Monday, June 11, 2018

Were the Kingmen Only Mulekites? - Part I

In continuing to understand the Mulekites, we need to keep in mind that they were not only of the House of Israel, but some were of the direct lineage of the Davidic Line—the lineage that claimed the right of rule over the House of Judah and the Jews.
The Mulekites landed in the area where Mosiah found them and had always been there, in the land of Zarahemla in the Land Southward—not Northward as some theorists claim

This has led many, including Hugh Nibley, to believe that the Kingmen and those Nephite defectors who caused so much trouble in the Nephite government to have been Mulekites. However, while we are given a clear understanding in the scriptural record of who the people of Zarahemla were, and their connection to the Davidic lineage, there is never a mention to single out the Mulekites as the defectors, kingmen, or other trouble-makers within the Nephite nation after they joined with the Nephites (Mosiah 25:13) and were baptized (Mosiah 25:18).
    Nibley’s entire claim is based on what he says are name associations. That is, Nephites with Jaredite names. However, the record itself does not indicate anything of the kind and such speculation is merely that—personal opinion.
    In addition, the record of Mosiah does not tell us who among the people of Zarahemla were involved in reading the Brass Plates, but it should be understood that it would have been Zarahemla (the Mulekite leader) and at least his top officials among the people of Zarahemla, or whatever spiritual leaders that might have existed among them, once Mosiah caused that they learn the Nephite language (Omni 1:18). At that time Zarahemla gave a genealogy of his fathers—evidently recorded only on the large plates (Omni 1:18).
    We might want to consider here who exactly Mosiah and Zarahemla actually were. After all, the righteous remnant of the Nephites were willing to leave the city of Nephi and follow Mosiah into the wilderness with no other understanding, it would appear, than Mosiah saying he had been told by the Lord. As Amaleki records it: “he being warned of the Lord that he should flee out of the land of Nephi, and as many as would hearken unto the voice of the Lord should also depart out of the land with him, into the wilderness” (Omni 1:12).
While John L. Sorenson claims that Mosiah (left)  would have been a legitimate king of the Nephites in Nephi’s lineage, citing Jacob 1:11 as a source, it is much more likely that Mosiah was a prophet along the lineage of Jacob, himself, for he had the plates of brass, the plates of Nephi (at least the small plates given to Jacob, upon which Amaleki engraved this record—and also the large plates if indeed Zarahemla’s genealogy was recorded on them), and also had the Liahona, sword of Laban, and the Urim and Thummim—at least Mosiah’s son, Benjamin, had these items and gave them to his son, Mosiah II (Mosiah 1:16)—men who had become kings in the land of Zarahemla but were prophets in high standing with the Lord.
    Thus, we might understand that Nephi had these items (2 Nephi 5:12; Jacob 1:10) and passed these on to Jacob, his brother (Jacob 1:3), who in turn would have given them to Enos, etc., and down to Mosiah, the last righteous leader within the Nephite Nation in the city of Nephi, who took them with him when he departed out of the land according to the Lord’s direction since they are later in the possession of king Benjamin (Mosiah 1:16), Mosiah’s son. This would seem far more likely that Mosiah I was a prophet in high standing with the Lord, and one in which the righteous would have found cause to follow out of the very wicked city of Nephi (Omni 1:6-7).
    Now in understanding Zarahemla, we need to keep in mind who the Mulekites were—that is, they are never so mentioned in the scriptural record, instead called: 1) “the people of Zarahemla” by Amaleki (Omni 1:14-15); 2) “the seed of Zedekiah” (Helaman 8:21), and “called Mulek, which was after the son of Zedekiah” by Mormon (Helaman 6:10). Evidently, Zedekiah (also written Tzidkiyahu, and originally called Mattanyahu or Mattaniah) was the last of the line of Davidic kings as was the lineage of his son, Mulek, by the time Mosiah discovered them in the second century B.C.
    Now, as shown above in the quote from Omni 1:15-16, Amalekiah records the people of Zarahemla, after leaving Jerusalem, “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” (emphasis added), so they had landed near or at Zarahemla where they had always been.
David Richins map of the Mulekites reaching his Zarahemla from the Land Northward where he claims they landed in opposition to Amaleki in the Book of Omni; in addition, his map shows the Nephites were in the north beyond Bountiful, and that his land and city of Bountiful was located in what is called (white circle) the Isthmus of Darién, or the Darién Gap—a 100-mile long impenetrable and impassable jungle swampland

Yet, despite this very clear statement in the scriptural record, theorists like David Richins in “Mapping the Book of Mormon,” states that: “The Mulekites had made their way down from the land northward, and had previously had contact with a much older civilization (the Jaredites). Mosiah is shown a large stone with engravings which apparently gave some history of this civilization. The route of Mulekites to Zarahemla is described in Alma 22:30-31. From the land northward, they “came from there up into the south wilderness,” eventually settling near the River Sidon.” He then makes the unverified comment before moving on to another subject, saying: “There is some evidence that suggests that the people of Zarahemla were in fact a mixture of Mulekites and Jaredites.”
    First of all, there is no evidence of any contact between the Jaredite people (other than Coriantumr after the Jaredite annihilation, of which he was the last surviving person other than Ether), and certainly no suggestion whatever that the people of Zarahemla were a mixture of Mulekites and Jaredites!
We learn of the Mulekite landing site in Omni 1:15-18; the Jaredite landing site is mentioned in (Ether 6:8; Alma 22:30)

In addition, Alma 22:30-31 is not talking about the people of Zarahemla’s landing site, but that of the Jaredites, the main subject of that part of Mormon’s insertion. Nor would it have been possible for Richin’s map locations to be where shown, since the scriptural record indicates easy movement from the south to the north, but in Central America at the Darién Gap that joins the border of Colombia, there is absolutely no possibility of the existence of a large city and land (Bountiful), nor a passage through it—an impenetrable area even today.
    It also might be noted that Mulek’s direct descendant, Zarahemla, is not called “king” or so referred to in the scriptural record, no more than Nephi was called “king,” a term he did not like (2 Nephi 5:18). Instead, Zarahemla is understood to have been their leader, or ruler, as was Nephi over his own people. Theorists, such as Sorenson, like to make an issue out of this, claiming that Zarahemla had no particular power over his people and that he was only one of many leaders of factions at the time among the Mulekites. However, Amaleki, having no cause to belittle Zarahemla’s obvious stature or build up anyone else among the Muekites, makes it clear Zarahemla was the leader of these people Mosiah discovered.
    Thus, it might be concluded that the people of Zarahemla were a coalescing nation, more-or-less understanding their union as a people, and seeing themselves a little separate from the newly arrived Nephites, for even when Alma (Mosiah 24:25) and king Limhi (Mosiah 22:11-14) reached to the Land of Zarahemla from their three-generation hiatus in the Land of Nephi, the Mulekites and the Nephites in Zarahemla were separately gathered and identified (Mosiah 25:4); however, soon after this gigantic union of all the people, everyone, including the Mulekites, became united as the children of Nephi and known as Nephites (Mosiah 25:13). And chose Mosiah as their king (Omni 1:12,19).
    There is some question among particular theorists that the sequence of events recorded in Omni are out of order, but that is not the case. The problem stems from the fact that one man, Amalecki, who lived during these events and was an eye-witness to them, recorded an overall series of events connected to the finding of the people of Zarahemla. Later, in Mosiah (chapter 25), when reading the account of Zeniff/Noah and himself, Limhi recounts some of this overall information, which does not conflict, but merely fills in some blanks and gives additional information, such as the baptism of the Mulekites by Alma (Mosiah 25:18), and the joining of the children of Amulon and his brethren, who became Nephites (Mosiah 25:12) as had the Mulekites.
    Now, having established that both the people of Zarahemla, and the children of Amulon and his brethren, had opted to join the Nephites and be called Nephites, thus becoming eligible to participate in and inherit the kingdom, we can turn to the subject so many theorists, including Hugh Nibley, claim which is that the Mulekites were the cause of all the defection and governmental chaos that plagued the Nephites following these joinings, Specifically singing out the revolt of the king-men and the defection of Morianton and his people.
    These theorists claim that the awareness of the Mulekites of being high born (House of Israel) and being of God’s chosen lineage, caused them to want to eliminate the freedoms of the Nephite government and establish a kingdom once again. However, it might be understood that after all this unison of the various peoples into one group called Nephites, the rising generation that had been children during king Benjamin’s stirring speech to the people from the temple grounds (Mosiah 2:6-8), did not believe in the tradition of their fathers.
(See the next post, “Were the Kingmen Only Mulekites?” for more information and better understanding as to the background and cultural affiliation these dissenters were)

1 comment:

  1. Del,

    Interesting thoughts on Mosiah I potentially being a descendent of Jacob and not Nephi.

    Seems to me that he was absolutely a prophet, but in my opinion it is more likely that he was a legitimate successor to Nephi, thus likely a descendent of Nephi.

    Here's my reasoning:

    We are told that the large plates of Nephi contained the history of the reign of the kings. (1 Nephi 9:4)

    In Jacob 1:9-14 states that Nephi appointed a man to reign in his stead and does not mention that this man was one of his sons or even one of his descendents. It is possible, if not likely, that Nephi's successor was one of his descendents, but it's interesting that Jacob does not state this.

    It seems apparent that the large plates, sword of Laban, and Liahona were kept by the Nephite kings and not Jacob and his posterity.

    As for the Urim and Thumim we don't know where or how Mosiah obtained them. It's possible that they were in the possession of Coriantumer and were passed to the Mulekites, who couldn't use them because they didn't have a prophet. The Lord could have given them to Mosiah through an angel as well. The record is silent on this.

    Omni 1:25 tells us that Amaleki, who was a descendent of Jacob who had charge over the small plates, delivered them up to Mosiah's son Benjamin because Amaleki knew that Benjamin was a righteous man. Thus Mosiah wouldn't have had the small plates and there is no indication that Benjamin received them because he was a descendent of Jacob. In fact this verse seems to suggest the opposite.

    It also worth noting that upon the death of Mosiah II the record states "thus ended the reign of the kings over the people Nephi" (Mosiah 29:44). This is the exact same phrase used in Jacob 1:9-14 thus implying that there was an unbroken line of Nephite kings from Nephi's successor all the way to Mosiah II.

    Just some thoughts.