Tuesday, August 27, 2013

More Comments and Questions from Readers -- Part III

Here are some additional comments or questions sent in by readers of this website:
Comment #1: “When it says that Moroni or Moronihah foritifed lands and cities, what makes you think this means more than just he beefed up the troops that guarded these areas?” Erich P.
Response: There are several scriptures that suggest this was more than just adding and stationing more troops. Such as, “Yea, he had been strengthening the armies of the Nephites, and erecting small forts, or places of resort; throwing up banks of earth round about to enclose his armies, and also building walls of stone to encircle them about, round about their cities and the borders of their lands; yea, all round about the land” (Alma 48:8). “For they knew not that Moroni had fortified, or had built forts of security, for every city in all the land round about” (Alma 49:13).
A fort overlooking the Urubamba River in the Sacred Valley
“And he also placed armies on the south, in the borders of their possessions, and caused them to erect fortifications that they might secure their armies and their people from the hands of their enemies” (Alma 50:10). “And it came to pass that he did no more attempt a battle with the Lamanites in that year, but he did employ his men in preparing for war, yea, and in making fortifications to guard against the Lamanites, yea, and also delivering their women and their children from famine and affliction, and providing food for their armies” (Alma 53:7). “And it came to pass that he did cause the Lamanites, whom he had taken prisoners, that they should commence a labor in strengthening the fortifications round about the city Gid” (Alma 55:25). Even Lachoneus got into the act: “And he caused that fortifications should be built round about them, and the strength thereof should be exceedingly great. And he caused that armies, both of the Nephites and of the Lamanites, or of all them who were numbered among the Nephites, should be placed as guards round about to watch them, and to guard them from the robbers day and night” (3 Nephi 3:14).
Comment #2: “What about the mention of steel that Nephi mentions in the items he lists as what he taught his people. Is there any other mention of steel among the Nephites?” Julio.
Response: “And we multiplied exceedingly, and spread upon the face of the land, and became exceedingly rich in gold, and in silver, and in precious things, and in fine workmanship of wood, in buildings, and in machinery, and also in iron and copper, and brass and steel, making all manner of tools of every kind to till the ground, and weapons of war—yea, the sharp pointed arrow, and the quiver, and the dart, and the javelin, and all preparations for war” (Jarom 1:8). As the saying goes, you can take whatever is mentioned in the Book of Mormon to the bank.
Comment #3: “If the land bridge between Central America and South America was not there... Assuming that the land was underwater... Just like the entire eastern part of South America was.. Could we not also assume that that this east to west running neck of land could have been shorter than 144 miles back then? Still this land runs in the wrong direction... But it could have been a bit more narrow back then... No?” Mr.M
A Paleogeographic reconstruction of Central America in Geology Times shows the study of Kirby, Jones and MacFadden of the Atrato Seaway, an opening between South and Central America, later joined through tectonic plate movement
Response: Anything is possible, however, while there is geologic evidence, and most geologists studying the area have agreed, and that the deep ocean drilling ship Glomar Challenger has verified that Panama was once submerged, and some feel even the Caribbean was more raised around the islands, there is no geologic evidence yet uncovered, and no geologic discoveries yet show that North America, Mexico or Mesoamerica were different than we now basically see them, except that the Gulf of California did not exist and Mexico and Baja California were once one land mass—at least all the geologic models show it this way.
Comment #4: “It appears from reading the record, that most of the Nephite-Lamanite wars occurred in the last century B.C., and then continued after the 200-plus years of peace, with Mormon battling the Lamanites all the way to the Nephite annihilation. I find it interesting that not much is mentioned of the time prior to Mosiah. It appears that times were more peaceful then. Do you know why?” Justin Mark.
Response: Actually, the scriptural record shows that there was as much fighting before Mosiah’s time as there was afterward. From the very beginning following the separation of Nephi from his older brothers, that he knew there would be wars with the Lamanites (2 Nephi 5:14), and that before Nephi’s death, they “had wars and contentions” with the Lamanites (2 Nephi 5:34). Nephi also predicted that “there shall be great wars and contentions among my people” (2 Nephi 26:2). Jacob tells us that Nephi wielded the sword of Laban in their defense before his death (Jacob 1:120), and that the Nephite wars were listed on the large plates (Jacob 3:13). Enos “saw wars between the Nephites and Lamanites” in his time (Enos 1:24), Jarom tells us they made weapons of war and defeated the Lamanites in wars (Jarom 1:8-9) during much of the first two hundred and thirty years (Jarom 1:13), and Omni says that there were many seasons of serious war and bloodshed (Omni 1:3) and the more wicked part of the Nephites were destroyed in his days (Omni 1:5), with Abinadom telling us there was “much war and contention” between the Nephites and Lamanites (Omni 1:10). These wars covered a period from soon after Nephi separated from his older brothers and the time of Abinadom, about 200 B.C. From there we pick up Mosiah in 130 B.C.
Wars were constant between the Lamanites and Nephites for most of their 1000 year history
Obviously, then, the Nephites and Lamanites fought numerous battles during those 350 years. The reason we don’t know much about them was because the details of those wars were recorded on the large plates, which other than the first 116 pages that were lost, have not been translated, till we reach the book of Mosiah. The earlier time was not more peaceful, we just don’t have much information about the wars and contentions that occurred during that time.
Comment #5: I had a gospel doctrine teacher who said the most stupid things, like "If you have not gotten your food storage by now, it is already to late to start. There is not enough time left," and "Before Adam fell, the earth was in orbit around Kolob. When Adam fell, the earth flew across space into its current orbit.” I called BS on him a couple of times in class. Unable to handle all of the BS and deceptive practices of the church, I had to leave it. His reward for teaching the most absurd falsehoods I have ever heard? He was put into the bishopric” F.M.
Response: We have all had people tell us things that are not accurate—after all, people are people with their own opinions, feelings and attitudes. Your inability to differentiate between a person’s comments and the doctrines of the Church are unfortunate. However, there are numerous things that we think we know and do not. First of all, why anyone would say that about food storage is difficult to answer. On the other hand, the Earth was organized elsewhere than in its present position. President John Taylor in 1857 made this statement (Origin and Destiny of Woman), which also appeared in the Liahona the Elders’ Journal (March 7, 1908), when he said, “Thou longed, thou sighed and thou prayed to thy Father in heaven for the time to arrive when thou couldst come to this earth, which had fled and fallen from where it was first organized, near the planet Kolob.” Charles D. Evans said the same in 1894 (Matter and Spirit), and in the Millennial Star 56, 49 p 778), said, “The earth doubtless fell also an immeasurable distance from the presence of its Maker, from the mansion or abode of Kolob.” Also David B. Timmins “Free Agency, Determinism, and Chaos Theory,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought (1995). The idea is not one your teacher pulled out of a hat, but has been part of LDS thinking and teaching for more than a century that I know about.

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