Tuesday, December 3, 2013

An Attempt to Put Other People in the Land of Promise – Part V

Continuing with the comments in a website article one of our readers sent in entitled: “Other Peoples in the Promised Land,” from the "Book of Mormon Resources" website, posted on Friday, April 6, 2012:
    Comment: “Alma 31:35 - Many of the Zoramites were brethren of Alma and his missionary group. This infers that others of the Zoramites, possibly the majority, may have been of a different lineage from the original Lehite colony. The Zoramites, in general, were dissenters from the Nephites - Alma 31:8.”
Response: The Zoramites were Nephite dissenters, but more, some of them had been members of the Church who had fallen away (Alma 31:9). Therefore, some were “their brethren,” an indication of their one-time membership that was now perverting the ways of God (left). There is no suggestion of any different linage.
    Comment: Alma 43:17 – “Amalekites are mentioned as dissenters from the Nephites, yet nowhere previously is it mentioned when they dissented, unless they are the Amlicites who did defect and join the Lamanites (See Alma 21:2-5, etc.)”
    Response: This was dealt with earlier, but since it is brought up here again, we’ll respond briefly. First of all, it is unlikely that Mormon made a mistake and called the Amalekites by the wrong name. While these names are not common to us, they were to the Nephites—we would not write William when we meant Ralph. Secondly we are not told when and under what circumstances the Amalekites defected, but it evidently was a gradual decline in the correct worshipping of God (Alma 21:6), and a gradual increase in prideful and Satanic worship, having built synagogues (Alma 21:16) after the order of Nehor (Alma 21:4), and when called to repentance, they became angry (Alma 21:10), and defected over to the Lamanites—and from that time forward, they continually tried to stir up the Lamanites (Alma 23:14) to attack the Nephites (Alma 24:1, 28) in order to get their revenge (Alma 27:2).
    Comment: “Alma 50:32 - Why was Moroni concerned that the people in the land Bountiful would join with the rebellious people of the land of Morianton unless they were of a different stock, and prone to be more rebellious themselves than regular (pure) Nephites?”
    Response: First of all, “pure Nephites” were those descended directly from Nephi and none other, though there might be some who would include the descendants of Sam in that. Second, it was not the people in the land of Bountiful that Moroni was fearful of joining with Moriantum and his people, but the people in the Land Northward—even the people of Bountiful were concerned about this. Now why would they be concerned? Because Morianton had already led a large number of Nephites to rebel against the nation and seek refuge in the north country. Moroni, and the Nephites in Bountiful, feared that Morianton might be able to bring some or a lot of the Nephites in the far away Land Northward into his rebellious flock and if he did, he would have a natural barrier of the narrow pass through the narrow neck from which he could launch attacks against those in Bountiful and be able to withstand their retaliation as the Moriantonites could then guard the pass into the Land Northward. 
While we are not told why either Moronii or the people of Bountiful, felt that Nephites in the Land Northward might join with Morianton, though it is likely because they were further away from the mainstream Nephite nation and possibly did not interact with the main body of Nephites (there was a time when those living north of the point of the mountain in Utah did not travel to the south), it was still a rightful concern for they had guarded that pass from falling into the hands of others, including Lamamites since they first knew about it.
    Comment: “Alma 51:8, 21 - The king-men were of high birth. Where did they come from? Were they descendants from the people of Zarahemla, thus from Mulek who was of high birth; or were they a completely separate group of people assimilated earlier into the Nephites from a culture that had nobility and high births, and were now becoming disaffected?”
    Response: First of all, why wouldn’t the prophets who recorded the Book of Mormon, and Mormon himself who was knowledgeable of all the Nephite records, not think to include another group of people who had kings (royalty) in the land the Nephites occupied? Why would any intelligent person reading the scriptural record think something like this would be ignored? Secondly, the term “king-men” was a name given to a group of Nephites “who were desirous that Pahoran should be dethroned from the judgment-seat" and "were called king-men, for they were desirous that the law should be altered in a manner to overthrow the free government and to establish a king over the land” (Alma 51:5). Those Nephites opposed to this political group were called “freemen.” Who the king-men were we are not informed, but to give them a label is as much a chance of inaccuracy of being accurate. The point is, they were Nephites who wanted to take away the freedom and rights of the people (not unlike today in our government). There is no indication that any of them had been, or were related to, previous Nephite kings, or that they had been associated with the Mulekites who, by the way, never had a king that we are told. 
The thing we have to keep in mind is that there are always people who want to have dominion over others—they are found in every period of history, in every country, village and town. To assign a natural tendency of some men who come under Satan’s influence to a particular family or descendancy is not necessary and would never include the scope of such satanic desires to control others that so many men have.
    Comment: “Helaman 1:15 - Coriantumr, a defector to the Lamanites, was a direct descendant of the Mulekites. Some of this lineage may not have been happy that their ancestors joined with the Nephites and became subject to subsequent kings who were all pure descendants of Nephi.”
Response: That might well be true—on the other hand, there might be some Nephites who, seeing the Mulekites absorbed into the people of promise in the land, acquiring more of the land, positions, etc., that they wanted to take control and prompted a kingship so they could control the events. We can speculate all day, but the fact of the matter is, we are not told who these people were within the Nephite groups, but we do know that these men held were angry with Pahoran (Alma 51:4), and desired that he should no longer be chief judge over the land and wanted to alter the law "in a manner to overthrow the free government and to establish a king over the land" (Alma 51:5). And since those who opposed the king-men had "sworn or covenanted to maintain their rights and the privileges of their religion by a free government" (Alma 51:6), it would appear that the king-men were not members of the Church and wanted to control that aspect of Nephite life as well as the government itself. This same battle is found among the ancient Israelites who moved from Judges to a king (I Samuel 8:5) around 1050 B.C., and the Jaredites after Jared and his brother were near their death (Ether 6:22). It is not an uncommon thing in the history of nearly all people for some to favor kings who could bestow special favors upon his followers.
    Comment: “3 Nephi 3:9-10 - somewhat nebulous - The leaders of the Gadianton band may have been part of the dissenters, like the Amlicites, who felt they should have had more privileges being of noble birth, etc.”
    Response: First of all, under Nephite law a “man was compelled to pay that which he owed, or be stripped, or be cast out from among the people as a thief and a robber” (Alma 11:2). Secondly, there was a man named “Gadianton, who was exceedingly expert in many words, and also in his craft, to carry on the secret work of murder and of robbery; therefore he became the leader of the band of Kishkumen” (Helaman 2:4), which band seemed to be many (Helaman 2:8), and their desire seemed to be to hold the Judgement-seat (Helaman 2:5; 7:4), not to reinstate a king line. Nor is there any indication that the robbers were not Nephites.
    Comment: “3 Nephi 3:14, 24 - “... all them who were numbered among the Nephites....” (possibly inferring that there were other peoples besides the Nephites and converted Lamanites who were friendly to the Nephite leadership).
    Response: There is no mystery about this and none need be made—all those not numbered among the Nephites were not followers of God (Alma 5:57; 27:27; 45:12-13; 4 Nephi 1:36-37). Those not numbered among the Nephites were numbered among the Lamanites (Alma 45:14) and were not followers of God.
(See the next post, “An Attempt to Put Other People in the Land of Promise – Part VI,” for more information on the website article sent to us and whether or not the scriptural record tells us that there were other people in the Land of Promise)

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