Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Land Northward – Part VI

Continuing with the article we ran across on the internet and decided it would make a good posting based on the numerous errors and misstatements it contained, we have used comments for their statements, and responses for our answers:    
    Comment: The need for Mormon (Mormon 6:2) to get permission from the king of the Lamanites indicates the need to keep the Lamanites from harassing the Nephites as they gathered to the land of Cumorah.”
    Response: Since Mormon and his people would be moving northeast of the city of Jordan, and the Lamanites were to the south of the city Jordan, it would seem that being harassed on their march to Cumorah would not be a serious concern. The delay of preparing for a final battle may well have been to allow Mormon time to gather in all his Nephites, and to prepare and align them for battle.
On the other hand, earlier the Lamanite king sent an epistle to Mormon “which gave unto me to know that they were preparing to come again to battle against us” (Mormon 3:4) suggesting that it was the custom of sides notifying the other of their battle intentions. We see this also in the case of the Robbers writing to Lachoneus, the Nephite governor, in this same manner (3 Nephi 3:1, 8). 
    Now, as this moment unfolds, Mormon occupied the city of Jordan and stood off the Lamanites there (Mormon 5:3), and the following year was driven out of the city of Jordan (Mormon 5:6-7). While in flight ahead of the Lamanites (Mormon 6:1), Mormon wrote this epistle to the Lamanite king (Mormon 6:2). Thus, it is more likely that Mormon was telling the Lamanite king of his battle intentions, to which the Lamanites agreed.
    Comment: The last land mentioned before this verse was the land of Jordan, and the Nephites were being driven northward and/or eastward of the city of Jordan.”
    Response: We really do not know in which direction Mormon was headed away from the city of Jordan, but probably north, away from the Lamanites who had been moving up from the south before this. All we really know is that he was headed toward the Land of Cumorah with the Lamanites following (Mormon 6:1, 4). Such information does not provide us with any facts as to where Cumorah was located, since we do not know exactly where the city of Jordan was located. This, like several other statements, violates the author’s earlier stated purposed of “being exact.”
    Comment: “In the Book of Ether, Omner passed the hill Cumorah on his travel to the Sea East shore, thus putting the hill Cumorah eastward of the city of Jordan.”
    Response: First of all, there is no Omner mentioned in the book of Ether. Omner was the name of one of Mosiah’s sons (Ammon, Aaron, Omner, and Himni) who did missionary work in the Land of Nephi (Mosiah 27:8-11, 34-37; 28:1-9).
No doubt what was meant was when the Jaredite Omer “passed by the hill of Shim and came over by the place where the Nephites were destroyed, and from thence eastward” (Ether 9:3). However, how far Omer went eastward before he reached “a place which was called Ablom, by the seashore,” is not known. It could have been a short distance or a long distance. Nor do we know it was eastward of the city of Jordan. It could have been far to the north of Jordan, or due east, or anywhere in between. On the other hand, far to the north in the Land Northward was a sea or area called “many waters” by the name of Ripliancom (Ether 15:8). It is recorded that Coriantumr pitched his tent by the hill Ramah, the  hill where Mormon later hid up the records (Ether 15:11).  There Coriantumr gathered all the people to his army (Ether 15:12), and there final battle took place there (Ether 15:16-17, 20-27), then Coriantumr fled and Shiz followed, overtaking Coriantumr’s army the following day (Ether 15:29), where Coriantumr killed Shiz (Ether 15:31). We do not know how far or in what direction, the armies moved away from the hill Ramah (Cumorah). Earlier, they were at the waters of Ripliancum and from there they went southward (Ether 15:10). Shiz and his army made camp (pitched their tents) in a place called Ogath (Ether 15:10), and Coriantumr and his army camped by the hill Ramah (Ether 15:11).
    In these events, the hill Cumorah is assumed to be east of the hill Shim, but west of Ablom, which was located by the seashore. However, we simply do not know how far it was from the seashore to Ablom, or how far it was from Ablom to the hill Cumorah, or the hill Shim, etc. And certainly there is no way to tie in the city of Jordan with the hill Shim, Ablom or the seashore. Consequently, we might say the hill Cumorah was near the East Sea, but we have no scriptural support for that statement. All we can say, is that the hill Cumorah was east of the hill Shim. However, where the hill Shim was located is not known other than it was many days travel from the area of the Kingdom of Shule, in which Omer had sat upon its throne. Since we do not know where that was, and we don’t know where the city of Jordan was, or the hill Shim, we in no wise can conclude that the hill Cumorah was east of Jordan.
    Comment: The land of Cumorah and hill Cumorah were in a land of many waters, rivers and fountains.  Fountains are deep pools in rivers.  The term 'many waters' means a sea.  This puts the land of Cumorah in proximity to a sea.  Since the land of dry bones is the same as the land of Cumorah and the bones came from the armies of Shiz and Coriantumr, the sea would be the Sea East.”
    Response: First of all, as stated fully in a previous post on this article, fountains are the source of waters, like streams, rivers, etc. It means source or beginning. And "many waters" does not equate to a sea, but waters such as lagoons, bays, inlets, lakes, pools, etc. Secondly, there is no reference to place Cumorah next to the Sea or even near it. Thirdly, the land of dry bones is not referenced near a Sea, but within a land of many waters. When we realize the Land of Nephi stretched from the east sea to the west sea, we cannot equate a “land” as being small. The Land of Cumorah could be many miles across, and though one end of it might be near something, it does not mean that a specific area in that land is also near it.
As for the bones coming from Shiz and Coriantumr’s final battles, this is not indicated in the scriptural record. The bones found by Limhi’s expedition were more likely from the dead indicated in earlier fighting which was so swift and speedy was the war that there was none left to bury the dead, but they did march forth from the shedding of blood to the shedding of blood, leaving the bodies of both men, women, and children strewed upon the face of the land, to become a prey to the worms of the flesh” (Ether 14:22). The location of these bones covered such a large area that “And the scent thereof went forth upon the face of the land, even upon all the face of the land; wherefore the people became troubled by day and by night, because of the scent thereof” (14:23). After this, Shiz pursued Coriantumr eastward to the borders of the seashore where they fought for three days (Ether 14:26). At this point two million of Coriantumr’s people had been killed (Ether 15:2), and at this time the armies fled northward to the waters of Ripliancum, and from there southward to Ogath (Ether 15:10), which was adjacent to the hill Cumorah as pointed out above. Once again, there is little here in which to develop places on a map except in the most general and useless terms.
    Comment: “Mormon had used the phrase 'north countries' earlier in Mormon 2:3.  Since the north countries refer to the countries in the narrow neck, the south countries would be countries southward of the narrow neck.  There is insufficient information regarding which countries those might be.”
    Response: First of all, there were no “countries” in the narrow neck. “Narrow” by definition is “narrow” and when Mormon also called it a “small neck,” the word “small” by definition is “small”! Thus, the neck would have been small and narrow (small or short in length and narrow in width), no place for any countries to be located, no not even one. Secondly, it is likely that Mormon did not know which countries those of his army fled to—he only knew they went southward. Moroni, later, called the area to which some escaped the “country southward” (Mormon 8:2)
    As we can see from all of these statements by the author of the internet article, the vast majority of them are inaccurate, do not follow the meaning of the scriptural record, use a lot of add-on information not consistent with the scriptural record, are not exact, and in short, violate his first several statements found in Part I of this six-part series, i.e., "The Book of Mormon states that the contents of the book are first-hand descriptions by the people that lived in the lands they were describing. If so, then as first-hand descriptions, the descriptions would be accurate. A first-hand account should be accurate without having to rely on any archaeological evidence."
    We might add to that, nor do we need to alter, change, or mis-use or mis-quote those first-hand descriptions as this author so willingly does.

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