Saturday, April 21, 2012

Did the Land of Promise Span Two Continents? Part VI

Continuing with Covino's book and Elieson's map as shown on the Alpha Publishing and Book of Mormon Geography websites, we pick up again with their comments and our responses, continuing with the last comment regarding Hugh Nibley.

Response: At the same time, Nibley was not convinced huge artifacts of buildings typified the Nephites. In a 1972 Ensign article, he wrote: "The archaeologist finds virtually nothing of the remains of the primitive Christian church until the fourth century, because the true church was not interested in buildings and deliberately avoided the acquisition of lands and edifices that might bend it and its interests to this world. The Book of Mormon is a history of a related primitive church, and one may well ask what kind of remains the Nephites would leave us from their more virtuous days. A closer approximation to the Book of Mormon picture of Nephite culture is seen in the earth and palisade structures of the Hopewell and Adena culture areas than in the later stately piles of stone in Mesoamerica."

That, too, is an interesting view of Hugh Nibley. I wonder what he might have thought of the "primitive" Church in Kirtland and later in Nauvoo with their magnificent temples, or the early church in Salt Lake building the fabulous Tabernacle,  the beautiful Assembly Hall, and magnificent Temple? It seems to me that the Church in modern times has been very busy building edifices to the Lord, as no doubt the early Nephites were--certainly the Jews in Jerusalem built a mighty temple in Solomon's time. Consider Nephi's words: "And I did teach my people to build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance. And I, Nephi, did build a temple; and I did construct it after the manner of the temple of Sololmon save it were not built of so many precious things; for they were not to be found upon the land, wherefore, it could not be built like unto Sololmon's temple. But the manner of the construction was like unto the temple of Solomon; and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine" (2 Nephi 5:15-16).

Evidently the Nephites were very busy building structures out of stone, iron, copper, steel and precious ores.

As for the palisade structures of the Hopewell and Andena culture areas, perhaps we should consider at least one comment in the Book of Mormon. When Samuel the Lamanite returned to the city of Zarahemla, "And now it came to pass that there were many who heard the words of Samuel, the Lamanite, which he spake upon the walls of the city." It seems it would have been extremely difficult to stand upon a palisade structure of the Hopewell and Adena culture. Not only did Samuel stand upon the walls of the city but evidently at quite some elevation for the archers could not hit him with their arrows.

Also consider, that both Nephi and Sam grew up around Jerusalem. Their father, Lehi preached in Jerusalem. Certainly, Nephi knew and understood rock masonry and the structures of the city of Jerusalem, and obviously knew of Solomon's Temple, no doubt having visited it, for he was able to make a comparison between how it was constructed and how he constructed his temple in the Land of Promise. Consider, too, that Nephi knowing of the temple at Jerusalem said of his own temple: "I Nephi, did built a temple; and I did construct it after the manner of the temple of Solomon...the manner of the construction was like unto the temple of Solomon."

In this, as in all situations when deciding between scripture and man's ideas, I will take Helaman and Npehi's words over those of Nibley. However, people like Covino and other theorists, evidently prefer those words of man over those of the scripture.

Comment: "Many try to prove the Book with archaeological findings. That only proves a people lived at a place, not who they were. As more archaeological evidence and DNA is uncovered, more of this version of the geography has been vindicated and exonerated."

Response:  I agree that archaeological findings are no substitute for what the ancient prophets wrote that we have now as scripture. On the other hand, I also believe the same about DNA. First of all, as has been written here before, DNA is not a proven science no matter how much scientists want us to believe that. The errors abound in such work and have been written about by scientists for years. Secondly, when the Lord changed the Lamanite and Ismaelite skin color, along with those who joined them, He did so through the same methods he created all mankind, of which DNA is a part. Obviously, to change a skin color (or any other physical character of the human body), He used, in part, what we call DNA. Stated differently, the Lord changed the DNA of the Lamanties and all those Nephites who joined them, thus producing the dark skin and whatever characteristics that were involved. "And he caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them" (2 Nephi 5:21).

Understanding that, there is no way any DNA record of Lamanite descendants today have any bearing on any group of Native Americans in the Western Hemisphere--for who today can fine a pure Lamanite? There has been enormous intermarrying with European, Asiatic, and other races and groups and people over the 1500 years since, that DNA could not possibly show anything at all worthwhile. Who would you trace a changed DNA to? In all the generations from 400 A.D. to the present, how much would the DNA change? Any one who relies on DNA to try and prove anything of the Book of Mormon is simply using data that has absolutely no value whatever.

(See the next post, "Did the Land of Promise Span Two Continents? Part VII" for more on Covino's book and the website material)

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