Sunday, June 30, 2013

More Comments to be Answered Part IV

Here are some more comments that we’ve received on this website blog. Many are from readers who champion the Costa Rica model, using the Isthmus of Rivas as the narrow neck of land.
Comment #1: “Can the Gulf of Mexico on both sides of the Yucatan peninsula (Gulf of Honduras and Bay of Campeche) be considered two different seas? It would take more evidence than what is mentioned in the Book of Mormon to support it.  The Book of Mormon does not support this and examples from ancient societies does not support this.  Also, there is no precedent that people living near a peninsula considered the waters on either side of the peninsula as two different bodies of water.  Before 600 B.C., the people in the Middle East knew the Red Sea and Persian Gulf (as we call them today) were connected around the Arabian Peninsula.  Some populations even called the Persian Gulf the Red Sea as an extension of the Red Sea between Egypt and Saudi Arabia.  Just because the two bodies of water have different names today does not mean that they were always considered to have two names” Andrey W.
The Caribbean Sea along the north-eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. Around the bend to the top of the image is the Gulf of Mexico waters—one sea but with two names here and no division line between
Response: I am in no way defending the Mesoamerican model, however, there is certainly precedent to name these two areas around the Yucatan Peninsula by different names. One is called the Gulf of Mexico and the other is called then Caribbean Sea. What more precedent do you need? It is interesting that when we were in Cancun recently, I happened to ask some of the locals there about the seas surrounding the Yucatan. No one seemed bothered or objectionable to the fact that north of Cancun, the sea is the Gulf of Mexico, but to the east of Cancun, this same body of water is called the Caribbean Sea. It is also called the Caribbean south of Cuba, but north and west of Cuba it is the Gulf of Mexico—but all one ocean. Yet, within the Caribbean Sea, the southwestern area along the southern coast of Belize, is the Bay of Honduras, and within that, closer to shore is the Bahia de Amatique, the Amatique Bay, along the coasts of Guatemala and Belize. Of course, what is done today is not necessarily true anciently is also accurate. Names of locations, seas, and lands change over time. Consequently, this type of argument seems meaningless.
Comment #2: “The article “Who Were They Afraid Of? Part I, is awesome. Hate to ask this as it shows that I may not be the student I thought I was... but... did you bring this up in your book…Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica?” Mr. Nirom.
Response: Thank you. But no, this was not included in the books, at least not directly. This blog is a continuing process of study and learning, or expanding on previous knowledge that did not make it into the books because of space and purpose. Hopefully, I will get around to another book, which will include all the new ideas or expanded understanding over the years since the first books were written.
Comment #3: “I appreciate that the Book of Mormon does not directly mention other people in the land of promise. However, consider Mosiah 25:2 (120 BC): ‘Now there were not so many of the children of Nephi, or so many of those who were descendants of Nephi, as there were of the people of Zarahemla, who was a descendant of Mulek, and those who came with him into the wilderness. And there were not so many of the people of Nephi and of the people of Zarahemla as there were of the Lamanites; yea, they were not half so numerous.’ Why would there be so many more Lamanites than Nephites 580 years after they separated in about equal numbers? The Mulekites were called Nephites in the BoM because they united with them. All those that united with the Lamanites were called Lamanites. If Laman and Lemuel and those who remained with them married into tribes that existed in the New World, they would eventually all be called Lamanites. Nephi and the record keepers that succeeded him had a limited scope for their records. It is believable to me that this detail of the Lamanites intermarrying with existing tribes could have remained unwritten in the abridged Book of Mormon as we have it” George T.
Response: As for equal numbers, when Nephi fled from his older brothers, he took all those who would go with him “And all those who would go with me were those who believed in the warnings and the revelations of God; wherefore, they did hearken unto my words” (2 Nephi 5:6). We don’t know exactly the numbers in the Lehi Colony, whether or not Lehi’s and Ishmael’s household servants went with them, or how large the families of the married sons of Ishmael were, etc. We don’t even know how many sisters Nephi had, for they are mentioned only once (2 Nephi 5:6), but since it is a plural statement, there had to have been at least two. Experience tells us that those who follow God are less than those who do not, so it is not likely that this was an even break in the numbers. However, the main issue is that when Mosiah fled from the Land of Nephi around 220 B.C., the Nephites had become extremely wicked and the Lord separated those who followed him from this evil city and land. Mosiah left and took with him “as many as would hearken unto the voice of the Lord” (Omni 1:12-13). While we do not know the numbers involved, after more than 350 years, the numbers would have been significant, and again, experience tells us that those who went with Mosiah would have been a much smaller number than those who remained in the Land of Nephi. We do not know about the tens of thousands of Nephites left behind, it can be assumed that many, if not most, or even all, would have ended up joining the Lamanites and being called Lamanites from that time forward. Thus, the original Lamanites who likely would have been larger in number than the Nephites, had their numbers augmented while the Nephite numbers were reduced by a very significant amount. After all, the numbers of non-members has always been significantly larger than those who follow God. Look at the number deviation after the 230 years of peace following Christ’s visit to the Nephites, when Lamanites split from the Nephites, or the followers and believers in God (4 Nephi 1:36-38). The number of Lamanites at this point “became exceedingly more numerous than were the people of God” (4 Nephi 1:40).
140 years later, the Lamanites were so numerous, that when they came to the final battle every Nephite soul, men, women and children were, “filled with terror because of the greatness of their numbers” (Mormon 6:8). As for there being others in the land, Lehi was told there were not, for the children of Lehi that they would possess the land unto themselves (2 Nephi 1:9). Now, based on the scriptural record, both Lehi and Nephi were shown the history of the Land of Promise from their time forward without a single mention of any other people involved other than the future coming of the gentiles (Spanish, English, Europeans); and Moroni, reading Ether’s record, saw that the Land of Promise was a chosen land and anyone on it should serve the Lord (Ether 13:2), and again did not mention any other people than the ones we know. Mormon in his abridgement mentions the Mulekites and tells us enough about them for us to know who they were and where they came from and their involvement with Lehi’s family. So why should we even consider that there were any other people anywhere around the Land of Promise, let alone intermarried with one half of the principal participants in the land?

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