Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2009, October 17

“Are There ‘Others’ in the Book of Mormon?: A Critique and Partial Rebuttal of the Book of Mormon article ‘When Lehi’s Party Arrived in the Land, Did They Find Others There?’ by John L. Sorenson and other similar Book of Mormon articles by Brant Gardner, Matthew Roper, Michael Ash, etc.” PART 16: CONCLUSION by grego

“Are There ‘Others’ in the Book of Mormon?: A Critique and Partial Rebuttal of the Book of Mormon article ‘When Lehi’s Party Arrived in the Land, Did They Find Others There?’ by John L. Sorenson and other similar Book of Mormon articles by Brant Gardner, Matthew Roper, Michael Ash, etc.” PART 16: CONCLUSION

grego
(c) 2004-2009

PART 16: CONCLUSION

****I believe it has been shown that most evidence and “proofs” for “Others” that have been given up to this point, by all the authors covered, are actually much weaker than stronger. Unless someone can show strong evidence to the contrary in the Book of Mormon text with an interpretation that bears it out, I believe that this response justifies one in saying that the Book of Mormon still fails to mention others, though it does not prove that that possibility can’t exist, nor that it is excluded.

I agree completely with John L. Sorenson that “this is one more instance in which we see that much remains in that ancient record which we should try to elucidate by diligent analysis.” However, I hope that future articles on this topic by all will not “fail to observe what” ACTUALLY “is said about [others] in the Book of Mormon” instead of trying to prove from and in the Book of Mormon that what their science has already told them “is true”. I am saddened by the public lack of scholarship and honesty from those who work/ worked for the Church (literally and/ or figuratively), supposedly to bring new light to the scriptures. Too many times the interpretation is “A” and definitely not “B” when convenient, but then later “B” and definitely not “A” when convenient. This flip-flopping for convenience while trying to prove points makes for shaky argument. In addition, much of the language used in many places in the articles is outrageously overbearing (especially for research), illogical, and even (almost) blasphemous (like when saying what the Lord “should” do) when most of the time, at best, it is speculative. In too many instances in these articles, the answer or an other strong possibile answer to a point is found immediately in the preceding or following verse just quoted, or even in the same verse itself!

To use hypotheses, suppositions, possibilities, suggestions, beliefs, and even pure speculation, and yet write as if everything proposed in the line of argument is an absolute fact, and then drawing conclusions from these “facts” as if they followed completely necessarily and evidently, is so far out of line with writing an article on this subject with the information available in the Book of Mormon that I believe it is unapologetically unacceptable. This reeks of typical unethical and dishonest method of operation and sloppy work of anti-Mormon critics. Now we see it in FARMS–an official part of Brigham Young University, an official university of the Church; and in FAIR. Regrettable. What is more regrettable is that these articles are kept up on the internet and available for all to read; spread; and then, if possible, responses are muffled, updates are rare, corrections never occur, and I have yet to see any apology to anyone outside the group or even an acceptance of being wrong or merely too assuming. It makes me wonder if any form of peer-review or editing occurs with any of these articles.

It is unnecessary–completely–to our faith or credence to follow those methods (though some might want to). I do not claim to understand this agenda. If there is a proof, there is; if there isn’t, it isn’t. Possiblilities may exist, whether I am personally for it or not. (Though in the search for truth, I don’t understand how you can be for something or not.) What make this more frightening is that this is done on a topic that is doesn’t seem to be in response to any heavy anti-gospel, anti-Church propaganda. TRYING TO FORCE A PERSONAL FEELING OR FALSE AGENDA ON OTHERS, BY WRESTING THE SCRIPTURES TO FIT OUR PERSONAL INTERPRETATION AND BY HAVING DISHONEST DIALOGUE, IS A FORM OF PRIESTCRAFT OR LIKE NEHORISM.

Luckily, this is happening with a topic that doesn’t matter much for our salvation; otherwise, it would be extremely wise to heed a few exhortations from Alma: “…Behold, the scriptures are before you; if ye will wrest them it shall be to your own destruction” (Alma 13:20)… “And now, my son, I have somewhat to say concerning the restoration of which has been spoken; for behold, some have wrested the scriptures, and have gone far astray because of this thing…” (Alma 41:1).

I invite FARMS and FAIR to open a discussion board on every article that they write and post, and every article/ book/ etc. that they criticize or make negative remarks about. Members of these two organizations continually claim that each organization is made up of individuals with unique thoughts and beliefs, and that there is disagreement among the members themselves; I think this would be a good opportunity for those with dissenting opinions to share also.

It seems quite unfair for a Church paid scholarly foundation to shoot others down and then hide behind a Church wall, allowing church members to read (and believe) only their scholarship, as if the LDS leaders supported it and stood behind it. That’s like shooting arrows from inside a church, while at the same time crying “Sanctuary!” How long will the people inside that they’re supposed to be protecting get the feeling that something is wrong? FARMS and FAIR, let your scholarship be openly proven, and it will no doubt be better for everyone.

I would very much like to hear anything else, from anyone, that is evidence for others in the land interacting with the Lehites.

The whole thrust of these arguments is seen clearly in this quote of Brant Gardner’s (from discussion board): “THE OTHER FACTOR IN THE PRESENCE OF “OTHERS” IN THE LAND IS SIMPLY KNOWN ARCHAEOLOGY. THERE IS NO PLACE IN THE NEW WORLD THAT LEHITES COULD REASONABLY LAND THAT WAS NOT INHABITED AND WHICH DID NOT ALREADY SUPOPRT VARIOUS POPULATIONS IN THE THOUSANDS. Coastal Guatemala had at least six communities in the coastal piedmont of a thousand or more, as I remember.

THE PROBLEM OF THE BOOK OF MORMON ISN’T THAT THERE WEREN’T OTHERS IN THE LAND. THERE WERE. THAT IS KNOWN. YOU MIGHT ASK WHY THEY WEREN’T MENTIONED, BUT TO SUGGEST THEY WERE NOT HERE IS TO DENY KNOWN DATA.”

It is one thing to know and LOOK FOR EVIDENCE and speculate and surmise; it is another to taint, twist, force, and manipulate so many things to fit your predetermined outcome, based on what you believe the science shows.

And that, folks, is the majority of what is done with these “evidences” for “Others” in the land.

Now, there are a few more points here about others I want to bring up:
Other points to consider about “Others”:
This author:
I think the best support for others in the land is found in Alma 50:29-32, especially verse 32: “Now behold, the people who were in the land Bountiful, or rather Moroni, feared that **THEY** would hearken to the words of Morianton and UNITE with HIS PEOPLE, and THUS HE WOULD OBTAIN POSSESSION OF THOSE PARTS OF THE LAND, which would lay a foundation for serious consequences among the people of Nephi, yea, which consequences would lead to the overthrow of their liberty.
It sounds like somebody’s up there, and this is before the migrations northward in Alma 63. Who is it? Who would Morianton and his people unite with?

Helaman 11:5, 6 says that there was a famine in the land, and that thousands perished. If there were others, and there was trade, this shouldn’t have been such a big problem–they could easily have gotten food, like Jacob’s family in the Old Testament who got food from Egypt during famine.
It is not to say that other peoples or races being there and there being intermingling, is impossible.

1 Nephi 7:1 And now I would that ye might know, that after my father, Lehi, had made an end of prophesying concerning his seed, it came to pass that the Lord spake unto him again, saying that IT WAS NOT MEET FOR HIM, LEHI, THAT HE SHOULD TAKE HIS FAMILY INTO THE WILDERNESS ALONE; but that HIS SONS SHOULD TAKE DAUGHTERS TO WIFE, THAT THEY MIGHT RAISE UP SEED UNTO THE LORD IN THE LAND OF PROMISE.
1 Nephi 7:2 And it came to pass that the Lord commanded him that I, Nephi, and my brethren, should again return unto the land of Jerusalem, and BRING DOWN ISHMAEL AND HIS FAMILY into the wilderness.
Maybe it was necessary for Ishmael’s familiy to join them for the wilderness journey. But if there were plenty of Others already in the promised land, and so many followed Nephi when he split from his brothers because they believed as he did, then why did Lehi’s sons have to go back to Jerusalem to get wives who would raise up seed to the Lord in the promised land? (Only native MEN converted??) Because of the long journey to get there? Ok, so they are a little late in child-bearing and marrying… And?

The two major things that I can find that might suggest this view of outside groups is that:
1. the Nephite prophets do an awful lot of preaching and baptizing for a group that’s supposedly already members, and
2. the Lamanites seem to have a great supply of warriors, even after suffering great losses.
However, we must remember what happened at the time of king Benjamin:
“Now it came to pass that there were many of the rising generation that could not understand the words of king Benjamin, being little children at the time he spake unto his people; and they did not believe the tradition of their fathers.”
“They did not believe what had been said concerning the resurrection of the dead, neither did they believe concerning the coming of Christ.”
“And now because of their unbelief they could not understand the word of God; and their hearts were hardened.”
“And they would not be baptized; neither would they join the church. And they were a separate people as to their faith, and remained so ever after, even in their carnal and sinful state; for they would not call upon the Lord their God.”
“And now in the reign of Mosiah they were not half so numerous as the people of God; but because of the dissensions among the brethren they became more numerous.”
“For it came to pass that they did deceive many with their flattering words, who were in the church, and did cause them to commit many sins; therefore it became expedient that those who committed sin, that were in the church, should be admonished by the church” (Mosiah 26:1-6).
MANY of the rising generation of Nephites at that time were nonmembers, and through dissension, and sin (and therefore excommunication), they numbered more than the Nephites. These people and their posterity could explain a lot of where the baptisms came from.
Also, there could have been many due to rebaptizings of at faithful members, such as in early modern church history; passages that don’t seem to support that, such as in Helaman 3, could be from rebaptizings of Nephite dissenters, excommunicated members, etc.
The strongest point is the population numbers, especially with all the population setbacks–that is, the Nephites continually move over to the Lamanite side, which helps answer the Lamanite population problem; but what about the Nephite side?

****King Benjamin, speaking to Mosiah, says:
“My son, I would that ye should make a proclamation THROUGHOUT ALL THIS LAND AMONG ALL THIS PEOPLE, OR THE PEOPLE OF ZARAHEMLA, AND THE PEOPLE OF MOSIAH WHO DWELL IN THE LAND (the people that his father Mosiah had led out of the land of Nephi), that thereby they may BE GATHERED TOGETHER; for ON THE MORROW I shall proclaim unto this my people out of mine own mouth that thou art a king and a ruler over this people, whom the Lord our God hath given us” (Mosiah 1:10).
This sounds like a small group of people–pass the message to everyone so they can be there the next day. However, in the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary, “morrow” means “The day next after the present”; “THE NEXT DAY SUBSEQUENT TO ANY DAY SPECIFIED”.
Thus, Mosiah 1:10 might possibly be read in a different way, like this:
“My son, I would that ye should make a proclamation throughout all this land among all this people, or the people of Zarahemla, and the people of Mosiah who dwell in the land (the people that his father Mosiah had led out of the land of Nephi), that thereby they may BE GATHERED TOGETHER; for ON THE NEXT DAY SUBSEQUENT TO THEIR GATHERING I shall proclaim unto this my people out of mine own mouth that thou art a king and a ruler over this people, whom the Lord our God hath given us” (Mosiah 1:10).

King Benjamin says:
“And moreover, I shall give this people a name, that thereby they may BE DISTINGUISHED ABOVE ALL THE PEOPLE WHICH THE LORD GOD HATH BROUGHT OUT OF THE LAND OF JERUSALEM…” (Mosiah 1:11). Does this just mean a name to distinguish them from the Lamanites? That would seem like big trouble to say when he could have said “Lamanites”.
In keeping to the text of Moses, the Exodus, the Lehite exodus and the “promised land” (1 Nephi 17:32-38), it is probable that other peoples had been cleared out to prepare the way for the Lehites, though this is what happened with the Jaredites.

Other races/ groups could easily have been on the continents. The Lord says that 1 Nephi 17:38: “And he leadeth away the righteous into precious lands…”, and in 2 Nephi 10:22: “…the Lord God has led away from time to time from the house of Israel, according to his will and pleasure.” Also, 1 Nephi 22:3-4: “…house of Israel…will be scattered upon all the face of the earth, and also among all nations…there are many who are already lost from the knowledge of those who are at Jerusalem… and they are scattered to and fro upon the isles of the sea…” (And this was long before Hagoth.) And, Lehi, in 2 Nephi 1:5-7: “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. Wherefore, I, Lehi, prophesy according to the workings of the Spirit which is in me, that there shall none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord. Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring.”
Lehi clearly says that others will be led by the Lord to the promised land; and not just from Jerusalem/ Israel, but from other countries. Though there might have been other groups there, there is no need to say that they always interacted. For instance, look att the Nephites and the Mulekites. They were nearby for perhaps 300 years, yet didn’t know it.
Could Coriantumr have told the Mulekites about the Jaredites, or left them records, or taught them some of the language, or perhaps even had children with a Mulekite woman, and named them, even though he only lived with the Mulekites for nine moons? Possibly. Of course, there is the problem of language–I assume that they spoke, surely wrote very different ones. Was there a Jaredite influence? Yes. Remember the stone (and maybe more) that the Mulekites gave King Mosiah (the First)? Did perhaps Coriantumr provide a key to the Mulekites for his language? Or, were the records of earlier times much better in the Brass Plates, and in the records of the Jaredites? Isn’t it possible that there might be a reason other than having to have lots of leftover Jaredites?

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