Saturday, April 19, 2014

More Comments from Readers – Part XX

Here are more comments, questions and criticisms that have been sent in from readers of our blog, along with our responses.  
    Comments #1: ”What's wrong with saying: Here is what we have found so far, as opposed to: this is how it is? Why do the people whom we trust to inform us feel a need to teach us WHAT to think instead of HOW to think?”  Justin
    Response: Your comment was in regard to some articles written on DNA. I’m not sure whether your comment is directed toward those in science who feel they have checked mtDNA back an Eve, or to our writing in opposition to that. As for our writing, it is never our intention to try and tell you how to think, feel or believe. Each person has the Agency to do that on their own. Our writing is meant to provide additional information, generally from the Book of Mormon point of view, for the reader to make up their own mind. As for science, it would appear that people want us to believe certain ways that are far from provable (See the book Scientific Fallacies & Other Myths)
    Comment #2: Pretty good post. I found your website perfect for my needs. Thanks for sharing the great ideas” Leslie L.
    Response: Always nice to know. Thank you.

Comment #3: “I am looking forward to the day when the large plates become available to the world. The only thing I wonder is if when they become available.. the people who really need to see that the Book of Mormon is indeed a true record.. those people will be dead. I believe it will come "after" the cleansing of the wicked from the earth. And when those plates are given.. it will be for the faithful and a physical confirmation of their faith. At least.. that is what I think” Mr. Nirom
    Response: You might well be correct. At least, the Lord waited until all the children of Israel who feared to enter Canaan, had died off except for Caleb and Joshua, before sending them in to conquer their land.
    It might also be of interest to know that we not only have the Large Plates of Nephi, we do not have the Small Plates of Nephi. What we have is Mormon’s abridgement of the Small Plates, which, as I understand it, is a separate record entirely (see above). He abridged the Large Plates and, after doing so, found the Small Plates, and included them in or with his record (Words of Mormon 1:3-7).
    Comment #4: “Your Posts are so awesome. Is there any chance that Bountiful could be in Central America?” Val S.
Response: Not the two Bountifuls mentioned in the Book of Mormon. One was in the coastal area of what is called today the Sultanate of Oman along the Arabian Peninsula, and the other was in the area of northern Peru around the border of Ecuador (see the book Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica for a full explanation of that location). Central America, including Mesoamerica, would have been the location of the emigrants sailing northward in Haggoth’s ships (Alma 63:6-7).
    Comment #5: “Is the exact location of the narrow pass where Huayna Capac won his battle known today?” George W.
    Response: I have read Pedro de Cieza Leon’s translated account of this and it does not give sufficient information for location. He was, after all, a soldier, repeating the stories he had heard during his wars in the area from 1536 to 1548, and when he finally reached Lima and began his writing career. His works, however, are considered important because of his detailed descriptions of geography, ethnography, flora and fauna—he was the first European to describe some native Peruvian animal species and vegetables. The first part of his Chronicles of Peru (Primera Parte) was not published until 1553, two years after he returned to Seville, Spain. He died the following year and his other three volumes did not see publication until translated by Sir Clements Markham in 1871, who was an English geographer, explorer, and writer.
The personal experiences of Markham (left) in Peru were limited to travel between Cuzco and Lima in 1852-1853, and again in 1859-1861 when he spent his time involved in the collection of cinchona plants and seeds during a war between Bolivia and Peru. He later spent much time in India, both with the cinchona plantations he developed there and involved in the British attack on Magdala, and later still in his voyages to the Arctic. In between these adventures, in 1871, Markham translated de Cieza Leon’s other three volumes. How much he actually knew about what he translated is unknown, but his interest in Peru seems to have been to steal cinchona seeds and plants out of the Andes for commercial purposes.
    It was Markham who translated Leon’s The War of Las Salinas, The War of Quito, The War of Chupas, while Harriet de Onis translated The Incas of Pedro de Cieza de Leon, and Alexandra Parma Cook and Noble David Cook, who edited and translated The Discovery and Conquest of Peru.
Top: Looking eastward from the coast over the 26 mile stretch. Note the hills to the right foreground and the tall, steep Andes in the background; Middle Left: The Andes rise high and steep; Middle Right: There are “passes” through this area; Bottom: More passes flanked by the mountains to the east 
    As to this pass, the area between Guayaquil Bay and the Andes east of Port Balao is rather narrow, about 26 miles wide, and a little longer in length. It is a level to hilly area sandwiched between the water and steep mountains, with several Canyons or passes today. There seems no way to determine from Leon’s writings, which pass Huayna Capac brought his army to quell the rebellion. It might be that in Leon’s time it was so obvious, that he did not bother describing it; however, we will never know.
    Comment #6: “It surprises me that no one seems to understand that the narrow neck is not necessarily an isthmus but a mountain pass through the narrow wilderness (mountain range) that runs east and west separating the land of Nephi from the land of Zarahemla” Don
Response: It is called an Isthmus today for two reasons: 1) Mesoamericanists first began using that term to support their view of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec as their narrow neck of land, and 2) because Mormon tells us it ran between the East Sea and the West Sea (Alma 50:34). In addition, Mormon called it a small “neck” (Alma 22:32) and “narrow neck” (Alma 63:5) as did Ether (Ether 10:11). The point is, the “neck” ran north and south, connecting the separated Land Northward from the Land Southward (Alma 22:32; 63:5), thus the land on the northward was called Desolation and the land on the southward was called bountiful (Alma 22:31).
Comment #7: “And I Mormon do not write but a hundredth part. Just because it's not recorded doesn't mean the possibilities of other things. It's not black and white. I bet my bottom dollar a believer in Christ besides Moroni was overlooked”
    Response: First of all, Moroni says that “because of their hatred they put to death every Nephite that will not deny the Christ” (Moroni 1:2) and also “And now it came to pass that after the great and tremendous battle at Cumorah, behold, the Nephites who had escaped into the country southward were hunted by the Lamanites, until they were all destroyed” (Mormon 8:2). Since Moroni said “I wander whithersoever I can for the safety of mine own life” (Moroni 1:3), it would seem likely that he was not able to go and see what happened to the Nephites, nor would he have been able to ask the Lamanites, etc. And since there was a civil war between the Lamanites “and the whole face of this land is one continual round of murder and bloodshed; and no one know the end of the war” (Mormon 8:8), and some thirty years later, “the wars are exceedingly fierce among themselves” (Moroni 1:2), it is not likely he was in any proximity to them to have overheard such a boast.
Therefore, one can only conclude that the Spirit told him this information, and what did the Spirit tell him? Moroni says: “and I even remain alone to write the sad tale of the destruction of my people. But behold, they are gone” (Mormon 8:3), and “The Lamanites have hunted my people, the Nephites, down from city to city and from place to place, even until they are no more” (Mormon 8:7).
    As far as I am concerned, the Spirit told Moroni and he told us. He was the lone survivor. So, from my point of view, it is black and white, and you would lose your bottom dollar—which is what comes of gambling anyway.

Friday, April 18, 2014

More Comments from Readers – Part XIX

Here are more comments, questions and criticisms that have been sent in from readers of our blog, along with our responses.  
   Comment #1: “Hi, Del. I have been reading your posts for sometime and wondering if you could share anymore about Chan Chan. I noticed at least one article that mentions it as being in the Nephite territory and its massive walls were a great example of the fortifications needed to protect the Nephites from invasion, but do you have any ideas or care to speculate what city it may have been? It is said to be the largest pre-Colombian ruins in all of South America. I would love to hear your perspective” Val S.
There are numerous ancient ruins in this area. This is Caral, considered the major complex of allthese ruins around Trujillo. Note in the top photo, lower left, the size of people. The ruins are massive
Chan Chan is a unique structure in this area. Note the extremely tall, highly decorated walls. In the bottom photo, not another complex in the background as it rises far above the surrounding area
    Response: Chan Chan is an ancient pyramid complex built near Caral in the Trujilo Valley along a desert strip about 20 to 100 miles wide that runs between the Pacific Ocean and the western slopes of the Andes, and criss-crossed by short rivers which start in the rainier mountains and provide a series of green and fertile areas. The city includes ten walled cuidadelas (citadels) surrounded by 50 to 60-foot high walls, spanning a distance of about 12 square miles—by comparison medieval London covered only 1.12 square miles, and the Old City of Jerusalem, 100 A.D., was 0.35 square mile.
It is interesting that its tallest walls surrounding these fortresses are on the south and west sides of the city, which would have been facing toward the movement northward of the Lamanite armies—the only entrance to the citadels is from the north. These walls are adobe brick covered with a smooth surface into which intricate designs are carved, such as crabs, turtles, nets for catching sea monsters, birds, fish and small mammals. Such carvings at times have been depicted as talisman meant to protect from, or frighten away, an enemy. If you have not seen it, it is worth the trip; however, keep in mind that tour guides there ignore the fortress and defensive properties of this site and try to convince tourists of its peaceful and social history.
Its location would place it along the coast somewhere between the city of Zarahemla and the city of Bountiful. The area with these massive cities grouped together might suggest the northern Capitol of Bountiful, but it is too far south, and seems to be located in the area that is referred to by Mormon as the unnamed land that borders Bountiful (Helaman 4:5; 3; Nephi 3:23). Unfortunately, not much is recorded in the scriptural record of this west coast area north of Zarahemla, and no name is given to this land that lay between the land of Zarahemla and the land of Bountiful.
Comment #2: I think there is a lot to the idea that Sherem was an early Mulekite contact” Mike J.
    Response: The following is abridged and reprinted from a series of articles on Sherem that appeared here in these posts in May of 2010. “As stated in our last post (“Another Look at Numbers,” May 8, 2010), by the time Jacob begins his record, it was 55 years after Lehi left Jerusalem (Jacob 1:7), Nephi was about 80 and there were four Nephite tribes: Nephites, Jacobites, Josephites, and Zoramites, along with three Lamanite tribes: Lamanites, Lemuelites and Ishmaelites (Jacob 1:13). Altogether, there would have been over 200 Nephites and maybe as many as 250 or more Lamanites.
    “When Nephi dies (Jacob 1:12), he is replaced by a king, who, in turn, is replaced by the second king, during which time the people began to be hard-hearted and indulged in wicked practices, such as desiring many wives and concubines (Jacob 1:15), and hunted gold and silver and were lifted up in pride (Jacob 1:16). Consequently, in the second generation after Nephi, during the reign of the second king, there would have been between 400 and 500 Nephites (four generations from Lehi—Jacob was actually by age, a second generation from Lehi).
    “At this time, the Nephites were about the size of a large Ward in the U.S. in our day. Are there members in your Ward (or small community area that you don’t know? Or want to avoid? Or not get into a lengthy discussion with?
    “Many claim that Sherem was not a Nephite for “he came among them” and because “he had a perfect knowledge of the language of the people” (Jacob 7:4), and that “he sought much opportunity that he might come unto” Jacob (Jacob 7:3). Yet, none of this suggests he was not a Nephite. As an example: 1) "came among them," might mean nothing more than Sherem at that time decided to go among the Nephites and try to pervert their belief in God (which he did with many); 2) "had a perfect knowledge of the language," merely means that he could present his perverted message with convincing clarity; 3) "much opportunity to see Jacob," he tried unsuccessfully to get an audience with the king. Obviously, in a community of some 400 to 500 people, with some of these Nephites living in outlying areas or separate villages, “coming among “ Jacob’s people would not denote a non-Nephite, nor would having “a perfect knowledge” of the language of the people mean anything other than he spoke fluently, and with “much flattery” and with “much power of speech.” He was, in fact, a con man whose soul purpose was to “lead away much of the people that they pervert the right way of God and keep not the law of Moses” (Jacob 7:7).
    “When I was growing up, living in the same house and community for many years, there was a man who lived in the middle of the block, his house set back off the street much further than the others, with an imposing fence around it. None of my friends nor I knew anything about him, had never seen him, yet we all thought him strange and one to be avoided, which we did with extreme care.
    “When I was in the mission field in the bible belt of Oklahoma, there were people who constantly wanted to have an argument and confrontation with LDS people who chanced their way. They were a very contentious and belligerent sort, who were quick to judge and dismiss all evidence for other beliefs but did not hold their own standards to their beliefs. They took great delight in belligerently shouting other ideas down. After a while, there were some you simply avoided and made sure you did not cross their path.
Perhaps when Sherem “came among them,” Jacob was not interested in debating religion with him and was not willing to meet with him and his apostate ideas; however, after Sherem had an impact on several Nephites’ beliefs, Jacob agreed to meet with him
    “If I had been Jacob, I can see where I would have avoided Sherem as much as possible. It is not strange for such a happening, at least not to me. Finally, though, when you are the leader, you have to take the bull by the horns and stand up to the satanic attacks one levels at you and testify of the truth. This Jacob finally did (Jacob 7:8). It is always amazing that from such normal happenings, the so-called learned can find fodder to support their outlandish ideas that run contrary to the scriptural record.
    If Sherem was a Mulekite, there is absolutely no evidence to suggest such. Just because he was a heretic, and guided by Satan, does not mean he was not a Nephite. The scriptural record is full of Nephites who defected over to the enemy, and who sought to destroy the Nephite nation.
    Comment #3: “Ammoron himself claims to be a descendant of Zoram: Alma 54:23-24 'I am Ammoron, and a descendant of Zoram, whom your fathers pressed and brought out of Jerusalem. And behold now, I am a bold Lamanite; behold, this war hath been waged to avenge their wrongs, and to maintain and to obtain their rights to the government; and I close my epistle to Moroni.' How can you say he was a Nephite?” Mike J.
Response: We have what appears at first glance an interesting conflict of information when Ammoron refers to himself as a descendant of Zoram, who Nephi led out of the city of Jerusalem and ended up joining the Lehi colony in their journey to the Land of Promise. So let us examine the overall information. First of all, Ammoron’s brother was Amalickiah (Alma 52:3), who was a Nephite by birth (Alma 49:25) both of whom were Nephite defectors who joined the Lamanites and both became king over the Lamanites (Alma 48:2; 52:3). Now, if Amalickiah was a Nephite by birth, then his brother, Ammoran, would also be a Nephite by birth. Thus both men were Nephites, not Zoramites. It should be kept in mind here that while Sam’s posterity were joined with Nephi’s (2 Nephi 4:11), and not ever mentioned separately afterward, as also were the Mulekites at the time of king Mosiah (Mosiah 25:13), Zoram’s posterity were always mentioned separately when a breakdown of the Nephites was given (Jacob 1:13; 4 Nephi 1:36; Mormon 1:8).
    Now, since I always take the scriptural record as being 100% accurate, then we are faced with looking elsewhere for an answer. And that lies in the assumption that Ammoron was lying when he wrote to Moroni in an attempt to create and justify a cause for his attacks. Ammoron refers to himself as both a Zoramite and a Lamanite, when in reality he was a Nephite defector. Moroni, angry at Ammoron for his lying, knew very well “that Ammoron had a perfect knowledge of his fraud” and Moroni also knew that “Ammoron knew that it was not a just cause that had caused him to wage a war against the people of Nephi” (Alma 55:1). Keep in mind that Ammoron and his brother, Amalickiah, were both liars from the beginning (Alma 47:30, 35; 48:7; 55:1).

Thursday, April 17, 2014

More Comments from Readers – Part XVIII

Here are more comments, questions and criticisms that have been sent in from readers of our blog, along with our responses.  
    Comment #1: “Your post on The Book of Abraham and the Facsimile Image-Part IV, was very good” Bumbu P B
    Response: I’m glad you enjoyed it. And thank you for the suggestions of more info on the subject.
    Comment #2: “Did you not read the next page of that pretend article about Lehi where the anti-Mormon author said he made up the whole thing to mock Mormon's? There is no need for rebuttal, just a need to warn people” Thomas W.
Response: My grateful thanks to you. I wrote those articles for three reasons, one to send to Richard Packham (left), who wrote the article under the name of L. Dwayne Samuelson, and who, by the way, left the LDS Church in 1958 when he was 25 years old, and later founded the Exmormon Foundation (2001); and also to show how any erroneous information about the Book of Mormon Land of Promise can easily be rebutted, whether spoof, real, or otherwise, and finally as a point to Mesoamericanists, such as John L. Sorenson, who believes Lehi actually traveled across the Pacific somewhat in this manner, as does George Potter.
    When the first five articles were finished, they were forwarded to Packham’s website. My final article on “Was this Lehi's Route Across the Pacific? – Part VI” was then set aside awaiting a reply—which, unfortunately, never came. In the meantime, with Christmas and the holidays, etc., I forgot all about it even afterward because of the amount of mail we get and questions asked, each new request supplanting the older ones. Not until I was checking my comments page on the website for any really old responses I had missed, which I do occasionally, and found your pointed reply—more than a year later!
    So with egg on my face, let me answer your comment with a condensed version of that long overdue post:
    “In the past five posts, we have taken a moment to show that such folly as Lehi crossing the Pacific and there being any proof left along the way is not only idle speculation, but so improbable as to not warrant a comment. However, as one will find in this wild world of theorists, there is always a wild idea that ignores completely the scriptural record and, in this case, ocean currents and winds that drive them. Some are so wild and far out, that it occasionally catches people’s imagination, even one as dumb as this one.
The red line is the island-hopping path across the Pacific many Theorists attribute to the Lehi voyage. However, as can be seen, the winds and currents (yellow lines) run contrary to that path, keeping any ship “driven forth before the wind” from taking any similar path
Lehi’s actual course, consistent with winds and currents, is shown in red. After sailing with the winds and currents away from Arabia and across the Arabian Sea, their ship picked up the western edge of the Indian Ocean Gyre, swining it southeast and into the wind of the Prevailing Westerlies and the West Wind Drift Current, a fast-moving circumpolar current that circles the globe. Upon reaching the South American shelf, the northern edge of this current is pushed northward along the coast in the Humboldt (Peruvian) Current to where the winds and currents die down around the 30º south latitude and a landing could be achieved
    “Yet, Lehi did cross an ocean to get to the Land of Promise. John L. Sorenson paid little attention to how Lehi crossed the Pacific, but George Potter was quite specific, using nearly Packham’s exact course to take Lehi to South America. So where did Lehi cross?
    “L. Dwayne Samuelson suggested island-hopping across the southern Pacific Ocean. But who is Samuelson? What research did he do? How much does he really know? Did anyone reading his article look him up? Shame on you if you did not.
    “Why, L. Dwayne Samuelson is none other than a Book of anti-Mormon and LDS critic, making fun of Mormons and their many attempts to show proof of the Book of Mormon. In his own words, he states: “The article "Lehi In the Pacific" is pure bunk. I happen to know this, because I wrote it. I made it up. There is no such person as L. Dwayne Samuelson. If there is, I apologize to him for using his name. I wrote the article in about four hours, using nothing but maps of southeast Asia and the Pacific and a good dictionary of biblical Hebrew.
    “My purpose was to show how easy it is to construct ‘evidence’ for the Book of Mormon from superficial similarities in words and names, such as Mormon apologists continue to do. I submit that my phony correspondences between various names in my article are just as convincing and just as valid as those proposed by the scholars at FARMS and BYU. Knowing that my article is a spoof, I am sure they would find many valid objections to my methodology and my evidence. But their (valid) objections to my "evidences" are the same objections any scholar would justifiably raise against their claims about ‘Nehem’ and the ‘people of Lihy.’
    “Do the ‘amazing similarities’ I present in my article prove that the Book of Mormon is true? Of course not! The Book of Mormon is still a fictional work of the 19th century. It is not history. I have no doubt, however, that some Mormons reading this article will accept it as genuine proof that the Book of Mormon is historical.”
    So Packham tried to pull the wool over our eyes!
    Of course, anyone, and I mean anyone, who accepted such ridiculous reasoning as was used in Packham/Samuelson’s article as reality and proof of any kind of Lehi’s voyage, is simply both ignorant of the scriptural record, and the facts surrounding Nephi’s 2500-year-old journey.
    I reprinted the article and responded to each point to show two things: 1) Any inaccurate description of Book of Mormon events are easily recognized, and 2) they are easily explained and countered. I also wrote the articles to help any who might have been swayed by the ideas and “facts” presented to show that they would not stand up to even the most cursory reading, let alone a serious examination—as do all such ideas not founded upon the scriptural record as it was written and translated.
And so it is with all theories about the Book of Mormon Land of Promise that stray from the scriptural record. While I am an historian, researcher and writer, I am also a very big supporter of truth and the Book of Mormon, and of all those who engraved the plates that Joseph Smith accurately translated. One can stand by every word found on those pages, for the content and meaning make up the most accurate book ever written.
    We do not need to go outside those pages to try and prove anything about the writings or Mormon’s descriptions. They stand on their own. If someone doesn’t think so, then they need to do more reading, more research and increase their knowledge and understanding. Sooner or later, all that Mormon abridged will stand upon their own merits. When Mormon said they had horses, then know they had horses, even when no remains of such had ever been found. Sooner or later. Then, when the time is right, the Lord allows additional information to come forth and, lo and behold, horse remains are found in the Americas, specifically in Andean South America, along with elephants, etc.
    It is not the Book of Mormon that is on trial here. It is those who read it. May I in all honesty and fervor testify to you that every word in that book is the Word of God as it was written in the time of the Nephites and has come forth in our day.
    Comment #3: “Hi Del ~ I have been a fan of your blog for a couple years and recently went to Peru as part of a humanitarian trip and as part of that was able to visit some of the sites. I'm already looking forward to another trip where I can really spend time there. Anyway, after the trip my folks are now interested in going to Peru and I told them they should see if you are planning a trip anytime soon. Not sure if you do group tours, but if so they would be interested in visiting with you about a trip together to have you tell them about the sites rather than some other "typical" guide. Do you do this? Would you consider doing this?” Darryl B.
    Response: Thank you for your confidence and interest. However, I have never taken groups to, or been a guide for people in, South America, it is not among the things I want to accomplish in my work with the Book of Mormon Land of Promise. I don’t object to those who do, however, making commercializing my work would lessen the importance I attach to the Book of Mormon. Besides, at my age now, I couldn’t get a third of the way up Machu Picchu  :)
    Comment #4: “Pretty good post. I found your website perfect for my needs. Thanks for sharing these great ideas” Leslie L.
    Response: Always nice to know. Thank you.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

More Comments from Readers – Part XVII

Here are more comments, questions and criticisms that have been sent in from readers of our blog, along with our responses. 
    Comment #1: ”Have any mammoth or elephant bones, fossils been found in south Americas?” Tracy E.
While scientists claim the mastodon elephant arrived in America during the Miocene epoch, multiplied astonishingly, and then became extinct in 4500 B.C., a far more recent date has been given. According to the Victoria Institute, an 1886 article claims that near Concordia, Columbia, a complete skeleton of a mastodon was found in an artificial salt pond, which had been constructed by Indians. The pond, with its bottom of paved stones together with the animal, had been entombed by a sudden landslide.
    In 1929, the skeleton of a mastodon was found in Ecuador that had been killed by Indians. A circle of fires had been built around the body for convenient roasting of the flesh. A landslide covered the site, which also included broken painted pottery and artifacts, which archaeologists have dated to the beginning of the Christian era. Dr. Nicholas Leon, archaeologist of the National Museum of Mexico, has written about elephant remains found 500 miles north of Mexico City in Paredon, state of Coahuila, which was suddenly destroyed. Many human skeletons mingled elephants remains, including elephant tusks with silver rings on them, have been found. Actually, the list goes on. Elephant remains, bones, tusks, etc., dated to the time of human activity, some in the last and first centuries BC and AD, some even later have been found in the Americas, specifically in South America.
    Comment #2: “Nice site” Shaun T.
    Response: Thank you. Stick around, we post new articles every day.
    Comment #3: “Isn’t it interesting that the Jews have always been welcome in peaceful countries, and expelled or killed in evil or dictatorial countries” Burton T.
The Jews were expelled from much of Europe during the 12th Century thru the 16th Century
    Response: Not so. The Jews were forbidden by law to live in first in France in 1182 A.D., then in England from 1290 A.D. and into the 17th century. Under the Edict of Expulsion issued in 1290 A.D. by Edward I. In the nearly two centuries before that, Jews from Italy, Spain and Russia, and from French-speaking lands, flooded into England. They built 'the great Synagogue' just a short walk from the Tower of London. This was an error for which many Jews paid later, on their short walk to the Tower for their execution. According to the Chronica Majora, The Synagogue was used not only for religious ceremony but also to 'invite' claims against Christian debtors, effecting a settlement of their debts.

Left: King Henry I; Center: Pope Clement VIII; Right: King Henry III
    King Henry I, who was not in favor of this inclusion, died in 1135, and was replaced by the weak king Stephen, who had a fondness for Jews, which soon founded communities in Norwich, Cambridge, and Oxford. His appointment of Matilda’s son, as Henry II, saw more communities established, in Lincoln, Northampton, Thetford, Bungay, Gloucestershire, Hampshire and Wiltshire.
    In 1592, Pope Clement VIII stated: "All the world suffers from the usury of the Jews, their monopolies and deceit. They have brought many unfortunate peoples into a state of poverty, especially farmers, working-class people, and the very poor."
    In the reign of Henry III, the Jews expanded even more and they controlled money-lending from Devon to Yorkshire. Many Englanders lost their homes when orders for payment were issued through local sheriffs, which eventually led to the massacre of the Jews in 1264. In 1275, the Common Council of the Realm of Westminster, forbade Jews (and Englishmen) to loan money at interest, and all Jews from seven years of age upward, had to “wear a badge on his outer garment. 15 years later, On 18 July 1290 every professing Jew in England was ordered out of the Realm, for ever, by King Edward I. Between sixteen and seventeen thousand Jews had to flee, and none dared return until four hundred years later
Left: Domesday Book (Liber de Wintonia, Book of Winchester), ordered by William the Conqueror and completed in 1086, to determine what taxes were owed by landowners in England; Right: Magna Carta (Great Charter [of the Liberties of England]), stamped by the seal of King John at Runnymede 15 June 1215
    According to the Domesday Book to Magna Carta, “The ostentation which possession of great wealth enabled the Jews to display, and their unconcealed contempt for the practices of Christianity, made them an object of universal dislike; as usurers, moreover, they had gained a strangle-hold on the recently founded monastic houses whose splendid buildings they had financed, and on many of the smaller aristocratic families.”
    In 1655, Manasseh ben Israel petitioned Oliver Cromwell to allow the Jews to return to England. One of the reasons for Cromwell’s agreement, it is said, was the abundance at the time of theories relating to the end of the world. Many of these ideas were fixed upon the year 1666 and the Fifth Monarchy Men who were looking for the return of Jesus as the Messiah who would establish a final kingdom to rule the physical world for a thousand years. They supported Cromwell’s Republic in the expectation that it was a preparation for the fifth monarchy, i.e., following the Assyrian, Persian, Greek and Roman empires.
    Comment #4: “Thank you very much for helpful information from this article” Seonet24
    Response: Thank you. That is our goal.
    Comment #5: “I agree with you about the Jaredites being all annihilated; the scriptures are pretty clear about a total destruction of everyone in their nation. What I have wondered about is the possibility of a split off group that was no longer considered part of the original nation. If some group or groups of Jaredites left the main group a few hundred years earlier and settled in other far way parts of the Americas, they may have lost all contact with the main body of Jaredites and they may not have been considered part of the nation that was being totally destroyed. I am thinking of what happened with Haggoth and how their group would not have been included in the rest of Nephite history once they were "lost." Though I am not determined that this theory is right or needs to be right, I like if for a few reasons. What are your thoughts about this idea?”  Weasa P.  
Response: First of all, the Jaredites of the Book of Mormon in the Land of Promise were all destroyed. But did the Lord lead some Jaredites out of the Land of Promise at some time during their 1600-year occupation? Since nothing of the sort is mentioned in the scriptural record and no outside information exists to bear this out, I think that such speculation is unanswerable. On the other hand, we know that Haggoth in the last century B.C. built ships on which numerous Nephite families migrated somewhere to the north. While we know nothing of these from the scriptural record, we can look at outside information and see a Nephite-like civilization that existed to the north of the Andean area of South America—that of Central (Meso) America. Thus, such speculation that the Mesoamerican ruins found in southern Mexico, the Yucatan, Guatemala, Belize and western Honduras could very well have been Nephites who left the Book of Mormon Land of Promise and “were never heard of more,” as Mormon stated it (Alma 63:8).
    Comment #6: “There is only one thing you are forgetting. What were the conditions of 31 mile area of the Darian Gap in Panama 2,000 years ago. Was it jungle then, we really do not know”  JL 
Response: I have always taken the view that if there is no geologic, forestation/deforestation, flood, or other religious or science-advanced scenarios of given areas, that they probably remained the same over time. After all, the world is full of researchers who work on such things, and all findings are published. On the other hand, the Darien Gap is presently a swamp--a swamp is an area of land permanently saturated, or filled, with water. Swamps are also always dominated by trees, and named after the type of trees that grow in them. In addition, swamps are transition areas, neither totally land nor totally water. Swamps generally are permanent in nature, that is, they last for thousands of years. While we do not have any record of what existed in the Americas (other than the Book of Mormon) before the Spanish, we do have record of swamps in Rome and Mesopotamia that existed for thousands of years. The only reason Rome's swampland (around the seven hills) no longer exists is because they drained it to rid themselves of the parasitic malaria-carrying mosquito; the one in Mesopotamia existed from the time of the Jaredites, and though it remained the home of the Marsh Arabs for thousands of years, it was drained by Saddam Hussein when he tried to drive his opposition out of existence. I would think that the swamp of Darian has been around ever since that area of Central America rose up out of the ocean, as the deep sea drilling platform, Glomar Challenger, showed took place about two thousand years ago.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

More Comments from Readers – Part XVI

Here are more comments, questions and criticisms that have been sent in from readers of our blog, along with our responses. 
    Comment #1: “There is the possibility that the mother of Jacob and Joseph was not Sariah, but a plural wife of Lehi. There were colonies of Jews along the frankincense trail, and it is not unthinkable that a few from these colonies joined in with Lehi and his group. At least to me” George W.
    Response: I suppose one could speculate on any number of ideas when there is no way to check their veracity.
Regarding this, however, Nephi tells us exactly who Jacob and Joseph’s mother was when he wrote: “Now my father, Lehi, had said many things unto them, and also unto the sons of Ishmael; but, behold, they did breathe out much threatenings against anyone that should speak for me; and my parents being stricken in years, and having suffered much grief because of their children, they were brought down, yea, even upon their sick-beds. Because of their grief and much sorrow, and the iniquity of my brethren, they were brought near even to be carried out of this time to meet their God; yea, their grey hairs were about to be brought down to lie low in the dust; yea, even they were near to be cast with sorrow into a watery grave. And Jacob and Joseph also, being young, having need of much nourishment, were grieved because of the afflictions of their mother” (1 Nephi 18:17-19, italics mine).
    Personally, I believe in the accuracy and honesty of the original writers, believing they would have mentioned somewhere something so important as Lehi, Ishmael, or Nephi, etc., having more than one wife. In fact, Jacob (Lehi’s son) was so adamantly opposed to this practice, that he stated to the Nephites: “Wherefore, I the Lord God will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old. Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none” (Jacob 1:26-27, italics mine). 
Later, he added, “Behold, the Lamanites your brethren, whom ye hate because of their filthiness and the cursing which hath come upon their skins, are more righteous than you; for they have not forgotten the commandment of the Lord, which was given unto our father -- that they should have save it were one wife, and concubines they should have none, and there should not be whoredoms committed among them” (Jacob 3:5, italics mine). It would appear from Jacob’s comment, that Lehi was given a commandment that his community should have only one wife.
    Comment #2: “The best source for information to IDENTIFY true Israel today is the Second Book of Commandments” George W.
    The School of the Prophets, to which you refer, was founded in March 1982 by Robert C. Crossfield, as a group officially called the United Order, but sometimes referred to as the Restorers. They did not claim to be a church, but a fundamentalist movement within the LDS Church. Their purpose was simply stated: “The School of the Prophets is to retain the true doctrines and power of revelation until the church is cleansed, so that those who prepare themselves can come to the School and prepare for the establishment of Zion after the present nations are destroyed by the Lord's judgments.” 
    Their belief is that the LDS Church “has now become polluted as prophesied in the Book of Mormon, but that the time will shortly come when it will be cleansed by power. This will happen when the present nations collapse, and when Zion and its laws are reestablished and there is a gathering to a New Jerusalem in Missouri” and they “advise all members to not sustain the present leadership, but to ask for a trial to settle the controversies over them, as explained in D&C 107:81-84, etc.” Crossfield, who was born in 1929 near Alberta, Canada, claimed numerous revelations, the first in 1961 in which he claimed the Lord told him, “I have chosen thee to be a prophet unto this people," and another where he was told to “take up where My servant Joseph [Smith] left off.”
    I include all of this merely to lay the groundwork as to who is involved, and the purpose of such involvement, in the work you cited. Crossfield’s vociferous criticisms of the Church and Church leaders continued until he was finally excommunicated in 1972.  Three years later he claimed to have received a revelation that stated: “The whole of My church called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hath gone out of the way and there are but few that doeth good and humbleth themselves before me.”
In 1980 Crossfield moved to the United States and two years later established his own “School of the Prophets,” which was presided over by a President and six counselors, with Ron and Dan Lafferty (left at their court hearing August 21, 1984) serving as counselors in a local Provo, School of the Prophets in 1984. A united order was started in 1988 and two years later newer revelations were published along with the original Book of Onias as The Second Book of Commandments—the Doctrine and Covenants is considered the "First Book of Commandments.")
    Crossfield’s rather outlandish assertions eventually led to his estrangement from the Short Creek fundamentalists, and he led a small group of followers to Salem, Utah, where they maintained their own endowment house and group activities until 1999.  Their current location is undisclosed.
    While it is true that a detailed list of Israel tribes, their dispersement and present locations is given, it is strictly Crossfield’s ideas. There is enough historical and Jewish information available to arrive at conclusions such as his, but to suggest that his writings contain “the best source for information to identify true Israel today” is beyond the reach of his work. Actually, if you want to know more on this subject, I would recommend you study the numerous works of ancient Jewish and other writers. No doubt none are completely correct, but taken as a whole, much can be gleaned from them to arrive at a fairly logical and pretty accurate picture.
There are ancient Greek and Roman writings, the sages in rabbinic literature, the Annals of Ulster (left) and Annals of the Four Masters, the latter two going back to about 444 A.D., of which many claim are the only reliable historical works from 1000 A.D. onwards. There is the Book of Tephi, of Teia Tephi, said to have been the daughter (Tender Twig) of the king of Jerusalem (the Cedar) whom Jeremiah went forth to plant in Ireland after the rooting-out and destruction of Zedekiah around just after 600 B.C. There is “The 10 Lost Tribes of Israel,” and the “Simple Biblical Clues for Finding the Lost 10 Tribes of Israel,” that are particularly interesting.
In I Maccabees 12:20-21 it is claimed that a letter from Areus, king of the Spartans (Greece) to Onias, the high priest, that a document was discovered concerning the Spartans and Jews as being brothers, both of the race of Abraham. Flavius Josephus, known as Joseph ben Matityahu in Hebrew, 1st century A.D., (The Jewish War, Jewish Antiquities), also records this letter, and there is much written much about the tribe of Dan and its connection to the Merovingian royalty of Europe. Flavius also wrote (Antiquities Book XI, Ch. 5, Sec. 2) concerning the mysterious presence of the lost tribes: “The entire body of the people of Israel remained in that country, wherefore there are but two tribes in Asia and Europe subject to the Romans, while the ten tribes are beyond Euphrates till now, and are an immense multitude, and not to be estimated by numbers” (italics mine).
    There is also the “Legends of the Lost Tribes,” which identifies ancient Israel with 13 communities spanning the entire globe: including the Samaritans in Israel, the Ibos in Nigeria, the Bene Israel in India, the Rastafarians of Jamaica, the Israelitas in Peru, the Karaites in Poland and Lithuania, descendants of Crypto-Jews in Dallas, and others. The concluding chapter of the series states: “The Lost Tribes were so lost that you can find them anywhere.”
The dispersion of the Jewish People to the four corners of the globe is a completely unique phenomenon in human history. Jews have wandered and settled in almost every land on earth, while managing to maintain their distinct national identity. Immediately after Deuteronomy 28:64 (“And God shall scatter you among all the peoples from one end of the earth to the other…”), the prophesy continues—“Among those nations you shall find no repose, not a foot of ground to stand upon, for there the Lord will give you an anguished heart and wasted eyes and a dismayed spirit” (Deuteronomy 28:65). Leschzinsky wrote in The Jewish Dispersion, “The Jewish People) are dispersed throughout over 100 lands on all five continents.” In Daniel 9:7, we are told that Israel was both “near” and “far off,” suggesting their dispersement even then was well underway in various lands, near and distant. 
    Comment #3: “I appreciate your writings Del. You should consider also putting this blog on a Nephicode facebook page” George W. 
    Response: Many have suggested this over the past several months. Perhaps one of these days we will get around to it.

Monday, April 14, 2014

More Comments from Readers – Part XV

Here are more comments, questions and criticisms that have been sent in from readers of our blog, along with our responses.
    Comment #1: “Do we know where the river of running water is located at which Lehi stopped? I read an article about there being no permanent rivers or lakes in Saudi Arabia as stated by the Saudi government” Kingsley S.
    Response: Minds more knowledgeable than mine have located that area and I see no reason to doubt them. It is where the Wadi Tayyib al-Ism, a year-round river, empties into the Red Sea. George Potter, who has been there, also claims it is the Elim campsite of the Exodus, which had 12 springs of water and 70 date palms—both this Elim and Marah were in the Wilderness of Shur (Exodus 15:27), which is in this location accortdiung to Steve Rudd’s extensive research.
    The article which you read was probably the one written by James Banta in November 2009, which criticized Mormons as having “wishful thinking, an apparition seen by armature archaeologists trying to find something, anything that could support their claims of truth for the BofM.” Banta also claims that the Wadi Tayyib al-Ism is “NOT a full time river, there is no Green well watered valley in the area. It is a bone dry place that rarely sees a flash flood during a sudden thunder shower as it pounds on the hard baked earth.” He further stated that “Joseph Smith didn’t know anything about the world and thought everywhere was like upstate New York. He wrote this ‘river’ into the BofM thinking it would be quite normal but he was wrong again. There is not nor has there been a river in this area of the world for at least 6,000 years.” He uses for his source a comment made by the Royal Saudi Arabian Embassy in Washington D.C., which states: “Saudi Arabia is a desert country with no permanent rivers or lakes and very little rainfall. Water is scarce and extremely valuable, and with the country’s rapid growth, the demand for waters is increasing.” However, since a picture is worth a thousand words, here are three pictures of the Wadi Tayyib al-Ism. You decide whether there is a place like Nephi described.
Top: Elevated view of the Wadi Tayyib al-Ism (Jabel Tayyib al-Ism) secluded among the granite cliffs; Bottom Left: Partially hidden among the cliffs with plenty of water and trees; Bottom Right: Where the Wady Tayyib-al-Ism empties into the Red Sea
    This is a small valley beneath tall granite canyon walls, and is an impressive sight providing isolation (Lehi no doubt would have still feared being found by the Jews who sought his life and taken back to Jerusalem as other prophets had been), offering plenty of shade where summer temperatures can reach over 110 degrees (F). It is, perhaps, the only year-round river in the region today, and empties into the Red Sea.
    While “Mormons” do not consider it a “Paradise in the desert” as Banta writes, it would be a place where Lehi and his family could have stopped for a time and rested after their lengthy journey to that point. Evidently, Lehi did not consider it a paradise either, for he did not give it a name to suggest such as he later did the area he called Bountiful along the Oman coast. By his own admission, Banta has never been in this region, relying upon maps and official government comments, but there are always areas of “wells” or water access when traveling in this desert. Interestingly enough, they are spaced conveniently for travel along the Red Sea, but are much further apart once they turned “eastward” and crossed the Arub al Khali (Empty Quarter), which Nephi acknowledges that at that time they did “wade through much affliction in the wilderness” (1 Nephi 17:1).
    Comment #2: Have you put on a map where they say NHM is? According to your map.. #3 would be where they go east from that time forward. Yet NHM is not near the borders of the Red Sea. Trying to figure out how they got to NHM without being off course in some way. Yet during this time.. they were following the Liahona” Mr. Nirom
Top: The area considered to be Nahom today through which Lehi would have passed; Bottom Left: The path Lehi took from Jerusalem. Some feel he traveled to the east of the mountains that parallel the coast area, but the scriptural account seems to suggest a more coastal journey “nearer the Red Sea” (1 Nephi 2:5), “in the borders near the Red Sea” (1 Nephi 16:14), “more fertile parts of the wilderness” (1 Nephi 16:16); Bottom Right: Stone altars recently discovered with a form of the name Nahom inscribed on them that date back to the sixth or seventh century B.C.
The city of al-Qunfudhah (Kunfuda) in the Tihamah region along the coast of the Red Sea. Though the largest Red Sea seaport today, it did not originate until 709 AH (Hijri or Islamic calendar) which was 1212 AD on our calendar. Note the different in height from the sea level port to the village on top of the cliffs, which is the old Frankincense Trail (yellow) that split off from the inland route (east of the mountains) to that along the coastal shelf where Lehi traveled that led inland to Nahom
    Response: At the point where they turned east, they had already gone up from the sea level to the tops of the cliffs that run along the coastal shelf at that point. Today’s Nahom is a little further along the trail than where they camped before setting out. Assuming they spent some time where they camped grieving (a lengthy process among the ancient Hebrews, with much formality involved), the burial could have been anywhere around that area, but most likely they carried Ishmael’s wrapped body into the area called Nahom where they sought a suitable burial site.
    Comment #3: “I don't know which model is correct. I don't know where the Book of Mormon took place. But I find it very difficult to believe that the Lord is pleased with the contention that has surrounded this subject” Don L.
    Response: I doubt if the Lord is very pleased with most of what takes place on this earth among his children. On the other hand, being in support of the scriptural record is far more commendable than running off at the mouth spouting opinions that bear no resemblance to Mormon’s descriptions of the Land of Promise. One should take a little responsibility for what they promote and put in print, which seems very lacking on this subject matter. You may not care where the Land of Promise was located, but then, in not knowing, how is it possible to appreciate both its accuracy and its message. Outside the Christian world today, there is much controversy over the numerous events in the Bible, their locations, and veracity of the stories—millions argue in the opposite daily. Think how much worse it would be if Jerusalem, Bethlehem, etc., were unknown locations historically. In my opinion, for whatever it might be worth, the scriptures come alive and are far more poignant when they can be placed in a setting that is accurate and consistent with the writings of these ancient prophets, both in the Bible and Book of Mormon.
    After all, despite all the rhetoric to the opposite, Jacob was correct about being on an island (2 Nephi 10:20) and that can be shown; Nephi was correct when he said his steel bow broke and his brothers’ wood bows lost their spring (1 Nephi 16:18, 21), because of the area through which they traveled, and that can be shown; there are two earlier unknown animals (Ether 9:19), that today can be easily identified; there actually is a small neck of land between two larger lad masses (Alma 22:32), that can be seen today; there really was an herb that cured fever and kept people from dying (Alma 46:40), that was uniquely found in only one place in the world before being transplanted in the 19th century, and that is well known; there really are two specific grains (Mosiah 9:9), that can be identified in this same area of the same value as corn, wheat and barley, which can be identified today; and the list goes on and on.
    All of this moves the scriptural writing of the Book of Mormon out of the realm of story telling and into the real world of true experiences suffered or encountered by real people in a long past age. It is a testimony to me that the words found in the Book of Mormon can be verified in every case, and though it has take many years for all of them to rise to that level (thanks to constant new discoveries in the geological and archaeological worlds), a person can stand as did Abinadi, knowing without question that all that had been written was fact and true.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

More Comments from Readers – Part XIV

Here are more comments, questions and criticisms that have been sent in from readers of our blog, along with our responses. 
     Comment #1: If servants were free after 6 years, as you say-then any servants who left with Lehi were free before they arrived in Bountiful.” Wonder Boy
Response: First of all, I am not the one saying this—it was the law of Israel (Exodus 21:2; Deuteronomy 15:12), and preached by Jeremiah (left) in Lehi’s day when he said, “At the end of seven years let ye go every man his brother an Hebrew, which hath been sold unto thee; and when he hath served thee six years, thou shalt let him go free from thee: but your fathers hearkened not unto me, neither inclined their ear” (Jeremiah 34:14), suggesting that many in Israel were not obeying the law and Jeremiah was unpopular for bringing it to their attention.
    That was, of course, a legal factor; however, servants tended to spend their lives intertwined with those they served. As an example, Moses clearly taught that a servant (slave) was to be set free after six years, but “if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free” (Exodus 21:5), then the servant “shall serve him for ever” (Exodus 21:6).
    Life in Israel was not like today, where people could fend for themselves. Jobs were difficult to come by, and being within and part of a family, no matter at what level, was a highly prized thing among the culture. Servants usually served as a family, adding to their own family as the years passed, and those relationships became part of the overall family, especially when connected to a large, wealthy family, such as Lehi. In addition, the family head felt a great responsibility toward those of his (extended) family, and it is unlikely he would have uprooted his family and left without taking those in that extended family with him if they wanted to go
    Comment #2: “I am glad you discussed what war meant in 1830 in your article on ‘An Attempt to Put Other People in the Land of Promise Part I.’ I did not know that and it now makes more sense. When you think of war parties among the Native Americans.. they were usually relatively small. An example would be in the movie "Dances with Wolves". They were very small as a group and yet had wars.” Mr. Nirom
Response: Actually, one man can go to war--even books have been written and movies have been made of such. The first battle of Lexington involved only 77 Americans; and on the American frontier, as you suggest, the Indians had "war parties," often around a dozen men. The term has always been used loosely when not involved in a formal declaration of war between nations. In the Book of Mormon, especially in the beginning, as indicated in the article, these would have been small skirmishes, even angry arguments.
    Comment #3: Hi. Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog post.”  Aman
    Response: Thank you. We aim to inform.
    Comment #4: “I’m having trouble with something that was in a previous post. "the reason that the seer stone was so important was because once the English words appeared in the stone, they refused to disappear until the scribe had written the words down correctly — including the spelling of the words!" Yet, the recorded information is not spelt correctly: "it would appear in Brite Roman Letters then he would tell the writer and he would write it[.] then that would go away the next sentence would Come and so on But if it was not Spelt rite it would not go away till it was rite[,] so we see it was marvelous. thus was the hol [whole] translated." Then in another post you wrote, "Because of several typographical, spelling, and grammatical errors, the next publication (1837) edition had over a thousand corrections made by Joseph Smith with the help of Oliver Cowdery, most were grammatical changes," and in another post you talked about the reason why there were so many editions of the BoM you said that there were on.” Ben
    Response: Perhaps you need to better understand two things: 1) Joseph Smith and his scribe(s) lived in a time when there was no standard spelling of words. Most people spelled by phonetics—which looks like the writing of very uneducated people by today’s standards; and 2) The purpose of the Spirit’s involvement was to see that the Book of Mormon was translated correctly—including the spelling of any particular word by the day’s standards involved. We sometimes get into difficult territory when we try to judge the past by todays’ standards.
When Noah Webster put American English into print for the first time in 1828, in his “An American Dictionary of the English Language,” Americans tended to pronounce and spell many words based on those of England, which were based on Samuel Johnson’s “A Dictionary of the English Language” (1755). As an example, English: “honour,” American “honor.” Colour instead of color; neighbour instead of neighbor; theatre instead of theater, centre instead of center; meager instead of meager; practise instead of practice; licence instead of license; connexion insead of connection; realise instead of realize; paralyse instead of paralyze; analogue instead of analog; anaemia instead of anemia; equalling instead of equaling; singeing instead of singing, etc.
    By being spelled correctly, it was meant that the correct word was used, including its correct spelling, so there could be no confusion over what the word was supposed to be. Keep in mind, that in Hebrew, where no vowels were used during Old Testament times, words were not at all clear and could be interpreted differently by different scholars. As an example, your “spelt rite” quote above is clearly understandable, and correctly spelled in 1829, though it is inaccurate today. These are the type of changes in the Book of Mormon that were made—not that the word was inaccurate, meaning unclear, or the spelling wrong for the period—but that it is not correct with a more correct spelling era or age. However, in Hebrew, the two words would be “splt rt,” which is not clear or understandable, and could be interpreted “split root,” or “spoilt rat,” etc.
    The interpretation sequence was Joseph seeing the word(s) in the darkened top hat, reading them out loud, the scribe writing them down, and reading them back. If this was not correct, then the Spirit would not remove the word(as) from the seer stone and replace them with more words.
    One of the more important things we can do when trying to understand the past is to recognize it was guided by rules and practices often very different from our own. We err in trying to insert modern ideas into the past—especially the ancient past.
    Comment #5: “I read the book "Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica" and liked it. I do not remember it mentioning any specific hill in Ecuador as being most likely the Hill Cumorah. Priddis says it is the Cerro Imbabura, which is in that area. I wonder if Del agrees with this choice or has a different or no choice.” George W.
The Cerro Imbabura, which means Imbabura Mountain, and called Taita Imbabura by native Ecuadorians, meaning Father Imbabura, the father of all mysteries
    Response: The Imbabura is a volcano overlooking San Pablo Lake, with an elevation of 15,191 feet, within the mountain range of the Andes in northern Ecuador, about 37 miles north and east of Quito. Imbabua is a highland Quechua word, describing a people, a language, and later a province. The mountain itself is very prominent, and there are six small lakes in the area, the San Pablo, Mojanda, Cuicocha, Ibarra, Puruhanta, and Marcos, and all are within 17 miles of the mountain. There are also three rivers within 20 miles, the Cascade, Mira and Chota. Indeed there are a few waters around, but not likely considered an area of “many waters.” Nor are there fountains, i.e., where waters originate, in the area. In addition, Imbabura is completely surrounded by tall mountains that would have made marching into the area quite difficult, though not impossible.
Left: White arrow is Cerro Imbabura, and yellow arrow is Laguna Velasco Ibarra; Right: A closer view of Laguna Velasco, an extremely large area of water with numerous tributary rivers, and numerous fountains, i.e., points of water origination
     Personally, while I do not believe most areas mentioned in the scriptural record are sufficiently described to place on any model map, I prefer the area of Laguna Velasco Ibarra in the Velasco Valley of the province of Guayas, to the southwest of Quito for the "Land of Many Waters." There is far more water here, with many contiguous lakes, numerous rivers, and fountains to the west in the mountains. There are numerous hills or mountains to the west and east, with the waters toward the north of a large, extended lowland that provides easy access from both the south and north. Once passing through this area, one cannot help but sense this being a Land of Many Waters, and it was listed as such on old Spanish maps of the area—something the Imbabura area lacks.
The twin peaks of the Illinizas, a pair of volcanic mountains located south of Quito and visible from the area of "Many Waters." They are a most noticeable landmark that can be seen from a great distance and used as a location to the Lamanite army which had never before been in the area
    A distinct landmark To the east are the Illinizas, the double peak mountains with their prominence jutting nearly 6,000 feet above the ground (17,218 feet elevation), a very noticeable area that would be a simple landmark to people (Lamanites) who had never before been in the area. There are also the Quilotoa, Chimborazo, Pichicha and Cayamba peaks that rise to great heights within view of this overall area. However, I do not believe there is sufficient information and description in the scriptural record to pinpoint any hill or mountain as Cumorah.