Sunday, September 23, 2018

Correcting a Critic’s Blog – Part I

In an article written back in 2011, “Were There Other People in the Land of Promise? Part III, Jared Methrandir wrote three responses on September 4, 2015, directing us to his blog “The Mid-Seventieth Week Rapture,” who refers to himself as: “A Christian who believes in the Bible as the inherent Word of God, in Salvation by Faith Alone, and a Libertarian.” He chose in his answers to direct me to his blog site on which are numerous inaccuracies which, since they have been referenced here on our blog, are being shown here with our response:
    Comment left on our site: “I have noticed how contrary to popular assumption the Mormon doctrine of Native Americans being Israelites isn't about the "Lost Tribes" at all. In fact I've noticed a high tendency for Mormons to believe in British Israelism. Then of course Joseph's Smith's claim that he descended form Jesus further complicates things. How does a Mormon apologist genealogically back that up? 
    Response: The Book of Mormon has never claimed to be about the Lost Ten Tribes—any assumption of this is strictly on the part of non-LDS people. The Book of Mormon is a scriptural record about a branch of the House of Israel through the prophet Lehi, a descendant of the tribe of Menasseh, and is specifically a Second Witness of Jesus Christ.
The general belief of scientists where the Lost Ten Tribes ended up, mingling with other nations

As for British Israelism (also called Anglo-Israelism), which is defined as: “a doctrine based on the hypothesis that people of Western European and Northern European descent, particularly those in Great Britain, are the direct lineal descendants of the Ten Lost Tribes of the ancient Israelites.”
    Since the term implies something more than what LDS generally believe (including organizations dating back to the 19th century, connections of the Saka-Scythians and Crimmerians to the Celts, etc.), we would rather put more accurately that the Lost Ten Tribes went into the north countries and their progress can be tracked across eastern and western Europe in many ways. While numerous eastern and western Europeans, including the English, Scotch and Irish, would be in one way or another connected to, or descendants of, that migration, though not all are, and to what percentage, no one has ventured even a guess. It is written that “For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth” (Amos 9:9). 
    However, it is generally understood by LDS who have an interest in this area that the Lost Ten Tribes are more or less in one body, have religious leaders and keep a record that will eventually be brought forth to connect with the Bible and Book of Mormon. The fact that they will return as a body is foretold (Isaiah 11:10-16; Jeremiah 3:18; 16:14-21). This is what James Talmadge (Articles of Faith, 18, p. 340-341) wrote: “From the scriptural passages already considered, it is plain that, while many of those belonging to the Ten Tribes were diffused among the nations, a sufficient number to justify the retention of the original name were led away as a body and are now in existence in some place where the Lord has hidden them." 
    As for Joseph Smith, he never claimed to be descended from Jesus, like a father-son genealogy in the flesh. He taught and LDS believe that we are all spiritual sons and daughters of a Heavenly Father, sired in the spirit world before becoming mortal via earthly parents, that Jesus is the only begotten son in the flesh of Heavenly Father, and that in an eternal family sense, we are all brothers and sisters. 
    Turning now to the blog site listed, some of the comments need correction: 
    Blog Comment: “In fact one Mormon blog I've looked at called the NephiCode…”
    Response: is not a “Mormon blog.” It has nothing to do with the LDS Church or any LDS organization other than we write about the Book of Mormon and the scriptural record, specifically in regard to the geography stated within the storyline. The author’s comment makes it sound like it represents LDS thought, leadership, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—it does not. It is an independently owned, operated, and written blog based on the Book of Mormon and one person’s understanding and interpretation of that scriptural record.
    Blog Comment: “Second of all, The Book of Mormon claims the Nephites practiced strict Mosaic Judaism.”
Moses delivering the Ten Commandments to the House of Israel in the desert at Sinai

 Response: Strict Mosaic Judaism is not mentioned in the Book of Mormon at all…what is said is that Nephi understood the need to obtain the Brass Plates from Laban, which he was sent back to Jerusalem to get: “Yea, and I also thought that they could not keep the commandments of the Lord according to the law of Moses, save they should have the law. And I also knew that the law was engraven upon the plates of brass“ (1 Nephi 4:15-16). 
    Later, while in the Land of Promise, Nephi states: ”And we did observe to keep the judgments, and the statutes, and the commandments of the Lord in all things according to the law of Moses” (2 Nephi 5:10), and that was during Nephi’s time, who also said,” Behold, my soul delighteth in proving unto my people the truth of the coming of Christ; for, for this end hath the law of Moses been given; and all things which have been given of God from the beginning of the world, unto man, are the typifying of him” (2 Nephi 11:4); and again, “And, notwithstanding we believe in Christ, we keep the law of Moses, and look forward with steadfastness unto Christ, until the law shall be fulfilled” (2 Nephi 25:24).
    Any observance of the Strict Law of Moses as understood by the Jewish rabbis and generally the people, would not have allowed for the coming of Christ in the sense Nephi is referring, nor do we know exactly what is meant by Nephi when referring to keeping the Law of Moses in all things, for he also said, “For I, Nephi, have not taught them many things concerning the manner of the Jews; for their works were works of darkness, and their doings were doings of abominations” (2 Nephi 25:2). It should be kept in mind that the “strict law of Moses” in 600 B.C., which Nephi would have known the Jews practiced, was full of additions and confining limitations that the Nephites no doubt did not follow.
    Blog Comment: “First and foremost, Nephi prophesied that the Bible will be a "stumbling block".
The LDS Church holds, as its standard and official works of the Church, the Bible along with the Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price 

Response: Nephi uses the term “stumbling block” three times in the Book of Mormon and none refer to the Bible at all.
    “And it shall come to pass, that if the Gentiles shall hearken unto the Lamb of God in that day that he shall manifest himself unto them in word, and also in power, in very deed, unto the taking away of their stumbling blocks” (1 Nephi 14:1);
    “O Lord, wilt thou encircle me around in the robe of thy righteousness! O Lord, wilt thou make a way for mine escape before mine enemies! Wilt thou make my path straight before me! Wilt thou not place a stumbling block in my way—but that thou wouldst clear my way before me, and hedge not up my way, but the ways of mine enemy” (2 Nephi 4:33);
    “And the Gentiles are lifted up in the pride of their eyes, and have stumbled, because of the greatness of their stumbling block, that they have built up many churches; nevertheless, they put down the power and miracles of God, and preach up unto themselves their own wisdom and their own learning, that they may get gain and grind upon the face of the poor” (2 Nephi 26:20).
    Consequently, all of these comments made by the reader are from inaccurate to false!
(See the next post, “Correcting a Critic’s Comments and Blog – Part II,” regarding erroneous comments made on a blogsite about the Book of Mormon)

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