The Mentinah Papers

The Mentinah Papers

Some have attempted to portray the Mentinah Papers as somehow connected to the peoples and teachings of the Book of Mormon.

What do the Mentinah Papers or the Nemenhah People have to do with the Church of Jesus Christ?

To put it simply, absolutely nothing. Any connections are only in the minds of the people responsible for publishing these papers

As genuine records from a people connected to the Nephites, the papers cannot be taken seriously. In addition to the numerous points in which they are not consistent with the Book of Mormon, there are theological or procedural problems. If there were to be such scripture revealed at this time, it would come through the proper channels of priesthood authority. It would come from the current Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, not from obscure individuals who claim support from unnamed apostles.

The Mentinah Papers claim to be a history of a people called the Nemenhah. They claim to be translations of papers found in the mountains around Manti, Utah (Sanpete County) in the 1800s. They claim that they have been translated by wise men speaking languages descended from the languages at the time of the Book of Mormon. The papers have never been made publicly available, but the translations have been published both on the internet and in book form.

They claim to have taken the papers to Brigham Young who indicated that he would be unable to help them translate the papers into modern English. Since that time, their proponents claim that they have spoken to other apostles of the Church (whom they decline to name) who have encouraged them.

There has been a development in the story of those that have the papers in their possession. They initially did not identify the location of the people and their story, but now say that the main location of the Nemenhah people was in the area of Sanpete County, Utah. They have organized an American Indian church based on the teachings of the Mentihah papers.

The story purports to tell of the descendants of Hagoth, and others who traveled north from the Nephite lands, from the Book of Mormon. The story seems to take some of the "loose ends" found in the Book of Mormon and tell what is not present in the Book of Mormon. For example, Moroni is described as joining the Nemenhah after the great battles that destroyed his people in about AD 400. He joins with the body of believers and becomes a great leader among them. It tells of Corianton, son of Alma, who left the Nephite lands with his wife, Isabel, and established a great and righteous city in the northeastern part of the land. Although the narration contains much original ideas and stories they all seem to be off shoots of the Book of Mormon story. It describes great conferences held among the people of the north and the people of the Pacific Islands.

There are doctrinal issues that are presented in the Mentinah narrative. For example, the Everlasting Covenant is described as the Gods trying to organize the world for the benefit of their spiritual children. But they cannot seem to get it quite right. Then some beings representing what we think of as the Holy Ghost come and give the Gods corrections to what they were doing. Hence the “New” and everlasting covenant. If it were not for this multitude of beings coming and making this correction, all of creation would have failed in its purposes.

The narrative describes a form of temple worship that is to be practiced in sweat lodges. It then prophesies that when the people once again turn to sweat lodges for their temple worship it will be a sign that the Church is in apostasy. Naturally, this sort of worship is now taking place among the newly established church that they are promoting.

As with any book or story, the Mentinah papers do teach some things that are true. For example, they provide counsel about the proper relationship between a husband and wife. The Mentinah Papers promote a cooperative life, but do it in a manner that is not consistent with proper principles as understood by the Church.