Sunday, January 1, 2012

So-Called Book of Mormon Anachronisms: Barley and Wheat – Part II

Continuing with the last post on Barley and Wheat that critics claim is an anachronism in the Book of Mormon (see last post), there is the tendency of so-called LDS apologists to try and find other answers for the scriptural record, evidenty believing it is not written exactly as it should be. These critics write:

“Mormon apologists argue the following to deal with this anachronism: FARMS apologist Robert Bennett argues that the words "barley" and "wheat" in the Book of Mormon may actually be referring to other crops in the Americas, such as Hordeum pusillum, (though Hordeum pusillum was unknown in Mesoamerica and only found to be domesticated in North America). Bennett also postulates that words may refer to genuine varieties of New World barley and wheat, which are as yet undiscovered in the archaeological record. Additionally, apologists such as Robert R. Bennett also note that the Norse, after reaching North America, claimed to have found what they called “self-sown wheat.” Critics reject the notion that Hordeum pusillum was the "barley" that Joseph Smith referred to in the Book of Mormon. They also note that the earliest mention of barley in the Book of Mormon dates to 121 BC., which is several hundred years prior to the date given for the recent discovery of domesticated Hordeum pusillum in North America.”

LDS apologists typically miss the mark of the scriptural record. As has been stated numerous times in earlier posts, Joseph Smith translated the record under the direct supervision of the Spirit, and the process required that the translation be correct, before the spirit prompted another verse to be translated. As David Whitmer testified, “In the darkness the spiritual light would shine and a piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. And thus the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God and not by any power of man.”

Martin Harris also testified, “By aid of the seer stone, sentences would appear and were read by the Prophet and written, and when finished he would say, “written,” and if correctly written, the sentence would disappear and another appear in its place; but if not written correctly it remained until corrected, so that the translation was jut as it was engraven on the plates, precisely in the language then used.”

Wheat and Barley

It is very unlikely the spirit could not tell the difference between wheat and barley and some other grains. Nor should it be supposed that Joseph Smith did not know the difference between grains—he was, after all, a farmer, as was his father. It should be noted that in the 19th century, Joseph Smith’s state of Vermont was known as “the breadbasket of America.” In the early 1800s, Vermont alone boasted about 40,000 acres of wheat-grown land.

Thus, Joseph Smith, when translating the Book of Mormon, was well aware of grains and would not have been uncertain as to the type of grain mentioned in the record, such as corn, wheat and barley, as he was with the grains of Sheum and Neas. Becaue he could not imagine or picture these last two grains, he used the original words as written on the plates.

So why did the Spaniards not find barley and wheat in the Western Hemisphere? The answer is quite simple, and should be readiy apparent to anyone who actually READS the Book of Mormon rather than just try to criticize it.

The Lamanites were at constant war with each other (Mormon 8:8) after the Nephites had been utterly destroyed (Mormon 8:2,7; Moroni 1:2). Even before that time, there is no record of Lamanites planting and harvesting crops, rather they stole harvests from the Nephites (Mosiah 9:14) or extracted it in tribute (Mosiah 7:22). The Lamanites, from the very beginning were always described as hunting in the wilderness for their food (Enos 1:20). It is very unlikely that their nature to hunt for their food changed after the destruction of the Nephites. It is also unlikely that they started planting and harvesting wheat and barley.

It is also just as understandable why wheat and barley were not found in the Western Hemisphere when the Spaniards arrived. The fact that barley was found in Arizona only suggests that the Nephites, who traveled throughout the Americas, planted and harvested barley and that at least in one location, remnants were found.

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