These verses describe sickening scenes of violence, horror, and human sacrifice. Every heart was hardened and delighted in the shedding of blood continually. The incomprehensible practice of human sacrifice recalls scenes from Old Testament history. One example was Molech, who was a fire god, “the abomination of the children of Ammon” (1 Kings 11:7);he was worshipped by the sacrifice and burning of children (see also Deuteronomy 18:10; 2 Chronicles 28:3).
The Aztecs who inhabited Teotihuacan during the later centuries also had some of these abominable habits. The first mention of human sacrifice in the Book of Mormon is a.d. 366. When the Spaniards arrived in the Mexico City valley in a.d. 1519, they observed the diabolical practices of human sacrifice by the Aztecs. Bernal Diaz, a soldier in the army of Cortez, wrote: “When they sacrifice a wretched Indian they saw open the chest with stone knives and hasten to tear out the palpitating heart and blood, and offer it to their idols, in whose name the sacrifice is made. They then cut off the thighs, arms and head and eat the former at feasts and banquets, and the head they hang up on some beams, and the body of the man sacrificed is not eaten but given to … fierce animals.”4 And John Sorenson noted: “The scale of the human sacrifices is hard to grasp. During one week shortly before the Spaniards arrived, 70,000 victims were reportedly slain on the altars!”5