Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Answering Recent Comments – Part XVIII

Continuing with the comments previously mentioned in the last post, the first sixty comments were answered in the previous 17 posts, the sixty-first and additional comments are answered beginning below:
Comment #61 You Mormons claim the Nephites sailed east from Palestine and came ashore in South or Central America. The Mulekites are inferred to have crossed the Atlantic and landed on the Caribbean coast of Central America. Just what it was about the American environment that caused all these Caucasians to turn into Amerindians is unclear, but most Mormons will tell you it was "sin" that did it. Sounds rather ridiculous, don’t you think?”
Response: When Cain killed his brother Able, the Lord cursed him and placed a mark upon him (Genesis 4:11-16). The curse was that the earth would not yield its fruits to Cain’s future efforts, and the mark was to set him apart as a fugitive and a wanderer and to preserve his life. The Syriac Christianity of the 1st century A.D. claims the mark was a black skin, as does the Eastern Christian Armenian Adam-book of the 4th Century A.D. The Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible, says: “And Enoch also beheld the residue of the people which were the sons of Adam; and they were a mixture of all the seed of Adam save it was the seed of Cain, for the seed of Cain were black, and had not place among them.” However, you want to interpret Genesis 4:11-16, the point is that for sin, or because of sin, Cain was marked and cursed. So, yes, for sin, the sons of Lehi, Laban and Lemuel, and those with them, were marked and cursed for their sins, which mark and curse survived the thousand years of the Book of Mormon and remained with Laban and Lemuel’s seed or descendants. Personally, I never consider what the Lord does as being ridiculous. It may not be understood by the human finite mind, but God’s infinite knowledge far exceeds anything human. As a sidelight, the Lehi Colony traveled south, then south by southeast along the red sea from the Palestine area and finally nearly eastward until they reached the Arabian Sea. From there they sailed to the Western Hemisphere. It is unlikely that the Mulekites sailed, across the Atlantic, but probably followed along about ten years later the same course the Lehi Colony took. Also, Caucasians did not turn into Amerindians—the Lamanite civilization survived the wars with the Nephites and were all that remained in the Land of Promise (Western Hemisphere). They are, at least in part, the original American Indians.
Comment #62 “I read somewhere about the Book of Mormon geography, that for any two places on a map, there are two pieces of information that describe the relationship of one place to the other.  One piece describes one place as north or south of the other place.  The other piece of information describes one place as east or west of the other.  A visual way to show these relationships is to draw a line between the two places.  If there are 3 places, there are 3 lines (or 6 relationships).  For 4 places, there are 6 lines that connect all 4 places (12 relationships).  For 5 places, 10 lines connect each place (20 relationships), etc.”
Response: You have to love people who try to use information, scientific or not, to locate the cities, rivers, valleys, mountains, etc., of the Book of Mormon from the meager details left us by Mormon in his abridgement. There are so few locations that can be identified, if for no other reason than we do not know any distances between two points. As an example, Wendover is west of Salt Lake City, and both Elko and San Francisco are west of that. Does that give you a clear picture of the distances between these cities? Provo is south of Salt Lake City, as is both Milford and Montecello, with Phoenix south of both of them. Does that give you any idea of the distances or actual directions involved? We know that the city of Zarahemla was north of the city of Nephi—but to the east, west, or directly north? The city of Bountiful was far to the north, and the city of Desolation to the north of that—but at what distances and in what exact direction? We know that Manti was to the west of the Sidon River, and Moroni to the east, but we do not know at what distances from the river either city was, or the distance from Manti to Moroni. As an example, using more or less Book of Mormon directions, but using a location within the United States and the cities therein, see if you can draw a logical map with reasonably accurate distances of the following real locations without seeking the internet, atlas, or map. Troy is south of Wetumpka, which is west of Lake Martin, with Cataula to the east of that, Butler to the east of that, Manchester to the north, and Tyrone and Fairburn to the north of that. And so far north you come to Harrison Bay near Middle Valley and the city of Soddy-Daisy. I think you would agree that such information does not help much except in very general terms, yet, these areas actually exist, and is located in the area of Alabama, Georgia and Kentucky. In addition, the information you quote, by the way, is in relationship to a Mesoamerican model setting, which is not where the Land of Promise was located.
Comment #63 You say the Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible. Why then is there no archaeological evidence for the Book of Mormon's "cities, persons, animals, fabrics, metals, wars and war implements, kings, palaces, or crops" but "the archaeological evidence for the Bible is so convincing that even a former skeptic such as the great archaeologist Sir William Ramsay became converted to Christian belief."
Response: I can’t speak for William Ramsey, however, while there is evidence of the city of Jericho, there is no archaeological evidence for the Good Samaritan who was on his way there. While there is a place called Bethlehem, there is no archaeological evidence of a stable where Christ was born. Except in Jewish tradition, there is no archaeological evidence of David’s defeat of Goliath, Samson’s pulling down the Philistine Temple of Dagon, or that Peter and the others fished on the Sea of Galilee. Not even science believes there is any evidence of the Great Flood. Now don’t get me wrong, I believe in all those things, but when someone starts talking about no evidence of the Book of Mormon, we are trying to compare apples and oranges. I remember in my early youth, there were many who did not accept the Bible, but over time, little by little (thousands of years as a matter of fact), the Bible has become more and more accepted. The Book of Mormon has only been in print 182 years. Few people have really been involved in archaeological evidence to prove it, etc., and almost no one ever in South America. As for evidence, there is plenty of evidence in South America (and some in Mesoamerica) of an advanced civilization during Book of Mormon times, numerous accomplishments rivaling and, in some cases according to the early conquistadors, surpassing Spain and even Rome’s accomplishments. However, is there evidence that Alma built churches there, is there evidence that Hagoth had a shipyard, or that King Benjamin addressed his people form a tower built within the temple grounds? Of course not. The kind of evidence that proves something like Biblical or Book of Mormon events is always coupled with faith, belief and understanding. That, over time, the Bible has earned. But by comparison, the Book of Mormon is only in its infancy—in the Bible’s infancy, few people believed in it.
(See the next post, “Answering Recent Comments – Part XIX,” for more comments made about different posts on this website)

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