The record in question professes to contain a history of the American Continent from the date of its first colonization by Jared and bis brother at the time of the dispersion from Babel down to the year a. d. 420, when Moroni, the last of the Nephite prophets, buried his plates in the hill of Cumorah. This account of prehistoric America is but a tedious composition, full of battles and slaughter, full of proper names, of reiterations, and of unnecessary phrases. We are told how the Jaredites, emigrants from the valley of Nimrod, who "did carry with them Deseret, which by interpretation is a honey-bee," attained to great civilization and prosperity in North America, and were utterly destroyed by internecine warfare about the year 600 b. c. They were succeeded by a "remnant of the house of Joseph," brought from Jerusalem in the reign of Zedekiah to inherit the land. These appear to have crossed the Pacific Ocean, landing on the west coast of South America, whence they eventually overspread that continent. They separated before long into two distinct nations, known as Nephites and Lamanites, the former migrating from the persecutions of the latter, and sailing "forth into the west sea by the narrow neck which led into the land northward." Through the personal ministry of Jesus Christ, who visited them shortly after his ascension, the Nephites were converted from the Mosaic to the Christian faith, which was in time accepted by the Lamanites also; and for two hundred years they prospered and multiplied, and there was no contention in the land, all things being common among them. This golden age was succeeded by a period of apostasy; "and from that time forth they did have their goods and their substance no more common among them, and they began to be divided into classes, and they began to build up churches unto themselves, to get gain, and began to deny the true church of Christ." A terrible war broke out between the Nephites, now settled in North America (known as the land Desolation), and the Lamanites, who invaded them from the land Bountiful,
Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/179
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MORMONISM FROM A MORMON POINT OF VIEW.
in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech. And if our plates had been sufficiently large, we should have written in Hebrew; but the Hebrew hath been altered by us also; and if we could have written in Hebrew, behold, ye would have had no imperfection in our record. But the Lord knoweth the things which we have written, and also that none other people knoweth our language, therefore he hath prepared means for the interpretation thereof. And these things are written, that we may rid our garments of the blood of our brethren, who have dwindled in unbelief. And behold, these things which we have desired concerning our brethren, yea, even their restoration to the knowledge of Christ, is according to the prayers of all the saints who have dwelt in the land. And may the Lord Jesus Christ grant that their prayers may be answered according to their faith; and may God the Father remember the covenant which he hath made with the house of Israel; and may he bless them forever, through faith on the name of Jesus Christ! Amen."