Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2009, October 2

“Are There ‘Others’ in the Book of Mormon?: A Critique and Partial Rebuttal of the article “When Lehi’s Party Arrived in the Land[…] Did They Find Others There?” by John L. Sorenson and other similar “‘Others’ Were in the Book of Mormon Lands” articles by Brant Gardner; Matthew Roper; Michael Ash; etc.” PART 4

“Are There ‘Others’ in the Book of Mormon?: A Critique and Partial Rebuttal of the article “When Lehi’s Party Arrived in the Land[…] Did They Find Others There?” by John L. Sorenson and other similar “‘Others’ Were in the Book of Mormon Lands” articles by Brant Gardner; Matthew Roper; Michael Ash; etc.” PART 4
grego
(c) 2004-2009

PART 4: FOOD; ANIMALS; OTHERS IN THE LAND OF PROMISE; PROPHECIES OF ISAIAH

John L. Sorenson:
Cultural Adaptation and “Others”
The point about “war” opens up the larger issue of cultural learning and adaptation in the new land by both Nephites and Lamanites. A pair of telling passages in the book of Mosiah lets us know that some “native” New World people or other had to have provided at least one direct, crucial cultural input to the immigrants. Not long after 200 B.C., Zeniffite King Limhi reminded his people in the land of Nephi that “we at this time do pay tribute to the king of the Lamanites, to the amount of one half of our corn, and our barley, and even all our grain of every kind” (Mosiah 7:22). Note that Limhi mentions “corn” first in the list of tribute crops. In Mosiah 9:14 it is the only crop mentioned at all: “Lamanites … began to … take off … the corn of their fields.” Now, “corn” is clearly maize, the native American plant that was the mainstay of the diet of many native American peoples for thousands of years. There is no possibility that Lehi’s party brought this key American crop with them or that they discovered it wild upon their arrival. Maize is so totally domesticated a plant that it will not reproduce without human care. In other words, the Zeniffites or any other of Lehi’s descendants could only be growing corn/maize because people already familiar with the complex of techniques for its successful cultivation had passed on the knowledge, and the seed, to the newcomers. Notice too that these passages in Mosiah indicate that corn had become the grain of preference among the Lamanites, and perhaps among the Zeniffites. That is, they had apparently integrated it into their system of taste preferences and nutrition as a primary food, for which cooks and diners in turn would have had familiar recipes, utensils, and so on.

**** “Now, “corn” is clearly maize, the native American plant that was the mainstay of the diet of many native American peoples for thousands of years…” —I’m sorry, but why is this corn “clearly” maize? How was that clear connection made? I imagine Joseph Smith could have been very clear by saying “maize”, but he said “corn” instead. Result? It’s not “clearly” maize. Wait! I guess it could be said that it’s as clear as “horse” really meaning nothing but “horse”.

Interesting that some apologists, in explaining about corn and animals, for example, mention that these were probably names given to other things–yet here, corn is “clearly” maize. Looking at Mosiah 7:22 again–“we at this time do pay tribute to the king of the Lamanites, to the amount of one half of our corn, and our barley, and EVEN ALL OUR GRAIN OF EVERY KIND”–I wonder why corn seems to be listed as a grain, when it is not—it sounds as if it is listed as the first grain. In South America, there are many other kinds of grain that were most likely unknown to Joseph Smith. This “corn” could have been any of them (chia, anyone?), or even Indian corn. Following is a list of some other grains, or what might be considered grains, especially by someone who is not a grain scientist (such as me)–so this is not a scientific list, and might be missing a lot, or might even be redundant: amaranth, barley, buckwheat, corn (blue/ Hopi, popping), kamut, millet, oats, quinoa, rice (basmati, brown, wild, etc.), rye, sorghum, spelt, wheat (durum, red, white). There are also beans/ legumes/ lentils/ others, which might be included in some way: puy lentils, borlotti beans, cannellini beans, foulde medammes, gunga peas, broad beans, pinto beans, soy beans, pearl barley, black-eye beans, mung beans, aduki beans, flageolet beans, wheatgrass, buckwheat, green lentils, garbanzo beans, grean peas, yellow peas, sweet potato, black bean, etc. Perhaps a few of these were grown there, or even their hybrids (so as there really is no word for them to translate).

If it were really maize, here we have another problem of the chicken and the egg: where did these “people already familiar…” with corn, get it from? Do you mean to say that people remained in the Americas caring for corn from Adam on down, or from the flood on down, or what? Or, perhaps, from before Adam? Is maize absolutely only “indigenous” to the Americas? How did maize start, and be continually planted since the beginning of the world, if it “is so totally domesticated… it will not reproduce without human care”? Or did someone domesticate it? Do all corns require the same human care? Is it possible that maize was somewhere else, too, but that we still don’t know about it? Science is full of anomalies. Just some curious questions in this paragraph that should be answered before jumping to conclusions.

-=-=-=
John L. Soreson:
This situation reminds us of how crucial the natives of Massachusetts were in helping the Puritan settlers in the 1600s survive in the unfamiliar environment they found upon landing. The traditional American Thanksgiving cuisine of turkey, pumpkin, and corn dishes–all native to the New World–is an unconscious tribute to the gift of survival conferred by the Amerindians by sharing those local foods with the confused and hungry Europeans. Did an equivalent cultural exchange and unacknowledged thanksgiving process take place for Lehi’s descendants in the Book of Mormon land of first inheritance or land of Nephi? Since it is certain that “others” passed on knowledge about and a taste for corn to the Nephites and Lamanites, it becomes likely that other cultural features also came from them.

****”Sure, let’s talk about “Thanksgiving”. Quote: ” …turkey, pumpkin, and corn dishes–all native to the New World…” Note—that would be wild turkey and Indian corn. And while pumpkin was available, it has never been found mentioned as having been eaten by them at this meal. Also, the main reason for the “confused and hungry and (other negative adjectives) Europeans” had to do more with setting up around Christmas (after over a while of being there) in New England, poor shelter, a harsh winter and lack of supplies, bad drinking water, constant vigilance against and fear of Indian attack, and sickness–not because of lack of food from their summer harvest or… confusion? In fact, their very first harvest there was very bountiful.

-=-=-=
John L. Sorenson:
The keeping of “flocks,” for example (Mosiah 9:14; cf. Enos 1:21), was not a pattern which Lehi’s folks are said to have brought with them; no animals are mentioned in Nephi’s Old World record (it is purely speculation that they utilized camels or any other animals in their trek from Jerusalem to Bountiful). Even if they started out with animals, these would not have survived the party’s famine-plagued journey through western Arabia (note, for example, 1 Nephi 16:18-32). Moreover, no hint is given that any were taken aboard Nephi’s boat (in specific contrast to the Jaredite case–see Ether 6:4). So how would they have obtained native American fowls or other animals to keep in “flocks,” or, more importantly, how would they have discovered techniques for successfully caring for them?

****This is interesting–while “camels” might be “[pure] speculation”, much of Sorenson’s content in this paper is “pure speculation”… Just that convenience seems to be the deciding factor as to whether it is pointed to as speculation or shored up as evidence.

Like many things in the Book of Mormon, ‘not said =/= not.’ On the other hand, let’s take a look at what Nephi actually says about seeds and flocks (which seem to be missing from the original article):
“1 Nephi 18:23: And it came to pass that after we had sailed for the space of many days we did arrive at the promised land; and we went forth upon the land, and did pitch our tents; and we did call it the promised land.
1 Nephi 18:24: And it came to pass that we did BEGIN TO TILL THE EARTH, and we began to PLANT SEEDS; yea, WE DID PUT ALL OUR SEEDS INTO THE EARTH, WHICH WE HAD BROUGHT FROM THE LAND OF JERUSALEM. And it came to pass that they did GROW EXCEEDINGLY; wherefore, we were blessed in abundance.
1 Nephi 18:25: And it came to pass that we did find upon the land of promise, as we journeyed in the wilderness, that there were BEASTS IN THE FORESTS OF EVERY KIND, BOTH THE COW AND THE OX, AND THE ASS AND THE HORSE, AND THE GOAT AND THE WILD GOAT, AND ALL MANNER OF WILD ANIMALS, WHICH WERE FOR THE USE OF MEN. And we did find all manner of ORE, BOTH OF GOLD, AND OF SILVER, AND OF COPPER…
2 Nephi 5:11: AND THE LORD WAS WITH US; and we did prosper exceedingly; for WE DID SOW SEED, AND WE DID REAP AGAIN IN ABUNDANCE. And we began to RAISE FLOCKS, AND HERDS, AND ANIMALS OF EVERY KIND.
Enos 1:21: And it came to pass that the people of Nephi did TILL THE LAND, AND RAISE ALL MANNER OF GRAIN, AND OF FRUIT, AND FLOCKS OF HERDS, AND FLOCKS OF ALL MANNER OF CATTLE OF EVERY KIND, AND GOATS, AND WILD GOATS, AND ALSO MANY HORSES.
Now, we assume that neither Lehi nor anyone else was a farmer, or a herder. That also is speculation…

However, the Lehites had brought seeds with them, and planted them immediately, and knew how to care for and harvest them. “…they did GROW EXCEEDINGLY; wherefore, we were blessed in abundance.” No big Thanksgiving dinner from the natives needed here!

Did they bring flocks with them, or animals? Could have, but that is not necessary. Why? Because Nephi says that they found all kinds of animals, including “wild animals, which were for the use of men.” In other words, right right after the Lehites landed, they discovered the animals, and Nephi knew about the uses of animals by man. It is not until 2 Nephi 5, however, that “we BEGAN to raise flocks, and herds, and animals of every kind.” Later, in Enos, it says that they were raising them. No animals are mentioned in Enos that Nephi did not mention before in 1 Nephi 18.
Yes, it is possible that animals could have made it through the desert. And if not, wouldn’t it be possible to find some along the way, afterward?

Also, “flocks” seems to be connected with “herds” and animals (see Enos 1:21: “And it came to pass that the people of Nephi did…raise…flocks of herds, and flocks of all manner of cattle of every kind, and goats, and wild goats, and also many horses.” ).

-=-=-=
John L. Sorenson:
Discovery or invention of a major cultural feature like the domestication of animals is rare enough in human history that it is highly unlikely that these newcomers could simply have pulled themselves up culturally “by their bootstraps” in this way in a generation or two.
—-
****This is a surprising statement.

Unfortunately, your only other assumed possibility is that someone had to show them how to do it, right? Look at the American wild horse. Wild one day, domesticated the next. And, it seems very much that it is being assumed that domestication means complete domestication–chickens that don’t eat worms or bugs; goats that have to be rounded up every night, have their hooves trimmed, be completely taken care of, eat alfalfa or commercial feed, etc. This is far from the case for many types of animals–potbellied pigs, Soay sheep, etc. need very little work and outside help to prosper.

Speculation here–especially if the animals had lived on their own for a while, it would have insured a hardy stock to domesticate, which might have actually made it easier for them to survive and prosper.

-=-=-=
John L. Sorenson:
We will see below that significant, specific cultural features of obvious Jaredite origin appeared later among the Nephites without any explanation of how their transmission was accomplished down through time. It is a safe presumption, however, that some groups existing at the time when the Jaredite armies referred to in Ether 15 were destroyed simply refused to participate in the suicidal madness of Coriantumr and Shiz. They would have ensured their own survival by staying home and minding their meek business in this or that corner of the land.

Such minor peoples might hardly even have noted the distant slaughter of the Jaredite dynasts, so absorbed would they have been in their local affairs. The likelihood is that more than a few such groups continued past the time of the “final destruction” of the Jaredite armies at the hill Ramah, and some could well have been living in the land southward as Nephi and Laman built up their small colonies.

****How safe is that presumption? Let’s see what the Book of Mormon says about this:
Ether 11:12: “And it came to pass that in the days of Ethem there came many prophets, and prophesied again UNTO THE PEOPLE; yea, they did prophesy that the Lord would UTTERLY DESTROY THEM FROM OFF THE FACE OF THE EARTH except they repented of their iniquities.”
Ether 11:20: And in the days of Coriantor there also came many prophets, and …cried repentance UNTO THE PEOPLE, and except they should repent the Lord God would execute judgment against them to their UTTER destruction…”

Ether 13:20: “And in the second year the word of the Lord came to Ether, that he should go and prophesy unto Coriantumr that, if he would repent, and all his household, the Lord would give unto him his kingdom and spare the people–
Ether 13:21: Otherwise they should be destroyed, and all his household save it were himself. And he should only live to see the fulfilling of the prophecies which had been spoken concerning another people receiving the land for their inheritance; and Coriantumr should receive a burial by them; AND EVERY SOUL SHOULD BE DESTROYED SAVE IT WERE CORIANTUMR.”

Ether 15:12: “And it came to pass that they did gather together ALL THE PEOPLE upon ALL THE FACE OF THE LAND, WHO HAD NOT BEEN SLAIN, SAVE it was ETHER.”
Ether 15:14: “Wherefore, they were FOR THE SPACE OF FOUR YEARS GATHERING TOGETHER THE PEOPLE, THAT THEY MIGHT GET ALL WHO WERE UPON THE FACE OF THE LAND, and that they might receive all the strength which it was possible that they could receive.
Ether 15:15: And it came to pass that when they were ALL gathered together, EVERY ONE to the army which he would, WITH THEIR WIVES AND THEIR CHILDREN…”

Ether 15:33: “And the Lord spake unto Ether, and said unto him: Go forth. And he went forth, and beheld THAT THE WORDS OF THE LORD HAD ALL BEEN FULFILLED…” And what were those words? That the Jaredites had all been destroyed.

Those verses should make it very clear that Jaredites did not remain. This does not mean politically. In other words, it seems that according to the prophets, NOT ONE SINGLE Jaredite, other than Coriantumr and Ether, survived the final conflict. In fact, the last words that Ether wrote tell are: “Whether the Lord will that I be translated, or that I suffer the will of the Lord in the flesh, it mattereth not, if it so be that I am saved in the kingdom of God. Amen.” (Ether 15:34)

Now, if there were still people in the land, survivors, or remnants hiding because they were peaceful, etc., why didn’t Ether continue his work of preaching repentance? If he did, we don’t know of any of it.

But is this the correct interpretation of “utter”? Let’s see about some other places in the Book of Mormon where it’s used:
It is prophesied to the people of Ammonihah:
Alma 9:12: “…But behold, this is not all–he has commanded you to repent, or he will UTTERLY destroy you from off the face of the earth…
Alma 9:18: …if ye persist in your wickedness that your days shall not be prolonged in the land, for the Lamanites shall be sent upon you; and if ye repent not they shall come in a time when you know not, and ye shall be visited with UTTER destruction…
Alma 10:18: …pull down the wrath of God upon your heads, even to the UTTER destruction of this people.
Alma 10:22: …ye would even now be visited with UTTER destruction…”
Now, we know that the unrepentant people of Ammonihah were UTTERLY destroyed–every single one of them:
Alma 16:2: “…the armies of the Lamanites had come in upon the wilderness side, into the borders of the land, even into the city of Ammonihah, and began to slay the people and destroy the city.
Alma 16:3: …[the Lamanites] HAD DESTROYED THE PEOPLE WHO WERE IN THE CITY OF AMMONIHAH, and also some around the borders of Noah, and taken others captive into the wilderness.
Alma 16:9: And thus ended the eleventh year of the judges, the Lamanites having been driven out of the land, and the PEOPLE OF AMMONIHAH WERE DESTROYED; yea, EVERY LIVING SOUL OF THE AMMONIHAHITES WAS DESTROYED, and also their great city, which they said God could not destroy, because of its greatness.”
We see that the same interpretation holds–no survivors, no escapees, no hidden people on the fringe.
What about the Nephite’s utter destruction? Is it the same?
Alma 45:10: “… this very people, the Nephites, according to the spirit of revelation which is in me, in four hundred years from the time that Jesus Christ shall manifest himself unto them, shall dwindle in unbelief.
Alma 45:11: …then shall they see wars [, etc.] even until the people of Nephi shall become EXTINCT–
Alma 45:14: But WHOSOEVER REMAINETH, AND IS NOT DESTROYED IN THAT GREAT AND DREADFUL DAY, SHALL BE NUMBERED AMONG THE LAMANITES, AND SHALL BECOME LIKE UNTO THEM, ALL, SAVE IT BE A FEW WHO SHALL BE CALLED THE DISCIPLES OF THE LORD; AND THEM SHALL THE LAMANITES PURSUE EVEN UNTIL THEY SHALL BECOME EXTINCT…”
Helaman 13:10: Yea, I will visit them in my fierce anger, and there shall be those of the fourth generation who shall live, of your enemies, to behold your UTTER destruction; … and those of the fourth generation shall visit your destruction.
Helaman 15:17: …saith the Lord, concerning the people of the Nephites: …I will UTTERLY destroy them…
Moroni 9:22: But behold, my son, I recommend thee unto God, and I trust in Christ that thou wilt be saved; and I pray unto God that he will spare thy life, to witness the return of his people unto him, or their UTTER DESTRUCTION; for I know that they MUST PERISH….
Moroni 9:24: And if it so be that they PERISH, WE KNOW THAT MANY OF OUR BRETHREN HAVE DESERTED OVER UNTO THE LAMANITES, AND MANY MORE WILL ALSO DESERT OVER UNTO THEM…”

Yes, the Nephites were utterly destroyed, by definition as the faithful seed of Nephi. Here, the use of Nephite is different. One side of the conflict survived, and Nephites became Lamanites, and survived (though probably had little affect upon Lamanite society). With the Jaredites, however, both sides were destroyed, so there could be no deserters, from one side to the other.

What about other instances?
Helaman 6:37: “And it came to pass that the Lamanites did hunt the band of robbers of Gadianton; and they did preach the word of God among the more wicked part of them, insomuch that this band of robbers was UTTERLY destroyed from among the Lamanites.”  In other words, NO robbers were left.

Another instance with the Gadianton robbers:
3 Nephi 2:13: And it came to pass that before this thirteenth year had passed away the Nephites were threatened with UTTER destruction because of this war, which had become exceedingly sore.

Can we summarize by saying that it meant every single Nephite? Yes, the Nephites were about to be wiped out, as per to the definition of religion, as noted above with the Lamanites.

Abinadi, prophesying of the people of King Noah, said:
Mosiah 12:8: “And it shall come to pass that except they repent I will UTTERLY destroy them from off the face of the earth; yet they shall leave a record behind them, and I will preserve them for other nations which shall possess the land; yea, even this will I do that I may discover the abominations of this people to other nations. And many things did Abinadi prophesy against this people.”
Many died, then they suffered, and then they repented, so there was no fulfillment. Later, they joined with the Nephites and ceased to exist; however, I don’t think this is the utter destruction the Lord was talking about for them.

What about the Lamanites?
“Yea, I say unto you, that in the latter times the promises of the Lord have been extended to our brethren, the Lamanites…; the Lord shall be merciful unto them” (Helaman 15:12).
“Therefore, saith the Lord: I will not UTTERLY destroy [the Lamanites]…” (Helaman 15:16).
Yes, the Lamanites dwindled/ lessened in number, by quite a bit; but they remained.

Also, look at what was happening with the Jaredites during the final stage of destruction:
“Now the name of the brother of Lib was called Shiz. And it came to pass that Shiz pursued after Coriantumr, and he did overthrow many cities, and he did slay both women and children, and he did burn the cities.”
“And there went a fear of Shiz throughout all the land; yea, a cry went forth throughout the land–Who can stand before the army of Shiz? Behold, he sweepeth the earth before him!”
“And it came to pass that the people began to flock together in armies, throughout all the face of the land.”
“And they were divided; and a part of them fled to the army of Shiz, and a part of them fled to the army of Coriantumr” (Ether 14:17-20).

“And so terrible was the destruction among the armies of Shiz that the people began to be frightened, and began to flee before the armies of Coriantumr; and they fled to the land of Corihor, and SWEPT OFF THE INHABITANTS BEFORE THEM, ALL THEM THAT WOULD NOT JOIN THEM” (Ether 14:27).

“And it came to pass that they did gather TOGETHER ALL THE PEOPLE upon ALL THE FACE OF THE LAND, who had not been slain, SAVE IT WAS ETHER.”
“And it came to pass that Ether did behold all the doings of the people; and he beheld that the people who were for Coriantumr were gathered together to the army of Coriantumr; and the people who were for Shiz were gathered together to the army of Shiz.”
“Wherefore, they were for the space of FOUR YEARS GATHERING TOGETHER THE PEOPLE, that they might get ALL WHO WERE UPON THE FACE OF THE LAND, and that they might receive ALL THE STRENGTH WHICH IT WAS POSSIBLE THAT THEY COULD RECEIVE.”
“And it came to pass that when they were ALL GATHERED TOGETHER, EVERY ONE to the army which he would, with their WIVES AND THEIR CHILDREN–BOTH MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN…”  (Ether 15:12-15)

Everyone and every means of survival was being destroyed or gathered; and, there’s no third part—it was either Shiz or Coraintumr. Unless the Lord led a small righteous part out of the land… but then, that would cut the Jaredites from the rest of the Book of Mormon, too, so this theory of surviving Jaredites just doesn’t really seem to fit.

Does it talk anywhere else in the Book of Mormon about the Jaredite destruction?
We read that:
“And they gave an account of one CORIANTUMR, and THE SLAIN OF HIS PEOPLE. And Coriantumr was discovered by the people of Zarahemla; and he dwelt with them for the space of nine moons” (Omni 1:21).
One might say, well, “the slain of his people” could mean just that–just his people, and not all the others. Yes, I agree. But then, in the next verse, it says:
“It also spake a few words concerning his fathers. And his first parents came out from the tower, at the time the Lord CONFOUNDED THE LANGUAGE OF THE PEOPLE; and the severity of the Lord fell UPON THEM according to his judgments, which are just; and their bones lay scattered in the land northward” (Omni 1:22).
It seems to mean that “[Coriantumr’s] first parents” and theirs were all destroyed, not just Coriantumr’s people.
We also know the situation with the Gadianton Robbers:  join, or be completely destroyed.

Anyone left outside the walls in the area would have not lasted long, no matter how neutral or small they wanted to remain or be.

No groups could remain neutral here–it was for one side or the other, or be killed. Remaining physically neutral is not a one-sided, personal decision! As many sides have said in many conflicts, “if you’re not for us, you’re against us–” which means you join us or we kill you. I doubt that ANY Jaredites had the choice of “simply refus[ing] to participate in the suicidal madness” and “staying home and minding their meek business in this or that corner of the land.” (And goodness, if any were to have remained as proposed, they would surely have had to leave or run away, not just stay at home.)

-=-=-=
John L. Sorenson:
Lehi’s final prophecy to his children foreshadowed this happening. He said, It is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations; for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance. Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, that inasmuch as those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem shall keep his commandments, they shall prosper upon the face of this land; and they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves. And if it so be that they shall keep his commandments they shall be blessed upon the face of this land, and there shall be none to molest them, nor to take away the land of their inheritance … . But behold, when the time cometh that they shall dwindle in unbelief, after they have received so great blessings from the hand of the Lord, … I say, if the day shall come that they will reject the Holy One of Israel, the true Messiah, their Redeemer and their God, behold, the judgments of him that is just shall rest upon them. Yea, he will bring other nations unto them, and he will give unto them power, and he will take away from them the lands of their possessions, and he will cause them to be scattered and smitten. Yea, as one generation passeth to another there shall be bloodsheds, and great visitations among them. (2 Nephi 1:8-12)

**** No matter how true this might or might not be, I still fail to find a relation to “[foreshadowing] this happening.”

-=-=-=
John L. Sorenson:
How much time can we suppose elapsed between the time when Lehi’s descendants “dwindle[d] in unbelief” and when the Lord brought “other nations unto them”? How distant were those “other nations” at the time Lehi spoke? Latter-day Saints generally have supposed that the “other nations” were the Gentile (Christian) nations of Europe who began to reach the New World only 500 years ago. To believe so requires limited imagination.

**** Maybe a reason that many Latter-day Saints think that way is because of scriptures like Mormon 5:19: “And behold, the Lord hath reserved their blessings, which they might have received in the land, for the Gentiles who shall possess the land.”

Or perhaps 3 Nephi 16:4, which says “And I command you that ye shall write these sayings after I am gone, that if it so be that my people at Jerusalem, they who have seen me and been with me in my ministry, do not ask the Father in my name, that they may receive a knowledge of you by the Holy Ghost, and also of the other tribes whom they know not of, that these sayings which ye shall write shall be kept and shall be manifested unto the Gentiles, that through the fulness of the Gentiles, the remnant of their seed, who shall be scattered forth upon the face of the earth because of their unbelief, may be brought in, or may be brought to a knowledge of me, their Redeemer.”

Beware the suppositions of man.

-=-=-=
John L. Sorenson:
As for the Lamanites, they dwindled in unbelief within a few years. Alma said that “the Lamanites have been cut off from his presence, from the beginning of their transgressions in the land” (Alma 9:14). How then could Lehi’s prophecy about “other nations” being brought in have been kept long in abeyance after that?

**** And what about the interpretation of “dwindle in unbelief”? Who would like to show that “dwindle/dwindled in unbelief” is equivalent to “cut off”?

****That wasn’t his prophecy. This was: 2 Nephi 1:9: “Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, that inasmuch as those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem shall keep his commandments, they shall prosper upon the face of this land; and they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves. And if it so be that they shall keep his commandments they shall be blessed upon the face of this land, and there shall be none to molest them, nor to take away the land of their inheritance; and they shall dwell safely forever.
2 Nephi 1:10: But behold, when the time cometh that they shall dwindle in unbelief, after they have received so great blessings from the hand of the Lord–having a knowledge of the creation of the earth, and all men, knowing the great and marvelous works of the Lord from the creation of the world; having power given them to do all things by faith; having all the commandments from the beginning, and having been brought by his infinite goodness into this precious land of promise–behold, I say, if the day shall come that they will reject the Holy One of Israel, the true Messiah, their Redeemer and their God, behold, the judgments of him that is just shall rest upon them.
2 Nephi 1:11: Yea, he will bring other nations unto them, and he will give unto them power, and he will take away from them the lands of their possessions, and he will cause them to be scattered and smitten.
2 Nephi 1:12: Yea, as one generation passeth to another there shall be bloodsheds, and great visitations among them; wherefore, my sons, I would that ye would remember; yea, I would that ye would hearken unto my words.”

As the Lamanites remained in power until at least the destruction of the Nephites, this couldn’t include people before that time.

Also, it was the Nephites who dwindled in unbelief, as the Lamanites taught their children to not believe–resulting in a big immediate cutting off, not a dwindling.

Lehi probably knew that Laman and Lemuel would rebel and teach their children to rebel, so it wouldn’t mean them at the very beginning.

-=-=-=

Michael R. Ash:
Lehi’s sermon in 2 Nephi 1:6–11 seems to preclude non-Lehite inhabitants in the “land of promise.” Traditional, and perhaps erroneous, interpretations arise when we read Lehi’s remarks that “shall none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord” (v. 6), and that the promised land “should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations; for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance” (v. 8). Lehi told his children that if they remained righteous that they would prosper and “be kept from all other nations” so that they would “possess” the land “unto themselves” (v. 9).

On the surface, this seems to support the traditional interpretation that the Lehites were the primary progenitors for the American Indians. A closer look at 2 Nephi, however, is helpful. This chapter takes place some time shortly after the Lehites arrived in the New World (before Nephi and his brothers separated and before the first use of the terms Nephite and Lamanite). Lehi, who is nearing death, spoke to his posterity with counsel and warning. He said that the land of promise was offered by the Lord in covenant to Lehi, his children, and “all those who should be led out of other countries by the hand of the Lord” (v. 5, emphasis added) and that none would come to the land except those brought by the hand of the Lord (and we can certainly presume that the Lord brought others into the promised land prior to, during, and after Lehi’s arrival).

****On what foundation we can “presume”, I have no idea. Perhaps the author would like to elaborate and enlighten.

-=-=-=—
John L. Sorenson:
Such statements do not preclude the possibility that others already lived in the land of promise. The Lord promised that other nations—which up till this point had referred to Old World nations—would not know about and overrun their land.

****I’m sorry, I don’t understand how the author understands that the Lord meant Old World nations. Perhaps the author would like to elaborate here, too.

-=-=-=
John L. Sorenson:
(Imagine the changes that may have happened had the New World been common knowledge among European and Old World nations of Lehi’s day!)

****It doesn’t, but that’s not what the author’s trying to prove–he’s trying to prove that they did exist.

-=-=-=
John L. Sorenson:
The promise to keep the land secure has a caveat; as long as those brought from Jerusalem (Lehi and his family) remain righteous, they would prosper and be “kept from other nations” (v. 9). Lehi warned, however, that the time would come that they would “dwindle in unbelief” (v. 10) after which the Lord would allow “other nations” to take their possessions and cause them to be “scattered and smitten” (v. 11). While traditional LDS thought has supposed that this refers to the coming of the Spaniards (which may possibly account for a future and dual fulfillment of Lehi’s prophecy), Lehi immediately launched into an exhortation to his children telling them that as “one generation passeth to another there shall be bloodshed” (v. 12). This suggests that Lehi suspected the coming of “other nations” in the near future. The appearance of the “other nations” is directly linked to not only the wickedness of Lehi’s descendants, but also to a scattering and smiting of those who become wicked.

****Here we have a strong interpretation of scripture. Let’s look at 2 Nephi 1:9 again:
“Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, that inasmuch as THOSE WHOM THE LORD GOD SHALL BRING OUT OF THE LAND OF JERUSALEM shall keep his commandments, they shall prosper upon the face of this land; and they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves. And if it so be that they shall keep his commandments they shall be blessed upon the face of this land, and there shall be none to molest them, nor to take away the land of their inheritance; and they shall dwell safely forever.”
To me this is not just Lehi and his family. We know, for example, about the “Mulekites”.

I also see no relationship or correlation between “one generation passeth to another there shall be bloodshed” and how “this suggests that Lehi suspected the coming of ‘other nations’ in the near future”.

-=-=-=
John L. Sorenson:
Shortly thereafter (chapter 5) we find that Laman and Lemuel were so unrighteous that they wanted to kill Nephi. It is at this point that Nephi and his followers (now called “Nephites”) separate themselves from his brothers and their followers (now called “Lamanites”). According to Lehi’s prophecy, when his children became unrighteous the Lord would allow “other nations” to smite them (2 Nephi 1:11). This wouldn’t be possible unless there were already others present, or others arrived immediately after Laman and Lemuel fell back into their unrighteous habits.

****2 Nephi 1:11 reads:
“Yea, he will bring other nations unto them, and he will give unto them power, and he will take away from them the lands of their possessions, and he will cause them to be scattered and smitten.” And yet, there is nothing about the Lamanites fighting wars with anyone other than the Nephites, even after the destruction of the Nephites. Moroni says that:
“And behold, the Lamanites have hunted my people, the Nephites, down from city to city and from place to place, even until they are no more; and great has been their fall; yea, great and marvelous is the destruction of my people, the Nephites” (Mormon 8:7).
“And behold, it is the hand of the Lord which hath done it. And behold also, the Lamanites are at war one with another; and the whole face of this land is one continual round of murder and bloodshed; and no one knoweth the end of the war” (Mormon 8:8).
“And now, behold, I say no more concerning them, for there are none save it be the Lamanites and robbers that do exist upon the face of the land” (Mormon 8:9).
Where are the others that were to smite the Lamanites, and scatter them, and take the lands of their possessions? Nowhere there!

-=-=-=-
John L. Sorenson:
And in fulfillment of Lehi’s prophesy, when Nephi departed he took away the Liahona, the plates of brass, and the sword of Laban (the “possessions” important to the Lehites). In time we read how the Lamanites were “scattered and smitten.” Several centuries later, we find Alma exhorting his people to righteousness and recounting the story of Nephi’s wayward brothers as an example of the consequences of wickedness (Alma 9:13-14) . Now the Nephites were becoming wicked and were at risk for the same fate. We see the prophecies of Lehi—the promises and curses (which would include the invasion of “others”)—as having already been (or continuing to be) fulfilled.

****Sorry! This is just plain false. We don’t see anything in Alma 9, or elsewhere, about how the Lamanites are scattered and smitten, as the author says.

-=-=-=-
John L. Sorenson:
Accordingly, it seems that a possible scenario might be thus: When the Lehites arrived they would have found sparse communities of “others” (perhaps too small to be called “nations”) in their new land. The Lehites would have continued to peacefully coexist (perhaps even intermingling) with these “others,” pursuant to their righteousness. The wickedness of the Lamanites, however, might have brought aggressive “others” (“other nations”) into the Lehite colony who could have merged with the Lamanites and joined in their quest to destroy the Nephites (who may also have joined with peaceful “others”). When the Nephites separated from the Lamanites the promises and warnings of Lehi would have been realized (and like many prophecies in the Bible, may have seen multiple fulfillment).

****Here’s a more probable scenario:
“But behold, when the time cometh that THEY SHALL DWINDLE IN UNBELIEF, AFTER THEY HAVE RECEIVED SO GREAT BLESSINGS FROM THE HAND OF THE LORD–having a knowledge of the creation of the earth, and all men, KNOWING THE GREAT AND MARVELOUS WORKS OF THE LORD from the creation of the world; HAVING POWER GIVEN THEM TO DO ALL THINGS BY FAITH; having all the commandments from the beginning, and having been brought by his infinite goodness into this precious land of promise–behold, I say, if the day shall come that they will reject the Holy One of Israel, the true Messiah, their Redeemer and their God, behold, the judgments of him that is just shall rest upon them” (2 Nephi 1:10).
“Yea, he will BRING OTHER NATIONS UNTO THEM, and HE WILL GIVE UNTO THEM POWER, and he will TAKE AWAY FROM THEM THE LANDS OF THEIR POSSESSIONS, and he will CAUSE THEM TO BE SCATTERED AND SMITTEN” (2 Nephi 1:11).

First of all, we see that the Lamanites, for a long time, don’t fit the description given in verse 10; only the Nephites do. So, the author’s interpretation is already off.

Secondly, we see that the Lamanites DO fit the description of other nations given power to “take away” Nephite lands and cause the Nephites “to be scattered and smitten”–in fact, this is the direct promise given to Nephi about the Lamanites (1 Nephi 2:23-24): “For behold, in that day that [the Lamanites] shall rebel against me, I will curse them even with a sore curse, and they shall have no power over thy seed except they shall rebel against me also.”
“And if it so be that [the Lamanites] rebel against me, they shall be a scourge unto thy seed (the Nephites), to stir them up in the ways of remembrance.”
This is also the case of the nation of the Gadianton robbers, when it was a nation.

Third, we see that after the group dwindles after Christ’s visit, the prophecy is fulfilled for the remaining seed, such as with Moron.

Could there have been others who participated also? Once more, the Book of Mormon doesn’t show any did, continually defining the Lamanites and Nephites as seemingly not having outside groups. Though perhaps after Moroni, there were.

-=-=-=-
Matthew Roper:
Is there a distinction, for example, between “nations” and other social groups? Lehi would have been familiar with nations such as Babylon and Egypt that had well-organized armies capable of waging sophisticated warfare and extending their power over large distances. Lehi’s prophecy could allow for smaller societies that did not yet merit the description “nations.” For instance, John L. Sorenson’s model of Book of Mormon geography places the land of Nephi in highland Guatemala near the site of Kaminaljuyú. At the time Nephi and his people separated from Laman’s followers to found their own settlement in the early sixth century B.C., archaeological evidence shows that that region had only scattered, sparsely populated villages.57 Also, to “possess this land unto themselves” does not necessarily mean to be the only inhabitants but can also mean–as it often does in Book of Mormon contexts–that a group has the ability to control and exercise authority over the land and its resources (see, for example, Mosiah 19:15; 23:29; 24:2; Alma 27:22, 26).58

****I can agree with this meaning of “possess”.

-=-=-=-
Matthew Roper:
Significantly, however, even Lehi’s statement about “other nations” is conditional. Lehi indicates that the promised protection from threatening nations would be removed when his children dwindled in unbelief. John L. Sorenson has observed that the Lamanites, at least, dwindled in unbelief from the beginning.

****Did the Lamanites “DWINDLE”? See the part about “dwindling” above.

How possible is it that this “dwindling” refers to the Lamanites, from the beginning? The following verses in the Book of Mormon show how all the prophets, from Nephi to Moroni, interpreted this “DWINDLE” to mean from about 400 years after Christ, and on:
Nephi records:
“AND it came to pass that the angel said unto me: Look, and behold thy seed, and also the seed of thy brethren. And I looked and beheld the land of promise; and I beheld multitudes of people, yea, even as it were in number as many as the sand of the sea.”
“And it came to pass that I beheld multitudes gathered together to battle, one against the other; and I beheld wars, and rumors of wars, and great slaughters with the sword among my people.”
“And it came to pass that I beheld many generations pass away, after the manner of wars and contentions in the land; and I beheld many cities, yea, even that I did not number them.”
“And it came to pass that I saw a mist of darkness on the face of the land of promise; and I saw lightnings, and I heard thunderings, and earthquakes, and all manner of tumultuous noises; and I saw the earth and the rocks, that they rent; and I saw mountains tumbling into pieces; and I saw the plains of the earth, that they were broken up; and I saw many cities that they were sunk; and I saw many that they were burned with fire; and I saw many that did tumble to the earth, because of the quaking thereof” (1 Nephi 12:1-4)

“And while the angel spake these words, I beheld and saw that the seed of my brethren did contend against my seed, according to the word of the angel; and because of the pride of my seed, and the temptations of the devil, I beheld that the seed of my brethren did overpower the people of my seed.”
“And it came to pass that I beheld, and saw the people of the seed of my brethren that they had overcome my seed; and they went forth in multitudes upon the face of the land.”
“And I saw them gathered together in multitudes; and I saw wars and rumors of wars among them; and in wars and rumors of wars I saw many generations pass away.”
“And the angel said unto me: Behold these shall DWINDLE IN UNBELIEF.”
“And it came to pass that I beheld, after they had DWINDLED IN UNBELIEF they became a dark, and loathsome, and a filthy people, full of idleness and all manner of abominations” (1 Nephi 12:19-23).

1 Nephi 13:35 “For, behold, saith the Lamb: I will manifest myself unto thy seed, that they shall write many things which I shall minister unto them, which shall be plain and precious; and after thy seed shall be destroyed, and DWINDLE IN UNBELIEF, and also the seed of thy brethren, behold, these things shall be hid up, to come forth unto the Gentiles, by the gift and power of the Lamb.”

1 Nephi 15:13 “And now, the thing which our father meaneth concerning the grafting in of the natural branches through the fulness of the Gentiles, is, that in the latter days, when our seed shall have DWINDLED IN UNBELIEF, yea, for the space of many years, and many generations after the Messiah shall be manifested in body unto the children of men, then shall the fulness of the gospel of the Messiah come unto the Gentiles, and from the Gentiles unto the remnant of our seed–”

1 Nephi 15:18 Wherefore, our father hath not spoken of our seed alone, but also of all the house of Israel, pointing to the covenant which should be fulfilled in the latter days; which covenant the Lord made to our father Abraham, saying: In thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.

2 Nephi 26:15 After my seed and the seed of my brethren shall have DWINDLED IN UNBELIEF, and shall have been smitten by the Gentiles; yea, after the Lord God shall have camped against them round about, and shall have laid siege against them with a mount, and raised forts against them; and after they shall have been brought down low in the dust, even that they are not, yet the words of the righteous shall be written, and the prayers of the faithful shall be heard, and all those who have DWINDLED IN UNBELIEF shall not be forgotten.

2 Nephi 26:17 For thus saith the Lord God: They shall write the things which shall be done among them, and they shall be written and sealed up in a book, and those who have DWINDLED IN UNBELIEF shall not have them, for they seek to destroy the things of God.

2 Nephi 26:19 And it shall come to pass, that those who have DWINDLED IN UNBELIEF shall be smitten by the hand of the Gentiles.

Alma the younger says this:
“And these are the words: Behold, I perceive that this very people, the Nephites, according to the spirit of revelation which is in me, in four hundred years from the time that Jesus Christ shall manifest himself unto them, shall DWINDLE IN UNBELIEF.”
“Yea, and then shall they see wars and pestilences, yea, famines and bloodshed, even until the people of Nephi shall become extinct–”
“Yea, and this because they shall DWINDLE IN UNBELIEF and fall into the works of darkness, and lasciviousness, and all manner of iniquities; yea, I say unto you, that because they shall sin against so great light and knowledge, yea, I say unto you, that from that day, even the fourth generation shall not all pass away before this great iniquity shall come” (Alma 45:10-12).

Samuel the Lamanite says:
“Yea, even if they should DWINDLE IN UNBELIEF the Lord shall prolong their days, until the time shall come which hath been spoken of by our fathers, and also by the prophet Zenos, and many other prophets, concerning the restoration of our brethren, the Lamanites, again to the knowledge of the truth–”
“Yea, I say unto you, that in the latter times the promises of the Lord have been extended to our brethren, the Lamanites; and notwithstanding the many afflictions which they shall have, and notwithstanding they shall be driven to and fro upon the face of the earth, and be hunted, and shall be smitten and scattered abroad, having no place for refuge, the Lord shall be merciful unto them” (Helaman 15:11-12).

Helaman 15:15 “For behold, had the mighty works been shown unto them which have been shown unto you, yea, unto them who have DWINDLED IN UNBELIEF because of the traditions of their fathers, ye can see of yourselves that they never would again have DWINDLED IN UNBELIEF” (Helaman 15:15).

Jesus says:
3 Nephi 21:5 Therefore, when these works and the works which shall be wrought among you hereafter shall come forth from the Gentiles, unto your seed which shall DWINDLE IN UNBELIEF because of iniquity;

Mormon also says:
4 Nephi 1:34 Nevertheless, the people did harden their hearts, for they were led by many priests and false prophets to build up many churches, and to do all manner of iniquity. And they did smite upon the people of Jesus; but the people of Jesus did not smite again. And thus they did DWINDLE IN UNBELIEF and wickedness, from year to year, even until two hundred and thirty years had passed away.
4 Nephi 1:38 And it came to pass that they who rejected the gospel were called Lamanites, and Lemuelites, and Ishmaelites; and they did not DWINDLE IN UNBELIEF, but they did wilfully rebel against the gospel of Christ; and they did teach their children that they should not believe, even as their fathers, from the beginning, did DWINDLE.
Mormon 9:35 And these things are written that we may rid our garments of the blood of our brethren, who have DWINDLED IN UNBELIEF.
Ether 4:3 And now, after that, they have all DWINDLED IN UNBELIEF; and there is none save it be the Lamanites, and they have rejected the gospel of Christ; therefore I am commanded that I should hide them up again in the earth.

Mormon says:
Alma 50:22 And those who were faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord were delivered at all times, whilst thousands of their wicked brethren have been consigned to bondage, or to perish by the sword, or to DWINDLE IN UNBELIEF, and mingle with the Lamanites.
Mosiah 10:17 And thus they have taught their children that they should hate them, and that they should murder them, and that they should rob and plunder them, and do all they could to destroy them; therefore they have an eternal hatred towards the children of Nephi.
Mosiah 1:5 I say unto you, my sons, were it not for these things, which have been kept and preserved by the hand of God, that we might read and understand of his mysteries, and have his commandments always before our eyes, that even our fathers would have DWINDLED IN UNBELIEF, and we should have been like unto our brethren, the Lamanites, who know nothing concerning these things, or even do not believe them when they are taught them, because of the traditions of their fathers, which are not correct.

-=-=-=
John L. Sorenson:
Furthermore, the early Nephites generally did the same thing within a few centuries. Their wickedness and apostasy culminated in the escape of Mosiah and his group from the land of Nephi to the land of Zarahemla (see Omni 1:13-14). And if the Lord somehow did not at those times bring in “other nations,” then surely he would have done so after Cumorah, 1100 years prior to Columbus. Even if there were no massive armed invasions of strange groups to be reported, we need not be surprised if relatively small groups of strange peoples who were neither so numerous nor so organized as to be rivals for control of the land could have been scattered or infiltrated among both Nephites and Lamanites without their constituting the “other nations” in the threatening sense of Lehi’s prophecy. Thus in the terms of Lehi’s prophecy, “others” could and probably even should have been close at hand and available for the Lord to use as instruments against the straying covenant peoples any time after the arrival of Nephi’s boat.59

****I don’t feel very assured when I hear a mortal explain what the Lord “surely” “would have done”, and how other nations “could and probably even should” have been there to fulfill the prophecies according to a personal interpretation. I am more comfortable with something like “a possibility and even probability is that after Cumorah and before Columbus, “others” were brought into the land”.

-=-=-=-
Matthew Roper:
Scriptural Support for the Presence of Others, Prophecies about the Scattering
The scriptural evidence against the presence of others, then, is sparse and unimpressive. The scriptural evidence for the presence of others, however, is abundant. For instance, prophecies from the Old Testament would have led Lehi’s people to expect to be placed in a new land in the midst of other people. The prophets of ancient Israel had foretold that the tribes of Israel would be “scatter[ed] … among all people” (Deuteronomy 28:64) and “removed to all the kingdoms of the earth” (Jeremiah 29:18) and that they would become “wanderers among the nations” (Hosea 9:17). Further, Moses informed them, “The Lord shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the Lord shall lead you” (Deuteronomy 4:27). These prophecies make plain that the whole house of Israel was subject to being scattered among non-Israelite peoples who would be more numerous than they.60 Lehi taught his children that they should consider themselves to be a part of this scattering: “Yea, even my father spake much concerning the Gentiles, and also concerning the house of Israel, that they should be compared like unto an olive-tree, whose branches should be broken off and should be scattered upon all the face of the earth. Wherefore, he said it must needs be that we should be led with one accord into the land of promise, unto the fulfilling of the word of the Lord, that we should be scattered” (1 Nephi 10:12-13).

The allegory of the olive tree, as recounted by Jacob, spells their fate out even more plainly. Branches broken off the tame tree, which represents historical Israel (Jacob 5:3), are to be grafted onto the roots of wild trees, meaning non-Israelite groups. In other words, there is to be a demographic union between two groups, with “young and tender branches” from the original tree, Israel, being grafted onto wild rootstock in various parts of the vineyard or the earth (Jacob 5:8; see also 14). Jacob 5:25 and 43 clearly identify Lehi’s people as such a broken-off branch. That branch is to be planted in the choicest spot of the vineyard. In that prime location, the Lord has already cut down “that which cumbered this spot of ground” (Jacob 5:44)–clearly a reference to the destruction of the Jaredites.61 In addition, the statement that one part of the new hybrid tree “brought forth good fruit,” while the other portion “brought forth wild fruit,” is an obvious reference to the Nephites and Lamanites respectively (Jacob 5:45).

So the Lehite “tree” of the allegory consists of a population geographically “transplanted” from the original Israelite promised land and “grafted” onto a wild root–or joined with non-Israelite people. Note that the Lord considers the new root to be “good” despite its being wild (Jacob 5:48). This allegorical description requires that a non-Israelite root–other peoples, in terms of this discussion–already be present on the scene where the “young and tender branch,” Lehi’s group, would be merged with them.

****A strong point. Of course, this depends on how far you want to carry the literalness of the allegory. For example, notice in the allegory that the branches are both the gentiles and the Israelites, not that the roots are gentiles and the branches are Israelites. The emphasis is on the branches, yet how can you have branches without roots? What or who are the roots?

-=-=-=–
Matthew Roper:
Open-ended Promises concerning the Land
Book of Mormon prophets describe for latter-day readers the responsibilities that rest upon those who inherit the land of promise. But these conditions did not begin with Lehi’s family or even with the Jaredites; this land has been one of promise from its beginning (Ether 13:2).62 Those conditions specify that the people and nations who inhabit the land are to be free from bondage, captivity, and “all other nations under heaven” if they will serve God (Ether 2:12). The reverse is also implicit in Moroni’s statement: those who do not serve God have no promised protection and may expect to be subjected to bondage, captivity, and affliction by other nations who will come to the land and exercise God’s judgment upon them. Some people, then, are brought to the land for their righteousness, and others are brought to scourge the inhabitants. Moroni also states that unrighteous nations or people may be swept off the face of the land, but “it is not until the fulness of iniquity among the children of the land, that they are swept off” (Ether 2:10), suggesting that those peoples who do not reach a “fulness of iniquity” may yet remain in the land.

“And he raiseth up a righteous nation, and destroyeth the nations of the wicked. And he leadeth away the righteous into precious lands, and the wicked he destroyeth, and curseth the land unto them for their sakes” (1 Nephi 17:37-38). Nephi’s statement in the context of his own family’s journey to a New World land of promise suggests that their experience is not unique but indicative of the activities of other groups. Upon his family’s arrival, Lehi explained the nature of the covenant by which they would inherit the land. The Lord had led them out of the land of Jerusalem, “but, said he, notwithstanding our afflictions, we have obtained a land of promise, a land which is choice above all other lands; a land which the Lord God hath covenanted with me should be a land for the inheritance of my seed. Yea, the Lord hath covenanted this land unto me, and to my children forever, and also all those who should be led out of other countries by the hand of the Lord?” (2 Nephi 1:5). We know that the Mulekites were, like the Lehites, led out of the land of Jerusalem “by the hand of the Lord” (Omni 1:16). Lehi’s reference to “other countries” suggests countries other than the land of Jerusalem. Modern readers may correctly include in that category gentile peoples who migrated to this hemisphere during historic times, yet Lehi does not limit the application to post-Columbian gentile groups. Their identity is left open and unspecified.

“Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring. And if it so be that they shall serve him according to the commandments which he hath given, it shall be a land of liberty unto them; wherefore, they shall never be brought down into captivity; if so, it shall be because of iniquity; for if iniquity shall abound cursed shall be the land for their sakes, but unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever.” (2 Nephi 1:7)

Lehi’s words parallel similar promises in both the Book of Mormon and latter-day revelation:
“Cursed shall be the land, yea, this land, unto every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, unto destruction, which do wickedly, when they are fully ripe.” (Alma 45:16)

“And thus the Lord did pour out his blessings upon this land, which was choice above all other lands; and he commanded that whoso should possess the land should possess it unto the Lord, or they should be destroyed when they were ripened in iniquity; for upon such, saith the Lord: I will pour out the fulness of my wrath.” (Ether 9:20)

“And I said unto them, that it should be granted unto them according to their faith in their prayers; yea, and this was their faith–that my gospel, which I gave unto them that they might preach in their days, might come unto their brethren the Lamanites, and also all that had become Lamanites because of their dissensions. Now, this is not all–their faith in their prayers was that this gospel should be made known also, if it were possible that other nations should possess this land; and thus they did leave a blessing upon this land in their prayers, that whosoever should believe in this gospel in this land might have eternal life; yea, that it might be free unto all of whatsoever nation, kindred, tongue, or people they may be.” (D&C 10:47-52)

In both the Book of Mormon and modern-day scripture, the language of the scriptural promises concerning the land is open-ended. It refers to “whoso should possess the land” (Ether 2:8), “whatsoever nation” (Ether 2:9, 12), “he that doth possess it” (Ether 2:10), “all men … who dwell upon the face thereof” (Ether 13:2), “whosoever should believe in this gospel in this land” (D&C 10:50), “all of whatsoever nation, kindred, tongue, or people they may be” (D&C 10:51). The covenant conditions under which blessings may be inherited are explained, while the identification of who may inherit them is left unspecified in terms of both identification and time. Whoever they are, whenever they come, whatever their origins, the Book of Mormon makes clear that “this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring” (2 Nephi 1:7).

****Yes, but these things should be interpreted according to the limits given by the Book of Mormon, and also remember that this openness does in no way prove others coexisting with and integrating with the Lehites at all.

-=-=-=
Matthew Roper:
Significantly, at this point in the text Nephi introduces the term people of Nephi for the first time in reference to his followers (2 Nephi 5:9), a term that may be suggestive of a larger society including more than his immediate family.

It is also at this point that the term Lamanite first appears. Nephi explains that he made preparations to defend his people “lest by any means the people who were now called Lamanites should come upon us and destroy us; for I knew their hatred towards me and my children and those who were called my people” (2 Nephi 5:14). As demographer James Smith observes, “One reading of the latter phrase is that ‘Lamanites’ is a new name for the family and followers of Laman, Nephi’s brother-enemy from whom Nephi fled. Another possible reading is that some people not previously called ‘Lamanites’ were now so called, presumably because of Laman’s affiliation with them.”63

****I’m not sure what the great emphasis in many writers on talking about “Nephite”, “Lamanite”, “people of Nephi”, etc. is. Possible, yes, yet it would be hard to fit in with the Book of Mormon text. Another much easier, clearer, and more sensible possibility is that after the split they realized they were different peoples and named the groups. Note also that there is a failure to mention any other group by any name.

-=-=-=
Matthew Roper:
After explaining how he and his people separated themselves from Laman, Lemuel, the sons of Ishmael, and their people and having told how the people of Nephi became established in the land, Nephi quotes a prophecy of the Lord. “And cursed shall be the seed of him that mixeth with their seed; for they shall be cursed even with the same cursing. And the Lord spake it, and it was done” (2 Nephi 5:23). This prophecy anticipates future mixing and intermarriage with the Lamanites, but the immediacy of Nephi’s personal observation that “the Lord spake it, and it was done” suggests that the process was already underway at the time Nephi left or very shortly after the separation. That is, unidentified people had, at this early period, already joined with the Lamanites in their opposition to Nephi and his people and had become like them, and Nephi saw this event as a fulfillment of the Lord’s prophecy.

Since Nephite dissensions are not explicitly mentioned until several generations later,64 Nephi’s statement about unidentified peoples intermarrying with the Lamanites seems to indicate the presence of other non-Lehite peoples who had joined or were joining the Lamanites.

****I believe this to be an incorrect interpretation of the scripture. “And the Lord spake it, and it was done” reads better as a separate verse–it refers to the whole curse, not to that particular portion of the curse.
Also, remember that Alma 47:35 says, “…yea, he was acknowledged king throughout all the land, among all the people of the Lamanites, who were composed of the Lamanites and the Lemuelites and the Ishmaelites, and all the DISSENTERS OF THE NEPHITES, FROM THE REIGN OF NEPHI DOWN TO THE PRESENT TIME.” There were dissenters from the very beginning; therefore, any need for others to fulfill this prophecy/ curse is clearly dismissed by this verse.

-=-=-=–
Matthew Roper:
In light of the possibility that additional non-Lehite peoples had united with both the Nephites and the Lamanites, the teachings of Nephi and Jacob relating to Isaiah take on greater significance. After explaining that “we had already had wars and contentions with” the Lamanites (2 Nephi 5:34), Nephi inserts a lengthy sermon delivered by his brother Jacob (2 Nephi 6-10). Jacob indicates that he has previously spoken about “many things” (2 Nephi 6:2) but that Nephi now wants him to preach from Isaiah. In fact, Jacob says that Nephi had even selected the scriptural passages he was to discuss: prophecies of Isaiah that concerned the relationship between scattered Israel and the Gentiles (2 Nephi 6:4). Further, Jacob asks his people to liken these passages from Isaiah to their present situation (2 Nephi 6:5) and suggests that the application of these teachings concerns “things which are” as well as things “which are to come” (2 Nephi 6:4). As Latter-day Saints, we quite appropriately focus on the latter, but what was the context that made likening Isaiah’s words to themselves meaningful to the Nephites?
Jacob prophesies that in the latter days some Jews will reject the Messiah and be destroyed, while others will believe and be saved (2 Nephi 6:14-15). Jacob also interprets Isaiah as referring to two distinct groups of Gentiles: those who nourish and unite with Israel (2 Nephi 6:12; 10:18-19), and those who fight against Zion (2 Nephi 6:13; 10:16). In the latter days, both groups of Gentiles will play an active role in the drama of Israel’s gathering and redemption. “Wherefore, he that fighteth against Zion, both Jew and Gentile, both bond and free, both male and female, shall perish; for they are they who are the whore of all the earth; for they who are not for me are against me, saith our God” (2 Nephi 10:16). Certainly, Jacob’s sermon looks to the future, but I am persuaded that in likening Jacob’s teachings to themselves, Nephite contemporary listeners would have drawn the obvious parallel with their own situation. As a branch of scattered Israel in a new land of promise, they sought to establish Zion but were opposed, hated, and persecuted by their former brethren. Even when Jacob applies these prophecies to the latter days, his words have immediate relevance to his contemporary listeners, who would likely have seen their Lamanite persecutors as the “Jews” of Jacob’s prophecy and the “Gentiles” as those non-Lehite peoples who had joined with the Lamanites against the people of Nephi.

****More than likely, they were thinking of themselves as Israelites and the Lamanites (“both Jew and Gentile”) as those who “shall perish” for fighting against them (“fighteth against Zion”).

-=-=-=
Matthew Roper:
However, in his application of Isaiah to the Lehites, Jacob explains that not all Gentiles would oppose Zion and that some would be joint heirs with the people of Lehi in the blessings of the land: “But behold, this land, said God, shall be a land of thine inheritance, and the Gentiles shall be blessed upon the land” (2 Nephi 10:10). How would the Gentiles in the land be blessed? By being numbered among the children of Lehi.

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, thus saith our God: I will afflict thy seed by the hand of the Gentiles; nevertheless, I will soften the hearts of the Gentiles, that they shall be like unto a father to them; wherefore, the Gentiles shall be blessed and numbered among the house of Israel. Wherefore, I will consecrate this land unto thy seed, and them who shall be numbered among thy seed, forever, for the land of their inheritance; for it is a choice land, saith God unto me, above all other lands, wherefore I will have all men that dwell thereon that they shall worship me, saith God.” (2 Nephi 10:18-19)

The Lord’s promise, delivered to the people of Nephi by Jacob, is a perpetual one, having application from their own time forward.

****So everyone living in the Americas will be Lehi’s seed? I don’t think that’s what the verses mean, but that is what I think is being unrealizingly said. I don’t see a necessary connection between “blessed and numbered among the house of Israel” and “them who shall be numbered among thy seed”.

-=-=-=
Matthew Roper:
In the context of its time, Jacob’s sermon can be read as addressing the immediate question of how Lehite Israel was to relate to and interact with non-Lehite peoples in the promised land. The answer was that they might, if they so chose, join with the people of God in seeking to build up Zion as joint inheritors of the land. Once they did so, they too became Israel and were numbered with Lehi’s seed. Some have wondered why, if other people were present in the land during Book of Mormon times, they were not mentioned more frequently in the record.
—-
****I would hesitate to use “more frequently”, as the latter implies that they are mentioned–yet I haven’t seen that they are.

-=-=-=
Matthew Roper:
The precedent of making no distinction between Lehi’s descendants and converts from the rest of the population, introduced by the Nephites’ first priest, would have been foundational to the unity of Nephite society, would have influenced the words of later Nephite prophets, and may have set the additional precedent of viewing all peoples in the land in polar terms, such as Zion/ Babylon or Nephite/ Lamanite. Previous cultural identity would have been swallowed up in this polarized frame of reference.

****Yet it isn’t, with the examples given in the Book of Mormon. We have record of the joining of the Mulekites, and of the conversion and joining of the people of Ammon, and other Lamanites later on; and even many of these authors in John L. Sorenson et.al. make it a point to try to prove that many of these groups remained separate and distinct, even many years after combining with the Lamanites. Seems wishy-washy to me.

And what influence do you see that this had on the “words of later Nephite prophets”?

-=-=-=–
Matthew Roper:
An example of this process can be seen in the case of Nephi’s righteous brother Sam. When Lehi blesses Sam, he promises, “Blessed art thou, and thy seed; for thou shalt inherit the land like unto thy brother Nephi. And thy seed shall be numbered with his seed; and thou shalt be even like unto thy brother, and thy seed like unto his seed; and thou shalt be blessed in all thy days” (2 Nephi 4:11). Lehi blesses all his children, but only Sam is promised that his seed will be numbered with Nephi’s. Interestingly, when Lehite tribal designations are mentioned, there is no tribe of Sam (Jacob 1:13; 4 Nephi 1:35-38). Why? Apparently because when one is numbered with a people, one takes upon oneself the name and identity of that people. Similarly, Gentiles, once numbered with Israel or Lehi, are thereafter identified with their covenant fathers without respect to biological origin. From then on, they too are simply Israel.

****And Zoram is too, though he isn’t quite Lehi’s seed–then, of course, by the covenant he is, right? So, were Jacob and Joseph numbered with Nephi?

And yet, throughout the Book of Mormon, we read of many different “-ites”. Why were all the sons of Ishmael lumped together?

-=-=-=–
Matthew Roper:
Nephi’s emphasis on the universal nature of God’s love is even more meaningful if written and taught to a people grappling with issues of ethnic and social diversity. “And he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile” (2 Nephi 26:33). Nephites would understand Jews to be those who came out from Jerusalem, yet the additional reference to Gentiles and heathen would only make sense to a Nephite if there were others in the land.

****And what about “black and white, bond and free”? Would that also “only” make sense to the Nephites if “there were others in the land”? So there were also blacks there, right? And slaves/ bondsmen? And they could hear the gospel and join in, right?

-=-=-=
Matthew Roper:
Likening Isaiah unto the Nephites
If there were others in the land, it would also help explain why many of Nephi’s people had difficulty understanding Isaiah, although not all of them did (2 Nephi 25:1-6). Converts who had never lived in the ancient Near East would have lacked the historical and cultural background that made the words of Isaiah “plain” to Nephi.

****True, it would–but not just for converts.

Just Isaiah makes understanding Isaiah difficult! However, Nephi says that it was in particular not knowing “concerning the manner of prophesying among the Jews” (2 Nephi 25:1) that made it difficult, though surely not knowing the background would make it difficult, also. At the least, Nephi’s, Sam’s, and Zoram’s children; along with Jacob and Joseph; and maybe others, had never even seen Jerusalem, and Nephi didn’t teach them the things of the Jews (2 Nephi 25:6). So, while converts would have had problems understanding, so would anyone else in this circumstance. And why must those “others” living in the land be converts? If they were branches of the house of Israel, and they believed the words of Nephi, wouldn’t it be more likely that any “others” (this is a very hypothetical situation for me, yet I must ask it) were already believers, not “converts”?

-=-=-=
Matthew Roper:
It is also apparent that some Isaiah passages cited by Nephite prophets would make better sense to a Nephite if there were others in the land.

****Or, it would make sense if they knew (as they had already been told) that strangers would sometime join their posterity.

-=-=-=
Matthew Roper:
Here we will mention just three.

Strangers join the house of Israel. “For the Lord will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land; and the strangers shall be joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob” (2 Nephi 24:1). Such prophecies may quite pMatthew Roperly be applied to latter-day readers of the Book of Mormon as we liken the scriptures to ourselves, but they need not refer to us exclusively. How would the Nephites have likened this scripture to their own situation, as their prophets invited them to do? They would no doubt recognize the great mercy of the Lord in bringing them out from Jerusalem and saving them from destruction, and they would also see the Lord’s hand in setting them in a new land of promise where they could establish Zion. Significantly, this prophecy would also suggest to the ancient audience that there were “strangers” in the land who had joined or would join with them in accepting the teachings of Nephi and could be numbered with the house of Jacob.

Temples and people. “And it shall come to pass in the last days, when the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (2 Nephi 12:2-3, quoting Isaiah 2:2-3). While there are several ways of reading this passage, the Nephites would likely have thought about their own temple, recently constructed at the direction of Nephi “after the manner of the temple of Solomon” (2 Nephi 5:16). This was the temple at which Jacob taught (Jacob 1:17; 2:11) and likely the one at which Nephi’s own teachings to his people and his quotations of Isaiah were presented. Isaiah’s reference to “many people” coming up to be taught would evoke the idea of people joining the Nephites and accepting their traditions and beliefs.

A confederacy against Zion. Nephi cites Isaiah’s prophecy concerning the alliance of Rezin, king of Syria, and Pekah, king of Israel, against Ahaz, king of Judah (2 Nephi 17-22, quoting Isaiah 7-12). Ephraim, Judah’s brother-tribe, has allied itself with a non-Isaelite nation (Syria), and they seek to depose Ahaz and replace him with someone of their choosing (2 Nephi 17:1-6, quoting Isaiah 7:1-6). Responding to the crisis and the fears of the king and the people of Judah, Isaiah prophesies that the conspiracy of their enemies “shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass” (2 Nephi 17:7, quoting Isaiah 7:7) and urges Ahaz simply to have faith and be faithful (2 Nephi 17:9, quoting Isaiah 7:9). The application to Nephi’s day is plain: In his ambition to gain power and assert his claims to rulership, Laman, leader of the brother-tribe of “the people who were now called Lamanites” (2 Nephi 5:14), has very possibly, like Pekah of Israel, acquired non-Israelite allies and made war on another ruler of Israelite descent, Nephi, and his people (2 Nephi 5:1-3, 14, 19, 34). Perhaps frightened by the superior numbers of their enemies, the people are counseled to trust in the Lord.

****It also makes sense that Nephi and Jacob don’t choose a few verses from here, then from there, etc. They take big sections out–that doesn’t mean that every little thing in each section is specifically and specially fitting to the Nephites at that current time.

-=-=-=
John L. Sorenson:
And if the Lord somehow did not at those times bring in “other nations,” then surely he would have done so after Cumorah, 1100 years prior to Columbus. Even if there were no massive armed invasions of strange groups to be reported, we need not be surprised if relatively small groups of strange peoples who were neither so numerous nor so organized as to be rivals for control of the land could have been scattered or infiltrated among both Nephites and Lamanites without their constituting the “other nations” in the threatening sense of Lehi’s prophecy. Thus in the terms of Lehi’s prophecy, “others” could and probably even should have been close at hand and available for the Lord to use as instruments against the straying covenant peoples any time after the arrival of Nephi’s boat. Archaeology, linguistics, and related areas of study have established beyond doubt that a variety of peoples inhabited virtually every place in the Western Hemisphere a long time ago (with the possible exception of limited regions which may have been more or less unpopulated for the period of a few generations at certain times). The presence of almost 1500 different languages belonging to dozens of major groupings which were found in the Americas when the Europeans arrived can be explained only by supposing that speakers of the ancestral tongues had been in America for thousands of years. The notion that “the Indians” constituted a single ethnic entity is a totally outdated one which neither scholars nor lay people can justifiably believe nowadays. Abundant facts are completely contrary to the idea. The most that is possible is that in some limited territory in a part of America Lehi’s people and those who came with Mulek had their chance to establish their own niches where they could control their own fate. But they were not given thousands of years of isolation to play with. (The Latter-day Saint pioneers in Deseret were allowed only a single generation, from 1847 until the railroad came in 1869, to do the same. After that, competing economic, social, political, and ideological systems directly challenged them, and nearly swallowed them up.) It seems unavoidable that other peoples were in the land, somewhere, when Nephi’s boat landed on the shore of the “west sea,” and quite certainly some of them were survivors from the Jaredite people, as indicated in the book of Ether.

****It doesn’t seem right to put personal limitations on prophecies. Let’s see, Joseph says a Moses will be raised up–and it takes 400 years. Isaiah says Jesus will be born–and that’s maybe 700 years. Daniel speaks about the last days–over 2,000 years. Etc., etc. And Lehi’s seed are still in the Americas, I imagine–I don’t see why we should set a time limit on his prophecies.
There is no immediate cause-effect relationship requirement or limitation shown in this prophecy.

The explanations in this whole section are very imaginative.

Let’s take another look at Lehi’s prophecy, and other similar prophecies:
“Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, that inasmuch as THOSE WHOM THE LORD GOD SHALL BRING OUT OF THE LAND OF JERUSALEM shall keep his commandments, they shall prosper upon the face of this land; and THEY SHALL BE KEPT FROM ALL OTHER NATIONS, that THEY MAY POSSESS THIS LAND UNTO THEMSELVES. And if it so be that they shall keep his commandments they shall be blessed upon the face of this land, and there shall be NONE TO MOLEST THEM, NOR TO TAKE AWAY THE LAND OF THEIR INHERITANCE; and THEY SHALL DWELL SAFELY FOREVER.”
“But behold, when the time cometh that THEY shall DWINDLE IN UNBELIEF, after they have received so great blessings from the hand of the Lord–having a knowledge of the creation of the earth, and all men, knowing the great and marvelous works of the Lord from the creation of the world; having power given them to do all things by faith; having all the commandments from the beginning, and having been brought by his infinite goodness into this precious land of promise–behold, I say, if the day shall come that they will reject the Holy One of Israel, the true Messiah, their Redeemer and their God, behold, the judgments of him that is just shall rest upon them.”
“Yea, he will BRING OTHER NATIONS UNTO THEM, and he will give unto them power, and HE WILL TAKE AWAY FROM THEM THE LANDS OF THEIR POSSESSIONS, and he will cause them to BE SCATTERED AND SMITTEN.”
“Yea, AS ONE GENERATION PASSETH TO ANOTHER THERE SHALL BE BLOODSHEDS, and GREAT VISITATIONS among THEM; wherefore, my sons, I would that ye would remember; yea, I would that ye would hearken unto my words.” (2 Nephi 1:9-12)

It is interesting to me that Lehi does not say “my seed”, or “my seed (along with Zoram) and Ishmael’s seed” here, but “those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem.” It sounds like there might have been others. Of course, it could mean the Mulekites.

Also, Lehi does not say that others will or won’t be in the land–just that his righteous seed will be “kept” to “possess the land unto themselves”. If they keep the commandments, they will be able to keep control of their land in peace. In fact, it sounds like there will be others, but that any others will, at the least, be tolerant of them.

As a reminder, the mistaken explanation of the “dwindling” of the Lamanites has already been explained.

Before this record, we have that of Nephi:
“And it came to pass that I beheld, and saw the people of the seed of my brethren that they had overcome my seed; and they went forth in multitudes upon the face of the land” (1 Nephi 12:20).
“And I saw them gathered together in multitudes; and I saw WARS AND RUMORS OF WARS AMONG THEM; AND IN WARS AND RUMORS OF WARS I SAW MANY GENERATIONS PASS AWAY” (1 Nephi 12:21).
“And the angel said unto me: Behold THESE SHALL DWINDLE IN UNBELIEF” (1 Nephi 12:22).

“And it came to pass that the angel of the Lord spake unto me, saying: Behold, saith the Lamb of God, after I have visited the remnant of the house of Israel–and THIS REMNANT OF WHOM I SPEAK IS THE SEED OF THY FATHER–wherefore, after I HAVE VISITED THEM IN JUDGMENT, and SMITTEN THEM BY THE HAND OF THE GENTILES …” (1 Nephi 13:34).
“For, behold, saith the Lamb: I will manifest myself unto thy seed, that they shall write many things which I shall minister unto them, which shall be plain and precious; and AFTER THY SEED SHALL BE DESTROYED, AND DWINDLE IN UNBELIEF, AND ALSO THE SEED OF THY BRETHREN, behold, these things shall be hid up, to come forth unto the Gentiles, by the gift and power of the Lamb” (1 Nephi 13:35).

Now, here is Alma’s prophecy on this:
“And these are the words: Behold, I perceive that this very people, THE NEPHITES, according to the spirit of revelation which is in me, IN FOUR HUNDRED YEARS FROM THE TIME THAT JESUS CHRIST SHALL MANIFEST HIMSELF UNTO THEM, SHALL DWINDLE IN UNBELIEF” (Alma 45:10).
“Yea, and then shall they see WARS AND PESTILENCES, YEA, FAMINES AND BLOODSHED, even until the people of Nephi shall become extinct–” (Alma 45:11)
“Yea, and this because they shall DWINDLE IN UNBELIEF and fall into the works of darkness, and lasciviousness, and all manner of iniquities; yea, I say unto you, that because they shall sin against so great light and knowledge, yea, I say unto you, that from that day, even the fourth generation shall not all pass away before this great iniquity shall come” (Alma 45:12).
Here’s Mormon’s commentary, in Helaman 6:34:
“And thus we see that the Nephites did BEGIN TO DWINDLE IN UNBELIEF, and grow in wickedness and abominations, while the Lamanites began to grow exceedingly in the knowledge of their God; yea, they did begin to keep his statutes and commandments, and to walk in truth and uprightness before him.”

Samuel the Lamanite, speaking about the Lamanites, says:
“Yea, even IF THEY SHOULD DWINDLE IN UNBELIEF the Lord shall prolong their days, until the time shall come which hath been spoken of by our fathers, and also by the prophet Zenos, and many other prophets, concerning the restoration of our brethren, the Lamanites, again to the knowledge of the truth–” (Helaman 15:11)

The Lord says:
“For it is wisdom in the Father that they (the Gentiles) should be established in this land, and be set up as a free people by the power of the Father, that these things might come forth from them unto a remnant of your seed, that the covenant of the Father may be fulfilled which he hath covenanted with his people, O house of Israel;”
“Therefore, when these works and the works which shall be wrought among you hereafter shall come forth from the Gentiles, UNTO YOUR SEED WHICH SHALL DWINDLE IN UNBELIEF BECAUSE OF INIQUITY;” (3 Nephi 21:4-5)

Later, we read:
“Nevertheless, the people did harden their hearts, for they were led by many priests and false prophets to build up many churches, and to do all manner of iniquity. And they did smite upon the people of Jesus; but the people of Jesus did not smite again. And thus they did DWINDLE IN UNBELIEF AND WICKEDNESS, from year to year, even until two hundred and thirty years had passed away” (4 Nephi 1:34)
“And it came to pass that THEY WHO REJECTED THE GOSPEL WERE CALLED LAMANITES, AND LEMUELITES, AND ISHMAELITES; and THEY DID NOT DWINDLE IN UNBELIEF, BUT THEY DID WILFULLY REBEL AGAINST THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST; and they did teach their children that they should not believe, EVEN AS THEIR FATHERS, FROM THE BEGINNING, DID DWINDLE”. (4 Nephi 1:38)
“And it was because of the wickedness and abomination of their fathers, EVEN AS IT WAS IN THE BEGINNING. And THEY WERE TAUGHT TO HATE THE CHILDREN OF GOD, EVEN AS THE LAMANITES WERE TAUGHT TO HATE THE CHILDREN OF NEPHI FROM THE BEGINNING” (4 Nephi 1:39).

I think it is clear that these prophecies are all talking about the same time–the destruction of the Nephites and the dwindling in unbelief of the Lamanites, about 400 years after Christ—NOT almost 600 years before Christ—a thousand-year difference.

It also makes the point that the Lamanites probably did not “dwindle in unbelief” at the beginning—Laman, Lemuel, et. al. actively taught their children to reject God and do evil.
Also, this prophecy seems to mean that these things relating to other peoples will happen after the sum remainder of both sides dwindle in unbelief, not just one side, or both sides to some differing degrees.

It seems that everything that happened in the Book of Mormon, happened in a relatively small area; especially if it were mostly enclosed (by the sea on two sides, desolate wilderness, etc.); and, given the size of the American continents; it is not necessary that the peoples in the Book of Mormon ran into any other races or groups of people. There is one mention when Mosiah runs into the people of Zarahemla, who had also left the same area; the two might have both been near each other for over 300 years without knowing it.

The Book of Mormon says in Alma 43:13 that the “Lamanites…were a COMPOUND OF LAMAN AND LEMUEL, AND THE SONS OF ISHMAEL, AND ALL THOSE WHO HAD DISSENTED FROM THE NEPHITES, who were Amalekites and Zoramites, and the descendants of the priests of Noah.” There is no mention of any others.

Helaman 11:24 doesn’t seem to differ much, either: “And it came to pass that in the eightieth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, there were a certain number of the dissenters from the people of Nephi, who had some years before gone over unto the Lamanites, and taken upon themselves the name of Lamanites, and also a certain number who were real descendants of the Lamanites, being stirred up to anger by them, or by those dissenters, therefore they commenced a war with their brethren.”

Alma 24:29, similarly: “Now, among those who joined the people of the Lord, there were none who were Amalekites or Amulonites, or who were of the order of Nehor, but they were actual descendants of Laman and Lemuel.”
Alma 47:35 says, “…yea, he was acknowledged king throughout all the land, AMONG ALL THE PEOPLE OF THE LAMANITES, WHO WERE COMPOSED OF THE LAMANITES AND THE LEMUELITES AND THE ISHMAELITES, AND ALL THE DISSENTERS OF THE NEPHITES, FROM THE REIGN OF NEPHI DOWN TO THE PRESENT TIME.”
Mormon 1:8: “And it came to pass in this year there began to be a war between the NEPHITES, WHO CONSISTED OF THE NEPHITES AND THE JACOBITES AND THE JOSEPHITES AND THE ZORAMITES; and this war was between the Nephites, and the Lamanites and the Lemuelites and the Ishmaelites.
Mormon 1:9: NOW THE LAMANITES AND THE LEMUELITES AND THE ISHMAELITES WERE CALLED LAMANITES, AND THE TWO PARTIES WERE NEPHITES AND LAMANITES.”

Not other parties, even towards the end of the whole history.

D&C, similarly.

Once again, the language is interesting–“surely he would have done so,” “should have been close at hand,” “the most that is possible,” “unavoidable,” “quite certainly,” etc. Actually, I probably should have used the word “blasphemous” instead of “impolite,” “as indicated.”

“As indicated in the book of Ether”–where and how is that?

Very few prophecies are shown left unfulfilled in the Book of Mormon. Almost all are/ have been fulfilled, or pointed to a particular or further time. If there is one, I haven’t found it yet (outside of Isaiah), though there might be. In fact, the Lord chasitizes Nephi for not having written the fulfilling of the prophecy of Samuel that many would arise from the grave and appear to others. The promise made to Lehi about obeying and prospering is quoted multiple times in the Book of Mormon. Why, then, is the only time connected to this other of Lehi’s prophecy–based on a Lord’s promise, and its conditions–related to the far future? If it was fulfilled any time earlier, why isn’t it in this record, when Mormon writes many things that show that proving the words of the Lord through his prophets is one of its main purposes?

See, for example, the following verses from the Book of Mormon that contain the word “fulfilled”, and which are specifically about God’s words, prophets’ words, and God’s covenants being fulfilled: 1 Nephi 7:13, 15:18, 16:8, 17:4; 2 Nephi 3:14, 5:19-20, 9:17, 10:15, 25:7, 25:21, 24, 27, 30; Words of Mormon 1:4; Mosiah 20:21, 21:4; Alma 3:14, 5:57, 58; 7:11, 13:26, 25:15, 34:13, 37:17, 19, 24, 26, 45:9, 14; Helaman 11:8, 6:13-14; 3 Nephi 1:4- 6, 15, 25; 5:1, 14, 25; 9:16-17, 10:11, 12:18-19, 46; 15:4-6, 8; 16:17, 20:11-12, 46; 21:4, 23:10, 28:7, 29:1-2; Mormon 8:22, 33; Ether 12:3, 11; 15:3, 33; Moroni 10:31.

See also these verses that contain “words of the prophets” and are related to prophecies: 1 Nephi 2:13, 3:19, 2 Nephi 25:19, 26:8, Jacob 6:18, Mosiah 15:11, Helaman 16:13, 3 Nephi 1:16, 20; 5:2.
See also a search for “according to the/ his word(s)”, which deals with the same topics of prophecies being fulfilled; you will find angels, the Lord, and the many prophets’ names completing this phrase.

Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: