[Site Editor Note: In the published volume 2, this introduction is a duplicate of the introduction found in volume 1 with the exception of a few explanatory paragraphs about volume 1, which were replaced with the following explanatory paragraphs about volume 2. Rather than duplicate the entire introduction for this volume, I only included the unique portion below.]
of the records of the kings and priests
The Book of Mormon published in 1830 was a translation of stories compiled from several sources, all of them purportedly ancient and by divine influence conveyed to Joseph Smith. Together these stories give the two histories – of the Nephites and the Jaredites – mentioned in the above introduction. The majority of the history was derived from plates kept by Nephite historians, their records later being abridged and summarized in writings engraved upon a set of gold-like, rectangular plates. These plates were the principal source of Joseph Smith’s translation. I call them “the Abridging Plates,” being composed by the Nephite historian Mormon and his son Moroni, who as an angel directed Joseph Smith to their recovery some fourteen centuries later. Mormon relied on other engraved plates, however, when composing the history of his people.
In this second volume, we have Mormon’s detailed history of Nephite civilization as kingship gave way to the reign of judges, being drawn from the writings of the high priests. Mormon combines abridged and summarized records from the Plates of Nephi with primary source material like letters and hidden prophecies. This volume covers the books of Mosiah, Alma, and Helaman from the 1830 edition. While longer in page count than the other volumes, it recounts only the two centuries prior to the coming of Christ. The labors of preacher-priests to avert the destruction of their people by war, pride and moral decay are here described, when Nephites were brought to the brink of either ruin or redemption, as revealed in the third volume.