Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Response to Why There Are No Book of Mormon Artefacts Found-Part I

Recently a comment was received from a reader in response to a four-part series of posts regarding why no archaeological facts of the Book of Mormon have been found. My response was extensive enough and seemed a good conclusion to the original articles, we decided to print it in a regular post.    
    Reader Comment: “First, to your question about the pool discovered being the Pool of Bethesda, it has some things going for it--namely, that it fits the description and is in the right time and place based on other known and verified anchoring points. It also follows the pattern for how such a pool should have been constructed."
Left: Pool of Bethseda; Center Pool of Solomon; Right: Tomb of Lazarus. While we do not know for absolute certainly that these are the correct places, we accept them as being so from all the historical information known about them
    Response: This just verifies what we said in the article, that because there was continuation in the region of known people who left either written or handed down information, the site can be determined to be "the right time and place." However, had this happened in the Western Hemisphere, even though correctly stated, could not be verified as such because there was no continuous record of known factors.
    Reader Comment: "Therefore, many factors corroborate to place a high degree of confidence in the find."
    Response: Exactly. Such is not available in the Western Hemisphere on any matter, structure, or artifact.
    Reader Comment: " Moving onto the King Noah edifice example, there are some interesting factors to consider for sure. However, I would dispute your assertion that there had to be fort on said hill. The text refers to the hill itself as being a place of resort, not to some edifice. In addition, the 1828 dictionary definition of "resort" places no requirement on there being an actual edifice. There need be no fort on said hill."
    Response: Now, here is where we break from region information, such as in the case of the Levant, age old records and rabbi understanding of the past. For Noah's information, we have only two sources for this issue of the meaning of a "resort," and that is 1) the dictionary, and 2) Mormon's description or information. Of these two, the latter will always triumph over the former, though in the case of the 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language, it is quite effective as supportive evidence. So, first, what does Mormon say about this. 
Small forts, or resorts, also referred to as outposts in later eras and used as early warning systems of approaching enemy forces--several times mentioned the spotting of approaching Lamanite armies in the scriptural record

As we quoted in those earlier posts, Mormon wrote: "and erecting small forts, or places of resort" (Alma 48:8), to which he gave us and we have written an explanation of the word "resort" from the one who wrote about it. Stated differently, a resort is a small fort. In one of Webster's definitions, "resort" as a "noun" is defined as 1) a resort to other means of defense (in this case, "other means" could as well mean "other place"); 2) Concourse; frequent assembling; as a place of resort; 3) the place frequented (a physical place [structure] is given as a definition of this meaning]). Thus we must conclude that a "resort" is a physical place of meeting, within some type of structure, as an alternative place or means of defense, which Mormon called a "fort." Nor is there any indication in Mormon's writing that this "resort" on a hill is just a hill with no physical structure, since a fort is a fort, and that requires a physical structure. A hill all by itself is never called a fort or referred to one. While you could call a "hill" a "resort," you cannot call a "hill" a "fort" and meaning just a "hill."
    Reader Comment: "Furthermore, in spite of the descriptions found in the text, without an anchoring point within which to view them, they remain just ruins."
    Response: Again, this was the point of the entire four-part article. There is no continuation of recorded existence in the Western Hemisphere, therefore no way to tie in anything to the past simply from the evidence itself. However, and again this is the point of the articles, since we have the Book of Mormon as the record of fact, then we have a reference or anchoring point, which is all that is available for the Middle East and the record of the House of Israel. Which is why we don't have so-called "Book of Mormon Artefacts or Book of Mormon archaeology since the non-LDS world does not accept the Book of Mormon as that fact any more than non-religious people accept the Bible as fact.
    Reader Comment: "We don't have concrete dates. We don't have prior place names to place this in context. There is no provenance of this location from antiquity. We don't really know anything about the tower architecture except that it was "high," which is a pretty nebulous and relative term."
Response: It is interesting that we have an entire "science" based on made-up dates where there is no and can be no correlation or evidence or proof. The entire archaeological and anthropological worlds, including the entire so-called scientific world of evolution, geologic epochs and periods, etc., is all based on simply a group of people's opinion about the matter. Yet, we call that "science," teach it in schools and colleges, offer degrees and doctorates in the subject, and squelch any and all other opinion, belief or evidence to the contrary. As an example, we do not know that the Dome of the Rock stands on the old temple mount and is where Abraham went to offer up his son, Isaac as a sacrifice. We cannot prove that. But millions of believers accept that as fact without question, including rabbis and those who have studied the Bible for centuries. We do not know there was an actual Ten Commandments written on stones that Moses brought down from the mount, written by the finger of God, other than the Bible claims that to be true. We do not know that Black Holes, alternate universes, worm holes, etc., exist. Much of history is taken on acceptance and belief and the written claims of past ages. Which is what the Book of Mormon is, and gives us a full  history that we can match we certain places in certain areas under certain circumstances. The Tower of Noah, as an example, did exist according to the record. It was used for a certain purpose, and was built next to a temple and a "resort." We have irrefutable evidence of a tower at Sacsayhuaman. Its verification of  height, size, appearance and purpose, was dutifully recorded by at least two Spanish chroniclers, including "El Inca."
While its existence was thought to be a fantasy for many centuries, it was finally discovered under enormous amounts of earth and debris right where Garcilaso de la Vega claimed it was and unknown for at least 300 years. The structure base is the size Garcilaso claimed, and its rock structure has been verified from remains, size, and structure of foundation base. We know it was used for a warming system of towers in the Cuzco area and since it matches Mormon's description to a "tee," is right where it was supposed to be, and matches other factors of the existence of the city of Nephi in where the land of Nephi is also matched, etc., we have a basis of determination. Is that understanding perfect, faultless and beyond question? No. But then, what factors in ancient history are not questionable? In fact, the tower base matches the Book of Mormon just as well as you indicated above the Pool of Bethseda matches the Bible location. 
    If we did not have a written history of Rome, and archaeologists stumbled on the colosseum, one can only imagine how many ideas would be put forth as to its construction, its period, who built it and for what purpose. Yet, there is only one correct answer to those question about the Colosseum or any other ruins of antiquity, including Sacsahuaman. The thing we need to understand is, there is very little "concrete" about the past--what took place before about 1500 A.D. is mostly guesswork, belief and unverified opinion. Taken as a whole, these ideas have coalesced over the ages to a certain belief or acceptance of "facts" and which we call and teach history as though we know that for certain--which, in many cases, probably most, we do not.
    Reader Comment: "You essentially are left with a set of ruins that once had a tower and (maybe?) a temple of some kind, overlooking land? To say that these ruins in Cuzco can "hardly be anything else" but Noah's temple/tower complex is a laughably specious assertion."

Response: The Tower as described by the Spanish match the tower described by Mormon (more about this later). Since we have no record of these people before the Inca (it was their habit to disparage and downplay anyone before them as anything other than savages), we know little about the past from the Spanish. There is no other record of anything in Andean South America that is not legend, myth, and handed-down "history." However, the Book of Mormon taken as a factual record of a people, have factors, in this case a tower, in an exact spot that can be matched (find me a tower on a hill next to a temple and fort overlooking a large city anywhere else in the Western Hemisphere) with current verification of its appearance and purpose dating to as early as 1500s that matches an ancient record of a period dating to the last half of the last millennium B.C., and I will retract my remark. We might also want to keep in mind that it was the Soanish chroniclers and conquistadores that claimed it was a tower (it was still standing when they arrived), and that the building next to it was a "temple" according to them, which was not only still standing, but Garcilaso played in it as a child, etc., and another building that was a fort, which they described as "citadel" and "fortress" because it could have been nothing else as far as they were concerned. While this is not "concrete" evidence of proof, it certainly is as strong as almost anything else discovered in the ancient world that has become accepted as fact by the historical world in general.
(see the next post, "Response to Why There Are No Book of Mormon Artifacts Found - Part II," for more response to this reader comment)

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