Tuesday, April 12, 2016

More Comments from Readers –Part II

Here are some more comments from the readers of this blog: 
    Comment #1: “You wrote in an article that in an earlier period Mormon knew that the Jaredite record would be written on the plates. Where did that information come from?” Zach T.
    Response: When Mormon was abridging the Book of Mosiah, he came across the incident of Limhi’s 43-man expedition to find Zarahemla (Mosiah 8:7) that accidentally stumbled upon the Jaredite ruins, and rather than talk about the Jaredites at that point in the record, Mormon inserts a note for the reader that the 24 gold plates the searchers found would be included later. As he said “And this account shall be written hereafter; for behold, it is expedient that all people should know the things which are written in this account” (Mosiah 28:19).
    Comment #2: “Do we know who the Aztecs were?” Flo S.
Response: According to Alpheus Hyatt Verrill and Ruth Verrill (a husband and wife archaeological team, he being an American zoologist, explorer, inventor, illustrator and author who participated in a number of archaeological expeditions to the West Indies, South, and Central America, and traveled extensively throughout the West Indies, and all of the Americas, North, Central and South. A friend of Theodore Roosevelt, the former President said of Verrill: "It was my friend Verrill here, who really put the West Indies on the map,” that “we believe as do several well-known archaeologists who have studied Indian cultures of both Central and South America that the ancestors of the ancient Mexicans came from northern Peru in the vicinity of Ancash and Junin (Verill & Verill, America’s Ancient Civilizations, Putnam, New York, 1953, p92); anyway, according to Hyatt Verill, that traditionally claim the original home of the ancient Mexicans was in some unknown area in Aztland or “Place of the Reeds” (p52). And that place could have been Lake Titicaca, with the people being a remnant of the Anti-Lehi-Nephis and later the people of Ammon.
The reed islands in the midst of Lake Titicaca made by the Reed People who live there, replacing the reeds about every six months when the oxygen in them dissipate and the islands start to sink—their boats, homes, meeting halls, etc., are all made of reeds
    Ammon and his brother Aaron, sons of king Mosiah and eminent missionaries, who converted king Lamoni and his father, the king over all the Lamanites, journey into the Land Southward until he came to the land of Ishmael—an area at the southern end of Lake Titicaca around where the ruins of Tiahuanaco now stand, is  considered to be the Land of Ishmael. In Quechua, Tiahuanaco means “The place of the dead,” or more accurate, “the place of those who were,” meaning an area long ago populated and the people gone in the ancient legends of the pre-Inca peoples. For centuries those who lived there used the balsa reeds for mats and boats and now build artificial islands out of these reeds.
    When the people called Anti-Nephi-Lehies moved from the Titicaca basin they came northward to a land called Jershon on the west shores of Lake Junin. Some of these people were among those who migrated into the land northward in B.C. times and built boats (Helaman 3:3, 4, 12, 14). Later, their descendants could have migrated into Central America and into southern Mexico. However, it should be noted that the scriptural record does not tell us who the Aztecs were, or who the Anti-Nephi-Lehies were in modern terms.
    Comment #3: “You do make some persuasive arguments, however, I'm not 100% convinced, for a few reasons: 1) You say "to a professional who works with these ores, it is common practice to combine precious metals and list them separately from non-precious metals when found in a single ore." My response: to a professional when? Now? What about to Nephi in 600 B.C? Is that indeed the convention he adhered to? And 2) You say, "'both gold and silver and copper' which means literally, both 'gold and silver' and 'copper.'" My Response: In English can't it be either this “both (gold and silver) and copper,” or this: “both gold and (silver and copper)? Wonder Boy
    Response: I suppose this comes under the concept as to how to we interpret the scriptural record? One way is to consider the Hebraic content, which “both” comes under, but not the separation of previous and non-precious metals for the metallurgist; however, it should be noted that all metallurgists in all fields that I’ve ever studied, keep those two separate since they are two entirely different types of metals.
Consequently, it does not make sense to say both 1) gold, and 2) silver and copper. Why would anyone combine silver and copper? To the metallurgist these are two entirely opposite metals (one precious, i.e., valuable; the other non-precious; quite common. Gold is soft and malleable; copper has high strength; gold is rare, copper is the 8th most common metal in the Earth, etc. Silver is much like gold, soft, malleable, rare, and at one time, considered more valuable than gold. Copper is present in most gold ore and silver ore, where as neither gold nor silver is always present in gold and silver ore.
    Thus, neither in Nephi’s time, nor our time, is copper considered on a par with either gold or silver. The two do not go together in lists of metals at any level.
    Therefore, when interpreting the scriptural record we need to keep in mind these two: Hebraics (the mind set of those who wrote it that spoke Hebrew, including Mormon) as well as the fact that when God speaks to man, he does so according to Joseph Smith, in our language for our understanding. You combine those two understandings and I think the interpretation we use is correct, or as correct as anyone can get.
    Comment #4: “Have you considered that one of the Hebrew words for "both" can mean "alike" (as does "both") but that unlike the English "both", the Hebrew "both" can be used for lists of more than just 2? (the word is yachad).”
    Response: First: Many words in Hebrew, like English, have multiple meanings, often, however, some definitions are secondary to an extent that they would rarely be used that way.
As an example, yachad (יָ֫חַד), pronounced yakh’ad, means “together,” typically defined as “two things together,” i.e., “we do this with each other,” “take the bad together with the good.” It means in partnership, jointly, in combination, as in “they both spoke together.” Secondly, the second basic meaning of yachad is “both,” which we have already extensively shown means “two” and only two, as in “used to refer to two people or things, regarded and identified together.” In English grammar: ”both refers to two things together” (Cambridge University), “We use both to refer to two people or things” (Woodward English); “both is used as a conjunction relating two nouns, two adjectives, and two verbs respectively” (American Journal Experts); “Both is paired with and to add emphasis to two coordinated elements in a sentence” (English Grammar); lastly, the five highest regarded English grammar authorities, all agree that both is used only with two—Warriner's English Grammar and Composition; Strunk and White The Elements of Style; Fowler's Dictionary of Modern English Usage; The Chicago Manual of Style; and Garner’s Modern American Usage. The third major point is in the sense of translation, Joseph Smith was working under the direction of the Spirit—the words appeared on the stone in the hat and he read them off—even if he got it wrong, the word would not disappear until he got it right. The Spirit was involved, and I trust the Spirit to have verified the correct interpretation.
Comment #5: “I just completed reading "Lehi never saw Mesoamerica" and want to tell you again how impressed with and grateful for your work I am. I have read the Book of Mormon over 50 times, but as I read it again now, I am learning so much more about it due to the insights you have taught. Your 20+ years of study and thousands of books read were an inspired labor. I have told many people about your work and continue to wonder how we can get more people to know about it. In any event thank you. I'll be writing a more comprehensive review on Amazon and on your blog when I get time.”
    Response: Thank you for your kind words.
    Comment #6: “In 1 N 19:10. ...according to the words of Zenos, which he spake concerning the three days of darkness, which should be a sign given of his death unto those who should inhabit the isles of the sea, more especially given unto those who are of the house of Israel.” To me, that scripture is a further witness that the land of promise was an island. The sign of his death was given to those on the isles of the sea. We know that the sign of his death (the 3 days of darkness) was given to the Nephites as recorded in 3 Nephi. Thus, the land of promise is an isle of the sea. Am I interpreting that scripture incorrectly?” Dave K.
    Response: I believe you are interpreting 1 Nephi 19:10 correctly. And you may be right that we have not covered that particular scripture before—I do not recall off hand. But thank you for the insight.

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