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"Others" in the BoM: Michael Ash and MormonTimes


cinepro

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In a recent article, Michael Ash tackles the problem of "Others" in the Book of Mormon. The problem being that the book doesn't clearly acknowledge there being existing peoples and civilizations when the Lehites landed.

Why aren't other peoples mentioned in the Book of Mormon?

For reasons I do not know, Ash declined to acknowledge some of the reasons people feel strongly that there weren't "others" here when the Lehites landed (for the purposes of discussion, "Others" refer to people not specifically integrated into the Book of Mormon narrative; the Jaredite remnant and Mulekites aren't counted.)

So, for the benefit of those who like to see both sides of an issue, here are some of the reasons people might believe there weren't others:

- For a book that is so focused on Christ and bringing people to him (and missionary work in general), it seems odd that they wouldn't mention the conversion of whole cultures of natives in the first few decades of their colonization. The mass conversion of such people (who didn't even share a common language upon Lehite Landfall) would be one of the greatest miracles in the history of Christianity, and hopefully worth mentioning somewhere between the lengthy transcriptions of Isaiah and descriptions of Nephite coinage.

The Lehite conversion of the indigenous pagans would also offer an interesting precedent for missionary work throughout the rest of the BoM. At the very least, I can imagine the Sons of Mosiah being inspired by the story of their ancestors long ago converting whole populations at the same time they were learning their language.

-Jacob 1 (~40 years after Lehite landfall) presents a "laundry list" of the existing population, naming each group by name. There is no "other" category. This may be explained by having every existing native aligning with a Lehite sub-group, but that kind of destroys the "small sub-culture" theory of Lehite integration.

13 Now the people which were not Lamanites were Nephites; nevertheless, they were called Nephites, Jacobites, Josephites, Zoramites, Lamanites, Lemuelites, and Ishmaelites.

14 But I, Jacob, shall not hereafter distinguish them by these names, but I shall call them Lamanites that seek to destroy the people of Nephi, and those who are friendly to Nephi I shall call Nephites, or the people of Nephi, according to the reigns of the kings.

- Intermarriage. Traditionally, the God of the Old Testament takes a dim view towards his chosen people intermarrying with the pagan natives in designated promised lands.

- 2 Nephi describes the Promised Land as being "kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations; for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance." This would seem to be at odds with the idea of a land already populated by numerous pagan cultures.

It would be like someone inheriting a house from a grandparent and being told the house had been "preserved" for them as a special place of sanctuary and peace. Then, when the family shows up, they find it overrun with a bunch of squatting Canadian illegal immigrants. They then look at the fine print in the will, and see that the grandparents knew about the squatters, and that it was intended for the two families to intermarry and get along sharing the house.

- When Nephi catalogs what they find in the New World, he includes cows, horses, goats, wild goats, and "all manner of wild animals". He also includes gold, silver, and copper. But no mention of...unusually dark skinned, loin-clothed people who speak an odd language but are particularly susceptible to conversion to pre-Christianity?

- In the Wentworth letter, Joseph Smith describes his first visit by Moroni, in which Moroni gives an other-less overview of the history of the Americas:

I was also informed concerning the aboriginal inhabitants of this country, and shown who they were, and from whence they came; a brief sketch of their origin, progress, civilization, laws, governments, of their righteousness and iniquity, and the blessings of God being finally withdrawn from them as a people was made known unto me.

----------------------------------------------

In [The Book of Mormon] the history of ancient America is unfolded, from its first settlement by a colony that came from the tower of Babel, at the confusion of languages to the beginning of the fifth century of the Christian era. We are informed by these records that America in ancient times has been inhabited by two distinct races of people. The first were called Jaredites and came directly from the tower of Babel. The second race came directly from the city of Jerusalem, about six hundred years before Christ. They were principally Israelites, of the descendants of Joseph. The Jaredites were destroyed about the time that the Israelites came from Jerusalem, who succeeded them in the inheritance of the country. The principal nation of the second race fell in battle towards the close of the fourth century. The remnant are the Indians that now inhabit this country.

(emphasis added)

So, while I agree there are some interesting (and, as it turns out, necessary) arguments to be made for "others", we shouldn't forget why some believers in Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon might find such arguments to be less than convincing.

Whether or not the expression of such ideas would be welcome in "MormonTimes", I can only imagine.

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Rodney Meldrum has risen to prominence lately, and from what I've read he carries the banner of Joseph Smith's authority over apologetic reinterpretations. So what does Meldrum and his company have to say about the issue of "others" in the Book of Mormon? I understand Meldrum thinks a type of DNA marker ties some Native Americans to Israel, but that particular marker is not universal or even predominant in the Americas... so he might agree with Ash and FAIR/FARMS on the matter of "others". Which would make him a sort of halfway apologetic reinterpreter, would it not?

Do you know, Cinepro, if Meldrum has spoken to this issue?

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It would be like someone inheriting a house from a grandparent and being told the house had been "preserved" for them as a special place of sanctuary and peace. Then, when the family shows up, they find it overrun with a bunch of squatting Canadian illegal immigrants. They then look at the fine print in the will, and see that the grandparents knew about the squatters, and that it was intended for the two families to intermarry and get along sharing the house.

That only happens in the Bible. It could never happen in the BOM! (We will just ignore your new rule about covenant people intermarrying.)

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Rodney Meldrum has risen to prominence lately, and from what I've read he carries the banner of Joseph Smith's authority over apologetic reinterpretations. So what does Meldrum and his company have to say about the issue of "others" in the Book of Mormon? I understand Meldrum thinks a type of DNA marker ties some Native Americans to Israel, but that particular marker is not universal or even predominant in the Americas... so he might agree with Ash and FAIR/FARMS on the matter of "others". Which would make him a sort of halfway apologetic reinterpreter, would it not?

Do you know, Cinepro, if Meldrum has spoken to this issue?

I don't know how Meldrum approaches the issue, but considering the wording of the Wentworth Letter, I would be surprised if he was very open to the idea of a pre-populated Promised Land (especially pre-Jaredite peoples).

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I don't know how Meldrum approaches the issue, but considering the wording of the Wentworth Letter, I would be surprised if he was very open to the idea of a pre-populated Promised Land (especially pre-Jaredite peoples).

Ah, that's it! He probably says the rest of the mtDNA types (A,B,C and D) came from Jaredites who are related to Siberian people, while type X comes from Lehi's Hebrews. Now I understand how he probably doesn't need genetic "others".

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Just for curiosity, from where were these copied?

- For a book that is so focused on Christ and bringing people to him (and missionary work in general), it seems odd that they wouldn't mention the conversion of whole cultures of natives in the first few decades of their colonization. The mass conversion of such people (who didn't even share a common language upon Lehite Landfall) would be one of the greatest miracles in the history of Christianity, and hopefully worth mentioning somewhere between the lengthy transcriptions of Isaiah and descriptions of Nephite coinage.

As with most issues in the Book of Mormon, this is one of interpretation and how one might read the text. Of course, the presumption is that we read "just what it says," but that is never correct. We read inside an interpretive framework. If you change the frame, the interpretation of the very same text is quite different. That is the case here.

Start with the assumption of "for a book so focused on Christ." There are so many assumptions here that it would take too long to deal with all of them. Let's start with the assumption that a focus on Christ is unusual. Nephi didn't think so. My argument (laid out elsewhere) is that Nephi is suggesting that an emphasis on an atoning Messiah was lost from Israel (retaining only the triumphant Messiah who would ultimately fight Israel's battles and win victory). There is evidence for that lost idea and therefore Nephi's continuation of and emphasis of what he thought was being lost is quite understandable, and quite Israelite--not "Christian."

The missionary work is also an interesting issue because it really isn't the theme very often. We have the sons of Mosiah going to the Lamanites, but Alma's "missionary" journeys are inside the set of people who were theoretically already believers (though backsliding). Think of the time in Utah when there was a strong push to renew the religion.

Now for the "mass conversion" of people upon landing. We don't know now long things took, but the entire idea of a "mass conversion" is a modern one. The ancient change wouldn't have been seen as particularly religious, because religion, politics, and social definitions were all tied together. Think of a much smaller but similar idea of adoption. Parents may adopt children, but 30 years later they discuss their children without making an issue of the fact of adoption. This was the creation of a new people, and Nephi's document is specifically designed to establish his people and give them a new identity. Separating their origins would run counter to the reason he wrote the text.

The Lehite conversion of the indigenous pagans would also offer an interesting precedent for missionary work throughout the rest of the BoM. At the very least, I can imagine the Sons of Mosiah being inspired by the story of their ancestors long ago converting whole populations at the same time they were learning their language.

And here is the problem of framing. "I can imagine." Of course. The frame one applies can alter all kinds of interpretive decisions. The don't necessarily fit the whole text, but then that doesn't matter of the general frame reads from the outside in and uses modern assumptions as the guide. I see, on the other hand, a very different motivation for the sons of Mosiah that was much more present in their lives that an ancient story--and much more compelling (again, laid out elsewhere).

-Jacob 1 (~40 years after Lehite landfall) presents a "laundry list" of the existing population, naming each group by name. There is no "other" category. This may be explained by having every existing native aligning with a Lehite sub-group, but that kind of destroys the "small sub-culture" theory of Lehite integration.

And this is the very verse that tells us that most of the readings of lineages is incorrect, even in Jacob. Jacob begins that catalog with the declaration that "the people which were not Lamanites were Nephites" (Jacob 1:13). Only after that does he list divisions (without dividing that list among the two major categories. Jacob then explains (verse 14) that Nephite and Lamanite are super-categories. What does all of this mean? What could have been a lineage designation became an inclusive socio-political designation. Jacob tells us that tribal distinctions were retained inside the socio-political labels.

Two questions arise. Was the listing of the tribes was meant to be exclusive or exemplary and is there ancient precedent for ingoring a set of people inside the official designations? The answers are really simply. The listing is exemplary. That is its function. Jacob has already adopted the socio-political definitions (he began that way and only after that beginning does he explain the retention of tribes). Does ancient literature emphasize the founding lineages and ignore the people in the area? See the Bible after the Conquest (they detail eliminating Canaanites, but not incorporating them into the culture--and they are never not-Israel after that point). See the Popol Vuh.

The question is a modern one.

- Intermarriage. Traditionally, the God of the Old Testament takes a dim view towards his chosen people intermarrying with the pagan natives in designated promised lands.

This could be better understood if you looked at the context of the prohibitions. They were often very specific and dealt with marrying "dangerous" peoples, i.e. those sufficiently similar but different that one might be tempted to adopt their ideas. There is no categorical prohibition and known exceptions. See the story of Ruth and Naomi.

- 2 Nephi describes the Promised Land as being "kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations; for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance." This would seem to be at odds with the idea of a land already populated by numerous pagan cultures.

Again, this assumes a modern understanding of how far a "land" might extend. It isn't used that way in the Book of Mormon. The "land" is more narrowly defined. In the context of the new world, the "other nations" that would overrun it were often in the next valley over (in their "land"). They did attempt to overrun the land, hence the real need for the promise given (I've laid out this argument elsewhere as well)

It would be like someone inheriting a house from a grandparent and being told the house had been "preserved" for them as a special place of sanctuary and peace. Then, when the family shows up, they find it overrun with a bunch of squatting Canadian illegal immigrants. They then look at the fine print in the will, and see that the grandparents knew about the squatters, and that it was intended for the two families to intermarry and get along sharing the house.

See Juliann's comment. She is quite correct that this very question is the result of a modern interpretive frame, not an ancient one. Weird that the Book of Mormon doesn't make sense from a modern frame, but makes perfect sense from an ancient one.

- When Nephi catalogs what they find in the New World, he includes cows, horses, goats, wild goats, and "all manner of wild animals". He also includes gold, silver, and copper. But no mention of...unusually dark skinned, loin-clothed people who speak an odd language but are particularly susceptible to conversion to pre-Christianity?

This is the modern frame's assumption that the reason for describing things ought to have a particular reason. Because Nephi wrote about the things that were going to be essential to establishing his community (resources) he therefore should have mentioned "others." Except that there really is not reason for it in his text, given its timeframe and purpose. The idea that he mentions these resources as a description of what he found when he arrived and was simply a journal entry of "interesting things in the new land" misunderstands the very nature of the text he wrote. It applies the modern frame of "journal" to a text that was very carefully crafted for very different reasons. Also, see the idea of inclusion above for whether he really should have discussed "others."

- In the Wentworth letter, Joseph Smith describes his first visit by Moroni, in which Moroni gives an other-less overview of the history of the Americas:

I don't think there is much disagreement that Joseph read the text with a frame from his own time. The assumption of the text as the exclusive explanation for all Native Americans is quite well documented.

That isn't the text however, and that is the reason that there have been lots of discussions about the difference between the text and the early interpretation of it.

So, while I agree there are some interesting (and, as it turns out, necessary) arguments to be made for "others", we shouldn't forget why some believers in Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon might find such arguments to be less than convincing.

Whether or not the expression of such ideas would be welcome in "MormonTimes", I can only imagine.

I have no idea what the space limitations are for his articles. Judging from how he divides things, I can only assume that there is one. Whether things are discussed or not may be more related to space that prohibition.

However, I agree that counterpoints ought to be discussed. However, I don't agree that their existence is necessarily a refutation of what Ash was saying.

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In a recent article, Michael Ash tackles the problem of "Others" in the Book of Mormon. The problem being that the book doesn't clearly acknowledge there being existing peoples and civilizations when the Lehites landed.

Why aren't other peoples mentioned in the Book of Mormon?

For reasons I do not know, Ash declined to acknowledge some of the reasons people feel strongly that there weren't "others" here when the Lehites landed (for the purposes of discussion, "Others" refer to people not specifically integrated into the Book of Mormon narrative; the Jaredite remnant and Mulekites aren't counted.)

With due respect, Cinepro, I'm surprised that you (and some other readers) seem to miss the fact that this is a _series_ of articles. They are 800-words-or-less which doesn't allow one to discuss all aspects of all issues (especially in a single article).

My article begins with: "Last week it was explained that the Lehites were a small incursion into a larger existing New World population. Such a position raises at least two questions:

"1. If the Lehites met "others" in the New World, why are they not mentioned?

"2. What about those verses that imply that the Lehites were alone in the Americas?

"Let's discuss the first question today."

Now perhaps I was being a bit too subtle but I thought that this implicitly explained that the 2nd issue would be discussed in the future.

I'll get to _some_ of the concerns in future installments (again, keeping in mind that these are brief articles for general consumption).

Hope this helps.

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In a recent article, Michael Ash tackles the problem of "Others" in the Book of Mormon. The problem being that the book doesn't clearly acknowledge there being existing peoples and civilizations when the Lehites landed.

You are mistaken. The BOM clearly tells us there were others when Lehi landed -- the Jaredites, the ox, domesticated goats. It just leaves the details, presumably, to the large plates.

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I applaud those who have made the case for "others" (non-Lehites, non-Jaredite Survivors, and non-Mulekites) being present during Book of Mormon times. My own rationale is fairly simple. This is a classic example of a situation in which the "Scientific Approach" and "Revealed Truth" approaches can be used to triangulate Truth (see Truth: The Foundation of Correct Decisions, Elder Scott's October 2007 conference talk for more information on these approaches).

Neither the text of the Book of Mormon or modern revelation include clear statements on whether or not the Lehite/Mulekite and Jaredite peoples were led to a depopulated continent. In the absence of direct revelation, we should turn to the scientific method for information about this issue. There is overwhelming archaeological evidence that the western hemisphere was populated by millions of people at the time both the Jaredites and the Lehites/Mulekites arrived. There is so much evidence, that I don't even know where to begin explaining it.

There are also indications in the text of the BOM that indicates the presence of others. One notable example is the inclusion of "corn" in the Lehite agricultural suite.

Mosiah 7:22

And behold, we at this time do pay tribute to the king of the Lamanites, to the amount of one half of our corn, and our barley, and even all our grain of every kind, and one half of the increase of our flocks and our herds; and even one half of all we have or possess the king of the Lamanites doth exact of us, or our lives.

Mosiah 9:9

And we began to till the ground, yea, even with all manner of seeds, with seeds of corn, and of wheat, and of barley, and with neas, and with sheum, and with seeds of all manner of fruits; and we did begin to multiply and prosper in the land.

Mosiah 9:14

For, in the *thirteenth year of my reign in the land of Nephi, away on the south of the land of Shilom, when my people were watering and feeding their flocks, and tilling their lands, a numerous host of Lamanites came upon them and began to slay them, and to take off their flocks, and the corn of their fields.

If, as is likely, "corn" in these cases refers to zea mays (maize), we know that Book of Mormon peoples had some contact with agricultural neighbors. Maize WILL NOT grow unless it is cultivated by humans. Book of Mormon peoples could not have discovered maize growing in abandoned fields and then adopted it into their agricultural suite, nor did they have time to domesticate the crop in the short amount of time they had been in the "promised land." Them most logical explanation is that BOM people acquired maize from aboriginal agriculturalists.

The idea that the Western Hemisphere was de-populated upon the arrival of BOM peoples is a vain tradition of the fathers not supported by the text or by modern revelation. In the absence of such revelation, the best truth we have is that revealed by the scientific method, which indicates a population of millions at the time of the arrival of BOM peoples in the Western Hemisphere.

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The idea that the Western Hemisphere was de-populated upon the arrival of BOM peoples is a vain tradition of the fathers not supported by the text or by modern revelation. In the absence of such revelation, the best truth we have is that revealed by the scientific method, which indicates a population of millions at the time of the arrival of BOM peoples in the Western Hemisphere.

As noted above, some people might read the Wentworth letter as an expression of what Moroni told Joseph. The paragraph that begins "I was also informed..." is relating information that was given him by the Angel Moroni, which may qualify it as "revelation".

The paragraph that begins "In this important..." then describes a distinctly "other less" New World.

Just to be clear, I certainly believe there were non-BoM peoples in the Americas beginning long before ~2500 BC (and continuing through till today). It's just surprising to me the ease with which the idea of a vacant "promised land" is dismissed by apologists.

As with so many things, I can only hope Mike Ash is leading the way towards a more enlightened understanding in the Church. But ultimately, "leading the way" and "careening off into error and spurious belief" look the same at the beginning. We just need to see if everyone follows.

I would suggest the ultimate sign that the idea of "others" has been accepted would be an alteration to the following CES Chart to include "others" in the western hemisphere before the Jaredites. Until then, I'm not sure which theory we should rightly classify as a "vain tradition":

map-p11.gif

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Shrff,

CORN

a tall cereal plant, Zea mays, cultivated in many varieties, having a jointed, solid stem and bearing the grain, seeds, or kernels on large ears.

but

the edible seed of certain other cereal plants, esp. wheat in England and oats in Scotland.

See, for example, Matt 12 [1] At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat.

Sorry, but the word corn is used throughout the KJV of the Bible with this meaning.

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I would suggest the ultimate sign that the idea of "others" has been accepted would be an alteration to the following CES Chart to include "others" in the western hemisphere before the Jaredites. Until then, I'm not sure which theory we should rightly classify as a "vain tradition":

...why? The chart doesn't even include the Jaredites.

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Neither the text of the Book of Mormon or modern revelation include clear statements on whether or not the Lehite/Mulekite and Jaredite peoples were led to a depopulated continent.

...

The idea that the Western Hemisphere was de-populated upon the arrival of BOM peoples is a vain tradition of the fathers not supported by the text

I recommend this article.

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I recommend this article.

I disagree with Brent's reasoning in several areas. For example, I think he interpets the messiah/land covenant promise from 2 Nephi 1 in a very overly narrow fashion. He argues for common Israelite ancestry of all BoM groups then applies Lehi's prophetic warning only to Lamanite remnants being scattered by the Gentiles. In doing so, he ignores how this promise applies to the main covenant people in the BoM--the Nephites. Yet the whole BoM narrative is an account of Lehi's prophetic warning being fulfilled among the Nephites--how they reject the Messiah, do not prosper in the land, lose their land, fall in bloodshed from generation to generation, are driven and smitten, and are eventually overpowered, losing their land completely--all by the Lamanites. Since the mechanism for all of this is supposed to be "other nations" and all of this activity against the main covenant people in the BoM represents a fulfillment of Lehi's prophecy, what does this tell us about a Lamanite relationship to "other nations"? In other words, I've always read the context of Lehi's prophecy in exactly the opposite way that Brent does--as clear evidence that Lamanites are mixing with "others."

Regards

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I am surprised nobody has yet mentioned Matthew Roper's important article on this subject:

Nephi's Neighbors: Book of Mormon Peoples and Pre-Columbian Populations

In it he addresses Brent's article, the Wentworth Letter (and how its comments of the Jaredite and Israelite migrations were adapted from a letter written by Orson Pratt 2 years earlier, which comments therefore "do not come from the angel Moroni"), and many other important points.

-Smac

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I have long read that there were 'others' within the BoM. Cultures that have a history of isolationism, or racial or ideological purity, often incorporate other humans into their constructions of 'wild' or 'wilderness'. It is quite plausible that the Nephites did mention 'others' by noting the desolated and preserved nature of the promised land. Another reading of the text is in order with this in mind.

One must be cautious in inflicting native paradigms on a culture long dead.

Spurven Ten Sing

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This is why I qualified my statement as an assumption, however, I think that "corn" in the BOM most likely does refer to maize. It would be interesting to know the meaning of the word corn in the English used by Joseph Smith. I'm willing to bet that it tended towards referring to maize.

Shrff,

CORN

a tall cereal plant, Zea mays, cultivated in many varieties, having a jointed, solid stem and bearing the grain, seeds, or kernels on large ears.

but

the edible seed of certain other cereal plants, esp. wheat in England and oats in Scotland.

See, for example, Matt 12 [1] At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat.

Sorry, but the word corn is used throughout the KJV of the Bible with this meaning.

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As noted above, some people might read the Wentworth letter as an expression of what Moroni told Joseph. The paragraph that begins "I was also informed..." is relating information that was given him by the Angel Moroni, which may qualify it as "revelation".

The paragraph that begins "In this important..." then describes a distinctly "other less" New World.

Just to be clear, I certainly believe there were non-BoM peoples in the Americas beginning long before ~2500 BC (and continuing through till today). It's just surprising to me the ease with which the idea of a vacant "promised land" is dismissed by apologists.

As with so many things, I can only hope Mike Ash is leading the way towards a more enlightened understanding in the Church. But ultimately, "leading the way" and "careening off into error and spurious belief" look the same at the beginning. We just need to see if everyone follows.

I would suggest the ultimate sign that the idea of "others" has been accepted would be an alteration to the following CES Chart to include "others" in the western hemisphere before the Jaredites. Until then, I'm not sure which theory we should rightly classify as a "vain tradition":

map-p11.gif

I do not consider the Wentworth Letter an explicit statement on whether or not the Western Hemisphere was populated at the time of the Jaredite and Lehite arrival. The statement is worded in such a way that it might be interpreted such, but it is far from clear.

An example of an clear, explicit statement would be, "People did not live in North and South America when the Jaredites and Lehites arrived in the Promised Land." If such a statement were made by the prophets, I would be glad to know it. In the meantime, I'll stick with the literal mountain of archaeological evidence indicating millions of people in the New World at these time periods.

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With all his song and dance, the fact remains that we know that the Americas were inhabited at the time that Lehi landed. Metcalf has an agenda to disprove the BOM... period, and his interpretations of the BOM text is has been pre-determined towards that agenda. That is what Metcalf means by a "careful" reading of the text.

I personally thought it was uninhabited -- totally empty of inhabitants -- for decades. It was only after an antiMormon pointed out certain "inconsistent" references which then prompted my own CAREFUL reading of the BOM text to refute his points. It was then that I reluctantly came to that other view.

I have discussed some of these points with Metcalf and his disciples to the point that they admitted their own interpretation could only exist if the BOM contradicted itself. For example, these interpretations preclude the existend of the Jaredites. They simply could not exist, admitted one disciple based on his twisting of the text to preclude others.

I invite Metcalf here to start a thread and defend his article.

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I do not consider the Wentworth Letter an explicit statement on whether or not the Western Hemisphere was populated at the time of the Jaredite and Lehite arrival. The statement is worded in such a way that it might be interpreted such, but it is far from clear.

An example of an clear, explicit statement would be, "People did not live in North and South America when the Jaredites and Lehites arrived in the Promised Land." If such a statement were made by the prophets, I would be glad to know it. In the meantime, I'll stick with the literal mountain of archaeological evidence indicating millions of people in the New World at these time periods.

Hmmm...does a pre-Apostolic Church Commisioner of Education count? :P

Holy scripture records that
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I have discussed some of these points with Metcalf and his disciples to the point that they admitted their own interpretation could only exist if the BOM contradicted itself. For example, these interpretations preclude the existend of the Jaredites. They simply could not exist, admitted one disciple based on his twisting of the text to preclude others.

Examples, please. Are these inconsistencies the results of natural inferences drawn from the text, or from the actual text?

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We are fortunate to have Elder Holland still among us. Perhaps someone could write him and ask about this statement.

I have found that church leaders sometimes oversimplify things to make a point, and I suspect this may be the case here.

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We are fortunate to have Elder Holland still among us. Perhaps someone could write him and ask about this statement.

I have found that church leaders sometimes oversimplify things to make a point, and I suspect this may be the case here.

It's hardly surprising that Elder Holland, who, at the time was not a General Authority, would write an article reflecting a commonly understood paradigm among the Latter-day Saints at the time the article was written (1976).

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