Thursday, August 8, 2019

More Comments from Readers - Part V

More comments and questions from our readers:
Comment #1: “You talk about Lehi not owning camels but rather had donkeys, which he would have had to have traded once down on the desert floor. What makes you think that? There is nothing in the Book of Mormon to suggest anything of the kind” Marlene C.
Response: It is almost certain that the chief beast of burden in Jerusalem and the Judean hill country was the donkey—not only was it better fitted than the camel to negotiate the rocky paths and twisting alleys of the city, with its low overhanging arches and impeding balconies, but also because of the rocky shale of the ground.
The King’s Highway, also called Via Nova Traiana, an ancient thoroughfare that connected Syria and the Gulf of Aqaba by way of what is now Jordan. It is one of the world’s oldest continuously used communication routes

Both the major and minor routes from Asia (and Europe) to Africa passed through Canaan. The Via Maris ("Way of the Sea") followed the coastal plain up from Egypt, turning inland when the way was blocked by the hills of Carmel and Lebanon. The "Kings' Highway" ran inland up the spine of relatively fertile hills of Moab and Amon before also turning East to Damascus round the mountains of Lebanon. Lack of water made the desert further east unsuitable for trade caravans.
    The fertile soil found in river valleys, together with the coordinated efforts of large numbers of slaves constructing systems of dikes and canals, made Southern Mesopotamia and later Egypt the earliest densely populated areas in the world. It was here that the earliest civilizations developed. From around 3000 BC these two regions dominated the Near East through which trade passed
    However, this trade route, though going through numerous cities and settlements bypassed Jerusalem, with traders going down from Jerusalem to the King’s highway to meet the caravans as they passed along the road northward or southward. Jerusalem was bypassed because on top of the hill where it rested, the soil was so rocky, with sharp flints that would have slashed the camel’s large, unhooved and soft, cushion-like foot. By going along the sandy road of the western coast and the relatively smooth King’s Highway, a twenty-third century B.C. road that runs east of the Jordan River from Syria to the Gulf of Aqaba the camel caravans continued north. It was a donkey the Lord rode into Jerusalem and it was a donkey that Mary road down to Bethlehem.
Comment #2: “I have a true story of plants not being able to grow in a different climate, area, country—even in the same state. My husband works part time for a non-profit greenhouse, in Southeast Arizona. The greenhouse manager brought in some Agave plants that were planted in Phoenix, Arizona. The beautiful Agave plants were thriving in Phoenix. The manager thought the Agave would be a great addition to the greenhouse, and received permission to take some of the plants and transplanted them. However, they are struggling in Southeast Arizona, even in a greenhouse. The climate, temperature, and elevation between Phoenix and Southeast Arizona are very, very different. Yes, it is all desert. But there are many differences which affect both plants and animals. Phoenix is all Sonoran Desert. Southeast Arizona is where the Sonoran and Chihuahua Deserts start to meet. For this particular species of Agave Southeast Arizona is too cold” JK.
Response: An excellent example. Having myself grown up in Southern California and spent nearly my entire adult life there, growing plants, etc., then moved to southern Utah, whose climate is extremely different, I was amazed at how hard it was to get anything here to grow that is not grown here originally. We cannot transplant anything at all. One of our sons lives in Holladay (near Salt Lake City) and has a beautiful yard of great plants—at one time we dug up some (already growing and healthy) and brought them down to southern Utah and planted them—they all died. Trouble is, most people do not have those experiences and this this is "silly" to them; but the reality of it is very real and may someday prove to be a great learning experience for them. Your example is right on. Thank you.
Comment #3:  “I tend to agree with Ludlow that it is unclear if Moroni translated and abridged the book of Ether, or just abridged it from an earlier translation when it was first discovered” E. Richard.
Mormon gave the records to Moroni to complete, including the record of Ether

Response: According to the scriptures, what we know of this is: “Therefore he took the records which were engraven on the plates of brass, and also the plates of Nephi, and all the things which he had kept and preserved according to the commandments of God, after having translated and caused to be written the records which were on the plates of gold which had been found by the people of Limhi, which were delivered to him by the hand of Limhi” (Mosiah 28:11); “And now he translated them by the means of those two stones which were fastened into the two rims of a bow.” (Mosiah 28:13); “Now after Mosiah had finished translating these records, behold, it gave an account of the people who were destroyed, from the time that they were destroyed back to the building of the great tower, at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people and they were scattered abroad upon the face of all the earth, yea, and even from that time back until the creation of Adam. Now this account did cause the people of Mosiah to mourn exceedingly, yea, they were filled with sorrow; nevertheless it gave them much knowledge, in the which they did rejoice“ (Mosiah 28:17-1).
    Later, we find that “Now behold, all those engravings which were in the possession of Helaman were written and sent forth among the children of men throughout all the land, save it were those parts which had been commanded by Alma should not go forth” (Alma 63:12).
    In Moroni’s words, “Now I, Moroni, after having made an end of abridging the account of the people of Jared, I had supposed not to have written more, but I have not as yet perished; and I make not myself known to the Lamanites lest they should destroy me” (Moroni 1:1).
    The question whether Moroni re-translated Ether’s writings or simply abridged the earlier translations of Ether’s writings are unknown to us as far as we know, but he definitely abridged the Jaredite record.
Comment #: To Mike Swapp who stated: “Mesoamerican believers deny one of the most powerful statements of the Book of Mormon-America is the covenant land. Not Mexico, Guatemala or any other central or S American country. Not to mention that you deny Joseph Smith’s own words and the teaching of prophet after prophet and church historians. The Book happened in America.”
As many Church leaders and Prophets have stated, the Land of Promise and Zion is the entire western hemisphere

Response: For your information, America is the entire North, Central and South American lands. It was first called that on one of the first maps ever made of the Western Hemisphere in 1507, following Amerigo Vespucci’s discovery of Brazil and South America. The fact that we call ourselves “Americans,” so do other countries in Latin America of the Western Hemisphere. Nor can one say we are the only land of liberty, since numerous other countries in the Americas claim the same thing. It is a shame that a citizen of the United States can be so arrogant as to think this country is the only country of value in the Americas. While it is true that the U.S. from the very beginning created an attitude of protection to the Western Hemisphere, and had the treasure and will to mean it, it should not be said we are the only country that has liberty, freedom and a belief in God.
    Also, for your information, several Presidents of the Church have made numerous statements stating that the Land of Promise included the South American countries, often in dedicatory prayers related to a temple built in those various lands. If you are so bent on the attitude you have, show one quote from any Church leader at any time saying the United States is the only country of liberty, freedom, or Gods’ special protection. If you read this blog you will find several Church Presidents, and General Authorities are on record saying much the same about South America.
    When you read Ether 13:2, you might want to think in terms of an entire land, which is how the Lord sees things—not as individual countries. And at the time of the Flood and afterwards and the reference Moroni makes, both North and South America were one land, not separated by boundaries. For the entire history of the United States until about 1941-42, we taught in our schools and history books that North and South America was one continent. When Moroni told Joseph Smith the Book of Mormon was a record of a people of this land, and this continent, the understanding of people in the Americas at the time considered that it it meant the entire land area of what is now called two continents.

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