Monday, July 8, 2013

More Comments Answered Part XII

Continuing with more comments on our website and our responses:
Comment #1: “I read where the narrowest region between the ocean on either side of the land is the proposed Mesoamerican Model's narrow neck of land. The mileage of the narrow neck is from 75 to 125 miles across in distance. This is the mileage that a 'Nehphite' could travel in a day and a half. That seems a little long for me, but the author of the article thought it acceptable and not a matter of differentation." Cadman T.
Response: First of all, the distance across the Tehuantepec isthmus at its shortest distance is 120 miles as the crow flies, but 144 miles by land travel according to the government of Mexico distance graphs. While we have covered this as much as any item in the scriptural record, it always seems to keep coming up. Carr, Sorenson, Hender, and numerous other Mesoamericanists believe that Mormon was talking about a Nephite traveling that distance in a day and a half. The numbers simply do not bear this out. Consider 120 miles distance, even walking day and night for 36 hours, would require an average of 3.3 miles per hour for thirty-six straight hours! My advice to people who want to champion such a distance and claim it is no big deal, is to go out and try walking at a 3 mile per hour pace and see how long they can maintain it. Naturally, marathon runners, Sorenson’s Zuni Indian runners, Greece’s fabled Pheidippides messenger at the Battle of Marathon in 490 B.C., or some other extraordinary specialist could probably handle it—but no average citizen could do it. And if you think Mormon, who was trying to give us an idea of how wide the narrow neck of land was, used a unique specialist as his comparison, then you have missed the entire purpose of his insertion of the Land of Promise description in Alma 22. You do have to love, however, how the Mesoamericanists accept this idea about 120 miles in a day and a half and give it no further thought. The same can be said how they love to shave the isthmus width down from 120 to 100, then somehow arrive at 75 miles.
Comment #2: “A friend was telling me about several pockets of Nephite resistance after the battle at Cumorah. In fact, he quoted from some article that one of these 'pockets' of resistance, Mormon had found a group of Nephites still standing and willing to resist the Lamanite take over. And when confronted by one of the 'search out and destroy units' of the Lamanites forces, the aged Mormon of some 80 years of age, finally met his death in battle. The exact details of this event are lacking in Moroni's report. Or perhaps he didn't have the details, just that his father had finally fallen in battle. Or perhaps his meager record keeping time did not allow such to be reported, or perhaps he just didn't feel to share that information about his father's final death. What he does say is this, "My father hath been slain in battle, and all of my kinfolk, . . ." (Mormon 8:5). This report was recorded by Moroni 15 years after Cumorah in 400 AD" Avery T.
Response: First of all, Moroni records this information in Mormon 9:1-5. There is no mention of a date for these verses. Beginning in verse six, Moroni says “Behold, four hundred years have passed away” (Mormon 9:6), telling us that what follows was recorded in 400-401 A.D. However, assuming all of chapter 8 was written at the same time, we can see that some 15 years after Cumorah, during which time Moroni claims to have been hiding from the Lamanites, he reports to us in the first five verses the following:
1. His father had commanded him to write in the record;
2. The Nephites who had escaped had all been killed;
3. His father had been killed by the Lamanites—he was slain in battle;
4. Moroni is alone, and he is left to write the ending of his people;
5. All the Nephites are gone—having been killed by the Lamanites;
6. He does not know if the Lamanites will kill him also;
7. He is going to write what his father commanded him then hide up the record;
8. All Moroni’s kinfolk have also been slain by the Lamanites;
9. He has no idea how long he will remain alive.
He then gives us the date (400 A.D.), and summarizes that his people have all “been hunted down by the Lamanites from city to city and from place to place, even until they are no more” (Mormon 8:7). He then tells us that “the Lamanites are at war one with another and the whole face of the land is one continual round of murder and bloodshed and that no one knoweth the end of the war” (Mormon 8:8), adding, “there are none save it be the Lamanites and robbers that do exist upon the face of the land” (Mormon 8:9). After summarizing these events, he goes on to write what his father had commanded him. The idea there were “pockets of resistance” or that “Mormon joined one of these resistance groups” is contrary to the scriptural record. As Mormon wrote, “my men were hewn down, yea, even my ten thousand who were with me, and I fell wounded in the midst; and they passed by me that they did not put an end to my life” (Mormon 6:10). Obviously the Lamanites thought Mormon dead and continued onward in their battle. He recovered sufficiently, to make his way to the top of the hill Cumorah, or was carried there by Moroni and/or others, where we see him the next morning (Mormon 6:11) with 23 other survivors, including Moroni.
Frieberg’s painting may not be accurate, but it depicts a wounded Mormon with his son Moroni on the hill Cumorah, which was accurate
Comment #3: “The descendants of the Inca are Lamanite and that the North American Indian are Lamanite and have been shown to have lived in their lands during the Book of Mormon times” Star J.
Response: I am not sure what your point is. There is no record, other than the Book of Mormon, sufficient to claim any of the Americas were occupied during Book of Mormon times. All that can be used is carbon dating and that is suspect at best. On the other hand, ancient buildings, which do not exist in North America, but do in Central and South America, date to that era. As for Incas, they did not exist during Book of Mormon times—their ancestors did, but the Inca came into being about 1400 A.D. (some say 1200 A.D.) North American tribes cannot be dated to Book of Mormon era—many believe they existed then, but no proof can be shown, and certainly no achievements of a Nephite level are found there, not withstanding the Hopewell mounds.
Comment #4: “It seems to me that during Moroni’s 36-year wandering to escape the Lamanites, he could have traveled a great distance. If the Nephite Cumorah was not in New York, Moroni could easily have eventually come to modern New York state where he buried the plates. On the other hand, he could have easily remained in the general area of the Nephite destruction in his wanderings” Keifer W.
Response: Two things work against Moroni carrying the plates anywhere while he was alive: 1) The Lamanite were searching for any surviving Nephite and he undoubtedly would not have gone unnoticed; and 2) The Lamanites would have destroyed the records if they could have found them. Had he been carrying those records and the Lamanites ran across him, the records would have been destroyed and he killed. Since neither event occurred, it seems more likely he buried or hid the records somewhere. As he said, “Therefore I will write and hide up the records in the earth; and whither I go it mattereth not” (Mormon 8:4). While he wrote more, it would seem prudent on his part to have hidden them somewhere and then retrieved them, then likely hidden them again when he was finished.
It should be kept in mind that in all this talk and discussion of how the plates got to upstate New York, between the close of the Book of Mormon and the finding of the plates by Joseph Smith, approximately 1400 years passed. To that God who created the universe, those plates could have been placed in New York at any time, by Moroni, by angels, or whoever  or whatever means the Lord used.

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