Sunday, December 14, 2014

Answers to Reader's Comments - Part IV

Here are more comments that we have received on this website blog: 
    Comment #1: “I’m not trying to be contrary here, but where exactly does the Book of Mormon state that the Sidon River flowed north as you claim?  We know it had east/west banks, making it possible to narrow down the direction it flowed as either north or south, but how do you know positively that the river ran north?  The fact is, nowhere in the Book of Mormon does it state that the river flows north or south, and this makes a huge difference in some of your criticisms of other land of promise models” Georgia C.
Response: Let me answer you with two scriptures: 1) Alma 22:27: “the king sent a proclamation throughout all the land, amongst all his people who were in all his land, who were in all the regions round about, which was bordering even to the sea, on the east and on the west, and which was divided from the land of Zarahemla by a narrow strip of wilderness, which ran from the sea east even to the sea west, and round about on the borders of the seashore, and the borders of the wilderness which was on the north by the land of Zarahemla, through the borders of Manti, by the head of the river Sidon, running from the east towards the west -- and thus were the Lamanites and the Nephites divided.”
    This inserted statement by Mormon is meant to give us a clear picture of the land of the Lamanites. In this explanation, Mormon mentions a narrow strip of wilderness, which is the border or line or boundary between the Land of Nephi (Lamanite lands) and the Land of Zarahemla (Nephite lands). Obviously, this strip is to the south of the Land of Zarahemla and to the north of the Land of Nephi, for the “Nephites had taken possession of all the northern parts of the land bordering on the wilderness” (Alma 22:29). In addition, in this narrow strip of wilderness was the “head” or “headwaters” of the river Sidon, placing it to the south of the Land of Zarahemla.
    2) Alma 2:15: “And it came to pass that the Amlicites came upon the hill Amnihu, which was east of the river Sidon, which ran by the land of Zarahemla, and there they began to make war with the Nephites.”
    Obviously then, the river Sidon ran past the land of Zarahemla. Since the Land of Zarahemla was to the north of the narrow strip of wilderness where the river Sidon had its headwaters, the river had to run northward from this narrow strip past the Land of Zarahemla on the north in its course to the sea—where it went after passing the Land of Zarahemla is not stated other than to the sea.
    Thus, with its headwaters to the south, the river Sidon could only flow northward in order to run past the Land of Zarahemla.
    Comment #2: “What makes you think the sons of Ishmael had children. The text doesn’t say that” Max T.
Nephi talks to Ishmael and his family about joining Lehi in the wilderness. At this time, Ishmael’s sons had families
    Response: Nephi writes: “and the two sons of Ishmael and their families” (1 Nephi 7:6). And their families translates to children.
    Comment #3: “While one, two, a few, or a fair amount of these "explanations" might plausibly account for some of the amazing Book of Mormon coincidences, at some point they can't ALL be explained away. If we are to believe the critics, then the literally thousands of "plausible explanations" should really start to make us question the fabric of the space-time continuum and the metaphysical structure of the universe! If we are to explain away the Book of Mormon using every one of the objections to amazing BOM coincidences, then Joseph Smith's genius exceeds Einsteins and Shakespeare's collective genius by several orders of magnitude. Which is preposterous. At some point, you reach what is called "an orgy of evidence." Too many coincidences. Too many things to have to explain away. Too many things for one person to combine perfectly from a thousand disparate fields of study and knowledge. This "orgy of evidence" concept is not new in the defense of the Book of Mormon (although, I'm fairly certain my phrase hasn't been used before). However, what's becoming increasingly apparent is that Mormons WITHIN THE FOLD are themselves guilty of the same oversight at times. The Frederick Williams "coincidence" is just one of many. On its own, it ought to raise eyebrows pretty high. Combined with the wealth of supporting evidence for South America, someday people will be astounded that the saints ever believed it could have been anywhere else. But, not today. Someday, though. The orgy of evidence for SA is building, and it will continue to do so. We now live in a dispensation where the truth cannot be stopped or snuffed out like it was in the past. The truth, as Taleb puts it, is anti-fragile. With time and testing it only becomes stronger and more apparent. It's frustrating that one of the forces fighting it comes from within the BOM community itself, but at some point those forces will subside or give way to the superior weight of evidence. Keep up the good work” W.B.
    Response: Very well put. Court decisions and people’s lives have been decided on far less evidence.
    Comment #4: “Since the concept or commandment of tithing is an Old Testament requirement and not mentioned in the New Testament, nor in the Book of Mormon, why does your Church demand 10% tithe of its members?” Axelle C.
Response: First of all, like most, if not all Christians, you seem to see the Old Testament and New Testament as different religious practices. I wonder if you have ever wondered why it is called the Old Testament, and why it is called the New Testament? Both are testaments of the same thing—Jesus Christ. Both are records of God’s dealings with man. The Ten Commandments of the Old Testament are as much a part of the New Testament as any other doctrine.
    Christ said he came “not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it” (Matthew 5:17), and quoted six of the commandments to the rich young ruler for him to follow (Matthew 19:18-19), and stated the most important commandment (Matthew 22:37-38), and also said, “if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matthew 19:16-17). The Apostle John said of the righteous “which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelations 12:17). Why people want to claim the Old Testament is not binding on us as is the New Testament is beyond my understanding.
    Secondly, the LDS Church does not demand anything of its members. There is a bar set by the Lord, which is found in the scriptures, and we are expected to live up to it the best we can. The bar set for tithing is found in the Old Testament–ten percent:
    When Abraham paid his tithes and offerings to the great High Priest, Melchizedek (Genesis 14:20), he apportioned a tenth part of everything (Hebrews 7:2; Alma 13:15); Jacob promised to give God a full tenth (Genesis 18:22); the tithe in Moses’s time was a tenth (Leviticus 27:30).
    Latter-day Saints pay tithing as an understanding that everything belongs to the Lord, and He only asks for 10% back—which is a pretty good deal for anyone. And, as Malachi preached (3:8), if we do not pay back the ten percent, then we are robbing God—a fact that at some time, no doubt, a toll will be extracted by the Lord for those who rob Him.

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