Why Does “19th Century Language” Appear in the Book of Mormon?

A primary argument made by critics of the Book of Mormon is that it is a work of fiction because its writing style reflects the language of Joseph Smith’s day. They do this by identifying phrases that are commonly found in both 19th century literature and the Book of Mormon, but which are not found in the Bible. If the Book of Mormon were truly an English translation of an ancient document, they argue, then these 19th century phrases should not be so prolific in the Book of Mormon.

If one were serious about proving that the writing style in the Book of Mormon is anachronistic to a text written between 600 B.C. and 400 A.D., then that person should also consult 18th-19th century English translations of other ancient documents to see whether such language is truly anachronistic. Most of the linguistic critiques of the Book of Mormon I have read do not account for these phrases also appearing in other English translations of ancient documents. The purpose of this article is to provide some examples where critics argue certain 19th century phrases should not exist in the Book of Mormon, and yet are found in English translations of other ancient documents.

The four English translations that I will be consulting are listed below:

  1. The Complete Works of Flavius Josephus (written between 78 and 93 A.D.; translated into English by William Whiston in 1737)
  2. The History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides (written between 431 and 400 B.C.; translated into English by Richard Crawley in 1874)
  3. The History of Herodotus (written in 440 B.C.; translated into English by George Rawlinson in 1910),
  4. The Dialogues of Plato (Plato lived between 427 and 347 B.C.; translated by Benjamin Jowett in 1871)

Curious Workmanship

Some argue that “curious workmanship” (1 Nephi 16:10) is a unique 18th-19th century phrase that should not appear in the Book of Mormon if it were a real ancient document. The appearance of this phrase in the works of Flavius Josephus refutes this claim, since it is an 18th century English translation of a document written in Greek between 78 and 93 A.D.:

  • “Now the contexture of the curious workmanship of these stones was in three rows, but the fourth row would make one admire its sculptures, whereby were represented trees, and all sorts of plants” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book VIII, 5:2)

Adieu

Critics argue that the French word “adieu” (Jacob 7:27) should not appear in an English translation of an ancient document. English translations of Josephus and Herodotus, however, also use the word “adieu,” and they were neither French nor 19th century authors:

  • “Thus have I set down the genealogy of my family as I have found it described in the public records, and so bid adieu to those who calumniate me [as of a lower original]” (The Life of Flavius Josephus, 1)
  • “with such portion of their goods and chattels as the vessels could bear, bade adieu to Cyrnus and sailed to Rhegium” (Herodotus, Book I)

Ignominious Death

Some say that the phrase “ignominious death” (Alma 1:15) is unique to Joseph Smith’s day and therefore should not exist in an ancient text. Again, Josephus proves this argument wrong:

  • “Abimelech, the son of Gideon, who would needs take the tower in Thebes by force, and was killed by a large stone thrown at him by an old woman; and although he was a man of great prowess, he died ignominiously by the dangerous manner of his assault” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book VII, 7:2)
  • “He that blasphemeth God, let him be stoned; and let him hang upon a tree all that day, and then let him be buried in an ignominious and obscure manner” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book IV, 8:6)

American Freedom

Americans like to think that we were the first civilization that fought for liberty from kings. This is why there are great efforts to link the Book of Mormon to themes of the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. Here are just a few examples of phrases not found in the Bible but are found in Mercy Otis Warren’s “History of the Rise, Progress and Termination of the American Revolution” (1805). These parallels with Warren’s book and the Book of Mormon were found by Thomas Donofrio in his article “Early American Influences on the Book of Mormon” at MormonThink. He uses this list in an attempt to prove that the Book of Mormon is a 19th century fiction. The problem is that these phrases and themes are found in other English translations of ancient texts. Josephus and other ancient authors describe civilizations throughout antiquity that fought to protect their freedom from tyrants, freedom from tribute to foreign nations, freedom to practice their religion, and freedom from slavery. I have provided a list of some of these parallels and their existence in other ancient works:

  • a free people (Warren, p. 33) / a free people (Alma 21:21)
    • “he would have the greatest honors decreed to him that a free people could bestow” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XIX, 3:3)
    • “shake off the yoke of servitude, and to become a free people” (Herodotus, Book I)
  • a free government (Warren, p. 65) / a free government (Alma 46:35)
    • “Lacedaemonians, propose to put down free governments in the cities of Greece, and to set up tyrannies in their room” (Herodotus, Book V)
  • the cause of liberty (Warren, p. 24) / the cause of liberty (Alma 51:17)
    • “courage not to be moved by any dangers in the cause of liberty” (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book VII, 8:7)
  • their rights and privileges (Warren, p. 48) / their rights and privileges (Alma 30:27)
    • “made this speech concerning the rights and privileges of Hyrcanus” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XIV, 10:7)
  • the cause of freedom (Warren, p. 146) / the cause of freedom (Alma 46:35)
    • “For not only did he thus distinguish himself beyond others in the cause of his country’s freedom” (Herodotus, Book VI)
    • “courage not to be moved by any dangers in the cause of liberty” (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book VII, 8:7)
  • cause of his country (Warren, p. 168) / cause of his country (Alma 62:1)
    • “For not only did he thus distinguish himself beyond others in the cause of his country’s freedom” (Herodotus, Book VI)
    • “Their bodies they spend ungrudgingly in their country’s cause” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter III)
  • the freedom of their country (Warren, p. 172) / the freedom of their country (Alma 59:13)
    • “For not only did he thus distinguish himself beyond others in the cause of his country’s freedom” (Herodotus, Book VI)
    • “to plead for the liberty of their country” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 6:1)
    • freedom of the city of Rome” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XVI, 2:3)
    • “men whose glory it is to be always ready to give battle for the liberty of their own country” (Thucydides, Book IV, Chapter XIV)
  • the justice of their cause (Warren, p. 36) / the justice of the cause (p. 154) / the justice of the cause (Alma 46:29)
    • “but Aristobulus’s three hundred talents had more weight with him than the justice of the cause” (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book I, 6:3)
    • “I am confident in the justice of my cause” (The Dialogues of Plato, Apology)
  • deprive them of their rights (Warren, p. 332) / deprive them of their rights (Alma 2:4)
    • “I will therefore that the nation of the Jews be not deprived of their rights and privileges, on account of the madness of Caius” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XIX, 5:2)
  • freemen (p. 175) / freemen (Warren, Alma 51:6)
    • “he also left some of the horsemen, called the Freemen, with Herod” (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book I, 13:3)
    • “killing all the freemen that fell into their hands” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XVI)
    • “if they be looked upon as freemen” (Herodotus, Book 4)
  • contrary to the laws of (Warren, p. 635) / contrary to the laws of (Helaman 6:23)
    • “and to pull down what had been erected contrary to the laws of their country” (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book I, 33:2)
  • liberties, property, wives and children (Warren, p. 277) / Their liberty, their lands, their wives, and their children (Alma 48:10)
    • “Be ye not afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses” (Bible, Nehemiah 4:14)
    • “They added this also, that when they had built cities, wherein they might preserve their children, and wives, and possessions, if he would bestow them upon them, they would go along with the rest of the army” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book IV, 7:3)
    • “the Syracusans to fight for their country, and each individual for his safety that day and liberty hereafter” (Thucydides, Book VI, Chapter XX)
  • in defence of their liberties (Warren, p. 634) / in the defence of your liberty (3 Nephi 3:2)
    • “when we were so desirous of defending our liberty, and when we received such sore treatment from one another” (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book VII, 8:6)
  • spirit of freedom (Warren, p. 156) / spirit of freedom (Alma 60:25)
    • “Such was the natural nobility of this city, so sound and healthy was the spirit of freedom among us” (The Dialogues of Plato, Menexenus)
    • “trusting less in system and policy than to the native spirit of our citizens” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VI)
    • “Nay, indeed, Lysias observing the great spirit of the Jews, how they were prepared to die rather than lose their liberty” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XII, 7:5)

Warfare

Critics often point out parallels between the Book of Mormon and battle tactics in the American Revolutionary War. Below is another list from the parallels provided by Donofrio in Mercy Otis Warren’s “History of the Rise, Progress and Termination of the American Revolution” (1805). Again, these are examples of 19th century language that is not found in the Bible, and therefore should not be found in ancient documents like the Book of Mormon. These phrases, however, are also found in the sources previously mentioned:

  • stand or fall (Warren, p. 104) / stand or fall (Alma 41:7)
    • “to his own master he standeth or falleth” (Bible, Romans 14:4)
    • “you chose the Athenians, and with them you must stand or fall” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter X)
  • neck of land (Warren, p. 120) / neck of land (Alma 22:32)
    • “attempted to cut through this narrow neck of land” (Herodotus, Book 1)
  • narrow passage (Warren, p. 146) / narrow passage (Mormon 2:29)
    • “which stopped up the narrow passages, they retired to the camp” (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book II, 15:5)
    • “encompass the building, leaving only a narrow passage by which it is approached” (Herodotus, Book II)
    • “and so arrived in time to occupy the narrow pass between two hills” (Thucydides, Book IV, Chapter XIV)
  • the art of war (Warren, p. 270) / the arts of war (Ether 13:16)
    • “novices in the art of war” (Thucydides, Book VI, Chapter XX)
    • “to fight with one that was skilled in the art of war” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book VI, 9:3)
  • a council of war (Warren, p. 300) / a council of war (Alma 52:19)
    • “To the end he called the commanders that were under him to a council of war” (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book III, 7:8)
    • “they stopped at that place, and held a council of war” (Herodotus, Book 8)
    • “The Athenians, seeing them closing up in the harbour and informed of their further designs, called a council of war” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXIII)
  • to carry the point (Warren, p. 108) / not gain the point (Alma 46:29)
    • “which he might prevent by placing his camp round about them; and that they should think it a great point gained” (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book IV, 2:3)
    • “Having thus gained their point, the delegates returned home at once” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter IV)
  • supplies of provisions (Warren, p. 208) / supplies of provisions (Alma 55:34)
    • “This Simon had his supply of provisions from the city, in opposition to the seditious” (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book V, 1:4)
  • fallen into his hands (Warren, p. 145) / fallen into his hands (Alma 53:11)
    • “that it was much better to fall into the hands of God, than into those of his enemies” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book VII, 13:2)
    • “the two next by falling into the hands of Gratus and Ptolemeus” (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book II, 4:3)
  • led captive (Warren, p. 241) / led captive (Alma 40:13)
    • “There were also led captive about thirty-two thousand virgins” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book IV, 7:1)
    • “Will not your city be the first we shall seek to lead away captive?” (Herodotus, Book III)
  • threw down their arms (Warren, p. 393) / threw down their weapons (Alma 52:38)
    • “but when they had lost their general, they were put to flight, and threw down their arms” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XII, 10:5)
  • laying down their arms at the feet of the victorious Washington (Warren, p. 484) / threw down their weapons of war at the feet of Moroni (Alma 52:38)
    • “and assured them, that if they would lay down their arms, he would secure them from any harm” (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book III, 7:32)
    • “Whereupon three thousand of John’s party left him immediately, who came to Josephus, and threw their arms down at his feet” (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book II, 21:7)
  • to strengthen the hands of general Arnold (Warren, p. 256) / strengthen the hand of the Nephites (Alma 2:18)
    • “The charges which strengthen our hands in the war against the Athenians would on our own showing be merited by ourselves” (Thucydides, Book IV, Chapter XIV)
    • “to strengthen their hands in the works of the Lord God of Israel” (Apocrypha, I Esdras 7:15)
  • were obliged to fly (Warren, p. 103) / were obliged to flee before them (Alma 59:8)
    • “but followed him at his heels; he was also obliged to make haste in his attempt” (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book I, 6:6)
    • “and the rest of the entire nation were obliged to save themselves by flight” (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book II, 16:4)
  • fled in confusion (Warren, p. 374) / fled in much confusion (Alma 52:28)
    • “the Romans were at length brought into confusion, and put to flight, and ran away from their camp” (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book V, 2:4)
    • “they forgot their retreats and fled away in confusion to the deserts lying towards the north” (Herodotus, Book IV)
  • entrenchments to be thrown up (Warren, p. 105) / bank which had been thrown up (Alma 49:18)
    • “on the forty-seventh day [of the siege] the banks cast up by the Romans were become higher than the wall” (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book II, 7:33)
    • “A trench was dug all around the temple and the consecrated ground, and the earth thrown up from the excavation made to do duty as a wall, in which stakes were also planted” (Thucydides, Book IV, Chapter XIV)
    • “and out of the ditch, instead of a wall they cast up the earth” (Thucydides, Hobbes Translation, Book IV, 89)
  • to fall on the rear of the British (Warren, p. 183) / to fall upon them in their rear (Alma 56:23)
    • “if the enemy advanced into the plain against the troops of Agis, they might fall upon his rear with their cavalry” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XVI)
    • “he also parted his army into three bodies, and fell upon the backs of their enemies” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XII, 8:3)
  • cut off the retreat (Warren, p. 277) / cut off the way of their retreat (3 Nephi 4:24)
    • “before the Athenians were aware, cut off their retreat to their ships” (Herodotus, Book V)
    • “and slew a great number of them, and cut off the retreat of the rest of the multitude” (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book IV, 1:8)
  • surrounded on all sides (Warren, p. 311) / surrounded them on every side (Mosiah 21:5)
    • “nor were strong enough to fight with the Romans any longer upon the square, as being surrounded on all sides” (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book VI, 7:2)
    • “When they advanced the next day the Syracusans surrounded and attacked them on every side” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXIII)
  • death and destruction (Warren, p. 303) / death and destruction (Alma 28:14)
    • “whether this is a discovery of their own, or whether they have learned from some one else this new sort of death and destruction” (Plato, Dialogues, Euthydemus)
  • an ignominious death (Warren, p. 584) / an ignominious death (Alma 1:15)
    • “he died ignominiously by the dangerous manner of his assault” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book VII, 7:2)
  • the intrigues of the governmental faction (Warren, p. 86) / the intrigues of the Lamanites (Alma 55:27)
    • “they destroyed the corn and had some hopes of the city coming over through the intrigues of a faction within” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VIII)
    • “he had also thought of preventing her intrigues, by putting her to death” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XV, 4:2)

Fortifications, Walls, Ditches, Wooden Stakes, Etc.

Some argue that siege warfare is reminiscent of the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. While it bears some similarities (minus the guns and cannon fire), these are battle tactics found throughout antiquity across cultures. Here are some examples:

From Thucydides’ “The History of the Peloponnesian War”:

  • Meanwhile Hippocrates made a levy in mass of the citizens, resident aliens, and foreigners in Athens, and arrived at his destination after the Boeotians had already come back from Siphae, and encamping his army began to fortify Delium, the sanctuary of Apollo, in the following manner. A trench was dug all round the temple and the consecrated ground, and the earth thrown up from the excavation was made to do duty as a wall, in which stakes were also planted, the vines round the sanctuary being cut down and thrown in, together with stones and bricks pulled down from the houses near; every means, in short, being used to run up the rampart. Wooden towers were also erected where they were wanted” (Thucydides, Book IV, Chapter XIV)
  • “the Athenians started from the wall which they occupied, and from this point built
    a cross wall looking towards Megara down to the sea on either side of Nisaea; the ditch and the walls being divided among the army, stones and bricks taken from the suburb, and the fruit-trees and timber cut down to make a palisade wherever this seemed necessary” (Thucydides, Book IV, Chapter XIII)

Josephus thoroughly describes siege warfare throughout Jewish history:

  • “Alexander was afraid of him, when he was marching against the Arabians; so he cut a deep trench between Antipatris, which was near the mountains, and the shores of Joppa; he also erected a high wall before the trench, and built wooden towersin order to hinder any sudden approaches; but still he was not able to exclude Antiochus, for he burnt the towers, and filled up the trenches, and marched on with his army” (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book I, 4:7)
    • On a side note, it is interesting to me how an ancient war strategy was to fill up an enemy’s ditch surrounding their fort, and the Book of Mormon states, in what I think is an example of dark humor, “and instead of filling up their ditches by pulling down the banks of earth, they were filled up in a measure with their dead and wounded bodies” – Alma 49:22)

Sun Tzu mentions fortifications of walls and ditches in “The Art of War” (Translated by Lionel Giles):

  • “If we wish to fight, the enemy can be forced to an engagement even though he be sheltered behind a high rampart and a deep ditch” (VI:11)

Gadianton Robbers and the Free Masons

Some argue that the Gadianton Robbers are an analogue to the Free Masons. During Joseph Smith’s day they were considered a secret society that many believed were murderers who sought to overthrow the government. Much closer analogues can be found in Josephus, who describes robbers splitting the people into factions, robbers assassinating their enemies, robbers dwelling in caves, and expeditions to eradicate the robbers from the land:

  • “he presently met with an opportunity of signalising his courage; for, finding there was one Hezekias, a captain of a band of robbers, who overran the neighboring ports of Syria with a great troop of them, he seized him and slew him, as well as a great number of the other robbers that were with him; for which action he was greatly beloved by the Syrians; for when they were very desirous to have their country freed from this nest of robbers, he purged it of them: so they sung songs in his commendation in their villages and cities, as having procured them peace and the secure enjoyment of their possessions” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XIV, Chapter 9:2)
  • “that there might be no want of a supply for the soldiers for the time to come. Antigonus was sensible of this, and sent presently over the country such as might restrain and lie in ambush for those that went out for provisions. So these men obeyed the orders of Antigonus, and got together a great number of armed men about Jericho, and sat upon the mountains, and watched those that brought the provisions…He also went thence and resolved to destroy those robbers that dwelt in the caves, and did much mischief in the country…These caves were in mountains that were exceedingly abrupt, and in their middle were no other than precipices, with certain entrances into the caves, and those caves were encompassed with sharp rocks, and in these did the robbers lie concealed, with all their families about them” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XIV, Chapter 15:3-5).
  • “there he lighted upon one Rezon, who had run away from Hadadezer, king of Zobah, his master, and was become a robber in that country, and joined friendship with him, who had already a band of robbers about him. So he went up, and seized upon that part of Syria, and was made king thereof. He also made incursions into the land of Israel, and did it no small mischief, and spoiled it, and that in the lifetime of Solomon. And this was the calamity which the Hebrews suffered by Hadad” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VIII, 7:6)
  • “When these matters were laid before Caesar, he wrote back to Varro to destroy those nests of robbers, and to give the land to Herod, that so by his care the neighboring countries might be no longer disturbed with these doings of the Trachonites; for it was not an easy firing to restrain them, since this way of robbery had been their usual practice, and they had no other way to get their living, because they had neither any city of their own, nor lands in their possession, but only some receptacles and dens in the earth, and there they and their cattle lived in common together” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XV, 10:1)
  • Now, no place of Galilee remained to be taken but the small city of Gischala, whose multitude yet were desirous of peace; for they were generally husbandmen, and always applied themselves to cultivate the fruits of the earth. However, there were a great number that belonged to a band of robbers, that were already corrupted, and had crept in among them, and some of the governing part of the citizens were sick of the same distemper. It was John, the son of a certain man whose name was Levi, that drew them into this rebellion, and encouraged them in it. He was a cunning knave, and of a temper that could put on various shapes; very rash in expecting great things, and very sagacious in bringing about what he hoped for. It was known to every body that he was fond of war, in order to thrust himself into authority; and the seditious part of the people of Gischala were under his management” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 2:1)

Gangs of robbers are also described cross-culturally. In the commentary on the Art of War, Chang Yu describes how a gang of robbers which hid in the mountains was defeated:

  • “Wu-tu Ch’iang was a robber captain in the time of the Later Han, and Ma Yuan was sent to exterminate his gang. Ch’iang having found refuge in the hills, Ma Yuan made no attempt to force a battle, but seized all the favorable positions commanding supplies of water and forage. Ch’iang was soon in such a desperate plight for want of provisions that he was forced to make a total surrender.” (Chang Yu’s commentary in Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” IX:1, p. 137)

Factions, intrigues, and combinations are also found in antiquity:

  • “they destroyed the corn and had some hopes of the city coming over through the intrigues of a faction within” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VIII)
  • “he had also thought of preventing her intrigues, by putting her to death” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XV, 4:2)
  • “it was this clause that was the real origin of the panic in Peloponnese, by exciting suspicions of a Lacedaemonian and Athenian combination against their liberties” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XV)
  • “they prepared therefore their chariots, and gathered their soldiery together, their cities also combined together, and drew over to them Askelon and Ekron” (Antiquites, Book V, 3:1)
  • “the Ambraciots having come and urged them to combine with them in attacking Amphilochian Argos” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter XI)

This is just a small sample of instances where 19th century phrases are found in English translations of ancient documents, which are useful in refuting claims that similarities between the Book of Mormon and 19th century literature are proof of it being a work of fiction.

Debunking MormonThink’s “Early American Influences on the Book of Mormon” (Part 3)

Please read Part 1 and Part 2 of my series debunking Thomas E. Donofrio’s MormonThink article “Early American Influences on the Book of Mormon” article if you have not already done so. To review briefly, Donofrio attempts to prove that the Book of Mormon is a 19th century work of fiction by identifying key words and phrases that are found in popular literature of Joseph’s day and the Book of Mormon, but are not found in the Bible. His argument is that if the Book of Mormon were an authentic translation of an ancient document, then it would not share so many similarities with early American history and literature.

As shown in Part 1 and Part 2 of my answer to their article, most of the similarities identified by Donofrio are also found in the works of Flavius Josephus, an ancient Jewish historian whose works were written between 78 and 100 A.D. and translated into English in 1737. The purpose of Part 3 of this series is to point out that there are many key words and phrases that are shared by Josephus and the Book of Mormon that are not found in the list of parallels provided by Donofrio or the Bible. Since the English translation of Josephus accounts for most of the parallels listed in the MormonThink article, and since there are many more phrases shared by Josephus and the Book of Mormon that are not listed, we cannot assume that the appearance of 19th century language in the Book of Mormon proves that it is not an authentic translation. If we were to use Donofrio’s criteria in evaluating the authenticity of the works of Josephus, we would have to conclude that Josephus and his accounts are works of fiction borrowing ideas from 18th century literature.

Below are just some of the similarities I have found between Josephus and the Book of Mormon that are not found in the Bible or Donofrio’s list of parallels:

  1. Office of the High Priesthood
    • “from whom that family was derived, had both the office of the high priesthood and the dignity of a king for a long time” (Life of Flavius Josephus, 1)
    • “But Melchizedek having exercised mighty faith, and received the office of the high priesthood according to the holy order of God” (Alma 13:18)
  2. Points of the Law
    • “in order to know my opinion about the accurate understanding of points of the law” (Life of Flavius Josephus, 2)
    • “there were a part of the people who desired that a few particular points of the law should be altered” (Alma 51:2)
  3. Learning of the Greeks/Jews
    • “who were men very skilled in the learning of the Greeks” (Life, 65)
    • “which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians” (1 Nephi 1:2)
  4. Hope of Deliverance
    • “when he heard that he was coming to meet him with such a number of men, was greatly afraid: however, he committed his hope of deliverance to God” (Antiquities, Book I, Chapter XX)
    • “and did cause us that we should hope for our deliverance in him” (Alma 58:11)
  5. Lazy
    • “The Egyptians grew delicate and lazy” (Antiquities, Book II, Chapter IX)
    • “Now they were a lazy and an idolatrous people” (Mosiah 9:12)
  6. Supreme Being
    • “the Supreme Being is able to do whatsoever he pleases” (Antiquities, Book II, Chapter IX)
    • “all these will I give thee if thou wilt deny the existence of a Supreme Being” (Alma 11:22)
  7. Contrary to the command of God
    • “how the Egyptians were destroyed when they attempted to detain them, contrary to the command of God” (Antiquities, Book III, 1:4)
    • “for it was strictly contrary to the commands of God that there should be a law which should bring men on to unequal grounds” (Alma 30:7)
  8. Way of Deliverance
    • “he request God for some succor for the people, and some way of deliverance from the want they were in” (Antiquities, Book III, 1:5)
    • “And because of the way of deliverance of our God, the Holy One of Israel” (2 Nephi 9:11)
  9. Proceedings of the people
    • “These proceedings of the people of those countries occasioned perplexity and trouble to Moses” (Antiquities, Book III, 2:2)
    • “And now there are many records kept of the proceedings of this people, by many of this people” (Helaman 3:13)
  10. Governor and Protector
    • “yet were they exceeding sorry upon the supposal that they were deprived of a governor and a protector” (Antiquities, Book III, 5:7)
    • “my brother Nephi, unto whom ye look as a king or a protector” (2 Nephi 6:2)
  11. Firmness of mind
    • “she went to her death with an unshaken firmness of mind” (Antiquities, Book XV, 7:5)
    • “Look unto God with firmness of mind” (Jacob 3:1)
  12. Settle the Affairs
    • Ventidius called for Silo and Herod to come to the war against the Parthians, but ordered them first to settle the affairs of Judea” (Wars, Book I, 16:4)
    • “and it was at the same time that they had begun to settle the affairs of their contentions concerning the chief judge” (Alma 51:12)
  13. Deliver themselves up
    • “he had proclamation made, that they should come and deliver themselves up to him” (Wars, Book I, 16:4)
    • “And Alma and his brethren went forth and delivered themselves up into their hands” (Mosiah 23:29)
  14. Stand in need
    • “and petition their emperors, in great multitudes, for what they stand in need of” (Antiquities, Book XIX, 1:4)
    • “And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor” (Mosiah 4:16)
  15. On account of their fear
    • “it was not on account of their fear of dangers, nor on account of their laziness, that they made this request to him” (Antiquities, Book IV, 7:3)
    • “and this we do for our brethren, on account of their fear to take up arms against their brethren” (Alma 27:23)
  16. Tortured in a cruel manner
    • Cherea tortured this woman after a cruel manner” (Antiquities, Book XIX, 1:5)
    • “they did murder them in a most cruel mannertorturing their bodies even unto death” (Moroni 9:10)
  17. Destruction hangs over them
    • “the destruction which hangs over all men, by the means of Caius” (Antiquities, Book XIX, 1:9)
    • “and the sword of destruction did hang over them” (3 Nephi 2:19)
  18. By way of exhortation
    • “And I seal up these records, after I have spoken a few words by way of exhortation unto you” (Moroni 10:2)
    • “but at length perceived that it was by way of exhortation” (Antiquities, Book XIX, 1:10)
  19. State of ignorance
    • “it is because of the traditions of their fathers that caused them to remain in their state of ignorance” (Alma 9:16)
    • “informed them of the death of Caius, and by this means put an end to that state of ignorance that men had been in” (Antiquities, Book XIX, 1:18)
  20. Preserve our liberty
    • “which course of virtue it is alone can preserve our liberty” (Antiquities, Book XIX, 2:2)
    • “Yea, let us preserve our liberty as a remnant of Joseph” (Alma 46:24)
  21. Laws of their country
    • “have striven one with another to overthrow the ancient laws of their country” (Antiquities, Book XIX, 2:2)
    • “whoredoms and all manner of wickedness, contrary to the laws of their country” (Helaman 6:23)
  22. Skill in war
    • “one of the highest fame, both for his skill in war, his strength of body” (Wars, Book VI, 1:8)
    • “exceed the Lamanites in their strength and in their skill of war” (Alma 51:31)
  23. Born of good parents
    • “virgins that are free, and born of good parents” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book IV, 8:23)
    • “I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents” (1 Nephi 1:1)
  24. Change in affairs
    • “But these sons were not able to bear this change in their affairs” (Wars, Book I, 23:2)
    • thus he had changed the affairs of the kingdom” (Mosiah 11:4)
  25. Clear conscience
    • “but I tell you these things that ye may know that I can answer a clear conscience before God this day” (Mosiah 2:15)
    • “He was enabled to justify himself, not only by a clear conscience, which he carried with him” (Wars, Book I, 23:3)
  26. Magic arts
    • “the thieves, and the robbers, and the murderers, and the magic art, and the witchcraft which was in the land” (Mormon 2:10)
    • “what I do is so much superior to what these do by magic arts and tricks” (Antiquities, Book II, 13:3)
  27. Overthrow their liberty
    • “And now I am persuaded that every one of you here comes satisfied before I speak, that these overthrowers of our liberties deserve to be destroyed” (Wars, Book IV, 3:10)
    • “which would lay a foundation for serious consequences among the people of Nephi, yea, which consequences would lead to the overthrow of their liberty” (Alma 50:32)
  28. Maintain their liberty
    • “everybody caught up their arms, in order to maintain the liberty of their metropolis” (Wars, Book IV, 4:2)
    • “gathered together all the people who were desirous to maintain their liberty, to stand against Amalickiah and those who had dissented” (Alma 46:28)
  29. Trampled the Laws
    • “And that they had altered and trampled under their feet the laws of Mosiah” (Helaman 4:22)
    • “tyrants that have infringed the rules of our regular tribunals, that have trampled upon our laws,and made their swords the arbitrators of right and wrong” (Wars, Book IV, 4:3)
  30. Gain some advantage
    • “nevertheless, the people of Nephi did gain some advantage of the robbers” (3 Nephi 2:17)
    • “that he should undertake to accuse other men before the Roman governor, and endeavor to gain some advantages to himself” (Wars, Book I, 10:2)
  31. Able to bear arms
    • “Now the number of the rest of the Israelites was nine hundred thousand men, who were able to bear arms and go to war” (Antiquities, Book VII, 13:1)
    • “and I also caused that all my old men that could bear arms, and also all my young men that were able to bear arms, should gather themselves together” (Mosiah 10:9)
  32. Change their disposition
    • “which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually” (Mosiah 5:2)
    • “and being displeased at their conduct, persuaded them to change their dispositions and their acts for the better” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book I, 3:1)
  33. Murderous disposition
    • “greatly affected by every terrible accident, and on that account of a very murderous disposition where he durst show it” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XIX, 2:5)
    • “the Amalekites were of a more wicked and murderous disposition than the Lamanites were” (Alma 43:6)
  34. Strength and Courage
    • “And indeedthis man deserves to be admired for his courage and strength” (Antiquities, Book V, 8:12)
    • “never had the Lamanites been known to fight with such exceedingly great strength and courage” (Alma 43:43)
  35. Liberty of worshiping God
    • “And he also declared unto them that they might have the liberty of worshiping the Lord their God according to their desires” (Alma 21:22)
    • “it proves to be much more desirable, by its affording us the liberty of worshiping God” (Antiquities, Book XII, 7:3)
  36. Happy and blessed
    • “I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God” (Mosiah 2:41)
    • “you must either recover that liberty, and so regain a happy and blessed way of living, which is that according to our laws” (Antiquities, Book XII, 7:3)
  37. Fight Desperately
    • “But behold, my little band of two thousand and sixty fought most desperately” (Alma 57:19)
    • “making the Jews despair of escaping, excited them to act more boldly; for nothing makes men fight so desperately in war as necessity” (Wars, Book III, 7:4)
  38. The affairs of the people
    • “Moroni received an epistle from Helaman, stating the affairs of the people in that quarter of the land” (Alma 56:1)
    • “This was the state of the affairs of the people of Jerusalem at this time” (Antiquities, Book XI, 8:7)
  39. No time to gather
    • “their march was with such exceedingly great speed that there was no time for the Nephites to gather together their armies” (Helaman 1:19)
    • “Now when Judas was deserted by his soldiers, and the enemy pressed upon him, and gave him not time to gather, he was disposed to fight with Bacchides’s army” (Antiquities, Book XII, 11:1)
  40. Trouble of mind
    • “he fell into despair and trouble of mind, as confounded at the unexpected ill success of this siege” (Antiquities, Book XIII, 1:5)
    • “for I have been somewhat troubled in mind because of the generosity and the greatness of the words of thy brother Ammon” (Alma 22:3)
  41. Body and Mind
    • “But I am like as yourselves, subject to all manner of infirmities in body and mind” (Mosiah 2:11)
    • “and indeedthat city had in it men that were very stout both in body and mind” (Antiquities, Book VI, 14:8)
  42. Fresh Men
    • “But the Jews grew weary with defending themselves continually, and had not enough to come in their places, and succor them; while, on the side of the Romans, fresh men still succeeded those that were tired” (Wars, Book III, 7:27)
    • “for they were wearied because of their march, and the men of Lehi were fresh” (Alma 52:28)
  43. Firm Determination
    • “However, he still made no firm determination in his case; but when he had dismissed those assessors that had been with him that day, he deliberated by himself about the allegations” (Wars, Book II, 2:7)
    • “they marched forward to the land of Noah with a firm determination” (Alma 49:13)
  44. Obtain a Passage
    • “they began to dig down their banks of earth that they might obtain a pass to their armies” (Alma 49:22)
    • “Herod had prevented them, and was come to Pelusium, where he could not obtain a passage from those that lay with the fleet” (Wars, Book I, 14:2)
  45. Overrun the land
    • “for as he set a part of his army round about Gaza itself, so with the rest he overran their land, and spoiled it, and burnt what was in it” (Antiquities, Book XIII, 5:5)
    • “for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance” (2 Nephi 1:8)
  46. True Friendship
    • “It does not give leave to conceal any thing from our friends, because that is not true friendship which will not commit all things to their fidelity” (Against Apion, Book II, 28)
    • “and I know that thou art a true friend unto my son, Nephi, forever” (2 Nephi 1:30)
  47. Wicked Practices
    • “they are taxed to death, and in what ways of luxury and wicked practices that wealth is spent which was gotten by bloodshed” (Wars, Book I, 26:2)
    • “began to grow hard in their hearts, and indulge themselves somewhat in wicked practices, such as like unto David of old” (Jacob 1:15)
  48. Fought Valiantly
    • “and when the battle was joined, they fought valiantly, and put the enemy to flight” (Antiquities, Book VIII, 14:4)
    • “they were depressed in body as well as in spirit, for they had fought valiantly by day and toiled by night to maintain their cities” (Alma 56:16)
  49. Great Warrior
    • “But behold he met with a disappointment by being repulsed by Teancum and his men, for they were great warriors” (Alma 51:31)
    • “He had been a man of valor and a great warrior, and mindful of the commands of their father Matrathins” (Antiquities, Book XII, 11:2)
  50. Fatigue
    • “sleep had overpowered them because of their much fatigue, which was caused by the labors and heat of the day” (Alma 51:33)
    • Sohe fell upon the Jews unexpectedly, when they were fatigued, and thought they had already vanquished the enemy, and made a great slaughter of them” (Antiquities, Book XV, 5:1)
  51. Much Bloodshed
    • “he foresaw that this could not be done without much bloodshed, both of the senators, and of those of the equestrian order that were present” (Antiquities, Book XIX, 1:14)
    • “there was also a contention among the people, insomuch that there was much bloodshed” (Helaman 4:1)
  52. Give them Battle
    • “who did not think it safe to go up to the mountain, and give them battle, because many of the enemy were on the higher part of the ground” (Wars, Book III, 7:32)
    • “Now it was not Amalickiah’s intention to give them battle according to the commandments of the king” (Alma 47:8)
  53. Bear with Patience
    • “and earnestly exhorted them to bear with patience whatever they suffered” (Antiquities, Book II, 6:4)
    • “and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give you success” (Alma 26:27)
  54. Perform with Exactness
    • “Yea, and they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness” (Alma 57:21)
    • “their daily sacrifices and purifications, and every branch of their religious worship, was still performed to God with the utmost exactness” (Wars, Book I, 7:4)
  55. Placed his Army
    • So the king of Syria took his army with him, and came to Samaria, and placed his army round about the city, and besieged it” (Antiquities, Book VIII, 14:1)
    • “And thus having placed his army according to his desire, he was prepared to meet them” (Alma 43:33)
  56. Admonitions from God
    • “But the Israelites, though they were in heaviness at these admonitions from God, yet were they still very unwilling to go to war” (Antiquities, Book V, 2:7)
    • “Laman and Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael were angry with me because of the admonitions of the Lord” (2 Nephi 4:13)
  57. Enjoy our Possessions
    • “without regarding their former insolence, do enjoy their own possessions in safety” (Wars, Book IV, 2:2)
    • “we have suffered in the wilderness, which time we might have enjoyed our possessions and the land of our inheritance” (1 Nephi 17:21)
  58. Sorrow and Lamentation
    • So there was sorrow and lamentation among the women and children, who had nothing but destruction before their eyes” (Antiquities, Book II, 15:4)
    • “And they did grow in their iniquities in the sixty and eighth year also, to the great sorrow and lamentation of the righteous” (Helaman 6:33)
  59. Filled with Robbers
    • “for the country was again filled with robbers and impostors, who deluded the multitude” (Antiquities, Book XX, 8:5)
    • “But behold, the land was filled with robbers and with Lamanites” (Mormon 2:8)
  60. Gain Possession
    • “But Adonijah, who, while his father was living, attempted to gain possession of the government” (Antiquities, Book VIII, 1:2)
    • “had given them power to gain possession of those parts which were within the walls” (Alma 55:20)
  61. Preservation of the People
    • “And when Moses had recapitulated whatsoever he had done for the preservation of the people, both in their wars and in peace” (Antiquities, Book IV, 8:46)
    • “All his brethren also fell down before him, weeping and delivering
      themselves up to destruction for the preservation of the life of Benjamin” (Antiquities, Book II, 6:9)
    • “for I have seen much of his mysteries and his marvelous power; yea, even in the preservation of the lives of this people” (Alma 10:5)
  62. Much Disturbed
    • “However, the fear he was in much disturbed the greatness of his soul” (Wars, Book I, 21:12)
    • “and they were much disturbed, for Satan did stir them up to do iniquity continually” (Helaman 16:22)

Debunking MormonThink’s “Early American Influences on the Book of Mormon” (Part 2)

This is Part 2 of a response to Thomas E. Donofrio’s article on MormonThink’s titled “Early American Influences on the Book of Mormon.” Click here to read Part 1. Donofrio argues that works from prominent American authors, such as David Ramsay’s “The History of the American Revolution,” were used as source material for the Book of Mormon. He attempts to prove this by listing a large number of parallels between these works, and suggest that their presence provides strong evidence that the Book of Mormon is a work of fiction based on sources available in Joseph Smith’s day.

Similar to Part 1, I have provided examples of these parallels found in other English translations of ancient documents originally written by Flavius Josephus, Thucydides, Herodotus, Plato, and Aristotle. Any parallels that are not convincingly found in my sources are highlighted in red. Since this is not an exhaustive review of the literature, I cannot account for every single parallel offered by Donofrio, but as I find more relevant sources I have no doubt each parallel will eventually be accounted for. The purpose of this exercise is to show that the parallels found in these American literary sources are not unique and do not provide compelling evidence for their being used as inspiration for writing the Book of Mormon.

The MormonThink article lists the following parallels between a letter written by George Washington (1776) cited in Ramsay’s “History” and the Book of Mormon.

  • Friends and Brethren / My friends and my brethren (Mosiah 4:4)
    • Friends and brothers in arms, we are free to confess that we did lately a thing which was not right” (Herodotus, Book V)
    • “So he got an assembly of his friends and kindred together” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 29:2)
    • “and do not sacrifice friends and kindred to their bitterest enemies” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter III)
    • “All this has been said with a view to counselling the friends and family of Dion” (The Dialogues of Plato, The Seventh Letter)
  • that Being / that Being (Mormon 5.2)
    • “God contains all things, and is a Being every way perfect and happy” (Josephus, Against Apion, Book II, 23)
    • “demonstrate this, I say, by the punishment of Abiram and Dathan, who condemn thee as an insensible Being” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book IV, 3:2)
  • the Justice of their Cause / the justice of the cause (Alma 46:29)
    • “but Aristobulus’s three hundred talents had more weight with him than the justice of the cause” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 6:3)
    • “I am confident in the justice of my cause” (The Dialogues of Plato, Apology)
  • the Blessings of Liberty / the blessings of liberty (Alma 46:13)
    • “Thus the nations over that whole extent of country obtained the blessing of self-government, but they fell again under the sway of kings” (Herodotus, Book I)
    • “Of the two things that God determined to bestow upon us, liberty, and the possession of a Happy Country” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book III, 14:1)
    • “Since, therefore, you are in such circumstances at present, you must either recover that liberty, and so regain a happy and blessed way of living, which is that according to our laws, and the customs of our country, or to submit to the most opprobrious sufferings” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XII, 7:3)
  • Slavery / bondage and slavery (Alma 48:11)
    • “when they were set free from the Babylonian slavery” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 3:1)
    • “in memory of their deliverance from the Egyptian bondage” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 7:2)
  • Circle of Nobility / blood of nobility (Alma 51:21)
    • “thirsting, out of his own natural barbarity, after noble blood” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 11:4)
    • “the nobility of their birth made them unable to contain their indignation” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 23:2)
  • Come then, my brethren, unite with us / unite with us (3 Nephi 3:7)
    • “and to come and unite with them” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book V, 2:12)
    • “instead of being always on the defensive against the Syracusans, unite with us, and in your turn at last threaten them” (Thucydides, Book VI, Chapter XX)
  • We have taken up Arms in defence of our Liberty, our Property; our Wives and our Children / they have taken up arms to defend themselves, and their wives, and their children, and their lands (Alma 35:13) / their liberty, their lands, their wives, and their children (Alma 48:10) / a determination to conquer our enemies, and to maintain our lands, and our possessions, and our wives, and our children (Alma 58:12) / in the defense of your liberty (3 Nephi 3:2)
    • “Be ye not afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses” (Bible, Nehemiah 4:14)
    • “So they fought the Romans briskly when they least expected it, being both many in number, and prepared for fighting, and of great alacrity, as esteeming their country, their wives, and their children to be in danger, and easily put the Romans to flight” (Josephus, Wars, Book III, 6:1)
    • “Nay, indeed, Lysias observing the great spirit of the Jews, how they were prepared to die rather than lose their liberty” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XII, 7:5)
    • “when we were so desirous of defending our liberty, and when we received such sore treatment from one another” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 8:6)
    • “And not contented with ideas derived only from words of the advantages which are bound up with the defence of your country” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VI)
  • We are determined to preserve them or die / they were determined to conquer in this place or die (Alma 56:17)
    • we must conquer or hardly get away, as we shall have their horse upon us in great numbers” (Thucydides, Book VI, Chapter XX)
    • “also of encouraging them to undergo dangers, and to die for their countries” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VI, 14:4)
    • “Nay, indeed, Lysias observing the great spirit of the Jews, how they were prepared to die rather than lose their liberty” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XII, 7:5)
    • “it can never be that we must conquer without bloodshed on our own side” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 1:6)
  • a Free Government / a free government (Alma 46:35)
    • “Lacedaemonians, propose to put down free governments in the cities of Greece, and to set up tyrannies in their room” (Herodotus, Book V)
  • The cause of America and of liberty / the cause of our liberty (Alma 58:12)
    • “courage not to be moved by any dangers in the cause of liberty” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 8:7)
    • “For not only did he thus distinguish himself beyond others in the cause of his country’s freedom” (Herodotus, Book VI)
  • his Religion / his religion (Alma 48:13)
    • “how will you call upon God to assist you, when you are voluntarily transgressing against his religion?” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 16:4)
  • the Standard of general Liberty / standard of liberty (Alma 46:36)
    • Raise the standard of revolt in Persia, and then march straight on Media” (Herodotus, Book I)

 

After providing the previous list, Donofrio states:

“How can these similarities be explained? Is it possible that the author of the Book of Mormon had a copy of the letter and used it as a resource? Or, is this just “the language of the day,” as the defenders of Joseph would say. Perhaps it is more reasonable to assume that the letter or the themes contained therein were available in full or in part in other more accessible works. The concepts put forth by Washington may be considered universal. Many of them were used by the other Founding Fathers. Since the parallels cannot be denied, the information must have been available to the author of the Book of Mormon in some form.”

The problem with the authors’ conclusion is that these parallels which are supposedly unique to Washington’s letter are found in documents written nearly two thousand years earlier and translated into English reflecting the “language of the day.”

 

Donofrio then identifies parallels in a letter written by Washington in 1754 and published in the Maryland Gazette. Again, I have listed the parallels they identified followed by their ancient correlates:

  • the following account of my proceedings / make an account of my proceedings (1 Nephi 1:17)
    • “As for the Egyptians’ claim to be of our kindred, they do it on one of the following accounts” (Josephus, Against Apion, Book II, 3)
    • “had written an account of this assembly to Caesar” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 32:5)
    • “He also gives us an account of that ark wherein Noah, the origin of our race, was preserved” (Josephus, Against Apion, Book I, 19)
    • “So God was angry at these proceedings” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book X, 3:1)
    • “in the course of his reign, he performed other actions very worthy of note, of which I will now proceed to give an account” (Herodotus, Book I)
    • The following is an account of these governments, and of the yearly tribute which they paid to the king” (Herodotus, Book III)
  • the numberless Imperfections of it / the imperfections which are in it (Mormon 8:12)
    • My conclusions have cost me some labor from the want of coincidence between accounts of the same occurrences by different eye-witnesses, arising sometimes from imperfect memory, sometimes from undue partiality for one side or the other” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter I)
  • the Bastions are made of Piles driven into the Ground, and about 12 feet above, and sharp at Top / upon those works of timbers there should be a frame of pickets (Alma 50:3)
    • “However, the Sicarri made haste, and presently built another wallIt was framed after the following manner: They laid together great beams of wood lengthways, one close to the end of another, and the same way in which they were cut: there were two of these rows parallel to one another, and laid at such a distance from each other as the breadth of the wall required, and earth was put into the space between those rows. Now, that the earth might not fall away upon the elevation of this bank to a greater height, they further laid other beams over cross them” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 8:5)
    • “began to fortify Delium, the sanctuary of Apollo, in the following manner. A trench was dug all round the temple and the consecrated ground, and the earth thrown up from the excavation was made to do duty as a wall, in which stakes were also planted, the vines round the sanctuary being cut down and thrown in, together with stones and bricks pulled down from the houses near; every means, in short, being used to run up the rampart. Wooden towers were also erected where they were wanted” (Thucydides, Book IV, Chapter XIV)
    • “where they made places for their ships to lie in, erected a palisade round their camp, and retired into winter quarters” (Thucydides, Book VI, Chapter XX)
    • “First he enclosed the town with a palisade formed of the fruit-trees which they cut down…next they threw up a mound against the city” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VIII)
  • every Stratagem / by stratagem (Alma 43:30)
    • “he had routed those four commanders by stratagems” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 21:7)
    • “He therefore prepared to assail them by stratagem” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XV)
    • “Darius now, still keeping to the plan agreed upon, attacked the walls on every side, whereupon Zopyrus played out the remainder of his stratagem” (Herodotus, Book III)
  • a Neck of Land / neck of land (Alma 22:32)
    • “attempted to cut through this narrow neck of land” (Herodotus, Book 1)

 

Donofrio goes on to list more parallels found in Ramsay’s “The History of the American Revolution”:

  • standard of general liberty (p. 219) / standard of liberty (p. 646) / standard of liberty (Alma 62:4)
    • Raise the standard of revolt in Persia, and then march straight on Media” (Herodotus, Book I)
    • calling to his standard fifteen hundred Thracian mercenaries and all the Edonians” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XV)
  • planted the standard of loyalty (p. 442) / planted the standard of liberty (Alma 46:36)
    • Raise the standard of revolt in Persia, and then march straight on Media” (Herodotus, Book I)
    • “An antique iron sword is planted on the top of every such mound, and serves as the image of Mars” (Herodotus, Book IV)
  • flock to their standard (p. 274) / flock unto his standard (Alma 62:5)
    • The multitude also flocked about him greatly, and made mighty acclamations to him” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XVII, 12:1)
    • calling to his standard fifteen hundred Thracian mercenaries and all the Edonians” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XV)
    • “And he will lift up an ensign to the nations from far, and will hiss unto them from the end of the earth: and, behold, they shall come with speed swiftly” (Bible, Isaiah 5:26)
  • the blessings of liberty (p. 85) / the blessings of liberty (Alma 46:13)
    • “Thus the nations over that whole extent of country obtained the blessing of self-government, but they fell again under the sway of kings” (Herodotus, Book I)
    • “Of the two things that God determined to bestow upon us, liberty, and the possession of a Happy Country” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book III, 14:1)
    • “Since, therefore, you are in such circumstances at present, you must either recover that liberty, and so regain a happy and blessed way of living, which is that according to our laws, and the customs of our country, or to submit to the most opprobrious sufferings” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XII, 7:3)
  • liberties, property, wives and children (p. 277) / Their liberty, their lands, their wives, and their children (Alma 48:10)
    • “Be ye not afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses” (Bible, Nehemiah 4:14)
    • “They added this also, that when they had built cities, wherein they might preserve their children, and wives, and possessions, if he would bestow them upon them, they would go along with the rest of the army” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book IV, 7:3)
    • “the Syracusans to fight for their country, and each individual for his safety that day and liberty hereafter” (Thucydides, Book VI, Chapter XX)
  • a free government (p. 162) / a free government (Alma 46:35)
    • “Lacedaemonians, propose to put down free governments in the cities of Greece, and to set up tyrannies in their room” (Herodotus, Book V)
  • the cause of liberty (p. 90) / the cause of liberty (Alma 51:17)
    • “courage not to be moved by any dangers in the cause of liberty” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 8:7)
  • the cause of American liberty (p. 512) / the cause of our liberty (Alma 58:12)
    • “courage not to be moved by any dangers in the cause of liberty” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 8:7)
  • in the cause of their country (p. 460) / in the cause of their country (Alma 56:11)
    • “courage not to be moved by any dangers in the cause of liberty” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 8:7)
    • “For not only did he thus distinguish himself beyond others in the cause of his country’s freedom” (Herodotus, Book VI)
  • the justice of the cause (p. 267) / the justice of their cause (p.181) / the justice of our cause (p. 178) / their cause to be just (p. 185) / the justice of the cause (Alma 46:29) / a just cause (Alma 55:1)
    • “but Aristobulus’s three hundred talents had more weight with him than the justice of the cause” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 6:3)
    • “putting his trust in God, because he was going to war in a just cause” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VII, 6:2)
    • “I am confident in the justice of my cause” (The Dialogues of Plato, Apology)
  • died in the cause of liberty (p. 178) / died in the cause of their country (Alma 56:11)
    • “courage not to be moved by any dangers in the cause of liberty” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 8:7)
    • “also of encouraging them to undergo dangers, and to die for their countries” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VI, 14:4)
    • “For not only did he thus distinguish himself beyond others in the cause of his country’s freedom” (Herodotus, Book VI)
  • in defence of their liberties (p. 634) / in the defence of your liberty (3 Nephi 3:2)
    • “when we were so desirous of defending our liberty, and when we received such sore treatment from one another” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 8:6)
  • spirit of freedom (p. 156) / spirit of freedom (Alma 60:25)
    • “Such was the natural nobility of this city, so sound and healthy was the spirit of freedom among us” (The Dialogues of Plato, Menexenus)
    • “trusting less in system and policy than to the native spirit of our citizens” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VI)
    • “Nay, indeed, Lysias observing the great spirit of the Jews, how they were prepared to die rather than lose their liberty” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XII, 7:5)
  • rights and privileges (p. 401) / rights and privileges (Mosiah 29:32)
    • “made this speech concerning the rights and privileges of Hyrcanus” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XIV, 10:7)
  • to maintain their rights and privileges (p. 232) / to maintain their rights and the privileges (Alma 51:6)
    • their rights and privileges have been preserved by those presidents who have at divers times been sent thither” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XIX, 5:2)
    • “and every body caught up their arms, in order to maintain the liberty of their metropolis” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 4:2)
  • their rights and liberties (p. 232) / their rights and their liberties (Alma 43:26)
    • “their rights and privileges have been preserved by those presidents who have at divers times been sent thither” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XIX, 5:2)
    • “these overthrowers of our liberties deserve to be destroyed” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 3:10)
  • safety and welfare (p. 398) / welfare and safety (Alma 48:12)
    • “he determined rather to trust the safety and care of the child to God” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book II, 9:4)
    • “and this was the method by which these men found safety and security under the calamity that was ready to overtake them” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book V, 1:16)
    • “you are to guard the bridge with all care, and watch over its safety and preservation” (Herodotus, Book IV)
  • determined on death or victory (p. 378) / determined to conquer in this place or die (Alma 56:17)
    • we must conquer or hardly get away, as we shall have their horse upon us in great numbers” (Thucydides, Book VI, Chapter XX)
    • “also of encouraging them to undergo dangers, and to die for their countries” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VI, 14:4)
    • “Nay, indeed, Lysias observing the great spirit of the Jews, how they were prepared to die rather than lose their liberty” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XII, 7:5)
    • “it can never be that we must conquer without bloodshed on our own side” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 1:6)
  • their Creator (p. 15) / their Creator (Omni 1:7)
    • “an instance of impiety against God our Creator” (Josephus, Wars, Book III, 8:5)
    • “bring upon us impiety towards our Creator” (Josephus, Wars, Book III, 8:5)
  • critical time (p. 512) / critical time (Alma 51:9)
    • “His arrival chanced at a critical moment” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXI)
    • “as he thought that they were in a critical position” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXI)
  • critical circumstances (p. 448) / critical circumstances (Alma 57:16)
    • “His arrival chanced at a critical moment” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXI)
    • “as he thought that they were in a critical position” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXI)
  • marching through the wilderness (p. 220) / marching round about in the wilderness (Alma 43:24)
    • “he caused the army to remove and to march through the wilderness and through Arabia” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book IV, 4:7)
  • began their march (p. 341) / began their march (3 Nephi 4:25)
    • “and Archidamus learnt that the Athenians had still not thoughts of submitting, he at length began his march” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VI)
    • “the crews ran them ashore, and abandoning them began their march along the continent” (Herodotus, Book VI)
  • had begun his march (p. 573) / had begun his march (Alma 52:15)
    • “and Archidamus learnt that the Athenians had still not thoughts of submitting, he at length began his march” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VI)
    • “the crews ran them ashore, and abandoning them began their march along the continent” (Herodotus, Book VI)
  • marched over (p. 381) / marched over (Alma 43:25)
    • “Titus had marched over that desert which lies between Egypt and Syria” (Josephus, Wars, Book V, 1:1)
    • “he left their ships high and dry and joined most of the island to the mainland, and then marched over on foot and captured it” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter IV)
  • places of security (p. 345) / places of security (Alma 50:4)
    • “and that it was, on other accounts, a place of great security to them” (Josephus, Wars, Book III, 7:3)
    • “to snatch up in haste and get across the river into a place of security” (Thucydides, Book VI, Chapter XX)
  • place of retreat (p. 368) / places of retreat (Alma 49:11)
    • “was itself compassed with a very strong wall, insomuch that if the city were taken, that temple would be a second place of refuge for the enemy to retire to” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 7:1)
    • “They must make Megara their naval station as a place to retreat to and a base from which to attack” (Thucydides, Book VI, Chapter XIX)
  • little army (p. 425) / little army (Alma 56:19)
    • “But then (says Apion) Onias brought a small army afterward upon the city” (Josephus, Against Apion, Book II, 5)
    • “Herod made all excursion upon them with a small body of his men” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 15:3)
    • “did not bear the onset of a small body of the Roman army” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 16:4)
  • little band (p. 486) / little band (Alma 57:6)
    • “though but a small band against a numerous host, they engaged in battle” (Herodotus, Book 1, 176)
    • “Herod made all excursion upon them with a small body of his men” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 15:3)
  • fought and bled (p. 541) / fought and bled (Alma 60:9)
    • “these men, in the assertion of their resolve not to lose her, nobly fought and died” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VI)
    • “and fought and conquered them” (Herodotus, Book VI)
  • scene of bloodshed (p. 522) / scene of bloodshed (Alma 28:10)
    • “and introduced the most complete scene of iniquity in all instances that were practicable” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 8:1)
    • “they went on in the slaughter of persons of every age, till all the place was overflowed with blood, and fifty thousand of them lay dead upon heaps” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 18:8)
    • “he should not be able to be subservient to Caius in the dedication of his statue, and that there must be a great deal of bloodshed” (Josephus, Antiquities, book XVIII, 8:3)
  • among their slain (p. 380) / among the number who were slain (Helaman 1:30)
    • Among the slain was also Procles, the colleague of Demosthenes” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter XI)
    • “Search was made among the slain by order of the queen” (Herodotus, Book I)
  • in great numbers (p. 376) / in great numbers (Alma 57:14)
    • “But now the Jews got together in great numbers with their wives and children into that plain” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 10:3)
  • a vast number (p. 260) / a vast number (Alma 56:10)
    • “he also pressed hard upon the hindermost, and slew a vast number of them” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 17:6)
    • “she destroyed a vast number of Egyptians” (Herodotus, Book II)
  • ways and means (p. 396) / ways and means (Mosiah 4:29)
    • “for different men seek after happiness in different ways and by different means” (Aristotle, Politics, Part VIII)
    • “let us now turn to the question of possibility and ways and means” (The Dialogues of Plato, Republic, Book V)
  • precious metals (p. 185) / precious metals (Helaman 6:9)
    • “copper, silver, and other precious metal” (The Dialogues of Plato, Stateman)
    • “their precious vessels of silver and of gold” (Bible, Daniel 11:8)
    • “I will make a man more precious than fine gold” (Bible, Isaiah 13:12)
    • “Among the Ethiopians copper is of all metals the most scarce and valuable” (Herodotus, Book III)
    • “and that this was of old esteemed the most precious of all metals” (Dr. Hudson, Josephus Commentary, Josephus, Antiquities, Book XI, 5:2, footnote 8)
  • did not molest them (p. 416) / did not molest them (Mosiah 19:29)
    • “they are strong, and that if we do not molest them it is because we are afraid” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XVII)
  • took possession of (p. 429) / took possession of (Mosiah 23:29)
    • “cut down by those Jews who took possession of the place afterward” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 6:3)
    • “The Persians, on their return, took possession of an empty town” (Herodotus, Book 1, 164)
    • “The Athenians also took possession of the towns” (Thucydides, Chapter IX)
  • take command (p. 412) / took command (Alma 53:2)
    • “a steady friend to the Potidaeans, took command of the expedition” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter II))
  • take up arms (p. 370) / take up arms (Alma 2:10)
    • “it was this Florus who necessitated us to take up arms against the Romans” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XX, 11:1)
    • “but I do bid you not to take up arms at once” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter III)
  • obliged to flee (p. 450) / obliged to flee (Alma 59:8)
    • “but followed him at his heels; he was also obliged to make haste in his attempt” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 6:6)
    • “and the rest of the entire nation were obliged to save themselves by flight” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 16:4)
  • were obliged to (p. 366) / were obliged to (Alma 59:8)
    • “they were obliged to expose themselves to danger by their very despair of victory” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 19:5)
    • “some of those who were obliged to leap down from the cliffs without their shields” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXII)
  • The stratagem (p. 372) / by stratagem (Alma 52:10)
    • “he had routed those four commanders by stratagems” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 21:7)
    • “He therefore prepared to assail them by stratagem” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XV)
    • “Darius now, still keeping to the plan agreed upon, attacked the walls on every side, whereupon Zopyrus played out the remainder of his stratagem” (Herodotus, Book III)
  • preparations for (p. 377) / preparations for (Jarom 1:8)
    • “While he was still engaged in making preparations for his attack” (Herodotus, Book 1)
    • “Syracuse pursued her preparations for war” (Thucydides, Book VI, Chapter XX)
  • preparations were made (p. 445) / made preparations (Alma 24:20)
    • “and were not disposed for the preservation of those by whom these preparations were made” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 8:7)
    • “When, however, it became known that he had left Marathon, and was marching upon the city, preparations were made for resistance” (Herodotus, Book 1)
  • upwards of (p. 338) / upwards of (Alma 57:14))
    • “the Thessalians convoying them, as far as to Strymon, yet if they had not gotten that bridge, the river being upwards nothing but a vast fen” (Thucydides, Hobbes Translation, Book IV, 108)
  • Moravian towns (p. 475) / Morianton (Alma 50:25)
    • Moriah (Bible, 2 Chronicles 3:1/Genesis 22:2)
    • “a place called formerly the Citadel, though afterwards its name was changed to Antonia” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 3:3)
    • Eshton (Bible, 1 Chronicles 4:11)
  • The town was also picquetted in with strong picquets, and surrounded with a ditch, and a bank, near the height of a common parapet (p. 568) / formed of earth with a parapet and ditch (p. 276) / formed of piquets (p. 364) / a picket of 150 men (p. 435) / a frame of pickets built upon the timbers (Alma 50:3) / works of pickets (Alma 50:4) / bank of the ditch (Alma 53:4)
    • A trench was dug all around the temple and the consecrated ground, and the earth thrown up from the excavation was made to do duty as a wall, in which stakes were also planted…together with stones and bricks pulled down from the houses near” (Thucydides, Book IV, Chapter XIV)
  • erection of works (p. 351) / works of timbers built up to the height of a man (Alma 50:2)
    • “where they made places for their ships to lie in, erected a palisade round their camp, and retired into winter quarters” (Thucydides, Book VI, Chapter XX)
    • Wooden towers were also erected where they were wanted” (Thucydides, Book IV, Chapter XIV)
    • “First he enclosed the town with a palisade formed of the fruit-trees which they cut down…next they threw up a mound against the city” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VIII)
    • “But the Plataeans, observing the progress of the mound, constructed a wall of wood and fixed it upon that part of the city wall against which the mound was being erected” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VIII)
  • a work was thrown up (478) / the bank which had been thrown up (Alma 49:18)
    • “A trench was dug all around the temple and the consecrated ground, and the earth thrown up from the excavation was made to do duty as a wall” (Thucydides, Book IV, Chapter XIV)
  • leveled with the dust (p. 515) / level them with the earth (Alma 51:17)
    • “he resolved to burn Athens, and to cast down and level with the ground whatever remained standing of the walls, temples, and other buildings” (Herodotus, Book IX)
  • driving the Americans before them (p. 289) / driving the Nephites before them (Alma 51:28)
    • “he returned back to the remainders of Idumea, and driving the nation all before him from all quarters” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 9:10)
  • and drove him (p. 441) / and drove him (Ether 13:29)
    • “But the seditious threw stones at him, and drove him away” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 1:3)
  • alternately drove, and were driven by each other (p. 378) / they were driven back, or they drove them back (Mosiah 11:18)
    • “but, upon the sight of the people of Ai, with them they were driven back, and lost thirty-six of their men” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book V, 1:12)
    • “he made an irruption into Galilee, and met his enemies, and drove them back to the place which they had left” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 17:3)
  • Pressed on their rear (p. 175) / pressed upon their rear (Alma 52:36)
    • “which made them disperse themselves, and run to the city, as fast as every one of them were able. So Titus pressed upon the hindmost, and slew them” (Josephus, Wars, Book III, 10:3)
    • “he put the enemy to flight, and pursued them, and pressed upon them, and slew them” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VIII, 14:4)
    • “he also parted his army into three bodies, and fell upon the backs of their enemies” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XII, 8:3)
    • “if the enemy advanced into the plain against the troops of Agis, they might fall upon his rear with their cavalry” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XVI)
  • attacked in the rear as well as in the front (p. 426) / both in their front and in their rear (3 Nephi 4:25) / bring them up in the rear at the same time they were met in the front (Alma 56:23)
    • “when I had laid an ambush in a certain valley, not far from the banks, I provoked those that belonged to the king to come to a battle, and gave orders to my own soldiers to turn their backs upon them, until they should have drawn the enemy away from their camp, and brought them out into the field, which was done accordingly; for Sylla, supposing that our army did really run away, was ready to pursue them, when our soliders lay in ambush took them on their backs, and put them all into great disorder. I also immediately made a sudden turn with my own forces, and met those of the king’s party, and put them to flight” (Life of Flavius Josephus, 72)
  • to the left (p. 379) / to the left (Alma 56:37)
    • “he next advanced into the rest of Macedonia to the left of Pella and Cyrrhus” (Thucydides)
    • “he throws it to the left, and bears it on his shoulder” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book III, 7:2)
    • “Now Mithridates had the right wing, and Antipater the left; and when it came to a fight, that wing where Mithridates was gave way” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XIV, 8:2)
  • on the right (p. 380) / on the right (Alma 58:17)
    • “That of their opponents was as followed: On the right were the Mantineans, the action taking place in their country” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XVI)
    • “They also avoid spitting in the midst of them, or on the right side” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 8:9)
  • His army was posted…on both sides of the North river (p. 435) / the armies of Moroni…on both sides of the river (Alma 43:52)
    • “Accordingly, Saul made an irruption into the country of the Amalekites, and set men in several parties in ambush at the river, that so he might not only do them a mischief by open fighting, but might fall upon them unexpectedly in the ways, and might thereby compass them round about, and kill them” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VI, 7:2)
  • river Delaware (p. 343) / river Sidon (Alma 2:15)
    • “by birth a Jew, but brought up at Sidon with one of the Roman freed-men” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 7:1)
  • by a secret way (p. 217) / by a secret way (Helaman 2:11)
    • “he had a secret passage under ground leading from the citadel to the sea” (Herodotus, Book 3, 146)
  • a profound silence (p. 187) / a profound silence (Alma 55:17)
    • A deep silence also, and a kind of deadly night, had seized upon the city” (Josephus, Wars, Book V, 12:3)
    • “but a terrible solitude on every side, with a fire within the place, as well as a perfect silence” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 9:2)
    • “When this thought smote him he fetched a long breath, and breaking his deep silence, groaned out aloud” (Herodotus, Book I)
  • hemmed in (p. 383) / hemmed in (Alma 22:33)
    • “the enemy being hemmed in on every side by infantry and cavalry” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XVI)
  • withdraw themselves (p. 399) / withdraw themselves (3 Nephi 4:23)
    • “yet they did not withdraw themselves out of the dangers they were in” (Josephus, Wars, Book V, 11:5)
  • direct course (p. 412) / direct course (Alma 37:24)
    • “we came with a straight course unto Coos” (Bible, Acts 21:1)
    • “the doors whereof, being open, they thought had been the gates of the city, and that there had been a direct way through the other side” (Thucydides, Hobbes Translation, Book II, 4)
  • armies which were coming against them (p. 273) / his army coming against them (Alma 52:28)
    • “The Athenians seeing them all coming against them” (Thucydides, Book IV, Chapter XIII)
    • “understanding that the Persian armament was coming against them” (Herodotus, Book 6, 100)
  • commenced his attack (p. 345) / battle had commenced (Alma 56:49)
    • “a war was commenced presently” (Josephus, Wars, Book VI, 3:3)
    • “while he that sent me, and not I, will commence a war against you” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 10:4)
  • the commencement of (p. 379) / the commencement of (1 Nephi 1:4)
    • “for the end that was now put to their civil miseries, and for the commencement of their hopes of future prosperity and happiness” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 5:6)
  • accomplishing the designs (p. 260) / accomplish his designs (Alma 47:16)
    • “for he either corrupted Alexander’s acquaintance with money, or got into their favor by flatteries; by which two means he gained all his designs, and brought them to betray their master” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 24:1)
    • “all these designs of yours cannot be accomplished by you without my help” (The Dialogues of Plato, First Alcibiades)
  • The active zeal of the industrious provincials completed lines of defence by the morning, which astonished the garrison (p. 245) / the chief captains of the Lamanites were astonished exceedingly, because of the wisdom of the Nephites in preparing their places of security (Alma 49:5)
    • these workmen went on with their works in safety, and raised the wall higher, and that both by day and by night, till it was twenty cubits high. He also built a good number of towers upon the wall, and fitted it to strong battlements. This greatly discouraged the Romans, who in their own opinions were already gotten within the walls, while they were now at once astonished at Josephus’s contrivance, and at the fortitude of the citizens that were in the city” (Josephus, Wars, Book III, 7:10)
  • disappointments (p. 379) / disappointment (Alma 49:4)
    • “they had feared the reinforcement brought by Demosthenes, and deep, in consequence, was the despondency of the Athenians, and great their disappointment” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXIII)
  • disappointed (p. 414) / disappointed (Alma 56:23)
    • “but when they went out to fight, they were always disappointed” (Josephus, Wars, Book V, 9:4)
  • embarrassments (p. 376) / embarrassments (Alma 58:9)
    • “These causes, the great losses from Decelea, and the other heavy charges that fell upon them, produced their financial embarrassment” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXI)

 

Donofrio provides the following parallel in Ramsay’s “Life of George Washington”:

  • The Americans moved from their encampment on the Skippack road in the evening of the 3rd of October, with the intention of surprising their adversaries early next morning, and to attack both wings in front and rear at the same time / And this they did do in the night-time, and got on their march beyond the robbers, so that on the morrow, when the robbers began their march, they were met by the armies of the Nephites both in their front and in their rear (3 Nephi 4:25)
    • “when I had laid an ambush in a certain valley, not far from the banks, I provoked those that belonged to the king to come to a battle, and gave orders to my own soldiers to turn their backs upon them, until they should have drawn the enemy away from their camp, and brought them out into the field, which was done accordingly; for Sylla, supposing that our army did really run away, was ready to pursue them, when our soliders lay in ambush took them on their backs, and put them all into great disorder. I also immediately made a sudden turn with my own forces, and met those of the king’s party, and put them to flight” (Life of Flavius Josephus, 72)

 

Donofrio continues with Ramsay’s “History”:

  • the Americans severely felt the scarcity of provisions. Their murmurs became audible (p. 488) / were this all we had suffered we would not murmur (Alma 60:4)
    • “And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness…for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger” (Bible, Exodus 16:2)
  • a vigorous determined opposition was the only alternative for the preservation of their property, their children and their wives (p. 371) / and were fixed with a determination to conquer our enemies, and to maintain our lands, and our possessions, and our wives, and our children (Alma 58:12)
    • “They added this also, that when they had built cities, wherein they might preserve their children, and wives, and possessions, if he would bestow them upon them, they would go along with the rest of the army” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book IV, 7:3)
    • “Be ye not afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses” (Bible, Nehemiah 4:14)
  • fixed in his resolution (p. 379) / a determined resolution (p. 229) / fixed in his determination (p. 397) / fixed in their minds with a determined resolution (Alma 47:6)
  • with firmness (p. 378) / with such firmness (Mormon 2:25)
    • “partly on account of the firmness of the opposition made by the Jews” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XVIII, 8:4)
  • threatening them with destruction (p. 257) / threatened them with destruction (1 Nephi 18:20)
    • “unwilling to bring the threatened destruction on themselves by giving up the man” (Herodotus, Book I)
    • “and threatened their city every day with open destruction” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 1:2)
    • “for he died not long after he had written to Petronius that epistle which threatened him with death” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XVIII, 8:9)
  • on his right hand was justice (p. 664) / the sword of his justice in his right hand (3 Nephi 29:4)
    • “We will lend thee our right hand and a sword…As soon as they said this, they began to thrust their swords at him” (Josephus, Wars, Book III, 8:4)
    • “so that every one of them had his right hand upon his sword, in order to defend himself” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 4:7)
    • “O thou sword of the Lord, how long will it be ere thou be quiet? Put up thyself into thy scabbard, rest, and be still” (Bible, Jeremiah 47:6)
  • His soul was harrowed up (p. 288) / his soul began to be harrowed up (Alma 14:6)
    • “And he brought out the people that were in it, and cut them with saws, and with harrows of iron, and with axes” (Bible, 1 Chronicles 20:3)
  • gain their point (p. 618) / gain the point (Alma 46:29)
    • “which he might prevent by placing his camp round about them; and that they should think it a great point gained” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 2:3)
  • an ignominious death (p. 295) / an ignominious death (Alma 1:15)
    • “he died ignominiously by the dangerous manner of his assault” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VII, 7:2)
  • distinction of ranks (p. 30) / distinguished by ranks (3 Nephi 6:12)
    • “Now all the soldiery marched out beforehand by companies, and in their several ranks, under their several commanders” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 5:4)
  • one heart and one mind (p. 110) / in one mind and in one heart (2 Nephi 1:21)
    • “but, above all things, let us be of one mind, and let us honor God” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book III, 14:1)
    • “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul” (Bible, Acts 4:32)
  • the minds of the people (p. 450) / the minds of the people (Alma 17:6)
    • “he could no other way bend the minds of the Jews so as to receive Herod” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XV, 1:2)
    • “for nothing does so much cement the minds of men together” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 4:3)
    • “Nor indeed were the minds of the Idumeans at rest” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 4:5)
  • warm tempers (p. 179) / warm dispute (Alma 51:4)
    • “Those that were of the warmest tempers thought he should bring the whole army against the city” (Josephus, Wars, Book V, 12:1)
    • “and being a young man, of a warm temper” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VIII, 7:8)
  • much confusion (p. 190) / much confusion (Alma 52:28)
    • “the multitude were in great confusion” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 7:22)
  • an equal chance (p. 533) / an equal chance (Alma 49:22)
    • (when referring to “an equal chance,” Mormon is referring to “equal terms” for battle)
    • “the knowledge which can give a specious criticism of an enemy’s plans in theory, but fails to assail them with equal success in practice” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter III)
    • “It was thought that their attack would be met by men full of courage and on equal terms with their assailants” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VI)
    • “This success of Simon excited the zealots afresh; and though they were afraid to fight him openly in a fair battle, yet did they lay ambushes in the passes” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 9:8)
  • stand or fall (p. 354) / stand or fall (Alma 41:7)
    • “to his own master he standeth or falleth” (Bible, Romans 14:4)
    • “you chose the Athenians, and with them you must stand or fall” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter X)
  • learn wisdom (p. 665) / learn wisdom (Alma 38:9)
    • “I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy” (Proverbs 30:3)
  • present and future generations (p. 667) / future day (p. 399) / future day (Enos 1:13) / unto us as well as unto future generations (Alma 24:14)
    • “to be a witness to future generations of what he had foretold” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VI, 4:6)
    • “to leave behind thee to all future generations a memory beyond even Harmodius and Aristogeiton” (Herodotus, Book VI)
    • “lest thou bring destruction on thine own head at some future time” (Herodotus, Book I)
    • “in order that if at any future time peace should be made with Athens” (Thucydides, Chapter X)
    • “But in future ages the people added new banks” (Josephus, Wars, Book V, 5:1)
  • the art of war (p. 443) / the arts of war (Ether 13:16)
    • “by the Romans’ skill in the art of war” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 18:2)
    • “novices in the art of war” (Thucydides, Book VI, Chapter XX)
  • lust of power and gain (p. 324) / to get power and gain (Ether 8:22)
    • “wholly carried away with the lust of power” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VI, 4:4)
    • “For the love of gain would reconcile the weaker to the dominion of the stronger” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter I)
    • “the vision foretold that he should obtain power and great wealth” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book II, 2:2)
  • to usurp the executive power (p. 231) / to usurp power (Alma 60:27)
    • “he did an injury to Caesar, by usurping that authority before it was determined for him by Caesar” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XVII, 9:5)
    • “the orators lead the people, but their ignorance of military matters prevents them from usurping power” (Aristotle, Politics, Part V)
  • the powers of the earth (p. 416) / the powers of the earth (3 Nephi 28:39)
    • “where Caesar and Antony were to fight for the supreme power of the world” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XV, 5:1)
  • lull them into a fatal security (p. 403) / lull them away into carnal security (2 Nephi 28:21)
    • “For let us never be elated by the fatal hope of the war being quickly ended by the devastation of their lands” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter III)
    • “the gates also being left open through their feeling of security” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXI)
  • a state of nature (p. 123) / a state of nature (Alma 41:11)
    • “The legislator was under the idea that war was the natural state of all makind, and that peace is only a pretence (The Dialogues of Plato, The Laws: The Preamble, Book I)
    • “having his hand recovered to its natural state” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VIII, 8:5)
    • “But as for his being ensnared by a woman, that is to be ascribed to human nature, which is took weak to resist the temptations to that sin” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book V, 8:12)
    • “In the confusion into which life was now thrown in the cities, human nature, always rebelling against the law and now its master, gladly showed itself ungoverned in passion, above respect for justice, and the enemy of all superiority” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter X)
  • humble servant (p. 408) / humble servant (Alma 8:19)
    • “Again, if the woman is not rich, her husband will not be her humble servant” (The Dialogues of Plato, The Laws: Preamble, Book VIII)
  • compel the inhabitants to take arms (p. 213) / compel them to arms (Alma 47:3)
    • “they forced the Jews that were among them to bear arms against their own countrymen, which it is unlawful for us to do” (Life of Flavius Josephus, 6)
    • “by which means they were compelled to come out to fight” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 19:5)
    • “the Rhodians, Argives by race, were compelled to bear arms against the Dorian Syracusans and their own colonists” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXIII)
  • their American brethren…taking up arms against them (p. 485) / commanded them that they should take up arms against their brethren (Alma 2:10)
    • “who necessitated us to take up arms against the Romans” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XX, 11:1)
    • “they forced the Jews that were among them to bear arms against their own countrymen, which it is unlawful for us to do” (Life of Flavius Josephus, 6)
    • “The Jews might collect this unlawfulness of fighting against their brethren from that law of Moses” (Life of Flavius Josephus, 6, Commentary, Footnote 7)
    • “they fought against their own countrymen” (Josephus, Wars, Book III, 18:3)
    • “fought against their own kindred” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XVII, 10:10)
  • by these names (p. 656) / by these names (Jacob 1:14)
    • “And great, in truth, and little, and light, and heavy—will they at all more truly be called by these names which we may give them, than by the opposite names?” (The Dialogues of Plato, Republic, Book V)
  • called themselves loyalists (p. 441) / called themselves Zoramites (Alma 30:59)
    • “whom the Greeks living near the Hypanis call Borysthenites, while they call themselves Oliopolites” (Herodotus, Book IV)
    • “there sprang up another sort of robbers in Jerusalem, which were called Sicarri” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 13:3)
    • “They were called Amalekites” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book III, 2:1)
  • put to death these harmless, inoffensive people, though they made no resistance (p. 475) / they suffered themselves to be slain (Alma 27:3)
    • “But they said, We will not come forth, neither will we do the king’s commandment, to profane the sabbath day. So then they gave them the battle with all speed. Howbeit they answered them not, neither cast they a stone at them, nor stopped the places where they lay hid; but said, Let us die all in our innocency: heaven and earth shall testify for us, that ye put us to death wrongfully. So they rose up against them in battle on the sabbath, and slew them, with their wives and children, and their cattle, to the number of a thousand people” (Apocrypha, I Maccabees 2:34-38)
    • “as soon as, according to the articles of capitulation, they had all laid down their shields and their swords, and were under no further suspicion of any harm, but were going away, Eleazar’s men attacked them after a violent manner, and encompassed them round, and slew them, while they neither defended themselves, nor entreated for mercy, but only cried out upon the breach of their articles of capitulation and their oaths” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 17:10)
  • a silent adieu (p. 644) / Brethren, adieu (Jacob 7:24)
    • “with such portion of their goods and chattels as the vessels could bear, bade adieu to Cyrnus and sailed to Rhegium” (Herodotus, Book I)
    • “Thus have I set down the geneology of my family as I have found it described in the public records, and so bid adieu to those who calumniate me” (Life of Flavius Josephus, 1)
  • From these events…I return to relate (p. 440) / And now I return to an account (Alma 43:3)
    • “since this is not a proper time for domestical lamentations, but for historical narrations; I therefore return to the operations that follow this sedition” (Josephus, Wars, Book V, 1:3)
    • I return now from this digression” (Josephus, Wars, Book III, 5:8)
    • Having described this, I return to the subject on which I originally proposed to discourse” (Herodotus, Book IV)
  • I proceed to relate real events (p. 586) / I proceed with my record (Ether 2:3)
    • As I proceed, therefore, I shall accurately describe what is contained in our records” (Josephus, Antiquities, Preface, 3)
  • shall be hereafter related (p. 587) / shall be spoken hereafter (Helaman 2:12)
    • “which we shall speak more in its proper place hereafter” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 1:1)
    • “whose structure, largeness, and magnificence we shall describe hereafter” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 21:9)
  • Thus ended the (p. 450) / Thus ended the (Mosiah 29:47)
    • “And thus ended the siege of Jerusalem” (Josephus, Wars, Book VI, 10:1)
    • “And thus ended the affairs of the plundering of Ziklag” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VI, 14:6)

 

Donofrio identifies parallels in Ramsay’s citation of the Declaration of Independence in his “History”:

  • friends and brethren / my friends and my brethren (Mosiah 4:4)
    • Friends and brothers in arms, we are free to confess that we did lately a thing which was not right” (Herodotus, Book V)
    • “So he got an assembly of his friends and kindred together” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 29:2)
    • “Where comes this solitude, and desertion of thy friends and relations?” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XVI, 11:5)
    • “and do not sacrifice friends and kindred to their bitterest enemies” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter III)
    • “All this has been said with a view to counselling the friends and family of Dion” (The Dialogues of Plato, The Seventh Letter)
  • a free people / a free people (Alma 21:21)
    • “he would have the greatest honors decreed to him that a free people could bestow” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XIX, 3:3)
    • “shake off the yoke of servitude, and to become a free people” (Herodotus, Book I)
  • the powers of the earth / the powers of the earth (3 Nephi 28:39)
    • “These ascribe all to fate [or providence], and to God, and yet allow, that to act what is right, or the contrary, is principally in the power of men” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 8:14)
    • “where Caesar and Antony were to fight for the supreme power of the world” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XV, 5:1)
  • the works of death / the work of death (Alma 43:37)
    • “at length undertook the work of bringing Alexander and Aristobulus to their graves” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 26:2)
    • “they did themselves the works of war and tyranny, after an insolent manner” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 5:5)
  • insurrections amongst us / insurrections among you (Alma 60:27)
    • “for the Jews hoped that all of their nation which were beyond Euphrates would have raised an insurrection together with them” (Josephus, Wars, Preface, 2)
    • “and you will free yourselves from the imputation made against you, of not supporting insurrection” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter IX)

 

Donofrio identifies parallels found in Ramsay’s reprint of George Washington’s farewell address (September 19, 1796) in “The Life of George Washington.” The address was also published in newspapers, such as The Independent Chronicle (September 26, 1796, Boston, Massachusetts):

  • combinations or associations / combinations (Alma 37:31)
    • “it was this clause that was the real origin of the panic in Peloponnese, by exciting suspicions of a Lacedaemonian and Athenian combination against their liberties” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XV)
  • to subvert the power of the people, and to usurp for themselves the reigns of government / those who have desires to usurp power (Alma 60:27)
    • “he did an injury to Caesar, by usurping that authority before it was determined for him by Caesar” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XVII, 9:5)
    • “the orators lead the people, but their ignorance of military matters prevents them from usurping power” (Aristotle, Politics, Part V)
  • love of power and proneness to abuse / it had it not been for the desire of power (Alma 60:16)
    • “wholly carried away with the lust of power” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VI, 4:4)
  • which binds a dutiful citizen to his country / which binds us to our lands (Alma 44:5)
    • “To bind themselves yet more closely together, it seemed good to them to leave a common monument” (Herodotus, Book II)
    • “ ‘I, too,’ adds Cleinias, ‘have a tie which binds me to you’” (The Dialogues of Plato, The Laws: Preamble, Book I)
  • as myself must soon be to the mansions of rest / And I soon go to the place of my rest…in the mansions of my Father (Enos 1:27)
    • “In my father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” (Bible, John 14:2)
    • “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Bible, Matthew 11:28)
    • “the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest” (Bible, Isaiah 34:14)
  • a free government / a free government (Alma 51:6)
    • “Lacedaemonians, propose to put down free governments in the cities of Greece, and to set up tyrannies in their room” (Herodotus, Book V)

 

Donofrio identifies parallels in Ramsay’s reproduction of Washington’s last written letter:

  • they will stand or fall / thus they stand or fall (Alma 41:7)
    • “to his own master he standeth or falleth” (Bible, Romans 14:4)
    • “you chose the Athenians, and with them you must stand or fall” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter X)
  • the defense of his own person and property / the defense of his property and his own life (Ether 14:2)
    • “there shall be three prisons—one for common offences against life and property” (The Dialogues of Plato, The Law: Preamble, Book X)
  • I now bid adieu / Brethren, adieu (Jacob 7:27)
    • “with such portion of their goods and chattels as the vessels could bear, bade adieu to Cyrnus and sailed to Rhegium” (Herodotus, Book I)
    • “Thus have I set down the geneology of my family as I have found it described in the public records, and so bid adieu to those who calumniate me” (Josephus, Life of Flavius Josephus, 1)

 

Donofrio also identifies parallels from writings of other Founding Framers, such as Samuel Adams delivering his “American Independence” speech to the State House in Philadelphia on August 1, 1776.

  • Priestcraft / priestcraft (Alma 1:12)
  • Providence / providence (Jacob 2:13)
    • “However, it came to pass, as it seems by the providence of God, when he intended to bring Antipater to punishment, that she fell not upon her head” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 30:5)
    • “Of a truth Divine Providence does appear to be, as indeed one might expect beforehand, a wise contriver” (Herodotus, Book III)
  • precious in his sight / precious in his sight (Jacob 2:21)
    • Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Bible, Psalm 116:15)
    • “O man of God, I pray thee, let my life, and the life of these fifty thy servants, be precious in thy sight” (Bible, 2 Kings 1:13)
    • “with such stones of other sorts also as were most curious and best esteemed, as being most precious in their kind” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XII, 2:9)
  • justice and mercy / justice and mercy (Mormon 6:22)
    • “But justice cannot always be strictly enforced, and then equity and mercy have to be substituted” (The Dialogues of Plato, Laws: Preamble, Book VI)
    • Mercy, remember, is by many set above justice” (Herodotus, Book III)
  • the justice of our cause / the justice of the cause (Alma 46:29)
    • “but Aristobulus’s three hundred talents had more weight with him than the justice of the cause” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 6:3)
  • the spirit of freedom / the spirit of freedom (Alma 61:15)
    • “Such was the natural nobility of this city, so sound and healthy was the spirit of freedom among us” (Plato, Dialogues, Menexenus)
    • “trusting less in system and policy than to the native spirit of our citizens” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VI)
    • “Nay, indeed, Lysias observing the great spirit of the Jews, how they were prepared to die rather than lose their liberty” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XII, 7:5)
  • look up to Heaven /look up to God (Alma 5:19)
    • “Thou art not ignorant, O Lord, that it is beyond human strength and human contrivance to avoid the difficulties we are now under…if there be any method that can promise us an escape by thy providence, we look up to thee for it” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book II, 16:1)
  • suffer yourselves to be chained down by your enemies / suffer yourselves to be slain by the hands of your enemies (Alma 43:46)
    • “to suffer yourselves to be equally terrified at the invasion of men is unmanly” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 19:4)
    • “moreover, when you were brought under the hands of your enemies, he delivered you” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VI, 5:6)
    • “and having, as they considered, suffered evil at the hands of the Plataeans” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter X)
    • “I think thou art not ignorant of what he did to thee, nor of what I suffered at his hands” (Herodotus, Book I)
    • “when about to suffer death at the hands of his parents” (The Dialogues of Plato, Laws, Book IX)
  • freemen / freemen (Alma 61:4)
    • “he also left some of the horsemen, called the Freemen, with Herod” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 13:3)
    • “killing all the freemen that fell into their hands” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XVI)
    • “if they be looked upon as freemen” (Herodotus, Book 4)
  • future generations / future generations (2 Nephi 4:2)
    • “to be a witness to future generations of what he had foretold” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VI, 4:6)
    • “to leave behind thee to all future generations a memory beyond even Harmodius and Aristogeiton” (Herodotus, Book VI)
  • dissensions / dissensions (Alma 53:9)
    • “the affairs of the Jews became very tumultuous; as also how the tyrants rose up against them, and fell into dissensions among themselves” (Josephus, Wars, Preface, 9)
  • whilst the mangled corpses of our countrymen seem to cry out to us as a voice from heaven / because of the blood of them who have been slain; for they cry from the dust (Ether 8:24)
    • “And he said, What hast thou done, the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground” (Bible, Genesis 4:10)
    • “the vengeance of the blood of my kinsman pursues me hastily” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 3:6)
  • the blood of their brethren / the blood of their brethren (Mosiah 11:19)
    • “he is not restrained from shedding the blood of kinsmen” (The Dialogues of Plato, Republic, Book VIII)
    • “the vengeance of the blood of my kinsman pursues me hastily” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 3:6)

 

Donofrio cites parallels in Thomas Jefferson’s first inaugural address given on March 4, 1801:

  • the rich productions of their industry / riches…they had obtained by their industry (Alma 4:6) / acquired much riches by the hand of my industry (Alma 10:4)
    • “Anthemion, who acquired his wealth, not by accident or gift…but by his own skill and industry” (The Dialogues of Plato, Meno)
    • “our ordinary citizens, though occupied with the pursuits of industry, are still fair judges of public matters” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VI)
  • to steer with safety the vessel in which we are all embarked amidst the conflicting elements of a troubled world / they are led about by Satan…as a vessel is tossed about upon the waves, without sail or anchor, or without anything wherewith to steer her (Mormon 5:18)
    • “so that they were very like to a ship in a storm, which is tossed by the waves on both sides” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XII, 3:3)
  • by the voice of the nation / by the voice of the people (Mosiah 29:26)
    • “Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee” (Bible, 1 Samuel 8:7)
    • “Dorotheus the high priest, and the fellow presidents with him, put it to the vote of the people” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XIV, 8:5)
    • “chosen by the common voice of the Ionians” (Herodotus, Book 1)
  • all will, of course, arrange themselves under the will of the law, and unite / according to our law, and we will newly arrange the affairs of this people (Mosiah 29:11)
    • “still at a very early period obtained good laws, and enjoyed a freedom from tyrants which was unbroken; it has possessed the same form of government for more than four hundred years, reckoning to the end of the late war, and has thus been in a position to arrange the affairs of the other states” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter I)
  • in common efforts for the common good the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail / Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law – to do your business by the voice of the people (Mosiah 29:26)
    • “for we are made for fellowship one with another, and he who prefers the common good before what is peculiar to himself is above all acceptable to God’ (Josephus, Against Apion, Book II, 24)
    • “Or, if such virtue is scarcely attainable by the multitude, we need only suppose that the majority are good men and good citizens, and ask which will be the more incorruptible, the one good ruler, or the many who are all good?” (Aristotle, Politics, Part XV)
    • “it had been expressly agreed that the decision of the majority of the allies should be binding, unless the gods or heroes stood in the way” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XVI)
  • their equal rights / every man should have an equal chance (Mosiah 29:38)
    • “Our city at that juncture had neither an oligarchical constitution in which all the nobles enjoyed equal rights, nor a democracy” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter X)
    • “Now therefore, since he has fulfilled his destiny, I lay down my office, and proclaim equal rights” (Herodotus, Book III)
  • equal law / they were all equal (Alma 1:26)
    • “when he came to the throne he divided the empire into seven provinces; and he made equal laws, and implanted friendship among the people” (The Dialogues of Plato, The Laws: Preamble, Book III)
    • “as a reward for such their assistance, gave them equal privileges in this city with the Grecians themselves” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 18:7)
    • “If we look to the laws, they afford equal justice to all in their private differences” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VI)
  • Let us, then, fellow-citizens, unite with one heart and one mind / be determined in one mind and in one heart, united in all things (2 Nephi 1:21)
    • “but, above all things, let us be of one mind, and let us honor God” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book III, 14:1)
    • “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul” (Bible, Acts 4:32)
  • Or have we found angels in the form of kings to govern / if it were possible that ye could always have just men to be your kings (Mosiah 23:8)
    • “the rule of one is neither good nor pleasant. Ye cannot have forgotten to what lengths Cambyses went in his haughty tyranny…How indeed is it possible that monarchy should be a well-adjusted thing, when it allows a man to do as he likes without being answerable? Such license is enough to stir strange and unwonted thoughts in the heart of the worthiest men” (Herodotus, Book III)
    • “take these three forms of government- democracy, oligarchy, and monarch- and let them each be at their best, I maintain that monarchy far surpasses the other two. What government can possibly be better than that of the very best man in the whole state?” (Herodotus, Book III)
  • Providence…delights in the happiness of man here and his greater happiness hereafter / men are that they might have joy (2 Nephi 2:25)
    • “when he further asked them how they could be so joyful when they were to be put to death, they replied, because they should enjoy greater happiness after they were dead” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 33:3)
    • “O children of Israel! There is but one source of happiness for all mankind, the favor of God, for he alone is able to give good things to those that deserve them” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book IV, 8:2)
    • “the soul was immortal, and that an eternal enjoyment of happiness did await such as died on that account” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 33:2)

 

Donofrio identifies parallels found in Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” (1776):

  • But where, say some, is the King of America? I’ll tell you, friend, he reigns above this land / shall be a land of liberty unto the Gentiles, and there shall be no kings upon the land (2 Nephi 10:11) / for I, the Lord, the king of heaven, will be their king (2 Nephi 10:14)
    • “the performance whereof with thine own mouth thou has vowed to the King of heaven” (Apocrypha, 1 Esdras, 4:46)
    • “And when ye saw that Nahash the king of the children of Ammon came against you, ye said unto me, Nay; but a king shall reign over us: when the Lord your God was your king” (Bible, 1 Samuel 12:12)
    • “And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the Lord shall rule over you” (Bible, Judges 8:23)
  • There are injuries which nature cannot forgive; she would cease to be nature if she did / Now the work of justice could not be destroyed; if so, God would cease to be God (Alma 42:13)
    • The city which has no courts of law will soon cease to be a city” (The Dialogues of Plato, The Laws: Preamble, Book VI)
    • “neither the grammarian nor any other person of skill ever makes a mistake in so far as he is what his name implies; they none of them err unless their skill fails them, and then they cease to be skilled artists” (The Dialogues of Plato, Republic, Book I)
  • the Almighty hath implanted in us / planted in your heart (Alma 32:38)
    • “Jacob made his defense – That he was not the only person in whom God had implanted the love of his native country, but that he had made it natural to all men” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book I, 19:10)
    • “when pleasure, and friendship, and pain, and hatred, are rightly implanted in souls not yet capable of understanding the nature of them” (Plato, Dialogues, Laws, Book II)
  • his Image in our hearts / his image in your countenances (Alma 5:4)
  • The robber and the murderer / robbers and murderers (Helaman 6:18)
    • “their inclination to plunder was insatiable, as was their zeal in searching the houses of the rich; and for the murdering of the men” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 9:10)
    • “there sprang up another sort of robbers in Jerusalem, which were called Sicarii, who slew men in the day time…and when any fell down dead, the murderers became a part of those that had indignation against them” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 13:3)
    • “every one was in indignation at these men’s seizing upon the sanctuary, at their rapine and murders” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 3:10)
  • in one and some in another / in one and some in another (Jacob 5:4)
    • “A man ought to know which of these pay better than others, and which pay best in particular places, for some do better in one place and some in another” (Aristotle, Politics, Part XI)
    • “for the soil and the population may be separated, and some of the inhabitants may live in one place and some in another” (Aristotle, Politics, Part III)
    • “No remedy was found that could be used as a specific; for what did good in one case, did harm in another” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VII)
    • “be willing to help us secretly if not openly, in one way if not in another” (Thucydides, Book VI, Chapter XIX)
  • plunderers / plunderers (Helaman 6:18)
    • “There might be some truth in such a view if we assume that robbers and plunderers attain the chief good” (Aristotle, Politics, Part III)
  • setting the world at defiance / set at defiance (Alma 5:18)

 

Donofrio identifies parallels found between a published sermon by Isaac Backus in 1773:

  • no tongue nor pen can fully describe / it is impossible for the tongue to describe, or for man to write (Mormon 4:11)
    • Now it is impossible to describe the multitude of the shows as they deserve, and the magnificence of them all “(Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 5:5)
    • “I saw the back-bones and ribs of serpents in such numbers as it is impossible to describe” (Herodotus, Book II)

 

Donofrio identifies a parallel in a letter sent by Jonas Phillips to the Constitutional Convention, (1787):

  • to come into a Land of Liberty / “…land of liberty (Alma 46:17)
    • “What is more, you will enslave the land in which the freedom of the Hellenes was won” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter X)
    • “so deeply am I troubled at the slavery our once free country is now under” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XIX, 1:9)

These examples show that most of these parallels can be found in other contemporary translations of ancient documents. It should be noted that this article does not represent an exhaustive review of the available literature. These works were simply selected based on my previous knowledge. Part 3 of this article will deal with parallels found in Josephus and the Book of Mormon but not found in the Bible or the Donofrio’s list of parallels. This will show the limitations of attempting to prove the Book of Mormon is a work of fiction because of its parallels to 19th century literature.

 

Debunking MormonThink’s “Early American Influences on the Book of Mormon” (Part 1)

A common strategy among critics seeking to prove the Book of Mormon to be a work of fiction is to find books that must have served as inspiration for Joseph Smith. Thomas E. Donofrio, the author of a MormonThink article called “Early American Influences on the Book of Mormon” argues that he has identified several works that bear so many similarities to the Book of Mormon that Joseph Smith must have borrowed heavily from these sources. These works include Mercy Otis Warren’s “History of the Rise, Progress and Termination of the American Revolution” (1805), David Ramsay’s “The History of the American Revolution” (1789), speeches from the Founding Framers, and several religious sermons. Supposedly, the similarities between the Book of Mormon and these works are so strong that they cannot be explained away as coincidences or that Joseph simply translated using “the language of his day.”

Part 1 of this article compares the parallels between the Book of Mormon and Mercy Warren’s “History” to five ancient records that were translated into English close to Joseph’s lifetime. Subsequent articles will examine the remaining sources identified by Donofrio. My purpose is to show that nearly all of the parallels can be found in other ancient documents that were translated into English close to Joseph’s lifetime. We can therefore conclude that the language used in Joseph Smith’s translation of the Book of Mormon was entirely appropriate and that Donofrio’s list of parallels are not unique to authors of American Revolutionary War history.

The five records to be compared are:

  1. The Complete Works of Flavius Josephus (written between 78 and 93 A.D.; translated into English by William Whiston in 1737)
  2. The History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides (written between 431 and 400 B.C.; translated into English by Richard Crawley in 1874)
  3. The History of Herodotus (written in 440 B.C.; translated into English by George Rawlinson in 1910),
  4. The Dialogues of Plato (Plato lived between 427 and 347 B.C.; translated by Benjamin Jowett in 1871)
  5. Aristotle’s Politics (Aristotle lived between 384 and 322 B.C.; translated by Benjamin Jowett beginning in 1856 and published in 1885). I have also referenced the KJV Bible and the Apocrypha in some cases.

The parallels will be listed in the order that they are presented in the MormonThink article. The parallel quotes from Warren’s “History” and the Book of Mormon are listed side by side in bold type, with the similar quotes from my five sources listed in italics underneath. Quotes which do not have a similar source in the previously listed sources are highlighted in red:

  • sets at defiance both human and divine laws (Warren, p. 12) / ye have set at defiance the commandments of God (Alma 5:18)
    • “and a contempt of both human and divine laws” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VI, 12:7… contempt’ is a synonym for ‘defiance’)
    • “exclusion from the ports of the Athenian empire and the market of Athens, in defiance of the treaty” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter III)
    • “the affairs of the Hebrews were managed uncertainly, and tended to disorder, and to the contempt of God and of the laws” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book V, 8:7)
  • law set at defiance (Warren, p. 81) / set at defiance the law (3 Nephi 6:30)
    • “their calamities arose from their contempt of the laws” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book V, 5:2)
    • “exclusion from the ports of the Athenian empire and the market of Athens, in defiance of the treaty” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter III)
  • that man, in a state of nature (p. 12) / men that are in a state of nature (Alma 41:11)
    • “The legislator was under the idea that war was the natural state of all mankind, and that peace is only a pretence (Plato, Dialogues, The Laws: The Preamble, Book I)
    • “having his hand recovered to its natural state” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VIII, 8:5)
    • “But as for his being ensnared by a woman, that is to be ascribed to human nature, which is took weak to resist the temptations to that sin” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book V, 8:12)
    • “In the confusion into which life was now thrown in the cities, human nature, always rebelling against the law and now its master, gladly showed itself ungoverned in passion, above respect for justice, and the enemy of all superiority” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter X)
  • a consciousness of their own guilt (p. 109) / a consciousness of his own guilt (Alma 14:6)
    • “they should seem to be in this difficulty from a consciousness of guilt” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XVI, 4:2)
  • to conquer or die in defence of their country (p. 202) / to conquer in this place or die (Alma 56:17) / defence of their country (Alma 51:20)
    • we must conquer or hardly get away, as we shall have their horse upon us in great numbers” (Thucydides, Book VI, Chapter XX)
    • “And not contented with ideas derived only from words of the advantages which are bound up with the defence of your country” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VI)
    • “also of encouraging them to undergo dangers, and to die for their countries” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VI, 14:4)
    • “Nay, indeed, Lysias observing the great spirit of the Jews, how they were prepared to die rather than lose their liberty” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XII, 7:5)
    • “it can never be that we must conquer without bloodshed on our own side” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 1:6)
  • learn wisdom (p. 645) / learn wisdom (2 Nephi 22:30)
    • “I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy” (Bible, Proverbs 30:3)
    • “if it is not a case for repentance, you may still learn wisdom” (Thucydides, Book VI, Chapter XIX)
    • “And from hence I cannot forbear to admire God, and to learn hence his wisdom and his justice” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XI, 6:11)
  • tenderness of a parent (p. 237) / tender parent (1 Nephi 8:37)
    • “as one that was a tender and gentle father to them” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VI, 5:6)
  • destruction was ripening (p. 543) / ripening for destruction (Helaman 5:2)
  • Multitudes flocked from every quarter to the American standard (p. 129) / multitudes flocked to the American standard (p. 191) / thousands did flock unto his standard (Alma 62:5)
    • The multitude also flocked about him greatly, and made mighty acclamations to him” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XVII, 12:1)
    • “Raise the standard of revolt in Persia, and then march straight on Media” (Herodotus, Book I)
    • calling to his standard fifteen hundred Thracian mercenaries and all the Edonians” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XV)
    • “And he will lift up an ensign to the nations from far, and will hiss unto them from the end of the earth: and, behold, they shall come with speed swiftly” (Bible, Isaiah 5:26)
  • plant the standard of royalty (p. 241) / planted the standard of liberty (Alma 46:36)
    • Raise the standard of revolt in Persia, and then march straight on Media” (Herodotus, Book I)
    • Set up the standard upon the walls of Babylon” (Bible, Jeremiah 51:12)
    • “the Spirit of the lord shall lift up a standard against him” (Bible, Isaiah 59:19)
    • “An antique iron sword is planted on the top of every such mound, and serves as the image of Mars” (Herodotus, Book IV)
  • that manly spirit of freedom (p. 31) / a true spirit of freedom (Alma 60:25)
    • “Such was the natural nobility of this city, so sound and healthy was the spirit of freedom among us” (Plato, Dialogues, Menexenus)
    • “trusting less in system and policy than to the native spirit of our citizens” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VI)
    • “Nay, indeed, Lysias observing the great spirit of the Jews, how they were prepared to die rather than lose their liberty” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XII, 7:5)
  • a free people (p. 33) / a free people (Alma 21:21)
    • “he would have the greatest honors decreed to him that a free people could bestow” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XIX, 3:3)
    • “shake off the yoke of servitude, and to become a free people” (Herodotus, Book I)
  • a free government (p. 65) / a free government (Alma 46:35)
    • “Lacedaemonians, propose to put down free governments in the cities of Greece, and to set up tyrannies in their room” (Herodotus, Book V)
    • “The freedom which we enjoy in our government extends also to our ordinary life” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VI)
  • the cause of liberty (p. 24) / the cause of liberty (Alma 51:17)
    • “courage not to be moved by any dangers in the cause of liberty” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 8:7)
  • that the voice of the people (p. 24) / that the voice of the people (Alma 2:7)
    • “Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee” (Bible, 1 Samuel 8:7)
    • “Dorotheus the high priest, and the fellow presidents with him, put it to the vote of the people” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XIV, 8:5)
    • “chosen by the common voice of the Ionians” (Herodotus, Book 1)
  • The minds of the people (p. 87) / the minds of the people (Alma 17:6)
    • “he could no other way bend the minds of the Jews so as to receive Herod” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XV, 1:2)
    • “for nothing does so much cement the minds of men together” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 4:3)
  • their rights and privileges (p. 48) / their rights and privileges (Alma 30:27)
    • “made this speech concerning the rights and privileges of Hyrcanus” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XIV, 10:7)
  • the cause of freedom (p. 146) / the cause of freedom (Alma 46:35)
    • “For not only did he thus distinguish himself beyond others in the cause of his country’s freedom” (Herodotus, Book VI)
    • “courage not to be moved by any dangers in the cause of liberty” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 8:7)
  • cause of his country (p. 168) / cause of his country (Alma 62:1)
    • “For not only did he thus distinguish himself beyond others in the cause of his country’s freedom” (Herodotus, Book VI)
    • “Their bodies they spend ungrudgingly in their country’s cause” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter III)
  • the cause of their country (p. 34) / the cause of their country (Alma 56:11)
    • “For not only did he thus distinguish himself beyond others in the cause of his country’s freedom” (Herodotus, Book VI)
    • “Their bodies they spend ungrudgingly in their country’s cause” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter III)
  • the rights of their country (p. 79) / the rights of their country (3 Nephi 6:30)
    • “she came and loudly accused Athens of breach of the treaty and aggression on the rights of Peloponnese” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter III)
    • “he compelled the Jews to dissolve the laws of their country” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 1:2)
  • the freedom of their country (p. 172) / the freedom of their country (Alma 59:13)
    • “For not only did he thus distinguish himself beyond others in the cause of his country’s freedom” (Herodotus, Book VI)
    • “to plead for the liberty of their country” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 6:1)
    • freedom of the city of Rome” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XVI, 2:3)
    • “men whose glory it is to be always ready to give battle for the liberty of their own country” (Thucydides, Book IV, Chapter XIV)
  • the rights for which our ancestors contended (p. 643) / for this cause were the Nephites contending…to defend…their rights (Alma 43:47)
    • (This comparison is disingenuous. The full quote from Alma is “And again, the Lord has said that: Ye shall defend your families even unto bloodshed. Therefore for this cause were the Nephites contending with the Lamanites, to defend themselves, and their families, and their lands, their country, and their rights, and their religion.”)
    • For this cause I have now called you together” (Herodotus, Book VII)
    • “The Argives, that they would contend for their ancient supremacy” (Thucydides, Chapter XVI)
    • “to show that they mean to defend themselves against an attack” (Thucydides, Chapter XIX)
    • “to come out, as many as chose, to their homes without fearing for their rights or persons” (Thucydides, Book IV, Chapter XIV)
    • “Be ye not afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses” (Bible, Nehemiah 4:14)
    • “even securing for ourselves the freedom which our fathers gave to Hellas” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter V)
  • (Quoting Washington) “the welfare of their country” (p. 129) / and welfare of my country (Alma 60:36)
    • “But those who have the welfare of the state at heart should counteract them” (Aristotle, Politics, Book VI, Part V)
    • “he should keep quiet and offer up prayers for his own welfare and for that of his country” (Plato, Dialogues, The Seventh Letter)
    • “he was a prodigious lover of liberty, and an admirer of a democracy in government; and did ever prefer the public welfare before his own advantage” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 5:2)
    • “leaders are required to show a special care for the common welfare” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter V)
  • the justice of their cause (p. 36) / the justice of the cause (p. 154) / the justice of the cause (Alma 46:29)
    • “but Aristobulus’s three hundred talents had more weight with him than the justice of the cause” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 6:3)
  • to take up arms in defence of their rights (p. 90) / to take up arms in defence of their country (Alma 51:20)
    • “who necessitated us to take up arms against the Romans” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XX, 11:1)
    • “And not contented with ideas derived only from words of the advantages which are bound up with the defence of your country” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VI)
  • deprive them of their rights (p. 332) / deprive them of their rights (Alma 2:4)
    • “I will therefore that the nation of the Jews be not deprived of their rights and privileges, on account of the madness of Caius” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XIX, 5:2)
  • to maintain their rights (p. 337) / to maintain their rights (Alma 51:6)
    • “and every body caught up their arms, in order to maintain the liberty of their metropolis” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 4:2)
    • “for we shall alike preserve the rights and hear all the causes of our confederates” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XIV, 12:4)
  • welfare and happiness (p. 648) / welfare and happiness (Helaman 12:2)
    • “for the commencement of their hopes of future prosperity and happiness” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 5:6)
    • “leaders are required to show a special care for the common welfare” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter V)
  • every man might (p. 628) / every man might (Mosiah 29:34)
    • “oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice!” (Bible, 2 Samuel 15:4)
  • stand or fall (p. 104) / stand or fall (Alma 41:7)
    • “to his own master he standeth or falleth” (Bible, Romans 14:4)
    • “you chose the Athenians, and with them you must stand or fall” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter X)
  • freemen (p. 175) / freemen (Alma 51:6)
    • “he also left some of the horsemen, called the Freemen, with Herod” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 13:3)
    • “killing all the freemen that fell into their hands” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XVI)
    • “if they be looked upon as freemen” (Herodotus, Book 4)
  • class of men (p. 601) / class of people (Alma 32:2)
    • “Farmers are a class of men that are always more ready to serve in person than in purse” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter V)
    • “much of the work was done by each class of workpeople” (Herodotus, Book 1)
    • “there were four classes of men among those of Cyrene” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XIV, 7:2)
  • ranks and classes (p. 636) / divided into classes (4 Nephi 1:26)
    • “The Egyptians are divided into seven distinct classes” (Herodotus, Book 2)
    • “they are parted into four classes; and so far are the juniors inferior to the seniors” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 8:10)
    • “Now all the soldiery marched out beforehand by companies, and in their several ranks, under their several commanders” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 5:4)
  • high birth (p. 236) / high birth (Alma 51:8)
    • “nor by the dignity of men eminent for either their riches or their high birth” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book IX, 1:1)
  • to be supported by the labor of the poor, or the taxation (p. 624) / supported in their laziness…by the taxes (Mosiah 11:6)
    • “Now it happened that the Egyptians grew delicate and lazy, as to pains-taking, and gave themselves up to other pleasures, and in particular to the love of gain” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book II, 9:1)
    • “But when, upon his mustering his soldiers, he perceived that his treasures were deficient, and there was a want of money in them, for all the taxes were not paid, by reason of the seditions” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XII, 7:2)
  • the powers of the earth (p. 551) / the powers of the earth (3 Nephi 28:39)
    • “These ascribe all to fate [or providence], and to God, and yet allow, that to act what is right, or the contrary, is principally in the power of men” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 8:14)
    • “where Caesar and Antony were to fight for the supreme power of the world” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XV, 5:1)
  • the God of nature (p. 76) / The God of nature (1 Nephi 19:12)
    • “he who has not contemplated the mind of nature which is said to exist in the stars” (Plato, The Laws, Book XII)
    • “it was agreeable to the will of God and the law of nature” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book IV, 8:48)
  • the great Jehovah (p. 144) / the great Jehovah (Moroni 10:34)
    • “but my name Jehovah was I not known to them” (Bible, Exodus 6:3)
    • “And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God” (Bible, Nehemiah 8:6)
    • “The great God that formed al things both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors” (Bible, Proverbs 26:10)
  • Great Spirit (p. 285) / Great Spirit (Alma 18:2)
    • ‘What is he, Diotima?’ ‘He is a great spirit (daimon), and like all spirits he is intermediate between the divine and the mortal’ (Plato, Dialogues, Symposium)
    • “And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God” (Bible, Nehemiah 8:6)
    • “as not being in his own power, but moved to say what he did by the Divine Spirit” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book IV, 6:5)
  • neck of land (p. 120) / neck of land (Alma 22:32)
    • “attempted to cut through this narrow neck of land” (Herodotus, Book 1)
  • narrow passage (p. 146) / narrow passage (Mormon 2:29)
    • “which stopped up the narrow passages, they retired to the camp” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 15:5)
    • “encompass the building, leaving only a narrow passage by which it is approached” (Herodotus, Book II)
    • “and so arrived in time to occupy the narrow pass between two hills” (Thucydides, Book IV, Chapter XIV)
  • the river Elk (p. 203) / the river Sidon (Alma 3:3)
    • “by birth a Jew, but brought up at Sidon with one of the Roman freed-men” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 7:1)
  • Moravian town (p. 286) / Morianton (Alma 50:25)
    • Moriah (Bible, 2 Chronicles 3:1/Genesis 22:2)
    • “a place called formerly the Citadel, though afterwards its name was changed to Antonia” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 3:3)
    • Eshton (Bible, 1 Chronicles 4:11)
  • the art of war (p. 270) / the arts of war (Ether 13:16)
    • “novices in the art of war” (Thucydides, Book VI, Chapter XX)
    • “to fight with one that was skilled in the art of war” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VI, 9:3)
  • a council of war (p. 300) / a council of war (Alma 52:19)
    • “To the end he called the commanders that were under him to a council of war” (Josephus, Wars, Book III, 7:8)
    • “they stopped at that place, and held a council of war” (Herodotus, Book 8)
    • “The Athenians, seeing them closing up in the harbour and informed of their further designs, called a council of war” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXIII)
  • to carry the point (p. 108) / not gain the point (Alma 46:29)
    • “which he might prevent by placing his camp round about them; and that they should think it a great point gained” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 2:3)
    • “Having thus gained their point, the delegates returned home at once” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter IV)
  • a full detail of their proceedings (p. 38) / an account of their proceedings (Mosiah 28:9)
    • These proceedings of the people in those countries occasioned perplexity and trouble to Moses” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book III, 2:2)
    • gave an account in order of the several discoveries that had been made” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 32:4)
    • “Of these conquests I shall pass by the greater portion, and given an account of those only which gave him the most trouble” (Herodotus, Book I)
    • The following are the proceedings on occasion of the assembly at Bubastis” (Herodotus, Book II)
  • supplies of provisions (p. 208) / supplies of provisions (Alma 55:34)
    • “This Simon had his supply of provisions from the city, in opposition to the seditious” (Josephus, Wars, Book V, 1:4)
  • fallen into his hands (p. 145) / fallen into his hands (Alma 53:11)
    • “that it was much better to fall into the hands of God, than into those of his enemies” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VII, 13:2)
    • “the two next by falling into the hands of Gratus and Ptolemeus” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 4:3)
  • the prisoners who fell into his hands (p. 191) / the prisoners who fell into his hands (Alma 52:8)
    • “that it was much better to fall into the hands of God, than into those of his enemies” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VII, 13:2)
    • “we are prisoners who surrendered of their own accord” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter X)
    • “killing all the freemen that fell into their hands” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XVI)
  • surrendered themselves prisoners of war (p. 182) / surrendered themselves prisoners of war (Alma 57:14)
    • “insomuch that all Perea had either surrendered themselves, or were taken by the Romans” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 7:6)
    • “immediately set free all the prisoners of war in their possession” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XV)
  • his whole army (p. 224) / his whole army (Helaman 1:20)
    • “he came himself with his whole army” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XIV, 15:5)
    • “here he was cut off with his whole army” (Herodotus, Book V)
  • with a part of his army (p. 191) / with a part of his army (Alma 56:33)
    • “for as he set a part of his army round about Gaza itself, so with the rest he overran their land” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XIII, 5:5)
    • “Phraortes attacked them, but perished in the expedition with the greater part of his army” (Herodotus, Book I)
  • at their head (p. 241) / at their head (Alma 48:7)
    • “out of envy at his glorious expedition at the head of his army” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book II, 11:1)
    • “having at their head ten generals” (Herodotus, Book VI)
  • thus reduced (p. 241) / been reduced (Alma 56:10)
    • “but the king of Syria brought him low, and by an expedition against him did so greatly reduce his forces, that there remained no more of so great an army than ten thousand armed men” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book IX, 8:5)
  • led captive (p. 241) / led captive (Alma 40:13)
    • “There were also led captive about thirty-two thousand virgins” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book IV, 7:1)
    • “Will not your city be the first we shall seek to lead away captive?” (Herodotus, Book III)
  • threw down their arms (p. 393) / threw down their weapons (Alma 52:38)
    • “but when they had lost their general, they were put to flight, and threw down their arms” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XII, 10:5)
  • laying down their arms at the feet of the victorious Washington (p. 484) / threw down their weapons of war at the feet of Moroni (Alma 52:38)
    • “and assured them, that if they would lay down their arms, he would secure them from any harm” (Josephus, Wars, Book III, 7:32)
    • “Whereupon three thousand of John’s party left him immediately, who came to Josephus, and threw their arms down at his feet” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 21:7)
  • and laying them at the feet of the conqueror (p. 240) / and cast them at the feet of the Nephites (Alma 55:23)
    • “Whereupon three thousand of John’s party left him immediately, who came to Josephus, and threw their arms down at his feet” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 21:7)
  • lay on their arms through the night (p. 232) / when the night came they slept upon their swords (Ether 15:20)
    • “both sides also lay in their armor during the night time, and thereby were ready at the first appearance of light to go to battle” (Josephus, Wars, Book V, 7:3)
    • “and placed watchmen beyond his camp, and kept all his forces armed all night” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XIII, 5:10)
    • “The citizens went so far as to sleep one night armed in the temple of Theseus within the walls” (Thucydides, Book VI, Chapter XIX)
  • to strengthen the hands of general Arnold (p. 256) / strengthen the hand of the Nephites (Alma 2:18)
    • “The charges which strengthen our hands in the war against the Athenians would on our own showing be merited by ourselves” (Thucydides, Book IV, Chapter XIV)
    • “to strengthen their hands in the works of the Lord God of Israel” (Apocrypha, I Esdras 7:15)
  • the warm altercations between them (p. 463) / a warm contention (Alma 50:26)
    • “Those that were of the warmest tempers thought he should bring the whole army against the city” (Josephus, Wars, Book V, 12:1)
    • “and being a young man, of a warm temper” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VIII, 7:8)
  • A warm, but short, action (p. 207) / a warm dispute (Alma 51:4)
    • “Those that were of the warmest tempers thought he should bring the whole army against the city” (Josephus, Wars, Book V, 12:1)
    • “and being a young man, of a warm temper” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VIII, 7:8)
  • British troops had yet met with no check (p. 428) / did arrive in season to check them (Alma 57:18)
    • “and from their summit and base kept in check all of the enemy that came up” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter IX)
    • “whether it were possible to check the growing power of that people before it came to a head” (Herodotus, Book I)
  • to harass their march (p. 269) / did harass them (Alma 51:32)
    • “and avoided by any means to come to a pitched battle; yet did he greatly harass the enemy by his assiduity” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XV, 5:1)
    • “and accordingly continually harassed and made war upon the new settlers” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter XI)
  • were obliged to retreat in great confusion (p. 207) / were obliged to flee before them (Alma 59:8)
    • “and the rest of the entire nation were obliged to save themselves by flight” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 16:4)
    • “some of those who were obliged to leap down from the cliffs without their shields escaped with their lives and did not perish like the rest” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXII)
  • were obliged to fly (p. 103) / were obliged to flee before them (Alma 59:8)
    • “but followed him at his heels; he was also obliged to make haste in his attempt” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 6:6)
    • “and the rest of the entire nation were obliged to save themselves by flight” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 16:4)
  • fled in confusion (p. 374) / fled in much confusion (Alma 52:28)
    • “the Romans were at length brought into confusion, and put to flight, and ran away from their camp” (Josephus, Wars, Book V, 2:4)
    • “they forgot their retreats and fled away in confusion to the deserts lying towards the north” (Herodotus, Book IV)
  • prepare to meet him (p. 159) / they did prepare to meet them (Alma 2:12)
    • “Now when the Egyptians had overtaken the Hebrews, they prepared to fight them” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book II, 15:3)
    • “who on their part advanced to meet them with all their ships that were fit for service” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter II)
    • “they went out to meet them with seventy ships” (Herodotus, Book VI)
  • not sufficiently strong (p. 229) / not sufficiently strong (Alma 56:23)
    • “most of the place being sufficiently strong by nature without further fortifications” (Thucydides, Book IV, Chapter XII)
    • “he came with a sufficient body of soldiers” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 10:7)
    • “Now he chose for the war such an army as was sufficient” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 20:8)
  • to make an attack (p. 229) / to make an attack (Alma 56:22)
    • “he was in doubt where he could possibly make an attack on any side” (Josephus, Wars, Book V, 6:2)
    • “in the event of the enemy bringing a fleet to make an attack by sea” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VI)
  • entrenchments to be thrown up (p. 105) / bank which had been thrown up (Alma 49:18)
    • “on the forty-seventh day [of the siege] the banks cast up by the Romans were become higher than the wall” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 7:33)
    • “A trench was dug all around the temple and the consecrated ground, and the earth thrown up from the excavation made to do duty as a wall, in which stakes were also planted” (Thucydides, Book IV, Chapter XIV)
    • “and out of the ditch, instead of a wall they cast up the earth” (Thucydides, Hobbes Translation, Book IV, 89)
  • chief commander (p. 398) / chief commander (Alma 46:11)
    • “Four hundred and thirty men they lost, and their chief commanders all three” (Thucydides, Hobbes Translation, Book II, 79)
    • “and this out of jealousy that he would obtain the chief command of the army” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VII, 11:7)
  • to fall on the rear of the British (p. 183) / to fall upon them in their rear (Alma 56:23)
    • “if the enemy advanced into the plain against the troops of Agis, they might fall upon his rear with their cavalry” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XVI)
    • “he also parted his army into three bodies, and fell upon the backs of their enemies” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XII, 8:3)
  • in the rear (p. 147) / in the rear (Alma 56:23)
    • “who were to rise up at the moment of the onset behind the projecting left wing of the enemy, and to take them in the rear” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter XI)
    • “he also parted his army into three bodies, and fell upon the backs of their enemies” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XII, 8:3)
  • cut off the retreat (p. 277) / their retreat cut off (p. 147) / cut off the way of their retreat (3 Nephi 4:24)
    • “before the Athenians were aware, cut off their retreat to their ships” (Herodotus, Book V)
    • “and slew a great number of them, and cut off the retreat of the rest of the multitude” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 1:8)
  • concealed himself in a wood, with fifteen hundred men (p. 203) / part of the army of Moroni was concealed (Alma 43:34)
    • “while he came and sat upon his judgment-seat, which seat was so prepared in the open place of the city, that it concealed the army that lay ready to oppress them” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XVIII, 3:1)
    • “The mistakes and forces of the enemy the wood would in a great measure conceal from him” (Thucydides, Book IV, Chapter XII)
  • surrounded on all sides (p. 311) / surrounded them on every side (Mosiah 21:5)
    • “nor were strong enough to fight with the Romans any longer upon the square, as being surrounded on all sides” (Josephus, Wars, Book VI, 7:2)
    • “When they advanced the next day the Syracusans surrounded and attacked them on every side” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXIII)
  • After two days wandering in the wilderness (p. 224) / after many days’ wandering in the wilderness (Mosiah 9:4)
    • “and to permit them no longer to wander in the wilderness” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book III, 15:2)
  • took possession of the capitol (p. 204) / took possession of the city (Alma 51:23)
    • “The Persians, on their return, took possession of an empty town” (Herodotus, Book I)
    • “The chief men of the senate wrote to the king, and desired that he would come to them, and take possession of their city” (Life of Flavius Josephus, 68)
  • in possession of the first city in the union (p. 205) / took possession of the city (Alma 51:23) / in possession of the city of Zarahemla (Helaman 1:22) / took possession of the city (Alma 51:23)
    • “we find the Scythians again in possession of the country above the Tauri” (Herodotus, Book IV)
    • “although they might have come over to us and been now again in possession of their city” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter IX)
    • “The Persians, on their return, took possession of an empty town” (Herodotus, Book I)
    • “The chief men of the senate wrote to the king, and desired that he would come to them, and take possession of their city” (Life of Flavius Josephus, 68)
  • general Montgomery…embarrassed with bad roads…and the murmur of his little army (p. 104) / our embarrassments (Alma 58:9) / my little army (Alma 56:33) / we do not desire to murmur (Alma 58:35) / were this all we had suffered we would not murmur (Alma 60:4)
    • “and as soon as he had gotten together no small army of foreigners” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 15:3)
    • “and a great many were embarrassed with shipwrecks” (Josephus, Wars, Book III, 9:3)
    • “And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness” (Bible, Exodus 16:2)
  • repeated disappointment (p. 98) / he met with a disappointment (Alma 51:31)
    • “they had feared the reinforcement brought by Demosthenes, and deep, in consequence, was the despondency of the Athenians, and great their disappointment” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXIII)
    • “but when they went out to fight, they were always disappointed” (Josephus, Wars, Book V, 9:4)
  • Dissensions ran high among the inhabitants (p. 204) / dissensions among the people (Alma 51:16)
    • “the affairs of the Jews became very tumultuous; as also how the tyrants rose up against them, and fell into dissensions among themselves” (Josephus, Wars, Preface, 9)
    • “and never shrunk till they had overthrown themselves with private dissensions” (Thucydides, Hobbes Translation, Book II, 65)
  • they determined to maintain (p. 170) / they were determined to maintain (Alma 56:26)
    • “How the senators determined to restore the democracy” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XIX, Chapter 2 heading)
    • “helped us to maintain our independence” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter IX)
  • unshaken firmness (p. 242) / firmness unshaken (Mormon 9:28)
    • “she went to her death with an unshaken firmness of mind” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XV, 7:6)
  • destroyed by the sword (p. 221) / destroyed by the sword (Alma 57:23)
    • “that they might be destroyed upon their theatres, by the sword and by the wild beasts” (Josephus, Wars, Book VI, 9:2)
    • “as to those who are desirous to die by the sword” (Josephus, Wars, Book V, 12:1)
  • death and destruction (p. 303) / death and destruction (Alma 28:14)
    • “whether this is a discovery of their own, or whether they have learned from some one else this new sort of death and destruction” (Plato, Dialogues, Euthydemus)
  • an ignominious death (p. 584) / an ignominious death (Alma 1:15)
    • “he died ignominiously by the dangerous manner of his assault” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VII, 7:2)
  • fought and bled (p. 617) / fought and bled (Alma 60:9)
    • “these men, in the assertion of their resolve not to lose her, nobly fought and died” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VI)
    • “and fought and conquered them” (Herodotus, Book VI)
  • delight in blood (p. 137) / delight in blood (Mosiah 11:19)
    • “I swear by the sun, the sovereign lord of the Massagetae, bloodthirsty as thou art, I will give thee thy fill of blood” (Herodotus, Book I)
    • “the Thracian race, like the bloodiest of the barbarians, being even more so when it has nothing to fear” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXI)
    • “It was known to every body that he was fond of war” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 2:1)
    • “rather than to fight hand to hand with men that love murdering” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 6:2)
  • spilling human blood (p. 78) / spill your blood (Alma 44:11)
    • “as if the servant had spilled the blood on purpose in that place” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 3:6)
    • “and thank god, who hath hindered thee from shedding human blood” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VI, 13:7)
  • blood that had been spilt (p. 604) / blood was spilt (Alma 57:9)
    • “as if the servant had spilled the blood on purpose in that place” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 3:6)
    • “they had once been partners with them in shedding the blood of their own countrymen” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 5:5)
  • having received a dangerous wound (p. 147) / having received a wound (Mosiah 20:13)
    • “but received a wound and found himself unable to force the position” (Thucydides, Book IV, Chapter XIV)
    • “and even Mardonius himself received a wound” (Herodotus, Book VI)
  • watery grave (p. 215) / watery grave (1 Nephi 18:18)
    • “if he wished for a grave on dry land, or without loss of time to leap overboard into the sea” (Herodotus, Book I)
  • dead and dreary (p. 599) / dark and dreary (1 Nephi 8:4)
    • “which did not happen at this time, for a dark and dismal night oppressed them” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book II, 16:3)
  • perished in the wilderness (p. 634) / perished in the wilderness (1 Nephi 5:2)
    • “Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no bread, neither is there any water” (Bible, Numbers 21:5)
    • “They shall perish, but thou shalt endure” (Bible, Psalm 102:26)
  • robbed…and plundered (p. 99) / rob and plunder (Mosiah 10:17)
    • “and fell a robbing others after various manners, and these particularly plundered the places that were about the city” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 18:1)
  • Among the slain (p. 121) / among the number who were slain (Helaman 1:30)
    • Among the slain was also Procles, the colleague of Demosthenes” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter XI)
    • “Search was made among the slain by order of the queen” (Herodotus, Book I)
  • suffered much loss (p. 532) / suffered much loss (Alma 25:6)
    • “in which both parties suffered great loss” (Herodotus, Book I)
    • “with difficulty made good their passage to Olpae, suffering heavy loss on the way” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter XI)
    • “and yet might suffer loss by an attack from an unseen position” (Thucydides, Book IV, Chapter XII)
  • great loss (p. 224) / great loss (Alma 57:23)
    • “they had been forced to retire with great loss” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VII, 7:2)
    • “and a battle was fought, in which both parties suffered great loss” (Herodotus, Book I)
  • inexpressible (p. 272) / inexpressible (Alma 36:14)
    • “you might then see the whole province full of inexpressible calamities” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 18:2)
  • ferocious nations (p. 114) / wicked and ferocious (Alma 47:36)
    • “for as they are naturally a most barbarous and bloody nation” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 5:1)
    • “The one producing a temper of hardness and ferocity, the other of softness and effeminacy, I replied” (Plato, Republic, Book III)
    • “but they charged straight for the walls, yelling out an unintelligible and ferocious war cry” (Plato, the Seventh Letter)
  • a monster (p. 665) / awful monster (2 Nephi 9:10)
    • “In like manner do you treat all that is of a monstrous nature when it is looked on” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book IV, 8:40)
    • “For the sea about Athos abounds in monsters beyond all others” (Thucydides, Book VI)
  • havoc (p. 278) / havoc (Helaman 11:27)
    • “a famine and a pestilential distemper, and made great havoc of them” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book X, 7:4)
    • “and committed such havoc as to cripple them completely” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VII)
  • to glut the ambition of a weak individual (p. 697) / we do not glut ourselves upon the labors of this people (Alma 30:32)
    • “an unjust verdict or the authority of the strong arm to glut the animosities of the hour” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter X)
  • the work of slaughter (p. 268) / the work of death (Alma 43:37)
    • “at length undertook the work of bringing Alexander and Aristobulus to their graves” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 26:2)
    • “they did themselves the works of war and tyranny, after an insolent manner” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 5:5)
  • scene of carnage (p. 316) / scene of blood and carnage (Mormon 5:8)
    • “Besides this, a large portion were killed outright, the carnage being very great” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXIII)
    • “for a long while they disbelieved even the most respectable of the soldiers who had themselves escaped from the scene of action and clearly reported the matter, a destruction so complete not being thought credible” (Thucydides, Book VIII, Chapter XXIV)
    • “she wrote an account of this treacherous scene to Cleopatra, and how her son was murdered” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XV, 3:5)
  • A part of the Muskingum tribe had professed themselves Christians of the Moravian sect. They considered war of any kind as inconsistent both with the laws of religion and humanity. They refused to take part with the numerous hostile tribes of savages, in the war against the Americans. (p. 285) / Now there was not one soul among all the people who had been converted unto the Lord that would take up arms against their brethren; nay, they would not even make any preparations for war (Alma 24:6)
    • “But they said, We will not come forth, neither will we do the king’s commandment, to profane the sabbath day. So then they gave them the battle with all speed. Howbeit they answered them not, neither cast they a stone at them, nor stopped the places where they lay hid; but said, Let us die all in our innocency: heaven and earth shall testify for us, that ye put us to death wrongfully. So they rose up against them in battle on the sabbath, and slew them, with their wives and children, and their cattle, to the number of a thousand people” (Apocrypha, I Maccabees 2:34-38)
  • they, without resistance, suffered themselves to be bound and inhumanely butchered (p. 286) / they suffered themselves to be slain (Alma 27:3)
    • (see above)
  • neither the pen of the historian, or the imagination of the poet, can fully describe (p. 385) / impossible for the tongue to describe, or for man to write (Mormon 4:11)
    • Now it is impossible to describe the multitude of the shows as they deserve, and the magnificence of them all “(Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 5:5)
    • “I saw the back-bones and ribs of serpents in such numbers as it is impossible to describe” (Herodotus, Book II)
  • passions whetted by revenge (p. 281) / But in this war, they seemed to have lost those generous feelings of compassion to the vanquished foe (p. 278) / suffered themselves to be governed either by vindictive passions, or their feelings of resentment (p. 438) / For so exceedingly do they anger that it seemeth me that they have no fear of death; and they have lost their love, one towards another; and they thirst after blood and revenge continually (Moroni 9:5)
    • “he preferred the obligations of nature before the passion of revenge” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 25:4)
    • “and this out of his resentment of their old quarrels with him” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 7:3)
    • “and now all parts were full of those that were slain, by the rage of the Romans at the long duration of the siege, and by the zeal of the Jews that were on Herod’s side, who were not willing to leave one of their adversaries alive; so they were murdered continually in the narrow streets and in the houses by crowds, and as they were flying to the temple for shelter, and there was no pity taken of either infants or the aged, nor did they spare so much as the weaker sex; nay, although the king sent about, and besought them to spare the people, yet nobody restrained their hands from the slaughter, but, as if they were a company of madmen, they fell upon persons of all ages, without distinction” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XIV, 16:2)
    • “yet am I resolved that no one who thirsts after my blood shall escape punishment, although the evidence should extend itself to all my sons” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 32:2)
  • They waited long, amidst penury, hunger, and cold, for the necessary supplies (p. 211) / we were about to perish for the want of food (Alma 58:7)
    • “while those that were afraid of being caught, and for that reason staid in the city, perished for want of food” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 1:7)
    • “There his army was in great straits for want of food” (Herodotus, Book VI)
    • “attacked in front and behind, began to give way, and overcome by the odds against them and exhausted from want of food” (Thucydides, Book IV, Chapter XII)
  • they were treated with as little mercy (p. 432) / They are without order and without mercy (Moroni 9:18)
    • “the multitude would be destroyed by the soldiers without mercy” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 2:2)
    • “he gave his troops orders to slay all the other Lydians who came in their way without mercy” (Herodotus, Book I)
  • war among themselves (p. 653) / war among themselves (1 Nephi 22:13)
    • “But I did not comply with them, thinking it a terrible thing to begin a civil war among them” (The Life of Flavius Josephus, 19)
  • impede their progress (p. 270) / impede the progress (Alma 60:30)
    • “This was the impediment that lay in the way of this his entire glorious progress” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 17:6)
  • the intrigues of the governmental faction (p. 86) / the intrigues of the Lamanites (Alma 55:27)
    • “they destroyed the corn and had some hopes of the city coming over through the intrigues of a faction within” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VIII)
    • “he had also thought of preventing her intrigues, by putting her to death” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XV, 4:2)
  • combinations (p. 92) / combinations (2 Nephi 9:9)
    • “it was this clause that was the real origin of the panic in Peloponnese, by exciting suspicions of a Lacedaemonian and Athenian combination against their liberties” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XV)
  • to combine for the destruction of America (p. 87) / they did combine against the people of the Lord (3 Nephi 6:29)
    • “they prepared therefore their chariots, and gathered their soldiery together, their cities also combined together, and drew over to them Askelon and Ekron” (Antiquites, Book V, 3:1)
    • “the Ambraciots having come and urged them to combine with them in attacking Amphilochian Argos” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter XI)
  • contrary to the laws of (p. 635) / contrary to the laws of (Helaman 6:23)
    • “and to pull down what had been erected contrary to the laws of their country” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 33:2)
  • while the Ganges and the Indus were reddened with the blood, and covered with the slaughtered bodies of men (p. 338) / the river Sidon, throwing the bodies of the Lamanites who had been slain into the waters (Alma 2:34) / who had been slain upon the bank of the river Sidon were cast into the waters (Alma 3:3)
    • “the river ran with their blood” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book IX, 3:2)
    • “and he slew all that he overtook, as far as Jordan; and when he had driven the whole multitude to the river side, where they were stopped by the current, (for it had been augmented lately by rains, and was not fordable,) he put his soldiers in array over against them; so the necessity the others were in provoked them to hazard a battle, because there was no place whither they could flee. They then extended themselves a very great way along the banks of the river, and sustained the darts that were thrown at them as well as the attacks of the horsemen, who beat many of them, and pushed them into the current. At which fight, hand to hand, fifteen thousand of them were slain, while the number of those that were unwillingly forced to leap into Jordan was prodigious… the whole of the country through which they had fled was filled with slaughter, and Jordan could not be passed over, by reason of the dead bodies that were in it, but because the lake Asphaltitis was also full of dead bodies, that were carried down into it by the river” (Wars of the Jews, Book IV, Chapter 7:5-6)
  • (Quoting a letter from a British officer in India) “The carnage was great; we trampled thick on the dead bodies that were strewed in the way” (p. 597) / scene of bloodshed and carnage, that the whole face of the land was covered with the bodies of the dead (Ether 14:21) / leaving the bodies of both men, women, and children strewed upon the face of the land (Ether 14:22)
    • “Besides this, a large portion were killed outright, the carnage being very great, and not exceeded by any in this Sicilian war” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXIII)
    • “While others were so greedy of gain, that they would go in among the dead bodies that lay on heaps, and tread upon them” (Josephus, Wars, Book VI, 9:4)
    • “for the ground did no where appear visible, for the dead bodies that lay on it; but the soldiers went over heaps of those bodies, as they ran upon such as fled from them” (Josephus, Wars, Book VI, 5:1)
    • “obstructed the very lanes with their dead bodies, and made the whole city run down with blood” (Josephus, Wars, Book VI, 8:5)
  • a neighboring garrison, where a number of women and children had repaired for safety, and setting fire to both, they enjoyed the infernal pleasure of seeing them perish promiscuously in the flames (p. 280) / the women and children who were consuming in the fire (Alma 14:10)
    • “Many others did the same also, and fled with their children and wives into the desert, and dwelt in caves. But when the king’s generals heard this, they took all the forces they then had in the citadel at Jerusalem, and pursued the Jews…they burnt them as they were in the caves, without resistance…There were about a thousand, with their wives and children, who were smothered and died in these caves” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XII, 6:2)
  • he compelled them…to take arms in case of an attack, against their brethren (p. 133) / he commanded them that they should take up arms against their brethren (Alma 2:10)
    • “they forced the Jews that were among them to bear arms against their own countrymen, which it is unlawful for us to do” (Life of Flavius Josephus, 6)
    • “fought against their own kindred” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XVII, 10:10)
    • “the Rhodians, Argives by race, were compelled to bear arms against the Dorian Syracusans and their own colonists” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXIII)
  • precious metals (p. 417) / precious metals (Helaman 6:9)
    • “their precious vessels of silver and of gold” (Bible, Daniel 11:8)
    • “I will make a man more precious than fine gold” (Bible, Isaiah 13:12)
    • “Among the Ethiopians copper is of all metals the most scarce and valuable” (Herodotus, Book III)
    • “and that this was of old esteemed the most precious of all metals” (Dr. Hudson, Josephus Commentary, Josephus, Antiquities, Book XI, 5:2, footnote 8)
  • by my own industry (p. 139) / by the hand of my industry (Alma 10:4)
    • “Anthemion, who acquired his wealth, not by accident or gift…but by his own skill and industry” (Plato, Dialogues, Meno)
    • “our ordinary citizens, though occupied with the pursuits of industry, are still fair judges of public matters” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VI)
  • the fruits of their labors (p. 712) / the fruits of their labors (Alma 40:26)
    • “and those that work in order to its production, of this fruit of their labors” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book IV, 8:21)
    • “it is hereditary to us to win virtue as the fruit of labor” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter V)
  • the more fertile (p. 608) / the more fertile (1 Nephi 16:16)
    • the most fertile regions of Libya on the south” (Josephus, Wars, Book III, 5:7)
    • “and the most fertile parts of the rest of Hellas” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter I)
  • elegant buildings (p. 608) / elegant and spacious buildings (Mosiah 11:8)
    • “it was a most elegant building, and wonderfully made” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book X, 11:7)
  • not far distant (p. 156) / not far distant (Alma 7:7)
    • “for there appeared a might number of people that came from places far distant” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XIV, 15:12)
    • “for it was not far distant from the main land” (Thucydides, Hobbes Translation, Book III, 51)
  • to the reader (p. 324) / to the reader (Jacob 7:27)
    • “we have no such laws ourselves, an epitome of which I will present to the reader” (Josephus, Against Apion, Book II, 15)
  • But we shall see (p. 195) / But behold, we shall see (Alma 51:10)
    • But we shall speak of that matter more accurately in our following history” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 21:3)
    • But we shall relate those things in their proper places hereafter” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VIII, 8:4)
    • “and we shall see what will become of his dreams” (Bible, Genesis 37:20)
  • future generations (p. 609) / future generations (Alma 37:19)
    • “to be a witness to future generations of what he had foretold” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VI, 4:6)
    • “to leave behind thee to all future generations a memory beyond even Harmodius and Aristogeiton” (Herodotus, Book VI)
  • Some future day (p. 304) / some future day (Moroni 1:4)
    • “lest thou bring destruction on thine own head at some future time” (Herodotus, Book I)
    • “in order that if at any future time peace should be made with Athens” (Thucydides, Chapter X)
    • “But in future ages the people added new banks” (Josephus, Wars, Book V, 5:1)
  • future period (p. 287) / future period (1 Nephi 7:13)
    • “lest thou bring destruction on thine own head at some future time” (Herodotus, Book I)
    • “in order that if at any future time peace should be made with Athens” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter X)
    • “But in future ages the people added new banks” (Josephus, Wars, Book V, 5:1)
    • “Of the Ionians at this period, one people, the Milesians, were in no danger of attack” (Herodotus, Book I)
  • at this period (p. 25) / at this period (Alma 51:19)
    • “Of the Ionians at this period, one people, the Milesians, were in no danger of attack” (Herodotus, Book I)
  • in so short a time (p. 162) / space of time (p. 86) / in so short a space of time (Alma 56:50)
    • “which was finished in so short a time” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 5:7)
    • “to live even the shortest space of time after them” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 9:1)
    • “After the expiration of that space of time” (Herodotus, Book II)
  • the commencement of (p. 98) / the commencement of (Alma 51:1)
    • “and for the commencement of their hopes of future prosperity and happiness” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 5:6)
    • “at the commencement of the summer solstice” (Herodotus, Book II)
    • “Zeal is always at its height at the commencement of an undertaking” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VI)
  • The progress of (p. 85) / the progress of (Alma 60:30)
    • “Of which matter I shall treat more accurately in the progress of this history” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XVII, 2:2)
    • “But the Plataeans, observing the progress of the mound” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VI)
    • “and it was not without some little influence on the progress of the war” (Herodotus, Book IV)
  • at this critical conjuncture (p. 39) / the critical moment (p. 110) / era was truly critical (p. 204) / this was a critical time (Alma 51:9)/ critical circumstances (Alma 57:16)
    • “His arrival chanced at a critical moment” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXI)
    • “as he thought that they were in a critical position” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXI)
  • awful situation (p. 213) / awful situation (Mosiah 2:40)
    • “reflecting not merely on the awful fate in store for us, but also on the character of the sufferers” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter X)
  • dangerous crisis (p. 29)/ awful crisis (Alma 34:34)
    • “return us like for like, remembering that this is that very crisis in which he who lends aid is most a friend” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter II)
  • to shrink (p. 572) / to shrink (Alma 43:48)
    • “who best know the difference between hardship and pleasure and yet are never tempted to shrink from danger” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VI)
    • “which I particularly shrink from mentioning” (Herodotus, Book II)
  • In these circumstances (p. 595) / in these circumstances (Alma 55:23)
    • “and was in great distress to know what he should do in these circumstances” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 19:7)
  • genius to take advantage (p. 617) / prospered according to his genius (Alma 30:17)
    • “was greatly envied by his brethren, as being of a genius much above them, and such a one as they might well envy” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XII, 6:6)
    • “So superfluously abundant were the resources from which the genius of Perclles foresaw an easy triumph in the war over the unaided forces of the Peloponnesians” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VI)
  • Alarming (p. 26) / this was alarming (Alma 2:3)
    • “their counsels were disordered, and it alarmed them to find that the enemy had discovered those their intentions” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XIII, 5:10)
    • “make sure of their never rebelling against thee, or alarming thee more” (Herodotus, Book I)
    • The most alarming feature in the case is the constant change of measures with which we appear to be threatened” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter IX)
  • He bade adieu (p. 133) / Brethren, adieu (Jacob 7:27)
    • “with such portion of their goods and chattels as the vessels could bear, bade adieu to Cyrnus and sailed to Rhegium” (Herodotus, Book I)
    • “Thus have I set down the genealogy of my family as I have found it described in the public records, and so bid adieu to those who calumniate me” (Josephus, Life of Flavius Josephus, 1)

 

PARALLELS FOUND IN JOSEPHUS

Most of the similarities to the parallels identified by Donofrio can be found in the works of Josephus. I have presented below all of the similarities that can be accounted for by Josephus alone. This should dismantle the claim in the MormonThink article that the parallels between Warren and the Book of Mormon are too numerous to be explained by coincidence:

  • sets at defiance both human and divine laws (Warren, p. 12) / ye have set at defiance the commandments of God (Alma 5:18)
    • “and a contempt of both human and divine laws” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VI, 12:7…‘contempt’ is a synonym for ‘defiance’)
    • “the affairs of the Hebrews were managed uncertainly, and tended to disorder, and to the contempt of God and of the laws” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book V, 8:7)
  • law set at defiance (Warren, p. 81) / set at defiance the law (3 Nephi 6:30)
    • “their calamities arose from their contempt of the laws” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book V, 5:2)
  • that man, in a state of nature (p. 12) / men that are in a state of nature (Alma 41:11)
    • “having his hand recovered to its natural state” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VIII, 8:5)
    • “But as for his being ensnared by a woman, that is to be ascribed to human nature, which is took weak to resist the temptations to that sin” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book V, 8:12)
  • a consciousness of their own guilt (p. 109) / a consciousness of his own guilt (Alma 14:6)
    • “they should seem to be in this difficulty from a consciousness of guilt” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XVI, 4:2)
  • to conquer or die in defence of their country (p. 202) / to conquer in this place or die (Alma 56:17) / defence of their country (Alma 51:20)
    • “also of encouraging them to undergo dangers, and to die for their countries” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VI, 14:4)
    • “Nay, indeed, Lysias observing the great spirit of the Jews, how they were prepared to die rather than lose their liberty” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XII, 7:5)
    • “it can never be that we must conquer without bloodshed on our own side” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 1:6)
    • “they believed death with torments must be their punishment, if they did not go on in the defense of the city, they thought it much better to die in war” (Josephus, Wars, Book V, 9:1)
  • learn wisdom (p. 645) / learn wisdom (2 Nephi 22:30)
    • “And from hence I cannot forbear to admire God, and to learn hence his wisdom and his justice” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XI, 6:11)
    • “their sufferings will be an instruction of wisdom” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book IV, 3:2)
  • tenderness of a parent (p. 237) / tender parent (1 Nephi 8:37)
    • “as one that was a tender and gentle father to them” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VI, 5:6)
  • Multitudes flocked from every quarter to the American standard (p. 129) / multitudes flocked to the American standard (p. 191) / thousands did flock unto his standard (Alma 62:5)
    • The multitude also flocked about him greatly, and made mighty acclamations to him” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XVII, 12:1)
  • a free people (p. 33) / a free people (Alma 21:21)
    • “he would have the greatest honors decreed to him that a free people could bestow” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XIX, 3:3)
  • the cause of liberty (p. 24) / the cause of liberty (Alma 51:17)
    • “courage not to be moved by any dangers in the cause of liberty” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 8:7)
  • that the voice of the people (p. 24) / that the voice of the people (Alma 2:7)
    • “While I was thus speaking, the united voices of all the people joined together, and called me their benefactor and savior” (Josephus, The Life of Flavius Josephus, 50)
  • The minds of the people (p. 87) / the minds of the people (Alma 17:6)
    • “he could no other way bend the minds of the Jews so as to receive Herod” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XV, 1:2)
    • “for nothing does so much cement the minds of men together” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 4:3)
  • their rights and privileges (p. 48) / their rights and privileges (Alma 30:27)
    • “made this speech concerning the rights and privileges of Hyrcanus” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XIV, 10:7)
  • the cause of freedom (p. 146) / the cause of freedom (Alma 46:35)
    • “courage not to be moved by any dangers in the cause of liberty” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 8:7)
  • the rights of their country (p. 79) / the rights of their country (3 Nephi 6:30)
    • “he compelled the Jews to dissolve the laws of their country” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 1:2)
    • “to plead for the liberty of their country” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 6:1)
  • the freedom of their country (p. 172) / the freedom of their country (Alma 59:13)
    • “to plead for the liberty of their country” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 6:1)
    • freedom of the city of Rome” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XVI, 2:3)
  • the rights for which our ancestors contended (p. 643) / for this cause were the Nephites contending…to defend…their rights (Alma 43:47)
    • (This comparison is disingenuous. The full quote from Alma is “And again, the Lord has said that: Ye shall defend your families even unto bloodshed. Therefore for this cause were the Nephites contending with the Lamanites, to defend themselves, and their families, and their lands, their country, and their rights, and their religion.”)
    • “immediately took up their arms to fight for themselves” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XIX, 5:2)
    • “So they fought the Romans briskely when they least expected it, being both many in number, and prepared for fighting, and of great alacrity, as esteeming their country, their wives, and their children to be in danger” (Josephus, Wars, Book III, 6:1)
    • “they had such a proper opportunity for the recovery of their country’s ancient liberty” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XVII, 10:3)
  • the justice of their cause (p. 36) / the justice of the cause (p. 154) / the justice of the cause (Alma 46:29)
    • “but Aristobulus’s three hundred talents had more weight with him than the justice of the cause” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 6:3)
  • to take up arms in defence of their rights (p. 90) / to take up arms in defence of their country (Alma 51:20)
    • “who necessitated us to take up arms against the Romans” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XX, 11:1)
  • deprive them of their rights (p. 332) / deprive them of their rights (Alma 2:4)
    • “I will therefore that the nation of the Jews be not deprived of their rights and privileges, on account of the madness of Caius” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XIX, 5:2)
  • to maintain their rights (p. 337) / to maintain their rights (Alma 51:6)
    • “and every body caught up their arms, in order to maintain the liberty of their metropolis” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 4:2)
    • “for we shall alike preserve the rights and hear all the causes of our confederates” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XIV, 12:4)
  • welfare and happiness (p. 648) / welfare and happiness (Helaman 12:2)
    • “for the commencement of their hopes of future prosperity and happiness” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 5:6)
    • “leaders are required to show a special care for the common welfare” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter V)
  • freemen (p. 175) / freemen (Alma 51:6)
    • “he also left some of the horsemen, called the Freemen, with Herod” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 13:3)
  • class of men (p. 601) / class of people (Alma 32:2)
    • “there were four classes of men among those of Cyrene” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XIV, 7:2)
  • ranks and classes (p. 636) / divided into classes (4 Nephi 1:26)
    • “they are parted into four classes; and so far are the juniors inferior to the seniors” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 8:10)
    • “Now all the soldiery marched out beforehand by companies, and in their several ranks, under their several commanders” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 5:4)
  • high birth (p. 236) / high birth (Alma 51:8)
    • “nor by the dignity of men eminent for either their riches or their high birth” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book IX, 1:1)
  • to be supported by the labor of the poor, or the taxation (p. 624) / supported in their laziness…by the taxes (Mosiah 11:6)
    • “Now it happened that the Egyptians grew delicate and lazy, as to pains-taking, and gave themselves up to other pleasures, and in particular to the love of gain” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book II, 9:1)
    • “But when, upon his mustering his soldiers, he perceived that his treasures were deficient, and there was a want of money in them, for all the taxes were not paid, by reason of the seditions” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XII, 7:2)
  • the powers of the earth (p. 551) / the powers of the earth (3 Nephi 28:39)
    • “These ascribe all to fate [or providence], and to God, and yet allow, that to act what is right, or the contrary, is principally in the power of men” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 8:14)
    • “where Caesar and Antony were to fight for the supreme power of the world” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XV, 5:1)
  • Great Spirit (p. 285) / Great Spirit (Alma 18:2)
    • “as not being in his own power, but moved to say what he did by the Divine Spirit” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book IV, 6:5)
  • narrow passage (p. 146) / narrow passage (Mormon 2:29)
    • “which stopped up the narrow passages, they retired to the camp” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 15:5)
  • the river Elk (p. 203) / the river Sidon (Alma 3:3)
    • “by birth a Jew, but brought up at Sidon with one of the Roman freed-men” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 7:1)
  • the art of war (p. 270) / the arts of war (Ether 13:16)
    • “to fight with one that was skilled in the art of war” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VI, 9:3)
  • a council of war (p. 300) / a council of war (Alma 52:19)
    • “To the end he called the commanders that were under him to a council of war” (Josephus, Wars, Book III, 7:8)
  • to carry the point (p. 108) / not gain the point (Alma 46:29)
    • “which he might prevent by placing his camp round about them; and that they should think it a great point gained” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 2:3)
  • a full detail of their proceedings (p. 38) / an account of their proceedings (Mosiah 28:9)
    • These proceedings of the people in those countries occasioned perplexity and trouble to Moses” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book III, 2:2)
    • gave an account in order of the several discoveries that had been made” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 32:4)
  • supplies of provisions (p. 208) / supplies of provisions (Alma 55:34)
    • “This Simon had his supply of provisions from the city, in opposition to the seditious” (Josephus, Wars, Book V, 1:4)
  • fallen into his hands (p. 145) / fallen into his hands (Alma 53:11)
    • “that it was much better to fall into the hands of God, than into those of his enemies” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VII, 13:2)
    • “the two next by falling into the hands of Gratus and Ptolemeus” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 4:3)
  • the prisoners who fell into his hands (p. 191) / the prisoners who fell into his hands (Alma 52:8)
    • “that it was much better to fall into the hands of God, than into those of his enemies” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VII, 13:2)
    • “the Jews had almost taken Cestius’s entire army prisoners” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 19:8)
  • surrendered themselves prisoners of war (p. 182) / surrendered themselves prisoners of war (Alma 57:14)
    • “insomuch that all Perea had either surrendered themselves, or were taken by the Romans” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 7:6)
  • his whole army (p. 224) / his whole army (Helaman 1:20)
    • “he came himself with his whole army” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XIV, 15:5)
  • with a part of his army (p. 191) / with a part of his army (Alma 56:33)
    • “for as he set a part of his army round about Gaza itself, so with the rest he overran their land” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XIII, 5:5)
  • at their head (p. 241) / at their head (Alma 48:7)
    • “out of envy at his glorious expedition at the head of his army” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book II, 11:1)
  • thus reduced (p. 241) / been reduced (Alma 56:10)
    • “but the king of Syria brought him low, and by an expedition against him did so greatly reduce his forces, that there remained no more of so great an army than ten thousand armed men” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book IX, 8:5)
  • led captive (p. 241) / led captive (Alma 40:13)
    • “There were also led captive about thirty-two thousand virgins” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book IV, 7:1)
  • threw down their arms (p. 393) / threw down their weapons (Alma 52:38)
    • “but when they had lost their general, they were put to flight, and threw down their arms” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XII, 10:5)
  • laying down their arms at the feet of the victorious Washington (p. 484) / threw down their weapons of war at the feet of Moroni (Alma 52:38)
    • “and assured them, that if they would lay down their arms, he would secure them from any harm” (Josephus, Wars, Book III, 7:32)
    • “Whereupon three thousand of John’s party left him immediately, who came to Josephus, and threw their arms down at his feet” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 21:7)
  • and laying them at the feet of the conqueror (p. 240) / and cast them at the feet of the Nephites (Alma 55:23)
    • “Whereupon three thousand of John’s party left him immediately, who came to Josephus, and threw their arms down at his feet” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 21:7)
  • lay on their arms through the night (p. 232) / when the night came they slept upon their swords (Ether 15:20)
    • “both sides also lay in their armor during the night time, and thereby were ready at the first appearance of light to go to battle” (Josephus, Wars, Book V, 7:3)
    • “and placed watchmen beyond his camp, and kept all his forces armed all night” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XIII, 5:10)
  • the warm altercations between them (p. 463) / a warm contention (Alma 50:26)
    • “Those that were of the warmest tempers thought he should bring the whole army against the city” (Josephus, Wars, Book V, 12:1)
    • “and being a young man, of a warm temper” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VIII, 7:8)
  • A warm, but short, action (p. 207) / a warm dispute (Alma 51:4)
    • “Those that were of the warmest tempers thought he should bring the whole army against the city” (Josephus, Wars, Book V, 12:1)
    • “and being a young man, of a warm temper” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VIII, 7:8)
  • British troops had yet met with no check (p. 428) / did arrive in season to check them (Alma 57:18)
    • “whether it were possible to check the growing power of that people before it came to a head” (Herodotus, Book I)
  • to harass their march (p. 269) / did harass them (Alma 51:32)
    • “and avoided by any means to come to a pitched battle; yet did he greatly harass the enemy by his assiduity” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XV, 5:1)
  • were obliged to retreat in great confusion (p. 207) / were obliged to flee before them (Alma 59:8)
    • “and the rest of the entire nation were obliged to save themselves by flight” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 16:4)
  • were obliged to fly (p. 103) / were obliged to flee before them (Alma 59:8)
    • “but followed him at his heels; he was also obliged to make haste in his attempt” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 6:6)
    • “and the rest of the entire nation were obliged to save themselves by flight” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 16:4)
  • fled in confusion (p. 374) / fled in much confusion (Alma 52:28)
    • “the Romans were at length brought into confusion, and put to flight, and ran away from their camp” (Josephus, Wars, Book V, 2:4)
  • prepare to meet him (p. 159) / they did prepare to meet them (Alma 2:12)
    • “Now when the Egyptians had overtaken the Hebrews, they prepared to fight them” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book II, 15:3)
    • “what amendment of your affairs will it bring you, if you do not now go out to meet them?” (Josephus, Wars, Book II15:4)
  • not sufficiently strong (p. 229) / not sufficiently strong (Alma 56:23)
    • “he came with a sufficient body of soldiers” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 10:7)
    • “Now he chose for the war such an army as was sufficient” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 20:8)
  • to make an attack (p. 229) / to make an attack (Alma 56:22)
    • “he was in doubt where he could possibly make an attack on any side” (Josephus, Wars, Book V, 6:2)
  • entrenchments to be thrown up (p. 105) / bank which had been thrown up (Alma 49:18)
    • “on the forty-seventh day [of the siege] the banks cast up by the Romans were become higher than the wall” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 7:33)
  • chief commander (p. 398) / chief commander (Alma 46:11)
    • “and this out of jealousy that he would obtain the chief command of the army” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VII, 11:7)
  • to fall on the rear of the British (p. 183) / to fall upon them in their rear (Alma 56:23)
    • “he also parted his army into three bodies, and fell upon the backs of their enemies” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XII, 8:3)
  • cut off the retreat (p. 277) / their retreat cut off (p. 147) / cut off the way of their retreat (3 Nephi 4:24)
    • “and slew a great number of them, and cut off the retreat of the rest of the multitude” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 1:8)
  • concealed himself in a wood, with fifteen hundred men (p. 203) / part of the army of Moroni was concealed (Alma 43:34)
    • “while he came and sat upon his judgment-seat, which seat was so prepared in the open place of the city, that it concealed the army that lay ready to oppress them” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XVIII, 3:1)
  • surrounded on all sides (p. 311) / surrounded them on every side (Mosiah 21:5)
    • “nor were strong enough to fight with the Romans any longer upon the square, as being surrounded on all sides” (Josephus, Wars, Book VI, 7:2)
  • After two days wandering in the wilderness (p. 224) / after many days’ wandering in the wilderness (Mosiah 9:4)
    • “and to permit them no longer to wander in the wilderness” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book III, 15:2)
  • took possession of the capitol (p. 204) / took possession of the city (Alma 51:23)
    • and take possession of their city” (Life of Flavius Josephus, 68)
  • in possession of the first city in the union (p. 205) / took possession of the city (Alma 51:23) / in possession of the city of Zarahemla (Helaman 1:22) / took possession of the city (Alma 51:23)
    • “The chief men of the senate wrote to the king, and desired that he would come to them, and take possession of their city” (Life of Flavius Josephus, 68)
  • general Montgomery…embarrassed with bad roads…and the murmur of his little army (p. 104) / our embarrassments (Alma 58:9) / my little army (Alma 56:33) / we do not desire to murmur (Alma 58:35) / were this all we had suffered we would not murmur (Alma 60:4)
    • “and as soon as he had gotten together no small army of foreigners” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 15:3)
    • “and a great many were embarrassed with shipwrecks” (Josephus, Wars, Book III, 9:3)
  • repeated disappointment (p. 98) / he met with a disappointment (Alma 51:31)
    • “but when they went out to fight, they were always disappointed” (Josephus, Wars, Book V, 9:4)
  • Dissensions ran high among the inhabitants (p. 204) / dissensions among the people (Alma 51:16)
    • “the affairs of the Jews became very tumultuous; as also how the tyrants rose up against them, and fell into dissensions among themselves” (Josephus, Wars, Preface, 9)
  • they determined to maintain (p. 170) / they were determined to maintain (Alma 56:26)
    • “How the senators determined to restore the democracy” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XIX, Chapter 2 heading)
    • “and every body caught up their arms, in order to maintain the liberty of their metropolis” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 4:2)
  • unshaken firmness (p. 242) / firmness unshaken (Mormon 9:28)
    • “she went to her death with an unshaken firmness of mind” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XV, 7:6)
  • destroyed by the sword (p. 221) / destroyed by the sword (Alma 57:23)
    • “that they might be destroyed upon their theatres, by the sword and by the wild beasts” (Josephus, Wars, Book VI, 9:2)
    • “as to those who are desirous to die by the sword” (Josephus, Wars, Book V, 12:1)
  • an ignominious death (p. 584) / an ignominious death (Alma 1:15)
    • “he died ignominiously by the dangerous manner of his assault” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VII, 7:2)
  • spilling human blood (p. 78) / spill your blood (Alma 44:11)
    • “as if the servant had spilled the blood on purpose in that place” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 3:6)
    • “and thank god, who hath hindered thee from shedding human blood” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VI, 13:7)
  • blood that had been spilt (p. 604) / blood was spilt (Alma 57:9)
    • “as if the servant had spilled the blood on purpose in that place” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 3:6)
    • “they had once been partners with them in shedding the blood of their own countrymen” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 5:5)
  • dead and dreary (p. 599) / dark and dreary (1 Nephi 8:4)
    • “which did not happen at this time, for a dark and dismal night oppressed them” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book II, 16:3)
  • robbed…and plundered (p. 99) / rob and plunder (Mosiah 10:17)
    • “and fell a robbing others after various manners, and these particularly plundered the places that were about the city” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 18:1)
  • great loss (p. 224) / great loss (Alma 57:23)
    • “they had been forced to retire with great loss” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VII, 7:2)
  • inexpressible (p. 272) / inexpressible (Alma 36:14)
    • “you might then see the whole province full of inexpressible calamities” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 18:2)
  • a monster (p. 665) / awful monster (2 Nephi 9:10)
    • “In like manner do you treat all that is of a monstrous nature when it is looked on” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book IV, 8:40)
  • havoc (p. 278) / havoc (Helaman 11:27)
    • “a famine and a pestilential distemper, and made great havoc of them” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book X, 7:4)
  • the work of slaughter (p. 268) / the work of death (Alma 43:37)
    • “at length undertook the work of bringing Alexander and Aristobulus to their graves” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 26:2)
  • neither the pen of the historian, or the imagination of the poet, can fully describe (p. 385) / impossible for the tongue to describe, or for man to write (Mormon 4:11)
    • Now it is impossible to describe the multitude of the shows as they deserve, and the magnificence of them all “(Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 5:5)
  • passions whetted by revenge (p. 281) / But in this war, they seemed to have lost those generous feelings of compassion to the vanquished foe (p. 278) / suffered themselves to be governed either by vindictive passions, or their feelings of resentment (p. 438) / For so exceedingly do they anger that it seemeth me that they have no fear of death; and they have lost their love, one towards another; and they thirst after blood and revenge continually (Moroni 9:5)
    • “he preferred the obligations of nature before the passion of revenge” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 25:4)
    • “and this out of his resentment of their old quarrels with him” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 7:3)
    • “and now all parts were full of those that were slain, by the rage of the Romans at the long duration of the siege, and by the zeal of the Jews that were on Herod’s side, who were not willing to leave one of their adversaries alive; so they were murdered continually in the narrow streets and in the houses by crowds, and as they were flying to the temple for shelter, and there was no pity taken of either infants or the aged, nor did they spare so much as the weaker sex; nay, although the king sent about, and besought them to spare the people, yet nobody restrained their hands from the slaughter, but, as if they were a company of madmen, they fell upon persons of all ages, without distinction” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XIV, 16:2)
    • “yet am I resolved that no one who thirsts after my blood shall escape punishment, although the evidence should extend itself to all my sons” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 32:2)
  • They waited long, amidst penury, hunger, and cold, for the necessary supplies (p. 211) / we were about to perish for the want of food (Alma 58:7)
    • “while those that were afraid of being caught, and for that reason staid in the city, perished for want of food” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 1:7)
  • they were treated with as little mercy (p. 432) / They are without order and without mercy (Moroni 9:18)
    • “the multitude would be destroyed by the soldiers without mercy” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 2:2)
  • war among themselves (p. 653) / war among themselves (1 Nephi 22:13)
    • “But I did not comply with them, thinking it a terrible thing to begin a civil war among them” (The Life of Flavius Josephus, 19)
  • impede their progress (p. 270) / impede the progress (Alma 60:30)
    • “This was the impediment that lay in the way of this his entire glorious progress” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 17:6)
  • the intrigues of the governmental faction (p. 86) / the intrigues of the Lamanites (Alma 55:27)
    • “he had also thought of preventing her intrigues, by putting her to death” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XV, 4:2)
  • to combine for the destruction of America (p. 87) / they did combine against the people of the Lord (3 Nephi 6:29)
    • “they prepared therefore their chariots, and gathered their soldiery together, their cities also combined together, and drew over to them Askelon and Ekron” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book V, 3:1)
  • contrary to the laws of (p. 635) / contrary to the laws of (Helaman 6:23)
    • “and to pull down what had been erected contrary to the laws of their country” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 33:2)
  • while the Ganges and the Indus were reddened with the blood, and covered with the slaughtered bodies of men (p. 338) / the river Sidon, throwing the bodies of the Lamanites who had been slain into the waters (Alma 2:34) / who had been slain upon the bank of the river Sidon were cast into the waters (Alma 3:3)
    • “the river ran with their blood” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book IX, 3:2)
    • “and he slew all that he overtook, as far as Jordan; and when he had driven the whole multitude to the river side, where they were stopped by the current, (for it had been augmented lately by rains, and was not fordable,) he put his soldiers in array over against them; so the necessity the others were in provoked them to hazard a battle, because there was no place whither they could flee. They then extended themselves a very great way along the banks of the river, and sustained the darts that were thrown at them as well as the attacks of the horsemen, who beat many of them, and pushed them into the current. At which fight, hand to hand, fifteen thousand of them were slain, while the number of those that were unwillingly forced to leap into Jordan was prodigious… the whole of the country through which they had fled was filled with slaughter, and Jordan could not be passed over, by reason of the dead bodies that were in it, but because the lake Asphaltitis was also full of dead bodies, that were carried down into it by the river” (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book IV, Chapter 7:5-6)
  • (Quoting a letter from a British officer in India) “The carnage was great; we trampled thick on the dead bodies that were strewed in the way” (p. 597) / scene of bloodshed and carnage, that the whole face of the land was covered with the bodies of the dead (Ether 14:21) / leaving the bodies of both men, women, and children strewed upon the face of the land (Ether 14:22)
    • “While others were so greedy of gain, that they would go in among the dead bodies that lay on heaps, and tread upon them” (Josephus, Wars, Book VI, 9:4)
    • “for the ground did no where appear visible, for the dead bodies that lay on it; but the soldiers went over heaps of those bodies, as they ran upon such as fled from them” (Josephus, Wars, Book VI, 5:1)
    • “obstructed the very lanes with their dead bodies, and made the whole city run down with blood” (Josephus, Wars, Book VI, 8:5)
  • a neighboring garrison, where a number of women and children had repaired for safety, and setting fire to both, they enjoyed the infernal pleasure of seeing them perish promiscuously in the flames (p. 280) / the women and children who were consuming in the fire (Alma 14:10)
    • “Many others did the same also, and fled with their children and wives into the desert, and dwelt in caves. But when the king’s generals heard this, they took all the forces they then had in the citadel at Jerusalem, and pursued the Jews…they burnt them as they were in the caves, without resistance…There were about a thousand, with their wives and children, who were smothered and died in these caves” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XII, 6:2)
    • “they were gathered together unto a certain strong rock, and settled themselves upon it, and prepared to build a wall about it: and when Abimelech knew their intentions, he prevented them, and came upon them with his forces, and laid faggots of dry wood round the place, he himself bringing some of them, and by his example encouraging the soldiers to do the same. And when the rock was encompassed round about with these faggots, they set them on fire…so a mighty flame was raised, and nobody could fly away from the rock, but every man perished, with their wives and their children, in all about fifteen hundred men, and the rest were a great number also” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book V, 8:4)
  • he compelled them…to take arms in case of an attack, against their brethren (p. 133) / he commanded them that they should take up arms against their brethren (Alma 2:10)
    • “they forced the Jews that were among them to bear arms against their own countrymen, which it is unlawful for us to do” (Life of Flavius Josephus, 6)
    • “fought against their own kindred” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XVII, 10:10)
  • the fruits of their labors (p. 712) / the fruits of their labors (Alma 40:26)
    • “and those that work in order to its production, of this fruit of their labors” (Josephus, Josephus, Antiquities, Book IV, 8:21)
  • the more fertile (p. 608) / the more fertile (1 Nephi 16:16)
    • the most fertile regions of Libya on the south” (Josephus, Wars, Book III, 5:7)
  • elegant buildings (p. 608) / elegant and spacious buildings (Mosiah 11:8)
    • “it was a most elegant building, and wonderfully made” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book X, 11:7)
  • not far distant (p. 156) / not far distant (Alma 7:7)
    • “for there appeared a might number of people that came from places far distant” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XIV, 15:12)
  • to the reader (p. 324) / to the reader (Jacob 7:27)
    • “we have no such laws ourselves, an epitome of which I will present to the reader” (Josephus, Against Apion, Book II, 15)
  • But we shall see (p. 195) / But behold, we shall see (Alma 51:10)
    • But we shall speak of that matter more accurately in our following history” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 21:3)
    • But we shall relate those things in their proper places hereafter” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VIII, 8:4)
  • future generations (p. 609) / future generations (Alma 37:19)
    • “to be a witness to future generations of what he had foretold” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VI, 4:6)
    • “to leave behind thee to all future generations a memory beyond even Harmodius and Aristogeiton” (Herodotus, Book VI)
  • in so short a time (p. 162) / space of time (p. 86) / in so short a space of time (Alma 56:50)
    • “which was finished in so short a time” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 5:7)
    • “to live even the shortest space of time after them” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 9:1)
  • the commencement of (p. 98) / the commencement of (Alma 51:1)
    • “and for the commencement of their hopes of future prosperity and happiness” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 5:6)
  • The progress of (p. 85) / the progress of (Alma 60:30)
    • “Of which matter I shall treat more accurately in the progress of this history” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XVII, 2:2)
  • In these circumstances (p. 595) / in these circumstances (Alma 55:23)
    • “and was in great distress to know what he should do in these circumstances” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 19:7)
  • genius to take advantage (p. 617) / prospered according to his genius (Alma 30:17)
    • “was greatly envied by his brethren, as being of a genius much above them, and such a one as they might well envy” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XII, 6:6)
  • Alarming (p. 26) / this was alarming (Alma 2:3)
    • “their counsels were disordered, and it alarmed them to find that the enemy had discovered those their intentions” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XIII, 5:10)
  • He bade adieu (p. 133) / Brethren, adieu (Jacob 7:27)
    • “Thus have I set down the geneology of my family as I have found it described in the public records, and so bid adieu to those who calumniate me” (Josephus, Life of Flavius Josephus, 1)

 

PARALLELS FOUND IN THUCYDIDES

“The History of the Peloponnesian War” by Thucydides also accounts for many of the parallels identified by MormonThink. The number of similarities found in Thucydides and the MormonThink list of parallels are provided below:

  • sets at defiance both human and divine laws (Warren, p. 12) / ye have set at defiance the commandments of God (Alma 5:18)
    • “exclusion from the ports of the Athenian empire and the market of Athens, in defiance of the treaty” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter III)
    • “But by his contempt of the laws and imitation of the barbarians, he gave grounds for much suspicion” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter V… ‘contempt’ is a synonym for ‘defiance’)
  • law set at defiance (Warren, p. 81) / set at defiance the law (3 Nephi 6:30)
    • “exclusion from the ports of the Athenian empire and the market of Athens, in defiance of the treaty” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter III)
    • “But by his contempt of the laws and imitation of the barbarians, he gave grounds for much suspicion” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter V)
  • that man, in a state of nature (p. 12) / men that are in a state of nature (Alma 41:11)
    • “In the confusion into which life was now thrown in the cities, human nature, always rebelling against the law and now its master, gladly showed itself ungoverned in passion, above respect for justice, and the enemy of all superiority” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter X)
    • “The Plataeans were now in the last state of weakness” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter X)
  • to conquer or die in defence of their country (p. 202) / to conquer in this place or die (Alma 56:17) / defence of their country (Alma 51:20)
    • we must conquer or hardly get away, as we shall have their horse upon us in great numbers” (Thucydides, Book VI, Chapter XX)
    • “And not contented with ideas derived only from words of the advantages which are bound up with the defence of your country” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VI)
  • learn wisdom (p. 645) / learn wisdom (2 Nephi 22:30)
    • “if it is not a case for repentance, you may still learn wisdom” (Thucydides, Book VI, Chapter XIX)
  • Multitudes flocked from every quarter to the American standard (p. 129) / multitudes flocked to the American standard (p. 191) / thousands did flock unto his standard (Alma 62:5)
    • “At the same time Brasidas made his preparations, calling to his standard fifteen hundred Thracian mercenaries and all the Edonians horse and targeteers…besides those in Amphipolis, and a force of heavy infantry numbering altogether about two thousand, and three hundred Hellenic horse.” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XV)
  • a free government (p. 65) / a free government (Alma 46:35)
    • “The freedom which we enjoy in our government extends also to our ordinary life” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VI)
    • “Lacedaemonians, propose to put down free governments in the cities of Greece, and to set up tyrannies in their room” (Herodotus, Book V)
  • cause of his country (p. 168) / cause of his country (Alma 62:1)
    • “Their bodies they spend ungrudgingly in their country’s cause” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter III)
  • the cause of their country (p. 34) / the cause of their country (Alma 56:11)
    • “Their bodies they spend ungrudgingly in their country’s cause” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter III)
  • the freedom of their country (p. 172) / the freedom of their country (Alma 59:13)
    • “men whose glory it is to be always ready to give battle for the liberty of their own country” (Thucydides, Book IV, Chapter XIV)
  • the rights for which our ancestors contended (p. 643) / for this cause were the Nephites contending…to defend…their rights (Alma 43:47)
    • (This comparison is disingenuous. The full quote from Alma is “And again, the Lord has said that: Ye shall defend your families even unto bloodshed. Therefore for this cause were the Nephites contending with the Lamanites, to defend themselves, and their families, and their lands, their country, and their rights, and their religion.”)
    • “The Argives, that they would contend for their ancient supremacy” (Thucydides, Chapter XVI)
    • “to show that they mean to defend themselves against an attack” (Thucydides, Chapter XIX)
    • “to come out, as many as chose, to their homes without fearing for their rights or persons” (Thucydides, Book IV, Chapter XIV)
    • “even securing for ourselves the freedom which our fathers gave to Hellas” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter V)
  • (Quoting Washington) “the welfare of their country” (p. 129) / and welfare of my country (Alma 60:36)
    • “leaders are required to show a special care for the common welfare” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter V)
    • “such a man would for his own sake desire the prosperity of his country more than others” (Thucydides, Book VI, Chapter XVIII)
  • to take up arms in defence of their rights (p. 90) / to take up arms in defence of their country (Alma 51:20)
    • “but I do bid you not to take up arms at once” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter III)
    • “And not contented with ideas derived only from words of the advantages which are bound up with the defence of your country” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VI)
  • deprive them of their rights (p. 332) / deprive them of their rights (Alma 2:4)
    • “instead of allowing itself to be deprived of its liberty by listening to you” (Thucydides, Book VI, Chapter XIX)
  • to maintain their rights (p. 337) / to maintain their rights (Alma 51:6)
    • “its leaders for the time being also helped us to maintain our independence” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter IX)
  • stand or fall (p. 104) / stand or fall (Alma 41:7)
    • “you chose the Athenians, and with them you must stand or fall” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter X)
  • freemen (p. 175) / freemen (Alma 51:6)
    • “killing all the freemen that fell into their hands” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XVI)
  • class of men (p. 601) / class of people (Alma 32:2)
    • “Farmers are a class of men that are always more ready to serve in person than in purse” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter V)
  • ranks and classes (p. 636) / divided into classes (4 Nephi 1:26)
    • the commons had a design for redividing the land; but the upper classes, aware of their intention, called in the Syracusans and expelled the commons” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XV)
    • “and next you will play directly into the hands of the higher classes” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter IX)
  • narrow passage (p. 146) / narrow passage (Mormon 2:29)
    • “and so arrived in time to occupy the narrow pass between two hills” (Thucydides, Book IV, Chapter XIV)
  • the river Elk (p. 203) / the river Sidon (Alma 3:3)
    • “the river Acheron” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter II)
  • the art of war (p. 270) / the arts of war (Ether 13:16)
    • “novices in the art of war” (Thucydides, Book VI, Chapter XX)
  • a council of war (p. 300) / a council of war (Alma 52:19)
    • “The Athenians, seeing them closing up in the harbour and informed of their further designs, called a council of war” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXIII)
  • to carry the point (p. 108) / not gain the point (Alma 46:29)
    • “Having thus gained their point, the delegates returned home at once” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter IV)
  • a full detail of their proceedings (p. 38) / an account of their proceedings (Mosiah 28:9)
    • “I answer by placing first an account of their grounds of complaint” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter I)
    • “Megarians, who did not approve of these proceedings” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XV)
  • supplies of provisions (p. 208) / supplies of provisions (Alma 55:34)
    • “the transport of provisions from Euboea” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXI)
    • “A message has been sent on to them with directions to meet us with supplies of food” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXIII)
  • fallen into his hands (p. 145) / fallen into his hands (Alma 53:11)
    • “killing all the freemen that fell into their hands” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XVI)
  • the prisoners who fell into his hands (p. 191) / the prisoners who fell into his hands (Alma 52:8)
    • “we are prisoners who surrendered of their own accord” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter X)
    • “killing all the freemen that fell into their hands” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XVI)
  • surrendered themselves prisoners of war (p. 182) / surrendered themselves prisoners of war (Alma 57:14)
    • “upon which after consulting together they surrendered themselves and their arms” (Thucydides, Book IV, Chapter XII)
    • “immediately set free all the prisoners of war in their possession” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XV)
  • his whole army (p. 224) / his whole army (Helaman 1:20)
    • “Gylippus led out the whole army by night” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXI)
  • with a part of his army (p. 191) / with a part of his army (Alma 56:33)
    • “and retired as speedily as possible with the greater part of his army” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter III)
  • at their head (p. 241) / at their head (Alma 48:7)
    • “to be their head and to be regarded with a proper respect” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter II)
  • thus reduced (p. 241) / been reduced (Alma 56:10)
    • “the Samians, unable to hold out, were reduced after a nine months’ siege” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter V)
  • laying down their arms at the feet of the victorious Washington (p. 484) / threw down their weapons of war at the feet of Moroni (Alma 52:38)
    • lay down their arms, and commit themselves to the discretion of the Athenian people” (Thucydides, Book IV, Chapter XIII)
  • and laying them at the feet of the conqueror (p. 240) / and cast them at the feet of the Nephites (Alma 55:23)
    • ““lay down their arms, and commit themselves to the discretion of the Athenian people” (Thucydides, Book IV, Chapter XIII)
  • lay on their arms through the night (p. 232) / when the night came they slept upon their swords (Ether 15:20)
    • “The citizens went so far as to sleep one night armed in the temple of Theseus within the walls” (Thucydides, Book VI, Chapter XIX)
  • to strengthen the hands of general Arnold (p. 256) / strengthen the hand of the Nephites (Alma 2:18)
    • “The charges which strengthen our hands in the war against the Athenians would on our own showing be merited by ourselves” (Thucydides, Book IV, Chapter XIV)
  • the warm altercations between them (p. 463) / a warm contention (Alma 50:26)
    • “Knots were formed in the streets and engaged in hot discussion; for if the proposed sally was warmly recommended, it was also in some cases opposed” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VI)
  • A warm, but short, action (p. 207) / a warm dispute (Alma 51:4)
    • “although some spoke on the other side. By far the warmest advocate of the expedition was, however, Alcibiades” (Thucydides, Book VI, Chapter XVIII)
  • British troops had yet met with no check (p. 428) / did arrive in season to check them (Alma 57:18)
    • “and from their summit and base kept in check all of the enemy that came up” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter IX)
  • to harass their march (p. 269) / did harass them (Alma 51:32)
    • “and accordingly continually harassed and made war upon the new settlers” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter XI)
  • were obliged to retreat in great confusion (p. 207) / were obliged to flee before them (Alma 59:8)
    • “some of those who were obliged to leap down from the cliffs without their shields escaped with their lives and did not perish like the rest” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXII)
  • fled in confusion (p. 374) / fled in much confusion (Alma 52:28)
    • “the capture of many of those outside, and the flight of the rest within the wall, combined to produce great confusion among the citizens” (Thucydides, Book IV, Chapter XIV)
    • “suddenly and unexpectedly attacked on both sides, fell into confusion; and their left words Eion, which had already got some distance, at once broke and fled” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XV)
  • prepare to meet him (p. 159) / they did prepare to meet them (Alma 2:12)
    • “who on their part advanced to meet them with all their ships that were fit for service” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter II)
    • “He therefore prepared to assail them by stratagem” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XV)
  • not sufficiently strong (p. 229) / not sufficiently strong (Alma 56:23)
    • “most of the place being sufficiently strong by nature without further fortifications” (Thucydides, Book IV, Chapter XII)
  • to make an attack (p. 229) / to make an attack (Alma 56:22)
    • “in the event of the enemy bringing a fleet to make an attack by sea” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VI)
  • entrenchments to be thrown up (p. 105) / bank which had been thrown up (Alma 49:18)
    • A trench was dug all around the temple and the consecrated ground, and the earth thrown up from the excavation made to do duty as a wall, in which stakes were also planted” (Thucydides, Book IV, Chapter XIV)
  • chief commander (p. 398) / chief commander (Alma 46:11)
    • “Four hundred and thirty men they lost, and their chief commanders all three” (Thucydides, Hobbes Translation, Book II, 79)
  • to fall on the rear of the British (p. 183) / to fall upon them in their rear (Alma 56:23)
    • “if the enemy advanced into the plain against the troops of Agis, they might fall upon his rear with their cavalry” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XVI)
  • in the rear (p. 147) / in the rear (Alma 56:23)
    • “who were to rise up at the moment of the onset behind the projecting left wing of the enemy, and to take them in the rear” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter XI)
  • cut off the retreat (p. 277) / their retreat cut off (p. 147) / cut off the way of their retreat (3 Nephi 4:24)
    • “making a descent upon Nericus was cut off during his retreat” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter IX)
  • concealed himself in a wood, with fifteen hundred men (p. 203) / part of the army of Moroni was concealed (Alma 43:34)
    • “The mistakes and forces of the enemy the wood would in a great measure conceal from him” (Thucydides, Book IV, Chapter XII)
  • surrounded on all sides (p. 311) / surrounded them on every side (Mosiah 21:5)
    • “When they advanced the next day the Syracusans surrounded and attacked them on every side” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXIII)
  • took possession of the capitol (p. 204) / took possession of the city (Alma 51:23)
    • “The Athenians also took possession of the towns on the continent belonging to the Mitylenians” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter IX)
  • in possession of the first city in the union (p. 205) / took possession of the city (Alma 51:23) / in possession of the city of Zarahemla (Helaman 1:22) / took possession of the city (Alma 51:23)
    • “although they might have come over to us and been now again in possession of their city” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter IX)
  • general Montgomery…embarrassed with bad roads…and the murmur of his little army (p. 104) / our embarrassments (Alma 58:9) / my little army (Alma 56:33) / we do not desire to murmur (Alma 58:35) / were this all we had suffered we would not murmur (Alma 60:4)
    • “dashed at the enemy, who, embarrassed by his mistakes and the disorder in which he found himself” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VIII)
    • “These murmurs coming to the ears of Cleon, he resolved not to disgust the army by keeping it in the same place” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XV)
  • repeated disappointment (p. 98) / he met with a disappointment (Alma 51:31)
    • “they had feared the reinforcement brought by Demosthenes, and deep, in consequence, was the despondency of the Athenians, and great their disappointment” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXIII)
  • Dissensions ran high among the inhabitants (p. 204) / dissensions among the people (Alma 51:16)
    • “a resource which they had always counted upon, by reason of the dissensions existing, in the event of the noncontinuance of their treaty with Lacedaemon” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XVI)
  • they determined to maintain (p. 170) / they were determined to maintain (Alma 56:26)
    • “Nicias also determined to fortify Plemmyrium, a promontory over against the city” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXI)
    • “helped us to maintain our independence” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter IX)
  • fought and bled (p. 617) / fought and bled (Alma 60:9)
    • “these men, in the assertion of their resolve not to lose her, nobly fought and died” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VI)
  • delight in blood (p. 137) / delight in blood (Mosiah 11:19)
    • “the Thracian race, like the bloodiest of the barbarians, being even more so when it has nothing to fear” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXI)
  • having received a dangerous wound (p. 147) / having received a wound (Mosiah 20:13)
    • “but received a wound and found himself unable to force the position” (Thucydides, Book IV, Chapter XIV)
  • Among the slain (p. 121) / among the number who were slain (Helaman 1:30)
    • Among the slain was also Procles, the colleague of Demosthenes” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter XI)
    • “Search was made among the slain by order of the queen” (Herodotus, Book I)
  • suffered much loss (p. 532) / suffered much loss (Alma 25:6)
    • “with difficulty made good their passage to Olpae, suffering heavy loss on the way” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter XI)
    • “and yet might suffer loss by an attack from an unseen position” (Thucydides, Book IV, Chapter XII)
  • great loss (p. 224) / great loss (Alma 57:23)
    • “These causes, the great losses from Decelea, and the other heavy charges that fell upon them, produced their financial embarrassment” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXI)
  • a monster (p. 665) / awful monster (2 Nephi 9:10)
    • “For the sea about Athos abounds in monsters beyond all others” (Thucydides, Book VI)
  • havoc (p. 278) / havoc (Helaman 11:27)
    • “and committed such havoc as to cripple them completely” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VII)
  • to glut the ambition of a weak individual (p. 697) / we do not glut ourselves upon the labors of this people (Alma 30:32)
    • “an unjust verdict or the authority of the strong arm to glut the animosities of the hour” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter X)
  • scene of carnage (p. 316) / scene of blood and carnage (Mormon 5:8)
    • “Besides this, a large portion were killed outright, the carnage being very great” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXIII)
    • “for a long while they disbelieved even the most respectable of the soldiers who had themselves escaped from the scene of action and clearly reported the matter, a destruction so complete not being thought credible” (Thucydides, Book VIII, Chapter XXIV)
  • passions whetted by revenge (p. 281) / But in this war, they seemed to have lost those generous feelings of compassion to the vanquished foe (p. 278) / suffered themselves to be governed either by vindictive passions, or their feelings of resentment (p. 438) / For so exceedingly do they anger that it seemeth me that they have no fear of death; and they have lost their love, one towards another; and they thirst after blood and revenge continually (Moroni 9:5)
    • “Revenge also was held of more account than self-preservation” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter X)
  • They waited long, amidst penury, hunger, and cold, for the necessary supplies (p. 211) / we were about to perish for the want of food (Alma 58:7)
    • “attacked in front and behind, began to give way, and overcome by the odds against them and exhausted from want of food” (Thucydides, Book IV, Chapter XII)
  • war among themselves (p. 653) / war among themselves (1 Nephi 22:13)
    • “in others the crews were fighting among themselves” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter X)
  • the intrigues of the governmental faction (p. 86) / the intrigues of the Lamanites (Alma 55:27)
    • “they destroyed the corn and had some hopes of the city coming over through the intrigues of a faction within” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VIII)
  • combinations (p. 92) / combinations (2 Nephi 9:9)
    • “it was this clause that was the real origin of the panic in Peloponnese, by exciting suspicions of a Lacedaemonian and Athenian combination against their liberties” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XV)
  • to combine for the destruction of America (p. 87) / they did combine against the people of the Lord (3 Nephi 6:29)
    • “the Ambraciots having come and urged them to combine with them in attacking Amphilochian Argos” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter XI)
  • (Quoting a letter from a British officer in India) “The carnage was great; we trampled thick on the dead bodies that were strewed in the way” (p. 597) / scene of bloodshed and carnage, that the whole face of the land was covered with the bodies of the dead (Ether 14:21) / leaving the bodies of both men, women, and children strewed upon the face of the land (Ether 14:22)
    • “Besides this, a large portion were killed outright, the carnage being very great, and not exceeded by any in this Sicilian war” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXIII)
    • “The bodies of dying men lay one upon another…The sacred places also in which they had quartered themselves were full of corpses of persons who had died there, just as they were; for as the disaster passed all bounds, men, not knowing what was to become of them, became utterly careless of everything, whether sacred or profane” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VII)
  • he compelled them…to take arms in case of an attack, against their brethren (p. 133) / he commanded them that they should take up arms against their brethren (Alma 2:10)
    • “the Rhodians, Argives by race, were compelled to bear arms against the Dorian Syracusans and their own colonists” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXIII)
  • by my own industry (p. 139) / by the hand of my industry (Alma 10:4)
    • “our ordinary citizens, though occupied with the pursuits of industry, are still fair judges of public matters” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VI)
  • the fruits of their labors (p. 712) / the fruits of their labors (Alma 40:26)
    • “it is hereditary to us to win virtue as the fruit of labor” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter V)
  • the more fertile (p. 608) / the more fertile (1 Nephi 16:16)
    • “and the most fertile parts of the rest of Hellas” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter I)
  • not far distant (p. 156) / not far distant (Alma 7:7)
    • “for it was not far distant from the main land” (Thucydides, Hobbes Translation, Book III, 51)
  • to the reader (p. 324) / to the reader (Jacob 7:27)
    • “I cannot tell of what race they were, or when they came or whither they went, and must leave my readers to what the poets have said of them” (Thucydides, Book VI, Chapter XVIII)
  • at this period (p. 25) / at this period (Alma 51:19)
    • “it was quite at the end of this period that the war with Aegina and the prospect of the Barbarian invasion enabled Themistocles to persuade the Athenians” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter I)
  • the commencement of (p. 98) / the commencement of (Alma 51:1)
    • “Zeal is always at its height at the commencement of an undertaking” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VI)
  • The progress of (p. 85) / the progress of (Alma 60:30)
    • “But the Plataeans, observing the progress of the mound” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VI)
  • at this critical conjuncture (p. 39) / the critical moment (p. 110) / era was truly critical (p. 204) / this was a critical time (Alma 51:9)/ critical circumstances (Alma 57:16)
    • “His arrival chanced at a critical moment” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXI)
    • “as he thought that they were in a critical position” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXI)
  • awful situation (p. 213) / awful situation (Mosiah 2:40)
    • “reflecting not merely on the awful fate in store for us, but also on the character of the sufferers” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter X)
  • dangerous crisis (p. 29)/ awful crisis (Alma 34:34)
    • “return us like for like, remembering that this is that very crisis in which he who lends aid is most a friend” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter II)
  • to shrink (p. 572) / to shrink (Alma 43:48)
    • “who best know the difference between hardship and pleasure and yet are never tempted to shrink from danger” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VI)
  • In these circumstances (p. 595) / in these circumstances (Alma 55:23)
    • “your welcome of us under these circumstances will be a proof of goodwill” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter II)
  • genius to take advantage (p. 617) / prospered according to his genius (Alma 30:17)
    • “So superfluously abundant were the resources from which the genius of Perclles foresaw an easy triumph in the war over the unaided forces of the Peloponnesians” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VI)
  • Alarming (p. 26) / this was alarming (Alma 2:3)
    • The most alarming feature in the case is the constant change of measures with which we appear to be threatened” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter IX)

Debunking the Connection between “The Late War” and The Book of Mormon

Some suggest that “The Late War between the United States and Great Britain” written by Gilbert J. Hunt (1816) serves as source material for the Book of Mormon (http://wordtree.org/thelatewar/). FAIR Mormon has already done a pretty thorough job of answering this argument, but I would like to expand upon some their responses. The purpose of this post is to show that the themes that are similar between the Late War and the Book of Mormon are found in other ancient sources, and that these similarities to the Late War do not provide a compelling case that it served as source material for the Book of Mormon.

BATTLES AT FORTS

The authors suggest the Late War (29:20-23) serves as inspiration for battles in the Book of Mormon involving forts and ditches (Alma 48:7-8, 49:20-25). The authors state “some may argue that this structure is a scène a faire—that this is a basic structure common to many battles; however, there are distinctive elements to these descriptions that raise the question, how could two battles separated by nearly 2,000 years be described by two different people in so similar a manner?” The records of the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus suggest that this is indeed a scène a faire. He provides many examples of siege warfare which includes building walls, building towers, casting up banks, and digging trenches around the walls. The besieging forces try to fill up the ditches so they can use their engines of war to pull down the walls of the fort:

  • “At this Pompey was very angry, and put Aristobulus into prison, and came himself to the city, which was strong on every side, excepting the north, which was not so well fortified, for there was a broad and deep ditch, that encompassed the city, and included within it the temple, which was itself encompassed about with a very strong stone wall” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XIV, Chapter 4:1)
  • “Alexander was afraid of him, when he was marching against the Arabians; so he cut a deep trench between Antipatris, which was near the mountains, and the shores of Joppa; he also erected a high wall before the trench, and built wooden towers in order to hinder any sudden approaches; but still he was not able to exclude Antiochus, for he burnt the towers, and filled up the trenches, and marched on with his army” (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book I, Chapter 4:7)
  • “the outward circumference hath the resemblance of a wall, and is adorned with towers at equal distances…The camp, and all that is in it, is encompassed with a wall all round about, and that sooner than one would imagine, and this by the multitude and the skill of the laborers; and, if occasion require, a trench is drawn round the whole, whose depth is four cubits, and its breadth equal” (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book III, Chapter 5:1-2)
  • “and when he was come to the city he looked about where he might make his attack; for he saw the walls were so firm that it would be hard to overcome them, and that the valley before the walls was terrible; and that the temple, which was within that valley, was itself encompassed with a very strong wall…But Pompey himself filled up the ditch that was on the north side of the temple, and the entire valley also, the army itself being obliged to carry the materials for that purpose. And indeed it was a hard thing to fill up that valley, by reason of its immense depth, especially as the Jews used all the means possible to repel them from their superior station” (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book I, Chapter 7:1, 3… On a side note, it is interesting to me how an ancient war strategy was to fill up an enemy’s ditch surrounding their fort, and the Book of Mormon states, in what I think is an example of dark humor, “and instead of filling up their ditches by pulling down the banks of earth, they were filled up in a measure with their dead and wounded bodies” (Alma 49:22))
  • “As this city was naturally hard to be taken, so had Josephus, by building a wall about it, made it still stronger, as also by ditches and mines underground…And as the legions, according to their usual custom, were fortifying their camp upon that mountain, he began to cast up banks at the bottom, at the part towards the east, where the highest tower of the whole city was, and where the fifteenth legion pitched their camp; while the fifth legion did duty over against the midst of the city, and whilst the tenth legion filled up the ditches and the valleys” (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book IV, Chapter 1:2-3)
  • “As for those that were within it, no one had the courage to sally out, because those that assaulted them were so numerous; but they distributed themselves into breastworks and turrets, and shot at the besiegers, whereby many of the robbers fell under the walls” (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book II, 17:7)

Thucydides “The History of the Peloponnesian War,” written between 431-404 B.C., also describes siege warfare:

  • Meanwhile Hippocrates made a levy in mass of the citizens, resident aliens, and foreigners in Athens, and arrived at his destination after the Boeotians had already come back from Siphae, and encamping his army began to fortify Delium, the sanctuary of Apollo, in the following manner. A trench was dug all round the temple and the consecrated ground, and the earth thrown up from the excavation was made to do duty as a wall, in which stakes were also planted, the vines round
    the sanctuary being cut down and thrown in, together with stones and bricks pulled down from the houses near; every means, in short, being used to run up the rampart. Wooden towers were also erected where they were wanted” (Thucydides, Book IV, Chapter XIV)
  • “the Athenians started from the wall which they occupied, and from this point built
    a cross wall looking towards Megara down to the sea on either side of Nisaea; the ditch and the walls being divided among the army, stones and bricks taken from the suburb, and the fruit-trees and timber cut down to make a palisade wherever this seemed necessary” (Thucydides, Book IV, Chapter XIII)

The first Book of Maccabees in the Apocrypha extensively describes siege warfare similar to that found in the Book of Mormon:

  • “Then builded they the city of David with a great and strong wall, and with mighty towers, and made it a strong hold for them. And they put therein a sinful nation, wicked men, and fortified themselves therein” (I Maccabees 1:33-34)
  • “he consulted with them about building strong holds in Judea, and making the walls of Jerusalem higher, and raising a great mount between the tower and the city…Upon this they came together to build up the city, forasmuch as part of the wall toward the brook on the east side was fallen down, and they repaired that which was called Caphenatha” (I Maccabees 12:35-37)
  • “Then Simon built up the strong holds in Judea, and fenced them about with high towers, and great walls, and gates, and bars, and laid up victuals therein” (I Maccabees 13:33)
  • “and gave commandment to pull down the wall round about” (I Maccabees 6:62)

The Bible also describes the building and besieging of strongholds:

  • “Also he strengthened himself, and built up all the wall that was broken, and raised it up to the towers, and another wall without, and repaired Millo in the city of David, and made darts and shields in abundance” (2 Chronicles 32:5)
  • “Hew ye down trees, and cast a mount against Jerusalem” (Jeremiah 6:6)
  • “(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)” (2 Corinthians 10:4)

BATTLES AT RIVERS

The authors claim that battles near rivers in the Book of Mormon (Alma 2:34) were inspired by battles in the Late War (47:2-5). Below is an example in the records of Josephus of a battle at a river that sounds much closer to the Book of Mormon account than what is found in the Late War:

  • “and he slew all that he overtook, as far as Jordan; and when he had driven the whole multitude to the river side, where they were stopped by the current, (for it had been augmented lately by rains, and was not fordable,) he put his soldiers in array over against them; so the necessity the others were in provoked them to hazard a battle, because there was no place whither they could flee. They then extended themselves a very great way along the banks of the river, and sustained the darts that were thrown at them as well as the attacks of the horsemen, who beat many of them, and pushed them into the current. At which fight, hand to hand, fifteen thousand of them were slain, while the number of those that were unwillingly forced to leap into Jordan was prodigious…Now this destruction that fell upon the Jews, as it was not inferior to any of the rest in itself, so did it still appear greater than it really was; and this, because not only the whole of the country through which they had fled was filled with slaughter, and Jordan could not be passed over, by reason of the dead bodies that were in it, but because the lake Asphaltitis was also full of dead bodies, that were carried down into it by the river” (Wars of the Jews, Book IV, Chapter 7:5-6…On a side note, it is interesting how the Nephites also run into the problem of not being able to cross a river because they are blocked by too many slain Lamanites. They cast the bodies of the slain Lamanites into the river so they can cross (Alma 2:34))

The first Book of Maccabees and the Book of Judith in the Apocrypha also contains battles near rivers:

  • “Now when Bacchides heard hereof, he came on the Sabbath day unto the banks of Jordan with a great power. Then Jonathan said to his company, Let us go up now and fight for our lives, for it standeth not with us today, as in time past: For, behold, the battle is before us and behind us, and the water of Jordan on this side and that side, the marsh likewise and wood, neither is there place for us to turn aside. Wherefore cry ye now unto heaven…With that they joined the battle, and Jonathan stretched forth his hand to smite Bacchides, but he turned back from him. Then Jonathan and they that were with him leapt into Jordan, and swam over unto the farther bank: howbeit the other passed not over Jordan unto them. So there were slain of Bacchides’ side that day about a thousand men” (I Maccabees 9:43-49)
  • “And thou shalt declare unto them, that they prepare for me earth and water: for I will go forth in my wrath against them and will cover the whole face of the earth with the feet of mine army, and I will give them for a spoil unto them: So that their slain shall fill their valleys and brooks and the river shall be filled with their dead, till it overflow” (Judith 2:7-8)

BATTLE CASUALTIES

The authors suggest that reporting the number of soldiers slain after a battle is somehow unique to the Late War (8:18-19/49:18-20/54:24) and the Book of Mormon (Mosiah 9:18-19/Alma 57:25-26/Alma 62:26). They also argue that the fact that smaller righteous armies defeat larger wicked armies is a parallel between the two works. One contributor on the site states “The righteous protagonists triumph over the more numerous foe, and the enemy army consistently outnumbers the righteous protagonists. — Ryan Thomas, Direct Literary Dependence?” These themes are so common in all literature that I don’t know why they included it in their analysis:

  • “And the Lord said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place” (Judges 7:7)
  • “And when he came near to the going up of Beth-horon, Judas went forth to meet him with a small company: who, when they saw the host coming to meet them, said unto Judas, How shall we be able, being so few, to fight against so great a multitude and so strong…Unto whom Judas answered, It is no hard matter for many to be shut up in the hands of a few; and with the God of heaven it is all one, to deliver with a great multitude, or a small company” (I Maccabees 3:16-18)
  • “bringing with him an army that had received no harm, and a great deal of prey” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book IV, Chapter 7:1)
  • “They also offered thank-offerings, both for their good success, and for the preservation of their army, for not one of the Jews was slain in these battles” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XII, 8:5)

Sun Tzu in “The Art of War” (translated by Lionel Giles) states:

  • “Though according to my estimate the soldiers of Yueh exceed our own in number, that shall advantage them nothing in the matter of victory. I say then that victory can be achieved. Though the enemy be stronger in numbers, we may prevent him from fighting. Scheme so as to discover his plans and the likelihood of their success” (VI:21-23)

Battle casualties are listed in the Apocrypha and the Old Testament:

  • “so that there were slain of them upon a three thousand men” (I Maccabees 4:15)
  • “So they joined battle; and there were slain of the host of Lysias about five thousand men, even before them were they slain” (I Maccabees 4:34)
  • “and there were slain of the heathen about three thousand men, whose spoils he took” (I Maccabees 5:22)
  • “so that there were killed of them that day about eight thousand men” (I Maccabees 5:34)
  • “and there were slain that day of the people of Israel about two thousand men” (I Maccabees 5:60)
  • “and slew of the army in the field about four thousand men” (I Samuel 4:2)
  • “And in Shushan the palace the Jews slew and destroyed five hundred men” (Esther 9:6)
  • “for there fell an hundred and twenty thousand men that drew sword” (Judges 8:10)

2,000 SOLDIERS AND STRIPLINGS

The authors claim that the Late War’s description (35:5-6) of “a band of 2,000 courageous soldiers who volunteer in a desperate fight for the freedom of their country against an oppressive king” is similar to the 2,000 stripling Ammonite warriors led by Helaman in the Book of Mormon (Alma 53:18-20). This exact parallel, however, is found in Thucydides’ “The History of the Peloponnesian War,” which was written during the Peloponnesian War between 431-404 B.C.

  • Meanwhile the Corinthians, with Potidaea in revolt and the Athenian ships on the coast of Macedonia, alarmed for the safety of the place and thinking its danger theirs, sent volunteers from Corinth, and mercenaries from the rest of Peloponnese, to the number of sixteen hundred heavy infantry in all, and four hundred light troops. Aristeus, son of Adimantus, who was always a steady friend to the Potidaeans, took command of the expedition, and it was principally for love of him that most of the men from Corinth volunteered. They arrived in Thrace forty days after the revolt of Potidaea” (Thucydides, “The History of the Peloponnesian War,” Book I, Chapter II)

BAND OF ROBBERS

The authors claim that the description of a “band of sea-robbers” in the Late War (1:18/49:37-38) served as inspiration for the “band of robbers” in the Book of Mormon (Helaman 6:37/11:28, 30), although the authors admit that “robbers” are found in other sources. Unlike the Late War, Josephus and the Bible describe robbers who more closely match the description of those found in the Book of Mormon:

  • “he presently met with an opportunity of signalising his courage; for, finding there was one Hezekias, a captain of a band of robbers, who overran the neighboring ports of Syria with a great troop of them, he seized him and slew him, as well as a great number of the other robbers that were with him; for which action he was greatly beloved by the Syrians; for when they were very desirous to have their country freed from this nest of robbers, he purged it of them: so they sung songs in his commendation in their villages and cities, as having procured them peace and the secure enjoyment of their possessions” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XIV, Chapter 9:2)
  • “that there might be no want of a supply for the soldiers for the time to come. Antigonus was sensible of this, and sent presently over the country such as might restrain and lie in ambush for those that went out for provisions. So these men obeyed the orders of Antigonus, and got together a great number of armed men about Jericho, and sat upon the mountains, and watched those that brought the provisions…He also went thence and resolved to destroy those robbers that dwelt in the caves, and did much mischief in the country…These caves were in mountains that were exceedingly abrupt, and in their middle were no other than precipices, with certain entrances into the caves, and those caves were encompassed with sharp rocks, and in these did the robbers lie concealed, with all their families about them” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XIV, Chapter 15:3-5).
  • “And the men of Shechem set liers in wait for him in the top of the mountains, and they robbed all that came along that way by them: and it was told Abimelech” (Judges 9:25)
  • “And as troops of robbers wait for a man, so the company of priests murder in the way by consent: for they commit lewdness” (Hosea 6:9)
  • “When I would have healed Israel, then the iniquity of Ephraim was discovered, and the wickedness of Samaria: for they commit falsehood; and the thief cometh in, and the troop of robbers spoileth without” (Hosea 7:1)

Gangs of robbers are also described cross-culturally. In the commentary on the Art of War, Chang Yu describes how a gang of robbers which hid in the mountains was defeated:

  • “Wu-tu Ch’iang was a robber captain in the time of the Later Han, and Ma Yuan was sent to exterminate his gang. Ch’iang having found refuge in the hills, Ma Yuan made no attempt to force a battle, but seized all the favorable positions commanding supplies of water and forage. Ch’iang was soon in such a desperate plight for want of provisions that he was forced to make a total surrender.” (Chang Yu’s commentary in Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” IX:1, p. 137)

PITCHED TENTS ON THE BORDERS

The authors argue that pitching tents on the borders near water is a similarity between the two works (Late War 11:17/Alma 51:32). The Bible and the Apocrypha describe armies pitching their tents in the borders and also near water:

  • “Then they went along through the wilderness, and compassed the land of Edom, and the land of Moab, and came by the east side of the land of Moab, and pitched on the other side of Arnon, but came not within the border of Moab: for Arnon was the border of Moab” (Judges 11:18)
  • “And when all these kings were met together, they came and pitched together at the waters of Merom, to fight against Israel” (Joshua 11:5)
  • “and pitched their tents by the water of the pool Asphar” (I Maccabees 9:33)

BURNED MARTYRS

The authors claim that there is a parallel between the Late War and the Book of Mormon with regard to martyrs being burned. The Late War describes a battle in the snow where Native Americans commissioned by the British kill all the wounded colonizers with a blow to the head from a Tomahawk. The wounded and sick who hide in houses to escape the cold are burned alive in their homes by the natives. The Late War states that this deed will be recorded in heaven until judgment day (14:39-41). In the Book of Mormon, the wicked people of Ammonihah find out who believe the words of Alma and Amulek, and cast the believing men out of the city. The believing women and children are then burned alive in a pit along with their scriptures (Alma 14:10-11). Burning believers and having innocent blood testify against sinners is common in the Bible:

  • “And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace…if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?” (Daniel 3:6, 15)
  • “And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” (Revelation 6:9-10)
  • “And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of Judgment, than for that city” (Mark 6:11)
  • “And he said, What hast thou done? The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground” (Genesis 4:10)

MOURNING THE DEAD

The authors claim that there is a similarity between the Late War and the Book of Mormon in mourning the dead. The Late War laments the many fathers who are killed who leave behind wives and children. The children want to see their fathers come home, but they will never return (19:57-60). The Book of Mormon, on the other hand, quotes Mormon who asks in pain how his people could have rejected Jesus, and how they have all been exterminated by the Lamanites (Mormon 6:16-20). The Prophet Jeremiah laments the fall of Jerusalem using similar language:

  • “Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!” (Jeremiah 9:1)
  • “And I will fan them with a fan in the gates of the land; I will bereave them of children, I will destroy my people, since they return not from their ways. Their widows are increased to me above the sand of the seas” (Jeremiah 15:7-8)
  • “The word of the Lord came also unto me, saying, Thou shalt not take thee a wife, neither shalt thou have sons or daughters in this place. For thus saith the Lord concerning the sons and concerning the daughters that are born in this place, and concerning their mothers that bare them, and concerning their fathers that begat them in this land; They shall die of grievous deaths; they shall not be lamented; neither shall they be buried; but they shall be as dung upon the face of the earth: and they shall be consumed by the sword, and by famine” (Jeremiah 16:4)
  • “For these things I weep; mine eye, mine eye runneth down with water, because the comforter that should relieve my soul is far from me: my children are desolate, because the enemy prevailed” (Lamentations 1:16)
  • “Mine eyes do fail with tears, my bowels are troubled, my liver is poured upon the earth, for the destruction of the daughter of my people; because the children and the sucklings swoon in the streets of the city” (Lamentations 2:11)
  • “The young and the old lie on the ground in the streets: my virgins and my young men are fallen by the sword; thou hast slain them in the day of thine anger; thou hast killed, and not pitied” (Lamentations 2:21)
  • “Mine eye runneth down with rivers of water for the destruction of the daughter of my people” (Lamentations 3:48)
  • “Her Nazarites were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk, they were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing was of sapphire” (Lamentations 4:7)
  • They hunt our steps, that we cannot go in our streets: our end is near, our days are fulfilled; for our end is come” (Lamentations 4:18)
  • “We are orphans and fatherless, our mothers are as widows” (Lamentations 5:3)
  • “he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more. He shall return no more to his house, neither shall his place know him any more. Therefore I will not refrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul” (Job 7:9-11)

Josephus also describes the mournings of the Jewish people:

  • “In every house also, and among all to whom any of the slain were allied, there was a lamentation for them; but the mourning for the commander was a public one; and some mourned for those that had lived with them, others for their kindred, others for their friends, and others for their brethren, but all mourned for Josephus” (Wars, Book III, 9:5)

ANTI-NEPHI-LEHIS

The authors suggest that the Late War’s description of a group of Native Americans who do not murder their prisoners or mutilate their dead (26:22-28) are reminiscent of the Anti-Nephi-Lehis in the Book of Mormon (Alma 24:6, 17, 19). A more compelling parallel can be found in the Apocrypha:

  • “But they said, We will not come forth, neither will we do the king’s commandment, to profane the Sabbath day. So then they gave them the battle with all speed. Howbeit they answered them not, neither cast they a stone at them, nor stopped the places where they lay hid; But said, Let us die in our innocency: heaven and earth shall testify for us, that ye put us to death wrongfully. So they rose up against them in battle on the Sabbath, and they slew them, with their wives and children, and their cattle, to the number of a thousand people. Now when Mattathias and his friends understood hereof, they mourned for them right sore” (I Maccabees 2:34-39)

CATACLYSMS

The Late War describes a massive explosion that occurs when black powder kegs catch fire in a fort (19:37-44). The authors argue that the description is similar to the great earthquakes, fires, and storms that destroy many Nephite cities after Christ’s death (Helaman 14:7/3 Nephi 8:6). All of the Book of Mormon descriptions of the “cataclysmic event” have Biblical roots that are much more similar to the Book of Mormon than are the Late War’s descriptions:

  • “The people were all affrighted; and the ground that was about their tents sunk down at the great noise, with a terrible sound, and carried whatsoever was dear to the seditious, into itself, who so entirely perished, that there was not the least appearance that any man had ever been seen there, the earth that had opened itself about them closing again, and becoming entire as it was before, insomuch that such as saw it afterward did not perceive that any such accident had happened to it. Thus did these men perish, and become a demonstration of the power of God” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book IV, 3:3)
  • “God disturbed their enemies with an earthquake, and moved the ground under them to such a degree, that he caused it to tremble, and made them to shake, insomuch that by its trembling, he made some unable to keep their feet, and made them fall down, and, by opening its chasms, he caused that others should be hurried down into them; after which he caused such a noise of thunder to come among them, and made fiery lightning shine so terribly round about them, that it was ready to burn their faces” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book VI, Chapter 2:2)
  • “Thou shalt be visited of the Lord of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire” (Isaiah 29:6)
  • “The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan, and covered the company of Abiram” (Psalm 106:17)
  • “And what he did unto Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, the son of Reuben: how the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their households, and their tents, and all the substance that was in their possession, in the midst of all Israel” (Deuteronomy 11:6)
  • “And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt. And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days” (Exodus 10:22-23)
  • “And it came to pass, as they fled from before Israel, and were in the going down to Beth-horon, that the Lord cast down great stones from heaven upon them unto Azeka, and they died: they were more which died with hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword” (Joshua 10:11)
  • “Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea. The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone” (Exodus 15:4-5)
  • “And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire” (1 Kings 19:11-12)
  • “Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea” (Psalm 46:2)

 

LIBERTY AND FREEDOM

The Book of Mormon and the Late War both describe fighting for liberty from kings (Late War p. 184, 2nd edition/24:15/54:13 and Mosiah 23:36/Alma 51:17/46:12, 36). While religious freedom and freedom from tyranny are aspects of American history, the KJV Apocrypha and Flavius Josephus are just some of the ancient sources where these same themes are also found:

  • “Then Darius the king stood up, and kissed him, and wrote letters for him unto all the treasurers and lieutenants and captains and governors, that they should safely convey on their way both him, and all those that go up with him to build Jerusalem. He wrote letters also unto the lieutenants that were in Celosyria and Phenice, and unto them in Libanus, that they should bring cedar wood from Libanus unto Jerusalem, and that they should build the city with him. Moreover he wrote for all the Jews that went out of his realm up into Jewry, concerning their freedom, that no office, no ruler, no lieutenant, nor treasurer, should forcibly enter into their doors; And that all the country which they hold should be free without tribute; and that the Edomites should give over the villages of the Jews which then they held…And other ten talents yearly, to maintain the burnt offerings upon the altar every day…And that all they that went from Babylon to build the city should have free liberty. As well they as their posterity, and all the priests that went away” (I Esdras 4:47-50, 52-53)
  • “And they praised the God of their fathers, because he had given them freedom and liberty to go up, and to build Jerusalem, and the temple which is called by his name: and they feasted with instruments and music and gladness seven days” (I Esdras 4:62-63)
  • “It maketh the mind of the king and of the fatherless child to be all one; of the bondman and of the freeman, of the poor man and of the rich” (I Esdras 3:19)
  • Let Jerusalem also be holy and free, with the borders thereof, both from tenths and tributes…Moreover I freely set at liberty every one of the Jews, that were carried captives out of the land of Judea into any part of my kingdom, and I will that all my officers remit the tributes even of their cattle. Furthermore I will that all the feasts, and the Sabbaths…shall be all days of immunity and freedom for all the Jews in my realm. Also no man shall have authority to meddle with them, or to molest any of them in any matter” (I Maccabees 10:31, 33-35)
  • “Whereof when the people heard, they said, What thanks shall we give to Simon and his sons? For he and his brethren and the house of his father have established Israel, and chased away in fight their enemies from them, and confirmed their liberty” (I Maccabees 14:25-26)
  • “Then Mattathias answered and spake with a loud voice, Though all the nations that are under the king’s dominion obey him, and fall away every one from the religion of their fathers, and give consent to his commandments: Yet will I and my sons and my brethren walk in the covenant of our fathers. God forbid that we should forsake the law and the ordinances. We will not hearken to the king’s words, to go from our religion, either on the right hand, or the left” (I Maccabees 2:21-22)
  • “So they recovered the law out of the hand of the Gentiles, and out of the hand of kings, neither suffered they the sinner to triumph” (I Maccabees 2:48)
  • “and there it was that he heard the causes of the Jews, and of their governors Hyrcanus and Aristobulus, who were at difference one with another, as also of the nation against them both, which did not desire to be under kingly government, because the form of government they received from their forefathers was that of subjection to the priests of that God whom they worshipped; and [they complained,] that though these two were the posterity of priests, yet did they seek to change the government of their nation to another form, in order to enslave them” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XIV, Chapter 3:2)
  • “Now the occasions of this misery which came upon Jerusalem were Hyrcanus and Aristobulus, by raising a sedition one against the other; for now we lost our liberty, and became subject to the Romans, and were deprived of that country which we had gained by our arms from the Syrians, and were compelled to restore it to the Syrians” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XIV, Chapter 4:5)
  • “and when he had ordained five councils, he distributed the nation into the same number of parts: so these councils governed the people; the first was at Jerusalem, the second at Gadara, the third at Amathus, the fourth at Jericho, and the fifth at Sepphoris, in Galilee. So the Jews were now freed from monarchic authority, and were governed by an aristocracy” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XIV, Chapter 5:4)

Both the Late War (54:13) and the Book of Mormon (Mosiah 23:36) refer to “lives and liberties”. The Apocrypha describes the Jews fighting for “our lives and our laws.”

  • “And one of them said to another, If we all do as our brethren have done, and fight not for our lives and laws against the heathen, they will now quickly root us out of the earth” (I Maccabees 2:40)
  • “They come against us in much pride and iniquity to destroy us, and our wives and children, and to spoil us: But we fight for our lives and our laws” (I Maccabees 3:20-21)

THE CAUSE OF LIBERTY

Both the Late War (24:15) and the Book of Mormon (Alma 51:17) refer to the “cause of liberty.” Josephus also uses this phrase:

  • “For we had arms, and walls, and fortresses so prepared as not to be easily taken, and courage not to be moved by any dangers in the cause of liberty” (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book VII, 8:7)

Both the Late War (54:13) and the Book of Mormon (Mosiah 23:36) use variations of the phrase “life and liberty.” This phrase is also used in Richard Crawley’s translation of Thucydides’ “The History of the Peloponnesian War” written in 431 B.C.:

  • “even if you escape without personal loss of liberty or life, your bondage will be on harsher terms than before, and you will also hinder the liberation of the rest of the Hellenes” (Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War, Book V, Chapter XV)

SYMBOL OF LIBERTY

Both the Late War and the Book of Mormon refer to armies flocking to “banners” or “standards” (Late War 6:14/p. 184 2nd edition and Alma 61:6/62:5/46:12, 36). The American flag is essentially the equivalent to the Title of Liberty found in the Book of Mormon. Setting up flags in war, however, is commonly referenced in the Bible:

  • “In the first place went the standard of the camp of the children of Judah according to their armies: and over his host was Nahshon the son of Amminadab” (Numbers 10:14)
  • Set up the standard upon the walls of Babylon, make the watch strong, set up the watchmen, prepare the ambushes” (Jeremiah 51:12)
  • “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him” (Isaiah 59:19)
  • “Declare ye among the nations, and publish, and set up a standard; publish, and conceal not: say, Babylon is taken” (Jeremiah 50:2)

Sun Tzu in “The Art of War” states that banners and flags are used for communication and unite the army into a single body. Sun Tzu also says that an army must be united in a single moral purpose to prevail. The Title of Liberty accomplishes both of these functions:

  • “On the field of battle, the spoken word does not carry far enough: hence the institution of gongs and drums. Nor can ordinary objects be seen clearly enough: hence the institution of banners and flags. Gongs and drums, banners and flags, are means whereby the ears and eyes of the host may be focused on one particular point. The host thus forming a single united body, is it impossible either for the brace to advance alone, or for the cowardly to retreat alone. This is the art of handling large masses of men” (VII:23-25)
  • “He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks” (III:17)
  • “The Moral Law causes the people to be in complete accord with their ruler, so that they will follow him regardless of their lives, undismayed by any danger…The consummate leader cultivates the moral law, and strictly adheres to method and discipline; thus it is in his power to control success” (I:5-6)/(IV:16)
  • “Therefore, on dispersive ground, I would inspire my men with unity of purpose” (XI:46)

REIGN OF THE JUDGES

See the section on “Liberty and Freedom” and “Freemen vs. Kingmen” since there is much overlap with this section. In the Apocrypha, the Jews fight for freedom from kings and there are factions of Jews who decide to support the heathen kings. The “reign of the judges” bears more similarity with the Bible than the Late War. The Bible and Josephus describe the reign of judges over their districts and Samuel’s disdain for a government ruled by kings:

  • “Make use of the method I suggest to you, as to human affairs; and take a review of the army, and appoint chosen rulers over tens of thousands, and then over thousands; then divide them into five hundreds, and again into hundreds, and into fifties; and set rulers over each of them, who may distinguish them into thirties, and keep them in order; and at last number them by twenties and by tens: and let there be one commander over each number, to be denominated from the number of those over whom they are rulers, but such as the whole multitude have tried, and do approve of, as being good and righteous men; and let those rulers decide the controversies they have one with another. But if any great cause arise, let them bring the cognisance of it before the rulers of a higher dignity; but if any great difficulty arise that is too hard for even their determination, let them send it to thee” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book III, 4:1)
  • “Let there be seven men to judge in every city, and these such as have been before most zealous in the exercise of virtue and righteousness…But if these judges be unable to give a just sentence about the causes that come before them, (which case is not unfrequent in human affairs,) let them send the causes undetermined to the holy city, and there let the high priest, the prophet, and the sanhedrim, determine as it shall seem good to them” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 8:14)
  • he committed the government and the care of the multitude to his sons, –the elder of whom was called Joel, and the name of the younger was Abiah. He also enjoined them to reside and judge the people, the one at the city of Bethel, and the other at Beersheba, and divided the people into districts that should be under the jurisdiction of each of them” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book VI, 3:2)
  • “But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the Lord. And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people…howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them…And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself…And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries…and he will take your fields…And he will take a tenth of your seed” (1 Samuel 8:6-7, 9, 11, 13, 14-15)
  • “At this time died Antiochus, the king of Commagene; whereupon the multitude contended with the nobility, and both sent ambassadors to [Rome]; for the men of power were desirous that their form of government might be changed into that of a [Roman] province; as were the multitude desirous to be under kings, as their fathers had been” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XVIII, 2:5)

COUNTING THE YEARS OF FREEDOM FROM KINGS

The authors argue that there is a parallel between the Late War reckoning their dates from when they declared independence from Britain (1:1/21:8) and the Nephites reckoning their time from the reign of the judges (Alma 1:1). This is not compelling for three reasons. First, a system of judges was used in the Bible (I Samuel 1:1) and is not used in the Late War. Second, the Nephites change the reckoning of their time in several instances. For example, they start by counting how many years have passed since they left Jerusalem (Enos 1:25), then from the beginning of the reign of the judges (Alma 1:1), and then from when the sign of Christ’s birth was given (3 Nephi 2:8). Third, the Bible also calculates time based on when the Israelites were made free from kings:

  • “And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the Lord” (I Kings 6:1)

BRASS PLATES

The authors argue that Joseph Smith got the idea of engraving in metal plates (1 Nephi 19:1) from the Late war (31:33/36:26). The Apocrypha describes writing in brass:

  • So then they wrote it in tables of brass, which they set upon pillars in mount Sion…So they commanded that this writing should be put in tables of brass, and that they should be set up within the compass of the sanctuary in a conspicuous place” (I Maccabees 14:27)

FALSE PROPHETS

The authors argue that a false prophet being “smitten in the mouth, and slain” (35:29) is a parallel to Korihor being struck dumb and trampled to death (Alma 30:50, 59). A much stronger parallel is found in the Apocrypha:

  • “Moreover in the hundred fifty and third year, in the second month, Alcimus commanded that the wall of the inner court of the sanctuary should be pulled down; he pulled down also the works of the prophets. And as he began to pull down, even at that time was Alcimus plagued, and his enterprises hindered: for his mouth was stopped, and he was taken with a palsy, so that he could no more speak any thing, nor give order concerning his house. So alcimus died at that time with great torment” (I Maccabees 9:54-55)

Others are struck dumb or stricken on the mouth in the Bible:

  • “And I will make thy tongue cleave to the roof of thy mouth, that thou shalt be dumb, and shalt not be to them a reprove: for they are a rebellious house” (Ezekiel 3:26)
  • “And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season” (Luke 1:20)

FREEMEN VS. KING-MEN

The authors claim that colonizers who supported the king of Britain (3:15-18/38:18) are similar to the king-men who want to be ruled by kings (Alma 51:5, 17). They also point out that Nephites (Alma 51:6/60:25) and the colonizers (51:7/38:26-27/48:12) were referred to as “freemen.” In the Apocrypha, the Jews also had their own version of “king-men,” or those wicked people who decided to make covenants with the Greek king and forsake their religion. The word “freeman” is also used in the Apocrypha and Josephus, and the Israelites ask to be ruled by a king multiple times:

  • “So both Hyrcanus and Phasaelus went on the embassage; but Pacorus left with Herod two hundred horsemen, and ten men, who were called the freemen” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XIV, 13:5)
  • “In those days went there out of Israel wicked men, who persuaded many, saying “Let us go and make a covenant with the heathen that are round about us: for since we departed from them we have had much sorrow. So this device pleased them well. Then certain of the people were so forward herein, that they went to the king, who gave them license to do after the ordinances of the heathen” (I Maccabees 1:11-13)
  • “It maketh the mind of the king and of the fatherless child to be all one; of the bondman and of the freeman, of the poor man and of the rich” (I Esdras 3:19)
  • “But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the Lord. And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people…howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them…And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself…And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries…and he will take your fields…And he will take a tenth of your seed” (1 Samuel 8:6-7, 9, 11, 13, 14-15)

TENDER WOMEN

Both the Late War (21:4, 40-43/35:28) and the Book of Mormon (Mosiah 19:13/Jacob 2:7) refer to women as “tender” and “fair.” Women in the Bible are also described as “fair” and “tender.” In addition, the Book of Mormon uses the phrase “tender and chaste and delicate” which is more similar to Isaiah 47:1, where the women are called “tender and delicate” than it is to the Late War:

  • “Come down, and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon, sit on the ground: there is no throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called tender and delicate” (Isaiah 47:1)
  • “And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job” (Job 42:15)
  • “he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon: Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive. Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee” (Genesis 12:11-14)

 

 

Does the Book of Mormon Copy Themes of Liberty and Warfare from American History?

Critics of the Book of Mormon often point to similarities between the Nephites’ struggle for freedom from tyranny and the American Revolution as evidence of it being 19th century American fiction. The purpose of this article is to show that similar themes exist in other ancient records such as the Apocrypha and from Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, and that similarities between the Book of Mormon and American history are not sufficient evidence for claiming the Book of Mormon is a work of fiction.

LIBERTY AND FREEDOM

The Nephites in the Book of Mormon are constantly fighting to maintain their liberty to practice their religion and be free from kings (Mosiah 23:36/Alma 46:12. 36/Alma 51:17). While religious and political freedom are both integral to the Book of Mormon and to the founding of the United States, fighting for freedom is a universal and ancient struggle. The King James Version of the Apocrypha is just one ancient source which describes the Jews’ struggle for freedom from kings. In 1 Esdras, the Jews are granted liberty by king Darius to return to Jerusalem and to practice their religion:

  • “Then Darius the king…wrote letters also unto the lieutenants that were in Celosyria and Phenice, and unto them in Libanus, that they should bring cedar wood from Libanus unto Jerusalem, and that they should build the city with him. Moreover he wrote for all the Jews that went out of his realm up into Jewry, concerning their freedom, that no office, no ruler, no lieutenant, nor treasurer, should forcibly enter into their doors; And that all the country which they hold should be free without tribute; and that the Edomites should give over the villages of the Jews which then they held…And other ten talents yearly, to maintain the burnt offerings upon the altar every day…And that all they that went from Babylon to build the city should have free liberty. As well they as their posterity, and all the priests that went away” (I Esdras 4:47-50, 52-53)

 

  • “And they praised the God of their fathers, because he had given them freedom and liberty to go up, and to build Jerusalem, and the temple which is called by his name: and they feasted with instruments and music and gladness seven days” (I Esdras 4:62-63)

In 1 Maccabees, the Jews fight for freedom from Greek kings and the imposition of the Greek religion:

  • “Whereof when the people heard, they said, What thanks shall we give to Simon and his sons? For he and his brethren and the house of his father have established Israel, and chased away in fight their enemies from them, and confirmed their liberty” (I Maccabees 14:25-26)

 

  • “Then Mattathias answered and spake with  a loud voice, Though all the nations that are under the king’s dominion obey him, and fall away every one from the religion of their fathers, and give consent to his commandments: Yet will I and my sons and my brethren walk in the covenant of our fathers. God forbid that we should forsake the law and the ordinances. We will not hearken to the king’s words, to go from our religion, either on the right hand, or the left” (I Maccabees 2:21-22)

 

  • “So they recovered the law out of the hand of the Gentiles, and out of the hand of kings, neither suffered they the sinner to triumph” (I Maccabees 2:48)

 

  • Let Jerusalem also be holy and free, with the borders thereof, both from tenths and tributes…Moreover I freely set at liberty every one of the Jews, that were carried captives out of the land of Judea into any part of my kingdom, and I will that all my officers remit the tributes even of their cattle. Furthermore I will that all the feasts, and the Sabbaths…shall be all days of immunity and freedom for all the Jews in my realm. Also no man shall have authority to meddle with them, or to molest any of them in any matter” (I Maccabees 10:31, 33-35)

Some of the wicked people decide to forsake their religion and join with the heathen kings:

  • “In those days went there out of Israel wicked men, who persuaded many, saying “Let us go and make a covenant with the heathen that are round about us: for since we departed from them we have had much sorrow. So this device pleased them well. Then certain of the people were so forward herein, that they went to the king, who gave them license to do after the ordinances of the heathen” (I Maccabees 1:11-13)

The Old Testament also warns the Israelites of the dangers of having kings as their rulers:

  • “Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son also: for thou hast delivered us from the hand of Midian. And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: The Lord shall rule over you” (Judges 8:22-23)

 

  • “But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the Lord. And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people…howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them…And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself…And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries…and he will take your fields…And he will take a tenth of your seed” (1 Samuel 8:6-7, 9, 11, 13, 14-15)

Josephus speaks about the liberty and freedom of the Jews frequently:

  • “Let there be seven men to judge in every city, and these such as have been before most zealous in the exercise of virtue and righteousness…But if these judges be unable to give a just sentence about the causes that come before them, (which case is not unfrequent in human affairs,) let them send the causes undetermined to the holy city, and there let the high priest, the prophet, and the sanhedrim, determine as it shall seem good to them” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book 4, 8:14)

 

  • he committed the government and the care of the multitude to his sons, –the elder of whom was called Joel, and the name of the younger was Abiah. He also enjoined them to reside and judge the people, the one at the city of Bethel, and the other at Beersheba, and divided the people into districts that should be under the jurisdiction of each of them” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book 6, 3:2)

 

  • “and there it was that he heard the causes of the Jews, and of their governors Hyrcanus and Aristobulus, who were at difference one with another, as also of the nation against them both, which did not desire to be under kingly government, because the form of government they received from their forefathers was that of subjection to the priests of that God whom they worshipped; and [they complained,] that though these two were the posterity of priests, yet did they seek to change the government of their nation to another form, in order to enslave them” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book 14, 3:2)

 

  • “Accordingly, the Jews have places assigned them in Egypt, wherein they inhabit, besides what is peculiarly allotted to this nation at Alexandria, which is a large part of that city. There is also an ethnarch allowed them, who governs the nation, and distributes justice to them, and takes care of their contracts, and of the laws to them belonging, as if he were the ruler of a free republic” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book 14, 7:2)

 

  • “For we had arms, and walls, and fortresses so prepared as not to be easily taken, and courage not to be moved by any dangers in the cause of liberty, which encouraged us all to revolt from the Romans” (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book VII, 8:7)

BATTLES AT FORTS

Readers of history may notice that some battle tactics in the Book of Mormon are reminiscent of warfare used in the War of 1812; specifically, building forts with mounds of earth and digging ditches around them (Alma 48:8/49:2, 4, 18). The records of Flavius Josephus are just one source which suggest that this form of warfare is ancient. He provides many examples of siege warfare which includes building walls, building towers, casting up banks of dirt, and digging trenches around the walls. The besieging forces try to fill up the ditches so they can use their engines of war to pull down the walls of the fort:

  • “Alexander was afraid of him, when he was marching against the Arabians; so he cut a deep trench between Antipatris, which was near the mountains, and the shores of Joppa; he also erected a high wall before the trench, and built wooden towers in order to hinder any sudden approaches; but still he was not able to exclude Antiochus, for he burnt the towers, and filled up the trenches, and marched on with his army” (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book 1, Chapter 4, v. 7….On a side note, it is interesting to me how an ancient war strategy was to fill up an enemy’s ditch surrounding their fort, and the Book of Mormon states, in what I think is an example of dark humor, “and instead of filling up their ditches by pulling down the banks of earth, they were filled up in a measure with their dead and wounded bodies” – Alma 49:22)

 

  • “the outward circumference hath the resemblance of a wall, and is adorned with towers at equal distances…The camp, and all that is in it, is encompassed with a wall all round about, and that sooner than one would imagine, and this by the multitude and the skill of the laborers; and, if occasion require, a trench is drawn round the whole, whose depth is four cubits, and its breadth equal” (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book III, Chapter 5, v. 1-2)

 

  • “and when he was come to the city he looked about where he might make his attack; for he saw the walls were so firm that it would be hard to overcome them, and that the valley before the walls was terrible; and that the temple, which was within that valley, was itself encompassed with a very strong wall…But Pompey himself filled up the ditch that was on the north side of the temple, and the entire valley also, the army itself being obliged to carry the materials for that purpose. And indeed it was a hard thing to fill up that valley, by reason of its immense depth, especially as the Jews used all the means possible to repel them from their superior station” (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book 1, Chapter 7, v. 1 and 3)

 

  • “As this city was naturally hard to be taken, so had Josephus, by building a wall about it, made it still stronger, as also by ditches and mines underground…And as the legions, according to their usual custom, were fortifying their camp upon that mountain, he began to cast up banks at the bottom, at the part towards the east, where the highest tower of the whole city was, and where the fifteenth legion pitched their camp; while the fifth legion did duty over against the midst of the city, and whilst the tenth legion filled up the ditches and the valleys” (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book 4, Chapter 1, v. 2-3)

 

  • “As for those that were within it, no one had the courage to sally out, because those that assaulted them were so numerous; but they distributed themselves into breastworks and turrets, and shot at the besiegers, whereby many of the robbers fell under the walls” (Book 2, 17:7)

Sun Tzu mentions fortifications of walls and ditches in “The Art of War” (Translated by Lionel Giles):

  • “If we wish to fight, the enemy can be forced to an engagement even though he be sheltered behind a high rampart and a deep ditch” (VI:11)

The first Book of Maccabees in the Apocrypha extensively describes siege warfare similar to that found in the Book of Mormon:

  • “Then builded they the city of David with a great and strong wall, and with mighty towers, and made it a strong hold for them. And they put therein a sinful nation, wicked men, and fortified themselves therein” (I Maccabees 1:33-34)

 

  • “he consulted with them about building strong holds in Judea, and making the walls of Jerusalem higher, and raising a great mount between the tower and the city…Upon this they came together to build up the city, forasmuch as part of the wall toward the brook on the east side was fallen down, and they repaired that which was called Caphenatha” (I Maccabees 12:35-37)

 

  • “Then Simon built up the strong holds in Judea, and fenced them about with high towers, and great walls, and gates, and bars, and laid up victuals therein” (I Maccabees 13:33)

 

  • “and gave commandment to pull down the wall round about” (I Maccabees 6:62)

The Bible also describes the besieging of strongholds:

  • “Also he strengthened himself, and built up all the wall that was broken, and raised it up to the towers, and another wall without, and repaired Millo in the city of David, and made darts and shields in abundance” (2 Chronicles 32:5)

 

  • “Hew ye down trees, and cast a mount against Jerusalem” (Jeremiah 6:6)

 

  • “(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)” (2 Corinthians 10:4)

Comparing Book of Mormon Warfare to Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”

Warfare strategies in the Book of Mormon have been studied extensively (see John Kammeyer’s “The Nephite Art of War”…although I have not read it). However, I recently read Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” (translated by Lionel Giles, edited by Dallas Galvin, 2003) and based on my personal study I have decided to list some similarities in tactics described in this book and The Book of Mormon. This comparison should help to cement the realistic nature of the strategies used in Book of Mormon warfare.

  1. DEFEAT YOUR ENEMY THROUGH DECEPTION

Sun Tzu:

  • All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him...Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected (I:18-20, 24)
  • “Thus one who is skillful at keeping the enemy on the move maintains deceitful appearances, according to which the enemy will act. He sacrifices something, that the enemy may snatch at it. By holding out baits, he keeps him on the march; then with a body of picked men he lies in wait for him” (V:19-20)

The Book of Mormon describes several instances where the outnumbered Nephites use decoys and feign weakness to lure the Lamanites out of their strongholds and into an ambush:

  • “And in the commencement of the twenty and eighth year, Moroni and Teancum and many of the chief captains held a council of war—what they should do to cause the Lamanites to come out against them to battle …therefore, [Moroni] resolved upon a plan that he might decoy the Lamanites out of their strongholds. Therefore he caused that Teancum should take a small number of men and march down near the seashore…And it came to pass that the armies of the Lamanites did march forth against Teancum, supposing by their numbers to overpower Teancum… Now the Lamanites did not know that Moroni had been in their rear with his army; and all they feared was Lehi and his men” (Alma 52:19,21-23, 29)
  • “when they saw that we were not strong, according to our numbers…and also supposing that they could easily destroy us…they began to make preparations to come out against us to battle…behold, I caused that Gid, with a small number of men, should secrete himself in the wilderness…And it came to pass that when the Lamanites had passed by…Gid and Teomner did rise up from their secret places, and did cut off the spies of the Lamanites…And it came to pass that when they had cut them off, they ran to the city and fell upon the guards” (Alma 58:15, 16, 20)

Joshua uses similar strategies in the Old Testament:

  • “Behold, ye shall lie in wait against the city…And I, and all the people that are with me, will approach unto the city: and it shall come to pass, when they come out against us, as at the first, that we will flee before them, (For they will come out after us) till we have drawn them from the city…Then ye shall rise up from the ambush, and seize upon the city” (Joshua 8:4-7)

 

  1. SEEK TO CONQUER WITHOUT FIGHTING

Sun Tzu:

  • “In the practical art of war, the best thing of all is to take the enemy’s country whole and intact; to shatter and destroy it is not so good. So, too, it is better to capture an enemy entire than to destroy it, to capture a regiment, a detachment or a company entire than to destroy them” (III:1)
  • “Therefore the skillful leader subdues the enemy’s troops without any fighting; he captures their cities without laying siege to them; he overthrows their kingdom without lengthy operations in the field. With his forces intact he will dispute the mastery of the Empire, and thus, without losing a man, his triumph will be complete. This is the method of attacking by stratagem” (III:6-7)
  • “He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared” (III:17(4))

There are many ways the Nephites use stratagem to capture armies and cities without fighting. One example is when the Lamanites become drunk in their stronghold and Moroni sneaks weapons to the Nephite prisoners inside. Instead of killing the drunken Lamanites, he surrounds them and they surrender upon awakening.

  • “And Moroni had prepared his men with weapons of war; and he went to the city of Gid, while the Lamanites were in a deep sleep and drunken, and cast in weapons of war unto the prisoners, insomuch that they were all armed…had they awakened the Lamanites, behold they were drunken and the Nephites could have slain them. But behold, this was not the desire of Moroni; he did not delight in murder or bloodshed…when the Lamanites awoke in the morning they beheld that they were surrounded by the Nephites without, and that their prisoners were armed within. And thus they saw that the Nephites had power over them; and in these circumstances they found that it was not expedient that they should fight with the Nephites; therefore their chief captains demanded their weapons of war, and they brought them forth and cast them at the feet of the Nephties, pleading for mercy” (Alma 55:16, 18-19, 22-23)

A second example is where Helaman divides his forces and lures the Lamanites out of their stronghold. One part of his forces lies in wait and conquers the stronghold while Helaman is being pursued. Helaman then has his troops march in the night to return to the city before the Lamanites.

  • “And behold, it was night and they did pitch their tents, for the chief captains of the Lamanites had supposed that the Nephites were weary because of their march…Now it came to pass that when it was night, I caused that my men should not sleep, but that they should march forward by another way towards the land of Manti. And because of this our march in the night-time, behold, on the morrow we were beyond the Lamanites, insomuch that we did arrive before them at the city of Manti. And thus it came to pass, that by this stratagem we did take possession of the city of Manti without the shedding of blood…[the Lamanites] were astonished exceedingly and struck with great fear, insomuch that they did flee into the wilderness” (Alma 58:27)

 

  1. AVOID LAYING SIEGE TO CITIES

Sun Tzu:

  • “If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength” (II:2)
  • the worst policy of all is to besiege walled cities. The rule is, not to besiege walled cities if it can possibly be avoided. The preparation of mantlets, movable shelters, and various implements of war, will take up three whole months; and the piling up of mounds over against the walls will take three months more” (III:3-4)
  • The general, unable to control his irritation, will launch his men to assault like swarming ants, with the result that one-third of his men are slain, while the town still remains untaken. Such are the disastrous effects of a siege” (III:5)

Siege warfare is commonly described in the Bible (Isaiah 29:3/Ezekiel 4:2) and the Apocrypha (I Maccabees 6:48-57/10:75-76/13:42-47). The Nephites rarely besiege a city by attempting to break down or climb over walls, but they will camp around a city to cut off its supplies and starve the occupants.

  • “with a part of our strong force, we did surround, by night, the city Cumeni, a little before they were to receive a supply of provisions…and it came to pass that not many days had passed away before the Lamanites began to lose all hopes of succor; therefore they yielded up the city unto our hands” (Alma 57:8, 12)

The Nephites usually avoided attacking strongholds directly:

  • “And it came to pass that [Ammoron] did command that his people should maintain those cities, which they had taken by the shedding of blood; for they had not taken any cities save they had lost much blood. And now, Teancum saw that the Lamanites were determined to maintain those cities which they had taken…and also seeing the enormity of their number, Teancum thought it was not expedient that he should attempt to attack them in their forts” (Alma 52:4-5)
  • “And it came to pass that Teancum made preparations to make an attack upon the city of Mulek, and march forth with his army against the Lamanites; but he saw that it was impossible that he could overpower them while they were in their fortifications; therefore he abandoned his designs” (Alma 52:17)

When the Lamanites attempt to overwhelm the Nephite strongholds with their superior numbers, the results are disastrous for the Lamanites:

  • “they feared Lehi exceedingly; nevertheless their chief captains had sworn with an oath to attack the city; therefore, they brought up their armies…And it came to pass that the captains of the Lamanites brought up their armies before the place of entrance, and began to contend with the Nephites, to get into their place of security; but behold, they were driven back from time to time, insomuch that they were slain with an immense slaughter…and more than a thousand of the Lamanites were slain; while, on the other hand, there was not a single soul of the Nephites which was slain” (Alma 49:17, 21, 23)

The Nephites are also able to outlast a siege by the Gadianton robbers by centralizing all their people and storing sufficient supplies so that the robbers cannot starve them out. Sun Tzu: “If the enemy is taking his ease, he can harass him; if well supplied with food, he can starve him out; if quietly encamped, he can force him to move. Appear at points which the enemy must hasten to defend; march swiftly to places where you are not expected” (VI:4-5)

  • “But behold, this was an advantage to the Nephites; for it was impossible for the robbers to lay siege sufficiently long to have any effect upon the Nephites, because of their much provision which they had laid up in store…And the Nephites were continually marching out by day and by night, and falling upon their armies, and cutting them off by thousands…And it came to pass that Zemnariha did give command unto his people that they should withdraw themselves from the siege, and march into the furthermost parts of the land northward. And now, Gidgiddoni being aware of their design, and knowing of their weakness because of the want of food…therefore he did send out his armies in the night-time, and did cut off the way of their retreat” (3 Nephi 4:18, 21, 23-24)

 

  1. UNITE YOUR ARMY WITH A SINGLE MORAL PURPOSE

Sun Tzu:

  • “He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks” (III:17(3))
  • “The Moral Law causes the people to be in complete accord with their ruler, so that they will follow him regardless of their lives, undismayed by any danger…The consummate leader cultivates the moral law, and strictly adheres to method and discipline; thus it is in his power to control success” (I:5-6)/(IV:16)
  • “Therefore, on dispersive ground, I would inspire my men with unity of purpose” (XI:46)

Both the Lamanites and the Nephites seek to inspire their soldiers to fight for their ideals. The Lamanites were inspired by hatred and a desire to rule over the Nephites, while the Nephites sought to preserve their freedom. The Book of Mormon states that the ideals unifying the Nephites were superior to those of the Lamanites:

  • “Now in this case the Lamanites did fight exceedingly…And they were inspired by the Zoramites and the Amalekites…and thus the Lamanites did smite in their fierce anger” (Alma 43:43-44)
  • “Nevertheless, the Nephites were inspired by a better cause, for they were not fighting for monarchy nor power but they were fighting for their homes and their liberties, their wives and their children…And they were doing that which they felt was the duty which they owed to their God” (Alma 43:45-46)
  • “when the men of Moroni saw the fierceness and the anger of the Lamanites, they were about to shrink and flee from them. And Moroni, perceiving their intent, sent forth and inspired their hearts with these thoughts—yea, the thoughts of their lands, their liberty, yea, their freedom from bondage” (Alma 43:48)
  • “And when Moroni had said these words, he went forth among the people, waving the rent part of his garment in the air, that all might see the writing which he had written upon the rent part, and crying with a loud voice, saying: Behold, whosoever will maintain this title upon the land, let them come forth in the strength of the Lord, and enter into a covenant that they will maintain their rights, and their religion, that the Lord God may bless them” (Alma 46:18-19)
  • “And it came to pass that I did speak unto my people, and did urge them with great energy, that they would stand boldly before the Lamanites and fight for their wives, and their children, and their houses, and their homes. And my words did arouse them somewhat to vigor, insomuch that they…did stand with boldness against them” (Mormon 2:23-24)

It is difficult to succeed when your people are not unified in purpose.

  • “And it came to pass that when Amalickiah saw that the people of Moroni were more numerous than the Amalickiahites—and he also saw that his people were doubtful concerning the justice of the cause in which they had undertaken—therefore, fearing that he should not gain the point, he took those of his people who would and departed into the land of Nephi” (Alma 46:29)
  • “And it came to pass that when the proclamation had gone forth among them they were exceedingly afraid; yea, they feared to displease the king, and they also feared to go to battle against the Nephites lest they should lose their lives. And it came to pass that they would not, or the more part of them would not, obey the commandments of the king” (Alma 47:2)

 

  1. SOLDIERS IN DANGER WILL FIGHT HARDER FOR THEIR LIVES

Sun Tzu:

  • “Throw your soldiers into positions whence there is no escape, and they will prefer death to flight. If they will face death, there is nothing they may not achieve. Officers and men alike will put forth their uttermost strength. Soldiers when in desperate straits lose the sense of fear. If there is no place of refuge, they will stand firm. If they are in the heart of a hostile country, they will show a stubborn front. If there is no help for it, they will fight hard” (XI:23-24)

When the Lamanites are in a desperate situation and there is no hope for escape, they fight harder and slay many Nephites:

  • “Now in this case the Lamanites did fight exceedingly; yea, never had the Lamanites been known to fight with such exceedingly great strength and courage…and they did pierce many of their breastplates, and they did smite off many of their arms; and thus the Lamanites did smite in their fierce anger” (Alma 43:43-44)

 

  1. USE PRISONERS TO AUGMENT YOUR OWN STRENGTH

Sun Tzu:

  • “Our own flags should be substituted for those of the enemy, and the chariots mingled and used in conjunction with ours. The captured soldiers should be kindly treated and kept. This is called, using the conquered foe to augment one’s own strength” (II:17-18)

The Nephites used their prisoners to build their fortifications and thus augment their own strength:

  • “And it came to pass that they did set guards over the prisoners of the Lamanites, and did compel them to go forth and bury their dead…And it came to pass that after the Lamanites had finished burying their dead and also the dead of the Nephites, they were marched back into the land Bountiful; and Teancum, by the orders of Moroni, caused that they should commence laboring in digging a ditch round about the land” (Alma 53:1, 3)
  • “And it came to pass that he did cause the Lamanites, whom he had taken prisoners, that they should commence a labor in strengthening the fortifications round about the city of Gid” (Alma 55:25)

 

  1. PREVENT THE ENEMY FROM GATHERING THEIR FORCES TOGETHER

Sun Tzu:

  • “Thus the highest form of generalship is to baulk the enemy’s plans, the next best is to prevent the junction of the enemy’s forces” (III:3)

Two examples of this in the Book of Mormon are Moroni trying to prevent Amalickiah and his people from joining the Lamanites, and Moroni preventing Morianton from gaining greater forces in the land northward.

  • “[Amalickiah] took those of his people who would and departed into the land of Nephi. Now Moroni thought it was not expedient that the Lamanites should have any more strength; therefore he thought to cut off the people of Amalickiah…and it came to pass that he took his army and marched out with his tents into the wilderness, to cut off the course of Amalickiah in the wilderness” (Alma 46:29, 31)
  • “Therefore, Morianton put it into their hearts that they should flee to the land which was northward…Now behold, the people who were in the land Bountiful, or rather Moroni, feared that they would hearken to the words of Morianton and unite with his people, and thus he would obtain possession of those parts of the land…Therefore Moroni sent an army, with their camp, to head the people of Morianton, to stop their flight into the land northward” (Alma 50:29, 32-33)

 

  1. ARMIES ON A HILL HAVE THE ADVANTAGE

Sun Tzu:

  • It is a military axiom not to advance uphill against the enemy, nor to oppose him when he comes downhill” (VII:33)
  • “Camp in high places, facing the sun. Do not climb heights in order to fight. So much for mountain warfare” (IX:2)
  • “In dry, level country, take up an easily accessible position with rising ground to your right and on your rear, so that the danger may be in front, and safety lie behind…All armies prefer high ground to low, and sunny places to dark…When you come to a hill or a bank, occupy the sunny side, with the slope on your right rear” (IX:9, 11, 13)

Armies in the Book of Mormon frequently camp on hills. The Nephites are warned against attacking the Gadianton robbers in their mountain strongholds:

  • “he went forward to the place which was called Onidah, for thither had all the Lamanites fled…And it came to pass that they had gathered themselves together upon the top of the mount which was called Antipas, in preparation to battle. Now it was not Amalickiah’s intention to give them battle…And behold, it came to pass that he caused his army to pitch their tents in the valley which was near the mount Antipas” (Alma 47:5, 7-9)
  • “Now the people said unto Gidgiddoni: Pray unto the Lord, and let us go up upon the mountains and into the wilderness, that we may fall upon the robbers and destroy them in their own lands. But Gidgiddoni saith unto them: The Lord forbid; for if we should go up against them the Lord would deliver us into their hands; therefore we will prepare ourselves in the center of our lands, and we will gather all our armies together, and we will not go against them, but we will wait till they shall come against us” (3 Nephi 3:20-21)
  • “And I, Mormon, wrote an epistle unto the king of the Lamanites, and desired of him that he would grant unto us that we might gather together our people…by a hill which was called Cumorah, and there we could give them battle…and we did pitch our tents around about the hill Cumorah…and here we had hope to gain advantage over the Lamanites” (Mormon 6:2, 4)
  • “And they pitched their tents in the valley of Corihor…wherefore, Coriantumr did gather his armies together upon the hill Comnor, and did sound a trumpet unto the armies of Shiz to invite them forth to battle. And it came to pass that they came forth, but were driven again; and they came the second time, and they were driven again the second time. And it came to pass that they came again the third time” (Ether 14:28-29, 31).

 

  1. TRUCES REQUIRE SWORN COVENANTS

Sun Tzu:

  • “Peace proposals unaccompanied by a sworn covenant indicate a plot” (IX:26)

In the Book of Mormon, Zerahemnah agrees to give up his weapons but will not swear an oath to leave the Nephites alone. Moroni does not accept his conditions:

  • “Behold, here are our weapons of war; we will deliver them up unto you, but we will not suffer ourselves to take an oath unto you, which we know that we shall break…And now when Zerahemnah had made an end of speaking these words, Moroni returned the sword and the weapons of war, which he had received, unto Zerahemnah, saying: Behold, we will end the conflict…therefore as the Lord liveth, ye shall not depart except ye depart with an oath that ye will not return again against us to war” (Alma 44:8, 10-11)

 

  1. TREAT YOUR SOLDIERS AS YOUR OWN CHILDREN

Sun Tzu:

  • Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; look on them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death” (X:25)

Helaman frequently refers to his band of young Ammonite soldiers as “his sons” and they refer to him as their “father”:

  • “And I did join my two thousand sons, (for they are worthy to be called sons) to the army of Antipus, in which strength Antipus did rejoice exceedingly” (Alma 56:10)
  • “Therefore what say ye, my sons, will ye go against them to battle?…For as I had ever called them my sons (for they were all of them very young) even so they said unto me: Father, behold our God is with us, and he will not suffer that we should fall…Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death” (Alma 56:44, 46-47)

 

  1. VARY YOUR STRATEGY

Sun Tzu:

  • Do not repeat the tactics which have gained you one victory, but let your methods be regulated by the infinite variety of circumstances…He who can modify his tactics in relation to his opponent and thereby succeed in winning, may be called a heaven-born captain” (VI:28, 33)

The Book of Mormon chronicles the progression of Nephite and Lamanite warfare over the centuries. One of the first advances in warfare was the Nephites making armor for themselves to take advantage of the Lamanite’s nakedness. The Lamanites then make their own armor to match the Nephites. In response, the Nephites build forts to once again give them the advantage. Once the Lamanites begin obtaining their own fortifications, the Nephites decoy the Lamanites out of their strongholds. The Lamanites become increasingly more difficult to deceive, so the Nephites wait until the Lamanites are drunk and they arm the Nephite prisoners within and surround the Lamanites. These are just a few examples of the Nephites and Lamanites varying their tactics:

  • “We do not believe that it is God that has delivered us into your hands; but we believe that it is your cunning that has preserved you from our swords. Behold, it is your breastplates and your shields that have preserved you…behold, their naked skins and their bare heads were exposed to the sharp swords of the Nephites” (Alma 44:9, 18)
  • “His chief captains durst not attack the Nephites at the city of Ammonihah, for Moroni had altered the management of affairs among the Nephites, insomuch that the Lamanites were disappointed in their places of retreat and they could not come upon them” (Alma 49:11)
  • “Many times did the Lamanites attempt to encircle them about by night, but in these attempts they did lose many prisoners. And many times did they attempt to administer of their wine to the Nephites, that they might destroy them with poison or with drunkenness. But behold, the Nephites were not slow to remember the Lord their God…They could not be taken in their snares” (Alma 55:29-30)
  • “there was no way that we could lead them out of the city by our small bands. For behold, they remembered that which we had hitherto done; therefore we could not decoy them away from their strongholds” (Alma 58:1)

 

  1. USE SPIES TO DISCOVER ENEMY MOVEMENTS

Sun Tzu:

  • “Thus, what enables the wise sovereign and the good general to strike and conquer, and achieve things beyond the reach of ordinary men, is foreknowledge…Surviving spies, finally, are those who bring back news from the enemy’s camp…Spies are a most important element in war, because on them depends an army’s ability to move” (XIII:4, 13, 27)

The Nephites frequently use spies to predict the enemy’s position and respond accordingly:

  • “But I had sent my spies out round about the land of Shemlon, that I might discover their preparations, that I might guard against them” (Mosiah 10:7)
  • “And Alma sent spies to follow the remnant of the Amlicites, that he might know of their plans and their plots” (Alma 2:21)
  • “the Lamanites were marching round about in the wilderness, that they might come over into the land of Manti, that they might commence an attack upon the weaker part of the people” (Alma 43:24)
  • “we kept spies out round about, to watch the movements of the Lamanites, that they might not pass us by night nor by day to make an attack upon our other cities” (Alma 56:22)
  • “And Moroni placed spies round about, that he might know when the camp of the Lamanites should come…therefore, he found by his spies which course the Lamanites were to take” (Alma 43:28, 30)

 

  1. ENEMIES WANTING A TRUCE WILL SPEAK WITH FLATTERY

Sun Tzu:

  • “When envoys are sent with compliments in their mouths, it is a sign that the enemy wishes for a truce” (IX:38)

Giddianhi asks Lachoneus to surrender his forces while complimenting him for his bravery and determination:

  • “I write this epistle unto you, and do give unto you exceedingly great praise because of your firmness, and also the firmness of your people…yea, ye do stand well…yield yourselves up unto us, and unite with us and become acquainted with our secret works” (3 Nephi 3:2, 3, 7)

 

  1. PREPARE FOR WAR AND DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE YOUR ENEMY

Sun Tzu:

  • The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy’s not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable” (VIII:12)
  • “He who exercises no forethought but makes light of his opponents is sure to be captured by them” (IX:41)

The Nephites succeed when they are prepared for war:

  • “And it came to pass that we again began to establish the kingdom and we again began to possess the land in peace. And I caused that there should be weapons of war made of every kind, that thereby I might have weapons for my people against the time the Lamanites should come up again to war against my people” (Mosiah 10:1)
  • “while Amalickiah had thus been obtaining power by fraud and deceit, Moroni, on the other hand…had been strengthening the armies of the Nephites, and erecting small forts, or places of resort” (Alma 48:7-8)

The Nephites fail when they do not prepare their armies and underestimate their enemies:

  • “And now behold, the forces of the king were small, having been reduced, and there began to be a division among the remainder of the people…And the king commanded the people that they should flee before the Lamanites, and he himself did go before them…And it came to pass that the Lamanites did pursue them, and did overtake them, and began to slay them” (Mosiah 19:2, 9-10).
  • “the Lamanites had come in upon the wilderness side, into the borders of the land, even into the city of Ammonihah…And now it came to pass, before the Nephites could raise a sufficient army to drive them out of the land, they had destroyed the people who were in the city of Ammonihah…yea, every living soul of the Ammonihahites was destroyed, and also their great city, which they said God could not destroy, because of its greatness” (Alma 16:2-3, 9)
  • they had not kept sufficient guards in the land of Zarahemla; for they had supposed that the Lamanites durst not come into the heart of their lands to attack that great city Zarahemla. But it came to pass that Coriantumr did march forth…with such exceedingly great speed that there was no time for the Nephites to gather together their armies” (Helaman 1:18-19)
  • “And now, because of this great victory they were lifted up in the pride of their hearts; they did boast in their own strength, saying that their fifty could stand against thousands of the Lamanites… And it came to pass that the Lamanites did pursue them, and did overtake them, and began to slay them” (Mosiah 11:19/Mosiah 19:10)
  • “And now, because of this great thing which my people, the Nephites, had done, they began to boast in their own strength, and began to swear before the heavens that they would avenge themselves of the blood of their brethren…And it was because the armies of the Nephites went up unto the Lamanites that they began to be smitten; for were it not for that, the Lamanites could have had no power over them” (Mormon 3:9/Mormon 4:4)

 

  1. SECURE NARROW PASSAGES

Sun Tzu:

  • “With regard to narrow passes, if you can occupy them first, let them be strongly garrisoned and await the advent of the enemy” (X:8)

The Nephites were constantly trying to secure the narrow pass that leads to the land northward so that they were never surrounded by the Lamanites:

  • “And he also sent orders unto him that he should fortify the land Bountiful, and secure the narrow pass which led into the land northward, lest the Lamanites should obtain that point and should have power to harass them on every side” (Alma 52:9)
  • “thus the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla were nearly surrounded by water, there being a small neck of land between the land northward and the land southward. And it came to pass that the Nephites had inhabited the land Bountiful, even from the east unto the west sea, and thus the Nephites in their wisdom, with their guards and their armies, had hemmed in the Lamanites on the south, that thereby they should have no more possession on the north” (Alma 22:32-33)

 

16. LEADERS SHOULD BE EXAMPLES OF WISDOM AND VIRTUE

Sun Tzu:

  • “The Commander stands for the virtues of wisdom, sincerity, benevolence, courage and strictness” (I:9)

Moroni is described as an ideal commander because he personifies similar virtues. This is in contrast to the fraud and deceit of Amalickiah:

  • “while Amalickiah had thus been obtaining power by fraud and deceit, Moroni, on the other hand, had been preparing the minds of the people to be faithful unto the Lord their God…And Moroni was a strong and a mighty man; he was a man of a perfect understanding; yea, a man that did not delight in bloodshed; a man whose soul did joy in the liberty and the freedom of his country…a man who did labor exceedingly for the welfare and safety of is people…and he had sworn with an oath to defend his people, his rights, and his country, and his religion, even to the loss of his blood” (Alma 48:7, 11-13)