(November 3, 2014)
In 1820s American, Joseph Smith would have been old enough to be vaguely familiar with the War of 1812 – that would have informed most of his understanding of warfare (he was only eight at the time, but old enough). So the departures of the wars in the Book of Mormon were intriguing because of what it says about Joseph Smith as a translator of the book rather than as an author. In particular,
Moroni’s march across the land towards Gideon
makes far more sense in a Mesoamerican context (with limited, tribal warfare) than it does with any warfare that
Joseph might have been familiar with.
The second, and more spiritual, thought was on the Ammonites. All throughout the Book of Mormon, these Ammonites are absorbing people. If the Lamanite warriors covenant not to attack, they are sent to the Ammonites. What is astonishing about that is that the Ammonites have the capacity to absorb and integrate all of the people coming in with different traditions (they had been separated for some time), different beliefs, and many who had lived their lives in opposition to the Ammonite way.