According to Latter Day Saint belief, the golden plates are the source from which Joseph Smith claimed to have translated the Book of Mormon, a sacred text of the faith. Some witnesses described the plates as weighing from 30 to 60 pounds, golden in color, composed of thin metallic pages engraved on both sides and bound with three D-shaped rings. Smith said that he found the plates on September 22, 1823 on a hill, near his home in Manchester, New York, after the angel Moroni directed him to a buried stone box, he said that the angel prevented him from taking the plates but instructed him to return to the same location in a year. He returned to that site every year, but it was not until September 1827 that he recovered the plates on his fourth annual attempt to retrieve them, he returned home with a heavy object wrapped in a frock, which he put in a box. He allowed others to heft the box but said that the angel had forbidden him to show the plates to anyone until they had been translated from their original "reformed Egyptian" language.
Smith dictated the text of the Book of Mormon. The only eyewitnesses to the process said Smith translated the plates, not by looking at them, but by looking at a seer stone in the bottom of his hat. Smith published the translation in 1830 as the Book of Mormon. Smith obtained testimonies from 11 men who said that they had seen the plates, known as the Book of Mormon witnesses. After the translation was complete, Smith said that he returned the plates to the angel Moroni, so they could never be examined. Latter Day Saints believe the account of the golden plates as a matter of faith, critics assert that either Smith manufactured them himself or that the Book of Mormon witnesses based their testimony on visions rather than physical experience. In the words of Mormon historian Richard Bushman, "For most modern readers, the plates are beyond belief, a phantasm, yet the Mormon sources accept them as fact." Smith said that he returned the plates to the angel Moroni after he finished translating them, their authenticity cannot be determined by physical examination.
They were shown to several close associates of Smith. Mormon scholars have formed collaborations such as Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies to provide apologetic answers to critical research about the golden plates and topics in the field of Mormon studies; the credibility of the plates has been a "troublesome item", according to Bushman. The Book of Mormon itself portrays the golden plates as a historical record, engraved by two pre-Columbian prophet-historians from around the year AD 400: Mormon and his son Moroni. Mormon and Moroni, the book says, had abridged earlier historical records from other sets of metal plates, their script, according to the book, was described as "reformed Egyptian", a language unknown to linguists or Egyptologists. Scholarly reference works on languages do not acknowledge the existence of either a "reformed Egyptian" language or "reformed Egyptian" script as it has been described in Mormon belief, there is no archaeological, linguistic, or other evidence of the use of Egyptian writing in ancient America.
Latter Day Saint movement denominations have taught that the Book of Mormon's description of the plates' origin is accurate, that the Book of Mormon is a translation of the plates. The Community of Christ, accepts the Book of Mormon as scripture but no longer takes an official position on the historicity of the golden plates; some adherents accept the Book of Mormon as inspired scripture but do not believe that it is a literal translation of a physical historical record in the more theologically conservative Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Non-believers and some liberal Mormons have advanced naturalistic explanations for the story of the plates. For example, it has been theorized that the plates were fashioned by Smith or one of his associates, that Smith had the ability to convince others of their existence through illusions or hypnosis, or that witnesses were having ecstatic visions; the story of the golden plates consists of how, according to Joseph Smith and his contemporaries, the plates were found, received from the angel Moroni and returned to the angel before the publication of the Book of Mormon.
Smith is the only source for a great deal of the story because much of it occurred while he was the only human witness. Smith told the story to his family and acquaintances, many of them provided second-hand accounts. Other parts of the story are derived from the statements of those who knew Smith, including several witnesses who said that they saw the golden plates; the best-known elements of the golden plates story are found in an account told by Smith in 1838 and incorporated into the official church histories of some Latter Day Saint movement denominations. The LDS Church has canonized part of this 1838 account as part of its scripture, the Pearl of Great Price. During the Second Great Awakening, Joseph Smith lived on his parents' farm near New York. At the time, churches in the region contended so vigorously for souls that western New York became known as the "burned-over district" because the fires of religious revivals had burned over it so often. Western New York was noted for its participation in a "craze for treasure hunting".
Beginning as a youth in the early 1820s, Smith was periodically hired, for about $14 per month, as a scryer, using what were termed "seer stones" in attempts to locate lost items and buried treasure. Smith's contemporaries described his method for seeking treasure as putting the stone in a white stovepipe hat, putti
Church Educational System
The Church Educational System of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints consists of several institutions that provide religious and secular education for both Latter-day Saint and non–Latter-day Saint elementary and post-secondary students and adult learners. 700,000 individuals were enrolled in CES programs in 143 countries in 2011. CES courses of study are distinct from religious instruction provided through wards. Kim B. Clark, a member of the First Quorum of Seventy, has been the CES Commissioner since August 1, 2015; the University of Deseret was established in 1850 to supervise other public schools in the territory. Public taxation instituted in 1851 supported these schools, which were organized by wards, with their teacher employed by the local bishop; these early public schools were used church meetinghouses as their schoolroom. While Utah's colonization was started by members of the LDS Church, twenty percent of the territory's residents were not Mormon by 1880; this non-Mormon minority wished for a state government, less Mormon, including for public schools that were independent from the LDS Church.
Non-Mormon schools petitioned for and received federal aid, the first Protestant missionary school opened in Salt Lake City in 1867. From 1869–1890, there were 90 non-Mormon schools from other Christian denominations. Over half of their students were Mormon; the Edmunds–Tucker Act of 1887 prohibited use of "sectarian" or religious books in the classroom, changed the district superintendent position to one, appointed instead of elected. The Free School Act of 1890 established that public schools would be "free from sectarian control." This legislation separated the LDS Church from the public schools. Wilford Woodruff disliked the new public schools, calling them a "great evil," and created the academies system and an after-school program of religious classes for children; the first Church Board of Education was formed in 1888 to supervise the academies. The board consisted of Wilford Woodruff, Lorenzo Snow, George Q. Cannon, Karl G. Maeser, Horace S. Eldredge, Willard Young, George W. Thatcher, Anthon H. Lund, Amos Howe.
Thirty academies were formed between 1888 and 1895, but many families could not afford the tuition of the private academies. A few academies became junior colleges and trained teachers, some continued as private Church-sponsored high schools. Most academies closed within the decade due to the depressions of 1893 and 1896; some of the stronger academies persisted before being dissolved during church education cutbacks in the 1920s. Release-time seminary classes started in 1912 at Granite High School in Salt Lake City, grew to serve 26,000 students by 1930. Religious education programs designed for secondary students are called seminaries; these are programs of religious education for youth aged 14–18 that accompany the students' secular education. In areas with large concentrations of Latter-day Saints, such as in and around the Mormon Corridor in the United States, some places in Alberta, instruction is offered on a released time basis during the normal school day in meetinghouses, or facilities built for seminary programs, adjacent to public schools.
Released-time seminary classes are taught by full-time employees. In areas with smaller LDS populations early-morning or home-study seminary programs are offered. Early-morning seminary classes are held daily before the normal school day in private homes or in meetinghouses and are taught by volunteer teachers. Home-study seminary classes are offered where geographic dispersion of students is so great that it is not feasible to meet on a daily basis. Home-study seminary students meet only once a week as a class. Home-study classes are held in connection with weekly youth fellowship activities on a weekday evening; the seminary program provides extensive study of theology, using as texts the church's "standard works" throughout the school week, in addition to normal Sunday classes. The four courses are taught, one on a rotating basis. Seminary students were encouraged to study each scriptural text on their own time and to memorize a total of 100 scriptural passages or "scriptural mastery" verses during their participation in the four-year program.
In 2016, the focus turned from scripture mastery to doctrinal mastery. For many years, the curriculum has followed the standard school year for most seminary students. However, in March 2019, the LDS Church announced that the curriculum would be changed to align with the home-centered, church-supported curriculum changes announced in the church's October 2018 general conference; this change was intended to align the studies done by the youth with their families and church meeting studies throughout the year. Unlike use in other religious contexts, the word seminary, in an LDS Church context, does not refer to a higher education program designed to train students that they may obtain a church-based career. LDS seminary students do not get high school credit for their seminary studies; the LDS Church has piloted an online seminary program to supplement or supplant the home-study program. This online pilot program has seen success in helping meet the needs of home-study students separated by distances that make meeting daily impractical.
Through the church's online learning system, seminary teachers are able to incorporate student participation that includes sharing their own thoughts and ideas, as well as feelings and experiences they have had with the church. This helps provide a greater sense of community and conne
Joseph Smith Jr. was an American religious leader and founder of Mormonism and the Latter Day Saint movement. When he was 24, Smith published the Book of Mormon. By the time of his death, 14 years he had attracted tens of thousands of followers and founded a religion that continues to the present. Smith was born in Vermont. By 1817, he had moved with his family to the burned-over district of western New York. Smith said he experienced a series of visions, including one in 1820 during which he saw "two personages", another in 1823 in which an angel directed him to a buried book of golden plates inscribed with a Judeo-Christian history of an ancient American civilization. In 1830, Smith published what he said was an English translation of these plates called the Book of Mormon; the same year he organized the Church of Christ, calling it a restoration of the early Christian church. Members of the church were called "Latter Day Saints" or "Mormons", Smith announced a revelation in 1838 which renamed the church as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
In 1831, Smith and his followers moved west. They first gathered in Kirtland and established an outpost in Independence, Missouri, intended to be Zion's "center place". During the 1830s, Smith sent out missionaries, published revelations, supervised construction of the Kirtland Temple; the collapse of the church-sponsored Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Banking Company and violent skirmishes with non-Mormon Missourians caused Smith and his followers to establish a new settlement at Nauvoo, where he became a spiritual and political leader. In 1844, Smith and the Nauvoo city council angered non-Mormons by destroying a newspaper that had criticized Smith's power and practice of polygamy. Smith was imprisoned in Illinois where he was killed when a mob stormed the jailhouse. Smith published other texts that his followers regard as scripture, his teachings discuss the nature of God, family structures, political organization, religious collectivism. His followers regard him as a prophet comparable to Moses and Elijah, several religious denominations consider themselves the continuation of the church that he organized, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Community of Christ.
Smith was born on December 23, 1805 in Sharon, Vermont to Lucy Mack Smith and her husband Joseph Sr. a merchant and farmer. Modern DNA testing of Smith's relatives suggests that his family were of Irish descent, as he carried a rare Y-DNA marker within Haplogroup R1b, found entirely in people of Northwestern Irish descent. Smith suffered a crippling bone infection when he was seven and, after receiving surgery, used crutches for three years; the family moved to the western New York village of Palmyra in 1816–17, after an ill-fated business venture and three years of crop failures, they took a mortgage on a 100-acre farm in the nearby town of Manchester. The region was a hotbed of religious enthusiasm during the Second Great Awakening. Between 1817 and 1825, there were several camp revivals in the Palmyra area, his parents disagreed about religion. Smith said that he became interested in religion by age 12; as a teenager, he may have been sympathetic to Methodism. With other family members, Smith engaged in religious folk magic, a common practice in that time and place.
Both his parents and his maternal grandfather had visions or dreams that they believed communicated messages from God. Smith said that, although he had become concerned about the welfare of his soul, he was confused by the claims of competing religious denominations. Years Smith stated he had received a vision that resolved his religious confusion. In 1820, while praying in a wooded area near his home, he said that God and Jesus Christ, in a vision, appeared to him and told him his sins were forgiven and that all contemporary churches had "turned aside from the gospel." Smith said. The event would grow in importance to Smith's followers, who now regard it as the first event in the gradual restoration of Christ's church to earth; until the 1840s, the experience was unknown to most Mormons. Smith may have understood the event as a personal conversion. According to his accounts, Smith was visited by an angel named Moroni, while praying one night in 1823. Smith said that this angel revealed the location of a buried book made of golden plates, as well as other artifacts, including a breastplate and a set of interpreters composed of two seer stones set in a frame, hidden in a hill near his home.
Smith said he attempted to remove the plates the next morning, but was unsuccessful because the angel returned and prevented him. Smith reported that during the next four years, he made annual visits to the hill, until the fourth and final visit, each time he returned without the plates. Meanwhile, the Smith family faced financial hardship, due in part to the death of Smith's oldest brother Alvin, who had assumed a leadership role in the family. Family members supplemented their meager farm income by hiring out for odd jobs and working as treasure seekers, a type of magical supernaturalism common during the period. Smith was said to have an ability to locate lost items by looking into a seer stone, which he used in treasure hunting, including several unsuccessful attempts to find buried treasure s
The Columbian exchange known as the Columbian interchange, named for Christopher Columbus, was the widespread transfer of plants, culture, human populations, technology and ideas between the Americas, West Africa, the Old World in the 15th and 16th centuries. It relates to European colonization and trade following Christopher Columbus's 1492 voyage. Invasive species, including communicable diseases, were a byproduct of the Exchange; the changes in agriculture altered and changed global populations. The most significant immediate impact of the Columbian exchange was the cultural exchanges and the transfer of people between continents; the new contact between the global population circulated a wide variety of crops and livestock, which supported increases in population in both hemispheres, although diseases caused precipitous declines in the numbers of indigenous peoples of the Americas. Traders returned to Europe with maize and tomatoes, which became important crops in Europe by the 18th century.
The term was first used in 1972 by American historian Alfred W. Crosby in his environmental history book The Columbian Exchange, it was adopted by other historians and journalists and has become known. In 1972 Alfred W. Crosby, an American historian at the University of Texas at Austin, published The Columbian Exchange, he published subsequent volumes within the same decade. His primary focus was mapping the biological and cultural transfers that occurred between the Old and New World, he studied the effects of Columbus' voyages between the two. The global diffusion of crops and plants from the New World back into the Old, his research made a lasting contribution to the way scholars understand the variety of contemporary ecosystems that arose due to these transfers. The term has become popular among historians and journalists, since been enhanced with Crosby's book in 3 editions, Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900–1900, which Charles C. Mann, in his book 1493 further updates Crosby's original research.
Several plants native to the Americas have spread around the world, including potato, maize and tobacco. Before 1500, potatoes were not grown outside of South America. By the 19th century they were found in nearly every cookpot in Europe and had conquered India and North America. Potatoes became an important staple of the diet in much of Europe, contributing to about 25% of the population growth in Afro-Eurasia between 1700 and 1900. Many European rulers, including Frederick the Great of Prussia and Catherine the Great of Russia, encouraged the cultivation of the potato. Maize and cassava, introduced by the Portuguese from South America in the 16th century, have replaced sorghum and millet as Africa's most important food crops. 16th-century Spanish colonizers introduced new staple crops to Asia from the Americas, including maize and sweet potatoes, thereby contributed to population growth in Asia. On a larger scale, the coming of potatoes and maize to the old world "resulted in caloric and nutritional improvements over existing staples" throughout the Eurasian landmass as they created more varied and abundant food production.
Tomatoes, which came to Europe from the New World via Spain, were prized in Italy for their ornamental value. From the 19th century tomato sauces became typical of Neapolitan cuisine and Italian cuisine in general. Coffee from Africa and the Middle East and sugarcane from the Spanish West Indies became the main export commodity crops of extensive Latin American plantations. Introduced to India by the Portuguese and potatoes from South America have become an integral part of Indian cuisine. Rice was another crop that became cultivated during the Columbian exchange; as the demand in the New World grew, so did the knowledge on how to cultivate it. The two primary species used were oryza glaberrima and oryza sativa, originating from West Africa and Southeast Asia respectively. Slaveholders in the New World relied upon the skills of enslaved Africans to further cultivate both species.. North and South Carolina were key places where rice was grown during the slave trade, islands of the Caribbean like Puerto Rico and Cuba were great centers of production.
Enslaved Africans brought their knowledge of water control, milling and other general agrarian practices to the fields. This widespread knowledge amongst enslaved Africans led to rice becoming a staple dietary item in the New World. Citrus fruits and grapes were brought to the Americas from the Mediterranean. At first these crops struggled to adapt to the climate in the new world but by the late 19th century they were growing more consistently; the guava plant originated in West Africa and is now grown in Hawaii and areas of California. Bananas were introduced to the Americas by Portuguese sailors who brought the fruits from West Africa during their enslavement of Africans in the 16th century. Bananas were still only consumed in minimal amounts around the 1880's; the U. S. didn't see major rises in banana consumption. The History of modern banana plantations in the Americas details the spread of this crop within the Americas, it took three centuries after their introduction in Europe for tomatoes to become accepted.
Tobacco, chili peppers and tomatoes are all members of the nightshade family and all of these plants bear some resemblance to the European nightshade that an amateur could deduce just by simple observation of the flowers a
Mormonism is the predominant religious tradition of the Latter Day Saint movement of Restorationist Christianity started by Joseph Smith in Western New York in the 1820s and 30s. After Smith was killed in 1844, most Mormons followed Brigham Young on his westward journey to the area that became the Utah Territory, calling themselves The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Other sects include Mormon fundamentalism, which seeks to maintain practices and doctrines such as polygamy, other small independent denominations; the second-largest Latter Day Saint denomination, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, since 2001 called the Community of Christ, does not describe itself as "Mormon", but follows a Trinitarian Christian restorationist theology, considers itself Restorationist in terms of Latter Day Saint doctrine. The word Mormon derived from the Book of Mormon, a religious text published by Smith, which he said he translated from golden plates with divine assistance.
The book describes itself as a chronicle of early indigenous peoples of the Americas and their dealings with God. Based on the book's name, Smith's early followers were more known as Mormons, their faith Mormonism; the term was considered pejorative, but Mormons no longer consider it so. Mormonism has common beliefs with the rest of the Latter Day Saint movement, including the use of and belief in the Bible, in other religious texts including the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants, it accepts the Pearl of Great Price as part of its scriptural canon, has a history of teaching eternal marriage, eternal progression and polygamy, although the LDS Church formally abandoned the practice of plural marriage in 1890. Cultural Mormonism, a lifestyle promoted by Mormon institutions, includes cultural Mormons who identify with the culture, but not the theology. Mormonism originated in the 1820s in western New York during a period of religious excitement known as the Second Great Awakening. After praying about which denomination he should join, Joseph Smith, Jr. said he received a vision in the spring of 1820.
Called the "First Vision", Smith said God the Father instructed him to join none of the existing churches because they were all wrong. During the 1820s Smith reported several angelic visitations, was told that God would use him to re-establish the true Christian church, that the Book of Mormon would be the means of establishing correct doctrine for the restored church. Smith, Oliver Cowdery, other early followers, began baptizing new converts in 1829. Formally organized in 1830 as the Church of Christ. Smith was seen by his followers as a modern-day prophet. Joseph Smith said the Book of Mormon was translated from writing on golden plates in a reformed Egyptian language, translated with the assistance of the Urim and Thummim and seer stones. Both the special spectacles and the seer stone were at times referred to as the "Urim and Thummim", he said an angel first showed him the location of the plates in 1823, buried in a nearby hill, but he was not allowed to take the plates until 1827. Smith began dictating the text of The Book of Mormon around the fall of 1827 until the summer of 1828 when 116 pages were lost.
Translation began again in April 1829 and finished in June 1829, saying that he translated it "by the gift and power of God". Oliver Cowdery acted as scribe for the majority of the translation. After the translation was completed, Smith said. During Smith's supposed possession few people were allowed to "witness" the plates; the book described itself as a chronicle of an early Israelite diaspora, integrating with the pre-existing indigenous peoples of the Americas, written by a people called the Nephites. According to The Book of Mormon, Lehi's family left Jerusalem at the urging of God c. 600 BC, sailed to the Americas c. 589 BC. The Nephites are described as descendants of the fourth son of the prophet Lehi; the Nephites are portrayed as having a belief in Christ hundreds of years before his birth. Historical accuracy and veracity of the Book of Mormon continues to be hotly contested. No archaeological, linguistic, or other evidence of the use of Egyptian writing in ancient America has been discovered.
To avoid confrontation with New York residents, the members moved to Kirtland and hoped to establish a permanent New Jerusalem or City of Zion in Jackson County, Missouri. However, they were expelled from Jackson County in 1833 and fled to other parts of Missouri in 1838. Violence between the Missourians and church members resulted in the governor of Missouri issuing an "extermination order," again forcing the church to relocate; the displaced Mormons fled to a small town called Commerce. The church bought the town, renamed it Nauvoo, lived with a degree of peace and prosperity for a few years. However, tensions between Mormons and non-Mormons again escalated, in 1844 Smith was killed by a mob, precipitating a succession crisis; the largest group of Mormons accepted Brigham Young as the new prophet/leader and emigrated to what became the Utah Territory. There, the church began the open practice of plural marriage, a form of polygyny which Smith had instituted in Nauvoo. Plural marriage became the faith's most sensational characteristic during the 19th century, but vigorous opposition by the United States Congress threatened the church's existence as a legal institution.
Further, polygamy was a major cause for the opposition to Mormonism in the states of Idaho and Arizona. In the 1890 Manifesto, church president Wilford Woodruff announced the official end of plural marriage; because of t
Ether (Book of Mormon prophet)
According to the Book of Mormon, Ether is a Jaredite prophet, one of the last surviving Jaredites, primary author of the Book of Ether. According to Hugh W. Nibley, the name "Ether", means "the one who left a trace, the one who left his mark or left a record." In all Semitic languages it is the same, it means "to leave a track, to trail somebody." Ether's grandfather Moron, had been king of the Jaredites. Moron was overthrown and "dwelt in captivity all the remainder of his days". Ether's father, was born while his father was captive and Coriantor "dwelt in captivity all his days". Ether "was a prophet of the Lord" and "lived in the days of Coriantumr; the people rejected his teachings concerning a "New Jerusalem", causing him to hide in a cave, where he witnessed the destruction of the Jaredites. Ether was compelled to preach to Coriantumr, who rejected his word. After sealing up the records, Ether's final words were, "Whether the Lord will that I be translated, or that I suffer the will of the Lord in the flesh, it mattereth not, if it so be that I am saved in the kingdom of God.
Amen." Monte J. Brough said the following about him: "Ether, as my personal mentor of some years, has helped me understand how hope, which'cometh of faith, maketh an anchor' to my soul, it is this hope for a better world, the foundation of the great plan of happiness. This profound hope...is part of the process of bringing stability into our lives.""In facing tragedy, it is instructional to observe those who have complete and total faith in the reality of the mansions of our Father. This faith does result in a testimony of Jesus Christ and the process of the Atonement.'Man must hope, or he cannot receive' the blessing of the great plan of happiness, which provides peace and understanding for mortal mankind. It is this ` more excellent hope' that allows us to accept whatever test comes to us; as each of us faces personal tragedy, we can have a much better acceptance of the final results because of the prophet Ether's example." According to Daniel H. Ludlow, it is not clear, whether or not the Jaredites were commanded by the Lord to practice polygamy.
The following evidences have been cited which might indicate that they did practice polygamy: Many of the men had large numbers of sons and daughters. For example, the brother of Jared had 22 sons and daughters and Orihah had 31 sons and daughters. Riplakish had "many wives and concubines", he was condemned by the Lord for his wickedness, but it is not clear whether or not this condemnation was because of his "many wives." In Ether 14:2 it states that "every man kept the hilt of his sword in his right hand, in the defence of his property and his own life and of his wives and children." This verse seems to indicate that the people practiced polygamy, but whether or not it was sanctioned by the Lord is not made clear in the record. Ether 9:15–35 shows a pattern repeated many times in the Book of Mormon: During the righteous reigns of Emer and Coriantum the people prospered exceedingly Under the reign of Heth, the people began to join together in secret combinations, they turned to wickedness The Lord sent prophets to warn the people of their terrible circumstances The people of Heth rejected the prophets The judgments of God fell upon the people The people humbled themselves and repented and the Lord blessed them again with prosperity The Jaredites were able to be wealthy and remain righteous for more than 100 years.
In Ether 8:18–22 we learn four important things concerning secret combinations: Secret combinations are wicked and forbidden of the Lord Secret combinations are "had among all people" Secret combinations "caused the destruction" of both the Jaredite and Nephite nations Whatever nation upholds secret combinations "shall be destroyed" In Ether 13:1–12 we learn about a New Jerusalem: It will be "the holy sanctuary of the Lord" It will be built on the American continent for the remnant of the seed of Joseph It will be a holy city like the Jerusalem built unto the Lord It will stand until the earth is celestialized It will be a city for the pure and righteous The last prophet called of God to warn the Jaredite nation and to witness against them was Ether, the son of Coriantor. H. Donl Peterson notes that Moroni could have empathized with Ether, since both were prophets of God sent to preach to a people who were "past feeling" and who "did reject all the words of the prophets". Both men were the last of their once great civilizations, both were called upon to record their final struggles and were charged to be responsible for preserving the precious records of their fallen people.
List of Book of Mormon prophets Mahonri Moriancumer, the brother of Jared Donaldson, Lee L.. "The Plates of Ether and the Covenant of the Book of Mormon". In Nyman, Monte S.. Fourth Nephi, From Zion to Destruction. Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University. Pp. 69–79. ISBN 0884949745. OCLC 32500560. LeBaron, E. Dale. "Ether and Mormon: Parallel Prophets of Warning and Witness". In Nyman, Monte S.. Fourth Nephi, From Zion to Destruction. Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University. Pp. 153–65. ISBN 0884949745. OCLC 32500560. Maxwell, Neal A.. "Three Jaredites: Contrasting Contemporaries". Ensign. Ethers Cave image by Walter Rane
Plates of Nephi
According to the Book of Mormon, the plates of Nephi, consisting of the large plates of Nephi and the small plates of Nephi, are a portion of the collection of inscribed metal plates which make up the record of the Nephites. This record was abridged by Mormon and inscribed onto gold plates from which Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon after an angel revealed to him the location where the plates were buried on a hill called Cumorah near the town of Palmyra, New York. Palaeographic study of the plates is not possible. According to the Book of Mormon prophet Nephi: "I make an abridgment of the record of my father, upon plates which I have made with mine own hands. Nephi's father, was a prophet who, after prophesying of the destruction of Jerusalem, left with members of his extended family around 600 BC and was directed to the New World. Nephi was commanded to make two sets of plates: A small set of plates "for the special purpose that there should be an account engraven of the ministry of my people," and "the other plates are for the more part of the reign of the kings and the wars and contentions of my people."
These plates, as well as other records made and found by Nephi's people were handed down from generation to generation. After Nephi had begun the large plates, he was instructed by the Lord to make another set of plates to record "the ministry and the prophecies, the more plain and precious parts of them." These smaller plates were kept by Nephi's descendants until about 150 BC, when the prophet Amaleki delivered the plates to Benjamin, king of Zarahemla, who "put them with the other plates, which contained records, handed down by the kings". Amaleki's last writing was the statement that the small plates were full and from this point there were no further additions to the small plates. Mormon did not abridge the small plates of Nephi but he did include them in the records he gave to his son Moroni; the first six books of the Book of Mormon, from First Nephi to Omni are said to be a translation of the small plates of Nephi. Joseph Smith said the large plates of Nephi were continually maintained until about AD 385, when the prophet Mormon, seeing that the destruction of the Nephite nation was imminent, abridged the large plates of Nephi.
This abridgement, with additions by Mormon's son, was part of the set of gold plates Moroni delivered to Joseph Smith. The books within the Book of Mormon from The Words of Mormon to Fourth Nephi, are taken from Mormon's abridgment of the large plates. Although the large plates were intended for the more secular history of the Nephites, it is obvious from the version available in the Book of Mormon that there was a good deal of spiritual content as well, including sermons and moral lessons; some periods of time are covered in more detail than others, in particular a series of wars between the Nephites and the Lamanites in the Book of Alma. Whether the uneven coverage is a reflection of the original record or is an artifact of Mormon's abridgement is not clear from the text. While recording his own history, Nephi mentioned "the record, kept by my father" in a few places. Nephi mentioned that he had made an abridgement of the record of his father at the beginning of his own record. While translating the gold plates, Joseph Smith reluctantly allowed his associate, Martin Harris, to take the entirety of the translation to that point, 116 manuscript pages, to show to Harris's wife and her family, to convince them that his financial support of Smith was worthwhile.
Although charged to ensure its safety, Harris lost the manuscript. The lost portion, part of the large plates of Nephi, contained Nephi's record of his father, Lehi's, ministry and was known as The Book of Lehi. Joseph Smith recorded, in the Doctrine and Covenants, sections 3 and 10, that the Lord instructed him not to re-translate the portion of the book, lost but to continue forward. In place of the lost Book of Lehi, the translation from the small plates of Nephi was used, which covered the same time period. Both Nephi and Mormon recorded that the small plates were made for a "wise purpose", known to the Lord; the aforementioned sections of the Doctrine and Covenants state that the loss of the Book of Lehi was foreseen by the Lord and that it was for this purpose that the small plates were provided. The Plates of Laban, Sword of Laban, the Plates of Nephi, Plates of Ether, other records engraven on metal plates, at least one record engraven upon stone were passed down from generation to generation.
Each generation had one caretaker, responsible for these items records. Here is the list of caretakers, according to the Book of Mormon: Nephi, son of Lehi — The first caretaker of: Small and Large Plates of Nephi Plates and Sword of Laban — Retrieved by Nephi and his brothers in the First Book of Nephi chapters 3 & 4 Record of Lehi Jacob, son of Lehi — Nephi's brother Enos, son of Jacob Jarom, son of Enos Omni, son of Jarom Amaron, son of Omni Chemish, son of Omni — brother of Amaron Abinadom, son of Chemish Amaleki, son of AbinadomJaredite Record — During the time of Mosiah, the Nephites fled to the land of Zarahemla and discovered the Mulekites who had found a stone tablet with writing on it. Mosiah interpreted the writings by the power of God, it turned out to be a record of the people of Jared, more recorded in the Book of Ether. Amaleki was the last to writ