Tuesday, August 1, 2017

More Comments from Readers – Part I

Here are some more comments e received from our readers:    Comment #1: “I read recently that the Nephites were highly civilized people ‘in their origin, but that their small initial party, which was less than thirty-five men, women, and children, traveled twelve hundred miles through the rugged mountains of western Arabia over an eight-year period and subsisted mainly on uncooked meat. This would take most of the “civilization” out of anyone. When they embarked from the coast of Oman on a voyage of more than twenty thousand miles, they took no animals with them and little technology except what knowledge they carried in their heads. Upon landing, Lehi’s crew must have been about as deculturated as a frazzled band of people could be.’ Do you think that is true?” Cindy M.
    Response: “This is close to a quote from John L. Sorenson, the self-proclaimed guru of Mesoamerican geography for the Land of Promise. If memory serves me correctly, it was an Open Letter to Dr. Michael Coe sometime in 2012. The problem with this is simply that 1) For at least the first two years moving down to the Red Sea and staying in the Valley of Lemuel, another year traveling along the Red Sea and camping along the way, and then another two years or so camping at Bountiful while building a ship, there was no restriction on their diet regarding cooked meals—the no fire restriction was simply while crossing the Rub’ al Khali, the Empty Quarter, a sand desert filled with robbers and thieves where a fire could be seen for many miles at night. 
The Empty Quarter open sand desert through which Lehi traveled is extremely flat and any light at night could be seen for a very far distance, attracting unwelcome visitors, thieves and robbers
And then their use of raw meat was not that of an uncivilized people, but that the Lord made the meat sweet for them and it was not a degrading event. 2) While two years at the shore in Bountiful, Nephi had numerous meetings with the Lord who showed him many great things, including how to build a ship not like that of man, but special in the working of wood, design, and manufacture—hardly an uncivilized experience. And with plenty of fruit and honey, and a climate that was remarkable (it is a huge tourist attraction area today), one could hardly say it was uncivilized or that they would have lost their civilization from the experience. 3) Going by way of the Southern Ocean, it would not have been a twenty-thousand mile trip, but a very short and fast one. To say that “Lehi’s crew must have been about as deculturated as a frazzled band of people could be,” is hardly what happen to the faithful after going through difficult and trying times—throughout history such has honed people into then achieving great and marvelous things. We see that from the experience of the Saints after reaching the Great Salt lake and building the temples and a civilization that was far beyond most at the time.
    Comment #2: “Jews made bricks. They did not build megalithic structures like the pyramids” Michael H.
    Response: What a totally uninformed and unknowledgeable comment. The Hebrews, which included the Tribe of Judah (Jews) made bricks out of straw and mud during their 400 years in Egypt.
Top: An example of an Egyptian mastaba, a self-contained burial chamber, with a tomb beneath and storage rooms above, made of mud brick as can be clearly seen, also though some were made of stone; Bottom: Cross-section of a mastaba

They did not make such bricks in Israel, but built huge, spacious buildings in Jerusalem, including Solomon’s Temple constructed in the 10th century B.C., and Solomon’s palace, which has recently been uncovered. Large cut and dressed stone were used for both constructions. At the same time the Hebrews were in Egypt, the Step Pyramid was designed by Imhotep, who some consider to be Joseph of the Bible.
Top: Saqqara, a Stepped Pyramid at Memphis; Bottom: The smaller three pyramids at Giza also followed the stepped pyramid design, where the larger ones were stacked blocks of cut limestone 

This Step Pyramid was really a series of Mastabas (meaning “house for eternity”)—an ancient Egyptian tomb rectangular in shape with sloping slides and a flat roof, standing to a height of 17 to 20 feet, made from mud brick, stacked up on top of one another—but when making the pyramids, which was the form of mastabas stacked on top of one another in a stepped formation, the Egyptians switched from mud brick to solid stone blocks cut from solid limestone.
    In fact, in the beginning, starting in the Prerdynastic era, the Ancient Egyptians initially buried their dead in pit graves dug out from the sand. The body of the deceased was buried inside the pit on a mat, usually along with some items believed to help them in the afterlife. 
The first tomb structure that the Egyptians built was the mastaba, which provided better protection from scavenging animals and grave robbers. However, the human remains were not in contact with the dry desert sand, so natural mummification could not take place. The above-ground structure of a mastaba was rectangular in shape with inward-sloping sides and a flat roof. The exterior building materials were initially bricks made of sun dried mud, which was readily available from the Nile River. Even after more durable materials like stone came into use, all but the most important monumental structures were built from the easily available mud bricks
    Mastabas evolved over the early dynastic period, and were constructed simulating house plans of several rooms, a central one containing the sarcophagus and others surrounding it to receive the abundant funerary offerings. The whole was built in a shallow pit above which a brick superstructure covering a broad area. The next generation of typical mastabas were the 'stairway mastaba', the tomb chamber of which sank deeper than before and was connected to the top with an inclined shaft and stairs.
    Use of the more secure mastabas required Ancient Egyptians to devise a system of artificial mummification. Until at least the Old Period or First Intermediate Period, only high officials and royalty would be buried in these mastabas. From there, and into the later dynasties, the ancient Egyptians developed increasingly complex and effective methods for preserving and protecting the bodies of the dead.
    The point is, mud-brick gave way in Egypt sometime toward the latter Hebrew period, though mudbrick were used for other purposes beyond that time. But for the burial chambers, and then pyramids, Hebrews were also used to cut and dress limestone blocks for construction.
    Now as far as megalithic structures, Solomon’s Temple was considered both large and exquisite in it day, with people traveled from distant lands to see it, making the Hebrews popular around the world and Solomon one of the great kings of his day. We also reported in our blog a short time ago that the tunnels under the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, dating back to 521 B.C. have uncovered at least one huge megatlithic block of stone weighing 600 tons, measuring 40 feet long, 12 feet high and 14 feet deep that was cut and dressed out of a stone quarry, hauled to the temple site, and lifted three stories onto its base, where it has sat for 2500 years without any kind of mortar, yet perfectly fitting the stones about it.
    You might want to reconsider your adamant statement as to what the Jews have and have not done and what they knew about megalithic building, huge cut stones, and that they worked with far more than mudbrick.
     Comment #3: “You say Malay has no tall mountains, but Mount Kinabalu is 13,435 feet high with a prominence of 13,435 feet. That certainly would appear very tall” Charlotte M.
Response: Mount Kinabalu in Malay is on an island over 200 miles from the Malay Peninsula at its closest point and as much as 500 miles away at its furthest point, sharing that island with Borneo and Brunei. While the two locations are one country today (Malay on Borneo and Malay on the Peninsula), the Malay Peninsula is the only place where the Malay Theory is involved, which includes Malay to the south, Thailand in the center and Myanmar (Burma) in the north. It is the Peninsula only that is involved in the Malay Theory, and the highest mountain on the Peninsula is Mount Tahan at 7,175 feet.

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