Sunday, November 26, 2017

Some Interesting Counter-Questions and Answers—Part II

Continuing with our listing of some interesting questions that are asked us from time to time and our counter-questions and responses: 
    Comment Received #4: “What makes you think that the term “land which was northward” did not just apply to the lands north of Zarahemla, including the land which you have written about that is not named?”
    Our Counter-Question: “Why do you think that Mormon did not bother to mention those in between lands, i.e., the land not mentioned and the Land of Bountiful, Desolation, etc.? Had he not done this before?”
Mormon tells us of a land between the Land of Bountiful and the Land of Zarahemla (3 Nephi 3:3), but does not name it

Response: When Mormon was carried by his father from the Land Northward to the Land of Zarahemla, the Land of Bountiful and the land in between are also not mentioned (Mormon 1:6). It sounds a lot like that was simply the way Mormon wrote, i.e., from start to end destination. If you read Mormon’s descriptions of lands, when he is concentrating on beginning and end destinations, he rarely if ever describes the lands or areas in between unless there is a reason—and certainly, there would have been reasons important to describe where those 5400 men and their wives and children came from, where they traveled to, and why they were immigrating—all of which Mormon skips over. He also doesn’t mention anything more about location of the wars that broke out by the Waters of Sidon in the borders of Zarahemla (Mormon 1:10) and then spread all over the Land Southward until finally Mormon is forced to accede all of the Land Southward in a treaty (Mormon 2:27-29), yet he skips over all those areas and lands with hardly a reference.
    Comment Received #5: “Why didn’t Mormon say “a land,” instead of “the land.” As you know, “the” is more definitive than “a.”
    Our Counter-Question: “What is the actual meaning of “the land” as Mormon used it?”
    Response: In English, “the” is used before nouns, which is a definite article, which means they are specific or understood…“the land,” is a specific land, not just any land in general; but it is also used rhetorically before a noun in the singular number, meaning not several lands, or even two lands, but one land. On the other hand “a” is an indefinite article that modifies a noun but not specifically.
That is, “a cat” can mean “any cat,” whereas “the cat” means a specific cat. Thus, “the land which was northward” means a specific land and not just any land” whereas “a land which was northward” would mean “any land to the north.”
    What this tells us is that Mormon knew all the land in the Land of Promise and knew it very well and responded to it as “the” land in almost every case. However, it also tell us that Mormon knew of a land which was away to the north, disconnected to the Land of Promise, where immigrants went and were never heard from again, but that the land was known to exist, probably from explorers among the Nephites who had sailed there, saw what it was like, and returned to talk about it—a fact Mormon failed to abridge into the record, probably because he was constrained by the spirit since the Lord does not like to introduce outside matters of no significance to the scriptural purpose (as in not telling Abraham of other worlds, other than that they exist).
    Of course, this last paragraph is supposition since there is no scripture or verse regarding it.
    In addition, when Mormon says a ship did not return, “And we suppose that they were drowned in the depths of the sea” (Alma 63:8), there is no reason to believe that the ship sank. All Mormon knew was that it did not return, and he knew no more about it than the ship that went toward a destination he did not know (Alma 63:8). All that this tells us is that neither ship returned to Hagoth’s shipyards or were heard from again, which ought to suggest that they had no contact with the distant colony in a “land which was northward.”
    Comment Received #6: “If there is another land northward, why does the Book of Mormon only speak of one area to the north, and that is the land northward (Jaredite lands)?”
    Our Counter-Question: “Why do we not know about other worlds of which the Lord schooled Abraham? Why are we limited in our knowledge to just this world?”
    Response: If we knew about other lands, other areas where Hagoth’s voyagers went, such as the ship that they didn’t know where it went (Alma 63:8), which in modern times we are pretty certain that ship went to Polynesia and settled those islands. To know of other worlds would be distracting to our mission to work out our salvation and exaltation on this world. There may be other reasons, but evidently, as in the case of the Nephite lands, the Lord is more interested in our knowing about the Nephites and what befell them than those that left there and went elsewhere, any more than we’ve been told who settled other areas of the Western Hemisphere or to wherever the Lord has led other branches of the House of Israel, such as the ten tribes.
    The question we should be asking ourselves is if Lehi landed in Andean South America, then who settled Mesoamerica? And if Lehi landed in Mesoamerica, who settled Andean South America? Since one area is north of the other, and Hagoth’s ships of immigrants “took their course northward” (Alma 63:6) from “the narrow neck of land” (Alma 63:5), then it should suggest to us that Lehi landed to the south and Hagoth’s immigrants settled to the north.
    As should be understood, the Land Northward (Jaredite lands) is mentioned by Mormon in 30 instances. The “Land which was northward” that is not a relative or substitute for a later described land, is mentioned only once with no connection to the Jaredite Lands or the term Land Northward. Thus, there is no scriptural reference to tie that land “which was northward” to the Jaredite lands or the Land Northward.
    Comment Received #7: “What was the purpose of the Nephites that went north and found the ruins in the land northward other than to introduce the Jaredite lands and provide the record of those people? The way you refer to them all the time, you must think there is a hidden message in that situation that is lost on me.”
    Our Counter-Question: “When did the Nephites begin moving into the Land Northward that we know of as the Jaredite lands?”
    Response: First of all, it is important to keep the dates and time frames of events clear in our mind when reading the Nephite record in order to receive the greatest insight into those events. From the scriptural record we find that the first time we know of the Nephites possibly learning about the Land Northward was when Coriantumr wandered into the Mulekite camp in Zarahemla. What he was able to convey about his people and where they were and their size and scope of their civilization is not recorded and from all we can gather in Omni, the Mulekites knew nothing of this man and likely as not, nothing of the civilization northward that had been wiped out. When Mosiah arrived, he was shown a stone on which Coriantumr recorded a brief history of his people that Mosiah interpreted (Omni 1:20-22).
    It also appears that there was little interest in the history of Coriantumr, or perhaps there wasn’t enough on the stone to incite more interest. In any event, when Limhi’s 43-man expedition went northward looking for Zarahemla and became losst, winding up in the Land Northward where they encountered the bones, war equipment, and numerous buildings of every kind, they thought it was Zarahemla and that the Nephites there had been wiped out (Mosiah 7:14).
    King Limhi desired Ammon to translate Ether’s record for he did not know who those people were (Mosiah 8:12) and considered their origin a “great mystery” (Mosiah 8:19). Thus, as late as 121 B.C., the Nephites did not know anything about the Land Northward, or the Jaredites who had occupied it. Around 30 years later, in 92 B.C. Mosiah finished translating Ether’s records which “gave an account of the people who were destroyed, from the time that they were destroyed back to the building of the great tower, at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people and they were scattered abroad upon the face of all the earth, yea, and even from that time back until the creation of Adam. Now this account did cause the people of Mosiah to mourn exceedingly, yea, they were filled with sorrow; nevertheless it gave them much knowledge, in the which they did rejoice” (Mosiah 28:17-18).
(See the next post, ”Some Interesting Counter-Questions and Answers—Part III,” in which we are listing some questions that are asked us from time to time and our counter questions and their answers, and for more of those answers—and continuing on with this idea as to when the Land Northward was first occupied)

No comments:

Post a Comment