Tuesday, July 28, 2015

More Comments from Readers – Part VII

Here are more comments that we have received from readers of this website blog: 
    Comment #1: “I have yet to read of any scientist, archaeologist, anthropologist, etc., who thinks there was any connection between Egypt and your Andean Peru like you allude to” Vance L.
Response: Well, it is not a common belief, that is for certain, however, there are far more than you evidently know that do believe in such a connection. You just don’t see it in the mainstream journals, reports, news coverage, etc., because it is not a popular idea among such scientists that there was transatlantic voyaging before Columbus. And while I have written about this several times, let me just add one more thought for you to consider: Emmet John Sweeney in “Links Across An Ocean,” in The Evidence of Science (Algora Publishing, 2010), quotes Berlitz who noticed an interesting list of parallels between ancient Egyptian (or its modern descendant Copitc) and the Quechua language of Peru, which are, importantly, often connected to religious and cosmic ideas—Egyptian chlol meaning people and Quechua cholo meaning people; Egyptian Ra meaning sun god and Quechua Ra-mi meaning festival of the Sun; Egyptian andi meaning mountain top and Quechua andi meaning high mountain. In addition, the Peruvian and Egyptian words for copper, sheaf, clothing, are similar, as is the Egyptian anta meaning the sun and Araucanian anta meaning the sun. In fact, there seems to be many striking parallels between the Egyptian language and the Quechua and Aymara tongue of the Andes.
    Now, if memory serves me correctly, we have shown connections with building, pyramid construction, earthquake angling, language, word origins, and several other areas where there is far more than mere coincidence between these two civilizations on opposite sides of the ocean from one another.
Comment #2: “One of the many difficulties I find with the Book of Mormon is the rapid change in Lamanite skin color. After all, change in skin color requires long evolutionary periods. Not only are we asked to believe that rapid shifts in skin color are possible but that reception of the Christian gospel may produce a lightening of skin color, what about those today converting without a change in skin color?” Sandy W.
Response: It is always amazing that people who basically accept a God that has created the universe and everything in it, including all of us, seems boggled by the idea He can change skin color in the blink of an eye. Not only is there precedence for this in the mark placed upon Cain, which had to be immediate so that others, seeing him would not kill him (Genesis 4:13-15), but the Supreme Being who created DNA for each of us surely can alter that DNA for an instant change. As for today, I cannot explain the workings of God’s mind, but I accept the fact that He has a plan and that nothing interferes with that plan, no matter how hard some people try.
    Comment #3: “Are you aware of the internal inconsistencies and improbabilities of your Book of Mormon? Take the case of Alma when he says “and now we only wait to hear the joyful news declared unto us by the mouth of angels of his (Christ’s) coming; for the time cometh, we know not how soon.” Why not? Mosiah 28:20 reports that all the records were handed down to Alma and Nephi predicted the Savior would come 600 years from the time Lehi left Jerusalem—Alma’s ignorance of this seems problematic” Wally R.
Response: There are certain things that God does not disclose precisely, one of which is the second coming of Christ, which no man, not even the Savior, knows when. On the other hand, some things are told us in general “600 years from the time my father left Jerusalem” is within a year’s time—that is 365 days. When during that year Nephi did not state and Alma did not know. This seems like a rather nit-picking point, but it might be thought of as the same as saying, “My son is coming to visit me today, but I do not know the exact time.” What you call inconsistencies and improbabilities are more correctly stated as semantic differences in this area—when as opposed to “exactly” when. That is, “we know not how soon” like in “this week, this month, three months, six months…”
    Comment #4: “The rapid changes in righteousness to unrighteousness seems radical in your scriptures. In Alma 4:1, there were no wars in the land of Zarahemla, nor in the next year when 3,500 souls united themselves to the church; however, by the end of the eighty year, “the wickedness of the church was a great stumbling-block to those who did not belong to it” and in the sixteenth year there began to be continual peace, but two years later, “thus commenced a war betwixt the Lamanites and the Nephites” Victoria A.
    Response: As I have gotten older, I have come to realize that in the last many years, things have happened rapidly in the world. When the Wall came down in east Germany, most people were dumbfounded at the suddenness of it. In the past 6 years of our current President, there has been rapid changes from good to bad to very bad. Rapid change is not new to the Book of Mormon or to our present condition.
Comment #5: “It is surprising to me that nobody seems bothered with the facts and the scriptures that seem in opposition to John Sorenson’s book about a limited region of Mesoamerica, in which he states: “Latter-day Saints are not used to the idea that other people than Lehi’s immediate descendants were on the Book of Mormon scene. Abundant evidence from archaeological and linguistic studies assure us that such people were indeed present, so we need to understand how the Book of Mormon account accommodates that fact: (p 461).
On the same page, Sorenson argues that “the Lamanites in the original immigrant group became dominant over a native population of folk already scattered on the land when Lehi arrived.” What are we to do, therefore, with the Book of Mormon’s express statement that the Book of Mormon lands had been set aside for Lehi and his descendants as a land of promise. There is not one single word in the Book of Mormon which allows for different cultures in the Book of Mormon lands, never mind mixing with them as Sorenson appears to suggest. There are several promises that are stated in opposition to having other people around” Langston A.
    Response: While many have bought into this idea of Sorenson’s he neither speaks for the Church, nor for its members. That is his sole idea, despite it being championed by several groups and organizations. However, you are right and we have been writing about that in these pages for over five years now, and in three of the four books we have published on the matter.”
    Comment #6: “While there have been numerous civilizations that have lived on the American continent before, during and after the time of the Book of Mormon narrative, there is no archaeological, anthropological or linguistic evidence to demonstrate that a pre-Columbian, white Jewish, 'pre-Christian Christian', steel smelting, horse/cattle/ox/sheep herding civilization ever lived on the American continent during the time period suggested by the Book of Mormon. Additionally, the fact that natives have inhabited the Americas for over 15,000 years and are of Asiatic descent refutes the primary Book of Mormon tenet that the American continent was "kept hidden" or "preserved" specifically by God for his chosen group(s) of people. Nor were these civilizations wiped out in a global flood as the Great Flood is taught as a historical event in the BOM and other LDS scriptures” Tanner T.
    Response: There are so many critics today who simply repeat the same dogma of previous critics that it gets old to hear time after time. You evidently are not aware of all the things that have been found “in the ground” in South America to verify the Book of Mormon culture as written in the scriptural record. That archaeologists and anthropologists do not make such a connection does not alter the fact that the connection is there, of which we have written about for the past five years in this blog. Saying it isn’t so does not make it not so. I invite you to go back and read all the posts that have been provided here to show the fallacy of your argument.

Monday, July 27, 2015

More Comments from Readers – Part VI

Here are more comments that we have received from readers of this website blog: 
    Comment #1: “I consider myself very open minded but if your primary focus is on the geography without as much if not more consideration on the promises and prophecies, then I believe you’ll risk missing it.” Ralph K.
    Response: My intention is not now and never was to focus on modern-day prophecies about anything regarding the Book of Mormon unless they are official declarations of the Church…my focus has always been to find out what the Book of Mormon had to say, it being written by people who were there, who lived on the land, and, as in the case of Mormon, traveled the land extensively and abridged everyone else’s writings other than 1 Nephi through Omni. It is also my firm belief, and I have never found anything to ever contradict this, the Brethren, when speaking for the Church as Apostles, etc., never conflict with the scriptural record—sometimes members misunderstand what was meant.
When the Brethren speak, they are always consistent with the scriptural record. Nor do they speak on matters not already known
    Comment #2: “I read where even though Hagoth’s ship was described as being exceedingly large, it would in no way compare to anything we might consider a large ship today, but was simply a ship considerably larger than those that were the norm for the time” Constance T.
    Response: Statements like this are rarely helpful. First of all, what is meant by a large ship today? Obvious Hagoth’s ships were not the size of tankers today, nor a passenger liner, or a holiday cruise liner—we are talking about wooden vessels. So how large was a wooden vessel? The ship Columbus had to discover America usually surprises most people when they learn it was only 58-feet long, and about 100 tons weight, with a crew of 40 men. Since it was 18-feet wide, its deck was only about 1044 square feet, about the size of a very small two-bedroom home. Sir Frances Drake’s Golden Hinde vessel was about twice that size in space and crew number. The later Spanish Manilla Galleons were between 1000 and 2000 tons, and the final ships of the Age of Sail were the Yankee Clippers that were about 200 feet in length, 30 feet in width (beam), about 6000 square feet of deck, over 2000 square yards of sail, were some of the largest sailing ships built.
Left: Columbus flag ship Santa Maria; Right: Sir Frances Drake’s Golden Hinde
    Considering all of that, what would an exceedingly large ship mean? We have no way of knowing this, but since the ship mentioned in Alma built by Hagoth was for the purpose of hauling emigrant families, loaded with provisions, sufficient to start a new life elsewhere, one might consider it to be larger than that of Columbus Santa Maria, and likely closer to Drake’s Golden Hinde, or about a hundred feet in length with a 20-foot beam and around 150-ton or so. For it to be much smaller, it would not serve much of a purpose in the business of carrying immigrants to another land.
    Comment #3: “I find myself among those that favor a setting more localized than Mesoamerica or South America, like near the Great Lakes. I agree with Phyllis Olive that Lehi's company was directed by divine guidance across the Gulf of Mexico and up interconnected North American rivers such as the Mississippi, Ohio and other navigable ancient water ways, to within a short distance of the Book of Mormon's "west sea" or "west sea, south" – the freshwater Great Lake Erie. I also agree with Wayne May and Olive that the northern arrivals of other ancient peoples in the Book of Mormon occurred by way of the Atlantic Ocean and St. Lawrence Seaway” Virginia O.
    Response: We have written about this many times and our response can be found in numerous posts in our blog. For a brief answer, the Mississippi River could not take a deep sea sailing vessel more than 90 miles up from the Gulf because of shoals, rapids, and blockages that existed on the river for millennia until the Corps of Engineers cleared such obstructions, built locks, and often dug new channels. People like Olive and May, and many others, look on a map and say that looks possible, without knowing about what they write.
    Not a single inland water way before the Corp of Engineers could handle any kind of vessel larger than a canoe, or a small, flat-bottomed packet carrier, or the type of flat-bottomed, shallow-draft big boats such as the paddle wheelers. What is possible today is because of the fantastic work the Corps of Engineers have done to our eastern inland waterways that make it possible today to reach the Great Lakes in almost any kind of deep ocean vessel—but that was not initially the case. Not until this country began to be populated in the 16th century onward did any kind of river dredging and deepening ever take place, and without that, no ship of any kind could have gotten within hundreds of miles of the Great Lakes, including the St. Lawrence Seaway, which had their own Canadian engineers making that river possible for movement toward the Great Lakes beyond Montreal and the Lachine Rapids.
Top: 19th-century paddle wheeler on the Mississippi; Middle and Bottom: Models to show how shallow was the draft on these paddle wheelers—about one-fourth to one-third the draft (depth in the water) of a deep-sea sailing vessel. Even then, they could not sail beyond the rapids, but were either northern boats (upper Mississippi) or southern boats (lower Mississippi), and many were constantly running aground, needing outside help, passengers wading in and pushing off sandbars, or waiting for a change in tide
    All May and Olive have shown is their lack of knowledge of these waterways before the 16th century. Even the French, who occupied New Orleans for many years prior to our gaining control of that area, worked to clear passage along the delta of the Mississippi because French shipping could not use the river beyond New Orleans.
    Comment #4: “Why do you use so many Book of Mormon scriptures in your articles. I find that they sometimes interfere with smooth reading” Paula G.
    Response: Scriptures are used in our writing that apply to what is being covered because it provides the reader with a source of verification and shows we are not simply making up what we say, or speaking from our own belief and knowledge as so many theorists do. We use a lot to show the reader that they have the option of verifying what we write, unlike most writers on the subjects we write about, and to show that each point discussed has its own reference. We feel it is important that the reader understands we are giving the scriptural record viewpoint, not something we came up with ourselves. We do this because when Theorists write about their theories and models, most readers do not fact-check what they say or do not know how to find a reference that is not listed, but tend to accept it or reject it without knowing any more than what is written. We feel it is important that the reader knows what is in the scriptural record, not what someone claims is in it.
    Comment #5: “While I cannot accept the Book of Mormon story as literally historical; I can, in a sense, accept the book as a somewhat symbolic embodiment of 'the American story' - the creation of a unique but "familiar" vision of manifest destiny, wars waged to protect the "liberties" of patriots, democracies created to secure the sanctity of these liberties, and the overarching struggle of good and evil - all roughly woven together within the framework of an American Christian apocalypse” Justin F.
Response: To each his own. What you get out of the Book of Mormon is up to you, and in part, what you put into it to study and comprehend. As for me, I accept every word as factual, events that happened, people that lived, prophets that wrote, and the foundation of my religion as the Bible is to others, though I accept the Bible as well. I believe the Book of Mormon is an inspired document, written on plates of metal as stated, abridged by Mormon, buried by Moroni, uncovered by Joseph Smith (all part of the inspired plans of the Lord), and translated by the latter under the strict guidance of the Spirit. Therefore, I accept every word written within its pages, every meaning, every concept and precept, every prophecy and every word. This entire blog is written for this purpose, to show the truthfulness, accuracy and reality of its writings and the events within its pages.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Correction

It was brought to my attention that an article posted on Wednesday, March 9, 2011 was incorrect. The comment received "Are you sure Helaman 3:8 is referring to the Jaredites" posted July 24, 2015 by David K., is correct in pointing this out. The post read: "The Land Northward was filled with many mighty cities (Ether 9:23) and people who had “spread over all the face of the land” (Ether 10:4). There were many spacious buildings (Ether 10:5), and the people became exceedingly rich in buildings (Ether 10:12) and these buildings were of every kind (Mosiah 8:8). The Jaredites built a “great city by the narrow neck of land” (Ether 10:20), and the “whole face of the land northward was covered with inhabitants” (Ether 10:21). In fact, they filled up the land from sea to sea on the north, east, west and south (Helaman 3:8)."
    In checking my old notes back then, the post should have read: "The Land Northward was filled with many mighty cities (Ether 9:23) and people who had “spread over all the face of the land” (Ether 10:4). There were many spacious buildings (Ether 10:5), and the people became exceedingly rich in buildings (Ether 10:12) and these buildings were of every kind (Mosiah 8:8). The Jaredites built a “great city by the narrow neck of land” (Ether 10:20), and they began to spread upon the face of the land and to multiply and to till the earth; and they did wax strong in the land (Ether 6:18), and the “whole face of the land northward was covered with inhabitants” (Ether 10:21). In fact, they filled up the land from sea to sea on the north, east, west and south (Helaman 3:8). 
   Naturally, Helaman 3:8, was referring to a different time and a different people (Nephites). My apologies for the incorrect posting and thank you for bringing it to my attention.

More Comments from Readers – Part V

Here are more comments that we have received from readers of this website blog: 
   Comment #1: “You continually write about Lehi landing on an island, and that it was South America. Are you suggesting South America as a continent would have been called an island? If so, it seems far too large for the geographical descriptions in the Book of Mormon” Clyde W.
Response: Evidently you have missed the many maps we have posted showing South America prior to the rising of the eastern portions when the Andes rose during the crucifixion and the numerous destructive descriptions found in 3 Nephi and Samuel the Lamanite’s prophesy in Helaman.  And not to repeat all that, for it is found in the blog site in earlier postings, I’ll include one map here, showing the basic difference between the “Isle” mentioned by Jacob and the present map of South America.
    Comment #2: “Angkor Wat (the largest temple complex in the world) did not just magically appear on the Malay Peninsula. There was an advanced civilization there (buildings, temples etc.). It was called Zhenla. Add a few letters and you're pretty close to Zarahemla” Sithu Mon
Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia that was built in the 12th Century A.D.
    Response: Evidently Angkor Wat, which means “Temple City” (City of Temples), in Khmer, and is located in Angkor, about 3 ½ miles north of Siem Reap, in the Siem Reap Province, Cambodia. Angkor Wat was built in Cambodia, not the Malay Peninsula, in the 12th Century A.D., during the reign of Suryavarman II (1113 to 1150). Dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu (Supreme God of Faishnavism), it was built as the king's state temple and capital city. As neither the foundation stela monument nor any contemporary inscriptions referring to the temple have been found, its original name is unknown, but it may have been known as "Varah Vishnu-lok" after the presiding deity. Work seems to have ended shortly after the king's death, leaving some of the bas-relief decoration unfinished. About 27 years after Suryavararman’s death in 1177, Angkor was sacked by the Chams (Chăm Pa from Vietnam), the traditional enemies of the Khmer.
As for the kingdom of Zhenla, which was an early Khmer state covering what is now (Red Arrow) northern Cambodia (Yellow Arrow: The Malaysa Peninsula where Nephites were supposed to have been) Cambodia and southern Laos (which some refer to as Dvāravatī), was originally a vassal state of Funan, revolting in the latter part of the 6th century, and by 627 A.D., during the reign of Isanavarman I, the previous lords were completely subjugated. It expanded under Jayavarman I in the late 7th century, and by 706 A.D., the kingdom was divided (Land Chenla and Water Chenla) and later in the century fell under the domination of the Sri Vijaya empire of Sumatra—its successor was the Khmer kingdom of Angkor.
    Comment #3: “Writing systems are revised or reformed very rarely. Speech is always changing over time and space, yet we Americans can still understand Chaucer and Shakespeare rather well in writing and comprehend our friends the Brits, Australians, etc. tolerably well in speech and quite well in writing. Therefore, it is surprising to read that Mosiah "caused that [the people of Zarahemla, the Mulekites] be taught in his language" since neither he nor his people could understand them (Omni 17-18), even though the Mulekites had come from Jerusalem only some 300 years later, during which time the spoken language would not have changed all that much. Joseph Smith appears to have known that glottochronology impinges on the credibility of his entire story and this may account for the insertion of an episode which nonetheless is totally unbelievable” Arthur J.
    Response: Let’s see, where to begin…first, the Mulekites came to the Land of Promise within a few years of Lehi, they just landed a distance apart and were unknown to each other, having developed separately in their lands over nearly 400 years before Mosiah “discovered” Zarahemla. Second, language deteriorates rather rapidly under certain circumstances—the main one is where there are no written “records” from which a language can be compared over time as it begins to change. Between Geoffrey Chaucer and William Shakespear and us (600 and 400 years respectively) has been a continual usage of the same language by an ongoing stream of people with contact with one another throughout this time. That is, the language you cite as not undergone isolation from anyone else during that time. This is a major issue with language changes.
Left: Chaucer’s English is not all that easy to read; had it been “discovered” without knowing it was English, the connection would not have been that simple—to understand the writing of Chaucer most of us would need an interpreter; Right: Shakespeare’s writing is not much easier; most people require college courses to read the actual style of writing, not the modern-day writing of the same wordage that is found in high school classes and undergraduate college classes—but that actual writing style itself
    Chaucer’s “Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote the droughte of March hath perced to the roote, thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,” with the pronunciation of that time, where the vowels are pronounced as in Italian or Spanish, "R"s were trilled or flapped, and words like droughte are pronounced as in German, it might take us a while to realize that we were being told that “When April with its sweet showers has pierced the drought of March to the root, then folks long to go on  pilgrimages.” And this of a language that has had centuries of constant use among us as it evolved to what we use today. Stated differently, the language didn’t just appear out of nowhere, but was in constant usage, and any changes in spelling, grammar, pronunciation, etc., evolved through people slowly so that all understood.
    This was not the case with the Mulekites, whose changes evolved from basically one language to another without any Nephite being aware of the changes in between. You can make this sound simple, but linguists who can make such leaps in understanding have been trained and spend their lifetime studying the changes that have taken place.
    I might also add, having traveled extensively across this country, spending time in 46 states, in the backwoods of Alabama, or the academic halls of Boston, or the ranches of Texas, one hears a language that is far from the same—in fact, I would say that at times, you think you are in a totally separate, non-English speaking land. And for the British, go visit Devonshire, or across into Ireland and say you understand that quite well.
    Comment #4: “From reading your articles each day, it looks like you have sought out every other view out there to compare and consider” Carlie A.
    Response: Actually, I did not seek out other views. I began my studies of this work many years ago by looking at the scriptural record and deciding to let it take me wherever it went. I had no preconceived idea about where the Land of Promise was located, and actually didn’t care where it turned out to be. I simply thought it would be wise to let Nephi and Mormon tell me where they went. In the course of doing this, I ran across numerous other models and theories, as I still do, and my nature is to compare whatever I find written or said about the Book of Mormon to the scriptural record…if it does not match, it is wrong. In the course of all these years, I have made what seems to me to be startling discoveries that for some reason are not understood by others.
    Comment #5: “Why does the Book of Mormon mention Bellows (1 Nephi 17:11), Brass (2 Nephi 5:15), Breast Plates & Copper (Mosiah 8:10), Iron (Jarom 1:8), Gold and Silver currency (Alma 11), Silver (Jarom 1:8), and Steel Swords (Ether 7:9)? No evidence indicates that these items existed during Book of Mormon times. In fact, according to Tom Ferguson: "Metallurgy does not appear in the region until about the 9th century A.D." Dick M.
Response: Metallurgy has not been found in Mesoamerica before 900 A.D. where Mesoamericanist theorists have convinced a large number of people the Book of Mormon was to have taken place; however, since it did not take place there, when something in the real world does not agree, people attribute that to an error in the Book of Mormon when, in reality, it is an error in the location being promoted. Metallurgy has been found in Andean Peru dating to Jaredites times (2155-1936 B.C.). The necklace (left) was dated to 2100 B.C. found around Lake Titicaca. If you are going to look for Book of Mormon evidence, you won’t find it in Mesoamerica. But if you look in Andean Peru, you will find untold evidence.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

More Comments from Readers – Part IV

Here are more comments that we have received from readers of this website blog: 
    Comment #1: “In your disagreement over Lehi landing in Malay, you claim by 600 B.C. the Peninsula was occupied. There is no way this is possible. Archaeologists claim the Malay Peninsula did not have visitors until Indian traders arrived in the 5th century A.D.”
    Response: According to Kallie Szczepanski, Asian History Expert for Malaysia: Facts and History, “Humans have lived in what is now Malaysia for at least 40 to 50,000 years. Certain modern indigenous peoples, named "Negritos" by Europeans, may be descended from the first inhabitants, and are distinguished by their extreme genetic divergence from both other Malaysians and from modern African peoples. This implies that their ancestors were isolated on the Malay Peninsula for a very long time. Later immigration waves from southern China and from Cambodia included the ancestors of modern Malays, who brought technologies such as farming and metallurgy to the archipelago between 20,000 and 5,000 years ago. And Indian traders arrived, bringing aspects of their culture to the early kingdoms of the Lalaysian peninsula.” Every history checked regarding the Malay Peninsula pretty much says the same thing.
    Comment #2: “Why are you so opposed to the Bering Land Bridge, and people of South America first entering the Western Hemisphere through this means?”
    Response: I suppose I could write an entire book on this answer. The reasons are varied and many, which I  have listed in former articles. However, let me just say for the moment that according to Danièle Lavallée (translated by Paul G. Bahn), The First South Americans, (2000), “The recent and now indisputable findings at Monte Verde in southern Chile present the strong possibility that people were living in South America more than 12,000 years ago. If so, the long-cherished scenario in which the Americas were populated by big-game hunters crossing the Bering land bridge and then making their way slowly down the Americas may no longer be true.”  In fact, The First South Americans presents all current evidence and claims for the early traces of human presence on the continent. Surveying the territory from Tierra del Fuego to the Caribbean shores of Columbia and from Brazil to Ecuador, Lavallée presents and discusses the cultural development of the entire continent from the first occupants through the hunters of the Holocene, the rise of horticulture and animal domestication in the Andes, Amazonian developments, maritime adaptations, the Andean development of ceramics, weaving, and stratified society, and finally the emergence of the first Andean civilization in Chavin.”
According to her, little by little, people occupied this mosaic of territories over the millennia, sometimes yielding to the constraints of the environment, sometimes controlling and transforming it. Lavallée shows how the first South Americans accomplished this at different rates and with methods whose diversity equaled that of their natural settings.
    Whether or not I agree with Lavallée in all her findings, the point is that archaeology has now found (as we have indicated in earlier posts) that man was in South America before the so-called Beringia Land Bridge was formed and supposedly used for the settlement of the Americas. Danièle Lavallée has worked in South American for over thirty-five years, directing and participating in archaeological research from Tierra del Fuego to Ecuador. She is Director of Research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France, and directs the Unité Mixte de Recherche,"Archéologie des Amériques," at CNRS and the University of Paris 1- Sorbonne. She holds teaching positions at the Sorbonne and Paris X-Nanterre and currently directs the Perou-Sud archaeological project in southern Peru. Sounds to me she is as knowledgable as those who claim Beringia--probably more so.
    Comment #3: “You wrote an article about the Paracas, which I found very interesting. Thank you. However, you did not include the famed double spout and bridge vessel from the Nazca culture which of course had two spouts and  a bridge across, a design first used by the Paracas culture. The vessel is amazing because it created whistling sounds when pouring liquids” Lillian Q.
Response: Yes, that is true. In fact, I left out a lot of fascinating things about most of the cultures I wrote about because of space restrictions and probable lack of interest on the part of a varied reader base. As for the vase (left) you mentioned, it was actually made by the Vicús culture sometime between 1000 B.C. and 200 B.C., though they are said to have continued on as late as 300 to 600 A.D. They were known for their ceramics, copper and gold, and lived in the Piura region in the far northernmost corner of Peru’s coast, at the opposite end of Peru and far from the Nazca in the far south.
    Their ceramics also resembled the ornamental motifs of the Moche culture, as well as the Salinar and Gallizano cultures from Ecuador. In addition, gold jaguars attributed to the Vicús are also similar to Chavin felines and the Chavinoid style–which all goes to add to our contention that these were not separate cultures, but the Nephite nation living in various parts of the Land of Promise. In fact, famous modern day pottery from the town of Chulucanas is said to closely resemble the ancient art of the Vicús.
The shape of the Vicús mace head (left) made of copper, resembles the sun, with possible animals with long noses and tails in the middle ring, but besides being an ornament or possibly a ritual object, as archaeologists suggest, could well have been used as a weapon (thrown disc) because of the outer pointed thongs.
    Comment #4: “I read Sorenson’s book and a few others, and my take on all this Book of Mormon stuff is that you Mormons attempt to prove the BOM exactly backwards of the way things work in the real world. Rather than researching and piecing together evidence that is actually found in the ground, Mormon apologists use the BOM, written in 1830, to try to force archaeology to fit it. If the BOM was authentic, we would not have to resort to these forced interpretations, and stretch logic to the limit, to make the puzzle fit. It would come together just as a jigsaw puzzle does, with each added piece making the remainder fall into place in quick fashion" Caroline R.
    Response: I couldn’t agree more. However, it is also possible to read the Book of Mormon and follow its comments to wherever that leads in order to find the location of areas mentioned, without forcing, changing, altering, etc., any of yhe clear and precise meanings. It is like following a treasure map. I hope that is what we do here in this blog—it is certainly our plan and very sacred intention.
As a side thought, it is amazing to me that anyone could think that Lehi sailed to or through Indonesia in 600 B.C. with just his family as hands at the helm. The cross currents, shoals, maneuvering, sailing ability and degree of difficulty to do so would have been so far beyond Nephi's crew, even with the Liahona, is beyond description. Even experienced mariners today with all the advantages of GPS, radar, engines and depth charts, find this one of the most dangerous routes known in the world
    Comment #5: “The Kedah Annals of Merong Mahawangsa from which you quote were works of fiction that came a millennia or two later. Nobody considers them history.
There are plenty of extant legends in SE Asia talking about buried golden books bearing ancient histories that have been lost. There is no way this voyage and landing, in an area that had been inhabited, according to archaeologists, for thousands of years before Lehi" ... India, yes, but there is very little evidence of advanced human settlement on the Malay Peninsula at that time. Indian traders didn't arrive until around 5th century AD
” Sithu Mon

    Response: You may be right about the Merong Mahawangsa, tough the jury still seems to be out, with one group saying it is and another groups haying it is not. However, when it comes to people living on the Malay Peninsula, according to the Original Official Homepage of the Malasia Tourism Promotion Board, Malay was peopled 2500 B.C. by a group called the Proto-Malays, who were seafarers and farmers from China, who forced the Negritos (original inhabitants of the peninsula) into the hills and jungles. They were followed by the Deutero-Malays, a combination of many peoples, Indians, Chines, Siamese, Arabs, and Proto-Malays, who are considered to be the racial basis for the group which today is called the Malay. All these were on the Peninsula in large numbers before Lehi sailed.

Friday, July 24, 2015

More Comments from Readers – Part III

Here are more comments that we have received from readers of this website blog: 
    Comment #1: “I can see where you are trying to tie together the early cultures in Peru with the Nephites, however, in your article about the Paracas people, you mention their elongated heads. This was a practice that was done on people while living, no doubt from their youth, where their heads were bound, forcing the skull to grow in a long manner (like shown in one of the Indiana Jones movies). I read up on this and a very young child’s skull is pliant at birth and remains that way for months. They lashed a rope around the head with a board placed at the back of the skull, and maybe the front, that altered the shape over time, a practice that took from six months to 3 years. This certainly does not seem like a Nephite practice whose religion was based upon that of the Hebrews/Jews. I understand that this was a practice on infants of the congo of Africa. Hard for me to see a connection between these people of ancient Peru and the Nephites” Dianne G.
The Paracas Peninsula today. The original Paracas settlement  stretched for over a mile along the coast
    Response: Paracas was a large city area, their ruins now stretching for a mile along the peninsula. In the Book of Mormon, those people who were defectors from the Nephite religion usually occupied cities of some size, as did the Zoramites, who were a so-called “sect” and had separated themselves from the Nephites, either before, during or after a bloody civil war initiated by Amlici, a follower of the Nehor sect, who after losing a popular election to be made king, made an alliance with the Lamanites. Therefore, when Zoram settled his people in Antionum near a large body of Lamanites, there grew considerable concern that the Zoramites would make a similar pact and bring about another war. Alma went there to preach to the Zoramites rather than sending an army to force them back into the “fold” (Alma 31:4).
     When he arrived, the Zoramite religious practices astounded him and those missionaries he brought with him. The Zoramites had perverted the ways of the Lord, created a way of religious practice that was completely foreign to the Nephite Church, and quite perverted in nature. While I was not drawing a conclusion that the Paracas were the Zoramites (though Paracas was located in the south, near the border with the Lamanites), I was using the Zoramite example to show that dissenters of the Nephites were capable of such activity as head-binding. I realize it is merely an assumption, but I think the parallel is obvious.
Left: Actual skull from Paracas funerary; diagram shows how it is accomplished
    The Zoramites had, after all, rejected Christ, worshipped idols, rejected the Law of Moses, rejected sacraments and daily prayer, offered public prayer on raised platforms, thought themselves the chosen people, ignored and rejected the poor, and had a state, political religion (Alma 31, 32, 38). Head-binding, as well as other perversions, would have fit right in with their way of thinking. It might also be of interest that such head-binding was also practiced in Egypt during the Amarna period, also the Sudan, Iraq and Syria (the latter two being Mesopotamia). While this is not conducive to standard practice or normal religious practices of those times and locations, it does show a connection between the areas that would have been known to the Nephites.
    Comment #2: “It is surprising to me that so many people today in trying to locate the land of promise in the eastern U.S. try to claim “sea” means a rive or lake or something else other than an ocean. Basically, according to Greek mythology, the Greek god Oceanus was a serpent like being that looked like a river and encompassed the entire world – so, picture that – and you get an ocean. I do like the image because it is a sharp reminder that all of our oceans, estuaries and rivers are connected” Rylie J.
    Response: Most etymologies trace the word "ocean" back to the Greek, but where the Greeks got the word Oceanus is unknown—perhaps it is a story of which came first, the chicken or the egg, though it is thought to have been derived from the name of the body of water anciently thought to surround the Earth. Today, we look at “ocean” and claim it is from the Old French “occean” later reborrowed from Middle French ”ocean,” then from Latin “Oceanus,” and finally from Ancient Greek “Okeanos” (Oceanus, which was a water deity). The term today is applied to one of the five large bodies of water separating the continents—an immense expanse; any vast space or quantity without apparent limits.
    The ancient Greek image of a mighty sea or river encircling the world is common in the beliefs of many Eastern peoples (including the Babylonians), and it also occurs in the mythology of the Indo-Europeans. Actually, their “ocean” originally denoted the whole body of water regarded as encompassing the earth's single land mass. Homer placed the entrance to Hades on the shore of the Ocean. In German, its early form, recorded in fourth-century Gothic, is saiws, and, as far as can be determined, means a body of water. One of the Indo-European words for “sea” from Latin mare (compare such our marina, marine, marital, maritime, and marinade, etc.) The German for “sea” is still Meer, a synonym of Sea.
Red Arrows point to the area labeled “sea” though it is obviously part of the overall ocean; Left: Bering Sea and Pacific Ocean; Right: Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean
    The major issue with the type of historians or theorists you indicated is with the word “sea,” not “ocean.” Many people use the terms "ocean" and "sea" interchangeably when speaking about the ocean, but there is a difference between the two terms when speaking of geography, i.e., the Earth's surface. Seas are smaller than oceans and are usually located where the land and ocean meet. Thus you have the Sea of Arabia and the Indian Ocean—the same body of water, one is closer to shore than the other; the same for the Bearing Sea and the Pacific Ocean—same body of water, one is closer to land and partially surrounded by the land. The point being that they are basically the same body of water, connected, and obviously one being part of the other.
    Consequently, when Jacob told the Nephites: “We have been driven out of the land of our inheritance; but we have been led to a better land, for the Lord has made the sea our path, and we are upon an isle of the sea“ (2 Nephi 10:20, emphasis mine). This cannot be interpreted in any other way than that the Land of Promise was an island upon the very sea over which they had sailed from Bountiful (the Arabian Peninsula).
    Comment #3: I can see where you might be able to draw a connection between Egypt and the Nephites (through Lehi), but how can you draw one between the Jaredites and Egypt, since the Jaredites, according to you, arrived in the promised land around 2100 B.C.?” Evan W.
    Response: You might find it interesting that according to Egyptologist Georges Posener, the Egyptian Period of Reunification—the Middle Kingdom’s cultural interactions and interferences extended into Syria (Mesopotamia) and Palestine, and were quite extensive, between 2160 and 1780 B.C. (Cambridge Ancient History, Cambridge University Press, 1965). The earlier date places that interaction into Mesopotamia (home of the Jaredites) at least fifty years before the Jaredites left the area.
    Comment #4: “You talk about there being a division of land during Peleg’s time, yet when we look at geological setting of a once combined super-continent called Pangea, which shows how the continents fit together, leaving at least half of the earth in water, which they label the Pacific Ocean, circling the land mass. Is this what you are talking about?” Ralph C.
Response: No. The concept you mention was proposed by Alfred Wegener, the originator of the theory of continental drift, in his Origin of Continents (Die Entstehung der Kontinente, 1912), which was later expanded this hypothesis into his theory in his book The Origin of Continents and Oceans (Die Entstehung der Kontinente und Ozeane, 1915). From this super-continent, called Urkontinent, the land broke up and drifted to its present, various locations—something he claims took a million years.
    What I talk about is what is in the Doctrines of Salvation, in which Joseph Fielding Smith said: “There was no Atlantic Ocean prior to the earth being divided,” and Orson Pratt said in The Seer, that “The waters were in the Polar Regions” before this division of the land. The amount of oceans we have today is far larger than the ocean that existed before the Flood—that water came from “the fountains of the great deep were broken up” and from the “windows of heaven were opened” (Genesis 7:11). This would suggest that subterranean waters came up and waters of the firmament (above the earth) came down, as well as the waters of the ocean in the north country (for a clear understanding of this most unusual combination of events, see the book Scientific Fallacies & Other Myths, which covers the method how the Flood occurred (See Chapter 13 “Was There a Flood?”).

Thursday, July 23, 2015

This is Our 1800th Post

Today's post below is our 1800th in the five years we have been writing this blog. In that time we have received over 456,000 visits. Thank you for your support for making this blog possible.