Friday, June 8, 2012

Was Lake Titicaca the East Sea? Part II

Continuing with George Potter’s comment about the Sea East in the Land of Promise being Lake Titicaca in South America, the first part was discussed in the last post, and now we look at the second part of his statement:

2) The age and location of the ruins surrounding the lake are consistent with the Book of Mormon account."

Response: First of all, there are two basic ruins situated to the south of the present day southern shore of Lake Titicaca. The first and most well known, is Tiwanaku (Tiahuanaco), situated 12 miles south of the lake. The second site, basically unknown outside the archaeological world, is called Puma Punku, just a few miles from Tiwanaku, considered by modern archaeologists to be a common site with both peopled by Tiwanakans. In addition, there is a third site, 400 miles further away to the north, called Sacsayhuaman on a ridge overlooking Cuzco. All three sites show remarkable similarities in their construction of huge rock walls, large carved stone fitted without mortar. 

Now, the question Potter raises, or the statement he makes, is that they are consistent with the Book of Mormon account. It is hard to understand exactly what he means by that.

Walls without mortar: LtoR: Tiahuanaco, Puma Punku, and Sacsayhuaman. All sites around Lake Titicaca

The age of Sacsayhuman (the oldest site) has been set at anywhere from 17,000 years ago (15,000 B.C.) to first millennium B.C., and Tiwanaku from 12,000 years ago (10,000 B.C.) to first millennium B.C. Age, after all, is not realistic when carbon dating (C-14) is being used for the basis as shown quite clearly in Scientific Fallacies and Other Myths. What can be shown, however, by this dating method is that these locations are far older than those in Mesoamerica, and the oldest known in the Western Hemisphere.

As for Potter’s statement: “location of the ruins surrounding the lake are consistent with the Book of Mormon account,” is quite unfounded since there is not a single mention of any lake in the entire scriptural record. Consequently, taken as a whole, there is not much credibility in his statement overall.

3) "Throughout their oral history and up to the present day, the Aymaran Indians on the south side of the lake hate the taller Quechua Indians on its north side. This hatred has led to countless wars between the two peoples.

Response: While this is undoubtedly true, it, in and of itself, is not sufficient to suggest a Land of Promise location. After all, we can point to any place throughout the Americas where Indian tribes, groups, or villages have been at war with one another for centuries. Moroni made it quite clear when he said, “the Lamanites are at war one with another; and the whole face of this land is one continual round of murder and bloodshed; and no one knoweth the end of the war” (Mormon 8:8). And while this war lasted some 36 years according to the record, it undoubtedly continued long after Moroni’s last words. The point being, the Lamanites of the Land of Promise, wherever they were, continued fighting among themselves. The known history of the American Indians, wherever they were found in the 16th century, were still fighting wars with one another. And within the Andean area, these wars tended to be between southern and northern tribes.

4) "The Book of Mormon describes the Nephites and Lamanites as having been separated by the sea on the east."

Response: It should be noted that the scriptural record in the Book of Mormon suggests no such thing. Nowhere does it mention that the East Sea (Sea East) was a separating factor between the two groups.

The narrow strip of wilderness separated the Land of Nephi (on the south) from the Land of Zarahemla (on the north) “which ran from the sea east even to the sea west” (Alma 22:27). In addition, the narrow neck of land separated the Land Northward from the Land Southward (Alma 22:32). These two remarkable distinctions are the only two areas in the entire scriptural record that claims a separation between locations and people. The East Sea (Sea East) was never a separating factor in any way other than it being an eastern boundary along the entire Land Southward, as well as the Land Northward with no description of any land or people beyond the sea.

5) "Lake Titicaca Thor Heyerdahl was initially drawn to construct his raft the Kon-Tiki and sail it from Peru to Polynesia to test his theory that white-skinned people from Peru colonized parts of the Pacific. In fact, the name of his raft, the Kon-Tiki, came from the Peruvian legend that inspired his theory.

Response: The only connection between Lake Titicaca and Thor Heyerdahl is that he saw the indigenous inhabitants of the lake making boats of reeds, which inspired him in the design and construction of his raft, which he named Kon-Tiki, which was one of the legendary gods of the Andean people dating back to B.C. times. In addition, Thor Heyerdahl was never trying to test any theory--he was so convinced he was right about the currents and drift voyages, that his voyage was meant to prove to the archaeological world that Polynesia was settled by indigenous people from South America.

As for the legendary god, the correct name was “Viracocha,” and until Thor Heyerdahl named his raft such, the name Kon-Tiki was relatively unknown. In fact, the Creator-God (creator of all things) Viracocha had various spellings anciently, such as Wiracocha, Apu Qun Tiqsi Wiraqutra and Con-Tici. Anciently, it was considered that Viracocha created the universe, sun, moon and stars, time (by commanding the sun to move over the sky), man and civilization itself. Viracocha was worshipped as god of the sun and of storms. He was represented as wearing the sun for a crown, with thunderbolts in his hands, and tears descending from his eyes as rain.

Viracocha is found as the central figure or inscription on the so-called Sun Gate at Tiwanaku. The drawing to the right is how the inscription originally looked

Essentially, the title Tiqsi Huiracocha also has several meanings. In the local Quecha language, tiqsi means foundation or base, huira (or wira) means fat, and cocha (or qucha) means lake, sea, or reservoir. Viracocha's many epithets include great, all knowing, powerful, etc. Wira-cocha could mean "Fat (or foam) of the sea” or "Wise One" or "Creator of all things."

Much later in time, the Inca adopted Viracocha as their Sun God, and today, we know of the Temple of the Sun, etc., which were Incan appellations of the actual and original name of single God among the ancients throughout the Andean area.

The point of all this is, that despite Potter's claim, there is nothing in the scriptural record about the Land of Promise in the Book of Mormon that would lead anyone to suggest that the Sea East was Lake Titicaca or, for that matter, any other lake. The East Sea was a sea--ocean--as described in the record and pointed out in the previous post.

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