Saturday, June 27, 2020

More Comments from Readers – Part IX

Here are more comments that we have received from readers of this website blog:
Comment #1: “What do you think of the new resource at” Adam.
Response: A brief summary inspection and reading shows a very strong connection with FairMormon, which is a new name for FARMS, etc., and states in their blog: "Most of the articles are from FARMS, the Maxwell Institute, Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, BYU Studies, and BYU Religious Education" which is a very strong association with the Mesoamerican theory, model and belief system. Only time will tell if they follow that path or actually develop something new that is more closely aligned to the scriptural record.
Comment #2: “I’m having a hard time reconciling the population numbers of the Jaredite and Nephi people, when an anthropologist, A. L. Kroeber calculated that only 8.4 million existed for the total population of the Western Hemisphere when the Europeans arrived” Janice W.
Response: Population figures would be hard to come by for the pre-Columbian western world when no such statistics were kept in any form. However, as long as we’re throwing out the names of “experts,” Father Bartolome de Las Casas estimated that 40 million native Americans had perished in just two generations after the Spanish arrived in the New World. Henry Dobyns estimated that 90 million existed around 1500 A.D. William Denevan’s 1976 volume, The Native Population of the Americas in 1492, places the number at 57 million. The Inca Empire of Andean South America is said by numerous scholars to have included more than 16 million people at the time of Pizarro entered with his 168 Spanish soldiers in 1532.
From our point of view, it seems that smaller numbers are probably more accurate than larger ones since, at least in the area of the Land of Promise, for 1000 years or so, the Lamanites were in a constant civil war that had to have decimated their numbers. The numbers covered in the scriptural record seem to fit into these smaller numbers, with 230,000 plus women and children being killed at Cumorah to end the Nephite nation after some 70 years of almost constant fighting, and the couple of million others who we can add up to have been killed over a period of time; and the Jaredite numbers seem to bear out a population at one time of around 6 to 8 million.
Comment #3: “Thanks for this series. I was reading Potter's book and when I got to the part where he was explaining his version of the narrow neck I stopped reading it and never finished. But I do appreciate his work in Arabia” erichard.
Response: I agree that Potter's work in Arabia is excellent, it is a shame he did not put out the same accurate information regarding Peru.
Comment #4: “I am curious. Can we determine from the term “angel” applied to Moroni that he did not receive exaltation since he has already been resurrected? For example, Doctrine and Covenants says that Abraham has been exalted. If you know of any official statement that has been made regarding the eternal destination of Moroni” Sean W.
Response: First of all, Mark E. Petersen, referred to Moroni as “an angel of God, a messenger from heaven, with a physical reality,” and also “a resurrected person of flesh and bones, emerging from the eternal veil and paying repeated…visits to Joseph Smith” (Conference talk, “The Angel Moroni Came! October 1983)”
Secondly, Angelic messengers bring knowledge, priesthood, comfort, and assurances from God to mortals. However, when priesthood or keys are to be conveyed, the ministering angel possesses a body of flesh and bones, either from resurrection or translation (such as Enoch and his people). Spirits can convey information, but they cannot confer priesthood upon mortal beings, because spirits do not lay hands on mortals (D&C 129).
    Third: “"There are two kinds of beings in heaven who are called angels: those who are spirits and those who have bodies of flesh and bone. Angels who are spirits have not yet obtained a body of flesh and bone, or they are spirits who have once had a mortal body and are awaiting resurrection. Angels who have bodies of flesh and bone have either been resurrected from the dead or translated."
    Fourth, Moroni, known as the Angel of Revelation, was given a specific charge to watch over and guard the plates he hid up, as well as other protective assignments regarding this Western Hemisphere. Obviously, he knew when he hid the plates that the Lord would prepare a future prophet to translate it, the process guided by himself commencing in 1820 with Joseph Smith.
    In art, Moroni is often depicted blowing a trumpet, a musical instrument that symbolizes his role announcing revelations about the church. Many Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints temples feature statues of Moroni blowing a trumpet. The statues are gold no doubt because the plates that Moroni showed Joseph Smith and helped him translate were gold.
Comment #5: I read ‘Nephi in the Promised Land’ and read it through since it made more sense to me than "Mormon and Moroni" (Mesoamerica focused), which, in its turn, made much more sense to me than promised land = entirety of the Americas, which was my running assumption until I came across that book. I'm not sure if I would have read "Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica" if those two books had not jump-started my curiosity on the topic.
"Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica" is a very intimidating-appearing book, though (perhaps paradoxically) it was actually quite easy to read and re-read
” Michael R.

Response: You might find the second book "Who Really Settled Mesoamerica," of equal interest since it brings Central America into focus as to the time and circumstances in which that area was settled by Nephites (around 50 B.C.), with the first half of the book about the Jaredites and how they got to the Land of Promise and where they landed.
Comment #6: “Do you think Moroni stayed around the hill Cumorah for the next few years so he could bury the records there? And if not, where would he have gone?” Markum T.
Response: We have answered this before, but quite some time ago and the question seems to persist. With 230,000 to 300,000 or more dead and unburied and their stench permeating the air around Cumorah, coupled with the disease from the polluted land and ground water, leading to such things as typhus and verruga (a deadly Andean disease spread by sandflies mentioned in great detail in the book Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica), would have become a threat to anyone remaining in that area.
    When Ammonihah was destroyed, it was left desolate for many years for that very reason (Alma 16:11). Obviously, Moroni would not have gone southward since he wrote that Nephites who had escaped into the country southward were hunted by the Lamanites until they were all destroyed (Mormon 8:2), nor would have gone east into the Amazon jungle where a single person would have great difficulty surviving the wildlife.
    The only direction open to him would have been northward, toward Colombia and beyond. It took something like 36 years between the last battle at Cumorah and when we know Moroni completed his record. In 36 years, he undoubtedly was long gone from the area of Cumorah, necessitating his hiding of the records far from that battlefield.
Comment #7: “I was just wondering. Has there been any research done in the area of the land of Promise to see if we can do any matching up of cities? I know we probably will never see a sign that says.. "Welcome to Zarahemla". But is anyone looking? This is probably in the book somewhere” Mr. Nirom
Response: There are a lot of archaeologists working in Andean South America and have been for more than a hundred years; however, to my knowledge, none are LDS. Still, I think the matching of a few are obvious. But it seems that LDS archaeologists are working in Mesoamerica, perhaps because that is the only area BYU archaeology has ever worked in and LDS archaeologists generally are from BYU.

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