“Almost All the Seed of Amulon and His Brethren”

Brant Gardner

History: Mormon creates some moral balance in Nephite history. The Amulonites were apostate Nephites, responsible for Abinadi’s death. It is poetic justice that the Nephites kill many of them, thus justly “balancing” their apostasy.

The historical problem with this entire section, as I read it, is that Mormon’s sources seem dubious. It is possible, but unlikely, that the Amulonites were identifiable at a glance, so that their casualties could be counted separately. How could Mormon know that the dead included “almost all the seed of Amulon”? Who could have recorded such information in the first place? I hypothesize that he is basing this information on tradition. Balancing the scales of justice with the Amulonites and the claim that their descendants are still hunted suggest a traditional tale, not a historical document. As I read this passage, it has value as a moral tale; as history, it is suspect.

Second Witness: Analytical & Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 4