Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Lehi’s Seed in the Americas – Part III

Continued from the previous post regarding the seed of Lehi in the Americas, from Canada to Chile, and the importance of the comments of Presidents and Church Leaders to support the idea that Lehi’s descendants filled the Americas, showing that the seed of Nephi ended up in South America, Central America, Mesoamerica and North America, showing that all these various theories are not isolated, non-connected models, but a single model that covered the entire Americas.
Israel’s Land of Promise is part of an overall land area, set apart by certain parameters, but not isolated from other lands surrounding it

While in the last post we showed how the concept of a “land of promise” did not necessarily depict such a land isolated from other lands in its physical or geographical setting, in the case of Lehi’s land of promise, it was isolated in the beginning on an island as Jacob pointed out in his talk in the Temple” “We are not cast off; nevertheless, we have been driven out of the land of our inheritance; but we have been led to a better land, for the Lord has made the sea our path, and we are upon an isle of the sea” (2 Nephi 10:20, emphasis added).
    We also need to understand from the scriptural account of this covenanted land the Lord promised to Lehi and his posterity that the land was not occupied by another group at the time of Lehi and his landing, at least in that area that became known as the land Southward and the Land Northward. Of this land, Lehi prophesied according to the working of the Spirit (2 Nephi 1:6), in which he said to his family: “And behold, it is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations; for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance” (2 Nephi 1:8, emphasis added).
    Of course, “should be kept as yet” is clear and simple language that no one had yet been brought into Lehi’s Land of Promise and thus, there could be no other peoples in the land other than those yet to be  brought there.
    In addition, Lehi also stated about those that were and should be brought out of Jerusalem, “they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves…they shall be blessed upon the face of this land, and there shall be none to molest them, nor to take away the land of their inheritance” (2 Nephi 1:9).
    Thus, once again, in clear and simple language, Lehi is telling his children and household that when others are brought, they would come from Jerusalem, and be part of the isolated Land of Promise where no other people would be allowed to come and molest Lehi’s family and posterity at that time—in fact, that did not happen until the early 16th century, when the Spanish conquistadors invaded Mexico, Central America, and Andean South America.
    Therefore, at least the island Jacob said they were on, that land in the Book of Mormon described as the Land Southward and the Land Northward, where all events in the scriptural record take place, was isolated from other people unless they had been brought out of Jerusalem—and the only other people who had been brought out of Jerusalem in Lehi’s time besides himself and his family and that of Ishmael, that were within Lehi’s Land of Promise, were the Mulekites, of whom Lehi had no knowledge at the time he was speaking to his family, and the Nephites would not encounter for another almost 400 years.
    Consequently, any proposed land of promise and model that includes other groups, indigenous peoples, migrants, shipwrecked people, etc., simply cannot be Lehi’s Land of Promise. This does not rule out, however, other occupants of the broader area of land beyond the confines of the Land Southward and the Land Northward as that land expanded as a result of the cataclysmic events of the crucifixion, and likely no longer remained an island, as the “whole face of the land was changed” (3 Nephi 8:12,18), where mountains became valleys and valleys rose to become mountains “whose height was great” (Helaman 14:23)…”And thus far were the scriptures fulfilled which had been spoken by the prophets” (3 Nephi 8:11).
Yellow dots: General location of stone ruins dating to Nephite period or later; Red dot: Early development area; Green dots: non-solid evidence, such as burial mounds; and blue dots where we know Nephites/Lamanites existed through modern-day revelation (dedicatory prayers, etc.)

With this in mind, let us trace the movement of the Nephites within Lehi’s Land of Promise, to see how and when they expanded into other areas within the great promised or “choice” land the Lord prepared for his people, and has led to modern Church Leaders to speak in terms of Zion and the land of promise as being the Americas (both North and South) and basically the Western Hemisphere.
    Thus, by at least the last century B.C. the Nephites were involved in building ships (Alma 63:5) and in the business of shipping (Helaman 3:14,10).  We know for certain that by 53 B.C., there “were many of the Nephites who did enter therein and did sail forth with much provisions, and also many women and children; and they took their course northward” (Alma 63:6,7), and at least one other ship sailed toward an unknown destination (Alma 63:8).
    Mormon particularly singled out the shipbuilder Hagoth (Alma 63:5) and the “exceedingly large ships” (Alma 63:5) he built, but there might have been other ship builders since the Nephites were involved in shipping at least by that time (Helaman 3:10,14). In fact, in this period of the last half of the last century B.C., following a devastating war conducted by the Lamanite king Tubaloth, who sent Coriantumr at the head of a large Lamanite army to invade the Land of Zarahemla and much of the land almost to Bountiful in 51 B.C., “an exceeding great many [Nephites] departed out of the land of Zarahemla and went forth unto the Land Northward to inherit the land” (Helaman 3:3).
    Obviously, fed up with the wars, and a renewal of contention and dissensions following a short peace (Helaman 3:1-2), these Nephites that went overland into the north “did travel to an exceedingly great distance, insomuch that they came to large bodies of water and many rivers…and spread forth into all parts of the land, into whatever parts it had not been rendered desolate and without timber, because of the many inhabitants [Jaredites] who had before inherited the land” (Helaman 3:4-5).
    Not quite ten years before this, a preceding migration northward took place when “there was a large company of men, even to the amount of five thousand and four hundred men, with their wives and their children, departed out of the land of Zarahemla into the land which was northward” (Alma 63:4). Following this, more Nephites migrated into the Land Northward when “in this year there were many people who went forth into the land northward” (Alma 63:9). Still others took their journey northward in ships Hagoth built, some to unknown destinations (Alma 63:5-8).
    Where these immigrants went is a point of debate among scholars and theorists, however, in most cases we know they went northward (Alma 63:6), and in a few cases we know they went into the Land Northward (Alma 63:7b) to inherit the land (Helaman 3:3) that had been promised to them through the Lord’s covenant with Lehi (2 Nephi 1:5).
    Therefore, wherever Lehi landed, and wherever Nephi went after escaping from his brothers, and founded the city of Nephi, and wherever later Nephites went in the ships Hagoth built, had to be to the north of the Land of Promise—they did not go south! Thus, any settlements elsewhere that were founded by Nephites and Lamanites, had to be in the north, and/or to the north of the land Lehi was promised.
Lehi landed in central Chili, Nephi fled northward into Peru, the Nephites occupied the Land Northward in Ecuador, Hagoth’s ships took immigrants into Central and Mesoamerica, where some eventually migrated into Mexico and the United States

Through archaeology, we can easily see that an advanced civilization existed far to the south in Andean Peru (Ecuador, Peru, western Bolivia and central and northern Chile), which is dated to be the oldest settlements and city structures in all of the Western Hemisphere (Harald Franzen, Scientific American, April 27, 2001; Smithsonian Magazine, August 2002).
    North of the Andes we find additional evidence of ancient ruins of an advanced civilization in Central America (Panama, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras) and also in Mesoamerica (Belize, Guatemala, Yucatan), including central and southern Mexico.
Anasazi ruins in southwestern United States

And finally, north of Mexico we find evidence of an ancient civilization among the ruins of those known today as the Anasazi (the “Ancient Ones”) in the “Four Corners” area of New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah, who left behind vast evidence of their buildings, homes and plazas carved out of existing rock structures beneath overhanging cliffs, some such villages had 150 rooms, as well as their free-standing settlement structures (“Great Houses”) where several rooms were connected in one large edifice.
    These include: Blythe Intaglios, California (similar to Nazca Lines in Peru); Cliff Dwellings Mesa Verde, Colorado; Meadowcroft Rockshelter Pennsylvania; Chaco Canyon, New Mexico; Archaeological Park, Alabama; Poverty Point, Louisiana; Cahokia, Illinois; and numerous others.
Left: Anaszi/Pueblo Settlement, structured and laid out like many of the ancient settlements in Andean South America; Right: The doorway structures, resembling those found in Andean Peru

It should be noted that not only did the Nephites sail northward and also immigrate into the Land Northward, but also the children of Ammon, the converted Lamanites, went northward also. As it is stated: “And it came to pass that many of the Lamanites did go into the land northward” (Helaman 6:6). The point is, the work of Nephites and later Lamanites with their lesser building abilities, have been found all over the Western Hemisphere with the oldest in western South America (along the Andean shelf), and then Meso- and Central America, and finally North America, as Lehi’s seed continued to spread out over the “land which I have prepared for you; yea, a land which is choice above all other lands” (1 Nephi 2:20).
    It should therefore be understood that all the comments made by Prophets and Church Leaders, such as Joseph Smith regarding the white Lamanite Zelph, the prophet Onandagus who was known from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic (or eastern) ocean, traveling over the plains of the Nephites (a location never mentioned in the scriptural record), to his comments regarding the building edifices discovered in Mesoamerica as being built by an ancient civilization like the Nephites, and so many other remarks, all bear truth in that wherever you go in the Americas, there were likely some Nephites or Lamanites in that area at some former time.
    However, the land where Lehi landed, where Nephi built the City of Nephi, where Mosiah discovered the people of Zarahemla, where the many recorded wars were fought between the Nephites and Lamanites, where the Lord visited around the Bountiful temple those who survived  the cataclysmic events following the crucifixion, and the Land Northward where the Lamanite once lived, and the Nephites later inherited and the final battles of both the Jaredites and the Nephites took place, were on that long, narrow Andean shelf, now seen in that area between the eastern mountains and the Pacific Ocean, including Ecuador, Peru, western Bolivia, and central and northern Chile.
    Thus, the seed of Lehi not only inherited that area promised to Lehi, but over time spread into the vast lands to the north, reaching there both by ship and overland, leaving behind their cities, settlements and accomplishments that archaeologists have so abundantly been uncovering.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Lehi’s Seed in the Americas – Part II

Continued from the previous post regarding the seed of Lehi in the Americas, from Canada to Chile, and the importance of the comments of Presidents and Church Leaders to support the idea that Lehi’s descendants filled the Americas.
    In addition to the South American, Central and Mesoamerican comments of Church Presidents in the previous post, we look here at more comments from Church Leaders regarding Lehi’s descendants in North America:
Arizona, southern United States: Heber J. Grant, Mesa Arizona Temple dedication, 23-26 October 1927:
    “We beseech Thee, O Lord, that Thou wilt stay the hand of the destroyer among the descendants of Lehi who reside in this land and give unto them increasing virility and more abundant health, that they may not perish as a people but that from this time forth they may increase in numbers and in strength and in influence, that all the great and glorious promises made concerning the descendants of Lehi may be fulfilled in them; that they may grow in vigor of body and of mind, and above all in love for Thee and Thy Son, and increase in diligence and in faithfulness in keeping the commandments which have come to them through the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that many of them may have the privilege of entering this holy house and receiving ordinances for themselves and their departed ancestors.”
Vernal, northeastern Utah: Gordon B. Hinckley, Dedication Prayer for the Vernal Utah Temple, 2–4 November 1997:
    “May there come about a reconciliation of feelings between the descendants of Lehi and those who have come to reside in these valleys. May old animosities be dispelled, and may there come a renewed spirit of brotherhood and love and respect.”

Rocky Mountains, western United States: Parley P. Pratt to Brigham Young, 13 March 1852, in Parley P. Pratt, Autobiography, p368: “Could we have preached to the Lamanites, if we had stayed in Nauvoo? No, we could not; but the people have driven us to a place where we can do much more good, than we could have accomplished by remaining in Nauvoo; they have driven us into the midst of the Lamanites, where we can preach the Gospel unto them.
Illinois, United States: Joseph Smith, Diary Entry, Thursday, May 23, 1844:
    “1pm. Held council with the Indians Sac & Fox in my back kitchen. I replied…Great Spirit wants you to be united and live in peace. (I) found a book, (presenting the Book of Mormon) which told me about your fathers and Great Spirit told me you must send to all the tribes you can, and tell them to live in peace, and when any of our people come to see you treat them as we treat you.”
Alberta, Canada: Heber J. Grant, Dedicatory Prayer for the Cardston Alberta Temple, 26–29 August 1923:
    “We beseech Thee, O Lord, that Thou wilt stay the hand of the destroyer among the descendants of Lehi, who reside in this land…that all the great and glorious promises made concerning the descendants of Lehi…”   
Temple dedicatory prayers where the existence of Lehi and his family are specifically mentioned 
    With all of this, and numerous other comments and factual writing and speaking of other leaders, we find that Lehi’s descendants were scattered all over the Americas. This is not to say that the specific area of the Jaredite, Nephite and Lamanite lands in the scriptural record of the Book of Mormon are scattered all over the Americas, but that Lehi’s people were.
    So how is that remark justified?
    To better understand this, there are a few things that we need to keep in mind:
1. Promised Land: The Lord told Nephi in the wilderness that: “inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper, and shall be led to a land of promise; yes, even a land which I have prepared for you; yea, a land which is choice above all other lands” (1 Nephi 2:20). Lehi, to whom the land was promised, said: “behold, I have obtained a land of promise, in the which things I do rejoice” (1 Nephi 5:5), where his sons and their wives were to: “raise up seed unto the Lord in the land of promise” (1 Nephi 7:1). In a vision, Nephi “beheld the land of promise” and he also “beheld multitudes of people, even as it were in number as many as the sand of the sea” (1 Nephi 12:1). There was to be “multitudes of Gentiles upon the land of promise who would scatter and smite (conquer) Lehi’s seed (1 Nephi 13:14).
2. Covenant Land: In addition to having a land of promise prepared for Lehi and his posterity, it was “the land which is choice above all other lands, which is the land that the Lord God hath covenanted with thy father that his seed should have for the land of their inheritance” (1 Nephi 13:30, emphasis added). This covenanted land was for Lehi’s seed. As he stated: “we have obtained a land of promise, a land which is choice above all other lands; a land which the Lord God hath covenanted with me should be a land for the inheritance of my seed. Yea, the Lord hath covenanted this land unto me, and to my children forever” (2 Nephi 1:5, emphasis added)
    Therefore, Lehi didn’t just have a land of promise that the Lord prepared for him and his family, but it was a guaranteed contract, agreement, and promise from the Lord, for all of Lehi’s posterity, conditional upon their obedience to the Lord’s conditions of living righteously. This does not mean that if the Nephites were to eventually dwindle in disbelief that the covenant of the land would be withdrawn from Lehi’s descendants, but only withdrawn from those of his descendants who failed to live up to their end of the agreement, which is what happened to the Nephite people at the end (Mormon 2:15), when the day of grace passed with those individuals (Mormon 2:15) would no longer have the promised covenant of a land inheritance.
3. The Time Frame of Events: It is absolutely necessary for one to keep in mind the time frame in which scriptural events take place. As an example, there was a great Flood, called Noah’s Flood, which took place within a certain time frame in Biblical history. First, the Lord himself verified the Floods of Noah occurred when he said, “For as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee” (3 Nephi 22:9; see also Moses 7:38,42-43,49-52). Secondly, the time frame of the early patriarchs is known by the years of their birth and when compiled, lead to an exact year of 2344 B.C. for when the rains began (Genesis 7:11), and the year 2343 B.C. when the waters were dried up from off the earth” (Genesis 8:13). Thus, all dates determined by man must fit into the time frame the Lord has revealed despite what modern science claims, what evolutionists demand, and what the geologic time scale (strata) chronological dating system states.
4. Lehi’s covenanted land: this land, referred to in the Book of Mormon as the Land of Promise (2 Nephi 1:5) states nothing about the size, shape, or continuity of the land Lehi was promised. Jacob says it was an island (2 Nephi 10:20), which may mean that the area of the original island was the land promised to Lehi (Land Southward and Land Northward), but as that changed during the devastating conditions at the time of the crucifixion, when “the whole face of the land was changed” (3 Nephi 8:12), more land may well have been added to the area that was not within the land covenanted to Lehi—but still part of the overall land that was “a land which is choice above all other lands” where there would be no kings (2 Nephi 10:11).
    So the Lord covenanted a land to Lehi and his posterity that was a land of promise to them, “a land which the Lord God hath covenanted with me should be a land for the inheritance of my seed” (2 Nephi 1:5), in an overall choice region of land that “should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations” (2 Nephi 1:8), a land which was consecrated unto those the Lord would bring (2 Nephi 1:7) out of the land of Jerusalem (2 Nephi 1:9), where eventually the Lord ”will bring other nations” and “give them power [to] take away from them the lands of their possessions, and…cause them to be scattered and smitten” (2 Nephi 1:11).
The area of the Land of Promise in Palestine and its division among the 12 tribes. Note all the other land around it and contiguous to it—that is, the Abraham/Jewish Land of Promise was not isolated from other land, and there is no reason to think that Lehi’s Land of Promise was isolated or separated from other land 

Thus, we can conclude that, like in Palestine, the Land of Promise was a smaller part of a much larger land mass, at one time just an island, that became an overall choice land the Lord had prepared, sometimes also referred to as the Land of Promise, especially by modern Church Leaders, than the land of promise covered in Lehi’s covenant promise. We see this in the land of Palestine promised to Israel through the promise given to Abraham (Genesis 28:13), which was the area of present day Israel, part of southern Lebanon, southwestern Syria, western and southwestern Jordan, and a small portion of the Sinai, originally surrounded by the lands of the Hittites to the north, Arameans to the northeast, Ammonites to the east, Moabites to the southeast, Edomites to the south, the Sinai of Egypt to the southwest and Philistines to the west.
    This should also suggest to us, that a land of promise the Lord covenants with a group is not necessarily isolated from other lands that might well be occupied by other peoples.
(See the next post, “Lehi’s Seed in the Americas – Part III,“ for more information on how the development of the seed of Nephi ended up in South America, Central America, Mesoamerica and North America, showing that all these various theories are not isolated, non-connected models, but a single model that covered the entire Americas)

Monday, June 18, 2018

Lehi’s Seed in the Americas – Part I

Could the Book of Mormon events have occurred in both South and North America, as well as Middle America (Mesoamerica)? If a church leader, or even Joseph Smith, have said or implied that this area or that area in the Americas was home of the Nephites or Lamanites, does that make apparent conflicting statements inaccurate?
    Critics, of course, use such diversity of opinion as a sure sign that the Book of Mormon is false, and the Church’s beliefs and origins are highly questionable. Theorists themselves, with their ideas of where Lehi landed and the location of both the entire Land of Promise and specifically cities, rivers, and lands are so set, as to raise antagonistic rebukes to anyone who disagrees with them. And also ridicules any Nephites shown to be in another area than what they think is the Land of Promise.
BYU has sent archaeological department students and leaders on digs to Mexico, Mesoamerica, Central America, and even Egypt. They have conducted digs nearer to home in Utah, but none had been sent to South America, where so much Nephite period ruins and evidences exist that one can only wonder why

As an example, the Mesoamericanists at BYU have never to anyone’s knowledge ever made an effort to conduct any research, or exploratory digs in South America; Heartland theorists claim that the United States and North America is the only place Lehi and Nephi were, using misinterpreted statements by Joseph Smith and early Church leaders.
    As James F. Stoddard III, founder of the Joseph Smith Foundation, and writing in “Does the Heartland Model contradict statements made by the Leadership of the Church?” (Joseph Smith Foundation, February 16, 2015/May 12, 2016). He then adds, “It appears on initial investigation that the early Brethren contradict what some of the later Brethren, particularly during temple dedications, have taught.  Can both be accurate or must we choose?”
    So what of this disagreement or apparent conflict? Is it a sign of irreversible dispute among members, or at least among scholars, historians and followers of the Jaredite/Nephite/Lamanite geography? Since the Church and the Brethren have never made a stand on any of this, are we who feel the geography, though a minor area of importance in the overall doctrines and knowledge the scriptural record provides, left to forever wonder without knowing? Or can we come to know the facts of the matter from which we can draw intelligent, fact-based, even personally inspired understanding?
    There are those who theorize that Lehi and his posterity never stepped foot in Canada; others claim they spent their time in Mexico and Guatemala; still others claim they landed and spent all their time in Central America, and still others championing North America, with some centering on the Great Lakes area, and others the entire Heartland region from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada, from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean. Still others limit their involvement to Baja California, and yet others lay claim to the area of Malay in Indonesia.
    However, when it comes to those who cite the America as Lehi’s landing site, and the area where the events in the Book of Mormon Land of Promise occurred, there are strong feelings about their pet theories and land models to the ignoring of anything not within their theorized area. If there were Nephite/Lamanite events found in North America, does that make those who believe in Middle, Central and South America wrong? If Nephites built the pyramidal structures in Mexico and Guatemala, does that mean they did not build the ones in Andean South America, or that Joseph Smith was wrong about the skeleton of Zelph, the white Lamanite, or the prophet Onandagus, known from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean?
    If Nephites built the structures found in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, does that mean everyone’s belief centered elsewhere is without merit? And what of the vast ruins of pre-Columbian, pre-Inca sites scattered all over Peru, western Bolivia, Ecuador, and northern Chile, signifying an advanced civilization that existed there during Jaredite and Nephite times?
    So who is right and who is wrong?
    First of all we need to ask the rhetorical question, “could it be that the Lehite remnant was scattered throughout the Americas and the South Pacific in the same way and for the same reasons that other remnants of Israel were dispersed? Are the answers found in the Book of Mormon itself and through the statements of latter-day prophets, past and present? Accepting the fact that Presidents and Church Leaders have been accurate in their dedicatory prayers and conference talks since the time of Joseph Smith, how can we validate their statements of very different geographical settings for the Book of Mormon peoples?
Peru, South America: Gordon B. Hinckley, Dedicatory Prayer for the Lima Peru Temple, 10-12 January 1986:
    “We are particularly mindful this day of the sons and daughters of Lehi. They have known so much of suffering and sorrow in their many generations. They have walked in darkness and in servitude. Now Thou hast touched them by the light of the everlasting gospel. The shackles of darkness are falling from their eyes as they embrace the truths of Thy great work. Surely father Lehi has wept with sorrow over his posterity. Surely he weeps today with gladness, for in this holy house there will be exercised the fullness of the priesthood to the blessing, not only of those of this and future generations, but also to the blessing of those of previous generations. Bless Thy work that it shall blossom and grow in this nation and in its neighbor nations of South America. Remember, Father, Thine ancient covenant with the children of Lehi that in the latter days Thou wouldst favor them and bring to them a knowledge of their Redeemer. Make them strong in faith and magnify them in leadership in Thy kingdom.”
Bolivia, South America: Gordon B. Hinckley, Dedicatory Prayer for the Cochabamba Temple, April 30,2000:
    “May this temple, together with its auxiliary structures, all be combined into a sacred complex built to assist the on-rolling of Thy work in this great nation of Bolivia. This nation is named for Simon Bolivar, the great liberator of much of South America, who died the year Thy Restored Church was organized. May the incomparable principle of democracy be preserved forever in this republic. Bless the land and its people. May Thy work grow and prosper in this area of Thy vineyard. We remember before Thee the sons and daughters of Father Lehi. Wilt Thou keep Thine ancient promises in their behalf. Lift from their shoulders the burdens of poverty and cause the shackles of darkness to fall from their eyes. May they rise to the glories of the past. May they recognize their Redeemer and be faithful and true Saints of the Most High. May they seek learning out of the best books (see D&C 88:118). May the enlightenment of education bring new and wonderful opportunities into their lives.”
Peru, South America: Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Dedicatory Prayer for the Trujillo, Ecuador, Temple, 21 June 2015:
    We pray for all in this land who have an opportunity to hear and ponder the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Please touch their hearts and lives with Thy goodness. Hasten the miracle of conversion among these great and good people. We thank Thee for the sacred record of Lehi, Nephi and Jacob, Alma and Mosiah, Benjamin and Mormon, and of Moroni. We thank Thee for this voice that has come from the dust to bear witness of the divinity of Thy Beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Thou hast sent Thy prophet Elijah to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to their fathers. This holy temple opens the gates to eternity that these purposes may be fulfilled.
Guatemala, Mesoamerica: Gordon B. Hinckley, Dedicatory Prayer for the Guatemala City Guatemala Temple, 14–16 January 1984:
    “Thou kind and gracious Father, our hearts swell with gratitude for Thy remembrance of the sons and daughters of Lehi, the many generations of our fathers and mothers who suffered so greatly and who walked for so long in darkness. Thou hast heard their cries and seen their tears. Now there will be opened to them the gates of salvation and eternal life…We thank Thee for the restored record of our ancestors, the record of Lehi, Nephi and Jacob, of Alma and Mosiah, of Benjamin and Mormon and Moroni” (Salt Lake City: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1978).
Mexico City, Mexico (Mesoamerica): Spencer W. Kimball, Official Reports of the Mexico City Area Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, held in the Sports Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, February 13,1977:
    “When I was in Mexico in 1946, I was dreaming for the people of Mexico. I had a dream of your progress and development. Now this is precisely what I dreamed; this was my vision for the people of the Lamanites. I got up from my bed and wrote my dream. Maybe it was a vision rather than a dream. This is what I wrote: As I looked into the future, I saw the Lamanites from the isles of the sea and the Americas rise to a great destiny. I saw great numbers of Lamanites and Nephites in beautiful homes that have all the comforts that science can afford. I could see you children of Lehi with your herds and flocks on a thousand hills. . . . I saw the church growing with rapid strides, and I saw them organized in wards and stakes. (I think there was not a single stake or ward in all of Mexico when I dreamed this dream.) I saw a temple of God and expect to see it filled with men and women and young people.”
    Obviously, those six dedicatory prayers by Presidents of the Church or members of the First Presidency that took place over the peoples of South America, Central America, and Mesoamerica, cannot be ignored. But there are more in North America…
(See the next post, “Lehi’s Seed in the Americas – Part II,” for more information where to find Lehi’s seed in the Americas both during and following the Nephite Nation as well as today)

Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Land of David, Jashon and Other Cities

We received a comment from a reader not long ago stating: “I a post you mentioned that the land of David was in the Land Northward. And that the city of Laman and the city of Kiskuman were in the land of Nephi. I do not remember ever reading in the Book of Mormon anything that even hints that this was so.”
    This is one of the problems we get into when trying to identify a Land of Promise city or town that is poorly defined with little, if any, descriptive information in order to make a placement. While most theorists make wild guesses and place cities and lands willy-nilly throughout their models, we have tried to stay away from opinions, guesses, and assumptions on such matters. On the other hand, once in a while the circumstances seem to warrant at least a noted guess. Regarding the article singled out by this reader, it appears to have been “More comments from Readers - Part V,” posted on Friday, June 2, 2017.
    It should be noted that this particular article, in answer to a reader’s question, began with our response: “The problem in answering such a question, as we have stated many times, is that there is insufficient information in the scriptural record to place most cities, and even lands.”
Red Circle encompasses the area where these cities would have been located with some definitely in the Land Northward, others in or very close to that land

However, in this particular case, since a question was asked, we gave our opinion on the matter, which we stated was a very close understanding of where these cities were—though it is only an opinion, it is stated with years of reading and placing what we can within the Land of Promise. Thus, it seems likely that the city of David was in the Land Northward from the locations Mormon describes, in connection with the events surrounding it. Also, we might add that the city of Jordan was further northward from Boaz, and very possibly inland, away from the coast where Teancum was located (Mormon 5:3).
    These latter cities must have been stretched out across the landscape, north of the narrow neck of land, and deeper and deeper into the old Jaredite lands, for the Nephites were continually being “driven” and “marched forth before the Lamanites” (Mormon 6:1) in their retreat northward, yet always seemed to keep the Lamanites south of them so “they could not get into the country which lay before us, to destroy the inhabitants of our land” (Mormon 5:4). All the while, the Nephites kept retreating away from the invading Lamanites from the south, for they continued “to take to flight” before the Lamanites (Mormon 5:7).
    As for the land of David, it is always hard to know exactly where some of these areas are from the limited information found in the scriptural record, however, we might be able to draw some specific and concrete conclusions from the circumstance in Mormon chapter 2.
Mormon tells us that this final battle began at the Waters of Sidon, and progressed northward from there “toward the north countries”

“And it came to pass that in the three hundred and twenty and seventh year the Lamanites did come upon us with exceedingly great power, insomuch that they did frighten my armies; therefore they would not fight, and they began to retreat towards the north countries“ (Mormon 2:3, emphasis added). Now the rationale behind this is simple—if they were in the Land Southward and retreating, Mormon would have used the term “began to retreat northward,” or if not northward, then simply “began to retreat before the Lamanites” etc.
    On the other hand, being in the northern area of the Land Southward and near the Land Northward, the term “began to retreat toward the north countries” would be more specific and meaning they were near those countries, or near the Land Northward. Then, the next thing we know, they came to the city Angola, which they fortified and defended, but were driven out of the city of Angola (Mormon 2:4), and then they were driven out of the land of David (Mormon 2:5), and then marched to the land of Joshua, which was near the borders of the west seashore (Mormon 2:6).
    Here a battle of Mormon’s 42,000 withstood and defeated a Lamanite army of 44,000. Then in the following year, the Lamanites drove the Nephites to the land of Jashon before they stopped their retreat (Mormon 2:16), and “the city of Jashon was near the land where Ammaron had deposited the records unto the Lord” (Mormon 2:17)—this was well within the Land Northward, in the area where Mormon was born and grew up—at least he lived very near there when he was ten years old and knew of the specific hill Ammaron told him about (Mormon 1:2-4).
    So at the time of these battles mentioned above, Mormon had to have been very near the Land Northward, making these cities very near or within the Land Northward, and he was actually within the Land Northward when Jashon was reached.
    Then they were driven, probably northward, to the land and city of Shem (Mormon 2:20-21), where Mormon prevailed with an army of 30,000 against a Lamanite army of 50,000 (Mormon 2:25). Following this, the Lamanites fled, and the Nephites followed, defeating them again in a running battle, but their strength was spent (Mormon 2:26-27).
    Now, interestingly enough, despite the Nephites being wicked and involved in abominations, they “did go forth against the Lamanites and the robbers of Gadianton, until they had again taken possession of the lands of their inheritance” (Mormon 2:27). At this point, Mormon agrees with a treaty with the Lamanites, which resulted in the dividing line between Lamanite lands and Nephite lands being the narrow neck of land (Mormon 2:28-29).
A treaty in 350 A.D. between Mormon and the Lamanite king gave the Nephites the Land Northward and the Lamanites the Land Southward (Mormon 2:28-29)

If Mormon meant the “lands of our inheritance” to be the Land Southward or the old Lands of Bountiful and Zarahemla, then why did he agree with the Lamanites to give the Lamanites those lands back in a treaty they had just won in battle? That doesn’t make sense, so the “lands of our inheritance” must mean the Land Northward, where they were fighting and driven so far back that the Lamanites had captured or occupied most of the Land Northward, thus, when the Nephites rose up and defeated the Lamanites and “had again taken possession of the lands of our inheritance,” Mormon had to have meant he won back the cities and lands within the Land Northward.
    Then, at that point, he agrees to a treaty, giving him those lands in the Land Northward, and conceding the Land Southward which the Lamanites already controlled. Thus, this seems to suggest that all this fighting from the point of “toward the north countries” was very near or in the Land Northward, making these cities and lands very near or within the Land Northward.
    It would appear then, the city of Angola, and the lands of David and Joshua, were near the Land of Desolation, and the land of Jashon and Shem were within the northern part of the land of Desolation, or north of that land (Mormon 2:3-6;16-17, 21). We also see that the city of Teancum, “was in the borders by the seashore; and it was also near the city of Desolation” (Mormon 4:3), making it nearby in the Land of Desolation and north of the city of Desolation. We can also see that the city of Boaz was near to the city of Desolation, but probably not in the same direction from the city as was Teancum, for there were also towns and villages in the general vicinity of Boaz (Mormon 4:20,23).
    Thus, we might be able to say with some certainty that Angola and the land of David were very close to the narrow neck of land and that north of Teancum lay the cities and lands of Joshua, Jashon, and Shem to which the Nephites retreated during one of their last battles with the Lamanites. And northward from these areas, at an unknown distance, lay the land of Cumorah, which was located within the Land of Many Waters (Mormon 6:4).
    So while one “has never read anything in the Book of Mormon that even hints this was so,” it is likely quite probable based on the events in Mormon chapter 2, that all these cities were right at that far northern area or within the Land Northward, north of the Narrow Neck of Land.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Ancient Andean Quecha

Today, the Quechua people (Quechua, Runakuna, Kichwas, and Ingas) live in Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile and Colombia; however, originally they were the indigenous people of mountain highlands of Peru, called the Central Highlands. Their traditions and beliefs have survived Inca domination, Spanish conquests, and the beginning influences of modern technology.
Current typical Quechua members of Peru

Throughout the region, Quechua is he first language spoken and traditional costumes are still woven on backstrap looms and worn at the markets. Many Quechua make their living by farming maize and coca in the valleys or potatoes and quinoa in the higher altitudes, while other families herd llamas and alpacas on the cold windy puna.
    While modern historians and some scholars claim that the Quechua people are the direct descendants of the Incas; however, as large and powerful as the Inca Empire was, it actually consisted of a very small ethnic group that ruled for only a short span of time (1438-1534). The history of the Quechua people begins many centuries before the Inca civilization rose to power, and it continued to evolve in multi-faceted ways in the period after the arrival of Spanish conquerors and settlers in the 16th century, and were found all over the Andes, though most retreated into the high country where the Spanish never traveled or ruled.
    As an example, the Morochuco are a unique group of formerly nomadic Quechua who live near Ayacucho on the Pampas de Cangallo in the rocky, remote central highlands of the uninterrupted Peruvian wilderness—the birthplace of Peru’s most devastating terrorist organization, Sendero Lunimoso (“the Shining Path”) viloently shook Peru’s political landscape in the Ayhachucho region for more than two decades beginning in the 1980s.
    The Runa Simi (peoples’ language) of the Quechua, is well over 2,000 years old and referred to as proto-Quechua, and has 46 dialects, all from one common language, with the most common dialect called “Central Quechua,” while those in Ecuador speak the “Kichwa” dialect. In fact, some Quechua words familiar to most Americans and now found in English are: alpaca, Andes, chino, coca, cocaine, condor, gaucho, guano, jerky, llama, lima (bean), Machu Picchu, mama, pampas, Peru, pisco, poncho, puma, quinine, quinoa, quipu, and vicuña.
    The Quecha people refer to themselves as Runa (Nuna) meaning “person” or Runakuna (Nunakuna) “people,” and Ecuarunari (Ecuador Runakunapak Rikcharimuy) in Ecuador, distinguishing those who speak Quechua and those who do not. The Quechua were Chanka in the Huancavelica, Ayacucho and Apurimac regions; the Huanaca of the Junin Region, who spoke the languge before the Inca acquired it; the Cañari of Ecuador, and the Chincha, an early people of the Ica Region. It’s economic system is founded on agriculture in the lower altitude regions, and on pastoral farming in the higher regions of the puna.
    The Quechua have a distinct dress; however, though historians and scholars talk about the traditionalQuechua shawls draped over white blouses for women, with traditional peasant dresses; men’s clothing is claimed to be a poncho. However, during the Spanish conquest, their standard Inca tunics and wrap-around dresses were prohibited. Quechua therefore developed woven ponchos (or capes) for men and colorful shawls for women, as a substitute of their original clothing.
An elderly Morochuco Quechua man and young woman, both with light skins of a people that date back far into B.C. times in the central highlands of Peru

The Morochuco have light skin and blue eyes, and unlike other Quechua, many Morochuco men wear beards. It is unknown when these people first settled on the puna (highland plains) or how long they had been there; however, the oldest village in the area is Lauricocha, which is believed to have been settled very anciently, at least to 2500 B.C. (anthropological estimation). The point is, they have been in this area since the beginning of the pre-historical period.
    Today, cattle breeding and horse training are their main occupations, and are first rate horseback riders, including their women and children, who use their swiftness and agility to round up bulls on the highland pampas. Renowned for their fearlessness and strength, the Morochuco fought for Peru’s independence on horseback with Simón Bolívar.
    Their mountain homes are made of stone or adobe-brick with thatched roofs. Their beds are mud platforms with llama wool or sheepskin blankets, though occasionally a wood bed frame and grass mattress. They live in an ayllu (extended family) arrangements and all contribute to the major projects (mink’a, or community work) like harvesting the fields or building a new home.
    It should be noted that while modern historians and scholars give credit to the development of ayllus-style living to the Inca and their spreading it across their conquered empire, it needs to be understood that this pattern of extended family living and binding together in community needs, both for mink’a and for reciprocal ayni, was not an invention of the Inca, but existed in all ancient Quechua-speaking cultures and peoples dating back to the indigenous Morochuco people into the early B.C. period. In fact, its existence among the Inca enemies was what led to the easy assimilation of conquered cultures and peoples.
    It should also be kept in mind that these Central Highlands of Peru are toay the center of the Quechua people, but originally this early people covered all of Andean Peru—it wasn’t until the Spanish invasion and their appropriation of large areas of the local landowners, taking all or most of the land forced the native population into bondage—this was especially effective in Ecuador and much of Peru, which caused the Morochuco and their extended cultural elements to retreat into the high country where they can be found even today. Some of these indigenous farmers re-occupied their ancestors' lands and expelled the hacendados during the takeover of governments by reform-minded juntas in the middle of the 20th century, such as in 1952 in Bolivia (Victor Paz Estenssoro) and 1968 in Peru (Juan Velasco Alvarado). The agrarian reforms included the expropriation of large landowners, and in Bolivia there was a redistribution of the land to the indigenous population as their private property. This disrupted traditional Quechua and Aymara culture based on communal ownership, but ayllus have been retained up to the present time in remote regions, such as in the Peruvian Quechua community of  Q’ero (Q’iru), a settlement near.   Cuzco.
the Central Highlands are along the Western Andes (Occidental) and between those and the Central Andes, stretching from Huanuco in the north to Ayacucho in the south

Huancayo, in the Mantaro Valley which is considered the “heart of the Andes,” lies about 120-miles due east of Lima (186 by circuitous road) along the Mantaro River, on a route that rises more than 15,476 feet before sliding down to the valley’s 10,731-foot elevation. It was once the capital of pre-Inca Huanca (Wanka) culture, lies in the midst of the Andes and straddles the verdant Río Mantaro valley. It is an agricultural hub and the center for wheat farming in the Andes. It was a stronghold for the toughest Peruvian indigenous peoples, including the Huanca, who outfought both the Inca and the Spanish.
Huancavelica as seen from the Santa Barbara, which is honeycombed with abandoned mines, and where a high percentage of inhabitants are Quechua people

To the south, about 90 miles, is the town of Huancavelica (Wankwilka) along the Ichu River which cuts a 6,400-foot high valley between the Chunta mountain range, which is formed by a series of hills, and the 16,400 feet high mountains of the Western Andes. Known as Wankawilka region or “sacred stone” before the Spanish arrived, there is a very rich vein of silver and metallic deposits threads through the rocky hillside that has been the sight of mines and mining the precious metal since before the Spanish conquest. There is also mercury, commonly called quicksilver (formerly hydrargyrum) that was essential in the ancient extraction of silver from mines in Peru and Bolivia, including the famed Potosí.
    Initially unknown to the Spanish, the location of the silver mines were divulged by the Indian Nahuincopa to his master Jerónimo Luis de Cabrera, whereupon the Spanish Crown appropriated the mines in 1570 and operated them until Peruvian independence in 1821.
    Considered the "greatest jewel in the crown," they eliminated the need to ship azogue (mercury) from Almadén.
By way of understanding the various groups that emerged out of the Colonial Period (16th to 19th centuries):
The Creoles, who were the Spanish´s children born in New Spain.
The Mestizos, who were the Spanish and Indigenous´ children.
The Africans, who were brought from Africa as slaves.
The Zambos, who were the African and natives´ children
The Mulatos, who were the Spanish and Africans´ children.
The natives, who were the ones who lived in America before the colonization.
    The question on such subjects is always “Are these Quechua people descendants of Nephites or Lamanies?” While there may not be any way to know for positive, they existed during the time of the Nephite Nation and Lamanite kingdom, they were in the location of these two peoples throughout their history—Ecuador, Western Bolivia, Peru, and northern Chile—were indigenous to the area, and have remained there from their origin until now. Even today, the Quechua language is spoken by about one-third of the population, even though Spanish is the official and main state language throughout that area.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Another Look at Mormon’s Use of Egyptian Writing – Part III

Continued from the previous post regarding the use of Egyptian writing in Mormon’s writing, and how Hebrew and Egyptian impacted the meanings of the words and phrases Mormon used, including both ellipsis writing and other styles that sometimes changed the apparent meaning of his words.
    The Russian Dmitri Petrov (right), who was an interpreter for Gorbachev, Yeltsin and Putin, is also a scientist, professor, and TV host, who says: “I am familiar with 50 languages; I can speak 30 to various degrees; I teach eight.” But he adds: “It’s impossible to know a language perfectly, even if you are a native speaker.” So consider the difficulty of anyone translating from one language to another if they are unfamiliar with the sense of the foreign language and its people, habits, customs, ideologies, etc.
    Xiufang Xia, of Qingdao University, China, claims that “the study of meaning is closely related to the research of context. One cannot understand the accurate meaning of a sentence without the study of context.” This, he states, combines the two levels of context: 1) context of culture, and 2) the context of situation. In the Book of Mormon, this would translate to the context of Nephite and Lamanite culture, that is, their intellect and customs, characteristics and knowledge, encompassing language, religion, social habits, etc.
    To understand the Nephite culture, we have to know something about the preceding Hebrew and Jewish culture of 600 B.C., from which the Nephites emerged, as well as the religion of the period. In addition, the context of situation would deal with the relationship between the Nephites and their God and the Nephites and their brethren, the Lamanites, and the Lamanite attitude and feelings toward the Nephites.
    In this, then, one can get a better grasp of what is taking place and why, and what the language used to describe events actually means. As an example, when John L. Sorenson and other Mesoamericanists talk about an east-west land orientation to justify their Mesoamerican model, they neglect to understand and really consider what is going on in the Land of Promise at the time Mormon inserts his description of that land being basically north and south.
    Here the context of situation is critical. That is, the Lamanite king is sending out a proclamation of all his people to tell his people how to treat the Nephite missionaries in his land—all his people in all his land. At this point, Mormon is not relating his own views of north and south, but how the land actually sits, one land area to another, so the future reader can get a grasp of where the king was, where he ruled, and where all his people were located compared to where the Nephites were located and who controlled what lands. Mormon is not just describing words to be translated, but an entire concept of the situation that existed at the time (nearly 400 years before Mormon lived) when the Nephite missionaries were laboring among the Lamanites.
John Rupert Firth (left), a British linguist and professor of English at the University of Punjab, stated: “all linguistics is the study of meaning and all meaning is the function in a context. The mode of people's experience determines the mode of meaning.” To understand the translation of the Book of Mormon, one must know a lot about the Nephites, Lamanites, Mormon, Joseph Smith, the Spirit and the translation process of the plates.
    So, since the principle art of an interpreter is to translate meaning, not words, translation, therefore, is not about words, but what the words are about. That is, translation is about meaning, not the exact words. This message seems sometimes lost on the BYU linguists who often try to tell us that the scriptural record says something it does not—not because the words are misunderstood, but because the meaning and intent are misunderstood. It is sometimes impossible to translate meaning when dealing with word-for-word translation, since the sense of the words, and therefore the sense of the whole, can be missed or lost all together.
    In addition, there is a need for the translator to fully understand the concepts of what he is translating so he can convey the correct sense and not just the word meanings.
As an example, in French, the idiom: “Appeler un chat un chat,” literally translates into “to call a cat a cat.” OK, one can make some sensible meaning out of that; however, in French, this is an idiom and means nothing about cats, but about “calling things the way they are.” The idiomatic translation is: “To say things as they are; to call a spade a spade,” or another, fuller translation of meaning would be to call a spade a spade, to be honest and frank, to tell it like it is.”
    However, to translate “Appeler un chat un chat,” correctly, one would not just need to know French, but also to understand French idioms, and what the speaker or writer of the phrase had in mind in saying or writing it.
    We do not profess to be linguists here, our interest is in better understanding the scriptural record, which was written by a Hebrew-speaking  and Hebrew-thinking person (such as Mormon) who was writing in a “foreign” language, Reformed Egyptian, which, for all we know, was not a spoken language at all to the Nephites, other than perhaps those who kept the record.
    As an example, the Book of Mormon is full of Hebrew idioms (“did reign under his father” Alma 13:18 – meaning in place of his father); Hebrew compound propositions (b∂adh “by the hand of” Mosiah 11:21 – meaning simply “by”); and b∂phî “by the mouth of” 1 Nephi 5:13; “to give up the ghost” Helaman 14:21 – meaning to expire/die). All of these came to us through the Reformed Egyptian, but they were Hebrew in thought and meaning.
    In addition, we talk about Webster’s 1828 dictionary, not because we think Joseph Smith had such a dictionary (which he did by the way, or at least the School of the Prophets did), but because it lists the words that would have been known and used by Joseph Smith in 1829 New England when he translated the Book of Mormon. Similarly, we talk about elliptical writing, not because we think Mormon understood the grammatical concept, but because we believe he used the concept or idea in his writing. In both cases, an explanation of the modern knowledge helps us understand what was going on in the ancient world.
    For those who write to us and say: “The translator on the other had might use a lot of it [elliptical writing] but I don’t think the young Joseph Smith even knew the words Ellipsis or Elliptical or when and how to use them.”
    Again, in the translation of the scriptural record, what either knew was not the issue, but what the Spirit directed Joseph to do in the translation combined with what was normal for a person to do in their normal speech or writing patterns in his day. One does not  have to understand elliptical writing to know that conservation of language is practical, i.e., you don’t have to repeat yourself:
 “I went down to the river, and at the river I threw in my fishing line into the river, and fish in the river swam around the river until they ate my bait and I caught them and pulled them out of the river.”
    You don’t have to be educated, let alone well-educated to know inherently not to speak that way. Conservation of language is something we learn without specifically knowing about it—that is all elliptical grammar is, unless one is an English teacher and has to teach the concept, or a linguist and has to explain its use.
    Sometimes, in wanting to know more about the people of whom we are reading or of whom we are writing about, we can get to over analyzing their words and not their intent.
So much has been written about Mormon’s insert in Alma 22, that it is obvious scholars, historians and theorists have become paralyzed by over analysis, and looking far and wide how to interpret a particular word or statement without including what the write had in mind when he wrote it. The perfect example is the statement by Mormon “from the east to the west sea.” Without considering elliptsis writing, we miss the entire point of that very simple statement. Without realizing why Mormon is describing the land (he is not giving us a geography lesson on the Land of Promise), we again miss the point. And in missing the point, we fail to understand what Mormon is telling us and why.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Another Look at Mormon’s Use of Egyptian Writing – Part II

Continued from the previous post regarding the use of Egyptian writing in Mormon’s writing, and how Hebrew and Egyptian impacted the meanings of the words and phrases Mormon used, including both ellipsis writing and other styles that sometimes changed the apparent meaning of his words.
    In addition to the hieroglyphs used, in grammar there is the use of “merismus” (the use of words that mean more than used), which is also found in the writing of Mormon. As an example, we know that the six elements that define the gospel or doctrine of Jesus Christ are: 1) Faith in Jesus Christ; 2) Repentance; 3) Baptism of water; 4) Baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; 5) Enduring to the end; and 6) Salvation or eternal life. On the other hand, a typical Book of Mormon “merism,” like the one found in 2 Nephi 33:4, states that believing in Jesus (#1) and enduring to the end (#5) is life eternal (#6). While repentance (#2), water baptism (#3), and baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost (#4) are not mentioned here, these are all treated as additional essential elements in closely related passages.
    According to Professor Noel B. Reynolds, of BYU, in “Biblical merismus in Book of Mormon gospel references,” states that “Seventy-nine passages, each of which includes a reference to salvation, are shown to be two-, three-, or four-element merisms for the six-element gospel formula” (BYU Scholars Archive, All Faculty Publications, 2016, p1681).
    Reynolds goes on to add: “The presentation of the gospel in the text features abbreviated statements that only reveal the full six elements when the separate statements are considered cumulatively.” It becomes important, therefore, that we not fail to recognize these abbreviated statements as “merisms” that point to each other. They are intended, of course, to invoke the full six-element formula in the minds of hearers and readers, we can rush to the conclusion that the text is not clear or even consistent with itself. In fact, there are 150 references to the six gospel elements in the three core passages—as is shown in:
The point is, while Mormon or any other writer of the Book of Mormon would not have known anything about the modern terminology of writing (elliptical, merismus, etc.), they used the idea—often to abbreviate or limit the amount of writing being done, sometimes because it simply made more sense to do so.
    Fourthly, it should also be kept in mind that there were no vowels in nearly all Old World Semitic languages as well as many others (Hebrew, Arabic, Phoenician, Egyptian, early Greek, Farsi). Whereas written languages like English, Spanish, Russian Turkish, Czech, Bosnian, Slovak, Serbian and Croatian had vowels. Not only did old languages not have vowels, they often did not have sentence construction. This is seen in two ways of a simple sentence.
1) Subject, verb, object of
Take the simple sentence “Lehi left Jerusalem”
In 99% of world languages, this would be:
• 45% - Subject, Object, Verb
Lehi Jerusalem left
(Indo-European, Sanskrit, ancient Greek, Latin, Japanese, Korean);
• 42% - Subject, Verb, Object
Lehi left Jerusalem
(Cantonese, English, French, Italian, Malay, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish);
• 9% - Verb, Subject, Object
“Left Lehi Jerusalem”
(Irish, Gaelic, Malagasy [Madagascar], Baure [Bolivia], Austronesian [Maritime SE Asia]);
• 3% - Object, Verb, Subject
“Left Jerusalem Lehi”
(Apalai [Cariban Brazil], Hixkaryana [Amazon Brazil])
2) Missing Adverbs, Adjectives, Prepositions and Conjunctions:
• Ancient Greek: Heúrēka!
English: "I have found”
Meaning: "I have found it."
• Ancient Greek: Diploûn horôsin hoi mathóntes grámmata.
English: "Those who know letters see double”
Meaning: "Those who can read learn twice as much as those who do not."
• Ancient Greek: causa sine qua non
English: "But for causation”
Meaning: "An act is the cause of the result."
• Ancient Greek: Hèn oîda hóti oudèn oîda
English: “I know that I know nothing”
Meaning: “One thing only I know, and that is that I know nothing.”
    It should be noted that while we are used to in English what we would call the normal parts of speech: noun, verb, adjective, adverb, pronoun, preposition conjunction, interjection (sometimes numeral, article or determiner), not all languages are so constructed. Take Hungarian, for example, which has no prepositions at all, and Finnish, which has very few. In Latin, there are no “yes” “no” words (of course, or of course not; ita meaning “it is so”; “minimē “not at all’); and in Welsh the “yes” “no” are used in echo-answers (repeating the verb with a yes or no). Several languages have multiple words for “yes” or “no,” depending on the subject matter if the question asked or the subject to be answered. Yup’ik, spoken by 10000 Alaskans, have suffixes as words rather than additions (English: prehunt. Yup’ik: sealhunt, egghunt); Leco (Leko) around Lake Titicaca in Bolivia/Peru has six types of consonants and six vowels, including “é” as well as “w” as a semivowel, no prepositions and only adjective lexemes.
    In fact, while almost all languages have the word classes noun and verb, beyond these there are significant variations in different languages, which includes noun incorporation by combining an adjective into a noun. Where one cultural language thinks spatially of an ant on your right leg, another thinks in terms of an ant on your eastern leg—leading to a better understanding that knowing language is an even greater task than once thought.
    In the 5th or 6th century B.C., Sanskrit had only four categories of words: noun verb, prefix and particle. Plato claimed “sentences are a combination of nouns and verbs,” while Aristotle added “conjunctions.” Not until the 2nd century B.C. did grammarians expand language to include eight parts of speech. Our parts of speech today, however, follow the European tradition, not the East or Middle East traditions.
    The point is, when translating, or at least trying to understand something written long ago, there are numerous factors involved that sometimes are even missed by professional linguists. One of the biggest mistakes is trying to evaluate, understand or judge the past by the present methods, which often leads one down an erroneous path. Of course the terminology we use today is not the same used or even understood in the past, such as elliptical writing.
    Few ancient writers or speakers would have understood the concept grammatically, but they used the process none-the-less. In fact, in speaking of changes, the idea of having a standard spelling is historically new, and until fairly recently, spellings of words were not fixed. Even after spelling systems did become more standardized, they still change over a period of generations in order to better reflect the newly developed pronunciations as words.
    It may not be important to know what Mormon, Nephi, Moroni, et al, knew and understood—but it is important to know what they did and said, and most importantly, what they meant! It is also important to know that in translating from one language to another, it is not always a direct word-for-word translation, but a meaning-for-meaning translation.
In fact, there are actually three ways to translate from one language to another: 1) Literal, 2) Direct, and 3) Word-for-word, the latter meaning translating one word at a time (from Latin “verbum pro verbo” that is, with or without conveying the sense of the original whole). While this latter is needed for technical translation of scientific, technological or legal texts, it does not do well when translating general thought, since it does not try to convey the meaning of idioms, and can render grammar unintelligible—nor does it often convey original meaning.
    Literal translation is like translating German kindergarten into its literal meaning “children garden,” which would be incorrect since kindergarten means a period between pre-school and first grade. Or in literally translating Italian “So che questo non va bene,” meaning “I know that this is not good,” becomes “Know(I) that this not goes(it) well,” which has English words and Italian grammar.
    Or in the literal translation of one language into another and back again: take this in Russian: “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak" (дух бодр, плоть же немощна), an allusion to Mark 14:38, when literally translated into Russian and then back to English, the result was "The vodka is good, but the meat is rotten" (водка хорошая, но мясо протухло).
    Or what about translating when one does not know the difference between past and present tense of the language one is translating into. In Young’s Bible translation of Genesis you get present tense language of a past tense original, such as “and God saith, 'Let light be;' and light is,” or “And God calleth to the expanse 'Heavens;' and there is an evening, and there is a morning — day second.”
    Many years ago when translators of the Bible, ran across: “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18 emphasis added). Unfortunately, the people of the south sea island whose language was being translated had no word for “snow,” and didn’t understand its meaning. So the translators decided to use an example of something the islanders all knew was white, and translated “they shall be as white as the Angel Tern” which was a local bird.
The Angel Tern, sometimes called the White Tern (Gyglis alba), a small seabird found across the tropical oceans of the world

The point, of course, is that white is white and the translation, though not the same words, conveyed the same idea. This is true of most translation. In fact, as one linguist reports “the translation world today often appears to be overflowing with novice (but certainly well-meaning) translators flailing about in dangerous waters infested with their own conceptual blindness. This is an inevitable outcome of the persistent and wrongheaded solitary focus on language to the exclusion of content.”