Mormon Abridges the Nephite Records

Mormon’s Abridgment and Compilation of Early Lehite History

Mormon 6:6, 3 Nephi 5:10–11

Having gathered his people to Cumorah, Mormon takes the records on plates of Nephi (of which he was a contributor), and creates is own set of plates, on which he begins to write a summarized version of the contents of the plates of Nephi.

And it came to pass that when we had gathered in all our people in one to the land of Cumorah, behold I, Mormon, began to be old; and knowing it to be the last struggle of my people, and having been commanded of the Lord that I should not suffer the records which had been handed down by our fathers, which were sacred, to fall into the hands of the Lamanites, (for the Lamanites would destroy them) therefore I made this record out of the plates of Nephi…

Therefore I have made my record of these things according to the record of Nephi, which was engraven on the plates which were called the plates of Nephi. And behold, I do make the record on plates which I have made with mine own hands.

Words of Mormon 11

The plates of Nephi were handed down through the generations, until they reached Mormon.

And they were handed down from king Benjamin, from generation to generation until they have fallen into my hands.

3 Nephi 5:9

The plates of Nephi are not the only account of the Nephites, but they are preferred because of their brevity.

But behold there are records which do contain all the proceedings of this people; and a shorter but true account was given by Nephi.

Mormon 9:32–34

Mormon writes in a script that he calls “Reformed Egyptian,” he explains that if he had more writing space, he would have written in Hebrew, but apparently using this “Reformed Egyptian” allowed the writer to express more information using fewer characters.

And now, behold, we have written this record according to our knowledge, in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech. And if our plates had been sufficiently large we should have written in Hebrew; but the Hebrew hath been altered by us also; and if we could have written in Hebrew, behold, ye would have had no imperfection in our record. But the Lord knoweth the things which we have written, and also that none other people knoweth our language; and because that none other people knoweth our language, therefore he hath prepared means for the interpretation thereof.

Words of Mormon 3

Mormon first makes an abridgment of the plates of Nephi covering the time period from Lehi to Benjamin.

And now, I speak somewhat concerning that which I have written; for after I had made an abridgment from the plates of Nephi, down to the reign of this king Benjamin, of whom Amaleki spake…

Words of Mormon 3

After doing so, he digs around his records, presumably looking for the next section to abridge, and finds the small plates of Nephi which covered essentially the same time period, only with an emphasis on religious teachings.

…I searched among the records which had been delivered into my hands, and I found these plates, which contained this small account of the prophets, from Jacob down to the reign of this king Benjamin, and also many of the words of Nephi.

Words of Mormon 4

Mormon is pleased to see that the small plates contain prophesies of Christ and other prophesies that have been fulfilled.

And the things which are upon these plates pleasing me, because of the prophecies of the coming of Christ; and my fathers knowing that many of them have been fulfilled; yea, and I also know that as many things as have been prophesied concerning us down to this day have been fulfilled, and as many as go beyond this day must surely come to pass—

Words of Mormon 5–6

Mormon takes the small plates and includes them with his abridgment of the Lehi–Benjamin period.

Wherefore, I chose these things, to finish my record upon them, which remainder of my record I shall take from the plates of Nephi; and I cannot write the hundredth part of the things of my people. But behold, I shall take these plates, which contain these prophesyings and revelations, and put them with the remainder of my record, for they are choice unto me; and I know they will be choice unto my brethren.

Words of Mormon 7–8

Mormon is not sure why he is including them, but he feels inspired by the Holy Ghost to do so, and trusts in all–knowing God, despite his own ignorance.

And I do this for a wise purpose; for thus it whispereth me, according to the workings of the Spirit of the Lord which is in me. And now, I do not know all things; but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, he worketh in me to do according to his will. And my prayer to God is concerning my brethren, that they may once again come to the knowledge of God, yea, the redemption of Christ; that they may once again be a delightsome people.