Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Answering Recent Comments – Part XXVI

Continuing with the comments previously mentioned in the last post, the first one hundred and two comments were answered in the previous 25 posts, the one hundred and third and additional comments are answered beginning below:
Comment #103 Do you not think that the Lord had a knowledge of where in time Joseph would need to live.. what country.. the time period, the place.. before he was born? Could not Moroni be directed where to bury the plates and what to say to Joseph, so Joseph would indeed find them?” Teodoro.
Response: Absolutely. God knows the beginning from the end. It is all planned and He knows exactly when this or that will happen. Joseph Smith’s family lived where they did to fulfill the Lord’s purposes; the plates were buried in the hill in upstate New York where Joseph would be when the time for him to be led to them came. The hill in upstate New York did not have a local name before the plates were uncovered there. Moroni told Joseph the name of the hill, which was a perfect tie in to the scriptural record Joseph would soon be translating. To the Creator of all things, nothing is unknown, nothing is unplanned, and all things follow His plan to accomplish His purposes.
Comment #104 “Oliver Cowdery stated in January, 1831: ‘This Book, which contained these things, was hid in the earth by Moroni, in a hill called by him Cumorah, which hill is now in the state of New York, near the village of Palmyra, in Ontario County” (HC 1:184). So it was clear to Oliver Cowdery that Moroni had told Joseph Smith that the hill in Palmyra was called Cumorah—the only way the early saints could have known the hill was called that was because Joseph Smith told them. The only way Joseph Smith could have known was if Moroni had told him.” Penny.
Response: All that is true; however, one should not read into this information more than it states. Moroni told Joseph the hill was named Cumorah. He did not tell him it was the same hill that his father hid up records in, or the hill where the final Nephite battle took place, or the same hill mentioned in the Book of Mormon. And since the scriptural record does not tell us where Moroni buried the records, we only know that they were in that hill in upstate New York when Moroni informed Joseph of the fact. He well could have brought the plates from some other area to bury them in that hill, or he could have hid them in the ground elsewhere, then later, closer to the time of Joseph Smith’s living there, brought them from elsewhere and buried them there, or they could have been taken up (as the plates were taken up from Joseph after his work on them was completed) to be brought forth, in the ground, at a later time. None of this is known, for it is not written in the scriptural record, nor officially declared by the Church.
Comment #105 “I read this on another website and thought you might find it interesting: "Having just read a book titled “Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica” I found at, I vote for the OTHER category above. This book will astound all Book of Mormon geography enthusiasts. It is different, well written, long, and with more footnotes and references than I have ever seen. More importantly, it is the only book on the subject that is not merely someone’s belief or opinion, but every point made is reference directly to the Book of Mormon text and explains things no other author or theory has so far stated to such a degree. I don’t usually recommend anything, but if you are interested in the subject, I highly recommend this read. There are also three other books in this series, and I am now reading the second one: “Who Really Settled Mesoamerica,” and find it as interesting and detailed as the first.” Malthe.
Response: Thanks for mentioning it. Perhaps we are making some headway.
Comment #106 “Back then, “isle” meant “continent”, not “island”. Sorry, no Gilligan theory today. (: Tim
Response: Perhaps you would like to get hold of Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language. This dictionary, which Webster claims in a lengthy introduction was inspired, was written in the New England area around the time Joseph Smith was growing up, and published around the time Joseph was translating the plates, and within a hundred miles of where Joseph lived. Webster claims it was the language of New England. In that dictionary, “isle” is defined as “island,” a word (island) Webster claims was not really a word at all and meant “island land.” He claims the word “isle” was in common use in New England America (not island) and was used as we use “island” today. As for back then, “isle” never meant continent. The British Isles were never considered a continent, and Australia was never called an “isle.”
Comment #107 Geological, archeological and anthropological data all agree that, other than minor changes due to volcanic activity and earthquakes, the geography of the Americas has seen little change since well before the arrival of Book of Mormon peoples on the American continent.” Baldwin.
Response: Sometime sit down and think about a three-hour earthquake, coupled with tornadoes (whirlwinds), numerous cities sinking into the ground, some cities covered up by collapsing mountains, mountains that no longer exist, and valleys that rise into mountains whose “height is great,” and then say again, “the Americas has seen little change since well before the arrival of Book of Mormon peoples on the American continent.”
Comment #108 “I read this exchange in a website recently and wondered what you thought of it. Person 1) Since Lehi et al. could observe the sun rising and setting just as easily as we can, I'd say that we must anchor north to north. Any realignment of the Earth's axis of rotation, or flipping of its magnetic field is a nonstarter. Person 2) While I don't entirely disagree, you seem to assume that "north" has an absolute meaning that everyone accepts. If so, you would be mistaken. Secondly, you also assume that the existence of a technical celestial definition of north necessarily equals an on-the-ground description of north. I have seen firsthand that that assumption is not absolutely correct. So -- we certainly have to deal with directions, but if we require that all directions must conform to our opinions about what directions should be, then we are correct only if the text is modern and western. If it is something else (and it says it is) then those assumptions may not hold true.” Zoraida.
Response: While Nephi, and Jacob to a lesser degree, were not born in the Western Hemisphere, or location of the Book of Mormon, all others were, as was Mormon and Moroni—so “elsewhere” does not apply. But other than that, the plates were translated by Joseph Smith, a New Englander, and definitely a westerner. Couple that with the fact that his translation was written for us to understand, it can only hold true that the words he used would 1) be normal to him in his day, and 2) clearly understood by us who read it today. Thus, we must conclude that north is north, etc. In addition, let’s not play games about words—go out and ask 100 people “what does the direction north mean?” and you will get basically 100 answers that agree with the common understanding of north.
(See the next post, “Answering Recent Comments – Part XXVI,” for more comments made about different posts on this website)

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