Thursday, October 3, 2019

The Mystifying Rationale of Mesoamerican Directions – Part XIX

Continuing with Brant A. Gardner’s article on Mesoamerican directions and his rationale of the skewed Land of Promise, and the various meanings of words that Joseph Smith used in the translation and their accuracy, and which he considers literal and which are merely metaphorical statements, not meant to be factual.
    It is also interesting that in China, as early as 2100 B.C., maps (and diagrams of triagram and hexagram in Yi Jing) were drawn with north at the bottom and south at the top to show the change of Qi in term of time and direction.
Kan Yu is the proper term of Feng Shui. Kan means the theory of cosmology and Yu means the theory of terrestrial (Shen, Xu)

Mormon uses “north” and “northward” “south” and “southward,” throughout the scriptural record, which 99% of the people would interpret one way. After all, the first “compass” was invented during the last millennium BC by the Chinese during the Han (Hàncháo) Dynasty, using the four cardinal points, with a lodestone (which automatically pointed to the south) and a bronze plate. The lodestone was carved into the shape of a spoon, which was then placed on a flat plate of bronze. As the bronze plate was moved, the lodestone spun around and came to a stop in a north-to-south orientation with the handle pointing to the south. The “magnetized” lodestone aligned itself with the Earth’s magnetic field.
Early 400 BC Chinese Compass

This style of compass was called a “south-pointer” in the southern hemisphere. The bronze plate was also marked with constellations, cardinal points, and other symbols important to the ancient Chinese. The only difference from the original Chinese compass from today’s world compass is that the Chines compass always points south, not north.
    Now, for any compass to work, it would have to be magnetized and, therefore, point to the nearest pole—north in the northern hemisphere and south in the southern hemisphere. In simplest terms, the opposite poles of two magnets attract; therefore, when the pointer of a magnet or compass is pointing north, it is because it is being attracted in that direction by the south end of another magnet—this is the imaginary magnet inside the Earth, which behaves like a magnet because the Earth is a magnet. Thus, because the earth is flowing of liquid metal in the outer core, it generates electric current and the rotation of the Earth on its axis cause these electric currents to form a magnetic field which extends around the planet—and is extremely important to sustaining life on Earth, because it serves to deflect most of the solar wind, whose charged particles would otherwise strip away the ozone layer that protects the Earth from harmful ultraviolet radiation.
    It is not a permanent magnet, but an electromagnet, since deep in the Earth, molten metal (mostly iron) flows due to heat which causes convection. Thus, from the South Pole, all directions are north, and from the north pole, all directions are south. Obviously, either pole is latitude 90 degrees (north or south), and all lines north or south longitude meet there.
    In addition, it’s invention changed the world and human history. With such tools as a compass, people could travel great distances, even exploring places that were unknown to their cultures.
On the morning Lehi and his extended family left the Valley of Lemuel, he found the Liahona outside his tent, which guided him on the 8-year journey through the wilderness and across the Arabian Desert. It was at this time, after first starting out, that Nephi writes about cardinal, ordinal and inter-cardinal directions
It should also be pointed out that since this knowledge was understood in BC times, and obviously known to the Lord, who created the Liahona for Lehi and Nephi to guide their journey across the desert to Bountiful, and then across the ocean to the Land of Promise.
    However, along come Mesoamericanists who want us to interpret directions and the compass in quite another was so they can “prove” their skewed model that does not match Mormon’s description.
    Nowhere in the scriptural record is there any cause whatsoever to suggest that the four cardinal directions are not used correctly—in fact, taking into account two things, it should be shown that the four cardinal directions are correctly used:1. Joseph Smith’s correct use of cardinal, ordinal and intercardinal or interordinal directions;
2. The existence of the Liahona.
So where exactly is the argument to change all this coming from other than they do not support and fit the Mesoamerican model of the Land of Promise?
Continuing again with Gardner: “The second is that therefore the application of modern meaning may therefore accurately interpret textual information. Neither of these propositions can be supported by the data that I have reviewed.”
Response: Perhaps this three-part rationale might be of help: 1) Mormon was writing to a future audience who would have no idea that the Nephites used directional words differently than they would; 2) Joseph Smith, translating to his own audience used directional words that his audience would clearly understand; and 3) The Spirit provided a correctness to the translation, by removing the image when correct, and keeping it in place when not correct. For Stoddard’s approach to be correct, as well as that of Gardner, Sorenson, and all other Mesoamericanists, the Spirit would have to have given us an incorrect direction, Joseph Smith would have mis-translated the words, and Mormon would have willingly been part of this. Now, tell me, Mr. Stoddard, does that ring true to you?
Continuing with Stoddard: “Although we certainly find the words north, south, east and west in the Book of Mormon, there is an important and very specific phrase that I believe replicates the essential Mesoamerican directional system: “From the east to the west.”
Response: Actually, there are only two such statements where the wordage “from the east to the west” is used: Alma 22:29; 22:32. The other eight are variants, some with very different language, but all more or less convey a directional area of one end of the land (east) to the other (west). But how any of these “replicates the essential Mesoamerican directional system” is hard to imagine anyh more than any other directional system. In simple terms, it is like saying from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean; from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific coast; from Denver to Salt Lake City.
Gardner: “Against the background of Mesoamerican directions, it is a reasonable initial hypothesis that this phrase represents plate text terms that indicated the path of the sun. This phrase implying solar movement occurs ten times.
Response: To make sure no one is lost in this little discussion, we will repeat that section from each of the ten scriptures quoted:
Numbers match the descriptions below

1. Alma 22:27: “[Narrow Strip of Wilderness] which was bordering even to the sea, on the east and on the west, and which was divided from the land of Zarahemla
2. Alma 22:29: “at the head of the river Sidon, from the east to the west, round about on the wilderness side
3. Alma 22:32: “on the line Bountiful and the land Desolation, from the east to the west sea;
4. Alma 22:33: Nephites had inhabited the land Bountiful, even from the east unto the west sea, and thus the Nephites in their wisdom
5. Alma 50:8: the land of Nephi did run in a straight course from the east sea to the west
6. Helaman 3:8: began to cover the face of the whole earth, from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east.
7. Helaman 4:7: did fortify against the Lamanites, from the west sea, even unto the east; it being a day's journey for a Nephite
8. Helaman 11:20: they did cover the whole face of the land, both on the northward and on the southward, from the sea west to the sea east
9. 3 Nephi 1:17: all the people upon the face of the whole earth from the west to the east, both in the land north and in the land south
10. 3 Nephi 20:13: scattered abroad upon the face of the earth, be gathered in from the east and from the west, and from the south and from the north; and they shall be brought to the knowledge.
The problem in equating everything to the Sun is that in China, as an example, the compass (as all compasses) points to the nearest magnetic pole: North in the Northern Hemisphere and South in the Southern Hemisphere

Now, having given all these, the problem with Gardner’s statement is that he tries to equate this with the Sun’s movement. However, only four of the ten stated a movement of the Sun, i.e., from the east to the west; four of the ten are opposite, from the west to the east; and two are not transit at all, but east and west in separate parts. So just how does this relate to the Sun’s movement?
Gardner: “There is a single occurrence of “from the west to the east” in 3 Ne. 1:17 and a single related “from the sea west to the sea east” in Hel. 3:8. Importantly, both of these reversals of solar direction come in the context of an expansion of the meaning of “whole earth.”
Response: As if trying to hedge his bets, Gardner singles out two where the sun would have to move from the west to the east, but left out Alma 50:8 and Helaman 11:20, also showing a reversal of the Sun, without a world view. However, it should be noted that when the Land of Promise is used in the scriptural record, “the whole earth,” “the entire land,” etc., refer to just the Land of Promise, not actually the entire globe. This is easily seen in the two he mentions (Helaman 4:7 and 3 Nephi 1:17), which are restricting the movement of the Nephites within the Land of Promise.
    The point is, the entire argument posed by Gardner is fallacious and has no standing and nothing to back it up. However, he seems not to understand how the scriptural record is written, when he adds:
(See the next post, “The Mystifying Rationale of Mesoamerican Directions – Part XX,” and the continuation of Gardner’s rationale of the Mesoamericanists’ skewed Land of Promise,  and his next statement regarding his west to east comments, along with the various meanings of words that Joseph Smith used in the translation and their accuracy, and which are literal statements and which are metaphorical and actually factual statements)

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