Friday, December 28, 2018

More Comments from Readers – Part IV

Here are some more comments received from our readers:
Comment #1: “From time to time you indicate that Joseph Smith and others talked about “this continent” as the Americas and that is where Lehi landed. Do you have any references for this?” Sharon G.
Prior to World War II, the Americas were considered one continent, and in some areas, including Latin America, still are

Response: According to the official designation, map makers, and the nomenclature of continents, “North and South America have been viewed as a single continent known as America or the Americas, which viewpoint was common in the United States until World War II, and remains prevalent in some Asian and Latin American six-continent models. In fact, “The United States viewed the two continents (North America and South America) as a single continent and referred to it as the Americas. However, this point lasted only until the Second World War. Geographers regard North America and South America as two continents” (World Facts, World Atlas, May 22, 2018, Rachel Cribby, Managing Editor).
    In addition to all the quotes that we’ve listed in our articles of Presidents and General Authorities, we will just add that Joseph Smith said of the plates he translated, “[they] contained the word of God which was delivered unto them. By it we learn that our western tribes of Indians all descendants from that Joseph who was old into Egypt, and that the land of America is a promised land unto them and unto all the tribes of Israel which will come with as many of the Gentiles as shall comply with the requirements of the new covenant” (DHC Vol 1, p3150. Many more can be added.
Comment #2: “All these claims about the Malay area as the Land of Promise. I understand that wheat and barley will not grow in the tropics of that peninsula” Ron J.
Response: The Equator runs through the middle of Sumatra with the Malay Peninsula between the Equator and 10º north latitude, with 5º degree line through what would be considered the Land of Nephi in their theory, which has a climate categorized as equatorial, being hot and humid throughout the year. The average rainfall is 98 inches a year and the average temperature is 80.6 °F., which is a climate where wheat and barley do not grow.
Wheat field of Idaho; wheat does not grow in Malaysia/Indonesia

According to Chris Lyddon, “Focus on Malaysia,”, March 2014, (from CIA World Factbook): “Malaysia is a major producer of palm oil. It produces no wheat and little maize and needs to make up a shortfall in rice with imports. Maize and wheat are imported to feed livestock, while demand for wheat-based products is growing and the country does have a significant flour milling industry. The International Grains Council (IGC) puts Malaysia’s total grain imports at 4.5 million tonnes in 2013-14, compared with 4.1 million the year before. The total includes 1.4 million tonnes of wheat, up from 1.3 million the year before, and 3.1 million tonnes of maize, up from 2.8 million the prior year.”
    According to The Americana: “Wheat and barley do not grow in Southern India or Malay [same latitude], the winter not being sufficiently severe to prepare the ground for them” (The Americana: A Universal Reference Library, Comprising the Arts and Sciences, Literature, History, Biography, Geography, Commerce, Etc., of the World, Volume 2, Scientific American, New York, Frederick Converse Beach, Ed, 1904)
Comment #3: “As you know, 3 Nephi mentions many cities being burned at the death of the savior including Zarahemla (3 Nephi 9:3) I've been curious. Do you think 2,000 years later, there would be any evidence of a city once having been burned?  I'm thinking maybe like charred stone walls or perhaps volcanic lava?  I realize that there would have been woods and fabrics (and people) burned that would not have any remains. I also realize that Zarahemla and other cities were rebuilt later. If it is possible for there to be any evidence like a charred stone wall, have you ever heard of any? I don't think I have yet. Also, in Mormon 5:5, he explains that the Lamanites also burned many cities, which would have been much later, even to 375 AD. With so many cities burned by fire it would seem to me there should be some evidence of charred rocks or something.  On the other hand, the findings at Taraco indicate any findings would be buried deeply (and therefore perhaps not discovered yet) and at times the fires were so hot, they may have melted some structures. In addition many of the burned cities were built over” David K.
Response:   Good question; however, as you indicated, we need to keep in mind that Zarahemla was rebuilt so it is doubtful any evidence of burned edifices would have remained after the reconstruction. Plus, in regard to other cities burned, following this event, there was a 200-year-peace and period of untold prosperity unlike anything probably the Earth had ever known except perhaps for the city of Enoch period.
    During that 200-year-period whatever had been destroyed would have been renewed, rebuilt, etc., and again, unlikely burned elements remain. In 2000 years, the sediment, or earth pile-up would have covered most anything remaining as we see in South America from the accumulation of earth (hills and mountains) covering numerous cities where most have yet to be found and uncovered.
Rainforest in northeastern Ecuador where little, if any, investigation has taken place

Besides, your final analysis is correct. In the northern part of the country, except along the coast where some research has been done, much of what existed has yet to be uncovered or thoroughly studied. Evidence of burned stone after such a time can be determined, but the archaeologist needs to know what he is looking for and often such matters are overlooked unless they are studying matters pertaining to wars, or such destruction of stone complexes.
    However, when you talk about the Land Northward keep in mind that much of this area has never been investigated to any extent, possibly because so much of it is heavily forested or jungle. Just recently a huge pyramid complex was discovered in Ecuador. No one knows much about it and its investigation is going on and will probably take years to complete.
    Many of the areas in Ecuador are difficult to get to and the cost of doing so is beyond most research programs. Besides, archaeologists have no idea that there is a plethora of ruins in the country to be found and tend to ignore such areas, preferring to study along coasts or natural areas of movement. But when a country is overgrown (like Guatemala), without a strong reason to know something is there (FARMS/BYU investigations because of the Book of Mormon), such areas are simply ignored.
Comment #4: “Joseph Smith certainly made numerous mistakes in his so-called translation of your Book of Mormon. His English in Alma 46:19 about the rent garment was atrocious and had to be changed!” Carlyn P.
Response: “In the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon Alma reads, "When Moroni had said these words, he went forth among the people, waving the rent of his garment in the air” (Alma 46:19). Of course, the rent is the hole, the tear, the space that now separates what was once a whole. Yes, the Prophet made an error which has been corrected in later printings to read, "rent part." But, while it was poor English, and “waving his rent garment,” or “waving the rent part,” is not correct English, it is correct Hebrew.
    In Hebrew, the noun modified by a verbal substantive like rent is assumed from its context. Thus, "part" would not be included in the Hebrew text. It must be supplied by the translator. While Joseph failed to supply the missing word, thus leaving us this interesting evidential strand, it certain would be supplied by the reader of Mormon’s writing. That is, Joseph’s translation is correct for a Hebrew reader, just not for an English reader. As many other so-called mistakes have shown, when compared to the actual translation of Hebrew, Joseph Smith was correct.


  1. Seems like Ecuador might be a good place for the use of lidar as was recently used in Guatemala.

  2. Definitely. The canopy of the rain forest is very thick and difficult to see anything below it. Recently a pyramid was uncovered there quite by accident when a road was being built and dynamited areas revealed stones of a huge complex. Trouble is, these countries in South America are not dedicated to archaeological work like Central America and the U.S. May take some time for private organizations to do this.

  3. There are a few places where ancient fitted stone structures dating back to the Nephite era show what appears to be burn or intense heat damage, to the point of discoloration or deformation. There are also signs of vitrification (a glass-like finish on stones exposed to intense heat) in some ancient ruins like Sacsayhuaman, though that may be a side effect of a construction process rather than the burning of the city in the cataclysm.

    Here are two videos by Brien Foerster, and while his theory of a cataclysm 12,000 years ago is off (at least in causing the damage to the buildings), he is very good at finding the signs of a cataclysmic event in Peru, including burning and huge earthquake damage. These two videos show burn scars on ancient stone walls:

    And here is a good lecture in which he shows the clear evidence that Machu Picchu has an ancient core which was damaged in a strong east-west earthquake and then rebuilt afterwards:

    Again, his dates are off, but the photo evidence and recognition of two different building cultures is excellent.

    What we really need is a lot of educated feet on the ground in Peru looking at this stuff, testing the findings, and putting some efforts into understanding the real origins. But alas, those efforts are poured into Mesoamerica when it comes to LDS interests. At least we have a few non-LDS folks shooting some great footage. Glean what you can from it.

    1. What happened during the destructions after the death of Christ that would cause intense heat damage in places away from volcanoes? The other damage can be attributed to earthquakes as some mountains became valleys and other low places became high mountains.

    2. I have had a Mesoamerican theorist get upset at me on a forum for bringing up the Andes theory. He says it just causes confusion to any non-Mormon following the thread. It is such a done-deal that their model is correct. But actually it is just the opposite: the clear scriptural contradictions in their model is the one that undermines faith in the Book of Mormon over time.

    3. Intense heat and burning = intense electrical discharge

      3 Nephi 8:7 And there were exceedingly sharp lightnings, such as never had been known in all the land.

      3 Nephi 8:12 ...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;

      3 Nephi 8:17 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.

      3 Nephi 8:19 And it came to pass that when the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the storm, and the tempest, and the quakings of the earth did cease...

      Heleman 14:21 Yea, at the time that he shall yield up the ghost there shall be thunderings and lightnings for the space of many hours, and the earth shall shake and tremble...

      Heleman 14:26-27 And behold, thus hath the angel spoken unto me; for he said unto me that there should be thunderings and lightnings for the space of many hours. And he said unto me that while the thunder and the lightning lasted, and the tempest, that these things should be..

      And there are more references. The point is that in both prophecy about the event and in the description given after the event, lightning and thunder are major players in what happened, rather than side effects. Note also that the cataclysm is described repeatedly as a storm and tempest. There was lightning like was never before seen in the land. I can confidently say that it was lightning like WE in our modern day have never yet seen in our lands. Rather than picking the descriptive parts of the cataclysm that we can compare to what we've seen, read what the writers said were the most terrible parts of the event. A tempest with great lightning, thunder, whirlwinds, and quaking of the Earth, all of which play a role in the destructions and reshaping of the land.

    4. Good point. I did a web search for -- can lightning burn rocks -- and in fact lighting has melted and damaged rocks that it struck. So super intense lightning definitely is capable of causing the evidences of melted rock found in the Andes. I will have to mention this to Brien.

  4. It has been documented that earthquakes not just volcanoes can produce lightning. A three hour long earthquake I'm sure could produce a heck of lightning storm.