Monday, July 6, 2015

Who Were the Mulekites? Part IX

Continuing from the last eight posts about the Mulekites, and who they were in their position within the Nephite Nation. 
    It might also be understood that the Mulekites that arrived in the Land of Promise, with a Royal Charge in their midst, had undoubtedly been used to thinking in terms of preserving the lineage line, no doubt came ashore in this new land in a military sense, concern for the politics of the group involved in this rescue, or those included who were more interested in saving their own skins than the young king.
    How this might have affected those early liaisons among them is hard to know, but certainly there were differences of opinion as to who might be the Regent or guardian of the king until he became older. Then, too, there would be Mayors of the Palace, that is those who managed the king’s affairs and household since he would have been very young. Even though living in tents in the beginning, the roles, titles, and interactions would have been much the same.
It should also be kept in mind that though we loosely call the people of Zarahemla, the Mulekites, they were not all descended from Mulek. In fact, very few, if any would have been of his blood line in the original party, since the idea of his survival was to secret him away from the invading Babylonians to whom, evidently, he was not known, being just an infant or very young lad. It might be possible that his mother was part of this group, probably one of the secondary wives of king Zedekiah who acquired several wives after being named king. But the point is, few would have been related to him in that original party, and his direct descendants, assuming he survived long enough to marry and have children, would have been few in the beginning.
    It is likely these original groups had some conflict with one another as has always been the case in kingdoms where a young king takes over too young to actually rule. There would also have been those who considered themselves nobles and courtiers as opposed to simply Palace Guards and servants. No doubt over the years these factions became stronger and perhaps even warred with one another—if not openly, certainly secretively, each vying for the power of the Regent and to rule.
    When Mosiah was informed by Zarahemla of his ancestry, he was told the Mulekites had many wars and serious contentions during their history (Omni 1:17), which might have been over who ruled, or who should be the Regent to the young king.
But that is simply an assumption. However, while this assumption has some merit, i.e., it is reasonable to assume these wars and contentions among the Mulekites had something to do with the leadership of the people and the place Mulek had in those differences, many of the assumptions that are in print about the Mulekites are baseless. As an example, take another of Hobby’s claims (p48) that “The wickedness of the Nephites was rerflected in increased Mulekite successes, which resulted at last in the altering of the laws of Mosiah II" (Helaman 4:22).
    The thing is, there is no mention of Mulekites or the people of Zarahemla as a separate group from the Nephites politically, religiously, or in any other way, throughout the writings of Helaman. The reference quoted merely states that:  "And that they had altered and trampled under their feet the laws of Mosiah, or that which the Lord commanded him to give unto the people; and they saw that their laws had become corrupted and that they had become a wicked people, insomuch that they were wicked even like unto the Lamanites."
    This scripture, when read in context with the entire writings surrounding it, show that Helaman's son, Nephi, who recorded this passage, was referring to the Nephites in general as is shown in Helaman 7:1, 4-6. But Hobby goes on: “The Mulekites often incited the Lamanites to war against the Nephites in the hopes that a victory would return them to their rightful position as rulers”  (p 64). And also: "The Right-to-Rule" Mulekites interacting with the "The Righteous-Shall-Inherit-the-Earth" Nephites caused some intriguing struggle for political power and determined much of the course which Book of Mormon history took.
    However, this was not the Lord’s purpose. He knew the people of Zarahemla would welcome with open arms the Nephites who both had the record of the Jews, and the promise of the Lord to the rights of inheritance of the land. While not stated in the record, one can only wonder under what premise Mulek, who must have been quite young—his father was only 32 when captured and killed, with Mulek undoubtedly being the youngest of his sons—was led to the land of promise. We are not told what role the Lord played in this event, like with the Jaredites and later Nephites, the latter being about 10 years ahead of Mulek and the people who brought him to the Western Hemisphere.
    We are not told what the Mulekites knew about this land to which they were led, nor to whom it rightfully belonged, or what rights they had to inherit it. For all we know, Mulek or their religious leader at the time of their arrival might well have been told by the Lord that at some point in the future the rightful rulers of the land would be made known to them. Whatever the case, it is obvious that under Jewish law and tradition, stretching back over 2,000 years to at least Abraham, was involved in rightful ownership or inheritance of the lands in which they lived. And that ownership or inheritance was through the blessings of the Lord. So when Mosiah and the Nephites showed up with the records and the knowledge that this was to be Lehi’s land of promise, with the inheritance passing through Nephi, the Mulekites both had their answers to the rights to the land, and how they could become part of those rights and have their inheritance from the Lord in regard to their land.
Whatever the number of Nephites that left the City of Nephi with Mosiah I when the Lord told him to flee, the Mulekites were twice in number, the the Lamanites twice as many still
    The Mulekites, after all, were a numerous people (Omni 1:17) and well outnumbered the Nephites (Mosiah 25:2), yet they agreed to have Mosiah as their king (Omni 1:19) and join with the Nephites (Mosiah 25:13) because the kingdom had been conferred upon the Nephites, and it was ever thus that the House of Israel wanted to share in the kingdom. This moment of decision was at a time of spiritual fervor when Alma baptized Limhi and his brethren (Mosiah 25:17) and the sons of the priests of Noah renounced their Lamanite heritage and became Nephites (Mosiah 25:12).
    None of this suggests that the Mulekites fought against the Nephites for control of the kingdom, but rather joined them realizing their God, the God of the House of Israel, had conferred the leadership of the land of promise onto Lehi's descendants and those who were numbered among them.  There is not a single suggestion anywhere in the scriptures to show that the Mulekites and the Nephites were at odds with one another, or that it was the Mulekites that tried to undermine Nephite right to rule as so many theorists claim.
    In fact, as has been mentioned before, it would be more likely that three generations of Nephite kings (Mosiah, Benjamin and Mosiah II) would have led to some among the Nephites and of the lineage of these kings, would be more likely to desire to return to kingship rule, than descendants of Zarahemla.
    Once again, it is George Potter who poses an outlandish idea that Mulek’s experience in reaching the Land of Promise was quiet different from that of Lehi’s family in that Nephi built his ship in part by revelation from the Lord, however, in the Book of Mormon no mention found of the Mulekites building a ship or learning to sail one.
    To clarify matters, there is also no mention of Nephi and his brothers having any experience in learning to sail their ship. Also, that Nephi had to work in several crafts to construct his vessel, including smelting tools, working timbers, making cordage, etc., and that it would be unlikely that Mulek, the son of a king, would have possessed any of these skills, nor would it have been appropriate for a prince to have endulged himself in manual labor.
    Of course, if Mulek was as young as the situation suggests, then that is a moot point.
Nephi learned several crafts on his way to building the ocean-going ship that took Lehi and Ismael’s families and households to the Land of Promise 
    On the other hand, we have no idea what crafts Nephi, Lehi, Sam or Zoram knew, nor the sons of Ishmael, Laban and Lemuel—on the other hand, both families seem to have been agrarian, living outside the city, and though perhaps familiar with some crafts, certainly not experienced in any of them to the order of building an ocean-going ship. Yet, the Royal Palace Guard, servants to the Royal family, and those the Lord chose to bring Mulek to the Land of Promise, may well have had a diversity of craft experience and knowledge.
    The point is, it is simply fruitless to try and speculate on who knew what regarding the skills the Lord knew would be needed.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Who Were the Mulekites? Part VIII

Continuing from the last seven posts about the Mulekites, and how Mulek escaped from Jerusalem and reached the Land of Promise, and how he and his people joined with Mosiah and the Nephites in the Land of Zarahemla. Specifically, the following is the continuation of John L. Sorenson’s writings on Mulek being taken to the Land of Promise by Phoenician sailors, with the conclusion of his issues and our responses listed below: 
    Sorenson: “Third, the Sidon River probably enters the east sea no great distance from this city of Mulek…”
    Response: “Probably” is not a cause or point to be made. There is nothing in the scriptural record to tell us where the mouth of the Sidon River was, except that it emptied into a sea. It could have been the West Sea or the Sea that Divided the Land. Even if it was the Sea East, it could have been anywhere along that seacoast, not necessarily around the city of Mulek.
   Sorenson: “…suggesting a plausible route along which the ancestors of Zarahemla and his people “came…up into the south wilderness” (Alma 22:31) to their city on the upper river where the Nephites later found them.”
Response: First of all, Zarahemla, where the Mulekites landed and Mosiah later found them (Omni 1:16), is a low, flat ground, near the sea—not up or near an upper river. In fact, no river is mentioned in connection with Zarahemla, except the Sidon to the east beyond the Land of Zarahemla.
    Sorenson: “To this evidence may be added…”
    Response: This is not evidence. It is not even likely, as the above suggests.
    Sorenson: “…two historico-geographical facts external to the scripture—the distance from Palestine to the American narrow neck-promised land was shorter via the Atlantic than the Pacific…”
    Response: Distance has never seemed to be an issue with the Lord. He takes people where he will as part of the trials and hardening process we undergo on our path toward perfection. Lehi traveled some 1500 miles on an eight-year journey to Bountiful. The Jaredites traveled that far or further on their trip to the Great Sea. Why, now, with the Muleites, would we be thinking distance is an issue for proof of a direction?
    Sorenson: “…the expertise of Mediterranean mariners was oriented westward not eastward into the Indian and Pacific Oceans.”
    Response: The chances of Mediterranean mariners being involved during the siege of Jerusalem by the Babyonians who controlled the entire eastern Mediterranean sea coast from Turkey to Egypt (and to whom the Phoenicians were then impressed subjects), in spiriting away members of the Royal Family that Nebuchadnezzar was hell-bent to capture, destroy and murder is so unlikely that it really does not warrant any consideration at all.
    Sorenson: “In my view, that they traveled via the Atlantic is certain.” 
    Response: And so it is with all Sorenson’s writings—facts, history, and reality seem to matter not one iota when it comes to his claims.
    More of the erroneous ideas about the Mulekites can be seen in Hobby’s continued writing (p31-32) when he states: “There was a much larger potential problem affecting the freedom of the entire nation of Zarahemla!  Why so?  Because the Nephites were ever sensitive to the potential for Mulekite repatriation. And should they re-mix with the Jaredite remnants to the north, it could doom the future of the already out numbered Nephites.
    Scriptures have already been quoted to show that the Jaredites, as Ether said, were all killed except for himself and Coriantumr.  It has already been stated that the Jaredites were destroyed prior to the arrival of the Mulekites and Nephites. And there is no scripture to show any indication that the Nephites were fearful of the Mulekites reuniting against them, or of joining any other group in this.  The fact that Nephite dissenters stirred up troubles for the Nephites, both as separate groups and among the Lamanites gives no scriptural evidence that these were Mulekites as Hobby and others suggest.
Ammon, a descendant of Zarahemla, stands before king Limhi, and eventually leads them out of the Lamanite lands and back to Zarahemla, saving the lives of all Limhi’s people
    There are only two people in scripture identified as descendants of Zarahemla, and neither of these were involved in insurrection, yet, Hobby and others insist that groups like the city of Morianton (Alma 50:26) and the "king-men" (Alma 51:5) were Mulekites, but such is not known from scripture.
    A case is often attempted that because the "king-men" were of high birth (Alma 51:21) and wanted to return to king rule they had to be Mulekites, since they were descendants of Mulek, of the house of Judah.  However, besides the descendants of Mosiah I and king Benjaman could also claim "high birth," as previously mentioned, any true descendant of Nephi who had been the first king of the Nephites (2 Nephi 5:18), or those who had followed him (Jacob 1:11) and their lineage (Jacob 1:15).  Since Mosiah was king around 200 B.C., what about all the kings of the Nephites from those listed in Jacob down to when Mosiah was proclaimed king?
    It seems unwise and unwarranted that the white-hat wearing good guys were always Nephites and the black hat bad guys, those who sought to destroy freedom and liberty, such as the "king-men" were always Mulekites. The scriptures make no such distinction, nor is there any indication that any of these dissenters (other than Coriantumr) and groups who fought against the Nephites were of some ethnic makeup. 
    Take Amlici as an example.  There was no suggestion he was a Mulekite or that the great war that followed in which over 19,000 Nephites were killed had anything to do with ethnic groups. Amlici was a man after the order of Nehor (Alma 2:1), a man of priestcraft that endeavored to enforce it by the sword (Alma 1:12, 15), he sought to destroy the church of God (Alma 2:4). Amlici wanted to be king (Alma 2:2) and the people debated this issue (Alma 2:5) and voted (Alma 2:6) against Amlici (Alma 2:7), but when his bid was was defeated, he was angry and stirred up his followers (Alma 2:8) who appointed him king anyway (Alma 2:9). 
    Amlici's followers, all Nephites, were then called Amlicites and the remainder called Nephites or the people of God (Alma 2:11).  This was obviously not an ethnic difference, but one of religion.  Preparations for war ensued (Alma 2:12-14). The Nephites were finally victorious (Alma 2:18) under Alma's field generalship (Alma 2:16), with 12,532 Amlicites being killed and 6,562 Nephites perishing in the fighting (Alma 2:19). The surviving Amlicites joined with the Lamanites and marked themselves to distinguish them from the Nephites (Alma 3:4) before they were finally destroyed (Alma 3:23).
Left: The Amlicites are defeated; Right: A former Amlicite, after joining the Lamanites with other Amlicite survivors, is marked as a Lamanite
    These dissenters were all Nephites for the scriptures make no other distinction.  And as shown during Mormon's time, Nephites were as evil as anyone, and ripe for destruction.  Even in Jacob's time he claimed the Lamanites were better than the Nephites in certain ways (Jacob 2:35).
(See the next post, “Who Were the Mulekites? Part IX,” for the continuation of Sorenson’s points and our responses, and the conclusion of the Mulekites and who they were)

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Who Were the Mulekites? Part VII

Continuing from the last six posts about the Mulekites, and how Mulek escaped from Jerusalem and reached the Land of Promise, and how he and his people joined with Mosiah and the Nephites in the Land of Zarahemla. 
    As has been mentioned earlier in this series, Theorists seem to delight in making up scenarios about the Muleites, evidently feeling free to do so since there is so little information about them in the scriptural record. As an example, George Potter in his “Do the Mulekites Help Solve an Historical Mystery?” suggests that the Mulekites “departed Jerusalem under the leadership of Mulek, the only surviving son of Zedekia.
However, we have already shown that Zedekiah was 21 years old when made king, and 32 when captured, and that his sons would have been no older than 14 or 15 down through probably 8 or 9, and the “Little King,” Mulek, when spirited away by the Palace Guard and his retinue and servants (left), likely would have been an infant, or up to perhaps 4 years of age. Certainly the oldest sons (as well as all the sons) would have been on the Babylonian army “capture or kill” list to keep anyone from later claiming the Israelite throne that Nebuchadnezzar did not want crowned. If Mulek had not been quite young, the Babylonians would have been more familiar with his placement in the sons of Zedekiah and brought him under their rule and before Nebuchadnezzar who had the known sons all killed before Zedekiah’s eyes.
    Potter also claims that the Mulekites “landed in the Promised land in the land northward, the area that was originally inhabited by the more ancient Jaredites.” However, as we have shown before, Amaleki, an eye-witness to the meetings with Zarahemla and his people, tells us that the Mulekites landed along the coast where Mosiah found them. As he put it: “they journeyed in the wilderness, and were brought by the hand of the Lord across the great waters, into the land where Mosiah discovered them; and they had dwelt there from that time forth” (Omni 1:16).
    Potter isn’t the only one that mis-thinks where the Mulekites landed. Take John L. Sorenson, who argues for an east coast, Land Northward, landing. Since his writing on this issue is extensive, and covers numerous points of very questionable authenticity, we will cover his view on this one sentence or subject at a time, with our response following, so the reader does not get lost in his convoluted thinking:
    Sorenson: “The route followed by Mulek’s vessel would rather obviously have gone west through the Mediterranean and past the “Pillars of Hercules” (Strait of Gibraltar), an area familiar to Phoenician sailors.”
    Response: As has been shown here several times, any route from a Mediterranean shore from 605 B.C. onward, when the Babylolnians defeated the Assyrians and Syria, and gained control of the coast all the way to Egypt, would have precluded any Mediterranean voyage.
    Sorenson: “From there the prevailing winds and current almost inexorably bear simple craft, for example, Columbus’s ships, Thor Heyerdahl’s Ra II raft, and many others) past the Canaries to the Caribbean.”

It should be kept in mind that the area of Western Alboran, Gibraltar and trhe Bay of Cadiz were heavily guarded by jealous traders who attacked any unauthorized ship that entered the area to keep their trade routes secret; tin traders to the north and slave traders to the south were serious business and jealously guarded
    Response: The fact of the matter is, the currents that move westward through the Straits of Gibraltar move out into the Bay of Cadiz, northward up the Portuguese coast, or southward, along the Moroccan coast of Africa—they do not inexorably (meaning unalterable or unyielding) move a vessel in only one direction. In addition, two currents move into the Straits from the Atlantic through this Bay. On the other hand, the Levante, a warm east to northeast wind flows through the Alboran Sea, from the Alboran Channel (between Almeria, Spain and Melilla (Spanish Colony), Morocco, through the West Alboran Basin toward Gibraltar. Once past, or over, the Gibraltar Sill and into the Atlantic, the winds and currents become quite strong heading toward Gibraltar—and sailing ship of the time would have to buck those winds and currents, which would drive a vessel either northward along the coast of Spain or southward along the coast of Africa. Experienced sailors, of course, would know to turn south and pick up the Canary Current. They would also have to know to take the current on to the south to Cape Verde Islands, where the Phoenician sailors always turned into the Guinea current and down the coast and around the bulge of Africa in later years. To reach America, they would have to know what Columbus discovered in the 15th century, almost two thousand years later and head out into the North Equatorial Current. To assume that 600 B.C. sailors, who had not yet even discovered the Azores (1351 A.D.) or the Canary Islands (1399 A.D.) or Cape Verde (1456 A.D.) would brave such a trip is foolhardy, and simply a desperate attempt to place Mulek in the Western Hemsiphere.
    Writers can claim that the Phoenicians would have discovered the Canary Islands in 600 B.C. when they sailed around Africa in the employ of Neko II, but there is no evidence they did, or even that they sailed that far off the coast as they kept within view of the mainland and set in every night, sailing only in daylight hours.
    Sorenson: “There remains a slight possibility that they could have come via the Pacific, since neither a route nor a coastal landing point is specified in the Book of Mormon.”
    Response: Actually, Amaleki writes that the Muleites were “brought by the hand of the Lord across the great waters, into the land where Mosiah discovered them” (Omni 1:16), which is a pretty definite starting point from which to backtrack.
    Sorenson: “But textual indications argue strongly for the Atlantic. First, the immigrant group’s discovery of the last Jaredite survivor could only have been near the east sea (Ether 9:3 puts the position of the final battle ground near that sea).”
Response: The last Jaredite battle took place along the Sea East, but there is no indication that this is where Coriantumr was discovered by the Mulekites. He could have wondered about for some time after recovering from that battle. It is not scholarly to make up points to verify your claim as Sorenson so constantly does. Where the Mulekites were is not stated other than living where Mosiah found them since they landed.”
    Sorenson: “Second, the “city of Mulek” was located only a few miles from the east sea (Alma 51:26), and we may suppose that this was where the newcomers settled first (compare Alma 8:7).”
    Response: There is no indication in the scriptural record that the city of Mulek was founded by the Mulekites. We first hear of that city in Alma 51:26 in 67 B.C. in connection with a series of cities the Nephites had founded along the east borders by the seashore. Nothing more is known of this city. The reference of Alma 8:7 is a reference to the fact that it “was the custom of the people of Nephi to call their lands, and their cities, and their villages, yea, even all their small villagtes, after the name of him who first possessed them.” However, while this was evidently a Nephite custom, it was not a custom of the Jaredites, nor was it a custom as far as we know of the Mulekites, and since Mulek entered the land around 585 B.C., 517 years earlier than when we first know of this city, there seems to be no connection between Mulek and this city. That another man named Mulek might have first settled there in some much later period is possible, maybe even likely, but we do not know that. And also, there are several cities of the Nephites that did not follow this pattern, such as Bountiful, Jerusalem, Manti, Angola, Ani-Anti, Desolation, Jordan, Judea, etc., plus several other cities might have been named in honor of someone but not necessarily the first one to settle their, such as Jacob, Jacobugath, Jershon, Laman, Lehi, etc. The point is, we simply do not know, and cannot lay claim that the city of Mulek was named after the son, or even the people, of king Zedekiah.
(See the next post, “Who Were the Mulekites? Part VIII,” for the continuation of Sorenson’s points and our responses, and the conclusion of the Mulekites and who they were)

Friday, July 3, 2015

Who Were the Mulekites? Part VI

Continuing from the last five posts about the Mulekites, and how Mulek escaped from Jerusalem and reached the Land of Promise, and how he and his people joined with Mosiah and the Nephites in the Land of Zarahemla.
For some reason, though the scriptural record makes it clear that both Zarahemla and his people (the Mulekites) were joyous over Mosiah’s arrival and learning of the records he brought, and willingly joined together with the Nephites, insist that these two groups were segregated. As Hobby puts it of an event many years later (p27), “When Mosiah II desired the record of Zeniff to be read the Mulekites and Nephites were gathered into segregated language groups to have the record read aloud in both languages.
    After Zeniff and Alma arrived in the Land of Zarahemla from their various escapes from the Lamanites, “all the people of Nephi were assembled together, and also all the people of Zarahemla, and they were gathered together in two bodies” (Mosiah 25:4). This was so that Mosiah could read the records of those who had escaped from the city of Lehi-Nephi in the Lamanite lands. “And Mosiah did read, and caused to be read, the records of Zeniff to his people; yea, he read the records of the people of Zeniff, from the time they left the land of Zarahemla until they returned again” (Mosiah 25:5). 
   There is no comment that this record was read in two languages, or that the Nephites and people of Zarahemla (Mulekites) were in separate bodies because of a language problem. As for the two groups, it was common among the people of God to line up by tribal groups at festivals, ceremonies, and ordinances—in Book of Mormon times, this would have been by Nephites, Jacobites, Josepites, Zoramites, etc. (4 Nephi 1:36-38; Mormon 1:8-9). All this says, is that the Mulekites were also in a separate lineage body or group.
    The twelve tribes of Israel were thus segregated most of their existence, though in much of the Biblical writing, these tribal separations are not mentioned much, and often the people were combined and listed simply as Israelites, or after the division, as those of Judah and those of Israel. This is also seen in the Book of Mormon, as Jacob wrote, he would "not hereafter distinguish them by these names, but I shall call them Lamanites that seek to destroy the people of Nephi, and those who are friendly to Nephi I shall call Nephites, or the people of Nephi, according to the reigns of the kings" (Jacob 1:13).
At the time Mosiah gathered the people together to hear about the people of Limhi and of Alma, the Mulekites were still considered a separate tribal group (Mosiah 25:4).  However, these Mulekites became Nephites and were numbered among the Nephites (Mosiah 25:13) as this great fervor of religious identity swept through Zarahemla after the reading of the Limhi and Alma records (Mosiah 25:7-11).  So much so, that the "children of Amulon and his brethren, who had taken to wife the daughters of the Lamanites, were displeased with the conduct of their fathers, and they would no longer be called by the names of their fathers, therefore they took upon themselves the name of Nephi, that they might be called the children of Nephi and be numbered among those who were called Nephites" (Mosiah 25:12).  
    This is the same attitude the Mulekites had, for they became numbered with the Nephites (Mosiah 25:13).  In this moment of religious fervor, especially following Alma's religious preaching to the various bodies assembled (Alma 25:15), Limhi desired to be baptized along with all his people (Mosiah 25:17). If for no other reason, the Mulekites wanted to be numbered among the Nephites and called Nephites because "the kingdom had been conferred upon none but those who were descendants of Nephi" (Mosiah 25:13). 
    From a Religious standpoint:  There were seven churches established throughout the land (Mosiah 26:23), and when people joined any of the churches, they were called the people of God (Mosiah 26:24), and from this point on, there is never another mention of the people of Zarahemla (Mulekites) being separated or segregated from the Nephites.  
    From a Political standpoint:  When king Mosiah suggested to his people that there should be no more kings, but wrote down the points of liberty and how the people should be governed, then sent his writings among everyone (Mosiah 29:37) they were convinced of his words. "They were anxious that every man should have an equal chance throughout all the land" and "they assembled themselves together in bodies throughout the land, to cast their voices concerning who should be their judges...and they were exceedingly rejoiced because of the liberty which had been granted them" (Mosiah 29:38-39).
    The key words here are "every man had an equal voice," which shows that the Mulekites and the Nephites were now one people, called the Nephites. There is no mention after this point that the Mulekites were ever considered separately, nor is there at any time any mention that the Mulekites spoke another language after they were taught the Nephite language by Mosiah (Omni 1:18).
    Despite all this, there are still those theorists who want to blame the Mulekite lineage for all the conflicts and difficulties that occurred. As Hobby goes on to write: “The fact that this insurrection was Mulekite-led is also confirmed by Alma 62:7-10.” Of course, when you look up the reference, which not every does, you find a different story, for there is no indication anywhere of any Mulekite-led insurrection. 
    "And it came to pass that Moroni and Pahoran went down with their armies into the land of Zarahemla, and went forth against the city, and did meet the men of Pachus, insomuch that they did come to battle (Alma 62:7). And behold, Pachus was slain and his men were taken prisoners, and Pahoran was restored to his judgment-seat (Alma 62:8). And the men of Pachus received their trial, according to the law, and also those king-men who had been taken and cast into prison; and they were executed according to the law; yea, those men of Pachus and those king-men, whosoever would not take up arms in the defense of their country, but would fight against it, were put to death (Alma 62:9). And thus it became expedient that this law should be strictly observed for the safety of their country; yea, and whosoever was found denying their freedom was speedily executed according to the law" (Alma 62:10).
    Obviously, there is no suggestion of a Mulekite-led insurrection here, but only of a segment of the Nephites who wanted to return to kingship rule. Yet, that does not stop Hobby who adds: 
    “It seems that the faction which had supported Paanchi, which was later turned by Gadianton into a guerilla movement, was Mulekite-based.” 
However, there simply is not a single mention of any insurrection, faction, or movement of Mulekites against the Nephites anywhere in scripture. Once they joined together (Mosiah 25:13) they are never again mentioned in scripture as being separated in any manner.  Rather than Mulekite-led insurrections, it seems that in all cases of the infighting among the Nephites, it was over those who believed in the counsels of Mosiah and the church, and those who believed in their own counsels and fought against the church. In every instance these internal wars were over whether the Nephites continued to have their liberty and freedom or whether they would be subject to dictatorial rulers and denied their freedom.
    It would appear from the scriptural record that the Mulekites at this point became Nephites, as Sam’s posterity had before this, and were considered a single people. On the other hand, there are two incidents mentioned of a continued lineage for the Mulekites that is never mentioned for Sam’s posterity. The first is of Ammon, whom king Mosiah placed in charge of the sixteen men he sent to the land of Lehi-Nephi to inquire concerning their brethren (Mosiah 7:2) as being a descendant of Zarahemla (Mosiah 7:3). The second is of Coriantumr, a descendant of Zarahemla (Helaman 1:15), who “was a deserter from among the Nephites,” who the Lamanites put in charge of their army and invaded the Land of Zarahemla and captured the city (Helaman 1:17-20).
(See the next post, “Who Were the Mulekites? Part VII,” for the continuation of this regarding Mulek, the youngest son of Zedekiah, and how he came to be in the Land of Promise and found the city of Zarahemla, and who were his descendants and those of his people, and that they were not involved in insurrections against the Nephites according to the scriptural record)

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Who Were the Mulekites? Part V

Continuing from the last four posts about the Mulekites, and how Mulek escaped from Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians and made his way to the Land of Promise. As stated in the last post, the Nephites of Mosiah joined with the Mulekites of Zarahemla, to form one Nephite group. 
   It is amazing to me how many different and erroneous ideas the various theorists have atatached to the Mulekites. Robert Pate writes (p19) that “It is likely that there were other factions of the Mulekites who split off prior to that merger (with the Nephites). Such groups would not have shared in the Nephite stabilization of their language. Likewise, there may have been significant Jaredite infusion into the language of the people of Zarahemla prior to the arrival of the Nephites at Zarahemla. Phoenician sailors may also have contributed to corruption of the language.
A Phoenician port city where goods were bought and sold. Any passage booked was in this crowded market place that was controlled by the Babylonians who certainly would have been on the lookout for members of the Israelite Royal Family
    So here we have, using the scriptural record as a background source, a theorist claiming the Jaredites and Phoenicians corrupted the Mulekite Hebrew language, though there is never any suggestion, hint, or intimation that either of these groups ever had any contact with the Mulekites. Also, Pate suggests that a part of the people of Zarahemla, who are never mentioned before, during or after, breaking off from the others and hiding out somewhere, yet their uncorrected language having an effect at one point or another on the Mulekites.
    While any assumption or story can be made regarding an abridgement of a given history that has no other comparison fact-checker base, it is a constant theme of Mesoamerican Theorists to include other groups in the Land of Promise at every opportunity. In this case, because the Mulekites had wars from time to time, Pate introduces the idea that there were other Mulekite groups other than those at Zarahemla. While this is possible, there is no indication in scripture that it was the case, and perhaps more suggestion that it was not the case.
    At the time of the Mulekite merger with the Nephites, Mosiah had the Nephite language taught to the people of Zarahemla. After that, the leader of these Mulekites told Mosiah of his history, stating his own genealogy from memory because no records had been kept and nothing had been written down. Had there been other Mulekite groups then in the Land of Promise, it is most likely Zarahemla would have told Mosiah, either because 1) he feared an attack by an old enemy, or 2) he wanted all his people, even branches that had broken off, to share in the knowledge of the Lord’s promises for the land and the Nephite rights to that land, as he and his people were doing, with a feeling of great joy.
Mosiah interpreting the carvings from the stone left by Coriantumr about his history
    To even consider that Jaredites mingled with the Mulekits is ludicruous. Zarahemla was anxious that Mosiah interpret the carved record of Coriantumr, and later, the people were anxious to know who the people up north had been and what happened to them and required Mosiah to interpret the 43-plates of Ether regarding their history. Surely, if any Jaredites had existed among the people of Zarahemla, that interpretation would not have been necessary since they could have interpreted their own language and told their own history.
    In addition, Michael Hobby (p24) suggests: “In all likelihood, the Mulekites, prior to their flight from the land northward, had considered Coriantumr to be their king.” Yet, the Mulekites were never in the Land Northward, did not know Coriantumr until he showed up in their midst after his battle with Shiz, and lived only nine months. The scriptural record gives no indication of Hobby’s view. Amaleki, an eye-witness to the events in Zarahemla, says only that "there was a large stone brought unto (Mosiah) with engravings on it; and he did interpret the engravings by the gift and power of God.  And they gave an account of one Coriantumr, and the slain of his people.  And Coriantumr was discovered by the people of Zarahemla; and he dwelt with them for the space of nine moons"  (Omni 1:20-21).
    There is no other mention of Coriantumr in connection with the people of Zarahemla (Mulekites) in all of the scripture. And, too, since the people of Zarahemla could not understand Coriantumr, nor read what was written by him on the rock, it would be hard to understand how he could be their king when he could not communicate with them at all and had to write down his story in hopes someone would someday be able to interpret it.
    Hugh Nibley (p247) wrote, “Members of the mixed Mulekite people, such as their Zoramite offshoot going over either to the Lamanites or to the Nephites.” This gives us three parts that are not consistent with scripture. 
    First, the Mulekites, or people of Zarahemla, were not a mixed group. Amaleki tells us that the people of Zarahemla came out of Jerusalem (Omni 1:15).  There is no mention here or elsewhere that the Mulekites were mixed with any other people until they joined the Nephites. 
    Second, the Zoramites never "went over to the Nephites." The Zoramites were Nephites to begin with. Alma tells us that they were "a people who separated themsleves from the Nephites and called themselves Zoramites, being led by a man whose name was Zoram"  (Alma 30:59).
    He later adds another aspect to this when he wrote: "All those who had dissented from the Nephites, who were Amalekites and Zoramites and the descendants of the priests of Noah" (Alma 43:13).
To their astonishment they found that the Zoramites had built synagogues, and that they did gather themselves together on one day of the week, which day they did call the day of the Lord; and they did worship after a manner which Alma and his brethren had never beheld 
    Third, the Zoramites separated themselves from the Nephites over religious ideals, not political ones. When they left the Nephites, they built synagogues and worshiped after a manner Alma had never before beheld (Alma 31:12).  When Alma's preaching converted some of the Zoramites, they were cast out of their city (Alma 35:8) and went over to the land of Jershon (Alma 35:14) and joined with the converted Lamanites (Alma 43:4).
    There is not a single word, thought, statement or verse in all of scripture to suggest the Zoramites were connected in any way with the Mulekites. It is possible that Nibley and others confuse the passages wherein Zerahemnah, the leader of the Lamanites who wanted to stir up the Lamanites to attack Jershon and the Nephites, appointed Amalekite and Zoramite captains over the Lamanite army because of their hatred for the Nephites (Alma 43:6).  However, though it might be determined by some that Zarahemnah must have been a descendant of Zarahemla, a Mulekite, and therefore a Zoramite, the scriptures only say that Zarahemnah was a Lamanite (Alma 43:5) and led the Lamanite army against the Nephites (Alma 43:18-20).
    It takes a leap of faith to try and show a connection where none exists in the scriptural record. And enough has been suggested to show that names, while they may seem to have been Jaredite and handed down to the Mulekites, only twice in scripture is a Mulekite lineage identified, and that is with Ammon and Coriantumr.  Zarahemnah is not one of those so identified in the scriptures as having a connection with the Mulekites.  Rather, he is called a Lamanite.
    Whether or not the Mulekites eventually developed a dissatisfaction with the Nephite government, is not known. Nor is the lineage of those who called themselves “king-men,” for “they were desirous that the law should be altered in a manner to overthrow the free government and to establish a king over the land” (Alma 51:5). Since these king-men arose in 67 B.C., some 158 years after the people of Zarahemla willingly chose to become part of the Nephite nation, to think that the king-men were Mulekites claiming Royal Blood through Mulek, about nine generations later, seems a little far-fetched.
There was a hot contention between those who were desirous that Pahoran should be dethroned from the judgment-seat, called king-men, for they were desirous that the law should be altered in a manner to overthrow the free government and to establish a king over the land, and those who wanted to be governed by judges 
    We do know that “those who were in favor of kings were those of high birth, and they sought to be kings; and they were supported by those who sought power and authority over the people” (Alma 51:8). It is far more likely that they were Nephites who, claiming a once hereditary connection through Mosiah, Benjaman or Mosiah II—or through Zeniff, Noah, and Limhi—and who lost their claim to the Royal Line when Mosiah II did away with the monarchy, seems much more reasonable.
    But the fact is, we simply do not know, and there is no reference information to allow us to make any type of suggestion on the matter. To do so simply confuses issues and allows negative reactions from critics, and certainly adds nothing of value to the Nephite discussion.
(See the next post, “Who Were the Mulekites? Part VI,” for the continuation of this regarding Mulek, the youngest son of Zedekiah, and how he came to be in the Land of Promise and found the city of Zarahemla, and who were his descendants and those of his people)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Who Were the Mulekites? Part IV

Continuing from the last three posts about the Mulekites, and how Mulek escaped from Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians and made his way to the Land of Promise. As stated in the last post, it is most likely, because of the Babylonians controlling the entire Mediterranean, the Phoenicians, and the land round about, that the only route open to Mulek would have been the same route Lehi had taken a short time earlier.
Lehi led his family to the southeast, away from Jerusalem, heading for the Negev and the Aqaba inlet of the Red Sea
    While it is true we have no information on the matter, and that it has never stopped other theorists from speculating on the Mulekites leaving via the Mediterranean by Phoenician sailors, the facts of the matter strongly suggests that it would have been impossible for a member of the Israelite Royal Family to have escaped through Babylonian forces who controlled the entire Mediterranean coastal area from Turkey to Egypt, as has been shown in history and stated herein the last posts.
    Since that only leaves a route to the southeast, along the way Lehi had taken earlier, it seems likely that was the direction Mulek’s retinue took him. Since this group was led “by the hand of the Lord across the great waters, into the land where Mosiah discovered them” (Omni 1:16), we can justifiably assume that Mulek and his entourage were some of those “that there shall none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord” (2 Nephi 1:6).
Mulek and his entourage, a group numbering some 40 people or more, including Palace Guards and their families, and the Royal Family servants and protectors

    Thus it seems appropriate to believe and assume that Mulek’s entire trip, from leaving Jerusalem to arriving at the Land of Promise was directed by the Lord, as had the Jaredites and Lehites.
    To then assume, not only because it was the only way open to them to travel, but that the Lord led them across the same route Lehi had taken to arrive at the same area of Bountiful and shores of Irreantum that Lehi had been led, that Mulek and his party found the same bounty Nephi describes as having “much fruit and also wild honey; and all these things were prepared of the Lord that we might not perish” (1 Nephi 17:5), upon their arrival.
    That being the case, it is likely that those in Mulek’s retinue who escorted the young son of Zedekiah, were in some way instructed in the building of a ship as Nephi had been that brought the party across the great waters along the same course (currents and winds) that Lehi had journeyed to land along the Sea West of the Land of Promise.
Nebuchadnezzar lays siege to Jerusalem with his vast Army that lasts 18 months before one of the walls gave way and the Babylonians entered the city
    With the Mulekites leaving Jerusalem somewhere around 589 B.C. (the year Nebuchadnezzar lay siege to Jerusalem), and considering a trip to the Arabian coast that Lehi took, which was an 8 year journey for Lehi, perhaps Mulek’s party making it in less time since there were no trips back to Jerusalem, etc., making them reach the coast around 587 B.C., build a ship (with possibly more adult males in their entourage), setting sail around 585 B.C., about two to three years after Lehi, puts them in the Land of Promise somewhere around 584 B.C.
While Nibley, Sorenson, Allen, et al, has Mulek landing on the east coast in the Land Northward, Amaleki tells us they landed where Mosiah discovered their descendants some 360 years later (584 B.C. landing, 225 B.C. discovery, leaves 359 years).
During this time, Zarahemla tells of:
1. The Mulekites had become exceedingly numerous;
2. They had fought many wars among themselves;
3. Their language was corrupted, i.e., they could no longer speak their native tongue of Hebrew or understand it;
4. They brought no records with them, thus having no basis for language instruction, or possibly even literacy;
5. They did not know God, and denied any faith in Him;
6. Zarahemla had a knowledge of his forefathers and his own genealogy and wrote it down from memory;
7. Zarahemla was a descendant of Mulek (Mosiah 25:2);
8. A person from another people had wandered into their city at some time in the distant past
9. The Mulekites had no knowledge of who Coriantumr (the last Jaredite) had been, nor anything abut his ancestry. He left his story engraved on a large rock.
10. The Mulekites were delighted to receive Mosiah and the Nephites, in fact “there was great rejoicing among the people of Zarahemla,” because Mosiah had the plates of brass and the record of the Jews (Omni 1:14);
11. The Mulekites joined with and became part of the people of Nephi because “the kingdom had been conferred upon none but those who were descendants of Nephi” (Mosiah 25:13);
12. The Mulekites were desirous that they be baptized, and joined the church (Mosiah 25:17);
13. The Mulekites formed churches (under Alma) “throughout the land of Zarahemla” (Mosiah 25:19), and some were ordained priests and teachers over the seven churches formed in the land of Zarahemla (Mosiah 25:23);
14. There were more Mulekites than there were Nephites (Mosiah 25:2), and even combined, the Lamanites were still twice as many as the Nephites and Mulekites (Mosiah 25:3).
    After the Nephites and people of Zarahemla (Mulekites) had merged and became one people, and king Mosiah who ruled over them, all had died, his son, Benjamin was made king. During his reign, the Lamanites, who evidently had overrun the city of Nephi after Mosiah left, continued on the path of Mosiah‘s flight and eventually found the area of Zarahemla.

The Lamamnites tracked Mosiah and the Nephites to the Land of Zarahemla, and followed, coming down out of the mountains to attack the people of Zarahemla, but were driven out of the land by king Benjamin 
    During Benjamin’s time, a war broke out between the invading Lamanites and the Nephites of Zarahemla. As Amaleki records it, “And behold, I have seen, in the days of king Benjamin, a serious war and much bloodshed between the Nephites and the Lamanites. But behold, the Nephites did obtain much advantage over them; yea, insomuch that king Benjamin did drive them out of the land of Zarahemla” (Omni 1:24).
(See the next post, “Who Were the Mulekites? Part V,” for the continuation of this regarding Mulek, the youngest son of Zedekiah, and how he came to be in the Land of Promise and found the city of Zarahemla, and who were his descendants and those of his people)

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Who Were the Mulekites? Part III

Continuing from the last two posts about the Mulekites, and how Mulek escaped from Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians and made his way to the Land of Promise. As stated in the last post, it is most likely, because of the Babylonians controlling the entire Mediterranean, the Phoenicians, and the land round about, that the only route open to Mulek would have been the same route Lehi had taken a short time earlier.
Red Hatched Lines: The area controlled by Babylon from 605 B.C. onward. Yellow Area shows the heavily guarded Babylonian Frontier, which was the route from Egypt northward into Damascus, Syria and the northern Hitite country, which had been Babylon’s enemies and previous antagonists, whom they defeated. This region was heavily guarded—making any penetration from Jerusalem to the seashore to take a Phoenician ship out of the question. The Red Arrow: shows Babylon’s control of all Phoenician waters; Blue Arrow shows the only open area out of Jerusalem and that was to the southeast—a direction Babylon had no interest in because it was nothing but desert 
    Despite this very clear understanding of the Babylonians and their control of the Mediterranean coast from what is now Turkey to Egypt, as well as their dedication to bring every member of the Israelite Royal Family into captivity for their emperor, John L. Sorenson wrote: “The premier sailors of that era were the Phoenicians, who frequented Egyptian ports and were familiar with the waters of the entire Mediterranean. Since they possessed the finest seafaring vessels and the widest knowledge of sailing conditions, it is reasonable for us to suppose that one or more of their vessels became the means by which Mulek and those with him were “brought…across the great waters” (The Mulekites, p9).
    In addition, the Mesoamericanist Robert A. Pate wrote: “Also, it is very apparent from the diversity of their appearance that the people found in the Americas have multiple and diverse genetic origins. We know that Lehi’s family absorbed others: those Zoram, the servant of Laban; the Mulekites, and possibly some Phoenician sailors who may have brought the Mulekites and the Jaredites [to the land of promise]” (Mapping the Book of Mormon, A Comprehensive Geography of Nephite America, Cornerstone Publishing, SLC, 2002, p 18). Of course, the fact that the Babylonians jealously guarded their empire, the Mediterranean coast, and their vassals, of which the Phoenicians were at the time the Mulekites left Jerusalem is of no import to Pate, neither is the fact that the Phoenicians did not come on the scene until about 1550 B.C., six hundred years after the Jaredites came to the promised land—via barges they made, not by the hand of Phoenician sailors!
    Getting back to the Mulekites, we can see that the travels and planting along the way by the earlier Nephites would have certainly benefitted the Mulekites who followed, which gives meaning to the comment that the Mulekites were “led by the hand of the Lord” (Omni 1:16). This, by the way, is the same method of travel, leaving help along the way for the next group to pass that way, that the early Pioneers did coming across the plains from Far West to Salt Lake Valley, of which we read about mostly in the journals of those Saints, like that of my own great grandfather, Porter DowDell, who was assigned by Brigham Young to lead the second group of Saints into Salt Lake.
At certain points along the trail, Brigham Young had the pioneers plant seeds and get them started so those who followed would have a crop to harvest and eat along the way 
    We might even look beyond these two groups to the Jaredites before them, who would have been led to the same shore where they spent four years, no doubt planting trees and growing crops for their sustenance during that time and while building their barges, of which the later Nephites wrote: “And we did come to the land which we called Bountiful, because of its much fruit and also wild honey; and all these things were prepared of the Lord that we might not perish. And we beheld the sea, which we called Irreantum, which, being interpreted, is many waters. And it came to pass that we did pitch our tents by the seashore; and notwithstanding we had suffered many afflictions and much difficulty, yea, even so much that we cannot write them all, we were exceedingly rejoiced when we came to the seashore; and we called the place Bountiful, because of its much fruit” (1 Nephi 17:5-6).
     If not planted by the Jaredites, then who? The area was uninhabited after the Flood until a couple of centuries after Lehi left there—and after the Flood, crops would not have been growing there that was not replanted by man.
    But such is the workings of the Lord, for he knows all things from the beginning and plans for them to be in place when and where he needs them.
    Of course, Amaleki tells us that the Mulekites landed along the coast and dwelt there from that time onward, which was where Mosiah found them. Since the Land of Zarahemla did not stretch to the Sea East, that means Zarahemla was off the Sea West, which was the seashore the Mulekites would have landed—not possible if they left via the Mediterranean or crossed the Atlantic as so many theorists want to claim. As Amaleki put it, “And they journeyed in the wilderness, and were brought by the hand of the Lord across the great waters, into the land where Mosiah discovered them; and they had dwelt there from that time forth” (Omni 1:16). Of course, to get around this problem, Michael M. Hobby, himself a champion of Central America, writes: “Even Amaleki himself seems not to have comprehended the full significance of their (Mulekite) role” (Angular Chronology-The Precolumbian Dating of Ancient America, Zarahemla Foundation, Coto Laurel, Puerto Rico, 1994, p 11).
    Naturally, Hobby living and writing more than 2000 years later considers himself to know more than a prophet who was an eye-witness to the events which he writes about.  Amaleki was born in the days of Mosiah (Omni 1:23) and lived into the days of king Benjamin.  His brother went with Zeniff back to reclaim the land of Nephi (Omni 1:30), and he was present when Zarahemla was first encountered, when the Mulekites rejoiced at learning of the brass plates, when the man Zarahemla learned to speak the Nephite language and gave his genealogy, when the stone of Coriantumr was translated by Mosiah, and when the history of the Mulekites was learned.  It seems rather clear from Omni 1:12-30 that Amaleki had a good working knowledge of the Mulekites and their history.
    On the other hand, Richard F. Hauck, seems to want to add other people into the Mulekite mix, when he wrote: “A segment of the Nephites abandoned the land of Nephi probably during the third century B.C. and settled at Zarahemla who included descendants of the migratory party accompanied by Mulek.  (Deciphering the Geography of the book of Mormon, Deseret Book, SLC, 1988, p 21). The scriptural record, of course, does not say that “the people of Zarahemla included descendants of the migratory party accompanied by Mulek.” The scriptures make it clear that all the perople of Zarahemla came from Jerusalem.  As Amaleki wrote: "Mosiah discovered that the people of Zarahemla came out from Jerusalem at the time that Zedekiah, king of Judah, was carried away captive into Babylon" (Omni 1:15). The scriptures do not suggest, hint, or intimate that there were other people among the people of Zarahemla than those who came out of Jerusalem, which seems reasonable to suggest would have been those of the Palace Guard and their families to whom king Zedekiah would have trusted the last of his line!
    Another interesting, but erroneous idea about the Mulekites is one put forth by Hobby when he wrote: “The fact that the city (Zarahemla) was initialy taken by force of arms is also masked in the record, though obvious upon reflection” (ibid, p 9). There is no reflection warranted that would change the wordage found in the scriptural record:
"And they discovered a people, who were called the people of Zarahemla."  And how did these Mulekites react to the Nephite presence?  "Now there was great rejoicing among the people of Zarahemla; and also Zarahemla did rejoince exceedingly." Why did they rejoice? "Because the Lord had sent the people of Mosiah with the plates of brass which contained the record of the Jews" (Omni 1:14.) And what was the result of this rejoicing? "The people of Zarahemla, and of Mosiah, did unite together, and Mosiah was appointed to be their king" (Omni 1:19.) Why did they unite together? "Because the kingdom had been conferred upon none but those who were descendants of Nephi" (Mosiah 25:13). And what was the result of becoming Nephite? "And I will bless thee, and whomsoever shall be called they seed, henceforth and forever" (Alma 3:17).
    There is no scriptural reference, hint, or suggestion that Mosiah and the Nephites took Zarahemla by force of arms. In fact, the Mulekites vastly outnumbered the Nephites (Mosiah 25:2), and were experienced in warfare (Omni 1:17).
    The problem is when trying to piece together the scriptural record as seen through the eyes of many theorists, is that they take you far afield from the truth and cloud the issues until it is difficult to wade through their imaginative ideas and locate the truth.
(See the next post, “Who Were the Mulekites? Part IV,” for the continuation of this regarding Mulek, the youngest son of Zedekiah, and how he came to be in the Land of Promise and found the city of Zarahemla, and who were his descendants and those of his people)