Friday, August 26, 2016

More Comments From Readers – Part I

Here are more comments and questions from our readers of this blog:
    Comment #1: “You seem to have settled on the idea that the Gulf of Guayaquil is the area that separated the Land Northward from the Land Southward creating a narrow neck of land in between. Is there no other area where this neck could be? Potter thinks he found an area much further south in the Lurin Valley. What do you think of his location?” Link O.
    Response: Potter’s area is not a location that actually separates one land from the other—it is a pass through mountains, one of many in Peru, but it does not create a “neck of land” which is interpreted to mean “an isthmus” an isthmus that can be crossed in a day and a half. Nor does he then have an area where the “sea divides the land.”
Based on the Andean area once being an island, with the Amazon Basin and much of South America setting beneath the surface, a narrow neck or “isthmus” formed east of the Gulf of Guayaquil—when the Andes rose to mountains “whose height was great” this corridor or narrow neck still existed between the Gulf and the cliffs of the high Andes 

    When we use the scriptural record as a guide we find in Ether the narrow neck was by the place where the sea divides the land (Ether 10:20). Likely, this was because the sea cut into the land sufficiently, creating an inlet, bay or gulf. With the word “neck” used by Mormon, we can also suggest that the gulf was elongated sufficiently to form a shoreline along the isthmus.
    As Venice Priddis so aptly put it, “Since the Nephite landing took place on the west coast of South America and since the narrow neck is referred to long before the mention of ships (Alma 63:5-8), which might have overcome the “isolation” caused by the submerged Darien Gap, we would expect to look for the elongated gulf on the Pacific coast of South America. The only such geographical location along that entire coast is the Gulf of Guayaquil in southern Ecuador.” This gulf at the isthmus is about 80 to 100 miles long and cuts inland about 100 miles, forming a noticeable sea that divides the land.
    Comment #2: “Why did Lehi not take any animals to the Land of Promise with him?” Michelle T.
    Response: We assume they did not take any with them because none are mentioned. And, evidently, none were needed because of the animals the Jaredites took that escaped into the Land Southward (Ether 9:31,33) during the time of the poisonous serpents and made their way far to the south by the time Lehi landed, thus Nephi writes of finding animals of all kind in the forest near where they landed (1 Nephi 18:25).
    Comment #3: “Why would the Lamanite king accept Mormon’s offer to do battle at the hill Cumorah? Why would he even have known where Cumorah was located? Would he have even known the name of the hill?” Karen S.
Response: After reading Mormon’s epistle, the Lamanite king (left) agreed to his location and terms. First of all, the Lamanites had been victorious over the Nephites in the last several battles, but could never quite box them in anywhere and were constantly chasing after them. This offer gave the Lamanites a chance to confront the Nephites in a straight on battle, one that would highly favor the vastly larger Lamanite army. No doubt the king correctly thought that they could finally put an end to the Nephite nation once and for all. As for knowing where it was located, we have written about that before showing that this hill Cumorah would have to have been a significant landmark that could be seen for some distance to which the king had either seen before or was described in such a way that he felt he could easily locate it. This of course let’s out the hill Cumorah in New York which is not significantly observable from any distance at all, nor around any other landmarks that would have made it noticeable from any distance.
    This is why we discuss the Cerro Imbabura, or Hill Imbabura in northern Ecuador as the Hill Cumorah in the Land of Promise. It can be seen from some distance and stands out singularly from all other topography. It would be impossible not to notice from a very far distance.
    Comment #4: “Exactly when do you think that the Nephites built the roads that you say are the ones that are now called the Inca Roads in South America?” George C.
    Response: It appears the roads were first built in Cuzco in B.C. times, that would have been the City of Nephi. Those roads would have spread, first through the Cuzco Valley into the areas known as Shemlon and Shilom, then southward toward Tiahuanaco and northward into what is now called the Sacred Valley. No doubt the first roads outside the valley were the ones to the south—these ancient roads going to Tiahuanaco were fifteen feet wide.
The road building during that 330 years or so that the Nephites occupied the Land of Nephi would have included roads through the upper passes and also down to the coast. Once the Nephites reached Zarahemla, and then started to spread along the coast northward and up into the central valleys, the roads would have extended from Zarahemla northward, but not southward into Lamanite-controlled lands. Eventually, those roads reached Bountiful, both along the coastal area and the upper valleys, when “and there were many highways cast up, and many roads made, which led from city to city, and from land to land, and from place to place” (3 Nephi 6:8).   
    Another major rebuilding time would have been after the destruction that destroyed much of the land at the time of the crucifixion when many of the roads and highways were destroyed. During the 200-year Gold Age of the Nephites that followed, they rebuilt damaged roads and built others, until the entire land of Promise from the Sea South to the Sea North and from the Sea West to the lofty Andes mountains were interwoven with roads. It was over these roads later that the Inca moved their armies to conquer a land larger than any other kingdom of its time--had those roads not already existed, it would have been impossible for the Inca to conquer that much land in such a short period of time.
    Comment #5: “Why did Mosiah leave he Land of Nephi and the many cities they had built? It seemed like such an ideal place that soon afterward, Zeniff and his group of people returned there to live once again” Carlyle C.
    Response: The main reason, of course, is that the Lord told him to do so. Obviously, the Lord knowing the evilness of the Nephites in the Land of Nephi at the time would soon sap the strength of the righteous until there were no more people to serve the Lord, so he told Mosiah to leave. While some, no doubt would have preferred to stay for the very reasons you point out, they did not and followed Mosiah and the word of the Lord (Omni 1:13).
    We understand that the people had become quite wicked in the area by this time and soon after departing, the Lamanites must have overwhelmed the remaining Nephites in the City of Nephi and elsewhere for not long after these events, the Lamanites were hot on the trail of Mosiah and discovered the Nephites now living in Zarahemla and “a serious war and much bloodshed broke out between the Nephites and the Lamanites. But behold, the Nephites did obtain much advantage over them; yea, insomuch that king Benjamin did drive them out of the land of Zarahemla” (Omni 1:24).
King Benjamin's talk to the combined Nephites and Mulekites that united them into one people and strengthened their righteousness that lasted well into the next generation

    In this way, the Lord preserves the more righteous of his people and punishes the evil ones, or allows evil people to punish the evil ones. Also, the Mulekites were blessed by receiving the word, the brass plates, and the knowledge of who they were, which opened up a righteous avenue for them that lasted through to around 300 A.D.
    Comment #6: “Why did the Inca claim that Tiahuanaco was built by the Gods and not their own people?” Marilyn Y.
    Response: Tiahuanaco was both very ancient and what existed when the Spanish arrived showed an expertise beyond the ability to even the bragging tongues of the Inca. Besides, since God created the Inca according to them, thus, with the Gods creating Tiahuanaco the Inca could still claim their promoted birthright as the oldest civilization in the land. So that lie or story served a dual purpose.

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