Tuesday, May 21, 2013

More Comments to be Answered Part X

Comment #1: “If the original 1830 Book of Mormon was inspired than why were there so many errors and changes and additions and deletions, when compared to current editions?” Jorge.
Response: It would be well to understand some about the translation process of the Book of Mormon. First of all, Joseph Smith translated the ancient record by the power of God. In the actual process, he dictated the words to a scribe who, being human, occasionally made spelling and grammatical mistakes as they wrote down his words. One good example of this is in 1 Nephi 7:20, where Joseph said “sorrowful” and the scribe wrote “sarraful.” It is not that the scribes were not educated, but spelling had not been standardized at the time. Secondly, the original handwritten manuscript of the translation was then copied to make a new handwritten manuscript for the printer, at which time some spelling and grammatical errors were corrected, and punctuation added. However, some new errors also crept in as words were miscopied. Third, while the printer undoubtedly did his best to accurately set the type, he occasionally introduced still other errors. Finally, Joseph looked over the printing of the first three editions of the Book of Mormon, making refinements and adjustments. But some errors weren’t found until later editions. In 1981 a printer’s error in Alma 16:5 was finally corrected, changing “whether” to “whither”—making it conform to the original manuscript as the Prophet had translated it from the plates. In addition there was later added new chapter and verse breaks and footnotes with cross-references. None of this, however, altered the doctrinal meanings of the translation. The problem lies in people hearing or reading about such matters and assuming it meant something far different that took place. The only way to satisfy the mind of a critic is for him or her to sit down with the original and the current and for them to check word for word to see that the changes were basically grammatical and not doctrinal--something, of course, they are not going to do.
Comment #2: How do you explain the fact that 2 Nephi 16:2 is copied from an older version of the KJV of the Bible in Isa 6:2? This is proven because this older KJV (the mistake is corrected in current versions) made a rare grammatical error by using the incorrect plural form of ‘seraphims’ rather than ‘seraphim’” Chloe C.
Response: This is a rather mute question since we do not have the Brass Plates, which had recorded on them the original comments of Isaiah and how they were written. Nephi tells us “And now I write some of the words of Isaiah, that whoso of my people shall see these words may lift up their hearts and rejoice for all men. Now these are the words, and ye may liken them unto you and unto all men” (2 Nephi 11:8), then he proceeds to copy down the words of Isaiah into his record, knowing that some would have access to his writing in a much later period of time. Since it was written by Nephi as seraphims, it was translated by Joseph Smith as seraphims, for he translated as it was written. The word in question is Latin “seraphim,” with the singular “seraphus.’ In Hebrew it is serafim, with the singular saraf. In English we write them as seraph and seraphs; thus, the word seraphim transliterates a Hebrew plural noun, which translation yields seraphs, with the singular, seraph, more properly rendered seraph. The word saraph/seraphim appears three times in the Torah (Numbers 21:6–8, Deuteronomy 8:15) and four times in the Book of Isaiah (6:2–6, 14:29, 30:6). In Numbers and Deuteronomy the "seraphim" are serpents. Isaiah also uses the word in close association with words to describe snakes (nachash, the generic word for snakes, in 14:29, and epheh, viper, in 30:6). What critics should keep in mind is the fact that translating Hebrew into English is a difficult process, and only in recent times has this been more accurately done.
Seraphim was a type of celestial or heavenly being in the Abrahamic religions. Their wings denote power in Hebrew symbology and were not meant to suggest real or actual wings
In Joseph Smith’s time, there was less precision in translating, and in Nephi’s time, Hebrew was almost a different language than today. In addition, Nephi wrote the word Joseph translated as seraphims in Reformed Egyptian, and it is not known in what form that would be transliterated into. There is, of course, one final consideration—Joseph Smith was not an educated man, and at this time in his translation might not have known the finer points of Hebrew words, which, it might be suggested, neither does the critic who submitted this, nor most people today. In any event, when Moroni wrote: “Condemn me not because of mine imperfection, neither my father, because of his imperfection, neither them who have written before him; but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been” (Mormon 9:31), I suspect this was the type of imperfection he had in mind.
Comment #3: “In Alma 1:29 and elsewhere, the word ‘silk’ is used, but there was no silk in the New World before the Spanish arrived. Your Mormon Apologist John Welch cites several New World fabrics as possible matches for Linen and Silk (Reexploring the Book of Mormon, pg. 162). Agave fibers and fig bark for Linen? Ceiba fibers, pineapple fibers and rabbit hair for Silk? Welch concludes with the staggering claim 'Mesoamerica evidently exhibits almost an embarrassment of riches for the "silk" and "linen" of Alma 1:29. All but the most trivializing critics should be satisfied with the parallels.' (pg. 164) My response to Welch: You'll have to forgive my trivializing nature but rabbit hair doesn't equal silk in my book” Avery D.
Response: First of all, John Welch would do well to speak less about matters he either is ignorant of or simply does not understand. Secondly, when the Spanish arrived in the Andean area, they saw many things that amazed them, not the least of which was the silk fabrics of the Inca. In fact, they wrote about it being as fine a silk as found in Spain. Thirdly, the textiles found in Mesoamerica did not equal those of Spain, or at least the conquistadors and chroniclers did not make such a claim at the time. On the other hand, silk can and is made from other insects and animals in many parts of the world; however, few would consider that product equal to the silk known in the days of the Spanish conquistadors.
Comment #3: “Captain Moroni seems to have had absolute control over the Nephite armies and all they did, including executing prisoners, etc. He even threatened to remove Pahoran, the chief judge. He sounds a lot like some modern dictators” Vanessa C.
Response: Most field generals, especially those in charge of an entire military theater of operations, have considerable power and authority. Today, such generals during wartime can execute soldiers within his own military commands, as well as those enemies, civilian or military, who are fighting against his troops and country. However, they are not dictators. General Patton, commanding the Third Army had great authority, but it did not extend beyond his own command, and even then he was ordered to make certain amends within that command by higher authority; General MacArthur commanded the entire eastern theater, but was relieved of duty by President Truman over a question of authority. General Eisenhower commanded the entire theater of operations in Europe, and was over all other allied forces, yet operated under the direction of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, whose decisions were handed down to him. Moroni was a remarkable man, both spiritually and intellectually. To conduct his military operations, he evidently received considerable authority, but his power was certainly not absolute. Although Moroni was empowered to resettle segments of the population and execute individuals for rebellion against the government, he probably was still limited to a degree in his ability to commit individual Nephite armies to battle. His greatness in Nephite society goes beyond the fact that he was a brilliant strategic thinker, organizer, and leader; it also stems from his faith and trust in the Lord. For this reason, he did not rely on spies and armies alone to assist him, but willingly sought advice and spiritual insight from the Nephite high priest (Alma 43:23). This pattern was characteristic of most great Nephite captains until the demise of their civilization.

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