Friday, July 31, 2015

More Comments from Readers – Part X

Here are more comments that we have received from readers of this website blog--the tenth and last in this current series: 
    Comment #1: “Because of the hundreds of languages found among the early Indians after the Europeans arrived, B. H. Roberts concluded that the Indians of North America could not all be derived from the Lamanites as typically believed in his day. In consequence he said it seems entirely reasonable that most of the Indians of North America were probably, not directly descended from the Lamanites” Wilkie D.
Response: First of all, let’s look at the area of Andean South America, where a comparison with the Book of Mormon really matters. Basically, there are two major languages in all this area, Quechua and Aymara, though each has many dialects, which answers that problem. Secondly, as for language change, between the time the Mulekites landed, around 590 B.C., to when Mosiah found them, about 225 B.C., 365 years or so had passed. In that time, none of the Nephites could understand any of the Mulekites, even though they started out with a common Hebrew language from Jerusalem. When we compare that 365 years with the more than 1000 years between the time of the last Nephite and the arrival of the Europeans (after the conquistadors), about 1200 years had passed (385 A.D. to about 1600 A.D.) Now, during that 1200 years, the Lamanites had been a closed society, i.e., not interacting with anyone of another language, however, they had broken up into tribes, and each tribe was an enemy to every other, thus, it would be like hundreds of individual languages being spoken down through that 1200 years, where there were no books, no records, no way to know the language, compare it, keep it from changing, etc. 1200 years is a very, very long time when it comes to an isolated language spoken by an illiterate people without any way of comparing language from generation to generation. I have listened to English spoken all over this country, and frankly, it is hard to understand several parts, especially in the deep south, Boston, Texas, or New York when you listen to the more uneducated, rural people. I would defy you to understand Chaucer, Shakespeare, or a Cockney flower girl—all speaking English. And to try and read it is almost impossible without an understanding of how written letters have changed over the centuries, as we have graphically shown in this blog in the past
    Now, when language is spoke under controlled status, like in Europe over the centuries, even though the changes are marked and difficult to follow, it still retains much of its original construction and at least some of the sounds; however, when there are no teachers, books, records, and comparisons--no dictionaries and parents trying to keep the language in tact, language undergoes drastic changes in a couple or three generations and continues to deteriorate, which is why no Nephites could understand the Mulekites.
    Comment #2: “Since Jared seemed to be the Jaredite leader, why did the Lord not instruct him, like he did Moses, rather than Jared’s brother?” Minnie T.
    Response: Jared was the family leader, being the oldest, and the one everyone else looked up to for guidance, strength and direction. However, his brother was obviusly the Spiritual leader, the one who “was highly favored of the Lord” (Ether 1:34), who had called upon the Lord for a long time (Ether 1:43). Jared knew this, and sent his brother to inquire, as Israel asked of their prophets to inquire of the Lord; but despite the prophets doing so, the Lord dealt with their kings, like David and Solomon.
    Comment #3: “When did Moroni abridge the Jaredite record?” Jaime R.
Response: While we do not know exactly, it seems that Moroni stayed in the vicinity of the Land Northward for the 36 years between closing out his father’s record (385 A.D.) and when he wrote his own record (421 A.D.) He likely went through the records his father had hid up in the hill Cumorah” (Mormon 6:6) after giving Moroni “these few plates” (Mormon 6:6). At that time, he evidently came across the record of Ether, the 24 gold plates, which was the record of the Jaredite people. Either by promptings or direct revelation, Moroni was told to abridge that record and he did so. After that, he would “seal up these records” (Moroni 10:2) and “hide up the records in the earth” (Mormon 8:4). Where he hid them, we are not told. We only know that he showed Joseph Smith where to find them in the hill Cumorah in upstate New York.
    Comment #4: “What exactly is being mentioned in Moroni 9:16. I don’t know these people, places or situation. Can you help me out?” Hale H.
    Response: First of all, Mormon is the one writing this (it was a letter or epistle, the second of two written by Mormon to his son, Moroni, at a much earlier date when the two were for some reason apart during the final stages of the war, probably during a 7 or 8 year lull between battles as seen between Mormon 4:15 and 4:16). Earlier in the chapter Mormon tells of losing a sore battle with the Lamanites in which several of his best men fell, including Archaentus, Luram, and Emron, and the Lamanites were nearing the total destruction of the Nephites who had become worse than the Lamanites, no longer fearing death, and having lost their love one for another.
    According to the word he received from Amoron, the Lamanites took many prisoners after killing off the men, they fed their flesh to their wives and daughters; though the Nephites, capturing Lamanite women, raped and then tortured them until they died, then fed on their flesh. At the moment of writing, Mormon is cut off from rescuing the Nephite women and children left in the city or tower of Sherrizah (shĕr-ī´za, pronounced share-EYE-zuh) by a large Lamanite army between him and the tower. In the meantime, what food was left by the Lamanites in the city, was taken by Zenepi (zēn´a-fī; pronounced ZEEN-uh-fie), the leader of the defeated Nephite army under Mormon’s command, and the women and children at Sherrizah were starving.
    It is a disgusting description of how far the Nephites had fallen (they will fight their last battle ten years later and die to the man except for Moroni). The interesting thing about this letter is Mormon’s love for his son, the tenderness he feels for him, and how highly he regards him. Perhaps every father should take a moment in their later life to so communicate this to their own son(s).
    Comment #5: “I read somewhere that the Nephites described by Mormon falling at Cumorah, some 230,000, that they were only the Nephites attempting to flee with Mormon’s army. The others remained upon the land, taking their chances for survival with the invading army of the Lamanites” Galvin B.
    Response: People who say and write things like that simply do not read the scriptural record or fail to understand what is written. The Lamanites were not sparing any Nephites. They allowed some to join their forces as full defectors, but during these last battles, few of those survived.
During these last years, the Lamnite army was led by a man named Aaron—it was to this Aaron Mormon mentioned in a letter to his son that those Nephites who defected over to his army “fell victims to his awful brutality” (Moroni 9:17). Specifically, Mormon tells us that at this time, as the Nephite asrmy retreated from city to city,“ that whatsoever lands we had passed by, and the inhabitants thereof were not gathered in, were destroyed by the Lamanites, and their towns, and villages, and cities were burned with fire; and thus three hundred and seventy and nine years passed away” (Mormon 5:5). This is six years before the battle at Cumorah. Thus, those who did not join ranks with Mormon were killed and their villages, towns and cities burned and destroyed—and those who could not keep up as they fled before this terrible Lamanite army were destroyed by the Lamanites. There simply is no basis to “assume” anything else.
    There were no “others remained upon the land, taking their chances for survival with the invading army of the Lamanites.” They fled and joined with Mormon, or they were overrun and killed! This was not a war for victory—it was a war of annihilation! Those who insist that some Nephites survived, or were not involved, or were spared as non-combatants simply do not understand the nature of such a war.
    Comment #6: “Phyllis Olive states in her book that “a clear explanation for the puzzling description of the wildernesses described in Alma 22:27 is that there were two different wildernesses, one to the north of Lamanite territory and one to the south of Nephite territory, with a gorge between. What’s your take on this?” Wyman O.
    Response: Mormon tells us there was a “narrow strip of wilderness between the Land of Nephi and the Land of Zarahemla” i.e., the Land of Nephi, which the king controlled, “was bordering even to the sea, on the east and on the west, and which was divided from the land of Zarahemla by a narrow strip of wilderness, which ran from the sea east even to the sea west” (Alma 22:27). Thus, the northern edge of this narrow strip of wilderness touched on the Land of Zarahemla and the southern edge of this narrow strip of wilderness touched on the Land of Nephi. Consequently, the Land of Zarahemla had a wilderness to its south, and the Land of Nephi had a wilderness to its north--these being the same wilderrness. It is not complicated. There is a single strip of wilderness between the two lands that ran from sea to sea.
The narrow strip of wilderness ran from sea to sea, dividing the Land of Zarahemla from the Land of Nephi, thus there was a (Red Arrows) wilderness to the south of Zarahemla and a wilderness to the north of Nephi; Yellow Arrows: the wilderness ran “and round about (yellow arrows) on the borders of the seashore” (Alma 22:27), meaning it curved up along the seashore.
    Also note that there is no mention of the word “gorge” or any kind of division between these two lands other than the narrow strip of wilderness. Or is there any mention that this wilderness was divided in some way. In fact, there is no mention of the word “gorge” anywhere in the entire record of Alma or anywhere in the entire Book of Mormon. In fact, this description by Mormon found in Alma is so clear, it is a wonder anyone could not understand it, and probably wouldn't if they were not trying to fit the words into a pre-determined model that does not match the scriptural record descriptions.

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