A Response to Thomas Donofrio’s “Early American Influences on the Book of Mormon”

Thomas Donofrio’s MormonThink article “Early American Influences on the Book of Mormon” argues that the Book of Mormon must be a 19th century work of fiction because it shares hundreds of phrases in common with contemporary literature but are not found in the Bible. It is not reasonable, in his opinion, to believe that an ancient Nephite record would have so many linguistic similarities to the writings of Joseph Smith’s day. He states “The information in this study illustrates words and phrases in the Book of Mormon that reflect concepts and issues of a new United States. In the Bible, they are not used in the same context, or in many cases, do not even exist. Otherwise, ancient Americans, who the book states are descendants of Israelites, must have been no different than Revolutionary Americans of 1776.

The problem with his analysis and others like it is that he did not examine whether these modern phrases appear in other 18th or 19th century translations of ancient documents. The purpose of this article is to show that most of the supposedly anachronistic English phrases identified by Donofrio are also found in contemporary English translations of ancient documents written between 440 B.C. and 325 A.D.

I will be comparing Donofrio’s list of parallels to seven ancient sources:

  1. “The Complete Works of Flavius Josephus” (written between 78 and 93 A.D.; translated into English by William Whiston in 1737).

Retrieved from: http://www.ultimatebiblereferencelibrary.com/Complete_Works_of_Josephus.pdf

  1. “The History of the Peloponnesian War” written by Thucydides between 431 and 400 B.C. and translated into English by Richard Crawley in 1874.

Retrieved from: http://classics.mit.edu/Thucydides/pelopwar.mb.txt

  1. “The History of Herodotus” written by Herodotus in 440 B.C. and translated into English by George Rawlinson in 1910.

Retrieved from: http://classics.mit.edu/Herodotus/history.mb.txt

  1. “The Dialogues of Plato” written by Plato who lived between 427 and 347 B.C.; translated by Benjamin Jowett in 1871.

Retrieved from: https://webs.ucm.es/info/diciex/gente/agf/plato/The_Dialogues_of_Plato_v0.1.pdf

  1. “Politics” written by Aristotle who lived between 384 and 322 B.C.; translated by Benjamin Jowett in 1885)

Retrieved from: https://socialsciences.mcmaster.ca/econ/ugcm/3ll3/aristotle/Politics.pdf

  1. “The Apostolic Fathers” which are early Christian documents believed to have been written and first and second century A.D.; translated by Joseph Barber Lightfoot and published in 1891.

Retrieved from: https://www.ccel.org/l/lightfoot/fathers/cache/fathers.pdf

  1. “The Ante-Nicene Fathers” which are early Christian documents written before 325 A.D. Translated by multiple authors in 1885.

Retrieved from: https://archive.org/details/AnteNiceneFathersVolume10BibliographicSynopsisGeneralIndex

I was not able to account for all of the parallels cited by Donofrio, but I have little doubt that these parallels can be found in ancient documents other than the seven I have used in this article.

The parallels will be listed in the order that they are presented in the MormonThink article. For the sake of brevity, I have excluded any parallels that are listed multiple times by Donofrio. I will first list the source of Donofrio’s parallels and the parallels between that source and the Book of Mormon will be listed together in bold, separated by a “/”. The parallels I have found will be listed underneath in italics. Quotes which do not have a similar source in the resources I examined are highlighted in red:

Parallels found in Mercy Otis Warren’s “History of the Rise, Progress and Termination of the American Revolution. Liberty Classics reprint. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1989.”

  • 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)
    • “Now, by your valor were they conquered, when you set at defiance their flagitious edicts, and, through steadfast faith and the fortitude of your soul, you routed all the vain terrors of tyrannical authority” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 7, p. 708)
  • 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 pretense (The Dialogues of Plato, The Laws: The Preamble, Book I, p. 478)
    • “having his hand recovered to its natural state” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VIII, 8:5)
  • 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)
    • “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” (Proverbs 30:3)
    • “if it is not a case for repentance, you may still learn wisdom” (Thucydides, Book VI, Chapter XIX)
  • 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)
    • “holding that most extreme depravity of heretical presumption, that the comforts and aids of divine love and paternal tenderness are closed to the servants of God who repent” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, p. 888)
  • 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)
    • “all the soldiers, against whose inclination obscure or unknown Caesars had been created, would acknowledge him, and crowd eagerly to his standard” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 7, p. 718)
    • “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” (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)
    • “An antique iron sword is planted on the top of every such mound, and serves as the image of Mars” (Herodotus, Book IV)
    • “among yourselves lift high the standard of virtue in the cause of glory and of fame” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3, p. 108)
  • 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” (The Dialogues of Plato, Menexenus, p. 879)
  • 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)
  • 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 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” (1 Samuel 8:7)
  • 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)
    • “certainly not the Creator’s mind, but the minds of the people which are in the world” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3, p. 988)
  • 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)
  • 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 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)
  • the rights for which our ancestors contended (p. 643) / for this cause were the Nephites contending…to defend…their rights (Alma 43:47)
    •  “For this cause I have now called you together” (Herodotus, Book VII)
    • “The Argives, that they would contend for their ancient supremacy” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XVI)
    • “to show that they mean to defend themselves against an attack” (Thucydides, Book VI, 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” (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, p. 35)
    • “he should keep quiet and offer up prayers for his own welfare and for that of his country” (The Dialogues of Plato, The Seventh Letter, p. 830)
  • 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 defense of your country” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VI)
    • “it derived its existence in this way from that of the Jews, who were permitted to take up arms in defense of the members of their families” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 4, p. 1051)
  • 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)
    • “in answer to those who, because there happens to be the use of some things in common, maintain the right of participation in all things” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3, p. 205)
  • 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!” (2 Samuel 15:4)
    • “This man came to bear witness, that he might bear witness to the light, that every man might believe through his mediation” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 9, p. 59)
  • stand or fall (p. 104) / stand or fall (Alma 41:7)
    • “to his own master he standeth or falleth” (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)
  • 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)
    • “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)
    • “For it is right to supply want, but it is not well to support laziness” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 2, p. 644)
  • the powers of the earth (p. 551) / the powers of the earth (3 Nephi 28:39)
    • “the concealed power of God was in Christ the crucified, before whom demons, and all the principalities and powers of the earth, tremble” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, p. 588)
    • “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)
    • “Antisthenes maintained that the gods of the people were many, but that the God of nature was one only” (Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 7, p. 24-25)
    • “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” (Exodus 6:3)
    • “And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God” (Nehemiah 8:6)
    • “The great God that formed al things both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors” (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’ (The Dialogues of Plato, Symposium, p. 1663)
  • 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” (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 (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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
    • “but followed him at his heels; he was also obliged to make haste in his attempt” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 6:6)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
    • “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) / in possession of the city of Zarahemla (Helaman 1:22) /
    • “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)
  • 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” (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)
  • they determined to maintain (p. 170) / they were determined to maintain (Alma 56:26)
    • “in order that he might by the pledge of such a hope give his support to matrimony, which he had determined to maintain in its integrity” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3, p. 461)
  • 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)
  • 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” (The Dialogues of Plato, Euthydemus, p. 254)
  • 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)
    • “called not a prophet, but a messenger, is, suffering an ignominious death, beheaded to reward a dancing-girl” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3, p. 1427)
  • 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)
    • “It is moreover evident that this is their character, when we add that they delight in the blood of victims, and in the smoke odor of sacrifices” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 4, p. 1435)
  • spilling human blood (p. 78) / spill your blood (Alma 44:11)
    • “You are, of course, possessed of a more religious spirit in the show of your gladiators, when your gods dance, with equal zest, over the spilling of human blood” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3, p. 250)
  • blood that had been spilt (p. 604) / blood was spilt (Alma 57:9)
    • “so that in that judgment-day their blood-shedding would make them better, and the blood spilt would show them to be spotless” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, p. 1415)
  • 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)
    • “most pleasant farms have obliterated all traces of what were once dreary and dangerous wastes” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3, p. 441)
  • 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” (Numbers 21:5)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • ferocious nations (p. 114) / wicked and ferocious (Alma 47:36)
    • “Felicissimus our brother, ever quiet and temperate, receiving the attack of a ferocious people” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, p. 971)
  • 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)
    • “Such, then, is the work of death—the separation of the soul from the body” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3, p. 482)
  • scene of carnage (p. 316) / scene of blood and carnage (Mormon 5:8)
    • “to be free from the threatening destruction of the world, and not to be mixed up with the bloody carnage of wasting diseases in a common lot with others” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, p. 1418)
    • “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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
    • “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” (Josephus, Antiquities, 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” (Josephus, Wars, 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” (Daniel 11:8)
    • “so that he gets everything which is necessary for the uses of his house made of these precious metals” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 6, p. 522)
  • 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” (The Dialogues of Plato, Meno, p. 914)
    • “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)
  • 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” (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)
    • “unless he also carries the memory of these obligations to future days” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 6, p. 56)
  • future period (p. 287) / future period (1 Nephi 7:13)
    • “But when this body, which at some future period we shall possess in a more glorious state, shall have become a partaker of life” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 4, p. 630)
    • “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)
  • 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)
    • “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)
    • 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)
  • the generous or humane mind may revolt at the idea, there appears a probability, that they will be hunted from the vast American continent, if not from the face of the globe (p. 284) / hunted millions of those unhappy people out of existence (p. 287) / Yea, I say unto you, that in the latter times the promises of the Lord have been extended to our brethren, the Lamanites; and notwithstanding the many afflictions which they shall have, and notwithstanding they shall be driven to and fro upon the face of the earth, and be hunted, and shall be smitten and scattered abroad, having no place for refuge (Helaman 15:12)
    • “Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad” (Matthew 26:31)
    • “Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations”
    • “and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth” (Genesis 11:4)
    • “In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge” (Proverbs 14:26)
    • “Wilt thou break a leaf driven to and fro? And wilt thou pursue the dry stubble” (Job 13:25)

The second source Donofrio uses is from a letter written by George Washington which can be found on page 46 of John C. Fitzpatrick’s “George Washington: A Collection”:

  • 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)
  • 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)
    • “there descended upon Him, in the form of a dove, that Being who had formerly ascended on high” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, p. 895)
  • 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” (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)
  • 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)
    • “among yourselves lift high the standard of virtue in the cause of glory and of fame” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3, p. 108)

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)

Donofrio goes on to list more parallels found in David Ramsay’s “The History of the American Revolution” (1789).

  • 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” (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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • their Creator (p. 15) / their Creator (Omni 1:7)
    • “an instance of impiety against God 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)
  • 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)
    •  “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)
    • “let us now turn to the question of possibility and ways and means” (The Dialogues of Plato, Republic, Book V, p. 1363)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • preparations for (p. 377) / preparations for (Jarom 1:8)
    • “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)
  • upwards of (p. 338) / upwards of (Alma 57:14))
    • “For if we begin the calculation of the seventy weeks from Cyrus and the first restoration, there will be upwards of one hundred years too many” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 6, p. 326)
  • 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)
    • “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)
  • 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)
    • “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, Book II, Chapter VIII)
    • “he throws it to the left, and bears it on his shoulder” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book III, 7:2)
  • 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)
  • 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)
    • “thus by snares that deceive, by secret ways, the devil creeps in” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, p. 1019)
  • 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)
    • “the Valentinians, have formed Eleusinian dissipations of their own, consecrated by a profound silence, having nothing of the heavenly in them but their mystery” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3, p. 1111)
  • 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)
    • “also all the other followers of this dogma have been, who all uphold the notion of a dualism, and turn aside from the direct course of Scripture” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 6, p. 549)
    • “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)
  • 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)
  • 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, p. 5)
  • 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)

Donofrio provides the following parallel in David Ramsay’s “Life of George Washington” (1807):

  • 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 “The History of the American Revolution” (1789)”:

  • 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” (Exodus 16:2)
  • 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)
    • “Hence arose in the minds of the governor and the torturers a determined resolution to subdue him” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 8, p. 2072)
  • with firmness (p. 378) / with such firmness (Mormon 2:25)
    • “Wisdom behaves with firmness in the streets” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3, p. 1425)
  • 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)
  • 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” (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” (1 Chronicles 20:3)
  • 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)
    • “not dwelling in the house of God, that is, in the Church of God, in which none dwell except they are of one heart and one mind” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, p. 952)
    • “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” (Acts 4:32)
  • much confusion (p. 190) / much confusion (Alma 52:28)
    • “And they wept fearfully, Thamyris indeed for the loss of a wife, and Theocleia of a child, and the maidservants of a mistress: there was accordingly much confusion in the house of mourning” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 8, p. 1526)
    • “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)
  • 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, p. 116)
  • lull them into a fatal security (p. 403) / lull them away into carnal security (2 Nephi 28:21)
    • “Let us then arouse ourselves as much as we can, beloved brethren; and breaking away from the slumber of indolence and security, let us be watchful for the observance of the Lord’s precepts” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, p. 1563)
    • “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)
  • 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, p. 519)
    • “To my lords the holy and most blessed Bishops Cromatius and Heliodorus, Jerome, a humble servant of Christ, in the Lord greeting” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 8, p. 1247)
  • 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, p. 1933)
    • “neither Christ nor Jesus ought to have been called by these names” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3, p. 781)
  • 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)
  • 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 affairs of the plundering of Ziklag” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VI, 14:6)
  • 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 in “The Life of George Washington” (1807)

  • 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, p. 482)
  • 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” (John 14:2)
    • “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28)
    • “the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest” (Isaiah 34:14)

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

  • 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, p. 563)

Donofrio also identifies parallels from writings of other Founding Framers, such as Samuel Adams delivering his “American Independence” speech in 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)
  • precious in his sight / precious in his sight (Jacob 2:21)
    • Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:15)
    • “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)
    • “The Lord God is merciful and gracious, and long-suffering, and of great commiseration, and true, and keeps justice and mercy for thousands” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, p. 1221)
  • 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)
  • 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” (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, p. 1430)
    • “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:

  • 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)
  • 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, p. 76)
    • “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, p. 494)
    • “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)
  • 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” (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” (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)
    • “otherwise he would be unjust, and rapacious, and would cease to be what God is” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, p. 940)
    • “Because if He does not contain all which is, whatever it is—seeing that what is found in that whereby it is contained is found to be less than that whereby it is contained—He will cease to be God” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, p. 1470)
    • The city which has no courts of law will soon cease to be a city” (The Dialogues of Plato, The Laws: Preamble, Book VI, p. 517)
  • 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, p. 623)
  • his Image in our hearts / his image in your countenances (Alma 5:4)
    • “flee from him who has had recourse to God, and who carries right faith as His image in his heart” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 8, p. 964)
  • The robber and the murderer / robbers and murderers (Helaman 6:18)
    • “But robbers, and murderers, and godless persons are like monsters of the deep, and wild beasts, and birds of prey” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 2, p. 213)
    • “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)
  • 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, p. 17-18)
    • “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, p. 157) 

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)

Donofrio goes on to cite the 19th century religious influences on the book of Mormon. Again, we will see that most of these same phrases and concepts are found in other ancient documents.

The first of the Samuel McClintock’s sermon on the New Hampshire constitution (1784). I will only list one of his parallels since I have examined all of the others in the previous section.

  • secret plans / secret plans (Alma 37:29)

Parallels from Abraham Keteltas’ sermon “God Arising and Pleading His People’s Cause” (1775)

  • Thus you see my brethren, that the cause of truth, the cause of righteousness, the cause of his church and people, is the cause of God / to support and maintain the cause of God (Alma 50:39) / we will maintain our religion and the cause of our God (Alma 54:10) / the cause of the Christians (Alma 46:16) 
    • “where it was done in the hearing of Agrippa, who zealously espoused the cause of the Jews” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 12:7)
    • “how it was now a very proper time to defend the cause of God, and to pull down what had been erected contrary to the laws of their country” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 33:2)

Parallels from Samuel Sherwood’s sermon “The Church’s Flight into the Wilderness” (1776), on January 17, 1776.

  • Flight into the Wilderness / flight into the wilderness (1 Nephi 4:36) 
    • “after His birth by Mary His mother, was sent off in flight into Egypt through the instrumentality of an angel” (the Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 6, p. 526)
    • “And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath the place prepared of God” (Revelation 12:6)
  • so cruelly and barbarously / barbarous cruelty (Alma 48:24) 
    • “Now the overthrow of the places of strength, and the death of the high priest

Ananias, so puffed up Manahem, that he became barbarously cruel” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 17:9)

  • the humble followers of Christ / the humble followers of Christ (2 Nephi 28:14) 
    • “let them study to be blameless, that they may be the followers of Christ” (The

Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, p. 179)

  • slavery and bondage / bondage and slavery (Alma 48:11) 
    • “an unregulated life instead of one of tranquility and harmony, and a hard bondage, and the slavery of market-places, and lawsuits, and crowds, instead of this freedom” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 6, p. 88)

Parallels between Jonathan Edwards and his sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” found in Anri Marimoto’s “Jonathan Edwards and the Catholic Vision of Salvation” (1995):

  • hardness of heart and blindness of mind / blindness and hardness / hardness of heart, and blindness of mind (Ether 4:15) / so hard in your hearts, and so blind in your minds (1 Nephi 7:8) 
    • “And this is your condition, because of the blindness of your soul, and the hardness of your heart” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 2, p. 182)
    • “For God had blinded their mindsfor the transgressions they had been guilty of” (Josephus, Wars, Book V, 8:2)
    • “And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept” (Mark 10:5)
  • they have no interest in any Mediator / and hath no interest in the kingdom of God (Mosiah 4:18)
    • “But is not this rather disgraceful, and a very considerable proof of what I was saying, that you have no interest in the matter?” (The Dialogues of Plato, Apology, p. 61)
    • “Why are philosophers attended to, who either say that there are no gods, or that, if there are any, they take no interest in, and do not regard the affairs of men, or argue that there is no providence at all, which rules the world?” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 7, p. 558) 
  • divine justice / divine justice (Mosiah 2:38) 
    • “which partition in such evil cases may be said to be a good thing, and the effect of Divine justice” (Josephus, Wars, Book V, 1:1)
  • eternal death / eternal destruction / eternal death (2 Nephi 2:29) / eternal destruction (2 Nephi 1:22) 
    • “for sin is eternal death” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 2, p. 444)
    • “Corruption then hath hope of a possible renewal, but death hath eternal destruction” (The Apostolic Fathers, The Shepherd of Hermas, p. 159)
  • The souls of the wicked / the souls of the wicked (Alma 40:14) 
    • “whom they call heroes and demi-gods; and to the souls of the wicked, the region of the ungodly” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 8:11)
  • to all eternity / to all eternity (Alma 13:7) 
    • “Moreover, he represented God as unbegotten, and immutable, through all eternity, superior to all mortal conceptions in pulchritude” (Josephus, Against Apion, Book II, 17) 
    • “And the one is the Lord from all eternity and unto all eternity” (The Apostolic Fathers, The Epistle of Barnabas, p. 115)
  • a boundless duration / an endless duration (2 Nephi 9:7) 
    • “and would be punished for an endless duration” (Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol 1, p. 453)
    • “and despised that power which is of eternal duration” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book IX, 10:4) 

Parallels found in Jonathan Edwards’ “Seventeen Occasional Sermons”:

  • the Redeemer of the world / this Redeemer of the world (1 Nephi 10:5) 
    • “I desire Thee, the Creator and Redeemer of the world” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 6, p. 879)
  • There is in the nature of man enmity against God, contempt of God, rebellion against God. Sin rises up as an enemy against the Most High. It is a dreadful thing for a creature to be an enemy to the Creator / the natural man is an enemy to God (Mosiah 3:19) / But remember that he that persists in his own carnal nature, and goes on in the ways of sin and rebellion against God, remaineth in his fallen state (Mosiah 16:3) 
    • “because it is in the nature of manto know good and evil” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, p. 516)
    • “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God” (Romans 8:7)
    • “But now the most of men have been made enemies of God, whose hearts the wicked one has entered, and has turned aside towards himself the affection which God the Creator had implanted in them” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 8, p. 231)
  • The torment and misery, of which natural men are in danger / a state of misery and endless torment (Mosiah 3:25) 
    • “on which account they every day underwent great miseries and bitter torments” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XII, 5:4)
    • the miserable feelingof not being able to rest or sleep never ceased to torment them” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VII)
  • therefore it is called death. It is eternal death, of which temporal death, with all its awful circumstances, is but a faint shadow. The struggles, and groans, and gasps of the body when dying, its pale awful visage when dead, its state in the dark grave when it is eaten with worms, are but a faint shadow of the state of the soul under the second death / And now behold, I say unto you then cometh a death, even a second death, which is a spiritual death; then is a time that whosoever dieth in his sins, as to a temporal death, shall also die a spiritual death (Alma 12:16) / eternal death (2 Nephi 2:29) 
    • But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8) 
    • “for sin is eternal death” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 2, p. 444)
    • “And because temporal death follows temporal life, it follows that souls rise again to everlasting life, because temporal death has received an end” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 7, p. 459)
  • the unpardonable sin / the unpardonable sin (Jacob 7:19) 
    • “Wherefore, if it is penalty which ‘burns,’ it follows that fornication, which penalty awaits, is not pardonable” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 4, p. 212)
  • a natural state / a natural state (Alma 41:12)
    • “that which is from God is good indeed in its natural state” (the Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 4, p. 270)
    • “having his hand recovered to its natural state” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VIII, 8:5)
  • by strivings of his Spirit / the Spirit hath ceased striving (Moroni 8:28) 
    • “And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years” (Genesis 6:3)
  • boundless gulf of sorrow and woe / endless gulf of misery and woe (2 Nephi 1:13)
    • “Torn, beside the lake, with endless grief and woe” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, p. 97)
    • “His reflections and blasphemy against my Lord Jesus Christ have brought him into this gulf of destruction” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 8, p. 1519) 
  • eternal misery / eternal misery (Alma 3:26)
  • on the wicked, as well as the godly / on the wicked as well as the righteous (Alma 40:19) 
    • “and sending rain on the holy and on the wicked” (Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, 661)
  • everlasting misery / everlasting misery (Helaman 7:16)
  • the fall of man / the fall of man (Mormon 9:12)
    • “Up to the fall of man, therefore, from the beginning God was simply good” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 13, p. 659)
  • full of all manner of wickedness / full of all manner of wickedness (Alma 13:7) 
    • “The hateful, and those full of all wickedness, were roused to such a pitch of fury” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, p. 56)
    • “And indeed that was a time most fertile in all manner of wicked practices” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 8:1)
    • “but who had their mind tinged and stuffed with all manner of evil” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, p. 1076)
  • the torment of your body / the torment of the body (1 Nephi 15:31) 
    • “nor did he only harass the rich men’s houses, but tormented their bodies” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 22:2)
  • this torment shall remain to an endless duration, a duration which shall always be beginning, but never ending! / to an endless duration (2 Nephi 9:7) / never-ending torment (Mosiah 2:39) 
    • “and would be punished for an endless duration” (Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, p. 453)
    • “and despised that power which is of eternal duration” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book IX, 10:4)
    • “whom on his departure from this world eternal flame shall torment with never-ending punishments” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, p. 1089)
  • how happy will be your state, should you obtain deliverance / the happy state of those that keep the commandments (Mosiah 2:41) 
    • “they lost that their happy state which they had obtained by innumerable labors, by their luxury” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book V, 3:2)
  • the hundreth part / a hundredth part (Jacob 3:13) 
    • “Restore, I pray you, to them, even this day, their lands, their vineyards, their oliveyards, and their houses, also the hundredth part of the money, and of the corn, the wine, and the oil, that ye exact of them” (Nehemiah 5:11)
  • They are without God in the world / they are without God in the world (Alma 41:11) 
    • “having no hope, and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12)
  • They, who are in a natural state are lost / all mankind are in a lost and fallen state (1 Nephi 10:6) 
    • “The legislator was under the idea that war was the natural state of all mankind, and that peace is only a pretence (The Dialogues of Plato, The Laws: The Preamble, Book I, p. 478)
    • “He Himself not in danger of being destroyed, but He also established fallen man by His own strength, and recalled him to incorruption” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, p. 1001)
  • They subject themselves unto him [the Devil] / they who subject themselves unto him [the Devil] (Moroni 7:17) 
    • “to rule over those who subjected themselves to evil and not to God” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 4, p. 1539)

Parallels found in Jonathan Edwards’s “Discourse V, The Excellency of Christ”:

  • he is one of infinite condescension / Knowest thou the condescension of God? (1 Nephi 11:16) 
    • “I have related what is called in Scripture the condescension of God to human affairs” (the Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 4, p. 1148)
    • “Upon this she took the message very kindly, and valued herself greatly upon this condescension of Anubis, and told her husband that she had a message sent her, and was to sup and lie with Anubis” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XVIII, 3:4)
  • offering up himself a sacrifice for sinners / he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin (2 Nephi 2:7) 
    • “Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself(Hebrews 7:27)
  • infinite goodness / infinite goodness (2 Nephi 1:10) 
    • “For if, on account of His infinite greatness, He remained unknown…” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, p. 990)

Parallels found in Jonathan Edwards’ “The Eternity of Hell’s Torments”:

  • eternal punishment / eternal punishment (Jacob 7:18) 
    • “but that the souls of bad men are subject to eternal punishment” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 8:14)
  • the justice of God / the justice of God (2 Nephi 2:12) 
    • “Is it not better to renounce all faith at once in the hope of the resurrection, than to trifle with the wisdom and justice of God?” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3, p. 1318)
  • contrary to the nature of God / contrary to the nature of God (Alma 41:11) 
    • “Look not on a strange woman, to lust, plainly pronounces sin foreign and contrary to the nature of the temple of God” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 2, p. 1162)
  • racking torture / racking torments /eternal torments / racked with torment (Alma 36:17) / racked with eternal torment (Mosiah 27:29) 
    • “having insinuated themselves into the bodies of men, are driven out, when racked and tormented, and confessing themselves to be demons” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 7, p. 553)
    • “things which, prepared for eternal torments, and known to them by the information of demons” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 4, p. 451)
  • a lively and admiring sense of / sensible of their own guilt / a lively sense of his own guilt (Mosiah 2:38) 
    • “for a sense of shame inflamed these into a passion” (Josephus, Wars, Book III, 7:6) 
  • a state of misery / a state of misery (Mosiah 3:25) 
    • the calamity of the death of our brother, and the miserable state of our aged father” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book II, 6:3)
    • “the Savior Himself (whom they designate All Things) was in a state of ignorance” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, p. 950)
  • suffer the second death / suffer the second death (Alma 13:30) 
    • But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8) 
    • “shall suffer eternal punishment, which the sacred writings call the second death” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 7, p. 458)
  • our first parents, were lost, and they were immediately in a doleful state of spiritual death. If we respect temporal death, that was also fulfilled. He brought death upon himself and all his posterity / the fall had brought upon all mankind / our first parents were cut off both temporally and spiritually (Alma 42:7) / a spiritual death as well as a temporal (Alma 42:9) 
    • “which it may be possible to designate as the land of our first parents Adam and Eve,” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3, p. 1259)
    • “Up to the fall of man, therefore, from the beginning God was simply good” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 13, p. 659)
    • And because temporal death follows temporal life, it follows that souls rise again to everlasting life, because temporal death has received an end” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 7, p. 459)
  • lost forever / lost forever (Alma 42:6)

Parallels found in Jonathan Edwards’ “Discourse IV, The Justice of God”:

  • so much like the spirit of the devil, who, because he is miserable himself, is unwilling that others should be happy / and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself (2 Nephi 2:27)
  • How have you neglected your children’s souls! And not only so, but have corrupted their minds by your bad examples / and lost the confidence of your children, because of your bad examples (Jacob 2:35) 
    • “He therefore passed through every age, becoming an infant for infants, thus sanctifying infants; a child for children, thus sanctifying those who are of this age, being at the same time made to them an example of piety, righteousness, and submission” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, p. 1007)
    • “Abraham therefore, Isaac, and Jacob, our fathers, are to be esteemed before all, since they did indeed afford us such early examples of virtue” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, p. 1449)
  • How much of a spirit of pride has appeared in you, which is in a peculiar manner the spirit and condemnation of the devil! How have some of you vaunted yourselves in your apparel! others in their riches! / you have obtained many riches; and because some of you have obtained more abundantly than that of your brethren ye are lifted up in the pride of your hearts, and wear stiff necks and high heads because of the costliness of your apparel (Jacob 2:13) 
    • “Accordingly, deriding those who are clothed in luxurious garments, he says in the Gospel: ‘Lo, they who live in gorgeous apparel and luxury are in earthly palaces’” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 2, p. 566)
    • “Whose adorning, let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 2, p. 614)
  • And what abominable lasciviousness have some of you been guilty of! How have you indulged yourself from day to day, and from night to night, in all manner of unclean imaginations / And now I, Jacob, spoke many more things unto the people of Nephi, warning them against fornication and lasciviousness, and every kind of sin, telling them the awful consequences of them (Jacob 3:12) 
    • “Yea, and even speaking of providence, they taught again that the world was not ruled by providence. But what? Did they not, when they essayed to write even of honorable conduct, teach the perpetration of lasciviousness, and fornication, and adultery; and did they not introduce hateful and unutterable wickedness?” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 2, p. 245)

Parallel’s found in Jonathan Edwards’ farewell sermon in Northampton, Massachusetts (1750):

  • I leave you in the gall of bitterness and bonds of iniquity [Acts 8:23], having the wrath of God abiding on you, and remaining under condemnation to everlasting misery and destruction. Seeing I must leave you, it would have been a comfortable and happy circumstance of our parting, if I had left you in Christ, safe and blessed in that sure refuge and glorious rest of the saints. But it is otherwise. I leave you far off, aliens and strangers, wretched subjects and captives of sin and Satan, and prisoners of vindictive justice: without Christ, and without God in the world [Eph. 2:12]. / And now, my son, all men that are in a state of nature, or I would say, in a carnal state, are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity [Acts 8:23]; they are without God in the world [Eph. 2:12], and have gone contrary to the nature of God; therefore, they are in a state contrary to the nature of happiness. (Alma 41:11) 
    • (I don’t see anything remarkable about two Christians using “gall of bitterness” and “without God in the world” in the same paragraph)
  • that day when you and I shall meet before our Judge / to meet you before the pleasing bar of the great Jehovah (Moroni 10:34) 
    • “In that case she is the more bound to him with whom she has a cause (to plead) at the bar of God” (Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 4, p. 157)
    • “he who presents himself before the judgment-seat becomes guilty of his death” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 2, p. 892)
  • that day, when you and I shall meet before the judgment seat / until I shall meet you before the pleasing bar of God (Jacob 7:13) 
    • “In that case she is the more bound to him with whom she has a cause (to plead) at the bar of God” (Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 4, p. 157)
    • “he who presents himself before the judgment-seat becomes guilty of his death” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 2, p. 892)
  • state of probation / a preparatory mutable state / this probationary state, yea, this preparatory state (Alma 42:13) 
    • “all these are states of probation, in which he who does righteously improves, and he who does unrighteously, deteriorates his lot” (The Dialogues of Plato, Phaedrus, p. 1058)
  • concerning the state of their souls / concerning the state of the soul (Alma 40:11) 
    • “But if a man is ill-constituted by nature (as the state of the soul is naturally in the majority both in its capacity for learning and in what is called moral character)” (The Dialogues of Plato, The Seventh Letter, p. 839)
    • “For virtue itself is a state of the soul rendered harmonious by reason in respect to the whole life” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 2, p. 507)
  • everlasting damnation / everlasting damnation (Helaman 12:26) 
    • “But if any one that is not initiated conceal himself, and partake of the same, ‘he eats eternal damnation’” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 7, p. 1037)
  • every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil / whether they be good or evil (Alma 40:11) 
    • “The truth is that we are discussing the subject of riches, and my notion is that we should argue respecting the honest and dishonest means of acquiring them, and, generally, whether they are a good thing or a bad” (The Dialogues of Plato, Eryxias, p. 226)
    • “But the reward neither of good nor evil could be paid to the man who should be found to have been either good or evil through necessity and not choice” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3, p. 650) 
  • everyone will be judged according to his works / and be judged according to their works (Alma 40:21) 
    • “and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works” (Revelation 20:12)

Parallels found in Reverend George Whitefield many sermons which can be found in Samuel Elliott Morrison’s “The Oxford History of the American People” (1972)

  • [The Eternity of Hell-Torments] may God of his infinite mercy deliver us all through Jesus Christ; to whom, with thee O Father, and thee O Holy Ghost, three Persons and one eternal God, be ascribed, as is most due, all honor, power, might, majesty, and dominion now and for ever more. / Christ the Son, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit which is one eternal God (Alma 11:44) 
    • “Wherefore, then, in all things, and through all things, there is one God, the Father, and one Word, and one Son, and one Spirit, and one salvation to all who believe in him” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, p. 1175)
  • [Christ the Only Preservative Against a Reprobate Spirit] Now to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, be ascribed all honor, power, glory, might, majesty and dominion, both now and for evermore, Amen / in his glory, in his might, majesty, power and dominion (Alma 5:50) 
    • “Jesus Christ, by whom be to Him glory, and majesty, and power, and honor, both now and for evermore. Amen” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, p. 69)
    • “called of God through Him, by whom be to Him glory, honor, power, majesty, and eternal dominion, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, p. 70)

Parallels found in George Whitefield’s “Marks of a True Conversion”:

  • whether such a great and almighty change has passed upon any of your souls / a mighty change wrought in his heart (Alma 5:12) 
    • “At the beginning of the cycle before our own very few of them had survived; and on these a mighty change passed” (The Dialogues of Plato, Statesman, p. 1560)
    • “It is well for me to be changed from what is evil to what is righteous” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, p. 119)
    • Lay aside, therefore, the evil, the old, the sour leaven, and be ye changed into the new leaven, which is Jesus Christ” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, p. 176)
  • Has God by his blessed Spirit wrought such a change in your hearts? / Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts? (Alma 5:14)
    • “Now in Greek the word for repentance is formed, not from the confession of a sin, but from a change of mind” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3, p. 684)
    • “And the name of Jesus can still remove distractions from the minds of men, and expel demons, and also take away disease; and produce a marvelous meekness of spirit and complete change of character” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 4, p. 936)
    • “but she who has repented, being as it were born again by the change in her life, has a regeneration of life” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 2, p. 809)
    • “and being displeased at their conduct, persuaded them to change their dispositions and their acts for the better” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book I, 3:1)

More parallels from Whitefield’s “Christ the Only Preservative,” “The Eternity of Hell-Torments,” and “Marks of Having Received the Holy Ghost”:

  • Our first parents had not been long in this state of innocence / our first parents (2 Nephi 2:15) / state of innocence (2 Nephi 2:23) 
    • “which it may be possible to designate as the land of our first parents Adam and Eve,” (Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 2, p. 1259)
    • “the cause of all is no other than Himself, since He allowed them to have freedom to wander who He foresaw would not abide by their state of innocence” (Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 6, p. 1058)
  • not only to become subject to temporal, but spiritual death / a spiritual death as well as temporal (Alma 42:9) 
    • “from which statement we see that not the death of the soul is mean, but that of the body” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3, p. 1003)
  • eternal happiness / eternal happiness (Alma 3:26) 
    • “that an eternal enjoyment of happiness did await such as died on that account” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 33:2)
  • this life is the only time allotted by Almighty God for working out our salvation / this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God (Alma 34:32) / work out your salvation (Alma 34:37) 
    • work out your own salvationwith fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12)
    • “For if we occupy the short time of this life with vain and useless questions, we shall without doubt go into the presence of God empty and void of good works, when, as I have said, our works shall be brought into judgment. For everything has its own time and place. This is the place, this the time of works; the world to come, that of recompenses” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 8, p. 235)
  • rebellion against God / rebellion against God (Alma 3:18) 
    • “it was Christ, for rebellion against whom they have perished” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3, P. 743)
    • “indicated that not even they were ignorant of the rebellion of matter against God” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 6, p. 576)
  • that I had never / O that I had rejected / O that I had taken / O that I had repented (Helaman 13:33) / O that we had repented (3 Nephi 8:24) / O that we had repented (3 Nephi 8:25) 
    • Oh that the day would once come when this old fellow will dies and name thee for the governor of the habitable earth!” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XVIII, 6:6)
    • Oh, that I also may join in these songs in my prayer!” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 6, p. 821)
  • miserable for ever / miserable forever (2 Nephi 2:5) 
    • “Therefore things are in this position, that they who are happy in this life, pertaining to the body and the earth, are about to be miserable for ever, because they have already enjoyed the good things which they preferred” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 7, p. 459)
  • “These are hard sayings, who can bear them?” / thou hast declared unto us hard things, more than we are able to bear (1 Nephi 16:1) 
    • Who can bear this your abuse of words, while they have a regard to the contrariety of your actions” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 4:4)
  • and brings forth fruits meet for repentance / and bring forth fruit meet for repentance (Alma 13:13) 
    • “Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance” (Matthew 3:8)
  • love towards God: loving all men / love towards God and all men (Mosiah 2:4) 
    • “For he was a man who had contained a full measure of love towards God and his neighbors” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 8, p. 2070)

Parallels found in Jonathan Edwards Jr.’s “Universal Salvation” (1789) which is found in a collection of Edwards Jr.’s works compiled by Tryon Edwards in “The Works of Jonathan Edwards, D.D.” (1842):

  • plan of mercy (p. 11) / plan of mercy (Alma 42:15)
  • law and justice (p. 13) / law and justice (Alma 42:23) 
    • “His power and skill, and obeying law and justice” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 2, p. 350)
  • placed in a state (p. 17) / placed in a state (Alma 12:31) 
    • “also on those which occupy an intermediate position between these good and evil powers, and as yet are placed in a state of struggle and trial” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 4, p. 602)
  • the demands of justice (p. 19) / the demands of justice (Alma 42:15) 
    •  “and the method of His justice demanded that punishment should follow faults” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 8, p. 377)
  • yet all will be saved finally (p. 23) / at last we shall be saved (2 Nephi 28:8) 
    • “Much more, then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, p. 1120)
  • the merit of Christ (p. 28) / the merits of Christ (p. 140) / the merit and sufferings of his beloved son (p. 268) / the merits of Christ (Moroni 6:4) / the merits of his Son (Alma 24:10) 
    • “that He might appear to have given to us the benefit of His having suffered, He gave us confession. He suggested martyrdoms; finally, He, by the merits of His nativity, imputed all those things whereby the light (of life) may be quenched, to a saving remedy, by His excellent humility, by His divine strength” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, p. 1415)
  • final state (p. 35) / final state (Alma 34:35) 
    • “it is by the grace of God and not by their own merit that they have been placed in that final stateof happiness” (Anti-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 4, p. 632)
  • endless happiness (p. 26) / everlasting misery (p. 93) / endless misery (p. 60) / endless happiness (Alma 41:4) / endless misery (Alma 41:4) / everlasting misery (Helaman 7:19)
  • the justice of endless punishment (p. 78) / endless punishment is just (p. 104) / endless misery is just (p. 110) / an everlasting punishment is just (Mosiah 27:31) 
    • “And the unrighteous, and those who believed not God, who have honored as God the vain works of the hands of men, idols fashioned (by themselves), shall be sentenced to this endless punishment” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, p. 549)
    • “But since free choice and inclination originate sins, and a mistaken judgment sometimes prevails, from which, since it is ignorance and stupidity, we do not take pains to recede, punishments are rightly inflicted” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 2, p. 686)
  • all men should be saved (p. 94) / all mankind should be saved (Alma 1:4) 
    • “both he himself and all who, following the example of his faith, trust in God, should be saved, he rejoiced exceedingly” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, p. 1170-1171)
  • few stripes (p. 96) / few stripes (2 Nephi 28:8) 
    • “But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes” (Luke 12:48)
  • state of torment (p. 97) / state of misery (p. 99) / endless torment (p. 98) / lake of torment (p. 98) / state of misery and endless torment (Mosiah 3:25) / their torment is as a lake of fire (Mosiah 3:27) 
    • “For, being punished with endless torture under unquenchable fire, and never dying, it can receive no end of its misery” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 8, p. 1003)
    • “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Revelation 20:10)
  • unjust punishment (p. 90) / injustice (p. 263) / ye do try to suppose that it is injustice that the sinner should be consigned to a state of misery (Alma 42:1) 
    • “And as, in those times, vengeance came from God upon the Egyptians who were subjecting Israel to unjust punishment” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, p. 1244)
  • the conditions of repentance (p. 103) / saved on the condition of their repentance (p. 136) / conditions whereby man can be saved (Mosiah 4:8) / on what conditions they are saved (Alma 5:10) 
    • “The remedial aid of repentance is determined by its own conditions, without unlimited concession” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 4, p. 179)
    • “But He had made the fulfillment of His promises to depend on certain conditions,–namely, that they should observe and live according to His law” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 4, p. 1577)
  • the just law of God (p. 114) / a just law given (Alma 42:18) 
    • “That there is a plain mark among us, that we neither have just laws, nor worship God as we ought to do” (Josephus, Against Apion, Book II, 12)
  • atonement of Christ (p. 115) / atonement of Christ (Mosiah 3:19) 
    • I am He who, pitying the bitter misfortunes of men, came hither as a messenger of offered peace, and as a full atonement for the fault of men” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 7, p. 760)
    • “The God of Christians is the author of sacrifice, and accepts the unspeakable sufferings of the innocent lamb for the sins of the whole world…that the sacrifices of the heathen had no apparent relation whatever to faith in this Atoning Lamb” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 6, p. 1337)
  • provided he do not repent (p. 115) / if they will not repent (2 Nephi 9:24) 
    • “I will cause thee to be consumed by fire, seeing thou despisest the wild beasts, if thou wilt not repent” (Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, p. 473)
  • obtain eternal life and salvation (p. 126) / eternal life, and salvation (Alma 11:40) / salvation and eternal life (Mosiah 5:15) 
    • “My spirit bows in adoration to the cross, which is a stumbling-block to those who do not believe, but is to you for salvation and eternal life” (Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, p. 267)
  • the WISE, just and holy exercise of mercy (p. 127) / infinite wisdom, power, holiness and goodness (p. 129) / the wisdom, and power, and justice, and mercy (Mosiah 5:15) 
    • “Well, then, if the Lord is the truth, and wisdom, and power of God, as in truth He is” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 2, p. 767)
    • “The Lord God is merciful and gracious, and long-suffering, and of great commiseration, and true, and keeps justice and mercy for thousands” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, p. 1221)
  • repent and believe in Christ (p. 140) / repent of all your sins and iniquities, and believe in Jesus Christ (Mormon 7:5)
  • sin is not imputed when there is no law (p. 142) / how could he sin if there was no law (Alma 42:17) 
    • “For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law” (Romans 5:13)
  • But this is not all (p. 154) / But this is not all (Alma 34:26) 
    • “but this is not allthe injury that Ziba has done me, as to my duty to thee, my lord and master” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VII, 11:3)
  • power, wisdom and goodness (p. 161) / goodness of God, and his matchless power, and his wisdom (Mosiah 4:6) 
    • “With God there are simultaneously exhibited power, wisdom, and goodness” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, p. 1289)
  • ever since the fall of Adam (p. 173) / ever since the fall of Adam (Mosiah 4:7) 
    • “a wall and fortress, in which exists the inner man, who thither has fallen from Adam, the primal man above” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, p. 136)
    • “and becoming thus all that man is with the exception of sin, He might save fallen man, and confer immortality on men who believe on His name” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, p. 566)
    • “Hence it was necessary that Christ should come forth for the salvation of man, in that condition of flesh into which man had entered ever since his condemnation” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3, p. 1198)
  • this fallen state (p. 173) / this fallen state (Alma 42:12) / fallen state (Mosiah 4:5) 
    • “He Himself not in danger of being destroyed, but He also established fallen man by His own strength, and recalled him to incorruption” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, p. 1001)
    • “But those who are bad from infirmity, having fallen from vicious insatiableness into a depraved state” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 2, p. 1116)
    • “he seems to have fallen into a state of ignorance or folly” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 4, p. 598)
  • state of happiness (p. 184) / happy state (p. 184) / state of happiness (Alma 40:12) / happy state (Mosiah 2:4) 
    • “which laid waste the happy stateof the city no less than did these murderers” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 13:4)
    • “if you will do what is pleasing to God, you will have a secure state of happiness” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book IV, 8:5)
  • persuade all men (p. 187) / persuade all men (2 Nephi 26:27) 
    • “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men?” (Galatians 1:10)
    • “for all discourses that tend to persuade men to do what they ought to do are superfluous” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 16:4)
  • the original state was a state of order, regularity and due subordination, wherein every person and thing were in their proper places; so in this sense all things will finally be brought back to their original state (p. 180) / Therefore, all things shall be restored to their proper order (Alma 41:4) 
    • “for he promises that if we are pious, he will restore us to our original state, and heal us and make us happy and blessed” (The Dialogues of Plato, Symposium, p. 1657)
    • “And that which makes a thing good is the proper orderinhering in each thing?” (The Dialogues of Plato, Gorgias, p. 371)
  • brought to repentance (p. 189) / brought to repentance (Alma 35:14) 
    • “And indeed this sight of the general brought many to repentof their revolt” (Josephus, Wars, Book III, 6:3)
    • “and to bring them to repentance for what they had done” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book IV, 6:10)
  • all mankind will be raised at the last day (p. 199) / that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day (Alma 2:18) 
    • “Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day” (John 11:24)
  • those who die in wickedness (p. 199) / if they should die in their wickedness (1 Nephi 15:33) 
    • “But if the wicked will turn from all his sins which he hath committed, and will do righteousness, he shall live in eternal life, and shall not die in his wickedness” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, p. 1561)
  • the plan of God (p. 199) / the plan of our God (2 Nephi 9:13) / the great plan of the eternal God (Alma 34:9) 
    • swallow up all the opposition of the Egyptians, which was lifting itself up against the pre-arranged plan of God” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, p. 1141)
  • work of salvation (p. 200) / plan of salvation (p. 293) / plan of salvation (Alma 42:5)
    • “arranging and preparing the plan of salvation, which was accomplished by the Word” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, p. 1133)
  • the first death (p. 204) / this first death (2 Nephi 9:15)
    • “that souls are delivered by almsgiving not only from the second, but from the first death, is discovered by the evidence of a matter accomplished and completed” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, p. 1099)
  • their bodies shall be immortal or incorruptible (p. 229) / and all men become incorruptible, and immortal (2 Nephi 9:13) 
    • “believing that God will raise us up by His Christ, and will make us incorruptible, and undisturbed, and immortal” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, p. 583)
  • the endless misery of the wicked, or they are equally opposed to their endless happiness (p. 229) / raised to endless happiness to inherit the kingdom of God, or to endless misery to inherit the kingdom of the devil (Alma 41:4)
    • “By the award of the judgment, we say that the wicked will have to spend an eternity in endless fire, the pious and innocent in a region of bliss” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3, p. 267)
  • final state of the wicked (p. 240) / final state of the wicked (Alma 34:35) 
    • “They should be ignorant that it is by the grace of God and not by their own merit that they have been placed in that final state of happiness” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 4, p. 632)
    • “he has entirely changed man’s nature—created, like his own, for perfect sinlessness—into his own state of wicked enmity against his Maker” The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3, p. 160)
  • It is generally agreed that murder deserves death. But suppose a law should be made, by which no murderer should be punished with death, or with any other punishment to be continued longer, than till he should repent. Would not such a law as this, compared with the law as it now stands, naturally and directly tend to encourage murder? (p. 248) / Now, if there were no law given – if a man murdered he should die – would he be afraid he would die if he should murder? (Alma 42:19) 
    • “Whereas you, above all other Athenians, seemed to be so fond of the state, or, in other words, of us her laws (and who would care about a state which has no laws?)” (The Dialogues of Plato, Crito, p. 221)
    • “Thus the entire office of justice in this respect becomes an agency for goodness: whatever it condemns by its judgment, whatever it chastens by its condemnation, whatever (to use your phrase) it ruthlessly pursues, it, in fact, benefits with good instead of injuring. Indeed, the fear of judgment contributes to good, not to evil. For good, now contending with an enemy, was not strong enough to recommend itself by itself alone…You read how broad is the road to evil, how thronged in comparison with the opposite: would not all glide down that road were there nothing to fear? We dread the Creator’s tremendous threats, and yet scarcely turn away from evil. What, if He threatened not?” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3, p. 662)
  • I need not (p. 248) / I need not (Alma 13:20) 
    • “I think I need not speak to you, my countrymen, about such other works as I have done since I came to the kingdom” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XV, 11:1)
  • It will not be denied that if there were no punishment threatened to the wicked, it would naturally and directly encourage them to persist in vice. (p. 247) / And also, if there was no law given against sin men would not be afraid to sin (Alma 42:20) 
    • “Thus the entire office of justice in this respect becomes an agency for goodness: whatever it condemns by its judgment, whatever it chastens by its condemnation, whatever (to use your phrase) it ruthlessly pursues, it, in fact, benefits with good instead of injuring. Indeed, the fear of judgment contributes to good, not to evil. For good, now contending with an enemy, was not strong enough to recommend itself by itself alone…You read how broad is the road to evil, how thronged in comparison with the opposite: would not all glide down that road were there nothing to fear? We dread the Creator’s tremendous threats, and yet scarcely turn away from evil. What, if He threatened not?” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3, p. 662)
  • God must be just as well as merciful (p. 264) / that God might be a perfect, just God, and a merciful god also (Alma 42:15) 
    • “For as God is just in judging of sinners, so is he merciful in receiving them when they return” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 7, p. 909)
  • a sense of his guilt (p. 265) / a lively sense of his own guilt (Mosiah 2:38) 
    • “are characteristic of women who have lost all sense of shame” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 2, p. 583)
    • “for a sense of shame inflamed these into a passion, as esteeming their failure of a sudden victory to be a kind of defeat” (Josephus, Wars, Book III, 7:6)
  • if they will not repent (p. 265) / if they will not repent (2 Nephi 9:24) 
    • “And I replied, ‘I do not say so; but those who have persecuted and do persecute Christ, if they do not repent, shall not inherit anything on the holy mountain” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, p. 554)
  • forever miserable (p. 266) / forever miserable (Alma 12:26) 
    • “Therefore things are in this position, that they who are happy in this life, pertaining to the body and the earth, are about to be miserable for ever, because they have already enjoyed the good things which they preferred” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 7, p. 459)
  • his good will and pleasure (p. 266) / his will and pleasure (1 Nephi 16:38) 
    • “Experience shows, however, that things which are even evil were made by Him: not, of course, of His own will and pleasure” (Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol 3, Against Hermogenes, p. 1040)
  • ever was or ever will be (p. 267) / never was nor ever will be (Alma 30:28) 
    • “while persons here invent stories that neither are true nor ever will be” (Thucydides, Book VI, Chapter XIX)
    • “That whether Lysias or any other writer that ever was or will be, whether private man or statesman” (The Dialogues of Plato, Phaedrus, p. 1112)
    • “it is clear that nothing ever was made, or could have been made, without providence” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 7, p. 654)
    • “And can we say that any of these things which neither are nor have been nor will be unchangeable, when judged by the strict rule of truth ever become certain?” (The Dialogues of Plato, Philebus, p. 1189)
  • sincere repentance (p. 273) / sincere repentance (Mosiah 29:19) 
    • “but by God’s power and human intercession, and the help of brethren, and sincere repentance, and constant care, they are corrected” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 2, p. 1260)

Parallels found in Jonathan Edwards, Jr.’s “Thoughts on the Atonement” (1842 collection):

  • But if we deserve an endless punishment, sin is an infinite evil, and so requires an infinite atonement / it must needs be an infinite atonement (2 Nephi 9:7) / nothing which is short of an infinite atonement (Alma 34:12)
    • “but that the souls of good men only are removed into other bodies, – but that the souls of bad men are subject to eternal punishment” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 8:14)
  • well beloved / Well Beloved (Helaman 5:47) 
    • “because they had exulted over the well-beloved and most approved Son of God” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 7, p. 272)

Parallels found in Jonathan Edwards Jr.’s “The Necessity of the belief of Christianity by the Citizens of the State, in Order to our political Prosperity” (1794; 1842 collection):

  • If there be moral good in any of those tempers or actions, there must be moral evil in the directly opposite; and if there be no moral evil in the latter, there is no moral good in the former; as if there were no natural evil in pain there would be no natural good in pleasure / And if there be no evidence of God’s moral perfections, there is no evidence, that he designs the happiness of his creatures here or hereafter / there is an opposition in all things (2 Nephi 2:11) / And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery (2 Nephi 2:13) 
    • “The Reason which made the universe out of diverse elements, so that all things might be composed of opposite substances in unity—of void and solid, of animate and inanimate, of comprehensible and incomprehensible, of light and darkness, of life itself and death” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3, p. 105)
    • “Thus the entire office of justice in this respect becomes an agency for goodness: whatever it condemns by its judgment, whatever it chastens by its condemnation, whatever (to use your phrase) it ruthlessly pursues, it, in fact, benefits with good instead of injuring. Indeed, the fear of judgment contributes to good, not to evil. For good, now contending with an enemy, was not strong enough to recommend itself by itself alone…You read how broad is the road to evil, how thronged in comparison with the opposite: would not all glide down that road were there nothing to fear? We dread the Creator’s tremendous threats, and yet scarcely turn away from evil. What, if He threatened not?” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3, p. 662)
  • line upon line and precept upon precept / line upon line, precept upon precept (2 Nephi 28:30)
  • Some are to be beaten with few stripes, some with many stripes / God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved (2 Nephi 28:8) 
    • “if they come to our thrashing-floors and eat our corn, or do not perform what we impose upon them, we beat them with a great many stripes” (Josephus, Against Apion, Book II, 7)
    • “But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes” (Luke 12:48)
  • Agreeably to the gospel all men are to be rewarded according to their works done in the body, whether they be good or evil / [Cf. Rev. 20:13: and they were judged every man according to their works / Eccles. 12:14: For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good, or whether evil] / they shall be judged, every man according to his works, whether they be good, or whether they be evil (Mosiah 3:24) / to be judged of him according to their works whether they be good or whether they be evil (Mosiah 16:10) / in the body…to be judged according to their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil (Alma 11:44) / to be judged of your works, whether they be good or evil (Mormon 3:20) 
    • “and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works” (Revelation 20:12)
    • “But the reward neither of good nor evil could be paid to the man who should be found to have been either good or evil through necessity and not choice” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3, p. 650) 
  • law and justice will be executed / to be judged according to their works, according to the law and justice (Alma 42:23) 
    • “so he accused them of their attempts for innovation, and of the pleasure they took in sedition, by reason of their not having learned to submit to justice and to the laws” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XVII, 11:3)
  • the penitent / the penitent (Alma 42:23) 
    • “And this (will God do), if in any way He perceive the heart of the penitent pure from every evil thing” (The Apostolic Fathers, The Shepherd of Hermas, p. 162)
  • nothing is so useful as a belief of a final judgment / all men shall stand before him, to be judged at the last and judgment day, according to their works (Alma 33:22) 
    • “The entire cause, then, or rather necessity of the resurrection, will be this, namely, that arrangement of the final judgment which shall be most suitable to God” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3, p. 1237)
  • the Stoic philosophers taught that lying was lawful, whenever it was profitable; and Plato allowed, that a man may lie, who knows how to do it at a proper time / lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words (2 Nephi 28:8) 
    • “these exiles whose interest it is to lie as fairly as they can, who do nothing but talk themselves and leave the danger to others…and if they fail will drag down their friends with them” (Thucydides, Book VI, Chapter 18)
  • actions which tend to destroy our happiness / would destroy the great plan of happiness (Alma 42:8)
  • a considerable number of the aborigines were converted to the christian faith. The pagan Indians were displeased with this, banished from their society all the converts, and when they could do it with safety, put them to death / there were many of them converted in the wilderness. And it came to pass that those rulers who were a remnant of the children of Amulon caused that they should be put to death, yea, all those that believed in these things (Alma 25:6-7)
  • a just punishment / punishment is just (Mosiah 27:31) 
    • “Come on, ascend up to us, that we may inflict a just punishment upon you” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VI, 6:2)
  • Christianity informs us of the end of our creation / in the end of its creation (2 Nephi 2:12) 
    • “For not like other things, as trees and quadrupeds, which cannot act by choice, did God make man: for neither would he be worthy of reward or praise did he not of himself choose the good, but were created for this end” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, p. 470)
  • leaving them there to perish and to be devoured by dogs / that they might leave me in the wilderness to be devoured by wild beasts (1 Nephi 7:16) 
    • “Now to give a man’s body to be devoured by beasts is in no wise agreeable to their customs, and indeed this is the very reason why they embalm their dead” (Herodotus, Book III)
    • “Some have been half devoured by wild beasts, and yet have been reserved alive to be devoured by them a second time, in order to afford laughter and sport to our enemies” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 8:7)
    • “according as God had foretold, that some of Jeroboam’s kindred that died in the city were torn to pieces and devoured by dogs, and that others of them that died in the fields were torn and devoured by the fowls” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VIII, 11:4)
  • they ordered them to be cast into a deep cavern in the earth…also the aged and the infirm, were exposed and left to perish / the prophets…cast into pits and left them to perish (Ether 9:29) / they were cast down into the earth (3 Nephi 28:20) / left to perish (Helaman 15:2) 
    • “But for the king himself, he was not at all irritated against Jeremiah, such was his gentle and righteous disposition; yet, that he might not be engaged in a quarrel with those rulers at such a time, by opposing what they intended, he let them do with the prophet whatsoever they would; whereupon, when the king had granted them such a permission, they presently came into the prison, and took him, and let him down with a cord into a pit full of mire, that he might be suffocated, and die of himself” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book X, 7:5) 
  • put to death by fire / death by fire (Alma 25:9) 
    • “he was seized with rage and anger, and endeavored to put him to death by fire” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 8, p. 1600)
  • beings who have will and choice, whereby as voluntary agents, they are, and act, as it becomes them to be and to act /placing themselves in a state to act, or being placed in a state to act according to their wills and pleasures (Alma 12:31) / God gave unto man that he should act for himself (2 Nephi 2:16)
    • “In like manner also, Sabaoth, when it is spelled by a Greek Omega in the last syllable [Sabaōth], denotes ‘a voluntary agent;’” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, p. 1055)
    • “And each of these two orders of creatures was made free to act as it pleased, not having the nature of good, which again is with God alone, but is brought to perfection in men through their freedom of choice” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 2, p. 128)
    • “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, although fate does co-operate in every action” (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book II, 8:14)
  • State of nature (John Locke) / ever was or ever will be / never was, nor ever will be (John Locke)
    • “That whether Lysias or any other writer that ever was or will be, whether private man or statesman” (The Dialogues of Plato, Phaedrus, p. 1112)
    • “it is clear that nothing ever was made, or could have been made, without providence” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 7, p. 654)
    • “And can we say that any of these things which neither are nor have been nor will be unchangeable, when judged by the strict rule of truth ever become certain?” (The Dialogues of Plato, Philebus, p. 1189)
    • “having his hand recovered to its natural state” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VIII, 8:5)

CONCLUSION

Donofrio argued that this list of phrases should not be found in an English translation of an ancient document like the Book of Mormon. I have demonstrated that nearly all of these phrases can be found in 18th and 19th century English translations of ancient documents dating from 440 B.C. to 325 A.D. We therefore cannot assume that Donofrio’s list is evidence of the Book of Mormon being a work of fiction influenced by early American literature

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 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)

An Updated List of Biblical Motifs found in 2 Nephi 9

The following is a list of Biblical motifs, expressions, and doctrines found in 2 Nephi 9. The purpose of this list is to provide further evidence of the Book of Mormon’s complexity, and the extreme mental effort, knowledge, and skill it would have required to dictate without the use of notes and with only minor revisions after the Book of Mormon’s publication.

  1. By the mouth of his holy prophets
    • “Spoken unto the Jews, by the mouth of his holy prophets” (2)
    • “which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets” (Acts 3:21)
  2. From the beginning
    • “even from the beginning down,” (2)
    • “hath it not been told you from the beginning?” (Isaiah 40:21)
  3. From generation to generation
    • “from generation to generation” (2)
    • “neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation” (Isaiah 13:20)
  4. Fold of God
    • “restored to the true church and fold of God” (2)
    • “and will bring them again to their folds” (Jeremiah 23:3)
  5. Lands of their inheritance
    • “when they shall be gathered home to the lands of their inheritance” (2)
    • “this is the land that shall fall unto you for an inheritance” (Numbers 34:2)
  6. Land of promise
    • “established in all their lands of promise” (2)
    • “By faith he sojourned in the land of promise” (Hebrews 11:9)
  7. Lift up your heads
    • “rejoice, and lift up your heads forever” (3)
    • “Lift up your heads, O ye gates” (Psalm 24:7)
  8. Searched diligently for salvation to come
    • “ye have searched much, many of you, to know of things to come” (4)
    • “Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you” (1 Peter 1:10)
  9. In our flesh we shall see God
    • “ye know that our flesh must waste away and die; nevertheless, in our bodies we shall see God” (4)
    • “And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God” (Job 19:26)
  10. Subject unto Christ
    • “die for all men, that all men might become subject unto him” (5)
    • “For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him” (Hebrews 2:8)
  11. Power of the resurrection
    • “there must needs be a power of resurrection” (6, 12)
    • “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection” (Philippians 3:10)
  12. Cut off from the presence of the Lord
    • “because man became fallen they were cut off from the presence of the Lord” (6)
    • “that soul shall be cut off from my presence” (Leviticus 22:3)
  13. Corruption put on incorruption
    • “save it should be an infinite atonement this corruption could not put on incorruption” (7)
    • “For this corruptible must put on incorruption” (1 Corinthians 15:53)
  14. Rise no more
    • “to rot and to crumble to its mother earth, to rise no more” (7, 8)
    • “Drink ye, and be drunken, and spue, and fall, and rise no more” (Jeremiah 25:27)
  15. Wisdom of God
    • “O the wisdom of God, his mercy and grace!” (8)
    • “for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment” (1 Kings 3:28)
  16. Angel fell from heaven
    • “our spirits must become subject to that angel who fell” (8)
    • “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!” (Isaiah 14:12)
  17. Eternal God
    • “before the presence of the Eternal God” (8)
    • “The eternal God is thy refuge” (Deuteronomy 33:27)
  18. Father of lies
    • “to remain with the father of lies” (9)
    • “for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44)
  19. Beguiled Adam and Eve
    • “that being who beguiled our first parents” (9)
    • “The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat” (Genesis 3:13)
  20. Satan can transform into an angel of light
    • “who transformeth himself nigh unto an angel of light” (9)
    • “for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14)
  21. Children of men
    • “and stirreth up the children of men” (9)
    • “and their seed from among the children of men” (Psalm 21:10)
  22. Works of darkness
    • “murder and all manner of secret works of darkness” (9)
    • “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness” (Ephesians 5:11)
  23. How great is the goodness of God
    • “O how great the goodness of our God” (10)
    • “Oh how great is thy goodness” (Psalm 31:19)
  24. Prepareth a way to escape
    • “who prepareth a way for our escape from the grasp of this awful monster” (10)
    • “but will with the temptation also make a way to escape” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
  25. Death and Hell
    • “that monster, death and hell” (10)
    • “and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him” (Revelation 6:8)
  26. The Holy One of Israel
    • “our God, the Holy One of Israel” (11, 12)
    • “but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 31:1)
  27. Death and Hell will deliver up their dead
    • “death and hell must deliver up their dead” (12)
    • “and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them” (Revelation 20:13)
  28. Paradise of God
    • “the paradise of God must deliver up the spirits of the righteous” (13)
    • “the tree of life which is in the midst of the paradise of God” (Revelation 2:7)
  29. Living souls
    • “men become incorruptible, and immortal, and they are living souls” (13)
    • “and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7)
  30. Perfect knowledge
    • “having a perfect knowledge like unto us in the flesh” (13)
    • “the wondrous works of him which is perfect in knowledge” (Job 37:16)
  31. Nakedness
    • “all our guilt, and our uncleanness, and our nakedness” (14)
    • “all that honoured her despise her, because they have seen her nakedness” (Lamentations 1:8)
  32. Robe of righteousness
    • “being clothed with purity, yea, even with the robe of righteousness” (14)
    • “he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10)
  33. Judgment seat of Christ
    • “they must appear before the judgment-seat of the Holy One of Israel” (15)
    • “for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ” (Romans 14:10)
  34. As the Lord liveth
    • “And assuredly, as the Lord liveth” (16)
    • “As the Lord liveth, that made us this soul” (Jeremiah 38:16)
  35. For the Lord hath spoken it
    • “for the Lord God hath spoken it” (16)
    • “for the Lord hath spoken” (Isaiah 1:2)
  36. God’s word cannot pass away
    • “it is his eternal word, which cannot pass away” (16)
    • “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away” (Mark 13:31)
  37. Righteous will be righteous still; filthy will be filthy still
    • “they who are righteous shall be righteous still, and they who are filthy shall be filthy still”
    • “he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still” (Revelation 22:11)
  38. Everlasting fire for the devil and his angels
    • “the devil and his angels; and they shall go away into everlasting fire, prepared for them” (16)
    • “everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41)
  39. Lake of fire and brimstone
    • “and their torment is as a lake of fire and brimstone” (16)
    • “These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone” (Revelation 19:20)
  40. Flame/smoke ascends forever
    • “whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever and has no end” (16)
    • “And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever” (Revelation 14:11)
  41. Word has gone forth out of God’s mouth
    • “For he executeth all his words, and they have gone forth out of his mouth” (17)
    • “the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness” (Isaiah 45:23)
  42. God’s law will be fulfilled
    • “and his law must be fulfilled” (17)
    • “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17)
  43. Endure the cross and despise the shame of it
    • “they who have endured the crosses of the world, and despised the shame of it” (18)
    • “for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame” (Hebrews 12:2)
  44. Inherit the kingdom of God prepared from foundation of the world
    • “they shall inherit the kingdom of God, which was prepared for them from the foundation of the world” (18)
    • “come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34)
  45. Joy may be full
    • “and their joy shall be full forever” (18)
    • “And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full” (1 John 1:4)
  46. God knows all things
    • “For he knoweth all things and there is not anything save he knows it” (20)
    • “God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things” (1 John 3:20)
  47. All men might be saved
    • “And he cometh into the world that he may save all men” (21)
    • “God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved” (1 Timothy 2:3-4)
  48. Hearken to the voice of the Lord
    • “if they hearken unto his voice” (21)
    • “When thou shalt hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God” (Deuteronomy 13:18)
  49. Endure to the end
    • “be baptized in his name, and endure to the end” (24)
    • “he that endureth to the end shall be saved” (Matthew 10:22)
  50. No law; no sin
    • “he has given a law; and where there is no law given there is no punishment” (25)
    • “for where no law is, there is no transgression” (Romans 4:15)
  51. Power to deliver
    • “for they are delivered by the power of him” (25)
    • “have I no power to deliver?” (Isaiah 50:2)
  52. Counsel of God
    • “they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God” (28)
    • “But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves” (Luke 7:30)
  53. Despise the poor
    • “For because they are rich they despise the poor” (30)
    • “But ye have despised the poor” (James 2:6)
  54. Set their hearts upon riches
    • “their hearts are upon their treasures” (30)
    • “if riches increase, set not your heart upon them” (Psalm 62:10)
  55. Uncircumcised of heart
    • “Wo unto the uncircumcised of heart” (33)
    • “all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart” (Jeremiah 9:26)
  56. Thrust down to hell
    • “Wo unto the liar, for he shall be thrust down to hell” (34)
    • “And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell” (Luke 10:15)
  57. Die in their sins
    • “wo unto all those who die in their sins” (38)
    • “for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24)
  58. Holy God
    • “remember the awfulness in transgressing against that Holy God” (39)
    • “Ye cannot serve the Lord: for he is an holy God” (Joshua 24:19)
  59. Carnally minded is death
    • “Remember, to be carnally-minded is death, and to be spiritually-minded is life eternal” (39)
    • “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:6)
  60. Speak hard things
    • “Do not say that I have spoken hard things against you” (40)
    • “How long shall they utter and speak hard things?” (Psalm 94:4)
  61. Your Maker
    • “for I have spoken the words of your Maker” (40)
    • “Whoso mocketh the poor reproacheth his Maker” (Proverbs 17:5)
  62. The words of truth
    • “I know that the words of truth are hard against all uncleanness” (40)
    • “a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15)
  63. Path of righteousness
    • “Remember that his paths are righteous” (41)
    • “he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake” (Psalm 23:3)
  64. Narrow and straight path
    • “the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him” (41)
    • “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way” (Matthew 7:14)
    • “make thy way straight before my face” (Psalm 5:8)
  65. The Lord’s gate
    • “and there is no other way save it be by the gate” (41)
    • “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving” (Psalm 100:4)
  66. The Lord is his name
    • “he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name” (41)
    • “Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion…The Lord is his name” (Amos 5:8)
  67. Knock and it shall be opened unto you
    • “And whoso knocketh, to him will he open” (42)
    • “knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matthew 7:7)
  68. Puffed up
    • “they that are rich, who are puffed up because of their learning” (42)
    • “that no one of you be puffed up for one against another” (1 Corinthians 4:6)
  69. Fools before God
    • “consider themselves fools before God” (42)
    • “let him become a fool, that he may be wise” (1 Corinthians 3:18)
  70. Wise and the prudent
    • “But the things of the wise and the prudent shall be hid from them forever” (43)
    • “For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent’ (1 Corinthians 1:19)
  71. Shake off your sins from my garments
    • “Behold, I take off my garments, and I shake them before you…witness that I shook your iniquities from my soul” (44)
    • “he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean” (Acts 18:6)
  72. God of my salvation
    • “I pray the God of my salvation” (44)
    • “Because thou has forgotten the God of thy salvation” (Isaiah 17:10)
  73. Eye of the Lord
    • “that he view me with his all-searching eye” (44)
    • “Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him” (Psalm 33:18)
  74. God of Israel
    • “all men shall be judged of their works, that the God of Israel did witness” (44)
    • “O Lord of hosts, God of Israel” (Isaiah 37:16)
  75. Judged according to their works
    • “when all men shall be judged of their works” (44)
    • “and they were judged every man according to their works” (Revelation 20:13)
  76. Brightness
    • “and that I stand with brightness before him” (44)
    • “they shall defile thy brightness” (Ezekiel 28:7)
  77. Turn away from your sins
    • “O, my beloved brethren, turn away from your sins” (45)
    • “bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities” (Acts 3:26)
  78. Chains of hell
    • “shake off the chains of him that would bind you fast” (45)
    • “he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness” (Jude 1:6)
  79. Rock of my salvation
    • “come unto that God who is the rock of your salvation” (45)
    • “He only is my rock and my salvation” (Psalm 62:2)
  80. Lord God Almighty
    • “Holy, holy are thy judgments, O Lord God Almighty” (46)
    • “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come” (Revelation 4:8)
  81. Freed from sin
    • “Would I be plain unto you according to the plainness of the truth if ye were freed from sin?” (47)
    • “Being then made free from sin” (Romans 6:18)
  82. Praise the name of the Lord
    • “I will praise the holy name of my God” (49)
    • “and will sing praise to the name of the Lord most high” (Psalm 7:17)
  83. Every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters
    • “Come, my brethren, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money, come buy and eat” (50-51)
    • “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat” (Isaiah 55:1-2)
  84. The Holy One cannot be corrupted
    • “come unto the Holy One of Israel, and feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted” (51)
    • “neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption” (Psalm 16:10)
  85. Covenants of the Lord
    • “And behold how great the covenants of the Lord” (53)
    • “That thou shouldest enter into covenant with the Lord thy God” (Deuteronomy 29:12)
  86. Grace and mercy
    • “and because of his greatness, and his grace and mercy” (53)
    • “To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father” (2 Timothy 1:2)
  87. Utterly destroyed
    • “he has promised unto us that our seed shall not utterly be destroyed” (53)
    • “he hath utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered them to the slaughter” (Isaiah 34:2)
  88. According to the flesh
    • “shall not utterly be destroyed, according to the flesh” (53)
    • “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh” (Ephesians 6:5)
  89. A righteous branch
    • “in future generations they shall become a righteous branch unto the house of Israel” (53)
    • “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch” (Jeremiah 23:5)

Why the Translation Process is the Best Evidence in Favor of the Book of Mormon

Many critics argue that the translation of the Book of Mormon as described by many witnesses is evidence that Joseph Smith was a fraud. A good summary of eye-witness testimony of the translation process can be found here. It is generally accepted by critics and apologists that Joseph Smith placed his own seer stone or the Nephite interpreters into a hat, looked inside, and dictated to his scribes what was revealed to him. It is my argument, however, that if it can be proved that Joseph Smith did in fact dictate the entire Book of Mormon in the way described by witnesses, that this is in fact the best evidence of Joseph Smith’s prophetic calling. Below is a list of some of the reasons why I believe this:

  1. The Number of Biblical References

There are hundreds of references to the Bible found in the Book of Mormon (I have counted over 1000 so far). These references include direct quotes, modified quotes, themes, doctrines, symbols, and names. Many of these references are seamlessly interwoven into the narrative with such subtlety as to go unnoticed by the casual reader. Joseph Smith would have needed to be familiar with the entire Bible and have memorized a lexicon of hundreds of Biblical phrases to repeat off the top of his head, and possibly review chapters of the Bible the night before translating so that he could memorize a few more to be used the next day. Some examples of Biblical references in the Book of Mormon can be found in my examination of 2 Nephi 9, Jacob 5, and Alma 5. Consistently using such a large number of Biblical references would make the dictation process extremely difficult and it is remarkable that the use of so many references was maintained for over 500 pages.

  1. The Genealogy of Ether

Moroni provides the genealogy of the prophet Ether, which is comprised of 30 names (Ether 1:6-32). This genealogy includes names from the Bible (i.e., Seth, Levi, Ether, Omer) and names modified from the Bible (i.e., Riplakish, Lib, Hearthom). Joseph Smith would have needed to memorize this list of 30 names or at least list them off the top of his head and then be committed to use them for the rest of his narrative in the Book of Ether. He then repeats this genealogy in reverse order over the 30+ pages of the Book of Ether, including the names and storylines of characters not found in the original genealogy. This would have been an arduous process for Joseph to have to repeatedly review the genealogy and dictate the stories of each of these individuals over the course of several days. Click here for a more in-depth analysis of the genealogy of Ether.

  1. Chiasmus

While I do not believe that the existence of chiasmus in the Book of Mormon is definitive proof of its authenticity (critics point out that other contemporary sources have used chiasmus), I do believe that within the context of the translation process it does provide strong evidence for Joseph Smith’s prophetic calling. Alma 36 is the prime example of chiasmus in the Book of Mormon, and a break-down of its structure can be found here. If Joseph had been dictating with his head buried in an empty hat while only stopping every 30 or so words for the scribe to repeat back what he had written, he would have had to memorize at least 15 themes to be repeated in reverse order over 30 verses when Alma is describing his conversion. It is unlikely that the chiasmus in Alma 36 appeared accidentally, and dictating it intentionally without notes would be an incredible feat.

  1. Unique Language of the Book of Mormon Authors

I do not know much about the science behind identifying an author’s written works based on analyzing the frequency of phrases unique to that author. Regardless, there are many phrases that are found exclusively in the writings of specific Book of Mormon authors that are not found in other authors’ writings. For example, the prophet Zenos uses phrases like “turn their hearts aside” and “in the midst of thy congregations,” which are phrases found in the Old Testament but not anywhere else in the Book of Mormon (click here for more examples). Not only are some of these phrases unique to certain prophets, but they are also found across several books (i.e., Jacob using unique phrases in 2 Nephi 9, and then using these phrases again in the Book of Jacob) suggesting Joseph Smith would have been cognizant that people would analyze whether his Book of Mormon characters had unique writing styles and would have intentionally varied their writing style to make sure it would stand up to scrutiny. This is a level of attention to detail that seems unlikely.

  1. The Structure of Jacob 5

Jacob 5 is a chapter in the Book of Mormon that is layered with complexity that suggests it was meticulously planned and not the product of a man who had a general idea of what he wanted to say and then dictated using his natural ability to speak off the top of his head. First, the length of the allegory of the olive tree is an impressive 77 verses. Second, it uses a variety of references to other Biblical doctrines and phrases and some are modified to fit specifically with the imagery of olive trees. Third, the phrasing of the chapter is structured so that over 20 phrases are repeated over the course of the 77 verses, suggesting Joseph would have needed to memorize these phrases to be repeated systematically and then incorporate them to reflect Biblical doctrines using the unique symbol of an olive tree.

  1. Names in the Book of Mormon

There are a few hundred names of people and places in the Book of Mormon. Many of these names are not found in the Bible. Many of these names, however, seem to be modified from certain root words in the Bible. Click here for a list of many of the names found in the Book of Mormon and their Biblical correlates. Joseph would have needed to identify names scattered across the Bible and then come up with creative ways of modifying and combining them (i.e., “Zarahemla” is a composite of “Zarah” and “Imla”). This would have been a complicated process which he would have needed to do while steeped in the translation. In addition, he would have to be familiar with the meaning of some Hebrew names such as “Ram” and “Zif” in order to use them correctly in the Book of Mormon (see references to “Ziff” and “Rameumptom” in the previously mentioned list of Book of Mormon names).

  1. Consistency in Geography

Whoever wrote the Book of Mormon had a clear picture of the locations where the events of the Book of Mormon took place. For instance, Nephi always describes traveling to Jerusalem as “going up to” Jerusalem, suggesting the author knew Jerusalem was on a hill (this is also consistent with the Bible). Another example is that the Nephites live in the land northward, but they always say they “go up” to the land southward, suggesting that author knew visually that the land southward was a higher physical elevation than the land northward. Click here for a closer look at some of the geographical consistencies in the Book of Mormon. Joseph would have needed to memorize the names and locations of Book of Mormon cities as well as the events that occurred in the narrative or at least be able to regularly reference a map while dictating in order to produce the consistency found in the Book of Mormon.

  1. Translating beginning with Mosiah

After Joseph and Martin Harris lost the first 116 pages of the Book of Mormon, there is strong evidence that they picked up the translation process from where they left off in the Book of Mosiah. They continued through the end of the Book of Moroni, and then returned and translated 1 Nephi through Words of Mormon. This would have been difficult because Joseph makes many references to events that happened to characters in the lost portion of the Book of Mormon that are referenced after the Book of Mosiah. The most cited example is Alma quoting Lehi in Alma 36:22 before Lehi’s quote had been written. Joseph would have needed to remember that he had quoted Lehi and then remember to review the manuscript when he dictated 1 Nephi 1:8 so he could create the exact original quote that Alma was citing. Again, this would have been a remarkable example of Joseph’s attention to detail.