Tuesday, February 9, 2016

More Comments from Readers – Part V

Here are more comments that we have received from readers of this website blog:
    Comment #1: “You say Pachacamac is the currant name of the city of Zarahemla. Do you have any idea where the name came from and what it actually means?” Brenda W.
The Ancient city of Pachacamac about one half mile inland from the Pacific Ocean, and about 20 miles south of Lima, Peru. Note the yellow arrows pointing to the old, ancient wall around the city
    Response: The name is actually Pacha Kamaq, literally “Earth Maker,” or more accurately, anciently meant “God dwelt here.” This is very close to saying “the Prophets, Seers, and Revelators dwelt here,” and would be most appropriate when comparing it to the scriptural record of it being the home of both Mosiahs, Benjamin, Alma, Helaman, and other prophets and seers. It also fits the fact that while Zarahemla was surrounded by a wall, upon which Samuel the Lamanite preached to the Nephites: “many heard the words of Samuel the Lamanite, which he spake upon the walls of the city” (Helaman 16:1). Pachacamac was at one time completely surrounded by a wall (Blair Niles, A Journey in Time Peruvian Pageant, Bobbs-Merrill, N.Y., 1937, p62, quoting Miguel Estete, the royal veedor or inspector, who accompanied Hernando Pizzaro on this expedition, wrote: “It must be a very old place, for there are numerous fallen edifices. It has been surrounded by a wall, though now most of it is fallen.” His account was also included by secretary Xerez in his own (William Hickling Prescott, History of the Conquest of Peru, 1522-1548, 1998, p500). Cieza de Leon visited here, and Ephraim George Squier wrote that the tenement houses in the ancient city had one-story apartments with no narrow, dark passages, but all opening on a spacious central court, and the temple had several terraces which led to the summit, which still showed rose-red and chrome-yellow stucco.
    Comment #2: “I wonder how many times the Book of Mormon contains the words "And now I would speak (prophesy, write. etc.) somewhat concerning..."  I do not believe this phrase appears even once in the Bible” Steve W.
    Response: Nor should it. The Book of Mormon is an abridgement by Mormon of the record written by several early prophets. In his abridgement, he condenses a much larger volume to a small work by comparison, and continually inserts his own wordage in the process. “And now I would speak somewhat concerning...” is used as a seque from one thought or event to another, much like "and it came to pass," and has nothing to do with Biblical terminology or writing, but was used by the abridger, Mormon, who lived from 310 A.D. to 385 A.D.
    Comment #3: “Wow! I read an article by Joe V. Andersen in the Book of Mormon Archaeological Forum in which he critiqued Wayne N. May’s This Land: Zarahemla and the Nephite Nation, 2002. He shows where it is not possible for the Book of Mormon to have occurred in the United States, but only in Mesoamerica. How does that set with your South America?” Terrance J.
    Response: In that article, Andersen also states: “If one is going to attempt to identify geographical locations of the Book of Mormon, the fundamental premise must be that it must conform precisely to what the Book of Mormon states and cannot go against specific directions, spatial requirements, elevations and consistent textual descriptions stated therein. One must not pick and choose some locations or facts to the exclusions of others.”
Until Andersen brings his Mesoamerican model into a north-south alignment as Mormon so vividly describes in Alma 22:27-34, and elsewhere, as Andersen himself says “any model must conform precisely to what the Book of Mormon states and cannot go against specific directions,” then he might have something of interest to say on the matter. As for May’s model, he also is so far afield that one of the co-writers of the first volume, Edwin G. Goble, has recanted both his writing and apologizes for doing so, and recants his support of May’s artifacts and information.
    Comment #4: “You seem to keep skirting the problem that modern DNA does not show a connection between the American Indian and the Book of Mormon” Laura Z.
    Response: It is interesting that despite all the problems showing up with DNA, including the recent evidence that mitochondrial DNA is inaccurate, people still harp on it. Actually, we have written quite a bit about the American Indian and DNA—among other articles, see “In Changing the Lamanite Skin Color, Parts I and II, and also “DNA and the American Indian, Parts I and II, Sunday, February 27, 2013 thru March 2, 2013. On the other hand, it might also be said that in regard to the nature and identity of Lehi’s people, Latter-day Saints have held a variety of opinions and expressed several interpretations historically, but whether some Native Americans, or many Native Americans, or even all Native Americans have Lehi as an ancestor, it does not follow that they did not also have others over the centuries since the demise of the Nephites in 385 A.D.
    It should also be understand that in in all tribal genetic testing, information is expressed in terms of probability or a chance of something. It should also be kept in mind that Genetic Ancestry Testing looks at more historical connections; however, it cannot reflect the whole of a person’s ancestry but instead traces ancestry through specific variations in genes. In addition, since mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) testing runs through the mother, if the mother was not on the ancestral line between Lehi and the present testee, then there would be no apparent connection. In this case, an entirely different DNA test is required. Also, not all American Indian DNA shows up regardless of the test. As an example, many men of eastern U.S. tribes, such as Cherokee, have a European haplogroup like R1b. That’s because there was a lot of intermingling with the early settlers from Europe. And lastly it should also be noted that with mtDNA  testing other than Full Sequence the time frame of common ancestors may be too far back to provide useful information. So good luck with your DNA approach and test.
    Comment #5: “We were having a discussion in our class recently about the ball or compass. I mentioned your excellent articles about how it probably worked. Tell me, do you happen to know what the word “liahona” stands for or means?” Kimberly B.
Response: Keep in mind that the Hebrews created new words by combining existing words in accordance with the circumstances in which the need for that new word arose, taking into account the purpose of the object that received the word. Thus, the word “yah” is God Jehovah. “Liyah” means the possessive, and “ona” means “whither” or direction. Thus, “the direction (director) of the Lord, or literally “to the YWHW is the whither” (To God is the direction). The term Liahona, then, is composed of three words: the first part of the name “li” indicates the possession of something; “iaho” exhibits the fingerprints of the tetragrammaton YHWH, i.e., the Lord; and “ona” is an adverb that means direction or motion to a certain place. This has, evidently, led to the name Liana, which means “To God is the guidance. More precisely, the Hebrew name Liana means “My God has answered (me)”; It is composed of three Hebrew elements: “El” meaning God; “ana” meaning “answered,” and the “Yud” located after EL, indicating first person possession. If spelled Layin, it means “he answered me.”
    Comment #6: “Why do you think Hugh Nibley kept talking about other people in the Land of Promise? I read where he said, ‘It is nowhere said or implied that even the Jaredites were the first to come here, any more than it is said or implied that they were the first or only people to be led from the tower.’ What do you think?” Zack D.
    We do know from the Book of Mormon and from Isaiah that other groups of the house of Israel were led away (1 Nephi 19:10; 21:1; 2 Nephi 10:20-21), but we do not know from where or when or to where or when. If any were led away from the Tower by the hand of the Lord rather than wandered away, we have no knowledge and it is fruitless to speculate on such. However, in regard to the Land of Promise, we have been given a pretty good understanding of who, how and when, people were led there through the prophecies, visions, and promises given to Lehi and later to Nephi. Since there is no suggestion, comment, reference or thoughts given us on this, it seems likely none arrived or they would have been mentioned in their vision as the ones we know about were, including the gentiles of Europe, etc.
    One of the problems is that Nibley, like others who champion Mesoamerica as the Land of Promise, are convinced from sectarian writing and "scientific evidence,” there were other people in Mesoamerica before, during and after, the Jaredites and Nephites, so Nibley and others feel the need to provide room for them to have been in their models of the Land of Promise. Personally, I do not think so, but that is beside the point. The issue at hand is, none were ever mentioned, suggested or eluded to, thus it is of no consequence to us in understanding the Jaredites, Nephites, Mulekites or Lamanites to start thinking others were around.
When the Lord told the Brother of Jared that he would lead them "into a land which is choice above all the lands of the earth" (Ether 1:42), and then tells him that he would be going forth into the wilderness, "yea into that quarter of the land where never had man been" (Ether 2:15 emphasis added), that seems rather specific and unquestionable that the Jaredites would have been the first into the Western Hemisphere, the fourth quarter of the Earth, the land that had been held in reserve after the Flood (Ether 13:2), and should have, I believe, been understood even to Nibley.
    Comment #7: “I ran across a map by someone named Rosenvall regarding Baja California and found it fascinating. I think you’ve missed a bet by not looking closer to home than South America. Why don’t you study that area?” Lennie J.
    Response: This map was developed by Lynn and David Rosenvall. While we have written much in this blog about Baja, and why it could not possibly be the Land of Promise based upon Mormon’s numerous descriptions, let me ask you just one question. If you can intelligently answer it for me, I will consider your point of view. When the Nephites were faced with annihilation at Cumorah in 385 A.D., why did they choose to stand and fight rather than keep retreating northward as they had been doing for nearly 40 years? They certainly had plenty of room in Baja to continue retreating northward right into the area of the southwest United States. Why on earth would they stop and fight a battle against an overwhelming larger force they knew they could not defeat? Rosenvall’s so-called “narrow neck of land” is only about 300 miles from what is now the U.S. Mexico border and beyond that straight north would have been today’s area of San Diego and Southern California—if you have ever been in Baja, especially in what Rosenvall considers his Land Northward, you would quickly grasp the benefit of continuing north into what is now California. So why did the Nephites stop and fight an anihilating battle?

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