Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Let’s See, How Shall We Speculate Today? Part II

Continuing from the last post regarding the continuing process of how speculation by the Theorists paint a completely inaccurate and misleading picture of the Nephites and any others in the Land of Promise. As we saw from the last sentence of the previous post, Sorenson’s misleading comment that 2 Nephi 5:22-23, had to do with other people living in the Land of Promise at the time of Lehi’s arrival, as opposed to events between the Nephites and Lamanites, is completely inaccurate.  
The Lamanites, Nephi’s brothers and their seed, separated themselves from Nephi and the Lord. This separation brought about a cursing of dark skin, idleness, mischief and subtlety on the Lamanites, which lasted with them, and was added to those who joined them, from that point onward.
    In an interesting parallel of Sorenson misunderstanding the scriptural record, he earlier said of the area of first landing (p140): “As Nephi tells the story, the Lamanites down in the hot lowlands were nomadic hunters, bloodthirsty. The circumstances of life in that environment could account for some of those characteristics.” However, the scriptural record tells us a more accurate reason for the Lamanite condition. “And because of their cursing which was upon them they did become an idle people, full of mischief and subtlety, and did seek in the wilderness for beasts of prey” (2 Nephi 5:24).
It is true we live in a politically correct world today, and that our society demands a softening of attitudes toward rebellion and outright evil. It is not considered fitting today to call "a Spade a Spade," but to deflect the direct for the indirect, the soft for the hard. Even in Lehi’s day, we find Laman and Lemuel saying much the same thing. Lehi first tells us that his two older sons “murmured, saying it was a hard thing which he had required of them” (1 Nephi 3:5), then, they themselves, add to this by saying, “Thou hast declared unto us hard things, more than we are able to bear” (1 Nephi 16:1).
    Whatever Sorenson’s reason, whether to deflect the hard for the softer tones, or whatever, he certainly wants to paint a much more acceptable view of the Lamanites by claiming the Nephites were prejudiced toward them and spoke harshly about them.
    Keep in mind that the Nephites always refer to the Lamanites as “their brethren” or “my brethren,” beginning with Nephi talking about his three brothers: (1 Nephi 3:9, 10, 14, 21), which soon became the separation of these two groups (1 Nephi 7:16, 17, 18 19) and continuing down through the thousand years to Moroni at the close of his record (Moroni 1:4). The Lamanites were not referred to as the “evil empire,” but were always part of Lehi’s family and their brothers (Helaman 15:4), as were those in general and those of the Church so referred (Mosiah 2:15; Alma 5:14).
    Lehi knew from the beginning that there must be an opposition in all things. As he taught Jacob, his first-born son in the wilderness: “For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad.
    Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility. Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God” (2 Nephi 2:11-12).
    Regarding this, Jacob added, “Therefore, cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves—to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life” (2 Nephi 10:23). However, it was President Ezra Taft Benson who tied it together when he said, “We are free to choose, but we are not free to alter the consequences of those choices” (Come Unto Christ, p40). Dallin Oaks made it clearer that we cannot be deprived of our God-given free agency to choose, but that in the circumstances of mortality freedom is always qualified. You can hang from a catwalk and choose to let go and fall, but you cannot choose to will yourself into a soft landing.”
It was Jacob’s son, Nephi’s nephew, who said, “I, Enos, had heard these words, my faith began to be unshaken in the Lord; and I prayed unto him with many long strugglings for my brethren, the Lamanites” (Enos 1:11), and “And I bear record that the people of Nephi did seek diligently to restore the Lamanites unto the true faith in God” (Enos 1:20). His son, Jarom writes for the “intent of the benefit of our brethren the Lamananites—he didn’t write for the benefit of the Nephites, but for the benefit of the Lamanites (Jarom 1:2).
    Then along comes Sorenson who wrote of this controversy between Nephites and Lamanites (p90): “The scripture is clear that the Nephites were prejudiced against the Lamanites,” and adds, (p91): “The question is how great the difference was: we may doubt that it was as dramatic as the Nephite record keepers made out.” However, the Lord sees it quite different: “And the Lord God said unto me: They shall be a scourge unto thy seed, to stir them up in remembrance of me; and inasmuch as they will not remember me, and hearken unto my words, they shall scourge them even unto destruction” (2 Nephi 5:25).
    Whatever dramatic results occurred, it is apparent and needs no further discussion, that the Lamanites (Laman and Lemuel and their children, as well as the sons of Ishamel and their families), separated themselves from Nephi and the Lord, bringing about their own damnation and the future destruction of their people.
    We can find many a theorist who may have a different view, and some will build volumes, maps and come armed with a myriad of information that sounds authentic and accurate—but the fact is, if it does not agree with the writings of the prophets and Mormon’s abridgement, it is nothing more than a theory and will, when trying to find support in cross-scriptural references, be doomed to failure. Unfortunately, most theorists will not let their erroneous ideas fail—they will simply restate them and attack the scriptural accuracy from a different point of view.
    Each theorist as the free agency to choose his own path, and make his own stand on those views—but the scriptural record should be the pattern of that stand, not the point of attack. And as long as theorists choose to attack the scriptural record and try to change it to mean something Mormon and the others didn’t intend, they will be faced with the consequences of their fallacious views.

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