Thursday, July 7, 2011

What Nephi, Mormon and Moroni Told Us – Part II

In the last post we discussed the five basic clues or statements made by the ancient prophets and writers of the Book of Mormon that would show us where this Land of Promise is actually located. The first three of these were answered in the previous posts under the title: “The All Important Winds and Currents.”

1. Where winds and currents would take a sailing ship in 600 B.C.
2. Find a land where the climate matched that of Jerusalem.
3. Find a land where “both” gold, silver and copper exist in a single ore, and was abundant in the area.

In this post, we will cover the fourth of these five points.

4. Find a land where two unknown animals existed that were as “useful to man” as an elephant.

First of all, how useful is an elephant to man? What does it do? What kind of an animal is it? Usually, an elephant is described as a beast of burden, which is a synonym for a pack animal, or more importantly a working animal that is domesticated and been trained to perform tasks, such as logging elephants, horses, camels, and other such animals that provide man with labor saving methods of accomplishing work or tasks. As an example, the strength of horses, elephants, and oxen are used in pulling carts and logs. Some are used for transports, such as horses, elephants, camels and donkeys.

The most useful animals to man are those that are not only used for sheer physical strength and labor saving work, but also for transport or carrying burdens, riding, packing, wool (clothing), leather, and eating.

Few animals fit all these catagories, but elephants, llamas and alpacas do, though the latter two are seldom used for riding in recent centuries.

Of the animals that might fit this description found in Ether, we could include oxen, horses, mules, donkeys, elephants, and camelids. Water buffalo is a type of oxen which, in turn, is a type of cattle. All of these different animals would have been known and understood in 19th century New England where Joseph Smith grew up and farmed with his family—except for the camelids of South America known today as llama and alpaca.

Llamas (shown above), one of the four main species of New World camelids, are herd animals by nature and enjoy the companionship of others of their kind--or that of cattle and herds, such as sheep--are known for their packing capacity, their intuitive guarding abilities, and their keeping predators away such as wolves, coyotes, etc., from areas they are assigned. Llamas and Alpaca contribute useful items for value-added consumption, both for their wool and for their meat.

Alpaca fiber (shown above before shearing) is probably the most valuable, and much like sheep’s wool, is used for making knitted and woven items, including blankets, sweaters, hats, gloves, scarves, and a wide variety of textiles and ponchos, socks, coat, and bedding. Llama fiber is also easily processed into yarn, fine products and clothing—which makes them more useful to man that most beasts of burden. Both animals also generate rich, odorless manure that makes excellent fertilizer.

These animals can easily be trained for specific tasks, and are also excellent pets and companions because of their low-key temperament, intelligence and east of maintenance. Llamas make ideal pack animals, especially for wilderness travel and even more especially in mountainous regions.

As Moroni wrote: ”And they also had horses, and asses, and there were elephants and cureloms and cumoms; all of which were useful unto man, and more especially the elephants, cureloms and cumoms” (Ether 9:19).

Where are Llamas and Alpacas found? They are indigenous only to the Andean area of South America, and in 2200 B.C. to 400 A.D., were only found there.

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