Sunday, January 3, 2016

What Did Moroni Mean “Whether I Go it Mattereth Not”?

At the close of the record, which his father, Mormon, gave to him, and that he so diligently kept and guarded, Moroni wrote: “Therefore I will write and hide up the records in the earth; and whither I go it mattereth not” (Mormon 8:4).
At this point, around 401 A.D. (Mormon 8:6), Moroni writes that it doesn’t matter where he buries the plates “in the ground,” it doesn’t matter where he would die, it doesn’t matter how he dies, and it doesn’t matter what happens to him in life from this point on—the Lamanites were at war one with another; and the whole face of this land was one continual round of murder and bloodshed; and no one knew when the war would end (Mormon 8:8). All the Nephites had been hunted down and destroyed (Mormon 8:7) and none existed on the face of the land (Mormon 8:9).
    What mattered to Moroni was what was written on the plates (Mormon 8:12, 14) and that it be preserved by the Lord and brought forth for future generations (Mormon 8:16) as the Lord promised, that the future Lamanites, Gentiles and House of Israel would all know of the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and present a witness of the Savior—which is a Second Witness to us today in addition to the Bible.
    All of this was given with a warning by Moroni (Mormon 8:12, 17), and that “the eternal purposes of the Lord shall roll on, until all his promises shall be fulfilled” (Mormon 8:22).
    What was important to Moroni he wrote (Mormon 9), and what is important, and the backbone of this blog and the nearly 2000 posts over a full six year period is not where the Land of Promise was located, where the hill Cumorah was located, or where the Nephite Nation lived and the Jaredite kingdom before that—what has always been important in the writing of this blog and the backbone of its existence, is to verify and support the scriptural record of the Book of Mormon exactly as it was originally written, abridged by Nephi, Mormon and Moroni, and translated by Joseph Smith through the workings of the Spirit.
    The errors of theorists in their erroneous interpretations of this sacred record that Joseph Smith called “the most correct book,” meaning what was written in its pages, not how it was written, which Moroni pointed out would contain errors, both in the writing part because of the difficulty of transcribing Hebrew thought and meanings into a foreign language called Reformed Egyptian (Mormon 9:32), would ultimate cause some errors made by the writers (Mormon 9:31, 33). And that is why the Lord had it translated by the means he prepared (Joseph Smith and the Spirit) for the purpose of bringing forth unto us in our day a correct work as viewed by the Lord (Mormon 9:30).
    The first three witnesses, Oliver Cowdery (died at the age of 44), David Whitmer (died at the age of 83) and Martin Harris (died at the age of 92)—the first two, Oliver and David were 23 years old, and Martin was 45, when they were shown the plates in June 1829—all testified of seeing the Plates. Their "Testimony of Three Witnesses" summarizes the supernatural event that followed, when an angel appeared and showed them the plates and engravings and they heard the Lord declare that the Book of Mormon was "translated by the gift and power of God."
Left to Right: Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris, David Whitmer 
    The three witnesses also said they heard "the voice of the Lord" telling them that the translation of the plates was correct, and commanding them to testify of what they saw and heard.” David Whitmer later stated that the angel showed them "the breast plates, the Ball or Directors, the Sword of Laban, and other plates” (Van Horn, 1881; Kelley & Blakeslee, 1882; see also Joseph Smith, 1835, p 171).
    David Witmer also stated in an interview with the Kansas City Journal: “Joseph, Oliver Cowdery and myself were together, and the angel showed [the plates] to us. [We were] sitting on a log when we were overshadowed by a light more glorious than that of the sun. In the midst of this light, but a few feet from us, appeared a table upon which were many golden plates, also the sword of Laban and the directors. I saw them as plain as I see you now, and distinctly heard the voice of the Lord declaiming that the records of the plates of the Book of Mormon were translated by the gift and power of God” (June 1, 1881, in Lyndon Cook, ed., David Whitmer Interviews: A Restoration Witness, Orem, UT, Grandin Book, 1991, p63).
    Cowdery, Whitmer, and Harris signed a joint statement that has been included in each of the more than 120 million copies of the Book of Mormon printed since then, which reads in part: “And we declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bear record that these things are true” (“The Testimony of Three Witnesses,” Book of Mormon).
    Each of the three was a respected and independent member of non-Mormon society, active in his community. Their lives, fully documented, clearly demonstrate their honesty and intelligence. David Whitmer repeatedly reacted against charges of possible "delusion." To one skeptic, he responded: "Of course we were in the spirit when we had the view…but we were in the body also, and everything was as natural to us, as it is at any time" (Anderson, p. 87). Perhaps their later alienation makes them even more credible as witnesses, for no collusion could have withstood their years of separation from the Church and from each other.
    The point of all this is that the Lord himself verified the accuracy and correctness of the scriptural record of the Book of Mormon—it is not wrong, the directions Mormon used are not wrong, the statement Jacob made about being on an island is not wrong, nor are any of the descriptions, such as the Land Northward and the Land Southward being in an area where the mountains rose to a height which is great, which should eliminate all of the eastern United States, especially the Heartland and Great Lakes area, which has no mountains, let alone high ones. We could go on about this, but the point is the work is correct as is, the Lord has said so, and we need to stop trying to change it or its meanings.
Having said all that, it should also be pointed out that the book was never meant to be a perfect writing of the English Language, anymore than the fact that the translations into 82 foreign languages (plus partial translates into 25 others) are perfect in those languages, since translation, rather than being a word-for-word understanding is a meaning-for-meaning understanding, and in that sense, the Book of Mormon as a scriptural record (not a history book) is without blemish and perfect in its meanings, bringing us the Word of God as He wanted us to receive it, and accept it, based on both our testimony of its correctness and our faith in His work that brought it about.
    And we have the Lord’s testimony that it is!
    It was never meant to be a literary masterpiece in which it would pass every understanding of spelling and grammar since that has changed before, during, and after the book was published as we have pointed out in the previous series and for several years here.
    What it was meant to be is exactly what it is, a spiritual work that will bring us closer to God, His Son, and the gospel in its fullness, from the reason we are here to the atonement and its purpose, and to where we will ultimately end up. This fate befell the Nephites—in some generations they were near perfect, as humans can be; but in others they were as evil as the
Children of Men have ever been, and as Mormon put it, had lost their grace (Mormon 2:15).
    The reason for supporting the scriptural record in this blog is to correct those errors in print that have crept into the thinking and beliefs pertaining to descriptions and meanings of individuals who have felt they knew more to its translation than those who wrote, abridged and translated the work. Based simply on the clear and precise writing of Mormon and others, in theorists’ changing of the meaning of words and phrases, from Sorenson’s altering the north-south-east-west meanings which Mormon provided for our greater understanding, to the description of how Nephi’s ship sailed “driven forth before the wind,” meaning with currents and winds, to Jacob’s description of the Land of Promise being an island, to Mormon’s small and narrow neck of land and to his narrow pass and passage through it.
This blog has attempted the best it could to show that the words Mormon used and the words Joseph Smith used in translation, aptly describe the events, geography, layout, and events of the Book of Mormon sufficient for us to arrive at a clear and precise location—one that matches every single descriptive comment stated of such in the overall work.
    To make less of, or change, alter, ridicule or present a different meaning, is both unconscionable and unscholarly, more especially for those professors and students in the fields at BYU as well as all others. Mormon was clear and precise in his language, Joseph Smith was clear and precise in his language. While some parts need further study and the spirit’s aid in coming to the correct conclusion and understanding, that understanding and conclusions will not contradict what was written and translated as so many Theorists do, whether aware of it or not.
    There is one location where the Book of Mormon took place, and additional areas in the Western Hemisphere where Nephites and Lamanites settled after leaving the Land of Promise on Hagoth’s ships, and we find in the Western Hemisphere the original settlement of an advanced culture, which the Jaredites (from Babylon) and Lehites (from Jerusalem) would have built—and nowhere in Asia and the Middle East where they came from would have been building with sticks and wood that deteriorated over the centuries anymore than the sites built during Jaredite times in Babylon and during Lehi and Nephi’s time in Jerusalem have deteriorated and are unknown.
However, as Moroni said, it mattereth not. The important thing that matters is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. To know and understand God’s word and its meaning and purpose in our life gives us added testimony of a loving Father and his Son and the atonement that brought about the Law of Repentance and the knowledge of who we are, from whence we came, and where we are going.
    To know where these events we read about on over 500 pages is as worthwhile and helpful as it is to know where the Holy Land was and is located when reading the bible. Not essential, but helpful.
    And that information is available in the scriptural record if we simply read the record the way it was written and translated and not try to insert our own personal bias and prejudices into the work, but follow the events as they unfold with the Spirit and our own understanding of the words, and not try to force them to mean something they do not say.
    As Moroni so eloquently said, “Be wise in the days of your probation” (Mormon 9:28).


  1. Del, I continue to read and appreciate this blog. I still wish you copied it also to facebook. At any rate, this is what I say about scripture: The "revelations" given to prophets from God are surely inerrant and infallible. But what prophets write is a "record" of the revelation and of other events, and is not revelation itself. And though this record is given as moved upon by the Holy Ghost, it still is "the works of men", and as such is subject to the imperfections that exist even in the best of men. The Bible or any true scripture is thus never "infallible and inerrant". Why? 1. God wants us to realize we always need more revelation (until we are in His presence); and 2. As men reject the scriptural records brought forth by men in their weaknesses they are under less condemnation.