Sunday, December 30, 2018

More Comments from Readers Part VI

Here are some more comments received from our readers:
Comment #1: “You are so prejudice toward your own views and beliefs, you never consider any other theory, such as Mesoamerica or the Great Lakes land of promise models” Shandra K.
Response: Thank you for your evaluation. However, if I were prejudice toward my beliefs, I would be against them. You meant “bias,” which is in favor of as opposed to, while “prejudice” is in opposition to. On the other hand, since I started out way back in my teen and young adult years believing in the earliest Land of Promise location as being North America as the Land Northward, South America as the Land Southward, and Central America as the narrow land in between as most members of the Church at one time thought, I have at least changed my bias as I have learned more.
    At one time in the 1960s, I thought the ruins in Mesoamerica were Nephite and that Hunter and Ferguson in their Ancient America and the Book of Mormon idea of running parallel understanding between the Book of Mormon text and the works of Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl, along with the Popol Vue were quite intriguing; however, an extensive and serious period of study in the 1980s and 90s convinced me that the Book of Mormon leads to South America through Nephi, Jacob, Mormon and Moroni’s extensive descriptions.
    As for being prejudice, I have studied extensively the works of William James, (1842-1910), the eminent pioneering American psychologist and philosopher who was trained as a medical doctor, but became influential in the early years of psychology. He has written extensively and I would recommend his work, for he has understood mankind better than anyone outside the scriptures I have ever read.
    He was the brother of novelist Henry James and of diarist Alice James, and the intellectual brilliance of the James family milieu and the remarkable epistolary talents of several of its members have made them a subject of continuing interest to historians, biographers, and critics for a century. In addition, James interacted with a wide array of writers and scholars throughout his life, including his godfather Ralph Waldo Emerson, his godson Williams James Sidis, as well as Charles Sanders Pierce, Bertrand Russel, Josiah Royce, Ernst Mach, John Dewey, Walter Lippmann, Mark Twain, Horatio Alger, Jr., Henri Bergson and Sigmund Freud.
One of James (left) most important and famous quotes, of which he was often quoted over a wide variety of subjects and comments, and my personal favorite is: “A great many people think they are thinking when they are really rearranging their prejudices" — William James.
    I go over this mantra every day before writing in this blog, or in study or other intellectual pursuits. I have, over my lifetime, tried to stay clear of prejudices, but I do have certain biases. One very important one, is that I feel certain that Mormon and the writers of the Book of Mormon in their time knew more about the Land of Promise than any professor, historian, or scholar of today. So, as far as I am concerned, if someone’s idea, beliefs, or writing does not square with the scriptural record as it was written, and without altering or explaining away the intended meaning, then I tend to reject it out of hand.
    As an example, Mesoamerica is an east-west land and Mormon tells us the Land of Promise was a north-south land. There is no reason to debate this, or try as John L. Sorenson does, to try and get around it by claiming the Nephites used a different set of cardinal compass points, or as other Mesoamericanists, such as Joseph L. Allen, et al., try to claim that an hourglass set on its side changed the direction, etc. North and south is north and south—end of discussion.
    The same is true with the Great Lakes. There are too many errors in that theory to mention here, though they have been listed on these pages innumerable times. I’ll just mention one. Samuel the Lamanite says there would be mountains in the Land of Promise “whose height is great,” and there are no mountains—I repeat, no mountains—in the Great Lakes area, or in Heartland America, or even in the eastern area of the U.S. to speak of—certainly nothing “whose height is great.” So that ends those discussions.
Comment #2: “The temple of Zarahemla had walls around it according to Mosiah—have you found that wall in Pachacamac?And do we know any more about this temple?” Brandon N.
Response: Yes, the wall is identified. However, it was not just one wall all around, the complex, but that the temple complex had a wall, as did the city itself (much like is found in Jerusalem). In fact, the entire complex was surrounded by several walls. They were of thick sun-dried adobe. Of these walls, Edgar Lee Hewett wrote: “The temple was in a large enclosure, heavily walled, and seems to have been well isolated” (Ancient Andean Life, Bobbs-Merrill, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1939, p230).
Top: Pachacamac is definitely on a hill; and Bottom: it has walls around it

In addition, Mormon tells us that the temple at Zarahemla was on a hill, since the people had to go “up to the temple” (Mosiah 2:5) to hear king Benjamin speak. Indeed the temple at Pachacamac is on a hill.
Comment #3: “Thank you for this very interesting series on the Hebrew writing style showing forth in the Book of Mormon. I found it fascinating and a further testament of the authenticity of the Book of Mormon” David K.
Response: It certainly is, and so is all that we did not cover. The references of the Book of Mormon to the ancient Hebrew is so compelling, and has been known since Hugh Nibley's work in the late 1960s, it is remarkable that it is so ignored by the professional linguists.
Comment #4: “I understand that irrigation channels have been found in and around Lima that date back 2000 years, which would be to Nephite times. Is that true?” Richard P.
Response: In an article appearing on January 20 of 2016, in discussing Peru’s seemingly endless problems with providing its people with clean water because of polluted supplies and environmental changes, which has undermined Peru’s water system for decades, a series of ancient water canals and channels are being used to provide fresh, clean water to the area of Lima. These ancient structures, were so well built 2000 years ago or more, that they are still useable today and solving today’s Peruvian water crisis.
One of the ancient water channels that brought water from the Andes down to the coastal plain

In April of 2015, a new plan was presented by Lima’s water utility company, Sedapal, to revive this ancient network of stone canals that were built before the ancient Lima culture and later expanded by the Wari culture—a period of time by the way that covered the region from about 200 B.C. to about 500 A.D. Since Peru’s highly populated and arid Pacific coast depends on water from glacial melt to compensate for the region’s lack of rainfall, Peru was being hit hard by the retreating glaciers. The canals and channels needed some repair and regrouting, but they have now resumed their ancient original purpose.
    EFE researcher and journalist Javier Lizarzaburu, promoter of the campaign Millennial Lima [through El Espectador], has stated: “I believe it is important that citizens are aware of how ancient technology is playing a role in meeting their modern needs, including placing posters announcing to park users that they enjoy these green areas thanks to the work done by prehistoric engineers. The channels of Lima, which are a pre-hispanic institution, continue to pay a service to a city that depends more than ever on the work of citizens who 2,000 years ago transformed the desert valleys and now can improve the lives of some nine million.”
Comment #5: “If your Pachacamac was indeed the city of Zarahemla, what would have been the southern boundary of the Land of Zarahemla?” Mark O.
Response: The southern boundary would probably have been near Pisco, about 95 miles south of Pachacamac. The Lamanite territory began south of there and continued all the way down through Chile to just south of the Bay of Coquimbo, with its eastern border somewhere beyond the western boundary of Argentina. All of that territory was referred to as the Land of Lehi (Helaman 6:10), with the Land of Nephi being that area from around the La Raya Pass south of Cuzco northward to the narrow strip of wilderness between the Apurimac River and the Carabaya Mountains. The eastern boundary of the Land of Zarahemla would have been somewhere around the Montaro River, perhaps 100 miles east of Pachacamac with the land to the east called the Land of Gideon and the Land of Jershon.

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