Monday, July 1, 2013

More Comments to be Answered Part V

Here are some more comments that we’ve received on this website blog.
Comment #1: “The view of Bountiful as part of the land of Zarahemla seems prevalent in the earlier portion of the Book of Mormon. However, Mormon, writing much later, seems to view Bountiful as a separate land, apart from Zarahemla (for example see Alma 22:29-31, Hel. 4:5-8; 5:14-16). This separate view of the two lands makes more sense in evaluating this account of the Nephite/Gadianton war” Martina.
Response: In the early years of the Land of Promise, there was no Land of Bountiful. Later, sometime after 200 B.C., the Nephites began moving northward and filling up the land, and the name Bountiful begins to appear in the record. As for the Nephite/Gadianton war, there appears to be a land situated between the Land of Bountiful and the Land of Zarahemla (3 Nephi 3:23). It would appear that this land is never given a name.
Comment #2: “Archaeologically, there are a number of clustered sites in the Costa Rica area dating to the Bichrome cultural period. This period is dated to 300 BC to 300 AD, which ties in with this event in Book of Mormon history. One site in particular, Las Pilas, has been a source of artifacts for many years, and has yielded many fine specimens which tie in with the culture of the Atlantic watershed of Costa Rica” Craig.
Response: The so-called Zoned Bichrome (2-colored) period in Costa Rica is dated from 200 B.C. to 500 A.D., though Paul Francis Healy in his Archaeology of the Rivas Region Nicaragua dates the end of the Bichrome Period at 300 A.D., when the Polychrome Period began). In addition, looking at the Guanacaste-Nicoya culture of Costa Rica and Nicaragua (Timeline of the Greater Nicoya Region of Pre-Columbian Costa Rica and Nicaragua) and follow the standard six periodization valid for all Central America, starting from Period I, 12000 B.C. and moves forward to the end of Period VI, 1520 A.D. and the Spanish conquest. The dates mentioned would fall in Period III, 1000 B.C. to 500 A.D., which includes the Formative and part of the Early Polychrome (many colors) periods, and covers the Intermediate Timeline. It cannot be said that any of this covers the Book of Mormon Land of Promise time (600 B.C. to 421 A.D.), but is simply a small portion of a much larger time frame—yet, the scriptural record is clear that no other people were in the Land of Promise during that time. It is not good scholarship to invent something that has no support in the record. It might also be of interest that archaeologists claim metallurgy was not introduced  until the 3rd century A.D., and it came from Colombia (South America).
Comment #3: “I was reading John L. Sorenson’s book “An American Setting for the Book of Mormon,” and he says that Hagoth was on his ship that went north and was shipwrecked along the Mexican west coast in his Land Northward, and was never heard from again” Tyler
Response: Sometimes one has to laugh at the lack of understanding, or just plain ignorance, of Mesoamerican Theorists who write about matters in the Book of Mormon with such flagrant disregard for actual scriptural statements. When he wrote: “Hagoth, the Nephite ship builder, who failed to return home...the Book of Mormon of course, says only that the man and his mates disappeared from the knowledge of the people in Zarahemla. For all they knew he might have died at a ripe old age on the west Mexican coast without a suitable vessel in which to make the return voyage.” All of this is in Sorenson’s imagination. There is no comment in the scriptural record that Hagoth went anywhere in his ships, nor that he “disappeared from the knowledge of the people in Zarahemla.” In fact, he evidently continued to build ships (Alma 63:7), and that he was a ship builder and had a shipyard along the west coast of the Land Southward very close to the narrow neck of land where his ships were launched (Alma 63:5). The record tells us that Hagoth built very large ships and other people emigrated northward in them (Alma 63:4-6). And while his first ship sailed northward, he was busy making other ships (Alma 63: 7) and when the first ship returned, it took another load of emigrants northward. The problem seems to lie in the fact that people interpret the comment that Hagoth was a "curious man" as meaning he was an explorer, but the word curious is used here, as in the case of the Liahona being of curious workmanship (1 Nephi 16:10), to indicate his building ability for he was a shipwright.  There is no indication whatever that he was an explorer, discoverer, or adventurer.  Nor is there any mention that he disappeared from the knowledge of anyone else in the land of promise. It would seem that a person has to be a pretty lazy reader to misunderstand this simple fact, let alone someone who has written several books to tell us what Book of Mormon scripture means. As a side note, it is amazing that anyone would think that a shipwright who has built several ships, would be shipwrecked in a land of forests and jungle and not be able to build some kind of vessel to take him back home.
Comment #4: “There are several comments on the internet about Mesoamerican history that from about 350 A.D. that there was a continued and dramatic growth over the following 400 years, meaning from 350 to 750 A.D. How does this fit into the Book of Mormon?” Emrick.
Response: One can only say that this is another good reason why Mesoamerican is not the Land of Promise. Beginning around 322 A.D., there was a war of annihilation going on in the Land of Promise (Mormon 1:11-12). By 345 A.D., Mormon was gathering in his people as fast as possible (Mormon 2:7) as wars followed (Mormon 2:9). Soon the Nephites were running for their lives and being wiped off the face of the earth (Mormon 2:20). The Nephites lost all their lands in the Land Southward (Mormon 2:27-29). Obviously, no Nephite would have been involved in any kind of trade since he would have been running to escape the invading armies of the Lamanites, and by 379 A.D., those who were not gathered in with the swiftly retreating Nephite armies, were destroyed by the Lamanites (Mormon 5:5) and by 384 A.D., the Nephites and Lamanites were aligning themselves in the Land of Cumorah for their final battle (Mormon 6:5-6). Here the Nephites were wiped out to the man, with only Moroni left standing (Mormon 8:1-2).
It might be noted that at this point, Joseph Allen, in his book Exploring the lands of the Book of Mormon, pag 29, states: “Because the archaeological record shows a high amount of trade activity between Mexico City (Teotihuacan) and Guatemala City (Kaminaljuyu), and including points in between (Oaxaca/Monte Alban), the wicked 350 AD Nephite culture was simply in the way of trade and commerce.  The annihilation of the Nephites at 385 AD does not seem to show a major impact on the rest of Mesoamerica.  From 350 AD to 900 AD, a vast amount of building and commerce activity occurred in Mesoamerica.” However, during this time Moroni tells us that a civil war had been going on in the entire land of promise, from the annihilation of the Nephites (385 A.D.) to 421 A.D., “the Lamanites are at war one with another, and the whole face of this land is one continual round of murder and bloodshed; and no one knoweth the end of the war” (Mormon 8:8). 20 years later, Moroni adds: “their wars are exceedingly fierce among themselves” (Moroini 1:2).
One can only ask, who was doing all this building in the land of Promise during this 100 year time of war?

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