Sunday, August 6, 2017

More Comments from Readers – Part V

Here are some more comments e received from our readers:
    Comment #1: “You harping away at the entire Western Hemisphere being the Land of Promise is tiring. The Great Lakes area is the Land of Promise and modern day leaders have made that quite clear” Candice M.
    Response: Well, it seems if we are dealing with modern-day leaders, you might want to include President Spencer W. Kimball who said of this matter, “To you of the Americas…this land shall be a land of liberty unto the Gentiles, and there shall be no kings upon the land…And I will fortify this land against all other nations...the Lord, the king of heaven will be their king, and I will be a light unto them forever, that hear my words" (2 Nephi 10:11-12,14)., adding, “This single volume records for historians about twenty-six centuries of stirring life, not generally known even to the most highly trained professors of history. It tells of the ancestries of those whose spectacular monuments are now observed in South and Central America and in the Mexican jungles” (The Book of Vital Messages, Elder Spencer W. Kimball, Council of the Twelve Apostles, Spencer W. Kimball, Conference Report, April 1963, pp. 62-68).
    Comment #2: “You write a lot about Nephi’s ship being ‘driven forth before the wind’ but I still get a little confused. Does that mean it is pushed forward by the wind, and can only go forward with a wind behind, blowing the sails forward? If so, isn’t that a little restrictive?” Shirley T.
Red Arrows are the “following wind” that pushes the ship forward. The gray arrows would restrict movement from that wind and keep the vessel from moving forward and would likely swing it around and send it back in the direction “from whence it came”

Response: In the above diagram, the wind coming from directly behind (180º) actually pushes the ship forward, like one car pushing another car back in the days with sturdy bumpers, etc. The two arrows to left and right (225º and 135º) are the limit of the “following wind.” Anything between those two degree limits can fill the sails sufficiently to propel the vessel forward—the more direct (180º) is the following wind the stronger the wind force and the faster the vessel is propelled forward. Beyond the red arrows (toward the gray arrows), the sails can begin to fluff (not receive full wind, i.e., not fill the entire canvas), and thus begins the drop off in wind force, which means if the wind is too far beyond the sail, the canvas fluffs or ruffles (ripples in the wind) and little pressure on the sail is exerted until finally, the wind is coming from sufficiently forward to hit the canvas from the front and impede forward movement entirely. 
   Ancient mariners were very cognizant of wind direction when they wanted to sail somewhere. In small boats, like fishing or coastal trading vessels, where lateen (triangular) sails were attached to moveable yards or crossbars mounted at its middle to the top of the mast and angled to extend aft far above the mast and forward down nearly to the decksuch sail mounts allowed the sail to be moved considerably so as to catch the wind coming between 90º and 270º, leading to the understanding of “tacking” where sailing a zig-zag course and moving the sail from each turn (across the bow) so you could sail between 45º and 315º. This eventually led to the movement of the yards on masts of previously fixed sail vessels during the Age of Sail, from about the 16th century onward. But this requires very experienced crews, who worked the canvas (sails) constantly in areas of changing winds, or tacking efforts, when sailing toward the wind.
As sailing became more sophisticated in large vessels with fixed sails and stationary yards, manpower was needed to furl and unfurl sails, and to then work the sails to allow for sailing toward the wind as knowledge and understanding developed. Such knowledge led to the requirement of experienced hands capable of working the sails in the rigging, sometimes in critical situations where speed and ability were paramount. An expertise Lehi’s crew never would have possessed or achieved

Comment #3: “Let’s see you answer this one. Why did Joseph Smith say he had translated the writings of Abraham even though the manuscripts do not date from Abraham’s time?” Bradley S.
    Response: The Prophet Joseph Smith said the Book of Abraham was “a translation of some ancient Records that have fallen into our hands, from the Catacombs of Egypt, purporting to be the writings of Abraham, while he was in Egypt” (Times and Seasons, Mar. 1, 1842, 704). In 1966, 11 fragments of papyri the Prophet Joseph Smith once had were discovered in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. These papyri contain authentic Egyptian writings, but they do not date to the time of Abraham, nor do they contain the actual personally handwritten account of Abraham. It is important to remember that only a few fragments and not all of the papyri that Joseph Smith possessed have been found. The book of Abraham may have been translated from papyri that have not been recovered. These lost papyri may have contained copies of Abraham’s writings.
At the present time we simply do not know the exact nature of the relationship between the Book of Abraham and the papyri Joseph Smith possessed. There are various theories proposed as to how the prophet translated these writings, but we simply do not know the details. We do know that the Prophet Joseph Smith translated the Book of Abraham by "the gift and power of God." We also know, though this is hard for non-members and critics to understand, that Joseph Smith never revealed the highly sacred process of that power of God, though several of his scribes, present during the process, have discussed this to the extent they knew and understood it.
    It should also be understood that prophets do not reveal sacred information very often, and rarely that regarding the sacred interactions with the Lord. As an example, we are told that Moses received Genesis (and the other first four books of the Old Testament) by direct revelation, being dictated to by the Lord, which Moses dutifully wrote down; but Moses does not disclose for us the process by which that was accomplished (Exodus 17:14; Numbers 33:2). As Paul stated: “knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 10:20-21). Or, as Amos said, “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7).
    Comment #4: “There are no accounts of Chile and Ecuador being an island. I think your model has merit, but the biggest problem I see is that South America was not an island at any time between 2500 BC and 420 AD. It does not match 2 Nephi 10:20. I understand your argument is that the world is around 6000-7000 years old, but there is no evidence of this being true” Unknown.
    Response: The source is the Bible, and the ages shown for the Patriarchs births and births of first born or continuing patriarchal son. That source is repeated in the Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price, both of which are part of the Standard Works of the LDS Church. If you do not accept these as scriptural records, then your disagreement is moot. Accepting them requires an acceptance of Moses statement that the Lord dictated Genesis to him, in which these dates are listed, thus, the proof is in the Lord’s own words of his creation period and Patriarchal aging. Thus, the period of time involved stands at 6 to 7000 years of creation and the events that unfolded in connection to that as we have stated.
    Comment #5: “You disagreed with a reader not long ago about the ancient Jews not using bricks, but building with large, cut stones. I thought I would chime in on this since I agree with your reader about the Jews making bricks which they used to build” Margery W.
Jews making bricks in Egypt (submitted by reader)

Response: Obviously, you have not been to Jerusalem and observed all the ancient buildings uncovered in recent years and the huge cut and dressed stones used for construction of these buildings anciently. One might also wonder that while the Jews were making bricks out of mud and straw in Egypt during their captivity, who was cutting huge stones and setting that into the large structures the Jews helped build. But the issue at hand is what did the Jews use to build Jerusalem, and the evidence is so overwhelming that their temple and Solomon’s Palace and other government buildings were made of huge cut and dressed stones that the issue is moot. In fact, there are so many ancient stone quarries in and around Jerusalem it is humorous to even think that they were only making mud bricks in the building of Jerusalem.
Upper Left: One of the ancient gates of Jerusalem; Upper Right: Some of the blocks of Solomon’s temple uncovered near present construction areas; Lower Left: More exposed ancient blocks of stone; Lower Right: What is left of the West Wall, which was made of huge, cut stones. Note all these are cut and dressed stones cut from huge blocks of stone in nearby quarrie

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