Friday, February 8, 2013

More Comments Answered – Part IV

Continuing with more comments and our responses:
Comment #14: “Since the Nephites were so prolific in writing why is it that not one single scrap of evidence can be found in your South America of any Book of Mormon names, cities, etc.?” Trigve.
Response: I have answered this several times, but let me just add another problem faced in archaeology, which is probably best described by Dr. William Hamblin (left), who said, “The only way archaeologists can determine the names of political kingdoms, people, ethnography, and religion of an ancient people is through written records.” Where no written records exist, there is little if anything that can be derived about names, territorial divisions, culture, etc. Archaeology can say that a people lived in a certain place and built certain edifices, etc., but knowing who they were is next to impossible without written records that date to that period. It sometimes is possible to ascertain some information if the area has had a continual presence, since some current peoples may know something about an earlier people, etc. In South America, however, both of these problems exist. When the Spanish asked the Inca who built the old ruins, they often said they didn’t know—it was too far back in time; but on other occasions they pridefully claimed their Incan ancestors built them; however, the Inca did not date back to the periods they claim were their own history. The Inca simply had a penchant for claiming everything good was their history, and everyone else were backward and savage. To most of the northern archaeologists working in South America over the past century and a half, they have labeled most ruins, etc., of Inca origin, however, in talking to Peruvian historians from the Andean area, they tell us the Inca built almost nothing—that the many ruins, roads, etc., the Inca claimed were theirs, they simply used what was built long before the Inca came to power, which was no earlier than 1400 A.D., some claim as late as about 1438 A.D., while the Inca, themselves, claim an early date of 1200 A.D., with some trying to push a 900 A.D. date. Unfortunately, most early historians, explorers, and adventurers in the Andes bought the fabulous stories of the Inca origins, myths and legends told by the early writings of Garcilaso de la Vega, sometimes referred to as El Inca Garcilasoa, or simply El Inca, who was the son of a Spanish conquistador and an Inca noblewoman. While his writings were first considered by many to be an accurate portrayal of Inca history, culture, and society, he has more recently been seen as coloring Inca history to favor his mother’s people.
Comment #15: “Dee F. Green, who worked with New World Archaeological Foundation, and one of the first to openly criticize Book of Mormon archaeology, said that 'The first myth we need to eliminate is that Book of Mormon archaeology exists.’ You seem to feel the opposite.” Paul O.
Response: It all depends on what you mean by Book of Mormon archaeology. First of all, Dee F. Green does not accept the accuracy of the Book of Mormon, and feels it should not be considered in regard to such matters as archaeology. I, for one, disagree with that approach. The problem is, that the New World Archaeological Foundation, formed in part by Thomas Stuart Ferguson, was tasked with the job of proving the Book of Mormon. That was both a misleading and impossible task. No excavation is going to find something that has written on it, “Lehi settled here,” or “This was the home of Nephi,” etc. Unfortunately, that was what Ferguson, Green, and others were looking for. Undeniable proof in the ground of the Book of Mormon. Unfortunately, that is never going to happen unless the Lord wants to bring that about. However, the biggest problem NWAF had was it spent 25 years and more and at least $250,000 of donated money, looking for Book of Mormon artifacts and “proof” in Mesoamerica where none could possibly exist. They might as well have been looking in Australia, Greenland, or the moon. On the other hand, if you mean Book of Mormon archaeology as facts supporting the presence of the Nephite nation, then such is readily available in the Andean area of South America. There are no signs saying “This is Where Alma Preached,” but there are scores of events, artifacts, buildings, ruins, history, legends, myths, etc., that support the Book of Mormon story (See Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica, and Who Really Settled Mesoamerica).
Comment #16: “Frank H. H. Roberts, Jr., of the Smithsonian Institute, commented in a letter written to Marvin Cowan on Jan. 24, 1963: ‘Archaeological discoveries in the Near East have verified some statements in the Bible referring to certain tribes, places, etc. On the other hand there is no way in which they could verify the narrative parts of the Bible such as the actions, words, deeds, etc. of particular individuals.’ In the same letter he continued: ‘There is no evidence whatever of any migration from Israel to America, and likewise no evidence that pre-Columbian Indians had any knowledge of Christianity or the Bible.’” Graham J.
Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.
Response: Regarding the statement “On the other hand there is no way in which they could verify the narrative parts of the Bible such as the actions, words, deeds, etc.,” is not only true, but shows the problem anyone has in proving the actions of the Book of Mormon. If the Middle East did not have a 3000 year history of indigenous people living there all that time, and knowing the names, locations, tribes, etc., and passing them along throughout that history, the Bible would lack exactly what the Book of Mormon lacks in proof. As for the statement: “There is no evidence whatever of any migration from Israel to America,” that is not actually correct. Legends in both South and Central America speak of ancestry from Israel, including the legend of the four brothers in Peru, etc., white, bearded men wearing long coats, etc., etc., etc. The question is, what are you looking for as “evidence.” Are there remains of Lehi’s ship—of course not. Are there remains of Book of Mormon names—of course not. Are there samples of Nephite writing—of course not. The Smithsonian has their own agenda they follow and it is certainly not intended to support, prove, or acknowledge the Book of Mormon.
Comment #17:  “Michael Coe, one of the best known authorities on archaeology in the New World, has stated: “The bare facts of the matter are that nothing, absolutely nothing, has even shown up in any New World excavation which would suggest to a dispassionate observer that the Book of Mormon, as claimed by Joseph Smith, is a historical document relating to the history of early migrants to our hemisphere." Zieglar
Response: First of all, though Coe is not anti-Mormon, he could never be called a dispassionate observer; secondly, he has spent his entire career studying Mesoamerica, where the Book of Mormon Land of Promise was never located; and third, it would be interesting to see what he might consider an Old World-New World connection. I offer just one of many found in Peru, that of mummies of B.C. period showing an early people practiced circumcision—strictly a Jewish covenant issue. It was common only among early Semitic people, was practiced in ancient Egypt, but later showed up in other areas where the Jews had reached or been in contact, and not found anywhere else in the Americas outside Peru.
Comment #18: “Thank you so much for your blog!! I haven't read your books yet, but I stumbled upon your blog and I have been enjoying it immensely! Thank you for your research and for sharing your work with the world. It has strengthened my testimony and made the Book of Mormon come alive for me. Thank you, thank you, thank you!” Lacey M.
Response: Thank you for your kind words.

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