Throughout the Book of Mormon, we learn about the importance of record keeping. The following snippets are writings of Book of Mormon prophets who discuss the importance of keeping and maintaining the record:
- Nephi – 1 Nephi 9:3 Nevertheless, I have received a commandment of the Lord that I should make these plates, for the special purpose that there should be an account engraven of the ministry of my people.
- Jacob – Jacob 1:2 And he gave me, Jacob, a commandment that I should write upon these plates a few of the things which I considered to be most precious; that I should not touch, save it were lightly, concerning the history of this people which are called the people of Nephi.
- Enos – Enos 1:13 And now behold, this was the desire which I desired of him—that if it should so be, that my people, the Nephites, should fall into transgression, and by any means be destroyed, and the Lamanites should not be destroyed, that the Lord God would preserve a record of my people.
- Jarom – Jarom 1:1 Now behold, I, Jarom, write a few words according to the commandment of my father, Enos, that our genealogy may be kept.
- Omni – Omni 1:1 Behold, it came to pass that I, Omni, being commanded by my father, Jarom, that I should write somewhat upon these plates, to preserve our genealogy
- Amaron – Omni 1:4 And now I, Amaron, write the things whatsoever I write, which are few, in the book of my father.
- Chemish – Omni 1:9 Now I, Chemish, write what few things I write, in the same book with my brother; for behold, I saw the last which he wrote, that he wrote it with his own hand; and he wrote it in the day that he delivered them unto me. And after this manner we keep the records, for it is according to the commandments of our fathers. And I make an end.
- Abinadom – Omni 1:11 And behold, the record of this people is engraven upon plates which is had by the kings, according to the generations
- Amaleki – Omni 1:20 And it came to pass in the days of Mosiah, there was a large stone brought unto him with engravings on it; and he did interpret the engravings by the gift and power of God. (emphasis added)
- Benjamin – Mosiah 1:3 And he also taught them concerning the records which were engraven on the plates of brass…
- Alma – Mosiah 17:4 But he fled from before them and hid himself that they found him not. And he being concealed for many days did write all the words which Abinadi had spoken.
- Limhi – Mosiah 8:9 And for a testimony that the things that they had said are true they have brought twenty-four plates which are filled with engravings, and they are of pure gold. (Emphasis added; these plates become the book of Ether)
- Mosiah – Mosiah 28:11 Therefore he took the records which were engraven on the plates of brass, and also the plates of Nephi, and all the things which he had kept and preserved according to the commandments of God, after having translated and caused to be written the records which were on the plates of gold which had been found by the people of Limhi, which were delivered to him by the hand of Limhi;
- Alma the younger – Alma 3:12 And it is they who have kept the records which are true of their people, and also of the people of the Lamanites.
- Helaman – Alma 45:2 And it came to pass in the nineteenth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, that Alma came unto his son Helaman and said unto him: Believest thou the words which I spake unto thee concerning those records which have been kept?
- Shiblon – Alma 63:1 And it came to pass in the commencement of the thirty and sixth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, that Shiblon took possession of those sacred things which had been delivered unto Helaman by Alma.
- Helaman Jr. – Alma 63:13 Nevertheless, these things were to be kept sacred, and handed down from one generation to another; therefore, in this year, they had been conferred upon Helaman, before the death of Shiblon.
- Nephi Jr. – 3 Nephi 1:2 And Nephi, the son of Helaman, had departed out of the land of Zarahemla, giving charge unto his son Nephi, who was his eldest son, concerning the plates of brass, and all the records which had been kept, and all those things which had been kept sacred from the departure of Lehi out of Jerusalem.
- Jesus Christ – 3 Nephi 23:7 And it came to pass that he said unto Nephi: Bring forth the record which ye have kept. 11 And Jesus said unto them: How be it that ye have not written this thing, that many saints did arise and appear unto many and did minister unto them?
- Ammaron – 4 Nephi 4:48 Ammaron, being constrained by the Holy Ghost, did hide up the records which were sacred
- Mormon – Mormon 1:3 Therefore, when ye are about twenty and four years old I would that ye should remember the things that ye have observed concerning this people; and when ye are of that age go to the land Antum, unto a hill which shall be called Shim; and there have I deposited unto the Lord all the sacred engravings concerning this people.
- Moroni – Mormon 9:32 And now, behold, we have written this record according to our knowledge, in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech.
- Brother of Jared – Ether 3:27 And the Lord said unto him: Write these things and seal them up; and I will show them in mine own due time unto the children of men.
- Ether – Ether 13:14 And as he dwelt in the cavity of a rock he made the remainder of this record, viewing the destructions which came upon the people, by night.
As is clear by this list which I believe is nearly comprehensive, record keeping is very important to the prophets of the Book of Mormon. It is fascinating to see how the records are transferred down from one generation to another. We see in the Book of Mormon, multiple recorded accounts being used within the scriptures. Specifically, the Brass plates (stolen from Laban in Jerusalem), the pure gold plates of the Jaredites, the plates of Nephi which were condensed into the plates that became the Book of Mormon, the plates of Lehi, and the records of various prophets written on some sort of record (later used by Mormon).
One fascinating parallel found in the Book of Mormon is the story of Mormon and Joseph Smith. Mormon is visited by Ammoron when he is 10 years old and told that he should visit the hill Shim when he is 24 to retrieve the records that are hid there. From those records he should write the Book of Mormon. In verse 15 Mormon tells how he was visited by the Lord when he was 15. He says that he tasted and knew the goodness of Jesus.
In the 1832 account of the first vision we see that Joseph was 15 when he was first visited by the Lord and received forgiveness of his sins. When he was 17 he was visited by Moroni who instructed him to retrieve the plates when he was 21. He would ultimately publish the Book of Mormon when he was 24. I find this parallel fascinating and maybe is a confirmation of the story of Joseph. Or perhaps, Joseph introduces this story as a parallel to his own at the time. What is the real reason for this obvious parallel?