Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Looking at Mormon’s Internal Map – Part II

In the last three posts, we have responded to two articles on Don R. Hender’s website. The last post and this one (below) have to do with his article Mormon’s Internal Map Defined.    
    Article: “…his third journey was across the Indian and Pacific Oceans, and now his 'fourth journey' in the land of promise was no more than a walk around the block? That is not consistent to the manner and way the Book of Mormon uses the term to journey.”
    Response: The fourth journey was across the sea, probably about 10,000 miles. Consequently, the term journey in these cases covers anything from about 180 miles to about 10,000 miles—obviously, a rather elastic use of the term journey. We should keep in mind that the term “journey” is also used to describe a partial event, as in “as we journeyed in the wilderness, behold Laman and Lemuel, and two of the daughters of Ishmael, and the two sons of Ishmael and their families, did rebel against us” (1 Nephi 7:6).
The term is also used differently in “we did return without food to our families, and being much fatigued, because of their journeying, they did suffer much for the want of food” (1 Nephi 16:19), which in reality could be “traveling” “walking” “trekking” or “roaming” (see also 1 Nephi 17:2). Now, in the use of the term Hender refers to as “a walk around the block” the term “journeyed” is used, suggesting they were traveling around their new land to discover what was there, which Nephi then tells us what they found. Therefore, it cannot be said that the term “journey” has a singular use in the Book of Mormon, for most of these uses are not consistent.
    Article: “The concept rather is that for Lehi to journey in the land of promise he left the site of first landing and traveled on in the wilderness to where the 'land of first inheritance' where they would then be established and settled.”
    Response: There is simply no support for this concept anywhere in the scriptural record. It should be noted that, as mentioned in the last post, by the time the Nephite Colony landed in the Land of Promise and came ashore, Lehi and Sariah would have been quite old, and after an exhausting journey across the sea of some 10,000 miles, no doubt not interested in traveling inland to find some place that might be better than along the seashore which, by the way, is where Mormon placed them anyway (Alma 22:28).  It is simply Hender’s views that they went inland, no doubt, to meet the needs of his model.
    Article: “Many a would-be successful colony has failed just because they did not further journey and explore the land to find out it resources and to settle nearer to where those they'd need were located. Is that not what the Book of Mormon presents that Lehi's party did?“
    Response: No, it does not say that. In fact, they did explore their surroundings, perhaps traveling some distance to discover the animals, ores, etc. (1 Nephi 18:25). What Hender is ignoring, however, is that the colony had the Liahona, which guided them to the Land of Promise and, no doubt, told them where to settle there when they landed. They did not need to look for a better place if that was where the Lord guided them to settle.
Initial settlements were always along the sea, typically where rivers or streams were nearby that emptied into the ocean. This allowed for immediate construction of living quarters and protection as well as water and food, both from fishing in the sea and hunting inland
     Besides, history does not show that colonies formed inland, but rather along the seashore as the east coast of the U.S. as is well documented. Early colonies always settled near water and food sources, and since rivers flow into the sea, the seashore is the natural place for both—fresh water from the river and fish in the sea. Once settled, of course, people tend to explore their land, but not until they have settled, built shelters and secured their safety and food supply.
    Article: To all who attempt to put a map to the lands of the Book of Mormon, Alma 22:27-34 is a well known jumping off point. It is here that Mormon takes the time to give a general picture of the lands of the Lamanites and Nephites as they were divided into the nation of 'Nephi' and the nation of 'Zarahemla'.”
    Response: While some historians, myself included, sometimes use the term “nation” to refer to the Nephites overall—for they had a central government of judges that were elected—all the other groups, including the Nephites up to and including Mosiah II, were kingdoms. As for the Mulekites, when they are first introduced to us in Omni, their leader Zarahemla was not called a king, so we might wonder at what type of government they had, but it is really unimportant since they joined with the Nephite kingdom, which later became an elected government, which we might call a nation.
    Article: “Oddly we find that the land and nation of 'Nephi' is actually the nation of the Lamanites.”
Response: The Lamanites as a whole, or in part, were never a “nation.” They were a kingdom, having several kings from beginning to end. What is meant here, no doubt, is that the Land of Nephi, which originally was the home of the Nephites (from Nephi to Mosiah I), became the land of the Lamanites after about 400 years, when Mosiah I left for Zarahemla. Then the Land of Zarahemla became the home of the Nephites. What the Lamanites called their portion of the land in the far south before expanding to include all of ther Land of Nephi is not known—Mormon simply referred to it as the Land of First Inheritance, which is consistent with Hebrew language.
    Article: “As for the nation of 'Zarahemla', that nation and land was originally first occupied or settled by Mulek, King Zarahemla of the Mulekites being a descendant of Mulek who was in turn the son of Zedekiah back in Jerusalem some 600 years before the birth of Jesus Christ. So neither the Lamanite or the Nephite nation was named per themselves as you might think.
    Response: We only know that Zarahemla gave a genealogy of his fathers from memory (Omni 1:18), but we do not know if Zarahemla was a descendant of Mulek, or one of the others that brought Mulek out of Jerusalem. Again, we do not know that he was a king. Nor do we know the term “the people of Zarahemla” has reference to the man, or the name of the city or land, or just the name of the people in general. At the same time, I don’t know of anyone reading the scriptures that does not understand the naming of the Nephites, Lamanites or Mulekites—while the Lamanites and Mulekites were not nations, perhaps what Hender means is that the Lamanites lived in the Land of Nephi, and the Nephites lived in the Land of Zarahemla.
    Article: “Mormon lived in the 4th century AD, some 500 years post this given map's [Alma 22] time, and even at that he only ventured in the actual land or nation of Zarahemla a small fraction of his life time, less than a decade of his eighty-ish years.”
    Response: Mormon arrived in the Land of Zarahemla at the age of 11, having traveled with his father from the Land Northward (Mormon 1”6), in which he saw much of the Land Southward. After five years in Zarahemla, Mormon was made commander of the Nephite army (Mormon 2:1), and from that time he was fighting battles in the Land Southward until 349 A.D., when at the age of 39, the Nephites by treaty took over the Land Northward and the Lamanites the Land Southward—thus, Mormon spent some 28 years in the Land Southward, and not just in Zarahemla, or traveling around, but overlooking, planning (mapping) battles, fighting over the land, etc,; all of which would have given him a very clear picture of the Land Southward.
    As for the narrow neck of land, Mormon fought several battles in and around that area, and fought much in the Land of Desolation until 375 A.D. So Mormon had far more knowledge of the Land of Zarahemla than most anyone, both planning out battle sites, and fighting across that land for 24 years, and around the narrow neck area for another 26 years, before being confined to the Land Northward, far from the narrow neck area for the last 10 years of his life. Who else in all the scriptural record had such an experience of knowing and being in so much of the Land of Promise. Having been in the military and planning battle ground sites, searching out areas of attack and defense, I can say that you get a very clear picture of the land and it is not soon forgotten because of the extreme detail and importance of what you see and study.
    Article: “And this map [Alma 22] is 100 years prior to the great destructions which occurred upon the land at the time of the death of Jesus Christ around 34 A.D. Yet many try to use this 2,000 year, 2 millennia, old map and fit it to the land maps of today.”
    Response: Correct. While a general area might be located, specific areas and changes in topography would normally make it difficult for anything specific. However, Mormon had all the records of all the Nephites, dating from the time of first landing. He knew what all had written about the land before him. He was in a unique position to have completely traveled the land as already mentioned, and know first hand from the writings of the B.C. Nephites what it was like before the destruction.
(See the next post, “Looking at Mormon’s Internal Map – Part III,” for more on the articles on his website and the errors he uses to support his model and views)

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