Wednesday, May 31, 2017

More Comments from Readers – Part III

More comments from readers of this blog: 
    Comment #1: “I ran across a place in Peru I have never heard about and don’t recall you have ever mentioned. It is called Vinicuna and supposedly near Cusco. Do you know about it and what is it?” Donnie K.
Response: Vinicuna is Quechua meaning “Rainbow Mountain.” It is southeast of Cuzco, and located above a 14,000 foot valley inhabited by llama and alpaca herding communities, along a trail known as “the road of the Apu Auisangate,” and beyond a 16,000-foot pass—it is part of the Ausangate mountain of the Vilcanota mountain range. It is near the Ausangate Glacier, the highest mountain in the Cusco region at 20,945 feet. Ausangate mountain itself is considered a holy mountain (or mountain spirit) by local Peruvians and is the deity of Cusco. Since pre-Inca times the mountain has been a place of worship and offerings and this tradition continues today. By description, it is surrounded by a splattering of neon reds, electric yellows, and soft blues, and definitely appears as though it shouldn't exist in reality, and is often referred to as “the rainbow that fell to earth.”
    Actually, Rainbow Mountain is a slab of shifting color: pinks, greens, greys, and yellows struck into a bank of rock protruding upward from the Earth. This famous rainbow hump is part of a whole stretch of colored mountains, in shades of rose and blonde. The entire range can be seen from a ridge overlooking the entire spectacle. While no such place is mentioned, along with numerous others, in the abridged Nephite record (and possibly they did not know it was there since it is difficult to get to up in the mountains in a near hidden location that takes a full day walking to get to from the Cuzco area), it is one of the great sites of Andean South America. If you are planning to go down there, put this place on your list to visit—it takes at least two days by trek, and up to six, depending on what tour of it you take—but it is a “challenging” hike (take a horse to it, though somewhat expensive).
Comment #2: “When I see the exceedingly high mountains of the Andes I now think of that prophecy of Samuel the Lamanite in Helaman 14 where it says –and these wonders should come to pass upon all the face of this land, to the intent that there should be no cause for unbelief among the children of men Hel14:28. So your work is made impossibly difficult, accept for a few, to convince others of the power of God. Intellectual honestly – yes- but also convincing them of the power of God is real as well" Matty G.

    Response: The power of God as shown in the scriptural record is awesome. To add to his work in the creation of all things—shows all things are possible for the Lord.
    Comment #3: I just got through reading your book “Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica.” It is very good and I see that this is the place where they lived. Years ago I read “The Book and the Map” by Venice Priddis and was sold on South America after that. I was curious as to why you don't ever quote her in your books? I may have missed the citation of course but I never saw it. Her book is excellent and goes right along with what you've found. Did you find the narrow neck on your own or did you get it from her? She and Verla Birrell were the first that I can find that discussed the location of the narrow neck. Good stuff! keep up the good work” I.T.
    Response: Thank you. I never heard of Venice Priddis until years after I wrote the book. Since seeing her book, I have commented on it in this blog. The narrow neck area I found along with Art Kocherhans several years ago and  have spent some time in evaluating it ever since. At the time I knew Art, I didn't know about Venice Priddis, so her name never came up.
    Comment #4: “The Mesoamerican people, who seem to dominate the land of promise discussion claim the land was shaped like an hourglass. Do you agree with that?” Jeremy J.
    Response: That attitude originally came from John L. Sorenson, first shown in his 1985 book An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, and then later in Mormon’s Map. Ever promoting his singular view, Sorenson claimed in his initial work that “We can…be certain that the Book of Mormon story took place in a limited portion of the western hemisphere shaped roughly like an hourglass” (p22).
Sorenson’s “hourglass” figure map (p11)
The reason why he promotes that is seen in another of his statements: “The only ‘narrow neck’ [of the hourglass] potentially acceptable in terms of the Book of Mormon requirements is the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in southern Mexico” (p29). He then adds, “It is now possible to present a summary correlation between Book of Mormon places and features on the map of Mesoamerica…the narrow neck of land is the Isthmus of Tehuantepec” (p46).
Sorenson’s map of Mesoamerica, he claims is an hourglass on its side

Therefore, Sorenson needs a hourglass shape for the narrow neck of land in order to justify and “prove” his Mesoamerican model. However, one of the problem of an hourglass figure, it does not justify the description Moroni gives: “And they built a great city by the narrow neck of land, by the place where the sea divides the land” (Ether 10:20). In order to “divide” land, the sea must cut into the land to narrow it sufficiently to create a distinct area of the sea that could be so called, i.e., “where the sea divides the land.” As can be seen from Sorenson’s map, his narrowneck does not actually divide the land; that is, the land is not visibly separated.
    Consequently, you do not need an hourglass shape in order to meet the descriptions Mormon provides for his Narrow Neck of Land. Take, for an example, a narrow neck that divides the Land Southward from the Land Northward that is not an hourglass:
Both of these samples show a division of the land, a narrow neck, and a sea that divides the land, yet neither are hourglass shapes

Comment #5: “You use Thor Heyerdahl as a single example of your point about diffusion across the seas from Europe to America when there are many, many scientists who claim man came across the Siberian connection” Milo H.
    Response: I use Thor because I met him many years ago and followed his career and have personal knowledge of it. However, if you really want to know, between Heyerdahl’s 1947 voyage and the Tangaroa expedition of 2006, there have been nearly forty expeditions set out in recreated maritime drift vessels to demonstrate the hypotheses with varying levels of relevance to archeology and cultural diffusion. In fact, on On January 30, 2011, An-Tiki, a raft modeled after Kon-Tiki, began a 3,000 mile, 70-day journey, across the Atlantic Ocean from the Canary Islands to the archipelago island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas.
The expedition was piloted by four men, aged from 56 to 84 years, led by 84-year-old Anthony Smith (above left), a writer, sailor, balloonist and former presenter on the 38-year running BBC Tomorrow’s World television show of new developments in science and t4echnology. The trip was designed to commemorate the journey in an open boat of survivors from the British steamship Anglo-Saxon, sunk by the German cruiser Widder in 1940. The raft ended its voyage in the Caribbean island of St. Maarten, completing its trip to Eleuthera in the following year with Smith and a new crew. It was, by the way, Heyerdahl who believed that the original inhabitants of Easter Island were the migrants from Peru. He argued that the monumental statues known as moai resembled sculptures more typical of pre-Columbian Peru than any Polynesian designs. Though not LDS, Heyerdahl believed that the Easter Island myth of a power struggle between two peoples called the Hanau epe and Hanau momoko was a memory of conflicts between the original inhabitants of the island, which sounds a little like the Nephites and Lamanites.

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