Tuesday, August 21, 2018

In Search of Cumorah – Part I

In his book, In Search of Cumorah (“New Evidences for the Book of Mormon from Mexico,” Horizon Publishers, 1981, reprinted 1984), David A. Palmer provides his readers with some interesting but completely erroneous insights into the scriptural record. In a myriad of subjects Palmer develops ideas and scenarios that have no bearing on the scriptural content and Mormon’s abridged record whatsoever. Take for an example his comments about the Mulekites (p146):
    Palmer: “We will go beyond that encounter [gap between Jaredite and Nephite cultures], however, and follow the Mulekites as they developed their culture in the land of Zarahemla and branched out into other areas.”
The Land of Promise was divided into the Land Northward and the Land Southward; the Land Southward was divided by the Narrow Strip of Wilderness, which separated the land of the Nephites form the land of the Lamanites, and was the Land North above the narrow strip and the Land South below the narrow strip

Response: Now when you look at the scriptural record, the Mulekites (People of Zarahemla) landed and were always located in the land and area where Mosiah found them—the area that became the Land of Zarahemla and the eventual Nephite capital city complex. As Amaleki stated: “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 1:16).
    Obviously, at no time did they “branch out into other areas” of the land prior to Mosiah’s encounter with them, but as Amaleki made it quite clear, had remained in the same area where they landed until Mosiah discovered them.
    In another instance of inaccurate and fallacious reporting of the scriptural record, Palmer states (p149): “We are told that the Mulekites landed in more than one place.” First of all, this is a flat-out inaccurate comment and in direct conflict with Amaleki’s report of what chief Zarahemla told Mosiah when the Nephites encountered the Mulekites (Omni 1:160.
    Palmer goes on to say: “The Mulekites first landing was north of the narrow neck and by implication their second was south of it (all in Book of Mormon coordinates).”
    Response: Obviously, the problem is, as quoted above, Amaleki makes it clear that the Mulekites landed in one location and that was where they had always been when Mosiah discovered them (Omni 1:16)—the area that came to be known as the city of Zarahemla. The place Palmer believes was a Mulekite landing site north of the Narrow Neck is taken from Alma 22:30), which we have covered in great detail numerous times in the past here in this blog, but briefly it states: “so far northward that it came into the land which had been peopled and been destroyed, of whose bones we have spoken [referring to the Jaredites], which was discovered by the people of Zarahemla, [referring to king Limhi‘s 43-man expedition that found the Ether record and Jaredite artifacts] it being the place of their first landing [referring to the Jaredite’s first landing).”
    Palmer, as so many theorists have done, simply misunderstands that this insertion referred to the Jaredites place of first landing, not the Mulekites or People of Zarahemla. As a result, he goes on to add (p150):
    Palmer: “It has been supposed, and I believe correctly, that the Mulekites encountered Coriantumr and the remains of the Jaredites shortly after their first landing north of the isthmus.”
    Response: It should be remembered that when Mosiah and the Nephites, and the People of Zarahemla did unite (Omni 1:19), “there was a large stone brought unto him with engravings on it; and he did interpret the engravings by the gift and power of God” (Omni 1:20).
It makes far more sense that this “large stone” Coriantumr carved upon was always in the area where Mosiah interpreted it; “large” signifies something awkward or very difficult to carry any long distance, which raises the question why would the Mulekites have carried it so far? And with all that was carved upon it (Omni 1:21-22), it had to be of some size

This “large stone,” that contained Coriantumr’s engraved record of himself and “the slain of his people” (Omni 1:21). It might be asked if the Mulekites obtained this “large stone” in the north, why would they have carried it southward to the area of Zarahemla? Also, if they were in the north, why would the not have known what happened to Coriantumr’s people or somewhat of his history?
    We also should know that the people of Zarahemla did not know what was on the engraving, or he simply would have told Mosiah abut Coriantumr and his people (the Jaredites). However, Zarahemla did not know what was written and it took the gift and power of God for Mosiah to interpret the Jaredite writing. Thus it cannot be said that “the Mulekites encountered Coriantumr and the remains of the Jaredites shortly after their first landing,” for if they had, then Zarahemla and the Mulekites would have long known of the history of Coriantumr and his people—but when Mosiah arrived, they did not. However, oblivious to this, he adds (p150):
    Palmer: “The nearness of their “first landing” to Ramah and the time lapse before they found Coriantumr is not spelled out.”
Since the Mulekites landed in the Land Southward, where Mosiah found them (Omni 1:14,16), it would have been a considerable distance to the hill Ramah, known as the hill Cumorah to the Nephites

Response: No, it is not spelled out for two resons: 1) They did not land near Ramah (Nephite Cumorah) which was far to the north of the Land of Zarahemla, and 2) they did not know anything about Coriantumr’s people or his history or who he was until Mosiah interpreted the Jaredite engraving on the stone, a singularl reason why the Mulekites were never in the north or as far north as Rama (Cumorah).
    Palmer continues (p150): “I have assumed that Coriantumr did not travel far, due to his battle wounds, and that his eventual death could have been a consequent of that battle or possibly old age.”
    Response: Of course, we do not know of what Coriantumr actually died, nor how long it took him to wander into the Mulekite community of Zarahemla. It could have been days, weeks, or months after the battle and his slaying of Shiz. We have written before about what might have followed Coriantumr’s recovery from the final battle that saw him kill Shiz, then collapse from fatigue and loss of blood (Ether 15:32). But the point is, that last battle was near the hill Ramah, what the Nephites called the hill Cumorah, and the distance from there to Zarahemla would have been considerable. It might well be that Coriantumr—remembering that if he did not repent his people “should be destroyed, and all his household save it were himself. And that he should only live to see the fulfilling of the prophecies which had been spoken concerning another people receiving the land for their inheritance; and every Jaredite should be destroyed save it were Coriantumr,” and that he should receive a burial by them (Ether 13:21). It is possible that he would have been traveling, or led by the Lord, until he found this people that inherited his land of promise.
Coriantumr’s would have wandered for some time, especially in light of the Lord wanting him to confirm that Ether’s prophecy was accurate, until he found those who had inherited the promised land once belonging to the Jaredites
The point is, we do not know what killed Coriantumr, but it was probably a combination of heartbreak, despair at his own stubbornness that cost the lives of his family, loved ones, and all his people, as well as the aftereffects of his battle wounds and difficult life, but doubtful it was old age, since the Jaredites had a history of long lives.
(See the next post, In Search of Cumorah – Part II,” for more information on “In Search of Cumorah,” by David A. Palmer, and how theorists tend to change the scriptural record and its meaning in order to validate their beliefs and models)

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