Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Answering Recent Comments – Part V

Continuing with the comments previously mentioned in the last post, the first ten comments were answered in the previous four posts, the eleventh and additional comments are answered beginning below, as well as some other questions that have been asked of me over time and I have not had a chance to answer them until now:
Comment #11 “I have been curious for some time why there were no Book of Mormon place-names in use when the Spanish arrived in the Americas.”
Response: When the Spanish arrived in the area of southern Mexico, they called it New Spain (Viceroyalty of New Spain (Virreinato de Nueva España), governing the area from the former city called Tenochtitlan (not likely the name applied to it in B.C. times), which had been the capital of the Aztec Empire—today, it is called Mexico City. A little later, they created the Viceroyalty of Peru (Virreinato del Perú), governing from the city of Lima, covering the area now known as Peru, Chile, Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay Uruguay, Argentina, Venezuela, Brazil, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago. Ciudad Juarez, which was earlier known as Paso del Norte, has recently changed its name to Heroica Ciudad; Salalah, in Oman, was once called Samhuram, an ancient city, and before that named Bountiful by Lehi. There are two points to make here in answer to your question. 1) Names change, depending upon who is passing through at the time; and 2) When a people leave an area in total, it is left to the next group settling there to name. When the Spanish arrived in the New World, they could care less what names places had been given by the Aztecs, Mayan and Incas—they renamed everything. When the English arrived in what is now the eastern United States, they had no concern for what names areas had been given earlier, renaming them to please their interests, such as New York City, which earlier had been named New Amsterdam by the Dutch settlers, but earlier called Lenapehoking by the Lenni Lenape Indians and today called Manhatten. What the Lamanites called the areas in which they lived is unknown—we have only the Nephite names. When the Nephites were annihilated, so were the names of their cities, lands, and areas. The same thing happened earlier with the Jaredites. We know from Moroni a few names the Jaredites called places that the Nephites renamed for themselves, like the hill Ramah in Jaredite was named the hill Cumorah by the Nephites. Obviously, the Lamanites, with such hatred for the Nephites, not only wiped them out, but would have eliminated anything Nephite from their vocabulary or society.
Comment #12. When Jacob confronts the skeptical Sherem, it seems as if the two never knew each other personally before. The Nephite population would not have been large enough for this to be realistic.”
Response: For an answer, I draw your attention to the earlier posts of October 30 and 31, 2011, "What Was the Population in Jacob's Time When He Confronted Sherem? Parts I and II."  Perhaps you know all your neighbors in your neighborhood, but I do not. On our street that runs for about a mile along a small ridge, there are about twenty houses, of which I know three or four families. Some communities are closely knit, others are not. I think it rather arrogant to consider you know 1) how many people lived at the time of Jacob who, by age, would have  been third generation in the Land of Promise, and 2) that you know exactly how the community of Jacob’s time worked, interacted, and spent their work time and social life. When I was a kid, there was a man who lived in a house up on the hill above us—we used to call it the haunted house, and none of us kids would go near it. I never saw the man, and my parents had no idea who he was or what he was like. Who knows what kind of man Sherem was like in the community where he lived? My sister lives in American Fork where her Ward covers four square blocks, one of my sons lives in Riverside, Utah, and his Ward covers nine square blocks. I live in a city where our Ward covers several square miles. In an earlier time, my wife and I lived in a desert community where we traveled 99 miles to do our home and visiting teaching. Personally, I have no idea what the community in Jacob’s time was like, what distance it covered, and how people interacted with one another. One last thought, there is no wordage in the Book of Mormon to suggest that Sherem did not know Jacob and visa versa—Sherem being unknown was an idea promoted by John L. Sorenson. However, when Sherem “came among the people” does not mean he was not part of the people, only that he came among them preaching (see verse 2), and “sought much opportunity that he might come unto me,” does not suggest he did not know Jacob, only that he could not get an audience with him.” I know who President Monson is, but it is doubtful I could get an audience with him; on the other hand, I know who President Obama is, but there is no chance at all I could get an audience with him.
Comment #13 “It seems stunningly odd that you can write about the Western Hemisphere as though it was anything but uninhabited when the Nephites arrived. Of course, there were actually millions of Native Americans occupying the land from one coast to the other.”
Response: When the Nephites arrived in 600 B.C., no one today or within memory could have known anything about the area, let alone how much it had been inhabited. We simply do not have any knowledge of such matters. Because archaeologists tell us this and that does not make it so—for problems with dating methods of such matters, see the book Scientific Fallacies & Other Myths. On the other hand, when the Jaredites arrived around 2100 B.C., it was only about 200 years after the Flood of Noah. While science does not accept this cataclysm, it surely happened. And since the Lord tells us that this land (the New World—Western Hemisphere) was kept free by the Lord and a chosen land (Ether 13:2), it only stands to reason that the entire area was free of man and when science claims there were “millions of native Americans occupying the land from one coast to the other” they are simply in error, as science often is as is seen by their constantly changing and updating their findings. Still, it should always be kept in mind that the Book of Mormon is not, and has never claimed to be, a history book. What existed and took place outside the parameters of the scriptural record is not known and certainly nothing to be speculated upon.
(See the next post, “Answering Recent Comments – Part VI,” for more comments made about different posts on this website)

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