Tuesday, December 25, 2018

More Comments from Readers – Part I

Following are comments and questions from our readers:
Comment #1: “It appears to me that a lowland west coastal strip runs all the way from the land of "first inheritance" to the isthmus or narrow neck of land (Alma 22:27-29), and the "west wilderness" of Zarahemla likely consists of this coastal strip plus a range of uninhabited mountains paralleling the coastal strip because groups had to cross "over" the wilderness or mountains either by one pass near Antiparah on the south (Alma 55:31-40), or another on the north near Ammonihah (Alma 25:2)”  Bronco J.
A person “crossing over” this chasm is not necessarily involved in mountains, river gorges, canyons or numerous other types of terrain. “Crossing over” means from one side to another, not “what” is being crossed

Response: First of all, “to cross over” does not necessarily imply only mountains. You can “cross over” a river, a lake, a desert, a canyon, a valley, etc. It does suggest an unoccupied area, i.e., a wilderness, but as we have discussed numerous times here, a wilderness is any uninhabited or unoccupied or unimproved tract of land. The actual meaning of “cross over” (crossover) is to move or go from “a point or place of crossing from one side to the other,” or “a place at which a crossing is made,” and could more specifically refer to a bridge crossing over a canyon or river.
    As for a lowland west coastal strip running all the way from the land of "first inheritance" to the isthmus or narrow neck of land, the references given do not say that at all. It only suggests that in between the Land of Zarahemla and the Land of First Inheritance was a wilderness in which Lamanites dwelt in tents, as they also did live in tents down around the Land of First Inheritance, but we are not told that it runs all the way up and down the coast. And certainly there is no reference to there being mountains along the coast or that there was a lowland all along the coast.
Comment #2: “I find it impossible that you think Lehi could have sailed from Arabia to the Land of Promise without having to stop on the way at islands to reprovision and take on water” Sandy G.
Response: You might find the following of interest regarding the combat vessel U.S.S. Constitution (Old Ironsides) in 1798, which carried 48,600 gallons of fresh water for her crew of 475 officers and men. This was sufficient to last six months of sustained operations at sea. She carried no evaporators (i.e. fresh water distillers). According to her ship's log, "On July 27, 1798, the U.S.S. Constitution sailed from Boston with a full complement of 475 officers and men, 48,600 gallons of fresh water, and 7,400 cannon shot, 11,600 pounds of black powder. Her mission: "To destroy and harass English shipping.”
    Despite so many fictional stories and movies to the contrary, water was not difficult to obtain at sea over a period of time from rain, storms, etc., as Thor Heyerdahl in Kon Tiki proved. Ships, from the beginning of time have always been able to take sufficient supplies for their planned voyages—it is when they were blown off course and lost that they ran out of food and supplies. Columbus’ voyage drew short of provisions because he had the wrong distance factor as to how far he had to sail to reach the Spice Islands. The problem with early sailing was in scurvy, not dying of thirst or running out of food. And that problem existed because no one understood the cause of scurvy for many years. Once that was known, fresh fruit became a factor of planning into voyage provisions. Surely, in Lehi’s case, the Lord knew of this and showed Nephi how to adjust to it.
    Besides their voyage down around the Southern Ocean cut the distance across the Pacific by about one-half to two-thirds from that understood by so many of the Land of Promise Theorists writing on the subject. In addition, the provisions of the Baobab tree (see Who Really Settled Mesoamerica) would have taken care of fresh water needs.
Comment #3: “Why do you people have such an aversion to drinking wine—even Jesus miraculously created wine for the guests of a wedding feast in Cana of Galilee in John 2:1-11 in the New Testament” Maggie M.
At the marriage at Cana, the Lord turned water into wine

Response: There is much that we need to learn about the meaning of words in the Bible as well as the Book of Mormon. As to the marriage feast, it might be considered that in view of the long trip from Bethabara to Cana—Bethabara, by the way, is believed to be the same as the area of Bethany—it is probable that Christ and his disciples arrived late to the wedding only to find that the guests had exhausted the wine supply and had ‘well drunk’ (literally had ‘become drunken’ (John 2:10). ‘Have well drunk’ is one word in the Greek (methuo) meaning simply “are drunk” and is translated with this meaning in every other instance where it is used (Matthew 24:49).
    “And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece” (John 2:6), and Christ told the servants to fill them with water. Thus, one firkin was 8 7/8 gallons (8.75), and one waterpot contained between 17 and 26 gallons. Now these waterpots, which were normally used for “the purifying of the Jews,” meaning the washing of their feet, when full contained between 105 and 157 gallons.  
    Obviously, this much additional intoxicating wine would certainly be too much for guests who were already drunk, and it is inconceivable that Jesus would provide such. Thus, we need to understand that this ‘good wine’ had been miraculously created by the Creator and was brand new, with no time to ferment and become old, intoxicating wine. The Greek word oinos was used for the juice of grapes in general, the same word for both unfermented and fermented wine, with the context determining which. The decay process, utilizing leaven (always representing corruption in scripture) to convert good fresh wine into old, intoxicating wine, could not have acted in this case because Christ Himself had created the wine in its originally intended form before sin and decay entered the world.
    In this form, it was certainly the best wine, having all the health-giving, joy-inspiring character it was created to exhibit in the beginning. It was probably the same wine which Christ will provide in ‘that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom’ (Matthew 26:29), and it will certainly not contain corruption and induce drunkenness.”
Comment #4: “You might be surprised that the prevailing view among LDS scholars is that the hill Cumorah in New York has nothing to do with the Book of Mormon text. According to them, that hill is merely the unnamed location where Moroni concealed the plates and other artifacts that Joseph found in 1823. Supposedly, then, Moroni hauled these items over 3,000 miles from the "real" Cumorah in southern Mexico. I know that makes no sense, but that's what you are supposed to believe if you read the scholarly works by professors employed by, affiliated with, or trained at BYU” Kevin G.
    Response: This is right out of Book of Mormon Wars (October 3, 2016) website. In any event, what makes you think Moroni had to “haul” the records anywhere after his death and before Joseph Smith was led to the plates? Surely the Lord moves things about without having to carry them. Numerous scriptural incidents show us that visions “transport” individuals from one place to another in the blinking of an eye. Somehow, I can’t quite see God or Christ walking down the street carrying a knapsack over their shoulder, nor do I see Moroni doing the same unless there is a reason for him to make an appearance like alongside the road with Joseph and Martin Harris in the buggy on their trip.
Part of the Magellanic Cloud, one of trillions of star clusters and in the Universe the Lord created

Many seem to forget who we are dealing with in our God—remember him? He created and organized the universe. And we certainly do not know that the plates were left in the ground for 1400 years until Joseph was led to them. It seems obvious the Lord has other places things of importance can be kept until they are temporally needed for a time. Certainly, the so-called “cave” where the records were returned is not of this world, but of that of the Lord’s.


  1. When they came, the Spanish found Native Americans in ships in the Pacific, even out where land was not visible.

    It is believable that on some small ship Moroni was able to get away with others –maybe believing Lamanites-- and go to colonies of believers that still survived in Mesoamerica, and later travel up with others to what is today Manti, Utah.

    And then eventually go, again probably with others, to what is today New York and actually bury the plates and U&T there himself.

    We do not know for sure, but over many years this is certainly possible for a prophet to do based on the example of Nephi and the Northern migration by Nephites and Lamanites in the Book of Mormon.

  2. To GW:

    The hypothesis you've described is what I have always considered also. With the exception of Mormon, Moroni probably had the best education of any living man in the western hemisphere. As a record keeping people he knew when and how many people left and probably had maps showing trade routes. Trees and other items were being shipped north. The people of God have always been industrious entrepreneurs.