Saturday, November 25, 2017

Some Interesting Counter-Questions and Answers—Part I

We are listing some interesting questions that are asked us from time to time and our counter questions and their answers:
    Question Received #1: “Why do you think the large company of men, even to the amount of five thousand and four hundred men, with their wives and their children, departed out of the land of Zarahemla into the land which was northward, mentioned in Alma 63:4 had to do with going by ship?”
    Our Counter-Question: Why do you think Alma and Mormon wrote down the number of Nephite men, plus women and children, that “departed out of the land of Zarahemla into the land which was northward”?
    Response: Nowhere else in the entire scriptural record does Mormon state numbers of people movements, migrations, etc. (other than war and killed), though he talks about “many people who went forth into the land northward” (Alma 63:9), and also when abridging Helaman’s writing, said only “And it came to pass in the forty and sixth year…in the which there were an exceedingly great many who departed out of the land of Zarahemla, and went forth unto the land northward to inherit the land” (Helaman 3:8).
    Stated differently, why were the 5400 men plus wives and children numbered, but no other emigrants ever numbered, even though there was an exceedingly large number, etc.?
Ship’s Manifest list required on all ships from the earliest period of shipping
Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that ship manifests have always numbered passengers for three critical but simple reasons: 1) Cost (passage), 2) space available (size of ship) and 3) weight (ship carrying cability). Nobody cares how many people travel by land, since there were no tariffs, passenger fees, land costs, charges, space requirements, (etc.)
    Our Follow-up Question: “Why do you think those in Helaman 3:8 went into the land northward to inherit the land, while those in Alma 63:4 are not mentioned as going into the land which was northward to inherit the land”?
    Response: The Land of Promise was already promised to the Nephites, and when they moved about within it, they were merely inheriting the land already promised and given to them by the Lord. However, a land disconnected to the Land of Promise (A land which was northward) was not promised to Lehi (or the Jaredites) and they could not inherit something they did not own or was not already given to them.
    Our Second Follow-up Question: Why do you think Mormon used the term “Land which was northward”? It is only used three other times in the entire scriptures, but Land Northward is mentioned 30 times?
    Response: In the English language, “the word “which” is a pronoun relative or substitute.” It is a relative or pronoun relative because it relates to another word or thing, usually to some word that precedes it in the sentence. According to Noah Webster, this does not exist in any other language. Therefore, the use of “which” used here renders the sentence, “the land, which land was northward.”
    In the case of the two other uses:
1. “the Nephites possessing all the land northward, yea, even all the land which was northward of the land Bountiful, according to their pleasure” (Alma 50:11). In this case, the “which” is a relative or substitute for the “land Bountiful,” thus the “which was northward” relates to a known land.
2. In the case of “Morianton put it into their hearts that they should flee to the land which was northward, which was covered with large bodies of water, and take possession of the land which was northward” (Alma 50:29). In the first usage of this sentence, the “which” is a substitute for the land “covered with large bodies of water,” and in the second usage, it is a substitute for the “ellipted” noun “land” as described as “large bodies of water.”
Hagoth’s ships went to a “land which was northward”

However, in Alma 63:4, the word “which” has no substitute (no other land or noun is described) and therefore is a relative of the land mentioned, i.e., a land which was northward.
    In one response to this line of thinking, a reader once stated: “If Mormon had said, “into a land which was northward,” then any land that was northward of the land of Zarahemla would do.” But that is not true, nouns are often connected to a modifier somewhere in the sentence or preceding or subsequent sentence. Thus, if that was Mormon’s intent, it would have to be “departed into the north countries,” “went into the northern lands,” “left Zarahemla to the lands to the north,” “they went northward,”
    Question Received #2: “Why would someone think those in Alma 63:4 are not just going to the Land Northward by ship?”
    Our Counter-Question: “Why would Mormon write about two different immigrations into the same areas? And if not the Nephites, then who created both the sites of similar construction and cultural achievement as found in Andean South America and in Mesoamerica?”
    Response: Unless one has been dedicating his life to believing and promoting the erroneous area of Mesoamerica as the Land of Promise given to Lehi, one cannot explain why there are two very similar cultural locations in the Western Hemisphere that date nearly to the same time frame and are very similarly built and signify a similarly advanced race that co-existed for about half of the same 1000-year time frame.
    In fact, since non-LDS archaeologists and anthropologists working in both the Mesoamerican and South American areas all agree that the Andean area of South America was developed first and the Mesoamerica area developed second, it should be easy for anyone to understand that some of those in Andean South America went north into Central and Mesoamerica.
    Question Received #3: “Why would someone think that Mesoamerica had to be reached by ship? Why not simply travel up across Panama into Central America?
    Our Counter-Question: “How could any immigrants going northward beyond the Land of Promise reach there except by ship to at least get across the Central American Seaway?”
The Darién Gap blocks all overland traffic from South America northward into Central America

Response: First of all, traveling through the Darién Gap in antiquity, and even today, is almost impossible—not only has it never been done (except under very special and difficult circumstances) even in modern times with motorized vehicles, helicopters, GPS, etc., it certainly could not have been accomplished in the time of the Nephites. Based on the impasssable terrain in the Gap alone, it would seem that such travel from Andean South America to Central and Mesoamerica would have to have been by ship.
    In addition, when we consider that the entire area of the Panama Isthmus (known historically as the Isthmus of Darién) was underwater at the time as geologists tell us that the Central American Seaway once separated Central America from South America allowing the waters of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans to mix freely.
Before the Isthmus of Panama rose from the sea by tectonic and volcanic action, the Central American Seaway linked the Atlantic to the Pacific as one great ocean. Smithsonian researchers continue to debate when and how that happened (Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute)

Beneath the surface, two plates of the Earth’s crust were slowly colliding, forcing the Cocos Plate to slide under the Caribbean Plate. The pressure and heat caused by this collision led to the formation of underwater volcanoes, some of which grew large enough to form islands, while movement of the two tectonic plates were also pushing up the sea floor, eventually forcing some areas above sea level and forming the Isthmus of Panama as we now know it.
    Obviously, going by ship would have been essential before the landform changes at the time of the Crucifixion. As the Disciple Nephi wrote: “But behold, there was a more great and terrible destruction in the land northward; for behold, the whole face of the land was changed, because of the tempest and the whirlwinds and the thunderings and the lightnings, and the exceedingly great quaking of the whole earth; And the highways were broken up, and the level roads were spoiled, and many smooth places became rough…And thus the face of the whole earth became deformed, because of the tempests, and the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the quaking of the earth. And behold, the rocks were rent in twain; they were broken up upon the face of the whole earth, insomuch that they were found in broken fragments, and in seams and in cracks, upon all the face of the land” (3 Nephi 8:12-13, 17-18).
    It should be of note to all that in the scriptural record we have a written event of that very thing occurring. So again, why would one not think those five thousand and four hundred men with their wives and children sailed to a land which was northward, meaning disconnected from the Land of Promise?
(See the next post, ”Some Interesting Counter-Questions and Answers—Part II,” in which we are listing some interesting questions that are asked us from time to time and our counter questions and their answers, and for more of those answers)



    You probably have to register for free.

    If anyone is interested, I was able to find The Incas by Garcilaso de la Vega on line, free, translated into English.
    I found particularly interesting pages 43-45 which talk about the first King Manca Capac (Nephi) founded the city of Cusco, built a temple, and organized the people to plant crops, build buildings, etc.
    Page 52 Manco Capac before dying gathered his sons and gave his last will and testament encouraging them to "You must never forget that you are the sons of the Sun. You must worship him and respect him as a God and as your father. You must be kind to your subjects, etc."
    pages 116-118 description of the temple built by Manca Capac with a room for the stars with silver walls and stars on the ceiling, a room to the moon with silver walls and a room to the sun with gold on the walls and a large gold replica of the sun and chairs on the side for the high priests. and a room for only the high priest whose name meant "he who speaks of divine matters" "it was he who communicated to the people the decisions of the Supreme God, the Sun".