Monday, October 15, 2012

Answering Recent Comments – Part X

Continuing with the comments previously mentioned in the last post, the first thirty-two comments were answered in the previous nine posts, the thirty-third and additional comments are answered beginning below:
Comment #33Why, if the American Indians were descended from Lehi, was there such diversity in their languages, and why were there no vestiges of Hebrew in any of them?”
Response: In 600 B.C., Lehi, who had lived at Jerusalem all his life, obviously spoke Hebrew. We also understand that he was involved in some way with Egypt, and thus knew and understood a form of Egyptian writing that is called Reformed Egyptian in the scriptural record. We also know that in the 1000 years of the Nephite nation, both the Reformed Egyptian and Hebrew had been altered by them. In addition, we know that the Mulekites, from Jerusalem, landed in the Land of Promise a few years after Lehi, but within about 300 years or so, had completely basterdized their Hebrew until no Nephite could understand them. The reason given was that they brought no records—that is, had nothing written of their history, heritage, or language. In many posts over the past couple of years, I have shown how the English language has changed so drastically since the 1600s, both in England and in the U.S. In fact, it is very difficult to read English written before 1800, just two hundred years ago. Now, consider how languages change over centuries, and how regional dialects are altered. For those who have never traveled into the rural areas of various regions within the U.S., you might not realize how difficult it is to understand someone speaking English. In the movie, My Fair Lady, taken from the 1912 George Bernard Shaw play, Pygmalion, Eliza Doolittle, who speaks Cockney in Covent Gardens, speaks a form of English that is most difficult to understand and Henry Higgins takes on the task of giving her elocution lessons to teach her how to speak proper English.
The point of all this is simple, when the Nephites were annihilated, the Lamanites continued in civil wars for more than thirty-five years and no one knew when the wars would end. The result was that different tribal groups rose out of the ashes of the Lamanite demise, each suspicious of one another, and holding to their own. This is not unlike what the English settlers found in North America when they came west. Such groups, over time, degenerated into individually speaking bands until their language was completely different from one another. Even in North America, Indian tribes that were related to one another, did not speak the same language, often reverted to sign language to communicate. In fact, it would be really suspicious, after all the years of the Lamanites fighting among themselves, if all these Lamanite tribes spoke the same language.
As for no Hebrew and Egyptian, language has always changed over time, and we are talking about more than 1000 years after the Nephite demise, with no written language, no books, no teachers, no education system, no method of teaching each subsequent generation how to properly spell, write, and speak the language.
A sidenote on Reformed Egyptian. If it was, indeed, a type of “shorthand” that a few Egyptian merchants used, and Lehi picked it up from them when transacting business, it would not be considered an actual “Egyptian language.” Take modern shorthand, for instance. Shorthand, or Stenography, or Tachgraphy, are terms applied to all systems of brief handwriting which are intended to enable a person to write legibly at the rate of speech. Even the ancient Greeks (4th century B.C.) and Romans Latin Tyronian (1st century B.C.) had a tachygraphy. I learned Gregg Shorthand in school for fun, but had no idea there were dozens of shorthand methods, and each is different from the other. I can read the top left in the image below, but none of the others.
 Top LtoR: Gregg Shorthand; Gabelsberger Shorthand; Proba-Script Shorthand; Melin Shorthand; Bottom LtoR: Abraham Lincoln’s shorthand; Pepys diary shorthand
Comment #34 “I want to thank you for your posts that have really enlightened me about the Book of Mormon; however, I have always wondered about the fact that you do baptism for the dead when both Mosiah 3:25 and the Bible state that there is no chance of salvation after death?”
Response: I guess the best way to answer this is to state that there are two types of people who go into the spirit world after death (over simplification, I know); those who were evil in this life and those who were good. Of those who were evil, Mosiah addressed his comments, “And if they be evil they are consigned to an awful view of their own guilt and abominations, which doth cause them to shrink from the presence of the Lord into a state of misery and endless torment, from whence they can no more return; therefore they have drunk damnation to their own souls” (Mosiah 3:25). For them, there is no chance for exaltation. But of those who were good, and had never heard of Jesus Christ or the gospel, or never had the chance in this life to accept His teachings, etc., we baptize in case, in the spirit world, they are taught the gospel and accept it. It was Alma who taught, “Yea, I would that ye would come forth and harden not your hearts any longer; for behold, now is the time and the day of your salvation; and therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you. For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors” (Alma 34:31-32). This life is the time for our repentance, not after death; however, many, many millions of people have lived and died without a knowledge of Christ, or of his gospel. To those, a loving Father in Heaven has decreed that we do the work assigned to us in this matter.
Comment #35 Why does the Mormon Church teach that we can be married in heaven when Jesus said in Matthew 22:30 that in the resurrection men neither marry, nor are they given in marriage?”
Response: While this is a doctrinal question, not a Land of Promise question, I’ll simply state that if you are not married for time and all eternity while on earth by those who hold the keys to do so, the opportunity will not be available to you in the next life; however, since so many millions have lived and died without an opportunity for this, we perform proxy marriages for the dead, should they accept the gospel, etc., in the Spirit World. As the Lord told his apostles, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:19).
(See the next post, “Answering Recent Comments – Part XI,” for more comments made about different posts on this website)

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