Friday, October 26, 2012

Answering Recent Comments – Part XXI

Continuing with the comments previously mentioned in the last post, the first seventy-three comments were answered in the previous 20 posts, the seventy-fourth and additional comments are answered beginning below:
Comment #74 “I don’t know why others don’t see this, but I find the Nineteenth-Century American Phraseology of the Book of Mormon proof of the fact the Book of Mormon is a big fraud.” Oliver.
Response: Perhaps, if you understood how the Book of Mormon came about, you might have a different opinion on this issue. The original plates from which the scriptural record was taken were written by many different prophets anciently, between about 2100 B.C. and 421 A.D. Sometime around 350 to 375 A.D., those writings were abridged (condensed) and rewritten by one individual, the prophet Mormon (with a small portion by his son, Moroni). In the 1820s, Joseph Smith, was directed by that last writer, Moroni, now appearing as an angel sent from God, to translate the plates into English and have it printed in a book for distribution to mankind (like the Bible). Joseph Smith was not a professionally educated person, but a young man living in the New England area. His translation is in his own words—that of 19th-century New England English, and obviously would have “nineteenth-century phraseology.” You might not agree with what is written, or that God was involved, etc., which is your prerogative, however, the fact that the phraseology is such is not a deterrent to its authenticity.
Comment #75 “I have to chuckle once in a while from what is written in the Book of Mormon. Take for instance, about 90 B.C., Alma 17:26 suggests that "all the Lamanites drive their flocks hither” (to the water of Sebus). By then the Lamanties presumably numbered in the hundreds of thousands, and we are asked to believe that literally all of this great nation, which occupied a substantial part of Central America, traveled great distances to water their flocks in one place. Is this probable?” Connelly.
While in the Lamanite king’s service, Ammon defends the king’s sheep from other Lamanites trying to drive them off
Response: I’m glad you got a chuckle. I certainly got a chuckle out of your question. If you were to actually read the sequence you are poking fun at, you might find that this had to do with the Land of Ishmael, over which a Lamanite sub-king Lamoni ruled (the king over all the Lamanite lands was Lamoni’s father; and in addition, when “land” is mentioned in the scriptural record, it usually refers to that land immediately around a single city). The water of Sebus was an area where the flocks of those Lamanites in that land (or city, or settlement, etc.) tended to water their livestock. If you were to travel through Africa today, you would find that most settlements water their livestock in a local waterhole. In any event, you make two misjudgments: 1) The Land of Ishmael is not all of the land the Lamanites occupied; the term Lamanite here is used by a Nephite and refers to those people who only live in that land, not every Lamanite in existence in the many lands round about—how many lived in the land of Ishmael, or that city, is not given; 2) all the Lamanites did not water their flocks at the same time. If you read the following verse, it tells you: “…as Ammon and the servants of the king were driving forth their flocks to this place of water, behold, a certain number of the Lamanites, who had been with their flocks to water…” suggesting that some, a few, but certainly not every Lamanite, was there at the water—again telling us that not every Lamanite led their flocks to water at the same time.
Comment #76 “Two things are annoyingly bothersome about your Book of Mormon—not only did God cause a skin of blackness to come upon the Lamanites (2 Nephi 5:21-23), but those Lamanites who later joined with the Nephites had their skin become white like unto the Nephites between the thirteenth and fourteenth year (3 Nephi 2:13-17)—after all, everyone knows skin color is not going to change in a single year but takes a long evolutionary period. And what about today, many Lamanites have joined your church but their skin color has not been changed to white.” Carmen.
Response: First, as has already been stated in these last posts, God created DNA, can change DNA, and the speed or time in which it takes is within His ability to control. What man considers an evolutionary process God has absolute control over, and can bring about his purposes within any time frame He sees fit. Second, in the days of the Book of Mormon, the difference in skin color separated the Lamanites from the Nephites, which was one of the purposes of the curse and mark in the first place “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). Today, that is not the case, and there is no need to bring about such a change for it is not the mark that separates righteous from evil as in the day of the Nephites.
Comment #77 “The whole issue of the Book of Mormon plates and the information contained on them leaves much to be desired. M.T. Lamb, claimed there was too much info in the 500 pages of English text to have fit on the plates. Reed Putnam, using Joseph Smith’s measurements, speculated that each plate may have been .02-of an inch thick and each plate occupying up to .05 of an inch due to unevenness from hammering the plates and airspace between them. He estimated 20 pages to the inch, or 120 plates, engraved front and back, for 240 such plate pages. However, using Egyptian Demotic of the fifth century B.C. would require over 500 such plates.”
Response: Putnam’s measurements were speculation. We do not have sufficient information to make such a decision. If they were .02-inch with .02 airspace, or .015-inch, and .015-inch airspace, etc., there would be more than enough space. How can you speculate on something, come up with figures based on unknown factors, and then suggest that the answer shows an error, etc. Perhaps we would be better served by sticking to something that is clearly known and, therefore, can be correctly measured.
Comment #78 “John Sorenson points out that Latter-day Saints are not used to the idea that other people than Lehi’s immediate descendant were on the Book of Mormon scene, and claims abundant evidence from archaeological and linguistic studies assures us that such people were indeed present. How does he know that?” Marcella.
Response: “Archaeologists and Anthropologists like to make up entire civilizations from a piece of broken pottery,” is a quote from an archaeologist who disagrees with such practice, which I quote and discuss at length in my book, Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica. The answer to your question lies in the problem that all Mesoamerican Theorists have about the Book of Mormon lands. They try to add things that didn’t exist in the scriptural record to verify their supposed location or model. The quick answer to most things John L. Sorenson has written regarding Mesoamerica is that he is flat-out wrong. If you would like to know more about this line of thinking, read my book Inaccuracies of Mesoamerican & Other Theorists, which includes a list of Sorenson's incorrect statements about what is written in the Book of Mormon.
Comment #79 “Secular records show 593 years between Lehi’s departure and Jesus’ birth, but the Book of Mormon has it at 600 years—why the discrepancy?” Bellamy.
The mighty Babylonian armies of Nebuchadnezzar raze the city of Jerusalem, and Bring the Jewish kingdom led by Zedekiah to an end
Response: The Babylonian Chronicles give 2 Adar (16 March) 597 as the date Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem, therefore Zedekiah became king in the spring of 597 B.C. His first full year as king was 597/596 B.C., therefore Lehi left Jerusalem in 597 B.C., as nearly all LDS scholars on the subject agree. Why Lehi wrote 600 B.C. is not known. I suppose a person could come up with several good answers, but we simply do not know.
(See the next post, “Answering Recent Comments – Part XXII,” for more comments made about different posts on this website)

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