Thursday, March 19, 2020

Surviving Final Battles – Part II

Continued from the previous post, regarding Mesoamerican theorists’ such as John L. Sorenson, who claim that there were large numbers of Nephites who survived the final destruction at Cumorash. However, we have in the previous post provided a clear picture based on several of Mormon and Moroni’s comments to the contrary. Having discussed the first two points of Sorenson’s argument in the previous post, we continue here with the following five points:
3. “Naturally, large numbers of people of Nephite descent had never consented to flee their lands in the first place” (Mormon 2:7-8).
As the Lamanites, with their numberless armies march northward, the Nephites were frightened and ran before them. During this swift retreat, Mormon tells us that “we did gather in our people as fast as it were possible, that we might get them together in one body” (Mormon 2:7, emphasis added). Note that Mormon did not say “some of our people,” “most of our people,” or “almost all of our people.” He said “our people,” which can only mean all of them.
The Lamanites destroyed all Nephites they could find

This is further made clear as Mormon additionally says that as they retreated toward Cumorah: “whatsoever lands we had passed by, and the inhabitants thereof were not gathered in, were destroyed by the Lamanites, and their towns and villages and cities were burned with fire (Mormon 5:5, emphasis added). Note that Mormon tells us:
• Those not joining with the Nephite flight were killed;
• Nephite towns, villages and cities were destroyed.
    It can hardly be said that large numbers of Nephite did not agree to join Mormon’s forces and somehow escaped destruction by the Lamanite forces. Those not joining Mormon were killed and their city areas burned to the ground.
4. “Nephite towns, villages and cities were destroyed, but some Nephites did not join in the fight against the Lamanites.”
Actually, there were no villages, towns and cities refraining from joining in the flight of Mormon’s army. As Mormon tells us, since his flight continued each time the Lamanites came down to battle “and we did again take to flight, and those whose flight was swifter than the Lamanites did escape, and those whose flight did not exceed the Lamanites were swept down and destroyed” (Mormon 5:7, emphasis added).
    In fact, the blood and carnage wrought by the Lamanites against all Nephites they encountered was so extensive, that Mormon refused to write more about it (Mormon 5:8-9).
    To be sure, there is certainly nothing in the record to suggest that any Nephites “never consented to flee their lands in the first place.” The opposite picture seems quite clear—the Lamanites were bent on destroying all the Nephites, and those who did not escape with Mormon and his army, were killed.
5. Some Nephites switched their allegiance rather than move out.”
Dissenters were distinguished from the Nephites, for they had marked themselves with red in their foreheads after the manner of the Lamanites

What Sorenson describes as “switching their allegiance,” Moroni describes as “denying the Christ.” Those that did throughout the scriptural record became known as Lamanites and took upon themselves the curse the Lord placed upon the Lamanites from the beginning (Alma 3:7-10). However, in the specific case he quotes, this description is an overall statement by Moroni about 421 A.D., some 37 years after the final battle where the last of the Nephites, including his father, had been killed, and about 21 years after his earlier statement that all the Nephites that escaped into the south countries were hunted down by the Lamanites and killed.
    One might wonder why Moroni would be alone if there were any Nephites left alive? Why would he not find them and seek his peace with them, and make a comment about it?
    After all, 37 years had passed of his wandering about, surely he would have run across some of the “escaping Nepihtes.” In addition, after 37 years of being alone, he is surprised that he is still alive (Moroni 1:1), and that he is in hiding knowing the Lamanites would kill him if they found him. Why? Because he would not deny the Christ (Moroni 1:3).
    In this same vein, Moroni is describing how vicious the Lamanites were, for their wars were exceedingly fierce among themselves” (Moroni 1:2), and because of their age-old hatred toward the Nephites, they had killed all that would not deny the Christ (Moroni 1:2) and join them. There were none left earlier when the last were tracked down.
The Lamanites killed all the Nephites who would not deny the Christ

How many denied the Christ earlier in those final days is not known nor even implied. Nor is there any indication that Nephites did this in large numbers as Sorenson implies rather than leave their towns and villages as Mormon tells us.
    Were there surviving Nephites? In fact, the scriptures above that Sorenson uses make it abundantly clear that there were no Nephites left after that final battle at Cumorah. Moroni tells us they all died and that he was the last alive, and as a result, he was alone (Mormon 8:3).
6. Mormon observed to his son that "many of our brethren have dissented over unto the Lamanites" (Mormon 9:24).”
This is an inaccurate reference. In one instance, Mormon wrote: "And a few who had dissented over unto the Lamanites, had fallen; and their flesh, and bones, and blood lay upon the face of the earth, being left by the hands of those who slew them to molder upon the land, and to crumble and to return to their mother earth." (Mormon 6:15).
    Sorenson is referring to Moroni 9:24, which does state that many Nephites had and would dissent over to the Lamanites. But nowhere does it say "large numbers" and some, if not all of these were killed in that final battle (Mormon 6:15) or were hunted down and killed (Mormon 8:2). Moroni makes this perfectly clear: "I say no more concerning them, for there are none save it be the Lamanites and robbers that do exist upon the face of the land." (Mormon 8:9)
The Three Nephites

To further this, we find in Alma that Mormon knew exactly what the Lord had in mind for the Nephites. Mormon wrote: "But whosoever remaineth, and is not destroyed in that great and dreadful day, shall be numbered among the Lamanites, and shall become like unto them, all, save it be a few who shall be called the disciples of the Lord; and them shall the Lamanites pursue even until they shall become extinct. And now, because of iniquity, this prophecy shall be fulfilled" (Alma 45:14). Later, we find Moroni, finishing his father's record, adding: "The Lamanites have hunted my people, the Nephites, down from city to city and from place to place, even until they are no more; and great has been their fall; yea, great and marvelous is the destruction of my people, the Nephites" (Mormon 8:7).
7. On this subject, Sorenson also wrote: “The Doctrine and Covenants says that modern descendants of not only the Nephites but also the major lineages allied with them, the Jacobites, Josephites, and Zoramites, will yet be identified (D&C 3:17-20; 10:48).”
Were there Nephite survivors of this last great battle? No! Were there Nephite survivors of the Nephite nation? No. Then how will the scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants be fulfilled? They will be fulfilled because there had been Nephite dissenters throughout the history of the land of promise and no doubt there was Nephite blood mingled among the Lamanites. Then, too, the final split (4 Nephi 1:35) between the Nephites and the Lamanites around 231 A.D. was not over descent from the original brothers, but between those who were followers of Christ (4 Nephi 1:36) and those who were followers of evil (4 Nephi 1:38). Thus, there would be descendant lineages of all the tribes among the descendants of the surviving "Lamanite" forces which successfully annihilated the Nephite nation.
    In addition, and most importantly, some 20,000 to 25,000 men, women and children, both Nephite and converted Lamanite, joined forces in about 46 B.C. and sailed “to a land which was northward” aboard the ships built by Hagoth (Alma 63:6-7). These individuals settled in the land now called Mesoamerica (Central America) in the last century B .C. and there built cities, palaces and temples rivaling those of the Land of Promise.
    From there they evidently migrated northward, through Mexico and into the United States. Joseph Smith found a “white Lamanite” named Zelph in the Illinois area, and described the prophet Onandagus known from the east coast to the Rocky Mountains.
    Obviously, through this source, Nephites and Lamanites survived for many centuries. But no Nephites survived in the Land of Promise described in the scriptural record as Sorenson and other Mesoamerican theorists continually want to claim, contrary to the record.

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