Those Twentyfour Who Were with Me

Alan C. Miner

Jerry Ainsworth writes that he observed two references to twenty-four survivors which seemed to be inconsistent. In the first reference, Mormon says, "When they had gone through and hewn down all my people save it were twenty and four of us" (Mormon 6:11; emphasis added). This statement implies that Mormon was one of twenty-four survivors of the battle at Cumorah. However, in the second reference, a few verses later, he excludes himself from the twenty-four survivors. He says, "Yea, and even all my people, save it were those twenty-four who were with me" (Mormon 6:15; emphasis added). This second statement implies that Mormon was not one of the twenty-four survivors.

While trying to resolve the disparity between these two statements, Ainsworth observed other references to twenty-four in the Book of Mormon. On further investigation, he concluded that the issue Mormon was trying to convey was not the precise number of survivors but the number twenty-four. The discrepancy over the twenty-four survivors of Cumorah, therefore, didn't mean that there was not actually that number. It did mean that the number twenty-four contained a message. That number itself conveyed a meaning that was more important than whether Mormon himself was one of the twenty-four.

As a note of interest, Joseph Smith was twenty-four years old when he founded the Church--the same age as Mormon when he retrieved the Nephite records from the Hill Shim. From the time Joseph Smith received the First Vision to his death was twenty-four years. Christ promised nine of the twelve disciples that they would live to the age of seventy-two. Seventy-two is three times twenty-four. [Jerry L. Ainsworth, The Lives and Travels of Mormon and Moroni, pp. 237-238] [See the commentary on Mormon 6:11]

Question: What is the symbolic meaning of the number 24? [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]

Step by Step Through the Book of Mormon: A Cultural Commentary