Sunday, December 29, 2019

More Comments from Readers – Part V

Here are more comments that we have received from readers of this website blog:
Comment #1: I've spent several more hours reading your blog today. I just want to say thank you. I continue to be very impressed with your work and am thoroughly enjoying your blog” David
Response: Thank you. Glad you are enjoying it.ß
Comment #2: “Why do you keep harping on Hagoth not sailing away in his ships? Sounds reasonable to me that he did” Anthony S.
Response: We don’t harp on his not going—we stress that the scriptural record suggests just the opposite and there is no reason to glean from the record that Hagoth sailed anywhere in the many ships he built. The problem is that modern writers, scholars, theorists and their like who, for some reason, always want to tell us the scriptures do not mean exactly what they say, or say more than they mean, or add to them what is not in the scriptural record, and that they have a better, more accurate, or valuable idea about what was written than we can come up with. Take, for example, George Potter’s comments about Hagoth in his book Voyages of the Book of Mormon that stretches into the imaginative and not at all what the scriptural record tells us: (p175) “So fine was the vessel and so difficult was life in the promised land in his time that it seems Hagoth had no shortage of volunteers willing to sail away with him.”
Response: Nowhere in scripture does it say, hint or suggest that Hagoth ever sailed anywhere in any of his ships, or that anyone sailed with him. Those who boarded the ships were immigrants: men, women and children, with “much provisions” to resettle elsewhere.  It appears from the scriptural record he was a shipwright, a curious man who was a master builder, evidently building ships that were much larger in his day than was commonly known.
    While his ship sailed northward, he remained behind building more ships as clearly stated in the scriptural record: “And behold, there were many of the Nephites who did enter therein and did sail forth with much provisions, and also many women and children; and they took their course northward. And thus ended the thirty and seventh year. And in the thirty and eighth year, this man built other ships. And the first ship did also return, and many more people did enter into it; and they also took much provisions, and set out again to the land northward” (Alma 63:6-7).
    That is, his ship sailed in the 37th year and returned in the 38th year, and while that was going on, before the ship returned, “this man built other ships.” There is no way from this to conclude that Hagoth sailed away anywhere, let along with him. It is this tendency of theorists to make up things not found in the scripture that tend to defeat their efforts and cast a questionable shadow over the scriptural record itself.
    However, not finished with this fictitious storyline, Potter also wrote: (p176) “A year later, Hagoth returned and built other ships. With his enlarged fleet, he took many more colonists northward from Peru” (Alma 63:7).
    Response: Again, there is no reason to even think that a shipbuilder, busy “building other ships” was also sailing off into the sunset in one of his ships. It might make a romantic picture, but does not fit the scriptural record nor the historical fact that shipwrights who spend their time building ships are also explorers—Columbus did not build his ships, neither did Drake, Magellan, Cook, de Gama, Ponce de Leon, or scores of others. After all, ship-building is very different than ship-sailing, and both take an extreme amount of skill and professionalism, but are very rarely found combined.
    And another Potter comment: (p176) “However, Hagoth was not the only shipbuilder at the time. Another ship was built that perhaps followed Hagoth’s instructions for traveling north” (Alma 63:8).
Hagoth was a shipwright, i.e., he built ships. The scriptural record gives no suggestion he ever sailed anywhere in the ships he built

Response: Again, there is absolutely nothing in the scriptural record to suggest such a thing. The point is, beside feeling like the scriptural record is one’s own personal invitation to make it different, adding events and circumstances, and different meanings than originally intended, it lessens the value of the ancient writing into a text that was meant for others to expand upon, change, alter, and obfuscate in any way a writer chooses.
    There is no question that the Nephites were involved in shipping and ship-building (Helaman 3:14), it might even be reasonable to suggest that there were other shipbuilders than Hagoth, which would seem a likely scenario given Helaman’s comment that singles out shipping and shipbuilding from all the business and merchant occupations the Nephites might have been involved in; however, to go further does little purpose and usually leads one down a false path, away from the issues at hand.
Comment #3: Why does Nephi distinguish between goats and wild goats. Is he speaking of something besides domesticated vs wild goats? Also, an ox is a domesticated and castrated bovine draft animal. This leads me to wonder if there were already people living in the promised land. Please give me your opinion on this. I really am very curious as to why these specific animals are mentioned in the scriptural record” Matt B.
Response: First of all, we have written a few times about the wild ox, so rather than write it again, let me refer you to the main article, “The Question of oxen in the Land of Promise,” published Sunday, December 2, 2012, in this blog.
The wild goat is a separate species from the domesticated goat, not just undomesticated
The Pasang (Capra aegagru) is a wild goat of Iran; Capra falconeri, markhoor (marhkor), is a wild goat of the Himalayas; Capra Ibex, Ibex, wild goat of Eurasia and north Africa, etc. Domesticated goat is a Capra aegagrus hircus
    As for the wild goat. It would appear that Nephi, undoubtedly knowledgeable and experienced at farming, living all his life just outside Jerusalem (1 Nephi 1:4), would have been thinking of this difference. The wild goat (Capra aegagrus) is a widespread species of goat, with a distribution ranging from Europe and Asia Minor to central Asia and the Middle East. It is the ancestor of the domestic goat. It should also be kept in mind that the domestic goat has become established in some areas in the wild as a feral animal—an anima living in the wild but descended from domesticated animals. That is, a feral animal is one that has itself escaped from a domestic or captive status and is living more or less as a wild animal, or one that is descended from such animals.
    As to why Nephi distinguishes between goats and wild goats, seems to be in two parts: 1) The Jaredites brought over domestic goats (Ether 1:41; 9:18), and it would appear that during the time they lived in the Land Northward of the Land of Promise, some of these goats may have escaped into the wild and became feral; 2) The following statement of Nephi gives us a further clue, “and the goat and the wild goat, and all manner of wild animals” (1 Nephi 18:25). That is, it appears Nephi was distinguishing between this type of wild animal (a feral goat) with the more natural wild animals, such as puma, jaguar, bear, or even the monkey. What wild animals the Jaredites brought with them we are not told, but some such animals were obviously brought with them (probably as cubs in the barges) to repopulate the Western Hemisphere after the Flood.
Comment #4: “Del, there is hardly a day that goes by that I am not here learning. Thanks for doing more than just writing your books” Mr. Nirom.
Response: Thank you.
Comment #5: “Regarding your post “The Island of South America Part IV,” the East Sea is never mentioned after the destruction. Brilliant Del. I never thought to distinguish the geography mentioned pre and post 33AD. But now that you point it out it seems so obvious. The last mention I see of Eat Sea or sea east is in Helaman 11, right before the birth of the savior. You continue to impress me, Del.”
Response: I thought the omission, the first time I noticed it, was interesting and answered the question of the rising of the Andes and the disappearance of the Sea East.”
Comment #6: “On More Comments and Questions from Readers. Love it! Very interesting topics. I hope the incoming comments and suggestions are equally positive. Thank you for sharing this information that is actually helpful” Lee W.


  1. I was searching for something else this am and happened across “the prophecy of the eagle and the condor”. Supposedly this is an ancient prophecy from about 2,000 years ago coming out of the Andes and MesoAmerica legends. The prophecy supposedly says the eagle is the Europeans and Americans and the condor is the native central and South Americans. It says in 1492 they will war and part ways but 500 years later (so about 1992) they will begin to come together again. They say no one knows the original source.

    Has anyone heard of this before or did any of the Spanish chroniclers write about it?

    I’d be interested in what the actual legends say. Obviously it sounds a bit like 1 Nephi 13. I suspect legends came from actual Nephite prophecies and were changed over time - in this case losing the actual meaning which I assume may be the restoration of the gospel to Lehi descendants.

    Here’s one link to it:

    1. You might find these articles by John Pratt interesting.