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The African Roots of The Book of Mormon

Updated on August 8, 2021
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Leaders of integrity or infamy found in The Book of Mormon provide the fodder for spiritual growth and self-improvement. It was made for us.

African Source

Africa provides the source of The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ or it has African roots. linguistically. Reformed Egyptian provides the connection to Africa, the language. Reformed Egyptian is a mutation of the original Egyptian language!

An astute observation of the book's (associated so often with a religious culture that did not fully accept people with or of sub-Saharan African ancestry) origins with a set of records drawn from an African language yields cultural irony; however, to pursue the rabbit down that hole of cultural irony provides no value. The fallibility of the human element in liturgical matters is not in question regarding leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Fortunately, Jesus Christ made restitution for the mistakes humanity will and does make.


Reformed Egyptian was the language of instruction to the prophets of an entire nation that lasted for a millenium.

Write Like An Egyptain

Nephi, the creator of a nation and father of religious and historical record-keeping of Nephite society, recorded at the beginning of his history "I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father... Yea, I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians." [1 Nephi 1:1-2]

At his admittance, Nephi was a student of normal Hebraic education of the period (about 600 b.c.e.). He states that he was taught "somewhat in ALL the learning of my father." Several inferences present themselves from which to conclude regarding Nephi's father.

  • Educated.
  • Cosmopolitan or Well-traveled
  • Wealthy.

The languages Nephi and his family learned and perpetuated throughout Nephite history are Hebrew and Egyptian. Moroni, the son of Mormon, chief author of The Book of Mormon, indicates in the record that both the Hebrew and the Egyptian languages were modified by his society, as modern societies modify language from nation to nation that shares the same language--such as British English and American English.

A further observation made by King Benjamin (a Nephite prophet and king nearly seven centuries after Nephi's family exodus from Jerusalem to the Americas recorded in 1st and 2nd Nephi) is that the records the Nephites used for scriptures also were of African script. King Benjamin's instruction to his sons recorded in Mosiah chapter 1 of The Book of Mormon states,

And he [Benjamin] also taught them [King Benjamin's sons] concerning the records which were engraven on the plates of brass, saying: My sons, I would that ye should remember that were it not for these plates, which contain these records and these commandments, we must have suffered in ignorance, even at this present time, not knowing the mysteries of God.

For it were not possible that our father, Lehi, could have remembered all these things, to have taught them to his children, except it were for the help of these plates; for he having been taught in the language of the Egyptians therefore he could read these engravings, and teach them to his children, that thereby they could teach them to their children, and so fulfilling the commandments of God, even down to this present time. Mosiah 1:2-3

Reformed Egyptian was the language of instruction to the prophets of an entire nation that lasted for a millennium. It was also the language of educated people constituting a token of wealth.

An entire culture continued based on the teachings written in the Egyptian language in a record known as the Plates of Brass in The Book of Mormon. Not unlike the Muslims regarding Arabic and the Quran, Nephite religious society taught Reformed Egyptian to each generation to read the scriptures in purity. The pure language in which the Gospel was written was an African language, which only is important because of those who teach or believe nothing good comes out of Africa/

...the Nephite people used African language for instruction, correction, and revelation. It was of such importance that a modified version of this African language was used to convey the gospel message of salvation to the modern world through Joseph Smith, Jr.

This record in African writing was so important it was taken into Heaven after it was translated by Moroni, an angel of God and last historian to record on the plates using the African language!

— Rodric A. Johnson

You Say It!

Were you aware that The Book of Mormon was written in an African Language before its translation?

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Reformed Egyptian

Cosmopolitan Language

Laban, a relative of Lehi (Lehi being Nephi's father), kept the records handed down to him by his ancestors. The probability Moses caused the record to exist written in the Egyptian language and preserved by the scribes presents itself. Also, probability presents the Egyptian record could have a Hebrew translation in existence because of how the record reads.

In any event, the Nephite people used an African language for instruction, correction, and revelation. It was of such importance that a modified version of this African language was used to convey the gospel message of salvation to the modern world after its translation, through Joseph Smith the Second, to English--the current language of commerce.

This record in African writing is so important it was taken into Heaven after its translation! Moroni, an angel of God and the last historian to record on the plates being the vehicle into heaven according to Joseph Smtih. Only those familiar with the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can truly appreciate the irony of an African language being the inspired form to which God gave the gospel of Jesus Christ since members of the Church, after the death of Joseph Smith, excluded those of Black African descent from some Church sacraments until 1978.

God Chose Reformed Egyptian

To avoid taking the African angle out of context, Moroni did state in his record that

if our plates had been sufficiently large we should have written in Hebrew; but the Hebrew hath been altered by us also; and if we could have written in Hebrew, behold, ye would have had no imperfection in our record. Mormon 9:33

The Lord had in mind something special when He instructed His prophets to continue to use this Reformed Egyptian to record. Moroni intimated that Egyptian was easier to inscribe and took up less space on the plates of gold to convey the message of the gospel. Moroni was more familiar with the Hebrew than the Egyptian; therefore, he worried that others might judge the imperfections in the record and discredit the work of both his and his father Mormon.

Besides that admission by Moroni, God chose an African language to record His witness for the Americas! Moroni trusted in God's reasoning for preserving that ancient African language.

Explanation of Reformed Egpytian

Reformed Egyptian Modern Perspective

Just to provide perspective of how amazing it is that Moroni was able to write or engrave using Egyptian or a derivative of Egyptian, think of Latin, a dead tongue for all intents and purposes.

No nation has a large Latin-speaking population yet there are those who speak the language, linguists for example, fluently. Latin was used as recently as the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. It has been modified from Old Latin to Medieval Latin, Classic Latin, and Vulgar Latin. The language was modified until it no longer served a purpose outside of scholarship, the pursuit of truth!

Reformed Egyptian to Nephite society is what Latin is to European society. It may not have been a common language, but everything written in the language was for the purpose to preserve the truths of the gospel.

African Connection

There is a cultural trend with many activist apologists of the culture of the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to try to grasp at any type of connection to African heritage just to prove that members of the Church, Saints, are not racist against Blacks.

This article is not purposed to refute any past history or teaching associated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints directly or indirectly. It is not to show any inherent social justice in any way by The Book of Mormon to counter any prohibitions or restrictions related to Church policies.

It is to show that there is an African connection to the scripture that should be obvious to all readers though it may be unrealized.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2014 Rodric Anthony Johnson


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