Sunday, August 4, 2019

More Comments from Readers - Part I

Here are more comments or questions received from our readers.
Comment #1: “I was reading the other day about the Inca having been the biggest and strongest group of people in the highlands of the Andes in the early 1400s, which is why they were able to conquer everyone else, and that there were no other societies that were larger than maybe 40,000 to 50,000 people maximum” but that doesn’t sound like your take on this” Colby S.
Response: First of all, it sounds like you are referring to Terence D’Altroy, a professor of anthropology at Columbia University and author of “The Incas.” His take is that the Inca Empire’s rise was meteoric, but feels precise dates for its rise seem elusive. However, it appears from other historic records involving the Inca rise to power has a totally different, and more believable beginning.
    Secondly, while much has been written about the Inca, and much of that ill-founded in non-factual writing and tourism needs of Peruvian merchants, vendors, and guides, interwoven among the pompous rhetoric heard all over the Andean area today, except from the professionals who have spent much of their lives studying the history of their people. The reality is that, as we have written here before, the Inca who were simply called cusquenos (“natives of Cusco”) were a small community, nowhere near numbering the millions many claim, and not even much into the tens of thousands, at the turn of the 15th century. And more importantly, they were not a dominant society at the time, and the name Inca (Inka) was unknown. 
Area around Andahuaylas and Cuzco where the Chanka settled before challenging the Inca

Third, a people called the Chanka (or Chanca) dominated the region today known as Andahuaylas (Antaqaylla, which means “Copper Meadow) in the early 1400s A.D. The Spanish later called this area pradera de los celajes (“prairie of colored clouds”) and is located in the western part of the Apurímac Region, near the modern city of Abancay.
    This large Chanka culture was divided into three main groups: the Urin Chankas, or the Lower Chankas; the Villca, or Hancohuallos; and the Hanan Chankas, or the Upper Chankas, the latter located at Andahuaylas. It was this latter group that dominated the area, mounting an army of possibly 60,000 warriors around 1435 A.D. It is claimed they originated in the lake area of Chulqlluqucha, and united the Choclopus and Urququcha, and had a territory between the Ancoyaco (currently the Mantaro), the Pampas and the Pachachaca Rivers, tributaries of the Apurímac River.
    In the century or two before, they expanded to "Ancoyaco ayllukuna" with its headquarters in Paucar (to the north around Cerro de Pasco) and the Urin Chankas of Andahuaylas as a secondary base.
    They developed an autonomous culture and had an optional language of puquina. Its capital was Waman Karpa (“falcon’s tent"), on the shore of Lake Anori, 21 miles of Andahuaylas, on the banks of the river Pampas. This group of the Chanka began their expansion under Uscovilca, whose mummified body was preserved with veneration in Waman Karpa until the time of the Chankas move to conquer Cuzco. It is believed by most archaeologists that the Chankas, with their large population, were considered bloody in battle, brutal to their enemies and terrorizing to their captives.
    For nearly 250 years the Chanka developed into a strong, aggressive, and large faction in central Peru, and in 1438, the Chanka ruler, Anccu Hualloc made his move, leading the Chanka against Cuzco, where the Cusqueños a smaller society under Viracocha, who fled Cuzo when the Chanka was under march and took his oldest son, Urco, leaving a younger son, Cusi Yupanqui, behind. This young prince rallied his people, devised a unique plan of defense, and in the process of the Chanka attack, killed Anccu Hualloc and defeated the superior sized Chanka army, claiming 22,000 Chanka dead to 8,000 Cusqueños.
This victory catapulted Cusi Yupanqui (left) into the leadership of the Cusqueños, who changed his name to Pachacuti Yupanqui or Pachacutec (meaning “he who shakes the earth with honor”), adopted the name Inka for himself, and over time in history the Cusqueños became known as the Inka or Inca. Within three generations, the Inca expanded their domain from the valley of Cuzco to nearly the whole of western South America, since after their defeat of the Chanka, numerous other small tribes in the valley joined with them, making them into a sizable military force, and their sudden power led to an aggression that lasted for almost 100 years until the Spanish arrived, creating fear in numerous small tribes who had joined the Inka rather than fight them.
Comment #2: “The pressing question in my mind is why the slow rise of a continent [at the time of the crucifixion]? It is true that fault scarps will form almost instantaneously. We are not dealing with such a thing here of course since the entire block came up relatively together. There had to be movement along individual fault traces during such an event. But the big question is why the relatively slow rise over 3 hours? I think the answer is still - it was an act of God to preserve life” Ira T.
Response: There was obviously great destruction during this time, with many people dying, including friends, neighbors, mothers, daughters and children (3 Nephi 8:24-25). Those who survived were those “who had not fallen” (3 Nephi 8:20), but there were many who were slain (3 Nephi 8:14-15), with many being drowned (3 Nephi 8:9), and many being burned (3 Nephi 8:14), while others were buried in the earth (3 Nephi 9:5), or carried away (3 Nephi 8:16) evidently in tornadoes—all of these lives lost because of their iniquity and abominations (3 Nephi 9:2) and that there were none righteous among them (3 Nephi 9:11). According to the Lord, those that were spared were more righteous than those who were killed (3 Nephi 9:13).
    Obviously, the way in which the destruction took place, the way in which the land rose, the way in which the face of the whole earth was changed was meant to destroy the wicked and save the more righteous. Under what conditions some were killed and others spared is not given, other than the Lord controlled these events as described in 3 Nephi 9.
Comment #3: “A friend shared this comment with me and I was wondering what you thought since you are so opposed to Mesoamerica. “Dr. Sorenson, in agreement with most who have given careful scholarly consideration to this question, proposes a Book of Mormon location in Mesoamerica. Most Book of Mormon readers, when they find reference to the narrow neck of land, immediately imagine this to be Panama. They then conclude that the land northward is North America and South America is the land southward. Dr. Sorenson says that this just doesn't fit the data. He has found, however, that if the narrow neck is assumed to be the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, a very close correlation with the details of Book of Mormon geography is achieved. This theory would place Lehi's landing somewhere near the coast of present day El Salvador. The Land of Nephi would then be in Guatemala. There are those who have proposed an ancient city, near the present day Guatemala City, as the location of the City of Nephi.” Brigham M.
Response: I would certainly agree that North and South America, along with Central America, are not the lands North and South and the narrow neck of land, which were given to Lehi. However, that would end my agreement with Sorenson. It is difficult to see how the Isthmus of Tehuantepec achieves any close correlation with the Book of Mormon geography. Consider:
John L. Sorenson’s Mesoamerica Land of Promise Map

1. Mormon tells us the narrow neck of land can be crossed in a day and a half. Tehuantepec is 140 miles across—short of some type of Iron Man, no one can cross that much land in a day and a half on foot—no one!
2. When standing along the southern shore of Tehuantepec, it cannot be determined from line of sight that the land cuts in sufficient to form a narrow neck; the same is true when standing along the northern shore. You simply do not get a perspective of a narrow neck of land. The only reason Sorenson or anyone else knows there is an isthmus is because modern maps call it such, and satellite photos show the slight, gentle curve inward of both shores. In Nephite times, it would have been impossible to have known that would have been a “narrow neck of land.”
3. Because of its width, this isthmus does not and would not have curtailed movement through it of an invading army, nor could a defensive army have sealed off this location from being entered. Thus, it does not serve the single purpose Mormon credits it to have—a way to keep the Lamanites to the South of the Nephites.
4. The two seas at Tehuantepec are: a) the Pacific Ocean to the south, and b) the Gulf of Tehuantepec to the north. There is no West Sea or East Sea as Mormon describes.
5. While the Land of Bountiful, the Land of Zarahemla, and the Land of Nephi, as well as the entire Land Southward are all described as being to the south of this narrow neck of land—Tehuantepec is to the West of all three lands Sorenson and other Mesoamerican theorists place them.
    It is hard to see anyway in the world in which Sorenson’s map of Mesoamerica clarifies the geography of the Land of Promise, or could be considered “a very close correlation with the details of the Book of Mormon geography.”

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