Wednesday, July 29, 2015

More Comments from Readers – Part VIII

Here are more comments that we have received from readers of this website blog: 
   Comment #1: “The Book of Mormon, for a purportedly pre-Christian text, the book is entirely too Christian. The text repeatedly has main characters quoting New Testament passages and citing details about the story of Christ long before the time of Jesus or the writing of the New Testament with such specificity and clarity as to betray knowledge after the fact - knowledge available to Joseph Smith through the King James Bible” Sabin D.
Response: As we have said many times, isn’t it odd that the same God who inspired Old Testament Writers, who came into this world as Jesus Christ, who knew of all things, when inspiring Book of Mormon writers would have the same message, the same knowledge, and the same understanding, let alone know what happened in clear and precise detail in his own life during his mortal ministry and convey it to these prophets. It might even suggest to some that the original Old Testament had many such matters of Christ in it originally before man (scribes) began rewriting it in many ways.
    Comment #2: “The Book's historical claims have not withstood the rigorous scrutiny of the archaeological, biological, historical and linguistic disciplines and continued study of the history of ancient America further establishes the implausibility of the claims of the Book of Mormon" Bradley R.
    Response: We have dealt with this comment several times. What has been found "in the ground" in Andean Peru matches a lot of the claims of the Book of Mormon as we have documented in this blog for the past five years. The trouble is, people think of Mesoamerica, which studies "in the ground" do not match Book of Mormon factors at all. As for linguistics, the Nephite language ceased to exist, both Hebrew and reformed Egyptian, with their demise in 385 A.D., an particularly with Moroni in 421 A.D. For the next one thousand years the Lamanites, a people who were involved in a bloody civil war with the land full of murder and bloodshed for many years, perhaps centuries, who deteriorated into individual groups (tribes) that had nothing to do with one another--each other tribe was an enemy--that no language could have survived in any way.
Comment #3: “Where did the name Lehi come from? And what does it tmean?” Sophia G.
Response: Names are funny things. We don’t always know where they came from or if what we know about them was the same as that of their origin. The name Ramath-lehi is used only once in the Bible, a name the judge Samson gave to the place where he beat one thousand Philistines to death with the jawbone of a donkey (Judges 15:17). The lehi in that name is the same as Lehi (the root ihh), which does not occur as verb in the Bible, and its existence is assumed because of the curious noun לחי (lehi), meaning jaw or cheek. This noun also exists in Arabic, where it is related to a verb that means to peel off, and in Syriac it means to strip off or erase. Perhaps (and this is a guess) these connections suggest that the jaw of an animal was recognized as the instrument with which an animal grazes or peels bark off a tree or a skin off fruit.
    In Hebrew this connection doesn't exist and in stead the noun closely resembles a compound of ל (le), meaning for and חי (hay), meaning life. Whether the Hebrews of Lehi’s time commonly made that connection isn't clear but the compound לחי (lehay) being ל (le) plus חי (hay) occurs frequently in the Bible. It's for instance the lahai-part of the name Beer-lahai-roi and means "the living." It occurs in Daniel 4:34 with a similar meaning and in 1 Samuel 25:6 it's part of a cheer or blessing, comparable with the familiar לחיימ (lahayim!) Most spectacularly is the occurrence of לחי (lehay) in 2 Samuel 23:11, where the Philistines gather either "into a company" or a place called Lehi, which means Jaw.
    This word for jaw appears twenty-one times in the Bible, but mostly in texts that deal with subdual. To catch a creature, one hooks its jaw (Job 41:2, Ezekiel 29:4, Ezekiel 38:4). To steer a creature, one places a bridle in its jaw (Isaiah 30:28). To stop a person from talking, one strikes him on the jaw (1 Kings 22:24, Job 16:10, Micah 5:1). It might be said, then, that Lehi means “the casting away of the jawbone.”
    Comment #4: “Joseph Smith did in fact say that the records were buried by Moroni, in the United States: In July 1838, Smith wrote an article for the church periodical “Elder’s Journal” in the form of questions and answers, that stated the following: Question 4th. “How, and where did you obtain the book of Mormon?" Answer. “Moroni, the person who deposited the plates, from whence the book of Mormon was translated, in a hill in Manchester, Ontario County, New York, as a resurrected being, appeared unto me, and told me where they were; and gave me directions how to obtain them” Brandon
Response: Looking at only what was written, and one can verify the exact wordage by looking up the Elders’ Journal. Joseph Smith, in this interview, did not say that Moroni said he buried the plates in the hill Cumorah in New York state. He said Moroni told him where they were buried and gave him the directions as to how to obtain them. In his “Joseph Smith—History, Chapter 1, (50-51), Joseph wrote: I left the field, and went to the place where the messenger had told me the plates were deposited; and owing to the distinctness of the vision which I had had concerning it, I knew the place the instant that I arrived there. Convenient to the village of Manchester, Ontario county, New York, stands a hill of considerable size, and the most elevated of any in the neighborhood. On the west side of this hill, not far from the top, under a stone of considerable size, lay the plates, deposited in a stone box. This stone was thick and rounding in the middle on the upper side, and thinner towards the edges, so that the middle part of it was visible above the ground, but the edge all around was covered with earth.”
    My point was in the article you question, whether or not Moroni buried the plates in that hill originally, buried them later, or that the hill in New York is the same hill as in the Book of Mormon, we are simply not told. Nor does Joseph Smith refer to this hill as the hill Cumorah, nor did anyone else call that hill Cumorsah until after the plates were found, then later early church members started calling it that.
    It is simply not possible to draw any conclusion from anything written or said by Joseph Smith that all of this is tied together as you and many church members try to make it. We simply do not know.
    Comment #5: “I find the name Anti-Nephi-Lehies and odd name for the Lamanite converts to have chosen as their covented name as indicated in Alma 23, since “anti” means against or in opposition to” Brandee E.
Response: Considering how many uses there are in the text of the morpheme Anti in Nephite and Lamanite language, it appears to be a common and proper noun: Ani-Anti, Antiomno, Antionah, Antionum, Antiparah, Antipas, and Antipus; perhaps the Nephite monetary unit antion, as well as the name Manti, could also be added to this list. We also need to keep in mind that there were no hypens (-) in the original Book of Mormon manuscript or the printer’s manuscript prepared from the original manuscript by Oliver Cowdery. In both cases, the name was given as “AntiNephiLehies.” Therefore, any discussion involving the importance or meaning of the hyphens in the name would be moot. Another possibly important point would be that all the names that start with “Anti,” are rulers or leaders of some kind: Antiomno–Lamanite king over the land of Middoni; Antionah–a ‘chief ruler’ of the city of Ammonihah; Antionum–a military leader among the Nephite (one of Mormon‘s leaders of 10,000); Antipus–a Nephite leader over the city of Judea and ‘that part of the land'; also leads a Nephite army; AntiNephiLehi–king over all the Lamanites (for a while, at least). It might also be of interest, though its meaning is unknown, all of the “anti” names, except one, show up exclusively in the book of Alma. That except shows up first in Alma, then later in Mormon as a military leader. It may be then, that “Anti” is a label of or for “ruler,” “leader,” etc., thus Anti-Nephi-Lehi would mean “ruler of Nephi-Lehi,” that is, the city of land of Lehi-Nephi, which sometime during Mosiah’s time became the name of the city of Nephi that Nephi, son of Lehi, founded (2 Nephi 5:8).

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