Nearly NAKED WARRIORS in winter?

October Attack on an Iroquois Fort 

Depicted above: An unsuccessful attack conducted by Champlain and allied Huron braves on an Iroquois palisade fortification in New York - in October. Champlain retreated and became lost for a while in the “southern Ontario lake country” of New York. (Champlain and the French in New York, University of the State of New York, State Education Department, Albany 1959, pp. 24-25; researched by Phyllis Carol Olive)

Joseph Smith taught that Book of Mormon people arrived in “the lake country of America” (region of Lake Ontario). He seemed to agree with Josiah Priest’s writings, suggesting that in time, some of these ancient people migrated as far south as Mexico. (See Joseph Smith’s editorial on a chapter from Priest’s American Antiquities, “Traits of the Mosaic History Found Among the Azteca Nations”, Times and Seasons, June 15, 1842, Vol. 3, No. 16, pp. 818-820)

Summary - What Lamanites wore in winter: 

The Book of Mormon does not indicate that Lamanite warriors fought nearly naked year round. There is not a single instance in the Book of Mormon of Lamanites going bare-skin in a month corresponding to winter of the Israelite Calendar. The claim that Lamanite warriors fought bare and exposed all year, is a straw man argument foisted by tropical setting devotees (including some tour guides) in an effort to attack the covenant land setting set forth in LDS scripture - the same setting which places the land Cumorah in western New York - not southern Mexico. (E.g. LDS Doctrine and Covenants 10:49-51; 128:20) 

Yes, the Book of Mormon records an attack made by Lamanites in a winter month (the 11th month)! It is no coincidence that during this attempt the Lamanites wore “garments of skins, yea very thick garments to cover their nakedness.” (Alma 49:1, 6)

Introduction - Nephite months in the same seasons as biblical months:

The Nephites could never have kept the Law of Moses “in all things” in Central or South America. Gentile minded Mormons do not seem to grasp this, or want to. Some seem to think that because the Jewish people have settled in various places throughout the globe that this means the LORD could have settled the Nephites in tropical jungles subject to two seasons year round. They (as Christians in general) are not very familiar with many important details of the Law of Moses.

It is true that Jews keep ancient holidays and traditions as best they can in a variety of climates, but this does not mean they keep all of the Priesthood and Temple ordinances of the Law of Moses! Not even the children of Israel wandering in the wilderness kept all of the Law, until they settled in the Promised Land. This is why the LORD kept repeating to them “when ye shall come into the land…” (Leviticus 19:23; 23:10, Numbers 15:2; 34:2; 35:10-11) Moses told them beforehand all the things that were expected of them when they got established in the land of Canaan. Likewise, the Nephites didn’t keep just some of the Law (like modern Jews, scattered without a temple and an organized priesthood), faithful Nephites and converted Lamanites “strictly” kept the Law “in all things”. (2 Nephi 5:10, Helaman 13:1)

The Nephites were given Melchizedek Priesthood to perform all of the rites and ordinances of the Law. The fact that an LDS branch may have no Aaronic Priesthood, doesn’t mean the branch members forgo the ordinance of the Sacrament. By the way, did you know that according to Elder Bruce R. McConkie, Aaron was initially given the Melchizedek Priesthood? He later served in a capacity equivalent to what is now called the Presiding Bishop of the Church. (AARON, Mormon Doctrine, pg. 9)

The LORD commanded all Israel to start the year in the spring of the Northern Hemisphere called the month of the “aviv” or “Abib” (KJV). (Exodus 12:1-3; 13:4-10, Deuteronomy 16:1) There is no evidence that faithful Israelites in their covenant lands, kept any other monthly calendar than the one the Almighty revealed to his servants Moses and Aaron. You cannot “strictly” keep the Law of Moses in “all things” and not keep the divine calendar. The Israelite Calendar is based in the temperate Northern Hemisphere. The Book of Mormon and the Bible combine to confound false doctrines, including Gentile minded ideas about so called "Book of Mormon Geography". (2 Nephi 3:12-13)  To GOD and Israelites, the scriptural subject is really about covenant lands.

When we read in 3 Nephi 4:7, 11 about the armies of Giddianhi the robber going up to battle against the Nephites in the “sixth month”, we should realize that it was in the same season of the Northern Hemisphere (end of summer, beginning of autumn) as the biblical “sixth month”. (Ezekiel 8:1, Haggai 1:1, 15, Luke 1:26) This of course is why both the Bible and the Book of Mormon agree that the Savior died in the “first month” – the springtime month of Passover. (3 Nephi 8:5)

Divinely Revealed Israelite Calendar

The Debate

What follows is based on an actual e-mail exchange between “Coon” (כּוּן, Hebrew for correct, right, firmly established) and someone (a brother) we’ll politely call “Tex”, who is eager to get his book published and selling in Mormon book stores:

Coon: …Now about cold weather and battles. Yep, scripture indicates there really were more than two seasons (Mosiah 18:4, Alma 46:40), “driven snow” and destructive “hail” in the land of Nephi. (Mosiah 12:6, Helaman 5:12) Don’t forget, Nephi was writing to the understanding of generations of his own people in America when he engraved the non-biblical but familiar expression “whiteness of the driven snow” - describing the visionary Tree of Life. (1 Nephi 11:8; 19:1-5) As for the expression, “heat of the day” – it’s a biblical expression pertaining to Israel’s temperate climate (Genesis 18:1, 1 Samuel 11:11, 2 Samuel 4:5, Matthew 20:12) - but why go over that again. Except to say it’s worth looking into recorded highs and lows for western NY, not just average seasonal temperatures. You might be surprised how high the heat index can get in the humid spring.

Speaking of the weather, I think we have just witnessed an example of the destructive “east wind” that the Book of Mormon mentions – blowing from the east or northeast! (Mosiah 7:31) In principal Book of Mormon lands, the wind usually blows from the west - off Lake Erie - “the west sea”. The more destructive wind comes from the east coast.

The only Book of Mormon battle I know of that was executed in the winter (the 11th month of the Israelite Nephite calendar) was one in which the Lamanites wore very thick skins to cover their nakedness!!! Do you think there could be a hint here – just maybe? Really, it’s ok to acknowledge that “thick clothing” served both for protection in battle (Alma 43:19) and from the elements, especially in winter. Don't forget, chief captain Moroni wore a coat”. (Alma 46:12)

I believe the climate of true Book of Mormon lands is temperate not tropical. The climate of the land of Israel is temperate. Israel experiences a cold season or “winter”. (ST John 10:22-23) I believe true Book of Mormon lands are right where scripture says they are - in lands presently occupied by the United States of America. (1 Nephi 13:14-20, 30, 2 Nephi 10:10-14, Ether 2:9-12, LDS Doctrine and Covenants 10:49-51; 128:20) I believe the Lamanites experienced a cold season. But you say you’re not convinced.

Ok - given the fact that Nephite months are Israelite months, show me a battle with naked Lamanites in an Israelite winter month …show me scripture. …I ask that you hit me with your best scriptural references showing a battle taking place during a winter month … i.e. the 9th, 10th or 11th month.

Yes, I believe that attacks took place from time to time in the cold months, like the 11th month when the Lamanites wore skins and “very thick garments”. (Alma 49:1, 6) We don’t have to talk about that one again unless you want to. Hit me with something new! Find for me a reference to a battle in the 9th, 10th or 11th month in which the Lamanites are described as bare skinned and nearly naked!

Tex: The next best times I have are during Captain Moroni’s battles.  The first is when he sends his reply back to Pahoran and Pahoran says to bring a few men and help him retake Zarahemla.

Coon: Yes, in the 30th year of the judges, Pahoran makes an urgent request for Moroni to come to his aid speedily, gathering what forces he can to go speedily against the men of the traitor Pachus. (Alma 61:15, 17) There was not a lot of time lost here!

Bountiful (northward from Zarahemla) was on the order of a day’s march from several of the cities in the southeastern quarter of the land. (Alma 51:26; 52:18-26) The span of the Bountiful - Zarahemla line was only about a day’s journey from the “west sea” to the east. (Helaman 4:5-7) This gives us an idea of the scale of these lands. These are not great distances from a modern perspective.

Moroni’s camp was near the cities of the eastern borders, not very distant from Zarahemla, when he received correspondences in the 30th year of the judges. During the ending of the 29th year (end of winter, beginning of spring) Moroni made preparation to attack the city of Morianton on the eastern borders. (Alma 50:25; 55:33-35) Moroni (near the cities of the eastern borders) received an epistle from Helaman (positioned in the southwestern quarter) in the spring of the 30th year. (Alma 56:1; 59:1, 7-8)

Tex: By the time he [Moroni] arrives in Gideon and joins forces with Pahoran, it is the middle of the year.

Coon: There is no statement in scripture indicating that Moroni and Pahoran joined forces in the middle of the year. (Alma 62:6) The ending of the year is specified in Alma 62:11.

Tex: They [Moroni and Pahoran] retake Zarahemla,

Coon: The retaking of Zarahemla occurred in the end of the 30th year, which would be the end of winter or start of spring, that is, the 12th month according to the Mosaic Calendar which the Nephites and converted Lamanites “strictly” observed.

Tex:  then they [Moroni and Pahoran] march on to Nephihah, take it without the loss of Nephite life, then they start to attack the other captured cities.

Coon: The city of Nephihah was retaken in the commencement of the 31rst year – in the spring! (Alma 62:12-14)

Tex:  At the same time, Teancum and Lehi start moving down from Bountiful and Gid.

Coon: It’s questionable whether it’s “down” from Bountiful! Bountiful is northward from Zarahemla. The southeastern quarter of the land is at higher elevation compared to Zarahemla. The cities near the “east sea” (could be a lake in the elevated southeastern quarter of the land) were not far from the head of the river Sidon and Manti – which were at higher elevation compared to Zarahemla. (Alma 16:6-7, 22:27)

Moroni and Teancum got positioned near the city of Mulek; which was technically in the borders of the Lamanite land of Nephi. (Alma 53:6) Mulek, in the land of Nephi, was only a night’s march from northern Bountiful. (Alma 52:18; 22) The fortified city of Mulek was near the body of water called the “east sea”. (Alma 51:22-26; 50:13) Teancum’s “retreat down by the seashore, northward” makes perfect sense. Teancum was retreating down by the shore of the “yam” (יָם, “sea” or “lake”) or chain of lakes, towards Bountiful which was northward and at lower elevation. (Alma 52:22-23, 27) The west and east seas of the land of Israel are inland seas. The biblical “east sea” is really a lake. (Joel 2:20)

Can you show me where it says Lehi came from the city of Gid? [This is not in scripture – Texapologized!]

Tex: By the end of the year, they have pushed all of the Lamanite armies into Moroni.

Coon: The ending of the year is specifically mentioned for the battle in the land of Moroni. (Alma 62:32, 39) This took place in the early spring, just before the new-year!

Tex: Teancum sneaks into the Lamanite camp and kills Ammoron and is killed himself.  This is the last day of the year.

Coon: Again, the last of the year according to the Mosaic Calendar occurs in the spring.

Tex: According to the narrative, Moroni sends his first letter at the start of the 31st year and the year ends with Teancum and Ammoron’s deaths.

Coon: There is no mention of Moroni sending a letter, certainly not his first letter, in the start of the 31st year! Moroni sent an epistle to Pahoran in the 30th year. (Alma 59:1, 3) Indeed there was fighting at the end of the 31st year – in the spring!!! (Alma 62:12-39)

Tex: There is no let up in fighting after the taking of Nephihah.

Coon: It can be deduced that there was war in the beginning of the year (in the spring) and at the end of the year (in the spring), and during other months of the year, but which other months are not specified! If there were some conflicts and maneuvers going on during autumn and colder months, even this would not have been impossible!

Sister Olive [who Tex tries to criticize] has investigated the history of Iroquois battles in New York. (See for instance Champlain and the French in New York, University of the State of New York, State Education Dep., Albany, 1959, pp. 24-25) Sister Olive found it well documented that native peoples in the New England area sometimes wore little clothing even in colder seasons. Even so, there is no mention in the Book of Mormon of bare-skin Lamanites fighting in months that would correspond to winter, and there is no explicit mention of any fighting in winter during the 31st year!!!

Tex: The other is when Helaman and his 2,000 warriors are waiting for supplies.  The first arrives in the beginning of the year,

Coon: Again, the first of the ordained Mosaic year occurs in the spring of the Northern Hemisphere.

It might appear that Helaman marched with his “stripling soldiers” to the southern quarter of the land by the “west sea” in the end of the 28th year of the judges. (Alma 53:8, 20-23) This is not correct. Helaman actually marched to the south western quarter in the 26th year of the Judges. (Alma 56:9) The commentary on the people of Ammon in Alma 53:10-22 is a departure from the chronological events recorded in the chapter. The end of the 28th year leaves off with Moroni making no more attempts to battle with the Lamanites that year. (Alma 52:19; 53:7)

The Hebrew word translated “stripling” (1 Samuel 17:56) is “alem” (עָלֶם) and it means by implication “youth” or “young man”. The word “alem” may be related to a root meaning “conceal, or “veil” – “keep out of sight”.  Despite popular depictions, there is nothing in the word “stripling” that connotes bare skinned youth.

Helaman’s army of “young men”, were supplied with “plenty of provisions” and additional men in the “commencement” of the 29th year – in the spring! (Alma 57:6)

Tex: then later that year, they take Cumeni,

Coon: Yes, Cumeni was taken “soon” after Helaman’s army received provisions – in the spring.  Helaman captured supplies and sent them to “Judea” (a name, by the way, appearing in pre-exilic Hebrew on the Tennessee mound tablet). (Alma 57:7-12) He sent prisoners “down” (northward) to Zarahemla. Having taken “numerous” prisoners, there total provisions soon became “not any more than sufficient” for their own people. (Alma 57:13-15)

Tex: and then they had to wait many more months for supplies. Finally they receive 2,000 more soldiers with supplies and take the city Manti.

Coon: Note that Helaman “waited” for supplies in the 29th year after taking Cumeni in the spring. (Alma 58:3, 6) What month the supplies and reinforcements arrived in is not stated. (Alma 58:8) Note that a very speedy day’s march northward, from Helaman’s position near Manti, brought pursuing Lamanite armies frightfully close to Zarahemla. (Alma 58:13, 19-25) These lands are not spread over hundreds of miles!

Tex: The Lamanites flee the western front by the end of that year.

Coon: There is scriptural indication that Manti was taken in “the latter end” of the 29th year – in the spring or end of winter. (Alma 58:31, 38) Helaman was on the southern border which separates the land of Zarahemla from the more elevated land of Nephi to the south. Helaman began his campaigns in the southwestern region by the “west sea”, but apparently moved inland along the southern border. With divine help and strategy, they ended up retaking Manti, which is not far from the head of the river Sidon, and from palisade cities near the “east sea”. (Alma 16:6-7, 22:27) Lamanites fled from Helaman’s vicinity to the not too distant land of Nephi, but we also learn that Lamanites compelled to flee from the land of Manti came over and helped attack the not too distant city of Nephihah, which was near the “east sea”. (Alma 51:25-26; 59:6-7)

Tex: Again showing battles all year long.

Coon: Your statement above is over generalized – a hand wave argument really! There was the taking of Cumeni in the spring, followed by a battle with Lamanites in which Gid returned “in season” (a day after being sent) to save Helaman. (Alma 57:17) Then there was a period of “maintaining” and waiting “many months” for supplies – with no major battle. When Manti was retaken, it was near “the latter end” of the 29th year – the end of winter or early part of spring. Again, no mention of bare skin soldiers going to war in winter months!

Tex: Also … the battle of Ammonihah was in January or February, with the death of the 1,005 Anti-Nephi-Lehis a few weeks to a month before.  Antipus was killed in either March or April.

Coon: At Ammonihah, sometime after the 9th year of the judges, Alma and Amulek were denied food, water, stripped of their clothes (as a form of humiliation and torture), bound and confined in prison during the winter (Hebrew 10th month). They had thus been made to suffer hunger, thirst, and exposure for “many days”. (Alma 14:22-23)  We don’t know how cold it got in their prison. The highs and lows in western NY during the winter span tolerably cool days to very frigid days. In general, the winters during the Archaic and cooler Woodland period were milder than present. (William A. Ritchie, The Archaeology of New York State. p. 32) Phyllis Olive found this out by doing her home work! 

Ammonihah was first attacked and completely destroyed by the Lamanites in the 5th day of the 2nd month in the 11th year. (Alma 16:1-2) This was one day in the spring, sometime between Pesah (Passover) and Shavuot (Pentacost), according to the calendar God commanded all Israel to observe. The people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi had therefore likely been massacred earlier that spring. (Alma 25:1-2)

Finally, the rebuilt and refortified city of Ammonihah was attacked by an army of Lamanites in the winter (the 11th month according to the divine calendar, Alma 49:1) But unlike the lack of protection that characterized their dress at other times (i.e. spring, summer and autumn months, Alma 3:4-5, 25; 43:20, 37), this time the attacking Lamanites wore “garments of skins, yea, very thick garments to cover their nakedness.” (Alma 49:6) Had the attack been during the humid summer or springtime “heat of the day” (a biblical expression, remember, meaning hottest part of the day in a temperate warm weather climate) the Lamanites would probably have found the heavy garments of skins sweltering and uncomfortable. The Lamanite attack on Ammonihah in the winter (11th month) was probably intended to be a surprise attack.

Antipus “had fallen by the sword” in the early fall, more precisely, in the 7th month (Alma 56:42-51), just days before the final harvest celebration of Sukkot (Fall Harvest - Feast of Tabernacles, Huts or Wigwams). (Leviticus 23:39-44) [Tex” has made up his own “Book of Mormon” calendar. That's why he says Antipus was killed in either March or April.]

Tex: So while no dates are given for Captain Moroni’s battles, at least in two consecutive years, the scriptures indicate that the battles were fought all year long.

Coon: Battles were clearly not fought every day or even every month. Battles tended to occur in the warmer months – in the spring particularly. We see that there were reoccurring “seasons of serious war” in the American Promised Land (Omni 1:3), comparable to times of war in the biblical Promised Land. (2 Samuel 11:1)

No dates, no naked soldiers in the 9th, 10th or 11th months, no real argument!

The “cold weather” fallacy foisted by tropical setting propagandists smacks of the following illogic:

The Bible says that Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem in the 10th month, which is a cold, wet winter month in the temperate Northern Hemisphere. (Jeremiah 39:1) Surely Nebuchadnezzar would not have besieged Jerusalem in the cold, wet winter; therefore Jerusalem must be in tropical Africa. The Atlantic must be the great western sea mentioned in the Bible. The “east sea”, east of Jerusalem (Joel 2:20), must be the Indian Ocean.

Do you find this argument compelling? I assure you Jerusalem is not in Africa. 

Where is the land Cumorah? Right where “the word of the Lord” says it is. (LDS Doctrine and Covenants 127:10; 128:20) Other Book of Mormon lands in America cannot possibly be thousands of miles distant!

Relative to Cumorah in a “land of many waters” (Mormon 6: 4; Finger Lake region), the large northern “waters of Ripliancum” are immediately identified as Lake Iroquois (Ontario). (Ether 15:8-11)

Jaredites in the land northward traveled eastward to the region of Cumorah. (Ether 9:3, 14:26) Thus, the land of Cumorah was not immediately north of “the narrow neck of land” as some erroneously suppose. The truly narrow or small neck of land" (Alma 22:32) is in all likelihood the Batavia Moraine, known to non-Mormon geologists who have studied this small land-bridge. (Natel, Heidi Harlene, Proglacial Sedimentology and Paleoecology of the Tonawanda Basin, Western New York: Implications for a Late Wisconsinian Progalcial Environment, Master’s Thesis, State University of New York, College at Onconta, figure 1a, pg. 2)

The “narrow pass”, which had water on “the west and on the east” of it, adjoined the land “called Desolation by the Nephites”. (Alma 50:34, Ether 7:6) The  “narrow pass” or Batavia Moraine passed though ancient Lake Tonawanda (a northern arm of ancient Lake Erie). Sister Olive cites non-Mormon scholars who conclude that Lake Tonawanda persisted several centuries into the Common Era. (Phyllis Carol Olive, We are Israel - The American Indians and the Book of Mormon, DVD) In fact, Lake Tonawanda is not entirely gone, but exists today as marshlands. A modern road has been paved on top of the Batavia Moraine where it passes through wetlands.

The Book of Mormon “sea west” from where the people spread after a time of drought (Helaman 11:17-20), fits the freshwater Great Lake Erie.

It’s all right there in a land of liberty, freed in the latter-days “from all other nations”. (Ether 2:12)

A more distant land northward with “large bodies of water and many rivers”, extending hundreds of miles to the north, describes Canada. (Helaman 3:3-4)

A large portion of the immense northern “eretz” (אֶרֶץ, translated “earth” or “land”) we now call Ontario, truly is bordered in each of the cardinal directions by inland seas, exactly as the Book of Mormon describes. (Helaman 3:8)

Thus we see that unlike Mexico which is open on the north, “the furthermost parts of the land northward”, that is, the true Book of Mormon northern most part of the land” is limited by “large bodies of water and many rivers”. (3 Nephi 4:23; 7:12, Helaman 3:4)


Vincent Coon וִינְסֶנט כּוּן Copyright 2012



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