Friday, June 19, 2020

More Comments from Readers – Part I

Here are more comments that we have received from readers of this website blog:
Comment #1: “I appreciate that the Book of Mormon does not directly mention other people in the land of promise. However, consider Mosiah 25:2 (120 BC): 2 Now there were not so many of the children of Nephi, or so many of those who were descendants of Nephi, as there were of the people of Zarahemla, who was a descendant of Mulek, and those who came with him into the wilderness. 3 And there were not so many of the people of Nephi and of the people of Zarahemla as there were of the Lamanites; yea, they were not half so numerous. Why would there be so many more Lamanites than Nephites 580 years after they separated in about equal numbers? The Mulekites were called Nephites in the BoM because they united with them. All those that united with the Lamanites were called Lamanites. If Laman and Lemuel and those who remained with him married into tribes that existed in the New World, they would eventually all be called Lamanites” Blogger.
Nephi took all those who would go with him and traveled north to eventually found the City of Nephi

Response: We need to keep in mind that when these two groups (Nephites and Lamanite) split, they did not go their separate ways. Besides, we do not know they started out with abut the same number, since when the scripture says Ishmael and all his household came with Nephi we don’t know who all the household involved, like servants, slaves, extended family, etc., which was quite common at that time. In any event, these two groups did not evolve the same—the Nephites twice left their homeland and we do not know how many were left behind or what happened to them in both cases, i.e., when Nephi left their Land of First Inheritance, and when Mosiah left the city of Nephi. In this second instance, after some 350 years in that area, the Nephites would have grown to a very large number, but those who went with Mosiah were obviously not large, since they were only about half the number of those at Zarahemla they encountered.
    Since the Lamanites took over the cities of the Nephites in the Land of Nephi (Nephi, Shemlon, Shilom, etc.), we can assume that those Nephites left behind that were not killed defected over to the Lamanites, since they were already so evil that the Lord wanted Mosiah to separate from them. We also know of instances where numbers of Nephites, even subgroups defected over to and joined with the Lamanites. Why would you not think the Lamanites would be much larger. The instance of Mosiah alone should suggest that to us. Besides aggressive cultures, who need warriors and hunters for the tribe and warring tend to have larger families than city people who live more sedate lives.
Comment #2: “Just a note to let you know I appreciate how you tie everything into scriptures regarding the Nephite geography of the Book of Mormon. When I read other blogs on the subject, it is only about someone's opinion, and when I read a webpage devoted to the Book of Mormon and Land of Promise, etc., it is still little more than someone's opinion. Few use any references at all, and most neglect to show why their opinion is accurate. Your site, on the other hand, is full of references, as are your books, and full of scriptures to back up your points, again, as are your books. I have learned a lot since I started visiting here. Thanks again” Paul.
Response: If the scriptural record is not the basis of a geography for the Book of Mormon, then what is the point? And if a geographic model does not meet and answer all the questions posed by the scripture, then, again, what is the point of the model? It seems a simple equation—when both come together correctly, with the scriptural record the predominant factor, then the model is at least feasible.
Comment #3: “Wind routes are a poor excuse for where Lehi's boat went. Nusbaum repeatedly stressed the following factors to refute those using such criteria: BofM lands were "hidden" not on normal wind routes and required the Liahona to reach them. BofM lands were not adjacent to the "Great Deep" that they crossed; it was never referred to again as being one of the bordering bodies of water” Holly.
Response: We need to keep in mind that a ship “driven forth before the wind” was totally reliant on wind and sea routes and could not have moved upon the water in any other path. You seem to think that a ship in 600 B.C. that Nephi tells us was pushed forward by wind, was dependent upon sea and wind routes and would have been becalmed (unmoving) on the sea trying to go in any other direction. 
    A thousand years after Lehi, ships at sea were still dependent upon wind and sea currents, and not until the steam engine and then diesel engines could ships go anywhere they chose on the waters, though sea currents have always been important, even today. As for the term Great Deep, you might want to know what that expression means. It comes in Hebrew from the word Tehom, meaning the Great Deep of the primordial waters, also found in Akkadian (tamtu) and Ugaritic (t-h-m) and Sumerian (Tiamat). In more modern terms, the Great Deep is the “deep ocean” or “deep layer,” i.e., the deepest parts of the ocean, the lowest layer in the ocean, that part that Pliny the Elder wrote about, meaning deep water or the deep oceans of the world where the Great Deep is located. Obviously, these areas are well away from shore and the underlying continental shelf. 
    Thus, there would be no association with the seas around the Land of Promise and the Great Deep. In today’s vernacular, mariners call it the “deep sea,” “the deep blue,” “blue water,” etc. And if you are going to use Helaman 3:8, you need to use the entire statement (there were no verses and sentences in the original writing), but this statement is in just one sentence: “And it came to pass that they did multiply and spread, and did go forth from the land southward to the land northward, and did spread insomuch that they began to cover the face of the whole earth, from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east” (Helaman 3:8, emphasis added). It cannot be said that this writing had to do with only the Land Northward.
Comment #4: “Comments: #1: “What do you make of Hugh Nibley’s insistence that Jaredites survived their final battle and lived elsewhere on the continent outside the influence of the Nephites?” Harlo C.
Response: Hugh Nibley (left) is one of the great scriptorians of the past, and fluent in numerous languages. However, like Sorenson and other Mesoamerianists, it is logical for them to include other people in the Land of Promise since ancient civil records of the area claim so many others lived in the area, such as the Toltecs, Olmecs, Zapotecs, etc.
    In addition, when discussing the brief historical background of the Mulekites, Nibley wrote: “That shows us how closely the editors of the book of Moron stick to the business at hand, shunning any kind of digression and stubbornly refusing to tell about any people but the announced subjects of their history.” And that they give “but the brief and grudging nod to their [Mulekites] past is a priceless clue for us,” when discussing what little is listed about the people of Zarahemla once encountered.
    For some reason Nibley thought that Amaleki should have written a history of the Mulekites once they were encountered, however, what he fails to mention is that the Mulekites did not have a written history of any kind, did not keep records, were illiterate and therefore had nothing to tell of their history other than their recent interactions which were stored, to whatever degree, in people’s memories—not the best of sources for information.
    Why he thinks the prophets of the time were “stubbornly refusing” to write more is hard to imagine. We know nothing of what the record included, but do know that its abridgement and translation were directed by the Lord, and even Mormon tells us from time to time he was restricted from saying more about a subject when he was abridging the record.
Comment #5: “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).
    That can hardly describe an event that took several lifetimes to complete.


  1. Regarding Comment #5: Not ALL of Brazil came up out of water when the Andes mountains rose. Look at the center map on Evidence #5 in this study guide:


  2. Well we certainly have evidence of the movement of land and ocean even in historical times the Battle of Thermopylae was fought right on the seashore between the Spartans Athenians and the Persians 480 BC if my memory is correct now the ocean has receded three miles or the land has gone up is my understanding