Monday, July 6, 2015

Who Were the Mulekites? Part IX

Continuing from the last eight posts about the Mulekites, and who they were in their position within the Nephite Nation. 
    It might also be understood that the Mulekites that arrived in the Land of Promise, with a Royal Charge in their midst, had undoubtedly been used to thinking in terms of preserving the lineage line, no doubt came ashore in this new land in a military sense, concern for the politics of the group involved in this rescue, or those included who were more interested in saving their own skins than the young king.
    How this might have affected those early liaisons among them is hard to know, but certainly there were differences of opinion as to who might be the Regent or guardian of the king until he became older. Then, too, there would be Mayors of the Palace, that is those who managed the king’s affairs and household since he would have been very young. Even though living in tents in the beginning, the roles, titles, and interactions would have been much the same.
It should also be kept in mind that though we loosely call the people of Zarahemla, the Mulekites, they were not all descended from Mulek. In fact, very few, if any would have been of his blood line in the original party, since the idea of his survival was to secret him away from the invading Babylonians to whom, evidently, he was not known, being just an infant or very young lad. It might be possible that his mother was part of this group, probably one of the secondary wives of king Zedekiah who acquired several wives after being named king. But the point is, few would have been related to him in that original party, and his direct descendants, assuming he survived long enough to marry and have children, would have been few in the beginning.
    It is likely these original groups had some conflict with one another as has always been the case in kingdoms where a young king takes over too young to actually rule. There would also have been those who considered themselves nobles and courtiers as opposed to simply Palace Guards and servants. No doubt over the years these factions became stronger and perhaps even warred with one another—if not openly, certainly secretively, each vying for the power of the Regent and to rule.
    When Mosiah was informed by Zarahemla of his ancestry, he was told the Mulekites had many wars and serious contentions during their history (Omni 1:17), which might have been over who ruled, or who should be the Regent to the young king.
But that is simply an assumption. However, while this assumption has some merit, i.e., it is reasonable to assume these wars and contentions among the Mulekites had something to do with the leadership of the people and the place Mulek had in those differences, many of the assumptions that are in print about the Mulekites are baseless. As an example, take another of Hobby’s claims (p48) that “The wickedness of the Nephites was rerflected in increased Mulekite successes, which resulted at last in the altering of the laws of Mosiah II" (Helaman 4:22).
    The thing is, there is no mention of Mulekites or the people of Zarahemla as a separate group from the Nephites politically, religiously, or in any other way, throughout the writings of Helaman. The reference quoted merely states that:  "And that they had altered and trampled under their feet the laws of Mosiah, or that which the Lord commanded him to give unto the people; and they saw that their laws had become corrupted and that they had become a wicked people, insomuch that they were wicked even like unto the Lamanites."
    This scripture, when read in context with the entire writings surrounding it, show that Helaman's son, Nephi, who recorded this passage, was referring to the Nephites in general as is shown in Helaman 7:1, 4-6. But Hobby goes on: “The Mulekites often incited the Lamanites to war against the Nephites in the hopes that a victory would return them to their rightful position as rulers”  (p 64). And also: "The Right-to-Rule" Mulekites interacting with the "The Righteous-Shall-Inherit-the-Earth" Nephites caused some intriguing struggle for political power and determined much of the course which Book of Mormon history took.
    However, this was not the Lord’s purpose. He knew the people of Zarahemla would welcome with open arms the Nephites who both had the record of the Jews, and the promise of the Lord to the rights of inheritance of the land. While not stated in the record, one can only wonder under what premise Mulek, who must have been quite young—his father was only 32 when captured and killed, with Mulek undoubtedly being the youngest of his sons—was led to the land of promise. We are not told what role the Lord played in this event, like with the Jaredites and later Nephites, the latter being about 10 years ahead of Mulek and the people who brought him to the Western Hemisphere.
    We are not told what the Mulekites knew about this land to which they were led, nor to whom it rightfully belonged, or what rights they had to inherit it. For all we know, Mulek or their religious leader at the time of their arrival might well have been told by the Lord that at some point in the future the rightful rulers of the land would be made known to them. Whatever the case, it is obvious that under Jewish law and tradition, stretching back over 2,000 years to at least Abraham, was involved in rightful ownership or inheritance of the lands in which they lived. And that ownership or inheritance was through the blessings of the Lord. So when Mosiah and the Nephites showed up with the records and the knowledge that this was to be Lehi’s land of promise, with the inheritance passing through Nephi, the Mulekites both had their answers to the rights to the land, and how they could become part of those rights and have their inheritance from the Lord in regard to their land.
Whatever the number of Nephites that left the City of Nephi with Mosiah I when the Lord told him to flee, the Mulekites were twice in number, the the Lamanites twice as many still
    The Mulekites, after all, were a numerous people (Omni 1:17) and well outnumbered the Nephites (Mosiah 25:2), yet they agreed to have Mosiah as their king (Omni 1:19) and join with the Nephites (Mosiah 25:13) because the kingdom had been conferred upon the Nephites, and it was ever thus that the House of Israel wanted to share in the kingdom. This moment of decision was at a time of spiritual fervor when Alma baptized Limhi and his brethren (Mosiah 25:17) and the sons of the priests of Noah renounced their Lamanite heritage and became Nephites (Mosiah 25:12).
    None of this suggests that the Mulekites fought against the Nephites for control of the kingdom, but rather joined them realizing their God, the God of the House of Israel, had conferred the leadership of the land of promise onto Lehi's descendants and those who were numbered among them.  There is not a single suggestion anywhere in the scriptures to show that the Mulekites and the Nephites were at odds with one another, or that it was the Mulekites that tried to undermine Nephite right to rule as so many theorists claim.
    In fact, as has been mentioned before, it would be more likely that three generations of Nephite kings (Mosiah, Benjamin and Mosiah II) would have led to some among the Nephites and of the lineage of these kings, would be more likely to desire to return to kingship rule, than descendants of Zarahemla.
    Once again, it is George Potter who poses an outlandish idea that Mulek’s experience in reaching the Land of Promise was quiet different from that of Lehi’s family in that Nephi built his ship in part by revelation from the Lord, however, in the Book of Mormon no mention found of the Mulekites building a ship or learning to sail one.
    To clarify matters, there is also no mention of Nephi and his brothers having any experience in learning to sail their ship. Also, that Nephi had to work in several crafts to construct his vessel, including smelting tools, working timbers, making cordage, etc., and that it would be unlikely that Mulek, the son of a king, would have possessed any of these skills, nor would it have been appropriate for a prince to have endulged himself in manual labor.
    Of course, if Mulek was as young as the situation suggests, then that is a moot point.
Nephi learned several crafts on his way to building the ocean-going ship that took Lehi and Ismael’s families and households to the Land of Promise 
    On the other hand, we have no idea what crafts Nephi, Lehi, Sam or Zoram knew, nor the sons of Ishmael, Laban and Lemuel—on the other hand, both families seem to have been agrarian, living outside the city, and though perhaps familiar with some crafts, certainly not experienced in any of them to the order of building an ocean-going ship. Yet, the Royal Palace Guard, servants to the Royal family, and those the Lord chose to bring Mulek to the Land of Promise, may well have had a diversity of craft experience and knowledge.
    The point is, it is simply fruitless to try and speculate on who knew what regarding the skills the Lord knew would be needed.

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