Tuesday, May 14, 2013

More Comments to be Answered Part III

Here are some more comments that we’ve received from this website blog.
Comment #1: “I was talking to someone about Mesoamerica the other day and he said that the Totonicapan record of the Guatemalan Indians refers to their division into Seven Tribes. He quoted an old Xahila record: "We were brought forth, coming we were begotten by our mothers and our father, as they say . . . They say that the seven tribes arrived first at Tullan."  He also said that the Xahila record also indicated a departure from an Old World Tulan (Bountiful) and the settlement of seven tribes in a principal homeland, Tullan (Bountiful), in the New World.” Calvert D.
Response:  What you quoted is from a member of the Xahila family, one of the royal lines of the Quiches of the highlands of Guatemala, who left an account in the Maya tongue entitled Annals of the Cakchiquels, in which the above is more or less quoted. However, the correct quote is: ”Then we were ordered to come by our mothers and fathers, we the thirteen divisions and the seven tribes, the thirteen divisions of warriors; and we came to Tulan in the darkness and the night, and coming gave our tribute; they took tribute from the warriors of the seven tribes; they were drawn up in order on the left of Tulan where were the people of the seven tribes; on the right-hand of Tulan were arranged the warriors.” Also, “They say that the seven tribes arrived first at Tulan, and we the warriors followed, having taken up the tributes of all the seven tribes when the gate of Tulan was opened.”
The Annals of the Cakchiquels are considered more mythical than real; however, they portray an important understanding of Mayan historical thought
There is, however, no mention of an Old World Tulan directly, though it does read: “our fathers and ancestors from Tulan,” and “as we came from the other side of the sea, from the land of Tulan, where we were brought forth and begotten by our mothers and our fathers.” There is also a mention of four clans: “Thus we were four clans when we came from Tulan,” mentioning directly the Cakchiquel, Cavek, Totomay and Xurcah clans. The writing also claims there are four Tulans, not just two. Later, seven tribes are mentioned: “They say that the seven tribes arrived first at Tulan…when the gate of Tulan was opened.” The writing goes on for 165 verses, and possibly 188 total, and is very difficult to understand since it is convoluted and changes and intermingles the numbers talked about frequently.
The problem lies in the facts as opposed to the legends of Mesoamerica. When the Lehi colony left Bountiful in Arabia, there were not four tribes or seven tribes—but five: Laman, Lemuel, Sam, Nephi and Zoram. Jacob and Joseph were but little children and had no family or “tribal” status. On the other hand, we could expand the five to six, by adding the sons of Ishmael who were always designated simply as Ishmaelites and never separated in the record.
Much later, long after Nephi and those who would go with him, separated from the others, and after Jacob and Joseph grew up and married, we are looking at seven groups, or eight if we add the Ishmaelites. Then, too, Nephi mentioned two sisters, so there may have been two more tribes, or as many as 10 total.
However, one of the great weaknesses of this story is that the Lehi Colony did not leave Bountiful, cross the sea, and land at a place called Bountiful. They did not reach the Land of Promise Bountiful until sometime after being in the land for over 400 years.
Comment #2: Have you ever gotten a response back from individuals who ask these type of questions after you have given an explanation as you have here? I have always found that they make no comment on the explanation, but just come up with another "question" and put down of Joseph Smith,” MrNirom.
Response: A few do respond by email, but mostly I never hear from them again. Part of the problem is in the fact that many comments come long after the post and I am not immediately aware of the comment until later, and it makes no sense to answer in an old post, so the answer is in a new post, like this one, and the person may possibly never see it. The other part of the problem is as you state it--most critics want to criticize, not respond to answers. In fact, most critics parrot what they have heard elsewhere and do not have an actual reason behind the criticism, only wanting to, as you say, put down Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. When confronted with a factual response they cannot answer, they move on to another "talking" point.
Comment #3: “What about the clothing of the Lamanites (wearing loin cloths)? Wouldn't that account for the weather to some degree?” Jonesy2006.
Top LtoR: The Lamanites are described as wearing only breechclouts; Apache in warm climate Arizona; Wobanaki in cold weather New England, both wearing breechclouts; Bottom LtoR: Lakota Sioux from the cold weather Dakotas wearing a breechclout; Shawnee wearing leggings, shirt and blanket, but still wearing breechclout; Plains Indian wearing breechclout over full dress; an Ottawa from cold-weather Canada in breechclout
Response: For some reason, indigenous American tribes (Indians) that wear breechclouts do so even in cold weather areas. Sometimes they wear leggings and vests of some sort, even buffalo robes in really cold weather, but always the breechclout. Based on an old legend of Peru, one of the four brothers that settled the land established the breechclout ceremony. Perhaps that is the reason—it is a ritual clothing, which would make sense since almost every tribe in the Americas wore such items when the Spanish and Europeans arrived. But I have not found it has to do with weather. Another point is in the Nephite knowledge of the Lamanites usually surrounded wars—and the Lamanites came down to battle in warmer weather and retreated back to their lands for the winter, which is why Mormon repeatedly talks about such battles by year.
Comment: “From Thor Heyerdahl's findings on his Kon Tiki voyage, it is apparent that ancient peoples could have migrated across the oceans. Rather than being an impassable barrier, the seas were an open pathway, once the unknown was removed. There has been tremendous resistance in the scientific community against the idea that the inhabitants of the Americas could have come by sea. But with Heyerdahl's proof, we can see that it would have been much easier for Asians to come to the shores of the new world by ship on the northern currents, than it would have been for them to travel on foot across an Asian/Alaskan land bridge and then down the spine of the North American continent” Etienne.
Response: While I agree that ancient peoples came to the Americas by sea, it should be kept in mind that Heyerday’s voyage was from South America to Polynesia, not the other way around.
He also showed that to try and reverse that route—from west to east across the Pacific—was next to impossible, since the current he used flows as part of the South Pacific Gyre and turns off the Peruvian current westward across the Pacific, and from southern Peru, drops off into Polynesia (in northern Peru along the Ecuador border, the current continues on across the Pacific and turns down toward Australia—and from Central America, the current flows directly to the Philippine islands). On the other hand, there is no current from Asia eastward across the Pacific. Nor does the so-called counter-current between the two Pacific Ocean gyres flow strong enough to move shipping. The only current flowing eastward across the southern waters is the Southern Ocean, which is picked up dropping out of the Indian Ocean and  heading toward the Drake Passage and on through into the Atlantic as it circumnavigates the globe. However, the northern portion of this current hits the southern shelf of South America and turns up into the Peruvian (Humboldt) Current before turning back westward across the Pacific beyond the Peruvian bulge, and is basically the only way to reach the Americas (South America) in a wind-driven weather ship, as was Nephi’s vessel. As he said, he “was driven forth before the wind."

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