Wednesday, December 17, 2014

More Comments from Readers – Part VII

These are more comments that we have received from readers of this website blog: 
    Comment #1: “The Nephites that left on Hagoth's ships to the Land Northward probably lost their identity as Nephites after a few generations. Accepting a South American geography for the BoM account, the word Northward in Alma 63:5 means that these people went to Central or North America, not to the Pacific Islands that would be Westward of them” George W.
Response: From the scriptures we cannot pinpoint where the emigrants in Hagoth’s ships went; however, from modern observation, it would seem self-evident they landed in Central America from all the magnificent ruins found there that resemble the masterful building in the Book of Mormon lands of South America, whose height of achievement seems to have been in Mesoamerica, covering the area modern history attributes to the Maya and Aztec. These two areas are the only ones in all of the Western Hemisphere that show such a magnificence of a pre-history people, both groups fitting nicely into the scriptural record, one (the latter) north of the other.
    Unfortunately, we know nothing of the Nephites entering North America above Mexico., though it is certain that some did, whether at the time of Hagoth’s emigrants, or later through land movement northward, since Zelph's skeleton was found in Illinois near Griggsville. However, Zelph was not a Nephite as E.D. Howe wrote in his anti-Mormon book "Mormonism Unveiled," but identified by Joseph Smith as a while Lamanite warrior officer or chieftan, who lived and served under the Prophet Onandagus, who is not further identified other than his being known from the mountains to the sea.
The winds and currents move from Peru and Ecuador flow directly down to Polynesia as Tiki proved
     As for Polynesia, while we know of at least three ships that went northward from Hagoth’s shipyards, we also know of one that went elsewhere “And it came to pass that one other ship also did sail forth; and whither she did go we know not.” (Alma 63:8). Now, if it didn’t go north, and wouldn’t have gone south where the Lamanite lands were located, then it had to go west since Hagoth built his ships on the west sea coast (Alma 63:5). An interesting phenomenon takes place when leaving the coast of South America around the Bay of Guayaquil (3º south latitude) and heading west, the inner current of the South Pacific Gyre swings westward out into Polynesia. This is the same current Thor Heyerdahl used for his drift voyage of the Kon-Tiki, which ended up in Tuamotu islands of Polynesia.
    Comment #2: “'And I Mormon do not write but a hundredth part.' Just because it's not recorded doesn't mean the possibilities of other things. It's not black and white. I bet my bottom dollar a believer in Christ besides Moroni was overlooked.”
    Response: First, be careful…your “bottom dollar” means your very last cent, and in this case, you would lose even that. Second, it is doubtful that Moroni, except for the Lord’s intervention, would have survived among the warring Lamanties and Robbers that infested the Land of Promise. Keep in mind that Mormon closed out his writing saying some of the Nephites escaped into the country southward and obviously he did not know what happened to them; however, Moroni later makes the following statement closing out his father’s record: “the Nephites who had escaped into the country southward were hunted by the Lamanites, until they were all destroyed” (Mormon 8:2). Now, one might ask, how did he know that? Certainly the Lamanites did not tell him, for he tells us he did not make himself known to the Lamanites for they would have killed him (Moroni 1:1), and there was no New York Times or  Six O’clock Evening News to inform him. The only way he would have known what happened to them was if the Spirit told him—and that led to his statements: “and I even remain alone,” “my people…are gone,” “the Lamanites have hunted my people, the Nephites, down from city to city and from place to place, even until they are no more.” Now, "even until they are no more" sounds pretty final to me.
Comment #3: “The Mormon Church views temples as profit centers. When a temple is built, they have an identifiable increase in all revenue from the area, and specifically tithing.
    Response: There is a saying among most LDS about "dividing to multiply," i.e., as a Ward or Stake is divided, more people are involved and more activity takes place. As activity in the Church increases, no matter where in the world, people become more active, more willing to respond to the Lord and more willing to help in the process. As this happens, people become more faithful, more prayerful, more involved; more people go to Church, more people draw closer to the Lord, more people take part in church programs; more young men and women are available for missionary work, people are more drawn to family, the gospel of Jesus Christ becomes more of the center of their lives.
    All of this is the goal! It is a natural process. It is what leaders in the Church strive for, what bishoprics and stake presidencies donate untold and unpaid hours to achieve, what unpaid church service is all about—to bring the gospel more into the lives of every member, and spread the gospel of Christ to all people interested in hearing it.
    When millions of people around the world donate their time, energy, and talents in such willing service, there are many results to this increased activity and involvement in the gospel of Christ. Families are strengthened, communities are strengthened, nations are strengthened. Freedoms increase, lives are improved, evil is combatted.
    While tithing increases out of natural increases in all these areas, it is a singular and hypocritical comment to make that it is done simply to create profit centers. The early apostles donated their time, their energies, their strength to the spreading of the gospel, i.e., “Good News” of Christ’s death and resurrection, his atonement and the salvation of all mankind.
    Yes, it is true that tithing increases as people increase their activity. Build a new Ward, tithing increases. Divide a Ward, tithing increases. Build a Temple, tithing increases. Increased numbers of chapels closer to the people, attendance increases; increased attendance at church increases tithing. All of this is simply the result of people becoming more righteous—that is, improving their lives and becoming better people.
    The question I would ask of you is simply this. As the Lord blesses people, they become better people, smarter people, more accomplished people, which, in turn, become more successful people and as such, generally earn more money and can pay more in tithing. Now does the Lord bless us so we can pay him more money? Or does he have a higher, more noble end in mind?
    Comment #4: “It appears that the Mormon Church gave in to the Blacks because of desperation to run their new temple built in Africa in 1978—the revelation was made in June and the temple was dedicated in October. Initial training of workers was held in September. Very tight time frames and if they did not increase the available Blacks to attend and operate the temple they would have wasted all that money.
Response: It would appear that the God who created the Universe, organized this world and others without number, can stop seas and move mountains, etc., etc., etc., can certainly operate a plan. He knows when things will be and are ready and does things according to his purposes. Let’s just turn your time frame around and suggest that the Lord knew when he planned to offer his priesthood to all worthy men, and in that plan, had a temple ready for them when they were available to attend.

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