Thursday, January 23, 2014

Were There Two Landing Sites for the Mulekites? Part IV

Continuing from the last post regarding the articles of Don R. Hender’s website that one of our readers sent us: 
     Article: “And just as it was the logical providence of God to bring the Mulekites to where they could gather up the domestic herds of the Jaredites within the reaches of the 'Isthmus of the Narrow Neck,' so it was the providence of God to afford Lehi and his group the same convenience and blessing.”
Response: There was certainly a providence of God for the Nephites to encounter the area of Bountiful on the Arabian Peninsula where the Jaredites had brought and left behind many of their camels and other animals, plants, bees and honey, etc., which Lehi found and caused him to name the area Bountiful “because of its much fruit and also wild honey” (1 Nephi 17:5). Note that the Jaredites brought “all manner of fruit, and of grain” (Ether 9:17), and swarms of bees (Ether 2:3). This same providence no doubt was available when the Mulekites reached this same Bountiful after “wandering in the wilderness” before “being brought by the hand of the Lord across the great waters” and into the Land of Promise where Mosiah discovered them (Omni 1:16).
Now when the Mulekitess landed “where Mosiah found them," they were nowhere near the Land of Bountiful, but obviously shared in the providence of the God with the Jaredite animals that had fled into the Land Southward and scattered out throughout the land. Common sense would suggest that animals spread out as they increase in number and herd or flock size. The entire Land Southward eventually was filled with these animals over a period of several hundred years before the Nephites and Mulekites landed.
    Article: “What domestic animals of the Jaredites were left and able to make their escape, would have to come into the land south from the land northward for food. This was the ‘second land Bountiful,’ so named, where Lehi's group landed. They had sailed from 'Bountiful' and they had landed in 'Bountiful.'”
    Response: Talk about speculation and misreading the scriptural record! First of all, the Jaredites had access to the animals across the narrow neck from the area they had reserved as a preserve, and they undoubtedly had access to animals that did not head for the narrow neck to escape the serpents, which followed them. No doubt some animals were elsewhere and later found. The point is, the Jaredites, like any ancient people, needed animals to survive. Secondly, the Land of Bountiful in the Land of Promise was unknown and unnamed until around 200 B.C. No Nephites had settled in that area and there were no Nephite cities in that area. Mosiah, who left the city of Nephi around that time, was the first Nephite to move northward from what became known as the Land of Nephi. The Mulekites simply cannot be placed there at any time in the Land Northward, or in the area later to be called Bountiful.
    Article: “Mulek landed a little north of the Isthmus of the Narrow Neck, likely on the East Coast. And Lehi landed a little south of the Isthmus of the Narrow Neck of land on the West Coast.”
Response: There is no verification for Mulek landing on the east coast. This is just speculation. If Mulek and Lehi left the same area, which is likely given the condition of the Babylonians controlling all the south, west and north areas around Jerusalem, Mulek’s only avenue of escape would have been in the general direction Lehi took. Besides, Amelaki tells us that the Mulekites landed where Mosiah later found them (Omni 1:16).
    Article: “Thus the Lord brought Mulek into the land north and Lehi into the land south. And while the immediate land just north of the narrow neck was known as Desolation, the name associated with all the land north was Mulek. And while the immediate land just south of the narrow neck was known as Bountiful, the name associated with all the land south was Lehi. (Hel. 6:10)”
    Response: Another mistake Theorists make in thinking the Land Northward and the Land North were the same thing, and the Land Southward and the Land South were the same thing.
We have written about this many times—the Land Southward was divided into two parts, south of the narrow strip of wilderness (Lamanite controlled) and north of the narrow strip (Nephite controlled). Moroni made it quite clear when he rent his coat and wrote the title of liberty upon a piece of it (Alma 46:12), and after pouring out his soul to God (Alma 46:16), he “named all the land which was south of the land Desolation, yea, and in fine, all the land, both on the north and on the south -- A chosen land, and the land of liberty” (Alma 46:17). Thus, in 73 B.C., Moroni named all of the Land Southward a land of liberty, and though the Land Southward was divided into the Land South and the Land North, he named it all a land of liberty! We have written about this far more fully in earlier posts, but the point here is that the Land South was where Lehi landed, and we already know that he landed far south in the Land of Nephi (Alma 22:28); and the Land North was where the Mulekites landed, and we already know they landed close to the city of Zarahemla where Mosiah found them (Omni 1:16), as has already been pointed out. From the record, we do not know if any Nephites had ever gone into the Land Northward, until Mormon tells us of the first migration in Alma 63:9 (53 B.C.), and in Helaman 3:3 (46 B.C.)
    Article: “And 'Lehi' was divided into two great nations recorded by the Nephites as the Land or Nation of Nephi where the Lamanites dwelt having forced the Nephites to be removed from their first original lands of occupation. And the other great nation of Lehi was that of Zarahemla which was occupied by the Nephites and Mulekites during this juncture in time.”
    Response: First of all, Mosiah and those who would go with him (who were the only Nephites from this junction onward), were directed to flee the City of Nephi area by the Lord. The Lamanites did not exactly “force them out” of that area. A minor point, but as long as we are dealing with the scriptural record, let’s be accurate about it. Secondly, if one is going to separate the Mulekites from Nephites after they merged, then we need to add Nephites, Jacobites, Josephites and Zoramites as well. Once they were united, they were one people, not two, just like Sam descendants were never separated.
Third, as covered earlier, for three generations (Mosiah I, Benjamin, Mosiah II) after discovering Zarahemla, the Nephites were a kingdom not a nation. Not until 91 B.C., did Alma take over in the judgment seat and the Nephite people became a nation. The Lamanites never did become a nation—they were always a kingdom.
    Article: The fact that the Mulekites and Nephites had been prone to settle along the Sidon river and follow that river valley all the way up to its head waters where Manti was located, is an indication that the river either runs from southwest to the northeast or at least has a 'northeasterly' turn which takes a traveler northeast, 'round about' that portion of the wilderness of Hermounts which is directly north of the City Lands of Zarahmela which would have to be 'cut' through to reach Bountiful on a straight north to south line.”
    Response: First of all, Hermounts was not "directly north" of Zarahemla, but north and west (Alma 2:36-37) so there is no "straight line." Secondly, we don’t know that the Mulekites and Nephites settled along the river Sidon, there is no statement in the scriptural record that would lead someone to think that. Lehi’s first settlement was along the coast and we have no indication he ever moved. When Nephi fled he settled in an area that was not near the river Sidon. When the Mulekites landed, they no doubt settled near the coast as Lehi did. It should be kept in mind that these groups were not savage newcomers to civilization, but had a thousand years of Jewish/Hebrew history behind them when they settled in the Land of Promise. Obviously, they would have understood ground water, irrigation, digging wells, etc.
Top Left: The multiple arches of the Pont du Gard in Roman Gaul (France). Its lower tiers carry a road across the river, and the upper tiers support an aqueduct conduit that carried water to Nimes in Roman times; Right: The arcade of the Aqua Claudia, one of the eleven aqueducts of Rome; Bottom Left: Cantalloc Aqueducts Nasca Peru; Center: A series of ancient aqueducts in Tambomachay Peru; Right: Aqueduct channel in Ollantaytambo Peru
    When Jerusalem was first settled, they had a spring that provided all their water, which over time was passed through cisterns to individual houses. They had no river or lake or ocean near them. The Greeks and the Romans built aqueducts that brought water from distant springs from far outside their cities. The point is, ancient people knew how to build cities away from rivers, lakes, oceans, etc. Natural water can always be either found or brought in by an industrious people. While initial settlements would rationally be near water, later expansion settlements would be located based on numerous reasons, water not necessarily the major issue by such advanced groups as the Nephites.
    Article: This adds to the concept of the lands being skewed one from the other. It moves the River Sidon's passage to the east of the north-south line from Zarahemla to Bountiful. It means that there are lands out in that direction including the River Sidon to the east of Bountiful.”
    Response: It means nothing of the kind. To the east of Bountiful is only Mulek and a plain between them. This area is well defined and covered by Mormon as he outlines a series of events that take place there and no river Sidon or other lands are mentioned between the city of Bountiful and Mulek, which was on the coast (Alma 52).
(More of Hender’s erroneous conclusions are stated in the next post, “Was the Land Northward Skewed?”)

No comments:

Post a Comment