Wednesday, May 6, 2020

More Comments from Readers – Part VIII

Here are more comments that we have received from readers of this website blog:
Comment #1: “I ran across this on the internet and was wondering what you thought: ”Some people claim that we can’t know where the Book of Mormon took place based off of the descriptions found in the book due to large, catastrophic events that took place that changed the face of the land. Ancient geographical features were for practical purposes the same as those we see today. There weren’t large shifts in the position of the continents or oceans. For example, references to the narrow neck and the narrow pass were the same in Moroni’s (Mormon’s son) day as in the days of captain Moroni a few centuries earlier” Sandra S.
Response: It comes from Cody Calderwood, “The Book of Mormon’s Historicity and Supporting Evidence-Part I” from a website called Rational Faiths, Keeping Mormnism Weird. He is definitely a Mesoamericanist and pretty much discusses what all other Mesoamericanists talk about. An interesting point he makes is listing 65 anachronisms, however, he seems not to understand what an anachronism is since many of these items are not anachronisms at all and never were anachronisms, but back to your question. One major problem is his comment about “Ancient geographical features were the same as those we see today, then adds, the narrow neck and the narrow pass were the same in Moroni’s day as in the days of Captain Moroni a few centuries earlier.”
When mountains, whose height is great, shoot up out of the level valleys, one might think that the topography changes considerably, including other features connected to the area, such as lakes, river, etc.

What Calderwood seems to not understand is the seriousness of the changes brought about by the destruction in 3 Nephi (which took place between the two Moronis). When mountains collapse and became valleys, and other valleys rose up to become mountains, “whose height is great” is bound to have some impact on rivers, narrow necks of land, narrow passes, etc. It is interesting to realize that the Sea East, which is mentioned over 20 times before 3 Nephi, is never mentioned afterward, nor is the narrow neck of land mentioned after 3 Nephi. The point is, we simply do not know what that destruction entailed, but to start making decisions as to what it did or did not do is merely speculative and certainly not scholarship.
   He also states that “The total extent of the lands that Mormon knew about, based on his own words, did not exceed about 600 miles in length and 300 miles in width.” Which is the Mesoamerican mantra since that agrees with their distances—however, there is nothing in the scriptural record to suggest that such distances are accurate, or even close. It is merely speculation based on a pre-conceived belief.
    One would be better off starting with 1 Nephi and go over every single item, one at a time, that describes the geography, movement (such as Nephi’s ship’s course), etc. and come up with your own ideas, not rely on someone else who does not use the scriptural record but their own pre-determined beliefs.
As an example, how did Nephi’s ship travel? He says it was “driven forth before the wind,” which means it was subject to the winds that blew the ocean currents. The ship, therefore, could only go where the currents and winds took it. Look and study wind and current charts to see where his ship would have gone. You won’t find the answer in Mesoamerica.
Comment #2: “I read somewhere that Noah would have spoken the Adamic language, and if that is true, it means the Jaredites spoke it; and if so does that mean that Jaredite names were names of the Adamic language?” Madeline M.
Response: We do not know if the Jaredites spoke the Adamic language, though many assume so and it could be correct.  However, the one thing we know is that they did not speak Hebrew, since Mosiah and Moroni had to have assistance in translating the Jaredite records and they would not have if the Jaaredites spoke the same language as the Hebrews, of whom both Mosiah and Moroni spoke (Mormon 9:31-31).
    In addition, we do know that the Jaredites only a generation or two from Noah, the father of the language after the Flood and from which came all names after the Flood, would know of names or create names that matched earlier or later ones. After all, we do not know what names might have been known of the Antediluvians that are not recorded in the Bible. Man has been creating names from the time of Adam onward, hundreds of thousands, millions, billions of names not recorded in a scriptural reference. Most of our names are not found in the scriptures, nor are most of our family names dating back as far as most are typically found. Names, because they are often made up do not have meaning, though in Hebrew times and in some languages today they do have interpretive meaning. But basically, there is no way of knowing when the Adamic language ended or where.
Comment #3: “Again.. we have to be reminded.. Nephi still had the Liahona that could have easily told him where to go” Mr. Nirom
Response: Funny how everyone seems to forget this all important point.
Comment #4: “I agree with your analysis of this. The Nephites that left on Hagoth's ships to the Land Northward probably lost their identity as Nephites after a few generations. Accepting a South American geography for the BoM account, the word Northward in Alma 63:5 means that these people went to Central or North America, not to the pacific islands that would be Westward of them. The Nephites are described as "exceedingly fair" (1 Nephi 13:15) and to my knowledge none of the indigenous people in North or Central America were exceedingly fair by the time the Europeans came” George W.
Response: It is doubtful the Nephites lost their identity. Joseph Smith found bones he attributed to a white Lamanite, Zelph, living in North America, and a prophet named Onandagus who was known from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean.
Joseph in Egypt

As for the fair skin, the Jews are also thus described in the Biblical period, in fact, Joseph who became the ruler of Egypt, was exceedingly fair. However, as the centuries passed, the Jews lost their blonde, blue eyed, fair complexions and appearance. Evidently, it is a genetic thing connected with time from the early appearance of people to their later appearance.
Comment #6: ”And I Mormon do not write but a hundredth part.” Just because it's not recorded doesn't mean the possibilities of other things. It's not black and white. I bet my bottom dollar a believer in Christ besides Moroni was overlooked on Was Every Nephite Killed in 385 A.D.?”
Response: We can always play guessing games, but Moroni, who was in a position to know as the last surviving Nephite, and wrote for us in the future to know what happened, no doubt prompted by the spirit, wrote: “And now it came to pass that after the great and tremendous battle at Cumorah, behold, the Nephites who had escaped into the country southward were hunted by the Lamanites, until they were all destroyed” (Mormon 8:2, emphasis added)
Comment #5: “According to what I have heard, all signed statements by Joseph Smith place Book of Mormon peoples and activities in land occupied by the United States of America, and use D&C 10:48-51). Are you aware of this?” Cameron B.
Response: The scripture cited does not say anything about the United States—it makes the statement three times: “this land” without citing a particular land or country. Typically, “this land” has been referenced to the North and South American continent, as in the case when Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith to tell him about a record of a people in which Joseph recorded, “He said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang”(History Joseph Smith 1:34). In this case, continent in the days of Joseph Smith referred to both the North and South America, before they were separated into two continents on a national and world level (about the time of WWII).

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