Friday, July 24, 2015

More Comments from Readers – Part III

Here are more comments that we have received from readers of this website blog: 
    Comment #1: “I can see where you are trying to tie together the early cultures in Peru with the Nephites, however, in your article about the Paracas people, you mention their elongated heads. This was a practice that was done on people while living, no doubt from their youth, where their heads were bound, forcing the skull to grow in a long manner (like shown in one of the Indiana Jones movies). I read up on this and a very young child’s skull is pliant at birth and remains that way for months. They lashed a rope around the head with a board placed at the back of the skull, and maybe the front, that altered the shape over time, a practice that took from six months to 3 years. This certainly does not seem like a Nephite practice whose religion was based upon that of the Hebrews/Jews. I understand that this was a practice on infants of the congo of Africa. Hard for me to see a connection between these people of ancient Peru and the Nephites” Dianne G.
The Paracas Peninsula today. The original Paracas settlement  stretched for over a mile along the coast
    Response: Paracas was a large city area, their ruins now stretching for a mile along the peninsula. In the Book of Mormon, those people who were defectors from the Nephite religion usually occupied cities of some size, as did the Zoramites, who were a so-called “sect” and had separated themselves from the Nephites, either before, during or after a bloody civil war initiated by Amlici, a follower of the Nehor sect, who after losing a popular election to be made king, made an alliance with the Lamanites. Therefore, when Zoram settled his people in Antionum near a large body of Lamanites, there grew considerable concern that the Zoramites would make a similar pact and bring about another war. Alma went there to preach to the Zoramites rather than sending an army to force them back into the “fold” (Alma 31:4).
     When he arrived, the Zoramite religious practices astounded him and those missionaries he brought with him. The Zoramites had perverted the ways of the Lord, created a way of religious practice that was completely foreign to the Nephite Church, and quite perverted in nature. While I was not drawing a conclusion that the Paracas were the Zoramites (though Paracas was located in the south, near the border with the Lamanites), I was using the Zoramite example to show that dissenters of the Nephites were capable of such activity as head-binding. I realize it is merely an assumption, but I think the parallel is obvious.
Left: Actual skull from Paracas funerary; diagram shows how it is accomplished
    The Zoramites had, after all, rejected Christ, worshipped idols, rejected the Law of Moses, rejected sacraments and daily prayer, offered public prayer on raised platforms, thought themselves the chosen people, ignored and rejected the poor, and had a state, political religion (Alma 31, 32, 38). Head-binding, as well as other perversions, would have fit right in with their way of thinking. It might also be of interest that such head-binding was also practiced in Egypt during the Amarna period, also the Sudan, Iraq and Syria (the latter two being Mesopotamia). While this is not conducive to standard practice or normal religious practices of those times and locations, it does show a connection between the areas that would have been known to the Nephites.
    Comment #2: “It is surprising to me that so many people today in trying to locate the land of promise in the eastern U.S. try to claim “sea” means a rive or lake or something else other than an ocean. Basically, according to Greek mythology, the Greek god Oceanus was a serpent like being that looked like a river and encompassed the entire world – so, picture that – and you get an ocean. I do like the image because it is a sharp reminder that all of our oceans, estuaries and rivers are connected” Rylie J.
    Response: Most etymologies trace the word "ocean" back to the Greek, but where the Greeks got the word Oceanus is unknown—perhaps it is a story of which came first, the chicken or the egg, though it is thought to have been derived from the name of the body of water anciently thought to surround the Earth. Today, we look at “ocean” and claim it is from the Old French “occean” later reborrowed from Middle French ”ocean,” then from Latin “Oceanus,” and finally from Ancient Greek “Okeanos” (Oceanus, which was a water deity). The term today is applied to one of the five large bodies of water separating the continents—an immense expanse; any vast space or quantity without apparent limits.
    The ancient Greek image of a mighty sea or river encircling the world is common in the beliefs of many Eastern peoples (including the Babylonians), and it also occurs in the mythology of the Indo-Europeans. Actually, their “ocean” originally denoted the whole body of water regarded as encompassing the earth's single land mass. Homer placed the entrance to Hades on the shore of the Ocean. In German, its early form, recorded in fourth-century Gothic, is saiws, and, as far as can be determined, means a body of water. One of the Indo-European words for “sea” from Latin mare (compare such our marina, marine, marital, maritime, and marinade, etc.) The German for “sea” is still Meer, a synonym of Sea.
Red Arrows point to the area labeled “sea” though it is obviously part of the overall ocean; Left: Bering Sea and Pacific Ocean; Right: Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean
    The major issue with the type of historians or theorists you indicated is with the word “sea,” not “ocean.” Many people use the terms "ocean" and "sea" interchangeably when speaking about the ocean, but there is a difference between the two terms when speaking of geography, i.e., the Earth's surface. Seas are smaller than oceans and are usually located where the land and ocean meet. Thus you have the Sea of Arabia and the Indian Ocean—the same body of water, one is closer to shore than the other; the same for the Bearing Sea and the Pacific Ocean—same body of water, one is closer to land and partially surrounded by the land. The point being that they are basically the same body of water, connected, and obviously one being part of the other.
    Consequently, when Jacob told the Nephites: “We have been driven out of the land of our inheritance; but we have been led to a better land, for the Lord has made the sea our path, and we are upon an isle of the sea“ (2 Nephi 10:20, emphasis mine). This cannot be interpreted in any other way than that the Land of Promise was an island upon the very sea over which they had sailed from Bountiful (the Arabian Peninsula).
    Comment #3: I can see where you might be able to draw a connection between Egypt and the Nephites (through Lehi), but how can you draw one between the Jaredites and Egypt, since the Jaredites, according to you, arrived in the promised land around 2100 B.C.?” Evan W.
    Response: You might find it interesting that according to Egyptologist Georges Posener, the Egyptian Period of Reunification—the Middle Kingdom’s cultural interactions and interferences extended into Syria (Mesopotamia) and Palestine, and were quite extensive, between 2160 and 1780 B.C. (Cambridge Ancient History, Cambridge University Press, 1965). The earlier date places that interaction into Mesopotamia (home of the Jaredites) at least fifty years before the Jaredites left the area.
    Comment #4: “You talk about there being a division of land during Peleg’s time, yet when we look at geological setting of a once combined super-continent called Pangea, which shows how the continents fit together, leaving at least half of the earth in water, which they label the Pacific Ocean, circling the land mass. Is this what you are talking about?” Ralph C.
Response: No. The concept you mention was proposed by Alfred Wegener, the originator of the theory of continental drift, in his Origin of Continents (Die Entstehung der Kontinente, 1912), which was later expanded this hypothesis into his theory in his book The Origin of Continents and Oceans (Die Entstehung der Kontinente und Ozeane, 1915). From this super-continent, called Urkontinent, the land broke up and drifted to its present, various locations—something he claims took a million years.
    What I talk about is what is in the Doctrines of Salvation, in which Joseph Fielding Smith said: “There was no Atlantic Ocean prior to the earth being divided,” and Orson Pratt said in The Seer, that “The waters were in the Polar Regions” before this division of the land. The amount of oceans we have today is far larger than the ocean that existed before the Flood—that water came from “the fountains of the great deep were broken up” and from the “windows of heaven were opened” (Genesis 7:11). This would suggest that subterranean waters came up and waters of the firmament (above the earth) came down, as well as the waters of the ocean in the north country (for a clear understanding of this most unusual combination of events, see the book Scientific Fallacies & Other Myths, which covers the method how the Flood occurred (See Chapter 13 “Was There a Flood?”).


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  2. I am curious about there being other people in the promised land when Lehi landed or not.
    In the scriptural account, it mentions several animals i.e. the "ox", goats, wild goats etc.
    An ox is a domesticated and castrated bovine draft animal, not a specific species of animal.
    The distinction between goats and wild goats leads me to believe some goats that Lehi found were already domesticated.
    Does this mean that there were other people, already in the promised land, that had domesticated these animals?

  3. We have answered this numerous times. See l the main article, “The Question of oxen in the Land of Promise,” published Sunday, December 2, 2012, in this blog. If that doesn't answer your question, let me know.

  4. Here's an article on "others" that may be helpful:

  5. Here's an article on "others" that may be helpful:

  6. Here's an article on "others" that may be helpful: