Wednesday, June 24, 2020

More Comments from Readers – Part VI

Here are more comments that we have received from readers of this website blog:
Comment #1: “How far would a day’s travel in Lehi’s desert trek have been?” Karla N.
Response: Lehi's party is described as moving through the desert for a few days (three or four, one would estimate) and then camping "for the space of a time" (1 Nephi 16:17). This is exactly the way the Arabs move. Caravan speeds run between two and one-quarter to three and nine-tenths miles an hour, thirty miles being, according to Robert Ernest Cheesman, military officer, explorer, and ornithologist, who was the first man to map the Arabian coast, "a good average" for the day, and sixty miles being the absolute maximum.
"The usual estimate for a good day's march is reckoned by Arab writers at between twenty-eight and thirty miles: in special or favored circumstances it might be near forty." On the other hand, a day's slow journey for an "ass-nomad," moving much slower than camel-riders, is twenty miles (William J. T. Pythian-Adams, "The Mount of God," PEFQ (1930), 199).
    Yet, according to James K. Hoffmeier, Professor of Old Testament and Near Eastern Archaeology Trinity International University, Oxford University Press, Oct 6, 2005, Ancient Israel in Sinai: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Wilderness Tradition) states that travel in the Bible and in other Near Eastern texts is measured in terms of the number of days of travel required to cover the distance (Gen 30:36; Ex 3:18; 5:3; 8:27; Num 10:33; 11:31; 33:8; Deut 1:2; 1 Kings 19:4; Jon 3:3-4). In the 19th century, explorers who traveled on camels in the desert terrain of Sinai and adjacent territories, attempted to determine the distance one could travel in a day—H. Clay Trumbull calculated that 15 to 18 miles approximated the distance.
A more recent study based on texts from across the ancient Near East from the second and first millenniums was made by the historical geographer Barry Beitzel who made this observation “The evidence is generally uniform and mutually corroborating that one day’s journey in the ancient world incorporated between 17 and 23 miles.”
    In 1819 John Burkhardt traveled by camel—at a human’s walking pace—from Cairo to Gebel Musa in eleven days, and Robinson described the pace of travel and their Bedouin who accompanied them as “They walked lightly and gaily by our side; often outstripping the camels for a time and then often lagging behind; they seldom seemed tired at night. They typically traveled ten to twelve hours, at a pace of about two miles per hour.
    In fact, it was anciently understood that the measure of a day’s travel originated in the distance a caravan could travel. And the pace of a donkey and/or camel caravan would not be greater than that of a human, because the pack animals were carrying trade goods, and the caravaneers would walk alongside the animals or lead them—which means that if a day’s journey is based on the distance traveled by a caravan, then it also represents a distance that humans could cover in a day of walking.
    Therefore, a day’s journey represented a fixed and understood distance—this distance could vary somewhat depending on the caravan train, thus when the wilderness itineraries mentioned a three-day journey (Exodus 15:22; Numbers 33:8), or an eleven-day journey (Deuteronomy 1:2), a specific distance was intended.
    An early second-millennium text from Mari, for instance, suggests that a caravan could move around 22 miles per day in desert environs, which corresponds with ethnographic evidence gathered from camel and donkey caravans, which travel between 16 and 23 miles per day.
Comment #2: “I’ve heard that George Washington was Bulletproof. What does that mean—did he wear armor?” Cynthia T.
Response: David Burton, founder of WallBuilders, an organization dedicated to presenting America’s forgotten history and heroes, with an emphasis on our moral, religious, and constitutional heritage, wrote a book called The Bulletproof George Washington (WallBuilder Press, 3rd ed, Dec 19, 2002), in which he outlines several attempts at Washington’s life by Indian riflemen during the French-Indian Wars. His book received 91% 5-star ratings from over 95 readers, and is well known for his accuracy with history and his unvarnished presentation of those facts.
In one instance, he writes: “As details of the battle emerged, it turns out that either George Washington was extremely lucky, was bulletproof, or was being supernaturally protected. One Indian warrior testified that he had shot at him 17 times. He exclaimed that “Washington was never born to be killed by a bullet!’ Another Indian, Red Hawk, had shot and missed him 11 times. He had not missed a shot before, and became convinced that Washington was being supernaturally protected by the Great Spirit.
    In 1770, fifteen years after the battle, an old Indian told Washington that he had sought out to meet him. He had been fighting in the battle that day, and he had told all the Indians with him to shoot at him, and make sure that he died. When they all missed, he told them to stop. That evening, he predicted that Washington would never die in battle, and would be “the founder of a mighty empire.”
    It is a very worthwhile read—many ratings call it a must read.
Comment #3:: “I have heard that there were some white-skinned people in South America. Is that true?” Tre H.
Response: According to the American author and one of the premier swashbuckling explorers of Peru, Douglas Eugene “Gene” Savoy, (“Found! The Legendary Cloud Kingdom,” Argosy Magazine, Feb 1971, p55). These so-called “Cloud People” are a white race that have lived in the East Wilderness area as long as those who memorialized Indian history could remember—a fact recorded by the Spanish chroniclers.
    It might be of interest to know that in 1969 Savoy built and captained the Kuviqu (also known as the “Feathered Serpent I”), a totora-reed raft of ancient design, along 2,000 miles of ocean coastline from Peru to Mesoamerica in an effort to prove that Peruvians and Mexicans could have maintained contact in ancient times and that the legendary heroes Viracocha and Quetzalcoatl—an idea Thor Heyerdahl championed—were one and the same.
Gene Savoy’s Kuviqu or Feathered Serpent I

Soon afterwards he captained the “Feathered Serpent II,” which he sailed from the United States to the Caribbean, to Central and South America, and finally to Hawaii, to study ocean and wind currents. In 1997 he sailed a 73-foot wooden catamaran from Peru to Hawaii in a dramatic effort to demonstrate that ancient Peruvians could have sailed the open seas.
Comment #4: “While today the areas of Rimac, Chancay and Lurin are considered part of the Greater Lima area, what makes you think that was the case in the time of the Nephites?” Gerald P.
Response: Because three major rivers come together in this area, it is likely it was combined, providing one basic agricultural area as generally occurred in antiquity. In his book, The Ancient Civilizations of Peru, J. Alden Mason states: “The valleys of Chancay, Rimac, and Lurin fall together culturally—and probably historically—and are considered as forming the Central Coast culture” (Penguin, London, 1957p83). It also stands to reason that the size of Zarahemla as the capital for a nation numbering at least a million or so people, would expand over more than a single or couple of ancient sites.


  1. I would love to see any evidence for Zarahemla as a coastal city. It was in the center of the land. The first chapter of Helaman makes this point three or four times. It is indisputable. WHY on the coast?

  2. You are correct, in Helaman 1 it does say several times that Zarahemla was in the "center" of the land. But how does that reconcile with what Amulek said?

    “And they [Mulekites] journeyed in the wilderness, and were brought by the hand of the Lord across the great waters, into the land where Mosiah discovered them; and they had dwelt there from that time forth” --Omni 1:16

    Del addresses this issue of course. Even though I concede you have a valid issue, I still side with Del because the area he chooses for Zarahemla was a massive population area in ancient Peru-- which matches the capital city of Zarahemla.

    Where is an ancient massive population area way inland North of Cuzco?

    Blog search for: center land Zarahemla