Friday, February 19, 2016

Clarification for Reader: More on the Destruction in 3 Nephi – Part I

In another case of reader comments too extensive to deal with in the Comments section of our blog, these two articles are written in answer.
     Reader Comment: “Thanks for taking the time to try to answer my questions...I don't want to start an argument, but there are a couple of things that stand out to me from your responses:
1) “The "w" in the "waters of Sidon" is not capitalized so it is not necessarily a separate place. The point being the waters of Sidon were still in the borders of Zarahemla, in the same place they were before. Such a dramatic change in elevation would have displaced them” Tyrus.
Response: There were no capital letters in the writings of Mormon. Such things were added by the scribe or later works—and then only to what appeared to be names. There would be no way of knowing if Waters meant a standing body of water, or simply a river, though we can draw a conclusion (sort of) from the fact that in English, waters generally has a connotation of a body of water. Webster’s 1828 definition is: ”Waters: The ocean; a sea; a lake; a river; any great collection of water; as in the phrases, to go by water to travel by water.” Since there is no indication anywhere in the scriptural record that the Nephties (or anyone else) traveled on the River Sidon (all comments were crossing over it) and no other river is mentioned, we might be able to rule out “river” from Webster’s explanation.
    We can also look at the fact that while “water” a noncount or uncountable noun (meaning a noun that does not change to a plural form), in the singular form, and is in the sense of an area or stretch of water (such as a river, lake or sea), the word “waters” in the plural form is a “body of water of a particular place, such as “the waters of the Great Lakes,” or the “waters of Hudson Bay” (Robert Charles Lee, 35+ years in editorial and publishing of American English).
Elsewhere, Mormon uses the “waters of Mormon” (Mosiah 18:8)—“Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called),” also the "w" not capitalized—to refer to an area of standing water, i.e., lagoon, pond, small lake, etc., where Alma hid in the forest of Mormon nearby and baptized in these waters. If this was fed by a river, there is no mention of it. In this sense, “waters” is used to mean a specific body of water—called “Mormon,” which were “gathered together at the place of Mormon” (Mosiah 18:7). And in its English format, is used in the plural to denote the presence of a large body of water, rather than running water. We use such a term to denote possession like in “American” or “U.S. Waters,” or “Peruvian Waters” or “International waters.”
    In idiomatic sense, we use “stormy waters,” or “dangerous waters,” as in the metaphors meaning “troubled” or “difficult” times. But generally speaking, “water” in the singular is most often used, and should be used almost all of the time because it is an uncountable noun.
1a. "Thus, your comment “The "w" in the "waters of Sidon" is not capitalized so it is not necessarily a separate place”
    Response: This is not correct, for it most definitely is a separate place, and the use of “waters” so designates it as such.
1b. "The point being the waters of Sidon were still in the borders of Zarahemla…"
    Response: This is true; however, the borders of Zarahemla would have been a rather large area, since the border would have run from north to south along side at least the Land of Gideon, and Mormon could be referring to anywhere along that border,not necessarily along the entire border where the river earlier ran.
1c. “…in the same place they were before."
    Response: Again, we do not know to what degree—see 1b above.
1d.  "Such a dramatic change in elevation would have displaced them"
    Response: We do not know what change in elevation might have taken place here—the level of land on which the river flowed past the borders might not have been affected, just the elevation to the south (the old head or headwater of the river itself). In other words, there could have been some type of blockage form between these two spots that diverted the river elsewhere (possibly to the east into the Amazon Basin), leaving a lake or waterway of standing waters called “Sidon” at this time after the crucifixion.
    The point is, we don’t know any of this—only that the term “waters” was used by Mormon and that has a connotation of its own.
2) "The scriptures don't say that mountains displaced any seas or that the mountains that rose up were even in the East. Those are assumptions."
    Response: Perhaps a “likely” assumption, since there was an East Sea all along the east coast of the Land of Promise, particularly here along the Land Southward—and that area is no longer a sea. Moreover, that area is now occupied by the highest mountain chain in the Western Hemisphere, which matches “there shall be many places which are now called valleys which shall become mountains, whose height is great” (Helaman 14:23) and coastal plains are often referred to as coastal valleys—the language seems to support such a “likely” assumption.
Stone wharfs at Puma Punku, now at 12,800 feet and sixteen miles from any water, were once at sea level and handled hundreds of ships. Top: These broken stones from the four-level building overlooking the wharves and docks were once a single stone, weighing over four hundred ton, now obviously broken by some extremely powerful uplift
    Around Lake Titicaca, along what would have been the eastern seacoast of the Land Southward are ruins at Puma Punku showing huge wharfs. Even today, local people consider the area sacred. The depth of the lake and the poor visibility complicate studies of the bottom, and ignorance breeds legend. Recently, a team of divers and researchers from society Akakor Geographical Exploring made 200 dives to the ruins of the sunken city. At the bottom were found ruins of temples, fragments of roads, walls and terraces, which once was grown agricultural plants. It has long been among the locals could be heard talking about the sunken city, but only by the development of technology, it became possible to dive. Remains of the temple complex was found at a depth of 20 meters, where divers proceeded along found at the bottom of the road that led to their discovery.
    At the bottom of the lake, researchers have found many artifacts, which included fragments of gold, ceramic statues, stone statues, boats, bones of humans and animals and containers with incense.
The ruins of an ancient temple have been found by international archaeologists under Lake Titicaca, the world's highest lake. A terrace for crops, a long road and an 2,600 feet long wall was also found under the waters of the lake, sited in the Andes mountains between Bolivia and Peru
    It might well be that in the original writing of the Disciple Nephi and others at the time, which only 1% remained after Mormon’s abridgement, much more was written about what took place and how. That we do not have such information is likely the result of Mormon not writing that since it might have taken away the real importance of 3 Nephi from the advent of the Savior. Still, I would have liked to have known exactly how that happened and what took place.
2a. “We know mountains came up in the place of valleys but it doesn't say in the place of water.”  
    Response: Personally, I don’t think the “mountains” came up in the place of “water” or “sea.” In mountain building, folds of land rise upward—whatever the coastal area of the Land of Promise was (which, by the way is never said, nor is any other coastal area described in appearance anywhere in the scriptural record—so we cannot go by what it does not say), that coastal area rose up into the mountains we know today as the Andes—and the Cordillera Oriental (the east branch or cordillera, which would have been along the coastal plain [valley]).
    We also have to keep in mind that the only actual comment we have regarding this is not the Disciple Nephi’s writing (or Mormon’s abridgement of his writing), but a prophecy given by Samuel the Lamanite, who came up out of the Land of Nephi, and may never have even seen the east coast or the Sea East of the Land of Zarahemla, or even the Land of Nephi. Besides, he was not giving a geography lesson, but said, “Behold, I, Samuel, a Lamanite, do speak the words of the Lord which he doth put into my heart; and behold he hath put it into my heart to say unto this people that…” (Helaman 13:5).
Evidently, based on what he said, his emphasis (words put into his heart to say) dealt with a “sign” (Helaman 14:20), and that “sign” was a huge mountain range “whose height is great” (Helaman 14:23) that would be seen by basically everyone throughout the Land of Promise “when they shall see all these signs and wonders which shall be showed unto them” (Helaman 15:3). After all, the Sea East could not have been seen by everyone, but everyone could see more than 50 peaks over 20,000-foot high which can be seen all along the west coast—in fact, they are the longest chain in the world at 4,500 miles.
(See the next post, “More on the Destruction in 3 Nephi – Part II,” for more of this reader’s questions and our answers regarding the destruction in 3 Nephi)


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  4. Surely, you have a comment you want to make after all this prework... :)