Sunday, September 8, 2019

More Comments from Readers – Part IV

Here are more comments that we have received from readers of this website blog:
Comment #1: ”I think the Malay model is worth another look. As you mentioned Kedah was founded by Merong Mahawongsa. Merong is also called Maran or Maroni. He was a warrior from a "great lineage" who had likely fled the Assyrian invasion. You mention the Lembah (valley) Bujang. This seaside port has iron furnaces and stone boxes dating back to 500BC. It sits under Mount Srai. Settlement likely flowed north from here to connect with the older Mon-Khmer civilizations in the land north of the narrow neck. Also, recent theories in genetics claim that the Austronesians did not originate in Yunnan, but rather came from the flooded Sundaland continent. A lot more to look at in Malay” Blaine J.
Kedah (originally Tamils, Katahlaor, or Kalahbar) is a state in Peninsular Malaysia covering a relatively flat terrain
Response: Back in February 2011, an eight-part series of posts were presented here. On July 6, the above comment was added to the post, no doubt the individual found his way to the site through the internet on a reference to Malay. In this way, sometimes we can pick up comments a while after they were posted, but usually not in a timely manner.
    In any event, the information, such as Merong Mahawongsa, comes from what is referred to as the Malay Chronicles (or Kehah Annals). 
    The Malay Chronicles: Bloodline, was a movie released in Malaysia as Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa, as an adventure feature film entitled Clash of Empires: The Battle for Asia, which is set against the backdrop of ancient Malay, Roman and Chinese civilizations. The movie tells the story of the journey of Merong Mahawangsa (played by Stephen Rahman-Hughes) escorting a Roman prince to wed a beautiful Chinese princess during the 2nd Century A.D. and is filled with hand-to-hand combat and martial arts. The story-line is written by a mysterious individual who turns out to be Sultan Mudzafar Shah, writing about the history of Merong Mehawangsa in the Kedah Annals, introducing Langkasuka (modern-day Kedah) as a great and proud kingdom, ending with Merong becoming the first king of Langkasuka.
The purpose of the film was an attempt to introduce the history and culture of the ethnic Malays internationally (released on Blu-ray in the UK in May 2011). Merong was a Hindu prince by the name of Maran Mahavamsam, with “Maha” meaning “great” in Sanskrit, while “vamsam” means “lineage or descent.” In a way, it was a propaganda film or story line trying to create a knowledge of the great nation of Kedah, and its “great descent, or lineage.” The idea is that the Chronicles outlined the coming to Malay of Merong Mahawangsa, a Roman warrior (a type of mercenary) and his son, Maran, becoming the first king of Langkasuka, with Merong returning to live out his life in Rome.
    One might draw some factual information from these Chronicles, however, in Malay, local historians consider them fraudulent. In another work, the “Story Sangtawal – Empire Chermin, Andaman and Kelatan, an Islamic publication is found (from an article by Hj Wan Mohd, Shaghir Abdullah), regarding Pattani’s Forgotten History.
Primula, Kole and Tharra in the Terengganu Sultanate, as well as Pattani in the Kalantan State

This has to do with Claudius Ptolemy, in his book Geography of Eastern Europe, written in 2nd century A.D., mentioned the names of three places “Kole Police,” “Primujla,” and “Tharra.” Located on the east coast of the Malay Peninsula. Around the 6th Century A.D., records of the history of China mentioned Kalantan with different names, with Kalantan eventually being conquered by China in 1225 A.D.
    In this work is information that has recently been connected to the Book of Mormon, and eventually espoused by Ralph Olsen, the proponent of the Malay Book of Mormon Theory. It is claimed that: a lot of this word refers to the existing City Bandar Land of Promise, was mentioned in the Book of Mormon was like: neck of land is the Isthmus of Kra, Zarahemla is Tanah Merah, Bountiful is Kota Bharu, Moroni is Maran, Nephi was Rombo, Mormon is Malim, Perak River is a river Sidon, Manti is Gunung Tahan, Corianton are Kuantan, Antiparah is University of Ulster, Mulek is Pasir Puteh, there are also so-called Cameron Highland which is claimed as the  narrow strip of wilderness. It is in this work that a connection is given between Merong and Moroni—however, no such connection is made in the original Chronicles or Annals.
Some of the cities and lands of the Malay theory—hard to match them with the scriptural record descriptions

While we do not profess to be an expert in any way on Malay, its history, or these works cited above, I have spent considerable time within their framework to suggest that visiting Malay as the Land of Promise would be nothing but a waste of time, and more importantly, any attempt to connect it with the scriptural record, which we have spent a great deal of time studying in this and other connections, would prove fruitless.
Comment #2: “Richard Packman in his article “Problems With the Brass Plates of Laban,” claims that no copies of the plates were made while in the custody of Nephite prophets?”  Marsha T. The plates (presumably the originals) were handed down through the Nephite generations, although not every transfer is noted, if the content of the plates was intended to teach the people, copies would surely have been made and distributed among the Nephite millions. But there is no mention of that."
Response: Packman is an avowed critic of the Book of Mormon who seems to delight in pointing out errors; however, most of what he points out is his misunderstanding or ignorance. As an example, regarding the records being copied and handed out among the Nephites: “Now behold, all those engravings which were in the possession of Helaman were written and sent forth among the children of men throughout all the land, save it were those parts which had been commanded by Alma should not go forth” (Alma 63:12).
Comment #3: “I think there's a bit of the classic authorship bias going on in Nephi's narrative. The picture that Nephi paints is that Laman and Lemuel are basically satans. Are we really to believe that in 8 some-odd years Laman and Lemuel never did anything of any redeeming value or demonstrated good character? And, are we also to believe that in the same time frame Nephi never messed up? No, that's just silly” Wonder Boy
Response: You bring out an excellent point, though in an opposite way, I think from what you intended, as to how we read the scriptures, the way people are, and the things we do. So let’s take a look at this from a more in-depth way.
    Were Laman and Lemuel satans? No, of course not. They were sons of Lehi, who later became a prophet of God and was held in such reverence by the Lord he brought him halfway across the world to found a new civilization that lived, for a time, under God’s will.
    On the other hand, they are perfect examples of the “contrary” element in any society, neighborhood, family, etc. They had earned the right to their station in this life, were given the opportunity to rise above the trivial, which seemed to govern their lives, but failed and the result is they evidently lost their birthright becoming mired in pride and their desire for revenge.
Laman and Lemuel are two good examples of such attitudes

The more important point, though, is that their scheming and plotting provided Lehi’s family with trials and tribulations that enabled some (Nephi, Sam, Zoram, some of Ishmael’s daughters, Jacob and Joseph, etc.) to grow and achieve greatness in their lives. This should provide us with an understanding that whoever we are, wherever we are, whatever our circumstances, family, bloodline, etc., we are going to be tested and there will always be conflict that tries to block our path to that greatness we were sent here to achieve.
    As for Nephi, it seems he recognized his weaknesses better than most, felt sorry for his failures in helping his older brothers come unto Christ, and looked back on his life as most men do with an understanding of having performed, at least at times, less than he should have. His remarks closing out his record in 2 Nephi 33 are words by which we should all live.

1 comment:

  1. The Malay model is almost as ridiculous as the Heartland model. Moroni told Joseph Smith the continent where they lived and it wasn't Asia. End of Story! Or is should be.