Book of Mormon
Week 26: Mormon₂ leads his people; the end of Nephite civilization
4 Nephi, Mormon 1–7
30 April 2020
These materials are an earlier draft from 2016. I was not able to update them in 2020 due to the COVID-19 lockdown, but I hope to bring them up to date in 2024. —Mike
Additional reading and links
The archaeological record of western New York is persuasive evidence that Book of Mormon peoples did not live in that region. The Cumorah of the Nephites (Mormon₂’s hill) and the Cumorah where Joseph Smith unearthed the gold plates (Moroni₂’s hill) are not the same hill. Dr. John E. Clark, professor of anthropology at BYU, explores this in his article “Archaeology and Cumorah Questions,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 13, no. 1–2 (2004): 144–51, 174.
In the second half of the 19th century, a legend about a cave in New York’s hill Cumorah began to appear in the writings and sermons of several Church leaders. This legend claimed that the hill contains a cave in which there were hundreds of different records written on plates; however, all of the accounts of this story are late and secondhand. See Cameron J. Packer’s article, “Cumorah’s Cave," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 13, no. 1–2 (2004): 50–57, 170–71.
The numbers of war dead described in the Book of Mormon are massive—so large, in fact, that it’s quite likely that Mormon₂ and Moroni₂ were purposely exaggerating. See Stephen Smoot, “Why the Book of Mormon’s Battle Numbers Don’t Add Up (And Why That’s Evidence for Its Authenticity),” Ploni Almoni (9 May 2016).
Is the hill near Manchester, New York, where Joseph Smith received the plates of Mormon the same hill where the final battles between the Nephites and Lamanites took place? Book of Mormon Central examines the evidence in KnoWhy #489.