Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Greatness of Mormon – Part II

Continuing from the last post about Mormon, and the greatness of this last Mormon prophet and how what he has written has been both maligned and attacked by friend and foe alike.
During the final years of the Nephite nation, Mormon, at age 50, is told by the Lord to cry unto the Nephites, while he is directing them to prepare themselves and fortify their lands against a planned Lamanite attack, to repent and come unto God (Mormon 3:2), but they would not listen and vowed in their boastfulness that they would go up to the Lamanites and attack them (Mormon 3:10).
Mormon refused to lead them in any attack, and refused to be their commander because of their wickedness and abomination (Mormon 3:11), and lamented: “thrice have I delivered them out of the hands of their enemies, and they have repented not of their sins” (Mormon 3:13), and stood as “an idle witness to manifest unto the world the things which [he] saw and heard, according to the manifestations of the Spirit which had testified of things to come” (Mormon 3:16).
The Nephites were defeated, and were driven back and the battles went back and forth until the Lamanites suffered a big defeat, withdrawing for eight years before coming back down to battle once again. By this time, Mormon is 65 years old, and he foresees the Lamanites overthrowing the land and went to the hill Shim and took up all the other records, which Ammaron had hidden there (Mormon 4:23). He also repented of his oath to not assist the army and was again placed in charge, believing he could deliver them from their afflictions (Mormon 5:1). Over the next five years Mormon leads the army in defeating, defending, and retreating from the Lamanite forces, and at age 70, spends a little time in bringing the records up to date and laments about the failure of the Nephites to accept Christ and repent of their sins, and writes: “The Lord hath reserved their blessings, which they might have received in the land for the Gentiles who shall posses the land” and that the Lamanites would be “driven and scattered by the Gentiles” (Mormon 5:19-20).
Mormon was 74 years old at the time of the Nephites’ final battle in 384 A.D. in the land of Cumorah (Mormon 6:5)—a battle in which he and 230,000 Nephite soldiers were killed, with their wives and children (Mormon 6:11-15). As he viewed the final carnage, his “soul was rent with anguish because of the slain of his people. In his final writing, he laments: “O ye fair ones, how could ye have departed from the ways of the Lord! O ye fair ones, how could ye have rejected that Jesus, who stood with open arms to receive you! Behold, if ye had not done this, ye would not have fallen. But behold, ye are fallen, and I mourn your loss. O ye fair sons and daughters, ye fathers and mothers, ye husbands and wives, ye fair ones, how is it that ye could have fallen! But behold, ye are gone, and my sorrows cannot bring your return” (Mormon 6:17-20).
This is the character and stature of the last Nephite prophet over the Nephite nation. A man of great bearing, faith, spirituality and resolve; a man who never deviated from the faith, who was led by the Lord and guided by the Spirit in all things, despite the many hardships, failures, and sufferings he endured.
And this is the man whose statements regarding his description of the Land of Promise are generally ignored by so many Theorists, including all of those pushing Mesoamerica. How is it that those promoting Mesoamerica, including John L. Sorenson, professor emeritus of BYU, and hundreds of other people involved in this area of interest, and thousands who have been duped into thinking he is Mesoamerica is the site of the Land of  Promise, when at every turn, Sorenson points in support of his model and that of other Mesoamericanists, all ignore the basic directions Mormon gives us in Alma 22 and elsewhere.
To support this ignoring of Mormon’s directions and overall description of the land, Sorenson came up with the opinion that the Nephites, which includes Mormon, did not know the cardinal directions of north, south, east, and west, that we know today and basically the entire world uses. What this boils down to, though Mesoamericanists all claim it is not what is being done, is that Mormon’s directions are skewed somewhere between 70º and 90º in order to allow the east-west direction of Mesoamerica to fit into the north-south direction of the Land of Promise as Mormon and others in the Book of Mormon claim to be.
There can be no doubt that Mesoamerica runs east and west from western Honduras to about Mexico City, which is the area claimed by Mesoamericanists as the Land of Promise. This, despite Mormon’s description of his land running north and south
Mormon, who never knew anything about the Hebrew people, how they arrived at the meaning of their words, or how they determined directions, along with all the other writers from Mosiah down to Amos (4 Nephi), none of which knew anything about the Hebrews and their ancient language meaning, all used Reformed Egyptian to write in the record. They all knew Hebrew, as it had been altered by the Nephites over time (Mormon 9:33), but none would have been privy to how individual Hebrew words came about, and certainly none would have known that the Hebrew they used originated with back when they said west, or face or front, when they said east, etc. This concept that Sorenson presented in his book, An American Setting for the Book of Mormon, is fallacious in the extreme. English speakers today do not know the etymology of the words they use, or how they came to be used as they are, unless they look it up in a dictionary or some other reference material—a type of thing the Nephites did not possess regarding the language they used.
To even suggest such a concept as Sorenson has championed to explain his model that is about 90º off kilter is both unscholarly and disingenuous. For people to be hood-winked into believing such a thing is a sad commentary on the knowledge people use in accepting something written and espoused by academicians.
Mormon told us the directions and Mormon was a man of such exceptional stature, accomplishment, and spirituality, that all the rest of us today who try to write about the Book of Mormon Land of Promise fall far short of the man. Sorenson can believe what he chooses, and all those who want can believe as he does—however, for those who truly want to know where the Land of Promise was located, who truly want to know how that land was described, need only read Mormon’s words, for he tells us in plain and simple language, beginning with Alma 22:27-34.
Mormon said it so clearly, that it is all that needs to be said to understand the Land of Promise and how it was laid out and where the major lands were in relation to one another. Clearly, the Land of Promise, moving from south to north, starts with the area of First Landing, the Land of Nephi, the narrow strip of wilderness, the Land of Zarahemla, a land between Zarahemla and Bountiful, the Land of Bountiful, the narrow neck of land and narrow pass through it, the Land of Desolation, the Land of Many Waters, which also contained the Land of Cumorah, etc. They did not run east to west, they were not aligned by a devious manner requiring a special understanding of a different directional alignment, since the Spirit was involved in their translation so we could understand what Mormon wrote in his abridgement.
It could not be any simpler or clearer. It is a sad commentary on people when they feel the need to try and tell us, and convince us, that Mormon’s directions need to be clarified by understanding the Nephites had a different directional system than we use—for if that were true, the Spirit would never have accepted Joseph Smith’s translation of words that were incorrect and did not accurately translate the true meaning of Mormon’s words.

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