Monday, July 27, 2015

More Comments from Readers – Part VI

Here are more comments that we have received from readers of this website blog: 
    Comment #1: “I consider myself very open minded but if your primary focus is on the geography without as much if not more consideration on the promises and prophecies, then I believe you’ll risk missing it.” Ralph K.
    Response: My intention is not now and never was to focus on modern-day prophecies about anything regarding the Book of Mormon unless they are official declarations of the Church…my focus has always been to find out what the Book of Mormon had to say, it being written by people who were there, who lived on the land, and, as in the case of Mormon, traveled the land extensively and abridged everyone else’s writings other than 1 Nephi through Omni. It is also my firm belief, and I have never found anything to ever contradict this, the Brethren, when speaking for the Church as Apostles, etc., never conflict with the scriptural record—sometimes members misunderstand what was meant.
When the Brethren speak, they are always consistent with the scriptural record. Nor do they speak on matters not already known
    Comment #2: “I read where even though Hagoth’s ship was described as being exceedingly large, it would in no way compare to anything we might consider a large ship today, but was simply a ship considerably larger than those that were the norm for the time” Constance T.
    Response: Statements like this are rarely helpful. First of all, what is meant by a large ship today? Obvious Hagoth’s ships were not the size of tankers today, nor a passenger liner, or a holiday cruise liner—we are talking about wooden vessels. So how large was a wooden vessel? The ship Columbus had to discover America usually surprises most people when they learn it was only 58-feet long, and about 100 tons weight, with a crew of 40 men. Since it was 18-feet wide, its deck was only about 1044 square feet, about the size of a very small two-bedroom home. Sir Frances Drake’s Golden Hinde vessel was about twice that size in space and crew number. The later Spanish Manilla Galleons were between 1000 and 2000 tons, and the final ships of the Age of Sail were the Yankee Clippers that were about 200 feet in length, 30 feet in width (beam), about 6000 square feet of deck, over 2000 square yards of sail, were some of the largest sailing ships built.
Left: Columbus flag ship Santa Maria; Right: Sir Frances Drake’s Golden Hinde
    Considering all of that, what would an exceedingly large ship mean? We have no way of knowing this, but since the ship mentioned in Alma built by Hagoth was for the purpose of hauling emigrant families, loaded with provisions, sufficient to start a new life elsewhere, one might consider it to be larger than that of Columbus Santa Maria, and likely closer to Drake’s Golden Hinde, or about a hundred feet in length with a 20-foot beam and around 150-ton or so. For it to be much smaller, it would not serve much of a purpose in the business of carrying immigrants to another land.
    Comment #3: “I find myself among those that favor a setting more localized than Mesoamerica or South America, like near the Great Lakes. I agree with Phyllis Olive that Lehi's company was directed by divine guidance across the Gulf of Mexico and up interconnected North American rivers such as the Mississippi, Ohio and other navigable ancient water ways, to within a short distance of the Book of Mormon's "west sea" or "west sea, south" – the freshwater Great Lake Erie. I also agree with Wayne May and Olive that the northern arrivals of other ancient peoples in the Book of Mormon occurred by way of the Atlantic Ocean and St. Lawrence Seaway” Virginia O.
    Response: We have written about this many times and our response can be found in numerous posts in our blog. For a brief answer, the Mississippi River could not take a deep sea sailing vessel more than 90 miles up from the Gulf because of shoals, rapids, and blockages that existed on the river for millennia until the Corps of Engineers cleared such obstructions, built locks, and often dug new channels. People like Olive and May, and many others, look on a map and say that looks possible, without knowing about what they write.
    Not a single inland water way before the Corp of Engineers could handle any kind of vessel larger than a canoe, or a small, flat-bottomed packet carrier, or the type of flat-bottomed, shallow-draft big boats such as the paddle wheelers. What is possible today is because of the fantastic work the Corps of Engineers have done to our eastern inland waterways that make it possible today to reach the Great Lakes in almost any kind of deep ocean vessel—but that was not initially the case. Not until this country began to be populated in the 16th century onward did any kind of river dredging and deepening ever take place, and without that, no ship of any kind could have gotten within hundreds of miles of the Great Lakes, including the St. Lawrence Seaway, which had their own Canadian engineers making that river possible for movement toward the Great Lakes beyond Montreal and the Lachine Rapids.
Top: 19th-century paddle wheeler on the Mississippi; Middle and Bottom: Models to show how shallow was the draft on these paddle wheelers—about one-fourth to one-third the draft (depth in the water) of a deep-sea sailing vessel. Even then, they could not sail beyond the rapids, but were either northern boats (upper Mississippi) or southern boats (lower Mississippi), and many were constantly running aground, needing outside help, passengers wading in and pushing off sandbars, or waiting for a change in tide
    All May and Olive have shown is their lack of knowledge of these waterways before the 16th century. Even the French, who occupied New Orleans for many years prior to our gaining control of that area, worked to clear passage along the delta of the Mississippi because French shipping could not use the river beyond New Orleans.
    Comment #4: “Why do you use so many Book of Mormon scriptures in your articles. I find that they sometimes interfere with smooth reading” Paula G.
    Response: Scriptures are used in our writing that apply to what is being covered because it provides the reader with a source of verification and shows we are not simply making up what we say, or speaking from our own belief and knowledge as so many theorists do. We use a lot to show the reader that they have the option of verifying what we write, unlike most writers on the subjects we write about, and to show that each point discussed has its own reference. We feel it is important that the reader understands we are giving the scriptural record viewpoint, not something we came up with ourselves. We do this because when Theorists write about their theories and models, most readers do not fact-check what they say or do not know how to find a reference that is not listed, but tend to accept it or reject it without knowing any more than what is written. We feel it is important that the reader knows what is in the scriptural record, not what someone claims is in it.
    Comment #5: “While I cannot accept the Book of Mormon story as literally historical; I can, in a sense, accept the book as a somewhat symbolic embodiment of 'the American story' - the creation of a unique but "familiar" vision of manifest destiny, wars waged to protect the "liberties" of patriots, democracies created to secure the sanctity of these liberties, and the overarching struggle of good and evil - all roughly woven together within the framework of an American Christian apocalypse” Justin F.
Response: To each his own. What you get out of the Book of Mormon is up to you, and in part, what you put into it to study and comprehend. As for me, I accept every word as factual, events that happened, people that lived, prophets that wrote, and the foundation of my religion as the Bible is to others, though I accept the Bible as well. I believe the Book of Mormon is an inspired document, written on plates of metal as stated, abridged by Mormon, buried by Moroni, uncovered by Joseph Smith (all part of the inspired plans of the Lord), and translated by the latter under the strict guidance of the Spirit. Therefore, I accept every word written within its pages, every meaning, every concept and precept, every prophecy and every word. This entire blog is written for this purpose, to show the truthfulness, accuracy and reality of its writings and the events within its pages.

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