Saturday, July 6, 2013

More Comments Answered Part X

Continuing with more comments on our website and our responses:
Comment #1: “I found this map while searching for one of yours and found it rather interesting. Have you seen it?” Sylvia Y.
Response: We have seen the map, but since we cannot locate any name to it, or any land description, have not made any statements about it. I will say since you sent it in, that the idea of the Land Bountiful beyond the narrow neck is contrary to Mormon’s descriptions, and the obvious length of the narrow neck also does not fit those descriptions. The only other thing is that the Land Northward is far larger than the Land Southward, which, again, is contrary to the descriptions of the land.
Comment #2: “I read this in John L. Sorenson’s book: ‘The keepers of Nephi's or Jared's records put down no more than a selective fraction of even what they were aware had happened.  Obviously this is why the Nephite scripture is so silent about "the people of Zarahemla."  They are mentioned when their presence occasionally touches upon the fortunes of Nephi's lineage headed by "Nephis" or kings, but we would have to have the Zarahemlaites' own records to learn anything significant about their history.’ I didn’t know these people kept records” Vernon C.
Response: The Mulekites did not keep any records (Omni 1:17). Sorenson is making one of his pet misleading comments—“we would know a lot more about the Mulekites if we had their records.” There were no records, and that the Nephite “recorders” did not care to mention anything about any other people, thus while we know nothing about other people, Sorenson claims they were in the land of Promise and played a major role interacting with everyone. In addition, in discussing the keepers of Nephite records writing down only a selective fraction of what they were aware of, one need only read the scriptures to know that this is not true.  The Nephites wrote volumes of records as Mormon tells us quite plainly:
“And now there are many records kept of the proceedings of this people, by many of this people, which are particular and very large, concerning them...behold, a hundredth part cannot be contained in this work.  But there are many books and many records of every kind, and they have been kept chiefly by the Nephites.  And they have been handed down from one generation to another by the Nephites” (Helaman 3:13-16). That is, they wrote whatever information that was prudent, and since the Nephites were involved in “shipping and building of ships” (Helaman 3:14), they would have been shipping to and trading with any other people in the land and this would have been recorded in their records and Mormon would have both known about it and written some comment about it. We also do not’t have the large plates; however, what we have is an abridgement of the entire record which Mormon made, and to think he would have left out the mentioning of other people, especially at the level Sorenson claims, is beyond belief. Such comments are extremely self-serving, since Mesoaemrica is claimed to have had numerous different people living there when the Nephites arrived and during their 1000 year history. However, no mention of anyone being there is found in the record in any way, and it is prudent of us to accept the record for what it is and not try to add or delete or change things to meet our own beliefs as Sorenson and others have tried to do.
Comment #3: “John E. Clark claims that there have not been arrowheads found in and around the hill Cumorah in upper New York state. He has said directly of this: ‘If there are artifacts out there, collectors will find them, and they and their friends will be all over that area. The Clarks' fields yielded the same as the one east of the hill: not one single arrowhead and not one single piece of flint chipping. Crisscrossing all those plowed fields, which are hundreds of acres, I found no evidence of any kind. If a large group of people came to this hill and had a big battle, they would have been making and sharpening more tools—artifacts. If there are no arrowheads, what about all of the broken pieces, the chips, the flakes—leftovers from making and sharpening? Some of these pieces would be smaller than a little fingernail. Where are these pieces? People do not generally pick up this trash.’ This sounds reasonable to me” A.J.K.
Response: It is not surprising nothing has been found there, despite all the claims that there have. Actual contact with the people who live around this hill have all shown that no one has any knowledge of anyone finding any arrowheads or other items or artifacts in the area where some 300,000 people died in battle. In fact, ground searching instruments have not turned up any cache of bones, let alone those of a quarter of a million or more. There is one area of disagreement I have with Clark’s comment and that has to do with arrowhead chippings, etc. The Lamanties had been pursuing the Nephites for some time, they were prepared to battle. Where they were located when Mormon wrote the Lamanite king about wanting to fight at Cumorah is not told us, but they were “behind” the Nephites (Mormon 6:1). In addition, while the Nephites were gathering at Cumorah, evidently arriving before the Lamanites, they were arrayed in battle order as the Lamanites marched toward them (Mormon 6:8), which seems to be the first time the Nephites had seen the Lamanite army, which was so large, it terrified them.
Now since the battle at Cumorah took only one day  (Mormon 6:11), when would the Lamanites have been making arrows at Cumorah? They came ready to fight, fought ferociously for one day, and only 24 Nephites remained alive (Mormon 6:11) to look out upon the carnage in the morning of the second day. The Lamanites fought with sword, bow and arrow, and axes—there was simply no time to be making arrows at Cumorah. In a battle such as this, it is faster and easier to go pick up your shot arrows in the battlefield when the enemy retreats or withdraws (this is what is recorded the North American Indians did when involved in both hunting and fighting). Nobody was making arrows or other weapons at Cumorah. There might have been a lot of arrowhead chipping, etc., wherever the Lamanites had been encamped prior to receiving Mormon’s epistle, but once they left there, there would have been no time and no reason to do so.
Comment #4: “I read recently that ‘Deane G. Matheny, a lawyer with a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Utah, claims there is one major problem with the correlation of Mesoamerica and the Book of Mormon. He explained: The most fundamental geographical problem associated with Sorenson’s model has to do with issues of directionality…In order for his model to fit the geography of Mesoamerica, one must assume that the Nephites had a system of directions with cardinal directions skewed “45 degrees or more” off of the usually observed cardinals…In other words, the whole directional card must be shifted more than 60 degrees to the west for this model to fit the geography of the chosen area. Otherwise, as Vogel has pointed out, the land north will be on the west, and the south on the east, and so forth…Making this shift in directions creates its own set of problems, however, because in such a Nephite directional system the sun would come up in the south and set in the north.’ I know you are a strong believer in the directions as stated in the BOM and thought you might enjoy this” Lamont C.
According to Sorenson’s changed directions in Mesoamerica, his sun would rise in the south and set in the north
Response: Yes. This appeared in Deanne G. Matheny, “Does the Shoe Fit? A Critique of the Limited Tehuantepec Geography,” in New Approaches to the Book of Mormon: Explorations in Critical Methodology, edited by Brent Lee Metcalfe, Salt Lake City, Signature Books, 1993, p.277. And it is only one of many voices opposed to the ridiculous direction changes of John L. Sorenson. However, I might add there is more than just this one problem with the Mesoamerican model. As for the 45º skewed direction, it is actually about 90º skewed through the majority of the area called Mesoamerica. The real problem is not that the Nephites might have had skewed directions, since they did not have according to Nephi’s directions stated in their trek in the wilderness before reaching Bountiful, but that any right-thinking person, especially one with letters after their name, ought to know better than try to claim such a ridiculous idea and not even address the fact that Matheny points out about what that would cause the sun to rise and set in Mesoamerica. Like all stupid ideas, if you look beyond the initial statements and rationale, you see a ton of problems such erroneous thinking causes that are not correctable without creating further such problems.

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