Ether 15

 

A Confirming Covenant Witness

      Mormon 8 -- Moroni


 

 

Ether 15:2 There Had Been Slain . . . nearly Two Millions of His People:

 

     Three times Shiz attacked Coriantumr on the hill Comnor, but suffered such heavy losses that, in spite of the fact that he had wounded Coriantumr severely, Shiz commanded his people that they should not pursue the armies of Coriantumr" (Ether 14:29-31). In the next few verses, Moroni gives the reader an idea as to just how heavy those losses might have been. In Ether 15:2 we find a remarkable number of "nearly two millions of [Coriantumr's] people" being slain in battle.

     According to Hugh Nibley, there are a number of examples in ancient history which parallel such massive destruction as that which took place with the Jaredites. When Genghis Khan overcame the great Merkit nation, which was his great rival through all of central Asia, he left only one man alive . . . Incidentally, the wars of Genghis Khan cost China alone 40 million lives. . . . The Assyrian kings, like the Romans, flooded the sites of cities they destroyed to convert them into uninhabitable wastelands. In cities of a million inhabitants, the Mongols left not a dog or a cat alive, and they converted vast provinces to complete deserts. . . . The Kin and the Hsia Hsia were two Hunnish tribes and the two greatest empires of their day, as closely related in blood as were the people of Shiz and Coriantumr. They engaged in 15 years of warfare which wiped out 18 million people--a figure that makes Ether's 2 million people (Ether 15:2) seem rather paltry. Two million were killed in the last extermination. [Hugh W. Nibley, Teachings of the Book of Mormon, Semester 4, pp. 262-263] [See the commentary on Mormon 6:10-15]

 

Ether 15:4 He Wrote an Epistle:

 

     As Coriantumr was recovering from his "deep wounds," he remembered the prophecies of Ether concerning the fate of his people, and began to repent. "He wrote an epistle unto Shiz, desiring him that . . . he would give up the kingdom for the sake of the lives of the people" (Ether 15:4). However, as has been noted before, Shiz was out to "avenge" the death of his brother and, in effect, prove the Lord's prophet wrong about Coriantumr not being slain (see Ether 14:24). Thus Shiz wrote "an epistle" to Coriantumr saying that "if [Coriantumr] would give himself up, that [Shiz] might slay him with his own sword, that [Shiz] would spare the lives of the people" (Ether 15:5). This exchange just stirred both sides up to battle again, and we are told that "when Coriantumr saw that he was about to fall he fled again before the people of Shiz, and . . . came to the waters of Ripliancum" (Ether 15:6-8).

     Concerning the "epistle" of Coriantumr and the "epistle" of Shiz, David Palmer notes that Ether must have had records from which he compiled his history. Furthermore, the elite knew how to write, for at the very end of their civilization we find Coriantumr writing letters to his opponent, Shiz (Ether 15:4,5,18). Nothing is said, however, about writing among the common people. [David A. Palmer, In Search of Cumorah, p. 64]

 

Ether 15:5 If [Coriantumr] Would Give Himself Up, That [Shiz] Might Slay Him:

 

     According to Warren and Palmer, the demand that Coriantumr deliver himself for execution (see Ether 15:5) may have been the beginning of a later Maya tradition. It required the execution of the losing king after a battle (Schele and Miller, 1986). [Bruce W. Warren and David A. Palmer, The Jaredite Saga, p. 9-2, unpublished]

 

Ether 15:8 (Coriantumr) Came to the Waters of Ripliancum:

 

     The two armies were apparently exhausted (see Ether 14:31) and probably remained in the land of Corihor recuperating (see Ether 15:1) during the time of the exchange of epistles. When fighting resumed, it carried them to "the waters of Ripliancum" (Ether 15:8). In what direction the armies marched is not said. The waters of Ripliancum was probably near the "eastern" seashore (see Ether 14:26). The definition given to Ripliancum --"large, or to exceed all" (Ether 15:8)-- implies that it was no ordinary body of water.

     According to Warren and Palmer, the "waters of Ripliancum" could be the drainage of the River Papaloapan, which flows to the sea at Alvarado (Palmer, 1981). It is illustrated on Map #7-2. An ancient site located in the Papaloapan basin is called La Mojarra. It is about seventeen kilometers due south of the present city of Alvarado on the Acula River. A monument found there recently has calendar dates of May 21, A.D. 143 and July 13, A.D. 156 (Capitaine, 1988), which would correspond to the "land northward" of the Nephites, but it is very probable that there were much earlier occupations as well.

     The interpretation of the large inland lagoon system called the Papaloapan basin as being Ripliancum is based on its nearness to the Gulf of Mexico Further, it was not called a sea, lake or river. Rather, it is large and undefined, being a place where today large ocean-going fishing boats ply the waters. It is also the distance of one-day's walk northward from the hill where it is postulated that the last Jaredite battle took place. In fact, it can be seen from the slopes of the Cerro Vigia (hill Ramah). [Bruce W. Warren and David A. Palmer, The Jaredite Saga, p. 7-7, 9-3, unpublished]

 

Ether 15:7 The waters of Ripliancum (Illustration): ERTS Satellite picture showing the Papaloapan lagoon system (Waters of Ripliancum?) in relationship to the Cerro Vigia (Hill Ramah/Cumorah) with two locational keys to the Mesoamerican map. [David A. Palmer, In Search of Cumorah, pp. 94-95]

 

Ether 15:7 The waters of Ripliancum (Illustration): The great swamp and lagoon system of central Veracruz would serve as the "waters of Ripliancum" that blocked the retreat of Jaredite armies. (Photo by James C. Christensen used by permission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.] [John L. Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, p. 347]

 

Ether 15:8,10 When They Came to [the Waters of Ripliancum] They Pitched Their Tents . . . [They] Did Pitch Their Tents by the Hill Ramah:

 

     Coriantumr withdrew to the waters of Ripliancum and "pitched their tents" (Ether 15:8). "On the morrow they did come to battle" and despite the fact that Coriantumr was wounded again, the armies of Coriantumr beat the armies of Shiz and Shiz "did flee southward, and did pitch their tents in a place which was called Ogath. And it came to pass that the army of Coriantumr did pitch their tents by the hill Ramah" (Ether 15:11).

     According to David Palmer, if the two quotations which note the pitching of tents first at the waters of Ripliancum (Ether 15:8) and then at the hill Ramah (Ether 15:10) are chronological in nature, then they might delineate a day's happenings before each pitching of tents. Thus the waters of Ripliancum might have been about a day's journey from the hill Comnor, and the hill Ramah/Cumorah might have been about a day's journey from the waters of Ripliancum. [David Palmer, In Search of Cumorah, p. 48]

 

Ether 15:11 The Hill Ramah:

 

     Richardson, Richardson and Bentley note that the names and meaning of Ramah and Rameumptom are given in the Book of Mormon--that of Ramah to a high hill (Ether 15:11), and Rameumptom to a high and "holy stand" used by a group of apostate Zoramites for offering vain prayers (Alma 31:21). These names are not only authentic, but carry the same meanings as similar ancient Near Eastern words. Rah-mah means "height" or "high place." Ra'am is Hebrew for "high," or "to rise:--be lifted up." It is interesting that though the name Ramah is listed throughout the bible together with its variants of Raamah and Rama, the meaning of this strange word is not given in the sacred text. It highly significant, therefore, that the Book of Mormon utilizes these words and gives their meaning which Joseph Smith would not have known--being relatively uneducated. [Allen H. Richardson, David E. Richardson and Anthony E. Bentley, 1000 Evidences for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: Part Two-A Voice from the Dust: 500 Evidences in Support of the Book of Mormon, p. 233] [See the commentary on Alma 31:21]

 

Ether 15:11 [Ramah] Was That Same Hill Where My Father Mormon Did Hide Up the Records:

 

     In fleeing "southward" from the waters of Ripliancum, the armies of Shiz came to "a place which was called Ogath" (Ether 15:10) while the armies of Coriantumr pitched their tents by the hill Ramah, "and it was that same hill where my father Mormon did hide up the records unto the Lord, which were sacred." (Ether 15:11). The reader should note that Mormon took the records from the hill Shim (Mormon 1:3), but only hid them up in the hill Cumorah (see Mormon 6:6). Thus the Jaredite hill Ramah and the Nephite hill Cumorah are the same. The reader should also note that no mention is made of the Jaredite armies passing by the hill Shim, which Omer did in his flight from the land of Nehor. The text says that after passing by the hill of Shim, Omer "came over by the place where the Nephites were destroyed, and from thence eastward, and came to a place which was called Ablom, by the seashore" (Ether 9:3). If the armies of Shiz and Coriantumr came from the north (they were fleeing "southward"), and if they were apparently near an "eastern" seashore, then Omer's path would probably have come from the west or from the south. Thus one might conclude that from the hill Ramah/Cumorah, one would travel either west or south to reach the hill Shim. [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]

 

 Ether 15:11 The Hill Ramah:

 

     According to Millet, McConkie and Top, Moroni notes in Ether 15:11 that the hill Ramah, which was a sacred site to him, was the same Cumorah where his father, Mormon, had deposited the sacred plates. We do not know whether this hill had any other significance to the Jaredites, but it may not be totally unreasonable to suggest that Ether, under the inspiration of the Lord, may have likewise secreted his plates away there in a similar manner as did Mormon (see Ether 15:33). [Joseph F. McConkie, Robert L. Millet, and Brent L. Top, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. IV, p. 316]

     Using this reasoning, another possibility for the record depository of Ether could have been the hill Shim. [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]

 

Ether 15:11 Ramah (Illustration): Cerro El Vigia, the best candidate for the Hill Cumorah and the Hill Ramah. The battles of the Nephites and Jaredites would have taken place on the plains, beyond the hill in this view. (Courtesy Richard Jones.) [John L. Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting For The Book Of Mormon, p. 349]

 

Ether 15:11 Ramah (Illustration): View of the cloud-shrouded Cerro Vigia as it appears from the side of Tres Zapotes. [David A. Palmer, In Search of Cumorah, p. 99]

 

Ether 15:11 Ramah (Illustration): Cerro Vigia on the western edge of the Tuxtla Mountains, a plausible candidate for the hill Ramah-Cumorah] [F.A.R.M.S. Staff, "Lands of the Book of Mormon," Slide #103]

 

Ether 15:14 They Were for the Space of Four Years Gathering Together the People:

 

     The two armies gathered recruits for the final battle "for the space of four years" (Ether 15:14). This tradition may have been followed a millennium later, when the Nephites gathered to defend themselves against the "Lamanites and robbers" (see Mormon 5:6; 6:2,5).

     Warren and Palmer note that this tradition was apparently also followed in Mesoamerica, where it is found in the writings of Ixtlilxochitl, long after Book of Mormon times. When two opposing Mesoamerican armies planned to have a large battle, they gave each other four years to assemble the opposing armies (Chavero, 1952:52). [Bruce W. Warren and David A. Palmer, The Jaredite Saga, p. 9-5]

 

Geographical Theory Map: Ether 15:15 - 15:34 Ether Finishes His Record (Chronology)

 

Ether 15:15 They Did March Forth One against Another to Battle:

 

     Moroni states that the armies of Shiz and the armies of Coriantumr "did march forth one against another to battle" (Ether 15:15). According to Joseph Allen, both archaeology and the Book of Mormon bear witness that the final war of the Jaredites and the final war of the Olmecs were caused by internal strife. Indeed, according to Michael Coe, the final destruction of the Olmecs was caused by internal strife and was violent (Coe 1962:90). [Joseph Allen, Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon, p. 65]

 

Ether 15:15 Headplates:

 

     In Ether 15:15 we have the following description of Jaredite armor: both men and women being armed with weapons of war, having shields, and breastplates, and head-plates, and being clothed after the manner of war--they did march forth one against another to battle.

 

     According to Verneil Simmons, it is significant that some type of "head-plate" was worn both among the Jaredites and among the Olmecs. Dr. Michael Coe believes that the Olmec were ruled by "great civil lords, members of royal lineages." All writers dealing with the Olmecs have commented on the "helmets" of the great heads and it is Coe's suggestion that the stone heads depict warrior leaders rather than priests (see illustration). [Verneil W. Simmons, Peoples, Places and Prophecies, p. 132]

 

Ether 15:15 Headplates (Illustration): A representation of Olmec stone heads (with "headplates") by Charles R. Wicke, Univ. of Arizona Press, Tucson, Ariz, 1971, p. 70, reprinted in [Verneil W. Simmons, Peoples, Places and Prophecies, p. 132]

 

Ether 15:15 Armed with weapons of war (Illustration): Two stone instruments believed to be weapons, or axe heads, found in the museum at Santiago Tuxtla, which is at the base of the Cerro Vigia. [David A. Palmer, In Search of Cumorah, pp. 119]

 

Ether 15:19 They Were Given Up unto the Hardness of Their Hearts . . . That They Might Be Destroyed:

 

     According to John Sorenson, the final destruction of the Jared ruling line could have been as early as 580 B.C. or as late as 400 B.C. . . . the archaeological record is now quite settled on about 550 B.C. for the end of the First Tradition. The Book of Mormon does not tell us enough to allow a more precise determination, although I believe a date toward the earlier end of that span is preferable. The archaeological record is now quite settled on about 550 B.C. for the end of the First Tradition. (See illustration) [John L. Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, p. 119]

 

Ether 15:19 They were given up . . . that they might be destroyed (Illustration): Chart: A comparison of events and conditions in Mesoamerica, the Book of Mormon, and the ancient Near East. (Earlier dates are represented at the bottom, as they would be in archaeological excavations.) [John L. Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, p. 118]

 

Ether 15:29 They Had All Fallen by the Sword Save It Were Coriantumr and Shiz:

 

      Ether 15:29 states that "they had all fallen by the sword save it were Coriantumr and Shiz." Brother Hugh Nibley has written the following concerning this problem:

           Two circumstances peculiar to Asiatic warfare explain why the phenomenon is by no means without parallel: (1) Since every war is strictly a personal contest between kings, the battle must continue until one of the kings falls or is taken. (2) And yet things are so arranged that the king must be the very last to fall, the whole army existing for the sole purpose of defending his person. . . . As long as the war went on, the king could not die, for whenever he did die, the war was over, no matter how strong his surviving forces. Even so, Shiz was willing to spare all of Coriantumr's subjects if he could only behead Coriantumr with his own sword. [Hugh Nibley, The World of the Jaredites, pp. 235-236]

 

Ether 15:29 On the Morrow:

 

     After fighting all the first day, the two sides retired to their camps. "On the morrow" (Ether 15:17), they went to battle again. Thus "on the morrow" they fought a second day (vv. 17-19), and a third day (v. 20), and a fourth day (v. 21-22), and a fifth day (vv. 23-25), and a sixth day (vv. 26-28) on which Coriantumr's men "were about to flee for their lives," but apparently on the seventh day or "on the morrow" Shiz's men caught up with Coriantumr's men where Coriantumr finally "smote off the head of Shiz."

     The last use of the phrase "on the morrow" (Ether 15:29) implies that Coriantumr's men fled at least part of one day from the scene of the final battles (the hill Ramah/Cumorah) before Shiz's group caught them. Wounded, Coriantumr could probably have only gone a few miles at most. [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]

 

Ether 15:30 (Coriantumr) Smote Off the Head of Shiz:

 

     According to Warren and Palmer, this dramatic scene of the decapitation of Shiz (see Ether 15:30) may possibly be represented by an important stela (#21) at Izapa (see illustration). This stela shows a person of high status decapitating another. Although the decapitated figure on Stela 21 is lying upon the ground, he is in an animated position with his left arm and leg raised as if dramatizing the suddenness and violence of his death . . note the similar conformation of the arms. (Norman, Garth, N.W.A.F. Paper #30, Izapa Sculpture, part 2, 123, 1976).

     According to Warren and Palmer, Stela 21 at Izapa likely reflects the ritualization of the accession of divine kings to the throne. It involves the decapitation of the captured king as part of an accession ceremony. This became standard practice among the later Classic period Maya (Schele and Miller, 1986). [Bruce W. Warren and David A. Palmer, The Jaredite Saga, p. 9-7]

 

Ether 15:30 (Coriantumr) smote off the head of Shiz (Illustration): [Garth Norman, Izapa Sculpture, part 2, 123]

 

Ether 15:31 After [Coriantumr] Had Smitten off the Head of Shiz, . . . Shiz Raised upon His Hands . . . and Struggled for Breath:

 

     In Ether 15:31 we find an interesting description of decapitation: And it came to pass that after [Coriantumr] had smitten off the head of Shiz, that Shiz raised upon his hands and fell; and after that he had struggled for breath, he died.

 

     According to research by Gary Hadfield and John Welch, people have long wondered how Shiz could raise himself up, fall, and gasp for breath if his head had been cut off. Dr. Gary M. Hadfield, M.D., professor of pathology (neuropathology) at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond Virginia has recently published in BYU Studies, 33 (1993): 324-25:

     "Shiz's death struggle illustrates the classic reflex posture that occurs in both humans and animals when the upper brain stem (midbrain/mesencephalon) is disconnected from the brain. The extensor muscles of the arms and legs contract, and this reflect action could cause Shiz to raise up on his hands. . . In many patients, it is the sparing of vital respiratory and blood pressure centers in the central (pons) and lower (medulla) brain stem that permits survival.

     The brain stem is located inside the base of the skull and is relatively small. It connects the brain proper, or cerebrum, with the spinal cord in the neck. Coriantumr was obviously too exhausted to do a clean job. His stroke evidently strayed a little too high. He must have cut off Shiz's head through the base of the skull, at the level of the midbrain, instead of lower through the cervical spine in the curvature of the neck . . . Significantly, this nervous system phenomenon (decerebrate rigidity) was first reported in 1898, long after the Book of Mormon was published.

     In addition, the words "smote off" need not mean that Shiz's head was completely severed by Coriantumr. In Judges 5:26 Jael, the wife of Heber "put her hand to the nail, and her right hand to the workmen's hammer; and with the hammer she smote Sisera, she smote off his head, when she had pierced and stricken through his temples." Surely Jael did not cleanly chop off Sisera's head using a hammer. Indeed, both the Hebrew and Greek words translated as smote off mean "to hammer" or "to strike down with a hammer or stamp," but not generally to smite off. No more necessarily does Joseph Smith's translation in Ether 15:30 need to mean that Shiz's head was completely cut off. Fifty or sixty percent off would easily have been enough to get the job done, leaving Shiz to reflex and die. [Gary M. Hadfield and John W. Welch, The "Decapitation" of Shiz, in F.A.R.M.S. Update, Number 97, November, 1994]

 

Ether 15:31 After He Had Smitten off [Shiz's] Head . . . Shiz Raised upon His Hands and Fell:

 

     Critics of the Book of Mormon have questioned how Shiz could have physically struggled after his head was cut off. According to Charles Pyle, there is nothing fanciful about his episode. This neurological reflex is known as decerebrate rigidity, and occurs when the upper brain stem becomes disconnected from the brain itself. Dr. Gary M. Hadfield, M.D., published in BYU Studies, (1993) 33:324, this statement:

           Shiz's death struggle illustrates the classic reflex posture that occurs in both humans and animals when the upper brain stem (midbrain/mesencephalon) is disconnected from the brain. The extensor muscles of the arms and legs contract, and this reflect action could cause Shiz to raise up on his hands.

 

     According to B. H. Roberts, (New Witnesses for God, Vol. 3, pp. 556-557):

           Mr. G. W. Wightman, of the Seventeenth Lancers of the British Light Brigade, and a survivor of the wild charge at Balaclava, relates, in the "Electric Magazine" for June 1892, . . . the still more remarkable case of Sergeant Talbot's death:

           "It was about this time that Sergeant Talbot had his head clean carried off by a round shot, yet for about thirty yards farther the headless body kept the saddle, the lance at the charge firmly gripped under the right arm."

 

     For critics to say that a similar, though somewhat subdued, phenomenon does not occur in some human decapitations such as that of Shiz, is asking too much! Sir Charles Scott Sherrington, in his "Decerebrate Rigidity, and Reflex Coordination of Movements," in the Journal of Psychology, 22 (1898):319, graphically describes the occurrence of this phenomenon in both animals and human subjects. Several others of his works also mention the same. John D. Spillane's book also luridly describes the onset of decerebrate rigidity in some patients due to accident or another cause:

           the limbs may be disposed in a manner resembling the decrebrate or decorticate postures of the experimental animal. It will be recalled that section of the brain stem between the superior collicus and pons produces a degree of spasticity of the antigravity muscles of all four limbs which enable the animal to "stand." In the human patient decerebrate rigidity is often incomplete, but in varying degree and distribution, rigid extension of the four limbs may be seen. The upper limbs are internally rotated at the shoulders, the elbows extended and the writes flexed. The legs are straight and, if there is spasm of the adductors, they may be crossed. (An Atlas of Clinical Neurology, London: Oxford University Press, 1975, 2nd ed., p. 372)

 

This posture could easily, if the person it afflicted were lying face-down, have the appearance of rising up on his or her hands.

     The phenomenon of decerebrate rigidity is also discussed under "Decerebrate" in The Oxford English Dictionary (2nd edition, 4:328): "a state in which the limbs are extended and certain skeletal muscles rigidly contracted."

     So the eventful decapitation of Shiz in the Book of Mormon is medically plausible. Since the Book of Mormon record is silent on just how much of the head was smitten off, if any, and since the term smitten off is used in the Bible to indicate the piercing of Sisera's head with a tent peg--Judges 4:21; 5:26-27, the Book of Mormon is once again remarkably verified. [D. Charles Pyle, "Review of 'The Book of Mormon Vs. the Bible (or Common Sense),'" http:\\www.linkline.com\personal\dcpyle\reading\bodineco.htm, pp. 22-23]      

 

Ether 15:33 Ether Finished His Record:

 

     After all the battles were over, and Coriantumr was the only Jaredite leader left, the Lord told Ether to go forth, apparently from his "cavity of a rock" (see Ether 13:13-14). Moroni writes:

           And he [Ether] went forth, and beheld that the words of the Lord had all been fulfilled; and he finished his record; (and the hundredth part I have not written) and he hid them in a manner that the people of Limhi did find them. (Ether 15:33)

 

     The descriptions in Ether 13:14-14 and in Ether 15:33 seem to imply that Ether's cave (or wherever he was) was not very far from the scenes of the final battles. They also imply that he probably "finished his record" in the same area. The question then becomes, How did Ether hide them "in a manner that the people of Limhi did find them"? We are left to ponder. We might assume that the "24 plates of Ether" were probably deposited in or near his cave, and that Ether's cave was probably somewhere near the hill Ramah. Yet the record is silent. We are not only left to wonder about the fate of Ether, but in a large part with that of Coriantumr. One is only left to wonder, How long did they live? How far did they travel? And what did they do before they died. We are only told that "Coriantumr was discovered by the people of Zarahemla; and he dwelt with them for the space of nine moons" (Omni 1:21).

Note* The reader should also note that according to the commentary on Mosiah 8:7 and Mosiah 21:25, the hill Ramah(Cumorah) was apparently not more than 200 miles from the local land of Zarahemla where Mosiah1 "discovered the people of Zarahemla" (Omni 1:14). [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes] [See the commentary on Omni 1:21]

 

Ether 15:33 The Hundredth Part I Have Not Written:

 

     If Moroni has not written "the hundredth part" (Ether 15:33) of the record of Ether, and if Ether did hide "them" (referring to the record); Is it reasonable to suppose that about 33 of our pages (the length of the Book of Ether) would turn into 3300 pages if the full "24 plates" were translated? Does the phrase "the hundredth part" have some other meaning?

     According to Verneil Simmons, Ether does not tell us (or perhaps the fault is Moroni's who made the abridgment) that the Jaredite people kept civil records but it is evident from his history on the plates that they had to have done so. Ether might have memorized the correct genealogy of his own line of descent, which he records as the proper king-line, but he could not have supplied the details of the various reigns, the plots and counterplots, names and places, details of the famine and its results, their cultural achievements, etc., without reference to written records. [Verneil W. Simmons, Peoples, Places and Prophecies, p. 238]

 

Ether 15:34 The Last Words Which Are Written by Ether:

 

     If the "Book of Ether" represents the "words which are written by Ether" (Ether 15:34) and if the 24 plates found by the people of Limhi (Ether 1:2) represented an abridgement by Ether of the history of the Jaredites; then where were all the other Jaredite records hidden up? Was it in Ether's cave? Was Ether's cave in the hill Ramah? We are not specifically told. We are also not told the time period beyond 401 A.S. that it took Moroni to abridge the record of Ether. Moroni first writes, "Behold I, Moroni, do finish the record of my father, Mormon. Behold, I have but few things to write, which things I have been commanded by my father" (Mormon 8:1). At this time Moroni mentions that "four hundred years have passed away since the coming of our Lord and Savior" (Mormon 8:6). In Moroni 10:1, Moroni mentions that "more than four hundred and twenty years have passed away since the sign was given of the coming of Christ." Then in verse 2 he says "I seal up these records." [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]

 

Ether 15:34 Whether the Lord Will That I Be Translated:

 

     For some reason or other, Moroni felt inspired to record the very last words which were written by Ether:

           Whether the Lord will that I be translated, or that I suffer the will of the Lord in the flesh, it mattereth not, if it so be that I am saved in the kingdom of God. Amen. (Ether 15:34)

 

     Why did Moroni quote the last words of Ether? Is it to give us a hint that Ether was translated by the Lord? Or shall we conclude that Moroni, like most human beings, shows his interest in the last things which are said by a famous person? [Sidney B. Sperry, Book of Mormon Compendium, p. 481]