Friday, September 6, 2019

More Comments from Readers – Part II

Here are more comments that we have received from readers of this website blog:
Comment #1: “You Mormons kill me. You make a problem out of nothing then claim it is the Lord’s doing. Take the so-called Book of Lehi, the 116-pages Harris lost or stole, and that the Lord 2400 years earlier had planned for such an incident and had Nephi keep a second record of the same events. Since God is all-powerful, why not just avoid Harris’ problem and print the 116-pages as Lehi “wrote” them” Carlos S.
Joseph allowing Martin Harris to take the 116 transcribed pages under strict requirements

Response: This event, like all of our experiences we have in life, are intended for our growth and development. Without opposition there can be no growth. If everything went according to plan, where would be the challenge in life? And we are certainly sent here by a loving Father for the purpose of our facing challenges and learning how to overcome them. The story of Job is the epitome of such thinking. As for the scriptural record, this event would become a significant lesson in obedience for both Martin Harris and for the young prophet, Joseph Smith. Out of overcoming such events come great men, capable of doing the Lord’s work and achieving not only his will, but achieving personal growth that will serve one throughout the greater challenges of the future.
Comment #2: “You seem to be adamantly opposed to ideas and sources outside the text of the Book of Mormon. Don’t you think you are ignoring a lot of important information?” Camille A.
Response: Let us draw attention to the same argument Oliver Cowdery used to Joseph Smith regarding inserting information not found in the Book of Mormon regarding a disagreement over something included in the Church’s Articles and Covenants regarding the requirements of baptism: “And if you know that they are true, behold, I give unto you a commandment, that you rely upon the things which are written; For in them are all things written concerning the foundation of my church, my gospel, and my rock. Wherefore, if you shall build up my church, upon the foundation of my gospel and my rock, the gates of hell shall not prevail against you” (D&C 18:3-5). We prefer to rely upon that which is written, as the Lord instructed, rather than going outside of the scriptural record to include questionable material, especially that which is not consistent with the scriptural record—such as Sorenson’s argument about directions, etc. (Letter written by Oliver Cowdery to Joseph Smith, summer 1830, as recorded in Joseph Smith’s history in 1838).
     There simply is no question that we rely far more on the scriptural record as abridged by Mormon and translated by Joseph Smith through the Spirit than we do on any modern or historical academician, historian, or writer who does so based on their own thinking and opinions. God’s word is accurate and all we need to gain salvation. For knowledge and understanding there are other aids we use and sometimes reference, but none that do not agree with the scriptural record.
Comment #3: “I read that Nephi took his family and all those who would follow after him, left the land of Lehi, “the land of original inheritance,” and fled into the wilderness with little more than a prayer, a lot of faith, and a new hope for living in peace somewhere far from their tormentors. But I have never heard of a Land of Lehi” Gwen T.
Response: There is a land of Lehi adjacent to the land of Morianton (Alma 50:26), though this was not the land of Lehi we were addressing in the article you cited. While there is no Land of Lehi (like the land of Nephi) mentioned, it is found in the remarks Joseph Smith made about the lost 116 pages and some of what was in it.
    That land was what they called the area upon first landing, and remained as such until the Lamanites moved further northward and took over the Land of Nephi, which they changed to the city of Lehi-Nephi and the Land of Lehi-Nephi.
Comment #4: “Do we know what happened to Nephi’s mother?” Charlotte G.
Response: It is not mentioned in the scriptures, nor is the wife of Ishmael’s death mentioned. If Sariah had been alive at the time of Lehi’s death, one would think her name would have been mentioned in the litany of names that went with Nephi northward to where they settled and built the city of Nephi. It is hard to imagine her staying behind with Laman and Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael if she were still alive at the time. So it must be assumed she died sometime between landing and Nephi leaving.
Comment #5: “It seems Nephi sees only the bad in his older brothers and only the good in himself. I wonder what choice nuggets we’d find if Laman or Lemuel had their say” Reggie B.
Response:  Some people in life seem to have a preponderance of making the wrong choices. Laman and Lemuel seem to be this type. On the other hand, they had a legitimate argument based on legal matters and that is Laman was the oldest son and had the right of inheritance; however, it is not the first time (we can begin with Cain) that older brother took the wrong path. It is also a fact in human behavior that a bad brother seems to bring out the best in the other brother, and that when faced continually with griping and complaining, as some people are far more inclined to do than our experiences may cause us to believe, it has a tendency to cause another sibling to take just the opposite path. However, in the case of these four brothers, it would appear that Laman got everything he deserved (except for his rightful inheritance, which his performance demanded he not receive in the first place). It seems the question is not what ”nuggets” might we have, but what great and marvelous things might Lehi’s family achieved in the Land of Promise had they pulled together and not let pride and power and revenge get in the way. Think of what Enoch was able to do with those who followed him.
     There is no great value going around in life complaining about one’s condition, or how unfair life has been to him, or that he didn’t get what he deserved. Life is full of such derelicts. But when we run across someone who does put his nose to the grindstone and pull his own weight (and that of others), trust in the Lord, is not weighed down by pride and power, we often point them out with great distinction. George Washington could have been King; Abraham Lincoln could have dispensed with elections during the Civil War; Mother Teresa could have put her internal gear in neutral and coasted the rest of the way.
It would seems that Laman and Lemuel were every bit as bad as we’ve been told, often chastised by their father, an angel, and the Lord himself

Comment: 5: “I believe the Book of Mormon locations were all quite close to each other.  Your Peru locations (Cuzco, Lima, Cajamarca) seem too far away from each other. Your thoughts?” Wesley J.
Response: “Sooner or later, in reading the scriptural record, one comes to realize that the Book of Mormon does not give the slightest clue as to distances. One can believe what they choose, but there is only one place that distance and time is equated (Alma's escape from near the City of Nephi to his eventual arrive in Zarahemla 21 days later. At an average of about 20 miles a day, that would equate to 420 miles between the Waters of Mormon (where exactly were they???? Maybe a two day travel from the city of Nephi, so add another 40 miles), and we can say that the distance from the city of Nephi to Zarahemla was 460 miles, which is the same distance as it is from Ogden, Utah, to Las Vegas, Nevada, which I do not consider a short distance—walking, that would take 23 days for someone in good shape). On the other hand, we have no idea whether or not Mormon meant that in 21 days Alma reached the City of Zarahemla or just the Land of Zarahemla—if the latter, then even that guesswork is considerably off.
    Take, as an example the term traveled for "many days" between Land of First Inheritance and City of Nephi for Nephi and his party when fleeing his brothers; then compare that to traveled for "many days" across the oceans, which by comparison would have been some 9,000 miles or so.
    We make mistakes when we try to determine distances in the scriptural record since they are not mentioned and almost no clues are given whatsoever. It would seem that in Nephi fleeing from his brothers who were out to kill him, and the Lord warned him to get out of town, it seems Nephi would not have stopped with his family until he was certain he was so far away that it would be almost impossible for his enemies to find him—and it seems that such a distance would not be a short one.
    We need to be careful about making up our minds to things we simply cannot know.

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