Friday, May 27, 2016

More Comments from Readers – Part V

Here are more comments that we have received from readers of this website blog: 
    Comment #1: “Why do you say the Jaredites would have left the area of Santa Elena along the coast where you claim they landed. I have been there and have seen how the currents bring drift stuff into the beach along the southern shore. The area seems ideal to me, the beaches are beautiful, the peninsula is intriguing, you can see whales and dolphins in the waters…the Spotted and Spinner dolphins are quite unique in my experience. The bird watching is great, with interesting museums and a lot of quiet” Sunny C.
Santa Elena Peninsula is a barren piece of land that just out into the Pacific as the north rim of the Gulf of Guayaquil
Response: Evidently, you missed the salt mines with their excessive sodium intake that anciently dotted this barren area with monotonous natural ponds, and oil and asphalt seeps with their stench and the resultant bitumen pitch odors and fumes—seriously, though, the area is arid, uncomfortably hot, full of mangrove swamps, yet a little to the east is a desert type of plains, and closer in are tropical dry forests, and miles upon miles of hilly landscape. The peninsula was and still mostly is covered by semi-arid scrub.
    You describe a short one or two day stay on the peninsula, which can be interesting, but totally different from a week or a month or longer—as a side note, if you are going to stay longer on the southern Ecuador coast, I would recommend the Santa Elena Casa Leon’s beachside “resort.” The food is traditional and considered world-class, and you can dine outdoors while gazing at the sea, fishing boats, birds and occasional marine life, then relax on a hammock and enjoy the coastal breeze. If you like raw fish, try the Ceviche, the serving itself is delightful and the taste from the raw fish in citrus juice to “die for.” Or try the Ecuadorian Cazuela, a dish so called because of the cooking pot in which it is cooked, while the combination of mixed meats (pork, turkey, chicken and beef) and vegetables is considered one of their best dishes (the stock varies, but theirs is very good), with potato, pumpkin, cooked rice, small noodles, green beans, carrots, garlic, celery and cabbage—when cooked together for the stock, an interesting meal.
    Ooops, got off topic.
    While I doubt the Jaredites, after spending 344 days in the enclosed barges, would have been interested in your whales, dolphins, sea breezes or the smell of the ocean, the biggest problem for them would have been drinking water, especially as their settlement grew in size (they already numbered a considerable population with their propensity toward large families: Brother of Jared had 22 children, Jared 12, his son Orihah had 31 children of which 23 were sons). With the temperature a continuous 90º daily—the land is extremely hot and dry and would have been so before industrial man arrived there. Besides with the heat and the extreme humidity, yellow fever, malaria, and liver fluke are prevalent, with mildew and mold destroying clothing and leather, and a severe problem with termites. Living along the coast in this area would have been neither easy nor healthy for the Jaredites.
As can be seen from the waves rolling ashore, the current (yellow arrows) runs directly into the peninsula as it juts out into the ocean--the furthest point west along the South American coast
    The scriptural record states: “And they did land upon the shore of the promised land. And when they had set their feet upon the shores of the promised land they bowed themselves down upon the face of the land, and did humble themselves before the Lord and…they went forth upon the face of the land, and began to till the earth” (Ether 6:12-13). The son of Jared, Orihah was made king, his son, Kib, was the second king and dwelt in the land of Moron (Ether 7:6) that “was near the land which is called Desolation by the Nephites.” Kib’s son, Corihor, when 32 years of age, rebelled and “went over and dwelt in the land of Nehor” (Ether 7:4).
    Evidently, the two cities of Moron and Nehor served as the capitol of the land at various times, with Moron being in an elevated area or higher up in the hills or mountains than Nehor since Corihor “came up unto the land of Moron” (Ether 7:5) from Nehor, which also suggests that Nehor might be along the western coast.
    Eastward from the coast there is an unusual change in elevation and topography which produces a very different climate. Two massive mountain ranges run north and south along the country, one the Cordillera Occidental (west) and the other Cordillera Oriental, creating an eight to nine thousand foot highlands or central valley plateau about 200 miles long with 9300-foot Quito at the northern end, and 8640-foot Cuenca at the southern end. The Plain is about twenty to thirty miles wide, divided by a few mountain spurs, leaving several shallow basins or plains where the climate is healthy and today where about 75% of Ecuadorians live. It seems likely that Moron would have been along this central plateau, and Nehor in the lowlands, probably near the coast north of the peninsula where the weather and climate conditions would be far better for lengthy human habitation.
    Comment #2: “Why is the public banned from your temples. I have seen and been in the Cathedrals of the world, why not your temples?” Jacques V.
Response: Latter-day Saint temples are not used for our weekly Sunday worship, which are held in what we call Ward or Branch buildings and meeting places. In those areas, all visitors and people are welcome to attend along with all LDS members. However, in our temples, sacred ordinances are performed only for baptized members who qualify themselves to receive those ordinances. If you want to see a temple just to visit and see what it is like inside, etc., then after a new temple is built, the public may tour it during a month-long open house. After the temple is dedicated to the Lord, the public may visit the grounds and a special visitor center, but the temple is open only to those with a valid temple recommend.
    Comment #3: “You claim the Jaredites were in the land of promise for about 1500 years…in all that time, why do you think they never went into the land southward until after the poisonous serpent problem, and then only to hunt?” Bennie T.
    Response: Other than it being the Lord’s plan to keep the Land Southward for Lehi and his posterity, I would imagine that the topography discouraged movement in that direction.
South of the narrow neck of land, is the area today known as Loja (Lolja Province), and in the high Andes, where malaria was once rampant—the current city is in the bottom of the broad glacial earthquake-prone Cuxibamba valley at 6758 feet, with the high humid Amazon Basin to the east and the Peruvian sechura desert to the west.
    South, between the Gulf and Cajamarca (Nephite city of Bountiful), the land is made up of peaks, mountain knots, canyons, and narrow valleys, which would have been difficult terrain to settle. This two hundred miles of land would have acted as a barrier against much movement, just as the land south of the Gulf of Guayaquil, which is a sandy desert which extends south along most of coastal Peru, where the rain very rarely falls.
Sechura Desert, along the coast of Peru south of the Gulf of Guayaquil, with crescent dunes running most of the way in the second highest sand dune desert in the world, with dune height reaching above 3,000 feet
    The valley itself is a paramo—high, cold, treeless, windy desert plateau—which borders the Podocarpus high cloud forest and jungle.
    It was just a little north of this area, that the Jaredites built a city after the poisonous serpents were all destroyed (Ether 10:19), in the narrow neck adjacent to where the sea divides the land (Ether 10:20), which would have been the Gulf of Guayaquil.
    As you can see, there was little south of there to entice the Jaredites to move southward, i.e., sand-dune desert, high barren desert plateau, and the jungle. Obviously, after the poisonous serpents were killed, it would have been an ideal place to hunt.

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