Saturday, April 24, 2010

What Indigenous People Did the Nephites Dominate?

John L. Sorenson, in his book “An Ancient Setting for the Book of Mormon,” describes on several occasions that the Land of Promise was already occupied by other, indigenous people, when the Nephites arrived, and that the Nephites absorbed these indigenous people into their ranks. On page 89, summing this up, he writes:

“This scenario fits what we have already described in social and political terms -- that the Book of Mormon is a record by an elite group who dominated a folk population of undisclosed characteristics whom they found resident on the land.”

Now, in order for this to be true, the following conditions would have to exist:

1) The Lord would have to bring the Lehi colony across ten thousand miles of land and ocean to occupy a land of promise already inhabited by other peoples who would, ultimately, so dominate Lehi's descendants that they would be absorbed into different physical and racial characteristics too numerous to mention.

2) That the Nephites were so self-centered, so elitist, that they could not bring themselves to mention in their records even the slightest hint of this group or groups of indigenous people existed, while mentioning two other groups that inhabited the land once they encountered them or their remains.

3) That promises in scripture made by the Lord to Lehi and to Nephi were null and void before they were even issued.

4) That, despite finding these people upon first landing, Lehi would make no mention of them when giving his warnings and blessings to his sons, yet continue to insist that this land was theirs to inherit, had been kept hidden from other peoples, and would be theirs forever if they only remained righteous.

5) Though only about 100 in number when landing in the promised land, they were, nonetheless, greater than any indigenous people as to be able to dominate them, yet have this indigenous people large enough in number to completely change the appearance of Lehi's descendants so as to duplicate all the different racial remains found in Mesoamerica.

6) Have indigenous groups of people in the promised land before Lehi's landing that had the same appearance of copper-olive skins, dark hair, brown eyes, and slight builds so that the Lehi colony would not stand out among them, or differ sharply in physical appearance from many Indian groups.

7) That Amaleki, and following historian/prophets, despite learning that other people, including Jaredites, inhabited the land of Zarahemla, and made up a portion of the people of Zarahemla, bound together in some elitist agreement not to mention these peoples in the record, but lump them under the common group of descendants of the Mulek expedition.

8) That prophets of God like Nephi, Jacob, Enos, Mosiah, Benjamin, Alma, Helaman, Nephi and others consented to maintain this elitist attitude and not record any record of a separate, indigenous people, occupying the promised land, or having been controlled by Nephite dominance, having mixed in with, intermarried, or in any way even suggest a separate people other than the three groups recorded.

9) That the prohet Ether, living at the end of the Jaredite civilization and close to the time the Lehi colony reached the promised land failed to record any indication of a people other than his own Jaredites, to which he gave a very extensive genealogy to commence his record, or that somehow was in league with the later Nephite prophets not to mention a single instance of an indigenous group of people occupying the land.

The list could be continued, but these points should convince anyone of the folly of such a belief that indigenous, "other people" occupied the land of promise as Sorenson continually and extensively claims. Once again, if any other indigenous population existed in the land of promise that absorbed the Nephites as claimed, we would expect to find some evidence of this mixture resulting in entirely different appearing descendants. However, all archaeological evidence shows that the Nephites retained their same physical appearance for the entire 1,000 years of their history. Archaeologists agree that the resulting Indian types (Maya, Aztecs, etc.) did not begin to appear until after 300 A.D. and continued up until the Spanish conquest.

Simply put. There was no indigenous people in the Land of Promise.

1 comment:

  1. I would like to believe that there were no indigenous people on the continents (ever?) but it just doesn't seem logical. To build such impressive works (rather early in their timeline) required a substantial work force (unless you had a nephite who could do the job of 2 or3 men?).

    While I agree with you on many points (especially the location) I think that the Nephites did stand out from the natives. For example:

    Peruvian legends mention "white" peoples that were much bigger than them and smarter too. Nephi, and co., would have been intimadating looking but frightening if confronted with violence, having superior weaponry (or at least one sword of a material that would have been completly forgein to them).

    Add to this the pattern frkm the old testament of the Lord's people being given a promised land, but that promised lamd already having people living there.

    Basically I am struggling to find the balance of the promise that no one was sent here with being directed by the Lord and the logistics involved in having such huge population numbers (maybe, if everyone was having 10 or more kids per couple...). While none of this matters salvation wise, it is still interesting to think about.