Friday, October 6, 2017

The Disservice of Manufacturing of Other People – Part I

Numerous Mesoamerican theorists claim that not all the Jaredites were killed, but Ether makes it quite clear that they were all wiped out down to the last man standing, who was Coriantumr. However, problems begin to arise when someone, no matter his credentials, begins to alter or change the simple meaning and intent of the scriptural record, and suggest more is involved, such as did Hugh Nibley when he wrote:  
   “The first rule of historical criticism in dealing with the Book of Mormon or any other ancient text is, never oversimplify...only the laziness and vanity lead the student to the early conviction that he has the final answers on what the Book of Mormon contains.”
    While this might be true of ancient texts that involve unknowns, it is not true of the scriptural record, which was written for our understanding and edification. After an additional writing to show how historically people have gone astray in not understanding matters in general and religion specifically, he quotes, in part from Joseph Smith that, “good members of the Church are charged with two follies...[the second] interpreting the Bible strictly in the light of their own limited experience.” Then Nibley goes on to add, “Turning to the Book of Mormon, is it not possible thy are also to fall into the old sectarian vice of over-simplifying,” concluding that “it is pertinent to the case of the Jaredites to ask, what does the Book of Mormon mean by “destroyed”? claiming that the word destroy means, in part, to “wreck the structure but not annihilate the parts.” 
However, we find the opposite in Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language, the word “destroy” meant at the time and location where Joseph Smith was translating the plates, “to annihilate,” “to make desolate,” “to kill,” “to extirpate” (pluck up by the roots, to eradicate, to totally destroy), “to cause to cease,” “to put an end to."
    Even so, Nibley, after talking about the use of “destroyed” in ancient Israel, then quotes two examples, the first regarding the Jews at Jerusalem: “I know that the day must shortly come that they must be destroyed, save only a few...” (1 Nephi 17:43), and the second, regarding Jerusalem itself, “after the Messiah hath arisen from the dead...behold Jerusalem shall be destroyed again...” (2 Nephi 25:14).
    The problem arises when people, no matter how brilliant or educated, fail to understand what is written when they start trying to make their point. Consider the above two examples, we need to keep in mind:
1. When stating a word with a specific meaning, its meaning is conclusive unless otherwise depicted or altered. That is, when something dies, it dies, i.e., ceases to exist, ceases to live, a permanent cessation of all vital functions, becomes dead. This means, that in “the motor died,” it ceased its function—it does not mean it cannot be restored. On the other hand, “the cat died,” means it cannot be restored. The difference lies in the “object” of the usage, one being a living thing and the other being non-living or inanimate. However, in “the game,” “the movie,” “his life,” ended, all carries its own meaning, whether an inanimate or living object.
    When the scriptural record states “I know that the day must shortly come that they must be destroyed, save only a few,” it is not a misuse of the word “destroy,” it is completely accurate. It is like saying, “All ten thousand will die, except for a few.” There is no confusion in that statement, other than not knowing how many “a few” represents. If that was an issue, then the correct statement would be “All ten thousand died, except for three.” Either way, both statements are exact and accurate.
So in the statement, “I know that the day must shortly come that they must be destroyed, save only a few” (1 Nephi 17:43), we need to know in what way the statement was used, and in so doing, we find that it is not misleading, nor does it require further understanding. Its meaning is quite clear, especially when the full statement is read: “And now, after all these things, the time has come that they have become wicked, yea, nearly unto ripeness; and I know not but they are at this day about to be destroyed; for I know that the day must surely come that they must be destroyed, save a few only, who shall be led away into captivity” (1 Nephi 17:43).
    Obviously, Nephi is saying that all will be destroyed except for a few, and that few will be led away into captivity. This is not rocket-science, merely English 101.
2. In the second example above, “after the Messiah hath arisen from the dead...behold Jerusalem shall be destroyed again...” (2 Nephi 25:14). In this case, the full scripture is pretty much the same meaning; however to understand further what is meant we need only read the next verse as well: And behold it shall come to pass that after the Messiah hath risen from the dead, and hath manifested himself unto his people, unto as many as will believe on his name, behold, Jerusalem shall be destroyed again; for wo unto them that fight against God and the people of his church. Wherefore, the Jews shall be scattered among all nations; yea, and also Babylon shall be destroyed; wherefore, the Jews shall be scattered by other nations” (2 Nephi 25:14-15).
    Now we understand what is meant. And, knowing history, we can easily state it as the Jews as a nation or kingdom was destroyed by Babylon and then, after several hundred years, regained its national status once again, only to be destroyed as a nation by the Romans shortly after the crucifixion. It was not reinstated as a sovereign power again until 1948, nearly two thousand years later. Thus, in both cases, the word destroyed was used accurately, i.e., Israel ceased to exist as a sovereign nation, kingdom or power as stated.
In 1946, Israel had no control over any of the land that once made up the kingdom of Judah that had been destroyed. In 1948 and through to now, the State of Israel has been reinstalled and now controls nearly all of the land it once held

Thus, in both cases, the above argument is fallacious: 1) all the Jews were not destroyed according to the very scripture quoted—all but a few; and 2) that Jerusalem would be destroyed—which it was and did not again exist for nearly 2,000 years. In both cases, the text itself is explicit and exact. In the first, it says a few will be spared (in Jerusalem) which is what took place; in the second, the city and the people will no longer exist in their present place and in their present condition—that is, as a separate and distinct people, which is exactly what happened.
    History has borne out both examples—only a few Jews were spared from the wars that brought them into subjectivity; first destroying forever the northern kingdom of Ephraim and leading the ten tribes into oblivion where only God knows of their existence; and in leading of Judah into captivity and removing them as a people from the area of Jerusalem.
    In the second, the city of Jerusalem, as the home of the Jews and the temple of Solomon, and of the covenant people, was destroyed—not to arise in this same sense for nearly 2,000 years. Also, the Jerusalem representing the “idea” of the Jews, that is, their homeland and place of worship, heritage, and promise, ceased to exist after the Messiah rose, with the Jews scattered throughout the world and ceasing to exist as a people within their homeland. These are hardly examples of not being destroyed in the literal sense—that is, annihilated, cease to exist—in fact, are excellent examples of the word “destroy” being used as it was with the Jaredite nation.
(See the next post,” The Disservice of Manufacturing of Other People – Part II, for more on the meaning of “destroyed” and the annihilation of the Jaredite kingdom)

1 comment:

  1. In order for their lousy models to work they have to make things up. What they should do is if the model doesn't fit look for a new model that does fit. South America fits in every detail, but you have to believe God can raise up a continent in a 3 hour earthquake. That is unthinkable to many.