Criticisms: 4 Nephi/Mormon

Criticisms: 4 Nephi/Mormon

4 Nephi 1:6. Wasted Space on Plates

Mormon Gold PlatesJacob 4:1 says that only a few things could be written on the plates because of the difficulty of engraving. Why, then, does 4 Nephi 1:6 use 57 words just to say that 59 years had passed by? Wasn’t this a waste of space on the plates?

The passage in 4 Nephi 1:6 is part of Mormon’s abridgment of the “large plates” and other records was written on plates he prepared himself. At the time, Mormon seems to have been in a rush to finish his work, probably due to the press of the final war between Nephites and Lamanites. Having completed his account of Christ’s visit to the New World in 3 Nephi, he summarized events of the next few centuries in 4 Nephi. His listing of years was merely to illustrate that he had consulted the records and had extracted the most salient points. (Read More)

Mormon 3:4. Battle Appointment

According to Mormon 3:4, the Lamanites gave the Nephites warning by letter that they were coming to battle against them. Several years later, Mormon sent a letter to the Lamanite king asking permission to gather all the Nephites in preparation for battle and took four years to do so (Mormon 6:2-5; for the timing, see Mormon 5:6 and 6:5). It seems unreasonable that opposing armies would give warning of an attack and allow the enemy time to assemble forces.

In our post-Pearl Harbor (and post 9-11) world, one expects surprise attacks by enemy forces, but it was not always so. Ancient armies assembled at given times for warfare. In the ancient Near East, for example, it was typical for rulers to assemble their troops at the end of the rainy season. (Read More)

Mormon 9:32. Egyptian Writing

The Book of Mormon was supposedly written in a “reformed Egyptian” script, but no such language is known to scholars of the ancient Near East. Moreover, no such script has been found in the New World.

Moroni actually wrote, “we have written this record according to our knowledge, in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech” (Mormon 9:32). Since it was the Nephite scribes who employed the term “reformed Egyptian,” there is no reason to look for it in the ancient Near East or among modern scholars. Nevertheless, there were reformed scripts used in ancient Egypt. (Read More)