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  1. Thank buddy and yep it's me.
  2. Battle in the Sidon (Alma 2) by James H. Fullmer In my last three posts, Long Count Year 1.1 and Mulek the Conqueror, The End of the Jaredites and The Messianic Event: Cyclical History and Nephite Calendar Prophecies, I've tried to show how even a very superficial understanding of the Mayan calendar systems and their cyclical view of history can unlock and rationalize certain aspects of the Book of Mormon, just as studying Canaanite and Akkadian texts help us better understand the Hebrew Bible. In her book, The Indian Christ, the Indian King: The Historical Substrate of Mayan Myth and Ritual, Victoria R. Bricker has noted the following: On the other hand, there is some evidence that the Maya intervened in history and made events conform to their prophecies. The conquest of the last Itza capital at Tayasal reffered to in the quote from Roys(1933:136113) above is a case in point. The Itza had resited several attempts to convert them to Christianity on the grounds that the time prophesied for this to take place had not yet arrived. At the end of 1695, the Itza sent word of their willingness to be converted. A new Katun 8 Ahau began in 1697, the year that the Itza were finally conquered by the Spaniards(see chapter 2). This suggests that the Katun 8 Ahau “prophecies” may well be historically accurate and that the Itza actually did abandon their capital every 256 years. As ancient Mesoamericans, the Nephites and Lamanites appear to have the same basic cyclical view of history, where the events of one year are expected to be repeated when the date of that year is repeated. The Nephites, like their Mayan neighbors, may have used this understanding of prophetic history when making decisions regarding war. We already know that Nephite military commanders would occasionally consult prophets and implore the guidance of their God in making decisions about warfare(Alma 16:5) but was calendar prophecy also used in making decisions about war?In 3 Nephi, Mormon tells us about the Nephite leader Lachoneus, the "governor of the land" and a prophet(3 Nephi 3:16). Lachoneus and his people were being threatened by the head of the Gadianton Robbers:3 Nephi 3:11-12And now it came to pass when Lachoneus received this epistle he was exceedingly astonished, because of the boldness of Giddianhi demanding the possession of the land of the Nephites, and also of threatening the people and avenging the wrongs of those that had received no wrong, save it were they had wronged themselves by dissenting away unto those wicked and abominable robbers.Now behold, this Lachoneus, the governor, was a just man, and could not be frightened by the demands and the threatenings of a robber; therefore he did not hearken to the epistle of Giddianhi, the governor of the robbers, but he did cause that his people should cry unto the Lord for strength against the time that the robbers should come down against them. Now, as an ancient Mesoamerican prophet, in charge of leading a whole people against these threats, how might have Lachoneus responded to these threats? What would he have done to defend his people? Why is it that he "could not be frightened by the demands and threatening of a robber"; what was the source of his confidence?As someone with a cyclical view of history, one thing he might have done was to look at the three different Nephite calendars and try to see what happened in the past, for the same numbered year as the one he was living in. The Nephites had three different calendars. The first calendar marked time from the year Lehi left Jerusalem. The second calendar marked time from the first year of the judges. The third calendar marked time from the day the sign was given of Christ's birth.If Lachoneus received Giddhianhi's letter near the end of "the seventeenth year", he might have looked to Nephite history to see if his people had been in a similar situation at the end of a "seventeenth year" and "eighteenth year", to see what happened then in order to predict what should happen now. It would be strange and inappropriate for us English speaking moderns to do such a thing today but the Lord speaks to people "in their weakness, after the manner of their own language" so that they come come to understanding(D&C 1:24). It just so happens that such a thing did happen:Alma 35:8-9...the chief ruler of the Zoramites, being a very wicked man, sent over unto the people of Ammon desiring them that they should cast out of their land all those who came over from them into their land. And he breathed out many threatenings against them. And now the people of Ammon did not fear their words; Alma 35:12-13And thus ended the *seventeenth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi. And the people of Ammon departed out of the land of Jershon, and came over into the land of Melek, and gave place in the land of Jershon for the armies of the Nephites, that they might contend with the armies of the Lamanites and the armies of the Zoramites; and thus commenced a war betwixt the Lamanites and the Nephites, in the eighteenth year of the reign of the judges; and an account shall be given of their wars hereafter. Alma 43:3-4 And now I return to an account of the wars between the Nephites and the Lamanites, in the *eighteenth year of the reign of the judges. For behold, it came to pass that the Zoramites became Lamanites; therefore, in the commencement of the eighteenth year the people of the Nephites saw that the Lamanites were coming upon them; therefore they made preparations for war; yea, they gathered together their armies in the land of Jershon. The rest of this war story and Captain Moroni's defeat of the Zoramite/Lamanite warriors happened in the eighteenth year of the reign of the judges(Alma 44). Lachoneus was in a similar situation as Alma the Younger and Captain Moroni were in, 91 one years before his time; and because he's a prophet from a culture which believes in cyclical history and calendar prophesy(Alma 45:10; Helaman 13:5,9; Mormon 8:6), he employs a similar solution for a similar problem at a similar time: 3 Nephi 3:22-23And it came to pass in the *seventeenth year, in the latter end of the year, the proclamation of Lachoneus had gone forth throughout all the face of the land, and they had taken their horses, and their chariots, and their cattle, and all their flocks, and their herds, and their grain, and all their substance, and did march forth by thousands and by tens of thousands, until they had all gone forth to the place which chad been appointed that they should gather themselves together, to defend themselves against their enemies. And the land which was appointed was the land of Zarahemla, and the land which was between the land Zarahemla and the land Bountiful, yea, to the line which was between the land Bountiful and the land Desolation.3 Nephi 4:1, 4 And it came to pass that in the latter *end of the eighteenth year those armies of robbers had prepared for battle, and began to come down and to sally forth from the hills, and out of the mountains, and the wilderness, and their strongholds, and their secret places, and began to take possession of the lands, both which were in the land south and which were in the land north, and began to take possession of all the lands which had been deserted by the Nephites, and the cities which had been left desolate. • • • Therefore, there was no chance for the robbers to plunder and to obtain food, save it were to come up in open battle against the Nephites; and the Nephites being in one body, and having so great a number, and having reserved for themselves provisions, and horses and cattle, and flocks of every kind, that they might subsist for the space of seven years, in the which time they did hope to destroy the robbers from off the face of the land; and thus the eighteenth year did pass away.
  3. In my last two posts, I recreated a very basic cyclical paradigm of time, as it may have been had by the Nephite prophet-historians. The cycle looks like this; I also cut and pasted some material from a previous post, on what appears to be a Nephite familiarity with the Long Count and also had a cyclical view of history: One of the intriguing features of the Book of Mormon is the use of the baktun, or 400 year cycle, is it is attested several times in the text (Alma 45:10; Helaman 13:5,9; Mormon 8:6). It also appears that the baktun and the katun are both attested in Moroni 10:1, when Moroni states that "more than four hundred and twenty years have passed away since the sign was given of the coming of Christ". What's most interesting in this verse is that Moroni specifically says he wants his brethren the Lamanites to know that it had been four hundred and twenty years, because that number would carry much more meaning to the Lamanites than it would to the Gentiles. The Maya "Long Count" records the elapsed number of periods of 400 years + periods of 20 years + years + periods of 20 days + days since the "creation" day of 13 August 3114 BC (although it's unclear exactly what happened on that day; the accounts differ from site to site). Moroni is basically giving an abbreviated Long Count date of 1.1 (1 period of 400 years + 1 period of 20 years). So for Moroni, the Long Count date of 1.1(1 period of 400 years + 1 period of 20 years) is important but why? For that we have to go back to the year 20 AD and see what happened. 3 Nephi 4:15 And it came to pass that the armies of the Nephites did return again to their place of security. And it came to pass that this nineteenth year did pass away, and the robbers did not come again to battle; neither did they come again in the twentieth year. Also of interest are the following occurrences for the same year, according to the second Nephite calendar, which counted time from the beginning of the reign of the judges. Alma 49:29-30 And thus ended the nineteenth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi. Yea, and there was continual peace among them, and exceedingly great prosperity in the church because of their heed and diligence which they gave unto the word of God, which was declared unto them by Helaman, and Shiblon, and Corianton, and Ammon and his brethren, yea, and by all those who had been ordained by the aholy order of God, being baptized unto repentance, and sent forth to preach among the people. Alma 50: 1, 16 And now it came to pass that Moroni did not stop making preparations for war, or to defend his people against the Lamanites; for he caused that his armies should commence in the *commencement of the twentieth year of the reign of the judges, that they should commence in digging up heaps of earth round about all the cities, throughout all the land which was possessed by the Nephites. ... And thus ended the twentieth year. For Moroni, the 20th year is a year of peace, peace following prolonged warfare. For the purposes of this post, I call it Pax 20. This makes the cyclical view of Nephite history look something like this: With the twentieth year being the year of peace, following prolonged warfare, it is precisely the time that Moroni decides to bury his father's record in the earth. His last words to us reveal his hopes for peace in Paradise. Moroni 10:34 And now I bid unto all, farewell. I soon go to rest in the paradise of God, until my spirit and body shall again reunite, and I am brought forth triumphant through the air, to meet you before the pleasing bar of the great Jehovah, the Eternal Judge of both quick and dead. Amen. What is interesting here is that although the Nephites have a cyclical view of history, like other mesoamericans, the prophet-historians seem to take a uniquely Christ centered view of cyclical time, with the incarnation of their God, Jehovah(Jesus Christ), being at the center of it all. In The Nephite Religions, I argued for the existence of Nephite folk religion and Nephite book religion. Nephite folk religion was distinctly "pagan" or mesoamerican; Nephite book religion, the religion of the prophet-historians, was Judeo-Christian, for lack of a better word. This is analogous to the Mormon Endowment rite, where the Prophet Joseph Smith redacts and repurposes the elements of Masonic fraternal initiation into a christo-centric theophanic mystery. So what we have in the case of 3 Nephi 1:1-18, is a situation not unlike that of Elijah and the prophets of Baal. Israelite folk religion included the worship of Baal, Asherah and other gods; Israelite book religion, as it's depicted in the Bible, centered exclusively on the worship of Jehovah. Similarly, the cyclical history in Nephite folk religion necessitated a genocidal act, four hundred years after the end of the Jaredites and four hundred years before the Nephite genocide prophesied by Alma, Samuel and others. However, the Nephite book religion disrupts the rhythm of the calendar cycle by abrogating the second genocide and replacing it with incarnation of Jehovah(Jesus Christ), at the meridian of time. This vaguely chiastic structure, which puts Jehovah(Jesus Christ) at the center of everything can be found elsewhere in the Book of Mormon(Alma 36). La Venta as the City of Mulek In Helaman 8:12, we read: And now will you dispute that Jerusalem was destroyed? Will ye say that the sons of Zedekiah were not slain, all except it were Mulek? Yea, and do ye not behold that the seed of Zedekiah are with us, and they were driven out of the land of Jerusalem? In Jeremiah 38:6, the Hebrew phrase that is mistranslated as "Malchiah son of Hammelech" is actually Malkiyahu ben-ha-melek(מַלְכִּיָּהוּ בֶן־הַמֶּלֶךְ). In Hebrew, this means "Malkiyahu, son of the King". But was this Malkiyahu(מַלְכִּיָּהוּ) the same person as Mulek? In the case of Baruch, the scribe of Jeremiah(Jeremiah 32:12), the long form of his name is Berekyahu. If Berekyahu can be shortened to Baruch then Mulek is a plausible hypocorism of Malkiyahu. John L. Sorenson identifies the city of Mulek with La Venta. However, La Venta was an Olmec site that was abandoned in 400 BC. Mormon tells us that the Nephites named their cities "after the name of him who first possessed them". Notice he uses the word possessed and not established, discovered or founded. In 1828, when the Book of Mormon was translated into English, possess could mean to seize; to gain; to obtain the occupation of, to affect by some power; to seize; to gain; to obtain the occupation of. This meaning is also reflected in the Hebrew Bible. This implies that Mulek did not build the city but rather conquered it, in or around 600 BC. Furthermore, his distant descendant, Zarahemla, was the leader of a group of people who did not live in the land northward but rather lived in the "land southward"; they had a "corrupted" language and "denied the being of their Creator", a spiritual situation similar to that of Laman's descendants. It is also important to note that only after Zarahemla and Mosiah I's groups meld into one, that distinctly Jaredite names, like Coriantumr and Morianton, appear in the Nephite onomasticon. Furthermore, The Nephite Coriantumr is a descendant of Mulek and the Nephite Morianton wanted to take over the land northward, the former Jaredite heartland. Could Morianton have been attempting something similar to what Zeniff did in retaking the Lehite land of "first inheritance"? Mulek is also said to have arrived in the north, as opposed to Lehi who arrived from the south(Helaman 6:10). From the above evidence it seems likely that the people of Zarahemla were at least part Jaredite in ancestry. Being contemporaries, Mulek left the old world, presumably at the same time Lehi did, 600 BC. If the city of Mulek is La Venta then Mulek would have had to take it over from the Olmec who were living there. He or his descendants would also have had to leave city, possibly under duress, for the history in Omni 1;16-17 to make sense. However, is there any evidence for this in the Book of Mormon? In my last post, I made an case for the Jaredites being Olmec in the same sense that Puerto Ricans are Americans. Just as it would be inaccurate to say Americans are Puerto Rican, it would be inaccurate to say that the Olmec were Jaredites. So let's apply the same model to see what happened to the Jaredites at around 600 BC. The last three men in Ether's lineage history are Ether, Coriantor and Moron. Per my last post, which was not intended to be rigorous or exact, this would have Moron be born at around 595 BC. We don't know how long it took Mulek to reach the New World; Nephi didn't do it in less than eight years. Moron is described as ruling in his father's stead, meaning he didn't ascend to the throne after his death. If this is correct, and it may not be, at the time of Mulek's arrival, Moron would have been a very young, inexperienced and possibly vulnerable ruler. In Ether 11:14-18, we learn that there was dissension in Moron's kingdom, such that it proved to be an opportune time for the rise of "a mighty man among them in iniquity", who "gave battle unto Moron, in which he did overthrow the half of the kingdom; and he did maintain the half of the kingdom for many years." Moron then overthrows this unnamed usurper only to be overthrown again by another mighty man; only this second time, Moroni makes the point of stating that this second usurper was a descendant of the brother of Jared. Moron was a descendant of Jared, the second usurper a descendant of the brother of Jared but what about the first man to usurp Moron? We know nothing about his ancestry; we only know he was wicked. It may or may not have been Mulek but we can at least say that a Jaredite king was deposed by an unnamed man at around the same time Mulek would have conquered the land he conquered, and in the same general area. It would also explain how an Olmec site like La Venta, would in the writing of the prophet-historians be named after Mulek and why Mulek's descendants were down in the central depression of Chiapas and not in their ancestral homeland of Tabasco. It would also explain the apparently Jaredite roots of Zarahemla's people and Nephite names like Moroni, which might mean Moronite. But was Mulek a mighty man "among them in iniquity"? Muloch > Muleh > Mulek In the earliest extant manuscripts of the Book of Mormon, the name Mulek actually appears as Muloch and Muleh(See Royal Skousen's analysis of Mosiah 25:2). This is very similar to the Canaanite god associated with child sacrifice, Molech(מֹלֶךְ) or Moloch(מֶלֶךְ). If Muloch(Mulek) really is "Malchiah, son of Hammelech" then Muloch might represent a sort of dysphemism. Paul Hoskisson describes dysphemisms in the Hebrew Bible. He showed how a name like Nebuchadnezzar could function as an insulting scribal redaction. In Jeremiah 21;12, the name is rendered Nebuchadrezzar(נְבוּכַדְרֶאצַּר); in Esther 2:6, the Babylonian king is called Nebuchadnezzar(נְבוּכַדְנֶאצַּר), possibly meaning “Nebu protect the donkey”. Hoskisson explains: Dysphemisms take a perfectly good word and make something disreputable out of it. Dysphemisms are not common in English, except perhaps in political rhetoric. Even Latter-day Saints might indulge in a dysphemism or two when not overcome by our typical Latter-day Saint niceness. But the writers of the Old Testament were not handicapped by fits of niceness and therefore indulged themselves in dysphemisms and other forms of maculate wordplays. If "Malchiah, son of Hammelech" was the mighty man in iniquity mentioned in Ether 11 then it is possible that Muloch or Muleh, as it appears in the earliest text of the Book of Mormon translation, was a dysphemism used by the Nephite prophet-historians to not only connote his iniquity but the resultant spiritual state of Zarahemla's people. When Mosiah I came to Zarahemla, he essentially usurped him as ruler of that city, even if peacefully. Hence the prophet-historians who write of Mosiah I's descendants glowingly might have a reason to mock the founder of the rival lineage.
  4. http://konoshunkan.blogspot.jp/2017/03/towards-mormon-theology-of-sex_4.html?m=1 Disclaimer The following post is not some creepy argument for "sex in heaven". In fact, its not about the after-life, at all. This post is not an exposition on Mormon doctrine, it is not a "revelation" of any kind. This is a spiritually unnessesary and intellectually gratuitous theology post and nothing else. The Sexual Gods of J's Prehistory The Jahwist source of Genesis offers an interesting, non-historical, myth where gods come down from heaven and successfully procreate with human women: That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose....There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. -Genesis 6:2-4 The phrase translated as "sons of God" is, in both Genesis 6:2 and Genesis 6:4, bene ha elohim(בְּנֵי הָֽאֱלֹהִים). We can read this several ways as sons of the God, sons of the gods or simply the gods. Joel 3:6 makes mention of "the Grecians", which appears in Hebrew as bene ha yevanim(בְנֵי הַיְּוָנִים ), sons of the Grecians. These verses can thus be rendered as: That the gods saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose....There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the gods came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. This myth is similar to other myths of the Mediterranean. The Greek gods sometimes mated with human women, their offspring being mighty heroes such as Achilles and Hercules. The Jahwist makes his view clear, gods are sexually compatible with humans; gods have sex. If these elohim have sex, what does that say about the authors view of their father or chief, who is obviously bothered by this intermarriage(Genesis 6:3). The Jahwist account of creation begins in Genesis 2:4,5 and refers to God as yahweh elohim(יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים). If elohim have sex, and Yahweh is an elohim, then Yahweh has sex. Further evidence of this is found in the Hebrew Bible. The serpent told Adam and Eve:"For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil"(Genesis 3:5). I will now focus on the words eat, knowing and the phrase good and evil, all of which are euphemisms for sex. The word for eat in Genesis 3:5 is the same as eat in Proverbs 30:20, 'akal(אכל): "Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness", eat is a euphemism for sex. The word for knowing in Genesis 3:5 is the same as the word for knew in Genesis 4:1, Genesis 19:5 and Genesis 19:8, yada( יָדַע), where know is a euphemism for sex. Finally, the good and evil in Genesis 3:5 is the same good and evil in 2 Samuel 19:35. In 2 Samuel, knowing good and evil does not refer to an 80 year old man's lack of moral accountability but his inability to partake in the pleasures of the royal harem: wine, women and song. Eating fruit from the forbidden tree gave the man and the woman knowledge of good and evil, three sexual euphemisms used in connection with becoming like the elohim, gods, who as we have already seen were sexual beings. The most strongest admission of divine sexuality comes from Yahweh himself. When the man and the woman were initially placed in the Garden of Eden they were naked and unashamed, but, after they gain sexual awareness, they realize they are naked and make "aprons"(Genesis 3:7), presumably to hide their loins(1 Kings 2:5). After confessing this fact, God then says "Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil"(Genesis 3:22). God knows good and evil, God has his own sexual awareness, just like the other gods of his pantheon. Which gods specifically? "Although the entire pantheon is a possibility, the divine couple, Yahweh and his goddess consort, are more likely"(Coogan)." Towards a Mormon Sexual Theology Mormonism is unique in it's insistence God the Father has a body of flesh and bones, as tangible as man's. God the Father also has a Wife, our Heavenly Mother. Gods are by definition married men and women(D&C 132). According to the Proclamation on the Family: ALL HUMAN BEINGS—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose. Regardless of what the Bible and Doctrine and Covenants say, or don't say, about about "sex in heaven", what do these scriptures and official church publications say about sex here and now? If, according to the Jahwist, the gods and goddesses have sex then sex is a holy and divine act. If the Jawhist is correct then man and wife resemble the gods most when having sex. If man and wife, when having sex, are engaging in a holy and divine act then the law of chastity isn't about sexual repression at all but sexual sanctification. Modesty in clothing, for men and women, isn't about shaming but exalting. Just as a devout Mormon would never wear the robes of the holy priesthood at a disco, or speak openly about and video tape the Endowment or a Sealing(temple marriage), one should treat the human body and sex with the same levels of respect and care as one would the temple ordinances; and just as we should go to the temple as often as possible, man and wife should have sex as often as possible and for the same reasons. The Two Faces of Grace The English word grace is cognate with the Spanish, gracias(thanks) and both words are cognate with gratis(free). To accept God's grace is nothing less than having gratitude for what is freely given. What is freely given? Everything. In his talk, The Three Pillars of Eternity, Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught that the plan of salvation is based and three absolutes: The Creation, The Fall and the The Atonement. If grace is that which is freely given, then the plan of salvation starts with grace(the Creation) then our rejection of grace(the Fall), followed by our return to grace(the Atonement); or in other words, our lives, in relation to God, start with what He freely gives us, our turning from what He gives to what we think we want and then, if we're blessed with the faith, returning to what he freely gives us. If the ordinances of the priesthood are what we turn to for accessing the grace of the Atonement and the temple is the place where we provisionally access the highest ordinances and blessings of the Atonement, where do we turn to access to the grace of the Creation? What if the forest, desert, beach and mountains are to Creation what the chapel is to the Atonement and the sexual act, between husband and wife, are to Creation what the temple is to the Atonement? In this view, a wilderness hike is to sacrament meeting, what marital sex is to the endowment. Sex would then be an act of worship, or even an act of mysticism, like meditation, prayer and scripture study. Further Reading on Israelite Pantheon "A generation ago, when I was a graduate student, biblical scholars were nearly unanimous in thinking that monotheism had been predominant in ancient Israelite religion from the beginning—not just as an "ideal," but as the reality. Today all that has changed. Virtually all mainstream scholars (and even a few conservatives) acknowledge that true monotheism emerged only in the period of the exile in Babylon in the 6th century B.C.E., as the canon of the Hebrew Bible was taking shape." -William G. Dever, Did God Have a Wife? Archeology and Folk Religion in Ancient Israel,pg 294–95. "Many biblical writers frequently used polytheistic concepts, depicting Yahweh as the head of a large pantheon whose members advised him and celebrated his accomplishments. This pantheon functioned, as in Mesopotamian and Greek religion, as a kind of divine council or assembly, under the rule of the high god." -Michael Coogan, God and Sex: What the Bible Really Says pg 116. "Yet at the same time, Pslam 82, like Deutoronomy 32:8-9, preserves the outlines of the older theology it is rejecting. From the perspective of this older theology, Yahweh did not belong to the top tier of the pantheon. Instead, in early Israel, the god of Israel apparently belonged to the second tier of the pantheon; he was not the presider god, but one of his sons. Accordingly, what is at work is not a loss of the second tier of a pantheon headed by Yahweh. Instead, the collapse of the first and second tiers in the early Israelite pantheon was caused by an identification of El, head of this pantheon, with Yahweh, a member of the second tier." -Mark S. Smith, The Origins of Biblical Monotheism: Israel's Polytheistic Background and the Ugaritic Texts, pg 68. Yahweh and His Wife "One of the members of the Israelite pantheon was Asherah. She was worshiped in the Temple in Jerusalem, where her statue was clothed with garments woven by women working in the Temple precincts. ... In Jerusalem and throughout the land, this goddess, the queen of heaven, was paired with Yahweh, the king of heaven." -Michael Coogan, God and Sex: What the Bible Really Says, pg. 116-117. "The language of a divine couple and their offspring stems from a living religious tradition in ancient Israel itself, for which we have documentation in the Bible, in it's polemics and commandments. We also have evidence for this tradition in non-biblical texts and artifacts, even though these are only sporadically attested because of the vagaries of preservation and discovery. The cumulative evidence, however, is continuous and undeniable: Yahweh is envisioned as a sexual being." -Michael Coogan, God and Sex: What the Bible Really Says, pg 120. "God addresses his pantheon, his divine council: 'Let us make humans in our image, according to our likeness.' The narrator goes on to say: 'So God[elohim] created humans in his image in the image of elohim he created them, male and female he created them.'...An alternative is to understand elohim in the second line in it's plural sense: humans are male and female in the image of the gods -because the gods are male and female, humans are as well. Which male and female deities are the model? Although the entire pantheon is a possibility, the divine couple, Yahweh and his goddess consort, are more likely." -Michael Coogan, God and Sex: What the Bible Really Says, pg 118
  5. The End of The Jaredites

    Thanks Brant, the whole post is based on using the calendar round as an interpretive lens; I think it could work but who knows? What do you think of my generational spans based on polygamy, ultimogeniture and about 1/3 of the guys on the list being described as having children in their old age?
  6. Non-Sequential Mormon Theology

    I have to be crystal clear about the OP: The Book of Mormon is historical; Nephi, Mormon and Moroni are real people that I will enjoy meeting, in the next life.
  7. The End of The Jaredites

    Hey Robert, Definitely, thanks for the catch. We'll never know for certainty which of the Jaredite chronologies is correct. But we can try. Whether, Sorenson, Gardner or I have figured it out, the end date of 400BC makes the most sense. It would explain the attempted genocide on the eve of year 1.
  8. Disclaimer: the following post has very few original thoughts on my part. This post is a quick and dirty regurgitation of the work of Adam S. Miller and Bruno Latour, with my own little twist. They say that if you can't say something in your own words then you don't really understand it. So there; for further reading, I recommend anything by Adam S. Miller. Some DefinitionsTheology comes from two words: theos + logia, God + words. Theology is then the act of talking about God or Ultimate Reality. Theology is not to be confused with religion itself. Religion consists of practices(prayer, meditation, celibacy, polygamy, monogamy, pilgrimage, fasting) and objects(robes, bread, wine, beads, texts, amulets, relics, temples, cathedrals, shrines). Theology consists of words and thought forms ... or something like that. Of all the different religions, sects and cults of human history and the myriad of theologies each one employs, it seems that theologies can be broken down, oversimplified and classified into two primary types: sequential and non-sequential.Human beings perceive the passage of time as three main modes: past-present-future. The past consists of of what happened before what is happening now. The future consists of what will happen after this present moment becomes engraved in the past. The link that holds this chain of causation in place is the present moment, which is continually immanent and unconditioned. Sequential theologies see the present as a means to an end, the glorious future, because sequential theologies are based on stories and the physical/historical truth of those stories.The historical emphasis of sequential theologies focus the attention of the adherent on the past and the future, by first connecting his present to the past and then from the past, rocketing through the present, into the future. The present is then seen deriving it's value from it's function as a bridge between the past and the future. The present exists because of the past for the sake of the future. Religious texts and rituals gain their authority and power from the past, for the sake of creating the desired future. Eschatology and metaphysics, in sequential theology, are of primary concern. Sequential theologies view history as a straight line. If a sequential theology was a human watching a movie, he would watch all of act one, fast forward through act two and watch act three in it's entirety. Sequential theologies assume that everything scripture says is true but that what it talks about primarily is the past and the future. In sequential theologies, Adam and Eve are primarily those people who lived long ago. Sequential theologies speak of prophets, primarily, as fore-tellers of what will be. In sequential theologies, the dead sleep and the living are awake. Since sequential theology asks us to focus on the final goal, anything that deviates from that goal or the glorious past is sinful. Sequential theologies see religion as that which brings the transcendent, "out there" into clear view, whereas science is seen as what brings the immanent "right here" into clear view. Religion in sequential theologies saves us from near nearsightedness and science saves us from far farsightedness. Religion reveals what's hidden out there; science reveals what's hiding in plane sight. In sequential theologies, science explains "how", religion explains "why". Non-sequential theologies see the present moment as the end in itself; a glorious future or past are still important but remain in the background. Non-sequential theologies aren't based on stories but on the present moment, which is evet immanent and unconditioned. The non-historical emphasis of non-sequential theologies focus the attention of the adherent on the present moment, by disconnecting his present from the past. Rather than focusing on a future salvation or liberation from the present moment, by going to the transcendent, non-sequential theologies describe salvation or liberation from the past and the future by focusing our attention to the present moment, as it is. The present is then seen as inherently valuable for it's own sake, independent of it's relationship to the past and the future. Because the present moment is immanent, unconditioned and eternal in it's nature as continuous change, religious texts and rituals, derive their authority and power from their effectiveness in bringing our souls back to the present moment. In non-sequential theologies, ethics and phenomenology are of primary concerns. Non-sequential theologies view history as a circle. If a non-sequential theology was a human watching a movie, he would fast forward past act one, watch act two, ten consecutive times, fast forward through act three and then watch act two again. Non-sequential theologies assume that everything scriptures says is true but what it talks about primarily is the present moment. In non-sequential theologies, Adam and Eve are primarily you and me, as we live right now. Non-sequential theologies speak of prophets, primarily, as describers of what is, right now. In non-sequential theologies, the dead are wide awake, free from thoughts of the past and future, and the living are asleep, wondering through life in fear or daydreams of the future and regret or nostalgia for the past. Since non-sequential theology asks us to focus on the present moment, anything that deviates from that goal is sinful. Non-sequential theologies see religion as that which brings the immanent into clear view, whereas science is seen as what brings the transcendent into clear view. Religion in non-sequential theologies saves us from farsightedness and science saves us from nearsightedness. Religion reveals what's hidden in plain sight; science reveals what's hidden "out there". In non-sequential theologies, science explains "why", religion explains "how". The Utility of Non-Sequential Theologies It would be tempting to over simplify things and say non-sequential theology belongs to the East and sequential theology belongs to the West. Though this might be true in very general terms, it is not necessarily true. Kabbalah, Sufism and the Palamism can all be seen as non-sequential-ish Jewish, Muslim and Christian theologies. Whereas non-sequential theologies in the West and Near East have tended to be hidden from the masses, the opposite has tended to be true in India and East Asia. The benefit of non-sequential theology is that it creates an atmosphere in which faith may flourish. I currently live in Japan and was an Asian Humanities major in college. Throughout my life I have read about and known about atheists and agnostics who lost their faith in Christianity, Judaism, Mormonism and Islam because their understanding of their religion was based on a sequential theology, which crashed head first into the brick wall of science or textual criticism. I have yet to see the same thing happen to an adherent of Shinto, Buddhism, Taoism or Hinduism. I have yet to see a Buddhist William Lane Craig, or a Shinto John Dehlin. I have yet to see a Hindu oppose Darwin on the grounds that turtles and elephants hold up the earth, rather than having evolved billions of years after it's formation. I have yet to see a Taoist throw it all away over the idea that Lao Zi probably didn't exist. The same can be true and will need to be true for followers of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. This isn't about reading scripture "figuratively" vs "literally"; no, we are passed all that. Both of those approaches to scripture are outdated oversimplifications. Way too many young people give up on God, or find excuses to rebel against God, because they have been pushed into an ideological corner by well meaning preachers and teachers, who unwittingly pushed the idea that sequential theologies are the only theologies that exist. Consequently they feel that they must choose between the transcendent and the immanent, what is "out there" vs what is "right here". Unable to find the transcendent through their religion, they throw away transcendence and seek the immanent by kissing the rings of the new priesthoods, science and scholarship, which provide transcendence abundantly, in the guise of immanence. All the while, both their past sequential theology and their new found faithlessness could never and will never allow them to find what will truly fill the hole in their souls, the immanent, grace.
  9. http://averroes2.blogspot.jp/2017/01/the-end-of-jaredites.html?m=1 Whenever the two sources or “witnesses” happen to converge in their testimony, a historical “datum” (or given) may be said to have been established beyond reasonable doubt. To ignore or to deny the implications of such convergent testimony is irresponsible scholarship, since it impeaches the testimony of one witness without reasonable cause by suppressing other vital evidence. (What Did The Biblical Writers Know and When Did They Know It?; William Dever, 2001, pg. 107) Unlike the Nephites, we don't have a start date or an end date for the Jaredites, in the Book of Mormon, thus we don't have a firm chronology with which to compare with archeology. Past proposals for a beginning date or end date for Ether's lineage history have tended to be too eager to see a connection between the Jaredites and Olmec or too hesitant, my own included. Any attempt to create a Jaredite chronology must begin with the king list provided by Moroni, in Ether 1; archeology should only be reffered to at the very end. The following king list also represents the Prophet Ether's patrilineal line: Ether Coriantor Moron Ethem Ahah Seth Shiblon Com Coriantum Amnigaddah Aaron Heth Hearthom Lib Kish Corom Levi Kim Morianton Riplakish Shez Heth Com Coriantum Emer Omer Shule Kib Orihah Jared Now we need the proper interpretive lens with which to read the king list, within the context of the Book of Mormon. Just as scholars of the Hebrew Bible study contemporary Ugaritic and Akkadian texts, to get a better understanding of the Hebrew Bible and it's sources, we need the correct general area of the Americas, to find a similiar corrective lens when reading the Book of Mormon. As it stands, Mesoamerica is the best place to find such a lens. Mesoamerica has two things that North, South and Insular America lack, for the times mention in the Book of Mormon: literature and the right population density. As John E. Clarke reminds us: Could millions of people have lived in the area proposed as Book of Mormon lands? Yes, and they did. Mesoamerica is the only area in the Americas that sustained the high population densities mentioned in the Book of Mormon, and for the times specified. When reconstructing a Jaredite chronology, we are essentially dealing with time thus mesoamerican systems of time keeping and notions of history come into play. The Book of Ether was written by Moroni, the last of the Nephite prophet-historians, based on Mosiah II's translation of the found Jaredite plates. So we should look at how Moroni and other Nephites looked at and measured time, through a Mesoamerican lens. One of the intriguing features of the Book of Mormon is the use of the baktun, or 400 year cycle, as it is attested several times in the text (Alma 45:10; Helaman 13:5,9; Mormon 8:6). It also appears that the baktun and the katun are both attested in Moroni 10:1, when Moroni states that "more than four hundred and twenty years have passed away since the sign was given of the coming of Christ". What's most interesting in this verse is that Moroni specifically says he wants his brethren the Lamanites to know that it had been four hundred and twenty years, because that number would carry much more meaning to the Lamanites than it would to the Gentiles. The Maya "Long Count" records the elapsed number of periods of 400 years + periods of 20 years + years + periods of 20 days + days since the "creation" day of 13 August 3114 BC (although it's unclear exactly what happened on that day; the accounts differ from site to site). Moroni is basically giving an abbreviated Long Count date of 1.1 (1 period of 400 years + 1 period of 20 years). In her book, The Indian Christ, the Indian King: The Historical Substrate of Mayan Myth and Ritual, Victoria R. Bricker has noted the following: The Maya believed that history was repetitive, that the events in one cycle would be repeated in all successive cycles as they had been repeating since time immemorial. Therefore, the calendar could be used to predict events in the future (i.e.. in succeeding cycles), and the people had no control over their fate. This cyclical repetition of history is illustrated in the Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel(Roys 1933), which records the count of the katuns since the first settlement was established at Chichen Itza. Below is the historical account for each Katun 8 Ahau in one chronicle. The First Katun 8 Ahau It was in 8 Ahau That Chitchen Itza was destroyed. Thirteen fold of the katun[256 years] had passed When Chakanputun began; They were in their homes For that katun period The Second Katun 8 Ahau It was in 8 Ahau That the people of Chakanputun were destroyed By the Itza people. The Third Katun 8 Ahau It was in 8 Ahau That the Itza people were destroyed In their homes again Because of the treachery of the Hunac Ceel As ancient Mesoamericans, the Nephites and Lamanites appear to have the same basic cyclical view of history, where the type of events that occur one year are expected to be repeated when the date of that year is repeated: Omni 1:4-5 And now I, Amaron, write the things whatsoever I write, which are few, in the book of my father. Behold, it came to pass that *three hundred and twenty years had passed away, and the more wicked part of the Nephites were destroyed. 4 Nephi 1:48 And it came to pass that when *three hundred and twenty years had passed away, Ammaron, being constrained by the Holy Ghost, did hide up the records which were sacred—yea, even all the sacred records which had been handed down from generation to generation, which were sacred—even until the three hundred and twentieth year from the coming of Christ. The Nephites had three different calendars. The first calendar marked time from the year Lehi left Jerusalem. The second calendar marked time from the first year of the judges. The third calendar marked time from the day the sign was given of Christ's birth, making His birth the beginning of year one. Long before the Nephites were wiped out, their fall had been prophesied as happening 400 years after the birth of Christ(Alma 45:10; Helaman 13:5,9; Mormon 8:6). Between 327-421 AD, the Nephites engaged in protracted warfare with the Lamanites, abandoning their cities and fleeing northward, only to meet their demise in 400 AD(Mormon 8), four hundred years after Christ's birth. This would explain why the day before the first day of the next baktun cycle was the "day set apart by the unbelievers" to kill, all the believers in Christ, effectively wiping out a people, as had happened four hundred years later, with the Nephites(3 Nephi 1:9). But the planned destruction doesn't happen, instead we get a day and a night and a day with continual daylight, as had been prophesied by Samuel the Lamanite. This miracle left the would be genocidal mob in shock and unable to carry out their murderous plans. And there were many, who had not believed the words of the prophets, who fell to the earth and became as if they were dead, for they knew that the great plan of destruction which they had laid for those who believed in the words of the prophets had been frustrated; ... (3 Nephi 1:16). From the view of the long count, that particular day, for the killing of an entire subculture, would make the most sense if a similiar genocidal event had happened 400 years prior, in or around 400 BC. The only other account of a genocidal event recorded in the Book of Mormon is that of the Jaredites, in the concluding chapters of Ether; thus the best candidate we have for an end date for the Jaredite history is 400 BC. A basic cycle of history in the Book of Mormon thus looks like this: With a date for Jaredite collapse, we are now free to count backward in time but by how many intervals? The Jaredites, whose history is recorded in Ether's lineage history, practiced ultimogeniture, the practice of the youngest son inheriting everything, a practice with exists in modern Mesoamerica and may be of pre-Hispanic origin. Jaredite kings were unusually long lived, fertile and almost certainly polygamists; the lineage founder, Jared, had 31 sons and daughters. As Mark Wright has noted: Keep in mind that the Nephite record keepers were from the ruling lineage, and anciently elites tended to have longer life spans because they had access to better quality food and they didn't wear their lives out with physically taxing work the way non-elites did. We only have data for both the birth dates and death dates of 17 Classic period Maya rulers, and their average age at death is 64.7 years. Some of the longest lived Maya kings were Itzamnaaj B'alam II of Yaxchilan was between 94.8 and 98.5 years old when he died, Calakmul's king Yukno'om the Great lived to be 85, Chan Imix K'awiil of Copan was about 83 when he died, a ruler of El Cayo named Chak Lakamtuun lived to 82, K'inich Janaab' Pakal from Palenque was 80, Aj Wosal of Naranjo was at least 78, and K'an Joy Chitam (also from Palenque) lived until he was 74. With an end date in mind and a rough estimate of years per royal generation, we get the following results for Jaredite dates, followed by the current chronology for Olmec apogee and decline: Jaredite Dates 2350 BC: Jaredites land in New World. 1310 BC: King Lib builds a "great city" by the narrow neck of land, by the place where the sea divides the land(Ether 10:19-21). 855 BC: Civil war "and contentions in all the land, and also many famines and pestilences, insomuch that there was a great destruction, such an one as never had been known upon the face of the earth"; the king, Shiblom, is killed and his son, Seth, lives out his days in captivity(Ether 11:4-9). 400 BC: End of the Jaredites. Olmec Dates 2500-1500BC:The first farming villages in Mesoamerica appear. Settlers raise maize, chili peppers, squash and cotton. 1500-1200BC:Olmec build San Lorenzo; fully developed Olmec culture, represented typically by gigantic basalt sculptures fashioned in a distinctive style. 1100BC:By this time, La Venta becomes a major Olmec site. 900BC:The Olmec site of San Lorenzo is destroyed. Olmec monuments are attacked, defaced and buried. 400BC:The Olmec site of La Venta is destroyed. This paradigm has four convergances, all four of which are productive. The Jaredites are said to have arrived in the New World, from Mesopotamia, during the building of "the great tower". The start date of 2350 BC fits with the building of the first ziggurats in the Early Dynastic(2900-2350). The Olmec abandonment of La Venta and the Jaredite collapse is also convergant. More importantly, Lib builds his "great city" on the narrow neck of land, where the sea divides the land, at the same time the Olmecs build San Lorenzo, on the Strait of Tehuantepec, near the Coatzacualcos River. Also, the great pestilences and civil war, in the days of Shiblom, happened at the same time San Lorenzo was abandoned, with it's monuments defaced and buried. This is a productive convergance, where archeology possibly illuminates details of the Book of Ether. San Lorenzo is a candidate for the "great city" of Lib. The Jaredite collapse coinciding with the abandonment of La Venta also explains why Coriantumr would head south-ward to Zarahemla, or, as Sorenson proposes, the Central Depression of the Grajalva river basin. Cities in the Central Depression had trade relations with La Venta and their inhabitants had Olmec heritage. Coriantumr would have known about these cities and naturally sought refuge there. It seems to me, that the Book of Ether and Olmec archeology are telling the same story. This is not to say that the Olmec are the Jaredites but rather that the Jaredites were Olmec. No, this can't be proven with certainty. As far as I know, we don't know the name of one Olmec. We don't even know what they called themselves. Finally, none of this "proves" the Book of Mormon is true or that Joseph Smith Jr. is a Prophet of God. What this demonstrates is that the Olmec are a candidate for being the Jaredite host culture and that San Lorenzo is a candidate for the city of Lib. Do with that what you will.