Saturday, August 27, 2016

More Comments From Readers – Part II

Here are ore comments from readers of our blog:
    Comment #1: “I read somewhere that the waters of Sebus in the Land of Nephi were probably Lake Titicaca” Pen F.
    Response: This is highly unlikely. The Waters of Sebus would have been a fresh water lake or pond of some type, but certainly not the salt water of Lake Titicaca, which once rested at sea level and was part of the inland ocean (Sea East) before the full continent rose. Today, Titicaca is considered a fresh water lake, but that is because the high content of the original lake has drained to the south, forming the ancient Lake Poopo, which in turn formed part of the many salt flats beyond, the major one called Satlar de Uyuni, which is the world’s largest salt flat.  The legacy of this prehistoric area is legend when the trapped lakes rose up from sea level within the land of the continent as it rose forming the Andes and the Amazon Basin.
When this area went dry, it left behind a desert-like, 6835-square-mile landscape of bright-white salt, rock formations and cacti-studded islands. Its otherworldly expanse can be observed from central Incahuasi Island. Though wildlife is rare in this unique ecosystem, it does harbor many pink flamingos. Poopo lake itself once received its water from Titicaca via the Desaguadero River, but it was never deep (about 10-feet) and eventually much of it dried up, sending its saline content out over the desert floor creating many salt deposit flat areas. This is easily seen from an aerial view of Titicaca which shows its various drainage arms once fed the Altiplano to the south and various small lakes where Poopo is now located and are now part of the salt flats.
    Even today, Titicaca has a high salt content that is above normal for a fresh water lake. In the time of the sons of Mosiah, about 91 to 77 B.C., Titicaca had not yet risen up to its present height as a result of the earthquakes and destruction and rise of the mountains “whose height is great” (Helaman 14:23). Consequenty, it would not be possible for Lake Titicaca to be the Waters of Sebus.
Comment #2: “I know you have addressed this a few times, but I find it hard to believe you can think that something written down by Frederick G. Williams on a scrap of paper was a prophecy” Candice F.
    Response: First of all, it was not a scrap of paper as Mesoamericanists like to so glibly claim, but a sheet of paper on which at least one other prophecy had been written, plus some other matters dealing with his position as 2nd Counselor in the First Presidency and personal scribe to Joseph Smith. Secondly, I have no idea if it was a revelation or not, and to me that is not the issue. If it was a revelation, great. But the fact that it was not published suggests it was not a prophecy—or at least was not meant to be announced to the Church as one. Actually, the note’s main value is in the fact that it mentions a sailing course that matches the winds and currents southward from the south coast of the Arabian Peninsula, all the way to the claimed landing site of Lehi at 30º south latitude on the west coast of Chile in South America. It is amazing to me that Williams, and whether Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon discussed it or not, though one might think it was a topic of conversation being written on the sheet of paper that was part of a Presidency Meeting on the other points written upon it, the position at 30º south latitude, where the Bay of Coquimbo is located and La Serena, is a very remarkable place to choose as the landing site.
In 1830, the U.S. had only 24 states, Mexico controlled Most of the west the Louisiana Purchase area was open territory, Spain controlled Florida, Michigan Territory, Arkansas Territory, and the Oregon Territories were owned by the U.S., and Russia owned Alaska—the United States had no access to the Pacific Ocean 

    This is partially because if anyone knew anything about South America at the time in the 1830s-1840s in the backwoods of western New York, it would have been further south around Santiago where the bay there would have been much better known. However, Williams wrote down the site that is Coquimbo Bay, relatively unknown to the American navy until much later in the 1800s, and not known for some other very important information until the 20th century, namely:
Coming up from the south, Nephi’s ship would have been slowed by the winds and currents which die down at 30º and allow him to steer out of the current and into the bayh—he would have landed somewhere within the yellow box 

1. The Mediterranean Climate, only one of five outside the Mediterranean Sea boundary, only one of two in the Western Hemisphere, and the only place in the world where in 600 B.C. seeds from Jerusalem would have grown outside the location where they were first grown—and they grew exceedingly and provided an abundant crop;
2. An immediately place to pitch tents where a fresh water river flowed, the bay protected the climate, where seeds could be planted and where Lehi could live out his remaining days without having to travel inland in search for a place to settle down;
3. A vast forest nearby (actually very close, bordering upon La Serena) where wild and domestic beasts and animals could exist after hundreds of years in proximity;
4. Where gold, silver and copper was found along the surface and in great abundance.
    All of this is found in 1 Nephi 18:23-25.
    Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry around Lake Erie in 1813 during the War of 1812 and the Battle of Put-in-Bay off the coast of Ohio. Williams’ profession was as a doctor, having grown up since the age of 12 in a frontier house in Cleveland, Ohio, and his father owned and operated a flour mill and a saw mill. As the eldest child, much was expected of Frederick. He worked on his father's farm and mills, helped construct their new home on a bluff overlooking the bay, and took over the care of the younger children and other household duties as his mother gradually lost her eyesight.
    During the War of 1812, Cleveland became an important military station.
Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry defeated the British in the Battle of Lake Eire. A Captain at the time, Perry’s defeat of the british was the first unqualified defeat of a British naval squadron in history. Perry, age 28, led a U.S. fleet of nine American ships to victory over a squadron of six British warships at the Battle of Lake Erie in 1813 during the War of 1812 
    Commodore Perry came in 1813 to build the ships which regained control of the Upper Lakes Region from Barclay's English fleet. Frederick, twenty-six, joined Perry as a pilot, directing him around the Lake region. After Perry's victory on Lake Erie and General Harrison's victory on land, the war came to an end so far as the Cleveland area was concerned. Frederick began teaching school and continued to work as a pilot on Lake Erie, transporting goods and passengers between Buffalo and Detroit. He married, worked as a doctor, and was converted to the Church  by missionaries Oliver Cowdery Parley P. Pratt, Ziba Peterson, and Peter Whitmer, Jr. 
    There is nothing in Williams’ experiences and background to suggest he knew anything about the deep ocean, South America, or winds and currents of the sea other than Lake Erie. Yet, out of the blue, Williams picked a location to land which was one of a handful of places along a 2500 mile coastline where landing would have been possible, the only one where Lehi’s Jerusalem seeds would have grown, and that matched perfectly Nephi’s description of their landing on the promised land. The chance of that occurring have to be several million to one. It would be like you naming a location for a moon landing back in 1960, before the space program even began when President Kennedy said they were going to put a man on the moon. 
First Presidency Meeting: LtoR Sidney Rigdon, 1st Counselor; Joseph Smith (standing); and Frederick G. Williams (2nd Counselor 
    Yet the importance of this has been lost on the numerous Theorists who argue over whether it was a prophecy or not, lose sight of the real importance of this written sentence and the environment in which it was involved, with Rigdon and the Prophet, Joseph Smith.


  1. There are actually quite a few written revelations of the Prophet Joseph Smith that were never canonized. The DHC has many of these, and thus are accepted as true revelations. Not being canonized does not disprove a revelation is authentic.

  2. Point well taken. The problem is, that when the controversy of this statement by Williams hinges on whether or not it is a revelation, its true important of direction and latitude landing is lost in the discussion. I prefer to center on the important of what it says, not who said it or why. The what, as we have discussed many times here is of great importance and shows the reality of whatever discussion it was part of and the importance of this location to 1 Nephi 18:23-25.

    1. Yes I totally agree with this point you make. I have heard them point out one little seeming problem with your model, and then say that totally eliminates it as a possibility. But I laugh. Their models are FULL of serious problems! Why does that not eliminate their models?

  3. AFTER 100 YEARS - The Life of Dr. Frederick Granger Williams, Second Counselor to the Prophet Joseph Smith in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and His Wife Rebecca Swain Williams Hardcover – 1951
    by Nancy Clement Williams (Author)..

    the book has this to say:

    After the dedicatory prayer, singing and administration of the Lords Supper, Don Carlos Smith and President Cowdery arouse and bore their testimonies. President Williams then arose and testified that while President Rigdon was making his first prayer an angel entered the window and took his seat between Father Smith and himself and remained there during the prayer. 4 Heber C. Kimball related it thus: "During the ceremonies of the dedication an angel appeared and sat near Joseph Smith Sen., and Frederick G. Williams, so that they had a fair view of his person. He was tall, had black eyes and white hair and stooped shoulders and his garment was whole, extending to near his ankles, on his feet he had sandals. He was sent as a messenger to accept of the dedication. 5 Frederick had in his pocket a piece of paper which he carried to take notes on. On this he wrote in pencil: "John the Beloved"--then a space followed and a few lines written in another language. A large space followed and then at the bottom of the page he wrote the following revelation: "The course that Lehi traveled from the city of Jerusalem to the place where he and his family took ship: They traveled nearly south, southeast direction until they came to the nineteenth degree of north latitude. Then nearly east to the Sea of Arabia; then south, southeast direction and landed on the continent of South America in Chili, thirty degrees south latitude." Returning home, he transcribed the revelation in ink on another sheet of paper. Rebecca kept these papers with his other notes until her death. Their son, Ezra, loaned them to the Church Historians Office in Salt Lake City in the 1860's where they have lain these many years, known only to historians, to be brought to light and published for the first time. 5a "After 100 Years", Nancy C Williams, pp 101-102.

    1. Wow. I am tempted to get that book.

  4. Excellent comment. There is so much we do not know, but so many strut around making wild claims that sound like they know a lot. Sifting through all of this is unnecessary if people would just stick to the facts instead of giving us their personal view on matters they know little about other than what has been written. Nothing point this out more than the scriptural record where Mormon has abridged the comments of ancient prophets, adding his own latter clarifying thoughts to help us better understand--yet so many people come up with ideas and views that are not supported by the record and often do not even know it. Too bad more do not read first, read second, read third, then write. We might have less conflict and more accuracy.