Wednesday, November 11, 2020

More Comments from Readers – Part II

 Here are more comments that we have received from readers of this website blog:

Comment #1: “Pate rationalizes the North/South/East/West issue by stating that for ancient Hebrews, left is North: "The Hebrew reference frame is based on the north-south Mediterranean coastline and/or the eastern sun rise. Left is north, forward is inland to the east (sunrise), right is south, and rearward is west, back out to sea, or just seaward. The Quiché Maya also use ritual north as left and ritual south as right." What are your thoughts on that?” Wesley J.

Response: Hebrew, like all cultures, have their way of looking at things. As we have stated in several blog posts, when children we were taught north, south, east and west by facing north, that way knowing the right was east and left was west and behind us was south. Hebrew, like most Middle Eastern cultures use east as their focal point, not north, because God is in the east (why our Angel Moroni faces east off the temple spires); the Egyptians use north, but the Chinese used south—why all maps in ancient cultures were differently positioned.

The point is, no matter your orientation (major area of focus [north, east, south or west]) sooner or later one learns in their youth the cardinal directions and from then on, does not have to face or even think of forward, backward, right or left to know the directions. To make this clear, we have to understand that Eskimos (depending on how far north they live) would not have such an orientation since all directions are basically south (Greenlanders and Icelanders also have to modify their directions from those of the rest of us).

Determining direction by placing one’s back to the sea


Pate uses this, which he got from John L. Sorenson, to try and prove his point; however, if one has to put their back to the sea to understand direction, sooner or later, they come to a place where the sea is not to the west of them like the Mediterranean and therefore throws the system off—yet everyone knows where the sun rises and sets and from that view knows east and west, etc. The ancients were not stupid. Their very lives depended on their ability to plant, grow and harvest crops, therefore, knowing the time of year, the equinoxes and solstices, etc., was of primary importance. No matter what one might think about directions, the first thing a person learned in life if they were going to survive anciently, was to know exact directions—the ancients built complex observatories in order to track the sun (see Chankillo in Peru) through its stages. There is no possible way that the ancients didn't know the exact and proper points of the cardinal directions, no matter what words they chose to use to name them.

When I was very young, when facing north, the north was before me, the south behind and the east was to the right, west to the left. People are not stupid enough to think that no matter where they faced, that east was on their right, west on their left and south behind them. These theorists, like Pate, all want to use theories to prove their point but never think their theories out to the point of reality.

Comment #2: “Why do you think Nephi went from the West Coast, the area of their First Inheritance along the West Sea South, to the east coast in Cuzco, near the Sea East? Why not just travel northward along the Sea West coast, wouldn’t that have been simpler?” John C.

Response: Obviously, Nephi was moving in a direction the Liahona guided him, so the Lord had a place in mind for him to settle. As for the direction, the coastal area from Chile to Ecuador is pretty much a desert land, especially the Atacama Desert, the driest desert on Earth.

It would have been difficult to cross, though possible—Nephi earlier had experience crossing the Rub’ al Khali (Empty Quarter) in Arabia. However, we have to keep in mind that movement anciently, where there were no roads or, in this case, not even a previous path, to follow, one is limited to where the terrain would have allowed passage. Stated differently, you can never just look on a map and decide where someone could or did travel unless you know the area quite well from personal experience.

As an example, many years ago with limited experience and knowledge of the eastern U.S., we began doing genealogy and looked for an ancestor when they traveled from Anderson, South Carolina, to Russelville, Alabama, around 1780 to 1790. We were never able to link that up. It seemed simple enough looking at a map—take the ancestor overland southwest into Georgia and then into Alabama where the highways and toll roads are now located, looking at any spot along the way where some of the family names might have been located—a task that took a lot of time and produced no results.

Several years later after a stint in the military as a forward observer directing and calling in artillery fire, where terrain, hills, canyons, and other topographical hindrances played an important role, it became obvious that there might be obstructions to overland travel between Anderson and Russellville where we had earlier drawn a simple straight line of travel on the map. Come to find out, there were mountains and canyons that restricted travel. We learned that Atlanta, along that direct line, was the highest elevation of any major city east of the Mississippi River, and in 1780 you just didn’t go where you wanted.

You had to find passes, valleys to aid travel in the mountains. As an example, there was no direct travel route into northern Alabama from the east. Though Russelville is almost due east from Anderson, travel through the high mountain wilderness  of the Appalachian Mountains and the Cumberland Plateau mountains was restricted—travel had to be to go northwest up into Tennessee, then down the Tennessee River into Florence, Alabama, then overland south to Russellville, I found all the connections I was looking for..

The point is, once we understood travel in that era went northwest from Anderson into Tennessee and then down the Tennessee River and over to Florence, Alabama, then overland south to Russellville, we found all the family connections we were looking for. A great lesson was  learned from this—one cannot just look on a map and mark a route, mountains, canyons, rivers, cliffs and --- can easily block travel and force it in a different direction.

Quebrada las Conchas (Gorge of the Conchas River), also known as Quebrada de Cafayate. The area has a number of valleys and rivers within the Calchaquí—numerous ancient tribes lived here and were later conquered by the Inca


This caused us to follow maps in areas considered the Land of Promise, we learned to look for passes and avoid difficult to unpassable terrain that the Nephites could not have negotiated in their time. In Chile, South America, travel northward from the place of their first landing at Coquimbo Bay (La Serena, Chile), it seemed obvious the Lord would have led Nephi and his people eastward, up into the lower Andean hills in what is today northwest Argentina, through today’s Tafi Valley (called “pueblo de entrada esplendida” “village of a magnificent entrance”) west of Tucumán and 9900-feet Abra del Infiernillo Pass (“Difficult opening to valley”—the same pass that the Spanish conquistadors traveled through coming down from the north).

Beyond is one of the largest high valleys in the area with patches of green-leafy oasis with a mean temperature between 71º F and 57º F throughout the year called the Calchaqui Valleys (Valles Calchaquies, known today for its contrasting colors and its unique geography that ranges from the mountain desert to the subtropical forest).

Comment #3: “You mentioned the Rosetta Stone in an article. I understood it was damaged” Kammy T.

Response: The Rosetta Stone, which was inscribed in 196 B.C. and found in 1802, contains a text eulogizing the nine-year-old king Ptolemy V on the first anniversary of his ascendancy to the throne, is a rectangular stone of considerable size, measuring 28 inches wide by 45 inches high by 9 inches thick, and weighs nearly three-quarters of a ton.

A portion of the upper part of the right side has been broken off, as well as the lower right corner to about one third the width of the base. The upper part, which was probably rounded in accordance with the style of such tablets at the time, was also broken off. The remaining part of the upper portion contains a hieroglyphic text that corresponds to the lower half of the Greek and demotic texts. Thus, about half of the hieroglyphic portion is missing. Even so, its value in comparing the Ancient Egyptian language to Demotic (also an ancient Egyptian language) and Greek, all three scripts in the essential same text, allowed for the interpretation and understanding of the Egyptian hieroglyphics twenty years later.


  1. Sorensen claiming that ancient Hebrews had different cardinal directions than what exists today is ludicrous, jaw dropping, etc as well as arrogant and prideful. It is his opinion yet he presents it as fact.

    In Jerusalem the sun rises in the east-southeast tomorrow, and sets in the west. The moon rises in the east. It was the same during ancient Hebrew days. East was an important direction to ancient Hebrews and that is fact. It is very correct to say ancient people were not idiots.

    The fact that supposed intelligent people support Sorensen's claim that ancient Hebrews had different cardinal directions is just as dumbfounding. And it's these same people who write supposed scholarly articles and apologetics for the LDS church. I have to believe that non-LDS scholars laugh at Sorensen and those who support and defend his ridiculous "different cardinal directions" claims. One reason why the USA, world and church is so messed up. Honest scientific work and scholarship has become corrupted to support particular political agendas and personal beliefs/views.

    It is difficult to believe any of these supposed intelligent LDS scholars when they write any "scholarly" article and write to defend the church. Also they are arrogant, rude and argumentative. I have had the displeasure of dealing with two MesoAmerican theorists. They believe they are more intelligent than anyone, they are right and you are wrong and they get very angry when confronted with verifiable facts! One such scholar banned me from contacting him. He was putting his opinions out as fact regarding modern day politics, and I put up actual facts, citing the law code and number and what it said verbatim with a link. He then called me vile names, demeaned me and banned me. When a person can't argue or present verifiable fact to support their argument or are outright shown they are wrong, they resort to personal attacks... every single time. They also can't accept that other opinions exist that are just as valid as their opinions. These MesoAmerican scholars and their supporters are very closed minded and very thin skinned.

    I immensely enjoy reading Nephi Code. Thank you for your hard meticulous work and staying true to the Scriptural record and facts.

  2. Wow thanks JR! I have no experience with them but I could see that happening. I remember back in the 60's one of those prominent fellows left the Church because he simply could not make his foolish theories work with real geography and history .I don't recall his name right now , so sad.