Gramps,All during the Book of Mormon, there is continuous warfare. Right from the beginning, with Nephi and Laman and Lemuel’s grandkids. It always says a few years with peace then years with wars- actually saying how many of thousands died in the separate wars. I don’t see how so many people could have come from Lehi’s small colony. It seems that they should have died out sooner, or there would be less people to actually engage in the wars. It is my opinion , although Mormon doesn’t say it , that the Nephites, Lamanites, Mulekites mingled with other groups of people who came later, or were already here. i.e., 1 year war, 20,000 died 60 bc, then 2 years later, another war, another 15,000 people died.
Populations tend to increase at a geometric progression rate. The first settlers in recent times came to the New World in the early 1600s. By 1815 there were 8.3 million, in 1905 there were 83.2 million, by 1945 140.1 million, presently there are more than 265 million. And all this in the face of three devastating wars. Of course, continued immigration played an important role in the U.S. population growth, which was not the case with the Nephite civilization.
But let’s make a couple of assumptions on family size and birth rate. Assuming that the average family size was ten children per family and the average generation was 40 years, in 320 years the population would be one billion people!
The 20,000 and 15,000 that you reported were killed in battle would hardly be a drop in the bucket. If you look at Mormon 6, you will find that 230,000 solders were killed in one day in the last great battle between the Lamanites and the Nephites.
The fact that much is made of the warfare in the Book of Mormon and little is said about the times of peace is significant. Mormon and Moroni extracted from their “library of congress” the information that they wanted to pass on to us. The Book of Mormon is not just a chronicle of events from 600 B.C. to 400 A.D., but it is a message written specifically to the people of our day to warn us what will happen if we reject the counsel of righteousness and follow the path of the wicked people of our time. As Moroni finishes the record of his father, he speaks directly to us, as follows:
Behold, the Lord hath shown unto me great and marvelous things concerning that which must shortly come, at that day when these things shall come forth among you. Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing. I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities; and your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts. For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted. O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies– because of the praise of the world? Why do ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not? Yea, why do ye build up your secret abominations to get gain, and cause that widows should mourn before the Lord, and also orphans to mourn before the Lord, and also the blood of their fathers and their husbands to cry unto the Lord from the ground, for vengeance upon your heads? Behold, the sword of vengeance hangeth over you; and the time soon cometh that he avengeth the blood of the saints upon you, for he will not suffer their cries any longer (Mormon 8:34-41).