Friday, May 17, 2013

More Comments to be Answered Part VII

Here are some more comments that we’ve received from this website blog.
Comment #1: “I think that the Land of Promise was in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. There are archaeological sites dating to the proper Nephite time frames. It is claimed that the city of Zarahemla was located near Turrialba, which is on a tributary of a major river which some feel was the River Sidon. It is in a beautiful valley with a multitude of identified archaeological sites in the immediate area. Puerto Viejo is their location for the city of Bountiful, which is located at the point of a ridge of low hills and at the junction of two major rivers, and on the opposite side of the mountain range from Turrialba” Huey D.
The Guayabo National Monument, the largest archaeological site in Cost Rica, and only pre-Columbian site open to the public
Response: This site contains petroglyphs that have been estimated at about 3000 years old. It also contains ancient bridges, water tanks and dwellings situated in the cloud and rain forests of Costa Rica, where archaeology finds include unique carvings of crocodiles, insects and jaguars, and there are raised stone foundations, stone paves roads of unknown length leading off into the surrounding dense foliage. While complex petroglyphs are abundant, covered with mysterious messages, which have not yet been deciphered, and the site includes decorative and practical pottery, jade and gold artifacts, as well as the controversial stone spheres of Costa Rica, there are no real buildings to show that an advanced civilization once lived there. In addition, this ancient village reached its highest population around 800 A.D., of 10,000 people—a great deal smaller than Zarahemla would have had to be for it have been the capital of a nation of millions of people. As for the major tributary river some feel was the Sidon, this river is the Rio Reventazion which does not flow far enough south of Guayabo (Zarahemla) to have originated in the Land of Nephi or up in the mountains where the Land of Nephi was located. Plus, a second, parallel river, the Rio Pacuare, is just as significant a river, but a second, parallel river is never mentioned in the scripture, but to go east from Guayabo (Zarahemla) to the East Sea (Caribbean), you would have to cross both rivers, but though such travel is often undertaken, this second river is never mentioned in the scriptural record.
Comment #2: “And they did also carry with them deseret, which, by interpretation, is a honey bee; and thus they did carry with them swarms of honey bees" (Ether 2:3). Can you imagine crossing the ocean in this contraption with swarms of honey bees?” Anthony B. 
Response: How sad it is that people criticize what they do not understand. There are stingless honey bees, called Meliponines, which are a large group of bees (some 500 species) belonging to the family Apidae, and are related to common honey bees, carpenter bees, orchid bees and bumblebees. In fact, there are a great many other bee species, especially in the family Andrenidae, which are incapable of stinging, as are all male bees. While the Meliponines do have stingers, they are highly reduced and cannot be used for defense. The majority of native eusocial bees of Central and South America re stingless bees, and Meliponines honey is prized as a medicine in South America. While most bees are not active all year round, and most can be made to be inactive by their care and environment, the Meliponines are also nearly dormant in cooler weather—such as a voyage at sea.
Comment #3: “Pyramidal structures were not part of the Nephite culture. These were typical of the Jaredite culture which was located to the north, and would not be found in the Nephite Land of Promise” Martina
Response: Actually, we do not know what the Jaredite culture did in the way of building. We do not know if the Jaredites were involved in the building of the Tower, though it seems unlikely they were, but obviously they knew about its building. We really don’t know when stepped pyramids first were built and by whom—carbon dating is faulty at best. On the other hand, the Jews would have known about the Egyptian pyramids—Jews traveled to and from Egypt frequently in B.C. times, were aligned with them politically at different times, and since Lehi was involved in some way with them, no doubt Nephi and Sam knew about pyramids. In fact, the interior of Solomon’s Temple is said to have been very much like the interior of the Egyptian pyramids inner sanctums. Of course, the question has been asked, how else would the ancients build several stories upward unless it was by stepping each level smaller than the one below it. As far as the scriptural record is concerned, statements like: “And built many mighty cities” (Ether 9:23; 10:12; 10:20); “his father did build up many cities upon the face of the land” (Ether 10:4), “He did build many spacious buildings” (Ether 10:5), is all that we find, and no mention of style, shape or size.
Comment #4: “Flavius Josephus, the Jewish historian, wrote that after the confusion of tongues, the people were dispersed abroad because of their different languages, and went out by colonies every where; and each colony took possession of that land which they settled upon, and unto which God led them; so that the whole continent was filled with them, both the inland and the maritime countries. There were some also who passed over the sea in ships, and inhabited the islands. 1:5:1. I find his comment about over the sea in ships sounding like the Jaredites! Do you think Josephus knew about them?” Braylon.
Response: I think that it would be doubtful that anyone knew about the Jaredites’ destination, especially Josephus some two thousand years later, for if he did know, many others would have known and written about it by this time. That the Lord was involved in everything that happened in the dispersment, i.e., who went where, etc., seems obvious, for the Lord is in charge of all things, but I seriously doubt that there were other groups the Lord led away from Babylon in the same manner as the Jaredites. But if there were, only the Lord and they know about it. People today seem to feel free to speculate on all things pertaining to the Lord, but such speculation is usually self-serving, and of little value to the serious student of the scriptures.
Comment #5: “The idea that a Book of Mormon “land” comprised a river drainage basin was first proposed by Michael Hobby some time ago in the journal Zarahemla Quarterly. Under this proposal, the people of the Nephite era viewed their lands from the valley floor bordered by the surrounding hills and mountains. Thus the greater Land of Zarahemla would include the valley and drainage system of a specific river, the cities and towns being located in the arable valleys. The local Land of Zarahemla, immediately surrounding the city, would include only the immediate portion of the river valley. The Land of Nephi, the Land of Bountiful, and the Land of Melek, etc. would all be located in different, separate river systems. If this is so, and the river systems have remained unchanged since Nephite times, we should be able to use this information to assist in locating specific Book of Mormon lands” Alain G.
Response: The Nephites lived in the Land of Nephi for some 400 years before leaving, a land that was high up in the mountains judging from the fact the Lamanites kept “coming down” to fight the Nephites in Zarahemla later, when the Lamanites occupied the Land of Nephi. It is not worthwhile to speculate about river systems, draining basins, etc., when none are mentioned or even implied in the scriptural record, then use that speculation to determine a location of the Book of Mormon lands. Scholars would have more success in locating the Nephite lands by sticking strictly to the descriptions Mormon and others left us, including Nephi's telling us how he got there in his ship, i.e., "driven forth before the wind."

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