Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Apocryphal Melchizedek - The Book of the Secrets of Enoch

August 4, 2010
by Tim Barker

Abraham and Melchizedek, Verdun Altar, Bergun 1181 by Nicholas of Verdun

The purpose of this post is to document apocryphal writings relating to Melchizedek. This will be a continuing series, beginning with the Book of the Secrets of Enoch.  To take into consideration to our apocryphal studies, is Elder McConkie's statement that in order for us to "gain any real value from a study of apocryphal writings, the student must first have an extended background of gospel knowledge, a comprehensive understanding of the standard works of the Church, plus the guidance of the Spirit."1  Additionally, Hugh Nibley adds insight regarding a study of the corpus of apocryphal writings available.  He comments that "what makes the documents so exciting is that they follow along familiar grooves to the end and then continue onward into new territory, expanding the confines of the gospel."  He continues:
Are we to assume that their writers, so strict and upright in their ways and so conscientious in their teachings, are saints as far as we can follow them, only  to become deluded purveyors of fraud and falsehood the moment they step beyond territory familiar to us?  Before reaching a decision on this important head, our first obligation is to inform ourselves as to what it is that these writings teach over and above conventional Jewish and Christian doctrine.  What they teach, that is, seriously and as a whole.  Speculative flights and picturesque oddities can be expected in any sizable apocryphal writing, and when such are confined to one or two texts, they can be ruled out as serious doctrine.  But in working through the newly found documents, one soon becomes aware of certain themes that receive overwhelming emphasis and appear not only in a few texts but in many or most of them.  Such deserve our serious attention.2
With this basis, let us begin with our first text:

The Book of the Secrets of Enoch (Translated from the Slavonic), by W.R. Morfill and R.H. Charles (Oxford Clarendon Press, Oxford, England, 1896), Appendix, pgs 88-92

The text states that Lamech, the son of Methusaleh (translated as Methusalem) had a child named Nir (the second born, after Noah).  Methusaleh was told by the Lord to take Nir and clothe him in the robes of consecration, or the robes of the priesthood.  Also, to place him by the altar and tell him what would come in his day, including the deluge, and that Noe (Noah)'s seed would be preserved.   Nir is identified in this text as the father of Melchizedek.  Additionally, there is reference included in the text to another Melchizedek that would come.  Lastly, it is interesting that "the seal of the priesthood" is mentioned directly in relation to Melchizedek.  This idea will be explored in another post. The text included below is excerpted from those portions relating to Melchizedek. 

III.

1. And the wife of Nir, named Sopanima, being barren, brought forth no child to Nir. 
2. And Sopanima was in the time of her old age, and on the day of her death she conceived in her womb, and Nir the priest did not sleep with her, nor knew her from the day that the Lord appointed him to serve before the face of the people. 
3. When Sopanima knew of her conception she was ashamed, and felt humbled, and concealed herself all the days, till she brought forth, and no one of the people knew. 
4. And when 282 days were accomplished and the day of birth began to draw near, Nir remembered about his wife, and called her to himself in his house, that he might talk to her.
5. And Sopanima came to Nir, her husband, being with child, and the appointed day of the birth was drawing near.
6. And Nir saw her and was very much ashamed, and said to her: 'What hast thou done, wife, and hast shamed me before the face of these people. And now depart from me, and go where thou didst commence the shame of thy womb, so that I defile not my hand upon thee, and sin before the face of the Lord!' 
7. And Sopanima spake unto Nir, her husband, saying: 'My lord, lo! the time of my old age, and the day of my death has come (and there was no youth in me) and I do not know when the period of my years is past, and the unfruitfulness of my womb begin.' 
8. And Nir did not believe his wife, and said to her a second time: 'Depart from me lest I do thee an injury, and sin before the face of the Lord!' 
9. And it came to pass, when Nir had spoken to his wife, Sopanima feIl at the feet of Nir, and died.
10. And Nir was very much grieved, and said in his heart: 'Was this from my voice, since a man by his voice and thought sins before the face of the Lord.
11. Now the Lord is merciful to me; I know in truth in my heart, that my hand was not upon her. And so I say: "Glory to thee, oh! Lord, since no one on earth knows this deed, which the Lord has wrought!"'
12. And Nir hastened and shut the doors of the house, and went to Noe, his brother, and told him a1l, that had happened concerning his wife.
13. And Noe hastened, and came with Nir, his brother, into the house of Nir, on account of the death of Sopanima, and they talked to themselves (and saw) how her womb was at the time of the birth.
14. And Noe said to Nir: 'Let it not be a subject of sorrow to thee, Nir, my brother, that the Lord has to-day concealed our shame because no one of the people knows this.
15. Now let us go quickly, and bring her secretly, and may the Lord hide the ignominy of our shame. 
16. And they laid Sopanima on the bed, and they wrapped her with black robes, and shut her in the house ready for burial, and dug a grave in secret.
17. And then came an infant from the dead Sopanima, and sat on the bed at her right hand.  And Noe, and Nir entered, and saw the infant sitting by the dead Sopanima and wiping its clothes. 
18. And Noe, and Nir were tempted with a great fear, for the child was complete in its body, like one of three years old; and spake with its lips, and blessed the Lord. 
19. And Noe, and Nir gazed upon it; and lo! the seal of the priesthood was on its breast, and it was glorious in countenance. 
20. And Noe, and Nir said 'See the Lord renews the consecration according to our blood, as he desires (this is from the Lord, my brother, and the Lord renews the blood of consecration in us).' 
21. And Noe and Nir hastened, and washed the child, and clothed it in priestly raiment, and gave it the blessed bread. And it ate. And they called its name Melchizedek.
22. And Noe and Nir took the body of Sopanima, and stripped from her the black robes, and clothed her in very bright robes, and built a church for her (another house--a beautified grave). 
23. And Noe, and Nir, and Melchizedek came and buried her publicly. And Noe said to his brother Nir: 'Watch this child in secret till the time, because deceitful people shall arise over aIl the earth and shall begin to reject God, and having perceived nothing shall put him to death. And then Noe went out to his own place.
24. And great lawlessness began to multiply over the whole earth, in the days of Nir. 
25. And Nir began to be very anxious, especially about the child, saying: 'Woe is me, eternal Lord.  In my days have begun to multiply all kinds of lawlessness upon the earth, and I understand, how that the end is near unto us more (than ever), and upon all the earth for the lawlessness of the people.
26. And now, Lord, what is the vision, and what is the solution of it, and what shall I do for (the child)?--Will it also go with us to destruction?' 
27. And the Lord heard Nir, and appeared to him in a nightly vision, and said to him: 'Nir, I do not endure the great lawlessness that has been on the earth in many things, and lo! I wish now to send a great destruction upon the earth, and every earthly creature shall perish. 
28. But do not trouble thyself about the child, Nir, for in a short time I will send my chief captain Michael, and he shall take the child and place him in the paradise of Eden, in the garden where Adam was formerly during a period of seven years, having the heaven always open until the time of his sin. 
29. And this child shall not perish with those who perish in this generation, as I have shown, but shall be a holy priest in all things, Melchizedek, and I will appoint him that he may be the chief of the priests who were before (alia lectio--that he may be a priest of priests for ever, and I will consecrate him, and will appoint him over the people being made greatly holy). 
30. And Nir rose from his sleep, and blessed the Lord, who had appeared unto him, saying: 'Blessed is the Lord God of my fathers, who has spoken unto me, (some MSS. add--who will not allow the depreciation of my priesthood in the priesthood of my fathers, as thy word), who made a great priest in my days in the womb of my wife Sopanima. (Some MSS. add--
31. Because I had no family and this child shall be to me in the place of my family, and shall be as a son to me, and thou shalt honour him with Thy servants the priests, with Seth, and Enoch, and Tharasidam, Maleleil, aud Enos, and thy servant, and thus Melchizedek shall be a priest in another generation. 
32. For I know that this generation shaIl end in confusion, and all shall perish. And Noe, my brother, shall be preserved in that day.
33. And from my race shaIl rise up many people, and Melchizedek shall be the chief of the priests among the people, ruling alone, serving thee O Lord!)
34. Because I had not another child in this family, who might be a great priest, but this son of mine, and thy servant; and do thou great Lord, on this account honour him with thy servants, and great priests--with Seth, and Enos, and Rusii, and Almilam, and Prasidam, and Maleleil, and Seroch, and Arusan, and Aleem, and Enoch, and Methusalam, and me, thy servant Nir, and Melchizedek shall be the head over twelve priests who lived before, and at last shall be the head over aIl, (being) the great high priest, the Word of God, and the power to work great and glorious marvels above aIl that have been.
35. He, Melchizedek, shall be a priest and king in the place Akhuzan, that is to say, in the middle of the earth where Adam was created: there shall at last be his grave.
36. And concerning that chief priest it has been written that he also shall be buried there, where there is the middle of the earth, as Adam buried his son Abel there whom his brother Cain killed, wherefore he lay three years unburied, till he saw a bird called a jackdaw, burying its fledgling. 
37. I know that a great confusion has come and this generation shall end in confusion, and all shall perish except that Noe my brother shaIl be preserved, and afterwards there shall be a planting from his family, and there shaIl be other people, and another Melchizedek shaIl be the head of the priests among the people, ruling, and serving the Lord.'

IV.

I. And when the child had been forty days under the roof of Nir, the Lord said to Michael: 'Go down upon the earth to Nir, the priest, and take My child Melchizedek, who is with him, and place him in the paradise of Eden for preservation, because the time draws nigh, and I will discharge all the water upon the earth, and all that is upon the earth shall perish. 
2. (And I will establish another race, and Melchizedek shall be the chief of the priests, in that family, just as Seth is to me in this family.') 
3. And Michael hastened, and came by night, and Nir was sleeping in his bed. And Michael appeared to him, and said to him: 'The Lord says unto thee, Nir: "Send the child to me; I entrusted him to thee.'"
4. And Nir did not know that the chief captain Michael was speaking to him, and his heart was confused, and he said: 'If the people know about the child, and take him, they will slay him.  For the heart of this people is crafty before the face of the Lord. And Nir said to him who spoke to him 'The child is not with me, and I do not know who thou art, who art speaking to me.' 
5. And he who was speaking to me answered: 'Be not afraid, Nir, I am the chief captain of the Lord. The Lord hath sent me, and lo! I will take thy child to-day, and will go with him, and will place him in the paradise of Eden, and there shall he be for ever.  
6. And when the twelfth generation shall be, and a thousand and seventy years shall he, in that generation a just man shall be born, and the Lord shall tell him to come out upon that mountain where the ark of thy brother Noe shall stand, and he shall find there another Melchizedek who has lived there seven years, concealing himself from the people who worship idols, so that they should not slay him, and he shall lead him forth and he shall be priest, and the first king in the town of Salem after the fashion of this Melchizedek, the commencement of the priests. And 3432 years shall be fulfilled till that time from the beginning and creation of Adam.
7. And from that Melchizedek there shall be twelve priests in number till the great Igumen, that is to say leader, who shall bring forth all things visible and invisible. 
8. And Nir understood his first dream, and believed it, and having answered Michael, he said: 'Blessed is the Lord, who has glorified thee to-day to me, and now bless thy servant Nir, as we are drawing near our departure from this world, and take the child, and do unto him as the Lord hath spoken unto thee. 
9. And Michael took the child on that night on which he came, and took him on his wings, and placed him in the paradise of Eden.
10. And Nir having risen on the following day, went to his house, and did not find the child, and there was instead of joy very great sorrow, because he had no other son except this (alia lectio--because he looked upon this child in the place of a son).
11. So died Nir, and after him there was no priest among the people. And from that time a great confusion arose on the earth.

_________________________
1. Mormon Doctrine, by Bruce R. McConkie (2nd Edition, Bookcraft, Salt Lake City, UT, 1966), 42
2. Temple and Cosmos: Beyond This Ignorant Present, by Hugh Nibley (Don E. Norton, Ed., in Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, Volume 12; Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, UT, and Foundation for Ancient Research in Mormon Studies [FARMS], Provo, UT, 1992), 178-179

18 comments:

  1. why don't we just excavate Cumorah? IF 225,000 people died in battle their, maybe we can find a knife or something?

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    1. Not sure how this question relates to this post or any of my posts really; regardless, I suppose I will briefly share my views.

      The first issue though is identifying where Cumorah is actually located. As a BYU graduate, I'd be surprised if you weren't aware of the differences of opinion held by members of the Church regarding the location of the hill. There has long been different views on the location of the hill, and no revelations from Church leaders on the matter to clarify. John Clark's review of Delbert Curtis' book is a good starting place as it summarizes a lot of current scholarship and traditional beliefs:

      http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/display/pdf.php?table=review&id=153

      Additionally, Terryl Givens (in his book By the Hand of Mormon) does a good job of illustrating that Joseph Smith may have initially thought that Book of Mormon geography comprised the continental Americas, but by the end of his life, the Prophet seems to have refined his views to believe that Central America represented BoM geography (per his comments in the Times & Seasons regarding Stephens and Catherwood's books). If this is accurate (which it seems to be to me), the Prophet learned this subject line upon line, and precept upon precept, which is in accordance with scriptural principles.

      At any rate, assuming we could even identify the proper location, we still have over 1,600 years of unknown history. None of these people were buried: "...their flesh, and bones, and blood lay upon the face of the earth, being left by the hands of those who slew them, to moulder upon the land, and to crumble, and to return to their mother earth." If they had been buried, maybe digging would be fruitful, but 1,600 years of open exposure seems futile for archeological purposes, especially when both places (Northern New York and Central Americas) have been inhabited during this intervening period of time. Additionally, neither location is similar to the Middle East, where the climate is conducive to preserving history. Thus, in my opinion, I would not expect to find human remains or weapons in either location from Book of Mormon populations. If anything remains at all, it would be a little surprising to me...especially knives, which are never mentioned in the Book of Mormon.
      :)

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  2. Perhaps you should notify the church as they have identified it as the
    same Cumorah where the plates were found. If not a knife a sword or something? The difference in views is because we know nothing happened at that site? So, i now wonder...how could two million people with armour die in a battle without it being located? How could that place not be of SOME RECORD outside of LDS or BOM?

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    1. Hello again BYU Grad - Thanks for your comments.

      Regarding your first comment, perhaps you could provide me with some references where the Church has authoritatively stated that the Cumorah in upstate New York is the same location that the final Nephite / Lamanite battles took place. I am aware of no such authoritative statements. Certain General Authorities have believed such to be the case while other General Authorities have believed to the contrary. As noted in my previous response, without revelation, it remains a matter of conjecture based on the best evidence and scholarship available.

      Additionally, I'm not sure why that particular hill in upstate New York was ever called Cumorah. Did Joseph ever call it Cumorah? While Mormon buried plates in a hill called Cumorah (Mormon 6:6), the Book of Mormon never says where Moroni buried the plates of Nephi, since he apparently wandered for a number of years after these wars before ever burying the record (Mormon 8:4-5). Further, I've been to the hill Cumorah in NY, and can't conceive of the large bodies of Nephites alone being on that hill. I personally do not think it is big enough. My point is, internal evidence and external evidence does not seem to point to the NY hill being the same hill in which the battles took place. I personally believe it is simply the place that Moroni finally buried the plates.

      Supposing I'm completely wrong, as far as swords or any weapons, I reiterate my previous response - there were over 1,600 years of history that is unaccounted for, and the bodies and weapons were fully exposed. These lands were inhabited during this intervening period. Why should we expect to find anything relating to these last battles? It seems like you aren't really considering exactly how long 1,600 years really is.

      I'm unsure as to how you came up with two million people anyways, much less the existence of armour in these wars. I count 230,000 Nephite deaths mentioned, and an unknown amount of Lamanites, and I cannot find any mention of armour in Mormon.

      Lastly, two questions for you. What is your concern with Cumorah? It seems like you have a lot of concerns regarding an aspect of the Book of Mormon that you really do not seem too familiar with. I don't mean any offense by this, but your cynicism seems entirely misplaced. Don't get so hung up on assumptions. Our assumptions can be proven wrong at any time. Trivial stuff such as this shouldn't affect our testimonies. Second, how is any of this relevant to postings on my blog? I'm curious to know what your real motives are here. There are plenty of discussions on this subject all over the internet. Why ask this type of question on a post about Apocryphal Melchizedek literature? Seems fishy.

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  3. "the Prophet seems to have refined his views to believe that Central America represented BoM geography (per his comments in the Times & Seasons" ...should we forget about Zelph and how popular he was?

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    1. Hello BYU Grad. Thanks again for your comments.
      We certainly should not forget about Zelph, although I'm not sure how "popular" he was since there was very little ever said about him in the historical records, especially after 1834, and he was nowhere near upstate New York; for that matter, he was nowhere near Central America either. At any rate - Kenneth Godfrey has written an excellent article on the subject, with respect to Book of Mormon geography - check it out, and let me know what you think:
      http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/display/pdf.php?table=jbms&id=571

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  4. HE was known from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic ocean. I would say that is fairly popular? I am well aware of the resources at Maxwell and Farms. Kinda Like bandaids for flesh eating bacteria on many subjects though. There are 200,000 people in SLC and 1,ooo,ooo in its metro. Ever seen it from a plane? Rather large footprint, would you say? Do you"idolize the truth"? I Do!Truth welcomes investigation and applauds discovery and needs no defense.

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  5. Pardon me if i sound frustrated but after reading everything Mormon(pre 1845) i could get my hands and TRUST...two beautiful young
    men knocked on my friends door. I thot i would quiz them a bit before
    revealing my background. To my absolute amazement they told me and believed that E.H. was J.S. only wife? Elder? I simply sent them on their way. I compare this experience to my education. I am now in the real world!

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  6. BYU Grad,
    Let me get this straight. You think armour and knives (two things never mentioned in the last Book of Mormon battles) should be readily available in a location that you think these battles were supposed to have taken place, after 1,600 years of full exposure to the elements in humid areas that were inhabited by who knows how many groups of peoples, and you think that nineteen year old missionaries should have a comprehensive knowledge of the history of the church, and you are the one living in the real world?
    You think that Zelph being known in his day over a large area should constitute him being popularly known throughout Latter-day Saints history? You think the hill Cumorah in NY should be able to hold everybody in Salt Lake City? And you think that FARMS/MI are at best, bandaids for these ridiculous assumptions that you make?
    Clearly you are one that idolizes the truth. Clearly.
    Truth needs no defense, but continual misrepresentations of truth, such as everyone of your assumptions in your comments thus far, does need defense to be clarified for those that may be misled by your wild ideas, and are truly truth-seekers.
    Good luck in the real world. I'm sure you'll do just fine.

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    1. Get this Straight...when ever 2,000,000 die in a battle some evidence or relic would be found. They still find things everywhere else in the world. I read there are over 50,000 archaeological digs supporting the bible....besides the wheel wouldn't simply rolled away...lol

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    2. Come on BYU Grad - can you at least keep your story straight here? You went from 225,000 deaths to 2,000,000??? Make up your mind. Or at least come up with a reasonable basis for your shallow argument. Surely your credentialed background in archeology and molecular biology must have helped you come to the conclusions you have arrived at since you seem to know so much about decay and archeological digs. Maybe you can help me with something here - the Mongolian Huns were known for their substantial use of horses, yet the only discovery of ANY horse remains were in the well prepared tomb of a princess. So only in the case of a specially prepared tomb is there ANY evidence that horses existed at all, yet it is an accepted fact that they were heavily reliant on horses. Where did all the horses go BYU GRAD? Why can't we find a single horse bone anywhere? With your technical background, please explain this anomaly to me. Yet you want remains and relics (of which you have failed to identify a single relic used in the last battles) to have existed when the record specifically states that the remains were left on the ground to moulder, and we have almost 1,600 years of unknown history with full exposure to the elements. How many times do I have to reiterate this argument to you? You want scientific evidence but you are unwilling to consider any of the scientific facts. Forgive me if I come off a little perturbed here, I just can't understand how you can be so inadept on this subject.
      Unless you can come up with something logical in your next comment, I'm going to block future comments because this is lack of logic is absurd and a waste of time.

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    3. Also, 50,000 archeological digs on the Bible is a bit of an overstatement. Many of these digs find information that has demanded reconsideration of the Bible in context, which has resulted in continual reinterpretion and a departure of modern Biblical understanding. Consider Bart Ehrman's books on the manuscripts of the Bible. How many Christians have been unwilling to accept the scientific evidence that our Bibles do not contain the original words of Christ or His disciples? If this is compelling evidence in support of the Bible, why did Bart Ehrman lose his faith? Also, archeological evidence as a basis for belief in the Bible is directly in contradiction with what the Bible teaches. Consider John 20:24-29 and Hebrews 11. Is your Christian belief in the Bible based on what the Bible teaches, or is it based on evidence derived from the arm of flesh? Jeremiah 17:5. I fear my comments are going to fall on deaf ears. Anyways, when you are ready to have a rational conversation, I'm ready to continue with you, otherwise, future comments will not be posted.

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  7. Also, I'll ask again, why is this relevant to Apocryphal Melchizedek literature?

    "I thot I would quiz them a bit before revealing my background."

    Is that what you are trying to do here with me? Paul may have had you in mind when he said the following:

    11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
    12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
    13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
    14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, WHEREBY THEY LIE IN WAIT TO DECEIVE;

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  8. To put it another way, It is termed that He lies at the catch, which has nothing to do with deceit. It seems to Me that in trying to test and prove all things You believe in, You cannot answer without proving Yourself to be deceived and willing to deceive to defend what makes You most comfortable with rejecting the Truth. Thus You have simply turned to animosity toward Him to devert the subject matter. very sad.

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    1. Dear Anonymous,
      BYU Grad specifically noted that he would quiz the missionaries before revealing his background, and then approached me similarly - seems deceitful to me. As far as the rest of your comment, I'm not sure that it makes much sense.
      I can't answer without proving myself to be deceived? Willing to deceive to defend? Where in my responses is the lack of rationality? If anything, my responses should be pretty clear that BYU Grad is reading and asserting information that simply isn't there. Knives in the Book of Mormon? Archeological findings after 1,600 years of full exposure? The first one is made up, the second one is ludicrous (not the hip hop artist).
      Who's trying to defend based on deceit here? My responses actually make sense. BYU Grad's comments, as well as yours, make little sense.
      Also, I'm not sure why you think I have turned to animosity. I'm not upset or angry with BYU Grad, or with you. I'm not calling him names, I'm simply confused at how somebody (including yourself) can draw such radical conclusions with such terrible logic.

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    2. Tim,
      I don't understand all of the comments that [Anonymous] posted either, but my guess is that most all of them are directed toward BYU GRAD, who, as inferred by [Anonymous], is so very anxious to discover and prove the truth that he/she actually rejects those things that are true.

      I also find the degeneracy of the discussion with BYU GRAD sad, but I have really enjoyed your discussion on Melchizedek and his heritage, as well as that of Book of Mormon history.

      What is the confusion on the doctrine contained in apocriphal scriptures? I'm guessing, from the little bit that I've read, that it has more to do with those who have translated and compiled these works than with those who authored these works. I guess I'm also confused as to just what exactly apocriphal scriptures are.

      Also, I understand that while we know the general area where the First Vision occurred, we do not know the exact spot where it took place. Forgive me, but I'm not really familiar with Church history discourses and whatnot. But could it be the same with the Hill Cumorah, that it is generally recognized as the place where Moroni finally buried the plates, but there is not a sure knowledge on the matter? Then again, perhaps there is. I honestly don't know--please enlighten me.

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    3. David J. - thanks for your comments - they are certainly appreciated. Some day I'll finish posting the rest of the apocryphal literature on Melchizedek, and some day a Latter-day General Authority commentary on Melchizedek too.

      I'm not sure I understand your comments on apocryphal scriptures though. Personally, my only confusion was why BYU Grad was asking about Cumorah in my posting about Melchizedek, since the two are completely unrelated. To address your comment though - apocryphal scriptures are non-canonical (excluded from the Bible, Book of Mormon, etc.). This word is a little tricky because it is used in several ways. 1. It refers to a set of books called "The Apocrypha" which in early Protestant, and pre-protestant Bibles, was included between Malachi and Matthew. It was this set of books that Joseph Smith received a revelation about (D&C 91). The word itself means "revelation." As such, there is a genre of writings that are similar to scripture, in that they deal with revelations and visions received, but these books are excluded from our scriptural canon. An example would be the Apocalypse of Abraham. This is a book that is not part of our scriptures, and the origin and date are uncertain (though many have fairly good ideas as to approximate dating of the text of the book). Under "Lost Books" in the Bible Dictionary, you will find discussion of a number of books referenced in the Bible, that are not actually included in the Bible (the Book of Jubilees, for example). Often times, many of these books are attributed to a prophet, but were written many years later. In these cases, where the book is written and is attributed to a prophet as though he authored the book, it is referred to as pseudopigrapha. It might be helpful to just look up Apocrypha and Pseudopigrapha on wiki.

      Where does this get us. With Melchizedek, it doesn't provide us with scriptural answers, but it does provide us with a historical understanding of his character from a religious perspective, at least in the early centuries AD. This isn't to say that everything in apocryphal books are wrong (see D&C 91 - same principle). Many apocryphal books bear remarkably similar characteristics to latter-day scripture, which lends credence to the antiquity of our scriptures.

      You are correct, we do not know the exact spot the First Vision took place. There is a large grove of trees near the Smith home where it is believed to have taken place, but we really don't know. From my own visit to Palmyra/Manchester, I can say that the entire area seemed to me to be sacred ground.

      As far as the Hill Cumorah - it is a bit more complicated than this. For a very long time, church membership, in general, assumed that the hill a few miles from Joseph's home was the same Cumorah that Moroni buried the plates in. The text of the Book of Mormon itself never indicates where Moroni buried the plates, and in fact seems to indicate otherwise.

      Mormon says he buried all of the records in the Hill Cumorah, except for the records which he gave Moroni (that which ultimately became The Book of Mormon) - see Mormon 6:6. Moroni lived for many years after this, wandering around. In Mormon 8:8, Moroni says he is out of ore, and would hide the records, but then he abridges the Book of Ether and adds the Book of Moroni; apparently he found some ore. It also seems unlikely that he remained around Cumorah, because the Lamanites won the battle, and likely occupied this area. It seems more likely to me that Moroni traveled to what would many years later become upstate New York and deposit the plates there. Of course this is conjecture, but nowhere in the Book of Mormon does it say that the place Moroni deposited the records was Cumorah, because it never actually mentions his burial of the records. I hope this helps.

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    4. Hello guys!
      Well I haven't read all of your comments but a good part though. Well i don't want to sound reproving if such is the case, but the Lord is not argued with. Archeology cannot prove anything since such thing regard only the lord and are accessible only through revelation.

      I personnally think that arguing leads absolutely nowhere. One thinks one way, the other in a different way. So are we all.

      When anyone wants to know something, why should he trust in the arm of flesh to give him answers? While the Lord clearly tells us that knowledge is a gift, and thus really and only accessible through revelation. Read Ether 4. One of my favorite chapter ever of the BoM.

      I can testify that God is bountiful and reveals to the one that trusts Him. I'm a witness that He did reveal unto me "new" scriptures, and it brought to me more blessings, and not more strifes with people even of my own faith. So stop arguing. It leads nowhere and only strengthens the devil.

      Revelation is the way and is only achievable to anyone.


      And sorry if I mispell any word, I'm french and still imperfect.

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