Thursday, June 25, 2020

More Comments from Readers – Part VII

Here are more comments that we have received from readers of this website blog:
Comment #1: Do you have a time line of when the events in the first part of Nephi’s life would have occurred?” Roberta M.
Young Nephi

Response: Assuming that Nephi was about 25 when leaving Jerusalem, he would have been born about 625 B.C. (622)—using the date in the scriptural record for when Lehi left Jerusalem, though historians place the first year of Jedekiah’s reign in 597 B.C., not 600, which is shown in parenthesis in the following dates.
    Roughly, Lehi left Jerusalem in 600 B.C. (597); arrived in Bountiful after eight years in the wilderness, in 592 B. (589); probably took upwards of 2 years to build the ship, and another 2 to 3 months to sail to the Land of Promise, arriving at landfall around 590 B.C. (587). Lehi probably died in about two years, and Nephi took those who would go with him northward, arriving at the place they called “Nephi” (City of Nephi) around 588-587 B.C. (585-584). The city of Nephi was probably begun around 586 B.C. (583), the city of Shilom probably around 581 B.C. (578).
    When Nephi later speaks of commencing the second set of plates, it is 30 years after leaving Jerusalem, which would place the date about 570 B.C.(567). He probably died around 550-540 B.C. (547-537) at the age of 75 to 85.
    Please keep in mind these are just about all estimates. We have no scriptural evidence of most of this.
Comment #6: “Why do you think the Inca claimed Tiwanaku or Tiahuanaco was built by the Gods?” Harry C.
Response: When the Spaniards arrived, one of the questions they asked after seeing the magnificent ruins at Tiahuanado was who built it. While it was the habit of the Inca to lay claim to everything of any value as being Incan, especially since they claimed to be the oldest civilization of the Andes and always claimed any others were little more than ignorant savages, yet knowing they could not build such edifices as these ancient ruins if pressed to do so by the Spanish, so not willing to state it was someone else, they said it was built by the Gods.
    Since the Inca were the gods, they could still claim they were the oldest civilization and therefore the ones that built everything of any value. The interesting thing is, when the Spanish pressed them into service to build things, their work was so inferior the Spanish eventually began building their own edifices in the Andes.
Comment #4: “You claim the Nephites were on an island, but how would they have known this after just arriving?” Dean H.
Response: We are not the ones claiming that—Jacob claimed it and Nephi agreed, writing it down on the plates. But it should be kept in mind that when this was said, it was 30 years after they left Jerusalem, having been in the Land of Promise for at least 20 years and much would have been known by then.
Comment #5: “I saw this drawing of a Nephite fort, showing the “place of entrance” mentioned in scripture as the only place the Lamanites could gain entrance. Do you think it is authentic?” Randy D.

Submitted drawing of fort

Response: Clearly the artist designer of this fort has no idea what he is dealing with. First, place a few archers near this entrance, and within a very few volleys, you would have no one alive in the towers. Second, the short walls shown at ground level is not what the scripture describes, for they were so high, the Lamanites could not loft any rocks or arrows over them. In this fort, every man at the walls is within easy arrow range and completely exposed from the chest up. For this type of entrance concept, let me show you a fort so designed in Peru.
1-Note the height of the outside walls around the fortress; 2-Note the narrow and singular opening that allows only two warriors should to shoulder to enter this “place of entrance”; 3- Note the high walls on either side of the inside of the entrance; 4-Note the safety of the height where warriors, back out of view, could throw down rocks, bounders, even shoot arrows into the long opening

Comment #6: “Was the Land Northward part of the lands of Lehi’s inheritance, or were they separate and part of the Jaredite inheritance?” Bea T.
Response: Mormon makes it clear that the lands of the Nephite (Lehi’s inheritance) included both the Land Southward and the Land Northward, when he said, “And the three hundred and forty and ninth year had passed away. And in the three hundred and fiftieth year we made a treaty with the Lamanites and the robbers of Gadianton, in which we did get the lands of our inheritance divided. And the Lamanites did give unto us the land northward, yea, even to the narrow passage which led into the land southward. And we did give unto the Lamanites all the land southward” (Mormon 2:28). This shows that the “lands of our inheritance” has reference to the Land of Promise, both the Land Southward and the Land Northward.
Comment #7: “What is wrong with Sorenson’s view that ‘Language and archaeological studies assure us that there were inhabitants in coastal Guatemala soon after 600 B.C., but the number could have been low. The fact that the Olmec (Jaredite-related) tradition was then in the final stage of disintegration meant that the remnants living in the area of Lehi's landing would have been disorganized, not about to challenge mysterious newcomers. Laman and Lemuel's ambition (we might compare them to Cortez) could well have thrust the immigrants into dominance and led the locals to recast their views to agree with the story told by the immigrant rulers, effectively making the newcomers into a replacement for the former Olmec chiefs they had been serving. The rapid expansion in numbers of Lamanites, suggested in the Nephite record, had to owe more to a scenario like this than to an unlikely dramatic biological expansion and ecological florescence by Laman, Lemuel and company’?”
Response: It is pure speculation without a shred of corroborative evidence, comment, suggestion or inference at all in the entire scriptures, either in Nephi’s account or that of the Jaredites. Sorenson has a tendency to make things up that are not in the scriptures (other cultures, Jaredite influence on Nephites, extra people among Lamanites) when it suits him and question those things are in the scripture (horses, metallurgy, etc.) when it doesn’t suit him. 
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 we say what he meant. Obviously, he was referring about Mosiah moving out of the city of Nephi. However, regarding there 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.

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