Mormon, Book of

Mormon, Book of
Holy scripture of the Mormons, supplemental to the Bible.

First published in 1830, it is held by all branches of Mormonism to be a divinely inspired work translated by the founder of their religion, Joseph Smith. It relates the history of a tribe of Hebrews who migrated from Jerusalem to America с 600 BC. They eventually split into two groups: the Lamanites, who were ancestors of the American Indians; and the Nephites, who were instructed by Jesus before being destroyed by the Lamanites. The prophet Mormon recorded their history on gold tablets, which were buried and remained hidden for centuries. Moroni, Mormon's son, appeared to Smith in angelic form and revealed their location.

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▪ religious literature
 work accepted as holy scripture, in addition to the Bible, in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and other Mormon churches. First published in 1830 in Palmyra, N.Y., it was thereafter widely reprinted and translated. Mormons hold that it is a divinely inspired work revealed to and translated by the founder of their religion, Joseph Smith (Smith, Joseph).

      The Book of Mormon relates the history of a group of Hebrews who migrated from Jerusalem to America about 600 BC, led by a prophet, Lehi. They multiplied and eventually split into two groups. One group, the Lamanites, forgot their beliefs, became heathens, and were the ancestors of the American Indians. The other group, the Nephites, developed culturally and built great cities but were eventually destroyed by the Lamanites about AD 400. Before this occurred, however, Jesus had appeared and taught the Nephites (after his ascension). The history and teachings were abridged and written on gold plates by the prophet Mormon. His son, Moroni, made additions and buried the plates in the ground, where they remained about 1,400 years, until Moroni, a resurrected being or angel, delivered them to Joseph Smith; subsequently Smith returned them to Moroni.

      Non-Mormon critics disagree in their opinions as to the origin of the book; some critics believe that it was written solely by Joseph Smith. Another theory, now discredited, claimed that it was based on the manuscript of a novel by a clergyman, Solomon Spaulding.

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Universalium. 2010.

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