Monday, March 14, 2011

Were The Jaredites All Annihilated or Were There Survivors? Part IV

It is hard to imagine how anyone can misconstrue the simple language of the Book of Ether regarding the total annihilation of the Jaredite nation down to the last man. However, Mesoamerican theorists, including Nibley, Sorenson, Hauck, et all, have insisted that Jaredites not only survived, but those survivors lived among the Mulekites, Nephites, and the Lamanites. They also claim that the Mulekites landed in the Land Northward and lived among the Jaredites before traveling south, which is contrary to Omni 1:16.

Yet, as has been shown in the last three posts, this does not agree with clearly stated scripture on the matter. Yet, Nibley wants us to believe that we are "over-simplifying the destruction of the Jaredites,” and that "only laziness and vanity lead the student to the early conviction that he has the final answers on what the Book of Mormon contains.”

Nibley also claims that the word “destroy” should be taken, as are so many other key words in the book, in its primary and original sense: "to unbuild, to separate violently into its constituent parts; to break up the structure”—that is, it is all right to say the Jaredite nation was destroyed, but not every man, woman and child, even though Ether never uses the word nation, only people. And, too, Nibley’s definition of “destroy” is a modern derivation of the original meaning of the word.

Turning to the time frame in which Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon (1829), we find an 1828 Noah Webster’s “American Dictionary of the English Language,” in which he describes the word “destroy” as: "to ruin, to annihilate; to lay waste, to make desolate, to kill, to slay, to extirpate (to pull or pluck up by the roots, to root out, to eradicate, to destroy totally); to cause to cease, to put an end to. In general, to put an end to, to annihilate."

The Lord said he would destroy man with the Flood. No one questions that only Noah and his immediately family were saved—all others perished

While Nibley quotes the destruction of Israel in several scriptures as not a total destruction, he fails to quote from Numbers 32 "Ye shall destroy all this people" and in Genesis 6:7 "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth" meaning all those evil and wicked who were completely and utterly destroyed or annihilated; and from Psalms, "All the wicked will he destroy,” which can only be understood as a total, annihilation or destruction.

But mainly, Ether tells us clearly and distinctly, that all were destroyed. All were killed. Only Coriantumr remained alive. To claim otherwise is to inject into scripture that which is not written, indicated, or suggested. Thus, the Jaredites were completely destroyed and none remained save it were Coriantumr who saw another people inherit the land, a people who buried him soon after as Ether prophesied (Ether 13:21).

Now, if Coriantumr was not the last Jaredite alive to see the land inherited by others, then why would the Lord have Either prophesy to him of this event? What would be the purpose of discussing another people to inherit the land if there were to be many Jaredites left alive. How could another people inherit the land if the land was already inherited by Jaredites who were not involved in this total annihilation? Such a prophesy would be meaningless for Ether to utter to Coriantumr, since, if all the Jaredites were not involved in this war, then he would know it and the words of Either would have no meaning. Nor would they have meaning when the Lord told Ether to go out and see that his word had been fulfilled.

No, scholars and theorists cannot change the meaning of scripture to fit their models and ideas.

Either wrote that in the first year of the war many were slain (Ether 13:18) in a conflict that involved every man (Ether 13:25). As the war continued, many thousands fell by the sword (Ether 14:4), and at one point part of Coriantumr’s army was slain (Ether 14:5), and people began to flock together in armies throughout all the face of the land (Ether 14:19), and as the war progressed, the whole face of the land was covered with the bodies of the dead (Ether 14:21). These dead included men, women and children (Ether 14:22), and since men had more than one wife (Ether 14:2), the numbers of the women and children would have been extensive. And as the armies chased one another they killed all the inhabitants that would not join their armies (Ether 14:27). Now the loss of men, women and children on both sides was so great that Shiz stopped chasing Coriantumr (Ether 14:31). Later the number killed of Coriantumr’s people was two million men, plus their wives and their children (Ether 15:1-2). Both armies gathered together all the people upon all the face of the land, who had not been slain, save it was Ether (Ether 15:12), an effort that took four years gathering together all who were upon the face of the land, including men, women and children (Ether 15:14-15). Finally, after the armies whittled down each other, all were killed except Coriantumr and Ether (Ether 15:29-30,33).

This sounds pretty definitive. Perhaps it is Nibley, as many scholars do, that is trying to over-scholarize the simple wordage of the scriptures. Men of letters often try to complicate matters so they can show forth their knowledge. But the Lord speaks to the average man—not to the scholar only. Thus, the simple wordage of the scriptures are open to the understanding of simple men who are taught by the spirit, not by academia.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you; the scriptures are pretty clear about a total destruction of everyone in their nation. What I have wondered about is the possibility of a split off group that was no longer considered part of the original nation. If some group or groups of Jaredites left the main group a few hundred years earlier and settled in other far way parts of the Americas, they may have lost all contact with the main body of Jaredites and they may not have been considered part of the nation that was being totally destroyed. I am thinking of what happened with Haggoth and how their group would not have been included in the rest of Nephite history once they were "lost." Though I am not determined that this theory is right or needs to be right, I like if for a few reasons. What are your thoughts about this idea?