Monday, September 2, 2013

More Comments and Questions from Readers -- Part IX

Here are some additional comments or questions sent in by readers of this website:
Comment #1: ”I read where the first group, called Jaredites, left from the Tower of Babel (about 2000 BC), migrated north, crossed an inland sea (most likely Caspian Sea), continued on (most likely to China), and then crossed the great waters (Pacific) to come to and inhabit the Land Northward of the Narrow Neck’ which is different from your scenario” Ember Q.
Response: There are a couple of problems with that scenario. First, the Jaredites did not migrate north. Migrate means to move from one location to another. The Jaredites were moving from Babylon to the Land of Promise—the valley was merely a stopover on their way, since they were told by the Lord to meet him in the valley of Nimrod (Ether 1:42; 2:1), which was to the north of their homeland. One of the advantages of that area, or valley, is that it was a natural habitat of animals that were not available to them where they lived (Ether 2:2-3). This valley they went into would have been unoccupied, since the Jaredites would have numbered somewhere between about 75 and 150, unless they had more than 4 children per family (Ether 1:33; 6:16), which could increase the numbers to 200, etc. Obviously, such a crowd would need to gather in an unoccupied area a little distance from the city and villages of the Tower builders.
The second problem is that all the rest is merely speculation without a single scriptural reference or suggestion to support it. At the same time, there are numerous reason why they would not have traveled in that direction, or to the Pacific Ocean, all of which are outlined in detail in the book Who Really Settled Mesoamerica, which the first half is all about the Jaredites, their travel, their transportation, and where they landed. One example, the mountains to the east of the Steppes, between there and China, are almost impassable for experienced and professional mountain climbers over the two passes that existed in 2000 B.C., let alone families of women and children, flocks, herds, etc.
Comment #2: “Speaking of the narrow neck of land, it seems that archaeology provides a great clue to locate this feature because we know we are looking for an isthmus separating two civilizations and we know the time periods in which they existed. Given this information, there is one isthmus which jumps out as being the clear front runner. It is the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Mexico. Just northward of that Narrow Neck lived the Olmecs from about 2000 - 300 BC and south of it lived the Mayans from about 600 BC until the present day” Nelson R.
Response: Interesting. Despite all that has been said against Mesoamerica, you still insist on claiming it. So take your narrow neck, the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. The distance across from sea to sea, according to John L. Sorenson, is 120 miles as the crow flies, but according to the Mexiccan government, 144 miles in travel because of the topography. Now, if you can go out and walk 144 miles in 18 hours, or a day and a half, or even the 120 miles, your idea might at least hold some water—but since that is something no average man could do, the idea of Tehuantepec falls apart before you even begin. And if that is not enough, let’s take your comment that about directions.
You say that “Just northward of that Narrow Neck lived the Olmecs.” Funny, because the Olmecs, on any map of Mesoamerica, are shown to the west of the narrow neck or Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Also, you say “South of it lived the Mayans,” but as can plainly be seen, the Mayans were to the east of the narrow neck, or Isthmus of Tehuantepec. I know all you Mesoamerican Theorists want to say it is north and south, but directions are directions, and maps are maps, and you simply can’t take an actual area and make it shaped the way you want. Nor can you take the simple language of the scriptural record and say that they didn’t know which way was north and south, and place your own interpretation upon it.
Comment #3: To answer the question why Limhi’s men didn’t find Zarahemla, is to understand that the first part of the proposed solution is to note that in the ancient world, or even today in any primitive area, the first rule of traveling without a road is to follow a stream or river if possible. The fact that we are told that the Sidon had its headwaters near the Wilderness Strip is tantamount to saying that their instructions were something like, "Find a headwater tributary of the Sidon and simply follow it for about x (some number given) days until you come to a huge city on its west side. You can't miss it." If that were the case then about the only explanation of their confusion is that they followed the wrong river, which also had headwaters in that same area, unknown to the grandfathers giving instructions, who had come the other way” Charles William.
Response: There are so many holes in this reasoning it is difficult to know which ones to cover. First, the grandfathers were probably not alive who came with Zeniff, for he was not alive in the days of Limhi (Mosiah 11:1) for he conferred the kingdom on his son, Noah, which was usually an act not long before death. The fact that Noah lived some time before his death, and then Limhi took over as an adult, making an oath to the Lamanite king (Mosiah 19:26), who undoubtedly would not have accepted an oath from a child or teenager, suggests a period of time where no one who came with Zeniff was still alive. Therefore, it is unlikely anyone was around to tell the 43-man expedition where to go or where Zarahemla was, except to the north.
Secondly, two rivers that ran a parallel course, both with headwaters in the narrow strip of wilderness between the Land of Zarahemla and the Land of Nephi, is convenient, but there is absolutely nothing to suggest such was the case. While a river that ran south to north was a main feature of the Land of Promise, and mentioned prominently in the record, it is not logical to think another, similar river, ran along in the same direction. If we are going to find a location for the Land of Promise, we cannot go off creating our own model that is not based on the scriptural record. In addition, there is nothing in the scriptural record to suggest that the River Sidon was within viewing distance of the city of Zarahemla. All we know is that the river was to the east of the city, but how far east we simply do not know. Therefore, a direction to follow the river might not have been helpful at all, even if someone was around from the old days.
Thirdly, having been in the military and on several occasions been dropped into an area with little more than a knife, a compass, and an objective, I can tell you that finding a river to follow is a rare probability. While ancient travel would have taken a river if there was one, canyons and valleys don’t always have rivers, and in many landscapes, you have nothing like a straight course river, canyon or valley to follow. Moving over uneven terrain requires movement in several directions, and unless you have a compass, you have to keep an eye on some distant objective, such as a hill, mountain, etc., and at night on a star. Actually, the first rule of travel in such areas, so long as you are not in enemy territory or trying to keep out of sight, is to find a hill or low mountain to climb and check out the landscape and try to see where the path of least resistance is that will take you where you want to go. And unless someone has had a lot of experience traveling distances in unknown territory both in daylight and at night, getting lost, turned around, and having no idea where you are is more common than not. Movies make it look easy, but ask someone who  has been there and done that and they will tell you finding your way under such circumstances for several days is not an easy matter. Consequently, “the only explanation of their confusion is that they followed the wrong river” is about as foolish and ignorant a comment as one could make.
The idea of the Limhi expedition traveling in a straight line in a box-like direction as shown on the map under the stated circumstances is also about as foolish as one can get. It is obviously done by someone who has never been there or done that since no one travels along straight lines, even with a compass because topography will not allow it. Also, the map shows a slight jog to the Land of Many Waters, which the scriptural record tells us is “so far northward” that it would be near the end of the Land of Promise, not just a little ways beyond the narrow neck


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