Joe Fields, Tuscon, Arizona


Introduction:  The Book of Mormon claims to be the record of God?s dealings
with the inhabitants of ancient Mesoamerica (2000 BC to 421 AD).  The record tracks
the history of two civilizations.  The first nation, known as the Jaredites, claims to have
come to the Americas (Isthmus of Tehuantepec/Southern Mexico/Guatemala) when
God confounded the tongues at the Tower of Babel (Gen. 11:5-9).  After thousands of
years the entire nation is destroyed by the Lamanites, the alleged ancestors
of the American Indians.  (Book of Esther)

The second nation claims to have come from Jerusalem during the first year of
King Zedekiah (600 BC).  Rebellion soon divided the nation into two factions, the
Nephites and the Lamanites.  Throughout the book the Nephites are preaching the story
of Jesus, calling unbelievers to be ?born again? in 100-92 BC (Mosiah 27:25),
and making ?Christians? as early as 73 BC (Alma 46:15).

This history is recorded on sheets of metal and plates of brass.  In or about the
year 421 AD, the last Nephite prophet, Moroni, sealed up the record and hid
it on the hill Cumorah.  On September 21, 1823, the resurrected Moroni visited Joseph Smith
and subsequently delivered the plates and two stones that were used for interpreting
the plates.  The first Book of Mormon was published in 1830.


First Book of Nephi                600-570 BC

Lehi, his wife Sariah and their four sons, Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi are
called to flee from the destruction of Jerusalemduring the reign of Zedekiah
(2 Ki 24:18).  Eight years they wander in a wilderness near the Red Sea, being led by
a ball (I Nephi 16:16).  During this time any who waver in unbelief are turned
to dark skin people (12:23).  The corruption of the Bible is foretold and the
establishment of ?other books? which must be followed in order to be saved (
13:39-40).  Coming to a great ?sea?, it is divinely revealed that they shall
build a ship (17:8).  In this ship, they will be taken to the ?promise land? (18:8).  Utilizing
?a compass (18:12,21), which only Nephi knows how to manage, they arrive at the
promise land (18:23-25).  Nephi makes plates of ore recording the events of those
who have come ?out of the waters of baptism? (20:1).  He closes with prophecies regarding the
future destinies of his people, the Christian ear, and the human race.


Second Book of Nephi           588-545 BC

Lehi proclaims ?Jerusalemis destroyed?, the Americasare the new ?land of promise?.  E
xplanation is given for the origin of the devil (2:17) and the fall of man.  Leh
i claims to be ?a descendant of Joseph who was carried captive into Egypt? (3:
4).  He prophesies the coming of Joseph Smith, the seer ?great like unto Moses? (3:7-9).  Leh
i dies, Nephi takes leadership of the nation and divides from Laman.  The Nephites
build a temple like the templeof Solomon.  The Lamanites, who are white people,
are cursed with a ?skin of blackness? (5:14-21).  The history of Israelis reviewed with
an emphasis on ?covenants? with ?all? the house of Israelgathering in ?all their
lands of promise? (9:2). The complete plan of salvation is revealed by 545 BC.
  The Americasare claimed as a ?better land? of promise (10:20).  The destructio
n of Judah, Jerusalem, Assyriaand Babylonis declared.  The coming of Christ to Ameri
caafter the resurrection is promised (26:1-3).  The book of Mormon will reveal things from
the beginning of the world to the end.  It will be delivered to one man and witnessed
by three (27:7-12).  Many will reject the book saying, ?A Bible! A Bible!  We have got a Bible,
and there cannot be any more Bible? (29:3-10).  There is also claim of another book forthcoming
from the ?lost tribes of Israel? (29:13).  The book closes with a review of
the complete plan of salvation (30-33).


Book of Jacob                        544-421 BC

Jacob is commissioned to write about the history of the Nephites.  Jacob preaches against
pride, materialism, and plural marriages (2:12-28). The Lamanites are now acknowledged
as being more faithful than the Nephites.  A warning is given that if the Nephites do
not repent the Lamanites ?skins will be whiter than yours? (3:8).  The atonement of the Christ
is preached as something to accept now, 544 BC, even though it is recognized
that Christ has not yet been born (4:11-13).  The prefigure (parable) of the
vineyard (5).  A religious teacher named Sherem confronts Jacob that he should not
be preaching Christ but should be helping people to obey the Law of Moses. Sherem
claims he would not deny Christ but he desires a sign from the Holy Spirit to
believe. God smites Sherem to the ground, he confesses Christ, calls his followers
to deny what he has taught them, and dies (7:1-20).  The Nephites attempt to restore
the Lamanites.


Book of Enos                          544-421 BC

The book of Enos has only 27 verses.  Before Nephi dies he ordains Enos and gives him
the plates.  Most of what he records is about the struggle between the Nephites
and the Lamanites.  He passes the plates on to his son Jarom.


Book of Jarom                       420-399 BC

The book of Jarom has only 15 verses.  Jarom begins by acknowledging that the writers
before him have revealed the true plan of salvation (1:2).  They are to observe the
Law of Moses and to look forward to the coming of the Messiah as though it has
already happened (v: 11).  He passes the plates on to his son Omni.


Book of Omni             361-130 BC

The book of Omni has only 30 verses.  Omni writes the first 3 who then conferred the
task of writing to his son Amaron who writes the next 5 verses.  No matter how wicked
the Nephites had become God would fulfill his promises (v: 5-6).  Chemish writes
verse 9, Abinadom writes verses 10-11, concluding with the words written by
Amaleki.  They discover a people from the landof Zarahemla.  This nation had also come
from Jerusalemduring the reign of Zedekiah (v: 14-15).  Upon arrival the people of
Zarahemla had encountered a nation from one called Coriantumr, whose parents
had come to Americafrom the towerof Babel(v: 22).  The Nephites preach the redemption
of Jesus (v: 26). The plates are passed on to King Benjamin the son of Mosiah
(v: 23-25).


Words of Mormon                 385 AD

Containing only 18 verses, the events of this book are reported to have occurred
many years after the coming of Christ.  Mormon delivers the records over to Moroni.  His
tings are an abridgment in the history from Jacob to the reign of King Benjamin
(v: 3).

Thousands of Lamanites have been slain but King Benjamin has been able to bring
peace to the land (v: 14-18).


Book of Mosiah                     130-92 BC

King Benjamin hands down to Mosiah, his son, the plates of brass, the plates
of Nephi, the sword of Laban, and the ball which led them through the wilderness
(1:16).  They meet at the temple for a time of great sacrifice and burnt offerings
according to the Law of Moses (2:3).  Because of the multitude gathered there, no
one could hear King Benjamin, therefore his lesson is recorded for all to read
(2:8).  Mosiah is appointed their king.  The atonement of Christ and remission of sins
is proclaimed (3:1-5:30).  All those accepting his words are called ?children of Christ? (5:7,
124 BC).  Priests are appointed from among the Nephites (6:3).  Ammon recounts the history
of the Limhi people, with a discovery of gold plates, ruins of buildings, artifacts,
and weapons (8:8-11).  A definition is given of a seer (8:16-17).  The record of Zeniff
from the search of Zarahemla to deliverance from the Lamanites (ch. 9-22).  Noah is
condemned for polygamy (11:2).  Noah is said to have built many spacious buildings,
a spacious palace, a temple, and a tower, which could view other lands (11:8-12).  Th
e prophet Abinadi condemns the priest of Noah?s time for failing to live y the
Law of Moses (12:33).  Atonement foreshadowed in the Law of Moses (16:14).  H
e further observes that the message of Jesus atonement is not yet binding on
mankind (13:27-28).  Almabegins to preach Jesus and to baptize in the name of
Jesus (18:10).  He baptizes 204 converts and establishes the ?churchof Christ?, the
?kingdomof God?, and teaches them to observe the Sabbath day (18:15-23, 147 BC). 
?Almarejects being made king and becomes their high priest (23:16).  Seven churche
s are established in Zarahemla by Alma(25:23).  Many in the church fall away
and begin to persecute the church (ch. 26-28).  Mosiah interprets the plates of gold
using the two stones fastened into two rims (28:11-13). The role of a king is
rejected and judges are set up to lead the nation.  Almabecomes the first chief judge
and high priest (29:42).


Book of Alma                         96-53 BC

Almais the longest of all of the books, containing 63 chapters.  It is the most varied
in its content, with doctrine, history, prophecy, and revelation.  Nehor battles against
a false religion called priestcraft that believes all mankind will be saved
(ch.1-2).  The Nephites battle against the Amlicite unbelievers who are distinguished
by ?marking themselves with red in their foreheads? (3:2).  3500 souls are baptized into the
church 86-85 BC (4:4-5).  Almaappoints Nephihah as chief judge but maintains the office
of high priest (4:17).  Almacalls his generation and all generations to repent
and be born again 83 BC (5:48-50).  He calls men to be ?born again?, washed by
the blood of the lamb, going into baptism 83 BC (7:14-15).  Warning is given
to the Nephites not to forsake the Lord.  Lehi is identified as a descendant of Manasseh
(10:3 Eze. 37:15-28).  Nephite coinage is identified and explained (ch.11).  Zeezrom and Amulek
debate over the existence of God (11:21-35) and the Trinity (11:44).  Almapr
eaches to Antionah the plan of redemption from the foundations of the world
82 BC (12:19-33).  Qualifications for the priesthood are given(ch. 13).  Alma and
Amulek are cast into prison then an earthquake sets them free (14:17-27).  A
lmateaches that after his resurrection Jesus will appear to the Nephites (16:20).  T
he conversion of Lamoni to the plan of salvation 90 BC (19:13).  The conversions
?of the whole household of Lamoni?s father (22:23).  Zarahemla identified as
the place of their first landing (22:30).  The conversion of the Lamanites in
mass become the nation of Anti-Nephi-Lehies and no longer has the dark skin
?curse? (23:17-18, II Nephi 5:21).  Warnings against ?falling away? after being enlightened
by the Spirit (24:30).  The Law of Moses was not fulfilled yet, it must be kept looking
forward to Christ (25:15).  The decrees of God are unalterable (29:4).  Korihor, the antichrist,
teaches that death is the end of man (30:6-18).  The Zoramite view of election and their
claim as the chosen people (31:16-18).  Almacompares the word to a seed (32:28-34).  Infinite atonement
is illustrated in Moses as a type foreshadowing the atonement of Christ (33:19-34:31).  T
he mysteries of atonement are not yet fully known (37:11).  The word of Christ compared
to the ball or compass that led their way in the wilderness (37:38-44).  Almajustifies
?the teaching of atonement as necessary to the plan of redemption in 73 BC (39:15-19).
  The state of the soul between death and the resurrection (40:11).  The first resurrection
is defined (40:15-20).  The scheme of redemption (42).  The prediction of the falling away and
destruction of the Nephites (45:10-11).  Alma taken up and his body buried by God (45:18-19).  CH
RISTIANS, 73 BC (46:13-16).  The last 16 chapters deal mainly with the history of battles
with the Nephites.


Book of Helaman                   52-2 BC

This book contains the account of the conversion of tens of thousands of Lamanites
(ch.3).  Many buildings and cities are built of cement 49 BC (3:9-11).  The church of the Nephites
begins to dwindle in unbelief (4:23).  The Holy Spirit appears in a pillar of
fire and three hundred are filled with fire to ?speak forth marvelous words? (5:43-
49).  A nation called the Gadianton begins an order of ?secret signs?, ?secret words?,
?secret oaths and covenants? (6:22-25).  The coming of the Messiah is compared to the brazen
serpent of Moses (8:14).  The five messengers who find the chief judge dead following
the prophecy of Nephi (ch. 9).  Nephi is given the power to smite the land with
famine and pestilence (10:6).  A prophet named Samuel foretold that Christ would be
born in five years and that the night before would be as light as day, ?no darkness? (14:2-5).
  Another sign would come at the death of Christ, three days of darkness (14
:17-20).  Unbelievers find this unreasonable to accept and reject the coming of
Christ (16:18).


Book of Third Nephi              1 BC-35 AD

The Messiah is born, the sun set, but the night is as bright as day.  A star appears
but it can be clearly seen by all and many unbelievers are converted (ch. 1). 
?The Lamanites who are converted have the dark skin curse removed and become
white like the Nephites (2:15).  Battles continue with the secret order of the
Gadiatons.  At the time of the death of Jesus darkness covers the land for three days,
cities sink into the sea, and the whole face of the land becomes deformed (
?The land remains dark until the resurrection of Jesus when he appears to thousands
(ch. 9-10).  Baptism by immersion is clarified (11:26). Jesus commissions twelve others
and delivers the Sermon on the Mount (ch. 12-14).  Jesus promises to visit other lands
and other people to gather them in from the four quarters of the earth (ch.
16).  Jesus heals the people and teaches them many things.  Three witnesses are promised
that they will never die (28:36-40).




Book of Fourth Nephi            36-321 AD

At the close of Nephite history, many Lamanites are converted.  After two centuries the
church falls into many evil practices.


Book of Mormon                   322-421 AD

The three Nephite witnesses are taken away because of the unbelief of the people. 
?Mormon, a mighty general, commands forty-two thousand men against the Lamanites
in a dreadful battle.  The Lamanites, who have now become darker than they have ever
been before (5:15), take the land (South America) and the Nephites are left with the lan
dof Cumorah(North America, 6:4).  Knowing they will be destroyed, Mormon hides the plates
on the hill of Cumorah (6:6).  He foretold that the plates would be discovered during
a time of great religious controversy in the land (ch. 8).  He proclaims the permanence
of miraculous gifts as long as belief is present (9:15-25).  He ends by challenging
others not to be critical of his imperfect records because of his limited familiarity
of ?reformed Egyptian? (9:31-32).


Book of Ether             (Tower of Babel)

Moroniwrites the book of Ether as an account of the Jaradites who escaped from
the Towerof Babel(1:33).  Promised to be a greater nation than any other (1:
43), they follow a cloud through a wilderness to the sea.  Building eight barges,
they prepare to cross the sea.  Jared becomes concerned that in these airtight vessels
they will suffocate.  So he informs the Lord that they need to breathe or they will die
(2:17-20).  God allows them to put a hole in the top and in the bottom of the
boat that they can clear or stop at any time.  Concerned about the darkness Jared
petitions God to touch sixteen stones that will be used as windows in the barges. 
?Miraculously Jared beholds the finger of Jesus turning the stones clear.  Later two
of these stones are sealed up with the plates that will be discovered by Joseph
Smith (3:1-9, 3:23-24, 6:2).  Their journey across the ocean takes 344 days (6:11). 
Not long after landing the nation becomes consumed in civil strife.  Now numbering
about two million might men they war and carnage among the people until they
are all killed but one.  Moroniclaims to see Jesus face to face hereupon he is given
the message of the future coming of the ?New Jerusalem? (13:3).  The lone survivor of this generation
is Coriantumr who will later be discovered by the Nephites (15:32).


Book of Moroni                     400-421 AD

Moroniwrites to teach the Lamanites how to ordain priests and teachers and how
to administer the law (ch. 1-7).  He condemns infant baptism and original sin (8:5-8). 
Moroniseals up the record in 421 AD promising that any reader who is sincere
can ask God and he will be shown that these things are true (10:2-4).










Comments are closed.