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Saturday, February 18, 2006

The LA Times Discovers Another Very Old Story: DNA and the Book of Mormon

Geoffrey Biddulph over at Millennial Star discusses the recent "news" story at the LA Times on DNA and the Book of Mormon. It's an old story, years old, retold with the finest anti-Mormon blinders firmly in place - but somehow it merits front page attention. Never mind all the real news going on - stories like the national security disaster of turning over six major US ports to an Arab company. The fact that some anti-Mormons have an old argument against the Book of Mormon is the headline that Americans need to see.

What I especially appreciated about Geoff's post was his find of a great post on the DNA issue at Right Side Redux, a blog by Justin Hart that I had not seen before. Justin's post includes a listing of numerous LDS articles on the DNA issue (including mine) that might have helped the LA Times get some accurate information about what the Book of Mormon really teaches and how the DNA evidence affects (or does not affect) the Church.

Thanks Geoff and Justin!

32 comments:

captveg said...

Yeah, I saw the article the morning of. Talked to a couple co-workers about it, and basically explained that the problem was the predominant view of 150 years of Mormon culture rather than what the scriptures in the Book of Mormon had to say. Too bad the article didn't make that clear.

Anonymous said...

I saw the article too and was very disappointed. I'm a journalist, and I know how hard it is to write about matters I know nothing about, and it's obvious that this writer (and those who edited the story) had the same problem. But the facts and the implications of the story still should have been checked out more.

When I first started the story, I was led to believe that there's something out there worthy of shaking my faith. But there was nothing new, and the writer and editors apparently didn't know that.

Anonymous said...

Very old story for whom? Most members of the church I've had contact with before I went inactive still believed what is written in the preface to the BoM, that is, that people from the Middle East are the principal ancestors of the Native Americans.

I don't know for sure, but I'd certainly guess, that most of them would also expect to see DNA evidence backing up that assertion. That there isn't any, while not a "mortal blow" to Mormonism, certainly has caused more than one member to reconsider their faith.

It's also worth noting that the column where that piece ran is traditionally dedicated to stories like this one--human interest type stuff.

b bowen said...

Mr. Lindsay likes to make comparisons between the "real" and the un-real that don't make much sense to me.

I'm pretty sure the LA Times has reported on the outsourcing news (which may or may not be a national security disaster).

mawcawn said...

I think the word "principle" is metaphorical rather than literal. George Washington is the "Father of our country," but you will not find his DNA in my body--or in the bodies of the majority of US citizens. Lehi is important to the natives of North and South America and the isles of the sea, but, perhaps, not their literal ancestor.

captveg said...

In any case, that forward is not scripture, and is probably due for an update.

I don't speak another language, so this may or may not be an interesting question: are the forwards of other non-English copies of the Book of Mormon translations of the English one, or are they different?

Daniel Peterson said...

A new article on the issue of Amerindian DNA and the Book of Mormon, written by the geneticist Dr. John Butler, has been posted on the FARMS web site:

http://farms.byu.edu/publications/dna/Butl...DNA_Feb2006.php

Very good stuff.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Peterson:

You need to correct your link. It does not work. May I suggest utilizing tinyurl.com?

Granny said...

Worked fine for me.
Granny

Daniel Peterson said...

Happy to help, if I can:

http://tinyurl.com/mvgp2

Anonymous said...

I'd hardly ascribe the idea that only Mulekites and Lehites populated the land (All the Jaredites women died, don't forget) as a cultural view, rather than a scriptural one.

1 Ne 1:12--Nephi fortells the story of the BoM as his "seed" and the "seed of my brethren." Not allied tribes that have diluted their seed.

1 Ne 2:10--waters divided the Gentiles from the "seed of my bretheren." Thay wouldn't be the case if Asians were on the contitent.

1 Ne 2:12--by 1492, he still refers to the promised land (as far north as where the Pilgrims arrive) as inhabited by his brothers' seed. He discusses (in v. 30) the mixing of seeds, but only between 2 groups--his and his brothers'.

1 Ne 18:25--lots of details about what they found, but no humans.

2 Ne 1:9-11--Seems pretty clear that the promised land couldn't be inhabited by anybody other than former Israelites (at least in a peaceful way).

So, these "cultural notions" didn't originate in a vacuum. They seem pretty clearly driven by the BoM itself...

Walker said...

I would have to disagree with this interpretation, as it does not account for other sections in the BOM which clearly indicate the presence of others. Those that do seem to indicate such, as noted by ANon, are quite early indicators, leaving nearly 900 years available for mixing and intermarriage.

For example, even as early as 2 Ne. 5, Nephi's curse implies that mixing will indeed take place, as he states that cursed is he who mixeth with their seed (2 Nephi 5:23-24). Also, in this light, it would be well to view Nephi's record as being quite ethnocentric in its approach, as a lineage history rather than a general one as in 1 Nephi 13:10 rather than 2:10, which you cite. Consequently, Nephi does not care to differentiate between Laman/Lemuel's seed and other tribes. They are all part of the "other"--Lamanites.

Moreover, Nephi would not be terribly interested in the nations of the non-believing tribes, at least as far as the efficacy of Lehi's covenant is concerned (2 Nephi 1: 9-11). These appear, rather than being indications that only Israelites would inherit the land, that the land would be taken over in the case of wickedness (which certainly took place with the Lamanites) Indeed, it appears that apostasy of the Lamanites invited "other nations" to intermingle with them (v. 10-11 specifically).

It is difficult to pinpoint the references from there because many appear to have been mistyped. Let's just recognize that there is certainly a plausible case to be made for the multi-tribal Lamanite model.

Anonymous said...

Please direct me to the sections of the BoM that "clearly indicate the presence of others."

2 Ne 5:20-24 describes the Lamanites turning dark, then says whoever intermarries will be dark. Obviously, the Nephites were available to intermarry, as were Gentiles millenia later. This does not refute my earlier passages (which I correct below).

I'm not following why you think 1Ne13:10 includes non-Lehite/Mulekite tribes. If you're not an Israelit, you have to be on the other side of "many waters." Further illustrating this, Jacob 1:13 makes an inclusive list (no "and so forth" or "such as") of the member tribes of the Lamanites, all of which were descended from the original landing party.

On 2Ne1:10, the Nephites stayed faithful (for the most part), so they would have been protected from "other nations." Ergo, only Israelites could have been harrasing them. A post-Columbus mixing makes perfect sense with Lehi's covenant, a pre-Coumbian one does not.

"It is difficult to pinpoint the references from there because many appear to have been mistyped."

1 Ne 1:12 should have read 1 Ne 12 (specifically the end of the chapter).

You already figured that out 1 Ne 2 references should have been 1 Ne 13. (In my defense, I'm typing in the Eastern hemisphere, so it was 2 AM when I posted.)

Walker said...

As far as 2 Nephi 5 goes, I'm not stating that the Nephites don't apply to the situation. Also, the skin of blackness is not listed by Nephi as being part of the "curse." It was only so that the Nephites would not intermarry. Rather, he states that the cursing was of idleness and subtlety. Hence, this verse could be viewed as stating not only the fate of those Nephites who intermarry, but also those other groups who joined with the Lamanites. This would be likely, since with Nephi writing in retrospect, he likely would not have been concerned with delineating the political/ethnic divisions amongst those who joined the Lamanite political banner, whether those allies were ethnic Lamanites or not.

This is an important point: as a lineage history, the Nephites were not stating eternal truth when they referred to the seed of their brethren or even, like Jacob, to the various tribes of the house of Nephi. This can be seen in the next verse: "I call them Lamanites that seek destroy the people of Nephi." Allies and intricacies are unimportant to Jacob. Similarly, those who later joined the faith from Ammon's missionary efforts were likewise numbered as being Anti-Nephi Lehies--no longer Lamanites. Titles were fluid for the Nephites, especially when alliances are involved (as seen in the example below). Since this was an ethnocentric history, Nephi was far more concerned with establishing his lineage then he was with discussing the natives who seemed to blend into a Lamanite borg, due to the skin of blackness.


In this regard, they had a bit of a Manichean worldview of us vs. them. THroughout the BOM (esp. in Jacob 7), the Nephites show this interesting self-consciousness that seems to focus all events around them. This happened with the Mormons in Utah--when one separates him/herself from society, internal distinctions melt away.

On 2 Nephi 1:10, the Nephites were not faithful for the most part. Around 400 AD, they were utterly destroyed in divine judgment, around the beginning of the Classical Mayan period.
You lose me on the Ergo here. Since the blessing was given as a general blessing to his children, given well before he begins the specific blessings in chapter 2. Consequently, "other nations" must refer to someone outside of Lehi's lineage, not the Lamanites.

Oy vey, it is late here too. Talk to ya later.

ujlapana said...

Shouldn't stay anonymous forever, I suppose.

2Ne5: My original verses suggest only Lehites and Mulekites (or other unrecorded Israelites, at a stretch) were on the continent. You proposed 2Ne5 as a counter to that--I am merely pointing out that it fits quite nicely into the Lehite-only model. The other verses that I gave, however, do not fit well into an Asian-aboriginal model.

You're digressing in trying to explain away racist scriptures, Walker. (Let's agree to disagree until we can cover that in another thread.)

"There are two teams, A & B. Their members are John, Mary, Frank, Bob, Sally, and Ron, but from now on I will refer to them as A & B." How can you read this to support that William was also in the room? You can't.

Yes, "other nations" are outside of Israel. That's why they couldn't be there when the Nephites were good (in the beginning). They couldn't have appeared mid-stream, either, because in v. 11 we learn what happens when "other nations" arrive. (It's not to intermingle and explain rapid population growth!) This is as a clear a reference to the plight of the Native American under the Spanish and English as you can find. Ties right back to 1Ne13:14.

My point is ultimately this. The BoM weaves a very straightforward story around the Israelite's being the sole progenitors of the Native Americans. It wasn't some random meme that got popular among the early saints. It's only modern challenges to that story (growth-rate analysis, DNA findings, etc.) that have led to looking through the cracks in the BoM to try and justify that the Israelites were bit players in the promised land.

Walker said...

I'm afraid you, like many of us in various disciplines, are stultifying your paradigm to only allow for one interpretation.

Example: 2 Nephi chpt. 5, as you acknowledge, can indeed be read to allow for other nations to be present

Example: 2 Nephi 1:10. You're saying it couldn't be referring to non-Israelites. Why? Because you have the a priori assumption that the BOM MUST be referring to the English/Spanish. There is nothing in the text limiting the "other nations" to the Europeans, especially since it is not likely that Nephi would have referred to the native tribes individually (for reasons stated previously, a tendency to lump them in with the Lamanites). You also claim because it's referring to the English and Spanish, there must not have been other tribes there. This appears to be circular reasoning, something I would suggest avoiding.



And how can we assume that "giving the other nations power" means utter military conquest? Apostasy was present from the beginning and considering that the Lamanites are no longer known to much of the world, it is likely that they were absorbed into the other tribal monikers (what happened with Moroni in the final book). Power could very well refer to social and political power by adopting the Lamanites into another tribe (though the Nephites, not being terribly familiar or open with the "heathen" would still have referred to them as Lamanites)

Also, you complain of me trying to push something onto the text as far as political mobility (the ability to be referred to under different political titles). However, I pointed out the example of the Anti-Nephi Lehies, who clearly changed political banners and were not known by Jacob's titles in 1:13. These were ethnic Lamanites known as a form of political Nephites.

Similarly, my "trying to explain away racist scriptures" is simply loaded language for my offering another interpretation, something that happens in textual readings all the time. Let's not confuse alternative readings for wild-eyed apologetics.

ujlapana said...

If insisting on internal consistency is what you call stultifying, count me in. If datum A supports X or Y, and datum B supports only X, then Y must be rejected, even though A could support it. That's not stultifying my paradigm, that applying logical analysis.

You're saying it couldn't be referring to non-Israelites. Actually, what I said was "Yes, 'other nations' are outside of Israel." I guess I'm missing what it is in your statement.

As for Europeans, 2Ne1:10 needs to be read consistently with 1Ne13. In 1Ne13, we find:
10 -- Gentiles are separated from the seed of Nephi's brothers
12 -- One Gentile, led by the Spirit crosses to the promised land
13 -- Other Gentiles, fleeing persecution, follow
14-15 -- The Gentiles, who are white, and exceedingly fair scatter the seed of Nephi's brothers.
17-19 -- The immigrant Gentiles are attacked by their mother nations, but win.

These passages cannot work if Gentiles were already in the land (v. 10), or if the Gentiles were a Bible-toting, pre-Columbian Asian wave of invaders (v. 14-15,20). I think reading this as anything other than Columbus followed by the Mayflower, Revolutionary War, etc. is impossible, but I'm interested to see how/if you do it. Make Crabtree pround ;).

If you keep this passage in mind as you read 2Ne1:11, but somehow assert that other nations arrived to scatter and smite before the Europeans, then why would the "other nations" suddenly be referred to as "seed of my brethren" in revelations referring to the more distant future? But even without 1Ne13, 2Ne1 is not internally consistent if you try and put in a pre-Lehite, non-Israelite presence. To do so ignores 2Ne1:8, which specifically mentions other nations not knowing about the promised land.

I don't see how changing titles for BoM tribal groups in any way supports the addition of outside goups. This is a red herring. You're saying that because a basketball team changes its name, other teams are possibly joining the NBA at the same time? It's totally irrelevant. Furthmore, the righteous Laminates changed their names to Anti-Nephi Lehies, not to Nephites. So the tribal distinction was maintained through the titles, not obfuscated. And finally, if the John and Sally from above have kids, and give them new names, you still haven't demonstrated that William is in the picture!

considering that the Lamanites are no longer known to much of the world
Do you mean in terms of none of the Europeans finding a tribe calling themselves the Lamanites? Well, given that they found some 300 languages in CA and 2,000 over the hemisphere, I would expect some word changes along the way. But a word change is not a genetic change, is it?

Daniel Peterson said...

ujlapana: "It's only modern challenges to that story (growth-rate analysis, DNA findings, etc.) that have led to looking through the cracks in the BoM to try and justify that the Israelites were bit players in the promised land."

Really? How do you explain, if that is so, the fact that limited geographical models and General Authority statements about others in the land began to appear in print roughly three decades before Crick and Watson even discovered the structure of the DNA molecule, and roughly seven decades before the earliest demographic growth-rate analyses? (They were arguably in existence even before that, but let's go with a very conservative reading of the evidence.)
 

ujlapana said...

Missed the citations there, but maybe you're right. You'll agree, I'm sure, that GA statements go both ways on this issue. But BoM notations clearly supported the hemisphere model in the 19th century, and the introduction in the '81 version continues to assert "[Lamanites] are the principle ancestors of the American Indians." So, if leaders are contradicting each other, one source reigns supreme--the text itself. And that is wholly conistent in presenting an Israelite-exclusive ownership of the New World. (Jaredites weren't Israelites, per se, but they all died.) Things could have unfolded over a smaller area, but nobody else could have had access to the land. It's stated that plainly in the BoM itself.

So...

1. The "uninhabited wilderness" view is consistent with all the verses of the BoM.

2. The "dilute and conquer" view is consistent with a subset of verses in the BoM.

Ergo, the latter must be rejected.

Walker said...

PUt simply, you ignore important language in 2 nephi 1:8--'as yet." And there was indeed midstream mixing after 2 nephi 5, since, as Nephi notes, that is when the Lamanites really jumped off the deep end. Lehi's prophecy was fulfilled many times, ultimately with the destruction of the Nephites, but also with the cultural homoginization of the Lamanties.

When Nephi says that the waters separate his brethren from the Gentiiles, that is no different from me saying that the ocean separtes me from my family. I am not claiming that my family are the only people who live in their country. Rather, I am simply acknowledging a geographic location. Similarly, Nephi stating that the 'seed of his brethren' live in the land does not preclude others living there as well.

As to Lehi's statement that other nations would not know about the land, that was a conditional promise, contingent upon his seed's righteousness which did not last long.

The change of tribal names is quite significant. Tribes don't change their names for nothing. Like many names, a tribe pays a great deal of attention to its tribe's name and that of another (for better or for worse). So when Jacob claims to call them just Lamanites, it's likely a commentary on an increased complication of the familial makeup of the Lamanites. And I'm not claiming that Jacobs claim in 1:10 is merely a change in name--it's a change in paradigm. Jacob was indicating that their society had chosen to view the Lamanites as a monolith rather than an alliance of different absorbed tribes (tribes that had joined up with them due to, according to 2 neph. 1, wickedness).

As to the Anti-Nephi Lehies, their case indeed does show precisely the complexity of the situation. Notice, the Nephites (for the most part) were quite willing to refer to the A.N.L. by their true name rather than absorb them into their own tribe. Since the A.N.L. were basically allies, the Nephites viewed them favorablly, hence their willingness to call them by the correct name. Not so with the Lamanites.

And I don't really know who you were referring to with the Crabtree reference. There's a crabtree building on the BYU campus, but the name's hardly known by anybody, including my parents (who've been around the block on matters of recent church history).

ujlapana said...

Crabtree is a fictitous entity, although his Bludgeon is alive and well. Good ol' CTB--lot's of memories there. But we digress--your non-European explanation for 1Ne13...?

Walker said: So when Jacob claims to call them just Lamanites, it's likely a commentary on an increased complication of the familial makeup of the Lamanites.

No, it's likely that he's making the text readable. Do you really want to read "Lamanites, Lemuelites, and Ishmaelites" everywhere? It's a stretch and internally inconsistent to say this means Lamanites had mixed with the locals.

Walker said: Jacob was indicating that their society had chosen to view the Lamanites as a monolith rather than an alliance of different absorbed tribes

Actually, what Jacob clearly says is that the tribes were called by their different names, but that "I, Jacob" would now call them one word instead of three. Space was tight on the small plates, right? He does not say, "They were all called Lamanites."

Walker said: As to Lehi's statement that other nations would not know about the land, that was a conditional promise

Right, the violation of said condition leading to the consequences clearly foreseen by Nephi in 1Ne13. Still waiting to hear how those aren't the Europeans. And, I'm not sure why you think this condition was violated during the BoM times. A continuous line of prophets existed, so some people were clearly righteous. As the OT teaches, God will spare a city for the sake of a few. It's only at the death of Moroni that all believers leave the land.

Walker said: you ignore important language in 2 nephi 1:8--'as yet."

I don't ignore it; it's patently obvious. Here we are, millennia later, and other nations have clearly arrived. Even 1Ne13 says they'll come. But as of 2Ne1, they weren't there. Why, because they'd "overrun the land." That means they can't be on the land at all, but on the other side of the ocean, consistent with all other references to "other nations."

Your analogy with your family really is good--too bad you misunderstood it yourself. If you say, I am separated from my family by an ocean, then yes, none of your other family members are on your side of the ocean. So if you say "my seed" (or nation, if you will) is separated from other nations by an ocean, then no other nations are on your side of the ocean. The question is, if you stayed in your new country (let's say India), would you call the Indian population 1,000 years hence "your seed?" Only if you're a megalomaniac.

Walker said...

I see that the problem here is not a want of evidence for either side. The problem rests in the assumptions, mine included.

In sum, there has been no evidence any internal inconsistency, only that the text is inconsistent with your interpretation. Honestly, since I do not know Jacob's mind and since Jacob's writings are limited, we cannot know precisely what Jacob meant. Similarly, i did not have Nephi's vision, so I cannot say with definitiveness who the "Gentiles" were. However, you seem quite convinced, beyond any power of human persuasion, that the Gentiles were, indeed, must be Gentiles. How can you know this so certainly? Nephi offers little commentary on it. Additionally, why would record keepers even bother with discussing details they considered minor or even obvious? The fact that others were hanging around would be as obvious as the fact they they farmed for a living. It is thus quite daring for us to declare that others COULD NOT exist simply becuase the Nephites do not mention them.

Certainly, as I noted, the 2 Nephi prophecy was filled many times, Europeans included. But can you say that those other nations WERE NOT native tribes? Without a vision from God, you cannot. We must be willing to let the text speak for itself, something I've seen you support, but it appears that you only want to speak for itself when you the one pulling the strings--a scriptural ventriliquist at its finest.

Lehi's injunction to the Lamanites was clearly violated. Why would Nephi's party have separated in 2 Nephi 5 otherwise? Because, as Nephi notes, the Lamanites had apostasized. Hence, the curses of Lehi would come upon them, that of other nations overruning Lamanite territory. The OT example doesn't quite work either, simply because God chooses to deal with individual cases in his own way does he not? (And please don't use the cliche, "God is unchangeable" approach--it is a narrow approach that uses a phrase or two of scripture incorrectly to build a whole theology)

Even 1Ne13 says they'll come. But as of 2Ne1, they weren't there.

Again, you view these scriptures far too narrowly, when the text does not require that you do so. Prophecies can be fulfilled in multiple times in multiple ways (see Isa. 9, where Isaiah refers both to the birth of the son of King HEzekiah and to the birth of the Savior, the examples abound)

Finally, here are some questions for you. When Alma speaks of the Zoramites, saying that many of them are his brethren (Alma 31:35), what Zoramites weren't his brethren? When Alma was returning to Ammonihah, why was the first thing he told Amulek, "I am a Nephite? (Alma 8:20)" It should have been obvious if the city were strictly Nephite (and the Lamanites were largely separated by this time). Furthermore, why did King Limhi, upon seeing Ammon in Mosiah chapter, ask for Ammon's identity, considering that the Zeniffite Limhi should well have known Ammon's race, dialect from his previous encounters with the Nephites. But he did not. This should indicate that there were some other cultures at work here.

And finally, as to the family analogy, so you're saying that if I say that the Pacific Ocean rests between my brother and I, that I'm implying that only brother (or his family) live on the other side of the notion? And to say

Ultimately, I just suggest that your demand for internal consistency is actually a demand for consistency with your previously held notion about a hemispheric model for the BOM. When Joseph Smith himself held a fluid view of BOM geography, we certainly should not become so convinced of any geography that we use our convictions as the standard work for BOM scholarship.

ujlapana said...

Walker said: However, you seem quite convinced, beyond any power of human persuasion, that the Gentiles were, indeed, must be Gentiles. How can you know this so certainly?

Woah. This makes everything so clear to me. I mean, I thought words had meanings, but I see now that they don't! Maybe when Nephi said "God" he meant "Vishnu" and when he said "tree" he meant "lemonade stand!" You can push the envelope with loanwords for things like tapirs and steel, but you cannot say that Nephi didn't know what a Gentile was! At least not if you hold his words worthy of reading.

I'm honestly not sure this is worth pursuing anymore after reading that, but for the sake of others who may believe words have meanings:

Walker said:In sum, there has been no evidence any internal inconsistency, only that the text is inconsistent with your interpretation.

Actually, the text is completely consistent with my interpretation. It's yours that introduces the internal inconsistencies. That's why historically Mormons have seen Lehi/Mulek and their groups as the ancestors of the American Indians.

Walker said:The fact that others were hanging around would be as obvious as the fact they they farmed for a living.

Except they would have found the "others" rather significant, given that the land had been kept from other nations, according to God.

Walker said:It is thus quite daring for us to declare that others COULD NOT exist simply because the Nephites do not mention them.

But not so daring when the Nephites (or Nephi, specifically) say that the land was kept from other nations. Let's try it this way, with a four-character play:

Scene 1
A: There are no dogs in that room.
B: writing furiously There...are...no...dogs...in that room. Got it.
B enters the room. B writes a few paragraphs describing the room. B walks out a buries the writing.
Scene 2
C: Look, I found a piece of paper. It's about a room.
D: Interesting. That room was a dog kennel once.
C: Yep, that makes sense.
D: But wait, it says, "There are no dogs in that room."
C: But just because it doesn't describe dogs in the room doesn't mean they weren't there.
D: So A was lying?
C: What's a dog, anyway?

Walker said:And finally, as to the family analogy, so you're saying that if I say that the Pacific Ocean rests between my brother and I, that I'm implying that only brother (or his family) live on the other side of the notion?

No, I didn't say that at all. I said your brother doesn't live on your side of the ocean. But maybe we don't agree on what an ocean is--I see you've switched to notion.

Let me now answer your questions, in the hopes that you will eventually answer mine.

When Alma speaks of the Zoramites, saying that many of them are his brethren (Alma 31:35), what Zoramites weren't his brethren?

Short answer: The sisters.

Long answer: The ones that were full-blood Zoramites, as opposed to those that mixed with the Nephites. Alma is a Nephite (as you point out next), so some of them would be his brethren. As Jacob makes clear, The Nephite v. Lamanite duopoloy in is the text only--"they were called" by individual lineages. We don't have to get inside Jacob's mind, we just have to read what he wrote.

When Alma was returning to Ammonihah, why was the first thing he told Amulek, "I am a Nephite? (Alma 8:20)" It should have been obvious if the city were strictly Nephite (and the Lamanites were largely separated by this time).

Short answer: He had a suntan.

Long answer: See last long answer. He could have been presumed to be a Zoramite, Jacobite, Josephite, or maybe even a new -ite, such as Ephraim and Manasseh splitting under Joseph.

Furthermore, why did King Limhi, upon seeing Ammon in Mosiah chapter, ask for Ammon's identity,

Short answer: He doesn't.

Long answer: He doesn't. In Mosiah 7:10 he asks one question: why did you come toward the city when I was outside the gate? (Post 9/11 mentality if I ever heard one!) In fact, if you had kept reading to Mosiah 21:23 you would have learned that Limhi thought they were Zeniffites--priests of Noah to be precise.

So, I continue to show that all verses in the BoM are consistent with the people-free wilderness model, while you have not done the same with the verses I have proposed. I wait with an open mind and a closed (and presumably worthless) dictionary.

Walker said...

Pardon the misunderstanding on the Gentiles comment. I should have added an adjective that i left out in my haste "European Gentiles." So we need not assume that when Nephi or Lehi refer to "Gentiles" or "other nations" that they refer to European Gentiles.

Except they would have found the "others" rather significant, given that the land had been kept from other nations, according to God.


Just a brief comment. By the time the others had overrun the land, the Nephites had exited the area, hence the Nephites would not have been in the know about the doings of the Lamanites. The mere fact that Nephi left the land in 2 Ne. 5 is likely an indication that he believed the Lamanites were apostasizing by flirting with other religions.

ujlapana said...

Okay, I'll get my dictionary back out ;). But, now you have a new problem. I hate to sound like a broken record, but Nephi did comment on the Gentiles. I spelled this all out in great detail a couple posts back and invited you to explain where the white, Bible-carrying Gentiles were coming from (and when) if it wasn't the post-Columbian invasion. I'm not beyond persuasion--you haven't even tried to persuade me yet.

You gave me some straightforward questions in your last post, all of which I directly addressed to demonstrate consistency with the "empty wilderness" view. Please return the same courtesy now, and explain how these work with your "teeming masses waiting at the beach" view:

1. 1Ne13 says the "seed of my brethren" are divided from "the Gentiles" (not "some of the Gentiles") by "many waters." How can the Gentiles be on the same land, intermarrying?

2. Those Gentiles come led by one man, then as a bunch of refugees. This group fights a war against the country they left. They are white. They have the Bible. Who are said Gentiles?

3. If another, unmentioned Gentile invasion occured from Asia between 400 and 1492 CE, how could they be "divided from the Gentiles" a few centuries later?

4. In 2Ne5 the Nephites are still righteous. If they are being scattered by the aborigines (under the umbrella of Lamanites), how do you reconcile this with 2Ne1:9, which states "they shall prosper upon the face of this land; and they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves?"

5. While you're there, check 2Ne1:8, which says "this land shall be kept as yet from other nations; for behold, many nations would overrun the land." How could other nations be there when they arrived?

6. How could the Nephite's have, as you say, "left the land?" Are you suggesting that part of the Americas is "not promised?" If so, reconcile the initial success of the righteous Nephites (which you would be claiming are not in the promised land) with 1Ne4:14.

Eagerly awaiting your replies...

Walker said...

As far as persuasion goes, the reason I haven't tried to prove anything is because, honestly, I'm not terribly bent on doing that. I have indicated that the text is not nearly as explicit as you would have it be. You offer a number of answers, but I find them insatisfactory. For example, the question of Zeniffites. Since Zeniff is of Nephite stock, the guards ought to have recognized their fellow Nephites by language and by race. They did not, indicating that perceptions of the Nephites had shifted in the cultural paradigm of the Zeniffites. indeed, had Zeniff recognized Ammon as a Nephite (which he should have done if he still retained his Nephite beliefs), he would not have bothered to give Ammon a fairly lengthy explanation of who he was (v. 9) Why would that have been, unless there had been some outside influence.

Ultimately, though, I would far prefer to allow different schools of thought to accept a parity with their rivals in a kind of balance of power situation (as I believe the evidence so indicates). But to your questions...

1. 1Ne13 says the "seed of my brethren" are divided from "the Gentiles" (not "some of the Gentiles") by "many waters." How can the Gentiles be on the same land, intermarrying?

Your question seems a little unclear to my feeble mind. However, I'm willing to grant the possibility that the Gentiles referred to in 1 Ne. 13 were largely referring to the European settlers. However (emphasis) however, we need not assume that the European Gentiles are the only ones around. Hopefully, this concession will cut the Gordian knot of this question.

2. Those Gentiles come led by one man, then as a bunch of refugees. This group fights a war against the country they left. They are white. They have the Bible. Who are said Gentiles?


See above question.

3. If another, unmentioned Gentile invasion occured from Asia between 400 and 1492 CE, how could they be "divided from the Gentiles" a few centuries later?

The question is: what was Nephi seeing and what was the purpose of his vision? Ultimately, it is a buildup to the Restoration and the first half of John's revelation (see Chapt. 14). Hence, it would not be a major part of the revelation, other than that mentioned in chapt. 12 (note that, this "unmentioned Gentile" invasion is very much implied in verses 21-23, esp. 21). Also, from the wording of verse 21, we see that the wars were "among them." That does not require that the wars involve strictly the Lamanites, except in the sense that the Nephites view them as a monolith (I've beaten that point to death, so I'll leave it there).

4. In 2Ne5 the Nephites are still righteous. If they are being scattered by the aborigines (under the umbrella of Lamanites), how do you reconcile this with 2Ne1:9, which states "they shall prosper upon the face of this land; and they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves?"

See first part of the verse--"Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, that inasmuch as those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem shall keep his commandments..." That's the big caveat.

5. While you're there, check 2Ne1:8, which says "this land shall be kept as yet from other nations; for behold, many nations would overrun the land." How could other nations be there when they arrived?

That was true, until the Lamanites jumped off the deep end, the reasoning for which Nephi's party even left.

6. How could the Nephite's have, as you say, "left the land?" Are you suggesting that part of the Americas is "not promised?" If so, reconcile the initial success of the righteous Nephites (which you would be claiming are not in the promised land) with 1Ne4:14.

Promises are based on righteousness. When the Lamanites attacked the Nephites, then the "promise" left. And God saw fit that the best way to solve that was to remove the Nephites to another land of promise, close by.

There you go. Hope you like.

Walker said...

Addendum to question #5

The land here could well refer to the limited area to which Lehi arrived. Following the Lamanite apostasy,however, the land was left to itself, to be overrun by the Lamanites (See Alma chpt. 45 on how the land can become cursed by the Lord; also, see 2 Ne. 5 as to how the land will be cursed via the Lamanites)

ujlapana said...

For example, the question of Zeniffites. Since Zeniff is of Nephite stock, the guards ought to have recognized their fellow Nephites by language and by race. They did not,

Ummm, they did, you mean? As I specifically pointed out, they thought they were priests of Noah (who would have been Zeniffites/Nephites).

Ultimately, though, I would far prefer to allow different schools of thought to accept a parity with their rivals in a kind of balance of power situation (as I believe the evidence so indicates). But to your questions...

If all of the scriptures could be completely explained by either theory, that might work. Unfortunately, they cannot. But even if they could, we would want to apply Occam's razor and avoid adding unnecessary elements to explain the text (such as unmentioned locals).

1. ...

Your question seems a little unclear to my feeble mind. However, I'm willing to grant the possibility that the Gentiles referred to in 1 Ne. 13 were largely referring to the European settlers.


For your sake I will assume when you say "possiblity" you mean a high probability, like 100%.

However (emphasis) however, we need not assume that the European Gentiles are the only ones around. Hopefully, this concession will cut the Gordian knot of this question.

Except if other Gentiles were the dominant population in the Americas you wouldn't say "seed of my brethren." I made this point earlier.

3. ...

(note that, this "unmentioned Gentile" invasion is very much implied in verses 21-23, esp. 21).


Are you referencing the right place? Verse 21 says "them." Verse 20 refers to the "seed of my brethren." Nephi never says Lamanites, he says "seed." That means progeny, not allies.

4. ...

See first part of the verse--"Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, that inasmuch as those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem shall keep his commandments..." That's the big caveat.


Right, but one they hadn't violated. They prosper for 55 years as a righteous people (through Jac1:15, when they begin to practice polygamy), but the skin of blackness hits within the first 30 years. So that couldn't have been from "other nations" because "other nations" have no access to the land for at least 55 years. The Lamanites are attacking the Nephites during the righteous 55 years, so they still couldn't have been allied with "other nations."

Notice, by the way, that even when they harden their hearts, Jacob is still teaching them in the temple. That means they weren't completely bad. If everyone has to be perfect for the promised land to stay "promised," then it's a stupid (unfulfillable) promise, isn't it?

5. ...

That was true, until the Lamanites jumped off the deep end, the reasoning for which Nephi's party even left.


See above. If you're suggesting that a portion of the people becoming wicked would defile the whole promise of the land, then it was a ridiculous promise. It can't square with our fallen nature.

6. ...

Promises are based on righteousness. When the Lamanites attacked the Nephites, then the "promise" left. And God saw fit that the best way to solve that was to remove the Nephites to another land of promise, close by.


This is new to me--a "Two Promised Lands" model. Unfortunately, the promised land is surrounded by water (2Ne10:10) and includes Missouri (D&C 57:1-2), so reaching another promised land would require a boat. But they went through "the wilderness," not in a boat. "The promised land" is a place, whether it's currently offering blessings or not.

Walker said...

Are you referencing the right place? Verse 21 says "them." Verse 20 refers to the "seed of my brethren." Nephi never says Lamanites, he says "seed." That means progeny, not allies.

Yes, I am. These verses clearly refer to the Lamanites, who are certainly seed of his brethren, as Laman and Lemuel were his brothers. I think this is where much of the controversy lies. "Seed of my brethren" often, though not always, applies to the Lamanites. It certainly does in this verse, since he refers to their dwindling in unbelief and their becoming dark and filthy. Hence, this "Gentile" invasion clearly fits into the context of having wars "among them."

Right, but one they hadn't violated. They prosper for 55 years as a righteous people (through Jac1:15, when they begin to practice polygamy), but the skin of blackness hits within the first 30 years. So that couldn't have been from "other nations" because "other nations" have no access to the land for at least 55 years. The Lamanites are attacking the Nephites during the righteous 55 years, so they still couldn't have been allied with "other nations."

The key chapter here is 2 Ne. 5. When I refer to people apostasizing/intermarrying, I refer to the Lamanites. So when the Nephites left in chpt. 5, the Lamanites took over the land, thus fulfilling 2 Ne. 1:10. Since the Lamanites were in the original land of inheritance, they (assuming they constitute other nations by this poi By now, they had constituted other nations because of their apostasy and intermingling with the natives.
Of course, the Nephites apostasized too, but they would not have intermarried, as they often convinced themselves they were living according to the covenant.

This is new to me--a "Two Promised Lands" model. Unfortunately, the promised land is surrounded by water (2Ne10:10) and includes Missouri (D&C 57:1-2), so reaching another promised land would require a boat. But they went through "the wilderness," not in a boat. "The promised land" is a place, whether it's currently offering blessings or not.

I'm not suggesting that they sailed anywhere. I'm suggesting simply that they moved a number of miles away (maybe 10, 20, 100 miles away, who knows). Also, as to Jackson County, Joseph Smith taught that all of NOrth and South America is designated as Zion, and hence a gathering place for the Saints. That does not indicate a geographic model for the BOM, but rather, a doctrinal truth about the future of the Church in AMerica in the Last Days. So when I speak of another promised land, I'm not making a grand leap. Simply that Nephi and his fam needed to move away from the Lamanites, in the same way that some people need to leave home to live the blessings of the gospel (those disowned by parents and the like)


Enjoy

Walker said...

Are you referencing the right place? Verse 21 says "them." Verse 20 refers to the "seed of my brethren." Nephi never says Lamanites, he says "seed." That means progeny, not allies.

Yes, I am. These verses clearly refer to the Lamanites, who are certainly seed of his brethren, as Laman and Lemuel were his brothers. I think this is where much of the controversy lies. "Seed of my brethren" often, though not always, applies to the Lamanites. It certainly does in this verse, since he refers to their dwindling in unbelief and their becoming dark and filthy. Hence, this "Gentile" invasion clearly fits into the context of having wars "among them."

Right, but one they hadn't violated. They prosper for 55 years as a righteous people (through Jac1:15, when they begin to practice polygamy), but the skin of blackness hits within the first 30 years. So that couldn't have been from "other nations" because "other nations" have no access to the land for at least 55 years. The Lamanites are attacking the Nephites during the righteous 55 years, so they still couldn't have been allied with "other nations."

The key chapter here is 2 Ne. 5. When I refer to people apostasizing/intermarrying, I refer to the Lamanites. So when the Nephites left in chpt. 5, the Lamanites took over the land, thus fulfilling 2 Ne. 1:10. Since the Lamanites were in the original land of inheritance, they (assuming they constitute other nations by this poi By now, they had constituted other nations because of their apostasy and intermingling with the natives.
Of course, the Nephites apostasized too, but they would not have intermarried, as they often convinced themselves they were living according to the covenant.

This is new to me--a "Two Promised Lands" model. Unfortunately, the promised land is surrounded by water (2Ne10:10) and includes Missouri (D&C 57:1-2), so reaching another promised land would require a boat. But they went through "the wilderness," not in a boat. "The promised land" is a place, whether it's currently offering blessings or not.

I'm not suggesting that they sailed anywhere. I'm suggesting simply that they moved a number of miles away (maybe 10, 20, 100 miles away, who knows). Also, as to Jackson County, Joseph Smith taught that all of NOrth and South America is designated as Zion, and hence a gathering place for the Saints. That does not indicate a geographic model for the BOM, but rather, a doctrinal truth about the future of the Church in AMerica in the Last Days. So when I speak of another promised land, I'm not making a grand leap. Simply that Nephi and his fam needed to move away from the Lamanites, in the same way that some people need to leave home to live the blessings of the gospel (those disowned by parents and the like)


Enjoy

Walker said...

Sorry, looks like I accidentally posted twice. Looks like this thread is dead anyway.

ujlapana said...

Just in case anyone shows up on this thread through Google, I came across the defining verse on this topic last night. Ironic that none of the apologists cared to deal with it themselves...

Alma 43:13
And the people of Ammon did give unto the Nephites a large portion of their substance to support their armies; and thus the Nephites were compelled, alone, to withstand against the Lamanites, who were a compound of Laman and Lemuel, and the sons of Ishmael, and all those who had dissented from the Nephites, who were Amalekites and Zoramites, and the descendants of the priests of Noah.

There it is--in black and white. I'm looking for "and other indigenous peoples" but I'm not seeing it.