Thursday, December 27, 2012

More Comments to be Answered Part III

Here are some more comments that have been recently received from this website blog.
Comment #1: Most Mormons readers don’t bother to verify writers’ claims, especially if they validate their beliefs” Donovan.
Response: It might be said in answer that most critics of the Book of Mormon have never read the book, nor try to understand any of its precepts. They simply hear or read what other critics have said and repeat them as though there is a list of talking points for criticizing.
Comment #2: “Even Mormon Historian, B.H. Roberts questioned Reformed Egyptian. He looked at the varieties of dissimilar languages and dialects found in the New World, especially the time necessary for their development, and concluded there was no way they could have originated from the single Hebrew-based language Joseph Smith attributed to the Book of Mormon people” Ashlyn.
"When all men were of one language, some of them built a high tower, as if they would thereby ascend up to heaven, but the gods sent storms of wind and overthrew the tower, and gave every one his peculiar language; and for this reason it was that the city was called Babylon" –Flavius Josephus
Response: An interesting thought. I wonder how B. H. Roberts would have compared that with the knowledge that almost overnight about four thousand years ago, one universal language in Mesopotamia became hundreds, if not more. Between approximately 400 A.D. and 1500 A.D., 1100 years, a rather simple language among the Lamanite people, that was divergent from the Hebrew spoken by Mormon and his people, which itself had been altered over 1000 years according to Moroni, a very wicked, murderous people who were involved in a civil war and “the whole face of this land is one continual round of murder and bloodshed; and no one knoweth the end of the war,” and 36 years later, “their wars are exceedingly fierce among themselves,” that is, the civil war among the Lamanites was still raging with obviously still no end in sight. Since this war evidently involved everyone, it would be just as obvious that the different clans, groups, or families, moved toward separation and everyone of a different clan, group or family was an enemy. 
This is pretty much the attitude found among the North American Indians when the Europeans arrived and spread across the continent. It is also just as likely that such clans, groups or families would develop their own, different, way of communicating over time so as to remain aloof and separate from any other group. Why B.H. Roberts believes this would not generate different languages and different peoples among the illiterate surviving Lamanites over 1100 years is beyond me. In just 300 years, the Mulekites, coming from the royal family at Jerusalem could not be understood by the Nephites, who also came from Jerusalem around the same time. I have traveled extensively through this country and find it difficult at times to understand a regional dialect—think what would happen here if it were not for education, schools, books, movies, etc., that keeps a language alive.
Comment #3: “Three books of the ancient Mayas in existence, written during the same time period of the Nephites, have been closely checked. So also have carvings on ruins of the two oldest cities in Central America, Copan and Palenque. Absolutely no Reformed Egyptian--no Egyptian--and no Hebrew!” Giovanni.
Response: Actually, there are four remaining Mayan hieroglyphic codices: the Dresden, Grolier, Madrid (or Tro-Cortesianus), and Paris codices. However, according to Drs. Gabrielle Vail and Christine Hernandez, along with a very large team that have been studying the actual texts, these screenfold codices do not date to the Nephite period, but rather from 1200 A.D. to 1521 A.D. Their work, the Maya Codices Database Project, is quite clear on the dates involved, and that this is an ongoing project, not by any means complete as you suggest. In addition, Maya culture can also be investigated from documents of the period of European occupation that discuss the indigenous culture; which are texts written by the Maya themselves after many years of being christianized and educated by the Spanish conquerors. But there are precious few hieroglyphs found that date earlier than long after the demise of the Nephite culture. For some unfathomable reason, Book of Mormon critics continually cite problems that have nothing to do with the issue of their critique. The Lamanites never wrote in Reformed Egyptian, nor did they write in Hebrew except for a very brief period after being taught how to do so in B.C. times. 
Left: Copán in western Honduras; Right: Palenque, in southern Mexico
Whatever the language the Lamanites later developed, had nothing to do with what was used by the Nephites. As for your two cities, little is known of the rulers of Copán before the founding of a new dynasty with its origins at Tikal in the early 426 A.D. (after the demise of the Nephites). All of Copán's known history dates from that time to about 822 A.D., covering the time of their 17 known rulers, though two of their names are unknown. As for Palenque, we have covered this before in this blog, but not even the name of the site is truly known. It had been abandoned for several centuries before the Spanish arrived, and they were told by the local Chol Maya it was called Otolum, meaning "Land of strong houses," which, obviously, is not the real name. The city is claimed to have been dated to 226 B.C., but that is an estimate for little has been excavated there, and few studies made, though something of it is known from 599 A.D. onward, when it is claimed to have been rebuilt by Maya Ajaw, K'inich Janaab' Pakal (Pascal the Great)--again, long after the Nephite demise.
Maya codices were written in a screenfold manner as shown here. The ideograms were strange to the Spanish, such as Friar Diego de Landa, the 16th century Bishop of Yucatán, and motivated by curiosity, undertook the task of gathering all the codices they could find and deciphering them with the help of interpreters. They then saw them as diabolical, and impelled by fear, undertook a systematic burning of all the codices they could find
Comment #4: Have the names of any Book of Mormon cities been discovered? The answer is, no” Dominic.
Response: Looking at the U.S. today, the area we call Wisconsin was called Meskonsing by the original Ojibwe settlers; Green Bay was originally called Bale lverte by the French; Kentucky was called Kentahten by the Iroquois; Quinnehtukqut was the original Indian name for Connecticut; Ongiaahra was the Iroquois name for Niagara falls; the Lenape Indians called New Jersey Scheyichbi; Old Millstone, in Somerset County, was once known as Matawank; Crystal River in Florida was called Weewahiiaca by the Seminole-Creek Indians; Boston was originally called Trimountaine; New York was called New Amsterdam and later New Orange; Albany was originally called Beverwijck; Atlanta was originally called Terminus, then named Thrasherville, and then Marthasville. On the other hand, the Algonquian certainly didn’t call Manhattan Island by that name, the township of Longwood in Michigan was called Isabella City before that and Indian Mills before that, Tallahessee was original called Anhaica by the Alalachee Indians. The list obviously could go on, but if we did not have continual records, we would know nothing of these original names—nothing at all, much like the old Nephite names.
Comment #3: “Obviously Smith was not well-versed on Israelite law. The Book of Mormon makes no mention of Sabbath observance, Jubilee years, tithing, circumcision, sacrifices, passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread or any of the other festivals. As noted by the Tanners, “there is not even one case where a Jewish feast or festival was celebrated . . .!” Very strange for a people claiming to be strict Jews. Neither does the Book of Mormon, with its appearance of Jesus, have Him explaining to the Nephites that the Law of Moses has been fulfilled and to stop sacrifices” Roderick.
Response: If you were to read the Book of Mormon, you would find it is not so much about the Jews and their festivals and celebrations, as it is about Jesus Christ, whom the Jews rejected. In fact, there is no mention or reference in the scriptural record that the Nephites were “strict Jews.” Keep in mind, that Nephi and Sam, and their wives, were the only ones who had lived among the Jews in Jerusalem, none of the Nephites knew very much about the Jews. In fact, Nephi wrote regarding his teaching of the Nephites: “For I, Nephi, have not taught them many things concerning the manner of the Jews; for their works were works of darkness, and their doings were doings of abominations” (2 Nephi 25:2). As for the Law of Moses, Christ, in his appearance to the Nephites, tells them “behold, I have given you the law and the commandments of my Father, that ye shall believe in me, and that ye shall repent of your sins, and come unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Behold, ye have the commandments before you, and the law is fulfilled” (3 Nephi 12:19) and again, “Therefore those things which were of old time, which were under the law, in me are all fulfilled” (3 Nephi 12:46), and finally, “I say unto you that the law is fulfilled that was given unto Moses” (3 Nephi 15:4). Clearly, the Tanners and others have not read what they criticize, or have failed to understand it.

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