Saturday, April 7, 2012

Understanding Words in the Book of Mormon about the Land of Promise—Part VI

Continuing with George D. Potter comments of mis-intepretation of the scriptural account regarding the barges the Jaredites built to cross the great water, as outlined in Ether, Chapter 2:

• Potter’s Comment: “This meant that the (Jaredite) barges probably had a primitive square sail to help them be driven forth by the wind” (Ether 6:8).

Response—A sail on the Jaredite barges would be impossible if the vessels were submersible as the scriptures claim. Such a suggestion is ludicrous. However, being “blown before the wind” also means that the waves and currents, which are driven by wind forces, drove the vessels across the sea. This idea is consistent with the explanation that “God caused that there should be a furious wind blow upon the face of the waters towards the promised land; and thus they were tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind” (Ether 6:5) and also, “The wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land while they were upon the waters; and thus they were driven forth before the wind” (Ether 6:8). Also, “And thus they were driven forth, three hundred and forty and four days upon the water” (Ether 6:11).

• Potter’ Comment: “They had to cross open ocean waters where waves appear as mountains and crash over the sides of large ships. When in the watery valley between the Pacific waves, the ship would be surrounded by walls of water, as if in the depths of the sea (Ether 6:6,7).

Response—There is no changing the scriptural meaning of being buried in the depths of the sea. The statements: “They were many times buried in the depths of the sea, because of the mountain waves which broke upon them, and also the great and terrible tempests which were caused by the fierceness of the wind...and when they were buried in the deep there was no water that could hurt them, their vessels being tight like unto a dish…therefore when they were encompassed about by many waters they did cry unto the Lord, and he did bring them forth again upon the top of the waters” (Ether 6:6-7). And to make sure we understand they were BENEATH the sea, Ether tells us: “And they did have light continually whether it was above the water OR UNDER THE WATER” (Ether 6:10).

• Potter’s Comment: “One might argue that it would have been much easier to cross the ocean in barges if the Jaredites had embarked along the Pacific or Atlantic shorelines and drifted on the currents to the New World. How could the Jaredites have drifted through the Indian Ocean, through the island chains of the East Indies, and finally across the Pacific?"

Left: Antarctic Circumpolar Current along the Southern Ocean

Response—There is no logical reason to claim a path from the Indian Ocean “through the island chains of the East Indies” since winds and currents move in the opposite direction of such a path. On the other hand, leaving the shores of the Arabian peninsula and moving WITH the currents and winds, the vessels would have traveled southward and picked up the West Wind Drift current and the Prevailing Westerlies winds that blow constantly across the Pacific (actually Southern) Ocean and curve up along the west coast of South America along the same route (above) that Lehi took.

In addition, there is no indication in the scriptures that the barges “drifted.” This is a Potter inclusion, which then allows him to introduce his “sailing” idea.

(See next post, “Understanding Words in the Book of Mormon about the Land of Promise—Part IV,” for more understanding of Ether Chapter 2 and the mis-interpretations of George D. Potter)

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