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How could a few people become a populous nation in a few years?
by Jeff Lindsay
This astute question on population merits discussion on the interesting issue of rapid population growth in the Book of Mormon. Please see A Study of Population Size in the Book of Mormon at "http://www.farmsresearch.com/lecture/SMI-VT1.HTM". Bottom line: other population groups had to have been incorporated into both Nephite and Lamanite groups for some of the numbers to make sense. Indeed, other parts of the text offer confirming evidence that this is so, as John Sorenson has shown. Once we realize the possibility of other ethnic groups cooperating with or taken over by both Nephites and Lamanites, a number of odd passages suddenly make sense. For years Mormons have assumed that the only people playing a role in ancient America were descendants of Nephites and Lamanites. Not so! That position is not justified by a careful reading of the text (which shows a variety of other groups were there) or by archaeological evidence. We are still learning - and we're finding that the text and the history is more complex than previously assumed (but increasingly validated along the way). We should remember that the Book of Mormon is largely a family history of one small line that played a significant role for a while in a cultural group, but it is not an account of the entire "nation" or of all the peoples involved. It's mostly limited to the descendants of Nephi. Other groups, though present, get little coverage.
(See The Book of Mormon home page; Response to Criticism home page; Accusatory Questions home page)
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