Thursday, November 3, 2011

Were There Other People in the Land of Promise? Part III

Continuing with the last post, Sorenson’s next points are:

5. “The familiarity of Lehi's people with the words of Old Testament prophets should have led them to expect to be placed in their new land in the midst of other people. The prophets in old Israel had often announced that the tribes of Israel would be "scattered among all people" (Deuteronomy 28:64), would be "removed into all the kingdoms of the earth" (Jeremiah 29:18), and would become "wanderers among the nations" (Hosea 9:17).”

Two points should be made here. 1) The Nephites did not need to be among other people because the Lamanites themselves would be the “scourge unto thy seed, to stir them up in the ways of remembrance” (1 Nephi 2:24). And, most importantly, 2) Lehi received a promise that the land would be reserved for his seed forever if they were righteous. One of the reasons this promise is so prominent in the scripture is that it was very different for any of the House of Isreael to have a land where no one else was located.

As for “scattered among all people,” this was the destiny of the Jews, and for “wanders among the nations,” this was the role of the Lost Ten Tribes. We cannot read into this, as Sorenson so blithely does, that this also meant the Nephites, who were led away from Jerusalem into a “quarter where there never had man been” until the Jaredites reached there (Ether 2:5).

Secondly, Lehi was given a promise that his Land of Promise would be kept from the knowledge of other nations (2 Npehi 1:8), therefore, why should we believe that they “be placed in their new land in the midst of other people”?

6. “Further, "the Lord shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the Lord shall lead you" (Deuteronomy 4:27). These prophecies made plain that the whole house of Israel was subject to being scattered among non-Israelite peoples who would be more numerous than they.”

And, as history has shown, the tribes of Israel have been scattered among the nations of the earth. Today, the descendants of Nephi are scattered upon the lands of the North and South American continents. But this does not mean that they were not given a land free of other people and nations before they fell away as Lehi proclaims. As stated above, the scriptures make it very clear that Lehi was given a promise by the Lord of a land where only his posterity would be (until they fell away and rejected Him), and the Lord always keeps his promises.

7. “The people of Lehi were explicitly told that they would suffer this scattering: Yea, even my father spake much concerning the Gentiles, and also concerning the house of Israel, that they should be compared like unto an olive tree, whose branches should be broken off and should be scattered upon all the face of the earth. Wherefore, he said it must needs be that we should be led with one accord into the land of promise, unto the fulfilling of the word of the Lord, that we should be scattered. (1 Nephi 10:12-13).”

As stated above, scattered they have become. The problem is, Sorenson is linking separate time frames and separate promises into one time frame and one promise. If that were the case, then the Lord’s promises to Lehi for his Land of Promise was a lie before it was issued. Such convoluted thinking on Sorenson’s part is simply inaccurate and very possibly disingenuous.

8. “The allegory of the olive tree spelled their fate out even more plainly. Branches broken off the tame tree, which represented historical Israel (see Jacob 5:3), were to be grafted onto the roots of "wild" olive trees, meaning non-Israelite groups. That is, there was to be a demographic union between two groups, "young and tender branches" from the original tree, Israel, represented as being grafted onto wild rootstock in various parts of the vineyard or earth (see Jacob 5:8—9).

This took place when the Church was restored by “Gentiles” and has been taught to many of Lehi’s descendants, the “Indians” of North, Central and South America in very large numbers.

(See the next post, “Were There Other People in the Land of Promise? Part IV,” for more on Sorenson’s comments about other people in the land of promise)


  1. I have noticed how contrary to popular assumption the Mormon doctrine of Native Americans being Israelites in't about the "Lost Tribes" at all.

    In fact I've noticed a high tendency for Mormons to believe in British Israelism.

    Then of course Joseph's Smith's claim that he descended form Jesus further complicates things. How does a Mormon apologist genealogically back that up?

  2. I respond to this post somewhat here