Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2010, July 27

“Book of Mormon: Shiz Tries to Prove the Prophet Ether Wrong” by grego

“Book of Mormon: Shiz Tries to Prove the Prophet Ether Wrong”

grego
(c) 2010

We read:
Ether 14:24 Nevertheless, Shiz did not cease to pursue Coriantumr; for he had sworn to avenge himself upon Coriantumr of the blood of his brother, who had been slain, and the word of the Lord which came to Ether that Coriantumr should not fall by the sword.

Shiz wanted to kill Coriantumr to become leader, to avenge his brother’s death, and to prove that the prophet Ether was wrong when he said that the Lord said Coriantumr wouldn’t die.

This last part was a prophecy given to Coriantumr, and is found here:
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—
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.
22 And it came to pass that Coriantumr repented not, neither his household, neither the people; and the wars ceased not; and they sought to kill Ether, but he fled from before them and hid again in the cavity of the rock.

I think there was another reason behind Shiz’s desire to kill Ether–to prove that the people didn’t need to repent, by making God’s word hollow. This is often the case, it seems, with those who have sinned greatly and don’t want to repent.

Shiz comes *so close* to proving Ether wrong on more than one occasion:
Ether 14:30 And it came to pass that Shiz smote upon Coriantumr that he gave him many deep wounds; and Coriantumr, having lost his blood, fainted, and was carried away as though he were dead.

Ether 15:5 And it came to pass that when Shiz had received his epistle he wrote an epistle unto Coriantumr, that if he would give himself up, that he might slay him with his own sword, that he would spare the lives of the people.
6 And it came to pass that the people repented not of their iniquity; and the people of Coriantumr were stirred up to anger against the people of Shiz; and the people of Shiz were stirred up to anger against the people of Coriantumr; wherefore, the people of Shiz did give battle unto the people of Coriantumr.

9 And it came to pass that they fought an exceedingly sore battle, in which Coriantumr was wounded again, and he fainted with the loss of blood.

18 And it came to pass that Coriantumr wrote again an epistle unto Shiz, desiring that he would not come again to battle, but that he would take the kingdom, and spare the lives of the people.
19 But behold, the Spirit of the Lord had ceased striving with them, and Satan had full power over the hearts of the people; for they were given up unto the hardness of their hearts, and the blindness of their minds that they might be destroyed; wherefore they went again to battle.

Ether 15:28 And it came to pass that when the men of Coriantumr had received sufficient strength that they could walk, they were about to flee for their lives; but behold, Shiz arose, and also his men, and he swore in his wrath that he would slay Coriantumr or he would perish by the sword.

Unfortunately for Shiz, pursuing this course of trying to prove the prophet wrong (on at least one point, any point!) ended in the exact fulfillment of the prophet Ether’s entire prophecy, including Shiz’s death and Coriantumr’s life:
Ether 15:29 Wherefore, he did pursue them, and on the morrow he did overtake them; and they fought again with the sword. And it came to pass that when they had all fallen by the sword, save it were Coriantumr and Shiz, behold Shiz had fainted with the loss of blood.
30 And it came to pass that when Coriantumr had leaned upon his sword, that he rested a little, he smote off the head of Shiz.
31 And it came to pass that after he had smitten off the head of Shiz, that Shiz raised up on his hands and fell; and after that he had struggled for breath, he died.

Omni 1:21 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.

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2010, July 23

“Book of Mormon: Alma Tries to Retire” by grego

Book of Mormon: Alma Tries to Retire

grego
(cd) 2010

(It is possible that this is not original material, but I can’t remember, and after searching on the internet for a while and not being able to find it, I have gone ahead and written it. If you find it somewhere else earlier, please let me know!)

In Alma 45 we see that Alma passes the calling of high priest of the church on to Helaman, says his closing words, and leaves as if to go to Melek:
Alma 45:18 And when Alma had done this he departed out of the land of Zarahemla, as if to go into the land of Melek. And it came to pass that he was never heard of more; as to his death or burial we know not of.
19 Behold, this we know, that he was a righteous man; and the saying went abroad in the church that he was taken up by the Spirit, or buried by the hand of the Lord, even as Moses. But behold, the scriptures saith the Lord took Moses unto himself; and we suppose that he has also received Alma in the spirit, unto himself; therefore, for this cause we know nothing concerning his death and burial.
20 And now it came to pass in the *commencement of the nineteenth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, that Helaman went forth among the people to declare the word unto them.

Why would Alma head towards Melek?

Alma 31:6 … also *Amulek and Zeezrom, who were at Melek*…

I believe Alma was heading off into the sunset to pass the remainder of his days with his good friends, Amulek and Zeezrom.

2010, July 21

“Book of Mormon: Were the Mothers of the Helaman’s Two Thousand ‘Stripling Warriors’ All Widows?” by grego

“Book of Mormon: Were the Mothers of the Helaman’s Two Thousand ‘Stripling Warriors’ All Widows?”

grego
(c) 2010

Some people have a belief regarding the two thousand (/two thousand and sixty) young men in the Book of Mormon known as the sons of Helaman, who were the sons of the Anti-Nephi-Lehites. They believe that the sons’ fathers were all killed by the Lamanites, so their mothers reared them, and that’s why the mothers had such great faith and could teach their sons regarding faith. Here are two mild examples of this thinking (I’ve seen some go so far as to suggest that most, or even all of, the fathers were killed):

“When the Lamanites attacked them, the fathers did not flee or cower, they ‘went out to meet [the Lamanites]’ without weapons. Many of the fathers were killed (1,005) in that battle and in other attacks…
While the mothers were rearing their children, the Lamanites attacked more than once and many of their husbands were killed.  Under the Lord’s direction these women left their homeland, traveled with their families to the unfamiliar land of Jershon, and there made a new home for their children” (http://www.byui.edu/Presentations/Transcripts/Devotionals/2009_04_21_Clark.htm).

“I then realized that this group of people – the Anti-Nephi-Lehis – had been slaughtered by fellow Lamanites a few years before. Those are the verses I quoted from Alma 24. Most of those killed probably were men. Both men and women faced death fearlessly after they covenanted to never kill again. However, it is my opinion that most of those killed were men. I think they would have placed themselves in a position so they were the first attacked by the Lamanites. So many of these young men had likely lost their fathers in this attack. A lot of the attackers when they saw what they were doing, threw down their weapons of war and joined with the Anti-Nephi-Lehis but I doubt any of the mothers would have remarried any of those other Lamanites – it’s possible but not probable. They were forgiving people but there is a difference between forgiving the person who might have killed your husband and turning around and marrying them.
While some of these widows might have remarried (men other than their converted attackers), it’s likely that many were left to raise their children on their own (with the help of the church and community). There were fathers involved (“they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives”) but the mothers played the larger role. Again, I believe that it is because many of their fathers had been killed by the wicked Lamanites. These were “Momma’s boys” because for many of them, a mom is all they had. This is all opinion (and maybe literary license) but it makes sense. These sons of widows were taken care of by He who watches over and cares for the fatherless and widows” (http://ahouseofprayer.blogspot.com/2010_01_01_archive.html).

Verses in Alma 24, 27, 53, and 55-58 are relied on.

I’ll have to set out a better time schedule of these events, if possible, from the Book of Mormon, to get a better idea of the possibilities of the comments. Nevertheless, the Book of Mormon shows that while the above comments about the sons of Helaman might be true, it is clearly not the case that all their fathers, and possibly not the case that most of their fathers, were killed.

First, let’s take another look at Alma 24:
6 Now there was *not one soul among all the people* who had been converted unto the Lord that would take up arms against their brethren; nay, they would not even make any preparations for war; yea, and also their king commanded them that they should not.
7 Now, these are the words which he said *unto the people* concerning the matter: I thank my God, *my beloved people*, that our great God has in goodness sent these our brethren, the Nephites, unto us to preach unto us, and to convince us of the traditions of our wicked fathers.
9 And behold, I also thank my God, that by opening this correspondence we have been convinced of our sins, and of the many murders which we have committed.
11 And now behold, my brethren, since it has been all that we could do, (as we were the most lost of all mankind) to repent of all our sins and the many murders which we have committed, and to get God to take them away from our hearts, for it was all we could do to repent sufficiently before God that he would take away our stain—
12 Now, *my best beloved brethren*, since God hath taken away our stains, and our swords have become bright, then let us stain our swords no more with the blood of our brethren.
16 And now, *my brethren*, if our brethren seek to destroy us, behold, we will hide away our swords, yea, even we will bury them deep in the earth, that they may be kept bright, as a testimony that we have never used them, at the last day; and if our brethren destroy us, behold, we shall go to our God and shall be saved.
17 And now it came to pass that when the king had made an end of these sayings, and *all the people* were assembled together, they took their swords, and all the weapons which were used for the shedding of man’s blood, and they did bury them up deep in the earth.
18 And this they did, it being in their view a testimony to God, and also to men, that they never would use weapons again for the shedding of man’s blood; and this they did, vouching and covenanting with God, that rather than shed the blood of their brethren they would give up their own lives…
20 And it came to pass that their brethren, the Lamanites, made preparations for war, and came up to the land of Nephi for the purpose of destroying the king, and to place another in his stead, and also of destroying the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi out of the land.
21 Now when *the people* saw that they were coming against them *they* went out to meet them, and prostrated themselves before them to the earth, and began to call on the name of the Lord; and thus they were in this attitude when the Lamanites began to fall upon them, and began to slay them with the sword.
22 And thus without meeting any resistance, they did slay a thousand and five of them; and we know that they are blessed, for they have gone to dwell with their God.
23 Now when the Lamanites saw that *their brethren* would not flee from the sword, neither would they turn aside to the right hand or to the left, but that they would lie down and perish, and praised God even in the very act of perishing under the sword—
24 Now when the Lamanites saw this they did forbear from slaying them; and there were many whose hearts had swollen in them *for those of their brethren* who had fallen under the sword, for they repented of the things which they had done.
25 And it came to pass that they threw down their weapons of war, and they would not take them again, for they were stung for the murders which they had committed; and they came down *even as their brethren*, relying upon the mercies of those whose arms were lifted to slay them.
26 And it came to pass that the people of God were joined that day by more than the number who had been slain; and those who had been slain were righteous *people*, therefore we have no reason to doubt but what they were saved.
27 And there was not a wicked *man* slain among them; but there were more than a thousand brought to the knowledge of the truth; thus we see that the Lord worketh in many ways to the salvation of his people.

It seems this might be read in two different ways (though the first interpretation is favored), but a relative conclusion can be drawn: if this were all men, only the men covenanted and were killed; if this included women, men and women both covenanted and were killed.
In addition, there is nothing here that says or implies that the slain Anti-Nephi-Lehites were married and had older children. And, contrary to previous commentary, I give my opinion that the mothers would be willing to marry those newly converted men—of course, that would be assuming that the men were single themselves!

And in Alma 27:
2 And it came to pass that the Amalekites, because of their loss, were exceedingly angry. And when they saw that they could not seek revenge from the Nephites, *they began to stir up the people in anger against their brethren, the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi; therefore they began again to destroy them.*
3 Now *this people again refused to take their arms, and they suffered themselves to be slain according to the desires of their enemies*.
4 Now when Ammon and his brethren saw this work of destruction among those whom they so dearly beloved… therefore, when Ammon and his brethren saw this great work of destruction…

There is no clear mention that “the Lamanites attacked more than once and many of their husbands were killed”. I also doubt that these attacks amounted to much compared to the first major attack. Once more, who was really killed?

There is also Alma 53:11:
11 And because of their oath they had been kept from taking up arms against their brethren; for they had taken an oath that they never would shed blood more; and according to their oath they would have perished; yea, they would have suffered themselves to have fallen into the hands of their brethren, had it not been for the pity and the exceeding love which Ammon and his brethren had had for them.
12 And for this cause they were brought down into the land of Zarahemla; and they ever had been protected by the Nephites.
13 But it came to pass that when they saw the danger, and the many afflictions and tribulations which the Nephites bore for them, *they were moved with compassion and were desirous to take up arms in the defence of their country*.
14 But behold, as they were about to take their weapons of war, they were overpowered by the persuasions of Helaman and his brethren, for they were about to break the oath which they had made.
15 And Helaman feared lest by so doing they should lose their souls; therefore all those who had entered into this covenant were compelled to behold their brethren wade through their afflictions, in their dangerous circumstances at this time.
16 But behold, it came to pass *they* had many sons, who had not entered into a covenant that they would not take their weapons of war to defend themselves against their enemies; therefore they did assemble themselves together at this time, as many as were able to take up arms, and they called themselves Nephites.

Who was going to break the covenants about not taking up arms and going to war—the mothers? I don’t think so; though of course, it could have been… Also, “*they* had many sons”.

Then, there is Alma 56:27:
“And now it came to pass in the second month of this year, there was brought unto us many provisions *from the fathers of those my two thousand sons*.”

Helaman clearly says “the fathers of those my two thousand sons” brought many provisions. (Fathers, or step-fathers counted as fathers?)

And then, there’s this, in Alma 56:47: “Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and *they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers* than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.”

One way to interpret that is that they were fighting for the “liberty of their fathers”, who were living in religious freedom in the Nephite lands, and that that was more precious to them than their own lives.

So, I conclude that while many of the fathers might have died, many surely survived, and the myth that the mothers of the sons of Helaman raised their sons single-handedly, is not concrete.

More: https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/2010/08/05/book-of-mormon-widowers-of-ammonihah-and-anti-nephi-lehi-widows-by-grego/ .

Another possibility as to what was meant: https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/2013/03/21/book-of-mormon-stripling-anti-nephi-lehies-rehearsed-to-helaman-the-words-of-their-mothers-alma-5648-by-grego/

2010, July 15

“Book of Mormon | King Benjamin: Salvation for Self, Family, Others in Mosiah 4” by grego

“Book of Mormon | King Benjamin: Salvation for Self, Family, Others in Mosiah 4”

grego
(c) 2010

King Benjamin follows a “salvation for yourself, then your family, then others” outline in his sermon in Mosiah 4.

Mosiah 4:5-12 is about individual salvation; Mosiah 4:14-15 are about saving your children; and Mosiah 4:16-26, 28 are about helping save others.

Mosiah 4:27 says: And see that *all these things are done in wisdom and order*; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.

And King Benjamin has ordered them for us: save yourself first, then your family, and then others, both temporally and spiritually. No doubt there are times/ will be times we would like to help out of order—a sign of charity—but we are unable to, unless we be counted unwise, or exceed our strength; but with time and faith, or by exception from the normal wisdom and order by the Spirit, God will allow us to do all three.

2010, July 8

“Book of Mormon: ‘One Man'” by grego

Book of Mormon: ‘One Man’

grego
(c) 2010

In Moroni 7, Mormon preaches a sermon on faith, hope, and charity. Talking of faith, he says:

Moroni 7:36 Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he (God) withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved?

Just a few years later(AD 400-421), for certain on the Americas and possibly the entire world, there was just “one man” on earth to be saved, and miracles still did occur due to his faith. That one man was none other than the son of the preacher of the sermon (Mormon): Moroni.

Mormon 8:2 …the Nephites who had escaped into the country southward were hunted by the Lamanites, until they were all destroyed.
3 And my father also was killed by them, and I even remain alone to write the sad tale of the destruction of my people. But behold, they are gone…
5 …And behold, I would write it also if I had room upon the plates, but I have not; and ore I have none, for I am alone. My father hath been slain in battle, and all my kinsfolk, and I have not friends nor whither to go; and how long the Lord will suffer that I may live I know not.
6 Behold, four hundred years have passed away since the coming of our Lord and Savior.
7 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.
8 …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…
9 …there are none save it be the Lamanites and robbers that do exist upon the face of the land.
10 And there are none that do know the true God save it be the disciples of Jesus (already saved), who did tarry in the land until the wickedness of the people was so great that the Lord would not suffer them to remain with the people; and whether they be upon the face of the land no man knoweth.

2010, July 5

“Book of Mormon Geography and Hebrew/ ‘Jewishness'” by grego

“Book of Mormon Geography and Hebrew/ ‘Jewishness'”

grego
(c) 2010

I am surprised that so much of Book of Mormon geography relies on Hebrew/ ‘Jewishness’ for evidence of its correctness. Book of Mormon setting in Malaysia? Well, some of the customs are so Jewish. Tennessee? Well, ancient Jewish writing was found there. New Mexico? The same. Central America? Well, some Jewish words seem to have found their way into the language.

And so it goes, on and on. Does it really work that way?

No, I don’t think so; for a few reasons:
1. Lehi et. al. once lived at Jerusalem for a long period, true. But Laman and Lemuel were likely too lazy and unaccomplished to actually make their new land and culture similar to Jerusalem in any way. Nephi wasn’t particularly fond of the ways of the Jews. Much of the Mulekite culture was likely, at minimum, corrupted.
2. Most things would have been destroyed or lost.
3. Many LDS/ Mormons have this incorrect belief that anything Hebrew/ Jewish in the New World, or anywhere “where it shouldn’t be”, means or leads to “Book of Mormon”. That is far from the case, for many reasons. I will point the reader to my Book of Mormon article, “Nephi and Jacob’s ‘Isles of the Sea’ Others versus Modern Prophets’ Hagoth and Polynesians: Time to Re-evaluate ‘Descendants of Hagoth’ and ‘Lehites’ (Like with Lamanites and the Priesthood Ban)?” by grego, where the Nephi and Jacob show that this is not the case.

I will also add here one possible event—the story of the Hawaiians, from Huna.

“… the incredible similarities between the Hawaiian magick and that of the Berber tribe in the Atlas Mountains of North Africa where he studied in his youth. The Hawaiian words were the same except for small dialect differences. There seems to be a starteling connection between the Berbers and the Polynesians because the languages are not at all related. The two peoples had either been a part of the same stock or had contact somewhere in ancient times.

The tribal history of the Berber’s told of that of 12 tribes of people each having kahunas. They had lived in the Saraha Desert when it was fertile and green land with flowing rivers. They moved into the Nile Valley after the rivers dried up. These people used their magic to help cut, carry and place the building blocks of the Great Pyramid. From there, the kahunas had forseen a time of darkness approaching. To preserve the secret of the magick, the 12 tribes decided to hunt for new fertile lands to occupy until the time was right to again emerge into the world. Eleven of the tribes set out, their kahunas using psychic means to locate a new land and moved alone either the African coast or India and after a period of years with no word, the 12th tribe assumed they were lost. The 12th tribe now set out to find new land, instead going north to settle into the Atlas Mountains.

This tribal history linked the Polynesians up with North Africans and possibly Egypt. The oral legend of the Hawaiian’s people contain little information with the exception of the Polynesian people coming from a far away land. They set out to find the lush fertile lands their kahunas had clairvoyantly seen. They do tell of moving along the “Red Sea of Kane” which corresponds with the idea that they came from Egypt by way of the Red Sea.

From: http://forums.vsociety.net/index.php?topic=10822.msg117181

2010, July 1

“Who Saw Jesus in the Book of Mormon?” by grego

“Who Saw Jesus in the Book of Mormon?”

grego
(c) 2009

Who saw Jesus in the Book of Mormon? (*Not* a final list, eh.)
. Lehi (1 Nephi 1:9)
. Nephi (1 Nephi 11:20-33; 2 Nephi 11:2; 31:17)
. Jacob (2 Nephi 11:3)
. Alma the younger (Alma 36:22)
. Lamoni (Alma 19:13)
. The Nephites/ Lamanites, especially his disciples, at the time of his visit to them after his resurrection (3 Nephi 11-27)
. Mormon, possibly (Mormon 1:15)
. Brother of Jared (Ether 3; 12:20)
. Moroni (Ether 12:39)
(. Isaiah (2 Nephi 11:2))


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“Are Shem and Melchizedek in the Bible the Same Person?” by grego

Are Shem and Melchizedek in the Bible the Same Person?

grego
(c) 2010

There’s not much about these guys when it comes to certain aspects. What did Shem do? Nothing is said (other than “had children”). What about Melchizedek’s lineage? Nothing (other than descended from Noah).

Joseph F. Smith wrote in Doctrine and Covenants 138:41: “Noah, who gave warning of the flood; Shem, the great high priest; Abraham, the father of the faithful; Isaac, Jacob, and Moses, the great law-giver of Israel;”

Shem, the great high priest?? The Bible is silent on that, and more interestingly, the New Testament has no mention of Shem, unlike other Old Testament leaders (Moses, Melchizedek, etc.). In this list, there is nothing about Melchizedek, though it’s probably because he and Enoch are not there in the spirit world because they didn’t die, but were translated.

In the Pearl of Great Price, we read a little about Shem:
Moses 8:27 And thus Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord; for Noah was a just man, and perfect in his generation; and he walked with God, as did also his three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

He was also blessed with the priesthood:
Gen. 9:18 ¶ And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan.
23 And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness.
26 And [Noah] said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

Here’s the genealogy of Shem and Abraham:
Genesis 11:10 ¶ These are the generations of Shem: Shem was an hundred years old, and begat Arphaxad two years after the flood:
11 And Shem lived after he begat Arphaxad five hundred years, and begat sons and daughters. (Shem gives birth at 100, lives 500 more.)
12 And Arphaxad lived five and thirty years, and begat Salah (his son gives birth at 35 years old):
13 And Arphaxad lived after he begat Salah four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters.
14 And Salah lived thirty years, and begat Eber: (his grandson gives birth at 30 years)
15 And Salah lived after he begat Eber four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters.
16 And Eber lived four and thirty years, and begat Peleg: (his great-grandson gives birth at 34 years)
17 And Eber lived after he begat Peleg four hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters.
18 And Peleg lived thirty years, and begat Reu: (his great-great grandson gives birth at 30 years)
19 And Peleg lived after he begat Reu two hundred and nine years, and begat sons and daughters.
20 And Reu lived two and thirty years, and begat Serug: (his great-great grandson gives birth at 32 years)
21 And Reu lived after he begat Serug two hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters.
22 And Serug lived thirty years, and begat Nahor: (his great-great-great grandson gives birth at 30 years)
23 And Serug lived after he begat Nahor two hundred years, and begat sons and daughters.
24 And Nahor lived nine and twenty years, and begat Terah: (his great-great-great-great grandson gives birth at 29 years)
25 And Nahor lived after he begat Terah an hundred and nineteen years, and begat sons and daughters.
26 And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran. (his great-great-great-great-great grandson gives birth at 70 years)
27 ¶ Now these are the generations of Terah: Terah begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begat Lot.

Abraham meets Melchizedek. They meet in Genesis 14; in Genesis 16, Abraham is 86 when Ishmael is born, so it’s earlier than that.

Shem lives 500 years from the point of counting down.

35 + 30 + 34 + 30 + 32 + 30 + 29 + 70 + 86(or less) (Abraham was younger when he met Melchizedek; this is the first clear firm date after their meeting) = x

So, 500 – 290 + 86(or less) = 210 + 86(or less) = 296.

This 296 years is well within 500 years, so at least on that account it’s possible.

Also note that in all that genealogy, there is no mention of Melchizedek.

On the other hand, it is true that the line only links up Noah to Abraham, and doesn’t deal much with anyone else.

What is known about Melchizedek? From the “GS Melchizedek” we learn:
A great Old Testament high priest, prophet, and leader who lived after the flood and during the time of Abraham. He was called the king of Salem (Jerusalem), king of peace, king of righteousness (which is the Hebrew meaning of Melchizedek), and priest of the most high God.
Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek, Gen. 14: 18-20. Melchizedek’s people wrought righteousness, and obtained heaven, JST, Gen. 14: 25-40. Christ was a high priest after the order of Melchizedek, Heb. 5: 6. Melchizedek was King of Salem, priest of the most high God, Heb. 7: 1-3. None were greater than Melchizedek, Alma 13: 14-19. Abraham received the priesthood from Melchizedek, Doctrine and Covenants84: 14. In respect for the Lord’s name, the ancient Church called the higher priesthood the Melchizedek Priesthood, Doctrine and Covenants107: 1-4.

Ahhh, so Melchizedek is a title (“king of righteousness”), not a name—he won’t be mentioned by this title in the genealogy.

In Doctrine and Covenants 84:14, we read: “Which Abraham received the priesthood from Melchizedek, who received it through the lineage of his fathers, even till Noah;”
and similar but looser language in Abraham 1. So, Melchizedek is likely a direct relative between Noah and Abraham.

So, it is at least possible, from what we have, that Shem is Melchizedek.

More about Melchizedek, from JOSEPH SMITH TRANSLATION GENESIS 14: 25-40:
25 And Melchizedek lifted up his voice and blessed Abram.
26 Now Melchizedek was a man of faith, who wrought righteousness; and when a child he feared God, and stopped the mouths of lions, and quenched the violence of fire.
27 And thus, having been approved of God, he was ordained an high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch,
28 It being after the order of the Son of God; which order came, not by man, nor the will of man; neither by father nor mother; neither by beginning of days nor end of years; but of God;
29 And it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will, unto as many as believed on his name.
30 For God having sworn unto Enoch and unto his seed with an oath by himself; that every one being ordained after this order and calling should have power, by faith, to break mountains, to divide the seas, to dry up waters, to turn them out of their course;
31 To put at defiance the armies of nations, to divide the earth, to break every band, to stand in the presence of God; to do all things according to his will, according to his command, subdue principalities and powers; and this by the will of the Son of God which was from before the foundation of the world.
32 And men having this faith, coming up unto this order of God, were translated and taken up into heaven.
33 And now, Melchizedek was a priest of this order; therefore he obtained peace in Salem, and was called the Prince of peace.
34 And his people wrought righteousness, and obtained heaven, and sought for the city of Enoch which God had before taken, separating it from the earth, having reserved it unto the latter days, or the end of the world;
35 And hath said, and sworn with an oath, that the heavens and the earth should come together; and the sons of God should be tried so as by fire.
36 And this Melchizedek, having thus established righteousness, was called the king of heaven by his people, or, in other words, the King of peace.
37 And he lifted up his voice, and he blessed Abram, being the high priest, and the keeper of the storehouse of God;
38 Him whom God had appointed to receive tithes for the poor.
39 Wherefore, Abram paid unto him tithes of all that he had, of all the riches which he possessed, which God had given him more than that which he had need.
40 And it came to pass, that God blessed Abram, and gave unto him riches, and honor, and lands for an everlasting possession; according to the covenant which he had made, and according to the blessing wherewith Melchizedek had blessed him.

Here, we see that Enoch and his people were translated, and Melchizedek and his people sought for the same destiny and reached it, too (JST Genesis 14:34). So, Melchizedek is likely not Shem, as neither Enoch nor Melchizedek are noted as being in the spirit world by Joseph F. Smith; but Shem was there.

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