Tuesday, December 16, 2014

More Comments from Readers – Part VI

These are more comments that we have received on this website blog: 
    Comment #1: “I read Richard Packham’s statement “Why I left the Mormon Church,” in which he stated: “the ultimate goal of the church, as stated publicly by its early leaders Joseph Smith and Brigham Young (but not mentioned so publicly by more recent Mormon leaders), is to establish the Mormon Kingdom of God in America, and to govern the world as God's appointed representatives. The church is already influential in the making of secular policy, as was proven not so long ago when the Equal Rights Amendment was defeated with decisive help from the Mormon church. To me, the possibility that the Mormon church might control America is a frightening prospect.  I wonder how you see that statement” Randy R.
Response: First of all, you might want to be cautious of someone who makes wild statements without supportive data. If you were to look up Brigham Young’s (far left) preachings, you would not find him referring to this in that way at all. Secondly, It is not the Mormon Church that will control America, it is the Church of God that will do this. Actually, the Kingdom of God will be established on the earth, not just in America. At that time “every knee will bend and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ” (Romans 14:11; Philippians 2:10; Isaiah 45:23). In Revelations 11:15, we are told “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” This is the kingdom of God Brigham Young and other early Church leaders were referring to, and it is still talked about publicly in the Church—the difference is that in the mid 1800s, the Church was more localized in America (the vast majority in Utah); however, today, the Church is worldwide with over 15-million members, over 29,000 congregations, with the Book of Mormon published in 189 languages. Daniel predicted this growth as the “stone cut out without hands” that would overrun the earth and destroy all the other kingdoms becoming “a great mountain that filled the whole earth” (Daniel 2:34-35).
    It is a sad commentary from anyone that they would find that frightening.
As for the Mormon Church being “influential” in American politics, some people misunderstand, like most politicians today misunderstand the people they govern, and that is that it is the people who stand up to be counted. Sometimes the people require a nudge here and there, but in the end, it is the people who cast their vote, and it was the people in California (myself being one of them at the time) who helped defeat the Equal Rights Amendment, and later defeated the move to change the marriage laws, etc.
    As for the Mormon Church, unlike other Christian churches, the LDS pulpit is never used to promote political issues. These are not even discussed in our meetings. None of the “influence” proposed was done from the pulpit, it was done through the process of individual rights of voters—which, is what America has always been about. If that frightens someone, that people can go to the poles and defeat unwanted ideas, movements and proposals, then perhaps America is not their country.
    Comment #2: “Good stuff thanks!” Roland
    Response: Thank you. Glad you enjoy the blog.
    Comment #3: “Incredible! It brings tears into my eyes! Thank you for your amazing comments. You have answered a lot of questions about Nephi's temple. I can't wait to visit the place” Flamengo.
    Response: I would have loved to have seen it after Nephi finished it. What a remarkable thing it must have been.
    Comment #4: “What tribes of Israel did the Nephites , Lamanites, Mulekites and Zoramites belong to?” Jonathan C.
Response: Elder Erastus Snow said that “Joseph Smith informed them” that Lehi was a descendant of Manasseh, and Ishmael was a descendant of Ephraim, which tells us that the Nephites and the Lamanites were of the tribe of Joseph (left: Joseph blessing Ephraim and Manasseh). Mulek, of course, was the son of Zedekiah, of the tribe of Judah and the last king of Judah; however, those who came with him, while probably all of that tribe, we cannot say for certain and have no scriptural confirmation of their descendancy.
    As for Zoram, I am unaware of any scriptural statement as to Zoram’s tribal descendancy, however, being in Jerusalem and Laban’s highly trusted servant, one might consider him a Jew or of the house of Judah. However, according to the law of Moses under which Lehi’s family lived (2 Nephi 5:10), as did all those in the Book of Mormon (Alma 25:15) up to the time of Christ (3 Nephi 12:19), the law stated that “for only in the family of the tribe of their father shall they marry” (Numbers 36:6), which is verified in “thou shalt surely give them a possession of an inheritance among their father's brethren; and thou shalt cause the inheritance of their father to pass unto them” (Numbers 27:6). The passing on of the patriarch’s property of a family was extremely important in Israel, and if this was the case with Ephraim and Ishmael, then it makes sense that Zoram was from the tribe of Joseph, perhaps even Ephraim. But again, we do not know that.
Looking at it a different way, Lehi, and his four sons, became the heads of five families of the half tribe of Manasseh, while Ishmael and his two sons became the heads of three families of the half tribe of Ephraim. All eight of these families were 100% of the tribe of Joseph, divided equally between Manasseh and Ephraim. That leaves Zoram. His descendants would have been half from the tribe of Ephraim through his wife (the oldest daughter of Ishmael), the other half through his own lineage—which most likely would have been Manasseh, or at least Ephraim—which seems borne out by the statement in the Doctrine and Covenants 3:16-18.
    Comment #3: “There is one problem which keeps popping up in regards to the dividing of the land south and north and that is the Jaredite records in the book of Ether. It seems to indicate that there were no poisonous snakes in the land north but many in the land south and that for a time they were so abundant in the border region that travel to the land south were lethal” Thomas.
    Response: You need to take another look at Ether. Writing about the events occurring in the Land Northward—the land of the Jaredites—he writes (Ether 9:30): “And there came forth poisonous serpents also upon the face of the land,” and these serpents or snakes “did poison many people.” Now “came forth” does not mean they entered the land from elsewhere—the word is defined as “happens or occurs as a result of something,” which we are told was the result of “there began to be a great dearth [drought] upon the land…for there was no rain upon the face of the earth” and “the inhabitants began to be destroyed exceedingly fast” (Ether 9:30). 
The snakes obviously caused panic among the animals, which “flocks began to flee before the poisonous serpents, towards the land southward” (Ether 9:31). Thus the snakes and animals were in the Land Northward, the land of the Jaredites, with the surviving animals fleeing into the Land Southward (Ether 9:32), while the snakes stopped in the narrow neck of land between the Land Northward and the Land Southward to keep the people following the animals from entering the Land Southward (Ether 9:33).


  1. So, I have a question. In my college philosophy class, we learned about Occam's razor. Basically (correct me if I am wrong), it says that out of all the explanations, the one with the least assumptions is probably the correct one. I sometimes find myself applying this razor to anti-mormon theories about the origins of the Book of Mormon. It seems like it takes fewer assumptions to simply take Joseph Smith's account at face value than to have to add the assumptions that he had access to a library, or that Oliver Cowdrey or Sidney Rigdon helped him fabricate the book and story of the gold plates, or that he was a genius con-man that was planning on swindling people from 15 years old. But then again, some would argue that it requires assumptions to believe in God or angels. Do you think that Occam's razor is applicable to this situation? And if so, what theories should it be applied to?

  2. It can be applied to all theories. However, the operative word in that problem solving principle is "probably".

    Just because one theory appears simpler does not provide proof of its accuracy.

    Simplicity in a theory is desired because simplicity lends itself to more easily tested and falsifiable theories. More complex theories can be more difficult to test.