Saturday, December 20, 2014

More Comments from Readers – Part X

These are more comments that we have received from readers of this website blog: 
    Comment #1: “I read where George Potter claims that the great sea mentioned in Ether 13 is the same body of water as the “sea in the wilderness” mentioned in Ether 6, and that the account in the Ether record of building ships to cross a sea is simply a more detailed description of the same event in Ether 6. What is your take on this?” Kirby M. 
Response: Potter claims that this event is really what Biblical scholars call a “doublet,” which is the same event being told more than once but each time from a different perspective or for a different purpose.  Richard Friedman (Who Wrote the Bible? Harper Collins, 1997) shows doublets used in the writing of the creation, in Moses getting water from the stone, of God changing Jacob’s name, naming Isaac, and the Abrahamic covenant. The problem is that the story of the Jaredites does not use doublets, it is simply a chronological series of events that Moroni abridged and condensed from the original writing.
    In that abridgement, a series of events took place:
1. The Lord agreed not to confound their language (Ether 1:37);
2. The Lord met them (the Jaredites) in a valley to the north (Ether 1:42);
3. From the valley they went into the wilderness (Ether 2:6);
4. They built barges to cross “many waters” (Ether 2:6);
5. They did not stop beyond the sea in the wilderness (Ether 2:7);
6. They traveled to a great sea, where they spent four years (Ether 2:13);
7. They built barges to cross the great sea (Ether 2:16).
There is no repetition involved in these events. Moroni listed this sequence in their proper order with no repetition involved or suggested. The sea in the wilderness is different from the great sea and is called by a different “name” which provides a different understanding. A sea in the wilderness could be one of several things, but most likely an inlet sea, such as the Persian Gulf, which by the way, was known anciently as “the sea above Akkad,” “Pars Sea” (Persian Sea), “Ahmar Sea,” and even the “Red Sea“). At the time of the Jaredites, the kingdom of Sumer had been established (in the 26th century B.C., according to Juris Zarins, archaeologist and professor of the Middle East), referred to as the Dilmun (Telmun), of which the earliest mention of Dilmun is that of king Ur-Nanshe of Lagash, dated to 2300 B.C. (the time of the Jaredites).
The Sea in the Wilderness would have been the Persian Sea (Persian Gulf), which would hve been encountered upon leaving Mesopotamia and crossing the "many waters"
    The Dilmun controlled eastern Arabia and monopolized trade in the region. It is possible that the Lord did not want the Jaredites to have anything to do with this civilization, which might have been a warring people, controlling the Persian Gulf at the time, thus his injunction: “that they should not stop beyond the sea in the wilderness,” but that “they should come forth even unto the land of promise,” which lay beyond the great sea far to the south.
The Jaredite line of march. 1) Leaving their homeland near Babylon, they 2) traveled north to the Valley of Nimrod, and when leaving there, 3) traveled down the unoccupied land near the foothills of the Zagros Mountains, then crossed the lakes, rivers, ponds, and wetlands of the Mesopotamia Marshes,  4) passed by the Sea in the Wilderness, and 5&6) traveled down the coastal area of the Persian Gulf along what became the Trading Road to the south to the area of Qatar, then 6&7) set out into the desert from water hole to water hole to 8) the area of Salalah beside the Great Sea (Sea of Arabia)
    It should also be of note that the Dilmun traded with Oman, also far to the south, and that the western regions of the Gulf would have had roads or trails to send trade goods to and from Oman along the seacoast of the Arabian Sea—what is likely called the “Great Sea” in Ether (for more information, see the upcoming post “Jatredite Direction of Travel – Part III – The Route the Jaredites Took”), which should be posted in about 4 or 5 days.
    Comment #2: “You recently wrote that Sorenson said: “There were the Plates of Zeniff." And then you added: “While there is no mention of a Zeniff record, Zeniff plates, Plates of Zeniff, Record of Zeniff, when Limhi reached Zarahemla, he had with him their records, plus the records of the Jaredites (Mosiah 22:14). We can assume Zeniff started a record, but have no way of knowing this. It seems obvious Noah would not have created a record of his doings. So all we know is that Limhi had a record of his people.” My point is, I must insist that we most certainly can know if Zeniff kept a record! Mosiah 9:1 begins with "I, Zeniff....!" Sorenson comes up with some real whoppers, but this is one whopper you definitely get to chalk up to yourself. :)“ W.B.
Ziniff (left); king Noah (center); king Limhi (right)
    Response: Chapter 8 of Mosiah starts out saying that king Limhi told his people all the things concerning their brethren who were in the land of Zarahemla, then Ammon told of all that had happened in Zarahemla since Zeniff (Limhi’s grandfather) led a group out of Zarahemla back to the city of Nephi to reclaim the land of their inheritance, including king Benjamin’s teachings, then Limhi dismissed everyone to go back to their homes, then king Limhi “caused that the plates which contained the record of his people from the time they left the land of Zarahemla, should be brought before Ammon, that he might read them: (Mosiah 8:6). Limhi then recounted the story of his 43-man expedition he sent to find Zarahemla, and which discovered the Land Northward and Ether’s 24 plates and Jaredite artifacts, then Ammon reads from the plates Limhi gave him, which starts out “I, Zeniff, having been taught…” and provides us with the story of Zeniff and both his and the original expedition out of Zarahemla that ended in disaster.
    We don’t know who recorded this information after Chapter 10, for the record then switches to the third person and starts out “And now it came to pass that Zeniff conferred the kingdom upon Noah, one of his sons…” (Mosiah 11:1). In which in my comment about Sorenson’s statement of the Plates of Zeniff, I said, which you quoted, “While there is no mention of a Zeniff record, Zeniff plates, Plates of Zeniff, Record of Zeniff, when Limhi reached Zarahemla…”
    I apologize for the poor writing structure. What I was getting at is that there is no actual mention of any Plates of Zeniff in the statement, or anything called “the record of Zeniff.” There was, of course, “a record of his people” (Mosiah 8:5), which I referred to in the continuation of my earlier statement, which stated “he had with him their records, plus the records of the Jaredites.”
    That Zeniff wrote something is obvious, and that the writing was on plates is also stated, or at least that "plates of his people" were brought out. My point at the time was Sorenson has a habit of stating things his own way that are in the scriptural record instead of stating what the scriptural record specifically says. We may assume that there were Plates of Zeniff, or a Record of Zeniff, but such specific wordage does not appear in the scriptural record. Nor, from the continuation in the third person, and in accordance with my earlier statement “Noah would not have created a record of his doings,” we do not know in what form that record was continued or first appeared. Somewhat like the Plates of Lehi, which we would not have known existed except for Joseph Smith’s comment about those lost 116 pages being the “Book of Lehi.” We do not have any record of Mosiah I in a “book” or “plate” form other than Amaleki’s brief 530 words found in12 verses. All we really know is that “Limhi had a record of his people.”
    In pointing this out to me, it shows that I was careless in my writing and not clear with my meaning. Thank you. There is no question I need to be better than that when I write. Especially when pointing out the mistakes of others... :)

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