Wednesday, December 14, 2016

A Feeble Argument and Untenable Stance – Part V

Continuing from the last post on more of Jonathan Neville’s untenable argument about how Joseph Smith was nearly overpowered with the thoughts of wealth and treasure as he walked the two to three miles from his father’s home to the hill Cumorah to recover the plates of which Moroni told him, and how Oliver Cowdery in his Letter VII to W.W. Phelps uses considerable license to indicate what took place in that final battle. 
    Jonathan: “A few from Cumorah fled into the South, who were hunted down by the victorious Lamanite parties, and all who would not deny the Savior and his religion, were put to death. Mormon himself, according to the record of his son Moroni, was also slain.”
Response: Now this is almost word for word in the scriptural record and as all of this should be if it is going to be passed off as Jonathan does as a doctrinal statement upon which one can dig in his heels and say this is truth and fact. Unfortunately, it is one of the few such factual statements that Cowdery makes in Letter VII about Cumorah.
    Jonathan: “But a long time previous to this national disaster it appears from his own account, he [Mormon] foresaw approaching destruction. In fact, if he perused the records of his fathers, which were in his possession, he could have learned that such would be the case.”
    Response: We would have to interpret Jonathan’s comment about “his fathers” as general, since there is no indication that Mormon’s father, Mormon, ever had the plates or wrote upon them. Besides, the father's record, especially Nephi foreseeing the events, did not write of them occurring in a particular day or with  particular leader an there would have been no way for Mormon to know this particular battle was to be the last simply from the previous writings.
    Jonathan: “Alma, who lived before the coming of the Messiah, prophesies this. He [Mormon] however, by Divine appointment, abridged from those records, in his own style and language, a short account of the more important and prominent items, from the days of Lehi to his own time
    Response: Actually, Mormon did not abridge the records on the small plates from Nephi through Amaleki (Omni) that we now have, which covers a period of about 400 years. It appears from HC 1:56 that he did on the Large Plates for Joseph Smith wrote of the original translation: “from the Book of Lehi, which was an account abridged from the plates of Lehi, by the hand of Mormon."
    Jonathan: [continuing with Oliver Cowdery’s Letter VII] “…after which he deposited, as he says, on the 529th page, all the records in this same hill, Cumorah…”
    Response: Again, Oliver Cowdery takes license in determining “this hill Curmorah” in New York is the same hill Cumorah in the scriptural record in light of no supportive evidence but his own opinion.
    Jonathan: [continuing with Oliver Cowdery’s Letter VII] “…and after gave this small record to his son Moroni, who, as appears from the same, finished it, after witnessing the extinction of his people as a nation.
    Jonathan: [continuing with Oliver Cowdery’s Letter VII] It was not the wicked who overcame the righteous: far from this: it was the wicked against the wicked, and by the wicked the wicked were punished. The Nephites who were once enlightened, had fallen from a more elevated standing as to favour and privilege before the Lord, in consequence of the righteousness of their fathers, and now falling below, for such was actually the case, were suffered to be overcome, and the land was left to the possession of the red men, who were without intelligence, only in the affairs of their wars…”
    Response: Again, Oliver stretches into his own thinking to describe what he considers to have taken place. “Red men” is a term used in Cowdery’s day, not a scriptural record term or even an implication of a term. “Dark” and “black” are scriptural reference terms regarding the Lamanites, not “red.”
    Jonathan: [continuing with Oliver Cowdery’s Letter VII] …and having no records, only preserving their history by tradition from father to son, lost the account of their true origin, and wandered from river to river, from hill to hill, from mountain to mountain, and from sea to sea, till the land was again peopled, in a measure, by a rude, wild, revengeful, warlike and barbarous race. Such are our Indians.”
    Response: This is more of Oliver Cowdery’s own writing and insertion of his own words, full of his adjectives and assertions that, though assumptive viable, are not so stated anywhere. The point is, he is making this all up based on assumptions, which may be correct, but not part of the scriptural record, therefore, along with his other speculative comments and descriptions, invalidates his record as anything more than his opinion.
    Jonathan: [continuing with Oliver Cowdery’s Letter VII] “…This hill, by the Jaredites, was called Ramah: by it, or around it, pitched the famous army of Coriantumr their tent.”
1904 photo of the low-lying hill Cumorah in New York. Note how simple it woujld have been for the Lamanties to completely overrun the hill, and how difficult it woujld have been for the survivors to remain hidden on top through the next day

    Response: This is pure fabrication. There is no way to know if the hill Cumorah in New York was ever called Ramah or if the Jaredites were ever around it in New York. It is an assumption on the part of Oliver and another one on the part of Jonathan, that “this hill” is anything more than a small, drumlin hill in western New York and nothing in this letter states otherwise—there is no statement in the entire letter that Joseph Smith made such a statement or that anyone else did other than Oliver.
    Jonathan: [continuing with Oliver Cowdery’s Letter VII] “…Coriantumr was the last king of the Jaredites. The opposing army were to the west, and in this same valley…”
    Response: There is certainly nothing in the scriptures to suggest that either the Jaredites or the Nephites after them fought to the West of this hill, or only to the West of this hill in New York. That is Oliver’s own, isolated opinion based on nothing of which we are informed or aware through any viable and authentic source.”
    Jonathan: [continuing with Oliver Cowdery’s Letter VII] From day to day, did that mighty race spill their blood, in wrath, contending as it were, brother against brother, and father against son.”
    Response: It is interesting that based on nothing more than his assumptions, Oliver lines up the people on both sides of the two armies, one of Coriantumr and the other of Shiz, splitting up fathers and sons, brothers and brothers, with not a single reference to such in the scriptural record of the last battles fought by the Jaredites. All we have from Moroni’s abridgement is that the people of “Coriantumr did pitch their tents by the hill Ramah…And it came to pass that they did gather together all the people upon all the face of the land, who had not been slain, save it was Ether… that the people who were for Coriantumr were gathered together to the army of Coriantumr; and the people who were for Shiz were gathered together to the army of Shiz” (Ether 15:11-13).
At one point, Moroni tells us “there had been slain by the sword already nearly two millions of [Coriantumr’s] people [mighty men]” and also their wives and their children (Ether 15:2)—whether this was all on Coriantumr’s side, or included Shiz’s army who had at one time been part of Corientumr’s kingdom, we are not told. The point being that we do not know how these people were aligned—was it tribe against tribe, family against family, or realm (kingdom) against realm. Were their fathers on one side and sons on the other? We simply do not know that. In any event, we cannot arbitrarily, as Oliver did, decide how that alignment took place.
    There is not a single reference to “brother against brother,” or “father against son,” and unlike the Nephites and Lamanites, who began as brothers, the Jaredites were twenty-two families, plus Jared and his brother (Ether 6:16), and the terms “brother” or “brethren” mentioned regarding the Nephites and Lamanites cannot be applied randomly to the Jaredites. 
(See the next post,” A Feeble Argument and Untenable Stance – Part V,” for more on Jonathan Neville’s feeble argument and untenable stance of the Hill Cumorah being in New York as stated so frequently on Book of Mormon Wars website.

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