Arts and Humanities | History of Religions of Western Origin | Other Religion | Religion
History is one of the spoils of war. In great conflicts, the victors almost always write the history; the losers' story is forgotten. We remember the patriots' version of the American Revolution, not the loyalists'; the Northern account of the Civil War, not the Southern story of the War between the States. Ordinarily the winners' account of event commands our memories as completely as their armies controlled the battlefield. The reverse is true of the Book of Mormon. The Lamanites vanquished the Nephites and survived; yet by virtue of a record that went into the earth with them, the Nephites' version of the history is the one we no read. We think of the Nephites as the superior nation because they wrote the history, even though in the end the Lamanites won on the battlefield. How would the story go if the Lamanites had kept the records, and their view were in our hands today? We cannot say in any detail of course, but there are enough clues scattered through the Nephite record to offer a few conjectures about a Lamanite history of Lehi's descendants. Since the way we write history is tied closely to fundamental cultural values, in recovering the Lamanite perspective, we obtain a clearer view of the two cultures, and, as it turns out, a deeper understanding of Nephite religion.
© 1990 Deseret Book Co.
Bushman, Richard L. "The Lamanite View of Book of Mormon History," in John M. Lundquist and Stephen D. Ricks, eds., By Study and Also By Faith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1990), 2:52-72.