Monday, January 13, 2014

Was Every Nephite Killed in 385 A.D.? – Part II

Continuing from the last post as to whether or not all the Nephites were killed in the last battle at Cumorah in 385 A.D. This and the last post are in responses to an article by Don R. Hender entitled Logic of the Aftermath of Cumorah. Following are more of his article points and our responses:
    Article: “There where a number of [Nephites] that [escaped the final battle] either dissenting over to the Lamanites at the time or either just passively standing by and would either 'dissent' or die as 'Christian' martyrs after the war.” 
Response: First of all, Mormon tells us that there were "a few who had escaped into the south countries, and a few who had deserted over unto the Lamanites" (Mormon 6:15). The term "few" follows the statement: "yes, even all my people, save it were those twenty and four who were with me" (Mormon 6:15). This would suggest to even the most cursory reading that this "few" were a very small number. Secondly, Hender does not seem to understand the very nature of this war. It was a war of annihilation, one in which the Lamanites killed every Nephite they could find as both Mormon and Moroni tell us--and those not killed in battle, were "sacrificed to their idol gods" (Mormon 4:14). Nobody just stood passively by—they either fought to preserve their lives or were cut down. Moromn tells us of the total dead of his own people (230,000-Mormon 6:10-15) in a single day’s battle. Can anyone believe that someone was standing idly looking on and not involved? Hender uses the term “war” as though this was a war like we know today. It was not. It was an annihilation of the Nephite people (the term "people" in Joseph Smith's time meant: "The body of persons who compose a community, town, city or nation; when people signified a separate nation or tribe, it has the plural number," thus, when Mormon writes "my people" he is stating all his people, the entire Nephite nation).
    As Moroni wrote: “Behold, four hundred years have passed away since the coming of our Lord and Savior. And behold, the Lamanites have hunted my people, the Nephites, down from city to city and from place to place, even until they are no more” (Mormon 8:6). The words “no more” when spoken of a people, should be pretty clear. While Hender uses the term “nation,” Moroni does not—he uses people—and they were no more!
    Article: Thus there is evidence that Mormon's 'round up' was not of the nature of the 'four year' type of the Jaredites which gathered every living soul unto Ramah.”
Response: There certainly was a difference. The Jaredites took four years to round up all their people. However, the Nephites were involved in running battles that started in 322 A.D. (Mormon 1:8) and basically continued for 63 years to its final conclusion at Cumorah, commencing in the Land of Zarahemla by the narrow strip of wilderness just north of the Land of Nephi (Mormon 1:10), and continued from one end of the Land of Promise to the other—a rather long distance, and involved every city and land along then way. As the Lamanites pursued the continually retreating Nephites, they burned every village (Mormon 5:5), and forced captured women and children to eat the flesh of their husbands and father (Moroni 9:8), and then sacrificed to dumb idols Nephite women and children (Mormon 4:14).
    It is the nature of most Americans, and most Christian people everywhere, to believe that an enemy has the same virtues as themselves—that they would conduct wars and affairs in a just manner, etc. While we have evidence that such is not the case, we tend to ignore it. Hender seems to think that the Lamanites would allow Nephites to survive battles rather than kill them outright, giving them a chance to recant their faith; however, other than Nephites who willing went over to the Lamanite side in defection, we have no suggestion of this happening. Those Nephites who Mormon tells us escaped into the south countries (Mormon 6:15), Moroni tells us later that “the Nephites who had escaped into the country southward were hunted by the Lamanites, until they were all destroyed” (Mormon 8:2).
    Article: Mormon's round up was more than likely a 'call to battle' sent out and answered by those remaining in the lands and areas which the Lamanites had not conquered prior to about 384 AD.”
    Response: Actually, Mormon does not tell us there was a call to battle. He tells us that those who did not join them in their retreat from city to city throughout the land, were killed by the Lamanites (Mormon 5:5), making it clear that the Nephites “whose flight was swifter than the Lamanites' did escape, and those whose flight did not exceed the Lamanites' were swept down and destroyed” (Mormon 5:7). In addition, in whatever cities Mormon did not reach, we are told that they “were destroyed by the Lamanites, and their towns, and villages, and cities were burned with fire; and thus three hundred and seventy and nine years passed away” (Mormon 5:5).
    Article: “And thus Mormon's call to battle was likely one that just occupied the year of 384 AD alone and was west and south of the battle grounds of Illinois where Zelph had fallen or basically west of the Mississippi.”
    Response: First of all, we see no “call to battle” in the scriptural record from Mormon, only the comments that people were “gathered in.” Secondly, it is a giant leap to suggest a location in Illinois and west of the Mississippi River for the final battle at Cumorah. There is absolutely nothing in the entire scriptural record to make such a claim.
    Article: “After the battle, the 24 remaining Nephite combatants and perhaps a number of the other 'conscientious objectors' fled to the 'south country' (not the 'land southward') to escape the Lamanites who would continue to hunt any 'believing' Nephites down and kill them.”
    Response: First of all, Moroni was one of those 24 remaining, as was Mormon (Mormon 6:15). We know that Mormon was killed in the final charge of the Lamanites the next day (Mormon 8:3). We also know that the 24 were on the hill Cumorah the morning after the great battle (Mormon 6:11), looking over the carnage of the final battle which left 230,000 dead. Secondly, to consider that anyone escaped into the south countries after the battle is ludicrous. The Nephites had about 230,000 men, aligned in 23 commands, as the Lamanites approached (Mormon 6:7). The Lamaniute army was so great, their numbers terrified the Nephites (Mormon 6:8). Thus, the Lamanite army must have been somewhere between 350,000 and 450,000, or even more. The point is, how could anyone have escaped from the top of the hill Cumorah between the final battle and the death of Mormon—a matter of a few hours—with some 400,000 blood-thirsty Lamanites surrounding the hill?
    Article: “The Lamanites had been recorded to kill all Nephites in their sweep from the local land of Desolation north until the Jordan defense when the Nephites began to defect. Thus all those lands up until 379/80 would have become occupied only by Lamanites. This would include Teancum, Boaz, Jashon, Shim, Shem, and many other towns villages, cities, and lands south of the Jordan defense line.”
    Response: First of all, is not likely that the Lamanites occupied any of the towns or villages they forced the Nephites out of since they burned them! (Mormon 5:5). Nor would there be any reason to occupy towns or villages as they pushed the Nephites further and further north. Secondly, the defections Mormon talks about are few and took place over the years of the constant fighting, not in a specific year or battle as Hender seems to think.
    Article: “Logically the Nephites would not have attempted to flee for safety into solidly occupied Lamanite lands and surely they would not run the risk of attempting to slip through the narrow passage of the narrow neck undetected. Surely this 'south country' was the southern states of the United states and not the land southward of the narrow neck.”
As can easily be seen, in the three models of the Land of Promise shown (Mesoamerica, Heartland, and Great Lakes), there would have been an easy escape route for Mormon and the Nephites, or at least the Nephites that wanted to escape instead of going south into Lamanite held land
Response: Let’s be realistic about this. If this took place in the United States, those Nephites trying to escape would have gone north, deep into Canada—it would have been their only direction of possible escape. That alone should tell us they were not in the U.S. or anywhere else where the land to the north was open--like Mesoamerica, where they could have escaped north into the U.S. If that had been the case, Mormon would not have chosen to stop at Cumorah to fight a tremendously superior force, but kept on going northward, and even if he didn’t, the Nephites with their wives and children, would have.
    Article: “And this was the nature of the aftermath and mop up effort of consolidating this south country, bringing them solidly under Lamanite dominion.”
    Response: Evidently, Hender has not read or understood Moroni’s writing, for he tells us that after the Nephites had all been killed at Cumorah, other than those who escaped being tracked down, the Lamanites were at war one with another in a tremendous civil war that covered the entire land—there was no Lamanite dominion. As Moroni describes it: “the Lamanites are at war one with another; and the whole face of this land is one continual round of murder and bloodshed; and no one knoweth the end of the war” (Mormon 8:8).
    Article: “And since it went on for years according to Moroni's records, coupled with Moroni's account that his father Mormon had been killed in a latter battle” 
    Response: “We only know that Mormon was killed by the Lamanites. Nor is there any indication of a later battle other than the continuation of the great battle the next day that killed every Nephite but Moroni.

Despite people wanting to write about things not in the scriptural record, we need to keep in mind that the Nephite nation and people were all destroyed. Any who defected over were no longer Nephites in any way, but were changed to be Lamanites, not just in name, but in skin color and all that such included, such as DNA change, etc.

1 comment:

  1. And I Mormon do not write but a hundredth part. Just because it's not recorded doesn't mean the possibilities of other things. It's not black and white. I bet my bottom dollar a believer in Christ besides Moroni was overlooked