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 15: A CRITIQUE OF THE ARGUMENT FOR OTHERS AMONG THE JAREDITES 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 15: A CRITIQUE OF THE ARGUMENT FOR OTHERS AMONG THE JAREDITES

grego
(c) 2004-2009

PART 15: A CRITIQUE OF THE ARGUMENT FOR OTHERS AMONG THE JAREDITES

John L. Sorenson:
“Others” among the Jaredites?
The major focus of this paper, as well as of the Book of Mormon, is the Nephites. A brief look at the Jaredite record is nevertheless worthwhile for what it seems to tell us about demographic processes comparable to those we have discovered in the Nephite record. Moroni’s summary of Ether’s sketch of Jaredite history is so concise that it is difficult to say much about their population history in relation to Jared’s original party, yet a few points stand out. It appears that for the earlier people, too, we must look to “other” groups to account plausibly for the indicated trends and numbers. Figuring the demographic growth of Jared’s party requires that we establish how many there were initially. Ether 6:16 indicates that the founding generation consisted of twenty-four males. The brother of Jared sired twenty-two sons and daughters, while Jared had twelve (see Ether 6:20). We can be confident that they had multiple wives.

****Maybe they didn’t have multiple wives, especially at the beginning. While it seems that plural marriage was alive and well, at least for some:
Ether 1:41: Go to and gather together thy flocks, both male and female, of every kind; and also of the seed of the earth of every kind; and THY FAMILIES; and also JARED THY BROTHER AND HIS FAMILY; and also thy friends and their families, and the friends of Jared and their families. *However*, presently, this is considered a printer’s error: the original reads “family”, not “families”.
Yet, here we read:
Ether 14:2: Wherefore every man did cleave unto that which was his own, with his hands, and would not borrow neither would he lend; and EVERY MAN kept the hilt of his sword in his right hand, in the defence of his property and HIS OWN LIFE and of HIS WIVES and children.
Unless that too is a printer’s error, or unless every man were considered plural.

-=-=-=
John L. Sorenson:
Estimating on the basis of these numbers, the original party reasonably could have numbered on the order of eighty adults. Not many decades later, when Jared’s grandsons, Corihor and Kib, were vigorous political leaders, we read of a “city” in a land, “Nehor,” not previously mentioned (see Ether 7:9). This is the earliest “city” in the entire Book of Mormon record, yet no city is ever mentioned in the land of Moron, the capital “where the king [in Jared’s line] dwelt” (Ether 7:5).

****John L. Sorenson answers his own question here with this quote of his from above: “the writers did not want to waste space on their plates telling of things they considered obvious or insignificant. For example, they nowhere tell us that the Nephites made and used pottery. Any ancient historian would be considered eccentric if he had written, “And some of our women also made pottery.” To anyone of his time it would seem absurd to say so because ‘everybody knows that.’ The obvious is rarely recorded in historical documents because it seems pointless to do so.”

-=-=-=
John L. Sorenson:
Even if half the descendants from those of the eight barges had inexplicably settled in Nehor, the highest number we can imagine for them at this early date would be, say, a hundred people in the “city” and its land. That number could not have made any “city.” Then one generation later, “the people [as a whole] had become exceeding numerous” (Ether 7:11). The scale of population suggested by these statements calls for “other” groups to have been incorporated under Jaredite rule. Continued extraordinary population dynamics followed. In the next generation war resulted in destruction of “all the people of the kingdom … save it were thirty souls, and they who fled with the house of Omer” (Ether 9:12). Yet two kings later we read of the building of “many mighty cities” (Ether 9:23).

****Let’s take a look at what the Book of Mormon says:
Ether 6:16 And THE FRIENDS OF JARED AND HIS BROTHER were in number about TWENTY AND TWO SOULS; and THEY ALSO BEGAT SONS AND DAUGHTERS BEFORE THEY CAME TO THE PROMISED LAND; and therefore THEY BEGAN TO BE MANY.
Ether 6:18 And it came to pass that they BEGAN TO SPREAD upon the face of the land, and to MULTIPLY and to till the earth; and they DID WAX STRONG in the land.
Ether 6:19 And the brother of Jared began to be old, and saw that he must soon go down to the grave; wherefore he said unto Jared: Let us GATHER TOGETHER OUR PEOPLE THAT WE MAY NUMBER THEM, that we may know of them what they will desire of us before we go down to our graves.
Ether 6:20 And accordingly THE PEOPLE WERE GATHERED TOGETHER. Now the number of THE SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF THE BROTHER OF JARED WERE TWENTY AND TWO SOULS; and the number of SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF JARED WERE TWELVE, he having four sons.
Ether 6:21 And it came to pass that THEY DID NUMBER THEIR PEOPLE; and after that they had numbered them, they did desire of them the things which they would that they should do before they went down to their graves.
Ether 6:22 And it came to pass that the people desired of them that THEY SHOULD ANOINT ONE OF THEIR SONS TO BE A KING OVER THEM. (A direct conflict between John L. Sorenson’s argument here and Brant Gardner’s “Nephi can’t be a king over a small group of people” hypothesis.)
Ether 7:2 And [Orihah] BEGAT SONS AND DAUGHTERS; yea, he begat THIRTY AND ONE, among whom were twenty and three sons.
Ether 7:3 And it came to pass that he also begat Kib in his old age. And it came to pass that KIB REIGNED IN HIS STEAD; and KIB BEGAT CORIHOR.
Ether 7:4 And when CORIHOR WAS THIRTY AND TWO YEARS OLD he rebelled against his father, and went over and dwelt in the land of Nehor; and he begat sons and daughters, and they became exceedingly fair; wherefore Corihor drew away many people after him.
Ether 7:7 And it came to pass that KIB DWELT IN CAPTIVITY, AND HIS PEOPLE UNDER CORIHOR his son, until he became exceedingly old; nevertheless Kib begat Shule in his old age, while he was yet in captivity.

First, note that just when Jared and his brother were going to die, they gathered the people to number them. Remember Sorenson’s writing, “[A] hundred people in the “city” and its land”? If there are only 100 people, why would there be a need to gather them? Why a need to number them??
Well then, that must mean there were others, right? Well, let’s see what the Book of Mormon says… It seems that lifespans were longer, and the youngest son became king when his father the king died–which really stretches it out. Kings could easily have 60-80 years between them. We have the brother of Jared to Orihah (youngest son); Kib to Corihor (thirty-two); that’s possibly 60+60+60-32= 148 years!! Also, with people living longer, more people are alive at the same time, and propagating longer (especially if they have multiple wives). While women wouldn’t bear past a specific age, men would. When they’re having anywhere from 12-31 children each, and there were twenty four families to start out with (assuming twenty and two” means their male friends, not males and females counted separately), that’s a lot in that time. Here: 24 x 20= 480; 240 x 20= 4,800; 2,400 x20=48,000! That’s not counting what some might see as multiple wives, either.
Also, note in Ether 7:7 that these kings and armies did not try to destroy each other, as the Lamanites tried to do with the Nephites. The king and his people were captured and lived under the opposing king. The slate is not wiped half clean just because of a war!
However, much of this lies on assumptions about what a “city” means, and I have dealt with that earlier discussions on “Others”.

-=-=-=
John L. Sorenson:
Before long, drought caused the death of the king Heth “and all his household” except Shez (Ether 10:1-2). Quickly they again built up “many cities … and the people began again to spread over all the face of the land” (Ether 10:4). Centuries later, two million “mighty men, and also their wives and their children” (Ether 15:2) were slain while further warring armies and civilian supporters yet remained. I find it not credible that these roller-coaster numbers could result strictly from the demographics of an original party of eighty adults. As with the peoples reported in the Nephites’ own record, a simpler and more compelling explanation is that groups not descended from the immigrant party were involved. If so, “the Jaredites” would have consisted of a combination of groups with cultures and languages beyond those descended from the settlers on the first barges. But the picture is left unclear because Ether, a direct descendant of Jared, gives us only his line’s history rather than an account of all the inhabitants of the land (consider, for example, Ether 10:30-31). Furthermore, we have access only to Moroni’s summary covering Ether’s necessarily short history of thousands of years. When all the considerations we have reviewed are weighed, I find it inescapable that there were substantial populations in the “promised land” throughout the period of the Nephite record, and probably in the Jaredite era also. The status and origin of these peoples is never made clear because the writers never set out to do any such thing; they had other purposes. Yet we cannot understand the demographic or cultural history of Lehi’s literal descendants without taking into account those other groups, too. Hereafter, readers will not be justified in saying that the record fails to mention “others” but only that we readers have hitherto failed to observe what is said and implied about such people in the Book of Mormon. 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.

****John L. Sorenson finds it “not credible”. Ok, but is it really? Is it impossible? No. Illogical? No.
All those records, and not one mention of “Others”… Either a pity, a temptation, a big frustration for Other proponents, or an exercise for some reason yet to be discovered. No doubt this has helped me to study the Book of Mormon better, might that be it?? ;)

%d bloggers like this: