For those who listened to my latest LDS podcast on "Changing Paradigms and the Book of Mormon" on www.foreverLDS.com, I realize we discussed a lot of stuff. We focused on several paradigm shifts since the volume was published. But I actually forgot to mention my favorite piece of evidence for the old paradigm that when the Nephites and Lamanites first arrived, the land was empty of people.
I highlighted several places in The Book of Mormon where it strongly hints that Lehi's ship dropped anchor in an area already populated. But for my favorite bit of evidence from the scriptures that reveals others living in the vicinity of where Nephi and Laman established their kingdoms, read Jacob Chapter 7. This is where Jacob confronts an "anti-Christ" named Sherem. The first couple verses speak of a man named Sherem arriving among the Nephites and teaching that there was no Christ. Now, keep in mind, Jacob is a "first generation Nephite"--straight off the boat, so to speak. Yet its apparent he has no idea who Sherem is! If Sherem was a Lamanite, for example, it seems common sense that Jacob would say, "And he was the grandson of my brother, Laman." Or if he was a member of local community, that Jacob would say, "And he was the son of Zoram." Sherem is a complete stranger. This is a fun bit of evidence in support of the fact that when Lehi landed, there were indeed others living in the New World with no relationship whatsoever to Lehi's family. And likely no relationship to Jaredites or Mulekites. Sherem was just a denizen of the area. When I first pinpointed this evidence, I thought I was the first one to notice it.
|John Sorenson, PhD beside Olmec Head in 1984|