Saturday, February 6, 2016

More Comments from Readers – Part II

Here are more comments that we have received from readers of this website blog:
    Comment #1: “You’ll love this. I read that someone said, I am convinced that the reference to a north sea and a south sea is devoid of any concrete geographical content.  All specific references or allusions to Book of Mormon seas are only to east and west seas.  Any geography that tries to accommodate a north and south sea, I think, is doomed to fail. But we cannot dismiss the reference to these seas out of hand.  If they are metaphorical, what was the metaphor?’ How about that?” Sanderson W.   (Clark, p 65)
    Response: This was written by John E. Clark (The Book of Mormon and Archaeology, New World Archaeological Foundation, BYU, 2004). I think Clark would have some difficulty with Helaman, who wrote about the north and south seas, and used them not as a metaphor, but as a directional boundary to show the extension of the Nephite expansion as they filled up the Land of Promise in 46 B.C. (Helaman 3:8).
    Comment #2: “Sorenson isn’t the only one that claims the directions of the Book of Mormon are wrong. A writer named Hauck also says the directions of Mesoamerica are correct” Klayton G.
Response: F. Richard Hauck (Deciphering the Geography of the Book of Mormon, 1988), was one of the early Mesoamerican Theorists who came along after Sorenson, and his book,because it departed from Sorenson’s model to some degree, was panned by FARMS and BYU writers. He wrote on p 31: “This analysis demonstrates that the "greater" land northward was actually northwest of the "greater" land southward and therefore the land southward was southeast of the homeland of the Jaredite people.  Eastward, then, in the Book of Momon context, meant northeast.  Had westward been used, it would have signified the southwestern quadrant."  (Hauck, p 31).
    Actually, Hauck can use northeast and southwest, but his alignment, like Sorenson’s is almost 90º off from true compass directions, making his northeast really east, and southwest really west. The point is, Nephi said he gloried in plainness (2 Nephi 33:6) and that the Lord speaks to men according to their language unto their understanding (2 Nephi 31:3).  Hauck's explanation seems so convoluted that it hardly makes sense, however, when compared with the scriptures, shows that it is only wishful thinking on his part to justify his Mesoamerican model which is skewed about 90º off the directional terms used in the scriptures.  As an example, in describing the land of promise, we find Mormon describing the land north of Zarahemla which the Nephites controlled: "On the north, even until they came to the land which they called Bountiful" (Alma 22:29), and "That thereby they should have no more possession on the north, that they might not overrun the land northward" (Alma 22:33). It seems to me that on the north is quite plain.  Everyone knows what "on the north" should mean.  It cannot be justified, no matter how hard Hauck and others try, to place the land "on the north" into an area to the west, or east, or south! Though it is understandable that they do so because that is how the Mesoamerica landmass runs.
    Comment #3: “I wonder if you have any idea of how many things your “revered” Joseph Smith did that were illegal. As an example, take the time when he was mayor of Nauvoo when he participated in the destruction of the newly established opposition newspaper in Nauvoo. Even B.H. Roberts conceded that it was illegal for him to do so” Maryann R.
    Response: Well, in this particular case, B.H. Roberts was wrong. There was a legal basis for this action in the Illinois law of 1844. The amendment to the United States Constitution that extended the guarantee of freedom of the press to protect against the actions of city and state governments was not adopted until 1868, and it was not enforced as a matter of federal law until 1931. (See Dallin H. Oaks, “The Suppression of the Nauvoo Expositor,Utah Law Review 9, 1965, p862). We need to learn to judge the actions of our predecessors on the basis of the laws and commandments and circumstances of their day, not ours. And Joseph Smith is still revered, especially by me.
    Comment #4: “I thought it was interesting that Hugh Nibley called the Book of Mormon writers being stubborn and not mentioning other people than the “subjects of their history.” Doesn’t that open the door to a better understanding of the possibility of other people in the promised land?” Margaret V.
Response: Nibley’s exact comment was: “Though these people (referring to the Mulekites) play an important role once they enter the sphere of Nephite history, their whole past is summed up in but three verses. (Omni 15-17) That shows us how closely the editors of the Book of Mormon stick to the business at hand, shunning any kind of digression and stubbornly refusing to tell about any people but the announced subjects of their history”  (Lehi in the Desert, and the World of the Jaredites, Bookcraft , 1952, p 251).
    For some reason, he seems to forget that the Large Plates of Nephi contained a lot of information not found on the Small Plates. Plus, according to Helaman, there were numerous other books written about the Nephites (Helaman 3:14:15). He also seems to forget that the people of Zarahemla (Mulekites) had no records (Omni 1:17), and that once learning the Nephite language, the best Zarahemla could do was recount his genealogy from memory (Ether 1:18). Even that record was written down by the Nephites (Ether 1:18), and that the Mulekites, being nearly twice the number of the Nephites  (Mosiah 25:2), and a warring people (Omni 1:17), agreed voluntarily to join the ranks of the Nephites and be numbered among them (Mosiah 25:13), and though larger in number, voted to appoint Mosiah their king (Omni 1:19), and along with the Nephites were called “the people of God” (Mosiah 25:24) from that time forward, and referred to overall, as was Sam’s posterity, as “Nephites.” 
    Nowhere in scripture do we find Sam’s posterity separately named, as we do Jacob’s and Joseph’s posterity, or even Zoram’s posterity. In addition, we know very little about the Nephites from around 420 B.C. down to about 120 B.C., which is about one half of their history from the time of their landing to the advent of the Savior in the Western Hemisphere. We have one thousand twenty-one years of recorded history on only 489 pages, and about 961 of those years on only 382 of those pages, which is about two-and-one-half years per page. Obviously, much is left out of those one thousand years by necessity in Mormon’s abridgement.
And lastly, it should be kept in mind that Mormon, in abridging this 1,000 year history, wrote “I make it according to the knowledge and the understanding which God has given me” and that he wrote by the “whisperings of the Spirit” and that which the Lord “worketh in me to do according to his will” (Words of Mormon 1:7-9). It is difficult to think in terms of “stubbornly refusing” to tell something about a people when guided by the Spirit to record those events the Lord wanted written down and evidently, nothing more. It would seem, in this case, that Nibley is simply inaccurate.
    Comment #5: “I enjoyed your article on the languages. Is it possible to give us a reference for your comment: “Nor can it account for the very deep and intimate associations between the Quechua and Aymara language families.” Thanks” Carlos S.
    Response: That quote is covered by Peruvian linguist Rodolfo Cerrón Palomino (b. February 10, 1940, Huancayo Peru) who has crucially contributed to the investigation and development of the Quechua language and has also made outstanding contributions to the study of the Aymara, Mochica and Chipaya languages. See his work: Lingüística Aimara, Centro de Estudios Regionales Andinos "Bartolomé de las Casas", Lima, 2000, pp 34-36. Since that, which had been his last of 17 published works, he has also published: 1) Castellano Andino. Aspectos sociolingüísticos, pedagógicos y gramaticales (2003) Lima: PUCP; 2) El chipaya o la lengua de los hombres del agua. (2006) Lima: PUCP; 3) Voces del Ande. Ensayos sobre Onomástica Andina. Lima: (2008) PUCP.

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