Thursday, September 3, 2015

Battle Numbers (Howlers #33)

Those who are particularly desirous of information concerning the millions of warriors, and the bloody battles in which more were slain than ever fell in all the wars of Alexander, Caesar, or Napoleon, with a particular description of their military works, would do well to read the “Book of Mormon,” made out of the “golden plates” of that distinguished antiquarian Joe Smith!

J. M. Peck, A Gazetteer of Illinois . . . (1834), 53.

This Mormon bulletin or sword fight with the Lamanites sets Napoleon Bonaparte all in the shade. The battle of Waterloo or Trafalgar is not a circumstance to this. Here is 230,000 of God’s people killed, but the 24th that General Mormon saved in his 10,000.

Tyler Parsons, Mormonism Fanaticism Exposed (1842), 27.

That same year that Parson's criticism of the Book of Mormon was was published, John Stephens published, Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan, which cited historical accounts of Mesoamerican warfare in Guatemala which helped place Book of Mormon battle numbers in a more favorable light.

One pre-Columbian battle reportedly involved over one hundred and forty thousand warriors. This was, “the most bloody battle ever fought in the country” and “the field was so deeply inundated with blood that not a blade of grass could be seen.” (Stephens, Incidents, 1841, 2:173-74). Pre-Columbian armies and those during the subsequent Conquest of Guatemala are reported as numbering “sixty thousand,”  “seventy thousand,” “seventy-two thousand,” “eighty thousand,” “ninety thousand.” (Stephens 2:173-78). Direct correspondences with the Book of Mormon include armies numbering in the thousands and tens of thousands--Alma 3:26; 28:2, 10-11 (Stephens, 2:173-174, 176-77), thirty thousand--Mormon 1:11; 2:25 (Stephens 1:100; 2:174), and numbers in the forty thousands--Mormon 2:9). Mormon fought a Lamanite army of forty-four thousand with an army of forty-two thousand. Stephens mentions Guatemalan armies of 40,000 and 46,000 (Stephens 2:174, 176), and even forces on one rare occasion said to have numbered over 230,000, the size of the Nephite force mustered at the hill Cumorah--Mormon 6:11-15  (Stephens 2:176).

Of course historical accounts may or may not be reported accurately. That is another subject of interest. The point here is simply that there are historical accounts consistent with numbers found in the Book of Mormon.

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