Monday, July 31, 2017

Accepting the Scriptural Record

Another example of missing important information is found in then destruction of the Land of Promise at the time of the crucifixion.
Mormon states that the thunderings, lightnings and tempest lasted “for about three hours,” but that the people said it lasted much longer—to which Mormon wrote “Nevertheless, all those great and terrible things were done in the space of about three hours” (3 Nephi 8:19). Now, the question arises, how did Mormon (or the disciple Nephi who first recorded the incident) know it was “about three hours” when others thought it was much longer?
    There is only one possibility, and that is the disciple Nephi was told by the Spirit of the Lord, who recounted the information (Christ recounts the entire events in Chapter 9, and states his identity [3 Nephi 9:15; 11:20]). The point is, if we do not pause in our reading and study what is written we miss important information—in this case, not only that the Spirit of the lord told Nephi who would have written it down, and Mormon restated it in his abridgement, but that the Lord has been instrumental in other scriptural statements that prophets have written. Thus the scriptural record takes on a whole new meaning of not just being what a prophet wrote, but what the Lord was directly involved in, providing the reader with less and less reason to question, alter, change, or add to what is written as so many theorists are want to constantly do.
    It is interesting in his book, John L. Sorenson spends five full pages (pp318-323) on this event but never once expresses any importance to the time frame and the implication of the three hours. We can also turn to the involvement of the Spirit restraining different prophets from writing more than the Lord desired, which also shows the Lord’s involvement with the scriptural record.
As an example, when Moroni was abridging Ether’s record, he wrote: “And I was about to write more, but I am forbidden” (Ether 13:13); and “Therefore I, Mormon, do write the thing which have been commanded me of the Lord” (3 Nephi 26:12); and “the things which they did utter were forbidden that there should not any man write them” (3 Nephi 26:16); and speaking of the scriptural record, the Lord in his ministry to the Nephites said, “Write the works of this people, which shall be, even as hath been written, of that which hath been…And behold, all things are written by the Father; therefore out of the books which shall be written shall the world be judged” (3 Nephi 27:24,26); and “Behold, I was about to write the a names of those who were never to taste of death, but the Lord forbade; therefore I write them not, for they are hid from the world” (3 Nephi 28:28); also “And these things doth the Spirit manifest unto me; therefore I write unto you all. And for this cause I write unto you all” (Mormon 3:20); and “therefore, I write a small abridgment, daring not to give a full account of the things which I have seen, because of the commandment which I have received” (Mormon 5:9); Wherefore the Lord hath commanded me to write them, and I have written them” (Ether 4:5); and “Wherefore, I Moroni, am commanded to write these things” (Ether 8:26); also “And behold, I, Nephi, am forbidden that I should write the remainder of the things which I saw and heard” (1 Nephi 14:28).
    There are many others, but this should show that the Spirit of the Lord was actively involved in what the prophets wrote in the Book of Mormon scriptural record.
    Thus, this kind of knowledge enables us to have increased faith in the accuracy of the scriptural record and not be confused by seemingly difficult problems such as Sorenson states regarding the animals mentioned by both Nephi (1 Nephi 18:25) and Moroni (Ether 9:17), wherein Sorenson asks (p294), “So what might the Nephites term translated by Joseph Smith as cow actually have signified?”
Perhaps, then, since the Lord was involved in this writing, the word “cow” mean “cow,” the standard bovine brought to the promised land by the Jaredites and was available in the land when Lehi arrived. In that same vein, perhaps “horse” meant “horse,” and “cattle” meant “cattle,” etc. In fact, we can count on this since “God is not a God of confusion” (1 Corinthians 14:33).
    We might also add for Sorenson’s benefit, that Mormon’s “north” meant “north,” his “south” meant “south,” his “east” meant “east,” and his “west” meant “west,” the exact same terms we know and understand them to mean today—if not, then God certainly is a God of confusion, and the scriptural record cannot be understood by anyone who reads it but that we need an academician to interpret it for us.
    But since the scriptures tell us “that God is not the author of confusion,” then we can rest assured that when we read a word or phrase in the scriptural record of which he, himself, was involved in the writing, we can rest assured that what is said is both accurate and truthful.
    Thus, like when the Nephites questioned the three hour limit to the terrible events written about, they were inaccurate, and had to be corrected by the written word of the disciple Nephi that those events did take place in “about three hours”—we can accept what is written without question and without doubts. We can be assured because of the Lord’s involvement in the scriptural record, accept that "cow” was what was meant, not “deer,” or “bison” or “cameloid,” as Sorenson suggests, but actually “cow” as the record states. And if the scriptural record differs or disagrees with modern thinking or findings or so-called worldly dating or academics, then we can also rest assured that the scriptural record is correct and need not be altered by well-meaning, but arrogant men or women who think they know more than the Lord.
    This, then, holds true for all such statements found in the scriptural record!
So when John L. Sorenson (left) writes regarding the Book of Mormon (p294), “In those cases we have to find another way to read the text in order to make sense of it,” we can see beyond his lack of understanding and faith in the Lord to the simple fact that the Lord was involved directly in the writing of the scriptural record and therefore what is in the record is correct and factual and should not be questioned merely to promote a contrary personal viewpoint.
    Nor do we need to question or raise a question about a fact that we simply do not personally understand when, in fact, the answer can easily be found with a little personal effort and study. Take, as an example, Sorenson’s comment (p289), “The answer is not obvious. Consider for a moment Nephi’s statement that upon reaching the promised land they found both “the goat and the wild goat” in the forests of their new-found land (1 Nephi 18:25). How did an untamed “goat” differ from a “wild goat”? The traits distinguishing the categories are not apparent.”
    However, as any zoologist can readily tell you, a “wild goat,” or Capra aegagrus aeggarus, is a widespread species of goat, with distribution ranging from Europe and Asia Minor to Central Asia and the Middle East, and is considered the ancestor of the domestic goat—an animal that with which Nephi would have been familiar since its existence in the Middle East would have been within his homeland around Jerusalem.
Bezoar Ibex, Capra aegagrus aegagrus, a species of the genus Capra and subfamily Caprinae and family Bovidae, a wild goat found in Israel and elsewhere in the Middle East, one of six subspecies of the wild goat

On the other hand, a domestic goat (called a feral goat if left in the wild and unattended by humans), or Capra aegagrus hircus, (often referred to as a “billy goat” or “nanny goat”), anciently domesticated from the “wild goat,” but over time has become very different in appearance and can easily be determined on sight.
Left: Wild Goat; Right: Domesticated Goat. As can be seen, they are quite different

Another example is how the hill Cumorah has developed over the years into not just the hill where Joseph Smith was led to obtain the plates for translation, but to become the single and only hill Cumorah, and the one which is claimed to have been meant within the account of hill Ramah and Cumorah in the scriptural record. Oliver Cowdery was, perhaps, the first to state in no uncertain terms his belief that the hill Cumorah in western New York was the same hill Cumorah as found in the scriptural record, with his statements in Letter VII, which was one letter in a series of letters written from Cowdery to W. W. Phelps, and published by Thomas Ward and John Cairns, Liverpool, in 1844, after first being published in the LDS Messenger and Advocate (Vol 1 No 10)å, July 1835 in Kirtland, Ohio, regarding the rise of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 
    In this letter, Cowdery makes numerous statements that are obviously his, embellishing the sparse account in the scriptural record, with one glaring error when he states that in the valley to the west of the hill (an area about a mile long and a mile wide), he indicates the final Nephi-Lamanite battle took place; however, the Nephites were camped all around the hill (Mormon 6:4), not just in the West, and would have been so assembled when the Lamanites approach for battle. Besides with a Nephite army of 230,000, and a Lamanite army that was much larger because Mormon makes a point of stating that “they came to battle against us, and every soul was filled with terror because of the greatness of their numbers” (Mormon 6:8), and there is no way half a million to three-quarters of a million men could all fight and die in the small valley to the west of Cumorah as Oliver so adamantly and unequivocally states (pp34-35). And certainly there is nothing in the scriptural record to indicate anything about this hill Cumorah in New York is connected with the hill Cumorah of the scriptural record—in fact, we don’t even know if Moroni hid up the plates in the hill Cumorah of the Book of Mormonwe onlyh know they were in the hill in New York near where Joseph lived and could have been transported there in numerous was at any time over a 1500 year period 421 A.D. to 1828 A.D.)
Yet Phyllis Carol Olive in The Lost Lands of the Book of Mormon, bemoans her disappointment of all other theories of the location of the Land of Promise, and states “Perhaps the time has now come to concentrate more heavily on those lands surrounding the only known landmark we have—the Hill Cumorah in New York state." 
    However, other than a name, there is no connection in the scriptural record to the hill Cumorah in western New York, and much, including its small size and low height, to suggest it is not the same as the one described by Mormon, along with numerous other problems that do not match the scriptural record.
    Yet, the theory persists.
    Numerous other examples can be given to show how theorists love to try and tell us that what is written in the scriptural record is not complete, accurate, or means something other than what it implies, but we will let the above suffice nor now.


  1. When did academicians become so smart?

    First let me temper my comment by saying there are many excellent professors who are humble and help their students. But there are a few who become a little arrogant and look down on others who do not have a coveted doctorate degree. I think Del has been dismissed by some because he is not an academician or archaeologist.

    But my question is when did the the few academicians who are arrogant become so smart? When I chose my major and my career, the brightest with the highest GPA's were accepted into the hardest programs- medical school, law school, accounting, nursing, engineering, computer science, etc. No offense intended to the many wonderful educators, but becoming an educator was not the hardest field to get into and on average did not attract the top minds.

    After reading over 5,000 pages of Del's writing, he clearly is incredibly intelligent, logical, extremely well researched, and very cautious to stick to the scriptural record and to facts. He did not choose to go into academics, but chose a professional field and had a very successful career. Yet some who chose to go into academics dismiss his work because he is not an academician. When they all chose their majors and career paths, I suspect Del was smarter than most. So my question is when did those who chose to go into academics become smarter than those who chose other professions and often had higher GPA's?

    Again- no offense intended to the majority of educators. Just questioning the few who tend to look down on those who chose career paths other than academics.

  2. No offense intended to John Sorensen. I've never met him and I am sure he is a very good person. But I studied his works very carefully about 10 years ago and again a few years ago. They are full of errors in logic and unsupported supposition. In my copy of his book, I have quite a few comments in margins questioning his suppositions and conclusions- not the least of which is his explanation of why he changed the cardinal directions. Interestingly he starts with creating an internal map that sticks to the correct cardinal directions and it fits remarkably close to the South American Andean map. It is only when he tries to force the model into Mesoamerica that he changes the cardinal direction.

    in spite of many things about Sorensons model that didn't make sense to me I thought Mesoamerica was most likely the promised lands for many years. The Mayan ruins, Joseph Smith's interest in the early explorers finding the Mayan ruins, and the general acceptance of Mesoamerica by BYU academicians were some of the main reasons I leaned toward Mesoamerica. Someone clearly created the Mayan ruins at the same time as at least the last 500 years of the Book of Mormon (and dates were off by the scientists anyway) who else could it be but the Nephites.

    Then years later I came across Del's work and it all started to come together. The Mayan ruins having been created by those who went north in Hagoths ships etc. after reading over 5,000 pages of Del's works, I have zero questions challenging his conclusions. I see no flaws in logic or unsupported suppositions. His work is extremely well documented.

    I've seen a few academicians weigh in on other theories and conclude they are wrong because they differ from Sorensons works. A very odd criteria especially given the flaws in logic and failure to stick to the words of the scriptures in many cases.

  3. David K. I also find this model far and above the one that really is in harmony with the scriptures. I first liked the Priddis book, but Del is surely showing the way today. I recommend it to others regularly.

    The biggest challenge to accept, I think, is that the Amazon basin was underwater before the time of Christ. This is particularly a problem for academicians because they want to support "science", and science fully supports that the Andes rose and the Amazon basin came out of water-- but not 2000 years ago.

    I like this little book at this link that takes digs at academicians that have too high an opinion of themselves:

    You will need the password Phu=9Ad5 to open it.