Friday, July 3, 2015

Who Were the Mulekites? Part VI

Continuing from the last five posts about the Mulekites, and how Mulek escaped from Jerusalem and reached the Land of Promise, and how he and his people joined with Mosiah and the Nephites in the Land of Zarahemla.
For some reason, though the scriptural record makes it clear that both Zarahemla and his people (the Mulekites) were joyous over Mosiah’s arrival and learning of the records he brought, and willingly joined together with the Nephites, insist that these two groups were segregated. As Hobby puts it of an event many years later (p27), “When Mosiah II desired the record of Zeniff to be read the Mulekites and Nephites were gathered into segregated language groups to have the record read aloud in both languages.
    After Zeniff and Alma arrived in the Land of Zarahemla from their various escapes from the Lamanites, “all the people of Nephi were assembled together, and also all the people of Zarahemla, and they were gathered together in two bodies” (Mosiah 25:4). This was so that Mosiah could read the records of those who had escaped from the city of Lehi-Nephi in the Lamanite lands. “And Mosiah did read, and caused to be read, the records of Zeniff to his people; yea, he read the records of the people of Zeniff, from the time they left the land of Zarahemla until they returned again” (Mosiah 25:5). 
   There is no comment that this record was read in two languages, or that the Nephites and people of Zarahemla (Mulekites) were in separate bodies because of a language problem. As for the two groups, it was common among the people of God to line up by tribal groups at festivals, ceremonies, and ordinances—in Book of Mormon times, this would have been by Nephites, Jacobites, Josepites, Zoramites, etc. (4 Nephi 1:36-38; Mormon 1:8-9). All this says, is that the Mulekites were also in a separate lineage body or group.
    The twelve tribes of Israel were thus segregated most of their existence, though in much of the Biblical writing, these tribal separations are not mentioned much, and often the people were combined and listed simply as Israelites, or after the division, as those of Judah and those of Israel. This is also seen in the Book of Mormon, as Jacob wrote, he would "not hereafter distinguish them by these names, but I shall call them Lamanites that seek to destroy the people of Nephi, and those who are friendly to Nephi I shall call Nephites, or the people of Nephi, according to the reigns of the kings" (Jacob 1:13).
At the time Mosiah gathered the people together to hear about the people of Limhi and of Alma, the Mulekites were still considered a separate tribal group (Mosiah 25:4).  However, these Mulekites became Nephites and were numbered among the Nephites (Mosiah 25:13) as this great fervor of religious identity swept through Zarahemla after the reading of the Limhi and Alma records (Mosiah 25:7-11).  So much so, that the "children of Amulon and his brethren, who had taken to wife the daughters of the Lamanites, were displeased with the conduct of their fathers, and they would no longer be called by the names of their fathers, therefore they took upon themselves the name of Nephi, that they might be called the children of Nephi and be numbered among those who were called Nephites" (Mosiah 25:12).  
    This is the same attitude the Mulekites had, for they became numbered with the Nephites (Mosiah 25:13).  In this moment of religious fervor, especially following Alma's religious preaching to the various bodies assembled (Alma 25:15), Limhi desired to be baptized along with all his people (Mosiah 25:17). If for no other reason, the Mulekites wanted to be numbered among the Nephites and called Nephites because "the kingdom had been conferred upon none but those who were descendants of Nephi" (Mosiah 25:13). 
    From a Religious standpoint:  There were seven churches established throughout the land (Mosiah 26:23), and when people joined any of the churches, they were called the people of God (Mosiah 26:24), and from this point on, there is never another mention of the people of Zarahemla (Mulekites) being separated or segregated from the Nephites.  
    From a Political standpoint:  When king Mosiah suggested to his people that there should be no more kings, but wrote down the points of liberty and how the people should be governed, then sent his writings among everyone (Mosiah 29:37) they were convinced of his words. "They were anxious that every man should have an equal chance throughout all the land" and "they assembled themselves together in bodies throughout the land, to cast their voices concerning who should be their judges...and they were exceedingly rejoiced because of the liberty which had been granted them" (Mosiah 29:38-39).
    The key words here are "every man had an equal voice," which shows that the Mulekites and the Nephites were now one people, called the Nephites. There is no mention after this point that the Mulekites were ever considered separately, nor is there at any time any mention that the Mulekites spoke another language after they were taught the Nephite language by Mosiah (Omni 1:18).
    Despite all this, there are still those theorists who want to blame the Mulekite lineage for all the conflicts and difficulties that occurred. As Hobby goes on to write: “The fact that this insurrection was Mulekite-led is also confirmed by Alma 62:7-10.” Of course, when you look up the reference, which not every does, you find a different story, for there is no indication anywhere of any Mulekite-led insurrection. 
    "And it came to pass that Moroni and Pahoran went down with their armies into the land of Zarahemla, and went forth against the city, and did meet the men of Pachus, insomuch that they did come to battle (Alma 62:7). And behold, Pachus was slain and his men were taken prisoners, and Pahoran was restored to his judgment-seat (Alma 62:8). And the men of Pachus received their trial, according to the law, and also those king-men who had been taken and cast into prison; and they were executed according to the law; yea, those men of Pachus and those king-men, whosoever would not take up arms in the defense of their country, but would fight against it, were put to death (Alma 62:9). And thus it became expedient that this law should be strictly observed for the safety of their country; yea, and whosoever was found denying their freedom was speedily executed according to the law" (Alma 62:10).
    Obviously, there is no suggestion of a Mulekite-led insurrection here, but only of a segment of the Nephites who wanted to return to kingship rule. Yet, that does not stop Hobby who adds: 
    “It seems that the faction which had supported Paanchi, which was later turned by Gadianton into a guerilla movement, was Mulekite-based.” 
However, there simply is not a single mention of any insurrection, faction, or movement of Mulekites against the Nephites anywhere in scripture. Once they joined together (Mosiah 25:13) they are never again mentioned in scripture as being separated in any manner.  Rather than Mulekite-led insurrections, it seems that in all cases of the infighting among the Nephites, it was over those who believed in the counsels of Mosiah and the church, and those who believed in their own counsels and fought against the church. In every instance these internal wars were over whether the Nephites continued to have their liberty and freedom or whether they would be subject to dictatorial rulers and denied their freedom.
    It would appear from the scriptural record that the Mulekites at this point became Nephites, as Sam’s posterity had before this, and were considered a single people. On the other hand, there are two incidents mentioned of a continued lineage for the Mulekites that is never mentioned for Sam’s posterity. The first is of Ammon, whom king Mosiah placed in charge of the sixteen men he sent to the land of Lehi-Nephi to inquire concerning their brethren (Mosiah 7:2) as being a descendant of Zarahemla (Mosiah 7:3). The second is of Coriantumr, a descendant of Zarahemla (Helaman 1:15), who “was a deserter from among the Nephites,” who the Lamanites put in charge of their army and invaded the Land of Zarahemla and captured the city (Helaman 1:17-20).
(See the next post, “Who Were the Mulekites? Part VII,” for the continuation of this regarding Mulek, the youngest son of Zedekiah, and how he came to be in the Land of Promise and found the city of Zarahemla, and who were his descendants and those of his people, and that they were not involved in insurrections against the Nephites according to the scriptural record)

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