Friday, July 4, 2014

Comments from Readers – Part V

We continue to have comments, questions and criticisms being sent in from readers of our blog. Here are a few more with our responses. 
   Comment #1: According to the Book of Mormon, people were baptized with the Holy Spirit during Old Testament times, long before the day of Pentecost. The Bible plainly teaches that this could not take place in a general way until after Jesus had been crucified and ascended into heaven: Nevertheless I tell you the truth: It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you (Jn. 16:7). The constant recurrence of New Testament-like infillings of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament portion of the Book of Mormon shows that the significance of the events on the day of Pentecost in the second chapter of Acts were not understood by the author of the Book of Mormon. This is still another example of the un-Biblical doctrines taught in the Book of Mormon” Jade U.
Response: Actually, it is you that do not understand the difference between the Holy Spirit and the presence of Jesus Christ. First of all, the purpose of the Holy Spirit is to testify that Jesus is the Christ, and to testify of all truth. When Jesus is present, there is no need for the Holy Ghost, for Jesus is a testifier of himself. When he left their presence on the day of Pentacost, he was telling his disciples that the Holy Ghost could not descend upon them until after he, the Christ, was gone—then they would need the Holy Spirit to testify to them. During the Book of Mormon time cited above, the Nephites did not have the presence of the Savior in their lives, nor was he present on the Earth in physical form, so they needed the Holy Spirit. It is not a complicated matter—both are not needed to testify of Christ, just one or the other.
    Comment #2: The Ishmaelitish women, the wives of the sons of Ishmael and possibly all of Ishmael’s family could have been ethnically distinct. It is apparent that there were many remnants of the Jaredite and other tribal peoples in Central America” Jackson N.
    Response: It is not apparent that there were remnants of the Jaredite people in Central America or anywhere else since they were  wiped out to the man, with only Coriantumr surviving the great, final battles, and Ether who recorded the events.
    Comment #3: Your Book of Mormon states that the inhabitants of ancient America had iron and steel tools and weapons (2 Ne. 5:15; 4:21), linen and silk clothes (Alma 1:29; 1:44), and nearly every kind of domesticated animal which we have today (1 Ne. 18:25; 5:216; 2 Ne.17:21; 9:34; 3 Ne.7:8; 3:43). It even states that the ox was found in America in A.D. 600 in a wild state (I Ne. 18:25; 5:216-217). Not only is there no evidence of the former, but the affirmation of the latter should definitely make the whole matter suspect, for the ox is a product of human surgical intervention nearly 100% of the time” Charles R.
    Response: We have answered these questions several times, but I am including this again to point out how little people know about that which they form their opinions. As an example, the Ox (bos), as has been pointed out before, is an all-inclusive term, and is used to apply to any of various large, bulky bovids, as both wild and domestic cattle, water buffaloes and yaks, and also the domestic bovine mammal (bovine taurus), and more broadly a bovine mammal.
The wild ox or oxen is a category of bovine (bos or bibos) completely unrelated to a castrated animal—wild ox of mountainous areas are found in several countries, including the Asian wild ox. Some wild ox are ancestors of domestic cattle. The point of this is that often we form opinions about matters because words mean something today that is different than in the time of the Nephites, and even in the time of Joseph Smith.
    Comment #4: “I disagree with your time frame for the Jaredites. The Book of Mormon and archaeology agree that the decline of the Jaredite nation was closer to 200 B.C. than 600 B.C. This would allow for several hundred years of Jaredite-Mulekite contact before the final battle. The survival of the prophet Ether, in addition to Coriantumr, tells us that not all the Jaredite people were destroyed. The Jaredites as a nation, however, ceased to exist. Also, the Book of Mormon contains several examples of Jaredite names among the Nephites which indicates ongoing contact” Lukas D.
    Response: First of all, it cannot be said that the Book of Mormon agrees that the Jaredites final battle was close to 200 B.C. There is nothing in the scriptural record to suggest this at all. That the Mulekites kept the rock upon which Coriantumr engraved his history does not suggest that it was done at any specific time. Nor is there any indication that it was a recent event, any more than the ruined buildings, cankered swords and breastplates suggest a date. Weather, temperature and conditions determine the condition of metal rusting, etc., and those conditions are not known. And archaeology certainly doesn’t tell us anything because there is no knowledge of exactly where the Jaredite nation was located in the Western Hemisphere, nor can we find their ruined buildings, nor their swords and armor laying about, nor the dead bodies and all the bones. We may want to claim a location by other standards, but that does not tell us the conditions of the Jaredite demise, when it took place, or where it was specifically located.
Secondly, Ether is not part of the Jaredite demise, for he was not among those fighting and living among the people, who would have been gathered in, etc. He was not a factor in the events of the story, other than his prophesying to Coriantumr early in his career. And we definitely know that other than Ether, Coriantumr was the last Jaredite alive (Ether 15:29, 31), left to wander over the land he destroyed.
    Consequently, the scriptural record tells us they gathered everyone in except Either, that is exactly what they did. Also, the presence of names does not suggest a continued contact. All the engravings (records) which were in the possession of Helaman, which would have included the Jaredite record, were written down and sent forth among the children of men throughout the land (Alma 63:12), which means the Nephites would have known the Jaredite names, as they knew the ancient Hebrew, Egyptian, and Hittite names.
    Comment #5: “The Smithsonian Institution has never used the Book of Mormon in any way as a scientific guide. Smithsonian archaeologists see no direct connection between the archeology of the New World and the subject matter of the book” Jacqueline T.
    Response: The Smithsonian also doesn’t use the Bible and claims it is not historical. All that proves is that the Smithsonian is anti-religion, not anti-Book of Mormon.
    Comment #6: “A Mormon anthropologist at BYU admitted that the statement that the Book of Mormon has already been proved by archeology is misleading” Atwood G.
    Response: That is correct. Archaeology in Mesoamerica, where so much Book of Mormon work is and has been conducted, especially by BYU, has not proven in the slightest degree anything about the Book of Mormon. However, that does not indicate that the scriptural record is incorrect or anything else about it, either positive or negative. The Book of Mormon has never been promoted or considered an historical document, or the overall history of a people, time or place. It is, without question, the dealings of God with a people and their spiritual successes and failures. That there are evidences of the one time existence of these people is believed to be shown by many of us, but nothing sufficient for people who are inclined to look negatively upon the subject. For the record, it might be noted that the world is full of people who not only do not believe in the Bible, but do not believe anything about the Bible has been proven. However, that does not make the Bible untrue.


  1. 2 Peter 1:21 says: "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." This indicates that all the Old Testament Prophets had guidance and utterance through the Holy Ghost. So John 16:7 is not saying the Holy Ghost had never been on the earth before, just that it was not there while Jesus was there.