Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Don’t Put a Question Mark Where Mormon Placed a Period

In another attempt to show that what Mormon wrote should be maintained the way it was written and not the way some theorists believe, we need to stop placing question marks needing answers where the prophet Mormon placed periods.
The message of the Book of Mormon, in all of its areas of interest—doctrine, principles, lives, events, geographical setting, directions given, and ideas introduced, was meant to bring about a change in our lives as a Second Witness of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, what has happened among numerous theorists about the geographical setting of the scriptural record and the location of the Land of Promise is that theorists have changed the message.
     Stated simply, when it comes to the Book of Mormon, we shouldn’t change the message—the message should change us!
Somewhere in the latter half of the 4th century A.D., Mormon was faced with a herculean task that might have been insurmountable to any man had it not been for the Spirit. Mormon had at his disposal a very large library of books written by Nephites between 600 B.C. and 385 A.D., that some have numbered in the thousands, written on plates that filled a very large room and referred to as sacred records, given to him from which he was to abridge a record of the ancient Nephites and children of Lehi. In addition, his son abridged the record of the Jaredites, an even older civilization with even less connection to the life Moroni led, than the record of Nephi was to Mormon's life.
    However, Mormon, at the close of his life (Words of Mormon 1:1-2) approached this assignment given him by the Lord through the Spirit and the prophet Ammaron, the last of the Nephi prophets before Mormon and Moroni (4 Nephi 1:47-48, Mormon 2-6). He did so with a sad heart, having witnessed the complete ending of the Nephite nation and his people (Mormon 6:16-20), “with the intent that future generations, including Gentiles, 12 Tribes of Israel, and the remainder of his people, in fact, to every soul who belongs to the whole human family of Adam” (Mormon 3:17-20), standing at the end as a witness “to manifest unto the world the things which I saw and heard according to the manifestations of the Spirit which had testified of things to come” (Mormon 3:16), leaving it up to his son, Moroni, “to write the sad tale of the destruction of my people” (Mormon 8:3).
Yet, despite the despair and anguish of what Mormon was faced with, the many theorists could not wait to jump on the bandwagon and start placing question marks all over Mormon’s periods! His cardinal directions were wrong; his placement of lands to the north were wrong; his physical knowledge of the entire Land of Promise was wrong; his understanding of the Spirit directing him was wrong.
    He didn’t know which way the River Sidon flowed; or where the headwaters of that mighty river was located; he was wrong in how long it took a Nephite to walk a day and a half; he was wrong when he wrote about horses pulling chariots; he was wrong about there being roads all over the land over which he passed. Though he had fought from one end of that land to the other, from the north to the south and from the east to the west, Mormon was wrong when he showed us there were four seas as he abridged Helaman’s record; he was wrong when he showed us the directional settings of the Lamanite king Lamoni’s land; he was wrong when he abridged Alma’s record and talked of healing plants that cured killing fevers.
    Though he fought behind these walls, Mormon was wrong when he said the Nephites had built “walls of stone to encircle them about, round about their cities and the borders of their lands; yea, all round about the land—he was there, but according to these various theorists, he was wrong!
Mormon was also wrong when he described a passage leading from the Land Southward into the Land Norhtward; he was wrong, though having passed through here where he later made a treaty with the Lamanites, that it had the Sea East on one side and the Sea West on the other side; and he was wrong about this area he defended at the end being a passage through the narrow neck as the only passage between the two major lands.
    In addition, these theorists have placed their own question marks over Nephi’s writing. He was, according to them and if you can image, wrong in where he landed; he was wrong in how his ship arrived in the Land of Promise; he was wrong in finding horses there; he was wrong when he told us of a climate where “seeds from Jerusalem” grew in abundance; he was wrong when he agreed with Jacob that they were on an island; he was wrong when he told us that island was in the midst of the sea over which they had traveled; he was wrong when he told us he built a temple like Solomon’s.
    And, too, these theorists have gladly pointed out to us how Moroni was wrong in there being metallurgy in both the Land Northward and the Land Southward, he was wrong in their being two unknown animals in the land that were as important as elephants—in fact, he was wrong in their being elephants in the land at all, while the theorists called them sloths and tapirs, animals of great worth to man, more so than horses and asses.
    We would not think of placing a question mark where God has placed a period. Yet, it has always amazed me that such religious stalwarts as Hugh Nibley, educated professors as John L. Sorenson, dedicated scriptorians as Carol Phyllis Olive, would allow themselves to start placing question marks, and then insert their own answers to those question marks where Mormon, without any question in his mind, placed a period in his abridgement.
    As pointed out earlier, it is amazing that these theorists today want to change the meaning of Mormon’s words because they think they know more. It is unlikely that anyone throughout the 1000 year history of the Land of Promise walked across more of that land than Mormon in the defense of his country and people.
    It is doubtful that anyone today, assuming they were actually in the Land of Promise of which Mormon writes, has covered as much ground as Mormon did. Yet, there seems no end to the amount of theorists that feel they know more about the land of Promise than did those who lived there, fought there, planted and harvested there, hunted and herded there, and spent their lives there, whatever number of years that might have been, are being second-guessed today as to what they meant when they wrote such simple information for our benefit today.
    Perhaps we should stop putting question marks where these ancient writers put periods and start reading the scriptural record as it was written and without our own ideas as to what was meant, but accept what Mormon, Nephi, Moroni and Jacob actually wrote!

1 comment:

  1. Neither do I see how they, or anyone, can read the words that are written, and believe some, but want to change others to better fit their own ideas or to conform to a platform that they think they can better sell to the so called intelligencia of education! There is no more convincing sign of geographic establishment than "the narrow neck of land that separates the land northward from the land southward"! There is only one place in the western hemisphere that fits that description and it is the Isthmus of Panama! Reading the Mentinah Records establishes that same fact in much greater detail. Now it seems that those same kinds of people, though they may be well-meaning in this case, are still no closer to the truth because of not paying attention to details, as they try to claim the wrong spot in Dhofar, Oman as the first land of Bountiful.