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 3: SHEREM

“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.”
grego
(c) 2004-2009

Part 3: SHEREM

I’ll first put some pertinent scriptures here first, as this story of Sherem is often used as one of the strong arguments for “Others” in the land.
Jacob 7:1 And now it came to pass after some years had passed away, there came a man among the people of Nephi, whose name was Sherem.
Jacob 7:2 And it came to pass that he began to preach among the people, and to declare unto them that there should be no Christ. And he preached many things which were flattering unto the people; and this he did that he might overthrow the doctrine of Christ.
Jacob 7:3 And he labored diligently that he might lead away the hearts of the people, insomuch that he did lead away many hearts; and he knowing that I, Jacob, had faith in Christ who should come, he sought much opportunity that he might come unto me.
Jacob 7:4 And he was learned, that he had a perfect knowledge of the language of the people; wherefore, he could use much flattery, and much power of speech, according to the power of the devil.
Jacob 7:5 And he had hope to shake me from the faith, notwithstanding the many revelations and the many things which I had seen concerning these things; for I truly had seen angels, and they had ministered unto me. And also, I had heard the voice of the Lord speaking unto me in very word, from time to time; wherefore, I could not be shaken.
Jacob 7:6 And it came to pass that he came unto me, and on this wise did he speak unto me, saying: Brother Jacob, I have sought much opportunity that I might speak unto you; for I have heard and also know that thou goest about much, preaching that which ye call the gospel, or the doctrine of Christ.
Jacob 7:7 And ye have led away much of this people that they pervert the right way of God, and keep not the law of Moses which is the right way; and convert the law of Moses into the worship of a being which ye say shall come many hundred years hence. And now behold, I, Sherem, declare unto you that this is blasphemy; for no man knoweth of such things; for he cannot tell of things to come. And after this manner did Sherem contend against me.
Jacob 7:8 But behold, the Lord God poured in his Spirit into my soul, insomuch that I did confound him in all his words.
Jacob 7:10 And I said unto him: Believest thou the scriptures? And he said, Yea.
Jacob 7:11 And I said unto him: Then ye do not understand them; for they truly testify of Christ…
Jacob 7:13 And it came to pass that he said unto me: Show me a sign by this power of the Holy Ghost, in the which ye know so much.
Jacob 7:14 And I said unto him: What am I that I should tempt God to show unto thee a sign in the thing which thou knowest to be true?…
Also, the time reference given here is “[Between 544 and 421 B.C.]”. At the end of Enos, it is 420 B.C. (It is likely that this is much more towards the 544 end than the 421 end, as Jacob was born in the upper 590’s.)

John L. Sorenson:
The account of Sherem’s encounter with Jacob reiterates the question. “Some [ten more?] years had passed away,” and Jacob was now verging on “old” (cf. Jacob 7:1, 20-26). At that time “there came a man among the people of Nephi whose name was Sherem” (Jacob 7:1). Upon first meeting Jacob, he said, “Brother Jacob, I have sought much opportunity that I might speak unto you; for I have heard … that thou goest about much, preaching” (Jacob 7:6). Now, the population of adult males descended from the original group could not have exceeded fifty at that time. This would have been only enough to populate one modest-sized village. Thus Sherem’s is a strange statement. Jacob, as head priest and religious teacher, would routinely have been around the Nephite temple in the cultural center at least on all holy days (see Jacob 2:2). How then could Sherem never have seen him, and why would he have had to seek “much opportunity” to speak to him in such a tiny settlement? And where would Jacob have had to go on the preaching travels Sherem refers to, if only such a tiny group were involved. Moreover, from where was it that Sherem “came … among the people of Nephi” (Jacob 7:1)? The text and context of this incident would make little sense if the Nephite population had resulted only from natural demographic increase.

Brant Gardner:
With the clear enmity between lineal Nephites and Lamanites at this early period, it is unlikely that Sherem was a Lamanite born after the separation of the two colonies, yet that would be the only other possibility if we do not factor “others” into the equation.

****Actually, there are many other possibilities other than “others”.
Once more, it goes back to the question of initial population size, which I have treated. That there answers all that needs to be answered.
*It’s also possible, that with probably thousands of people in the Nephite population (as shown above) at this time, Sherem came from a village other than the one Jacob was in. Not hard to imagine. How many people do you know in the next village, especially if you didn’t have TV’s, newspapers, or telephones? How many people do you know on the next street over?
Let’s look at a few more, though:
*Or, Sherem, being a wise man, especially having seen evidence, knew that the Lamanites could only overcome the Nephites through the Nephites’ wickedness, and therefore had come over peacefully from the Lamanites to corrupt the Nephites, which would allow the Lamanites to overcome them, according to the blessings and the curses.
*Or, perhaps desiring to rise up and be the leader of the Nephites, without the Lamanites, he left the Lamanites to corrupt the Nephites, then wanted to politically overcome them later.
*Or, Sherem could have been from a group that split away from the Nephites earlier. Looking at the record, maybe even 50 years could have passed away since then. Somewhere in that time it would not have been improbable for a small group, especially if it were just a couple or family or two, to splinter away. There’s plenty of that happening in the Book of Mormon all the time. To those who say it would have been mentioned, remember the Amalekites–major players later on, yet not even their splintering off is mentioned.
*In Alma 47:35, we read: “And it came to pass that Amalickiah sought the favor of the queen, and took her unto him to wife; and thus by his fraud, and by the assistance of his cunning servants, he obtained the kingdom; 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.”
*Sherem could have been a Lamanite. The Lamanites would still have spoken the same language. Clear enmity, yet the Nephites had a clear desire to preach to the Lamanites.
*Kevin Christensen proposed that Sherem was a Mulekite trader (keep in mind with regards to spelling and grammar that this was typed quickly on a discussion board):

-=-=-=
Brant Gardner, from posts:
However, the answer cannot be that he came from inside the Nephites because they were surprised that he spoke the language.

**** I’m sorry, I’m missing that part in my Book of Mormon about “they were surprised that he spoke the language”–which verse is that? Or, is that Brant Gardner’s personal interpretation of what Jacob REALLY meant?

-=-=-=
Brant Gardner, from post:
It is just as good a guess that he was a believer in the Mosaic scriptures because of contact with Lamanites – and more likely since both for language and ignorance of where to find Jacob he is painted as an outsider.

**** Can anyone find any evidence that Laman and Lemuel believed in and lived the Law of Moses? Did the Lamanites, then, really believe in it? Did they have any scriptures about it, or did Nephi have them? How then was Sherem “a believer in the Mosaic scriptures because of contact with Lamanites”?
And it’s clear that Sherem was not a believer in the Law of Moses:
Jacob 7:14 And I said unto him: What am I that I should tempt God to show unto thee a sign in the thing which THOU KNOWEST TO BE TRUE?…

He had “ignorance of where to find Jacob”? Where is that in the Book of Mormon text? Once more, an unsupported personal interpretation of sacred text…

-=-=-=
Brant Gardner, from post:
…the real question would be why Jacob would ever say that he had a “perfect knowledge of the language of the people” unless it were somehow unusual. I doubt anyone has every said of you, “why, you speak En[gli]sh so well.” The only time we point out such things is when they run contrary to expectations.

****If I were President Bush, I might take that as a compliment. But yes, many have said that, and in the USA, too–though to me that’s incidental.
“Unusual”– let’s see–do most people have a perfect knowledge of English? What was your SAT score? Near perfect? Now, can you argue with those words, are you fluent with them? How many words are in a language, and how many are commonly used? And can you use those idioms to express and uphold your point of view? Why did Jacob mention language in particular? What else does Jacob say about speech here? Let’s review the text:
Jacob 7:2 And HE (SHEREM) PREACHED MANY THINGS which were FLATTERING UNTO THE PEOPLE; and this he did that he might overthrow the doctrine of Christ.
Jacob 7:3 And he labored diligently that HE MIGHT LEAD AWAY THE HEARTS OF THE PEOPLE, insomuch that HE DID LEAD AWAY MANY HEARTS; and he knowing that I, Jacob, had faith in Christ who should come, he sought much opportunity that he might come unto me.
Jacob 7:4 And he was LEARNED, that he had a PERFECT KNOWLEDGE of the LANGUAGE OF THE PEOPLE; wherefore, HE COULD USE MUCH FLATTERY, and MUCH POWER OF SPEECH, ACCORDING TO THE POWER OF THE DEVIL.
Jacob 7:5 And HE HAD HOPE TO SHAKE ME FROM THE FAITH, notwithstanding the many revelations and the many things which I had seen concerning these things; for I truly had seen angels, and they had ministered unto me. And also, I had heard the voice of the Lord speaking unto me in very word, from time to time; wherefore, I could not be shaken.
Jacob 7:6 And it came to pass that HE CAME UNTO ME, and on this wise did he speak unto me, saying: BROTHER JACOB, I have sought much opportunity that I might speak unto you; for I have heard and also know that thou goest about much, PREACHING THAT WHICH YE CALL the gospel, or the doctrine of Christ.
Jacob 7:7 And YE HAVE LED AWAY MUCH OF THIS PEOPLE that THEY PERVERT THE RIGHT WAY OF GOD, and keep not the law of Moses which is the right way; and convert the law of Moses into the worship of a being which ye say shall come many hundred years hence. And now behold, I, Sherem, DECLARE UNTO YOU THAT THIS IS BLASPHEMY; for no man knoweth of such things; for he cannot tell of things to come. And after this manner did Sherem contend against me.

What do I see? Does all that mean that the outsider Sherem learned to speak good Nephitese? No. Jacob means that Sherem has the ability to use speech to flatter and persuade people; he breaks the rules of logic, but no one notices (no man can know of things to come, but somehow he can know Christ won’t come); he uses the scriptures to lead people away; he even tries to overthrow Jacob with his speaking ability, which Jacob points out is “according to the power of the devil”. The devil did not teach Sherem to learn a new language, but to speak the language of the PEOPLE (note: not the language of the Nephites…) to further the devil’s work, much like Zeezrom and Korihor. Note that Sherem goes straight for the jugular at the opening remark, just like Cicero does in his hailed oratorical attack on Cataline. Here is a quote from Cicero about this (and more): “I HAVE FREQUENTLY FORCED MY ANTAGONIST TO RELINQUISH THE FIELD. _Hortensius_, an eminent Speaker, once declined to answer me, though in defence of an intimate friend. _Cataline_, a most audacious traitor, being publicly accused by me in the Senate-house, was struck dumb with shame: and _Curio_, the father, when he attempted to reply to me in a weighty and important cause which concerned the honour of his family, sat suddenly down, and complained that I had _bewitched_ him out of his memory.” Does this sound like what Sherem tries to do in his meeting with Jacob? Jacob’s intent in writing “he had a perfect language of the people” is to show that Sherem was a great orator, not an outsider.
In fact, note that after this stinging sucker punch accusation, Jacob writes,
Jacob 7:8 BUT BEHOLD, the LORD GOD POURED IN HIS SPIRIT INTO MY SOUL, INSOMUCH THAT I DID CONFOUND HIM in all his words.
Jacob knew he was right, that the belief in Jesus Christ was true; yet he still seemed to need the Spirit’s help to not “relinquish the field” and “win the speech contest”.

-=-=-=
Brant Gardner, from post:
What of the idea that the language is sophistry? Of course it is. The text says so – but if it makes a point of declaring the sophistry, why declare also the specifics about the language? It is redundant. Certainly it could be all a reference to how well Sherem manipulates language, but there is still the surprise and the problem of Sherem at this late point in Jacob’s life showing up and gunning for him in a verbal shootout. If Sheremi is inside the community, he had to learn at someone’s feet, and Jacob had been appointed as one of the teachers. How did Sherem the student miss Jacob the teacher? Even assuming a two generation gap (which would make Sherem a little too young to be taken seriously) we have the problem of assuming some form of educational institution that would be able to teach a bright student a sophisticated knowledge of the scriptures – and Jacob not be inolved or know of it – and have the student be unaware of the man who for years was the prime interpreter of scripture for the community.

****(I’ll skip all the language comments here, as its’ clear Brant Gardner finally admits the text is talking about sophistry, and I’ve already shown that. But after admitting that, he goes on to say “but Jacob says it twice, so it’s redundant, so it has to have a special meaning that’s not obvious from the text…” Give it up, man!! ;) )

Jacob was appointed as one of the teachers, correct. What, a school teacher?? No! A teacher of the word of God. (In the twenty or so times the word “teacher” is used in the Book of Mormon, it’s used to mean that.) Sure, if one were to assume only a few children at this point, it’s possible one might mistakenly assume that Jacob and Joseph were the only two school teachers…

Where does it say in the Book of Mormon that “Sherem the student miss[ed] Jacob the teacher”?

Since Brant Gardner seems to be unaware of Mesoamerican schooling, we have a sudden lack of Book of Mormon “insight” for this section. Unless it is not possible to imagine some form of education other than receiving it straight from Jacob, there is no problem here.

Let’s assume that at least Jacob and Joseph and Zoram taught their children and others in the group the scriptures, and that those others taught others; there’s a gap right there easy enough for anyone to see.

-=-=-=
Brant Gardner, from post:
“When the whole situation and all of the evidence are added, the interpretation of the language is simply another indication to the reader that they should understand Sherem as a foreigner. To anyone of the time it would have been obvious from the clues given and hence not required to be stated openly.”

****This type of statement, in my opinion, would make one superior to Fawn Brodie in the ability to always just KNOW what those poor Book of Mormon writers and Joseph Smith were thinking and really wanted to say, but either couldn’t or didn’t.

-=-=-=
Brant Gardner:
One of the texts on the Book of Mormon that clearly depends upon friendly relations with peoples who are not specifically Nephites is the appearance of Sherem noted in the Book of Jacob. Jacob notes Sherem’s self-introduction: Jacob 7:6 “And it came to pass that he came unto me, and on this wise did he speak unto me, saying: Brother Jacob, I have sought much opportunity that I might speak unto you; for I have heard and also know that thou goest about much, preaching that which ye call the gospel, or the doctrine of Christ.”

Both from Sherem’s words and the way Jacob describes the encounter, we have the very clear impression that Sherem and Jacob had never met before. Given the probable size of the Nephite community at this point in time, it would have been impossible for Sherem to have been a member of the community and not have met Jacob prior to his adulthood. Sherem, of necessity, comes from outside the Nephite community.

****The “very clear impression” of Sherem and Jacob never having met is solely a matter of personal interpretation.

-=-=-=
Michael R. Ash:
Since Jacob was one of the original Lehites in the New World, the maximum adult population among the Lehites couldn’t have been more than a dozen people. Yet Sherem had come from another settlement and had never met Jacob, the chief Nephite priest.

****”And now it came to pass after some years had passed away, there came a man among the people of Nephi, whose name was Sherem.” I think that I’ll start with a little thinking, then do what Brant Gardner always espouses doing, but which he seems to have forgotten to do here: a word study. (Mine will be for the Book of Mormon only here, though I’m sure outside sources will just strengthen my argument.)
Think about this: were Sherem a stranger who literally/ physically came among them from the outside/ another place, how did he suddenly become able to have “a perfect knowledge of the language of the people” (Jacob 7:4)? (Wait, I’m having a flashback of Pocahontas and John Smith at the Grandma Tree… Ok, maybe I’m wrong… ;) )
Then, why would Jacob have asked him if he believed the scriptures (I’m assuming one would have to read before one could believe), and how could Sherem have told Jacob that he did (I assume that meant he had read the scriptures and understood them)? (Jacob 7:10: “And I said unto him: Believest thou the scriptures? And he said, Yea.”) If Sherem were from the outside, where did Sherem get the scriptures, and then how did he read them? Or did he come from the outside for a while, learn the language, read the scriptures, and think of a new religion to preach? And why would Jacob believe his answer about having read them?
Perhaps Jacob wrote this part to stress that he wasn’t a stranger to the Nephites.

This “came…among” in Jacob 7:1 could mean that he “rose up”. In Helaman 7:25, Nephi says: “Yea, wo be unto you because of that great abomination which has COME AMONG you; and ye have united yourselves unto it, yea, to that secret band which was established by Gadianton!” Well, it wasn’t a strange group of outsiders that “brought” the secret band of Gadianton to the Nephites, even though I believe that is what Brant Gardner believes. So, I’ll add some scriptures here that expound a little more on this, to strengthen the interpretation of “came among”:
Helaman 1:9 Now when THOSE PEOPLE who were DESIROUS THAT [PAANCHI] SHOULD BE THEIR GOVERNOR saw that he was condemned unto death, therefore THEY WERE ANGRY, and behold, THEY SENT FORTH one KISHKUMEN, even to the judgment-seat of Pahoran, and murdered Pahoran as he sat upon the judgment-seat.
Helaman 1:11 And HE WENT UNTO THOSE THAT SENT HIM, and THEY all entered into a covenant, yea, swearing by their everlasting Maker, that they would tell no man that Kishkumen had murdered Pahoran.
Helaman 2:3 But behold, Kishkumen, who had murdered Pahoran, did lay wait to destroy Helaman also; and he was UPHELD BY HIS BAND, who had entered into a covenant that no one should know his wickedness.
Helaman 2:4 For there was one GADIANTON, who was exceedingly expert in many words, and also in his craft, to carry on the secret work of murder and of robbery; therefore HE BECAME THE LEADER OF THE BAND OF KISHKUMEN.
Helaman 2:5 Therefore he did flatter them, and also Kishkumen, that if they would place him in the judgment-seat he would grant unto those who belonged to his band that they should be placed in power and authority among the people; therefore Kishkumen sought to destroy Helaman.
It’s clear that the band is comprised of people who had wanted Paanchi to be chief judge: Nephites.

This use is also supported by 2 Nephi 10:3, where Jacob writes: “Wherefore, as I said unto you, it must needs be expedient that Christ–for in the last night the angel spake unto me that this should be his name–should COME AMONG the Jews, among those who are the more wicked part of the world; and they shall crucify him–for thus it behooveth our God, and there is none other nation on earth that would crucify their God.” Once again, Jesus didn’t “come among” the Jews from the outside, unless you want to stretch it and count coming back from Egypt; but he had originally been from them. Or, unless you want to count coming down from heaven; but in that case, everyone would be in the same sense.
Also, in Helaman 6:2, it says: “For behold, there were many of the Nephites who had become hardened and impenitent and grossly wicked, insomuch that they did reject the word of God and all the preaching and prophesying which did COME AMONG them.” Unless all the Nephite prophets were from “others” or even outside groups, I don’t believe the literal interpretation of “come among” holds here, either.
Samuel the Lamanite, in Helaman 13:26, “…if a prophet COME AMONG you and declareth unto you the word of the Lord, which testifieth of your sins and iniquities, ye are angry with him, and CAST HIM OUT and seek all manner of ways to destroy him…” Some might say that Samuel was talking about himself only; that might, but also might not, be. I imagine if it were, he might have just said so. Let’s see the continuation of this in Helaman 13:27: “…if a man shall COME AMONG YOU and shall say: Do this, and there is no iniquity; do that and ye shall not suffer; yea, he will say: Walk after the pride of your own hearts; yea, walk after the pride of your eyes, and do whatsoever your heart desireth–and if a man shall COME AMONG you and say this, ye will RECEIVE HIM…” Though Samuel came among them from the lands of the Lamanites, I doubt he meant “come among”, “cast him out”, and “receive him” in literal, straightforward, one-way interpretations only–what, could no prophets and false prophets exist among the Nephites, but only come from outside the Nephites? Hardly so.
Also, in Mosiah 11:20, we read: “And it came to pass that there was a man AMONG them whose name was Abinadi; and he WENT FORTH AMONG them, and began to prophesy, saying: Behold, thus saith the Lord, and thus hath he commanded me, saying, GO FORTH, and say unto this people, thus saith the Lord–Wo be unto this people, for I have seen their abominations, and their wickedness, and their whoredoms; and except they repent I will visit them in mine anger”;
and then, in Mosiah 12:1: “And it came to pass that after the space of two years that Abinadi CAME AMONG them in disguise, that they knew him not, and began to prophesy among them, saying: Thus has the Lord commanded me, saying–Abinadi, GO and prophesy unto this my people, for they have hardened their hearts against my words; they have repented not of their evil doings; therefore, I will visit them in my anger, yea, in my fierce anger will I visit them in their iniquities and abominations.” Well, there was only one people for Abinadi at this time, and he was there among them already. If Abinadi were already there among them, how could he “[come] again and “go”? On the other hand, there are some uses of “come among” that are straightforward in the Book of Mormon, such as in Alma 7:8 and Alma 20:13.
In Alma 47:35, we read: “And it came to pass that Amalickiah sought the favor of the queen, and took her unto him to wife; and thus by his fraud, and by the assistance of his cunning servants, he obtained the kingdom; 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.”
“All the dissenters of the Nephites, from the reign of Nephi down to the present time”–this phrase helps clear up a few things. First, it seems that the dissenters always fled to the Lamanites. Why not another group, nation, or “others”? Second, “from the reign of Nephi”–clearly, that’s long before Jacob (Sherem), and much earlier than the first mention of the Amalekites, the first large group of dissenters that we read about. (Note that to call EVERYONE who wasn’t a Nephite a Lamanite, makes no sense when the Book of Mormon talks about Nephites and Lamanites.)

It would do well to keep in mind that Sherem is a liar (see Jacob 7:14, 19). Would it be stable to construct an argument based on his words, or might one therefore proceed with caution, out of necessity? Was it possible that Sherem was practicing his preaching and debate skills, polishing his rhetoric, building his base of followers, and perfecting his doctrine before daring to argue with Jacob? There was, naturally, much riding on the line here. Of course Sherem could say that he had tried to speak with him, but just hadn’t been able to; is this just the familiar “I tried to call you, but I couldn’t reach you” argument?

If this is not the correct interpretation, perhaps it is this: Jacob himself writes that “…[Sherem] labored diligently that he might lead away the hearts of the people, insomuch that he did lead away many hearts; and he knowing that I, Jacob, had faith in Christ who should come, HE SOUGHT MUCH OPPORTUNITY that HE MIGHT COME UNTO ME” (Jacob 7:3). This sounds much more like Jacob was trying to avoid a head-to-head confrontation, not that there were so many people they never ran into each other.
Also, I imagine Sherem wanted to do debate with a large audience watching, not just see Jacob and debate him–it’s like trying to set up a debate, or a boxing match–it’s not just hey, two people see each other, go at it.
Also, none of this states or even implies that Jacob hadn’t known Sherem before this time, or that Sherem had been around preaching for years, contrary to what is inferred in the article: “How then could Sherem never have seen him, and why would he have had to seek “much opportunity” to speak to him in such a tiny settlement?” He might have known him and seen him often before Sherem started his preaching.

“…[T]hat thou goest about much, preaching”: being a priest and a teacher over the people of Nephi, especially if with only his brother Joseph to help, he would have had the responsibility of “home teaching”, etc.; in addition, he had to work for a living– probably farming and tending flocks–somewhat time-consuming. Understanding this context, the statement then makes more sense. However, with Jacob being old, I wonder how much running around he was doing… Perhaps Sherem is just flattering and buttering Jacob up?

“Thou goest about much” need not mean that Jacob traveled days on end to preach. So, if there were only a few adults, maximum, where was Jacob going? To visit and preach to others all the time? My wife goes about much every day–market, shopping, taking children all over, etc.; yet, it’s most all within a square mile of area. The missionaries “go about much”, yet sometimes it’s in just a few places in a small town. So, it’s an assumption that it must mean “many miles” and “many cities” of travel.
Anyway, it’s here that I’ll comment on the two-pronged approach to population. John L. Sorenson, Brant Gardner, et. al. try to show that either the population was exceedingly small, so there had to be others to fit the text (like in the above example); or the population was large, so there had to be others to fit the text. Neither is necessary!

Also, we read in Jacob 7:16, 17 that “And it came to pass that [Sherem] said unto the people: Gather together on the morrow, for I shall die; wherefore, I desire to speak unto THE PEOPLE before I shall die. And it came to pass that on the morrow the MULTITUDE WERE GATHERED together…”
It seems obvious that he had preached his doctrine to the people. How big was the population? Seemingly large enough the two might not have met in the chocolate shop, yet possibly small enough for the people to be spoken to and to be gathered “on the morrow”.
“And where would Jacob have had to go on the preaching travels Sherem refers to, if only such a tiny group were involved.” That’s correct–it’s not a tiny group, at this point the population is likely in the thousands. Nevertheless, when you get farms/ fields, and no high-rise apartment bujldings, it’s a bigger area. Heck, even the suburb I grew up in only had about a hundred homes, and I just stayed in a small area of that most of the time.
Also, if “on the morrow” means the next day, the people could be gathered without prior notice or preparation for the next day. I assume that unlike King Benjamin, there wasn’t a special holiday/s where the people were probably already preparing to go to the temple, or unlike Jesus, when it was…well, Jesus. (3 Nephi 19:2-4: here “on the morrow” is used to signify “tomorrow/ the next day”.) There is the factor, though, that this came after many days, and it’s possible many of Sherem’s followers might have been waiting nearby, who had been gathered to listen to his debate Jacob and were still hanging around to see what would happen to him.

Sherem was likely simply a great Nephite persuader who preached the Law of Moses.

Jacob writes: “…the time passed away with us, and also our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream, we being a LONESOME and a solemn people… (Jacob 7:26). “Lonesome” doesn’t sound like they were mingling and mixing with lots of other peoples, especially those who believed in the same religion. It’s possible to be lonesome surrounded by others, but it’s much harder to be lonesome surrounded by others of the same religion and country.

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: