Thursday, June 1, 2017

More Comments from Readers – Part IV

Here are more comments from our readers of this blog: 
    Comment #1: “It is amazing how you apologetics try to find ways to cover up your mistakes. Evidently, your so-called Mormon scholars will go to no end to cover up their inability to find certain cultural artifacts in ancient America which are described in your Book of Mormon, unwittingly deny the role of God in the translation process, since they have to insist that certain words are mistranslated:
“Horse” really means “tapir” or “deer”
“Chariot” really means “sledge” or “boat”
“North” really means “west”
“Southward” really means “eastward”
“Plates of gold” really means “plates of tumbaga”
“Steel sword” really means “wooden macahuitl”
“Narrow neck of land” really means “160-mile-wide isthmus”
just to name a few” Baxter S.
    Response: I realize the word “apologetics” is meant to convey “reasoned arguments or writings in justification of something, typically a theory or religious doctrine.” However, I have never liked the word because it sounds like someone is apologizing for something and to me, the Book of Mormon requires no apologies. It is a divinely inspired work of an ancient people and there are so many linguistic and technically ancient matches with Hebrew and that style of writing that Joseph Smith could not possibly have known that supports the scriptural record being exactly what it purports to be, an ancient record of an ancient Hebrew people. On the other hand, you have a point in the examples you use—it is unwise and certainly not within keeping of the divinely inspired work to go around trying to excuse things some people simply do not understand. The original words used in the translation are those we use here and make no excuses for them nor offer no changes to them. Gold is gold, north is north, steel is steel, southward is southward, etc. You are unwise to paint LDS doctrine with such a wide brush. The Church does not make any such statements as you claim--only some members do who simply do not understand what they are talking about. The words translated are as they are, to change any one of them would be to insert your own thinking into a divine process and place you in error.
    Comment #2: "In our class someone mentioned that the Mulekites landed in more than one place and that their first landing was north of the narrow neck of land and their second was south of it. How do I answer that?” Janet B.
Amaleki in Zarahemla when Mosiah discovered the Mulekites 
    Response: Amaleki, an eye witness to when Mosiah encountered the people of Zarahemla (Mulekites), wrote that “Behold, it came to pass that Mosiah discovered that the people of Zarahemla came out from Jerusalem at the time that Zedekiah, king of Judah, was carried away captive into Babylon. And 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 1:15-16). Obviously, the Mulekites landed and remained where Mosiah found them (in the Land Southward in what became known as the Land of Zarahemla). The reference to the north in Alma 22:30-31, has reference to the landing of the Jaredites, not the Mulekites, as we had described in this blog many times in the past.
    Comment #3: “If Lehi followed the Frankincense Trail as you Mormons claim, why did he need a Liahona or compass? All they needed to do was follow the road” Drake T.
Response: I take it you have never been in the area, so you would not know that the Frankincense Trail was not a road or even a trail in the sense that we know the word today. There was no outlined or designated path as we would think today, along which the could have walked. it was simply a general courwe that would take one to the next water hole and was many miles wide and the exact path would vary considerably from caravan to caravan and from time to time and people to people. All that is meant is that the Frankincense Trail moved fro water hole to water hole.
Charles Montagu Doughty 

As an example, in 1876, Englishman Charles Doughty, ignoring the warnings of native Arabians, set off on a camel from Damascus for Tayma Hai'il and Khaybar. Shocking all who knew him, after 21 months of great hardship and peril, half blinded, with cracked and scorched skin, he emerged from the desert after traveling all the way to Jeddah—nearly 1900 miles away—and then wrote and published his monumental book Travels in Arabia Deserta. No less than T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) called it “the first and indispensable work upon the arabs.”
 The Frankincense Trail is just open land between water holes
Doughty recorded that: "The Darb el-Haji (Pilgrim Road) is no made road," he said it was a "multitude of cattle-paths beaten hollow by camels' tread." In fact, many of the camel paths would have wandered off the course to Bedouin camps or to other far off destinations. For this reason, Lehi would have needed a guide, and the Liahona served that very purpose.    Comment #4: “I ran across this statement on the internet and wondered what you thought of it: “Probably ever since mankind began to write, there have been those who have tried to take advantage of the power of the written word by passing off their own writings, which would not have much credence if their true authorship were known, as the writings of someone with more authority, especially some long-dead authority. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of such examples in the documentary history of mankind: the "Donation of Constantine," or the "Songs of Ossian," to name just two non-religious works. In ancient times it was very common, and perhaps not even considered dishonest, to publish such a pseudepigraph: most of the biblical Apocryphal books are pseudepigrapha, and even some of the canonical books of the Bible are considered by many Bible scholars to have been written by someone other than the author whose name is associated with it (the Epistles of Peter, the Book of Daniel, the last part of Isaiah, some of the "Pauline" epistles, and others)."
In light of the many linguistic blunders and erroneous translations made by this man who claimed to be a divinely inspired "translator," it is difficult to see why anyone with any understanding of linguistic phenomena would accept his claims. Joseph Smith was quite ignorant of languages, in spite of his boasting of his abilities and divine inspiration, and when one examines his linguistic claims and his supposedly divine linguistic accomplishments, one must conclude that if his god inspired him, his god was as poor a linguist as he was" Maxine N. 
Richard Packham lecturing on how right he is and how wrong the Mormon Church is 
    Response: These are the words of Richard Packham, a former LDS member who graduated from BYU in 1954, left the Church and founded the Exmormon Foundation for the sole purpose to ridicule the tenants of the Church and embarass its members. So far, his views have been without merit. Naturally, his view is going to be critical of the Church. It is always amazing to me how smart and intelligent those who leave the Church think they are, and develop arguments that make sense to them, but are completely erroneous in the light of actual, knowledgeable facts. The response to Comment #1 above also applies to this comment.
    Comment #5: “Some have suggested that Lehi was in the caravan business, because he had tents (1 Ne. 2:4) and camels. Do you agree with that?” Lori J.
    Response: No. It is a false assumption, because caravans did not use tents. He needed his tent to wait upon the caravans a they came up the Frankincense Trail past Jerusalem in order to trade with the caravan and take what he purchased back up to Jerusalem to sell to local merchants who in turn, sold the products within the city. Remember, camels did ot exist ujp on the mountain of Jerusalem because these mountains are shale covered, and the sharp shale cut into the soft underside of the camel'[s feet which was raised to travel on sandy ground. He would have had donkeys (asses) which he would have traded for camels once down in the wadi Arabah on his way toward the Gulf of Aqaba (Red Sea).

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