Saturday, June 3, 2017

More Comments from Readers – Part VI

-->More comments from readers of this blog:    Comment # 1: “Not building fires out in the open of a huge desert seems incongruous with the conditions of the area. Sounds like someone’s fairy tale” Peton Z.
    Response: Quite to the contrary. While traveling down the coastal area of the Red Sea there was no mention of not using fires, yet the family was dependent upon freshly killed animals and, under normal circumstances, their cooking for their sustenance, as evidenced by the incident with the broken bow. But when they turned eastward and entered this vast sand desert called Rub’ al Khali, or "Empty Quarter," where Bedu outlaws roamed at will (and still do), there were dangers of theft and worse. Knowing this, the Lord instructed Lehi not to build a fire.
In the desert through which Lehi traveled, the light from a fire at night could have been seen for many miles

For those who have never been in this area, this desert is a vast land where the light of reflected fires, even small ones, can carry for great, unobstructed distances. This could have drawn unwelcome visitors who might have had nefarious plans—for such has been the case in this area’s history for thousands of years. To me, and others, this provides us with evidence that the Book of Mormon record is a first-hand account, for this remote and isolated land where the trail was not protected against outlaws would have invited such unwanted intervention—something Joseph Smith could not have known under any circumstances in 1830. 
    Comment #2: “I salute all of you (especially Del) for the fascinating research on this blog and in the comment sections. I have been a reader for some time and am always learning things that, for me, make much more sense than other models. I don't endorse one particular model at the expense of another. I believe these were all parallel civilizations that took root at the same time. I believe there was a relationship between Ecuador and Southeast Asia, and that is supported by archaeological and genetic evidence dating back to 2000-3000 BC. Although I am a supporter of the Malay model (I call it the Isles of the Sea model) it is never my intention to slam other models. I think all have something to offer in understanding the isles beyond the known world (including the Americas) where the Jaredites, Lehites, Mulekites and other Biblical clans settled. I have no doubt that we have much to learn, and more will be revealed, as we study it out. David Whitmer said: "After the plates had been translated, which process required about six months, the same heavenly visitant appeared and reclaimed the gold tablets of the ancient people informing Smith that he would replace them with other records of the lost tribes that had been brought with them during their wanderings from Asia, which would be forthcoming when the world was ready to receive them." My field of inquiry is not the same as yours, but I believe them to be related. Thanks for your insights” Jay.
    Response: We appreciate your comments over the past couple  of weeks, and though we do not agree with your assessment of the Malay Peninsula and the Book of Mormon’s Land of Promise, as we have said before, the Lord has led many people away for various reason at various times. Whether Malay was settled by people from Jerusalem, or some remnant of the Lost Tribes, is not known to us and neither is the timing of any other such led journeys away from Jerusalem or its surrounding region, and until it is, we will not speculate here on it, any more than we will on any supposed connection between Ecuador and Malay of which the scriptural record makes no suggestion, hint or intimation. As an example, the Malay Peninsula, according to archaeological and anthropological findings as published in numerous sources today, claim that the area was settled between 3000-2000 B.C. by Austronesian peoples, i.e., people from Asia, Oceania and Africa, which include such nearby areas as Taiwan, Philippines, East Timor, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar (Burma) and Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Brunei, Keeling Islands, and Micronesia. Personally, I see no Hebrew connection there, nor have I ever found one, but then that is not my field of expertise. As for names, I have always been suspicious of surface matching since, when records are available, I have found in checking back to the etymology of the names in an area for them to have totally different root systems than the surface evaluation would suggest--of which we have written and shown here in these posts over the years.
    Quoting from others, however, it seems likely that the Malay Peninsula follows the same development as the entire area of Indonesia, i.e., archaeological evidence demonstrates a technological connection between the farming cultures of Southeast Asis and Melanesia, and sites that are first known from mainland China; whereas a combination of archaeological and linguistic evidence has been interpreted as supporting a "northern" origin for the Austronesian language family in mainland southern China and Taiwan. 
In a recent study, all Austronesian languages were classified into 10 subfamilies, with all the extra-Formosan languages grouped in one subfamily and with representatives of the remaining nine known only in Taiwan (Robert A. Blust, [left] "Subgrouping, circularity and extinction: some issues in Austronesian comparative linguistics,” 1999, in Zeitoun E; Jen-kuei Li, P. Selected papers from the Eighth International Conference on Austronesian Linguistics. Taipei: Academia Sinica. pp31–94. Blust is an expert in Austronesian languages, Pacific lanauges and linguistics, Pacific and Asisan studies of the Australian National University, and the University Hawaii-Manoa Linguistics Department, where he was the Department Chair from 2005 to 2008, and also served as the Review Editor for the Oceanic Linguistics, the academic journal covering the Austronesian languages. Created two dictionaries of Austronesian languages, and done field work on 97 Austrnesian languages sopken in locations such as Sarawak, Papua New Guinia, Taiwan, and numerous other Indonesian areas. 
    In addition, it has been argued that these patterns are best explained by dispersal of an agricultural people from Taiwan into insular Southeast Asia, Melanesia, and, ultimately, the remote Pacific. Although this model—termed the “express train to Polynesia” (Jared M. Diamond, “Express train to Polynesia," Nature, 336 (6197, 1988, pp307–308), which is broadly consistent with available data, concerns have been raised (Martin Richards, et al., “mtDNA suggests Polynesian origins in Eastern Indonesia,” American Journal of Human Genetics. 63 (4): pp1234–1236). Alternatives to this model posit an indigenous origin for the Austronesian languages in Melanesia or Southeast Asia. (Isidore Dyen, "The lexicostatistical classification of Malayapolynesian languages,” Language. 38 (1), 1962, pp38–46); "A Lexicostatistical Classification of the Austronesian Languages,” Internationald Journal of American Linguistics, Memoir, 19, 1965, pp38–4; Stephen Oppenheimer, Eden in the east: the drowned continent, London: Weidenfield & Nicholson,1998; and several others). 
    Our area of focus has always been and always will be, until further light and knowledge is provided, the Book of Mormon and the full and accurate meaning of the words Nephi, Jacob, Mormon and Moroni left us to better understand what took place and as much of the “where” as possible. We also have dedicated this blog to the accurate and correct understanding of the scriptural record with a secondary emphasis on providing an alternate understanding to the numerous inaccurate and erroneous views some members and critics often associate with the Book of Mormon since Lehi’s Land of Promise simply cannot be in more than one place.
At the same time, our research into a very wide variety of areas, personal experiences, and occasional epiphanies received while involved in this work has directed the supportive area of information we provide. This latter part, especially the area of research covers all types of views and their resultant value as seen by both the scientific and professional communities as well as the revealed word of the Lord.
    Again, we thank any and all comments and endeavor to respond to each and every one that is submitted with the goal toward accuracy of facts and not personal opinion or beliefs, which have very limited value when dealing with accuracy and truth since speculation, supposition and assumptions are all counter-productive to learning.
    Comment #4: “Here is another comment I found on a website I visit from time to time:
    ‘There seems to be a misconception that the Lehi the group just called 'Land Ho' and set up a settlement right off the bat. They could have bounced northward along the coast initially looking for a suitable place to settle (ie place that wasn't already occupied). Even after the first initial settlement they "journeyed in the wilderness" which may have involved bouncing along the coast. It is pretty clear there were already people there since it appears that they encountered domesticated goats as well as wild goats, and the cow, ox, ass, and horse appear to be domesticates, not wild animals, based on the language in 1 Nephi 18:25. It is also possible that the ore obtained was from trade with people (perhaps on the coast) as all the types of ore listed are not necessarily easy to find just wandering through the wilderness. They could have landed further south than Mesoamerica and traveled the coast north’.” Adam W.
Left: Goat; Right: Wild Goat. These are two different animals, not just one domesticated and the other not; the domesticated goat (Capra aegagrus hircus) is a different animal than the wild goat Capra aegagrus) and is a widespread species of wild goat with many different appearances in different parts of the world (caucasica, cylindricornis, falconeri, ibex, nubiana, pyrenaica, sibirica, etc.)

Response: The misconception is on the part of this writer: domesticated animals are animals that can be domesticated, such as those found around a farm. That does not mean they were domesticated at that moment, i.e., willing to serve man: horses in the wild have to be broken, cows have to be penned and milked, oxen have to be hitched and driven, etc., and there is a vast learning cycle involved (depending on the animal) to become domesticated--in fact, all the term domesticated means is that the animal can be and generally will be domesticated, as opposed to truly wild animals (wild goat, hippopotamus, giraffe, cougars, gazelles, as well as tigers, lions, jaguars, bears, etc.) that cannot be tamed and domesticated and are not domesticable. However, there are animals in the wild that were once domesticated that became wild, which we call feral, but no such word existed in the distant past.  All the animals came from the Jaredites who brought them to the Land of Promise, and from whom they escaped during the poison serpent event. As for people being there, this is a Mesoamerican mantra, but the scriptural record does not indicate anyone else was in the Land of Promise during that time—not a single reference. And for the ore—copper is well known to lie open on the ground in virgin areas, and gold and silver likewise can be found topically if you know what to look for in areas that have not been previously mined. Clearly the writer of this info is not well informed.

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