Wednesday, April 9, 2014

More Comments from Readers – Part X

Here are more comments, questions and criticisms that have been sent in from readers of our blog, along with our responses.  
    Comment #1: “The Old World Promised Land is bordered by inland bodies of water called “seas”. The Book of Mormon does not indicate that its every mention of “sea” relates to an Oceanic body of water. The text does not identify any of the seas that bordered Book of Mormon lands as the waters they crossed to arrive there: great waters" Aldis W.
Just to keep things straight, the Old World Promised Land (Israel) is not bordered by seas. The only  border of sea is to the West—the Mediterranean Sea, which if viewed on a larger scale, is an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean, or a part of one continuous ocean. The Dead Sea in the southeast extends over a tiny fraction of the overall borders of the Land of Promise. To the north is continuous land, and to the south is empty desert all the way to the Red Sea, which is an inlet of the Arabian Sea, part of the Indian Ocean. So one cannot say Israel is bordered by inland seas
    Response: The writers of the Book of Mormon, except for Nephi, never saw Israel, new nothing of the topography of the area, nor the types of seas that were around it. On the other hand, Jacob through Moroni, and Mormon’s overall abridgement, knew what a sea was since their Land of Promise was surrounded by water. As for reference, the Book of Mormon does not suggest in any way that a sea was an inland body of water, but, as we have it and as it was translated through the Holy Spirit by Joseph Smith, the scriptural record uses the term Sea(s) as they were understood by Joseph in 1829. In that time, a sea was a synonymous term for ocean. Lastly, the Book of Mormon does identify the seas around it as those they crossed to arrive there: “for the Lord has made the sea our path, and we are upon an isle of the sea” (2 Nephi 10:20).
    Comment #2: “Some LDS scholars believe that the Tehuantapec model provides enough of a match with existing geography, ancient cultures and ruins, to propose plausible locations for certain Book of Mormon places and events” Arvel E.
How anyone can feel that a land running almost in the opposite direction of the many descriptions found in the scriptural record of a land that runs north and south is beyond my imagination. Plus seas are in the wrong direction, and only two instead of four, cities west and east of each other rather than north and south of one another. The statement “provides enough of a match” is totally misleading and extremely disingenuous! In my youth, Used Car Salesmen used to talk that way
    Response: I notice you did not include the next sentence of that internet page description, which read “Critics, on the other hand, insist that the Tehuantepec model is fundamentally flawed.” And flawed it is, as has been shown in this blog (and others) many times over. But even so, there simply is not enough information in the scriptural record to place the location of cities generally. One, or maybe two, might be figured out from the scant information provided, but not in any degree the several Mesoamericanists claim and want to show you on their tours.
    Comment #3: “It seems to me that a characteristic of Hugh Nibley’s study of the Book of Mormon, which he has urged others to emulate, is close study of the scriptural text to reveal information which myopia had previously led readers to ignore. Myopia is defined as a lack of imagination, foresight, or intellectual insight. Perhaps your interpretations of the Book of Mormon is myopic, that is, you are too willing to accept the exact wording and not look beyond it to a deeper meaning” Aldrich J.
Response: Hugh Nibley (left), and later many of those who have written about the Book of Mormon, (Sorenson, et all) do so with a tendency to think that Nephi, Mormon, and the others deliberately left out information (no other people in the Land of Promise mentioned), restricted the story line of the scriptural record to that of just the Nephite nation (ignoring Nephite interaction with other indigenous people), or wrote in such a way as to be confusing and difficult to understand to the reader unless he possessed knowledge beyond that of the average man. They all believe that unless one possesses an advanced degree, especially in linguistics, archaeology, anthropology, geography, etc., they simply will miss much of the meaning the original writers meant to convey.
    Personally, I do not agree with that. As Nephi said, “My soul delighteth in plainness unto my people, that they may learn” (2 Nephi 25:4), and also, “after this manner doth the Lord God work among the children of men” (2 Nephi 31:3). The Lord truly does work according to plainness—the word, plain, of course, means pure, clear, uncomplicated, honest, simple, and without ornamentation. According to the accompanying footnote in the Church’s 1979 edition of the Bible, plain here means whole, complete, perfect, and simple. The scriptural record is written in powerful, plain, simple, honest ways by the Lord’s prophets.
In closing out his record, Nephi lamented the fact that, “for they will not search knowledge, nor understand great knowledge, when it is given unto them in plainness, even as plain as word can be” (2 Nephi 32:7). If we needed academicians to tell us what the Book of Mormon means, or Mesoamericanists to tell us where the Land of Promise was located, or Hugh Nibley to tell us what we don’t understand, then it seems to me that the purpose and validity of the Book of Mormon would be in question—however, Nephi and others wrote in plain and simple language so that we (all of us), in our day, could easily understand the messages therein.
    If you are a reader of this blog, then you will know that Nibley, Sorenson, et all, are not always right, and that the scriptural record is written in plain and simple language that you and I can fully grasp and understand without someone telling us we cannot. After all, the scriptural record “speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding” (2 Nephi 31:3).
    That is about as plain and simple as language can get.
    Comment #3: “When we start looking at the members of Lehi’s group that sailed to the Americas, we should keep in mind that, as Lynn Hilton pointed out, Laman and Lemuel took dark-skinned South Arabian women as second wives during the sojourn in Bountiful, thus accounting for the skin color attributed to the Lamanites in the promised land in America” Christoffel G.
    Response: That is an interesting idea; however, Jacob tells us that the Lamanites had a tradition of strict monogamy (Jacob 3:5). Besides, the Lord does not need an infusion of black skinned wives and their offspring to account for the dark skin of the Lamanites. Such was done by the Lord (2 Nephi 5:21). “And the Lord spake it, and it was done” (2 Nephi 5:23). Also, one should be careful to add into the scriptural record concepts and ideas that are not stated, implied, or suggested in the record itself. There is no mention of any interaction in Bountiful between the Lehi colony and anyone else. 
    Why anyone wants to add people into the mix of the scriptural record not suggested or implied is always beyond me. Sorenson continually wants to add people into the Land of Promise that intermingled, intermarried, etc., with the Nephites and Lamanites. If there were other people, surely at least one of the writers of the record would have stated it, especially when it had an important impact upon the outcome of the people and their society, wars, etc. Let us not forget that fabrication is not part of scholarly research and writing.

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