Sunday, May 19, 2013

More Comments to be Answered Part VIII

Here are some more comments that we’ve received on this website blog.
Comment #1: “Here’s another mistake made by Joseph Smith when he wrote the Book of Mormon. In I Nephi 5:14, it says that Lehi was a descendant of Joseph, which, according to LDS doctrine, would make him either of the house of Menasseh or Ephraim, but in II Nephi 30:4, it states that the Nephites (Lehi’s descendants) were descendants of the Jews” Robison T.
Response: I am unaware of any mistakes made by Joseph Smith, except in the minds of his critics. In this case, there is no mistake about the lineage of the Nephites. But first let me state that all of the Nephites were not Lehi’s descendants—neither the Mulekites nor the descendants of Zoram were descended from Lehi, other than those that intermarried with his direct descendants. However, the issue here is the lineage of Lehi, not his descendants. Lehi was a descendant of Menasseh (Alma 10:3). His sons married into the family of Ishmael, who, according to Joseph Smith, was a descendant of Ephraim—in that regard, it is correct that the Nephites were descendants of Joseph, who was sold into Egypt (1 Nephi 5:14).
At the same time, the Nephites, through their posterity from Lehi, Nephi, Sam, and Zoram, were Jewish citizens for they lived at Jerusalem (1 Nephi 1:4) in the Kingdom of Judah. It might also be assumed that Ishmael and his family were also Jewish citizens, for they lived in the “land of Jerusalem” (1 Nephi 7:2). It would be no different than my saying I am of the House or lineage of Ephraim, but I am an American citizen. On the other hand, we cannot assume that any of the tribes of Israel, after their long descent from Jacob (1652 to 1505 B.C.), might not have intermarried to some degree by 600 B.C.
Left: King Rehoboam accends to the throne after the death of Solomon, which leads to the division of Israel, which leads (Right) to wars between the kingdoms
In addition, it should be kept in mind that in the time of Rehoboam (930 to 913 B.C.), ten of the tribes of Israel revolted (922 B.C.) and were known from that time until they were carried away into Assyria, as the Kingdom of Israel. The two remaining tribes, Judah and Benjamin, remained loyal to Rehoboam and were known as the Kingdom of Judah, and no matter which tribe they descended through, were known as Jews.
Rather than commenting about a supposed mistake, one should look upon this fact as just another verification of the accuracy of the Book of Mormon.
Comment #2: “Don’t you think all this controversy over the location of the Land of Promise does harm to the Church and the Book of Mormon?” Gavin.
Response: Absolutely. Divisiveness and controversy are not methods of inspiration. People tend to rely too much on academicians, books written, modern technology, etc., when it does not totally and completely conform to the scriptural record. If one is going to determine matters about the Book of Mormon, they must use the scriptural record of the Book of Mormon to determine their answers. While books, technology, classroom studies, etc., can be helpful, they cannot replace or supplant the scriptural record—and that record must be read and compared within itself. That is, a single scriptural reference cannot be used if another scriptural reference is not in agreement. As an example, at first reading, Alma 22:30 seems to disagree with Omni 1:16. In actuality, they do not disagree, but Mesoamericanists always quote Alma and never Omni, since Alma can be construed to say what they believe, and Omni contradicts that.
Mesoamerican Theorists have done much disservice by choosing a location for their Land of Promise based upon little evidence, mostly the ruins there, and then try to find scriptural evidence of the location. Thus, they go overboard to try and explain away Mormon’s north-south orientation since Mesoamerica is situated east-west
The problem lies in people wanting to find a scriptural reference that verifies their point of view. Consequently, ALL scriptural references regarding the Land of Promise descriptions MUST be used to verify any model or point of view. That, unfortunately, is never done by people who write about the Land of Promise. As an example, Peter Covino uses basically one major issue to determine any model of the Land of Promise—Helaman 3:8, which he refers to as his H38 Virus. In this, he surrounds his work by one scripture of the thousands that are contained in the Book of Mormon—and even that one he mis-interprets, trying to limit its meaning to only the Land Northward and the area of western New York.
That is why in the book, Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica, all 65 descriptions stated in the Book of Mormon are covered without a single effort to change, alter, disguise or ignore the clear language of the Book of Mormon description. In addition, there are well over 1000 references to back up every statement, and at no time is personal opinion stated that does not directly agree with the scriptural record. And in all cases, additional descriptive information is provided in addendum form of all major points covered so the reader gets a complete view of the meanings of each and every point covered. It is, I believe, a unique approach to describing the Land of Promise.
Comment #3: “It seems to me that all those who write about the land of promise feel they are right and everyone else who disagrees with them is wrong. Everyone can’t be right and everyone can’t be wrong” Mona O.
Response: The only answer I can give you is that when anyone, for any reason, writes about the Book of Mormon they must, in good conscience, use all the scriptural references available to make any point at all. As an example, I once picked up an eight volume set written about the Book of Mormon in general. I read the first sentence on the first page of the first volume in which the author wrote, “Lehi, who lived in Jerusalem…” There was nothing else in that volume I was interested in since the very first sentence was inaccurate in a very important way. Lehi never lived, that we know of, in Jerusalem. Nephi tells us he lived at Jerusalem, which means he lived outside the city, which verifies several other points in the record, such as having tents, donkeys to carry them, seeds to plant, etc., within his own possession (those living within the city would have had none of these).
It seems that anyone and everyone who writes about the Book of Mormon that misquotes or misuses scripture are going to be wrong.
One last point: The scriptural record is clear that 1) Nephi knew his cardinal and ordinal directions and so stated them (1 Nephi 16:13), and 2) Mormon describes in great detail that the Land of Promise ran north and south. Yet, every Mesoamericanist has to tell you the Nephites did not know their directions, and that they considered west to be north and south to be east, etc. These are not the only points, but they should point out that if one is to write about the Land of Promise, they should adhere exactly to the Book of Mormon scriptural references and not invent their own. There isn’t much else to say. One either agrees with the scriptural record or they are wrong!
Another example is the location of the Mulekites: “Mosiah discovered that the people of Zarahemla came out from Jerusalem at the time that Zedekiah, king of Judah, was carried away captive into Babylon. And they journeyed in the wilderness, and were brought by the hand of the Lord across the great waters, into the land where Mosiah discovered them; and they had dwelt there from that time forth” (Omni 1:125-16)—emphasis mine. Consequently, they did not land in the Land Northward, travel into the Land Southward, build a city on the east seashore, and eventually move into the area of Zarahemla where Mosiah found them, yet, every Mesoamericanist will tell you they landed in the Land Northward, etc. In that, they are all wrong! Another point: Jacob tells us: “we have been driven out of the land of our inheritance; but we have been led to a better land, for the Lord has made the sea our path, and we are upon an isle of the sea” (2 Nephi 10:20)—emphasis mine. Now, unless a Land of Promise model is an island, or it can be shown that geologically it was once an island, the model is simply wrong! Which, by the way, excludes every model other than Andean South America.

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