Sunday, December 30, 2012

More Comments to be Answered Part VI

Here are some more comments that we’ve received from this website blog.
Comment #1: I have seen references to Portuguese fishing in the North Atlantic (possibly the Grand Banks) before Columbus. It was thought to have been an 'industry' secret -- If true, how did they keep together if they were using a mother ship and longboat approach? Could they also have known more about the not too distant coasts or lost some of their people to winds and currents who might have made landfall?” MaLiChii
Response: While it is true that sometime after John Cabot’s discovery in 1497 voyagers from Portugal and England (Bristol) began fishing along the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, but there is no archaeological evidence for a European presence near this area prior to that time. These relatively shallow underwater plateaus along the North American continental shelf where the cold Labrador Current mixes with the warm waters of the Gulf Stream have created one of the richest fishing grounds in the world and have been fished for the past few centuries, but there is no evidence they were fished prior to Cabot’s discovery, though the short-lived Greenland Norse settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows around 1000 A.D. was about 500 miles north along the tip of Newfoundland across from Labrador, about 1000 miles from Greenland.
On the other hand, the Norse (Vikings) claim in their histories that settlements in continental North America, though referred to as emigrant, actually were aimed to exploit natural resources such as furs and in particular lumber, which was in short supply in Greenland. Historians say it is unclear why the short-term settlements did not become permanent, though it was in part because of hostile relations with the indigenous peoples, referred to as Skraelings (Eskimos of Greenland and Vinland) by the Norse. Nevertheless, it appears that sporadic voyages to Markland (Newfoundland) for forages, timber, and trade with the locals could have lasted as long as 400 years. The point is, before Columbus and the later Spanish and Europeans, the Americas were not settled by any permanent emigrant group of which we know.
Comment #2: “What about the language of the Jaredites and that language of the Mulekites--at a minimum that doubles your possible language variances. Obviously, there seems to be more possibilities for language devolution than just the two you mentioned in your article “Languages in the Land of Promise” Reggie.
Response: There are three important points to be made here.  First, when the Jaredites were annihilated, there was no one left who knew that language to continue it—it simply died out from non-use. When the Mulekites were reintroduced to their original Hebrew language, there was no one left to continue with their corrupted language, since speaking it would have alienated that fringe or group from the language being spoken by everyone else. Lastly, when the Nephites were annihilated, there was no one left to speak the Hebrew language. Consequently, whatever bastardized language the Lamanites spoke would be the only language left after 421 A.D. in the Land of Promise. The second point is that language changes dramatically over time—the only thing that keeps language understandable from future generations is written records, teaching, and constant insistence of parents for their children to speak correctly.
Consider what would happen if there were no dictionaries, no written records, no printed examples of how the language developed, was spoken, or word meanings, and no teachers to pass on such information. It would not take long before the younger generation developed a different language, and the next and the next. Before long, the language would be so corrupted, it would be a different language entirely—that is exactly what happened to the Mulekites in just three hundred years or so. In fact, the spoken language of English in America has changed drastically since the Pilgrims landed, and the printed word even more—just trying reading something written in the 18th century. The third point is, that under these circumstances, language, among different, warring groups, will change from each other. That is, each group will evolve their own language until they cannot understand one another—which is one of the reasons why there are so many languages among the Indian nations in North America, as well as in other locations like Africa.
Examples of 16th and 17th century writing of the English language. Having spent many long hours reading old English script, it is extremely difficult to read and understand since the language has changed so much in just 300 to 400 years in the U.S.
Comment #3: The dominant geographical feature in The Book of Mormon is the river Sidon. Likewise, the dominant geographical feature in North America, east of the Rocky Mountains, is the Mississippi River system. Author John Gunther wrote: The Mississippi River remains what it always was—a kind of huge rope, tying the United States together. It is the Nile of the Western Hemisphere. The River Sidon was the Nile of The Book Of Mormon. Obviously, the two—Sidon and Mississippi—are the same river” Sheffield.
Response:  Please read the scriptural account of the Sidon River. The Mississippi River runs from the north to the south. The River Sidon in the Book of Mormon is described as running from the south to the north. Obviously, they are not the same. Nor is the topography, described in the scriptural record, to the south where the headwaters of the Sidon River were located, match in any way the topography of the Mississippi.
Comment #4: “Moroni told Joseph Smith that the United States was a “Choice land above all other lands.” Why do you have such a hard time accepting that the U.S. is the Land of Promise?” Carlton.
Response: First of all, Moroni’s comment stated in Ether while he was translating that record follows the proclamation: “behold the decrees of God concerning this land,” and continues with “that it is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fulness of his wrath shall come upon them” (Ether 2:9) and Moroni goes on to add, “this is a land which is choice above all other lands” (Ether 2:10), and concludes with “this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, who hath been manifested by the things which we have written” (Ether 2:12). While many theorists, like the Great Lakes, Heartland, and eastern U.S. Modelists, want to limit Moroni’s statement to mean just the U.S., or even a smaller portion of it, Moroni had a much larger picture in mind.
When he wrote those statements, he was in the Land of Promise, hiding from the Lamanites as the last Nephite remaining alive. His view was not then, any more than it would be now, limited to the small thinking of modern man. At the time, the entire Western Hemisphere had no drawn boundaries, no country names, no political divisions—there was no United States, no Mexico, no separate North, Central, or South America. There was only one large land. A land that the Angel showed Nephi in a vision would be where Columbus (a man among the Gentiles) who later “went forth upon the many waters” and who would go “even unto the seed of my brethren” (1 Nephi 13:12). Naturally, Columbus, who never set foot in North America, reached Central and South America (not Mesoamerica), and following would come the Spanish conquistadors that Nephi saw “the Spirit of God, that it wrought upon other Gentiles; and they went forth out of captivity, upon the many waters” and he beheld “multitudes of the Gentiles upon the land of promise; and I beheld the wrath of God, that it was upon the seed of my brethren; and they were scattered before the Gentiles and were smitten” (1 Nephi 13:13-14).
It should be noted that the Spanish, whose singular effort to destroy the two greatest cultures in the Western Hemisphere, never set foot on what is now the United States. As for your comment about accepting the U.S. as the Land of Promise, I do. I just expand the Land of Promise to include the entire Western Hemisphere, which at the time Joseph Smith translated the plates, was called one continent, which also matches Moroni’s comment.

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