Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2009, October 3

“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 7: A Critique of the Argument of Ammon’s Party to King Limhi in Mosiah 7 by grego

“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 7: A Critique of the Argument of Ammon’s Party to King Limhi in Mosiah 7

grego
(c) 2004-2009

PART 7: A Critique of the Argument of Ammon’s Party to King Limhi in Mosiah 7

John L. Sorenson:
The incompleteness of our picture of social and population history is further shown in the story of the entry of Ammon’s party to Zeniffite King Limhi’s territory. The Nephite explorers stumbled upon the king outside the walls of his beleaguered city, Lehi-Nephi, and were rudely seized and thrown into prison. Only after two days did they get a chance to identify themselves and explain their presence. We might have supposed that their cultural status as Nephites and strangers, if not their protestations (was there a language problem?) would have alerted Limhi and his guards as to their identity–Nephites from Zarahemla. Had the initial encounter gone as we might have thought, Ammon’s belated explanation (see Mosiah 7:13) and Limhi’s surprise when Ammon finally got through to him (see Mosiah 7:14) would both have been short-circuited. Why were Ammon and company not recognized immediately as Nephites? Was their costume and tongue or accent so much different than what Limhi’s people expected of a Nephite that this put them off? Ammon was a “descendant of Zarahemla” (Mosiah 7:13), a point that he emphasized in his introduction to the king. Does this mean that he somehow looked different than a “typical” Nephite? Or had the Zeniffites had encounters with other non-Nephite types in their area which might have prompted Limhi’s cautious reception? And what personal relationship had Ammon to the Zeniffites, after all? As a person descended from Zarahemla, that is, a “Mulekite,” why did he refer to Zeniff’s presumably Nephite party as “our brethren” and show them so much concern that he would lead this arduous expedition to find out their fate?

****Let’s take a look at what the Book of Mormon says, perhaps once more instead of searching through the haystack, the answer is out in open sight:
Mosiah 21:19 And the KING HIMSELF DID NOT TRUST HIS PERSON WITHOUT THE WALLS OF THE CITY, unless he took his guards with him, FEARING THAT HE MIGHT BY SOME MEANS FALL INTO THE HANDS OF THE LAMANITES.
Mosiah 21:20: And he caused that his people should watch the land round about, that by some means they might TAKE THOSE PRIESTS THAT FLED INTO THE WILDERNESS…
Mosiah 21:21: For they were desirous to take them that they might punish them; for THEY HAD COME INTO THE LAND OF NEPHI by night, and carried off their grain and many of their precious things; THEREFORE THEY LAID WAIT FOR THEM.
Mosiah 21:23: AND THE KING HAVING BEEN WITHOUT THE GATES OF THE CITY WITH HIS GUARD, DISCOVERED AMMON AND HIS BRETHREN; and SUPPOSING THEM TO BE PRIESTS OF NOAH THEREFORE HE CAUSED THAT THEY SHOULD BE TAKEN, AND BOUND, AND CAST INTO PRISON…
Mosiah 21:24: But when he found that they were not, BUT THAT THEY WERE HIS BRETHREN, AND HAD COME FROM THE LAND OF ZARAHEMLA, he was filled with exceedingly great joy.
Mosiah 21:25: Now king Limhi had sent, previous to the coming of Ammon, a small number of men to search for the land of Zarahemla; but they could not find it, and they were lost in the wilderness.
Mosiah 21:26: Nevertheless, they did find a land which had been peopled; yea, a land which was COVERED WITH DRY BONES; yea, A LAND WHICH HAD BEEN PEOPLED AND WHICH HAD BEEN DESTROYED; and they, HAVING SUPPOSED IT TO BE THE LAND OF ZARAHEMLA, returned to the land of Nephi, HAVING ARRIVED IN THE BORDERS OF THE LAND NOT MANY DAYS BEFORE THE COMING OF AMMON.

So, the reason king Limhi was happy to see them: he had thought that Zarahemla had been destroyed, but found out that it, and his brethren, still existed. We also see that King Limhi thought that Ammon and his brethren were the priests of Noah; in other words, Ammon and his brethren were, in appearance, just like the priests of Noah–which is why he threw them in prison. Had there been a language problem, maybe king Limhi would have been alerted to their being non-priests.
Remember, not that much time had passed between the leaving of King Zeniff and this reunion.

Why did Ammon lead the party? Likely it was his job as a military leader. Or perhaps for pay:
Mosiah 7:1 And now, it came to pass that after KING MOSIAH had had continual peace for the space of three years, HE WAS DESIROUS TO KNOW concerning the people who went up to dwell in the land of Lehi-Nephi, or in the city of Lehi-Nephi; for HIS PEOPLE had heard nothing from them from the time they left the land of Zarahemla; therefore, THEY WEARIED HIM WITH THEIR TEASINGS.
Mosiah 7:2 And it came to pass that KING MOSIAH GRANTED THAT SIXTEEN OF THEIR STRONG MEN might go up to the land of Lehi-Nephi, to inquire concerning their brethren.
Mosiah 7:3 And it came to pass that on the morrow THEY STARTED to go up, having with them ONE AMMON, HE BEING A STRONG AND MIGHT MAN, and a descendant of Zarahemla; and HE WAS ALSO THEIR LEADER.
Also, the Zeniffites had been gone a while and no one had heard about them, and the first time Zeniff went to the Lamanite lands, there was an argument in the wilderness over what to do, and lots of blood was shed; perhaps his being a descendant of Zarahemla would help in some way with this.

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