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Why did Mormon Choose the land of Cumorah for the final battle?


poulsenll

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In Mormon 6:4 we read that Mormon chose Cumorah that they might gain an advantage over the Lamanites.

Some questions.

How familiar was Mormon with this area of the country? If he had knowledge of the area, when or how did he aquire it?

Is there any scriptural evidence relative to this question? Any archeological information?

Based on the text of the Book of Mormon or your personal conjecture what might be some of the advantages he might have exspected to gain?

Why did the Lamanite King agree so readily to this proposal? Any scriptural evidence to support your answer?

A lot of time is spent on this board debating evidence or the absence thereof for the historicity of the book. I thought it might be interesting to discuss an event described in the book on the assumption that the book is an actual record of events recorded by an ancient culture.

Larry P

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In Mormon 6:4 we read that Mormon chose Cumorah that they might gain an advantage over the Lamanites.

Some questions.

How familiar was Mormon with this area of the country? If he had knowledge of the area, when or how did he aquire it?

Is there any scriptural evidence relative to this question? Any archeological information?

Based on the text of the Book of Mormon or your personal conjecture what might be some of the advantages he might have exspected to gain?

Why did the Lamanite King agree so readily to this proposal? Any scriptural evidence to support your answer?

A lot of time is spent on this board debating evidence or the absence thereof for the historicity of the book. I thought it might be interesting to discuss an event described in the book on the assumption that the book is an actual record of events recorded by an ancient culture.

Larry P

Mormon was carried by his father into the Land Southward and specifically Zarahemla, where he mentioned how different it was from his homeland, the land being totally covered with buildings, etc. ( Morm. 1) I can only assume he knew first hand and through family the advantages of the North Country in strategic battles.

I think perhaps Lamanites didn't care where, they knew they would annihilate them and were drunken with bloodlust. They gave them a chance to gather all their people so they could destroy them all, which they did.

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In Mormon 6:4 we read that Mormon chose Cumorah that they might gain an advantage over the Lamanites.

Some questions.

How familiar was Mormon with this area of the country? If he had knowledge of the area, when or how did he aquire it?

Is there any scriptural evidence relative to this question? Any archeological information?

Based on the text of the Book of Mormon or your personal conjecture what might be some of the advantages he might have exspected to gain?

Why did the Lamanite King agree so readily to this proposal? Any scriptural evidence to support your answer?

A lot of time is spent on this board debating evidence or the absence thereof for the historicity of the book. I thought it might be interesting to discuss an event described in the book on the assumption that the book is an actual record of events recorded by an ancient culture.

Larry P

If I were to guess I would say there was some kind of tactical advantage because of the terrain. In some of the things I have read it seems that one of the mesoamerican sites has a hill that fits the description of Cumorah and it is at least partially surrounded by marshland. This would give an army that held the high groound a tremendous tactical advantage.

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Even a very small hill can provide an enormous advantage to the defense. Anyone who has been to the Gettysburg battlefield and seen how mild and easy the slope of Cemetery "ridge" is will be amazed that this was considered an obstacle worth centering a defensive line on. But it was - the slight slope made it easier for the defenders to see the enemy moving, and the open ground denied them cover.

At the battle of Crecy, in 1346 (perhaps more relevant than Gettysburg, because it was pre-gunpowder), the hill up which the French charged is also very mild - the forests on each side of the slope were important to the battle though.

The hill Cumorah need not have been a steep rocky summit to have been useful defensively. It could have been quite gentle.

Moroni lists 23 (or is it 24) military groups in his description of the battle, calling them "ten thousands" in such a way as to sound, to me, like a unit, rather than a number, in the same way that a Roman "Centurion" did not actually command 100 men. Still presumably at least at one time the unit actually represented 10,000 men, so it is clearly in the ballpark for numbers. This means that the Nephites must have had at a minimum around 100,000 men present for the battle, which makes it a good-sized army for the time. even a size of 240,000 is not unthinkably huge, however.

This is enough men that it makes it unlikely that the whole battle was fought atop a single solitary hill - though the defensive line may have been anchored on it. The Union Army at Gettysburg was less than 100k strong, and they were spread out across a whole ridge line. They were somewhat less densely packed than an ancient army, of course.

It's interesting that Moroni himself commanded one of the "ten thousands" in addition to being the battle's overall commander. This is in keeping with many ancient commanders (like Alexander for instance), though it was no longer seen by the time of Frederick the Great & Napoleon.

The fact that the Nephites are almost completely wiped out, and that Mormon is able to see the dead regiments, indicates to me that the battle must have been an encirclement, like Cannae. In such a battle, the defensive forces get bunched closer and closer together and tend to fall as units in place while the enemy draws the constriction more clearly. Cannae-like battles are rare, historically, though they are the dream of every commander. The Lamanite commander must have been no slouch to pull one off. It probably helped that Mormon was going fatalistically to what he believed was his nation's doom.

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In Mormon 6:4 we read that Mormon chose Cumorah that they might gain an advantage over the Lamanites.

Some questions.

How familiar was Mormon with this area of the country? If he had knowledge of the area, when or how did he aquire it?

Is there any scriptural evidence relative to this question? Any archeological information?

Based on the text of the Book of Mormon or your personal conjecture what might be some of the advantages he might have exspected to gain?

Why did the Lamanite King agree so readily to this proposal? Any scriptural evidence to support your answer?

A lot of time is spent on this board debating evidence or the absence thereof for the historicity of the book. I thought it might be interesting to discuss an event described in the book on the assumption that the book is an actual record of events recorded by an ancient culture.

Larry P

I hope that you don't mind if a critic chimes in here. This whole account seems odd to me in a few ways:

1) Mormon seems like a pretty poor general. Movement, deception and surprise are key to any battle. Mormon seems to attempt none of these, instead announcing in advance where he was going to make his last stand, then doing precisely that. Whatever advantage the geography might have imparted seems pitifully small compared to the disadvantage of revealing your strategy. (An analogy might be in football for an offensive coordinator announcing to the defense: "On first down, we're going to run off tackle, on second down we'll do a misdirection with the fullback keeping it, and on third down we're going to run an up-and-out to our X-receiver", then doing exactly that.)

2) Why did the Lamanites agree to give battle there? If it really was such an advantageous position for the Nephites, the Lamanites would have been better off besiege them or to try to draw them away to less advantageous positions, rather than plunging headlong into these positions which the Nephites presumably had plenty of time to fortify. Were the Lamanites so unafraid of the Nephites and of Mormon's generalship that they did not fear walking into a trap and of engaging in battle on terms advantageous to them?

3) There seems to have been no attempt to alter the strategy after the battle turned. When the battle began to turn, why did Mormon and his soldiers not retreat from Cumorah and attempt to regroup? There are few military strategies so basic as a fighting retreat.

4) What was Mormon's purpose in all of this anyway? Mormon seems to have been imbued with some sense of duty to lead the people, but really wasn't he just facilitating a murder/suicide on a monumental scale? What is righteous about leading the wicked to sate their bloodlust before dying?

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This has nothing to do with Mormon being a poor general, and everything with being overwhelmed by his enemy. It didn't matter to the Lamanites. It wouldn't have mattered to them if the remaining Nephites were on a hill or a plain, for "every soul was filled with terror because of the greatness of their numbers." So it was natural for Mormon to want a defensive position such as a hill, were he hoped "to gain advantage over the Lamanites."

The fact that Mormon had to request from the King of the Lamanites and was given permission to gather at such a place, indicates the Nephites were pretty much trapped or surrounded at that point. The Lamanite King still had some honor and respect for Mormon. Mormon also mentioned it being a land of many waters, rivers and fountains, which I guess he hoped could provide some natural defenses. His retreat was blocked by Lake Ontario to the north and the Atlantic on the east, trapped.

Of course, if you believe in some MesoAmerica Hill Cumorah theory, he still could have fled up the coast of Mexico. These last battles took years, not months.

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I was thinking that Mormon did the best he could with what he had...who knows, it could have been like the 300 at Thermopali. It didn't matter how good the few were, the many were going to eventually overrun them through sheer numbers.

The land of Cumorah was probably the best locale to choose from.

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This has nothing to do with Mormon being a poor general, and everything with being overwhelmed by his enemy. It didn't matter to the Lamanites. It wouldn't have mattered to them if the remaining Nephites were on a hill or a plain, for "every soul was filled with terror because of the greatness of their numbers." So it was natural for Mormon to want a defensive position such as a hill, were he hoped "to gain advantage over the Lamanites."

Obviously the textual account is very sparse so any discussion of Mormon's generalship will be filled with a lot of conjecture. Having said that, he still doesn't seem to be much of a general.

The fact that Mormon had to request from the King of the Lamanites and was given permission to gather at such a place, indicates the Nephites were pretty much trapped or surrounded at that point. The Lamanite King still had some honor and respect for Mormon. Mormon also mentioned it being a land of many waters, rivers and fountains, which I guess he hoped could provide some natural defenses. His retreat was blocked by Lake Ontario to the north and the Atlantic on the east, trapped.

Of course, if you believe in some MesoAmerica Hill Cumorah theory, he still could have fled up the coast of Mexico. These last battles took years, not months.

Well I will leave aside your geographical analysis except to say I don't see anything in the text itself to indicate the Nephites were trapped.

The Nephites were on the losing end of a long war of attrition. If Mormon was a general worth his salt (and parts of the text go to great lengths to tell us that he was) he would have recognized the hopelessness. What then were his alternatives? When a war is obviously lost there are only two choices: 1) throw yourself at the mercy of your conquerors or 2) flee. Flight actually might have made a lot of sense here, as the Nephites seemingly were still fairly numerous and they could like have eventually found refuge out of the reach of the Lamanites. Refugees are as ubiquitous in war as conquering armies, and it's not an attractive option but still preferable to annihilation. Furthermore, the morality of his decision seems suspect. He constantly harps on the wickedness of the Nephites and Lamanites, but he leads his people into battle for no discernable purpose. What is noble about leading the Nephites to sate their bloodlust in a hopeless battle? It seems like he's just abetting a murder / suicide on a monumental scale.

Leaving aside the logic of choosing to wage this battle, the conduct of the battle also seems illogical. Mobility, deception and surprise are key to military tactics but he attempts none of these. Even if your situation is hopeless, it makes no sense to simply advertise your strategy the way he did, and then just stick to it. Additionally, the Lamanite commander seems pretty poor too. If Cumorah really gave Mormon such a big advantage, why did the Lamanite agree to meet him there? He would have been much smarter to try and draw him out into battle away from his prepared, fortified positions.

Finally, why would Mormon arm women and children? Besides the obvious humanitarian objections, militarily this is stupid. Logistics is the key to maintaining any fighting force, and there is no way an entire population under arms could sustain itself. Furthermore, putting the weakest members of your society under arms would only weaken your fighting force. You are much better in battle with a force of 100 well trained, well equipped and battle hardened veterans than with a mixed mob of 1,000 that includes 100 decent troops and 900 people who are unfit for combat.

Either Mormon's generalship or (as I believe) the military acumen of the BofM's author is highly suspect.

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In Mormon 6:4 we read that Mormon chose Cumorah that they might gain an advantage over the Lamanites.

Some questions.

How familiar was Mormon with this area of the country? If he had knowledge of the area, when or how did he aquire it?

Is there any scriptural evidence relative to this question? Any archeological information?

Based on the text of the Book of Mormon or your personal conjecture what might be some of the advantages he might have exspected to gain?

Why did the Lamanite King agree so readily to this proposal? Any scriptural evidence to support your answer?

A lot of time is spent on this board debating evidence or the absence thereof for the historicity of the book. I thought it might be interesting to discuss an event described in the book on the assumption that the book is an actual record of events recorded by an ancient culture.

Larry P

It is probable that when Mormon made an agreement with the Lamanite leader to meet for battle at a certain place, that both of them knew where that place was located. There is a volcanic plug located near the east coast of Tamaulipas, Mexico that stands very prominent miles away from any other mountain and surrounded by almost flat plains on all sides. If that mountain happened to be near a trade route, say one passing through Teotihuacan, then it would be well known and easy to find. It's possible too that Mormon, who was carried south by his father when he was young, was familiar with that mountain, the one now called "Cerro de Bernal" from his youth.

If the Nephite records were hidden not too distant from Bernal and Mormon knew he'd have to move them to hide them from the Lamanites more securely, that too may have given him reason to journey back to that place.

The Lamanite king may just have wanted to get all the Nephites into one place, regardless of where it might be, to make it easier to destroy them all. Meanwhile, they were enjoying their plunder of abandoned Nephite cities.

Also, Mormon was a prophet. Perhaps God had prepared a place where the Nephite library would be secure from the Lamanites who would have destroyed the records, and that was revealed to Mormon. Keep in mind that the Nephites too had their cups of iniquity filled to overflowing and were ready for destruction. Mormon would have gone where the Lord instructed him to go for that to take place.

Just a mere conjecture...

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Obviously the textual account is very sparse so any discussion of Mormon's generalship will be filled with a lot of conjecture. Having said that, he still doesn't seem to be much of a general....

As I recall, Mormon was appointed leader of the Nephite armies when he was only 15 or 16 years old. We can assume that he was an aristocrat because he was "carried" south by his father to further his education. (Mormon was possibly a direct descendent of Nephi.) So he was well known, and we know now that he was chosen of the Lord to play a big part, along with his son Moroni, in the Lord's work of the last days.

Mormon was a man of God, a prophet. For as long as the Nephites were righteous, Mormon led them by the strength of the Lord and was successful. But there came a time when he even refused to lead them because they were so wicked. But he took up leadership again, possibly at the request of the Lord who knew what was about to happen, and where it would best take place so that events could unfold to teach and warn us in our time, and the Nephite library could be kept safe until the right time to reveal it, which hopefully is not long from now.

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While Mormon may have chosen the spot for the final battle he did not have complete control of his soldiers. All either side was interested in was killing the other side, completely. They were much more interested in killing than strategy. If he had chosen to retreat I have no doubt his soldiers would have ignored him if it meant they had to stop killing.

Remember the final battles end? The men were standing foot to foot fighting to the death with a bloodlust that permitted no thought of defense even.

His best bet was to hope that if this was how they were going to fight, and he had seen that it was, then he had to go with the best way to utilize that which is a strong front with no backing down. It was a fight to the death and both sides wanted it that way. Not just wanted, demanded it.

He knew it was useless but despite talking and persuasion he was unable to convince anyone to do anything different. They chose their death and destruction.

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While Mormon may have chosen the spot for the final battle he did not have complete control of his soldiers.

If so, an inability to instill discipline in his troops is also an indictment of his skills as a military leader.

All either side was interested in was killing the other side, completely. They were much more interested in killing than strategy. If he had chosen to retreat I have no doubt his soldiers would have ignored him if it meant they had to stop killing.

If so, then it hardly says much about Mormon's moral compass that he was willing to lead them in this pointless bloodbath.

Remember the final battles end? The men were standing foot to foot fighting to the death with a bloodlust that permitted no thought of defense even.

Just where are you reading that? Mormon 6:15 says that the casualties comprised: "all my people, save it were those twenty and four who were with me, and also a few who had escaped into the south countries, and a few who had deserted over unto the Lamanites, had fallen" It seems that the Lamanites were not actually intent on killing everybody and not all the Nephites were intent on dying. Why didn't Mormon try to surrender or flee and save at least a few lives? His actions make no sense to me, morally.

His best bet was to hope that if this was how they were going to fight, and he had seen that it was, then he had to go with the best way to utilize that which is a strong front with no backing down. It was a fight to the death and both sides wanted it that way. Not just wanted, demanded it. He knew it was useless but despite talking and persuasion he was unable to convince anyone to do anything different. They chose their death and destruction.

Why would a supposedly moral man agree to lead his people in this horrible and pointless fighting? If all they desired was blood and death, what was a prophet of god doing leading them?

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Just where are you reading that? Mormon 6:15 says that the casualties comprised: "all my people, save it were those twenty and four who were with me, and also a few who had escaped into the south countries, and a few who had deserted over unto the Lamanites, had fallen" It seems that the Lamanites were not actually intent on killing everybody and not all the Nephites were intent on dying. Why didn't Mormon try to surrender or flee and save at least a few lives? His actions make no sense to me, morally.
Perhaps the people demanded this of him. Perhaps by drawing the Lamanites to a central place for the final battle allowed those Nephites who wished to flee to do so with greater ease as would killing as many Lamanites as possible even in a hopeless battle. Perhaps the women and children preferred to fight and die than be put to the uses that captives endured. Perhaps Mormon saw a quick death as more humane for all his people than the ongoing suffering and wickedness that was going on (somewhat like the state of Noah's culture). Mormon certainly would not have looked on death itself with horror.

And who knows, perhaps he felt surrounded by the obvious fact of their soon to be demise as a people and individuals, that some hearts might be softened and some would at least turn to God and repent in their final hours. It might give him one last chance to testify to them.

Not sure how any conclusions about his quality as a general can be made unless you know what the desired outcome of it was and that isn't stated in the text.

As far as the Lamanite king, there are many battles in the BoM where leaders were obviously not too concerned about the plight of the men they sent into the battle, only that the outcome was the one they wanted.

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Obviously the textual account is very sparse so any discussion of Mormon's generalship will be filled with a lot of conjecture. Having said that, he still doesn't seem to be much of a general.

Well I will leave aside your geographical analysis except to say I don't see anything in the text itself to indicate the Nephites were trapped.

The Nephites were on the losing end of a long war of attrition. If Mormon was a general worth his salt (and parts of the text go to great lengths to tell us that he was) he would have recognized the hopelessness. What then were his alternatives? When a war is obviously lost there are only two choices: 1) throw yourself at the mercy of your conquerors or 2) flee. Flight actually might have made a lot of sense here, as the Nephites seemingly were still fairly numerous and they could like have eventually found refuge out of the reach of the Lamanites. Refugees are as ubiquitous in war as conquering armies, and it's not an attractive option but still preferable to annihilation. Furthermore, the morality of his decision seems suspect. He constantly harps on the wickedness of the Nephites and Lamanites, but he leads his people into battle for no discernable purpose. What is noble about leading the Nephites to sate their bloodlust in a hopeless battle? It seems like he's just abetting a murder / suicide on a monumental scale.

Leaving aside the logic of choosing to wage this battle, the conduct of the battle also seems illogical. Mobility, deception and surprise are key to military tactics but he attempts none of these. Even if your situation is hopeless, it makes no sense to simply advertise your strategy the way he did, and then just stick to it. Additionally, the Lamanite commander seems pretty poor too. If Cumorah really gave Mormon such a big advantage, why did the Lamanite agree to meet him there? He would have been much smarter to try and draw him out into battle away from his prepared, fortified positions.

Finally, why would Mormon arm women and children? Besides the obvious humanitarian objections, militarily this is stupid. Logistics is the key to maintaining any fighting force, and there is no way an entire population under arms could sustain itself. Furthermore, putting the weakest members of your society under arms would only weaken your fighting force. You are much better in battle with a force of 100 well trained, well equipped and battle hardened veterans than with a mixed mob of 1,000 that includes 100 decent troops and 900 people who are unfit for combat.

Either Mormon's generalship or (as I believe) the military acumen of the BofM's author is highly suspect.

I highly doubt you have even the remotest of expertise to comment on ancient american battles, strategies, or tactics. Even if you happen to be a military man, you can't pretend to better understand battles fought with weapons and strategies so far removed from those used today than someone with decades of experience who actually lived and fought there without sounding the complete fool. Furthermore, Mormon was a Prophet first and a General second. He new very well what the end of this battle would be and that his people would no longer exist as a society at it's completion. The fact that he found a spot where he would fight with those he loved to his last breath is more a testament to his courage and strength of character than to his lack of ability as a general. They may have been corrupt in nearly every sense of the word, but they were still HIS people, HIS family. Besides, He was far more concerned (as we all should be might I add) in the spiritual death they had already doomed themselves to than the way their bodies met the ground.

Finally, the fact remains that there is no where near enough information in the BOM to prove it or disprove it using any scientific field or attempt at reason. (of which yours is sorely lacking might I add) You can look for reasons to confirm your own preheld supposition all you want. People do so in history, politics, and science all the time. That doesn't mean you are convincing anyone else but yourself.

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I highly doubt you have even the remotest of expertise to comment on ancient american battles, strategies, or tactics. Even if you happen to be a military man, you can't pretend to better understand battles fought with weapons and strategies so far removed from those used today than someone with decades of experience who actually lived and fought there without sounding the complete fool. Furthermore, Mormon was a Prophet first and a General second. He new very well what the end of this battle would be and that his people would no longer exist as a society at it's completion. The fact that he found a spot where he would fight with those he loved to his last breath is more a testament to his courage and strength of character than to his lack of ability as a general. They may have been corrupt in nearly every sense of the word, but they were still HIS people, HIS family. Besides, He was far more concerned (as we all should be might I add) in the spiritual death they had already doomed themselves to than the way their bodies met the ground.

Finally, the fact remains that there is no where near enough information in the BOM to prove it or disprove it using any scientific field or attempt at reason. (of which yours is sorely lacking might I add) You can look for reasons to confirm your own preheld supposition all you want. People do so in history, politics, and science all the time. That doesn't mean you are convincing anyone else but yourself.

While you seem to think it's impossible to evaluate the strategies employed in ancient battles, you should consider that military strategists still intensively study the campaigns Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Hannibal and other ancient generals.

In my post, you'll note that I also acknowledged the relative lack of detail; clearly we can't conclusively prove or disprove it based solely on that limited account. And I wasn't trying to do so. What I said was that (going solely on the information that was available in the text) it seemed like bad strategy and troubling decision morally. I never claimed to have disproved anything.

You say that I'm not qualified to comment and that there isn't enough information to make an evaluation. But you haven't really engaged my analysis, nor have you shown yourself more qualified to comment than I, and if there isn't enough information, it cripples your defense in the same manner that it hinders my critique. We all are engaged in a speculative exercise.

Finally, as to "confirming my own preheld (sic) supposition", I'll just mention that the implausibility of the accounts of battle in the BofM was actually one of the first things that made me (a convinced Mormon for my first 25 or so years) begin to doubt its historical veracity.

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It is the opinion of Jerry Ainsworth that Mormon sent a lot of Nephites north prior to the battle.

Here are two responses to the comments made about the 24 survivors, as well as the 24 regiments.

1. The person is correct about Mormon 6:15 indicating there were 24 Nephite survivors of the battle of Cumorah, who were with Mormon, making him the 25th. However, in Mormon 6:11, Mormon gives a different count. In this version he states, "And when they [Lamanites] had gone through and hewn down all my people save it were twenty four of us."

In this version Mormon includes himself as one of the twenty four survivors.

So, there are two accounts. One which totals 24 (counting Mormon) and another which totals 24 (not counting Mormon) . The interpretation I gave for this conundrum in my book, The Lives and Travels of Mormon and Moroni, was that the idea Mormon was promoting was the number 24, more so than the number of survivors, as when he gives the second account of 25, he does so by emphasizing the number 24.

2. In my book, on page 185 I explain that when Mormon gathered his people together at the land of Cumorah for their battle of 385 with the Lamanites, he sent a contingent of Nephites away from the battle, into the land northward. Those that he sent away from the battle were the old men and women, widows, the infirmed, the handicapped, the retarded, new and very young babies, etc, essentially all of those who would simply be a handicap at and during a battle.

Such a group would have number in the thousands, and to protect these less capable Nephites, he sent his 24th regiment with them. The leaders and commanders of this regiment would have been his less capable warriors and leaders. Evidence for such a group of Nephites, comprising the 24th regiment, can be found in the following:

A. 14 years after the battle of Cumorah, (where there are only 24 or 25 survivors), Mormon had a battle with the Lamanites in which he was killed, (see Mormon 8:5-6), along with all the kinsfolk of Moroni. It would be hard to have a battle with the Lamanite with only 24 surviving Nephites. Few people would call such a skirmish a battle.

B. The less than stalwart leaders who Mormon had sent northward, to protect the indigent Nephites, were the very people that Mormon met up with after the battle of Cumorah, and who were with him for this battle just mentioned, in 399ad, where Mormon was killed. Moroni 9:18 indicates that Mormon could no longer even inforce him commands with these less than stalwart Nephite leaders.

C. In Moroni 9:16-17 Mornon describes some of the people who were being killed by the Lamanites, such as "widows, and their daughters, old women, and young childen, etc." These verses describe the very kinds of people Mormon had sent into the land Northward and away from the battle of Cumorah. They were the ones which he met up with and had is final battle of 399ad, with the Lamanites. In fact in Moroni 9:16 Mormon states that one of his commanders [Zenephi] even ran off, taking much of the provisions intended for the helpless Nephites, with him.

This group of people were comprised of that last and 24th group of ten thousand that I referred to in my article.

Jerry Ainsworth

http://www.mormonsit....php?f=16&t=473

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Mormon seems like a pretty poor general. Movement, deception and surprise are key to any battle. Mormon seems to attempt none of these, instead announcing in advance where he was going to make his last stand, then doing precisely that. Whatever advantage the geography might have imparted seems pitifully small compared to the disadvantage of revealing your strategy.

That's in optimal situations. During the first two Punic wars, Roman armies had to confront the Carthaginians in open fields and fight horrendous battles of attrition, just like Mormon. Hannibal went into Italy with elephants and Rome had no trouble finding him. Rome could not beat him in a fair fight, nor could Hannibal take Rome with what he had. Before concluding anyone is a bad general, you have to take into account what they did. Another example is Gettysburg. The armies of two great nations met there and there was no deception or surprise about that clash. Each side easily could have been defeated, and both sides knew it. Only some poorly transferred orders kept the South from gaining the high ground and controlling the battlefield. But either side could have won had circumstance been different.

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How familiar was Mormon with this area of the country? If he had knowledge of the area, when or how did he acquire it? Is there any scriptural evidence relative to this question? Any archeological information? Based on the text of the Book of Mormon or your personal conjecture what might be some of the advantages he might have expected to gain? Why did the Lamanite King agree so readily to this proposal? Any scriptural evidence to support your answer?

These are all good questions, and I've wondered why the Lamanite commander would agree to it. As to how Mormon knew the area, he had been born and raised in the land to the north. Assuming he knew the location of the Hill Ramah, I think he would have visited it. He'd been commanded to hide up records in that mountain later and he likely would have recognized the military advantages the location offered (which is one reason the New York drumlin can be dismissed). But why would Mormon want to fight on the same grounds that the Jaredites had been slaughtered on? Was he trying to wake his people up to the fact that, without repentance, they would suffer the same fate, at the same location? Did the Lamanites know the prophecies and agree to the location, knowing that the Nephites would have nowhere to retreat in their own lands? After all, if the Lamanites won, they would already be in possession of the Nephite territories and they wouldn't have to worry about occupational hazards. The Nephites, after all, could only flee north. We know that access to the narrow neck of land through the narrow pass could be controlled, and the Lamanites would not have to worry about a Thermopylae-styled defense, for they would already be on the other side. So, too, would be the Nephites with their wives and children. A decisive victory would keep the Nephites to the north of the narrow pass and leave the Lamanites controlling it. They also would be in control of the pass in the event they needed to withdraw due to a defeat, and, having retreated through it, they could cut it off to the victorious Nephites, who certainly would be pursuing.

Cumorah offered suitable battlegrounds for the final confrontations, as well as adequate water. Cumorah also would have advantages as a lookout, and battles could be better managed by commanders looking down at the confrontations. As the battles were lost, however, the Lamanites encroached on the mountain and this was most likely when Mormon was wounded. Those who survived could only flee north, as Moroni did. The Lamanites lost no time in tracking them down, probably going to the far north to do it. After the war, there would be nothing stopping the Lamanites from moving into the north countries and into what is now the American West.

Just my views.

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These are all good questions, and I've wondered why the Lamanite commander would agree to it. As to how Mormon knew the area, he had been born and raised in the land to the north. Assuming he knew the location of the Hill Ramah, I think he would have visited it. He'd been commanded to hide up records in that mountain later and he likely would have recognized the military advantages the location offered (which is one reason the New York drumlin can be dismissed). But why would Mormon want to fight on the same grounds that the Jaredites had been slaughtered on? Was he trying to wake his people up to the fact that, without repentance, they would suffer the same fate, at the same location? Did the Lamanites know the prophecies and agree to the location, knowing that the Nephites would have nowhere to retreat in their own lands? After all, if the Lamanites won, they would already be in possession of the Nephite territories and they wouldn't have to worry about occupational hazards. The Nephites, after all, could only flee north. We know that access to the narrow neck of land through the narrow pass could be controlled, and the Lamanites would not have to worry about a Thermopylae-styled defense, for they would already be on the other side. So, too, would be the Nephites with their wives and children. A decisive victory would keep the Nephites to the north of the narrow pass and leave the Lamanites controlling it. They also would be in control of the pass in the event they needed to withdraw due to a defeat, and, having retreated through it, they could cut it off to the victorious Nephites, who certainly would be pursuing.

Cumorah offered suitable battlegrounds for the final confrontations, as well as adequate water. Cumorah also would have advantages as a lookout, and battles could be better managed by commanders looking down at the confrontations. As the battles were lost, however, the Lamanites encroached on the mountain and this was most likely when Mormon was wounded. Those who survived could only flee north, as Moroni did. The Lamanites lost no time in tracking them down, probably going to the far north to do it. After the war, there would be nothing stopping the Lamanites from moving into the north countries and into what is now the American West.

Just my views.

I like your analysis. It makes sense. One of my own thoughts was that the Lamanite general may have expected reinforcements from someplace in the north, possibly Teotihuacan. Gardner points out that there was a prophecy that the Gadiantan robbers would be the cause of the final destruction of the Nephites. There is also evidence that Teotihuacan was beginning to infiltrate the land south just about the time that the final destruction of the Nephites was taking place. Gardner suspects that the Gadianton robbers went north and may have become a major influence in Teotihuacan.

Larry P

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That's in optimal situations. During the first two Punic wars, Roman armies had to confront the Carthaginians in open fields and fight horrendous battles of attrition, just like Mormon. Hannibal went into Italy with elephants and Rome had no trouble finding him. Rome could not beat him in a fair fight, nor could Hannibal take Rome with what he had. Before concluding anyone is a bad general, you have to take into account what they did. Another example is Gettysburg. The armies of two great nations met there and there was no deception or surprise about that clash. Each side easily could have been defeated, and both sides knew it. Only some poorly transferred orders kept the South from gaining the high ground and controlling the battlefield. But either side could have won had circumstance been different.

It's not just in optimal situations that you try to keep your opponent off balance. While different military situations may provide relatively more or fewer opportunities for deception, even so-called "set piece" battles require constant misdirection and adjustments on all sides.

Since you brought up Gettysburg, it's interesting to note that the battle was not a staged, static affair like the battle described in Mormon, but a cobbled-together mess that both armies stumbled into quite by accident. In the opening phase of the battle, each army was painfully ignorant of the other's disposition, with Lee's army spread out across southern Pennsylvania and Meade's shadowing its movements to the east. Neither army originally intended to fight at Gettysburg and blindly stumbled into the fight as it escalated over its first two days. Had either side known clearly the intentions and disposition of the other, they would held a critical advantage of being able to much more quickly concentrate their forces to strike an overpowering blow against the enemy before it could arrive in force. You'll recall that Lee castigated J.E.B. Stuart for taking his cavalry on raiding adventures during the crucial days leading up to the battle, rather than using it for the more important purpose of reconnoitering Meade's forces.

The point is that the intelligence of your enemy's movements and battle plans is crucial to victory. Different battles provide relatively more or less opportunities for deception, but it doesn't make sense in any situation for a commander to simply broadcast his battle plans the way Mormon did.

Anyway, military strategy is always an interesting topic to me, I hope the Mormons on the thread don't mind me coming in with a more critical view of these passages. :P

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Jerry Ainsworth expressed a few of his thoughts on "the south countries" in this morning's issue of "Nephite Evidences", the free monthly newsletter from Mormon Sites.

Here's a link to Ainsworth's article:

http://www.mormonsites.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=813

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Jerry Ainsworth expressed a few of his thoughts on "the south countries" in this morning's issue of "Nephite Evidences", the free monthly newsletter from Mormon Sites.

Here's a link to Ainsworth's article:

http://www.mormonsites.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=813

Jerry makes some excellent points in this article. These arguments plus the geography described in Ether make it much more plausible that Cumorah is farther north than Cerro Vigia. Maybe as far north as New York. :P

Larry P

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