Tuesday, September 3, 2013

More Comments and Questions from Readers -- Part X

Here are some additional comments or questions sent in by readers of this website:
Comment #1: ”Since Laman and Lemuel and their families were cursed, how should we understand that curse today? That is, will the curse be lifted, taken away, forgotten by the Lord based on repentance and acceptance of the gospel or remain a curse?”
Response: According to Nephi, the Lord “caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them…I will cause that they shall be loathsome unto thy people, save they shall repent of their iniquities” (2 Nephi 5:21-22). In so doing, the Lord commanded the Nephites not to intermarry with them for “Cursed shall be the seed of him that mixeth with their seed; for they shall be cursed even with the same cursing” (2 Nephi 5:23).
However, at the time of the Savior’s visit to the Nephites all of the people became united, and the dark skin, which was the sign of the curse, was removed. The two peoples became one and lived in full harmony and peace for about two hundred years. During that time, “There were no robbers, nor murderers, neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God” (4 Nephi 1:17). Unfortunately, as is always the case, there was a return to evil by some after this 200-year period of peace, and in this case, some of the dissenters took upon themselves the Lamanite name in complete disobedience, and the dark skin returned.
In direct answer, the Lord has said that, “Before the great day of the Lord shall come, Jacob shall flourish in the wilderness, and the Lamanties shall blossom as the rose” (D&C 49:24). It would seem that this would be a removal of the curse and sign as happened after the Lord’s appearance to the Nephites. In fact, according to Joseph Fielding Smith, “Many of the Catawba Indians of the (Carolinas) could readily pass as of the white race; also in other parts of the South…perhaps there are some Lamanties today who are losing the dark pigment.” In South America, there are many reports of certain Indian groups that look almost white.
Comment #2: “In 2 Nephi 3:3, father Lehi blesses his youngest son, Joseph, and tells him that his seed will not be utterly destroyed. Yet in Mormon 8:7, the Nephites were totally destroyed. Was Lehi wrong in his blessing to his son?”
Response:  It is not possible to know what Lehi meant, since there is no secondary scripture to compare this comment against. However, we do know that at one point, about 46 B.C., numerous Nephites went north to “the land which was northward” (Alma 63:4), and were never heard from again (Alma 63:8). We have addressed this event numerous times in this blog as those who went “to the land which was northward” as reaching a disjointed land, separate from the Land of Promise, which in the setting of the Western Hemisphere, would have been Central America. Thus, it would be assumed that among these 25,000 or so Nephites (63:4), there would have been a representative number of Joseph’s lineage and, as such, would not have been wiped out during the annihilation of the Nephite nation in the Land of Promise.
Comment #3: “Why do you think that the small neck of land mentioned in Alma was the only connecting land between the land northward and the land southward? One look at various models shows that there are numerous connecting lands between the two areas” Lenny W.
Response: Because Mormon tells us so: “thus the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla were nearly surrounded by water, there being a small neck of land between the land northward and the land southward” (Alma 22:32); and because Jacob tells us “We  are on an isle of the sea” (2 Nephi 10:20), and when you put those two sttements together, it is inescapable. That is, the Land Southward (Land of Nephi and Land of Zarahemla) was surrounded by water except for a small neck of land which led between them. The various models you have seen are not patterned after Mormon’s description, but are models of someone’s belief that the Land of Promise was located there. However, when you get into the details of Mormon’s description, they have to explain away many things in order to justify their models, such as a land laying east-west to match Mormon’s description of a north-south land, etc.
Comment #4: Do you really think that what the writers and scribes of the Book of Mormon were all inspired of the Lord to write what they did? This seems to be in opposition to what John L. Sorenson and others have suggested” Wilbur J.
Response: First of all, with probably the exception of some of those who wrote in the books of Jarom and Omni, they were not “writers and scribes,” but prophets of God. Men who repeatedly told us the Lord constrained them from writing further. Now, we find an interesting thing in the Doctrine & Covenants about this. The Lord, knowing the first translation of the beginning of the Large Plates would be lost, the Lord had Nephi abridge his father’s record on the Small Plates as well as his own, of which the Lord said, “there are many things engraven upon the plates of Nephi which do throw greater views upon my gospel” and “all the remainder of this work does contain all those parts of my gospel which my holy prophets, yea, and also my disciples, desired in their prayers should come forth unto this people” (D&C 10:45-46). Therefore, we can only conclude that the Lord was involved in what was written on these plates, for he knew what would happen and made sure his words (gospel) would be available in their entirety on the Small Plates.
Comment #5: “I simply cannot swallow the ages-old tale of a universal Flood, what you call Noah’s Flood. When you write of it, it makes your other statements less credible” Paxton.
Response: There can be no apology for stating facts as stated in the holy scriptures. But when it comes to the Flood, we can look into almost every culture that stretchers back three or four thousand years and find some form of the universal Flood theme. Along with Noah's flood in the Bible were the Babylonian Utnapischtim of the Gilgamesh epic, the Sumerian Ziusudra, the Persian Jima, the Indian Manu, the Maya Coxcox, the Colombian Bochica, the Algonkin's Nanabozu, the Crows' Coyote, the Greek Deukalion and Pyrrha, the Chinese Noah Kuen, and the Polynesian Tangaloa. All of these consistent “myths” make it evident there was a world-wide deluge. In addition, Global doomsdays are conspicuous in the Hopi Indian legends, the Finnish Kalevala epic, the Mayan Chilam Balam and Popol Vuh, and in the Aztec calendar, which cyclic theory states that the Flood was the fourth doomsday after the "death of the Jaguars," "the death of the Tempests," "the death of the Great Fire" (volcanoes), and the “Great Deluge.” I hate to belabor a point, but sometimes you have to in order to get through to people’s sacrosanct ideas: There are universal flood legends of one type or another among language groupings in the following countries and regions: 32 languages in South America; 24 in Central America; 83 in North America; 17 in the Pacific Islands; 17 in Australia; 57 in Asia; 17 in Africa; 9 in the Near East; and 11 in Europe.

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