Monday, February 8, 2016

More Comments from Readers – Part IV

Here are more comments that we have received from readers of this website blog: 
    Comment #1: “Let me ask you a question. If you are so certain the hill Cumorah in New York is not the place, when were the records buried there? Personally, I don’t think you have a leg to stand on in this matter. That is where they were found” Jennings A.
    Response: Let me ask you a question. With a minimum of 230,000 unburied dead bodies lying in the vicinity of Cumorah and the awful stench that would have caused, and Moroni taking some 36 years between that battle and the hiding of the records, do you think he hung around that hill? The stench of the bodies after the destruction of the evil city Ammonihah left the area desolate for many years because of the stench—and they were lightly covered with Earth. Have you ever been around the dead left unburied? If not the stench, the disease alone would cause a person to leave the area far behind. No, Moroni did not hang around there so he could hide up the records in Cumorah. He was long gone somewhere else, and would not have returned to the area during a civil war that went on evidently long after he succumbed to death.
    Comment #2: “I have been studying Book of Mormon lands, by the scriptures and in context, since 2008. I'd like your opinion on 1 Nephi 22:7-8…specifically, which nation is the mighty nation raised up among the Gentiles? And what is the marvelous work the Lord would proceed to do after the seed of Nephites/Lamanites were scattered?” Jeff A.
Response: While you are quoting from the Book of Mormon, the writing cited was on the Brass Plates (Bible). At this time, Nephi is given a vision and shown what would happen to his people, and those descendants of the "seed of my brethren" the Lamanites. The nation referred to is the United States. The work is in two parts: 1) Save the remnant of the House of Israel scattered among the Lamanite (American Indians of the Western Hemisphere); and 2) Preach the gospel to the Lamanites, bring them the Book of Mormon to whom the work was written and addressed by the Nephite prophets, and bring them back into the fold of God (the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints).
    Comment #3: “You mentioned in one of your posts on the Mulekites that Zedekiah replaced Jeconiah as king of Judah, and that Jeconiah reigned only three months and ten days. I understand he was but a boy of eight years of age, isn’t that kind of young to be king?” Alexis B.
    Response: If you mean Zedekiah, he was 21 years of age when placed on the throne of Zudah. If you meant Jeconiah, he was eighteen. The problem with the latter’s age stems from a wordage in the Masonretic Text version of 2 Chronicles 36:9, in which it states that Jeconiah’s rule began at the age of eight; however, the Septuagint and Syriac versions of this scripture state he was eighteen. Of the Vulgate, Challenor’s note in the Douay-Rheims Bible, reconciles this discrepancy thus: “He was associated by his father to the kingdom, when he was but eight years old; but after his father’s death, when he reigned alone, he was eighteen years old” as found in 2 Paralipoménõn 36:9 (Greek name, which means “things left on one side,” that Jerome changed to chronikon, and the Hebrews called Divrei Hayyamin “The Matters of the Days”)  
    Comment #4: “I found your post on Mulek and Hugh Nibleyh’s explanation of his name, of considerable interest. Is there any other evidence that a son might have survived Nebuchadnezzar?” Sandra C.
    Response: You are welcome. On the other hand, since Nibley often gets carried away with names, I do need to qualify that what was written about Mulek should be tempered with the understanding that Nibley's extensive study of Arabic probably colored his analysis of Mulek. While Arabic has a diminutive form CuCeC (where C is a consonant of the root, in this case MLK), Hebrew does not. Moreover, Mulek appears as Muloch in the printer's manuscript of the Book of Mormon and as Mulok in printed editions from 1830 to 1852, which later became Mulek. On the other hand, since the Hebrew changed among the Nephites, the pronunciation may have been affected, and the Hebrew root mlk, as in Hebrew melek “king,” is accurate.
As for survival, we are told in scripture that Zedekiah had daughters as well as sons (Jeremiah 43:6; 52:10), but nowhere are they named. The fact that his daughters survived, and that Mulek was undoubtedly just an infant (Zedekiah was only 32 when he was captured, and had multiple wives once made king), makes it a likelihood of such a possibility. But other than the Book of Mormon, there is no indication of such happening.
    Comment #5: “The fact that the people of Zarahemla spoke a language unintelligible to the Nephites further hints at an ethnic makeup more diverse than the brief text suggests, which assumes a solely Jewish origin” Ferguson R.
    Response: Any language, completely isolated from any other language, from written knowledge of its own language, and given a few hundred years, will become altered. The Mulekites evidently were also illiterate. None of this suggests anything other than what the scriptural record claims, their language had become corrupted from its original phonetics until it could not be understood by those who had known its original mother construction (Nephites and Mulekites origins both were from Jerusalem).
    It should be noted, also, that the scriptural record does not suggest that the Nephites could not comprehend any part of their language—only that the speakers of it could not be understood. One of my early travels into the deep south in the 1950s left me at a loss to understand the people in small, backwoods towns, though they spoke the same English I spoke. Phonetics, accents, odd or very different speech pacing, and irregular emphasis on key words can often make it very difficult, if not impossible to understand someone. In fact, today, listening to the speed of which a group of teenage girls speak, makes me wonder what language they are speaking.
    Comment #6: “John L. Sorenson writes in his work ‘The Mulekites,’ suggests that because the Phoenicians were the premier sailors of that era, it was they who brought Mulek and those with him to the promised land. This means they would have crossed the Atlantic and entered the New World from the east coast” Randy W.
Response: In this same writing, Sorenson also states “Israel had only a minor seafaring tradition of its own, and there is no hint that the Mulek party received divine guidance in constructing a ship of their own as Nephi did.” While that is a true statement, we also should say, there is no hint that Mulek did not receive divine guidance, either. In fact, “they journeyed in the wilderness, and were brought by the hand of the Lord across the great waters, into the land where Mosiah discovered them; and they had dwelt there from that time forth” (Omni 1:16),  which shows divine guidance was involved—what kind we are not told, but it is as correct to say something was provided as saying something was not.
    Since we have written in this blog extensively on how Mulek got to the Land of Promise, we will not repeat it here, but suffice it to say that if the Lord was going to use Phoenician sailors to bring someone from Jerusalem to the Land of Promise, why not Lehi and his family as well? The fact of the matter is, the Lord rarely does that—rather, he shows people how to do things for themselves, and since he did this with both the Jaredites and the Lehites, it is more consistent to say that Mulek came via the Lord’s direction rather than Phoenician sailors.
    Comment #7: “Just a note to let you know how much I enjoy your writing style, information, and especially your scripture references per almost every point. You make it easy to follow and understand your information. While I don’t always agree with you, I find it hard to disagree with your references and scripture choices. You make a very strong case, which I find most intriguing and see myself moving little by little toward your viewpoint” Fredrick W. S.
    Response: If you run across any questions that pop up at you, let me know. We answer all questions and comments.
    Comment #8: “It seems to me that these writers who talk about other peoples in the promised land might be right. Just look at the statistics you mention in Mulekite articles about the Mulekites being twice as many as the Nephites who Mosiah took to Zarahemla, and combined they had only half as many as the Lamamites. Those Lamanite numbers had to come from somewhere” Prince.
Response: Just two thoughts on this. First, 320 years after Lehi left Jerusalem, around 280 B.C., the more wicked part of the Nephites had been destroyed, which may have considerably depleted the ranks of the Nephites ; secondly, when Mosiah left the Land of Nephi and eventualy discovered the Land of Zarahemla, he left the city of Nephi and surrounding area that had been in Nephite hands for some 365 years; there obviously would have been a lot of Nephites there. However, Mosiah took only “as many as would hearken unto the voice of the Lord should also depart out of the land with him” (Omni 1:12), which would have been a small number of the existing Nephites, for those of the Church who are righteous always seem to be in smaller numbers. Those left behind were overrun by the Lamanites and while some may have been killed, we do not know that and others would have defected over to the Lamanites to save their skins, considerably bolstering the Lamanite numbers while depleting the Nephite numbers. In just these two instances, we find that the numbers would have considerably swung to the Lamanite side. To suggest that there needed to be even more from some outside sources on their side of the population ledger seems unnecessary in light continual wars and these major changes.

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