Discussions of Book of Mormon issues and evidences, plus other topics related to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

About That Burial Marker in Yemen for a Man Named Ishmael: Impossible That He Was a Hebrew?

In a November 2021 post, "Recent Discoveries and Advances Published by Interpreter, Part 1," I discussed a recent publication by Neal Rappleye, "An Ishmael Buried Near Nahom," in Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship.  He reported an intriguing find among roughly 400 burial markers in Wadi Jawf, a place very near or within ancient tribal lands for the Nihm tribe, whose influence and name in Yemen during Lehi's day is now attested in 3 ancient altars bearing the NHM name given as gifts to a temple at Marib, raising the possibility that the rare place name "Nahom" (which would have been written without vowels in the Hebrew of the days, or simply NHM) mentioned in the Book of Mormon as the place where Ishmael was buried may have been associated with the Nihm tribe. 

Based on multiple inscriptions regarding Nihmites in the region, several scholars not affiliated with the Church believe that the ancient Nihm tribe was in or near the Wadi Jawf region in antiquity (see Rappleye's footnote 4). Significantly, Wadi Jawf makes a great deal of sense as a region associated with Nahom in the Book of Mormon, for it is in just about the only place where one can turn nearly due east from the Incense Trail or any other south-southeast route from the River Laman and Shazer and still have a chance of making it to the eastern coast of Oman alive. An eastward route a few miles to the north (or along nearly all of the hundreds of miles of Lehi's Trail to the north) or a few miles to the south of Wadi Jawf would result in crossing great sand dunes in the Empty Quarter to the north or another dessert to the south that would be too difficult for Lehi's group, especially given the general lack of sources of water. But the trek due east from the Waid Jawf region avoids the great dunes and presents no serious natural obstacles, and can, with a little guidance, take one into the right wadi to find a reasonable candidate for Bountiful. That eastward route also has terrain that can capture pools of water that persist after the rainy season. Not easy, but vastly more likely to encounter water than other routes. In fact, as discussed in my "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Map: Part 1 of 2" in Interpreter, turning east at the proposed Nahom site near Wadi Jawf may put one on a route with higher annual rainfall than routes slightly north or south of that path, at least based on a 2012 CIA map of rainfall, shown combined with a map from Warren Aston below (click to enlarge).

Map of average rainfall in Yemen superimposed on Aston’s topographical map of southern Arabia. The upper green branch (5–10 inches/year) extending from Nahom east toward Oman corresponds well with the route proposed by Aston that provides inland access to Wadi Sayq and Khor Kharfot, Bountiful.

Getting back to Rappleye's article, one interesting and possibly controversial aspect of the funerary stela bearing the name "Ishmael" is that it also has a crude line drawing of man's face carved into the stone:

Funerary stela YM 27966 bearing a name in Epigraphic South Arabian
equivalent to the Hebrew name “Ishmael,” dated to ca. 6th century BC,
from Neal Rappleye, "An Ishmael Buried Near Nahom."

Scholars examining the collection of stelae propose that they were made either for foreigners from the north passing through the area or for the members of the lower ranks of society. In either case, this could fit the case of Lehi's family, traveling as nomads without the gold and silver Lehi once had in Jerusalem. 

Rappleye's conclusion is appropriately cautious:

At the very least, it seems reasonable to suggest that if the Ishmael of the Book of Mormon was buried with some sort of identifying marker, it probably would have looked something like the Yasmaʿʾil stela — a crudely carved stela typical of foreigners traveling through the area, who lacked substantial time or resources to afford a more extravagantly carved and engraved burial stone.

Although a firmer conclusion eludes us, the very fact that an Ishmael was buried in close proximity to the Nihm tribal region around the very time the Book of Mormon indicates that a man named Ishmael was buried at Nahom is rather remarkable. Such a fact certainly does not weaken the case for the Book of Mormon’s historicity.

Rappleye also makes the case that the name on the marker most likely has Hebrew rather than Arabic origins. If so, it could also be another Semite named Ishmael, not the Book of Mormon Ishmael. We know there were Hebrews that fled to Yemen anciently, and one speculative possibility is that a Hebrew colony in Nihm tribal lands might have provided the assistance needed for a proper burial of Ishmael. But a Jewish/Hebrew man being buried in Nihm tribal lands dated to an era compatible with the time of Ishmael's burial in the Book of Mormon is definitely an intriguing tidbit that would be, as Rappleye puts it, "worth considering."

Could this at least have some relevance to the Book of Mormon? Absolutely not, according to some of our critics, for everyone knows that Jews are forbidden from making graven images or images of any kind of humans, animals, etc., based on the second of the Ten Commandments, "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image" (Exodus 20:4). 

In fact, David Bokovoy has made this argument, though perhaps in haste on a bad day. Apparently a Facebook comment from Bokovoy is being quoted on a Reddit page under the title, "Bokovoy smacks down Nahom and Ishmael" (accessible via tinyurl.com using "smackdownfail"). The smack down features the "no graven images" argument:

Moreover, the grave marker features an anthropomorphic representation of the man, Yasmaʿʾīl. Hence, whoever this man was, his family did not feel obligated to obey Exodus 20:4: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.”

So there is no reason to believe that this person from Arabia was even Israelite, let alone a worshipper of the god Yahweh from the Hebrew Bible. And remember, Ishmael from the Book of Mormon is described as an Ephramite from Jerusalem.

The "common knowledge" that faithful Israelites would shun any artistic representation of an object may not be as reliable as the smack down implies. The point of the Second Commandment is to avoid idolatry. But any Bible scholar should understand that this cannot be taken to mean a universal prohibition ever since the time of Moses against any artistic depiction. When I saw this "smack down" argument, I wondered if its source had taken time to recall the lengthy descriptions in the Old Testament of the various artistic work commanded by God to decorate the Tabernacle and then the Temple. 

When I first read the Bible all the way through as a teenager, one of the main questions I had was why images of pomegranates were such a big deal to the Lord? He commanded there to be pomegranates of blue on priests' clothing (Exodus 28:33-34, 39:24-26) and then when the Temple was built, Solomon was commanded to make pomegranates, pomegranates, and more pomegranates -- literally hundreds of pomegranates all over the place (1 Kings 7: 18, 20, 42; 2 Chronicles 3:16 and 4:13), apparently of brass or other metal. What was up with all these images of fruit? Certainly not fruit worship, I am relieved to report. 

But the making of graven images by faithful Jews in the Bible goes beyond mere garden-variety objects such as images of fruit, the apparent image of the tree of life in the menorah, or the lovely stained-glass images of trees (as well as human hands, etc.) in the Great Synagogue in Jerusalem, where I attended a beautiful service a few years ago. I'm disappointed that many people who thought Bokovoy's argument was a smack down didn't recall the art of the Tabernacle and later the art of Solomon's Temple, including the massive figures of cherubim. Here are a few verses to consider. First, from Exodus 25, the commands for the construction of the Tabernacle:

18 And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the to ends of the mercy seat.

19 And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubims on the two ends thereof.

20 And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be.
What kind of face? Using my newly downloaded Sefaria app and searching for "cherubim," I see that Rashi (originally known as Shlomo ben Yitzhak, born about 1040 AD in France) commenting on Exodus 25:18, said that the cherubim "had the form of a child's face." Presumably, a human child.

Cherubim are also big, if not bigger, in 1 Kings 6, as the Lord gives commands for the construction of Solomon's Temple:

23 And within the oracle he made two cherubims of olive tree, each ten cubits high....

27 And he set the cherubims within the inner house: and they stretched forth the wings of the cherubims, so that the wing of the one touched the one wall, and the wing of the other cherub touched the other wall; and their wings touched one another in the midst of the house.

28 And he overlaid the cherubims with gold.

29 And he carved all the walls of the house round about with carved figures of cherubims and palm trees and open flowers, within and without....

32 The two doors also were of olive tree; and he carved upon them carvings of cherubims and palm trees and open flowers, and overlaid them with gold, and spread gold upon the cherubims, and upon the palm trees.

33 So also made he for the door of the temple posts of olive tree, a fourth part of the wall....

35 And he carved thereon cherubims and palm trees and open flowers: and covered them with gold fitted upon the carved work.

Lots of cherubim! Carved, graven images of an angelic being with wings and a face.

The non-idolatrous graven image making gets even more intense in the next chapter, 1 Kings 7:

27 And he made ten bases of brass; four cubits was the length of one base, and four cubits the breadth thereof, and three cubits the height of it.

28 And the work of the bases was on this manner: they had borders, and the borders were between the ledges:

29 And on the borders that were between the ledges were lions, oxen, and cherubims: and upon the ledges there was a base above: and beneath the lions and oxen were certain additions made of thin work.

30 And every base had four brasen wheels, and plates of brass: and the four corners thereof had undersetters: under the laver were undersetters molten, at the side of every addition.

31 And the mouth of it within the chapiter and above was a cubit: but the mouth thereof was round after the work of the base, a cubit and an half: and also upon the mouth of it were gravings with their borders, foursquare, not round....

36 For on the plates of the ledges thereof, and on the borders thereof, he graved cherubims, lions, and palm trees, according to the proportion of every one, and additions round about.

37 After this manner he made the ten bases: all of them had one casting, one measure, and one size....

40 And Hiram made the lavers, and the shovels, and the basons. So Hiram made an end of doing all the work that he made king Solomon for the house of the Lord:

41 The two pillars, and the two bowls of the chapiters that were on the top of the two pillars; and the two networks, to cover the two bowls of the chapiters which were upon the top of the pillars;

42 And four hundred pomegranates for the two networks, even two rows of pomegranates for one network, to cover the two bowls of the chapiters that were upon the pillars;

43 And the ten bases, and ten lavers on the bases;

44 And one sea, and twelve oxen under the sea....

Oxen, lions, cherubim (with faces, no doubt), palm trees, and of course, hundreds of pomegranates, all tasteful, non-idolatrous graven images that faithful Jews put in their most sacred place. 

Yes, Josiah would later destroy some of relics of the temple and leave the Holy of Holies an empty cube, and at various time other some Jews would prohibit images more generally, especially when living among opponents of Judaism, intensifying their rules to make more clear dividing lines between the good and the pagan. But there are many examples of ancient Jewish sites with artwork, including murals showing humans and animals or even figurines. And today, art of various kinds can be found in synagogues and in the homes of faithful Jews, as I saw a couple weeks ago while visiting devout Jewish friends, when a significant part of the evening involved admiring their abundant artwork. When I visited Jerusalem a few years ago, works of art were easy to find. The stained glass in the Great Synagogue was beautiful. Images of all kind were sold by Jews and Arabs alike, as far as I could tell.

In recent issues of Biblical Archaeology Review, which I subscribe to, there have been reports of ancient Jewish sites, including a temple near but outside Jerusalem, with human figurines, raising new debates about their purpose. I'll provide some more information later in an update. But there apparently have been many discoveries in the past few decades making it clear that the "common knowledge" about Jews prohibiting all artwork or depictions of humans was not necessarily the way that Jews saw things anciently. So no, I don't think Bokovoy's argument was carefully considered. There's no reason to rule out the possibility that a Jewish man named Ishmael might have been buried with a grave marker having a crude two-dimensional drawing of a face on it. If cherubim in the Tabernacle can have faces, I guess a grave marker can, too, as long as no idolatry was intended.

 

 


48 comments:

Anonymous said...

All Jeff can do is brandish words like "complex", "rich", and "brilliantly fitting" as if they have magical abracadabra power to conjure evidence into existence. No matter how well-intentioned his deliberately poor reasoning is, it paves a road to nothing and nothing is all he has.

The fact is, according to the Book of Mormon narrative, in the space of eight years the miraculous journey could have been anywhere from 50 to 1000 miles along the Red Sea and then "nearly" east according to the route the Liahona took them. Eight years is enough time have ended anywhere from Doha to Aden. Hunting for random inscriptions in the great space in between is exactly the methodology describe by Kennedy-Lincoln parallels.

It is case closed, until Jeff finally decides to actually address the question of how his methodology is different from crackpot theories which draw connections to pre-Columbia civilizations and the fabled City of Atlantis.

Anonymous said...

It seems that those in Lehi’s group would do just about anything to not have to write in Hebrew.

Anonymous said...

There is no reason to assume that this is at all related to the Book of Mormon.

Anonymous said...

Don't let's be silly, anonymous. There are so many points of convergence vis-a-vis the Book of Mormon and the Arabian Peninsula that an observer cannot help but categorize them as evidence. It may not be proof as such--but it is evidence indeed.

Jack

Anonymous said...

Yes Jack, it is evidence; evidence the Arabian penisula exists. Don't be silly.

Anonymous said...

It's evidence that the author of the Book of 1Nephi in the BoM had firsthand knowledge of certain areas within the Arabian Peninsula.

Jack

Jeff Lindsay said...

Regardless of how long the grouped stayed at various stops on their journey, Nephi's summary of their journey gives specific indications related to the route. These include:

A river flowing into the Red Sea in a significant valley, located 3 days from the beginning of the Red Sea (north tip).

A hunting place, Shazer, reached after walking across the River Laman and heading south-south east, a direction generally continued afterwards.

A place that others called Nahom, where they buried Ishmael.

Then going nearly east (given that Nephi could describe directions with the accuracy of south-southeast, nearly east should be taken as closer to east than south northeast or north southeast) and then coming to Bountiful on the coast, which must be accessible from the west.

Nothing about this was held to be remotely plausible until field work showed that candidates actually exist for what was said to be nonsensical (the river and Bountiful) and that the directions given outline a plausible route that can bring one to an accessible candidate for Bountiful, further supported by archaeological evidence that NHM as a prominent name was known in region that is at the intersection of the south-southeast leg and the nearly east leg to Bountiful. Thus, there is hard evidence for a plausible Nahom candidate in precisely the right place for Lehi's group to move away from their southern trek to turn due east and survive, and then to reach a place we have long been told could not possibly exist, Bountiful.

The evidence of an Ishmael buried at Nahom around Lehi's day may be meaningful, but could have been a different person. Still, it's interesting, and in combination with the other data, goes far beyond just demonstrating that Arabia exists. It demonstrates that Nephi's account is plausible, and that the arguments against it are weak.

Warren Aston said...

Noting the usual comments devoid of substance and lacking any awareness of the relevant research (no wonder they are posted anonymously!) I attach my comment just posted to Meridian magazine:

An impressive update on a recent find that is already significant in terms of the general support it offers to Nephi's account and may yet prove even more important. It also illustrates an important, but often overlooked fact: the author does not, so far as I am aware, possess a Ph.D. in scriptural studies, Hebrew or in other Semitic languages. His Ph.D. lies elsewhere. But here he illustrates that what is just as important (and sometimes more so) than academic qualifications is having a solid grounding in the scriptures, knowing how to apply logic and to be a generalist with an inquiring mind. This article epitomizes that principle.
I for one will not be surprised if one day we learn that this grave marker is indeed that of Ishmael, Nephi's father-in-law, leaving us, once again, "without excuse."

Anonymous said...

Warren - When you complain of anonymous posting you admit defeat. Ad hominem is all you have.

Anonymous said...

Jeff says "Nothing about this was held to be remotely plausible"

Jeff - Let me help you with your use of passive voice. The Book of Mormon held "nothing about this was held to be remotely plausible" without miraculous intervention.

The fact is, according to the Book of Mormon narrative, Lehi's exodus could have ended anywhere from Doha to Aden. Hunting for random inscriptions in the great space in between is exactly the methodology describe by Kennedy-Lincoln parallels.

It is case closed, until Jeff finally decides to actually address the question of how his methodology is different from crackpot theories which draw connections to pre-Columbia civilizations and the fabled City of Atlantis.

Anonymous said...

The Book of Mormon held "nothing about this was remotely plausible" without miraculous intervention.

Better

HernanM said...

Very interesting and insightful information, Jeff. It definitely gives more credibility to the story of Lehi's trail through Arabia as depecited in the BoM making for an overall stronger case. So far I haven't read a single coherent counterargument from Annonymous refuting any of the new information/arguments presented or adding more depth to the debate.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Hernan 7:02 - What debate? Everyone here agrees with the Book of Mormon narrative of an incredibile exodus. It is indeed credible. Care to be a little more coherent?

Jeff Lindsay said...

Arguments based on neglect of the basic data don’t have much value. You cling to the notion that the Arabian Peninsula evidence is based on searching for random coincidences, a notion unrelated to the story of the unraveling of the criticisms against Lehi’s trail and the rise of satisfying candidates for the specific locations mentioned. Read the articles on the River Laman, Shazer, Nahom and Bountiful before claiming that the discoveries there have anything to do with the ridiculous and desperate claims based on the fallacious Lincoln-Kennedy coincidences proffered by MormonThink.

Anonymous said...

I did the articles. I also read the Book of Mormon. The fact is, according to the Book of Mormon narrative, Lehi's exodus could have ended anywhere from Doha to Aden. Hunting for random inscriptions in the great space in between is exactly the methodology describe by the Kennedy-Lincoln parallels.

NHM, like all your supposed "evidences", lack nonfalsiblity to their supposed hypothesis. Lacking nonfalsiblity is a hallmark of crackpot theories. Read the MormonThink article and try addressing it before claiming your "discoveries" have anything to do "evidence".

Anonymous said...

I did read the articles. I also read the Book of Mormon. The fact is, according to the Book of Mormon narrative, Lehi's exodus could have ended anywhere from Doha to Aden. Hunting for random inscriptions in the great space in between is exactly the methodology describe by the Kennedy-Lincoln parallels.

NHM, like all your supposed "evidences", lack falsifiability, they are nonfalsifiable, to their supposed hypothesis. Lacking falsifiability is a hallmark of crackpot theories. Read the MormonThink article and try addressing it before claiming your "discoveries" have anything to do "evidence".

Anonymous said...

I like this one: The ridiculous and desperate claims based on the fallacious NHM coincidences proffered by the Lindsayites. I will never forget it.

Anonymous said...

“located 3 days from the beginning of the Red Sea”

This requires a deliberate misreading of the text:

4 And it came to pass that he departed into the wilderness. And he left his house, and the land of his inheritance, and his gold, and his silver, and his precious things, and took nothing with him, save it were his family, and provisions, and tents, and departed into the wilderness.

5 And he came down by the borders near the shore of the Red Sea; and he traveled in the wilderness in the borders which are nearer the Red Sea; and he did travel in the wilderness with his family, which consisted of my mother, Sariah, and my elder brothers, who were Laman, Lemuel, and Sam.

6 And it came to pass that when he had traveled three days in the wilderness, he pitched his tent in a valley by the side of a river of water.

“It demonstrates that Nephi's account is plausible, and that the arguments against it are weak.”

I’m not sure plausible=likely (and therefore arguments against it are weak), especially with the dubious nature of the rest of the “evidence” for the BoM.

Anonymous said...

According to Google maps, Jerusalem to Aqaba, Jordan, which is on the gulf of Aqaba, which is the closest point to the Red Sea from Jerusalem, is ~193 miles (using modern roads—walking says 184 miles). Assuming the very generous clip of 25 miles per day (entire families carrying all of their belongings as well as lodging), it would take nearly 8 days to travel from Jerusalem to the Red Sea, not including observance of Shabbat. How does this make the 3 day description is plausible?

Anonymous said...

"arguments against it are weak." The whole shtick is nothing but a strawman. What arguments against it? Of course, wandering around the Saudi desert near a decade is plausible.

Claiming such plausibility is "evidence" is a perverted definition of evidence. It is plausible for thousands to wander in the desert between Cairo to Jerusalem for decades. So? That is not "evidence" of anything.

But alas, the Lindsayites are sticking to their shtick.

Looking forward to seeing the dozen Lindsayites taking the trip from Jerusalem to Yemen to Oman with nothing more than camels and a bow and arrow. When they arrive, that still doesn't meet the definition of evidence any more than hiking from Eygpt to Israel constitutes evidence.

Anonymous said...

If the geographical markers recorded in First Nephi were found in book with a purely secular provenance they would be considered evidence--without question. Let's say those same markers were found on an ancient scroll that was nothing more than a tally of business transactions along the spice trail. Those markers would be considered top notch evidence--and even utilized to generate a rough map of the journey made by those who kept the record.

But because the Book of Mormon has a miraculous provenance such down-to-earth geographical evidence as recorded by Nephi is out of the question. It is unacceptable--because to accept it as evidence is to open oneself up to the possibility that the Book of Mormon might actually be what it claims to be.

Jack

Anonymous said...

Talk about perversion. Vague references suddenly become "geographical markers" and "down-to-earth". Magical chanting to straw-grasp the orbital down to grounding.

As anon 5:05 pointed out, 3 days was quickly corrected by "careful" reading to be many more days ... on and on.

But we can only call NHM "evidence" and not proof because to accept it as proof is to open oneself up to serious analysis. Let's keep it safely relegated to this vague notion of plausible, always keeping the straw grasp alive.

Anonymous said...

"Apologists are looking for possible locations that might match what Smith wrote. Your reference may be to the land of the Nihm tribe (hardly a good homonym and also unconvincing because [1 Nephi] 16:34 refers to a location, not a general tribal area) in Yemen, or perhaps to Nehhm, an even less convincing homonym that ought to be pronounced nothing like "Nahom". Keep looking."

https://www.quora.com/Like-Joseph-Smith-Mohammed-also-claims-an-angelic-visitation-Should-we-believe-both/answer/Dick-Harfield?comment_id=151780055&comment_type=2

Anonymous said...

“If the geographical markers recorded in First Nephi were found in book with a purely secular provenance they would be considered evidence--without question. Let's say those same markers were found on an ancient scroll that was nothing more than a tally of business transactions along the spice trail. Those markers would be considered top notch evidence--and even utilized to generate a rough map of the journey made by those who kept the record.”

The big difference is that the scroll or book in your hypothetical would still be available to be viewed. In the BoM, you’re talking about a copy of a translation. The source document was supposedly written in Hebrew using Egyptian hieroglyphs—a practice that has no precedent. The translation occurred without the translator referring to the source document. The source document was removed from the earth by divine intervention. There are many circumstances about the BoM that disqualify it as “top notch evidence.”

Anonymous said...

There are two groups here. The larger public, who are outsiders looking in, and the insiders. The insiders are using specialized definitions for words such as "translated", "prophet", "revelations", "true", "witness", "evidence", "plausible", "coherent", "credible", etc.

The stubborn ones are the insiders. If they wish to engage in dialogue, they need to recognize there are two sets of vocabulary. They refuse to do so. Instead, they verbally abuse the larger public for not modifying the normative definitions.

Meaningful, substantive dialogue can not occur until the insiders admit they use words differently.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:07 - Nice analysis. However, the insiders are also using different definitions for "meaninful, substantive dialogue"

meaninful, substantive dialogue

1. Preaching to the choir

2. Singing the preacher's praises

As far they know they are engaging meaningful, substantive dialogue. Begs the question, why are they even allowing the public to watch their choir rehearsals when they know the public will heckle?

They do so to propagate the self lie that their specialized vocabulary is the normative vocabulary.

Why would the public stick around to watch the choir rehearsal longer? There are plenty of other tourist attractions to visit?

Anonymous said...

The Lindsayites verbal abuse those that pointed out their abuse of English.

Anonymous said...

The Lindsayites definition of evidence is the same as Donald Trumps. Anyone who disagress with their self declared evidence is a fool, dishonest, and apostate.

https://www.mediaite.com/trump/you-lost-piers-morgan-and-trump-trade-vicious-insults-in-preview-for-upcoming-fox-news-interview/

Anonymous said...

Anonymous (10:42):

"The big difference is that the scroll or book in your hypothetical would still be available to be viewed. In the BoM, you’re talking about a copy of a translation. The source document was supposedly written in Hebrew using Egyptian hieroglyphs—a practice that has no precedent. The translation occurred without the translator referring to the source document. The source document was removed from the earth by divine intervention. There are many circumstances about the BoM that disqualify it as 'top notch evidence.'"

This is what I was suggesting in the second paragraph of my last comment. Even if the two documents had the exact same geographic data points--the BoM's markers would be rejected as evidence simply because it's impossible to drill down to its miraculous provenance.

Why? There they are--and they correspond perfectly with what we know about the Arabian peninsula today. It shouldn't matter if the BoM were produced by an alchemist or delivered by a Martian--if the markers match they match.

Somehow the text of 1Nephi is correct on those points *in spite* of its provenance--and that's evidence that someone involved in the production of the Book of Mormon new something about the Arabian Peninsula--how ever goofy the story behind it may seem.

Jack

Anonymous said...

Jack - Saying Saudi Arabia exist and therefore the marker matches is reaching the absurd. Also

"Apologists are looking for possible locations that might match what Smith wrote. Your reference may be to the land of the Nihm tribe (hardly a good homonym and also unconvincing because [1 Nephi] 16:34 refers to a location, not a general tribal area) in Yemen, or perhaps to Nehhm, an even less convincing homonym that ought to be pronounced nothing like "Nahom". Keep looking."

https://www.quora.com/Like-Joseph-Smith-Mohammed-also-claims-an-angelic-visitation-Should-we-believe-both/answer/Dick-Harfield?comment_id=151780055&comment_type=2

Anonymous said...

“There they are--and they correspond perfectly with what we know about the Arabian peninsula today.”

So you’re saying 3 days’ travel, on foot or by camel, would bring one “by the borders near the shore of the Red Sea,” let alone to the wadi that Jeff proposes is Lehi’s first residential stop? By my math, the description doesn’t add up to the reality.

John Robertson said...

Dear All Anonymi,

If you gentlemen think the Lindsayites are unintelligent, stupid, foolish, mindless, brainless, idiotic, imbecilic, witless in their misbegotten beliefs, I ask you: what's the point in wasting your time unceasingly saying so—especially if you genuinely know you are absolutely right? There's a vanishingly small chance that you could ever, ever save them from themselves. I'll bet there's a better way you could use your time.

With Sincerity,

A Witless Linsayite — John S. Robertson

Anonymous said...

I suppose one could ask the same of you, John. What keeps you trying to sway others to your way of thinking? Is your reason better or more righteous than mine?

John Robertson said...

Dear Anonymous (among the "Anonymi":),
I don't believe I'm presumptuously confident that Jeff's posts are spot on. I thoroughly enjoy reading them, though. And it's sort of entertaining to read the negative comments. There's a grand and ancient tradition for apologetics. Apologetics are not what I hang my hat on as regards my commitment to my chosen beliefs, however.

MORE generally, my commitment as a Latter-Day-Saint is a matter of choice and faith, not a matter of presumptuous confidence. I confess there's a lot I don't understand. I can tell you this, though. I do love the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the covenants I made from my youth. If I had to do it all over again, I would make those self-same covenants because they are the very foundation of I've tried to conduct my life of 79 years. I've had a good life, and I love it, and I'm grateful for it. It hasn't always been easy—like everyone else I know.

If you feel differently about your association with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints, whatever it may have been, I'm fine with that; your choice of course. And if you want to spend your time showing it's wrong-headed, again your choice obviously. I just don't understand why you'd want to; your motivation. I imagine you have your reasons. Maybe to help other benighted souls like me :)?

Sincerely,

John S. Robertson

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:32 - Perfect response and I do not think John S. Robertson answered your question.

John - You are confusing the Lindsayites with Latter-day Saints. They are not the same. And no one here has suggested the Lindsayits are "unintelligent, stupid, foolish, mindless, brainless, idiotic, imbecilic, witless" just the opposite in fact they are very intelligent, just fundamentally dishonest. However, you have convinced me some will never overcome their dishonesty. But please quite claiming your beliefs are LDS doctrine or that you represent our Church.

Anonymous said...

"Saying Saudi Arabia exist and therefore the marker matches is reaching the absurd."

Come now, brother. It's not that Saudi Arabia merely exists. It's that it exists with every geographic detail found in the book of 1Nephi--and all in the proper place and time according to the directions and logic of the text.

Jack

Anonymous said...

"So you’re saying 3 days’ travel, on foot or by camel, would bring one “by the borders near the shore of the Red Sea,” let alone to the wadi that Jeff proposes is Lehi’s first residential stop? By my math, the description doesn’t add up to the reality."

It's not three days from Jerusalem. It's three days travel in the wilderness--which probably meant that Lehi traveled three days beyond the southern border of Judah or thereabouts.

Jack

John Robertson said...

Dear Anonymous,
Thanks so very much for your kind, generous, and thoughtful response. Once again, and as always, your words reveal a person whose ability to frame an argument is well beyond anything perspicuous! Amazing!

Yours,
Jon Swift Robertson

Anonymous said...

Jack 7:58 - Come on now, brother. You are going in circles and deliberately talking past people. What you present is self-declared markers and self-declared matches. Saudi is full of cementaries and oasises.

"Apologists are looking for possible locations that might match what Smith wrote. Your reference may be to the land of the Nihm tribe (hardly a good homonym and also unconvincing because [1 Nephi] 16:34 refers to a location, not a general tribal area) in Yemen, or perhaps to Nehhm, an even less convincing homonym that ought to be pronounced nothing like "Nahom". Keep looking."

We can look for some inscriptions between your self declared Nahom and Jerusalem along the red sea and will eventually find something like Shizer and we can self declared it Shazer the hunting place. Kenney-Lincoln type parallels and connection.

Jack writes: "which probably meant " Which is the whole point all this "rich" detail from "careful" readings .... sigghhh

Anonymous said...

Jon Swift Robertson 8:30 - You went through the looking glass and now critiquing your own reflection.

John Robertson said...

Dear Anonymous,
Sigghhh.
John S. Robertson

Anonymous said...

“I thoroughly enjoy reading them, though. And it's sort of entertaining to read the negative comments.”

John,

This is a great description of why I come to this blog and respond. If there seem to be problems in logic, statements of fact, or if there’s outright disengenuity, I like to point it out and give Jeff or any of the other respondents a chance to rebut my observations. Often times the debate devolves into childish name calling, which can be entertaining for its own part, but it isn’t the primary reason I come here—nor do I tend to participate in that form of “discussion.”

“If I had to do it all over again, I would make those self-same covenants because they are the very foundation of I've tried to conduct my life.”

I’m the opposite. I have learned that many of the “truths” I was taught growing up are either not true, or have been colored by a very positive brush by the LDS faithful. I’ve also discovered that morality exists independent of religion and being a good person (or righteous in LDS parlance) doesn’t depend upon a testimony of Joseph Smith or even Christ. Really all that religion provides you is a sense that someone else (God) approves (or not) of your sense of morality.

Anonymous said...

"Really all that religion provides you is a sense that someone else (God) approves (or not) of your sense of morality."

For the vast majority of human souls who have live as paupers, peasants, servants, or slaves, religion instills a hope that a better life is to come and that losses will be made up.

Jack

John Robertson said...

Dear Anonymous,
This time, I'm not "Jonathan Swift" [no Modest Proposal] in thanking you for your kind, thoughtful response. If I read you correctly, I think I can begin to understand why you find yourself on Jeff's blog so often, and with such vigor and passion.

Like you, I've thought a lot about what it means to be moral. (I take it that you think being moral is a good thing!) Curious how you would define morality; I mean specifically. What does it mean to be moral, after all? How do you know whether you or someone else really are a moral person, in the main? What attributes might govern a genuinely moral person? Would there be a set of principles that a moral person would adhere to, or would it be that such a person one would intuitively know whether or not said behavior is moral?

Best,
John S. Robertson
ps. Of course and obviously, please don't feel the need to respond to any of the above.

Anonymous said...

https://www.mrm.org/finding-nahom-the-continuing-search-for-archaeological-confirmation-of-the-book-of-mormon

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

The article you link to leaves out some very important details and is logically fallacious. The fact is that in spite of the author's claim that no Book of Mormon sites have been found--it is a known quantity that a region called NHM or Nehem or some other variant of the three letters exists -- and has existed since the time of Lehi -- in the precise location were we would expect to find it according the Nephi's account.

Anonymous said...

The above comment was posted by Jack.

Anonymous said...

Jack writes: "it is a known quantity that a region called NHM or Nehem or some other variant of the three letters exists "

Thank you for clarifying. A region with some other variant of Nahom is rich, beautiful, and complex detail. How could someone not be convinced?

Your self-declared matches to self-declared markers have already been addressed several times. Your only rejoinder appears to be chanting "precise location" over and over again while falsely accusing others of making "logically fallacious" statements instead of addressing them.

Of course, the article did not delve further into your other concerns because the links at the end of the article did. The best link is this one, where Andrew Davis single-handedly takes on Neal Rappleye, Stephen Smoot, James Culter, and Jeff Lindsay.

https://www.reddit.com/r/exmormon/comments/6jd4fm/budding_apologists_create_book_of_mormon_nahom/