Saturday, February 15, 2020

An Easy Reading of Alma Chapter 63

In an effort to put all this of the previous seven posts into the right perspective, let us take a closer look at Alma 63 and Mormon’s meaning of the words he chose in abridging Alma’ record (meaning is inserted within the text to make its reading more accurate and more understandable without changing anything Mormon wrote.
The first part of this chapter covers the period of 55 B.C., or the year that Moroni died, and which was the commencement of the thirty and sixth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, Alma’s second son, Shiblon took possession of the sacred things [the records from Nephi down to the present, including the brass plates, and Urim and Thummim] which Alma had entrusted to Shiblon’s older brother, Helaman. Now Shiblon was a just man, who walked uprightly before God, and observed to do good continually, to keep the commandments of the Lord his God, as did his brother, Helaman.
In the following year, 54 BC, or  thirty and seventh year of the reign of the judges, there was a large company of men, even to the amount of five thousand and four hundred men, with their wives and their children, departed out of the land of Zarahemla into the land which was northward [this amounted to 5,400 men + 5,400 wives + 5,000 to 10,000 children = 15,000 to 20,000 people overall], departed out of the land of Zarahemla into the land which was northward, [that is, a land beyond the Land Northward, across the North Sea, to a relatively unknown land].
A shipwright named Hagoth, an exceedingly curious man who was an artisan, and expert in his trade, built the first of several ships which was an exceedingly large ship [No ship he built could have held 15,000 to 20,000 people, plus their provisions; therefore, he built several ships—we know of six, but far more were probably constructed]. He built these ships on the northernmost point of the Land Southward in the borders of the land Bountiful by the land Desolation, which was the southernmost point of the Land Northward, where he launched his ships into the west sea by the narrow neck that separated the land Southward from the land Northward. Many of the 5,400 Nephites, along with their wives and children, including their provisions, who entered the ship, and took their course northward in this thirty and seventh year, or 54 B.C.
In the following year, 53 B.C., while Hagoth was building other ships, the first ship returned, after leaving off those emigrants carried northward earlier. And many more people went aboard, along with their wives, children and provisions, and they also sailed northward; however, they were never heard of more, and it was supposed that they were drowned in the depths of the sea, evidently because this ship never returned, and the land “that was northward,” was not part of the Land of Promise, and not in contact with the Land of Promise so no contact was forthcoming. In addition, another of Hagoth’s ships sailed in that year, only this one took a course that no one knew about, that is, the destination of this ship was unknown, because it also never returned to tell the tale.
    Obviously, this ship did not sail north to the land which was northward [beyond the North Sea] as the others had done. Nor would it have sailed south, since that would have been toward the Lamanite lands which were completely populated. They could not have sailed east from the west sea, where Hagoth’s shipwright business, docks, and boat launching facilities were located. That left only sailing west. The currents from Mexico would take a ship westward to the Philippines; from Central America to Indonesia; but from Peru/Ecuador would take the immigrants to the South Sea Islands of Samoa and much of Polynesia.
During the following year, 52 B.C., many people went into the land northward overland, on foot, and in 51 B.C., during the thirty and ninth year of the reign of the judges, Shiblon died and Corianton had gone forth to the land northward in a ship to carry forth provisions unto the people who had gone forth into that land, and was unavailable to receive the sacred records, therefore it became expedient for Shiblon [before his death, and as the custodian of the sacred records] to confer those sacred things upon his nephew, the son of Helaman who was also called Helaman.
    Prior to this time, the first Helaman had all those engravings which were in his possession 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—no doubt, that part of the record which was sealed as indicated in the Book of Ether [This might suggest that the 5,400 men, along with their wives and children, had access to the records Helaman had written down and distributed to all the Nephites, thus, they would have taken such records with them as they emigrated to other lands].
Now, in 51 B.C., all the sacred records were entrusted to Helaman the younger, including the sacred, sealed portion. Also, during these years, there were some who dissented and apostatized from the Church and left the community of the Nephites and aligned themselves with the Lamanites, and stirred up the Lamanites [Apostates from the true church, in every age, have always stirred up anger and created persecution for the true believers (the Saints of God] making them angry with the Nephites, which led to the Lamanites invading Nephite lands with a large army. The invasion was met by Moronihah and the Nephite army which defeated the Lamanites in a lengthy war that stretched into the following year, killing many Lamanites in the process and finally driving them back into their own lands.
    And thus ended the account of Alma, the Younger, and his son, Helaman, and also Shiblon.
    Now, it might be of interest to know that from all of this, there is very little written about the man Hagoth. We only know that he built ships, at least one of them exceedingly large, and while his ships sailed to their destinations, Hagoth remained in his shipyard building more ships. To lay claim, as so many theorists have done, that Hagoth sailed away in one of his ships is neither substantiated or even suggested by the scriptural record. This leads one to realize that other points made by theorists may as well be untrue, or at least not included in the Book of Mormon.

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