounding the city and determining that the Lamanite army was camped on the east side of the city near the entrance, Moroni's army used strong cords and ladders to scale the wall and enter the city on the west side. Toward morning, the Nephites attacked, killing many and also taking many prisoners. Moroni and Pahoran thus regained the city without losing one soul in battle. The Lamanite prisoners decided they wanted to become free and asked to join the people of Ammon. They were allowed to do so and became an industrious people.
The combined armies of Moroni, Teancum, and Lehi then routed the Lamanites out of the remaining Nephite cities, and the entire Lamanite army retreated to the city of Moroni by the western seashore, where they were commanded by Ammoron. At night, while both armies slept, Teancum scaled the wall of that city, found the king Ammoron, and slew him with a javelin. Before dying, Ammoron alerted his servants and Teancum was pursued and killed before he could make his way out of the city. The next day Moroni marched his armies against the Lamanites, slaughtered many, and drove the survivors out of the city and out of the Nephite land (60 BC). Thus ended a many-year period of bloodshed, famine, and affliction for the Nephite people.
After fortifying the borders of their land against future invasion, Moroni, Helaman, and Pahoran all returned to the city of Zarahemla. Pahoran resumed his position as chief judge, Moroni retired and turned the command of his armies over to his son Moronihah, and Helaman again began to preach the gospel and establish the church throughout the land. Helaman died in 57 BC and the responsibility for the records of the people and other sacred objects, was assumed by his brother Shiblon. Moroni died the following year.
In 55 BC, a large company of 5,400 Nephite men and their families left the city of Zarahemla to explore the land northward. Also a man named Hagoth built a large ship on the western seashore of the land Bountiful by the narrow neck of land which led to the land northward. Many Nephites boarded this ship and sailed toward the land northward. They returned the following year and additional Nephites joined them and again they set out toward the north. They were never heard of again, and were presumed drowned. Hagoth built other ships, and at least one other ship embarked carrying Nephites who were never heard of again.
Meanwhile, additional Nephites were also departing by land to migrate into the land northward. In 53 BC, Shiblon died. Since Shiblon's brother Corianton had left on a ship to carry provisions to those people who had gone forth previously into the land northward, Shiblon prior to his death conferred the record of the people upon Helaman, son of Helaman.
Also in 53 BC, some Nephite dissenters went forth among the Lamanites and succeeded in stirring them up against the Nephites to the point where they were gathered a great army and attacked the Nephite land. Moronihah's army was able, however, to defeat them and drive them back into their own lands.
Early in 52 BC, the chief judge Pahoran died, and three of his sons Paanchi, Pacumeni, and Pahoran began to contend for their father's judgment seat. Each of the three sons gathered support among the Nephites and thus the Nephite peoples divided into three groups each supporting one of the contending sons. The contentions thus spread among the people. Eventually Pahoran was elected to the office of chief judge. Pacumeni gave his support to Pahoran but Paanchi and his contingent were angry and attempted to stir the people up to rebellion against the new chief judge. Consequently, Paanchi was arrested, tried, condemned to death, and executed. Paanchi's rebellious supporters were angry, and one of them, named Kishkumen, disguised himself and murdered Pahoran as he sat on the judgment seat. Kishkumen fled back to the rebellious band of Paanchi's supporters who covenanted that they would deep Kishkumen's identity a secret. Any member of this secret group who could be identified was condemned to death, but many could not be found as they mingled in among the people. Pacumeni was elected by the people to replace Pahoran as chief judge.
In 51 BC the Lamanite king Tubaloth, a son of Ammoron, stirred up the Lamanites against the Nephites and gave a descendant of Zarahemla (a Mulekite), a large and mighty man named Coriantumr, command of the very large and well-armed Lamanite army. Coriantumr, who possibly had designs to establish himself as king, led them in a direct attack on the city of Zarahemla. Due to the disorganization of the Nephites resulting from the contentions in government, Coriantumr was easily able to take control of the city killing everyone who opposed him including the chief judge Pacumeni. Coriantumr then took his army and marched through the very center of the Nephite land northward to capture the city of Bountiful. Moronihah, Moroni's son and the chief commander of the Nephite armies, had Lehi, his chief captain, and his army intercept them and engage them in battle. A bitter and bloody battle ensued, and the Lamanites began to retreat toward Zarahemla. Moronihah and his army then intercepted them in their retreat and the Lamanites were thus caught between two Nephite armies. Coriantumr and many of his men were killed in the battle which followed, and the Lamanites were defeated. Moronihah then regained control of the city of Zarahemla.
In 50 BC a contention again arose among the people as to who should serve as chief judge. Helaman, the son of Helaman, was finally elected. Meanwhile the secret band which sent Kishkumen to kill Pahoran was now led by a very clever and well-spoken man named Gadianton. He promised this secret combination of men that if they would place him on the judgment seat, they would be placed in positions of power and authority over the people. They therefore again sent Kishkumen-this time to kill Helaman. One of Helaman's servants had disguised himself and had infiltrated the band of Gadianton and thus learned of the plan to kill Helaman. As Kishkumen was going to the judgment seat to carry out this evil deed, this servant met him and gave him the sign of the secret band. The servant then offered to conduct Kishkumen to the judgment seat. Kishkumen eagerly accepted the offer of help and on the way there, the servant stabbed and killed Kishkumen. The servant then ran to tell Helaman of the secret band of Gadianton and the plot to kill him. Helaman then sent men to arrest Gadianton and his band but they could not be found, as Gadianton had grown fearful when Kishkumen didn't return right away and had led his men out of the city and into the wilderness. More on Gadianton later. The reader will learn that Gadianton and his evil influence will ultimately cause the overthrow of the Nephite people.
A period of relative peace ensued. In 46 BC many people, both Nephites and the people of Ammon, who were Lamanites by birth, began to leave Zarahemla and migrate northward to populate the land called Desolation. They migrated great distances and came to "large bodies of water and many rivers." Because there was little timber available they lived in tents and built houses of cement. They even began to transport lumber to the land northward via ships. They multiplied and eventually populated the entire land northward from the "sea south to the sea north" and from the "sea west to the sea east." Extensive records were kept of these people but are not recorded in the Book of Mormon. Their history included much wickedness, murder, theft, and all manner of abominations and whoredoms. The distinction between Lamanites and Nephites became blurred and the people became wild and ferocious.
Meanwhile back in Zarahemla, the years 46 to 44 BC were ones of serious strife and contention among the Nephites. Nevertheless, Helaman managed to preside with justice and equity in the office of chief judge. He had two righteous sons. The elder was Nephi and the younger, Lehi. The years 43 to 39 BC were ones of peace and prosperity for the church. So much so, that many in the church began to be proud and lifted up. Helaman died in 39 BC and his older son Nephi filled his judgment seat. Between 38 and 35 BC contentions again occurred among the Nephites, and rebellious Nephite groups, after being cast out of their own land, entered the Lamanite lands and stirred them up to war. Lamanite armies attacked the Nephites in 35 and 34 BC and were successful in taking control of the city of Zarahemla and many other Nephite cities. The Nephites and their armies, led by Moronihah, were driven back into the city of Bountiful, and they fortified the entire southern border of that section of the land from the east to the west coast. The length of this line of fortification was a single days journey on foot for a Nephite. Realizing that these military setbacks were due to the Nephites' wickedness, Moronihah, Nephi, and Lehi began to preach repentance among their people. Many did repent, and in 33 and 32 BC the Nephite armies were able to regain control of about half of their captured cities from the Lamanites. The remainder of the cities could not be recaptured as the Lamanites had become too powerful and numerous, and the Nephite armies became fully engaged in maintaining those cities which they had retaken.
The Nephites continued in their corrupted ways and began to live in fear of the powerful Lamanite armies. Before the death of Helaman, he had admonished his sons, Nephi and Lehi, to dedicate their lives to the gospel. Seeing that this was going to require full time dedication, Nephi gave up the judgment seat to a man named Cezoram, and Nephi and his brother began to travel throughout the land preaching repentance. After visiting each Nephite city in turn, they even went among the Lamanites in the city of Zarahemla and through their mighty preaching, some 8,000 Lamanites were converted. From Zarahemla they traveled south to the city of Nephi, but there they were taken captive by the Lamanites and cast into the same prison into which Ammon and his brethren were previously cast by the servants of Limhi. After leaving Nephi and Lehi many days in prison without food or water, the Lamanites decided to execute them. But as they attempted to remove them from the prison, Nephi and Lehi became encircled by a protective ring of fire. The Lamanites were awed by this miraculous manifestation. Seizing upon this opportunity, Lehi and Nephi began to preach repentance to the approximately three hundred Lamanites who had gathered. As they did so, an earthquake rocked the walls of the prison and a dark cloud engulfed the Lamanites and an awful fear came upon them. A heavenly voice was then heard to call out of the dark cloud three separate times which warned the Lamanites not to harm Nephi and Lehi and urged them to forsake their sins and truly repent. Meanwhile the earthquake continued to threaten the walls of the prison. One of the Lamanites was Aminadab, a Nephite by birth, who had formerly belonged to the Church of God but who had become a dissenter from the church. He noticed the faces of Nephi and Lehi shining through the dark cloud and he beheld that their faces were lifted up and they were conversing with heavenly messengers. Aminadab was filled with the Spirit and called out to the Lamanites to repent. The rest of the Lamanites were then also visited by the Spirit of the Holy Ghost and the dark cloud dispersed leaving the entire group of Lamanites surrounded by a wall of fire with Lehi and Nephi in the midst of them. A voice then again whispered to them and a feeling of peace and well-being filled their hearts and angels came out of the heavens and ministered to them. This group of thoroughly converted Lamanites then went out among the rest of the Lamanites preaching repentance, and the majority of the Lamanite peoples were actually converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ, laid down their weapons of war, and returned to the Nephites the cities which had previously been captured. The righteousness of the Lamanites thus came to exceed that of the Nephites, and the Lamanites even sent many missionaries to preach among the Nephites.
A period of peace and prosperity throughout the entire land followed. At about this time (29 BC) the land northward came to be called the land of Mulek and the land on the south the land of Lehi. In 26 BC Gadianton and his secret combination with their secret signs and oaths again emerged and murdered the chief judge Cezoram and later Cezoram's son who was picked to fill his judgment seat. Satan's influence quickly spread among the Nephite peoples and the majority of them turned from the church to materialism, immorality, and other forms of wickedness. The Lamanites meanwhile, continued in righteousness and were blessed of the Lord. By 24 BC Gadianton's secret combination had gained control over the government of the Nephites and filled all of the judgment seats. In 23 BC Nephi was rejected in his attempt to preach repentance to the Nephites in the land northward. On returning to his home in Zarahemla, he was alarmed to find the Nephites there governed by wicked men. After praying from his garden tower which was by the highway which led to Zarahemla's central market, a crowd of curious onlookers gathered which included some of the lesser judges of the Nephites. Nephi seized the opportunity to begin to preach to them. He warned that if they did not forsake the evil influences of Gadianton, they would be utterly destroyed. Nephi continued in these stern warnings in spite of attempts by some of the evil judges to incite the people against him. As a sign to the Nephites, he prophesied that at that very moment the chief judge Seezoram lay dead at the judgment seat, having been murdered. Five of those who stood listening ran to the judgment seat to learn for themselves if Nephi's prediction was valid. As they entered into the judgment seat they found the chief judge lying dead on the floor in a pool of his own blood. The five Nephites were then converted as to the truth of Nephi's preachings and they fell to the earth in astonishment. Prior to the arrival of these five Nephites, Seezoram's servants had found their dead master and had run to alert the people. Those whom they told knew nothing of Nephi's preaching in his garden, and on arriving at the judgment seat and finding the five Nephites fallen to the earth, they assumed that these five Nephites had murdered their chief judge. The five were thus cast into prison. On the following day, during Seezoram's burial service, those judges who had listened to Nephi's preaching on the previous day at Nephi's garden learned of the identity of the five Nephites who had been charged in the death of the chief judge. These judges reasoned that the five Nephites could not be guilty, but they cast the blame on Nephi, assuming that he must have conspired with someone to murder the chief judge to cause his prediction of Seezoram's death to appear valid. As they went to arrest Nephi, he showed them another sign. He told them to go to the house of Seantum, the brother of Seezrom and accuse him of the murder. Accordingly, Seantum confessed to the murder of his brother and exonerated Nephi of all blame in the matter. A few Nephites were converted to the gospel as a result of Nephi's preaching and miracles, but the great majority hardened their hearts and would not listen. As he had been counseled by the Lord, Nephi warned the Nephites that unless they repented they would be smitten with famine, pestilence and destruction. They did not heed his warning, and even sought to destroy him.
Serious wars and contentions broke out among the Nephites, and Gadianton's band carried on their works of wickedness (20 and 19 BC). Thus, Nephi prayed that the Lord might send a great drought and famine to remind the people of their wickedness, and the Lord did so (18-17 BC). This drought was beneficial in that most of the Nephites repented and began to seek out and destroy the Gadianton robbers among them. Thus Nephi prayed again, and the Lord sent rain which resulted in a rich harvest (16 BC).
A few prosperous years followed but in 12 BC a band of Nephite and Lamanite dissenters found the records of Gadianton's secret combination and patterned themselves after that wicked group. They lived in the mountains and began to terrorize the surrounding cities with acts of violence. This band grew powerful and repulsed two attempts by the Nephite army to destroy them.
Between 12 and 7 BC the Nephites generally again began to forget Nephi's preachings and drew away from the gospel, but the majority of the Lamanites remained steadfast in their beliefs. In 6 BC a Lamanite prophet named Samuel traveled to Zarahemla and began preaching repentance to the Nephites there. They grew angry and cast him out of the city. As he was returning home, the voice of the Lord bade him return to Zarahemla to warn the people. On returning to the city he was not allowed to enter so he climbed on to the wall surrounding the city and stretched forth his hand and preached to the people. He warned them of their inevitable destruction about 400 years hence because of their wickedness, and he told them that only the righteous among them were keeping the Lord from allowing destruction to be rained down upon them. He predicted the birth of Jesus Christ in five years and told of the signs of his birth (day, night, and day of daylight and a new star) and death (three days of darkness, thunder, lightening, earthquakes, and resurrection of many saints). Some were converted by Samuel's teachings and sought out Nephi to confess their sins and be baptized. The majority, however, were angered by his warnings and began to cast stones and shoot arrows at him. The Lord protected Samuel, allowing neither stone nor arrow to hit him. They then sought to take him captive, but Samuel jumped from the wall and fled back to his own country.
In AD 1, Nephi departed out of the city of Zarahemla and "whither he went, no man knoweth." Before leaving, he delivered responsibility for all the plates of brass to his son, also named Nephi. A righteous man named Lachoneus was the chief judge and governor of the land. The majority of the Nephites, meanwhile, began to persecute those believers who awaited the signs of the birth of Christ. The unbelievers even set aside a day on which all believers would be put to death unless the prophesied manifestations occurred. Nephi therefore prayed mightily to the Lord throughout one entire day on behalf of all those believers about to be destroyed. As he prayed, the voice of the Lord came to him telling him to "be of good cheer . . . on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world." Accordingly, that night no darkness came, and a new star appeared. The immediate affect of these miraculous signs was the conversion of the majority of the Nephites and a brief period of relative peace occurred.
People began to reckon time from the period of the sign of Christ's coming. By AD 5, however, many of the Nephite and Lamanite peoples had forgotten the signs; their faith began to dwindle; and many "waxed strong in iniquity." The Gadianton robbers also became active, and from their secret strongholds in the mountains they carried out many atrocities and led away many dissenting Nephites and Lamanites who joined with them. Finally, a desperate war broke out between Gadianton's band on one side and the Lamanites and Nephites who united in battle against the secret combination on the other (AD 13-15). The mark of the curse, the dark skin, was removed from those Lamanites who fought alongside the Nephites, insomuch that no distinction remained between the two groups, and the entire group were called Nephites.
In AD 15 the chief judge Lachoneus received a letter from Giddianhi, the governor of the secret society of Gadianton, threatening the people with utter destruction lest they surrender. Preparations for Giddianhi's attack began immediately. Lachoneus appointed Gidgiddoni to be chief captain. He also appointed other chief captains to command the Nephite army. Lachoneus proclaimed that all Nephites, with their families, flocks, and possessions should gather in one location between the cities of Zarahemla and Bountiful. Consequently, thousands of Nephites gathered together and fortified themselves with armor and weapons. At the urging of both Lachoneus and Gidgiddoni, the Nephite peoples repented of their sins lest they be destroyed. In AD 18 Giddianhi's band came down out of their mountain strongholds and took possession of those cities which the Nephites had abandoned. These acquisitions did not profit them much, however, because the Nephites had taken with them all food and necessary provisions and had left their cities desolate. Finally in the 6th month of AD 19, Giddianhi led his forces against the Nephites in battle. The Gadianton warriors wore lambskins about their loins, were dyed in blood, had shaved their heads and wore headplates. On seeing this frightening army approach, the Nephites fell to the earth and prayed that the Lord might deliver them out of the hands of their enemies. Mistaking this attitude of supplication for terror, Giddianhi's army were delighted and rushed forth to slay the Nephites. An unparalleled slaughter ensued. Gidgiddoni's army was victorious and drove the remaining Gadianton robbers out of the land. Giddianhi himself was killed in the battle.
Giddianhi was succeeded by Zemnarihah who in AD 21 laid siege to the Nephite cities by surrounding them and preventing the people from coming outside to obtain food and supplies. This plan backfired, however, as the Nephites were self-sufficient within the cities, having stored sufficient supplies to last them seven years. In fact, Zemnarihah's armies had trouble finding food for themselves, as wild game was scarce in the wilderness, and they became weakened for lack of food. Gidgiddoni took advantage of this opportunity and killed thousands of them by conducting short raids upon them by day and by night. Zemnarihah therefore marched his army northward to regroup and presumable develop alternate plans of attack. Gidgiddoni anticipated this march and the Nephite army cut them off and destroyed the large part of them, taking captive the remainder. Their leader Zemnarihah was hanged from a tree until he was dead. The Nephites were thus humbled by the Lord's allowing them this victory, and they repented of their sins.
In AD 26 the Nephites returned to their separate cities, and a period of peace and prosperity followed. By AD 29 the prosperity had resulted in materialism, class distinction, and wickedness. In AD 30 Lachoneus was succeeded as governor by his son also named Lachoneus. Those Nephites who were the most wicked were the lawyers, high priests, and chief judges. At this time many prophets came into the city of Zarahemla prophesying the resurrection of Christ. The lawyers, high priests, and chief judges arrested and put to death many of those righteous men. These executions were done illegally since the law required that the governor and chief judge of the land approve all death penalties before they could be carried out. Accordingly, these judges were brought before Lachoneus to be tried for murder. However, in AD 30 Lachoneus was himself murdered by the secret combination of judges, high priests, and lawyers who wanted to overthrow the government and establish a king over the land. This murder destroyed the government and threw the country into a state of anarchy. The people divided into tribes according to families and groups of friends, and a chief was appointed over each tribe. The secret combination appointed one of their own number, Jacob, to be their king. Since they were not large enough to contend with most of the other tribes, Jacob led his secret band to the "northern most part of the land to live until they become more numerous and stronger."
Meanwhile, although the separate tribes made treaties and were able to live in relative peace with each other, they became a wicked and degenerate people and stoned and persecuted the prophets who came among them. On one occasion they stoned to death the brother of Nephi whose name was Timothy. Nephi, using his priesthood, raised his brother from the dead. Nephi was one of the greatest of the prophets of the day and cast out devils and healed the sick and was blessed to perform other miracles thereby converting and baptizing a few.
In the latter part of AD 33 the people began to watch for the signs of Christ's crucifixion which had been prophesied by the prophet Samuel the Lamanite. On the fourth day of the first month of AD 34, there arose a mighty storm with lightening, thunder, and earthquakes. The city of Zarahemla caught fire; the city of Moroni sank into the sea and its inhabitants were drowned; the city of Moronihah was buried beneath a great mountain; and other devastating destruction of cities and roads occurred. Following the storm, which lasted about three hours and destroyed thousands of people, three days of darkness smothered the land during which no light could be seen. No fires, candles, or torches could be lighted, neither were the sun, moon or stars visible. Finally the voice of Jesus Christ was heard by all of the inhabitants of the land. He proclaimed the extent of destruction which had occurred throughout the land, made explicit the fact that the destruction was the result of the wickedness of the people, and invited all hearing his voice to repent and come unto him. After many hours of silence Jesus spoke again, and again he urged the survivors of the storm to live the gospel. After three days the darkness dispersed, and the people learned that the more wicked among them had died in the earthquake and storm.
Sometime later that same year (AD 34) a multitude of some 2,500 Nephites were gathered together near the temple in the city of Bountiful. As they conversed concerning Jesus Christ, the voice of God the Father came out of heaven and pierced them to the very soul. Twice they did not understand the voice but the third time they understood the Father to proclaim: "Behold my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name . . . hear ye him." They then watched as Jesus, clad in a white robe, descended out of the heavens and stood in the midst of them. He identified himself as Jesus Christ and invited the people to thrust their hands into his side and feel the prints of the nails in his hands and his feet. He explained the method and necessity of baptism and gave the Nephi and eleven others the authority to baptize. He also commissioned them to minister unto the people. The other eleven apostles were: Nephi's brother Timothy and Nephi's son Jonas, Mathoni and his brother Mathonihah, Kumen, Kumenonhi, Jeremiah, Shemnon, Jonas, Zedekiah, and Isaiah. The Savior then delivered again to the Nephites the Sermon at the Temple, a sermon similar to his Sermon on the Mount and explained that the law of Moses was fulfilled through him. He identified the Nephites as the "other sheep" to whom he referred when he had the apostle John say, "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold . . . " (John 10:16.) He invited the sick and lame to come unto him, and he healed them. He then knelt with the multitude and prayed for them. The words of the prayer could not be recorded, but the multitude who listened bore record: "The eye hath never seen, neither hath the ear heard before so great and marvelous things as we saw and heard Jesus speak unto the Father." He then blessed each of the Nephite children in the multitude and he wept. Angels then came out of the heavens and ministered to the children. After giving the multitude instructions on the sacrament prayer, he touched the disciples one by one and gave them power to bestow the Gift of the Holy Ghost. He then ascended into heaven.
On the morrow, a vast multitude gathered at the temple in Bountiful as the news of the Savior's visit had spread during the night. The Twelve baptized each other and then each was filled with the Holy Ghost. A fire encircled the Twelve and angels came and ministered to them. Jesus then appeared in the midst of his apostles and ministered unto them and to the multitude and miraculously provided the sacrament for them. Many great things which could not be recorded were shown to the multitude because of their faith. After teaching many gospel principles which are recorded, Jesus spoke to each of the Twelve asking them in turn their heart's desire. Nine of the Twelve wanted to return speedily and live with Christ in his kingdom when their ministry and lives were over. Jesus granted this wish telling them that after they were seventy-two years old they would find rest in his kingdom. The other three apostles requested to remain in a mortal state doing missionary work until the Christ's second coming. He also granted this request guaranteeing them that they would live free of pain and sorrow (except for that caused by the sins of the world), and they would be changed to an immortal state in the twinkling of an eye at the time when Christ came again in his glory. He then touched each of the nine apostles with his finger and departed.
Mormon then paused in his abridgment and editorially commented that the Lord forbade him to give the names of the three Nephites who asked to tarry on the earth, but he said, "I have seen them, and they have ministered unto me."
After the Savior's departure, the Twelve went out into the land preaching repentance and baptism, and unto as many as would be converted, they bestowed the Holy Ghost.
This record was made by Nephi, the son of Jesus's disciple. By two years after the Savior's visit, all of the people were converted to the gospel and a long period of peace and prosperity followed. They rebuilt many cities that had been destroyed including Zarahemla. When the original apostles died (except for the three who asked to tarry), others were ordained in their stead. There was no distinction between those of Nephi's descent and those of Lamanite lineage, and they became "an exceedingly fair" people.
In AD 111 Nephi died and the record was kept by his son Amos. Amos kept the record for 84 years during which there was continual peace marred only by a small group of people who revolted from the Church and took upon themselves the name Lamanites. Amos died in AD 194 and he gave the record to his son also named Amos. By AD 201 prosperity had led to pride and class distinction and many began to deny Christ. By AD 210 there were many churches in the land which professed to know Christ but had no Priesthood. One such "church" delighted in persecuting the Church of Jesus Christ, especially those three apostles who were given to tarry on the earth until the Savior's second coming. These three were confined in prison, thrown into furnaces of fire, and even cast into dens of wild beasts. Always, however, they remained unharmed.
By AD 231 the people had divided into two groups: the Nephites or true believers in Jesus Christ (these were divided into sub groups: Jacobites, Josephites, and Zoramites) and the Lamanites (these were divided into Lemuelites and Ishmaelites). The Lamanites developed a profound enmity for the Nephites. By AD 241 the Lamanites were far more numerous than the people of God. By AD 260 the secret combination of Gadianton had again surfaced among the Lamanites and began to prosper among the people. Even the Nephites began to be proud and materialistic. By AD 300 the people of Nephi were every bit as wicked as the Lamanites. Only the three translated Nephite disciples and a few believers remained righteous. In AD 305 Amos died, and his brother Ammaron kept the record in his stead. In AD 320 Ammaron was constrained by the Holy Ghost to hide all the sacred records that they might be brought forth in the latter days. Accordingly he buried the records on a hill called Shim in the land Antum.
After hiding the records (AD 321), Ammaron was inspired to approach a boy named Mormon who was 10 years old at the time and command him that when he reached the age of 24, Mormon should remove from their hiding place the plates of Nephi and engrave upon them an account of the events of the intervening years.
At age 11, Mormon (who was a descendant of Nephi) was taken by his father, who was also named Mormon, into the land southward even into the city of Zarahemla. By this time the entire land was covered with buildings and the people were as numerous "almost as . . . the sand of the sea."
That same year (AD 322) a war began between the Nephites and the Lamanites near Zarahemla by the river Sidon. The Nephites had gathered a large army in excess of 30,000 men and were able to defeat the Lamanites in several battles. Four years thus ensued when there was no further bloodshed, but wickedness ran rampant to the point where the three beloved apostles were even taken out of the land by the Lord. Among the Lamanite peoples the Gadianton robbers infested the land with their "sorceries, witchcraft, and magics." In AD 326 war again began, and Mormon, who had reached the age of 15 (in spite of his youth he was "of sober mind" and "large in stature"), was given command of the Nephite armies. The Lamanite army attacked with "exceeding great power" and frightened the Nephite army who refused to fight but rather retreated into the North countries. When the Nephite army reached the City of Angola they took possession of it and fortified it against attack. Notwithstanding these fortifications the Lamanite army drove them out of the city. The Nephites were also driven out of the city of David to the city of Joshua which was on the West coast. In that land the Nephites continued to suffer defeats because of their wicked state. Mormon was victorious in one battle when his army of 42,000 defeated a Lamanite army of 44,000 led by the Lamanite king named Aaron.
Meanwhile the Nephites remained unrepentant and continued to suffer military defeats at the hands of the Lamanites. As commanded, at the age of 24 (AD 335), Mormon took the plates of Nephi out of the hill Shim and recorded a full account of the wickedness and abominations of his day. In AD 345 the Nephites were routed out of their land on the West coast and fled eastward being pursued by the Lamanite army. They retreated to the city of Jashon which was near where Ammaron had deposited the sacred records. From there they fled northward to a city called Shem. There, at Mormon's urging, they made a firm stand, and with an army of 30,000 they defeated the Lamanite army of 50,000. They then continued on to reclaim their lands from the Lamanites. In AD 350 they made a treaty with the Lamanites whereby the Nephites took possession of the land from the "narrow neck of the land" northward, and the Lamanites obtained all the land southward.
For the next ten years Mormon continued as the military leader of the Nephites and fortified his land against future attack. The Nephite peoples continued in their unrepentant state. In AD 360 the Lamanite army attacked the Nephites who made a stand at the city of Desolation near their southern border. The Nephites were successful in defeating the Lamanites during this battle and again during a similar battle two years later. This success led the Nephites to begin to boast of their own strength, and they swore vengeance on the Lamanites and began to be the aggressors. This wickedness so disgusted Mormon that he resigned as their military commander and became an "idle witness" who continued to record the events of his people. The Lord warned, through Mormon, that because of the failure of the Nephites to repent, they would soon be "cut off from the face of the earth."
In AD 363 the Nephites attacked the Lamanites in their own land from the city of Desolation. The Nephites were soundly defeated and the Lamanite army even pursued them and took possession of the city Desolation. The Nephite army retreated to the nearby city of Teancum and there successfully made a stand and were even able to retake the city of Desolation. For the next few years the battle raged near the border with thousands of men being killed on both sides. Mormon graphically records on this period: "It is impossible for the tongue to describe . . . a perfect description of the horrible scene of the blood and carnage which was among the people." "Every heart was hardened so that they delighted in the shedding of blood continually." "There had never been so great wickedness among all the children of Lehi . . . as was among this people." During this period Nephite women and children were offered as sacrifices by the Lamanites to their gods.
Finally, in AD 375 the Lamanites with their exceedingly numerous forces came against the Nephites and from this time forth the Nephites would never again gain an advantage over the Lamanites. The Nephites were routed out of Desolation and nearby city of Boaz. Mormon saw that the Lamanites were about to overthrow the land and therefore took the sacred records from the hill Shim. He eventually relented and again accepted the command of the Nephite armies, but the Nephite cause was hopeless. After holding their own for a time in the city of Jordan, they were routed out of that stronghold (AD 380) and began to retreat before the Lamanites who slaughtered every Nephite they caught up with. In a letter to his son, Moroni, Mormon gave an account of his discouraging attempts to lead his army of Nephites against the Lamanites. His own people's hopeless unrighteousness had so depraved them that they had lost their fear of death. They had no love for one another, and they thirsted after blood and revenge continually. A man named Amoron reported to Mormon horrible atrocities committed by the Lamanites. For example, the Lamanites conquered and took many Nephite men, women and children prisoners from a place called the Tower of Sherrizah. They killed all the men and fed their flesh to the women and children. The Nephites also were guilty of atrocities. For example, the Nephites in a city called Moriantum had taken many young Lamanite girls prisoner. After raping and torturing them, they were murdered in a cruel manner and the Nephite soldiers then ate their flesh as a sign of their bravery. Mormon then tells of writing a "small abridgement" of the large plates of Nephi.
Finally in AD 385 after retreating great distances, Mormon wrote a letter to the Lamanite king asking the king if he would grant the Nephites the opportunity to gather all of their remaining 230,000 people together at the land of Cumorah by a hill called Cumorah to do final battle. The Lamanites king allowed them time to so gather. Twenty-three Nephite captains were each given command over 10,000 of the Nephites. By this time, Mormon was old and he knew this would be the final battle of his people. He buried all the records entrusted to him in the Hill Cumorah except for the small plates of Nephi and his own abridgement and writings which he delivered to the care of his son, Moroni, one of the captains of 10,000. Finally, the Lamanites attacked and the Nephites were struck with "that awful fear of death which fills the breasts of all the wicked." The Lamanites fell upon the Nephites and slaughtered every one save for twenty-four souls who fought in the battle, a few who escaped into the south countries, and a few dissenters who had gone over to the Lamanites. Among the survivors were Mormon, who was wounded, and his son Moroni. Following the carnage of this terrible battle, those few Nephites who escaped into the country southward were hunted down by the Lamanites until they were all destroyed. Mormon also was slain, and Moroni in AD 400 described his plight as the last remaining Nephite (except for the three Nephite apostles who ministered to Mormon before his death and to Moroni) saying, "I even remain all alone to write the sad tale . . . whether they will slay me, I know not."
This book is Moroni's abridgement of King Mosiah's translation of the twenty-four plates found by the people of Limhi in the days of King Mosiah which contained a record of the Jaredites. Moroni entered his abridgment onto to the plates of Mormon. Moroni did not abridge the first part of the Jaredite record which contained the creation of the world and the events up to the Tower of Babel.
Moroni initially provides a genealogy of Ether who wrote the 24 plates. Ether was a direct descendant of Jared, more than 29 generations removed.
At the time of the great Tower of Babel (about 2600-2300 BC) which the people somewhere in the Middle East built in their unrighteousness in order to reach heaven, the Lord in his wrath confounded their language and scattered them upon the face of the earth. The brother of Jared (whose name, Mahonri Moriancumer, was later revealed to Joseph Smith) was a "large and mighty man and highly favored of the Lord." Jared had him plead with the Lord not to confound the language of Jared, his brother, their families, and a group of twenty-two of their friends and their families, so that they might all understand one another. Jared's brother also inquired of the Lord as to where they should go. The Lord granted that their language should not be confused, and He instructed them to gather male and female animals of every kind and seeds of every kind and promised to guide them to a land which is "choice above all the lands of the earth" where He promised to raise up of their seed a great nation.
After preparations were made, the group traveled to a valley northward which they called Nimrod. As instructed, they took with them flocks and seeds of every kind including birds, fish, and deseret (swarms of honey bees). In the valley Nimrod the Lord came in a cloud and spoke to the brother of Jared, but the brother of Jared could not see Him. The Lord commanded that the group should depart into the wilderness where no man had ever traveled before. They did so, and the Lord spoke with them from a could and gave them directions. Eventually they arrived at the ocean where they pitched their tents. They dwelt there on the seashore for four years in a place which they called Moriancumer. After these four years, the Lord came again to the brother of Jared and talked to him from a cloud for three hours. The Lord chastened him for not being diligent in his prayers. Jared's brother repented and plead with the Lord to forgive him and the people who were with him for their unrighteousness. The Lord forgave them and then instructed them to build eight small barges. These barges were the length of a tree, were water-tight and air-tight when their door was shut, and the ends were peaked. For air to breathe they made a hole in the top and a hold in the bottom either of which could be unstoppered to allow in air. The brother of Jared then became concerned over the fact that there was no light in these closed vessels, and he inquired of the Lord as to what he should do. The Lord in turn told him to figure out a way himself to provide light for the journey. So the brother of Jared went onto a tall mountain called Shemlem and carved out of a rock sixteen small stones which were transparent as glass. He then carried these stones to the top of the mountain and prayed that the Lord would touch each stone with His finger and cause them to shine forth that they might serve as sources of light for the journey. After this prayer of faith, the Lord did stretch His finger and touch each stone, and the veil was taken from the eyes of the brother of Jared who saw the Lord's finger and observed that it was "as the finger of man." Because of the exceeding faith of the brother of Jared, the Lord then showed Himself to him, identified himself as Jesus Christ who would eventually come to the world to redeem His people, and explained that the body which Jared's brother observed was the Savior's spirit body. The Lord also showed him the fate of all the inhabitants of the earth, both past and future and commanded him to write it all down and seal it up to come forth at a future time. The Lord said He would confound the language in which this record was written, but the Lord gave to Jared's brother two stones or interpreters which would eventually be used to translate the records. These interpreters remained with the Jaredite records and were eventually buried by Moroni with the other records in the Hill Cumorah.
Now that provision was made for lighting the barges, the brother of Jared come down off the mountain and placed two stones in each vessel, one at each end. Eventually enough food and water were stored to provide for both the people and animals, and the group embarked on their journey, commending themselves to the care of the Lord. The lord caused a great wind to arise and blow toward the promised land and the boats were driven before the wind. The barges were tossed upon the waters and often buried beneath mountainous waves, but the vessels were properly constructed and withstood the journey. After 344 days upon the water they landed on the shore of the promised land. They gave grateful thanks to the Lord and went forth onto the land and began to till the earth. The people also multiplied and prospered.
When Jared and his brother grew old, they gathered together all of their offspring. Jared had four sons (Jacom, Gilgah, Mahah, and Orihah) and eight daughters. The brother of Jared had twenty-two sons and daughters. Jared and his brother then inquired as to what they might do prior to their deaths to help their offspring. The sons and daughters requested that a king be appointed over them. This grieved both Jared and his brother. The latter warned that a system of kings would eventually lead to captivity. Finally, however, Jared relented and instructed them to choose a king from among the sons of Jared and his brother. They accordingly chose Pagag, the eldest son of the brother of Jared, but he refused to serve as king as did all of his brothers as they were asked in turn. All of Jared's sons also refused, except for Orihah, who was anointed king over the people. Jared and his brother soon died.
Orihah reigned in righteousness and under his leadership the people prospered. Orihah had twenty-three sons and seven daughters. His son Kib replaced him as king. One of Kib's sons, Corihor, when he was 32 years of age, rebelled against his father and left the city of Moron (which was near the land later called Desolation by the Nephites) where they lived and went over to the city of Nehor taking many people with him. There he gathered an army and came against the city of Moron, defeated the people there, and took his own father the king captive. In captivity, when he was elderly, Kib gave birth to another son Shule who became a strong and righteous man. Shule saw the injustices of his brother Corihor, and he gathered an army, armed them with swords of steel which he made at the hill Ephraim, and attacked and defeated his brother Corihor in the city of Nehor. Shule thus restored the kingdom to his father Kib.
Kib, however, soon bestowed the kingdom upon his son Shule who reigned righteously as king. Corihor repented of his evils and Shule gave him power in the kingdom.
The next to rebel was Noah, one of the sons of Corihor. He drew away all of his brothers including Cohor and many other people. Noah then defeated Shule, took over as king, and carried Shule captive to the city of Moron. Noah planned to execute Shule, but before he could do so, Shule's sons crept into Noah's house by night and killed him. Then they broke down the door of the prison, rescued their father, and placed him back upon the throne. Eventually, in addition to Shule's kingdom, another kingdom arose in the land-that of Cohor, the son of Noah. Inevitably, Cohor came to battle against Shule and was killed and his forces defeated.
A son of Cohor, named Nimrod, gained much favor in the eyes of Shule. No further wars occurred in the days of Shule. During his reign, many prophets came among the people warning them that they would be destroyed unless they would repent. The people rejected and mocked the prophets, but Shule passed laws protecting them. The large part of the people of Shule eventually repented and began to prosper. Shule's righteous son Omer, replaced him as king.
History then repeated itself as Omer's son Jared rebelled, moved to the city of Heth, led astray about half the kingdom, then defeated his father in battle and took him captive. The now familiar theme continued as two of Omer's sons Esrom and Coriantumr saw the injustice done by their brother Jared, raised an army, and defeated Jared in battle. Unfortunately, they spared Jared's life. Jared longed to regain his father's throne, and Jared's daughter, seeing the desire of her father, developed a plan whereby he might do so. She had her father send for Akish, the son of Kimnor. She enticed him by dancing for him, and Akish asked Jared for his daughter's hand in marriage. Jared agreed to the marriage of Akish would help Jared win back the throne from his father. Akish agreed, and Akish and Jared's families bound themselves together in a secret combination with Akish as the leader using the satanic oaths which had originated at the time of Cain and which Jared's daughter had found in the writings which the people had brought with them across the ocean. This secret combination succeeded in overthrowing Omer's kingdom. Prior to the actual overthrow, Omer's life was saved by the Lord who warned him in a dream that he should depart out of the land. Omer and his household traveled many days and passed by the hill near where the Nephites were later destroyed, then eastward to a place called Ablom by the seashore.
Jared became king over the people, and he gave Akish his daughter to wife. Akish then began to covet the throne of his father-in-law, and Akish arranged with the secret combination for Jared's murder. Accordingly, Jared was beheaded as he sat on his throne, and Akish reigned in his stead. Akish became jealous of one of his son, cast him into prison, and starved him to death. Another son, Nimrah, became angry with his father because of the death of Nimrah's brother, so he gathered a small group of men and fled to the camp of Omer. During the next few years, a great war broke out among the people as each of Akish's sons desired power, and each led people away after them. The war was thus fought with Akish's sons fighting against each other and against their father. The war resulted in the destruction of nearly all of the people of the kingdom with only 30 souls remaining in addition to those in Omer's camp. Therefore, Omer was restored again to the throne.
Before Omer's death, he bestowed the kingdom upon his son, Emer, who reigned in righteousness and prosperity. Under Emer's rule the people were blessed with all manner of material things, including silks, fine linen, gold and silver. Also, they had all manner of animals, including elephants, cureloms, and cumoms. Emer was blessed to see the Savior in his lifetime. Before his death, he anointed his son, Coriantum, to reign in his stead.
Coriantum also reigned righteously. He grew old without having any children, and after his wife's death, when she was 102 years old, he married a young maid and by her had many sons and daughters. Coriantum assigned the kingdom to his son, Com, and died at the age of 142 years.
Com's son, Heth, was wicked and murdered his father and took control of the throne. During Heth's reign, prophets arose and warned that unless the people repented, a great famine would occur. At Heth's direction, the prophets were persecuted and many killed. Subsequently, a great famine and drought did occur and poisonous serpents in great numbers threatened the people and killed many. Many people fled southward (toward the area later called the city of Zarahemla by the Nephites), but the Lord blocked their way with poisonous serpents. Seeing that they were about to perish, the people in desperation repented of their evil ways and the Lord sent rain to replenish the land. Heth and his entire household perished in the famine.
Shez, a descendant of Heth, became king and began to govern righteously and rebuilt his beleaguered kingdom. Shez's eldest son, also named Shez, rebelled against his father but was killed by a robber before he could threaten his father's kingship. The people built many cities and spread all over the face of the land. After Shez died, when he was exceedingly old, his son Riplakish reigned in his stead.
Riplakish had many wives and concubines, taxed his people severely, built a lavish throne for himself, and built many prisons for those who wouldn't pay their taxes. After reigning 42 years, the people rose up in rebellion against him, and he was killed. After many years without a king, a descendant of Riplakish named Morianton, gathered together an army of outcasts and fought a bitter war lasting many years against the people, and finally established himself as king. Although unrighteous in his personal life, he was a better king, and under his reign the people prospered materially. He was succeeded by his son Kim who reigned unrighteously. Kim's brother rose up in rebellion against him and placed him in captivity where he remained the rest of his days. Kim's son Levi born in captivity, waged war against his uncle, the king of the land, and obtained for himself the kingdom. Levi reigned righteously and was succeeded by his son Corom. Kish replaced Corom, and Kish was succeeded by Lib.
During the days of Lib, the poisonous serpents were destroyed, allowing the people to go into the land southward to hunt. Lib himself was a great hunter. The land south of the narrow neck of land was preserved as a hunting ground, and the entire land northward was covered by inhabitants. The people were industrious and developed an advanced culture. Hearthom replaced his father Lib on the throne, but after reigning 24 years, he was overthrown and his descendants for several generations lived in captivity, including his son Heth, Heth's son Aaron, Aaron's son Amnigaddah, his son Coriantum, and finally, Coriantum's son Com.
Com drew away half the kingdom, and for 42 years reigned as king over his half. Eventually he went to war with the king over the other half, Amgid. This war lasted many years, but finally Com defeated Amgid and became king over all the land. The secret combinations appeared in the days of Com and began to gain in power. Many prophets appeared in the days of Com to warn the people. They were rejected by the people but protected by Com's government. Com's son Shiblom replaced him as king.
A terribly destructive war arose in the land when Shiblom's wicked brother Seth rebelled against him. Shiblom was slain and Seth was finally brought into captivity. Seth's son Ahah managed to place himself on the throne and his brief reign was an unrighteous one. He was succeeded by an equally wicked descendant, Ethem. Prophets again arose in the days of Ethem to warn the people of utter destruction lest they repent. Ethem's son Moron continued the wicked reign of his father. Moron lost half his kingdom to a rebellion of the secret combination led by a "mighty man." He eventually regained his kingdom only to lose it to another "mighty man," a descendant of the brother of Jared. Moron thus lived the rest of his days in captivity, as did his son Coriantor.
Coriantor had a son Ether who was a prophet of the Lord, and he lived at a time when Coriantumr was king over all the land. Ether was moved to prophesy unceasingly as to the consequences of the wicked acts of the people unless they repent, and he prophesied great and marvelous things. He was rejected by the people and forced to hide in the "cavity of a rock" where he recorded the history of his people by day on the 24 plates of Ether and at night went out to view the iniquities and destruction of his people.
The same year that Ether took up residence in the cave, a great war began a many men in secret combinations rose up against Coriantumr and sought to overthrow him. Coriantumr was a student of war and a clever strategist but remained unrepentant in his personal life. Many people on both sides died in battle during the first year. During the second year, Ether was inspired to go to Coriantumr and prophesy unto him that if he and his family would repent, his kingdom would be retained and his people spared. Otherwise, all of his family and his people would be destroyed, and only he would remain after this terrible destruction. Coriantumr's household rejected Ether's warning and did not repent, and Ether fled back to his cave as the people sought his life. The war thus continued. A man named Shared defeated Coriantumr in battle and took him captive. However, in the fourth year of battle, Coriantumr's sons defeated Shared and regained the kingdom for their father. In his anger, Coriantumr led his armies against Shared in the valley of Gilgal. After three days of bitter fighting, Coriantumr emerged victorious and pursued the retreating Shared to the plains of Heshlon. Then the tide of battle turned and Shared's forces chased the now retreating Coriantumr back to the valley of Gilgal. There, Shared was finally defeated and slain, but not before he inflicted a serious thigh wound upon Coriantumr which kept him out of battle for two years.
During this period, war raged unchecked in the land, and great wickedness and anarchy abounded. Two years after Shared's death, his brother Gilead rose up against Coriantumr, but Coriantumr pursued him into the wilderness of Akish, where a great battle raged. By night, Gilead attacked Coriantumr's army and found them drunk. After killing a large part of them, Gilead returned to Moron and placed himself upon the throne of Coriantumr. Gilead was soon murdered by his high priest, who in turn was murdered by a man of great stature who directed one of the extant secret combinations. His name was Lib, and he placed himself upon the throne. Meanwhile, Coriantumr had lived in the wilderness for two years and had gathered a mighty army. In the first year of Lib's reign, Coriantumr brought his army against the king in the city of Moron. Coriantumr sustained an injury to his arm, but his army was able to gain the edge in battle, and he drove Lib's army to the seashore. At the seashore, however, Lib's forces gained the upper hand and Coriantumr retreated back into the wilderness of Akish. Lib's army pursued Coriantumr's and when they arrived at the plains of Agosh, the two armies engaged in a fierce battle. Lib was killed, but his brother, Shiz took control of Lib's army and continued the battle. Coriantumr lost the battle and began to retreat with Shiz's army giving chase. In his pursuit, Shiz's army ravaged many cities, killing the people therein, including the women and children and burned the cities to the ground.
The reputation of Shiz's cruel and diabolical deeds spread quickly through the land and Shiz was greatly feared. This fear polarized the people into two groups. Some fled to the army of Coriantumr and some to that of Shiz. War, carnage, and bloodshed had been so prevalent in the land and had developed so quickly that there had not been time to bury the dead, and the whole face of the land was covered with bodies of the dead and the stench from the decaying bodies spread over the land and was most troublesome. Shiz was driven to avenge the death of his brother and disprove Ether's prophecy that Coriantumr would not fall by the sword, so he took an oath to kill Coriantumr. Shiz pursued Coriantumr eastward all the way to the seashore and a terrible three-day battle ensued in which great numbers on both sides were slaughtered. Coriantumr prevailed and Shiz's army fled to the city of Corihor, killing all along the way who wouldn't join them.
Coriantumr's army camped in the valley of Shurr, which was near the hill Comnor. Coriantumr gathered his forces upon this hill and sounded a trumpet unto the army of Shiz to invite them forth to battle. Shiz accepted the challenge and twice came against Coriantumr but was driven back. On the third attempt, Shiz inflicted many deep wounds upon Coriantumr, which caused him to faint due to a loss of blood, and he was carried away as though he were dead. Shiz gained the upper hand during this third army because the slaughter had been so awesome. Rather, Shiz's army returned to their camp.
When Coriantumr recovered from his wounds, he began to realize the veracity of Ether's prophecy's concerning the sparing of his life. Consequently, he repented of his sins and wrote a letter to Shiz offering to give up the kingdom of Shiz if Shiz would agree to a truce that the lives of the people might be spared. To that point, nearly two million men, women, and children have been killed in the warring. Shiz agreed on the condition that Coriantumr would offer himself to be killed by the sword of Shiz. This angered Corinatumr's armies and the battle resumed. Coriantumr saw that his was about to lose the battle, so he had his armies retreat to the waters of Ripliancum with Shiz's army in pursuit. After camping overnight, they again came against each other in battle. Again, Coriantumr was wounded and fainted for loss of blood. His army, however, prevailed and caused Shiz's army to retreat southward to a place called Ogath. Coriantumr's army camped by the hill Ramah which is the same hill where Mormon and Moroni hid up the sacred records centuries later.
For the next four years every person on the face of the land was gathered together either on the side of Coriantumr or on the side of Shiz. The only man who did not gather at this place was Ether who observed from a distance and recorded all he saw. When all were gathered and preparations for war were complete, the battle commenced. They fought all day and loud crying and howling were heard all night as the people mourned for the many who had been slain. After wo days of battle Coriantumr again wrote to Shiz offering to give up the kingdom in exchange for peace. Shiz refused and three days of a fearsome slaughter followed in which the armies became drunken with anger. Afterward there remained only fifty-two of the people of Coriantumr and sixty- nine of the people of Shiz. After another days battle, there remained only twenty-seven on Corinatumr's side and thirty-two of Shiz's army. These were large and mighty men. The following day the battle raged for three hours after which all men were overcome with exhaustion and loss of blood. Finally Coriantumr's men revived and fled with Shiz's men in pursuit. The next day Shiz overcame Coriantumr and they fought a final time. Eventually, all were dead save Coriantumr and Shiz, and the latter was unconscious. After Coriantumr leaned upon his sword and rested, he smote off the head of Shiz, then fell to the earth utterly exhausted.
Ether concluded his records and hid them in the place where Limhi's people found them some years later.
Moroni wrote this book after abridging the account of the people of Jared. He had not expected to have the opportunity to write this book as he did not expect to survive sufficiently long. He apparently had access to the collection of plates which his father had buried in the hill Cumorah. In browsing through these records, he likely found some materials which he felt impressed to include in his own record.
During the period of this final writing (AD 400-421), the Lamanites engaged in fierce wars among themselves and surely would have put Moroni to death had they found him "so he had to live alone in hiding during these years."
Moroni concluded his record in about AD 421 by writing two paragraphs upon the final page of the plates of Mormon. These now comprise the preface or title page for our present-day Book of Mormon. He then left all the records buried in the hill save for the plates of Mormon and the small plates of Nephi which he later delivered to Joseph Smith, Jr., on September 22, 1827, in Manchester, New York.