Monday, November 25, 2013

More Comments from Readers – Part IX

We seem to be receiving a lot more questions and comments lately and we will endeavor to answer them all; however, it might take a while because of our backlog of articles we are also posting.    
    Comment #1: “It seems your large numbers for the Jaredites are not justified when we realize that the numbers mentioned included men, women and children. You cannot add, then, women and children to the numbers as you have done” Keeler T.
Response: The numbers of Jaredites is given during the last battle. After years of fighting, “Now the loss of men, women and children on both sides was so great that Shiz commanded his people that they should not pursue the armies of Coriantumr; wherefore, they returned to their camp” (Ether 14:31). In this we see that there were huge losses in both armies. Later, we find that Coriantumr’s losses are described as: “He saw that there had been slain by the sword already nearly two millions of his people, and he began to sorrow in his heart; yea, there had been slain two millions of mighty men, and also their wives and their children” (Ether 15:2).
    These numbers can be seen in one of two ways. Either Corianturmr’s army lost two million, or that both armies lost a combined two million. Either way, however, that number did not include women and children, for Ether states: “there had been slain two millions of mighty men, and also their wives and their children.” Consequently, if we add a wife for a man, that would be four million. If we add two children per couple, that would be eight million. Since the Jaredites had very large families, we could add 4 or 6 children to a family, making the totals 12 to 16 million. If those numbers were per army, that is Coriantumr lost two million, and Shiz lost a like number, then we are dealing with anywhere from 16 million to 64 million. You pick the number you like, but it cannot be less than about 6 to 8 million in round numbers (2 million men, 2 million women, 4 million children).
    Comment #2: “What makes you think the Jaredites and Nephites didn’t occupy the Land of Promise at the same time?” Cruser Todd.
    Response: “And he spake also concerning the house of Israel, and the Jerusalem from whence Lehi should come” (Ether 13:5), which should point out that at the time of Ether (the last of the Jaredites other than Coriantumr), Lehi had not yet arrived in the Land of Promise. At what point he did arrive in connection with the Jaredites is not known, but it would have had to have been at least during Ether’s later life, or more likely after the last Jaredite battle. As an example, we do not know how long Ether lived after Coriantumr killed Shiz.
We don’t know how long Coriantumr lived before he wandered into the Mulekite camp (the people of Zarahemla). We only know he lived nine months after meeting up with the Mulekites. But somewhere between when Ether wrote that passage (which Moroni interpreted in his abridgement of Ether’s record) and Corantumr’s arrival among the Mulekites in Zarahemla, he killed Shiz. As has been mentioned in previous posts, it is likely that Coriantumr wandered about for a time after this last battle so he could see the terrible destruction brought about by his stubbornness and unwillingness to obey the Lord and repent of his sins. What fitting punishment it would have been for him to wander among all the bodies of his dead people, and especially of those of his wife and children. As for the years involved, my personal belief is that the Jaredites were annihilated sometime around 600 to 580 B.C., and that after Mulek and those who came with him to the Land of Promise landed and settled in the area of Zarahemla, that Coriantumr wandered into their encampment. Personally, I consider it to  have been several years between the final battle and the time he arrived in the Mulekite camp, since I think it fitting that the Lord would have allowed him that time to see and think about his decision not to be obedient. But as for the record, it seems clear that Lehi had not yet left Jerusalem, or at least arrived in the Land of Promise, when Ether recorded his statement.
    Comment #3: “I was talking to someone Sunday and they were telling me that while there is no evidence of cement buildings anywhere in eastern U.S. or Canada, archaeologists have determined that the vast majority of discovered archaeological sites dating to the time period of the Book of Mormon are located in Mesoamerica” J.T.
    Response: Obviously, this was stated by a Mesoamericanist—to them there is no South America. The funny thing is, many of the sites they claim are not dated during the first half of Nephite times, but are dated later, beginning in the last part of the last century B.C. and many beginning in the A.D. period; yet the sites in Andean Peru date to the early Nephite period.
    Comment #4: The area in and around the Isthmus of Tehuantepec constituted the embryo for both the calendar system and the written language of the Americas. This fact alone virtually eliminates any other geographical area from being considered as “lands of the Book of Mormon” Thatch G.
Left: Rongorongo; Center: Mayan; Right: Reformed Egyptian. These languages are not similar in any way, nor can it be said they grew out of one another
    Response: The written language of the Americas is an interesting term. Rongorongo was a written system of glyphs of Easter Island brought there, according to their elders, from the mainland of South America. On the other hand, neither Rongorongo nor the Mayan glyphs resemble in any way either Hebrew or any form of Egyptian—especially the reformed Egyptian whose sample we have from Joseph Smith. Therefore, a written language of the Mayan has no bearing on any Book of Mormon language and, consequently, of limited import. As for other areas, let’s consider just a couple from the scriptural record—the two unknown animals the curelom and the cumom (Ether 9:19), or the two unknown grains, the neas and sheum (Mosiah 9:9), or the herbs that cured fever (Alma 46:40).
    Nothing in Mesoamerican can satisfy these two descriptions; however, one could say that the only two animals that meet the description in the Book of Mormon that would have been unknown to Joseph Smith, are found solely in Andean Peru; and the only two grains that could be considered equal to corn, wheat and barley, that would have been unknown to Joseph Smith, are found solely in Andean Peru; and the only place in the world before the 19th century A.D. that had a plant or herb that could cure fevers (malaria) is found in Andean Peru—thus, “these facts alone virtually eliminates any other geographical area from being considered as lands of the Book of Mormon.” We could go on, but while these and numerous other points could be used that are taken from the scriptural record itself—a calendar system is not taken from the record, and a written language would not exist during Lamanite times after 421 A.D. in the Land of Promise, thus it cannot be claimed that those two items must exist today.
    Comment #5: “Regarding Mesoamerica, Columbus was directed to ‘the promised land,’ yet he never visited North America” Vinny V.
    Response: True. But he also never visited Mesoamerica, i.e., southern Mexico, the Yucatan Peninsula, Guatemala, Belize, etc. It might be of interest to note that he did, however, visit South America.
    Comment #6: “When you say Central America, that includes Mesoamerica and everything south. However, given the funnel shape of Central America, it is unlikely that any proposed geographies to the south of Guatemala and El Salvador would qualify for the Book of Mormon lands” Briggs H.
    Response: Central America is not used in this blog as a substitute for Mesoamerica. In fact, North America includes all of Mexico, except the Yucatan Peninsula, and Central America includes everything else to the Panama-Colombia border, with South America south of there—though some claim Central America is everything beyond the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Mesoamerica is not truly a designation of the Western Hemisphere—it stands for Middle America. However, it is used to designate a specific area, part of North America and part of Central America, from about Mexico City to about the Guatemala border with Honduras. Some people give it a little more distance into Honduras. The term Mesoamerica in this blog is used to designate the area that FARMS and other people and groups use to claim was the Book of Mormon Land of Promise.

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