Sunday, October 21, 2012

Answering Recent Comments – Part XVI

Continuing with the comments previously mentioned in the last post, the first fifty-three comments were answered in the previous 15 posts, the fifty-fourth and additional comments are answered beginning below:
Comment #54 “You Mormons talk about the Bible being the word of God so long as it is translated correctly; however, you do not hold the same for the Book of Mormon. In addition, how does anyone know if all the different languages you have translated the Book of Mormon into have been translated correctly?”
Response: Five points in answer: 1) Early transcribers of the Bible were more like copyists, not translators, and their mistakes were often intentional, changing wordage and meaning to fit their church understanding of what the scriptures meant, not specifically what they said. In addition, there were translators who may not have been interested in being 100% accurate. One example of this problem is that of the scholar Erasmus in 1516—he was so moved to correct the numerous errors in the corrupt Latin Vulgate, that with the help of printer John Froben, he published a Greek-Latin Parallel New Testament; 2) There are numerous versions of the Bible--today there are some 450 different versions or translations, with the top ten sellers being the New American Bible, the New Revised Standard Version, New International Version, King James Version, The Message, New American Standard Bible, New Living Translation, Revised Standard Version, Amplified Bible, and the Orthodoxy Study Bible. There is also the New King James Version, etc. 3) There were numerous translations, each providing a chance of error: The Hebrew Bible was translated into three Greek versions (the Theodotion, Symmachus, and Aquila Septuagints), into Latin (St. Jerome Latin Vulgate, Old Latin Septuagint), into Aramaic (Targums), into Syriac (Peshitta), into Masonretic Text consonantal and Masoretic Text pointed, German (Luther and Zwingli), into English (Nicholas Hereford Version, John Purvey Version), and various others (William Tyndale, John Rogers, Richard Taverner, Great Bible, Bishop’s Bible, King James (1611), Revised Version, Revised Standard Version, Revised Standard Version (Catholic Edition), Jerusalem (English) Version, New Revised Standard Version, Good News Version, New International Version, John Paul II Neo-Vulgate, etc.; 4) The Book of Mormon was translated only once, from the original writings of ancient prophets, through the Urim and Thummim under the guidance of the Spirit; and 5) All translations from the original English translation into other languages is a most careful process, with the only structure change in a single language at a time, not from language to language to language, etc. with the biggest difference in having the original translation available for checking, and all translations double-checked against the original translation—something the earlier copyists and translators did not have.
Comment #55 “With the Hill Cumorah in upstate New Yori, where the plates were retrieved and where the final battle of the Nephites and Lamanites took place, it seems ridiculously strange that the two opposing armies would have marched the thousands of miles from Central America (or even further from South America) in order to stage their final conflict. There is no way that makes sense and yet another proof of the falseness of your Book of Mormon.”
Response: You are absolutely correct—it would be ridiculous to make such a march. That is why the Hill Cumorah in upstate New York where Joseph Smith was directed by the angel Moroni to secure the plates, is simply another hill with the same name in a totally different geographical area. First of all, it is not unusual for people (all people) when settling an area to give a place a name from an earlier time. When Lehi reached the Irreantum Sea (Arabian Sea), he named the place Bountiful—and when the Nephites settled the furthest northern area of the Land Southward in the Land of Promise, they also named it Bountiful--in a totally different hemisphere. Several names in the Book of Mormon were Old World names, including a city of Jerusalem in the Land of Promise. When the early Spanish came into the New World, they named the entire area that was under their control by the name: New Spain, and the English settlers arrived in the New World named many places after Old World cities and areas. The fact that a hill in New York was also named Cumorah is not unusual as long as we remember that the name Cumorah came from the angel and was known as such within the early Church—that was not the name of the hill as known by local and earlier settlers of the area, in fact historically, it had no name at all. After Joseph Smith, the hill became known to those outside the church as Mormon Hill, Gold Bible Hill, and to some members as Inspiration Point. As for the distance involved between the two areas, it would be far easier for one man—Moroni—to move the plates from an original Hill Cumorah in the Land of Promise to the hill in Manchester, New York, than to assume or make a case for two opposing armies to march thousands of unnecessary miles to do battle.
Comment #56 Another significant problem for traditional Book of Mormon geography involves the premise that the native populations of the vast North and South American continents are the descendents of two tiny groups of transoceanic Semitic immigrants (the Jaredites, who arrived in the New World between 3000 - 2000 B.C. but later battled themselves to extinction, and the Nephites and Mulekites, who arrived beginning about 600 B.C.)”
Response: There is no question that many members of the Church think or believe that all American Indians are descendants of the Lamanites of the Book of Mormon. When Moroni, the last Nephite, wrote in about 400 A.D., “After the waters had receded from off the face of this land it became a choice land above all other lands, a chosen land of the Lord; wherefore the Lord would have that all men should serve him who dwell upon the face thereof” (Ether 13:2). The waters was the Great Flood of Noah’s time, about 200 to 300 years or so before the Jaredites arrived. If any people were led to that land between the Flood waters receding and the Jaredite arrive, we have no knowledge, nor is there any reference of such in the scriptural record. When the Lord told Ether to call Coriantumr to repentance or he would destroy him and his nation, and that he “should only live to see the fulfilling of the prophecies which had been spoken concerning another people receiving the land for their inheritance” (Ether 13:21) there could have been no others already in the land or the prophesy would not have made sense. That “other people,” then, was obviously the Mulekites into whose city he wandered, lived for nine months, and then died. Had anyone else been in the Land of Promise, then the Lord’s prophesy to Coriantumr through Ether would have been in error. When the Lord promised Lehi that his land of promise would be kept from the knowledge of others, and the only other people shown Lehi and Nephi in visions were the gentiles of Columbus time and afterward, then one must recognize that we are seeing any reference whatever of any other people at any time in the Land of Promise prior to the last words written by Moroni in 421 A.D. By the time the Nephites (and Mulekites) arrived from Jerusalem in about 600 to 585 B.C., the Jaredites were near extinction. Again, if there were any others in the Land of Promise prior to that than these three groups, we have no evidence from the scriptural record. Thus, any combination of other people mixed in with the blood line of the various tribes and peoples found in the New World when the Spanish and later French and English arrived would have to have been after the demise of the Nephites. What peoples mixed with what tribes, etc., is not known, but obviously, and with certainty, many lineages were intermixed after the sixteenth century.
(See the next post, “Answering Recent Comments – Part XV,” for more comments made about different posts on this website)

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