Monday, October 29, 2012

Answering Recent Comments – Part XXIV

Continuing with the comments previously mentioned in the last post, the first ninety-one comments were answered in the previous 23 posts, the ninety-second and additional comments are answered beginning below:
Comment #92 “I read Joseph Smith History 1:34 in which it states: “[Moroni] said there was a book deposited written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang. Ralph Olsen’s argument emphasizes this scripture as Malay Peninsula being “the source from whence they sprang” before reaching the Western Hemisphere. In addition, he says there were dark-skinned people pre-existing on the peninsula, and if they intermarried with the Lamanites, (while the Nephites did not intermarry) that might explain the “dark and loathsome" peoples in the Book of Mormon. Besides, the shorter 4000 miles oceanic travel makes more sense than a 16000 mile journey. What do you think?”
There is nothing written on the plates that would lead someone who has read and studied them to suggest that the Malay Peninsula is a possible site for the Land of Promise
Response: It is interesting how the Malay Theory keeps cropping up every so often. To answer your comment: 1) The word “source” basically means “origin or root,” and the Book of Mormon clearly states that the root or origin of Lehi and his family, as well as Ishmael’s family, and the later Mulekites, was Jerusalem. The word “sprang” is the past tense of “spring,” which means much the same as source, i.e., origin. Thus, we must conclude that the “source from which they sprang” was Jerusalem, not the Malay Peninsula; 2) The scriptural record makes it clear that the Lord cursed Laban and Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael who fought against Nephi and tried to kill him, with a curse and marked them so they would not be enticing unto the Nephites (to intermarry with). This was like in the days of Cain. Since it would have been impossible for Cain to have intermarried with a dark-skinned person, there was obviously another method the Lord employed. Also, to consider that this mark would have taken a few generations of intermarriage for the Lamanites to become “not enticing,” is unrealistic--whatever action the Lord took to bring this about would have been immediately, or the act would have been lost to those He was punishing. it seems whatever the method the Lord used would have been quick—probably immediate. My best guess is that the Creator of all things, including DNA, which determines our features, skin coloring, etc., would simply have altered the DNA of Laban, Lemuel, the sons of Ishmael and the women to whom they were married; 3) Since coastal-hugging vessels were already in use in the Arabian Sea, Laccadive Sea, and Bay of Bengal, it seems ridiculous that the Lord would have Nephi build a ship that was not “after the manner of men,” for a similar coastal voyage to the Malay Peninsula. However, a different ship as he was instructed to build, would make sense if you were going to sail out into the “great deep” across the “many waters” to the Land of Promise. As for 4000 miles making more sense than 16000 miles, what makes one think it was better, easier, smarter, or more sensical? On the other hand was it more sensible to place Israel between the warring nations of the Fertile Crescent than elsewhere? Was it more sensible to put the Lamanites among the Nephites which resulted in 1000 years of nearly constant wars? One would be hard pressed to question the Lord’s judgment and His purposes, but obviously he has plans that man simply does not understand.
Comment #93 “It would be extremely difficult for Moroni to have carried the records from South America to New York in order to bury them in the Hill Cumorah where Joseph found them. That is a distance of several thousand miles. Did he walk all the way?”
Response: Moroni does not tell us where he buried the records, only that “I will write and hide up the records in the earth; and whither I go it mattereth not” (Mormon 8:4). Most people tend to think he buried them in the hill Cumorah, but if he did, he never told us. Nor does the scriptural record tell us how he got from where he was when he wrote the final words in his father’s record to where he “hid up the records in the earth.” We don’t even know if this was done, at least the records placed in the hill in upstate New York where Joseph Smith uncovered them, while Moroni was a mortal or afterward. It is never a good idea to place restraints on the Lord.
Comment #94 Victor Wolfgang von Hagen an American explorer, archaeological historian, anthropologist, and writer traveled in South America with his wife between 1940 and 1965. He published a large number of widely acclaimed books about the ancient people of the Inca, Maya, and Aztecs. In the early 1950s, he went for a two year exploration of Peru's ancient Inca roads and found the only surviving suspension bridge of this trail. His book, “Ancient Sun Kingdoms of the Americas,” quotes the Spanish soldiers as being amazed at the great cement cities, the marvelous roads, highways, etc. By the way, is there a great road system and cement buildings in Malaysia, or Baja California, or the Great Lakes?”
Response: Exactly. However, though they have become known as the "Inca" roads, they were built centuries before the Inca came to power--the Inca merely used them. In addition, in the same year as Ancient sun Kingdoms of the Americas, von Hagen wrote The Incas: People of the Sun, and the year following A Chronological Chart of pre-Columbian Indian Cultures of the Americas, and later, The Desert Kingdoms of Peru, The Incas of Pedro de Cieza de Leon, The Royal Road of the Inca, and many others before that time. In all, some 50 books. One might consider him an expert on the ancient lands of Peru, Ecuador, and the Andean area.
Comment #95 “I read somewhere that ships did not move fast. They didn’t need to move fast. But they did need to resupply. Speed and time are modern concepts. Again, Nephi didn’t need to hurry. He wasn’t being pressured to do this. The voyage could have taken quite a long time. The distance is long, and it’s made even longer by going along the coastline, and not in a straight line. But the necessity for speed was simply not there. Did they stop along the way? Surely. Why go without water when you can go ashore and get it, and also give the kids a run ashore on the sand. They may well have fished, of course. You’d expect them to fish on the way. Fish is a very nourishing food and a lot of water in it. They might get some water from tropical storms, but that would be unreliable."
Response: The type of ship Nephi built was “driven forth before the wind.” Such weather ships are reliant solely on wind and currents—both items, along with the design and construction of the vessel, determine its speed. How fast Nephi’s ship might have been is unknown, however, I suspect the Lord might be called the smartest and best boat designer the world has ever known. More importantly, the winds and currents in the Southern Ocean travel at great speeds, faster than anywhere else in the world—they are used today for long distance boat races. In addition, the weather there provides plenty of rain to be captured for drinking water. And let’s not forget that the Jaredites traveled 344 days without stopping. As for making landfall to “let the kids run in the sand” would be unwise based on the rebellious nature of Laban, Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael—it would be unlikely, if the landfall was a paradisiacal island as found in the South Pacific, that you would get them back on the ship. All other things being considered, it seems most likely the ship did not stop, that it went where the winds and currents took it, and the shortest way from the Arabian peninsula to the Western Hemisphere would be the Southern Ocean—no islands, no stopping, plenty of speed.
Laman and Lemuel’s conspiring and rebellious nature suggests that any landfall of Nephi’s ship before it reached its final destination in the Land of Promise would have been unwise and likely even disastrous
Comment #96 John L. Sorenson said, ‘The historical sources give no indication that Moroni's instructions to the young Joseph Smith included geography. Nor did Joseph Smith claim inspiration on the matter. Ideas he later expressed about the location of events reported in the book apparently reflected his own best thinking.’"
Response: Historical sources do not tell us everything. What Moroni might have taught Joseph that the prophet never said or wrote down is merely conjecture, but might prove to be of great interest if it is ever revealed to us. On the other hand, according to his mother, Joseph told great stories about the Nephites, their land, their customs, etc., during family evenings during those four years before he obtained the plates. Either Joseph made them up, or Moroni taught Joseph during those many visits during the four years. You decide.
(See the next post, “Answering Recent Comments – Part XXIV,” for more comments made about different posts on this website)

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