Sunday, July 20, 2014

Questions I Would Like to Ask – Part IX

Using strictly the scriptures, I would like to ask the following questions of those many Theorists who claim their pet theories about the location of the Land of Promise are consistent with the scriptural record. 
   This ninth question is directed at Joe V. Anderson, a Mesoamerican advocate for the Land of Promise, in his writing on the Book of Mormon Archaeological Forum website, entitled “Columbus in the Promised Land,” in which he makes the claim that his eight “mandatory criteria for location Book of Mormon lands” must exist, and concludes that “Any proposed Book of Mormon geography that does not meet all of the above criteria cannot be the land of the Book of Mormon.”
    So the question to be asked is:
    9. “What makes you think that the written language now called the Maya glyphs, which is found in Guatemala, etc., has anything to do with either of the written languages used by the Nephites, i.e., Hebrew or Reformed Eqyptian?”
    First, we have sufficient copies of both the Reformed Egyptian translated by Joseph Smith and also knowledge of ancient Hebrew to show that the Maya language is neither related, resembles, or could possibly have descended from either. 
Top: Reformed Egyptian, as written by Joseph Smith, given to Martin Harris who was instructed “to take them to some of the most learned men of this generation and ask them for the translation thereof”; Center: A portion of the Great Isaiah Scroll from the Dead Sea Caves; Bottom: Maya Glyphs. It simply is not rationale to say that the latter glyphs grew out of either Reformed Egyptian or Hebrew, thus rendering the Maya written language inconsequential to a discussion about the Book of Mormon
    Second, the Lord, in his wisdom and foreknowledge, told Mormon, “having been commanded of the Lord that I should not suffer the records which had been handed down by our fathers, which were sacred, to fall into the hands of the Lamanites, (for the Lamanites would destroy them) therefore I made this record out of the plates of Nephi, and hid up in the hill Cumorah all the records which had been entrusted to me by the hand of the Lord, save it were these few plates which I gave unto my son Moroni” (Mormon 6:6, emphasis mine). Understanding this, Moroni also buried his record (Mormon 8:4). Obviously, any written record found would have been destroyed by the conquering Lamanites who hated all things Nephite (Moroni 1:2).
    Third, wickedness prevailed in the last days in the Land of Promise (Mormon 1:13), there were sorceries, and witchcrafts, and magics; and the power of the evil one was wrought upon all the face of the land (Mormon 1:19), where the Lamanites sacrificed Nephite women and children to their dumb idols (Mormon 4:14-15, 21), and not only were the Lamanites at war with the Nephites for almost the entire 4th century A.D., but after annihilating the Nephites, “the Lamanites were 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).
    Fourth, these wars between the Lamanites continued through the entire period of Moroni’s writings, some 40 years at least, “with no end in sight.” This means that the Lamanites were embroiled in a lengthy war that lasted more than one hundred years, from 327 A.D. through to 421 A.D., and evidently increasing in fierceness (Moroni 1:2) far beyond that point. It is hard to imagine that 1) anything Nephite would have survived, and 2) the Lamanites would have had any interest, let alone time, to be involved in the finer cultures of life, such as writing, keeping records, drawing pictures, glyphs, etc.
Once again, do you see any semblance of any kind between (left) Reformed Egyptian, or (center) Ancient Hebrew, with (right) Maya glyphs?
It should also be kept in mind that each of these languages are read in a different direction. Reformed Egyptian from left to right, Ancient Hebrew from right to left, and Maya Glyphs read two columns at a time, top to  bottom. It is hard to see how the latter language could have evolved from either of the first two
    Fifth, in all reality, there is no way of knowing, outside the Book of Mormon itself, whether or not ancient Western Hemisphere societies actually had written languages. No hard evidence is available (surviving books, writings, etc.,) that can accurately be dated to the Nephrite period (other than some glyphs carved in stone and their dating is often in question).
The oldest discovered glyphs so far in Guatemala, a line of ten very crude glyphs on a wall, date to a building constructed in 100 B.C., though the writing is claimed to be about 200 B.C., and consists of abstract shapes with their meaning obscure. It is also claimed that earlier writing dates to about 400 to 300 B.C. in Oaxaca—all inscriptions on murals in buildings.
However, the earliest possible codex (book) would have been developed no earlier than about 600 A.D., some 200 years after the Nephites were destroyed, since according to Burns (2004) it is understood that the Maya developed their huun-paper (from their bark-cloth tunics) around the 5th century A.D. However, according to Thomas Tobin, “researchers today must rely on what are often no better than educated guesses in order to reconstruct the practices of the ancient Maya scribes.” In fact, the Dresden Codex, one of only four surviving Mayan codices is believed to have been written just before the Spanish arrived in the 16th century, and is believed to be a copy of the original, written 300 to 400 years earlier, and believed to be the oldest book written in the Americas—making it written about 800 to 850 A.D. according to Anthony F. Anzovin, Empires of Time (2000). This, of course, is 450 years after the last Nephite, and some 10 generations after the last Lamanites of the Book of Mormon period.
    It might also be of interest to know that the ten main Aztec Codices were all written in the mid 16th century or later, making them post date the Spanish arrival. The most famous, that of Ixlilxochitl, was written in the early 17th century, nearly 100 years after the Conquest.
    So the question is asked again: “What makes you think that the written language now called the Maya glyphs, which is found in Guatemala, etc., has anything to do with either of the written languages used by the Nephites, i.e., Hebrew or Reformed Egyptian?"

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