Monday, May 4, 2020

More Comments from Readers – Part VI

Here are more comments that we have received from readers of this website blog:
If I have read your Book of Mormon correctly, it seems there were more than one prophet in the days of Lehi. Why more than one? You only have one today” Jesse B.
Response: There are almost always more than one prophet on the earth at one time. Currently, there are 15 men on the earth set apart as Prophets, Seers, and Revelators. What makes the President of the Church unique is that he is the only man on earth who has authority to exercise all the keys of the priesthood, even though those keys were given to him when he was first ordained an apostle. However, today's organization of prophets is much different than in Lehi's day. 
    In the Old Testament (Lehi’s time), there was no "President of the Church." The presiding priesthood authority under the Mosaic Law was the high priest of the Aaronic Priesthood (2 Kings. 22:8; Nehemiah. 3:1). Since the ecclesiastical institution of the time was governed by the Aaronic Priesthood, these prophets (most of whom had obtained the Melchizedek priesthood through personal righteousness) were not ecclesiastical administrators in the same sense that they are today. Rather, they received mandates from the Lord to perform specific prophetic functions.  
    The prophet Jonah is a good example; he was commanded of the Lord to preach repentance to the city of Nineveh. Lehi was commanded to prophecy to the Jews regarding their impending destruction and to call them to repentance. Other Old Testament prophets were given special callings to counsel the king in conjunction with their responsibility to cry repentance to the people, such as Jeremiah in Lehi’s day (as well as Samuel, Nathan, and Isaiah). They may have been the major prophets of their day but they were not the administrative leaders of the religious organization under Mosaic Law.

“Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” Amos 3:7

It should always be noted that the justice of God requires that he warn the people before they are destroyed. Yet the Lord testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers, saying, “Turn ye from your evil ways” (2 Kings 17:13).  In the case of the Babylonian captivity, the Lord sent several prophets to warn the people. Lehi, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Habakkuk, Nahum, Urijah (Jer 26:20-23), Zephanaiah and Obadiah were probably all contemporaries, and all but Obadiah and Nahum are known to have prophesied specifically about the destruction of Jerusalem. 
Comment #2:  “Where is your narrow neck of land?”
Response: Because of the very makeup of the western Andean area, between the mountains and the sea being a narrow strip in the south and much wider in the north, with the Gulf of Guayaquil separating Ecuador and Peru, actually cutting off land movement and narrowing it to an area about 25-30 miles between the gulf waters and the steep Andes mountains, the nature of the land has always been considered divided in these two large areas. 
    In the Book of Mormon Land of Promise, we find that they are referred to as the Land Northward and the Land Southward. The native civilizations were most developed in the Andean region, where they are roughly divided into Northern Andes civilizations of present- day Colombian and Ecuador, and the Southern Andes civilizations of present- day Peru, Bolivia and Chile.

Even today, with the Andes up all along the eastern edge of the western shelf, the inhabitants consider south America divided in two halves, Ecuador and Colombia, and Peru, western Bolivia, and Chile
Comment #3: “I read a paper from one of the professors at BYU named Clark who said he was convinced that the reference to a north and a south sea was ‘devoid of any concrete geographical content’ (his words), and claims that all specific references to seas in the Book of Mormon are only to a west and east sea. He also feels any model, such as yours, that shows a north and south sea is doomed to fail” Pete A.
Response: John E. Clark is a professor of archaeology in the department of anthropology at the “Y,” where he received both is B.S. and M.A., though obtaining his PhD at Michigan. He wrote in his book: The Book of Mormon and Archaeology, New World Archaeological Foundation, BYU, May 25, 2004) in addition to your comment, that “we cannot dismiss the reference to these seas out of hand.  If they are metaphorical, what was the metaphor? (p 65).
    As a Mesoamericanist, specializing in the Olmec culture, it is only reasonable for him to try and eliminate, downplay, or put in question a north and south sea, since Mesoamerica only has an east and west sea. He also wrote: “Conceptually, beyond each wilderness lay a sea, south, north, west, and east.  Thus the land was conceived as surrounded by seas, or floating on one large sea” (p 65), though we do not agree with his “conceptual” comment, as though Jacob did not know what he was talking about, or Nephi either who wrote it down, that the Land of Promise was an island (2 Nephi 10:20), which fits his picture quite well. Mormon also understood this when he talked about the Nephites expanding from sea to sea (Helaman 3:8).
    This is not the first time we have disagreed with Clark regarding the scriptural record, and it is not likely to be the last. However, unlike many theorists, especially those of Mesoamerica, we stand behind and support totally the scriptural record without trying to alter, change, or relegate it to a meaningless question. Unlike Clark, we do not look at the scriptural descriptions as metaphors, i.e., not literally applicable. Nor is there any reason to believe such writing is metaphorical in any way. 
Comment #4: “1) To clarify, are you saying that the entire Andes mountain range (and the country of Brazil) rose out of the water in three hours? (3 Nephi 8:19) At most there was only three days of changes to the land before the earth did cease to tremble, and the rocks did cease to rend (3 Nephi 10:9) No other changes to the land were significant enough to report, so I'm assuming that's what you are saying” Tyrus C.
The flat Amazon Basin that was raised up during the Andes uplift, which occurred at the time of the crucifixion 

Response: When a tectonic plate subducts under another tectonic plate, the earth’s surface changes dramatically. In most cases, this is merely a long-term event and those changes occur so slowly, other than an initial earthquake, tsunami, etc., which hits suddenly, sometimes catastrophically, but always in a few hours or a day or two and its gone and the aftermath forgotten (except by those hit by it all and the record keepers);  however, when the Lord’s hand is involved (“darkness should cover the face of the whole earth for the space of three days” Helaman 14:27) then the time frame is very quick by comparison (earth was divided in the days of Peleg) and the events can be quite noticeable (mountains rising from valleys “whose height is great” Helaman 14:23).
    Those mountains went up quickly, suddenly, and very noticeably, otherwise, the Lord’s prophecy through Samuel the Lamanite would be meaningless (“these wonders should come to pass upon all the face of this land, to the intent that there should be no cause for unbelief among the children of men—and this to the intent that whosoever will believe might be saved, and that whosoever will not believe, a righteous judgment might come upon them” Helaman 14:28-29)
Comment #5 “I find it interesting that Hugh Nibley says in his collected works “Remember, Mosiah had to move out. There is no revelation, no prophecy. The lights went out, and it was time to move on.” What exactly does he mean by that?” Cindy M.
Response: Unfortunately, we cannot ask him. Nor can I say what he meant. Obviously, he was talking about Mosiah moving out of the city of Nephi. However, regarding their being no revelation or no prophecy, we read in Omni that Amaleki, an eye witness to these events, wrote: “Behold, I will speak unto you somewhat concerning Mosiah, who was made king over the land of Zarahemla; for behold, he being warned of the Lord that he should flee out of the land of Nephi, and as many as would hearken unto the voice of the Lord should also depart out of the land with him, into the wilderness—And it came to pass that he did according as the Lord had commanded him. And they departed out of the land into the wilderness, as many as would hearken unto the voice of the Lord; and they were led by many preachings and prophesyings. And they were admonished continually by the word of God; and they were led by the power of his arm, through the wilderness, until they came down into the land which is called the land of Zarahemla” (Omni 1:12-13).
    That all sounds like a lot of prophesying and preaching and revelation. What Nibley meant by this appears to be unknown. However, you might want to keep in mind when reading Nibley, that most of his published works are a compilation of brief, previously written articles, and when put together in one format, often sound disjointed because they were not originally written as a single article.


  1. There is no reason to think that ALL of today's Brazil came up out of water when the Andes rose. There were many islands.

    Look at the maps on page 6 of this Andes model study guide:


  2. The Brazilian Plateau such as the Guiana Shield and the Brazilian Shield has an uneven terrain with an average elevation of 3,281 feet. The basin itself, which is almost the entire area of the Brazilian drainage basin, is made up primarily of sedimentary basins, the largest of which is drained by the Amazon and its tributaries. This total territory averages less elevation than 656 feet in elevation, most of which 41% today is swamp land and bogs.