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Warfare and the Book of Mormon: A Bibliography

Battle at the Sidon River, by James Fullmer
For most Latter-day Saints attending Gospel Doctrine, the infamous “war chapters” are approaching (or some have perhaps already begun to cover them in Sunday School). There is, unfortunately, only two lessons dealing with the war chapters, and those do not even cover all of the war chapters.

So, if you are interested in spending more than just two weeks on the topic and taking an in-depth look at warfare in the Book of Mormon, I’ve put together the following bibliography. This is not a comprehensive bibliography, but represents some of the major resources me and my colleagues at Book of Mormon Central drew upon while writing KnoWhys on the war chapters, which will be coming out in the coming weeks. Some additional resources I found after we finished those KnoWhys are also included in this list.

I have included more than just books specifically on warfare in the Book of Mormon, but also books on warfare in the ancient Near East and pre-Columbian America (mostly Mesoamerica), so those interested can pursue such resources in their own efforts to study the Book of Mormon warfare in ancient historical and cultural contexts.

(Publications are listed within their sub-section order of publication, from earliest to most recent.)

Ancient Near East

Anthony J. Spalinger, War in Ancient Egypt: The New Kingdom (Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 2005)

William J. Hamblin, Warfare in the Ancient Near East to 1600 BC: Holy Warriors at the Dawn of Time (New York, NY: Routledge, 2006)

Brad Kelle, Ancient Israel at War, 853–586 BC (Oxford, UK: Osprey, 2007)

Boyd Seevers, Warfare in the Old Testament: The Organization, Weapons, and Tactics of Ancient Near Eastern Armies (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 2013)

Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica

Ross Hassig, Aztec Warfare: Imperial Expansion and Political Control (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1988)

John M.D. Pohl, Aztec, Mixtec, and Zapotec Armies (Oxford, UK: Osprey, 1991)

Ross Hassig, War and Society in Ancient Mesoamerica (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma, 1992)

M. Kathryn Brown and Travis W. Staunton, eds., Ancient Mesoamerican Warfare (Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press, 2003)

Richard J. Chacon and Rubén G. Mendoza, eds., Latin American Indigenous Warfare and Ritual Violence (Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press, 2007); note: this also includes papers on warfare in South America

Andrew K. Schererer and John W. Verano, eds., Embattled Bodies, Embattled Places: War in Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica and the Andes (Washington, DC: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, 2014); note: this also includes papers on South America

Other Parts of Pre-Columbian America (for Good Measure)

David E. Jones, Native North American Armor, Shields, and Fortifications (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2004)

Richard J. Chacon and Rubén G. Mendoza, eds., North American Indigenous Warfare and Ritual Violence (Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press, 2007)

Axel E. Nielsen and William H. Walker, eds., Warfare in Cultural Context: Practice, Ageny, and Archaeology of Violence (Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press, 2009); note: this covers various regions throughout the North, Central, and South America

Latin America Indigenous Warfare and Embattled Bodies, Embattled Places also include papers on war in South America

Book of Mormon Warfare

Stephen D. Ricks and William J. Hamblin, eds., Warfare in the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City, UT and Provo, UT: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1990)

John E. Kammeyer, The Nephite Art of War (Far West Publications, 2012)

John E. Kammeyer, Warfare in Mesoamerica: Battles in the Book of Mormon (Far West Publication, 2012)

Douglas J. Bell, Defenders of Faith: The Book of Mormon from a Soldiers Perspectives (Springville, UT: Cedar Fort, 2012)

Deane Morgan, Bleached Bones and Wicked Serpents: Ancient Warfare in the Book of Mormon (self-published, 2014)

David E. Spencer, Captain Moroni’s Command: Dynamics of Warfare in the Book of Mormon (Springville, UT: Cedar Fort, 2015)


  1. So much to read, so little time.

  2. Is there a link you can provide to historical evidence of these wars? I'm trying to show my friend who says the Book of Mormon narrative is not historical, proof through anthropological evidence. Anything would do. An archeological dig showing swords or spear heads, or shields, or bones showing the massive armies that took part?

  3. I don't think any responsible scholars would say they have proof. I do discuss battlefield archaeology a bit in my new book and on my blog. http://mormonwar.blogspot Though I'm a historian, so I focus more on comparing the battle accounts in the text to other historical accounts.

    You might also try Mormon's Codex by John Sorenson. He does a good of summarizing the issues with expecting to find a pile of a million swords. The basic issues include trying to find the battle. Battles happen away from cities. Even city walls are hard to recognize sometimes, since with erosion they can be little more than a slight rise in the ground. For years, Mesoamerican scholars just walked right over their evidence. Battlefields are picked for valuables, and then the ravages of time bury whats left. Even the most studied battlefields in the world such as Hastings, still includes arguments over its exact location. One the 800th anniversary of the battle, all sorts of people descended on the location expecting a treasure trove, and all they found were a handful of teeth. Its not quite as easy as the critics seem to make it, as though finding piles of swords is like seeing the Triceratop droppings from Jurassic Park. And this doesn't even get into issues like are the numbers in the BoM reliable, where exactly did the events occur, and identification of the battle remnants as distinctively Nephite. But anthropologists like Sorenson, and historians like me find plenty of evidence for the battles. Thanks, good luck.

    Nice screen name by the way. ;)

  4. Super helpful information. I do ask that you change "me . . . drew upon" to "I . . . drew upon."

    Thanks for this great piece.

  5. There is also a fascinating paper about the Book of Mormon and the concept of Just War theory by Kyle McKay Brown that was published at the U of Edinborough.


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