Saturday, August 1, 2020

All Our Seed and Grains – Part II

Continued from the previous post which was about information regarding the seeds brought to the Land of Promise by Lehi and lhow they grew in a foreign environment. .
Corn, (Zea mays), also called Indian corn or maize, which is a cereal plant of the grass family (Poaceae) and is an edible grain. DNA sequence data between two morphologically similar teosinte taxa indicate that the wild species of maize, another word for corn, diverged anciently from a common ancestor. The domestication process was later and may have been based on a relatively small number of founding individuals that retained a substantial proportion of the genetic variation of their progenitors and diverged rapidly in morphology.

Left: Maize, Right: Corn. The same plant

Maize, which is the same plant as corn, similar to current types has been important in highland Mexico for millennia. Perhaps the earliest appearance of domesticated maize in the area can be found at Tehuacán (Mexico) at levels that may date to as early as 5000 BC. Tehuacán is located in the state of Puebla in Mexico in what Mesoamericanists call the Land Northward. That would mean the Nephites would have had nothing to do with corn at all, since long before moving into the Land Northward, they had corn (Mosiah 7:22).
    Though recent studies with maize starch suggest the date of 3000 BC. Whichever the date, i.e., one of these or another based on more correct understanding of dating sequences, the Phyolith analysis suggests that by 2450 BC maize cultivation had reached Ecuador. By the time early explorers came to America maize was being cultivated from Canada to Chile. Corn is the second most plentiful cereal grown for human consumption, and many cultures around the world have lived on this grain. Corn is a versatile crop, and everything on a corn plant is useable. No part of the corn is wasted. The husk of the corn is traditionally used in making tamales.
    Although maize cultivation was ancient and widespread in the New World, the use of the word “corn” in the bible suggests its existence in the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East from a very early date. In fact,  the word “corn” appears 21 times in that scriptural record. In fact, the word grain is found as early as Genesis 42:1 when Joseph is gathering up all the grain in Egypt against a pending drought.
The Hebrew word for “corn” is Sheber (Sheh’-ber) as in Genesis 42:1

The use of the word “corn” comes from the word “sheber” שֶׁבֶר, which means corn and was so translated in Genesis 8 times as “corn.” It might be of interest to know that since the modern anthropologist’s view that corn originated in Mexico, all the new Bibles that have been printed translates the word as “grain.” In fact, Bible Revisions have been occurring since the late 1900s and continue through today.
    In actuality, besides “corn,” Hebrew translated the word “sheber,” as “victuals” if broken into kernals. There are other words relating to corn anciently and recorder in the Bible published in 1611 that translate as “corn.” An example is found in Job 24:6 “They reap everyone his corn in the field: and they gather the vintage of the wicked.” Or Leviticus 2:14 “And if thou offer a meat offering of thy first fruits unto the Lord, thou shalt offer for the meat offering of thy first fruits green ears of corn dried by the fire, even corn beaten out of full ears.” 
    Again “At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat’ (Matthew 12:1). And also ““And it came to pass on the second sabbath after the first, that he went through the corn fields; and his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands’ (Luke 6:1, emphasis).
    Now, it is a unique understanding that corn grows on ears in the field and no other grain does, so othis effort by modern translators is in error.
    It should also be noted that the British and Foreign Bible Society lists 67 versions of the Bible they publish, beginning with the first revision of 1715. However the King James bible of 1611 is the only one that translates the word as “corn,” all the others use a modern understanding of corn and use “grain.” Obviously, modern scientists with their beliefs and claims about corn originating in Mexico does not apply to the fact tht corn was used throughout the Midde East, including the land of Canaan (Jerusalem).
Abundant crops from the seeds brought from Jerusalem planted in the Land of Promise

Thus, corn was probably among the “all manner of seeds of every kind,” that Lehi brought to the Land of Promise, which grew exceedingly an produced abundant crop. This eliminates the claim by Mesoamericanists that corn was first established in the Balsas River region of Mexico and brought to South America. Since there were likely no people in Central America which the Lord was saving the Americas or a people he would lead there. Moroni recording the words of Ether, wrote: “that after the waters had receded from off the face of this land it became a choice land above all other lands, a chosen land of the Lord; wherefore the Lord would have that all men should serve him who dwell upon the face thereof’ (Ether 13:2).
    It is far more likely that the seeds Lehi brought to the Land of Promise were then transported northward as the Nephites moved in that direction. Thus, when the Nephites left the Land of Promise and sailed north in Hagoth’s ships, with “much provisions,”to settle there, they likely took many seeds to start a new settlement in Central America and then Mesoamerica.
    Another area of plants would be what is recorded in Mosiah: “and with neas, and with sheum, and with seeds of all manner of fruits; and we did begin to multiply and prosper in the land” (Mosiah 9:9, emphasis added).
Neas and sheum were a type of grain, and evidently on a par with corn, wheat and barley.
The fact that the Prophet Joseph Smith did not translate this name, but rather transliterated it, indicates that he did not know of an English word for this grain or food item. 
    Therefore, neas and sheum cannot be equated with any English names of seeds or grains attested by their English name in the Book of Mormon. Additionally, any suggestions for an etymology probably should also be narrowed to a New World food for which the Prophet would not have known the English translation.
    Thus, neas and sheum are probably not equated with wheat, barley, rye, oats, garlic, onion, sorghum, millet, lentils, pulse, peas, squash, beans; and even emmer wheat,. Native American grains or food items that Joseph Smith might not have been familiar with could include
Left: huauzontle; Center: chia; and Right: teosinte

Amaranth, chili-peppers, jocote (mombin), manioc (cassava), huauzontle, chia, and teosinte—none of which are grains other than amanantha. Nor would he have been knowledgeable of quinoa and kiwichi, Souh American plants not known in North America during Joseph Smith’s lifetime.
• Neas and Sheum
Neas and sheum are included in the list of crops grown by Zeniff's colony in the land of Lehi-Nephi around 200 BC (Mosiah 9:9). These words obviously were not Nephi’s but were used in their original form as used by Mormon. Thus these words were not translated into English, and since neas and sheum were used in as list of grain food crops, it is likely thery were also grains.
    It is interesting that Mesoamerican theorists claim the word sheum meant in the Akkadian language that referred to cereal grains, often either wheat or barley. As an example, John L. Sorenson claims that the grain “sheum” Zeniff planted has recently been identified as "a precise match for Akkadian s(h)e'um, “barley.” Others also claim it meant just barley. 
    This would mean that Mormon wrote that the Nephites had: “all manner of seeds, with seeds of corn, and of wheat, and of barley, and with neas, and with barley.” That is “and of barley with barley,” hardly something he would have written.
Some Mesoamerican theorists claim the word “neas” was a Late Babylonian word that related to the Akkadian word that meant “wheat,” thus rendering Mormon’s statement as ”of wheat, and of barley, and with wheat and with barley.” Again not a sentence expected to be found in Mormon’s writing.
    Thus we must conclude that neas and sheum were some type of grain, grown from seeds, which the Nephites had and planted, and were not only not known to Joseph
Smith but to most people in North Americas in the first haf of the 19th century. This, then asks the question, what were these two grains?

Left: Quinoa Plant; Right: Kiwichi Plant

In South America there are two grains that are of great importance to the Peruvians, especially the ancient Peruvians, called quinoa and kiwichi. These grains are extremely valuable in the sense that they are high nutrition grains—this superfood is classified as a whole grain and is naturally gluten-free and one of the few plant foods that contain sufficient amounts of all nine essential amino acids. Quinoa is also high in fiber, magnesium, B vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E and various beneficial antioxidants, while being low in calories and carbohydrates.
    In fact, quinoa contains more protein than any other grain while also packing in iron and potassium. One half cup of quinoa has 14 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber. Quinoa is a tiny grain that cooks up like rice and has a mild, nutty flavor and a light, fluffy texture similar to couscous.
    On the other hand, Kiwicha, considered one of the Earth’s most potent seeds is native to the high Peruvian Andes, and has been an ancient crop cultivated for thousands of years by numerous cultures including the Incas. The naturally gluten-free Kiwicha is very high in protein and essential amino acids and therefore often called one of Peru's "super grains.
    Kiwicha originated in Peru and has been farmed there and in other areas of South America for over 4,000 years. It was widely used as a subsistence crop before the Spanish conquest. It is considered an anti-aging food due to its cumulative anti-carcinogenic, anti-hypertensive, anti-oxidant, and anti-lipidemic properties. Kiwicha contain all 10 essential amino acids, making it an optimal plant protein for vegetarians.
    It is also high in the amino acid lysine, distinguishing it from other grains which typically contain very little lysine and need to be combined with other foods to make a complete protein. In addition to being gluten-free, it is high in fiber, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, and manganese.
    It also contains squalene, an organic compound which acts as an anti-cancer agent and may be cardio-protective as well due to its ability to lower LDL, total cholesterol, and triglycerides. A half cup serving of cooked kiwicha provides 125 kcalories, 4.7 grams protein, 2 grams of fat, 23 grams of carbohydrate, and 2.5 grams of fiber.
    Obviously, these two grains would have been very important to the Nephites and were part of the seeds they planted. It should be noted that Quinoa and Kiwicha are considered grains of superior nutritional value that, until the last quarter of the 20th Century, were relatively unknown anywhere else in the world outside the Andes. Today they are being produced in quantity by the Peruvian government and being exported to several countries, including the United States as a superfood.

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