Thursday, July 30, 2015

More Comments from Readers – Part IX

Here are more comments that we have received from readers of this website blog: 
    Comment #1: “You mention that Mormon’s insert was 568 words in one article and 543 in another. Why the difference?” Rhonda J.
    Response: The first number is the complete count of words of verses 27 thru 34; however, to be exact, Mormon’s insert appears to begin with the words “who were in the land…” in verse 27, giving us a smaller count. My apologies for not clarifying that.
    Comment #2: “I was told recently that the land of Desolation was named for the warrior Teancum, one of General Moroni’s top officers, but I have never heard this before. Are you familiar with this?” Glenda B.
Teancum was a successful warrior and effective chief captain under Moroni’s command
    Response: The only connection I have ever run across is a statement evidently by James R. Spencer, an author and lecturer from Boise, Idaho, in which he writes about Vernal Holley’s placement of the Land of Promise in the area of the Great Lakes. Spencer writes questioningly about the origin of the Book of Mormon and makes comparisons between Holley’s work showing the Great Lakes region and some 20 names of similar to exact spelling found in the Book of Mormon. In his writing, Spencer makes the statement: “We read, in the Book of Mormon of the Land of Desolation named for a warrior named Teancum who helped General Moroni fight in the Land of Desolation.” Whether this is his understanding or he is quoting from Holley is not made clear in the article.
    However, to answer your question, the Land of Desolation was so named because of the desolation caused by the Jaredite wars. The scriptural record tells us: “Yea, and even they did spread forth into all parts of the land, into whatever parts it had not been rendered desolate and without timber, because of the many inhabitants who had before inherited the land. And now no part of the land was desolate, save it were for timber; but because of the greatness of the destruction of the people who had before inhabited the land it was called desolate” (Helaman 3:5-6).
    The interesting and exciting story of Teancum can be found beginning in Alma 50:33, when Moroni sent an army under the command of Teancum (Alma 50:35) to head off the retreating people of Morianton, who Moroni feared would become Nephite defectors, occupying the Land Northward (Morianton and his followers), and make an alliance with the Lamanites.
Teancum ends up killing Morianton and defeating his army, taking them prisoners. Later, Teancum is leading his army to stop Amalickiah and his Lamanite army from gaining the Land of Bountiful (Alma 51:29-30). Teancum by stealth sneaks into the Lamanite camp, kills Amalickiah and almost single-handedly stops the Lamanite army. He is later given command by Moroni of the northern army and to attack Lamanite-held Mulek, but it was too well fortified. In a war council of chief captains, Teancum is put in charge of a command and stratagem to lead the Lamanites in a chase that eventually defeats the Lamanite army. Later, when Moroni is called back to Zarahemla, he leaves Teancum and Lehi in charge of all the northern armies (Alma 61:15). Unfortunately, Teancum is eventually killed after killing the Lamanite king (Alma 62:37). In all of this, and much is written about this brave and competent man, there is nothing to suggest he had any connection with the naming of the Land of Desolation in any way.
    Comment #3: “I just read one of your posts on your blog and ran across your statements about the Mulekites not landing in the Land Northward. If that is true, how do you reconcile Alma 22:30, which says, “And it bordered upon the land which they called Desolation, it being so far northward that it came into the land which had been peopled and been destroyed, of whose bones we have spoken, which was discovered by the people of Zarahemla, it being the place of their first landing” Genielle S.
    Response: We have written about this several times before, however, since it is such an important factor in understanding the Mulekites and that they did not have contact with the Jaredites (other than Coriantumr), and especially for Mesoamericanists who use this misleadingly to show such contact, we will respond to it again. In the verse you quote, there is a “parenthetical phrase,” when understood, gives you the meaning of the statement: “And it bordered upon the land which they called Desolation, it being so far northward that it came into the land which had been peopled and been destroyed, of whose bones we have spoken (which was discovered by the people of Zarahemla), it being the place of their first landing.” In the case of any parenthetical phrase (above in italics), it is not part of the original meaning of the sentence, or rather, a digression from the original meaning. Thus, the sentence reads: “And it bordered upon the land which they called Desolation, it being so far northward that it came into the land which had been peopled and been destroyed, of whose bones we have spoken, it being the place of their first landing.”
    Thus, the “parenthetical phrase” is used as the mildest form of parenthesis, for when you want to quickly insert a detail without distracting the reader—it is called “a subordinate clause”: a “nonessential phrase” framed by a pair of commas. In this case, the sentence includes a subordinate clause: “which was the discovered by the people of Zarahemla.” If you temporarily remove that phrase from the sentence, its structural integrity remains intact.
Now before you ask “how do you know that it was intended as a parenthetical phrase,” let me suggest two reasons: First, we know this because of Omni 1:16, where we are told the Mulekites “journeyed in the wilderness, and were brought by the hand of the Lord across the great waters, into the land where Mosiah discovered them; and they had dwelt there from that time forth.” That is, the Mulekites were brought across the sea into the area where Mosiah found them (the city of Zarahemla) and they dwelt there, in that land where they landed, until Mosiah found them.
    That is why you know it is a parenthetical phrase in Alma 22:32, otherwise we would be given two entirely different landing sites.
    Secondly, we know it is a parenthetical phrase because the sentence reads:
    And it (Bountiful) bordered upon the land which they called Desolation, it (Desolation) being so far northward that it came into the land which had been peopled and been destroyed (the home of the Jaredites), of whose bones we have spoken (again, the Jaredites), which was discovered by the people of Zarahemla (that is, the bones of the Jaredites had been discovered by Limhi’s 43-man expedition to find Zarahemla and all those in the expedition, and all those living under Limhi in the city of Nephi, had originally been from Zarahemla, or their parents or grandparents had been), it being the place of their (again refers to the Jaredites) first landing.
    Comment #4: “Since angel Moroni supposedly told Joseph that it is a history of the people on this continent, why haven’t Prophets asked to know exactly where and save all this hassel? If they have asked who is having the problem communicating, God or the Prophets? Is it reasonable to assume that God would withhold the Book of Mormon location information when the angel already said it was history of real people? The silence from prophets, seers and revelators on this subject that inevitably tears families apart, makes them deliberately complicit in the continuing deceit. After all, they know it’s not real. They also know that the world would convert "IF" we could show a shred of verifiable evidence for BOM peoples, yet they remain silent and waste the very powers of the supposed priesthood that they hold the members accountable to” No Name.
Korihor contends with Jacob over wanting to have a sign so he could believe
    Response: Your comments remind me of Korihor who wanted a sign so that he could be convinced (Alma 30:43). Unfortunately, that did not go well for him. Perhaps Alma’s response might teach us all a lesson on the matter: “But Alma said unto him: Thou hast had signs enough; will ye tempt your God? Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets? The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator. And yet do ye go about, leading away the hearts of this people, testifying unto them there is no God?” (Alma 30:44-45).
    Besides, even if that announcement were to be made and it was provable, critics would still bend over backward showing why it was a lie, why it didn’t match, why it was not true. Perhaps you are not aware of it, but the Lord has not revealed many things about life, and does not get involved in satisfying people’s curiosity. Where the Land of Promise was located is not necessary to know for our salvation. In the case of this blog, we write about it to show the reality of the scriptural record and how the information in that record can answer any and all questions we might have on this or nearly any other subject.


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  2. We do not relate in this blog to anything other than the Standard Works of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, i.e., the Bible (KJV), Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price. The information you quote is from the Second Book of Commandments, and though those involved in that arena consider themselves good members of the Church, they would be considered beyond a fringe group by most LDS who study the scriptures. The quotes you make have no validity within the Church and though you might accept them as inspired, they hold no validity in this blog or to me. To quote from them is of little value here, since we accept the Church as it is, its leaders as inspired men, though men and subject to error as all men are, and that the Lord is in charge of all things, and the Church and its membership are progressing along a Planned path that the Lord directs. As for the Lamanite location as you write, it is our opinion that the Lamanites are found throughout South, Central and North America, and until the coming of the Gentiles in Nephi’s vision, made up either all or almost all of those found in the Western Hemisphere. That others may have been shipwrecked, stumbled individually upon this land, or were brought here by the Lord as Lehi might have inferred, is unknown to us, especially in any numbers. I accept without question Amos’ comment in scripture when he said, “Surely the lord God will do nothing, but he revelaeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” (3:7). When official word comes from the prophet, which those in the Second Book of Commandments does not, then we will accept it—but nothing else. Thus, your comment about the Lamanites is merely someone’s idea and speculation, and not worthy of true comment in these pages.

    1. Your desire to only accept revelation from an authorized source is certainly the correct desire. It certainly would be very unwise to accept every claim to revelation. Since no "Word of the Lord" revelation has come from any LDS leader since 1889, please inform us if you become aware of anyone authorized with this gift today. Since President Young gave teachings in Conference considered false today, surely we cannot assume that Conference talks by anyone are as good as the "Word of the Lord"? The D&C revelations are in the ancient pattern of oracles restored by God with Joseph after the long famine for the Word. Does not Amos 3:7 indicate we can expect more than just discourses in fulfillment of John 16:12-13, AoF 9, D&C 121:28, D&C 132:66 and many other promises?

  3. I’ve been around for a lot of years, and way back in the 1960s there was a big push by many young members toward wanting to receive more revelation, the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon, etc. Academia was at a fever pitch in the cry for more. However, the answer then is the same as the answer today—we have sufficient for the Church today. We haven’t really read and understood all that is in the Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants and Pearl of Great Price. We have more scripture, more revelation than any people at any time in the history of the world. And contrary to some who think all that ended with Brigham Young or whoever, every Prophet who has been called since Joseph Smith in this dispensation has been called of God and has served in his position with great acclaim, fervor and righteousness. My wife and I were married in 1962, when Family Home Evening officially became a standard of the church rather than just a recommendation; when Home Teaching was introduced (we were in a pilot Stake and my assignment on the High Council was to introduce that program). We have been around so long we have seen time and again when “new revelation” has been given—the Saints being warned usually about 10 to 20 years before a major social need. The Proclamation on Marriage is merely one of those (if you have never looked in to how it was introduced to the World at a world-wide conference of political leaders through the U.N., etc., you might find it fascinating). I could go on—one of the advantages of having been around a long time, but the signs have been there for a long time and still are. Know this, however, that Satan is alive and well, and one of his very major efforts is to discredit the Church, the Prophets, and Church leaders, etc., at every opportunity—which has been going on since the days of Joseph Smith, but each generation is faced with a renewal of this and most are unaware of all that has gone on before them—and each of Satan’s efforts are smarter and more wily than the ones before. We have been told that in the last days even the very elite will be led away—those are righteous members, not the Prophet or Twelve, etc. Regarding the facts behind the modern approach to try and correct past opinions and even the Lord’s word within a more “Politically Correct” world of today, is one of mounting interest, and should be understood in the context of our day. The world does not like the “stern” God of the “Old Testament, preferring the “loving” God of the New Testament, not knowing they are both the same. There is much that could be said about our modern position in the world that holds “Political Correctness” more important than truth, but I will leave that to those whose assignment that is, if and when that information is disseminated. I can just say, I am convinced the Church is in good hands, always has been, and always will be. However, that does not mean that the members as a whole are not subject to misunderstanding, misinterpretation, and being misled by the whiles of Satan, the pressures of society, and those who reside in the tall and spacious building. Lehi’s vision is an excellent discourse for each of us today as well as our families and friends. We all need to make sure we continue with the iron rod and not be misled by those in the Spacious Building who keep poking fun at us and telling us how wrong we are—remember, many of those in the Spacious Building were once holding onto the iron rod and fell away.