Tuesday, April 20, 2010

How Fast Can Nephite Numbers Grow?

In order to justify the population numbers the scriptures seem to indicate among the Lamanites and Nephites, Mesoamerican Theorists try to claim, contrary to the scriptures, that other, indigenous people populated the Land of Promise prior to the Nephites arrival, and that they, along with numerous Jaredites, were absorbed into the Mulekite, Lamanite and Nephite societies. Several posts in this blog have been about this issue.

However, it should not be overlooked that natural circumstances can increase populations significantly in a few generations. Take the Israelites that ventured into Egypt. In addition to Joseph, who was already there when Jacob brought his family down into Egypt, there were seventy people in his group (Exodus 1:5). Compare that with about 100 to 120 Nephites arriving, and an untold number of Mulekites.

The descendants of these 75 people spent 430 years in Egypt before they were led out into the wilderness by Moses (Exodus 12:40) which was in the month of Abib in that year (Exodus 13:4). Two years after they left Egypt (432 years after their arrival), Moses had a census taken of all males twenty years or older in the Israelite camp capable of going to war, which totaled 603,550 (Numbers 1:45-46; 2:32). A later count by tribe is given in which all males one month and older are counted that numbers 1,041,450. Neither of these two number counts included the tribe of Levi, which would have been about 1/12th of the total Israelites, or numbers 658,418 and 1,136,036 respectively. When adding women and girls, it has been suggested that the total number of Israelites leaving Egypt was at least 3,000,000.

Thus it can be seen from scriptures that the population of an area by a small number of people (in this case, probably 75; 70 coming into Egypt and Joseph, his wife, and three children totaling 75), resulted in three million within 432 years.

Yet Sorenson and other Mesoamerican Theorists cannot believe that the Nephites could have multiplied in sufficient numbers to warrant the population the scriptures suggest. Therefore, they have created indigenous populations that were absorbed into the Nephite and Lamanite populations in order to equate the large numbers suggested. And, obviously, match their Mesoamerican models of other peoples in Central America during the time of the Book of Mormon.

When one does not have a preconceived idea, it is easier to understand and interpret the scriptures as they were meant. But when one has a model already determined, one must either discard it when the scriptures do not agree with it, or change, alter, or demean the scriptures in order to maintain the model—unfortunately, this is what all Mesoamerican, Great Lakes and other theorists have done for decades (see my book “Inaccuracies of Mesoamerican & Other Theorists” for more than 500 different examples).

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