Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Not after the Manner of Men

In a single sentence, Nephi tells us he didn’t build after the manner of men (1 Nephi 18:2). We also know that he did build after the manner the Lord instructed him (1 Nephi 18:2). In addition, we know that Nephi was continually taught by the Lord how to make and build many things, or as he put it, “great things” (1 Nephi 18:3).
    It has long been debated as to what type of materials Nephi used to build his ship, and exactly what method did he use that was different from current methods in his day of shipbuilding. This also leads us to ask what type of materials the Nephites built homes and buildings out of and whether or not remnant of that construction should be visible still today.
Building Nephi’s ship “not after the manner of men”

Nephi gives us some insight into this when he said: “And it came to pass that they did worship the Lord, and did go forth with me; and we did work timbers of curious workmanship. And the Lord did show me from time to time after what manner I should work the timbers of the ship. Now I, Nephi, did not work the timbers after the manner which was learned by men, neither did I build the ship after the manner of men; but I did build it after the manner which the Lord had shown unto me; wherefore, it was not after the manner of men” (1 Nephi 18:1-2, emphasis added).
    For the Heartland and Great Lakes theorists who claim the Nephite buildings were made of wood and deteriorated over time, leaving no observable indication of their existence simply does not measure up to the facts. Naturally, a ship would be built of wood, and therefore the Lord’s instructions centered around wood, indicating that Nephi was to build a wooden ship “after the manner” which the Lord showed him (1Nephi 17:8) and he sought the materials in which he could make tools to construct the ship “after the manner” which the Lord showed him (1 Nephi 17:9). This resulted in a ship being built with “timbers of curious workmanship” (1 Nephi 18:1).
    However, when we look at a further construction that Nephi and his people performed, we get further insight into this situation. As Nephi said, “And I, Nephi, did build a temple; and I did construct it after the manner of the temple of Solomon save it were not built of so many precious things; for they were not to be found upon the land, wherefore, it could not be built like unto Solomon's temple. But the manner of the construction was like unto the temple of Solomon; and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine” (2 Nephi 5:16).
     But of what material was the temple? Was it wood? There are two points to be made regarding this:
1. Joseph Smith sheds light on this when he asked some of his brethren what kind of temple should be built. They somehow thought it should either be a small, inexpensive frame structure or an even smaller log house. But the Lord had already revealed to Joseph a grandeur of purpose and construction "not after the manner of the world" (D&C 95:13). After listening to the well-meaning suggestions of his brethren, Joseph stood and said, "Shall we, brethren, build a house for our God of logs? No, I have a better plan than that. I have the plan of the house of the Lord, given by himself. You will see by this the difference between our calculations and his idea of things" (Nibley Peston, History of Joseph Smith by His Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, Deseret Book, 1968, p230).
    Obviously, the temple Joseph Smith envisioned was not to be poorly made, but of the finest materials available to him. It was not to be built cheaply, nor small, nor built of logs, but of the finest materials. As the Lord told Joseph, “Now here is wisdom, and the mind of the Lord—let the house be built, not after the manner of the world, for I give not unto you that ye shall live after the manner of the world; Therefore, let it be built after the manner which I shall show unto three of you, whom ye shall appoint and ordain unto this power” (D&C 95:13-14)
2. It should be considered, while wood was used in Solomon’s temple for minor areas of construction, the temple itself was built mostly of stone and only blocks dressed at the quarry were used so that no hammer, chisel or any other iron tool was heard at the temple site while it was being built (I Kings 6:7).
    The roof was of cedar, and the whole house was overlaid with gold (I Kings 6:9, 22). In fact, any wood, such as paneling, was overlaid with gold. Also, the interior walls were paneled with cedar boards, paneling them from the floor of the temple to the ceiling, and were all covered with sheets of gold. In addition, the floor of the temple was covered with planks of juniper (I Kings 6:14). In addition, the interior of the sanctuary was overlaid with pure gold and gold covered the cedar wood altar (1 Kings 6:21-22).
    The point is, when man builds a temple to God, it is expected to be the finest he can do, and cost sometimes more than man can pay, thus resulting special was to accomplish the task, as was done with so much donate labor in the case of the Kirtland Temple.
    Theorists like to quote the fact that the Nephites who went north used wood to build their houses and since there was no timber in the Land of Desolation, they learned to use cement (Helaman 3:7,9), while at the same time ignoring the user of stone, which is also in the scriptural record. As indicated in Momon’s abridgement “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” (Alma 48:8).
Nephi taught his people how to work with iron and steel (2 Nephi 5:15)

After Nephi fled from his older brothers, they settled in an area they called the Land of Nephi, he states: ”And I did teach my people to build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance” (2 Nephi 5:15).
    Since the Lord taught Nephi how to build a ship, and “showed him many great things” (1 Nephi 18:3), what types of buildings did Nephi teach his people to build when he had been taught how to build “not after the manner of men.”
    When Nephi commenced to build his ship, his brothers thought him a fool. As is stated, “And when my brethren saw that I was about to build a ship, they began to murmur against me, saying: Our brother is a fool, for he thinketh that he can build a ship; yea, and he also thinketh that he can cross these great waters” (1 Nephi 17:17). No doubt the frailty of any ship they had seen to-date, and that their brother knew little or nothing of ships, must have brought fear into his brothers’ hearts as they looked out across the ocean before them, and envisioned sailing out upon it.
    When building his ship, Nephi found it was not easy to get the help of his brethren. He evidently did the key things alone, but the outcome was so "exceedingly fine" and effective that his doubtful brethren were at last humbled by the finished project (1 Nephi 18:4). What would have caused his rebellious brothers, who feared sailing in a ship Nephi built, considered the final product to be “good, and that the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine”?
    Since the vessel was built not after the manner of men, and the timbers to build it were not worked after the manner of men, it might be that the ship was constructed in such a manner, and its appearance showed it was completely seaworthy, that they had never seen anything like it before, and that it looked completely worthy to take them across the ocean and the “great deep.” This is borne out when they went down to the hip and boarded it for the journey, not a soul is listed as having a concern or fear (Nephi 18:6).
The building of Sacsayhuaman in Cuzco, Peru, fit so tightly not a sheet of paper can be inserted between the mortal-less, which have survived for more than 2500 years—certainly an advanced method of building unknown at the time
It should be noted that when Nephi and his people started out to build a city that would last for 1000 years, no doubt the Lord showed Nephi how to build it in a manner unlike that of man. It is especially important to understand that few cities of antiquity are as unique and not after the manner of men, as the ancient ones found in Andean Peru, such as Sacsayhuaman and Ollantaytambo, where the construct of the stones is still considered beyond current capabilities—a technique necessary to avoid the numerous earthquakes that part of the world has each year.

No comments:

Post a Comment