Monday, June 22, 2020

More Comments from Readers – Part IV

Here are more comments that we have received from readers of this website blog:
Comment #1: “I take exception to your belief that the continent of South America was once underwater and came up with the rising of the Andes. Of all the stupid claims I have ever heard, this one beats them all” Carlos S.
Geological map of ancient South America when numerous seas covered most of the Amazon Basin and parts of Patagonia

Response: The fact is there is simply no question among scientists and geologists that South America was once disconnected to Central America above the surface, and the eastern portion of the continent was under the surface. According to Norman R. Stewart, “Andes Mountains—Mountain System, South America (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2014) “The collision (or convergence) of two of these plates—the continental South American Plate and the oceanic Nazca-Plate—gave rise to the orogenic (mountain-building) activity that produced the Andes.” Many of the rocks comprising the present-day cordilleras began as sediments eroded from the Amazonia craton (or Brazilian shield)—the ancient granitic continental fragment that constitutes much of Brazil—and deposited on the craton’s western flank. The weight of these deposits forced a subsidence (downwarping) of the crust, and the resulting pressure and heat metamorphosed the deposits into more resistant rocks; thus, sandstone, siltstone, and limestone were transformed, respectively, into quartzite, shale, and marble.
    At one point this complex geologic matrix began to be uplifted as the eastern edge of the Nazca Plate was forced under the western edge of the South American Plate (i.e., the Nazca Plate was subducted), the result of the latter plate’s westward movement in response to the opening of the Atlantic Ocean to the east. 
    This subduction-uplift process was accompanied by the intrusion of considerable quantities of magma from the mantle, first in the form of a volcanic arc along the western edge of the South American Plate and then by the injection of hot solutions into surrounding continental rocks; the latter process created numerous dikes and veins containing concentrations of economically valuable minerals that later were to play a critical role in the Andes.
Mountain Building from Subduction, which also causes land to rise

“The intensity of this activity increased until the present shape of the cordilleras emerged, exhibiting an extraordinary vertical differential of more than 40,000 feet between the bottom of the Peru-Chile (Atacama) Trench off the Pacific coast of the continent and the peaks of the high mountains within a horizontal distance of less than 200 miles. The tectonic processes that created the Andes is still continuing—the system, part of the larger circum-Pacific volcanic chain that often is called the Ring of Fire, remains volcanically active and is subject to devastating earthquakes during these events and ever since.”
    Your argument is not with us, but with the geologists who have written extensively about this event, drawn models, shown maps of South America before, during and after this uplift of the Andes and the eastern part of the continent rising above the surface. The only problem is the difference in the time frame between “Old Earth” scientists, claiming the Earth is 4.55 billion years old, and the claims of the scriptures, Old Testament, Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price, and the Book of Abraham. It would seem that the Lord’s time frame trumps all others, certainly that of science, whose “Old Earth” has been pushed back centuries, then millennium just in my lifetime by evolutionists who kept claiming they needed more time for their “Anything can happen given enough time” theory.
Comment #2: “I read on the internet that Jarom was written by a descendant of the prophet Nephi. I thought he was Jacob’s descendant” Ellen W.
Response: You are correct, the internet article is wrong (probably you were reading in the so-called Book of Jarom on Wikipedia). Jarom was not Nephi’s descendant, but they were related. Jarom was Nephi’s grand or great nephew, i.e., the grandson of Nephi’s brother, Jacob, making him Lehi’s descendant, but not that of Nephi.
Comment #3: “As a side note, according to very believable legends, Joseph of Arimathea, the great uncle of Jesus, was a Roman officer in charge of the shipping of tin from Cornwall to places in the Mediterranean. And the legends are that Jesus went with him to Cornwall possibly for many of the years unaccounted for in the gospels. When the time comes for every hidden thing to be revealed in the last days, it will be interesting to see if this is true. But until then one can read books like: "The Drama of the Lost Disciples" erichard.
Joseph of Arimathea was a rich and prominent member of the Sanhedrin and a secret disciple of Christ, who disagreed with the decision and action of the religious body to condemn Jesus 
Response: For a Jew (especially of high standing) to be a Roman Officer in the century of Jesus would be highly unlikely. In fact, at this particular time, and beginning in the last century B.C., officers of the army were generally highly motivated by politics and a political ambition (which led to the triumvirate). Rome did not put non-citizens in a position to effect their own inner politics. Even before this time the positions of officers of the Roman army were based social class within the Roman citizenry. For a non-citizen, it took 25 years in the military service to gain citizenship for themselves and their family.
    It was also a fact that military service of citizens was of paramount importance to a Roman’s political career. War veterans received colonial lands, which, when this did not happen in 14 AD, an army in central Europe mutinied over the State’s failure to provide land plots for soldiers. It should also be noted that officer’s advancements and eventual fortunes were tied directly to their generals’ political careers. Since the Romans hated the Jews and barely tolerated their religion, typically “washing their hands of such matters” the likelihood of a Jew of faith being in the Roman army was unlikely, and being an officer highly unlikely.
    Prior to the time of Christ, beginning around the Second Samnite War (326-304BC), a change in plebian status occurred, and over the next few centuries, plebes achieved certain status and were always working toward nobilitas (nobility) with an eventual political career in mind—which is simply not something that would have been open to non-citizens—even with 25 years service and promotion to citizenship. Rome did not completely trust any non-Roman.
    Although nobilitas was not a formal social rank, it was at the same time a social rank of notice, and plebeians whose ancestors were consuls were considered nobles. During this Republican era, in general a plebeian who had attained the consulship was regarded as having brought nobility to his family. Such a man was a novus homo (a new man) or self-made noble and his sons and descendants were nobiles.
    This was such a highly protected movement in society it was not allowed or even considered for non-citizens. And since serving as a military officer worked toward this achievement, it would be strange indeed to find a Jew as an officer in the Roman army.
The basic Roman army that we see in movies and read about in stories was the one formed about 40 B.C., and all the legions formed the Roman army’s elite heavy infantry, recruited exclusively from Roman citizens—in fact, most of these legions formed before 40 B.C. were still in service and active two or three centuries later. However, not long after Christ’s time, this changed from legions in control and making up the vast majority of the (citizen) military to auxiliary units which were not citizens.
Comment #3: “What exactly was the Treasury of Laban? Was it a bank? Storehouse? Of what?” Dennis B.
Response: Good question. Rabbi Yosef in his website of the past answered such a question by saying “Laban's "treasury" in First Nephi made sense in the Hebrew and in ancient Israel.” According to the Book of Mormon, the treasury was where Laban kept sacred records. Rabbi Yosef explained that it makes excellent sense, being "exactly in keeping with the culture and language." 
    "Treasury" in Hebrew is "genizah," a word also used for a room in ancient synagogues where scrolls were stored. By way of support, Rabbi Yosef explained: “The early "Church Father" Epiphanius, in his Panarion, section 30, relates the story of a Jew named Josephus (Yosef) who became a believer in Messiah after reading Hebrew copies of Acts and John which he found in a "genizah" (treasury) in Tiberias, Israel” (Epiphanius; Panarion 30:3, 6). You may also have heard of an archaeological find known as the "Cairo Genizah," in which such an ancient store room of scrolls was found in the remains of an ancient synagogue.
    By the way, how many New York farm boys would have known about an ancient Jewish practice of storing sacred records in a "treasury"? This is just one of many dozens of subtleties in the text pointing to the authenticity of the Book of Mormon.


  1. It seems that I read somewhere that there are over 50 species of oceanic fish that live in the Amazon basin but not just fish but also porpoises or dolphins live there in regards to comment 1

    1. There is a cool BBC Planet Earth episode (or maybe it was a Life episode) featuring the freshwater dolphins of the upper Amazon basin.

      There are also a lot of shark teeth in Amazon soil samples, which are used in articles discussing the previous seas that were in the Amazon. Fun stuff.