Friday, May 28, 2010

Jaredite Animals Extinct in Moroni’s Time? Part II

Continuing with John L. Sorenson’s assertion that neither Moroni, Mormon, Joseph Smith, the Spirit, or the Urim and Thummim, could properly identify animals mentioned in the Book of Mormon, Sorenson in his book “An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon,” on page 298, writes:

“Without going into further detail we may note that other Pleistocene period animals also might have lasted down into times of Jaredite inhabitation. Perhaps the “cumom” and the “curelom” were such. The failure of Moroni, the Nephite translator of the Book of Ether, to translate these names from the original tongue of the Jaredites indicates that the animals were probably extinct by his day.“

For those who are not aware, according to scientists, he Pleistocene epoch was from 2.588 million years ago to 12,000 years ago, and followed the Pliocene Epoch which followed the Holocene Epoch. Evidently Sorenson is unaware of Noah’s Flood which occurred in 2344 B.C. (6,300 years ago), and killed all animals and fowls, that were not on the ark. Perhaps a more reasonable answer is that in Moroni’s time, these animals were not known by any other name. Or, that the words “curelom” and “cumom” were actually Nephite words that had no translatable name known to Joseph Smith. Either answer would seem more reliable than to claim these animals were extinct by Moroni’s time. However, it does fit into Sorenson’s Mesoamerican model since there are no two unknown animals there that fit the criteria mentioned.

However, that is not all. Sorenson then goes on to try and determine what could have been meant by other animals mentioned in the Book of Mormon. On page 299, he gives a response to what animals were meant by curelom and cummom the Jaredites had among them, by claiming they were probably, among other things, a “sloth” or a “tapir.”

To better understand the ridiculousness of Sorenson’s thinking, Moroni explains the relative value of these animals when he writes: “And they also had horses and asses, and there were elephants and cureloms and cummoms, all of which were useful unto man, and more especially the elephants and cureloms and cumoms: (Ether 9:19). Now we know what horses, asses, and elephants are, and we know how they are helpful in carrying burdens and people, with elephants far more capable of this than the other two. So when Moroni likens the cummoms and cureloms to the value of the elephant, we get a pretty good picture of what these animals must have been like, including their size and purpose.

So what does Sorenson think these animals were? One page 299, he says they are probably sloths or tapirs (because a sloth bone was found in Mesoamerica). Now, really, in looking at a sloth (something like a monkey) or a tapir (something like a pig, though wild ones in Mesoamerica can reach 400 pounds, like a Great Dane dog), can anyone equate that to Moroni’s explanation of these animals? Hardly. Which leads one to wonder if Sorenson reads the scriptures or just tries to equate things to his Mesoamerican model thinking no one is going to know the difference?

Perhaps academics and theorists might do well to accept the Book of Mormon the way it is written and not try to think they are smarter than those who wrote it and translated it.

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