Thursday, September 5, 2019

More Comments from Readers - Part I

Here are more questions or comments from readers of this blog:
Comment #1: “How do you answer the fact that in Oliver Cowdery’s letter to W.W. Phelps, he claims the Nephites were in New York around the hill Cumorah as Jonathan Neville states in his book, Letter VII?” Jen C.
Response: It should be noted that in Letter VII, which appeared in The Messenger and Advocate, July 1835, Oliver Cowdery states that the final battle between the Nephites and Lamanites took place at the hill Cumorah in New York. It does not state where he landed, and has nothing to do with the Land Lehi was promised or occupied, nor the land of Nephi, lands of Zarahemla or Bountiful. It is basically an account Oliver gives to his friend W.W. Phelps, a publisher who published the information of the establishing of the Church and what led up to it.

However, in an article in the Observer and Telegraph newspaper on Thursday, November 18, 1830 (vol.1, no.38) entitled “The Golden Bible,” Oliver Cowdery, along with David Whitmer and Martin Harris (the three witnesses to the book of Mormon) are quoted as affirming and attesting to the fact that: “This new Revelation is especially designed for the benefit, or rather for the christianizing of the Aborigines of America; who, as they affirm, are a part of the tribe of Manasseh, and whose ancestors landed on the coast of Chili 600 years before the coming of Christ, and from them descended all the Indians of America" (emphasis added).
    While these three men put their signature to this overall statement, it should be noted that there are some errors, such as “from Lehi came all the Indians of America”; however, that was the opinion of the Church leaders at the time.
    In addition, the information about Cumorah in New York was less than a third of the letter, only 38% of the total words in Letter VII (1409 words out of 3693 words) in the final few paragraphs. The point is, Letter VII was not specifically about the hill Cumorah, it was about Joseph Smith’s First Vision, and later finding the records which led to the Book of Mormon and that they were deposited in the hill in New York about two or three miles from Joseph’s house in the small village of Manchester near Palmyra.
    Oliver Cowdery in Letter VII begins the description of location of the hill Cumorah but stating: ”I must now give you some description of the place where, and the manner in which these records were deposited.” He then goes on to describe the hill and its appearance on the east side of “the mail road from Palmyra to Canandaigua.”
    He then launches into his description of the final battle by stating “By turning to the 529th and 530th pages of the book of Mormon you will read Mormon’s account of the last great struggle of his people, as they were encamped round this hill Cumorah.” In the final 1049 words, Oliver then discusses this final battle in which 255 words actually describe the final battle itself. To this event, Oliver waxes poetic in describing people’s feelings that cannot be found in the scriptural record other than “every soul was filled with terror because of the greatness of their numbers” (Mormon 6:8).
    Again, we need to keep in mind that the attestation of the Three Witnesses, including Oliver Cowdery, in 1830, claiming Lehi “landed on the coast of Chili 600 years before the coming of Christ,” and nowhere in the history of the Church did Oliver state that Lehi landed anywhere else.
Comment #2: “For you to ignore that the Land of Promise is a free and covenant place as Phyllis Carol Olive states in her book and say that North America is not the Land of Promise is incorrect. The Andes is not where we should be focused. Joseph the prophet knew this” S. Stroschein

Response: First of all, if Joseph Smith knew where Lehi landed he never said where, nor indicated where that might have been. Secondly, we have read Olive’s book twice, and find there are many errors in it. On the other hand it sounds like you have not read our books, which explains the absolute agreements between South America and the scriptural record. Keep in mind these are just simple statements on this blog because of space requirements.
Now for your comments: We have never said that North America is not the Land of Promise. We have said hundreds of times in the past 10 years in nearly 4000 articles, that the Land of Promise is all of North Central and South American. Not only do we find that in Ether 13:1 regarding a land that had no borders at that time, but an entire continental connection. On the other hand, if you are going to say because the Book of Mormon doesn't say something about a matter that it states the opposite elsewhere, grounds for saying anything at all that fits one's viewpoint, and claim the scriptural record doesn't say it doesn't exist or didn't happen, etc., is not an argument—it is merely one’s opinion.
As for focusing on the Andes—we are not focused on any land area—we are focused on what the scriptural record says regarding travel, landing, and what was found, etc. Why not try to follow Mormon's descriptions and compare them to Olive's claims. One example, her West Sea was never connected to the Ocean other than through the St. Lawrence river, which at no time was deep enough for any movement westward past Montreal—for over two hundred years anyone moving up the river had to disembark at Montreal, portage their boat, goods and supplies around the area and pick up the river on the west side of the miles of rapids. Even then, you couldn't get from the river up to Lake Ontario because of the increased elevation, and certainly not from there up to Lake Erie—we are taking hundreds of feet and by no means gradual.

During the War of 1812, the British had to take their ships brought from England to the American coast, dismantle (take apart) them and portage them hundreds of miles up to Lake Erie, and then reassemble them (all in Canadian territory) before they could mount a force against John Paul Jones and the American Navy on the lakes. Today it takes over 7 locks to get almost anything up there. Of course, you can always say that the Book of Mormon doesn't say they didn't fly; or didn't mountain climb, or didn't portage, etc. 
    Of all Mormon's descriptions Olive does not answer them, saying she does is once again not an argument, merely a statement of belief or opinion that, in this case is patently wrong. If you disagree so strongly and favor her points, then list those items down you claim she answers (with scriptural references) and shows how she answers them and we will go from there.
Comment #3: Since just before Nephi’s death, he anointed a choice leader to be King and protector over the people, calling them Second Nephi, Third Nephi, Fourth Nephi, etc., why do we not find later on a Twelfth Nephi, Fifteenth Nephi, etc?” Randy B.
Response: Between Nephi’s death and these early Nephi named kings, and when we pick up the story of Mosiah, some 350 or more years have passed. It is most likely that somewhere down through the ages this naming practice stopped, or that the specific line of Nephi-named kings became evil leaders, leading the Nephites into unrighteousness that had corrupted the Nephite nation at the time the Lord told Mosiah to leave with those who would go with him. Hopefully, at some point in time, we will have access to the unabridged Large Plates of Nephi that were kept by the kings and know of that matter, as well as many other exciting matters about the Nephites.
    We do know that Abinadi was “a descendant of Nephi, who was the son of Lehi,” (Alma 10:3); we are also told that “Helaman was the son of Helaman, who was the son of Alma, who was the son of Alma, being a descendant of Nephi who was the son of Lehi, who came out of Jerusalem in the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, the king of Judah,” and that Mormon was “a descendant of Nephi through his father, Mormon” (Mormon 1:5), so there were lines of direct descent marking 1000 years to Moroni (Mormon 8:13).

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