Monday, June 10, 2013

About the Mulekites Among the Olmec-Part II

Continuing with the comments sent into the website regarding the Mulekite-Jaredite-Olmec connection, we continue with our responses to the first of these comments:
Continuing Comment: “If [this Mulekite-Jaredite connection] were the case, it would explain the use of Jaredite names and words among the Mulekites-something that Hugh Nibley observed in his book "Lehi in the Wilderness and the World of the Jaredites"
Response: As for names: 1) Ammon who was sent by Mosiah to find out about those who went back to the city of Lehi-Nephi was a descendant of Zarahemla (Mosiah 7:2-3,13); however, there is no suggestion that the name Ammon was just Jaredite since the name was an ancient Egyptian one as well. Amon was the name of an Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th dynasty and also an Egyptian god (Amun, Amon, Ammon, Hammon. A local deity of Thebes (21st century BC)-later replaced Monthu and later ascended with the Sun god, Ra, as Amun-Ra, and since other Egyptian names appear in the Nephite record, we cannot claim Ammon was strictly Jaredite. 2) Coriantumr, a Nephite defector, was a descendant of Zarahemla (Helaman 1:15). The first Coriantumr was the son of Omer (Ether 8:4) and the second was a contemporary with Ether (Ether 12:1) and the last Jaredite alive (Ether 15:30), in both cases, the name comes from the Jaredite. However, both Shiblon and Coriantumr, while not Hebrew or Egyptian, have their origin in some Semitic language related to Hebrew. At the Symposium on Archaeology of the Scriptures held at BYU in 1977, it was shown that both Shiblon and Coriantumr were names related to Semitic words meaning lion cub or jaguar cub, shibl- being an Arabic root with that meaning and corian- being related to the Hebrew gurrion, which means the same thing. Shibl- may also be the root of the monetary unit, shiblon, mentioned in Alma 11:15–16, 19. Again, there is no single suggestion as to where the name Coriantumr, given to a Nephite, came from—it could have been from the Jaredite record, or from the Semitic language mentioned. It would seem strange, though, for the Nephites to take a Jaredite name to use to name one of their monetary coins.
Continuing Comment: “It [this connection] may explain the tradition of secret combinations among the Mulekites, as well as the traditional use of jade.
Jade comes from either Nephrite or Jadeite. Left: Unworked jade; Right: A Mayan Jade tablet
Response: We know of no secret combinations among the Mulekites. While there may well have been some, they are not singled out in the scriptural record as they are for the Jaredites (Ether 8:9,18; Alma 37:21-25), and for the Nephites (Helaman 2:4,8; Mormon 8:27). As for jade, it was probably the most precious stone for ancient Mesoamerican people, and next to emery, the hardest mineral known to them. The Mayan held jade in even higher esteem than gold, probably because it was very scarce and had to be imported from the area now known as Guatemala. However, jade, green ore, or any ore other than gold, silver or copper, is never mentioned in the scriptural record, which might lead one to ask why, if it was the most important ore in the Land of Promise. It seems quite a reach to try and link the Book of Mormon Land of Promise with Mesoamerica through the use of jade. Obviously, there is no connection between the Mulekites and either secret combinations or jade.
Continuing Comment: “If we assume that the Olmec era peoples, who valued jade above gold, then this would explain its use and value among the natives of Costa Rica 500 years later.”
Response: What prompted Costa Rica to use jade in no way can be linked to the Book of Mormon, where jade is never mentioned or even implied. In addition, it should show the Olmec were not connected with the Book of Mormon, since no people in the scriptural record are shown to have held some precious stones above gold, silver and copper. Even brass, steel and iron and mentioned—but no jade, green ore, or anything more valuable than gold. In fact, Ether measured the Jaredite wealth in terms of buildings, gold, silver, grain, flocks and herds (Ether 10:12).
Continuing Comment: “It [this connection] may also explain the rapid rise of Nehorism among the Nephites, for this religious philosophy certainly smells of Jaredite apostasy.”
Response: False prophets are not unique to the Jaredites, whose prophets, by the way, we know almost nothing about other than there were many and were treated much the same as Jewish and Nephite prophets later (Ether 7:23; 8:25; 9:28-29; 11:1-2,12). However, men going among the people and teaching false doctrine can be found periodically among the Nephites, beginning with (left) Sherem (Jacob 7:1-2), some 400 years before Nehor and any Jaredite contact. We also know that there were many “lawyers, and judges, and priests, and teachers, who were of the profession of Nehor” (Alma 14:18), who questioned Alma and Amulek in prison. These men had been blinded by the lawyer Zeesrom (Alma 14:6) among others, and were not related in any way to Nehor—only to his priestcraft philosophy. The killing of Nehor did not put an end to the spreading of priestcraft through the land, “for there were many who loved the vain things of the world.” The rapid rise of priestcraft (Nehorism) was not due to anything Jaredite, but “there were many who loved the vain things of the world and they went forth preaching false doctrines for the sake of riches and honor” (Alma 1:16). Since all men are in a carnal state (Alma 41:11), we cannot lay the blame for priestcraft solely upon the Jaredites, nor the start of evil upon them, but the same is true of all men who have not the spirit of God in their lives.
Continuing Comment: “It [this connection] may explain the use of elevated stands for religious worship (rameumptom).
Response: Using this logic, we would have to say that the early ministers and priests were of the Order of Nehor, and following the Jaredite nature of apostasy as they preached form their elevated pulpits.
High pulpits were the norm in early churches, where the speaker had to climb stairs to get to the podium area from which he preaches his sermon. This was found in all faiths, in all countries, and through several centuries
Continuing comment: “The Jaredites (assuming that they were Olmec) used highly stylized and symbolic decorations and designs on their buildings and monuments. These designs are not in any way Hebraic, but closely resemble far eastern oriental design as Paul Shao has clearly demonstrated.”
Response: First of all, Paul Shao, a professor of Architecture at Iowa State University, despite his work being entitled “The Origin of Ancient American Cultures,” did all his work in Mesoamerica—not in Central America, South or North America. Kind of hard to single out a small area and claim it was originated or had eastern originations. In addition, Shao attended the Great China Art College where he earned a Masters, and had an interest in typing Chinese anthropology to that of the Western Hemisphere, having published before this work one entitled Asiatic Influences in Pre-Columbian American Art. Secondly, we cannot assume the Jaredites were Olmerc. Nor can we say that Olmec designs on buildings show anything Jaredite, or draw any conclusions from such designs. We only know that through heavy taxes, Riplakish build many spacious buildings (Ether 10:5), that Morianton built many buildings and cities (Ether 10:12), but nowhere is there any suggestion to design, stylized or not, in the scriptural record.

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