Friday, February 5, 2016

More Comments from Readers – Part I

Here are more comments that we have received from readers of this website blog: 
   Comment #1: “Tell me this, if Lehi landed at 30º South Latitude in Chile as you claim, why don’t we find any of the types of ruins there or around there like those in Peru you claim are Nephite?” Nat D.
Response: In Nephi’s account, they landed and immediately pitched their tents (1 Nephi 18:23) and tilled the ground and planted (1 Nephi 18:24). Meanwhile they investigated their land and found all sorts of animals and precious ores (1 Nephi 18:25), and they harvested their planting. In a Mediterranean climate as it is in that location, their crop(s) would have come in quickly, probably in less than a year, while they set up living in this area. During this time, Lehi, knowing he was near death, blessed and preached to his children and sons-in-law (2 Nephi 1:2 to 3:25). When Lehi died (2 Nephi 4:12), living with his brothers became intolerable for Nephi and he feared for his life (2 Nephi 5:2-3). The Lord told him to leave and take those who would go with him (2 Nephi 5:5).
    It is likely Nephi spent no more than a year or a little more in this area before being told to leave by the Lord for his safety (2 Npehi 5:6-7). Obviously, there would have been little time to have built much other than seeing to immediate shelter (tents) and food (planting and harvesting and killing some nearby animals), and a little investigation. However, after leaving and traveling for “many days” they arrived at a place they called “Nephi,” (later to be called Lehi-Nephi), and built a city and a magnificent temple (2 Nephi 5:15-16). It is also interesting that they did “sow seed,and did reap again in abundance” (2 Nephi 5:11) and here they began to raise flocks, herds and animals of every kind—Nephi makes it sound as though this was the second planting of the seed, thus in no more than the second year in the Land of Promise.
    Thus, we would not look to find any construction of the type Nephi taught his people to build (2 Nephi 5:15-17) between where they landed (30º South Latitude at Coquimbo Bay, Chile), and where they eventually settled and built the City of Nephi (between Cuzco and Lake Titicaca), and none have been found in Chile basically south of there.
Comment #2 “I've always been a believer of the Central and South American theories. I've been to ruins throughout central and south America. However, it never rang true. This Hopewell connection is hard to disregard. Additionally, all the evidence of Hill Ramah and Hill Cumorah, not to mention the places Joseph Smith indicated such as Zarahemla and Manti. I'm leaning toward the Eastern US model being about as accurate as anything put forward today and I'm quite excited about it as well. It's been a fun journey to learn something new and to realize if nothing else if the "Prince of America" Moroni had visited even Columbus and is trying to protect this great land of liberty. I can think of no other land in central or south America that could lay claim to a land of liberty or freedom. God has set this land as a standard. You make good points, but I think there is much truth to a true North American model. Just my opinion” Princepleoverparty.
    Response: The wonderful thing about opinions, anyone can have one. The difficulty with opinions, is they are often wrong. The scriptural record tells us what we need to know. If you have read and been following this blog for long, you would see where even a landing in the North American continent would have been extremely difficult to have reached an inland sea (Sea West) where Lehi landed. No inland river went far enough into the interior to have reached its landing spot as indicated in the scriptural record. How would Lehi and Saraih have managed to reach middle America in their infirmities?
Left: Hopewell mounds, from the Mound City Group in Ohio, for the most part they were used for burials, but also for decoration and as well as in a few cases a base for building on top; Right: Jersualem in 600 B.C., where Lehi, Nephi, Sam, and Zoram walked and knew all about their style of construction--coming from a lifetime in Jerusalem (where mounds have never been found) who would build earth mounds in the Land of Promise having seen and lived in such a modern city for the time?
    As for Hopewell relating to the Nephite nation, one has to ignore the scriptural record almost completely. We are talking about mounds of earth compared to buildings, cities, and temples that would have been built by a people coming from Jerusalem in 600 B.C., where buildings were made of stone and the temple was a marvel of modern architecture and construction.
    What kind of “temple like unto Solomon’s” (2 Nephi 5:16) would Nephi have built with the Hopewell mounds? And when Nephi writes that “I did teach my people to build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance” (2 Nephi 5:15), where do we see evidence of that in mounds of earth?
    If you have been following this blog, you would see where there are simply no matches to the scriptural record with the Hopewell development. It is interesting that their mounds, used throughout Indiana to New York and from central Ohio south to Kentucky, but southern Ohio seems to be the center of their culture simply because of the size and number of mounds found there. When American settlers first began moving into the Ohio Country they discovered the 1000s of conical mounds and various earthworks. They didn't have any idea of what they were or who built them. When they asked local Native Americans about them, they too didn't have any idea of who built them or why. This was the beginning of a long process to understand these mysterious mounds that were all over the Ohio Country. Some of the mounds were dug into by local settlers just to see what was inside. This was haphazard at best. Most of the conical mounds were mostly dirt. There were a few burial crypts inside containing historic artifacts.
Cross Section of a mound, showing the way the dead were buried in it
    They would begin with the burial of one noted individual, perhaps the leader of the clan. As time passed, and more celebrities died, they added their remains to the mound. Not everyone was buried in this way, but only a select few. It is not clear from current studies how they handled the deaths and burials of the other or perhaps common people. Previous excavations in and around the larger mound groups suggest that perhaps most of the dead were handled by cremating the remains. It is also possible that the groups of mounds found in central locations such as the Mound City Group in Chillicothe, were central burial locations for multiple clans or groups of people that came there specifically to bury their honored dead. Funny how not a single evidence of such burial mounds exist anywhere in the Middle East from whence the Jaredites and Lehites came. In addition, there are numerous descriptions in the scriptural record that are not found anywhere in the eastern U.S., such as "mountains whose height is great"; roads that were paved and thus "broken up" from earthquakes, etc., and rebuilt; to animals and two grains unknown to Joseph Smith, a farmer from a farming family, in 1829 that were so important to man; herbs that cured deadly fever, etc., etc., etc.
    My suggestion is that when considering a location of the Nephites, use the scriptural record!
    Comment #3: “I read somewhere that the Jaredites landed at Sampu in Peru, but I cannot find any Sampu listed anywhere in the Andean area” Temara J.
    Response: You probably read about this in either Venice Priddis’ The Book and the Map, or someone’s comments about her South American belief as the area of the Land of Promise. However, in her work, she misspells the name that the area of Santa Elena Peninsula in Ecuador, just north of the Gulf of Guayaquil, where we have suggested the Jaredite barges landed, was once called. It is Sumpa, not Sampu (Enrique Rosales Ortega, “Descubrimiento de la Península,” El Universo, Opinión, 16 de agosto de 2010).
    Before the Spanish conquest, the town was called Sumpa in the Chimu language, which means “spike,” obviously referring to the peninsula jutting out into the Pacific Ocean like a spear or spike. 
St. Helena (left) shown typically with the vera cruz (vera crux), or “true cross"
However, when Francisco Pizarro landed on August 18, 1531, he called it Santa Elena because that was the day of St. Helena—The Roman Empress Flavia Julia Helena (250-329 A.D.), the concubine and later wife of the joint ruler (tetrarch) Constantius (who later divorced her), she was also known as Saint Helena and Helena of Constantinople, who was venerated as a saint in the Catholic, Lutheran and Orthodox churches. Her son, Constantine, became the emperor of the Roman Empire.

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