“An Account of One Coriantumr”

Monte S. Nyman

Mosiah I translated the engravings on the large stone discovered by the people of Zarahemla (the Mulekites) through the Urim and Thummim, or by the Liahona, “the miraculous directors which were given to Lehi” (D&C 17:6). It was done “by the gift and power of God” (v. 20), the power by which both instruments worked. His grandson, Mosiah son of Benjamin, had possession of “two stones which were fastened into the two rims of a bow. Now these things were prepared from the beginning, and were handed down from generation to generation, for the purpose of interpreting languages” (Mosiah 28:13–14). The description of this instrument is basically the same as the one described by Moroni to Joseph Smith and which he later used to translate the Book of Mormon.

34 He said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the fulness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants;
35 Also, that there were two stones in silver bows—and these stones, fastened to a breastplate, constituted what is called the Urim and Thummim—deposited with the plates; and the possession and use of these stones were what constituted “seers” in ancient or former times; and that God had prepared them for the purpose of translating the book. [Joseph Smith—History 1:34–35]

While there is no record given of where Mosiah I had obtained the Urim and Thummim, it is not mentioned as being with the records found by Limhi’s people in searching for the land of Zarahemla (Mosiah 21:25–27). Nor was it with the large stone brought to Mosiah I. We do know that Joseph Smith used the one “given to the brother of Jared on the mount” (D&C 17:1). We will have to wait for the larger plates of Nephi to come forth to know where Mosiah I obtained them.

Coriantumr was the lone survivor of the royal family and of the nation of the Jaredites, fulfilling the prophecy of the prophet Ether, who called him to repentance.

20 And in the second year the word of the Lord came to Ether, that he should go and prophesy unto Coriantumr that, if he would repent, and all his household, the Lord would give unto him his kingdom and spare the people—
21 Otherwise they should be destroyed, and all his household save it were himself. And he should only live to see the fulfilling of the prophecies which had been spoken concerning another people receiving the land for their inheritance; and Coriantumr should receive a burial by them; and every soul should be destroyed save it were Coriantumr. [Ether 13:20–21]

How long he lived before he was found by the people of Zarahemla is not known, but the Jaredites, as a nation, were destroyed before Mosiah led his people out of the land of Nephi (after 279 B.C.).

Coriantumr’s “first parents came out from the tower at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people” (Omni 1:22). The book of Ether, a book in the Book of Mormon, is a second witness to the biblical account of the building of the tower of Babel:

6 And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.
8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.
9 Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth. [Genesis 11:6–9]

The book of Ether states: “Jared came forth with his brother and their families, with some others and their families, from the great tower, at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people, and swore in his wrath that they should be scattered upon all the face of the earth; and according to the word of the Lord the people were scattered” (Ether 1:33). Both accounts are verified in The Works of Ixtlilxochitl, an ancient Mexican history written by the “grandson of the last king of Texcuco, from whom he inherited all that were saved of the records in the public archives.” It was written in Mexico at about the close of the sixteenth century and published in England in 1848 in the Spanish language.

And [the Tulteca history tells] how afterwards men, multiplying made a very tall and strong Zacualli (tower), in order to shelter themselves in it when the second world should be destroyed.
When things were at their best, their languages were changed and, not understanding each other, they went to different parts of the world; and the Tultecas, who were as many as seven companions and their wives, who understood their language among themselves, came to these parts, having first crossed large lands and seas, living in caves and undergoing great hardships, until they came to this land, which they found good and fertile for their habitation… .

As we study the Works of Ixtlilxochitl, we find that he gives an account of three separate groups of people who came from across the ocean to colonize America. The first of these, he claims, migrated to the New World from “the very hightower” at the time of the confusion of tongues. He calls this group by several different names. First he calls them “Tultecas” and he distinguishes them from the later Tultecas by calling them “the Ancient Ones.” He also refers to them as “the Giants.

Later in his book he speaks of another group of advanced who came to Middle America by sea. These he also calls Tultecas… .
Ixtlilxochitl speaks of a third group of people who came across the ocean to settle America. These he calls the Ulmecs. The spelling that is usually given for the name is Olmecs

Thus the three peoples coming to the promised land as recorded in the Book of Mormon (Omni 1:12–21) are supported by the Bible and external sources. The Lord does establish his word “in the mouth of two or three witnesses” (Matthew 18:16).

Book of Mormon Commentary: These Records Are True