Saturday, August 5, 2017

More Comments from Readers – Part IV

Here are some more comments received from our readers: 
    Comment #1: How is it that you are the only one who thinks that there were no Jaredites surviving their last, final battle. Surely there were those who avoided that fight and lived peacefully among or on the fringe of the ruckus” Caldwell T.
    Response: What is it about the scriptural record that you don’t understand when it so clearly and plainly states: “they did gather together all the people upon all the face of the land, who had not been slain, save it was Ether” (Ether 15:12).
    Comment #2: “You keep debunking the Malay theory, but those of this theory have a great point when they state: “The Malay Theory. This theory says it would have been much easier for Nephi to travel a 4000 mile journey to the Malay Peninsula than a 16000 mile journey in open seas to the Americas” Gordon G.
The Lord had Lehi and his party travel some 2200 miles through eight years of horrendous terrain, which caused Nephi to say they suffered severely, rather than take the short 202 mile distance to Aqaba where there were very experienced shipwrights that could help in building a ship

Response: There are many things wrong with the Malay theory which we have outlined on this blog from time to time. Addressing the one you state, let me suggest that it would have been far easier for Lehi to rent, lease or even build a ship and leave from the port of Ezion-Geber at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba and sail down the Red Sea and then across the coast to Salalah than trudge some 2200 miles across the wilderness and the worse sand desert in the world to reach Bountiful. And certainly, there were numerous shipwrights at Aqaba to build a ship, and as a wealthy man, Lehi certainly could have afforded their labor. So why go the hard way traveling for up to 8 years through wilderness and desert before building a ship? Whatever the reason, and several could be considered, the Lord does not do things the way man does them and this argument is a fallacious one.
    Comment #3: “It sounds like you are saying that in the southern ocean where you claim Lehi sailed, that Laman and Lemuel and the others just sat around and held on for dear life. Is that what you mean?” Allison V.
    Response: That was a figure of speech. It meant that there would have been little time for them to foment any further rebellion until they reached the safety of land, since the Southern Ocean has no islands or other land that would have been viewed during the voyage after the storm.
Faced with the tedium of hard work and constant anxious apprehension of being swamped by high, following seas, the brothers would have been cowed into constantly complaining based on their fear, but obviously lending a hand to whatever Nephi (via the Liahona) commanded them to do in order to save their lives—this would have included raising and lower and adjusting sails, and in the days long before pulleys, the heavy sails could only be lowered and raised by muscle power—which is both tedious and difficult.
    In fact, without modern pulleys, gears, blocks, and light-weight rigging and sails, it would have taken every adult member of Lehi’s family to sail the ship, through that fast moving and ever changing and challenging Southern Ocean. This probably would have taken both men and women to handle the job, and when not involved directly they would have been far too exhausted from the heavy taxation of their strength and the stress of fear to have been able to do much other than sleep if they could and “hang on” and hope for the best.
    Movies have a tendency to make life on ancient sailing vessels somewhat of a luxury where people have plenty of time to do menial and often-appearing meaningless tasks; however, in actual reality, even today, sailing a two or three master in deep blue water for days on end requires constant involvement and when your 12-hour duty is completed, dropping into a bunk is about all that is left of one’s strength. Besides, there is nothing else to do at sea on such a voyage.
    Comment #4: “The Book of Mormon tells us that "the land of Cumorah" was in "a land of many waters, rivers, and fountains." The Finger Lakes region, where the Smith family lived, fits the description. Other Book of Mormon lands, Nephi and Zarahemla, cannot possibly be many hundreds of miles away from Cumorah. The Book of Mormon places "a land among many waters" (near Cumorah), and the land of Zarahemla so near to each other, that travelers from the south could mistake one region for the other” Jacob M.
    Response: This appears to have been taken from the Book or website: Choice Above All Other Lands, “How Exaggerated Settings for the book of Mormon Came to Pass,” by W. Vincent Coon, 2009. First of all, Coon is an avid Great Lakes theorist as his website so obviously shows, and secondly, he must not understand the difference between a land of many waters; a land of fountains; and a land of rivers. The importance is simple but cannot be exaggerated, since Mormon chose to label this land in all three ways.
Underground or underwater springs feeding lakes and rivers, as well as seepage vents—all descriptive of “fountains”

Many waters brings to mind many sources of water, such as lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, lagoons, bays, inlets, gulfs, etc. Thus suggesting that in this land of Cumorah, or directly nearby, was an area where there were many sources of water. This would be true of the area claimed, i.e., the “finger lakes,” which are really more closely aligned with rivers because of the long, narrow shapes; and also other rivers and streams that feed into the Great Lakes, specifically Lake Ontario and Lake Erie from the north, and drain out to the south into New York and Pennsylvania.
    However, this is where the comparison ends—not that there isn’t a lot of water in this area, but there are no “fountains.” That is, fountains are sources of water, i.e., the beginning of water sources (as opposed to gravity flow, rainfall, snow, etc.), basically natural fresh-water springs, deep underground springs, or sea-vent seepage out of underground storage called acquifers (today that would include man-made wells) which brings water to the surface from the aquifer below—where 22% of available fresh water exists in aquifers, 77% in Glaciers, and only 1% in lakes, rivers and streams. It is this 22% in the aquifer that reaches us through natural fountains, i.e., springs and underground seepage that are referred to as natural fountains.
Seepage from underground vents allow water from the aquifer to seep into the above ground water, whether swamps, marsh or water pool, such as ponds or lakes

The Finger Lakes, as we have shown several times are long and narrow, and under most circumstances would not be called lakes at all, however, given that name, they are not filled by underground seepage or by springs from the aquifer, but by rainfall, snowmelt and river drainage systems.
The narrowness of the Finger Lakes are quite noticeable, especially when visiting them and seeing how close the opposite shore is

So, to meet Mormon’s criteria, we would need to have an area that is a major source of springs and underground vents, which does not exist in the Great Lakes. The rivers are snowmelt and rainfall sourced, or lake drainage, and the finger lakes were created by glacial action gouging out the lake beds which remain full today from rainfall and snowmelt as well as lake drainage.
    As for the closeness of the Land of Zarahemla, one can only wonder what Coon exactly had in mind. Zarahemla is not close to Cumorah in western New York in the Heartland Model, so the statement "a land among many waters, and the land of Zarahemla [are] so near to each other, that travelers from the south could mistake one region for the other” is simply not valid.

From Zarahemla (Iowa) to the hill Cumorah (New York) is about 866 miles.

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