Question: Why aren't other inhabitants of the America's mentioned in the Book of Mormon?


Question: Why aren't other inhabitants of the America's mentioned in the Book of Mormon?

The Book of Mormon is likely a "kinship record," which is a history written from the point of view of a social clan: the Nephite ruling class

The Book of Mormon is not primarily a history of a people. It is the history of a message—the doctrine of Christ—and those who either embraced or rejected it. It is also likely a "kinship record," which is a history written from the point of view of a social clan: the Nephite ruling class. Thus, the text focuses the majority of its attention on the doctrine of Christ, and how that doctrine affects the relatives of the kin group keeping the record.

The Nephite record keepers clearly understand that there is more going on, and are quite clear that the labels "Nephite" and "Lamanite" are political terms of convenience, where membership is varied and fluid. As Jacob said:

But I, Jacob, shall not hereafter distinguish them by these names, but I shall call them Lamanites that seek to destroy the people of Nephi, and those who are friendly to Nephi I shall call Nephites, or the people of Nephi, according to the reigns of the kings. Jacob 1:14

Boyd K. Packer: "The presentation of the Book of Mormon as a history of the ancestors of the American Indians is not a very compelling nor a very accurate introduction"

Elder Boyd K. Packer emphasized that the Book of Mormon's view of itself is often not how some members of the Church portray it:

The Book of Mormon is often introduced as "a history of the ancient inhabitants of the American continent, the ancestors of the American Indians." We have all seen missionaries about the world with street boards displaying pictures of American Indians or pyramids and other ruins in Latin America. That introduction does not reveal the contents of this sacred book any better than an introduction of the Bible as "a history of the ancient inhabitants of the Near East, the ancestors of the modern Israelites" would reveal its contents. The presentation of the Book of Mormon as a history of the ancestors of the American Indians is not a very compelling nor a very accurate introduction. When we introduce the Book of Mormon as such a history–and that is the way we generally introduce it–surely the investigator must be puzzled, even disappointed, when he begins to read it. Most do not find what they expect. Nor do they, in turn, expect what they find…The Book of Mormon is not biographical, for not one character is fully drawn. Nor, in a strict sense, is it a history. While it chronicles a people for a thousand and twenty–one years and contains the record of an earlier people, it is in fact not a history of a people. It is the saga of a message, a testament.[1]

Notes

  1. Boyd K. Packer, Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1991), 280–282.