Tuesday, October 29, 2019

What are Nephite Resorts?

Words change over time

Any word-smith or linguist knows that “words change meaning all the time—and over time,” such as:
Awful: Awful used to mean “worthy of awe,” which is how we get expressions like “the awful majesty of God.” Today, however, awful means very bad or unpleasant; to emphasize the extent of something unpleasant or negative
Bachelor: A bachelor was a young knight. It’s been used for unmarried men since Chaucer’s day, and more recently for someone who had achieved the lowest rank at a university—such as today’s B.A. and B.S degrees.
Cheater: Originally an officer who looked after the king’s eacheats (land lapsing to the Crown on the death of the owner). Mistrust of the king’s cheater, led to the word used today for dishonesty or swindling.
Clue: Centuries ago, a clue was a ball of yarn. Think about threading your way through a maze and we got from yarn to key bits of evidence that help us solve things.
Divest: 300 years ago, divesting could involve undressing as well as depriving others of their rights or possessions. It has only recently come to refer to selling off investments.
Furniture: Originally meant equipment, supplies or provisions, as in “Great increase & furniture of knowledge.” Gradually, the meaning narrowed to the current sense: large moveable equipment such as tables and chairs, used to make a house, office, or other space suitable for living or working.
Myriad: If you had a myriad of things 600 years ago, it meant that you specifically had 10,000 of them—not just a lot.
Naughty: Originally meant people who had naught (nothing); they were poor or needy. The meaning shifted to being worth nothing, being morally bad or wicked. It could refer to a licentious, promiscuous or sexually provocative person, or the more gentler meaning, especially as applied to children: mischievous, disobedient, badly behaved.
Nice: This word used to mean “silly, foolish, simple,” far from the compliment it is today!
Silly: In its earliest uses, this word referred to things worthy or blessed; from there it came to refer to the weak and vulnerable, and more recently to those who are foolish.
Spinster: As it sounds, spinsters used to be women who spun. It referred to a legal occupation before it came to mean “unmarried woman.”
Sleight: Originally meant skillful, clever, knowing and wise. This changed to mean someone who is sneaky and deceitful.
Wench: A shortened form of the Old English word wenchel (which referred to children of either sex), the word wench used to mean “female child” before it came to be used to refer to female servants—and more pejoratively to wanton women.
    In the Book of Mormon there are words that had a different meaning in the 1830s than they do today.
Wilderness today: a thick, tree-laden forest
Wilderness 1830: any tract of land or region uncultivated and uninhabited by human beings, whether a forest or a wide barren plain or a desert, mountain, etc.
    Or words that meant something different in 1830 than intended in the scriptural record, thus originally identified with a meaning:
Resort (1830). To have recourse; to apply; to betake; assembly; meeting.
In Book of Mormon: small forts, or places of resort (Alma 48:5,8).
    Or words in the Book of Mormon with no definition today, but defined in the scriptural record:
Irreantum: which, being interpreted, is many waters (1 Nephi 17:5).
Ripliancum: which, by interpretation, is large, or to exceed all (Ether 15:8).
    Or no definition at all such as cumoms, cureloms, neas, and sheum.

As to resorts, the word is mentioned three times:
1. “And thus he did appoint chief captains of the Zoramites, they being the most acquainted with the strength of the Nephites, and their places of resort, and the weakest parts of their cities; therefore he appointed them to be chief captains over his armies” (Alma 48:5, emphasis added),
2. “Yea, he had been strengthening the armies of the Nephites, and erecting small forts, or places of resort; throwing up banks of earth round about to enclose his armies, and also building walls of stone to encircle them about, round about their cities and the borders of their lands; yea, all round about the land” (48:8, emphasis added).
3. But he kept his men round about, as if making preparations for war; yea, and truly he was preparing to defend himself against them, by casting up walls round about and preparing places of resort.
    During the lengthy fighting between the Lamanites and Nephites in the last century B.C., when Lamanite armies continued to come into the Land of Zarahemla and attack outlying settlements and cities, especially along the coastal area of the Sea East, Moroni built resorts, or small forts, in order to place a small detachment of soldiers to warn the main army or nearby city of approaching Lamanite movements.
    These resorts were typically stationed at a distance from the main force or formation of the army, usually in a remote or sparsely populated location, often positioned on a hill or mountain to afford the best view of the surrounding area. Since the area was full of canyons, mountains, and passes, these resorts were positioned in strategic areas to warn of approaching Lamanite surprise attacks as they came into Nephite lands through one of the ingress points.
    In modern times, before radar, satellite cameras, and aerial reconnaissance, these military outposts or advanced guard stations were essential to warn of enemy surprise or sneak attacks.
Small hilltop forts, or resorts (forward lookout outposts) are scattered all over the hills and mountains of Peru that were staffed by small military units assigned to monitor the passes and trails into the Land of Zarahemla

The word “resort” means a place where someone can turn for assistance, or a place where someone can fall back, have recourse, or resort. In times of military need, small forts, called resorts, were placed around a vulnerable area so that people could find temporary safety. In the case of outposts, this safety was at least in the form of a small military unit stationed there that could render aid in the case of a small disturbance. The saying, in the “last resort” meant a place where the last warning could be expected in the case of attack.
    When Amalickiah defected over to the Lamanites and stole the kingship, he sought to destroy the Nephites in an all-out war. He “did appoint chief captains of the Zoramites, they being the most acquainted with the strength of the Nephites, and their places of resort, and the weakest parts of their cities; therefore he appointed them to be chief captains over his armies” (Alma 48:5). That is these defector Zoramites, having lived as Nephiters, knew where these resort outposts were located and therefore would be able to guide the Lamanite armies into Nephite lands without being observed by the Nephite lookouts.
    Alma in describing on three occasions the “resorts” that Capt. Moroni had the Nephites build, expresses an importance to the effort. Since these outposts were so important to the Nephite safety, we should find them scattered about the land as we do in Peru. Individual, small, forts, or resorts, that served as a last resort in stopping or warning the Nephites of an impending attack. In Peru, these small forts or outposts are built on mountain tops overlooking entrances to Nephite forts or cities—an essential part of Moroni’s defending the Nephite Nation.

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