Thursday, February 7, 2013

More Comments Answered – Part III

Continuing with more comments received and our responses:
Comment #9: Perhaps you have not read the really huge flub by Joseph Smith when he translated this part, speaking of the death of a chief judge in Helaman 9: “…the chief judge had fallen to the earth, and did lie in his blood…now, immediately when the judge had been murdered -- he being stabbed by his brother by a garb of secrecy, and he fled, and the servants ran and told the people, raising the cry of murder among them.” How exactly do you stab to death a person with a piece of material (garb or garment)? The ridiculousness of this is more than just humorous.” Coman.
The Chief Judge was found lying in his own blood as Nephi predicted
Response: Once again, we have people making comments and judgments by using words they know to mean one thing but ignorant of the fact that they may mean something else as well. In the case of the word “garb,” one of its meanings is “disguise something: to cover or disguise something as something else,” that is, he "garbed his philanthropic activities in anonymity," or stated differently, “he covered his actions in anonymity.” Another way of saying this would be, “Under the cloak of secrecy,” which is close to one of its meanings in ancient Hebrew (Beged, which means very treacherously). That is to say, Nephi described the attack and murder of the chief judge by saying that the man was stabbed to death “under the cloak of secrecy.” This is born out by the earlier passages “wo be unto you because of that great abomination which has come among you; and ye have united yourselves unto it, yea, to that secret band which was established by Gadianton!” (Helaman 7:25), and “behold, there were men who were judges, who also belonged to the secret band of Gadianton” (Helaman 8:1), “And those judges were angry with him because he spake plainly unto them concerning their secret works of darkness” (Helaman 8:4). Those secret works of darkness were behind the brother of the chief judge who killed him, hoping to become the chief judge himself (Helaman 8:27). It is no stretch to understand that the author wrote of this act that it was done in secret—that is, the murderer secretly wanted to become the chief judge in the place of his brother.
Comment #10: “I heard somewhere that barley has been found in ancient America. Is this really true?” Katerina.
Response: Yes, according to an article that appeared in the 1983 December issue of Science, pp 28-37. After years of ridiculing the Book of Mormon for mentioning barley in the Americas, the first discovery of barley in the New World was found in 1983 in Hohokam deposits in Phoenix, Arizona as a result of excavations carried out by Arizona State University. It is claimed that the Hohokam inhabited the area between 300 B.C. and 1450 A.D. As a side note, the Hohokam culture is famous in the Southwest for a number of things including the construction of a massive system of irrigation canals that had over 1000 miles of canals as large as 30 feet wide and seven feet deep. It might surprise you to know that barley was first discovered in the midwest during the Middle Archaic period, at two closely located sites. The earliest record came from the Koster North site in central west Illinois, and also Hordeum pusillum at the Napoleon Hollow site, both dating far into B.C. times, and that archaeologists are now finding barley in several sites all over North America—Arkansas, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and also in Mexico. Isn’t it interesting that none of this is as widely publicized as the anti expression of no barley used to be.
Comment #11: “Several critics of the Mormon Church state that the policy on temple admission is unreasonable, noting that even relatives cannot attend a temple marriage unless they are members of the church in good standing. The Ostlings, the Institute for Religious Research and Jerald and Sandra Tanner say that the admission rules are unreasonable because admission to the temple requires that a church member must first declare that they pay their full tithe before they can enter a temple, which they say is "coerced tithing" because church members that do not pay the full tithe cannot enter the temple, and thus cannot receive the ordinances required to receive the highest order of exaltation in the next life. What do you think?” Caroline.
Once a year the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies and stand beyond the veil to worship and be in God's presence. Only the high priest was allowed inside the Holy of Holies in the temple
Response: Actually, I find this laughable. It is amazing how much the Tanners can find to gripe about—as though they care a whit about who enters an LDS temple. However, we might cite a little information for the uninformed. Within the Holy Place of the tabernacle from ancient times, there was an inner room called the Holy of Holies, or the Most Holy Place. It was a most sacred room, a place no ordinary person could enter. Only the High Priest was allowed there. The very term “veil of the temple,” since veil in Hebrew means “hidden,” or “that which hides,” that is, the temple was always a place for sacred events, prescribed by specific and exact rules, and obeyed by all the Jewish faithful. Likewise, an LDS temple is a sacred place. While we have thousands of ward and stake buildings around the globe that every member, non-member, friend, and critic is allowed to enter at just about any time, the LDS Temple is a sacred place where certain rules exist to maintain that sacredness and an atmosphere of spirituality—for those who accept and live the doctrines of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Unlike our other buildings, it has a very specific purpose, one that is a progressional step toward “the highest order of exaltation in the next life.” Before entering the temple, there are other steps that must be met, such as baptism, church attendance and activity, paying tithes and offerings, etc. While most young members and non-members refer to a temple marriage, it is really an ordinance of “sealing” and is performed for and attended by, those working their way along this path, who have accepted Jesus Christ, and follow his teachings (one of which is tithing—see Malachi 3:8-10). No one is forced to pay tithing, accept or involve themselves in any ordinance or activity of the Church. It is all voluntary. Members of the Church can be married in one of the church buildings, or anywhere else other people get married. Choosing to be “sealed” in the temple is a voluntary decision, something evidently the Tanners have never understood. No one is criticizing the Tanners viewpoint of life, but it is interesting that they find every possible reason to criticize LDS Church and its people.
Comment #12: “Author Michael M. Hobby claims that the Mulekites did not replace the Jaredite culture, but were absorbed into it, and that their language became corrupted, and eventually was replaced by the Jaredite language” Alethea.
Response: Perhaps Hobby can tell us why the Mulekits in the city of Zarahemla could not communicate with Coriantumr, the last Jaredite, nor read his writing on the stone (Omni 1:20-21).
Coriantumr’s stone upon which he wrote a brief history of his people could not  be interpreted by anyone in Zarahemla until King Mosiah did with the help of the Lord
Comment #13: “You say that Lehi lived outside Jerusalem, but every book I read says he lived in Jerusalem. Why is that?” Jakinda.
Response: I suppose it is because people don’t read the scriptures carefully. Nephi tells us that Lehi and his family lived at Jerusalem, but not in Jerusalem, meaning he did not live within its city walls (1 Nephi 1:4). When Laban cast Laman out of his house in Jerusalem, Nephi and his brothers went “down to the land of our father's inheritance, for behold he left gold and silver, and all manner of riches” (1 Nephi 3:16) in order to buy the brass plates. This of course tells us that Lehi’s house was not in Jerusalem, but outside the walls for that is where Nephi and his brothers were when they decided on this action. And after obtaining the gold and silver, they “went up again unto the house of Laban” (1 Nephi 3:23). When they reached the city, they hid themselves outside the city walls (1 Nephi 4:5) while Nephi crept into the city to confront Laban. Obviously, not only was Lehi’s house outside the city walls, but evidently some distance away and down at a lower elevation among the hills.

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