Thursday, March 10, 2016

Interesting Thoughts from a Reader and Our Responses – Part V

Continuing from the previous four posts regarding further insights into the comments and responses regarding the Nephites and their activities and so-called connection to the Mintinah records of the Nemenhah tribe. 
    Reader: “Mormon's father was a descendant of them [the Nemenhah] also.”
Response: Once again, according to Mormon (shown left handing the plates to his son, Moroni), he and his father were descendants of Lehi and Nephi (Mornon 1:5).
    Reader: “as to why the reference to "high" mountains so frequently. Several of the prophets in the scriptures are told to go there for consultation. I can only assume that it is for privacy.”
    Response: According to the Old Testament psalmist who states: “Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep” (Psalm 36:6), meaning that “the mountains of God” are so called for their excellency, as the cedars of God (Psalm 80:10), as Gussetius observes, the greatest and highest mountains, which are here meant, reaching above the clouds and the region of the air, are the pillars of the palace of God, and a part of it; and therefore called his mountains with great propriety, for they therefore are sacred unto him and a place where he communes with man, whether it be the Brother of Jared, Moses, or Nephi. Conversely, God’s judgments are a great deep, both in a way of providence, many of them being at present not to be traced and even understood, though at some point in time they will be made manifest. The process of climbing a high mountain has its clear effect on the recipient of this meeting with God and is so effected by the majesty of the event. Privacy would be a secondary issue, and certainly one the Lord could arrange in a different manner.
    Reader: “The children of Israel were terribly frightened when they saw and heard the evidences of God's presence on Sinai and wanted no part of Him.”
Response: It was not the mountain that frightened them, it was their sins. Again the psalmist asks, “If though the Lord shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?” meaning who could stand before God clothed in their sins? Israel was sinful and knew it and when God came down upon Mount Sinai, or basically in their presence, they were frightened as we all shall be who have not repented of his sins when face to face with God.
    Reader: “In other instances, I believe the Lord did not want to give unfaithful men cause to believe based merely on the signs of His presence. So He kept the meetings "private.”
    Response: No doubt. However that is not why sacred meetings are in private. The very being of God sacred and demand reverence, uninterrupted attention, and an attentive mind. The best way to ensure the full attention of the individual is to put him in a place of isolation where his full attention will be on the experience.
    Reader: “As to the height of the newest mountains added in cataclysms, your guess is good enough about it needing to be high enough to be seen by all, but it could also act as more effective barriers between the righteous and the unrighteous.”
    Response: At no time is there a reference, suggestion or idea about isolating the righteous from the unrighteous via the rise of the mountains. In addition, how can righteous people prove their righteousness if they are not tested through opposition of the unrighteous in their presence? (2 Nephi 2:11).
    Reader: “As it states in the BoM that the topographic changes were great in South America, but they were even greater in North America!
    Response: No, it does not say that. The scriptural record states about the changes brought about in the Land of Promise, both in the Land Southward and more so in the Land Northward. When you start expanding the distances more or less suggested in the scriptural record into two continents, you get some ridiculous results.
For instance, the distance from the center of the United States and the Center of Peru is 4521 miles as the crow flies, or about 5000 miles by land movement; from the middle of North America to the middle of South America, a little over 6500 miles—that would be walking from San Francisco, California, to New York City and back to San Francisco and then back to Denver. Let’s be realistic about this. The scriptural record says that after the shaking and destruction stopped, a great multitude gathered together in the land of Bountiful around the temple (3 Nephi 11:1)—using your distances, that would have been an isolated small area for Christ to appear out of a possible distance of over 6500 miles, yet the scriptures tell us that Jesus ministered to the multitude suggesting it was the bulk of the Nephite people. There are also many other reasons why the Land of Promise does not cover two continents, which we have covered many times in these pages.
    Reader: “While I don't recall anything descriptions of those cataclysms in up north in the Mentinah Records, there is the account of those young men that came down to the south to preach to the Nephites and wound up preaching to the Gaddianton Robbers in their own hidden city of Kishkumen shortly before the cataclysms struck.”
Response: The Gadianton Robbers are mentioned in 3 Nephi 1:27-30, that both Nephites and Lamanites joined the Robbers who had became quite powerful, and numerous, causing both Nephites and Lamanites to take up arms against them (3 Nephi 2:11), especially the Lamanites who were converted and united with the Nephites (3 Nephi 2:12), and that these converted Lamanites skin became white like unto the Nephites (3 Nephi 2:15). Eventually the Nephites drove the Robberts out of their lands and back into the mountains and their secret places (3 Nephi 2:17), this brought about the gathering of the Nephites into one place in preparation for the war the Robbers threatened to bring upon them (3 Nephi 3), but finally the Nephites prevailed, the Robber chief Giddanhi was killed and the Nephites returned to their homes and lands (3 Nephi 4:15). The Nephite armies pursued the retreating Robbers and eventually took them all prisoner(3 Nephi 5:4), putting an end to them (3 Nephi 5:6), with the remainder of the Nephites returning to their homes and lands (3 Nephi 6:2). 
At this point “there began to be men inspired from heaven and sent forth, standing among the people in all the land, preaching and testifying boldly of the sins and iniquities of the people, and testifying unto them concerning the redemption which the Lord would make for his people, or in other words, the resurrection of Christ; and they did testify boldly of his death and sufferings” (3 Nephi 6:20), which led to the people being “divided one against another; and they did separate one from another into tribes, every man according to his family and his kindred and friends; and thus they did destroy the government of the land” (3 Nephi 7:2). Also Secret Combinations destroyed the government and the righteous parts of the people had nearly all become wicked, leaving few righteous men among them (3 Nephi 7:7). Within a short time, the destruction began (3 Nephi 8:5).
    There is absolutely no mention or suggestion that there was any missionary work done among the Gadianton Robbers at this time or at any time and, from what is written, it would seem doubtful that any would have taken place or even been allowed.
    Reader: “To add to my comment about the city of Kishkumen, and the young missionaries that went to preach there and the other cities they stopped in first, the account of that is verified in 3 Ne 9:10.”
Response: All this scriptural reference does is say there was a city called Kishkumen that the Lord destroyed among others, but it does not state it was a stronghold of the Gadianton Robberswhere it was no one knows. There is no description of its location, nor whether it was named after the man (left) that killed Pahoran, and was killed as a result by Helaman’s servant; however Kiskuman’s band escaped and took their flight out of the land of Zarahemla, by a secret way, into the wilderness (Helaman 2:11). On the other hand, there is no suggestion that the city of Kishkumen was named after, for, or connected in any way to the Kiskumen who killed Pahoran.
    It should also be noted that the city if Kiskumen is merely one of numerous cities destroyed during the cataclysm described in 3 Nephi 8 and 9, and many of these, including Kishkumen, is mentioned for the first and only time in the record. None of this suggests or verifies any of the events you outlined, especially the young missionaries going there and preaching.
(See the next post, “Interesting Thoughts from a Reader and Our Responses – Part VI,” for more information on the comments and responses regarding the Nephites and their activities)

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