Friday, October 11, 2013

Comments Received About the Jaredites

The Jaredite Record takes up only 31 pages out of 531 pages overall in the Book of Mormon, yet there seems to be more questions regarding their record than any other single issue. Here are some questions or comments received from our readers:     
   Comment #1: “Regarding the Jaredite barges, they had a cork in the top and bottom so they could get air after it rolls around. That is, if anyone is still alive after being crushed by falling curreloms and cummoms. Of course, if you cork the bottom and open the top, you don't get any airflow. It's "tight light a dish," so they'll all die of carbon dioxide poisoning. And if you pull the bottom cork with the top open...” Philipp P.
    Response: It seems nothing in the Book of Mormon elicits so much humorous criticism as the Jaredite barges, and no other criticism shows the ignorance of the critics as do their comments about these barges. The problem is with the approach. A critic looks for something to criticize, the scholar or intelligent person looks for answers to statements made. And when it comes to these barges, nothing is more simplistically answered than the design and construction of the Jaredite barges. However, to describe all the information available and to answer all the questions involved, it would take far more room than is available in these daily posts, so I again direct attention to the book Who Really Settled Mesoamerica, which has several hundred pages written about the Jaredites, and two full chapters about their barges as well as an appendix of further explanation. As an example, the critic reads the two holes and laughs at the ridiculous idea of a barge rolling around in the water to present a top and a bottom to the air. The scholar or intelligent person looks at the holes and seeks a way that would work. Two different approaches, two different answers. The answer lies in, as has been mentioned here before, that the barges were the length of a tree (Ether 2:17), or stated differently, like a tree, or were, in fact, a tree. What kind of a tree? Think big, fat, and water resistant—think baobab tree (sometimes called an upside down tree). Like any tree, you have a top (leaves) and a bottom (roots)—dig it up and lay it down and you have a top (prow) and a bottom (stern) on the same level. Put a hole in each end and you have through-vessel circulation of air when the barge descends below the surface.
The baobad is a unique tree, found only in certqain places of the world, one of which was along the coast in southern Oman of the Arabian Peninsula. Note the size in the upper right image against that of a man standing beside the trunk, or the several people holding hands around the trunk. Since with age, the baobab begins to hollow naturally, the lower right image is a bar carved into a living baobab tree with room for as many as 50 people
    The unique properties of the tree make it the perfect floating “barge” (that is, non-propelled), and when horizontal, with the top as the prow and the bottom as the stern, the tree is naturally pointed on each end, and can be hollowed completely, leaving walls so thick that it can withstand pressure; is so watertight, it holds water within without seeping, “the top thereof was tight like unto a dish; and the length thereof was the length of a tree; and the door thereof, when it was shut, was tight like unto a dish” (Ether 2:17). Inside, it would be about twenty feet in height and about 50- to 70-feet inside length. Floating, it would drift “upon the waters; and thus they were driven forth before the wind” (Ether 6:8) and “were driven forth, three hundred and forty and four days upon the water” (Ether 6:11). The air holes can easily be described by the image below showing both these openings above the water line and can be opened simultaneously.
The Airflow holes in each barge, one at the top (of the tree) and one at the bottom (of the tree)
    Comment #2: “I have encountered some Mormon apologists who are claiming that the Jaredites came to the Americas from Asia. Since they also came before Lehi, the BofM account matches the archeological and genetic evidence that has been found. This proves that the BofM is an accurate historical account. This is the first time that I have encountered this argument and I have to say that I am surprised by this. As far as I can tell there are only two small problems with this apologetic defense. First, the time frame is wrong. The Jaredites were supposed to come to the new world around 2,200 B.C. The evidence shows that the migration from Asia took place about 10-15,000 years before that. Second, the BofM says that the entire Jaredite civilization destroyed itself. They went extinct right around the time that Lehi is supposed to have arrived. So how could their genetic markers be found in any population that exists today? Other than that, it is pretty watertight! What do you think?” Kayden C.
    Response: The Jaredites came from Mesopotamia (Ether 1:33), probably closer to 2100 B.C. The Asian factor came about from Hugh B. Nibley, who espoused a movement from Mesopotamia north and eastward across Asia to the Pacific Ocean. However, the extensive problems with this belief are hard to overcome, if at all possible. In the book Who Really Settled Mesoameria, these problems are outlined in great detail.
Nibley believed the Jaredites traveled across Asia to the Pacific; however, the problems involved in such a journey with women and children, flocks and other animals, is beyond description and would have been near impossible as attested to be numerous people who have attempted only a portion of that journey
    Actually, the Jaredites traveled southward from Mesopotamia to reach the same area of Bountiful as the Lehi Colony. As for genetic markers, you are absolutely correct—there is no record of any interaction between Jaredites and either Nephites, Mulekites or Lamanites, other than Coriantumr who lived among the people of Zarahemla during the last 9 months of his life (Omni 1:21), as both an old and injured man. As for any evidence of any of this, there is nothing in the ground to prove this type of thing, nor would DNA be helpful as we have stated on numerous occasions.
    Comment #3: “In a video someone made about the Jaredites, the man declares that the book of mormon never states that the people at the end are descendants of Lehi. Considering that it does, and this man has to know that, he is being deceptive to his audience. However, in the TBM mindset, that is a small problem that is justified by the act of defending the faith. How I wish that the truth mattered to the members of the church” Fairfax.
    Response: First of all, truth matters to Latter-day Saints, especially on scriptural matters; however, no doubt someone here or there feels justified in changing facts to fit his or her own view. It should be understood, however, that changing facts of any kind for any reason surrounding the Book of Mormon or biblical writing is inexcusable and is not tolerated by the Church—one of the higher standards that active members are held to is if they are true and honest in their dealings with their fellow man. Still, people have their own free agency and are free to act on their own. As for truth mattering to members of the Church, I personally, after 63 years of heavy involvement in the church and at all local levels, including Bishop, high councilor, and numerous stake, regional and area callings, have never met someone who was not truthful in their dealings with me. As for the decendancy of Lehi, all those mentioned in the Book of Mormon, other than the Jaredites, were descendants of Lehi, either natural (Nephites and Lamanites) or by adoption (Mulekites), or through intermarriage such as the sons of Ishmael. Since only the Lamanites survived in the Land of Promise in 421 A.D., they were descendants of Lehi. Who might have arrived later on and intermarried with Lehi’s descendants is unknown—but they still would be Lehi’s descendants provided they intermarried with Lamanites. 
    Lastly, having viewed the film on U-Tube you sent, the gentleman making the film is inaccurate in his premise about DNA in every way, and most of what he had to say. However, your argument about Lehi being Jewish, he was not, he was descended from Judah’s brother, Joseph—they had the same father, and were Jacobites, so to speak, and descendants of Abraham and Isaac, Lehi was not descended from Judah, yet would have been considered Jewish generally because he lived at Jerusalem, the capital of Judah. In fact, the only ones that were Jewish was probably Zoram and Mulek and maybe some or all of those who came with Mulek, who we call Mulekites today.

1 comment:

  1. Love this post about the baobab tree. Thanks Del!