Monday, September 24, 2018

Correcting a Critic’s Comments and Blog – Part II

Continuing with Jared Methrandir’s comments referring us to his website when commenting on one of our articles back in 2013.
    Blog Comment: “LDS Mormons debate back and forth, some saying the only things in The Bible Mormons should agree with are what the Book of Mormon or other Mormon Scriptures explicitly endorse.”
    Response: Having been a member of the Church for seventy years, and having been involved in discussions about most things connected with both the LDS religion and sectarian religions, spending two years in the Bible Belt teaching LDS doctrine from the New Testament, in all that time serving in numerous areas of responsibility, a debate about the Bible among LDS members as you describe, has never been witnessed or even heard about. Basically, LDS people accept the Bible as the Word of God. We also know and understand that scribes over the centuries made changes, eliminated some doctrine and emphasized others in their copying of the scriptures—which is an understanding among most Biblical scholars, LDS and otherwise, even Jewish rabbis.
    Blog Comment: “The point remains however, the seed for doubting God's word is planted, and from that all kinds of heretical madness has developed
The LDS Church’s 9th Article of Faith clearly states our belief in all that God has revealed, and all that He will reveal

Response: LDS people do not doubt God’s word. However, your idea of God’s word and and LDS understanding of God’s word might well be at odds from time to time, even if you want to strictly deal with the Old and New Testaments; however, that mostly comes from different interpretations of the plain and simple language of the scriptures, such as the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost not being one individual; or whether infant baptism is correct; or that Heavenly Father is a physical (though resurrected and perfect) being and made us in his own image, etc.
    Blog Comment: “The ancient Nephite Prophets of The Book of Mormon foretell The United States of America, referring to it as a Great Nation appointed to God to do his will.  In other words, American Exceptionalism, Divine Providence and Manifest Destiny, all those ideas Christians should condemn as Patriotic Idolatry but instead fully support, that is all Canonical Scripture for Mormons
    Response: Actually, the Nephite prophets and the LDS Church leaders, have spoken from the beginning about the Land of Promise being North and South America. It is true that some LDS people want to claim that means only the United States, but that is not the Church standing at all. LDS leaders have also spoken of Polynesia as pretty much the same standard. The fact that we are a world-wide Church—“after 166 years in existence as the restored Church of Christ, in 1996, the LDS Church’s membership outside the United States exceeded the membership within the U.S. by the end of February 1996, there were just over 9,438,000 members of the Church, with more than half living outside the U.S.” (Ensign Magazine, Nov 1995, p70).  It might also be understood that in 1850, there were about 30,747 members in the British Isles and only 26,911 in the U.S.
Painting showing the western movement and the concept of Manifest Destiny which permeated through the minds of the U.S. Congress, citizens, and newspaper writers and editors in the mid-1800s

It should also be noted that the concept of American Exceptionalism, Divine Providence and Manifest Destiny are not religious doctrines or beliefs, but was originated by John Louis O’Sullivan, an American columnist and editor who coined the term in an 1845 article in The United States Magazine and Democratic Review, to promote the annexation of Texas and Oregon Country to the U.S., and break for all time the hold that England, France and all of Europe felt they held on the Americas. It’s main theme from O’Sullivan was that “God had destined the U.S. to spread out across the continent of North America.” 
    In fact, the “black-letter international law,” and the “right of discovery, exploration, settlement and continuity” contained in the then current Doctrine of Discovery, seems the basis of O’Sullivan’s thinking, thus there seems little doubt that he used these points to form the Manifest Destiny them leading to the promotion of the Texas and Oregon movements.  It might also be of interest to know that O’Sullivan predicted that there would be two hundred and fifty to three hundred million Americans at the end of 100 years (in 1945 there were 139.9 million in the U.S., up from 17.1 million in 1845 when the theme was introduced).
    The concept of Manifest Destiny was widely held among the people in the U.S. that its settlers were destined to expand across North America, and held three themes:
• The special virtues of the American people and their institutions;
• The mission of the United States to redeem and remake the west in the image of agrarian America;
• An irresistible destiny to accomplish this essential duty.
    All of which “became very popular with many politicians, citizens, and newspapers and was widely used in the debate about expanding into Oregon” (Robert J. Miller, Native America, Discovered and Conquered, Greenwood, 2006,pp119-120)
American Exceptionalism, the belief that America is unique on the global stage because of its certain characteristics that are held to be unique to the United States

On the other hand, American Exceptionalism is a more recent concept and broadly based on a belief that historical facts make the U.S. exceptional in the history of civilization. Again, it is not a religious concept, but one first mentioned by Alexis de Tocqueville, describing America as exceptional in 1831, and the actual term “American Exceptionalism” was first oined by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, making it an “exception to certain elements of Marxist theory.” Seymour Martin Lipset, was a Hazel Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University and a fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, defined American Exceptionalism as “liberty, equality (of opportunity and respect), individualism, populism, and laissez-faire economics” (American Exceptionalism: A Double-Edged Sword, Norton & Co., New York 1996, p18).
    As for Divine Providence, it has been defined as “The history of the United States displays an uncanny pattern: At moments of crisis, when the odds against success seem overwhelming and disaster looks imminent, fate intervenes to provide deliverance and progress…the most notable leaders of the past four hundred years have identified this good fortune as something else—a reflection of divine providence” (Michael Medved, The American Miracle, Crown Forum, New York, 2016).
    As can be seen, none of these concepts originated with, or are unique to, or part of the LDS Church doctrine or beliefs. The LDS Church does believe that God set up this government through men he raised up to do this very thing, and as almost all of them have stated in their personal writings, Divine Providence was at the heart of this nation, and instrumental in its development. Divine Providence, and the special role in the development and especially in the defense of Christianity and all religions, could hardly be considered “those ideas Christians should condemn as Patriotic Idolatry.”
    Blog Comment: “And Lehi left by sea (as did the Jaredites) in Arabia, because Joseph Smith imagined all this before the bearing strait hypothesis became the standard.”
Response: First of all, it should be noted that as early as 1590, the Spanish missionary Fray José de Acosta produced the first written record to suggest a land bridge connecting Asia to North America. The question of how people migrated to the New World was a topic widely debated among the thinkers and theorists of his time. Acosta rejected many of the theories proposed by his contemporaries. Instead, he believed that hunters from Asia had crossed into North America via a land bridge or narrow strait located far to the north. He thought the land bridge was still in existence during his lifetime (“Bering Land Bridge,” National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Nome, Alaska).
    The problem is, as stated in Science: “While there is general agreement that the Americas were first settled from Asia, the pattern of migration, its timing, and the place(s) of origin in Eurasia of the peoples who migrated to the Americas remain unclear (Ted Goebel et al., The Late Pleistocene Dispersal of Modern Humans in the Americas,” Science, Vol.319, No.5869, 2008, pp1497-1502).
(See the next post, “Correcting a Critic’s Comments and Blog – Part III,” regarding erroneous comments made on a blogsite about the Book of Mormon)

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Correcting a Critic’s Blog – Part I

In an article written back in 2011, “Were There Other People in the Land of Promise? Part III, Jared Methrandir wrote three responses on September 4, 2015, directing us to his blog “The Mid-Seventieth Week Rapture,” who refers to himself as: “A Christian who believes in the Bible as the inherent Word of God, in Salvation by Faith Alone, and a Libertarian.” He chose in his answers to direct me to his blog site on which are numerous inaccuracies which, since they have been referenced here on our blog, are being shown here with our response:
    Comment left on our site: “I have noticed how contrary to popular assumption the Mormon doctrine of Native Americans being Israelites isn't about the "Lost Tribes" at all. In fact I've noticed a high tendency for Mormons to believe in British Israelism. Then of course Joseph's Smith's claim that he descended form Jesus further complicates things. How does a Mormon apologist genealogically back that up? 
    Response: The Book of Mormon has never claimed to be about the Lost Ten Tribes—any assumption of this is strictly on the part of non-LDS people. The Book of Mormon is a scriptural record about a branch of the House of Israel through the prophet Lehi, a descendant of the tribe of Menasseh, and is specifically a Second Witness of Jesus Christ.
The general belief of scientists where the Lost Ten Tribes ended up, mingling with other nations

As for British Israelism (also called Anglo-Israelism), which is defined as: “a doctrine based on the hypothesis that people of Western European and Northern European descent, particularly those in Great Britain, are the direct lineal descendants of the Ten Lost Tribes of the ancient Israelites.”
    Since the term implies something more than what LDS generally believe (including organizations dating back to the 19th century, connections of the Saka-Scythians and Crimmerians to the Celts, etc.), we would rather put more accurately that the Lost Ten Tribes went into the north countries and their progress can be tracked across eastern and western Europe in many ways. While numerous eastern and western Europeans, including the English, Scotch and Irish, would be in one way or another connected to, or descendants of, that migration, though not all are, and to what percentage, no one has ventured even a guess. It is written that “For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth” (Amos 9:9). 
    However, it is generally understood by LDS who have an interest in this area that the Lost Ten Tribes are more or less in one body, have religious leaders and keep a record that will eventually be brought forth to connect with the Bible and Book of Mormon. The fact that they will return as a body is foretold (Isaiah 11:10-16; Jeremiah 3:18; 16:14-21). This is what James Talmadge (Articles of Faith, 18, p. 340-341) wrote: “From the scriptural passages already considered, it is plain that, while many of those belonging to the Ten Tribes were diffused among the nations, a sufficient number to justify the retention of the original name were led away as a body and are now in existence in some place where the Lord has hidden them." 
    As for Joseph Smith, he never claimed to be descended from Jesus, like a father-son genealogy in the flesh. He taught and LDS believe that we are all spiritual sons and daughters of a Heavenly Father, sired in the spirit world before becoming mortal via earthly parents, that Jesus is the only begotten son in the flesh of Heavenly Father, and that in an eternal family sense, we are all brothers and sisters. 
    Turning now to the blog site listed, some of the comments need correction: 
    Blog Comment: “In fact one Mormon blog I've looked at called the NephiCode…”
    Response: is not a “Mormon blog.” It has nothing to do with the LDS Church or any LDS organization other than we write about the Book of Mormon and the scriptural record, specifically in regard to the geography stated within the storyline. The author’s comment makes it sound like it represents LDS thought, leadership, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—it does not. It is an independently owned, operated, and written blog based on the Book of Mormon and one person’s understanding and interpretation of that scriptural record.
    Blog Comment: “Second of all, The Book of Mormon claims the Nephites practiced strict Mosaic Judaism.”
Moses delivering the Ten Commandments to the House of Israel in the desert at Sinai

 Response: Strict Mosaic Judaism is not mentioned in the Book of Mormon at all…what is said is that Nephi understood the need to obtain the Brass Plates from Laban, which he was sent back to Jerusalem to get: “Yea, and I also thought that they could not keep the commandments of the Lord according to the law of Moses, save they should have the law. And I also knew that the law was engraven upon the plates of brass“ (1 Nephi 4:15-16). 
    Later, while in the Land of Promise, Nephi states: ”And we did observe to keep the judgments, and the statutes, and the commandments of the Lord in all things according to the law of Moses” (2 Nephi 5:10), and that was during Nephi’s time, who also said,” Behold, my soul delighteth in proving unto my people the truth of the coming of Christ; for, for this end hath the law of Moses been given; and all things which have been given of God from the beginning of the world, unto man, are the typifying of him” (2 Nephi 11:4); and again, “And, notwithstanding we believe in Christ, we keep the law of Moses, and look forward with steadfastness unto Christ, until the law shall be fulfilled” (2 Nephi 25:24).
    Any observance of the Strict Law of Moses as understood by the Jewish rabbis and generally the people, would not have allowed for the coming of Christ in the sense Nephi is referring, nor do we know exactly what is meant by Nephi when referring to keeping the Law of Moses in all things, for he also said, “For I, Nephi, have not taught them many things concerning the manner of the Jews; for their works were works of darkness, and their doings were doings of abominations” (2 Nephi 25:2). It should be kept in mind that the “strict law of Moses” in 600 B.C., which Nephi would have known the Jews practiced, was full of additions and confining limitations that the Nephites no doubt did not follow.
    Blog Comment: “First and foremost, Nephi prophesied that the Bible will be a "stumbling block".
The LDS Church holds, as its standard and official works of the Church, the Bible along with the Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price 

Response: Nephi uses the term “stumbling block” three times in the Book of Mormon and none refer to the Bible at all.
    “And it shall come to pass, that if the Gentiles shall hearken unto the Lamb of God in that day that he shall manifest himself unto them in word, and also in power, in very deed, unto the taking away of their stumbling blocks” (1 Nephi 14:1);
    “O Lord, wilt thou encircle me around in the robe of thy righteousness! O Lord, wilt thou make a way for mine escape before mine enemies! Wilt thou make my path straight before me! Wilt thou not place a stumbling block in my way—but that thou wouldst clear my way before me, and hedge not up my way, but the ways of mine enemy” (2 Nephi 4:33);
    “And the Gentiles are lifted up in the pride of their eyes, and have stumbled, because of the greatness of their stumbling block, that they have built up many churches; nevertheless, they put down the power and miracles of God, and preach up unto themselves their own wisdom and their own learning, that they may get gain and grind upon the face of the poor” (2 Nephi 26:20).
    Consequently, all of these comments made by the reader are from inaccurate to false!
(See the next post, “Correcting a Critic’s Comments and Blog – Part II,” regarding erroneous comments made on a blogsite about the Book of Mormon)

Saturday, September 22, 2018

From Hagoth’s Shipyards to the Puma Punku Docks – Part III

Continued from the last post regarding the role of the city complex known today as Tiahuanaco and the adjoining quays and wharfs of Puma Punku, that presently lie in extraordinarily random ruins atop the 12,500-foot-high Andes Central cordillera just south of Lake Titicaca, but once sat along the shores of the Sea East, or the Atlantic Ocean, as well as the types of ships the Nephites built and sailed around the Land of Promise.
While these are some of the largest dugout canoes ever made, they are certainly not large enough to hold dozens of people as Sorenson claims the Maya built 

It was pointed out in the last post that John L. Sorenson’s attempt to lessen the size and scope of the Nephite ship building industry, and specifically the ships built by Hagoth. It is also of interest that Sorenson states (p268): “the large dugout canoe sighted by Columbus on one of his voyages off the coast of Yucatan was of very respectable size, capable of carrying scores of people for days at a time,” in which he sites Albert Collier, Director of the Oceanographic Institute, Florida State University, “The American Mediterranean” as found in HMAI Vol 1 1964. 
    However, it might be noted that the actual wordage was written by Ferdinand Columbus (Fernando or Hernando Colón), second son of the famous navigator, who accompanied him on his fourth voyage: "...there arrived at that time a canoe long as a galley and eight feet [2.5m] wide, made of a single tree trunk like the other Indian canoes; it was freighted with merchandise from the western regions around New Spain. Amidships it had a palm-leaf awning like that which the Venetian gondolas carry; this gave complete protection against the rain and waves. Under this awning were the children and women and all the baggage and merchandise. There were twenty-five paddlers...” 
    A footnote to this entry includes: “The cargo in this single canoe included clothing, tools, weapons, foodstuffs, wine and luxury items.” However, as experts have suggested, that the reported width of eight-feet seems unlikely for a logboat. Since Ferdinand or Fernando was only 13 to 15 years of age during this voyage, it is understandable that the size might have been exaggerated. Besides, such a tree size would have been enormous, and no Maya boats have ever been recovered, though there is ample evidence that dugout canoes were the standard means of transportation among the Maya. While several illustrations carved on bones have been found of canoes, each having several rowers and passengers, nothing depicting the size Ferdinand reported has ever been seen.
    In fact, a temple fresco from Chichen Itza shows three canoes traveling coastwise, each carrying two warriors. The canoe ends are high and similar to image. The single "paddler" in each boat appears to be using his long-shafted paddle to pole from the bow, each having conventional symmetrical blades.
Maya replicate large canoes being used for demonstrations and races by Mayan people 

It seems most likely that the ship-building capabilities possessed and used by the Nephites during their long history in no way was replicated by the later Lamanites who seem not to have ever gotten out of the stage of pre-development and debauchery to which they fell after Nephi fled from his brothers (Enos 1:20; Jarom 1:6), until the time following Christ’s appearance and the nearly two hundred years following (4 Nephi 1:17) when the Lamanites were like the Nephites, until the Lamanites began to appear once again (4 Nephi 1:20).
     The point is, the Maya canoes were undoubtedly not as large as Sorenson makes them out to be, and his quote of Albert Collier is very difficult to authenticate, imbedded within a much larger work (Robert Wauchope, Handbook of Middle America Indians, Vol1, University of Texas, 1964, pp128-129). But obviously, Sorenson’s quote in his book is not as ambitious in the issue of size and content as the original Ferdinand Columbus statement.
Main rivers into the Land Northward from the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Guayaquil

It should also be noted that ships built for river sailing in the Land of Promise would have been smaller, and probably flat or shallow bottomed, as well as wider of beam, not meant for speed, but for transportation and hauling of goods and cargo. In the case of the Guayas River, it runs upriver from the Gulf of Guayaquil, past the Verde and Mondragón islands to the city of Guayaquil, then snakes off to the northeast, splitting into the Daule and he Babahoyo rivers, two of the main transportation means to the ancient indigenous people who lived inland away from the coastal waters. The Guayas is navigable for about 45-50 miles north of the Gulf.
    The Daule River, which flows from the far north to join the Guayas River near the city of Guayaquil, flows southward for 240 miles, at least 110 miles of that is navigable.
    The Babahoya River branches off the Guayas and runs northward for --- miles where it becomes the Pablo and the Caracol rivers, that split around the city of Babahoya, a major trade and shipping center in Central Ecuador, and originally the customs center of the Spanish to control commerce between Guayaquil and the cities northward in the mountains. Also the area has always been a fishing and very large agricultural center.
    Toward the far north of present-day Ecuador is the Esmeraldas River, which is 200 miles long from the Hoya de Quito, just north of Quito, in the northern Sierra west to the Pacific Ocean, and further south along the coast is the Chone River, which covers a short inland distance to serve several small settlements.
    For the first 400 years (before Mosiah left for Zarahemla), the Nephites would have been quite active in shipping, certainly regarding exploration of the coasts and numerous rivers, as well as what trade existed among the central expansion of the Nephites in and around the Land of Nephi. This is when the Puma Punku docks and wharfs would  have been built along the coast of the Sea East. Little did they know that within a short time the destruction that overtook the Land of Promise would collapse mountains and shoot up others to great heights. During that first four hundred years as the Nephites expanded their territory in and area south of the Narrow Strip of Wilderness, trade would have been along the Sea East, not far from the City of Nephi, and extending especially along the coast southward to the area of present day Tiwanaku and Puma Punku.
River trade would have been an important method of extending trade and shipments to the inland settlements and cities

While we do not know what rivers might have been on the east coast and running inland, there must have been some that would have encouraged inland trade and exchange of products and goods with smaller settlements.
    Thus, we can note, that around the close of the BC period, after 600 years in the Land of Promise, Helaman, listing some of the areas in which Nephites were involved, singled out ship building and shipping, along with the construction of temples, synagogues and sanctuaries, as the main things in which the Nephites were involved. Trade would have been a major factor in a far-flung nation such as the Nephites would have had in the Land of Promise, and much of that would have been conducted by the sea, since they were on an island according to Jacob.
    Later, when Mosiah went northward and encountered the people of Zarahemla (Mulekites), where the Nephites then settled, they evidently began extending their territory northward, spreading out into the east and west as well as north and south (Helaman 3:8), where new settlement building, new crops plants, and larger and larger populations would also have incentivized people to expand their shipping to include the offshore fishing in the highly productive Humboldt Current and selling such catches not only to the local food conveyors, but also into the inland settlements.

Friday, September 21, 2018

From Hagoth’s Shipyards to the Puma Punku Docks – Part II

Continued from the last post regarding the role of the city complex known today as Tiahuanaco and the adjoining quays and wharfs of Puma Punku, that presently lie in extraordinarily random ruins atop the 12,500-foot-high Andes Central cordillera just south of Lake Titicaca.
    In Andean Peru, before the land lifted and the Andes rose to their present height, geologists tell us that South America was a long, rather narrow island along the western Andean shelf, stretching from southern Colombia southward to Patagonia, and the entire Amazon was under water, forming an obvious eastern sea, open in several areas to the Atlantic Ocean.
    Since ancient sailing ships could achieve between five and eight miles an hour, depending on winds and currents, it is safe to assume that Hagoth’s exceedingly large ships could probably achieve about that range of speed. This would make a trip from Hagoth’s shipyard to the docks at Puma Punku via the Sea North, a distance of about 2725 sea miles, based on 14-hours of day-time sailing, and a speed maintained at sea of about 7 miles per hour, a trip of about 28 days at sea; or at about 5 miles per hour, would result in 39 days at sea. 
    Of course there might be times when a ship needs to “hove to” during high winds or even a storm, where progress is meant to be stationary, and there would also be numerous stops along the way for trade, repair, and replenishment of supplies, all extending the length of the sailing time to a port. Thus a Nephite trading vessel would probably take somewhere two months, or a bit longer, to make the one-way voyage to the ancient port of Puma Punku.
Top: A ship down for repairs in dock while the crew careened the hull; Bottom: A ship being careened after being beached and hove to, a much more dangerous effort. Without such careening, teredoes and barnacles and seaweed will first slow and then destroy a ship

Here, with their large quay and hundreds of ship wharfs, repairs could be made when necessary, including conducting maintenance and repairs to the hull by heaving down the ship over on its side and careening one side of below the water line at a time while still afloat at high tide. This would be far easier and a lot safer than careening at sea by weight shifting or beaching the ship and careening at low tide.
    Thus, the quay size at Puma Punku would have been needed only if a nation was heavily involved in shipping, with hundreds of ships at sea around the home ports. Short of having “dry docks,” the Quay at Puma Punku would have been vital to the needs of such a large shipping nation as the Nephites evidently were.
    It is interesting that in his book An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, John L. Sorenson claims that the Nephites would not have built ships like the early European vessels. He states (p268): “the ‘ship’ of Hagoth, if it was like craft known later on the Pacific coast, was either a very large dugout canoe with built-up sides or a log raft with sails. Whatever its form, it could hardly have been a complex planked vessel at all resembling European ships.”
    Let’s take a look at this statement: First of all, it was not “a ship” that Hagoth built, we know for certain he built at least three or four, in addition to the fact that while the first ship was at sea, he was at his shipyard building “other ships” (Alma 63:7). Note it states “other ships” Not one, not two, but “other” ships.
    So the first part of his statement is inaccurate.
Typical dugout canoes, showing the (top left) fire set in the log, the (upper right) insides scraped out; a (lower left) early stage of dugout, and (lower right) a near final two-man dugout canoe

In addition, there is no reason to believe that the types of ships built by the Nephites would have been replicated after their demise by the Lamanites. Thus what was found by Europeans explorers during their discovery of the Americas has no meaning on this issue.
    Secondly, in the size of Hagoth’s ships, Sorenson states: “either a very large dugout canoe with built-up sides…” Now it would be quite difficult to ship enough timber sufficient in any type of dug-out canoe to have an impact on cities building buildings with that limited amount of wood being shipped.
    Third, Sorenson states: “or a log raft with sails.” Now since Hagoth’s shipyard was along the west coast, that means the shipment of timber would have been up rivers, and log rafts do not float up rivers against the current, nor would sails add much headway to a log raft which would constantly be bucking the water against its prow. After all, timber on rivers is rarely moved up river, but always drifts down river.
    Fourth, Sorenson states: “Whatever its form, it could hardly have been a complex planked vessel at all resembling European ships.” Now this is really an interesting exclamation! Could hardly have been? What other type of vessel would an “exceedingly large ship” be? Let’s not be absurd with large dugout canoes or log rafts. Let’s remember that the Nephites were to “work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores” (2 Nephi 5:15), and built a temple like unto Solomon’s famed temple (2 Nephi 5:16); that built synagogues, temples and sanctuaries (Helaman 3:14); and wrote many books (Helaman 3:15). How is it that they could only manage dug-out canoes or log rafts?
    It also seems likely that several of the Nephites when young (many of the children of Sam, Nephi and Zoram), as well as Jacob and Joseph, saw the ship Nephi built, and sailed for weeks or months upon it; and later Nephites heard the stories of such a vessel. Would they not have built something similar, at least in design, technique and construction, even if not as big?
Top left: Medium sized dugout canoes, with a common width (of a tree) and a moderate length, for four to six people; Top Right: Longer dugout canoes, from longer tree lengths, though the width is about the same; Bottom: a large, ocean-going dugout canoe

By way of understanding, we cite one American Indian tribe known as the Quinault Nation of the Tulalip Group of Tribes, of the Hibulb Culture, who were well known for their canoes, that were more than the all-important transportation, but also a cultural icon of the people. To start with, the carving of a canoe from a single log, usually cedar, began with spiritual preparation—the carvers prepared themselves with fasting, prayers, and the sweat-lodge. It was not uncommon for the task of carving a large, ocean-going canoe to take two years. The work began with the choosing of a log, saying a prayer for the cedar and providing an offering given in thanks for its sacrifice. Then the log was hollowed with fire and adzes. Then, by filling the hollowed out log with hot water, the canoe makers could widen the canoe by forcing stout cross-pieces between the gunwales.
    The final stage in carving the canoe involved the use of hot rocks and water to steam-bend the sides outwards, which also drew the bow and stern upwards as well as adding strength to the vessel. For the large ocean-going canoes, the prow and stern decorative pieces were added last, then thwarts and seats were installed, and the exterior was finished. Finally, the canoe was given a name and made ready to begin its life on the water.
    It should also be kept in mind that dugout canoes are limited in size (around) to the size of a single tree, and limited in length to the length of a single tree. Log rafts can be as wide as logs tied together can be secured, and limited in thickness to the size of the logs.
At the same time, not only does it seem unlikely that Hagoth built such limited “ships” as dugout canoes or log rafts, it is far more likely that they built vessels, which Mormon states were “exceedingly large ships,” that had planked decks and similar to those of the later Europeans. In fact, they might well have been similar to the much later sloop and schooner, with narrower beams and shallow drafts enabling the ships to enter rivers and shallower coastal and shoal waters, and even coves, shallow channels and sounds, since all trading centers along the coasts might not have been sufficiently docked in the early era of the Nephites. 
    How refreshing it must have been for them to have sailed into the Quay at Puma Punku with its size and accommodations for a crew that had been weeks at sea and in dangerous waters and difficult docking routines in order to trade their goods to the main and smaller settlements along the coast.
(See the next post, “From Hagoth’s Shipyards to the Puma Punku Docks – Part III,” for more information on the place and role of the city complex that now lies in ruins atop the 12,500 foot high Andes Central cordillera just south of Lake Titicaca)

Thursday, September 20, 2018

From Hagoth’s Shipyards to the Puma Punku Docks – Part I

Prior to the destruction listed in 3 Nephi 8/9, the mountains in the Land of Promise had not yet risen to their full height, which “height was great” (Helaman 14:23), though there were mountains within the Land of Promise before that time. This is shown in the prophecy of Samuel the Lamanite when, before mountains rose to their lofty height, he prophesied “there shall be many mountains laid low,” (Helaman 14:23), which prophecy was also foretold by Nephi when he saw this destruction of the Land of Promise in a vision, he stated “I saw mountains tumbling into pieces, and the plains of the earth were broken up” (1 Nephi 12:4).
The Land of Promise, a land of valleys and mountains

Thus we can see that the Land of Promise was not a flat land, nor one of just low, rolling hills, but a land of mountains—obviously not overly high mountains, probably 8,000 to 10,000-feet, otherwise Nephi’s statement regarding mountains “tumbling into pieces,” would not make much sense. These mountains were also within the Narrow Strip of Wilderness that divided the Land of Zarahemla from the Land of Nephi, or at least the land was sufficiently elevated to have the head of the Sidon River within this area that then flowed northward because it “ran by the land of Zarahemla” (Alma 2:15), which was north of the narrow strip of wilderness (Alma 22:27).
    We also know that during the B.C. times, the Nephites were heavily involved in shipping and the building of ships. In fact, when timber was needed in the land of Desolation, the Nephites “did send forth much by the way of shipping” (Helaman 3:8). In addition, the Nephites were engaged in “shipping and building of ships” (Helaman 3:14). This is borne out by Mormon’s earlier comment regarding the man Hagoth, “being an exceedingly curious man, built him an exceedingly large ship,” and later “this man built other ships” (Alma 63:5,7).
    We also learn that Hagoth’s shipyard was along the west coast, “on the borders of the land Bountiful, by the land Desolation,” and that he “launched it forth into the West Sea” (Alma 63:5). Now the West Sea was an ocean, in fact Jacob tells us that it was the sea over which they sailed, when he taught during a conference in the Temple: “for the Lord has made the sea our path, and we are upon an isle of the sea” (2 Nephi 10:20).
    Since Hagoth was in the business of building very large ships, and not in sailing with them as far as is recorded in the scriptural record, it can be understood that he had a shipyard of some size, where he evidently worked on several ships, building others while the earlier ship(s) were under sail at sea (Alma 63:7).
Location of Hagoth’s Shipyard in the Jambeli Archipelago at the southern opening of the Narrow Neck of Land

It has already been discussed in earlier articles that Hagoth’s shipyard was likely in the Jambeli Archipelago at the south end of the Narrow Neck of Land (along the eastern coastal shore of the Gulf of Guayaquil), where the Thumbes mangroves, along the Jambeli Channel of the Gulf are found between Ecuador and Peru. This is where many rivers empty into the Pacific and the Gulf, creating a series of small to moderate islands of an archipelago within the mangrove forest along the coast. These mangroves fringe the Gulf of Guayaquil and the northwestern Pacific Coast of Peru near Tumbes, with the Gulf being the largest estuary ecosystem on South America's Pacific coast.
    This archipelago would have provided Hagoth with an ideal environment in which to build ships, dock them out of the tidal waters of coastal currents, where unlimited wood existed, and several inland rivers existed in which to test-float or sail the newly constructed ships. No doubt from this shipbuilding center, many Nephites must have been involved in purchasing boats and ships for the purpose of being involved in the occupation and industry of shipping.
    Some of Hagoth’s ships likely would have been river vessels, capable of sailing upriver from the coast inland as far as navigable, evidently in the endeavor of trade or delivery, such as the timber to the Land Northward. Others, no doubt, would have been smaller vessels or even small boats, the latter for coastal fishing, the former for deeper ocean fishing, since the Humboldt Current along the coast, extending outward several miles, would have been an ideal fishing ground as it is today.
    Certainly among these purchasers would have been an entrepreneur or two and even an explorer or two, interested in sailing around the island of the Land of Promise (2 Nephi 10:20), or up unexplored rivers to see what lay in the land’s interior. No doubt it was these that discovered ways to reach the lands to the north and perhaps other lands far to the north not connected to the Land of Promise, for all the immigrants that took ships to lands to the north and were never heard from again (Alma 63:5-8). That is, the Nephites did not know what happened to them because the ship did not return and the people either died at sea, or immigrated to another land beyond the Land of Promise, in which case, Mormon and others would not have known where they were.
Left: Red Circle: Nephites built several cities along the east coast in the last century BC; Tiahuanaco was undoubtedly built before the Nephites went to Zarahemla and evidently used extensively during that time. By the time of the 200 years of peace when there were no –ites among them (4 Nephi 1:17), though there would have been considerable business conducted among them as cities were rebuilt (4 Nephi 1:7) and “they had become exceedingly rich, because of their prosperity” (4 Nephi 1:23), Puma Punku and Tiwanaku would have been raised to its present 12,500-feet elevation and no longer a port

Obviously, with the building of several cities along the eastern coastal seashore in the last century or two BC, from Moroni, Lehi, Morianton, Nephihah in the south to Mulek and Gid in the north, shipping and trade would have been essential. In addition, the vast spread and extreme increase in new settlements in the Land Northward as the Nephites “did spread insomuch that they began to cover the face of the whole earth, from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east” (Helaman 3:8), shipping would have increased exponentially to keep up with this migration boom.
    No doubt in such shipping endeavors, involving migration, trade, shipping or exploration, ships would have need for some type of port on the Sea East to handle a large volume of ship that must have been sailing around the Land of Promise, since it was one of the occupations singled out no doubt as a result of the vast construction undertaken during this expansion (Helaman 3:14).
    In addition, there were cities along the west and east coasts of the Land Northward that no doubt would have drawn trade and shipping, as well as opening up new fishing fields within the seas around the island. Some ships, of course, would need to be permanently docked along the Sea East.
    In addition also, in the area of the Land of Promise in Andean Peru, an eastern port seems to have certainly been located along the cost of the Sea East before the cataclysm that raised the Andes during the crucifixion. From all the ruins that have been investigated and the opinions of archaeologists, this large port would have been the massive city complex of Tiwanaku, with its quays and wharfs that could handle hundreds of ships.
    At this point it might be noted that one could not have sailed from the west coast to the east coast in Mesoamerica. Having a shipyard on the west coast as was Hagoth’s (Alma 63:5) would have done little good for cities along the east coast in their model since there is no  open sea lanes from their west coast to their east coast, as has been pointed out in numerous earlier posts. In addition, one could not sail northward from their west coast at their narrow neck until they had sailed nearly one hundred miles westward, though Mormon clearly states that they did sail north from Hagoth’s shipyards (Alma 63:5).
At one time, during the Age of Man according to Charles Darwin who studied the Andes and determined the age when the uplift occurred and that the ancient Atlantic sea coasst was just beyond where the Andes now stand, with the Andean Shelf a long, narrow island surrounded by seas

Thus, we see that if the Nephites were heavily involved in ship building and shipping as Helaman/Mormon states, they their coastal lands would have needed to spread further than is found in either Mesoamerica or the Heartland/Great Lakes models of their Land of Promise.
(See the next post, “From Hagoth’s Shipyards to the Puma Punku Docks – Part II,” for more information on the place and role of the city complex that now lies in ruins atop the 12,500 foot high Andes Central cordillera just south of Lake Titicaca)

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Tiwanaku and Titicaca’s 4000-foot Leap – Part IV

Continued from the previous post, covering the massive, high-altitude Lake Titicaca and the adjacent ruins of Tiwanaku, and the value of ancient myths, legends, and traditions. In the last post, it was discussed how a questionable source provided information to the author Karl Brugger, and in The Chronicle of Akokar, outlined a history that has some semblance to the Book of Mormon storyline regarding the destruction in 3 Nephi; but also the counter-argument found in The Self Made Chief, suggesting the source was a fraud. Our concern with this is not in whether either source is correct or in error, but in the actual descriptions included in a so-called ancient record. After all, ancient legends are generally based on something.
Consequently, we feel it might be of interest to consider just one of the paragraphs of the Akakor Chronicle, or at least the alleged chief’s statement, and consider its possible meaning: 
• “In the year zero, 
    The Ugha Mongulala, tribe began their dating following the great cataclysm of destruction that occurred in their land. The Nephites began their dating since the arrival of the Savior, which occurred immediately following the catastrophe that struck the land at the time of the crucifixion. 
• “the Former Masters left, but before they left there was some kind of "War between the Gods."
    The wars between the Nephites and Lamanites that proceeded the destruction found in 3 Nephi.

This war was horrible and devastating

    The Lamanite-Nephites wars were so horrible and devastating that both Mormon and later Moroni refused to describe them because of their horrid effects.
• “Afterwards, the Former Masters left 
Slightly out of sequence, but the resurrected Lord, after spending a few remarkable and noteworthy days with the surviving Nephites, bid them farewell. 
• “a global catastrophe ensued. 
    The global incident was like the destruction that occurred in the Land of Promise, which was even worse in the Land Northward.
(Image A – The final Lamanite civil wars among the tribes spelled disaster for the Lamanites for a long, extended period according to Moroni, who recorded that there was no “end in sight” of the war 
• “The Ugha Mongulala and the surrounding tribes 
    After the destruction of the Nephites at Cumorah a long period of destruction among the Lamanites followed, with tribe against tribe. 
• “lapsed into 6,000 years of barbarism.” 
    The civil wars among the Lamanites was recorded by Moroni, who wrote: “the Lamanites are at war one with another; and the whole face of this land is one continual round of murder and bloodshed; and no one knoweth the end of the war” (Mormon 8:8).
    All of this is not to claim that this Ugha Mongulala tradition as Karl Brugger claimed to have recorded, means anything in connection with the Book of Mormon; however, like the legend of the Peruvian “four brothers,” it bears considerable similarity to the occurrences recorded in the scriptural record. One might wonder if such a legend existed, at least in part, among some native tribe(s) to suggest such a legend once existed among an ancient people in that region of South America. 
    After all, such an upswelling of mountains as as described in the scriptural record would certainly have been as violent as the Ugha Mongulala tradition, and such would never have been forgotten by the inhabitants of the time. Take, for example, the Washo Indians of California who say their ancestors witnessed the uplifting of the North American Sierras from the plains. Or that various other tribes of the Americas likewise recalling in their oral histories the memory of new mountains being raised and others flattened (Immanuel Velikovsky, Worlds in Collision, Doubleday & Co, New York, 1950, p102).
    Consequently, it is difficult to deny that such took place. Especially when we have seen this happen in our own lifetimes (providing you are over the age of 14). That is, in this modern era, land has elevated over 4000-feet in a matter of minutes. And to help satisfy skeptics of mountains rising in a short period of time, it should be noted that a subduction earthquake, with a Richter magnitude of 9.3, occurred on December 26, 2004, off the coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, at 7:59 a.m. local time. Extensive seismic damage to engineering infrastructure occurred in northern and north-western Sumatra.
In 2004, a large slippage took place at the junction of the India Plate and the Burma "Microplate" some 155-miles south-southeast of Banda Aceh in northernmost Sumatra, raising the sea floor about between 3955 and 3763 feet in about three minutes

The earthquake occurred due to the rupturing of the subduction zone between the Indian plate and the Burma microplate. The Indian plate had been moving northeast, subducting under the overriding Burma microplate. The focal point was at a depth of 18½ miles and the ruptured fault length was estimated to be 808 miles. The rupturing initiated near the south end and progressed towards north gradually, taking approximately 500 to 600 seconds.
    Vertical uplift reportedly ranged between 23 to 33 feet at the ocean floor, displacing a huge amount of water that led to the tsunami, which occurred as displaced massive volumes of water uplifted, with the effects being felt as far away as Somalia, Tanzania and Kenya along the east coast of Africa. The casualties were in excess of 310,000, and millions of people were affected, many losing their homes. Of lesser note, but important in its own right, was the fact that during the earthquake, the sea bottom in the Straits of Malacca uplifted almost 4,000 feet in only about 3 minutes.  
    The US-based National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, which analyzes spy satellite imagery and produces maps and charts for the Defense Department, was reported to have received information that one area of the Straits of Malacca, which separates Malaysia from the Indonesian island of Sumatra had its depth cut from 4,060 feet to 105 feet. In another affected area, a merchant marine ship logged that the depth was cut from 3,855 feet to just 92 feet. (Star newspaper, Kuala Lumpur, January. 13, 2005, quoting a report in the shipping journal Portsworld). The US Navy reportedly sent two ships to re-chart the waters. Sonar images from British navy ship HMS Scott showed the massive uplift of a large area 6 ½ miles wide and up to 4,921 feet higher. That is, both U.S. Navy, U.K. Navy, the Defense Department and Intelligence Agency all reported a rise of the sea floor upward almost 5000 feet (nearly one mile).
    Obviously, land can rise or sink quickly, even in our day. It does not require a very slow period covering millions of years as geologists and scientist claim, and have inclusively brought into the public conscience over the past century and a half. However, though time frames are stated in different terms, it is known today that “the chemical signatures in shale, the Earth's most common sedimentary rock, point to an ancient rapid rise of land above the ocean.” According to Ilya Binderman, a geologist at the University of Oregon: “Researchers read the chemical history in rocks [and] the emergence of the new land happened abruptly, in parallel with large-scale changes in mantle dynamics.” While some mountain building took place early, she states that the final heights we find today were caused suddenly: “the emergence of the new land happened abruptly, in parallel with the large-scale changes in mantle dynamics” Ilya N. Bindeman, et al., “Rapid emergence of subaerial landmasses,Nature, May 2018; Vol.557, No.7706, Springer, UK, p545).
It might be of note that a new island is rising out of the sea along the outer banks of North Carolina, just off the Cape Point near Hatteras. Nicknamed “Shelly Island” because of the abundance of seashells that have been surfacing on the new landmass, the island is about a mile long and 300 m across, though it is growing. According to Mark Dowdle, the deputy superintendent of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore which oversees North Carolina’s barrier islands, says that “the island is still a mystery to the oceanographers who protect and preserve this part of the NC coast” (Brett Tingley, Natural World News, June 30, 2017).
    However they're birthed and however long they last, island-building is part of the amazing mystery of our living, breathing planet. In fact, new islands are being born all the time via a variety of natural processes as the Earth continues to create new islands. Ten of the most recent new islands are: Hunga Tonga, 2014, Tonga; Sholan and Jadid Islands, 2011, Red Sea between Africa and Yemen; Nichinoshima, 2013, south of Tokyo; Salzala Koh, 2013, Pakistan; Home Reef, 2006, Fiji; Norderoogsand, 2003, North Sea off coast of Germany; Tugtuligssup Sarqardlerssuua, 2014, Greenland; Kavachi, 2002, Solomon Islands (now sunk to just below the surface); Pinto Lake , 2016, Watson, California; Loihi Seamount, an underwater volcano whose eruptions are building up a rising island at a tenth of a foot per year.
    While none of these are giant risings (at least above the surface), they do show that land is continually rising somewhere in the world. That the land now known as the Brazilian Amazon Basin rose about 2000 years ago at the time of the crucifixion, should not be startling to anyone.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Tiwanaku and Titicaca’s 4000-foot Leap – Part III

Continued from the previous post, covering the massive, high-altitude Lake Titicaca and the adjacent ruins of a once-thriving city complex where about 40,000 inhabitants lived in what was one of the largest native American civilizations in documented history, called Tiwanaku. The problem is, at it present height of 12,500 feet, it is far to high in elevation to have supported such colossal numbers where corn won’t grow and few food supplemental crops will bloom.
    Consequently, here we are confronted with a colossal mystery—traces of a huge city lie at the southern side of the lake. In the fifteenth century, Spanish conquistador Pedro Cieza de León reported his astonishment at seeing ancient gateways hewn from solid stone 30 feet long and 15 feet high and pivoting. These ruins of Tiahuanaco, in Bolivia, are extensive. It is obvious that a great city once existed here. But at 13,000-feet, maize (corn) will not bear fruit—yet, endless agricultural terraces, now abandoned, rise as high as 18,400 feet above sea level, and continue up under the snow to some unidentified altitude. Such an abundance of cornfields must have supported a huge population.  The region is too high and too barren to do this now.
    There seems no question that the site of Tiahuanaco, or Tiwanaku. was once lower in elevation, since if the Andes were some 5000-feet, or even 4000-feet lower, maize would ripen around Lake Titicaca and the city of Tiwanaku could support the large population for which it was evidently built.
Artist’s rendition of the seaport city of Puma Punku on the outskirts of Tiahuanaco based on the ruins now extant
In addition, Tiwanaku was built as a sea port with a huge ocean quay, with docks and harbors—the ruins of which are easily seen today. This obviously suggest, that when the city was built, it was some 12,500-feet lower, at sea level. Not fully understood until recently, in 1995 new archaeological discoveries clearly showed it was once not only a bustling metropolis, but also the capital of an ancient empire extending across large portions of eastern and southern Bolivia, north-western Argentina, northern Chile and Peru
One of the several quays with numerous wharfs for ships that lies twisted and broken on the outskirts of the city complex of Tiahuanaco

The remains near the stadium of Tiwanaku show five distinct landing places, harbors with moles and a canal which heads inland. The docks are vast—and one of the wharfs is big enough to take hundreds of ships. It is also important to realize that the docks fact in the opposite direction from the lake, an the mooring rings on the stone piers were so large that they could only have been used by ocean-sized vessels, not smaller vessels meant to sail on a lake.
    Today, as we look at these ruins, 200 miles from the sea, it is hard to understand why such a quay with docks and wharfs for large ships was even built. Until one realizes this harbor and city were built at sea level when the eastern region of this vast area was underwater prior to the rising of the Andes Mountains. Understanding that this harbor and city were thrust about two miles into the sky, we can easily see that it had to have been from the upthrust of the Andes to their present lofty height.
    As these mountains rose, they trapped part of the bay or sea between some of their rising peaks, lifting what is now called a lake high into the air with the city and harbor. The force of the upthrust toppled all the buildings, broke up the harbor, and left nothing but huge, multi-ton stones hurled abut like wooden child’s blocks.
Everywhere one looks around the area of Tiwanaku and Pumapunku, one finds the toppled stones of ancient buildings, walls and temples, many of which weigh several tons
Certainly, this upthrust did not take place over long-drawn out periods of time, since the watermarks on the cliffs are seen in only a few intermediate surf lines showing that the elevation could not have proceeded little by little. The explorer Colonel Percy Fawcett, who travelled this region early last century, spending ten years in the Amazonian and forested Andes, was persuaded by the evidence that Tiwanaku had been destroyed by a terrible seismic upheavals which accompanied the raising of the Andes to their present height (Percy Harrison Fawcett, Exploration Fawcett, “The Travel Diaries and Notes of Colonel P.H. Fawcett,” Hutchinson, London, 1953).
    There is some evidence that the monoliths of the city were not entirely finished when the catastrophe struck and suddenly raised the whole city and lake 12,500 feet. Cast-down builders’ tools were found in the ruins when the Spaniards came upon the place in the 16th century.  The heaps of blocks of dressed and masoned stone bear evidence of sudden abandonment as though discarded by men taken by surprise and fleeing for their lives.
    After the disaster, the populace lay buried in gullies that had become mass graves, covered by silt. Fragments of skeletons, both of animals and men, lay scattered among the ruins.  Jewels, pottery and tools were found mixed in utmost confusion. This massive uplifting exposed or raised the continental shelf which is now the desert lowlands of Peru and northern Chile.
    It is of interest to know that today the least known and unexplored areas of the great Amazon Basin, which is about the size of the continental United States, is located on the borders of Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Columbia, Venezuela and the Guianas. Now tradition, legends and myths handed down from generation to generation by illiterate natives do not always state the bare truth, but sometimes evidence of fact can be discerned. One such legend, or tradition regarding this ancient land in an ancient time is that of the Ugha Mongulala tribe of the western Amazon jungle, as told in 1972 to the German journalist, Karl Bruggar, who met an Indian chieftan named Tatunca Nara in the Amazon.
    Brugger tape recorded the interview with the chief, which included the tale of his tribe, the Ugha Mongulala, who claimed their story was recorded in their Guechua language in a codex called the Akakor Chronicles, and begins at the year zero, which it is claimed corresponds to the year 10,481 BC on the Gregorian calendar. The statement made by Tatunca Nara claimed that in the beginning (he stated in the year “zero”), the state of the entire region all about was “still flat and soft like a lamb’s back, the Great River still flowed on either side.” But then came a cataclysm: “The Great River was rent by a new mountain range and now the river flowed swiftly toward the East.” In addition, “...glimmering golden ships appeared in the sky. Enormous blasts of fire illuminated the plain. The earth shook and thunder echoed over the hills." He went on to claim that the people who visited them looked like humans with fine features—white skin, bluish-black hair and thick beards. "They (the Ugha Mongulala tribe) had no tools as they did, which could suspend the heaviest stones, fling lightning, and melt rocks.”
Red Circle: The isolated headwaters of the 1000-mile long Purus River rises and quickly divides into numerous branches that emerge in southern Ucayali, Peru, along the eastern foothills of the Andes northeast of Cuzco and generally flows northeasterly through the rainforests of Peru and into the Amazon upriver from Manaus along the Solimōes River

The tribal chief also stated that in their history it was written that: “Akakor was built up the Purus River in a valley of mountains between Brazil and Peru, and that the ancient Fathers also erected three sacred temple complexes: Salazere, on the upper reaches of the Great River, Tiahuanaco, on the Great Lake, and Manoa, on the high plain in the south." A giant pyramid was erected in the center of these sacred temple complexes and a broad stairway led up to the platform where ceremonies were conducted” (Karl Brugger, The Chronicle of Akakor, Delacorte Press, New York, 1977)
    It might be of interest to know that Tiahuanaco is the only place named that is known today and does indeed have a pyramid located in its center and the remnants of a broad staircase.
    In the year of what became known as the First Catastrophe, the course of the rivers was altered, and the elevation of the mountains and the strength of the sun changed.” During this time, "the lands were flooded. The waters of the Great Lake flowed back into the oceans. The Great River was interrupted by a new mountain range and now flowed swiftly toward the east to the Sea. Enormous forest grew on its banks. A humid heat spread over the easterly regions. In the west, where giant mountains had surged up, people froze in the bitter cold of the higher altitudes..."
    After this First Catastrophe, the empire was set in ruins. Many of the passages that linked the borders of the empire were blocked; the mysterious light that illuminated the subterranean dwellings was extinguished; the twenty-six cities were destroyed by a tremendous flood; and "the sacred temple precincts of Salazere, Tiahunanaco, and Manoa lay in ruins, destroyed by the terrible fury" (Karl Brugger, The Chronicle of Akakor, Delacorte Press, New York, 1977).
    It should be noted that Akakor was declared a fictional being by a German writer named Rüdiger Nehberg, who reportedly found no evidence to suggest the tribe or the city was real, and claimed that Nara was actually from Germany and his real name was Hansi Hauck. According to Nehberg's book, The Self Made Chief, Hauck had left Germany in 1966 and had formed an entirely new fictitious life for himself. On the other hand, it might also be of interest to consider just one of the paragraphs of the Akakor Chronicle, or at least Nara’s statement, and consider its possible meaning:
(See the next post, “Tiwanaku and Titicaca’s 4000-foot Leap – Part IV,” for more on the lake that sits astride the Peruvian-Bolivian border and located just north of the ancient city of Tiwanaku, and the value of ancient myths, legends, and traditions)