Saturday, July 21, 2018

Did Jaredites Survive Their Final Battle? – Part I

It doesn’t seem to matter which theorists we read or listen to, there are no end to ideas fostered that lie outside the scriptural record and in the realm of pure speculation. Even Hugh Nibley falls into this category time and again, as well as John W. Welch, and the latest guru John L. Sorenson, all of which have championed the Mesoamerican Land of Promise theory.
    Sometimes these assumptions go far afield in order for the theorist citing them to make a point regarding their view and model of the Land of Promise. Take, as an example, John A. Tvedtnes comment: “There are, in fact, some possible references to outsiders in the Book of Mormon.
“A man in the Book of Mormon who led a group of Nephites who desired a king during the reign of the judges. These Nephites, called Amlicites, openly rebelled against God, for which they were cursed” (Alma 2-3)

For example, we never learn the real origin of the Amalekites, unless they are the same as the Amlicites” (Review of John C. Kunich ‘Multiply Exceedingly: Book of Mormon Population Sizes, FARMS Review of Books, Vol.6:1, 1994).
    Now, the Amalekites, unlike the Amlicites and Amulonites, are not given an origin in the scriptural record, however, we find in that Mormon states “there arose "false prophets" and "false preachers," who were punished as the law allowed, and some of them joined the ranks of the Lamanites (Words of Mormon 1:16), which should suggest that the Amalekites were Nephites who fell under the law and were punished, while others defected over to their enemy, the Lamanites. Yet, Tvedtnes goes on to say, “I have noted elsewhere that the antichrist Sherem (Jacob 7) may have been an outsider. Jacob wrote of him, "there came a man among the people of Nephi" (Jacob 7:1). Does this mean that he was not a Nephite?”
    There is absolutely no reason to suggest he was an outsider or foreigner merely because of the statement that “there came a man among the people of Nephi.” After all, Jacob is only introducing a dissident among them who “began to preach among the people” (Jacob 7:2) about there being no Christ.
Of Sherem, the Nephite record states that “he began to preach among the people, and to declare unto them that there should be no Christ”

Tvedtnes goes on to say in defense of his opinion, “Jacob further notes ‘that he had a perfect knowledge of the language of the people’ (Jacob 7:4). Don't all native speakers? This would have been remarkable only if the man were not a Nephite."  
    It seems that Tvedtnes is making a mountain out of a molehill, as the saying goes. Because someone has a “perfect knowledge of the language” does not necessarily mean that it is a learned or second language—it only means that he was an expert in the use of his language to the persuading and confounding others. As an example in the early days of politics in this country, there were those who could speak extremely well. Take George Washington’s farewell address after his eight years as President—it was so moving and noteworthy it was cited in political discourse for years to come—by 1899, it was annually read during the celebration of his birthday in both the House and the Senate. Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is still considered an outstanding oration, as is the more recent Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream’ speech, and Ronald Reagan who was considered “The Great Communicator.”
Ronald Reagan, the Great Orator, and the Great Communicator, seen here giving one of his famous heartfelt and motivational speeches

The fact that certain people have a speaking ability, and can use or manipulate words according to their desire better than others, does not make them a foreigner or outsider, merely an accomplished speaker, like Socrates, Winston Churchill, and John F. Kennedy, as well as on the negative side, Adolf Hitler.
    It might appear that Sherem was a master at public speaking as well as in shaping public opinion. He evidently was very effective at using meaningful words and powerful phrases, a master at timing, and spoke in a way that motivated people by building emotion into his speech and speaking with conviction. All of this falls within the description of “having a perfect knowledge of the language.”
    In addition, Professor Royal Skousen supposes, as does some other scholars, that based on evidences in the wordage of the original manuscripts of the scriptural record, they claim that the “Amalekites” and the “Amlicites” are not two separate groups but the same group of people. They believe the original manuscripts provide evidence that this confusion arose due to human error in transcribing the Book of Mormon into English, as unfamiliar names were at times spelled inconsistently, as the contents of the Book of Mormon were verbally dictated to the scribes. That confusion, while not having doctrinal implications for the book's contents, are claimed to still exists in the Book of Mormon.
    Then there is another supposition based upon Hugh Nibley’s belief that the word “destroyed” in the Book of Mormon does not mean what most people believe, and defends his view of Jaredites surviving the final battle by stating: "What does the Book of Mormon mean by 'destroyed'? The word is to be taken, as are so many other key words in the book, in its primary and original sense: 'to unbuild; to separate violently into its constituent parts; to break up the structure.' To destroy is to wreck the structure, not to annihilate the parts. Thus in 1 Nephi 17:31 we read of Israel in Moses' day that, 'According to his word he did destroy them; and according to his word he did lead them,' bringing them together after they had been 'destroyed,' i.e., scattered, and needed a leader. 'As one generation hath been destroyed among the Jews,' according to 2 Nephi 25:9, 'even so they have been destroyed from generation to generation according to their iniquities.'”
    However, while some words mean one thing today and something else in the past, the word “destroy” in 1828 New England when Joseph Smith was translating the Jaredite record from the plates, meant: “To lay waste; to make desolate. To kill; to slay; to extirpate; applied to men; to cause to cease; to put an end to; to kill; to eat; to devour; to consume. In general, to put an end to; to annihilate a thing or the form in which it exists.” As a participle passive (destroyed), meant “demolished; pulled down; ruined; annihilated; devoured; swept away.”
Coriantumr was the last of the Jaredites (other than Ether) to survive the great and final battles between his people and those of Shiz

Thus, it is hard to claim, as Nibley does, that there were Jaredite survivors of this last battle. But Nibley goes on to state: “A complete slaughter of any one generation would of course be the end of their history altogether, but that is not what 'destroyed' means.” However, in the 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language, in addition to what is shown above, also includes: “An army is destroyed by slaughter,” clearly meaning it is annihilated.
    While Nibley uses Biblical meanings, he neglects to understand that the Book of Mormon wordage was not translated by Biblical age interpretation, but by the English used by Joseph Smith in 1829 New England, America—and his language is thoroughly recorded by Noah Webster in his 1828 American dictionary.
    Nibley goes on to state: “The first thing that occurs to King Mosiah on the discovery of the twenty-four gold plates was, 'perhaps they will give us a knowledge of the remnants of the people who have been destroyed, from whence this record came' (Mosiah 8:12), showing that whether anyone survived or not, for Mosiah at least it was perfectly possible for remnants of a people to exist after that people had been 'destroyed.'”
    First of all, Nibley meant king Limhi, not Mosiah, and though Nibley creates a scenario of thought that supports his belief, it is not supported by the scriptural record in order to defend his stance. After all, we are dealing here with king Limhi, who only knows that a large number of people were killed in the northern land as reported by his 43-man expediton to find the city of Zarahemla—he knows nothing of who they were, how many were involved, who caused their deaths, and what the fighting that led to their deaths was all about. He only knows that his men in the expedition “having discovered a land which was covered with bones of men, and of beasts, and was also covered with ruins of buildings of every kind, having discovered a land which had been peopled with a people who were as numerous as the hosts of Israel” (Mosiah 8:8).
    Why would he not think a remnant had survived? What would cause him to think an entire civilization had been wiped out to the last man? All he knew was a very large segment of people were killed off, but as far as he knew, and most people would think this, that a remnant had survived.
    But did a remnant survive? Do we have any evidence in the Book of Mormon to state that they did or did not?
(See the next post, “Did Jaredites Survive Their Final Battle? – Part II,” to see what Ether, Moroni and Mormon had to say about this).

Friday, July 20, 2018

Are the Scriptures implicit or explicit? – Part III

Continued from the previous post regarding some of the points theorists like to present to suggest that the scriptural record is not entirely accurate. Another such point theroists raise is:
• Theorists claim another point showing “ample evidence,” was the vast numbers of Nephites and Lamanites involved in their wars, and the large numbers of those killed, etc. Theorists claim the Nephite would not have had such vast numbers and that other peoples had to also have been involved.
Early battles between Nephites and Lamanites might well have been small, with minimal antagonists, while later battles would have had the large numbers the scriptural record indicates

However, at the time of the first battles between these two groups, no numbers are mentioned, only that they had wars (Enos 1:24), which followed with many wars over much of the next 230 years (Jarom 1:13-14), and then were many seasons of war (Omni 1:3), which continued (1:10), but no numbers of any kind are given on either side. There were “serious wars and much bloodshed between the Nephites and the Lamanites” (Omni 1:24), but again, no numbers.
    The first mention of numbers is ambiguously stated by Zeniff after the Nephites from Zarahemla returned to the City of Nephi, in which it is stated that there “began to be wars an contentions in the land” and that “a numerous host of Lamanites came upon them” (Mosiah 9:13-14), with the numbers of the dead shown when the Nephites killed 3,043 Lamanites (Mosiah 9:18). The Lamanites had “numerous hosts” in a later attack (Mosiash 10:8), in which so many Lamanites were killed they did not count them (Mosiah 10:20). Even later, Zeniff’s Nephite forces were outnumbered by a Lamanite force that was twice their number (Mosiah 20:11).
As time passed, and populations grew, the battles between the Lamanites and Nephits involved more and more combatants
The point is, even thru the first 500 years in the Land of Promise, there is no scriptural record of any Nephite or Lamanite numbers regarding how many fought or died in these battles and wars. Consequently, it cannot be said that their numbers were too large for the Nephite or Lamanite populations, since we have no idea how many were involved in these wars and battles. However, through 500 years, a population would expand into the many hundreds of thousands, and likely into the millions over approximately 20-25 generations.
    Work at Purdue University by Sal Barone in 2017 shows that one couple, having four children, in the first 30 years of marriage would reach five billion in 960 years. Thus, it must be acknowledged that despite the deaths in war, the Nephites and Lamanites, beginning with at least four families (Laman, Lemuel, two sons of Ishmael) and the Nephites, with seven couples (Sam, Nephi, 2 sisters, Jacob, Joseph, and Zoram), or a total of 11 couples overall (not to mention any servants and household members), in 500 years would theoretically at least reach many millions during those first 500 years into the period covered by the book of Alma, where we find numbers of the dead in a battle numbering 12,532 Amlicites and 6,562 Nephites (Alma 2:19), and later encountered a Lamanite army referred to as a numerous host, numbering as the sands of the sea (Alma 2:27). In fact, in the fifth year of the reign of the judges, there “were thousands and tens of thousands of souls sent to the eternal world” (Alma 3:26). By this time, of course, the population could have been in the millions.
    Obviously, no outside groups would have been necessary to deal in the numbers recorded later in the scriptural record.
• Another point of so-called “ample evidence” is that of Sherem “a man who came among the Nephites” (Jacob 7:1) wanting to see Jacob, saying: “I have sought much opportunity that I might speak unto you” (Jacob 7:7). The theorists claim that it was a small community at this time and why would a man “come among them” if not from the outside or from another people, and why would he seek “much opportunity to speak unto you” if there were not a lot of people and he had to find Jacob among them.
Sherem confronts Jacob, in which he is exposed as a liar and disruptor 

However, it is just as easily explained by the fact that Sherem was a flatterer of the people looking for contention and argument—as Sharem eventually told Jacob that he had led away the people, perverted the right way of god, did not keep the law of Moses, saying of Jacob’s preachings “this is blasphemy” (Jacob 7:7). His goal was to confront Jacob and anyone else who believed in Christ and Jacob, a man who had seen more than his share of serious and violent argument among his brothers, likely did not want to meet with Sherem. Why would he? Not everyone wants confrontation and contention with someone whose goal is to shake them from their faith (Jacob 7:5). As for coming among them, this is easily understood that at some point in his life, Sherem began to preach in the public arena (Jacob 7:2) and in so doing became known among the Nephites as he circulated among them, preaching all sorts of erroneous doctrine, being a man of the devil (Jacob 7:14).
    Thus, this is no evidence of other groups of people at all, but merely an incident of a person who sought power, money and authority over others and Jacob avoided meeting with him as long as he could.
• Still another bit of “ample evidence” is that there were left-over Jaredites among the Lamanites and Nephites, citing Jaredites names among the Nepihte as the so-called evidence of their existence. As an example, Alma the Younger gave two of his sons Jaredites names: Shiblon and Corianton. The Jaredite name, however, was not Corianton, but Coriantor, Coriantum and Coriantumr. Was there a connection?
    Now names are a funny thing. Take, as an example, the current famed Russian name of Alek (Alexei and Alexey), but then, Alexander is a Greek name (Alexandros) which is found in the American/English name Alex, and in French Allex, or the Scottish Alec (Aleck). Does that mean all these names are Greek? Or are even connected to Greece?
    Or take Luis, the Spanish name for American/English Louis, which is the same as the French Louie, German Ludwig, Latin Ludovicus, and connected to Luke. Or the Italian Benedict, does that mean that Benedict Arnold of colonial America was Italian? Or the Italian Jacopo, which is connected to Jacob and Jake. Or the German name Karl, which is associated with both Carl and Charles, both common American/English names, as well as the Italian Carlo, and is also connected to the name Chad, and is seen in Carlsen, Carlsson, Kartsen, Karlsson, etc.
     Theorists often point to more isolated names in antiquity, however, they seldom consider that all names came from Noah’s family around 2343 BC, including both Jaredite (2100 BC) and Hebrew (2000 BC).
    The point being that to determine the existence of a people by simply a few who have such names is foolhardy. Names are handed down, used by others, and in the early days of the Nephites (600 BC) the Hebrews were continually using other names to give their children, especially if they felt those names were valuable or worthwhile.
It was long the Hebrew and Jewish custom to give children the names of previous heroes, spiritual men, and past men of stature for the purpose of their living up to such greatness. It did not matter where the name came from as long as it was considered to represent considerable accomplishment or achievement

    We should keep in mind because of the dates of the Patriarchs and their long lives, that Isaac and Jacob were alive at the time of Shem and Eber, and were taught by them. The overlapping of these early generations should suggest the overlap of names and their usage.
    The point is, the scriptural record was written with explicit language for our benefit and understanding. To make claims that the language was implicit and needing further knowledge and understanding in order to know what was written is simply without merit; however, such claims allow theorist to promote their far-flung ideas and beliefs that actually have little or no support in the scriptures at all.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Are the Scriptures implicit or explicit? – Part II

Continued from the previous post, regarding the way we should read the scriptural record that was written with explicit language for our benefit and understanding. To try and find something wrong with Mormon and Moroni’s abridgements is to miss the entire point of the value of the scriptural record. As an example, Martin Harris, one of the scribes Joseph used to record the writing on the plates, gave a first-hand account of how Joseph performed this translation. Said Harris: “By aid of the Seer Stone, sentences would appear and were read by the Prophet and written by Martin, and when finished he would say ‘written;’ and if correctly written, the sentence would disappear and another appear in its place; but if not written correctly it remained until corrected, so that the translation was just as it was engraven on the plates, precisely in the language then used” (CHC 1:29).
    When academicians, who consider themselves smarter and more knowledgeable than the rest of us start telling us that Joseph Smith or his scribes made mistakes, or provided in accurate translations, we ought to stop and consider the above statement by Martin Harris, one of the scribes involved in the actual translation.
    Secondly, it seems funny how, when Joseph Smith was confronted with words he did not understand, that rather than try to find an English word that would suffice, as almost all scholars and theorists claim he did specifically with the animals he found, he simply used the original Nephite or Jaredite name that Mormon or Moroni used.
This is seen in his use of cureloms land cumoms in the same sentence with other animals, such as horses, asses and elephants (Ether 9:19); or using neas and sheum in the same sentence with other grains of corn and wheat and barley (Mosiah 9:9), or with the twice used ziff when encountering a decorative metal, in the same sentence as other metals, such as gold, silver, copper, brass, and iron (Mosiah 11:3,8).
    One would think that if Joseph Smith was in the habit of substituting names of animals he knew, that he would have done so with the curelom land cumom, animals that were somewhat like horses, as they could be ridden; the oxen, since they were beasts of burden; or deer as many suggest, since they were useful to man. However, Joseph did not do this because he did not now what animals these were, any more than he knew what grains neas and sheum were or metal ziff was.
    It is interesting that in the very same verse, and in the directly following sentence, Nephi states: “And we did find all manner of ore, both of gold, and of silver, and of copper,” another clearly stated and explicit statement, which, by the way, no theorists questions. Everyone agrees that the Land of Promise had gold, silver and copper in abundance. Yet, most claim that the animals listed were not really the animals intended, but some other type of animal. It should also be noteworthy that when Moroni mentioned the cureloms and cumoms, he listed them along with “horses, and asses, and elephants—three of the same animals Nephi mentioned that they found 1600 years later. Or, stated differently, the Jaredites, with a completely different language than that of the Nephites (or an original form), named some of the same animals that Ether had earlier named, and were translated the same. So where is the error?
The problem lies in the fact that modern historians and scholars are embarrassed over the fact that no such animals have yet been found in their areas of the Land of Promise, so they try to adjust Joseph Smith’s translation to fit what they consider an error. However, there was no error in translation of either the Jaredite or Nephite records. The point is, we need to learn to take the scriptures in context, and not add to, delete, or change the meaning of words and phrases.
    In addition, we also need to avoid conflating the scriptures, that is, not place non-stated facts into the scriptural record as facts, or even possibilities just because they are in a theorist’s Land of Promise, though not mentioned in any way within the scriptural record. Take as an example:
• Beginning with Hugh Nibley, and continuing through John L. Sorenson and almost all other present Mesoamerican theorists, it is the claim that other people occupied the Land of Promise before Lehi (other than the Jaredites) and that they were there when Lehi landed. While some claim that there is ample evidence of this, there is simply not a single word or mention of anyone else in the entire scriptural record or even suggestion through over 520 pages from eighteen writers who recorded information in the Book of Mormon, with the major writers, such as Nephi, Jacob, Mosiah, Alma, Helaman, Mormon, Ether or Moroni completely oblivious to anyone else in the land as seen in their not mentioning a single word about anyone in all their writings.
• Another point used as “ample evidence,” was the building of Nephi’s temple. It took 30,000 builders, 80,000 hewers of stone and 70,000 transporters, or about 180,000 men overall (1 Kings 5:13) a total of 7 years 6 months to build Solomon’s Temple (1 Kings 6:38), and theorists claim that manpower would have far exceeded the Nephite population and that others had to have been involved.
    However, all that is said in the scriptural record about the temple is: “I, Nephi, did build a temple; and I did construct it after the manner of the temple of Solomon save it were not built of so many precious things; for they were not to be found upon the land, wherefore, it could not be built like unto Solomon's temple. But the manner of the construction was like unto the temple of Solomon; and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine” (2 Nephi 5:16). Jacob mentioned teaching Nephites in the temple (Jacob 1:17; 2:2,11), as did king Benjamin (Mosiah 1:18;2:1), in which the people pitched their tents round about outside the temple wall (Mosiah 2:5-7).
King Limhi also spoke at the temple to those Nephites who returned to the city of Nephi (Mosiah 7:17). Around 155 BC, king Noah’s workmen did all manner of fine work within the walls of the temple, of fine wood, and of copper, and brass, and seats of pure gold and built a breastwork (low protective balustrade railing), and also a tower near the temple (Mosiah 11:10,12). In all of this, there is not a single mention of the size, scope, manner of construction, or appearance of the temple.
    The point is, the temple could have been built after the manner of Solomon’s Temple, but nowhere near the size and scope of that Jerusalem temple. It could have been and no doubt was much smaller, like we see such variance in size today—Salt Lake Temple has 253,000 square feet; Los Angeles 190,614; Washington DC 160,000, Jordan River 148,336. In fact, there are 14 temples over 100,000 square feet in size; 10 temples between 50,000 and 100,000; and 75 temples under 20,000 square feet, with the three smallest temples being Taipei, Taiwan at 9,945 square feet, Peru at 9,600, and the smallest Colonia Juárez Chihuahua, Mexico, at only 6,800 square feet.
    Obviously, size of a temple is not an important criteria, other than, perhaps, to meet the present and future traffic needs of temple goers in a given area. What evidently is important is that it has the parts within that enable it to be a dedicated temple and perform the sacred rites associated with temple work. Thus, the size of Nephi’s temple was not an important factor, but that it possessed the parts within that were important. Consequently, a much smaller force could have built a much smaller temple, with local materials that did not have to be brought from far off locations like Solomon’s Temple, which wasted time, energy and effort of those workers.

Left: The magnificent temple of Solomon; Right; The first temple built in the modern era—Kirtland was built by Joseph Smith and the early Saints. There is no comparison in the construction and size of these two temples, but each served the purpose for which temples are built

In the case of Nephi’s temple, he does not say when it was started other than after they settled in the area called the Land of Nephi, nor how long it took to build or when it was finished. If Nephi was about 30-32 when he arrived in Bountiful, after 8 years in the wilderness, he would have been about 32-34 when arriving in the Land of Promise, and about 34-36 when settling in the Land of Nephi, giving him about 40 years to finish the temple and have it completed in his lifetime.
    However, the point is that it is not being suggested it took 30-40 years to build Nephi’s temple, or that it was finished but added to over the years and expanded, as was the Salt Lake Temple when first built, but that logical and reasonable explanations show where very large numbers were not needed to build Nephi’s temple even though he claimed it was built like Solomon’s, which likely meant it had the internal workings that made it a temple where sacred rites could properly be held and conducted.
(See the next post,” Are the Scriptures implicit or explicit? – Part III,” for more of these points that theorists like to present to cloud the issue of a simple understanding of the scriptural record)

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Are the Scriptures implicit or explicit? – Part I

From a translation perspective, the only entirely tenable answer to questions about how the translation process of the Book of Mormon worked is the one made by Joseph Smith himself: “Through the medium of the Urim and Thummim I translated the record, by the gift and power of God” (Richard Lloyd Anderson, “By the Gift and Power of God,” Ensign 7, no9, September 1977, pp79–85; Joseph Smith letter to John Wentworth, editor and proprietor of the Chicago Democrat, published at Nauvoo, May 1, 1842).
    However, no matter how one might feel about what Joseph Smith said or did, or someone else’s opinion, or current linguists and their views, the issue at hand is the accuracy and correctness of the Book of Mormon. It is always interesting that well-intentioned members who undertake a scholarly study of the scriptural record, and who have no disagreement with the doctrinal information, can find such variances in opinion of the geographical setting of the Land of Promise, the animals found there, and even the activities that took place there.
The fact is, the scriptural record is explicit—it is stated clearly and in detail, leaving no room for confusion or doubt. The writings are not implicit, that is they were not written in ambiguity, or is the language implied but not plainly expressed; with no qualification or question; unspoken undeclared. When Nephi said they found in the Land of Promise that “there were beasts in the forests of every kind, both the cow and the ox, and the ass and the horse, and the goat and the wild goat, and all manner of wild animals, which were for the use of men” (1 Nephi 18:25), he was being clearly explicit, “leaving no room for confusion or doubt.”
    Yet, John L. Sorenson, when covering the animals Nephi found, states: “But isn’t it obvious that the ‘cow’ of the Book of Mormon was our familiar bovine, straight out without all this hedging? No, it is not at all obvious. First we are trying to find out what the Book of Mormon really means by the words we have in English translation,” later adding, “so what might the Nephite term translated by Joseph Smith as cow actually have signified?” (Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, Deseret Book, Salt Lake City, 1985, p294).
    Most people would say that Nephi and Joseph Smith both meant “cow,” or “horse,” or “elephant,” etc., which is what they wrote. Only an academic, who is confused by not having found remains of those animals in the location of their Land of Promise models, would think that the scriptural record was wrong, and that Nephi meant something entirely different, and that was all right with the Lord, the Spirit, and with Joseph Smith when he translated that inaccuracy into the modern record.
    Numerous other theorists in a blind attempt to explain away why no such animals have been found in their Land of Promise model areas, have mimicked Sorenson’s statements and thus, critics of the Church and the Book of Mormon have been given more fodder to attack the authenticity of the book Joseph Smith called “the most accurate book ever written.”
    The question for Sorenson might easily be, why wouldn’t Joseph Smith know what a cow was? After all, since Lehi lived “at” not “in” Jerusalem, it might be understood in that day and age, living in the countryside in an agrarian society, that Lehi and his sons were farmers, at least part of the time, and both Nephi then and Joseph Smith recently, also a farmer and son of a farmer, knew what a cow was. In fact, it is hard to believe that anyone who had dealt on a farm for any length of time would not know what a cow was and actually meant “cow” when they said “cow.”
Honestly, is there anyone who has been around farm animals that does not know what a cow is? What would prompt an intelligent individual to claim Joseph Smith meant something else than a cow when he said cow?

We should keep in mind that the Hebrew word for cow is “parah,” פָּרָה, pronounced “paw-raw,” and means cow or heifer (young cow). The word is used 26 times in the Old Testament and translated as “kine” 17 times (meaning “cow” or “cattle”), and is used as the plural of “cow.” It is used 7 times as “heifer,” meaning “young cow,” and “cow” twice. In each case where it is translated as “kine,” the passage is regarding cows in the plural; the two times it is used in the singular, the text states one cow, and in each case it is used as “heifer,” the text refers to a “young cow” without spot or blemish and never having worn a yoke, being sacrificed. So in all 26 occurrences, the word “parah” was translated correctly between “kine,” “heifer,” and “cow.”
    Wade E. Miller, an emeritus professor of Paleontology and Geology at BYU, adds his comments to this, stating: “One problem that exists with the Book of Mormon animals lies in naming. In listing cattle, oxen and cows, this could possibly mean one to three different kinds of animals.” That, of course, is inaccurate as shown above, since parah is correctly translated each time to mean “cow.” At the same time, Miller makes the mistake of assuming that “ox” is used in such matters, but it is not. “Ox” comes from the word “shor,” שׁוֹר, pronounced “shore,” and is found 77 times in the Old Testament, being translated as “ox” 65 times, “oxen” 8 times, bull or bulls twice, and cattle once, with an understanding that ox belongs to the term cattle, since they are castrated adult male cattle. Thus we see that Miller’s entire premise is inaccurate and misleading.
    However, he goes on to add: “Commonly people will name an unidentified animal in a newly settled region after a similar looking animal with which they are familiar…Joseph Smith may have simply followed the King James rendering of animal terms for some Book of Mormon animals, even if the association with some animals in the American land of promise may not have been precise” (Wade E. Miller, “Animals in the Book of Mormon: Challenges and Perspectives,” The Interpreter Foundation, April 21, 2014).
    First of all, there is absolutely no suggestion found anywhere, in the scriptural record or in Joseph’s private life as a farmer, that such was ever the case. Secondly, since both Nephi, the author, and Joseph Smith, the translator were farmers and knew both cattle (steers), oxen, and cows, it is unbelievable that an accredited academic scholar would take such a stance on the translating of one by the other of these two farmers, both living in agrarian societies, that they would not know the difference between regular farm animals.
    As for Miller’s claim of naming an unknown animal by calling it a known name, here are four animals that have been frequently been on the movie screens in recent years:
Would you call the upper left animal a “horse,” because actors are seen riding them in movies? Or would you call it a “tauntaun,” its recorded name. Upper right: Would you call it an “elephant,” or a “Bantha,” its given name; Lower left: would you call it a “dog,“ or a “Woola”? Lower right: call it a “war horse,” or a “thoat”? 

    Would you give these unknown animals an inaccurate name because you decide they looked like something such as an antelope, a rabbit and bat? Or use the names that came with them:
LtoR: the Markhor, the national animal of Pakistan; the Patagonia Mara, and the Madagascar Tarsier would be unknown to most American writers, but would that excuse them in giving other animal names to these creatures?

What explorers, especially not well educated men such as the Spanish conquistadors might have done is no reason to claim that Nephi and Joseph Smith did the same thing. After all, Nephi knew he was creating a spiritual record of an entire people to be read at some future time by a future people; and Joseph Smith knew he was translating that ancient record for the benefit of people today. It is highly unlikely either would have allowed for errors in their work.
    Jeff Lindsay, a Mesoamericanist, and Chemical Engineer from BYU, has stated regarding the translation of animals by Joseph Smith: “­­If Mormon wrote a word for "swine" to describe something that we might call a peccary or tapir today, then I believe the translation would give us the word "swine", especially if Joseph had no word in his vocabulary for peccary or tapir. The results were expressed in the language and vernacular of the translator, based on whatever the original author had written - blemishes and all. Now if it were essential for our salvation that we read about peccaries rather than swine, I suppose that God would have instructed Joseph in the matter and corrected the translation appropriately. But we are dealing with a translation, not direct English quotes from God” (Lindsay, “Plants and Animals in the Book of Mormon: Some Solutions to Apparent Problems,” LDS FAQ: Mormon Answers).
    Thus, according to Lindsay, God is not interested in truth and accuracy unless it deals directly with our salvation. That not only seems far afield from a God who cannot tolerate the least amount of sin or evil. Nor can we ignore Alma’s statement to his son, Helaman, spoken in a moment of prophesying: “for this is the cursing and the blessing of God upon the land, for the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance” (Alma 45:16). Not telling the truth or being deliberately misleading, hardly seems in keeping with the Lord’s interest in preserving the Book of Mormon for future generations.
Top: Both are swine; Bottom LtoR: Peccary and Javelina; all four are of the subfamily Suina; Far right: Tapir, of the family Tapiridae and genus Tapirus, a totally different animal

However, taking Lindsay’s analogy further, it should be noted that both swine and peccaries, as well as the javelina, are from the suborder Suina and actually each of these terms, swine, javelina or peccary would be accurate; but tapir would not.
(See the next post, “Are the Scriptures implicit or explicit? – Part II,” regarding the way the scriptural record was written and translated and its meaning to us today)

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Walls of Peru – Part IV The Great Wall of Peru or La Muralla Chimú (Cont)

Continued from the previous post regarding the Nephite Walls, including a continuation of the Great Wall and other Peruvian walls and their purposes.
    The reality of this Great Wall, which ran through these areas and across the times of these cultures from the latter part of the last century BC onward is seen in reports and photographs dating back to 1931, when first discovered.
The Great Wall is said to have originally been between 12 and 15 feet wide at its base, straight on the south side and tapering on the north side and s to about six feet wide at the top

The Great Wall, or La Muralla Chimú, is an architectural work of 5 ½ linear (straight) miles that physically links Cerro Compana with Cerro Cabras, in the La Cumbre hills. It was made chiefly of field stone, boulders, and adobe—most of which was, at one time, plastered. Recently 66 feet of the wall were destroyed when a Carriageway (road) was built to access a quarry in Trujillo. When the railroad was built much earlier, it also destroyed part of the wall in the valleys of Moche and Chicama, as well as both the earlier construction of the Trujillo-Huanchaco highway, and the Pan-American Highway.
    Michael Edward Moseley, an American anthropologist, Curator of South American Archaeology, and Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of the University of Florida, has done much work in Peru, especially at Chan Chan, studying the Chimor culture and their larger than modern irrigation systems and ancient canals, the latter built after they had dug and used 50-foot deep wells. The advanced irrigation in a desert land, allowed the city to grow in size, reaching at least 60,000 people.
Archaeologists believe that the Great Wall was a defense from enemy from the south reaching Chan Chan, a major and heavily populated complex
In regard to the Great Wall near Chan Chan, Moseley stated unequivocally that it was built for defense and to guard the city of Chan Chan (Moseley and Kant C. Day, “Chan Chan: Andean Desert City, School of American Research,” University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, New Mexico).
    Today the Wall is being damaged almost beyond recognition by carriage trails or roads built to gain access to the seven or more quarries and mineral deposits of the area. Mule trains and pig breeders who use the wall for a containment barrier, and a garbage dump that has resulted in the El Milagro Dump, a monumental mountain of solid waste of the Province are systematically destroying the Great Wall.
Sheer cliffs along the Santa resulted in numerous tunnels for a road through the Canyon Plato

Running along the Santa River, the wall began at the mouth, where it emptied into the Pacific Ocean. Fed by the glaciers and snowfields of the Cordillera Blanca, the Santa River has the most regular flow of all Peruvian coastal rivers, and the volume of its discharge is second only to that of the Chira River, which began in the snowcapped Nevado de Tuco in the Andean Cordillera Blanca. From there it flowed into Aguash and Conococha lakes, emerging as the Santa River and flowing northwest, descending from 14,000 to 7,000 feet above sea level between the Cordillera Blanca and the Cordillera Negra, to form the deep, narrow Callejón de Huaylas or Huaylas Corridor, through rocky walls too steep and arid for cultivation. From there the river flowed through the Huaylas Valley along the upper Santa in Ancash, today a densely populated agricultural region that cultivates potatoes and barley at higher elevations and corn (maize) and alfalfa at lower altitudes—the overall valley bore the brunt of a devastating earthquake and resulting landslides in 1970. Many towns were destroyed, and tens of thousands of people perished. Below Huallanca the river veers westward and plunges through a spectacular gorge, the Cañon del Pato (Duck Canyon)—where the Cordillera Blanca and the Cordillera Negra come very close, to within 50 feet of each other while plummeting to vertigo-inducing depths over 3200 feet. Today, a harrowing road snakes along as path hewn out of sheer rock, over a precipitous gorge and passing through 54 tunnels.
The Santa enters the Pacific Ocean, after a run of 200 miles, descending 1400 feet in one six-mile stretch. At this mouth of the river, once stood an ancient “fortress,” which was investigated by the Peruvian archaeologist Julio C. Tello, along with undergraduate students at Yale, Richard James Cross, and his friend from Harvard, Cornelius Van Schaak
Roosevelt (grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt), who, in 1934, were in Peru because of Shippee and Johnson’s overflight and photos of the Great Wall of Peru in 1931.
    Cross and Roosevelt left Lima and went north, up the coast, stopping first in the Casma Valley where they visited the ruins of Chanquillo (an ancient monumental complex in the costal desert in the Casma-Sechin basin built in 300 BC, and likely the earliest and oldest known astronomical and solar observatory in the Americas, and included a temple, plaza, and thirteen tower constructed from cut stone, and abandoned in the first century AD.
    Situated between two observation platforms, Chankillo is unique among ancient observatory sites because of its multiple observation points; similar sites around the world contain only one point of astronomical alignment, which does not provide the measurements needed to track the passage of time over a full year.
    The thirteen towers of Chankillo span the entire annual rising and setting arc of the sun, both sunrises and sunsets, which gradually shifts along the horizon over the course of a year, allowing them to determine the date with an accuracy of two to three days by watching the sunrise or sunset from the correct observation platform. Using the site as an observatory would have allowed the inhabitants to regulate the occurrence of seasonal events, including planting and harvest times, as well as religious festivals. The complex had a fortress and two circular fortified towers behind three concentric walls on the top of a hill form which the entire valley could be controlled. It was protected by massive walls and barricades and maze-like corridors.
The Great Wall followed the Santa River inland toward Corongo

The Great Wall of Peru’s terminus was the Corongo about 90 miles from the coast. Overlooking the wall, there were 14 fortresses located along the hills. The first section of the wall, running inland from the coast, was composed of two parallel walls that converged some distance up the valley. The wall was constructed of broken rocks set in a mud morter. In some places it rose to a height of 20 to 30 feet, but the average elevation was about 7 feet. The wall was built in stages, some as late as 1460 AD, and as early as 400 BC, the fortresses were dated 900 BC to 100AD.
    Cross and Roosevelt, after meeting Tello, drove up the coast in a Hudson touring car with balloon tires, to Chimbote on a road that was only a track thorugh the desert sand heading for Paramonga, but had to stop at Huacho in the Huaura Valley. The next day they photographed a wall that was 12 feet high with a parapet height of 6 to 7 feet, and the locals claimed it stretched from the sea to the mountains. They stopped at “the fortress” (Paramanga ruins). The next day they drove north and visited Chankillo—a remarkable site with maze-like entrances that ran for some distance through corridors that often turned at right angles, and allowed only single file movement. They discovered additional walls in both the Huacho and Nepeña valleys, and reached Chimbolte that night. 
    The next day they drove to the Santa Clara, and the following day reached the Santa Valley. They encountered other walls, and on they followed it back to the hills before discovering it was not the Great Wall they sought. The following day they found the Great Wall, which height increased as it was followed toward the ocean. They discovered a secondary wall running parallel to the main wall for about a quarter of a mile. The area in between the walls measured about ¾ by ½ mile. At th3e western end was a stepped pyramid, and from the summit of the temple could be seen the Hda Santa Clara. The wall had turned right toward the sea through a steep pass in the hills and continued toward the sea where it stopped at a salt marsh. They took a train inland to Huallanca, and from their they drove to Caraz. They visited the ruins of Keka Mara the next day.
    The point is, the Great Wall of Peru is a highly defenable stone wall, built strictly for defense, and matches, along with so many others in Peru, the building of such walls during Moroni’s time (Mormon 48:8), and that of his son, Moronihah (Helaman 4:7), and used by Mormon during the final battles with the Lamanites (Mormon 5:5-7) as they retreated form the Land of Zarahemla northward, and finally into the Land Northward around the middle of the 4th century AD.

Monday, July 16, 2018

The Walls of Peru – Part III The Great Wall of Peru or La Muralla Chimú

Continued from the previous post regarding the Nephite Walls, including a continuation of the Great Wall and other Peruvian walls and their purposes.
    In addition to the Sacsayhuaman outer three zigzagging walls, another perfect example of a defensive wall was built in the northwest Santa area, referred to as the Chumú wall,” or Muralla Chimú also known as the La Cumbre Wall, Wall of the Santa, and the Great Wall of Peru. It is, unfortunately, incorrectly attributed to the Chimú culture, who followed the Moche (Mochica) culture (100 AD to 700 AD), which settled in the northwest part of Peru around 900 to 1460 AD. The wall was built across the valley to the Cerro Cabezón in the background to protect, it is claimed, the Chimú city of Chan Chan (meaning “sun-sun,” or “Great Sun”) a few miles to the south of it.
The Great Wall of Peru as it crosses the Santa Valley in a straight line heading east

Located near the present day city of Trujillo along the coast sat this ancient city of Chan Chan in northern Peru. It was the largest city in the Americas and the largest adobe city on earth. Ten thousand structures, some with walls 30 feet high, were woven amid a maze of passageways and streets. Palaces and temples were decorated with elaborate friezes, some of which were hundreds of feet long. The city was fabulously wealthy, although it perennially lacked one precious resource: water, which caused the people to develop extraordinary irrigation and water-source management in controlling the river water caring surface runoff from the Andes across the desert to the sea.
    In its heyday, the twelve-square-mile city with a four-square mile center of walled citadels or quadrangles, and extravagant ciudadelas—large architectural masterpieces which housed plazas, storerooms, and burial platforms for the wealthy—held as many as 60,000 people, though early historians, like Montesinos, claimed as many as 200,000. Despite its size and affluence, the city was situated on one of the world’s bleakest coastal deserts, where the average annual rainfall was less than a tenth of an inch. Still, Chan Chan’s fields and gardens flourished, thanks to a sophisticated network of irrigation canals and wells. When a drought, coupled with movements in the earth’s crust, apparently caused the underground water table to drop, the city devised a bold plan to divert water through a canal from the Chicama River 50 miles to the north.
Built very close to the ocean, the City of Chan Chan, was completely enclosed within an outer wall 50 to 60 feet high, with the tallest walls facing to the south. Walls were made of adobe brick covered with a smooth surface with intricate designs

The Great Wall was first photographed and described by the Shippee-Johnson aerial expedition in 1931 (published in 1932), who followed the wall from the sea inland by air for about 40 miles, basically following the Santa River from the coast to the mountains. It was close to the ancient city of Chan Chan of the Chimú and also Chavin de Huantar of the Chavin Empire. The region through which it passes is very mountainous and the wall is located on the hillsides of the valley. In its original form, it is estimated that the wall was 12-15 feet high, and even 20 feet in some places, though it has deteriorated to about 7 feet today.It was also 12-15 feet thick (Robert Shippee Report (“Great Wall of Peru and Other Aerial Photographic Studies,” the Shippee-Johnson Peruvian Expedition in Geographical Review, Smithsonian, Vol22, No1, Jan., 1932, pp1-29).
The ancient wall known as the Great Wall of Peru, first photographed in 1931 from the air, then in 1934 from the ground

In discussing the Great Wall of Peru, or the La Muralla Chimú, according to one of the earliest works on the wall, a thesis by M. Brown Vega, it was suggested that the wall was built in the last century BC, and attributed to the Chavin just before their fall in 200 BC. She also connected this wall with several other walls in the area and came to the conclusion that it was probably from the Chavin period, and was used for defense (Margaret Yvette Brown Vega, “War and social life in Prehispanic Perú: ritual, defense, and communities at the fortress of Acaray, Huaura Valley,” PhD dissertation Abstracts International. 69-11. Thesis, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, 2008, p241). This defense is obviously verified by the extremely high and thick walls and a single entrance into the city.
    The Carretera Panamericana Norte (Pan-American highway or PAN) cuts through the wall here, which was built to serve as the limit of their territory and defense in protecting the ancient mud city of Chan Chan from attacks from the south and central highlands, and was a main defense of the city.
The ancient mud city of Chan Chan, built of adobe and plastered over with numerous designs. Note the strong outer walls around the city

Chan Chan, located in the mouth of the Moche Valley (Santa Catalina Valley), between Huanchaco and Trujillo, which is four miles away, within the La Libertad region, about 300 miles north of Lima, was the political, administrative and cultural capital of the Chimú Empire, which was an agricultural center with a highly developed irrigation system. The complex was completely enclosed by double perimeter walls approximately ten feet apart. While the Chimú absorded the cultures of the Wari and Lamnayeque, the Moche preceded the Chimú, with the Salinar (200 BC to 200 AD) and then the Cupisnique cultures (1000-500 BC) before them. It might be of interest to know that the Salinar and Gallinazo or Virú “cultures” (the latter from the adjoining Virú Valley) of this period were in all probability expressions of north coast population.
    That is, there is almost no indication that there may have been population replacement at this time and the material culture of the two cultural groups shares many features drawn from the coastal tradition. What is called the “Salinar Period” was characterized by several features that suggests that social disruption and political unrest accompanied the end of the Early (Chavín) Horizon. Or, stated differently, there is every indication that all these cultures overlapped in territory and population and were a continuation of a single culture that developed periodical ceramics that set these so-called stages apart.
    Another of these cultures that dovetails into this era was the Cupisnique, who preceded the Chavin and Moche cultures. One of their major sites was Ventarrón, which is claimed to have the oldest documented mural in the Americas, and is a 27,000-square –foot complex located in the Lambayeque Valley, near Chiclayo and about 12 miles from Sipán, a religious and political center of the later Moche culture, which flourished from AD 1 to AD 700, about 470 miles north of Lima. Near Ventarrón is a Cupisnique adobe temple known as Collud, and a Chavin temple called Zarpan, all within the same complex.
    According to archaeologist Walter Alva, team leader of the project, "Cupisnique and Chavin shared the same gods and the same architectural and artistic forms, showing intense religious interaction among the cultures of the Early Formative Period from the north coast to the Andes and down to the central Andes (José Orozco in Caracas, Venezuela, Spider God Temple in Peru, National Geographic News, October 29, 2008). One might then ask, what makes one think that these were two different cultures, but simply one overall culture with varied interests and ceramic work?
    In all of this area, the Great Wall of Peru runs from the sea along the Santa River inland, forming an effective barrier or “defensive line” between the northern defenders and a southern invading force, such as the one mentioned in Helaman 4:7—a great wall making a “fortified line” from the “west sea even to the east,” the length of a “day’s journey for a Nephite,” where Moronihah had stationed his armies.
(See the next post, “The Walls of Peru – Part IV Defensive Walls,” for more on the Nephite construction of walls and their purpose)

Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Walls of Peru – Part II Defensive Walls

Continued from the previous post regarding the Nephite Walls, including a continuation of city walls and enclosures and specifically defensive walls and their purposes.
    It might be of interest to know that one of the purposes of city walls, besides their protection, was that under Levitical Law, houses within a fortified city wall were considered contained and redeemable; however, the houses of the villages which had no surrounding wall round about them were considered as fields of the open country, thus part of the landed property and subject to the law of jubilee, that is, they could be redeemed at any time before the year of jubilee, but if not, then they would go out in the jubilee to the original owners, that is to him who owned or leased the property, without paying anything for it (Leviticus 25-31-33). Thus, the need for city walls in terms of the law, were essential to a Jewish land owner.
    In speaking of city walls, as we covered in the last post, it might also be of interest to know that the Hebrew word “chomah,” חוֹמָה  is a  wall for protection and is mentioned 133 times in the Old Testament. The word means to keep people and things from passing through, protecting that which is inside, and is usually the term used as a “wall for protection,” and a “city wall” or “walled city” as in Leviticus 25:29,31. The word “wall” is found in Revelations: “The city had a massive high wall with 12 gates” (Revelations 21:12), and refers to a wall built of jasper, a valued mineral quartz aggregate rock.
    On the other hand, “gadar” גָּדַר means “wall” (as in Isaiah 5:5), but also “enclosure,” (Lamentations 3:9), or to build one, that is to “make a wall” (Hosea 2:6; Ezekiel 42:7; Micah 7:11), or “fence” (Job 19:8, Psalm 62:3), or the “mason” who builds it (2 Kings 22:6), or even “repairer” (Isaiah 58:12).
    The point is, even Hebrew scholars disagree on the meanings of words pertaining to wall, or fence, or hedge, or the person who builds them. While the wall mentioned Revelations was built for beauty (figuratively), the Book of Mormon speaks of walls that were meant to contain people within, such as walls for a prison: “the walls of the prison were rent in twain, so that they fell to the earth; and the chief judge, and the lawyers, and priests, and teachers, who smote upon Alma and Amulek, were slain by the fall thereof” (Alma 14:27).
The walls shook and did tremble again, and the earth shook as if it were about to divide asunder

“And behold, when they had said these words, the earth shook exceedingly, and the walls of the prison did shake as if they were about to tumble to the earth; but behold, they did not fall” (Helaman 5:27). “And notwithstanding the mildness of the voice, behold the earth shook exceedingly, and the walls of the prison trembled again, as if it were about to tumble to the earth; and behold the cloud of darkness, which had overshadowed them, did not disperse -- And behold the voice came again, saying: Repent ye, repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand; and seek no more to destroy my servants. And it came to pass that the earth shook again, and the walls trembled. And also again the third time the voice came, and did speak unto them marvelous words which cannot be uttered by man; and the walls did tremble again, and the earth shook as if it were about to divide asunder” (Helaman 5:31-33).
    Now wood timber placed vertically in stockade style walls, made of dressed tree poles, do not shake down, collapse, and kill everyone around them—only stone walls are so affected by earthquakes and do such damage when being toppled.
    In addition, in the case of Samuel the Lamanite: “he went and got upon the wall thereof, and stretched forth his hand and cried with a loud voice, and prophesied unto the people whatsoever things the Lord put into his heart…Behold, I, Samuel, a Lamanite, do speak the words of the Lord which he doth put into my heart” (Helaman 13:4-5).
Various timber (stockade or stake) walls made of trimmed wood trunks that circled early forts in the U.S.

Nor can one climb upon a wood wall and stand upon it, as did Samuel. This would take a stone wall, sturdy to hold an individual moving about, and strong and wide enough to provide footing as he spent some time on the wall prophesying to the people within the city.
    To suggest that the walls Moroni built for strong defense were only made of wood, and therefore no evidence of these walls would today be found, as all North American (Heartland, Great Lakes, eastern U.S.) theorists claim, is simply without merit.  The only instance of using wood mentioned, is in the case where Moroni had put captured Lamanites to building a wall around Bountiful. Two things to keep in mind on this: 1) This defensive wall was being built far away from the Lamanite land and might not have been considered of great defensive importance compared to those cities and defensive needs closer to the enemy’s homeland, and more importantly, 2) the wall around Bountiful was being built by unskilled labor—the Lamanites—who undoubtedly lacked the expertise of Nephite stonemasons and could not have built a more effective and permanent wall of stone.
    Now, drystone walls are also common throughout the northwestern lands of Andean Peru, where these walls were built for the defense of coastal cities and important settlements; however, they differ from most drystone walls in other lands, since the ancient builders often used perfect fitting cut and dressed interlocking stones, laying them course upon course without mortar.
Short, stone wall in some countries that are not meant to be defensive, but to mark off property lines or contain animal life

While stone walls have been found in numerous countries, their short height was obviously meant only to have intended to wall off fields or pastures to contain animals or to keep wild life out.
    Such is not the case in Andean Peru, where walls were almost in all cases built to protect people, as walls or barriers of defense, strongly built with high and sturdy walls, sometimes up to fifteen feet thick at the base, and straight on the edge facing an anticipated enemy with the other side often sloped.
A truly defensive wall, meant to stop enemy advances and to provide the defenders with an impregnable defensive position

Some walls were quite high, as much as 15 to 20 feet, and 15 feet at the base, obviously built for permanence and stability to withstand major enemy attacks.
    As an example, in Cuzco, above on the mountain overlook where the fortress of Sacsayhuaman was built, a huge defensive wall was constructed. The fortress, which was protected by a steep approach from the town, only needed defensive walls on one side; however, this wall is one of Andean Peru’s archaeological treasures, actually formed by three massive parallel stone ramparts zigzagging together for some 2000 feet across a plateau just over the other side of the mountain top from Cuzco city and the valley below. These zigzag walls, incorporating the most monumental and megalithic stones used in all of ancient Peru, form the boundary of what was originally designed as a “resort” and built at the time of first settlement by Nephi, and where later Noah “caused a great tower to be built on the hill north of the land Shilom, which had been a resort for the children of Nephi at the time they fled out of the land” (Mosiah 11:13) of “First Inheritance” when Nephi fled from his brothers who sought to kill him, after Lehi’s death.
Outer zigzagging walls of Sacsayhuaman above Cuzco with the valley beyond. Note the size of the people in the center foreground

Today, little of the original structure the zigzag walls protected, which ramparts stand 65n feet high. Quite undamaged by past battles, earthquakes and the passage of time. The strength of the mortarless stonework—one block weighs more than 300 tons—is matched by the brilliance of it design with its zigzagging shape cleverly constructed to expose the flanks of any attacking force. Originally the inner fort was covered in building, a maze of tiny streets dominated by three major towers, the foundation of one, Muyu Marca, can still be clearly seen. The tower here was 99-feet tall, with three concentric circles of all, the outer one roughly 96 feet in diameter. In its entirety, the inner fortress could have housed as many as ten thousand people under siege. At the rear of this sector, looking directly down into Cuzco and the valley, was a temple reckoned by some to be the most important shrine in the entire region and the most sacred sector of Sacsayhuaman.
    Obviously, this Sacsayhuaman outer set of three walls was built strictly for defense.
(See the next post, “The Walls of Peru – Part II Defensive Walls,” for more on the Nephite construction of walls and their purpose)