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Showing posts from July, 2015

A Tale of Two Rivers: The Limhi Expedition

Now king Limhi had sent, previous to the coming of Ammon, a small number of men to search for the land of Zarahemla; but they could not find it, and they were lost in the wilderness. 

Nevertheless, they did find a land which had been peopled; yea, a land which was covered with dry bones; yea, a land which had been peopled and which had been destroyed; and they, having supposed it to be the land of Zarahemla, returned to the land of Nephi, having arrived in the borders of the land not many days before the coming of Ammon. 

And they brought a record with them, even a record of the people whose bones they had found; and it was engraven on plates of ore.
Mosiah 21:25-27

The discovery of Ether's record was a strange occurance, from the vantage point of modern readers who lack geographical context. Just two generations before, Zeniff led a group to reclaim the "land of first inheritance",  south east of Zarahemla, in the highlands. 
Zeniff and his people reclaimed the land, makin…

The Shorter Version: Alma's Use of the Large Plates and Small Plates of Nephi

Alma 50:20 is unique in that it is not Alma or Lehi speaking to Lehi's descendants; but rather, in Alma 50:19, Mormon introduces the promise as a direct quote from God to Lehi about Lehi's descendants. 

Both Alma 50:20 and Alma 9:13 have the ending: cut off from the presence of the Lord; Alma 9:13 also retains both instances of my commandments, found in the first and second clauses of Alma 50:20. Alma 9:13 can thus be said to be a paraphrase of Alma 50:20.

Alma 50:20 Blessed art thou and thy children; and they shall be blessed, inasmuch as they shall keep my commandments they shall prosper in the land. But remember, inasmuch as they will not keep my commandments they shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord.

Alma 9:13 Behold, do ye not remember the words which he spake unto Lehi, saying that:Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper in the land? And again it is said that: Inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from the presence…

Translating the Book of Mormon: Alma's Use of the Large Plates and Small Plates

The Book of Mormon is fascinating. The English translation of an ancient metal codex, this book comes to us via the dictation of an unschooled, 24 year old farm boy, as he buried his face in the blackness of a hat, staring into a seer stone. 
One of the interesting themes of the book is a promise from God, to Lehi. Parts of this promise are quoted in numerous places through out  the book but a version of it, composed of two interdependent clauses, declares that if Lehi's descendants obey the commandments of God, they will prosper; if they disobey then they will be cut off from His presence. The promise was originally made to Lehi but is paraphrased multiple times by Alma. 
Lehi gave at least three renditions of this prophesy, hereafter referred to as the Lord's promise or the promise: a complete version recorded in the Large Plates of Nephi, which survives for us in a later section of the Plates of Mormon; and two shorter versions found on the Small Plates of Nephi. The versi…

The Jenkins Follies: Nahom and the Strawman Fallacy

Philip Jenkins is the Distinguished Professor of History at Baylor University, a Baptist university in Waco, Texas. Jenkins and Bill Hamblin have been having a war of words on Patheos, which can be found here. In a recent post by Jenkins, The Nahom Follies, he attempts to diminish the significance of the Book of Mormon's description of Lehi's exodus, and it's convergence with the ancient Arabia, by ignoring multiple convergences between the two and focusing on the perceived inevitability of finding a three letter root, NHM, anywhere and everywhere in the Arabian peninsula. 

Jenkins reveals his ignorance of Book of Mormon studies, and attempts to correlate Lehi's exodus, as recorded in First Nephi, with the real world places it claims to describe, by claiming that such a correlation "is, literally, the only case where anyone still seriously pretends that they have some kind of archaeological support for the Book of Mormon."
This is a big tell for if Jenkins had …