Saturday, April 19, 2014

More Comments from Readers – Part XX

Here are more comments, questions and criticisms that have been sent in from readers of our blog, along with our responses.  
    Comments #1: ”What's wrong with saying: Here is what we have found so far, as opposed to: this is how it is? Why do the people whom we trust to inform us feel a need to teach us WHAT to think instead of HOW to think?”  Justin
    Response: Your comment was in regard to some articles written on DNA. I’m not sure whether your comment is directed toward those in science who feel they have checked mtDNA back an Eve, or to our writing in opposition to that. As for our writing, it is never our intention to try and tell you how to think, feel or believe. Each person has the Agency to do that on their own. Our writing is meant to provide additional information, generally from the Book of Mormon point of view, for the reader to make up their own mind. As for science, it would appear that people want us to believe certain ways that are far from provable (See the book Scientific Fallacies & Other Myths)
    Comment #2: Pretty good post. I found your website perfect for my needs. Thanks for sharing the great ideas” Leslie L.
    Response: Always nice to know. Thank you.

Comment #3: “I am looking forward to the day when the large plates become available to the world. The only thing I wonder is if when they become available.. the people who really need to see that the Book of Mormon is indeed a true record.. those people will be dead. I believe it will come "after" the cleansing of the wicked from the earth. And when those plates are given.. it will be for the faithful and a physical confirmation of their faith. At least.. that is what I think” Mr. Nirom
    Response: You might well be correct. At least, the Lord waited until all the children of Israel who feared to enter Canaan, had died off except for Caleb and Joshua, before sending them in to conquer their land.
    It might also be of interest to know that we not only have the Large Plates of Nephi, we do not have the Small Plates of Nephi. What we have is Mormon’s abridgement of the Small Plates, which, as I understand it, is a separate record entirely (see above). He abridged the Large Plates and, after doing so, found the Small Plates, and included them in or with his record (Words of Mormon 1:3-7).
    Comment #4: “Your Posts are so awesome. Is there any chance that Bountiful could be in Central America?” Val S.
Response: Not the two Bountifuls mentioned in the Book of Mormon. One was in the coastal area of what is called today the Sultanate of Oman along the Arabian Peninsula, and the other was in the area of northern Peru around the border of Ecuador (see the book Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica for a full explanation of that location). Central America, including Mesoamerica, would have been the location of the emigrants sailing northward in Haggoth’s ships (Alma 63:6-7).
    Comment #5: “Is the exact location of the narrow pass where Huayna Capac won his battle known today?” George W.
    Response: I have read Pedro de Cieza Leon’s translated account of this and it does not give sufficient information for location. He was, after all, a soldier, repeating the stories he had heard during his wars in the area from 1536 to 1548, and when he finally reached Lima and began his writing career. His works, however, are considered important because of his detailed descriptions of geography, ethnography, flora and fauna—he was the first European to describe some native Peruvian animal species and vegetables. The first part of his Chronicles of Peru (Primera Parte) was not published until 1553, two years after he returned to Seville, Spain. He died the following year and his other three volumes did not see publication until translated by Sir Clements Markham in 1871, who was an English geographer, explorer, and writer.
The personal experiences of Markham (left) in Peru were limited to travel between Cuzco and Lima in 1852-1853, and again in 1859-1861 when he spent his time involved in the collection of cinchona plants and seeds during a war between Bolivia and Peru. He later spent much time in India, both with the cinchona plantations he developed there and involved in the British attack on Magdala, and later still in his voyages to the Arctic. In between these adventures, in 1871, Markham translated de Cieza Leon’s other three volumes. How much he actually knew about what he translated is unknown, but his interest in Peru seems to have been to steal cinchona seeds and plants out of the Andes for commercial purposes.
    It was Markham who translated Leon’s The War of Las Salinas, The War of Quito, The War of Chupas, while Harriet de Onis translated The Incas of Pedro de Cieza de Leon, and Alexandra Parma Cook and Noble David Cook, who edited and translated The Discovery and Conquest of Peru.
Top: Looking eastward from the coast over the 26 mile stretch. Note the hills to the right foreground and the tall, steep Andes in the background; Middle Left: The Andes rise high and steep; Middle Right: There are “passes” through this area; Bottom: More passes flanked by the mountains to the east 
    As to this pass, the area between Guayaquil Bay and the Andes east of Port Balao is rather narrow, about 26 miles wide, and a little longer in length. It is a level to hilly area sandwiched between the water and steep mountains, with several Canyons or passes today. There seems no way to determine from Leon’s writings, which pass Huayna Capac brought his army to quell the rebellion. It might be that in Leon’s time it was so obvious, that he did not bother describing it; however, we will never know.
    Comment #6: “It surprises me that no one seems to understand that the narrow neck is not necessarily an isthmus but a mountain pass through the narrow wilderness (mountain range) that runs east and west separating the land of Nephi from the land of Zarahemla” Don
Response: It is called an Isthmus today for two reasons: 1) Mesoamericanists first began using that term to support their view of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec as their narrow neck of land, and 2) because Mormon tells us it ran between the East Sea and the West Sea (Alma 50:34). In addition, Mormon called it a small “neck” (Alma 22:32) and “narrow neck” (Alma 63:5) as did Ether (Ether 10:11). The point is, the “neck” ran north and south, connecting the separated Land Northward from the Land Southward (Alma 22:32; 63:5), thus the land on the northward was called Desolation and the land on the southward was called bountiful (Alma 22:31).
Comment #7: “And I Mormon do not write but a hundredth part. Just because it's not recorded doesn't mean the possibilities of other things. It's not black and white. I bet my bottom dollar a believer in Christ besides Moroni was overlooked”
    Response: First of all, Moroni says that “because of their hatred they put to death every Nephite that will not deny the Christ” (Moroni 1:2) and also “And now it came to pass that after the great and tremendous battle at Cumorah, behold, the Nephites who had escaped into the country southward were hunted by the Lamanites, until they were all destroyed” (Mormon 8:2). Since Moroni said “I wander whithersoever I can for the safety of mine own life” (Moroni 1:3), it would seem likely that he was not able to go and see what happened to the Nephites, nor would he have been able to ask the Lamanites, etc. And since there was a civil war between the Lamanites “and the whole face of this land is one continual round of murder and bloodshed; and no one know the end of the war” (Mormon 8:8), and some thirty years later, “the wars are exceedingly fierce among themselves” (Moroni 1:2), it is not likely he was in any proximity to them to have overheard such a boast.
Therefore, one can only conclude that the Spirit told him this information, and what did the Spirit tell him? Moroni says: “and I even remain alone to write the sad tale of the destruction of my people. But behold, they are gone” (Mormon 8:3), and “The Lamanites have hunted my people, the Nephites, down from city to city and from place to place, even until they are no more” (Mormon 8:7).
    As far as I am concerned, the Spirit told Moroni and he told us. He was the lone survivor. So, from my point of view, it is black and white, and you would lose your bottom dollar—which is what comes of gambling anyway.

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