There are 26 thoughts on “Apostate Religion in the Book of Mormon”.

  1. The big takeaway for me, out of all that has been written, is that in the Book of Mormon as in the Old World, there were groups of people that truly did not understand the law of Moses and the reason it had been given ( to draw and prepare the people for the coming of the Son of God who was and is the Messiah). That the mulekites, who seemed to the Nephites to have lost all vestiges of true religion when they were come upon by the Nephites is instructive I believe. The Nephites from their earliest days recognized the importance and significance of the coming Messiah. That message was half of Lehi’s original message to the Jews at Jerusalem. Both halves of Lehi’s teachings were rejected in Jerusalem. This was to be expected because of the already apostate state that the people were in.
    That at least part of the Nephites retained a fullness of the gospel through the time of Moroni is remarkable. That there were apostate groups among the Nephites is now less appalling to me.

  2. The missing 116 pages strike again. It’s likely the first chapter or 2 of Mosiah are missing. They probably could shed light on much of this.

    As to Jaredites mingling with Mulekites, based on names, Theodore makes good points. In fact, there’s a name for the logical fallacy he described: the post hoc fallacy.

    One important thing to take from this paper is there needn’t have been Jaredite descendents providing motivations for monarchy. The presence of the Davidic line itself is sufficient to explain the cultural predilection.

  3. The “evidence” that you ask about was what started this thread was the presence of Jaredite influenced names among the Nephites. But this thread has gone way off the topic from Bro Thompson’s article on the political dissention that was generated and promoted by the apostate beliefs in the Nephites and Lamanites​. After reading the article I have a question for the author. If part of the impetus for the conflict was a desire on part of the Mulekite dissenters to preserve or reinstate the davidic line, how do you justify or explain the Mulekites willingness, especially when the were much larger group, to accept the installation of Mosiah1 as their king shortly after the arrival of Mosiah1 and his band of Nephites in the land of Zarahemla? A concept that may need more thought is that the all the various Nephites clans where willing to discontinue a system of a heritary monarch to that of an elected monarch. The chief judge and all the other judges served for life, which matches up with the concept of a elected monarch and not of a republic system. What was the motivation for this change? Why for the dissenters was the motivation lost?

    • Thank you for your question Thomas. My sense, per Omni 1, is that when the Nephites came down from Lehi-Nephi to Zarahemla, their literacy greatly impressed the Mulekites. The upsides of uniting with a more educated and perhaps even more technologically advanced people, coupled with Mosiah1’s skill as a leader and teacher, impressed enough that the pros outweighed the cons in acceding to Nephite leadership. Indeed Omni 1:19 says that “Mosiah was appointed to be their king”. This was not a Nephite conquest. It seems that there was a process of appointment though we cannot tell whether it was democratic or not. But my point in the article was that once the Mulekites were educated to literacy, and two generations had passed, there were noisy elements among them who were no longer content to be ruled by what may have seemed like a minority Nephite aristocracy. I concede that there is speculation here. My further sense is that the departure of Mosiah2’s sons to Lamanite missions and their unwillingness to take the throne may not just have been because of their conversion. The political difficulties in ascending to the throne may have taken the shine off that career path. Further, their father’s recommendation of a judicial republic thereafter seems to also follow Israelite precedents….to avoid the problems of an unjust king of which Samuel had warned (on the brass plates) before Saul was appointed king and which Limhi’s people could testify about without dissent.

      • I agree with you that the people of Zarahemla were impressed by Mosiah and willing to appoint him as the King in Zarahemla. We can only speculate about why and how it came about. Maybe Zarahemla the King was elderly and had no ready heir to take over the governance of the people and by installing Mosiah1, who was well liked by most, the country avoided a potential civil war as different factions sough to take over the ruling of the land. We can even speculate more that to advance the peaceful transfer of authority maybe Mosiah1 had some sons and daughters marry into several of the prominent Zarahemla families.

        Some of the things mentioned in your article helped to clarify a pattern or structure that is not necessarily new but I see a possible implication about the presence of prophet-kings among the Nephites. Of course this pattern is also seen in the Old Testament such as the history of Melchizedek. Melchizedek, whose name means “King of Righteousness” and I have heard that the name could also be translated as “King-Priest.” Just think about the implications: Who is the great High Priest? Who is the King of all the Earth? A ready reference to Jesus Christ as he is the King of Righteousness and would be a Prophet-King when he comes to claim his throne. However, I would like to have a point clarified or resolved as it may call for certain adjustment or alteration of this prophet-king pattern. In my comment I described the judges that Mosiah2 created as “elected monarchs.” In your response you used the term “judicial republic.” Why did you use the term judicial republic? Do you think my description is inaccurate and if so why?

        • I agree that there were elections as the judges were chosen, but my sense when Mosiah II had problems with choosing a successor, is that he pondered the scriptures and Israelite history before he chose a system of judges. He certainly didn’t want to call what he created a monarchy. My further sense is that Samuel’s warnings against Israel copying surrounding nations by choosing Saul as King, were the subject of a great deal of reflection for him. Though the brass plates may not have provided him with a lot of guidance as to how he could return to a system of judges like Israel had before Saul, he innovated.

          His intuition from the brass plates that kings were not the Lord’s favoured governmental system among mortals since you do not always get a Platonic just philosopher king like Benjamin, was reinforced by the Zeniffites experience with Noah and Mulekite oral history before Zarahemla. Since Mosiah II had also read Ether’s plates before he implemented these political changes, the problems those people had with captivity because of monarchy would likely have further reinforced his concern.

          But his choice of elections as a system of checks and balances which would avoid hereditary monarchical downsides comes though quite strongly in Mosiah 29:34,35. I think Samuel’s influence is subliminally all through that chapter, but Mosiah II still had to innovate given his own unique political context.

          Hope these reflections help. You have made me revisit some old thought and to find some new ones.

  4. I think a good question to ask is “What about Helam?” The article says that Helam is or could be a Jaredite name. Why?

    If Helam is a Jaredite name, then clearly there was Jaredite influence before the translation of the records by Mosiah. Helam was the first convert baptized by Alma1, in the Waters of Mormon. He is clearly the source of the “Helaman” name that comes along and is so prominent later. Alma2 almost certainly named his son after this Helam.

    But Helam was around before Mosiah2 translated the record of the Jaredites. Thus, if it is a Jaredite name, then clearly it arrived some other way than via the records Mosiah translated.

    It seems to me that Zeniff’s colony almost certainly had few if any Mulekite influence in it. My view is that Zeniff’s colony was a large chunk of the “reactionary Nephite Elite” who despised Mulekites and fled back to their “proper” inheritance. As best as we can tell, Christianity mostly dropped out of Nephite culture after Jacob. Enos and Jarom don’t seem to have had a large amount of cultural or religious power, and clearly by the time Amaleki in the book of Omni came along, his influence was pretty much nil. King Benjamin’s reveal of the name of Christ seems to have been the general reintroduction of Christian theology among the Nephites, while Abinidi had done the same among the Zeniffites shortly before.

    By the time Limhi and the Zeniffites were rescued, they probably all were converted, and when Alma finally came and could baptize them, they were likely the core of the early church. If they had been the Nephite elite when they left, upon their return they probably were still considered part of the elite. That would help explain why Nephite political, cultural and elite society was Christian, and perhaps explain some of the resentment towards Christ of the Mulekite/Amulon factions that bubbled up into Nehorism.

    I think the whole “Where did Jaredite” names come from is missing another story: How did Mosiah get the Urim and Thummin? I forget who, but someone posited pretty convincingly I thought, that there are actually 3 Jaredite records: the record of the Brother of Jared (which is the sealed plates), the record Mosiah translated from the large stone, and the record of Ether, which we know nothing about its transmission, but that Ether likely contacted the Nephites and gave them his record along with the Urim and Thummin. Moroni was careful to never say that Ether died but strongly implied he was translated.

    If the Nephites had the “Book of Ether” before the finding of the large stone, that would explain Jaredite influence as well.

    • The names of the sons of Alma2 may postdate Mosiah2’s translation of the Jaredite record brought to him by Limhi, but it is noteworthy that all three names have Jaredite connections. Perhaps Alma2 married a Mulekite. Perhaps these sons were born to him during his rebellion and the names were a symbol of his rebellion. We do not know and cannot currently be sure, but it is significant that Benjamin had earlier given two of his sons Jaredite names (Mosiah 1:2). Rebellion is unlikely a reason for those names in his case, but intermarriage is a possibility. Another is that his father’s departure from the land of Nephi-Lehi for Zarahemla was more planned than we have yet understood from the scriptures.

    • The caption to the Book of Ether gives an explanation about its source. The caption says that the book is a copy of portion of the translation made by Mosiah of the twenty-four plates that had been found by the people of Lemhi. The Book of Ether is an abridgement made by Moroni of the translation made be Mosiah2. The Book of Ether was never read by a Nephite audience.

      • Not sure where you are getting that caption? Current edition reads, “”Taken from the twenty-four plates found by the people of Limhi.” Moroni writes, “And I take my account from the twenty and four plates which were found by the people of Limhi, which is called the Book of Ether.” (Ether 1:2) Moroni translated the book of Ether directly from the twenty-four gold plates.

        Moisiah 2 translated the twenty-four plates, or the Book of Ether, and read them to his people. (Mosiah 28:11-18)

    • Vance, you wrote:

      “I think the whole “Where did Jaredite” names come from is missing another story: How did Mosiah get the Urim and Thummin?”

      That is a good question. The ”two stones” were given to the Brother of Jared on the mount and were sealed up with his record (Ether 3:21-28). Moroni translated the Book of the Brother of Jared, which is the sealed portion of Moroni’s record, and sealed up the same stones with his record (Ether 4:4-6). These are the two stones (Urim and Thummim) given to Joseph Smith by the resurrected Moroni (D&C 17:1).

      As the “two stones” were sealed up with the record of the Brother of Jared and Ether wrote from that book, then Ether would have had these “two stones.” Ether placed his record so that people of Limhi would find it (Ether 15:33) but he did not say what he did with the two stones, and there is no mention that the stones were found with his twenty-four gold plates. Also, he would not have left the “two stones” to be found by other than a seer because, “no man can look in them except he be commanded, lest he should look for that he ought not and he should perish. And whosoever is commanded to look in them, the same is called seer” (Mosiah 8:13). Ether would not leave the interpreters for the scouts of Limhi to find as only a seer was allowed to look into them. Therefore, what was he to do with them? He had to give them to a seer.

      King Mosiah 1 translated the large stone by “the gift and power of God” (Omni 1:20) but there is no mention of the “two stones.” When his son, King Benjamin, conferred the kingdom on Mosiah 2 he delivered to him, “the records which were engraven on the plates of brass; and also the plates of Nephi; and also the sword of Laban, and the ball or director, which led our fathers through the wilderness” (Mosiah.1:16), but there is no mention of the “two stones.” King Mosiah 2 is the only one in the Book of Mormon that is specifically referred to directly as a seer, and he had the “two stones” prior to his receiving the twenty-four gold plates (Mosiah 8:13-17).

      Joseph Smith was a seer and Moroni appeared to him as a resurrected being and gave him the stones. Ether could not appear to Mosiah 2 as a resurrected being because it was prior to the first resurrection. However, in Ether’s last words, right after he wrote what he was going to do with his record, he mused over the possibility that he would be translated (Ether 15:34). Therefore it is reasonable and probable that Ether, as a translated being, appeared to the seer Mosiah and gave him the “two stones”.

  5. The lack of information in the Book of Mormon about Jaredites names and history prior to the translating of the Book of Ether you take as evidence of the absence of any Jaredite descendants among the Nephites. However, their absence in the written material may be more due to the authors of the text being focused on a religious message over a genealogical account.

    • That could be. However, one could imagine and speculate about anything not mentioned nor implied in the text, but that does not constitute evidence. The fact that neither the scouts of Limhi (Mosiah 21:26) nor the people of Zarahemla (Mosiah 28:12) knew who the destroyed people were is the evidence that they had not intermingled and did not have any of their descendants amongst them.

      • Our thread here has little to do with the actual article but I believe you err by holding that the passages serve as evidence that the Jaredite had not commingle with the Mulekites some 400 years earlier. While your interpretation is plausible it is not the only rational explanation. Limhi scouts were looking for the land of Zarahemla and they assumed that it was Zarahemla they found because they had never been there before. As to the people’s desire to have the Book of Ether translated because the wanted to know what happened to the people that been before them. It was only after the record was translate would the Nephites know it was a record of the Jaredites instead of some other tribe or race of people. Thus it is not proof absolute that there was no commingling of the Jaredites with the Mulekites some 400 years earlier.

        • You are right. I did not say it was absolute proof, I said it was evidence. What evidence do you have that the Jaredites did mingle with the Nephites?

  6. I would suggest a reading of the Book of Omni in the end of the chapter it tells that a large stone with writings had been discovered and Mosiah1 translated the writings and it told the story of a people who had come from the Tower of Babel. A partial history of the Jaredites was known by some prior to the translating of the Book of Ether.

    • Yes, and in spite of this information the succeeding generation of Nephites still did not know who they were. If there had been any Jaredites amongst the Nephites or the Mulekites they would have been mentioned at this point in the Book of Omni, where it talks about Corinatumr being “discovered by the people of Zarahemla and he dwelt with them of the space of nine moons.” (Omni 1:21)

  7. Excellent article.

    One point that I question is that is that those who argue that Jaredite names amongst the Nephites are evidences that the two peoples intermingled ignore the obvious. There are no Jaredite names amongst the Nephites until after King Mosiah translated the records of the Jaredites (See, “Reuse of Jaredite Names Among the Mulekites, Lamanites and Nephites” By Robert F. Smith). The record of the Jaredites would have been to the Nephites what the Book of Mormon is to us. It is like arguing that because there are Nephite names amongst the Mormons the two peoples must have intermingled.

    The people of King Mosiah’s (2) time had no idea who the Jaredites were. When the scouts of King Limhi discovered their remains they thought they were the people of Zarahemla (Mosiah 21:26). King Mosiah translated the Jaredite record because the people were desirous to know who they were (Mosiah 28:12). If there had been intermingling between the Jaredites and the Nephites the Nephites would have known who they were.

    • Good comment. Answer? It is a pity that the Mulekites did not keep records. My sense is that if we did, we would have seen Jaredite names among them. But the fact that those names are used extensively among ‘the Nephites’ thereafter, seems to confirm intermarriage among Nephites and Mulekites are Mosiah 1’s people came down to Zarahemla….as one would expect.

        • In the nine months that Coriantumr spent with the Mulekites and learning to communicate with them the Mulekites would certainly have picked up a few Jaredite words and names from him.

      • The only reason to even suspect that there were Jaredites amongst the Nephites brings us back to geography. If all the events of the Book of Mormon were confined to Mesoamerica It would be inevitable that they would have intermingled. However, if the Nephites lived in Mesoamerica for their first four hundred years, and the Jaredites lived in the northeastern quadrant of the United States, then it is probable that they did not intermingle.

      • The fact that the Nephites did not know who the Jaredites were until the Book Ether was translated by Mosiah, is evidence that they were separated by a considerable distance.

    • While true that there are no Jaredite names amongst the Nephites until after King Mosiah translated the records of the Jaredites, this only matters if we would otherwise expect Jaredite names among Nephites before that time. However, there are only a few named individuals discussed between the discovery of Zarahemla and the translation of the 24 plates, and most of them would not have been influenced by the Zarahelmaites.

      “King Mosiah translated the Jaredite record because the people were desirous to know who they were”

      No, they “were desirous beyond measure to know concerning those people who had been destroyed”. The Zarahemlaites wanted to know what happened to the Jaredites, but it doesn’t follow that they didn’t know who they were. It’s entirely plausible that the Mulekites had mingled and branched off from them, and then lost track. The Mulekites didn’t keep records, and the fact that the Nephites had sent Ammon to search for the Zeniffites was to discover their fate demonstrates that how easily isolated branched-off communities can become. Coriantumr’s appearance would have enhanced their interest even more.

      • Emerson, you wrote:

        “No, they “were desirous beyond measure to know concerning those people who had been destroyed”. The Zarahemlaites wanted to know what happened to the Jaredites..,”

        In order to interpret the passage that way you would have to have evidence that the Zarahemlaites knew that bones in the land Northward belonged to the Jaredites, and no such evidence exists. Therefore, that interpretation is just speculation.

        It is like those who would speculate that there were survivors from the Jaredite battles who mingled with the Zarahemlaites even though the Lord said that, “every soul should be destroyed save it were Coriantumr” (Ether 13:21). I suppose one could find a way to reason around that statement if there was compelling evidence to do so, but there isn’t.

        • You’re reading too much into this. I didn’t say or imply that the Zarahemlaites had to know that the bones belonged to a group known to you and me as “Jaredites”, nor is that necessary in order to be concerned about the destruction of the people to the north of them. All they knew was that there was a great destruction among a people from whom they may have branched off. It would be like hearing about a natural disaster in a town you grew up in before moving across country; you’d be very interested in any details about what happened.

          I’m not aware of any speculation that survivors of the Jaredite battles mingled with the Zarahemlaites; the record is pretty clear that there was just one survivor. However, people have plausibly suggested that the Mulekites did mingle with pre-existing Jaredite offshoots when they arrived in the new world. They would have been acculturated by the Jaredites – including naming conventions – and then spread from there. The Zarahemlaites would have migrated sometime before the Jaredite wars got into full swing.

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

All comments are moderated to ensure respectful discourse. It is assumed that it is possible to disagree agreeably and intelligently and comments that intend to increase overall understanding are particularly encouraged.

Close this window

Top of Page

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This